Jonelle Price With the Barbury International Horse Trials starting later this week, there is special interest in the International Equestrian Federation's new set of worldwide rankings for eventing riders. This list covers the twelve months up to June 30 - and Mildenhall's New Zealand rider Jonelle Price is back as number three in the world.
She had been at three last year, but dropped to fifth in the FEI's previous list. In June she came a tantalising second in the Luhmuhlen four star on Fairie Dianimo
Jonelle's husband Tim has dipped in the rankings from nine to sixteenth place - and that despite his brilliant performance coming a close second on Wesko at this spring's prestigious Rolex Kentucky competition.
The Prices are great fans of the Barbury International Horse Trials - not least because they are based so close by. And they have put their names to Barbury's fundraising for the Prospect Hospice.
The top two places in the new rankings see Germany's Michael Jung and Britain's William Fox-Pitt change places with Jung now top of the list.
Lockeridge-based New Zealander Andrew Nicholson is at five - down one rung. And another locally-based New Zealander, Sir Mark Todd is back in the top twenty at 17 - up from 42nd position.
There are now five British eventers in the FEI's top twenty - with two of them joining William Fox-Pitt in the top ten. Oliver Townend is at eighth - from seventh. Nicola Wilson stays at tenth place - with a good performance at Kentucky behind her.
Pippa Funnell has come back into the top twenty with a startling jump to fifteenth position from 31st. And Gemma Tattersall is at 19 - up from 21.
Many of these big eventing names will be competing at this week's Barbury International Horse Trials.
James Paget second left in cerise and white stripesThis story is about the Greatwood way to beat the odds when they are stacked against a young man: a normal race-day at the Les Landes racecourse in Jersey reveals a very abnormal story of ambition and perseverance - the story of James Paget.
The 4.15pm flat race on Sunday, July 24 was the Animal Health Trust Celebration Mile (Handicap). James Paget is aboard the Jersey-trained twelve-year-old Fast Freddie - one of a field of ten. It was an action-packed race complete with the spectacular unseating of Michelle Hooper and a stewards' enquiry.
James and Fast Freddie, in third and fourth place for much of the race, finished a good sixth. A remarkable achievement for a young man whose first encounter with a horse was a little under four years earlier.
You can watch a recording of the whole race on You Tube.
James attended Greatwood’s Get Going programme during the summer of 2012. He came to the charity from the Amber Foundation (a residential charity that offers a fresh start to homeless unemployed young adults and helps them gain employment and accommodation) via the Princes Trust.
James at Greatwood "I was living in a hostel when I met someone that had been to the Northern Racing College (NRC) when my ears pricked up and I thought that may be something I would like to do. Also when I got talking about racing one of the members of staff at the hostel informed me that he used to be a jockey. Through the Princes Trust I went to Greatwood where they gave me the opportunity to apply to come to the NRC on their 12 week residential foundation course.”
After successfully completing Greatwood's Get Going programme and gaining an accredited qualification in Basic Care of Horses, James was then given a place at the NRC.
“My first week was really interesting and I liked the fact that they had you doing everything from mucking out to riding within the first week. I’m not so keen on the mucking out, but when I rode for the first time it makes the mucking out well worth it!"
"The first 6 weeks have gone so quickly I can’t believe it, I’m looking forward to the next 6 weeks of working hard and getting a placement with a racehorse trainer as I now know it is definitely what I want to do!"
Cheltenham Festival 2015 At the Northern Racing College, James excelled and loved riding out every day and caring for the horses. The qualifications James gained at the Northern Racing College were sufficient to secure full time employment with dual-purpose racehorse trainer, Neil Mullholland, at his yard near Bath.
It was his work at Neil Mulholland's yard that gave James Paget the thrill of a lifetime: at the Cheltenham Festival last year he proudly led Barry Geraghty and The Druids Nephew into the winner’s enclosure at the home of steeple chasing - to the roar of a near capacity crowd - after the eight-year-old bay gelding’s gallant victory in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase.
James Paget was sent on his way to a career with horse racing by Greatwood: “Before I went to Greatwood I had never had any contact with horses, but as soon as I walked through the gates I knew that I wanted to work with horses for the rest of my life.” The odds on his having a successful racing career just got shorter.
[Jersey photos courtesy www.kandidprints.com and Cheltenham photo courtesy GJMultimedia - their copyright]
Harriet & Thomas Harriet Rochester’s Marlborough Downs Uncovered feature marks the end another eventing season:
This week my horse, Thomas, checked into his winter residence – a lush field of grass up on the Marlborough Downs, along with some of his equine mates who are there for a well-earned break after a busy eventing season.
With a relentless schedule of competitions for professional riders between the months of March and October, one wonders what can possibly keep these equestrian adrenaline junkie’s amused during all that winter downtime?
