My family are very lucky to own 2 horses that are entered with the full intention of running at Plumpton on its first Premier Meeting of 2024, depending on the ground! Slipway is entered in the Sussex National and Sun Joy in the Zoe Davison memorial Handicap Hurdle, neither of them will not want very soft ground so we have our fingers crossed. I’ve targeted these races for a little while now, nagging our poor trainer Ben Pauling to enter!









The National is ideal for Slipway as he is such a good jumper and is well balanced and nippy, which is a key to jumping around Plumpton. He loves these staying races having won the Highland National at Perth and the Southern National at Fontwell in 2022. 2023 for Slipper was not a great year, but on his day he is fully effective and having had a wind op last summer he is getting his confidence back. He ran a great race first time out at Cheltenham, laying up and jumping beautifully with Cloudy Glen before tiring at the bottom of the hill on very gluey ground. His last run at Donny again didn’t go to plan as they omitted over half the jumps and Slips is definitely not a flat horse!


It is a lovely prize to win at Plumpton and they have done an amazing job to increase prize money throughout the year, but the addition of this Premier Raceday is a bonus. It’s just a shame it’s not on ITV to get the full coverage it deserves!

Sun Joy is a gorgeous bonny wee horse who once again dear Ben was cajoled, more totally bullied into buying at the Arqana sale in Deauville. A great place to buy nice horses and also a very fun town. Sun Joy is as tough as you can get, a chestnut with a white face that reminded me of Aldaniti. I fell in love with him probably before I even crossed the channel!
He ran a good 2nd first time out at Taunton, then hit horrible gluey sticky heavy ground at Sandown but still led and jumped for fun till getting collared at the last. He’s so versatile he will run over 2m to 2.5m and on good to soft and good to firm and although probably no super star, will be a lot of fun.

Sun Joy runs in my colours which were my Grandmother’s, Eileen Rogerson. She won the St Leger with Athens Wood and Lester Piggot in 1971, and the Champion Hurdle with Salmon Spray and Johnny Haine in 1966, hence the name of the partnership, made up of mum, my brother Euan and myself.

This week will be training as usual for them both at Ben Paulings’ awesome training centre at Naunton Downs. They will both have a pop over fences before the weekend to get their eye in, and the jockey lined up to ride them would usually do this. This is one of the great reasons for having your own stable jockeys as they really get to know the horses.
Whilst we are under water here in Kirdford, Ben’s facilities are top class and his gallops can be used in all weathers. So fingers crossed the rain can go to Spain and the horses remain in good form and we get to Premier Plumpton on Sunday.

– Alex