RACING NEWS from ARAMIS RACING

WEDNESDAY 3rd SEPTEMBER 2014

 

NEW LADY AMBASSADOR

Ladies' Day at next year's Grand National Festival at Aintree will have a new ambassador - Katie Walsh. The Kildare-born jockey will join Sam Twiston-Davies who has already been confirmed in a similar role for the three-day meeting in April. Katie Walsh will be a central figure in the advertising campaign run Grand National Ladies Day, providing her support on the social media, writing a blog for the Aintree website generally helping to promote Ladies Day at the world-famous event. Ruby Walsh's sister is the Grand National's most successful lady jockey in history. She finished third on SEABASS in the 2012 renewal, going two better than Carrie Ford who made fifth on FOREST GUNNER in 2005.

 

Commenting on her new role: “It’s a privilege for me to become a Ladies Day ambassador of The 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National Festival. The Grand National is the greatest steeplechase in the world and has always been close to my heart, especially with the great run of Seabass in 2012. Grand National Ladies Day is a great day with high-class fashion as well as top-quality Grade 1 racing, so I’m keen to do what I can to help and I look forward to working with the team and riding at Aintree in April.”

 

Aintree and North West regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourse, John Baker, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be working with Katie for The 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National Ladies Day. Katie is a respected, successful female jockey with a family who have a long and respected history in our sport, and she will be a great ambassador for next year’s Ladies Day. We are excited about our collaboration with one of the best female jockeys in the World and we look forward to a successful relationship. We have a fantastic team at Aintree who are always looking to enhance and elevate The Crabbie’s Grand National, and Ladies Day is no different, with a number of exciting additions to announce in the coming months.”

 

NICHOLLS' NEPHEW'S NERVES

Paul Nicholls' conditional jockey, Harry Derham, considered a rising star in the jump jockey world, has decided to call it a day. The Bristol-born rider, also Paul Nicholls' nephew, reached this surprise decision, it seems, as a result of losing confidence after a bad fall last season.

 

The nineteen-year-old commented: "This has been a terribly difficult decision for me to make as becoming a professional jockey is all I've ever wanted to do, but it's something I've been thinking about for the last couple of months. It stems back to a fall I had on Fox Run at Chepstow last October, when the horse lost his life and I was out for a fortnight. The whole thing affected me quite badly. It made me stop and ask whether this is something I really wanted to do. My confidence was affected and race riding isn't a job you can do unless your confidence is intact. It's hard to describe my emotions right now, but my mind is made up and I have decided to stop. My mum and dad have been a huge support and Paul has been incredible, saying he would never make me do something I didn't want to do. I'd like to thank all the owners and trainers who put me up. And in particular, my good friend Daryl Jacob and Ruby [Walsh] have been a huge support to me through my career."

 

Since the early age of eleven, Harry Derham has worked at Paul Nicholls' Manor Farm Stables. He made quite a name for himself on the pony racing circuit, notching up around 20 winners. After he got his amateur licence he went on to ride seven winners in point-to-point races and, thereafter, added to his successes with Paul Nicholls who was not slow to capitalise on the young jockey's weight claim. Harry Derham was only seventeen-years old when he triumphed in 2011 on BRAMPOUR in a handicap hurdle at Ascot. Barely two weeks later he was on the seven-year-old son of DAYLAMI again riding him to victory in the Cheltenham Greatwood Hurdle. He concluded his 2011-12 season with the sum total of nineteen winners and followed those up with big wins including his only success at the Cheltenham, victory on SALUBRIOUS in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle.

 

The popular jockey rode 50 winners under rules but his biggest win over fences must undoubtedly be his performance on UNIONISTE in the Paul Stewart Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December 2012.

Uncle Paul added: "I advised Harry not to rush into a decision but I can't say it surprised me and I respect his wishes. Harry grew up with us here and riding for the yard was all he wanted to do. I gave him his chances because he earned them. There'll always be a job for him here. He's a brilliant schooling jockey."

