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MEETING ABANDONED DUE TO EQUINE FLU OUTBREAK PREVIEW: Barbury Racecourse is clear of snow & ready for season's second…

05-02-2019 Jake Exelby

THIS MEETING HAS BEEN ABANDONED DUE TO THE EQUINE FLU OUTBREAK ***  The second Vine & Craven point-to-point of the season takes place on Sunday (February 10) at Barbury Racecourse and the eight scheduled races, which kick-off at 11.30am, have attracted an excellent 161 strong entry. 

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Barbury International Horse Trials get new team & need new sponsor


Barbury International, which this year runs from 4th - 7th July, has a new organising team at the helm. Musketeer Event Management, which already stages Burnham Market and Houghton Internationals as well as numerous One Day Events, has taken over the reins.  They are looking for a new 'title sponsor'.

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Event Rider Masters dump Barbury from their 2019 programme


The Barbury International Horse Trials have been dropped from the 2019 programme of six venues for the Event Rider Masters televised series of competitions.

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Denman gets permanent memorial at Newbury Racecourse with specially designed wrought iron gates


Denman, the only horse since Arkle to win the Hennessy Gold Cup twice, is to be permanently remembered at Newbury Racecourse with a specially commissioned set of gates bearing his name.

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Local star's four wins from four runs: Paisley Park gets closer still to Cheltenham Festival glory


Cheltenham Racecourse, 26 January 2019: a man is standing in the parade ring.  He is a little apart from his friends.  He has his back to the big screen that is showing twelve horses racing over hurdles.  He is blind.  He is moving slightly from foot to foot - swaying...

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Keeping them racing all year round: Newbury's new Clerk of the Course has a weather eye on the turf


Newbury Racecourse's meeting on Wednesday (January 16) will be the first overseen by their new Clark of the Course, Keith Ottesen.

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Driving solo from west Wales to Mongolia raising funds for charity - with a stop-off to meet a local para-equestrian…


Thirty year-old Guy Simmonds' first stop on his epic solo 2019 journey - by any standards the journey of a lifetime - was Rockley.  He came to see para-equestrian dressage rider Alison Fryer.

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Newbury Racing: Betway Challow glory for Champ, a fond farewell for Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood & Richard…


Newbury Racecourse's final final fixture of 2018 (December 29) saw a classy Betway Challow Hurdle and two tight finishes.  But the day was as much about the people who make horseracing such a popular sport, as about the card of seven races.

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Paisley Park gives owner, trainer and jockey a Grade 1 Christmas present at Ascot


Marlboroughequestrian.news used to have a Horse in the Spotlight feature.  Then we changed it to a Horse Profile feature - currently featuring  Paisley Park on the strength of his amazing recent victory at Haydock.

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Newbury's Betway Challow Hurdle Day: first race will be named in honour of departing Clerk of the Course Richard…

19-12-2018 A Correspondent

It will truly be the end of an era at Newbury on Saturday, December 29, Betway Challow Hurdle Day, when Clerk of the Course Richard Osgood officiates at the track for the final time - 99 years after the first member of the Osgood family joined the racecourse staff.

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Laura Thomas's successful point-to-point season - and a Fontwell winner


Laura Thomas rides Full Trottle up the long gallopLaura Thomas rides Full Trottle up the long gallopAt Hackpen Farm - just below the downs near Barbury Castle - Laura Thomas trains point-to-pointers.  Her yard always hopes to have a horse ready to go beyond the point-to-point circuit and tackle a Hunter Chase and on Thursday (May 14) she had a winner in the evening's Hunter Chase race at Fontwell Park.

Ridden by Mr Jonathan Bailey, the six year-old gelding Full Trottle won by one and three-quarters lengths in the starspreads.com Maiden Hunters' Chase over two miles and six furlongs.  He was last of the 12 runners at the ninth fence, but was in fourth position by the thirteenth and led before the next fence.

Full Trottle is owned by Laura's father, Norman Thomas.