So after some digging about I discovered what some of the Marlborough eventing tribe are planning to help the winter months fly by…
|Andrew Nicholson ||Andrew Nicholson Stables: Lockeridge |
2014 highlights – triple wins at Landrover Burghley Horse Trials and at the Barbury International Horse Trials winner - riding Avebury.
Andrew wouldn’t admit that to avoid the winter weather he will often be found ensconced reading his new book Focused. However, he says;
“Going jump racing at Cheltenham is as good as any holiday for me. I also take some of the youngsters to hunter trials and give a lead to my nine-year-old daughter. We will steal a few days away as a family in between doing general maintenance around the property, something that’s a bit of a bore but necessary.’
“Before we know it, December will be here and the horses will come back into slow work and then we’ll be preparing to do it all again in 2015”.
Sir Mark Todd Stables: Badgerstown
Eventing legend and International Equestrian Federation rider of the twentieth century.
“I manage the Brazilian event team so I am off to South America in November and back again in December for some training clinics. I’m also off to New Zealand over Christmas and back via the States for more teaching."
"There’s no rest for the wicked, but I expect I will find some time to nip to the beach whilst on my travels.”
“Each snow season, I try to make an annual pilgrimage to the mountains. In order to help prevent any unwanted pre-season injuries as well as time on the piste, I always ensure there’s plenty spent experiencing and tasting the local après ski."
|Sir Mark Todd |
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Jesse Campbell Stables: Ogbourne St Andrew
Up and coming New Zealand rider.
“When not riding the babies, I will be catching up on the back series of Downton Abbey and playing golf, we have a lad’s eventer’s trip to Prague planned in November – it’s tough going in the winter. I also love giving the England Rugby team stick and supporting the All Blacks. "
“I am off to New Zealand at the end of the year to see my family and also spending some time in Australia with my girlfriend, where topping up my tan is on the agenda”.
Rebecca Howard Stables: Mildenhall
Current Canadian rider of the year
In late November I’m heading over the pond to my homeland – Canada, where as well as catching up with my folks and sisters I have some teaching clinics planned in British Columbia.
Hands take a real beating across the competition season so my winter guilty pleasure is a regular manicure from Kreem boutique, Marlborough.
I am also a dedicated follower of Shaun T – a Will Smith look-a-like. Him and his T25 video works out are a great incentive to help me out of bed during the winter mornings. If it’s not Shaun T – then I head to the gym.
| Rebecca Howard |
After Tim’s victory at Luhmuhlen (photo: copyright Libby Law Photography)Tim and Jonelle Price Stables: Mildenhall
2014 highlights: 1st Luhmuhlen 4 star (Tim and Wesko) and 4th in the World Equestrian Games (Jonelle and Classic Moet)
As well as being an ace pilot on a horse, Jonelle is renowned as a dab hand in the kitchen and the Price Sunday’s roasts have become legendary in the area.
“What off season?! Looking ahead our winter looks pretty hectic with lots of travelling. Although, in previous winter’s us Kiwis have mastered the art of a long indulgent lunch, generally generously sponsored by numerous renowned wine regions from around the world”. Jonelle explains from the final four star event of the season at Pau in France, where she finished 4th riding Faerie Dianimo.
“Last year Tim and I went to Vietnam. It was great to experience a totally different culture and be so far removed from our daily lives. We plan to be in Germany and Sweden in November for some indoor competitions and then we are going to Puhinui, New Zealand in December for their big spring event and to spend Christmas with our families.
“As much as we enjoy the lower intensity this time of year, it’s always good to get back to the horses”.
Whether it’s winter months with the latest TV period dramas, indulging hours at the beautician’s or some globe-trotting – rest assured, come early 2015, the Marlborough event riders will be ready to roll and hungry for the competition season once more.
Spirit Son - in his hurdling daysThe French-bred racehorse Spirit Son was a successful 5-year-old when he suffered an unexplained collapse. The gelding, owned by Michael Buckley and trained by Nicky Henderson, had four wins from five starts and was fancied to win the Champion Hurdle at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.
However, a tendon injury ruled him out of the race. He recovered and was sent away to recuperate and get him ready for a return to racing.
Then disaster struck. Spirit Son was found collapsed on the floor of his stable. Nicky Henderson rushed down from Scotland to see what could be done.
The horse could not get up – and people feared the worst. But he rallied and was soon able to stand while being supported.
About six weeks after his collapse, he was well enough to be taken to the O’Gorman Slater Main equine hospital in Newbury where a scan revealed he had a neck fracture. For a more precise diagnosis he was taken for a CT scan which revealed he had two fractures – one each side of his neck.
As Nicky Henderson wrote in the Racing Post: “There were two known surgeons who could perform an obviously extremely complicated and undoubtedly dangerous operation, one in the USA and one, John Walmsley, in Hampshire, who luckily was prepared to perform what was going to be a huge task with major risks involved. But it was the only option.”