 

HORSE'S HIGHEST HONOUR

An equine hero will be awarded an honorary PDSA Dickin Medal on behalf of the millions of animals that served with the armed forces in WW1. The Dickin Medal recognises the outstanding acts of bravery and is recognised as the highest award any animal can receive in military conflict. WARRIOR, whom they nicknamed 'the horse the Germans could not kill' will be the the first-ever recipient of this World War I medal, which marks an honouring all the animals that served during that conflict in what is the centenary year of the start of 'the war to end all wars'. .

 

WARRIOR will receive this posthumous honour today at a special ceremony at the Imperial War Museum Tuesday. Author and broadcaster Brough Scott, grandson of Warrior's owner and rider, General Jack Seely will accept the award. The equine hero reached the front line in 1914 and was on active duty with General Seely throughout the whole of World War I, enduring machine gun attacks and direct involvement in the action of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He got buried under rubble, stuck in the mud at Passchendaele, trapped under the burning beams of his stables but lived to neigh the tale back home on the Isle of Wight.

 

Film Director, Steven Spielberg, maker of the Oscar-nominated film, War Horse, had nothing but praise: "Warrior is an extraordinary example of the resilience, strength, and profound contribution that horses made to the Great War. Recognising him with an Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal is a fitting and poignant tribute not only to this remarkable animal, but to all animals that served."

 

Brough Scott said afterwards: "It is with great pride and gratitude that I accept this Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal on behalf of Warrior and all the remarkable animals in World War I. Warrior's story - which I grew up hearing at my mothers' knee - was lost in time to the wider world. But now he rides again 100 years later, thanks to PDSA. My family and I are more than honoured that Warrior has been given this award on behalf of all animals that also served; we are truly humbled. I only wish Jack Seely were here today to witness Warrior receiving the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross."

TUESDAY 2nd SEPTEMBER 2014

AT HOME FOR THE PRESENT

Top Newmarket trainer, Ed Dunlop, has decided that home is best at the moment for RED CADEAUX and so he will race again in the UK before going for another shot at the Emirates Melbourne Cup in November. The son of CADEAUX GENEREUX has competed in some of the toughest races around the globe but after a creditable performance in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last month, he is to be given another run on home soil. RED CADEAUX has twice come within a whisker of claiming the Melbourne Cup. He lost by a nose three years ago and three-quarters of a length in 2013. Clearly winning this super prize Down Under is very much still on the cards for all connections.

 

As Ed Dunlop commented: “It really was make or break last month when he ran in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, but he showed so much of the old spirit when not beaten far in fourth. He has been in good order at home since and he goes to Kempton for the September Stakes [on Saturday]. After Kempton we have to decide whether to prep him for the first batch to go into quarantine for another crack at the Melbourne Cup.”

 

Ed Dunlop's star is on the rise after producing eight winners last month in the wake of a tough first-half of the season. He has certainly ear-marked races for another of his champion stayers TIMES UP, who will most likely go for a third win in a row in the Doncaster Cup a week on Friday.

The La Grange Stables trainer added: “This season he had a couple of poor runs at Newmarket and Longchamp but the team were generally under the weather. However, his run in the Lonsdale Cup at York was much more like it when third to Pale Mimosa. I hope he gets a stronger pace in the Doncaster Cup next week and after that the Prix du Cadran is a possibility.”

 

'NOW'S THE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE!'

Trainer, Donald McCain, has finally bitten the bullet and decided to retire PEDDLERS CROSS, runner-up in the 2011 Champion Hurdle. The son of OSCAR claimed the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle on St. Patrick's Day 2010 and the son of the legendary Ginger McCain had to admit that he may never have another horse as good to train. The nine-year-old certainly gave his all when giving HURRICANE FLY the run-around after being victorious in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle that season.

 

Donald McCain commented: "After a lot of thought we have decided to retire Peddlers Cross, the best horse I may ever train. Thank you Peddlers Cross"

 

Jockey, Jason Maguire, even went as far as to say that he felt "blessed" to have been associated with a horse as good as PEDDLERS CROSS: "I'm sad to see him retired but on the other hand it's pleasing to know that's he's fit and healthy. Tim and Donald have taken a very sensible decision. They could have raced on with him but there's no point in making him run when you know he's not quite as good as he was. For us, he's been a fantastic horse to be involved with. He was one of Tim's first horses, he won a Fighting Fifth, the Neptune at Cheltenham and was second in the Champion Hurdle. He's done so much for us and it's been a blessing to have been associated with him.”