With the end of the point-to-point season now in sight, Laura's yard has had ten winners so far.


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Will the weather and Badminton's famous cross country course suit locals Jonelle and Tim Price?

Tim Price with 7-year-old novice DaisyTim Price with 7-year-old novice DaisyAll eyes will be on the weather forecast for Wednesday's (May 6) start of Europe's first four star eventing competition of the season: the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.  

New Zealander Tim Price, based at Mere Farm, Mildenhall and just back from his second place with Wesko in the Kentucky competition, is one of those hoping for some dry weather.  He's riding 12-year-old gelding Ringwood Sky Boy: "He's ready for a good performance. I'm hoping it'll be dry so he won't have to jump out of the mud."  

Ringwood Sky Boy hit four star standard two years ago.  And at last year's Badminton Tim rode him for the fastest cross country time - putting them in second place.  But he had four rails down in the show jumping and they finished in ninth place.  Then at Burghley in September they fell.

Tim got back from the United States on Monday and Wesko got back on Tuesday.  Tim is really pleased with Wesko's Kentucky performance - but pretty cross not to make first place:  "We so nearly made it - one rail down."

But second place was a handsome result.  Kentucky is an expensive trip for eventers based in Europe.  It costs about £20,000 to get horse and rider to the Kentucky arena: "You have to win or come second to pay for the trip."

Tim wanted to give Wesko "a bit of mileage in the sky" - if a horse shows it can cope with a long flight they will have put down a marker for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Jonelle Price takes a break from teachingJonelle Price takes a break from teachingTim's wife Jonelle Price is currently ranked second in the International Federation rankings as the world's leading lady rider.  She is taking two horses to Badminton: "They're both fully experienced four star horses."

It was with twelve year-old mare Classic Moet - known to all at Mere Farm as Molly - that Jonelle took fourth place at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy last year.

Her other horse at Badminton will be the 13-year-old The Deputy - aka 'Hero'.  They have done well at Burghley for the past two years - coming sixth and ninth.  Last year at Badminton they retired.

Hero is one of Jonelle's favourite horses. He went to Kentucky in 2013 and then last year gave a fantastic performance at Burghley with a double clear for ninth place.  He is certainly an experienced campaigner.  As Jonelle puts it: "He's not a classical dressage horse, but excels at show jumping.  We should be there or thereabouts."

This year entries for Badminton are a little down. 104 horses have been entered, which is 37 below last year's number of entries.  And with some notable withdrawals, all the 'wait list' entries have got places in the draw - for the first time since 2008.

Several pairs have withdrawn as they were entered for both Kentucky and Badminton - in case their horses were not ready or fit for the earlier competition.  However, Zara Phillips who had to withdraw High Kingdom in Kentucky after the horse got a knock, has also withdrawn from Badminton.

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Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds - the syndicate way to get really involved in racing


Tullius - with KVT colours - wins the 2014 Group 2 Bet365 MileTullius - with KVT colours - wins the 2014 Group 2 Bet365 MileIf you are interested in racing, or even obsessed by it, and have always wanted to feel the thrills of ownership, joining a syndicate and buying a share in a horse is a first step.  Racing manager Sam Hoskins can certainly find you a share in one of the horses Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds (KVT.)

The KVT syndicate was started in 1988 by Nick Robinson - the man who helped get Robert Sangster into racing.  He suggested Sangster put a bet on Chalk Stream - a good Wiltshire name.  The horse did not win, but Sangster bought the horse as a gift for his fiancée.  

Nick Robinson, now aged 77, was a pioneer of horseracing syndicates.  He was the publisher of the racing industry's Pacemaker magazine, which has now merged with Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder magazine.  

Last year Robinson handed over management of KVT to a very much younger man - 28-year-old Sam Hoskins.  And he has now retired as KVT's Chairman - but still owns shares on some of KVT's horses.  Over the years KVT have sent out 122 winners and earned £2.8million in prize money.

