A good week for . . .

Connections of Moscow Flyer, who was crowned the British Horseracing Board’s Jump Horse of the Year in the second annual BHB British Jump Racing Awards. The highest rated chaser in Britain and Ireland for more than a decade, Moscow Flyer takes over the title from Best Mate. The 11-year-old also picked up the champion two-mile chaser and champion two-and-a-half-mile chaser accolades.

Also a good week for . . .

The other horses, jockeys, trainers and owners who featured in the BHB British Jump Racing Awards, which were presented at a ceremony in London earlier this week. The award winners were:

  • Champion Novice Hurdler – Ambobo
  • Champion Novice Chaser – Ashley Brook
  • Champion Two-Mile Hurdler – Hardy Eustace
  • Champion Two-Mile Chaser – Moscow Flyer
  • Champion Two-and-a-Half Mile + Hurdler – Inglis Drever
  • Champion Two-and-a-Half Mile Chaser – Moscow Flyer
  • Champion Three-Mile Chaser – Kicking King
  • Champion Conditional – Paddy Brennan
  • Champion Jockey – Timmy Murphy
  • Champion Trainer – Martin Pipe
  • Champion Owner – David Johnson
  • Horse of the Year – Moscow Flyer

The formal presentation of the inaugural Order of Merit, won by top hurdler Inglis Drever, also took place during the ceremony. The BHB is currently looking for a sponsor for the 2005/2006 Order of Merit race series.

But a bad week for . . .

Gerard Butler, whose star four-year-old filly Tarfah was injured in the starting stalls at Newbury on Saturday. The filly had to have stitches after becoming upset in the new Australian stalls, which have been surrounded by controversy since they were introduced. She was scratched from the race after having been supplemented for it at a cost of £16,000. “They’re like tin cans held together with string,” said Butler.

Top lots at Ascot auction

An auction of racing memorabilia from Ascot racecourse raised a total of £389,965 for charity earlier this week. The top lot was the wrought and cast iron entranceway, which used to lead from the racetrack to the winner’s enclosure. It sold for £280,000 to William Gredley, who intends to re-erect the gates at Towerlands Equestrian Centre in Essex. The weighing room jockey’s scales were the second highest lot at £8,500. The sales profits will be shared among a number of charities, but Racing Welfare will be the main beneficiary.

Racing supports the countryside

Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse will host the Countryside Alliance’s annual Countryside Race Day tomorrow (Saturday, 21 May). As well as great racing, this popular event includes a variety of country sport displays in the paddock during the morning including falconry, coursing dogs, terrier racing and hounds. Hunt staff will also canter up the famous course between the second and third races. The popular silent auction will be taking place once again. To view this year’s lots visit: www.countryside-alliance.org

AHT artist in residence

If art is more your thing, then don’t miss an exhibition of work by Jacquie Jones, the Animal Health Trust’s artist in residence for 2005 at the National Racing Museum in Newmarket, which opens on Saturday 21 May and runs until Saturday 4 June. A share of the proceeds from any pieces sold will be donated to the AHT. Jones is also designing the trust’s Christmas cards for 2005 to help raise funds for the charity.

Epsom offers track record bonus

Epsom has introduced a £100,000 bonus for any horse who can break the track record for five furlongs in the Vodafone Dash on 4 June. The current record has stood at 53.6sec since 1960. The money would be split between the winning owner, trainer, jockey and stable staff, with a further £5,000 being paid to the Animal Health Trust.

Handy Money takes US-bred prize

The Alun King-trained, US-bred Handy Money has won the inaugural Actimune US-Bred Championship at Wincanton. The championship is based on a point league and is only open to horses bred in America. The series is designed to reward the efforts of hard working stable staff with the prize being a trip for two to the Colonial Cup in South Carolina. King now has to decide which of his staff he can manage without for a weekend in November.