1. War Horse returns to UK
The return of The National Theatre’s award-winning production of Michael Morpurgo’s famous novel has been welcomed by fans – and the author. Mr Morpurgo had feared that when the pandemic forced the show, which was touring in Australia at the time, to close it might have been the last time War Horse would be seen on stage. But a new UK tour has been confirmed, opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 5 September. Mr Morpurgo is delighted: “It’s really happening – we will hear the music and songs, be amazed by its design and lighting, and live Joey’s story again. War Horse is about the tragedy of war and about a horse and his boy, but it’s also so many other things – it‘s about family and community, courage and loss, hope, and most importantly reconciliation.”
2. Bubby Upton’s comeback continues
Talented young event rider Bubby Upton’s recovery from major back surgery after a fall in August last year continues, and she has three horses entered for Poplar Park on the first weekend of the eventing season (2-3 March). Her five-star campaigner Cola III, Bramham Horse Trials under-25 champion Magic Roundabout IV and rising star Its Cooley Time are all entered for the open intermediate. While admitting it is all “a bit of an unknown”, Bubby said: “For me, being in a position where I feel like I can prepare for the season ahead feels like a dream come true. Even if I don’t get to go to certain events that I have planned in my head, then just being back doing what I love is enough for me.” Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Bubby in Horse & Hound magazine (8 February), in shops now.
3. Grand National entries revealed
The initial 94 entries for the 2024 Grand National have been announced, with last year’s winner Corach Rambler among them. Of the 94 Grand National entries, 61 are Irish-trained with top Irish trainer Gordon Elliott responsible for 26. The total number of horses accepted to run in the Grand National has been reduced from 40 to 34 for 2024, and the final runners will be confirmed 48 hours before the race, which starts at a revised time of 4pm, moved from the later 5.15pm off time, which had been in place since 2016. The next significant stage in the run-up to the race is when the British Horseracing Authority announces the weight each horse will be required to carry in the race, on 20 February.
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