Sam Hoskins at Newbury Sam Hoskins at Newbury Sam Hoskins became interested in racing when his grandmother owned half of Errant Knight - a chestnut gelding trained by Martin Pipe who won sixteen races in the early 1990s. Sam got a great thrill from leading him in after races.

When he was seventeen - and still at school - he found out how to lay off his bets.  Then one day he forgot to lay off what was for him then a huge gamble - a £20 bet on the Nicky Henderson trained hurdler Geos.  It was the 2004 running of Newbury's Tote Gold Trophy Hurdle.  Faced with a field of 25 runners, Sam spent an agonising time waiting to lose his £20.  But the horse won and he pocketed £400 - that hooked him on racing.

Sam Hoskins trained on the Irish National Stud course - a course that covers many aspects of racing: "I lost a stone and a half mucking out!"  He then worked at studs in Kentucky and Cambridge, New Zealand where there is a mix of breeders, trainers, polo, eventers and racing: "I learnt the ropes there."

Back in Britain, he spent two and a half fulfilling years working for the Niarchos family - leading racehorse owners and breeders.

With that £400 win behind him, and a head for the niceties of breeding and form, he went on to win racing's lottery prize: he landed the Racing Post Ten-to-Follow Competition for the 2008-2009 jump season - a cool £440,000 win.  It allowed him to set himself up in business.

In 2012 he started the Hot to Trot Racing Club with Luke Lillingston. This is more a racing members club than a syndicate. They lease horses rather than buying them and so can provide a much more affordable way into racehorse 'ownership'. Hot to Trot currently has seven horses.

The KVT silks The KVT silks Sam and Piers Winkworth are continuing KVT's regime of selling shares in single, named horses - 16 shares for each horse at around £7,000 per share.  With trainers' fees at between £50 and £60 per day, it is an expensive business.  But winnings and any money left over at the end of the season is returned to shareholders.

The syndicate has horses with trainers Andrew Balding, Charlie Hills, Ralph Beckett and Richard Hannon.  It is mainly involved with young horses - buying at the yearling sales in the £30-50,000 range.  This season they have four two year olds - three colts and a filly.

They have one 'old timer' - the much cherished syndicate star Tullius.  He is an Irish bred seven year-old chestnut gelding trained by Andrew Balding at Kingsclere.   On 25 April 2014, Tullius, with Jimmy Fortune aboard, ran on strongly to win Sandown's Group Two BET365 Mile by three and three-quarter lengths.  That win was worth £53,800 to KVT.  

And last month he won the Betway Doncaster Mile Stakes by half a length.  But Jimmy Fortune could only bring him in fourth of a field of five in last Friday's (April 24) BET365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown - like humans, horses have to have 'off-days'.

Sam takes a realistic view of Tullius: "He's not the most straightforward horse. And we are already thinking ahead about ways to give him a good retirement after racing."

KVT horses earned their owners £238,477 in 2014:  "Last year," Sam told Marlborough News Online, "was our most successful season for many years, mainly due to the fantastic year had by our star Tullius."

KVT's other horses for this flat season are: Bishop's Leap, Frenchman, Magical Memory, Match my Fire, Maxwell, Signal Hill and Stroke of Midnight.

Some people may find that joining a syndicate not only brings the thrill of winning, but also some doubts when something goes wrong with your horse.  But the good days in the winner's enclosure always make up for any set backs.


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Tim Price tops Kentucky three day event leaderboard after the cross country - just

Following his equal first dressage score at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event on Friday (April 24), Tim Price tweeted a photo of a calm and grazing Wesko: "Super happy with this pony!!  Thanking ya'll for your support.  Time to cross country up!!!!"

Without much ado and with rain affecting the course, Tim and Wesko, who are based near Marlborough at Mildenhall, rode a faultless cross country round.  They remain top of the leaderboard with just the show jumping stage to come on Sunday (April 26.)

The Rolex Kentucky is one of the six highest rated four star eventing competitions held annually around the world.  And with two of the three disciplines behind them Tim and Wesko hold a 0.4 of a penalty point lead over the German rider and Olympic Champion Michael Jung who is in second place on LA Biosthetique-Sam FBW and also in third place on Fischerrocana FST.