 

The Tim Leslie-owned gelding won 10 of his 16 career starts, earning just short of £300,000 in win and place prize-money.

MONDAY 1st SEPTEMBER 2014

'HE'LL JUST KEEP ROLLING ALONG'

Aidan O’Brien-trained O'L MAN RIVER carried off a victory on his debut at the Curragh yesterday and as a result you can now get 20/1 on him with Coral for next year's 2,000 Guineas and the Investec Derby. Not a bad start for the son of 1999 Arc winner MONTJEU, for whom his owners shelled out 2.85million euros. O'L MAN RIVER, running in the one-mile Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden under the capable hands of the trainer's son, Joseph, beat Kevin Prendergast's AARED by three-quarters of a length. The juvenile's early success clearly attracted a lot of attention in the betting markets who were obviously impressed by how smoothly he travelled throughout the contest and now expect him to go onto more testing challenges. The Ballydoyle king, whilst admitting he's considering a whole series of Group One entries for his courageous colt, is playing it close to his chest, clearly in no hurry to see his protege back in action.

 

He commented afterwards: “It looked a good solid race and he travelled very strongly. He had to get tired going that gallop first time, but he cruised into the lead. We’ll take our time with him and won’t be in any panic. We’d rather go gentle and see what’s going to happen. The good thing about him is he’s a strong traveller and seems to have plenty of pace. Looking at today he wouldn’t mind going back to seven furlongs.’

 

JUMP VERSUS FLAT

The Markel Champions Challenge, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) is this year's official charity at the London International Horse Show at Olympia from 16-22 December. The latest news is that jump jockeys will compete with their Flat counterparts in a special class. The contest will involve jockeys battling it out, with a show jumper on each team in a series of challenges ranging from jumps to Pony Club-style games. There are two jockeys acting as Markel ambassadors, Gold Cup winner, Sam Thomas, and Classic winner William Buick who will also be taking part on the day.

 

Director of Olympia, Simon Brooks-Ward, commented: “We are very pleased to be supporting the Injured Jockeys Fund this year. It is a charity that does tremendous work for riders — not just in horse racing but across all equestrian sports. The Markel Champions Challenge for the IJF will see professional jockeys demonstrating their equine skills in an event which promises to be great fun. It will be a great spectacle which is sure to entertain the Olympia audience, as well as hopefully raising lots of money for a very worthy cause.”

 

The Injured Jockeys Fund was established in 1964 and since that time it has provided over £17 million to 1,000 jockeys who, in some cases, have had to give up riding because of their injuries. The charity’s has already built one rehab centre — Oaksey House in Lambourn — and a second one, Jack Berry House in Yorkshire, is on course to be opened next Spring.

 

SACRILEGE UP NORTH!

The plan to tear up Newcastle's Flat turf track and replace it with an artificial surface is causing hackles to rise. Trainer, John Gosden, even describes Arena racing Company's (ARC) plan as ‘sacrilege’ and urges trainers to unite in opposition. In fact by yesterday afternoon, the online petition, launched by the National Trainers’ Federation on Thursday, had attracted nearly 400 names, urging ARC to abandon its intention to replace the Flat turf track at Newcastle with the revolutionary new all-weather surface, Tapeta.

 

The list of protesters includes such racing luminaries as Sir Michael Stoute, Luca Cumani and John Gosden, shoulder to shoulder with leading northern trainers such as Donald McCain, Mark Johnston and Tom Dascombe.

 

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing supremo, John Gosden has taken this issue very much to heart and has expressed his objections very forcefully:

There is a fundamental requirement for an all-weather track in the north of England but Newcastle is emphatically not the solution. Racing on a one-mile straight as betting-shop fodder under lights will create uninspiring one-dimensional boat races. British racing requires upgrading and the destruction of one of the best turf courses in the UK is sacrilege.”

