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From the Horse's Mouth - January 2016 E-newsletter


Wishing all our supporters and readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year, as we mark the 10th Anniversary of The Racehorse Sanctuary as an independent organisation dedicated to the lifetime rescue and rehoming of ex-racehorses and thoroughbreds in distress.

Thank you all so much for your continued support, without which we would not to be able to maintain the level of care for our horses that they deserve. If there is a special thank you it has to go to St James’s Place for their financial and moral support as our lead partner and sponsor.

No our anniversary poster boy Zellensky aka Zelly is not in distress, but is he also wishing you well for 2016, or trying to make sure no one forgets his breakfast? Please keep an eye on the events page on our website for details of all the events we plan for this celebratory year, as our programme for 2016 comes together.

A Charity Raceday celebrating both the 10th Anniversary of The Racehorse Sanctuary and the 51st running of the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park.

Neither are to be missed: put this date in your diary and that of your friends and do not delay in booking your places at Fontwell Park for a great day’s fun and entertainment.

This key event not only offers a fantastic day out at a surprisingly modest cost, it is critical to our fundraising for the year, so please support us. As well as enjoying the racing from a private room with panoramic views over the racecourse, you will enjoy a champagne reception, lunch with wine, a compered charity auction and afternoon tea; see here for full details. In ten years the Sanctuary has had a fundraising event every year on the occasion of the National Spirit Hurdle and in that time, the fixture has not had to be cancelled once because of the weather.

The National Spirit Hurdle is the most prestigious race in Fontwell Park’s calendar. In 2016 there is prize money growth across Arena Racing Company, which has added £30,000 to the feature race of the day making a very attractive £80,000 prize pot. Named after the dual winner of the champion hurdle in the 1940s, this is Fontwell Park’s only Class 1 race and is supported by an excellent under card of seven races at the only figure of eight jumps course in the UK.

The good news is that all the Sanctuary horses are thriving in the unseasonably mild weather we have been having, luckily without colds and sneezes!

On Thursday Anna helped load Sky Winner onto the horsebox for Graham to drive her to her new home in the West Country, as companion to an elderly riding horse. Ellie, who is currently hacked gently twice a week, will appreciate Sky’s company as she retires from ridden work before long.

Sky travelled like a pro, tucked into some hay on arrival at the Somerset farm to be her new home, before having a romp around her new paddock with her new buddie Ellie, before their evening feed. As he drove home, Graham was able to reflect that both horses would sleep well that night, tucked up in their boxes under the watchful eye of new keeper Laura.

Racehorse SanctuaryThank you to those lovely people, who have agreed to foster hoses for us. Smashing news that before Christmas lucky old Try and Oats were on the move, arriving safely at Catherine’s farm in Devon, where they are now enjoying life with another of our horses, Trooper Kit.

These two old timers are real stars in their own right, they never ask for anything in return for simply being cared for and made to feel at home and part of the family, lucky boys. Catherine has been a huge help to us over the years and was the first to come forward when she heard that we are in need of foster homes. However, we are still in need of good foster homes for similar horses, so if you feel that you can help please do not hesitate to contact Graham on 07710 904189.

The start of our 10th Anniversary year is marked by two very welcome new sources of funding and support, both local to our current base at Stilemans.

Peter Symonds, the 2016 Club Captain at the Cranleigh Golf and Country Club has very kindly chosen the Sanctuary as his nominated charity for this year. This recognition from the local community of the work and ethos of our charity founded by Graham and Sue is both morale boosting and heart-warming. Little did the latter know that their care for the late and much lamented Moorcroft Boy would blossom to establish them as ground breakers in the care and welfare of former racehorses!

The Sanctuary is also very fortunate at this time to have been chosen as one of three local charities to benefit from Waitrose Godalming's regular fundraising for local charities. Each shopper is given tokens, as they pay at a till, which they can drop into the box for their preferred charity. At the end of the month the tokens are counted and each charity receives a sum related to the number of token found in each box. So please, all local friends, support the Sanctuary by shopping at Waitrose Godalming as often as you can!

Everyone’s attention is currently on making sure the arrangements are all in place for our Fontwell Park Raceday, but please keep an eye on our website for news of the results of our Xmas Competition, when the winners will be announced. Each of the three winners will receive a signed copy of ‘Riders’ by Sanctuary Patron and one of Britain’s most beloved authors, Jilly Cooper.

If post-New Year blues are a problem and you want cheering up, do consider ordering Around the Races in Eighty Days by our friend and supporter Neil Andrew. This funny, inspiring and honest account of a man who took a career break aka mid-life crisis, whilst attempting to watch horse racing at all the British courses within an eighty day period, will entertain you and at the same time earn us funds, in the form of a royalty from each book sold. Neil’s book can be ordered directly online – not to be confused with the Neil Andrews, author of Contact Law from Amazon Books – dull stuff!

Richard and Victoria Ward’s GeeGeeWiz pool betting trial successfully concluded with its tenth week challenge to pick the winners at the Kempton Park meeting on 26 December 2015. Again, please keep an eye on our website for news of Victoria’s review of how the trial has worked out and what happens next. Our intrepid betting entrepreneurs have generously structured the trial so that the profits come to The Racehorse Sanctuary. These will prove a very welcome boost to funds before our next major fund raising at Fontwell Park.

Meanwhile, Sprout is still worrying about his modest dowry, so will be keeping his JustGiving appeal page open for a little while yet, in the hope of encouraging support using Jacquie Lawson e-cards. The Sanctuary horses now have their own account to send cards to supporters and connections. You can see the card Sprout sent to Grant Harris the current Chief Executive of the British Racing School here. Can you think of any imaginative ways in which the horses could use these cards to cement support for the Sanctuary? If so, do let us know: see here for the card Wavertree Warrior sent to his connections.

We were all delighted to learn that our very own Founder Sue Collins has received a certificate from the British Horseracing Authority in recogition that she had been nominated for the Rory MacDonald Community Award. Sue is without doubt our unsung hero and it is great to see these first shoots of public appreciation and official recognition of her work.

This year Racing Welfare has decided not to run their own awards, but has joined forces with The British Horseracing Authority to expand the scope of what was formerly called the Racing Community Award. This has been renamed the Rory MacDonald Award in memory of the late Rory MacDonald, who was chief executive of the British Racing School for 22 years and widely recognised for his contribution to racing in the UK.