British entry and former winner of the event, William Fox-Pitt lies in fourth place on Bay My Hero.He was one of the last to compete on the cross country course and came home with 8.4 time faults.

Of the cross country's 71 starters, there were just six combinations clear and inside the optimum time, with 26 going clear but picking up time faults, 15 were eliminated and 10 retired on the course.

Elated by Tim Price's performance with Wesko, the New Zealand team also suffered a disappointment. Emily Cammock and Dambala rode a clear round with 11.2 time faults - moving them from 38th to 18th after the cross country.

However, she has to withdraw him from the showjumping:  “After the second to last fence I felt something wasn’t quite right and as we pulled up at the end of the course it was obvious we had a problem,” said Cammock.  She thinks an old injury has been revived by the softer ground.

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Al Basti Equiworld helps build the future for Greatwood students

General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, Arun Menon with Greatwood Co-founders Helen & Michael Yeadon.General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, Arun Menon with Greatwood Co-founders Helen & Michael Yeadon.Every year the spring sunshine brings Greatwood's retired racehorses out into the fields at Clench Common, just south of Marlborough - and after a winter being cared for mainly inside, they are looking very good indeed.

This spring has brought another very welcome development for Greatwood, the charity which combines delivery of pioneering education programmes with the rescue and rehabilitation of ex-racehorses. They have officially unveiled a brand new educational facility with the help of Al Basti Equiworld.
The Al Basti Equiworld Classroom will allow Greatwood to expand its teaching programmes which are specially designed to educate disadvantaged children and develop life skills in young adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Greatwood's new classroom was formally opened by Arun Menon, General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, the United Arab Emirate’s leading distributor of horse feeds, supplements and veterinary products which has funded the project.  Al Basti Equiworld’s contribution also extends to supporting the salary of a newly appointed teacher for the next three years.
Racehorse owner, sponsor and Founder of Al Basti Equiworld, Malih Al Basti said: "I was introduced to Greatwood last year and was immediately impressed by the work they are doing with horses and children.  The charity is unique both in its approach to education and the rehabilitation of former racehorses no matter how severe the need."
"I am delighted with the way the classroom looks and hope it will help Greatwood to enrich the education of young people for many years to come."
Helen Yeadon, who founded Greatwood with her husband Michael in 1993 said: "We are enormously grateful to Al Basti Equiworld for their support of this project which will enable us to provide enriched learning opportunities to some of the most socially and educationally disadvantaged children in our community."
"We are also delighted to be welcoming a new team member in Jane Muir-Brooks our new SEND teacher whose appointment is as a direct result of Al Basti Equiworld’s support."

Arun Menon joins Greatwood students in the new classroom with SEND teacher Jane Muir-Brooks (right)Arun Menon joins Greatwood students in the new classroom with SEND teacher Jane Muir-Brooks (right)


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Lil Rockerfeller tops off Neil King's successful first season training on the Marlborough Downs


Neil King with Lil Rockerfeller Neil King with Lil Rockerfeller Trainer Neil King's "best season ever" ended on an especially high note with Lil Rockerfeller's win at Sandown on the last day of the 2014-2015 jump season - also remembered widely as the day of AP McCoy's last professional ride.

A year after moving from Newmarket to Upper Herdswick Farm on the Marlborough Downs just by Barbury Castle, King is really pleased with his new Ridgeway Racing stables:  "We're over the moon. We're so fortunate the ball has rolled for us - it won't always happen like that when you've just moved."

During the jump season he has had 29 winners and his horses have won £240,000 in prize money.  And he has gained more owners and has more horses at the yard.  You only have to look at the well groomed state of the yard itself to see what a busy year it has been.

Lil Rockerfeller's win at Sandown is a story all of its own. "Disappointingly", Neil told Marlborough News Online, "after all the work we had done with him, neither I nor his usual jockey, Trevor Whelan, were there to see his victory."   Neil was in Ireland to see Trevor getting married: "So it was his fault!!"

