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Larkhill point-to-point - back on Saturday 21 January - Now postponed until 28 Jan

Larkhill ptp now postponed...   pic:  John EcclesLarkhill ptp now postponed... pic: John EcclesWeather has forced the postponement of this meet by one week - it will now take place on Saturday 28 Jan.

Military point to point organisers say they are ‘immensely grateful’ to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for saving the Larkhill Racecourse from closure.

The Point to Point racing season sees the Royal Artillery take centre stage next week (was Saturday January 21 - now 28 January) after the MoD had threatened to close the course at the end of 2023 and use the land for more army training.

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Bishopstone's Greta Mason looks forward to this weekend's Badminton

Greta Mason      -  pic Nico MorganGreta Mason - pic Nico Morgan


When Greta Mason drives through the famous Badminton gates for her debut appearance this week it will be a culmination of a three-year plan.

Greta and her 16.1hh gelding Cooley for Sure (Murphy) moved to base themselves with former Badminton winner Rodney Powell at his Bishopstone yard in 2020, with a view to qualifying for the Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian. The plan has obviously worked as Greta credits Rodney and fellow trainer Alex Franklin in helping her achieve this goal.

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Three retired racehorses, trained by local riders qualify for the horse of the Year Show

(l-r) Sarah Llewelyn with Deep Challenger, Qulinton with Thea Geake and Imperial Ruby with Sar Cassidy Hill (owner)(l-r) Sarah Llewelyn with Deep Challenger, Qulinton with Thea Geake and Imperial Ruby with Sar Cassidy Hill (owner)Three former successful racehorses, stabled and trained now at Overton Manor Farm (and owned by the White family) in Wroughton have qualified for the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham’s NEC in October.

Trained by the ladies who will be riding them, the three horses will be competing in the South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Final which will take place at the NEC on Wednesday 4 October.

Jess Smith will be riding fourteen year old ‘Imperial Ruby’, Sarah Llewelyn will be riding eleven year old ‘Deep Challenger’ whilst Thea Geake will be riding nineteen year old ‘Qulinton’.

‘Qulinton’, an eight time winner was trained when racing by David Pipe and Johnny Farrelly. A prolific Show Horse, already with a third place at the Horse of the Year Show in 2019, whilst also qualifying for this year’s Burghley Horse Trials.

‘Deep Challenger’ was trained by Jamie Osbourne winning a couple of races and since retirement from the track has become established as a winner in the ring, in hand and under saddle.

‘Imperial Ruby’ was trained by Mick Channon, a very successful trainer but maybe known even more widely outside the equestrian world as a very successful England international footballer. Imperial Ruby, whilst never achieving great success on the racecourse achieved third place at The Horse of the Year Show last year and is a previous champion at the Royal Windsor Show and at the RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) National championships at Aintree.

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Bad news for Barbury - Point-To-Points to cease

Point to Point at BarburyPoint to Point at Barbury

Point to point races are to cease at Barbury.

The estate owners blame inflationary pressures:  “We are saddened to announce on behalf the Barbury Castle Estate that a difficult decision has been taken to cease Point-to-Point racing at the estate this season and into the foreseeable future,”  said a Barbury Castle Estate spokesperson.

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Ladies Day at Newbury Races this weekend (14th) - and the first female commentator ever to call a race will take to the microphone

Dani Jackson is to commentate on the very first race of the day, a charity race in celebration Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee to raise funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund.  

Racegoers will also have the chance to hear from some leading sporting figures before the live action starts with their Panel of Pioneers featuring, Lioness captain Katie Zelem, Gold curling medallist, Eve Muirhead and leading jockey, Hollie Doyle talking about their personal journey into their sport. 

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Jane Holderness-Roddam talks to Niki Hinman

Jane Holderness Roddam CBEJane Holderness Roddam CBEAs the dressage phase finished at Badminton,  two time Badminton and one time Burghley winner Jane Holderness-Roddam CBE spoke to Niki Hinman about the ‘bette noir’ that is dressage, the value of smiling down the centre line, and reflects on the change in cross country courses since her day.
West Kington based Jane is one of the World’s leading eventing dressage judges, and admits that a nice smile from someone heading down the centre line is always welcome.
“Some do quite a cheeky smile,” she said. “Especially someone like Olly Townend. I think he thinks it will make a difference.  But it doesn’t work with me Im afraid!’
She does admit that it is always worth a try and tells all her riders ‘for goodness sake smile at the judge.’
“There is nothing more soul destroying after a day in the box and some boot-faced person comes down the line. You don’t feel like giving them a good mark.  So a nice smile makes a difference to me personally.  It doesn’t necessarily change the marks but it puts me in a better mood.”
“You just love some horses.  There is something about their whole expression.  If they really look as if they are enjoying it and the rider is in total harmony that is such a pleasure to judge.”
“I’ve never judged at Badminton.  I was asked once, but I wasn’t qualified, and they didn’t ask again. But I’d love too,” she said
But is she swayed in her marking by knowing the horse, or the rider and does she think any unconscious bias slips in to the judging?

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