An operation under general anaesthetic was tricky for a horse that was still recovering his balance and strength. But a most unusual surgical procedure was carried out using metal implants. And it was successful and Spirit Son recovered.
As Henderson wrote: “The prognosis for racing always has been and still is very low, but he deserved a chance to have a life, whether it’s on a racecourse or in another role.”
He was not to race again and Spirit Son arrived at the Greatwood charity for retired racehorse at Clench Common near Marlborough on November 6 last year. Announcing his death, Greatwood said that his condition had deteriorated during the summer months and he had to be put to sleep this morning – October 8.
Sam Hoskins Sam Hoskins is racing manager of the Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds syndicate. Here he shares with Marlborough News Online his ‘Five to Follow’ for Royal Ascot - a horse for each day of this prestigious meeting (June 16-20) which this year has attracted a truly international entry. As ever, watch what the coming rain might do to their chances:
MAKE BELIEVE, St James’ Palace Stakes (Group 1), Tuesday. 4-1.
The St James’ Palace Stakes promises to be one of the races of the meeting with the dual Guineas-winning Gleneagles taking on the Andre Fabre pair of Territories, who was second to the former in the English 1,000 Guineas, and Make Believe, who won the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamps a week later. With Gleneagles having had two hard races, I am inclined to side with Make Believe who was so impressive at Longchamps and who would not be running unless his masterful trainer thought he would go very close indeed.
CANNOCK CHASE, Prince Of Wales’ Stakes (Group 1), Wednesday. 12-1.
Cannock Chase goes into Royal Ascot this year as almost a slightly forgotten horse, but I still haven’t quite erased the memory of his superb Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3) win over this trip at this same meeting last year. He has had two relative warm-up runs in unsuitable conditions and they will have put him bang on for this whilst making him an interesting each-way betting proposition at the same time. He could very easily go an easier route than this but Sir Michael Stoute clearly thinks he is up to ruffling the feathers of the likes of market leaders Free Eagle and The Grey Gatsby.
FORGOTTEN RULES, Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1), Thursday, 11-4.
The Ascot Gold Cup is hotting up well with many eventualities possible in advance of this centrepiece race of the whole meeting. The most fascinating variable to consider for this race is that of the ground because if ever the ground ended up on the soft side of good, then it would heavily favour the Dermot Weld-trained Forgotten Rules, who is unbeaten in four starts including a Punchestown bumper on his debut last spring (!) and the Marco Botti-trained mudlark Tac De Boistron. Whilst the likes of Mizzou and Vent De Force represent the improving four-year-old generation form, I can’t help but think they will have their work cut out to beat Forgotten Rules, who has the world at his feet and will be very hard to beat as long as the ground is no faster than good.
ERVEDYA, Coronation Stakes (Group 1), Friday, 7-2.
Ever since the Aga Khan’s Aliysa was disqualified in the 1989 Epsom Oaks, his distinguished green colours with the red epaulettes have become a rarity on British racecourses. However, when they do turn up, they invariably go very close and I suspect this will be the case for his superstar three-year-old filly Ervedya, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget in Pau. She was scintillating in the French 1,000 Guineas last month and I think she can reverse Marcel Boussac form with the likely favourite Found.
POSTPONED, Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2), Saturday, 4-1.
Trainer Luca Cumani has a strong hand at Royal Ascot this year and I suspect he will hit the target at least twice - one of whom could be Postponed (don’t ask me who the other will be though!) Postponed was highly progressive at three-years-old last year and has run two decent races so far this term - coming third in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh last time behind the wonderful Al Kazeem over 10 furlongs which is shorter than ideal. He steps up to 12 furlongs here and with his newfound positive tactics, he might just lead them a merry dance and finish off a good week for his smooth Italian handler.
Our Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds (KVT) syndicates are represented on Thursday at Royal Ascot with MAXWELL in the King George V Handicap for Andover-based Ralph Beckett. Maxwelll has won his two starts to date including an impressive victory at Salisbury last time.
He promises to be suited by the step up in trip in the King George V handicap and whilst the form of his Salisbury race hasn’t worked out great, he could give us something to shout about granted a good draw and some luck in running!
One of our other stars, TULLIUS, bypasses Ascot for a tilt at the Coral Eclipse (Group 1) on Saturday, July 4 at Sandown. However, he needs some softer ground to increase his chances..
Gary Witheford with Turkish stall handlers The Jockey Club of Turkey have appointed Gary Witheford as Official Advisor and he has been contracted for a year to improve the organisation of race meetings so as to attract more international entries. He has a wide brief but will concentrate especially on training racecourse officials and handlers for the start of races.
Gary Witheford, who is based near Burbage, is a well-known and respected figure at many racecourses in Britain and Ireland where he uses his 'horse whisperer' skills to make the loading of horses into starting stalls easier, quicker and safer.