But the story has another twist:  the ride went to another conditional jockey (the jump equivalent of flat racing's apprentice jockeys): Sean Bowen.  And with his win on Lil Rockefeller he clinched the Conditional Jockeys Championship for the season - edging out Nico de Boinville, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Sean Bowen is seventeen.  He is the son of Peter and Karen Bowen - Peter trains in Pembrokeshire.  After the race Sean said: "It was brilliant of Neil to put me on him. This week I've been working hard to get in front of Nico and he's been hard to beat. It's been good and there's been plenty of highlights."   

Trevor Whelan Trevor Whelan There is, as it were, a sub-plot to this story, Trevor Whelan finished third in the Conditional Jockeys Championship.

Neil King bought Lil Rockerfeller last August, but it took until Christmas to find buyers for him: "Since we started racing him, he's improved and improved."  

At the end of March, he won at Ascot with Trevor Whelan aboard - running on well to win the Coutts Juvenile Handicap Hurdle by six lengths.  After the race Whelan was very positive about the horse: "He's a nice horse, but he only ran last week, so he's been busy.  That's my first Ascot winner and it's been a good season for me."

For the next jump season - which has, it should be said, already started - Neil will still have Trevor Whelan as his stable jockey.  There will also be another conditional Lizzie Kelly at NewburyLizzie Kelly at Newburyjockey, 22-year-old Lizzie Kelly who joined the yard earlier this year.

She too has had a season to remember. On New Year's Day she won at Cheltenham on Aubusson - leaving AP McCoy eight lengths behind her.   A couple of weeks later she won Kempton's Lanzarote Hurdle on Tea for Tea.  

Both horses are trained by her step-father Nick Williams and she rode them both at the Cheltenham Festival - though without a place.  She's gathering quite a fan club of youngsters who admire the way she takes on the big and male names in racing.

Last week, on her twenty-second birthday, she rode another winner for Neil King - Dire Straits won at Plumpton in a novices' hurdle - never mind it was a two horse field.  She brought Dire Straits through to beat the favourite, Thats My rabbit.

Southway StarSouthway StarZeroeshadesofgreyZeroeshadesofgreyOther Ridgeway success stories have included Southway Star who had four wins in a row at the start of the season - having been bought by King at the October sales for £2,300.  One of her wins, at Fontwell, gave King a hat trick of winners in a day - with Zeroeshadesofgrey and The Boss's Dream winning at Uttoxeter.

On New Year's Day Zeroeshadesofgrey made his debut at Cheltenham - coming a creditable third.

But before Neil King starts to plan for next winter's campaign and the stable's open day in September, he has some horses at the yard for the flat season - and stepping up to hurdles.  In March Conserve won on Wolverhampton's all-weather track and on Tuesday (May 5) is entered at Fakenham - over hurdles. Regulation is entered for an amateur riders hurdle race at Kempton on Monday (May 4) and later at Royal Ascot.

FOOTNOTE:  You can get odds of 25-1 on Sean Bowen succeeding Tony McCoy as champion jump jockey - for the 2015-2016 season.


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One rail down puts Tim Price and Wesko in second place at the Kentucky four star

Tim Price and Wesko (courtesy U.S. Eventing Association)Tim Price and Wesko (courtesy U.S. Eventing Association)New Zealand eventing pair Tim Price and Wesko, who are based at Mildenhall,  have finished second at the Rolex Kentucky Four Star Three Day Event, just behind the reigning Olympic champ Michael Jung.

On the final day of the competition, Price and Wesko (owned by Christina Knudsen and The Wesko Syndicate) had a single rail down in the showjumping.  This allowed  Germany's Michael Jung and Fischerrocana FST to take first place.

Jung also took third place with his second horse. And the defending Kentucky champion, Britain's William Fox-Pit and Bay My Hero went clear to hold on to fourth place.

The showjumping phase took place in front of a crowd of more than 23,000: “You just have to put everything to one side and focus,” said Price. “My horse is very good in a crowd and I believed that would lift him today . . . and it did.”

Next month, Price will be competing at Badminton with Ringwood Sky Boy, and later in the season he will return to Luhmuhlen which he won last year, but this time with a young horse.

His diary for 2016 is filling up:  “I will definitely be back at Kentucky next year.”

For New Zealanders at the event, the last day was clouded by Emily Cammock's hard decision to have her horse, the 15-year-old grey gelding Dambala, put down.  Vets told her that the leg injury that recurred during the cross country meant he would never be right again - even in retirement.

Cammock said in a statement:  “He was the most honest, willing and trusting horse that always gave 150 percent.  I feel honoured that he put his trust in me and together we made a pretty awesome team.”

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Mildenhall's Tim Price and Wesko take dressage honours at Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Tim Price & Wesko: Luhmuhlen cross country 2014 (Photo: courtesy Kerstin Hoffmann)Tim Price & Wesko: Luhmuhlen cross country 2014 (Photo: courtesy Kerstin Hoffmann)New Zealand eventer Tim Price and Wesko delivered their best-ever dressage score to take equal first place at the front of the field at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in the United States (Friday, April 24.)

It is the pair's first appearance at the top-ranked four star event, and they share the 36.3 penalty point lead with Olympic, World and two-time European champ Michael Jung of Germany aboard La Biosthetique – Sam FBW after a very smooth test.

Tim Price, who with his wife, Jonelle, have stables just north of Mildenhall, is delighted:  “I knew he had it in him,” he said of the big warmblood with whom he won the four star crown at Luhmuhlen last year. “I know he is that good, but to do it in the ring is what we have been trying to achieve. I am just elated with him really, he is such a cool horse.”

The Kentucky event is early in the European eventing season and has attracted a truly international field - 75 entrants all eyeing Rio 2016.

Britain's William Fox-Pitt - the reigning Kentucky champion - took third place in the dressage on Bay My Hero.  Another British entry, Nicola Wilson on Annie Clover is lying in eleventh place.  

But Zara Phillips and High Kingdom had to withdraw from the competition before the dressage stage began.  High Kingdom kicked out in his stable and split the skin on his off-hind leg.  He needed stitches and was withdrawn in the best interests of the horse.

Saturday's cross country stage will be the real test - rain is forecast.   And the 13,000 crowd who watched the dressage on Friday, can expect some tight riding over a tough cross country course - and to get wet.

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The Queen watches two of her young horses run at Newbury Racecourse's Spring Trials meeting

The Queen with jockey Richard HughesThe Queen with jockey Richard HughesIn bright Spring sunshine, Her Majesty the Queen was at Newbury Racecourse on Friday (April 17) to watch two of her horses in the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting - the famous course's first flat meeting of the season.  And she saw them both placed in their races.

Her Majesty, who celebrates her 89th birthday this coming Tuesday, saw Richard Hughes ride her two year-old filly Ring of Truth into second place in the Al Basti Equiworld EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.  

Ring of Truth is with Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon - as the racecard put it, this "Trainer's newcomers command respect."  The filly's first outing won the Queen £1,925 in prize money.

The race was won by Harvard Man trained by Brian Meehan at Manton and ridden by Italian jockey Antonio Fresu, who is racing in Britain this season.

Later in the afternoon, the Queen's Capel Path was brought home in third place by Ryan Moore in the Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap Stakes. 

Capel Path, a three year-old bay colt trained at Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute, won a maiden race at the end of the last flat season at Newcastle.

The Queen went from the Grandstand to see her horses being saddled and watched them in the ring. 

She was wearing a 'vibrant' magenta coat and matching hat.  Though some people in the crowd thought it was cerise.  And a man who described the colour as 'puce' was sternly put in his place - puce is not, he was told, a Royal colour.

The Queen with her racing adviser, John WarrenThe Queen with her racing adviser, John Warren Richard Hughes in the Royal silksRichard Hughes in the Royal silks


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