Horse racing and mutual betting flourishes in Turkey under the monopoly regulation of the Jockey Club of Turkey (known as the TJK.) There are nine racecourses - and two of them hold an international meeting each year: eight international races at Ankara's 75th Anniversary Racetrack and seven at Istanbul's Veliefendi Racetrack.
Gary Witheford is working with Turkey's racecourse stewards and starters to make their races safer and so more of an attractive option for overseas trainers. One of the key issues he has been asked to improve is loading of the starting stalls - one of his own specialities.
Gary - centre back row - with a team of Jockey Club of Turkey staffSometimes loading can take up to 20 minutes - with some unorthodox methods including blindfolds which may be improvised from men's sweaters or jackets. The problem is clear: the loaders put the easiest horses in first - and after too long standing in the stalls, they doze off and good horses can then miss the jump out.
There is also a need to speed up the loading so that races can be started on time - and so make it easier to regulate the betting.
There is much to bring overseas horses to Turkey's international races - especially the prize money. Early in September, the Richard Hannon trained and Godolphin owned four-year-old Toormore won the International Topkapi Trophy over a mile at Veliefendi. James Doyle brought him home two and a half lengths ahead of the Turkish horse Perfect Warrior.
The winner took home £209,302 of the £348,837 prize money for this race. The Hannon-trained horse, Shifting Power, was fourth in the field of seven.
A training sessionOn the same card, another Hannon horse Orvar came home a length ahead of the Turkish horse Graystorm to win the six furlong International Trakya Stakes - a race with prize money of £155,039.
This was certainly a worthwhile trip as Toormore had disappointed on his visit to the racecourse the previous year with a poor run - coming third in the same race under Richard Hughes.
With better and safer arrangements at the racecourses in Istanbul and Ankara, more trainers will be encouraged to travel to Turkey for these well funded international races.
You can read more about Gary Witheford and his book on Marlborough News Online
Veliefendi Racecourse, Istanbul
On Saturday (May 21) when the Goodwood three-day May Festival meeting reaches its climax, watch out for a race named in honour of Marlborough's Greatwood Charity - it is a featured race on Channel 4 Racing.
The naming is courtesy Al Basti Equiworld which has been supporting Greatwood for two years. The Al Bast Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Charity Stakes will be run at 3.25pm.
The seven furlong race will see thirty three-year olds onnground that is expected to be good to firm. At the five-day entry stage it was clear the race - with guaranteed prize money of £100,000 - has attracted some exceptional horses. It should be a very competitive race.
The Al Basti Equiworld Classroom was officially opened last year and has allowed Greatwood to expand its teaching programmes which are specially designed for disadvantaged children and to develop life skills in young adults with special educational needs (SEN).
Racehorse owner and sponsor Malih Al Basti: "I was introduced to Greatwood in 2014 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 sever 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 with her husband Michael founded Greatwood in 1993, is enormously grateful for the Al Basti Equiworld support: "We are delighted to be welcoming a new team member in Jane Muir-Brooks our new SEN teacher whose appointment is as a direct result of Al Basti Equiworld’s support."
Helen Yeadon receives the cheque from Dick FearMarlborough's Greatwood charity has benefited to the tune of £18,500 from a unique fundraising event in Dubai.
Dick Fear, head outrider at the Dubai Racing Club in Meydan, organised a charity golf day attended by, among others, former World Number 1 and Ryder Cup golfer Lee Westwood and European Tour Professional Oliver Fisher.
From right to left: Dick Fear, Lee Westwood & the winning teamFear, wanted to organise an event in honour of Mr Malih Al Basti, his friend and the founder of Al Basti Equiworld. He decided that the best way of doing this was to put on a fundraising event for Mr Al Basti’s favourite charity – Greatwood, which he has been supporting since 2014.
As Fear explained: “Mr Al Basti is a big supporter of Greatwood and I wanted to give something back to him for all his support that he does for everyone here in Dubai. He is a very extraordinary man with his generosity."
"When I looked at Greatwood charity’s website, the work that they do touched me in such a way that I just wanted to be a part of it. So through horses and golf it seemed like a great idea to raise money for a worthy charity.”
Co-Founder and Managing Director of Greatwood Charity, Helen Yeadon was at the golf event and received the cheque - for AED98,395 in the local currency: “I would like to thank Dick for the great honour of nominating Greatwood. It was a fabulous evening, with an extraordinary sum of money raised. "
"This money will help educate no less than 18 young people. Dick, you truly have changed lives and created futures.”
Greatwood looks after retired racehorses and uses them to help children who are disadvantaged or have learning difficulties - and to train them in horse care skills.
The 'cheque' comes home to Greatwood. The horses are (left to right): Montendre, Potentate and Seek the Faith