 

The online petition reflects a general consensus among racing professionals that Newcastle’s racecourse is considered to be one of the safest, fairest and best-maintained in the country. Therefore in the eyes of its critics, the plan to remove it senselessly and replace it with another all-weather track, even if it does mark a first for the North of England, has no merit whatsoever. Objections may be too late, however, It looks like the application will go through perhaps today without any difficulty when the British Horseracing Authority holds its board meeting in London to authorise next year’s racing fixtures. The proposed all-weather track for Newcastle is expected to be top of the agenda. ARC has already negotiated planning permission for the scheme and is now just awaiting the approval of its fixtures.

 

It is difficult to predict what BHA's reaction to the opposition will be and whether it will affect their decision. There have so far never been any signs that the BHA has any real authority to influence the way top racecourses run their operations and, even if it had, whether it would be likely to exercise it. There is no doubt that ARC's plans to replace the turf track with Tapeta make good business sense. After all it will be getting the best of both worlds: it will still be able to stage the Northumberland Plate, its most successful event, on turf by using the jumps course and Ladies’ Day, held in July, which attracted over in 22,000 visitors last year, could also be held on grass.

 

The strong feeling of many objectors to this plan are that it is based on the narrowest of business aspirations and is not in the wider interests of racing as a whole. They just hope that, on this occasion, the BHA will take the necessary action to preserve a top Northern track from falling prey to over- commercialisation.

SUNDAY 31st AUGUST 2014

WEIGH TO GO!

On his forty-ninth win of the season, a potential future Irish champion jockey was disqualified from his half-a-century because he forgot to weigh in. Trim-born Colin Keane picked up a ten-day ban yesterday at Wexford after bringing his 13/2 shot, UNREQUITED, home in the Children's Day At Bettyville Handicap. This will also mean he'll miss Irish Champions Weekend which kicks off on 13th September with the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes.

 

After the race a stewards' inquiry was inevitably called to investigate the weighing-in procedure and the three-year-old son of AUTHORIZED, who hasn't yet had a winner from his five career starts, was disqualified. The runner-up, COOLFIGHTER, was awarded the race and Colin Keane was given the mandatory suspension, against which there is no possibility of an appeal. The jockey refused any kind of comment but was visibly very upset at receiving the ban at this particular time of his career. Having notched up forty-nine winners in a season so far and recently been appointed stable jockey for County Meath-based Ger Lyons, Colin Keane was the talk of the town and even tipped to be the clear winner of the Irish apprentices' jockeys' title.

 

The trainer's brother, Shane was anxious to defend the young jockey: "If that's the worst thing that ever happens him he won't be too bad. Obviously we feel sorry for the owner. Colin is very upset about it, but we are behind him 100 per cent."

 

TRAINER TAKES THE BISCUIT

Hugo Palmer-trained AKTABANTAY, won the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown yesterday by a short head which is tempting the rising star in the training world, only in his fourth season, to seriously consider taking the son of OASIS DREAM to Santa Anita at the end of October to have a go at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

 

As the member of the famous biscuit company, celebrating his first Group level victory, explained: ‘It is something we will discuss over the next few weeks. He is also in the Dewhurst Stakes. He is lovely horse for next year. We would get quick ground and a fast pace in the Breeders’ Cup — they go flat to the boards — and he will be suited by that. He is a very exciting horse.”

AKTABANTAY, has a Turkish owner, Ibrahim Araci, whose previous Solario Stakes winner, the Ed Dunlop-trained NATIVE KHAN, went on to finish third to FRANKEL in the 2,000 Guineas. So all eyes are on his current protégé.

 

ALL OF A TINGLE

After being pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last Christmas and afterwards suspected of a having a heart problem, the Nicky Henderson-trained SPRINTER SACRE appears to be on the mend. The two-mile chaser, it is reported, is being aimed at the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 6. The eight-year-old son of NETWORK triumphed in this contest in 2012, before going on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in the following March.

The Lambourn-based trainer commented: "He's been back in five weeks and cantering for two. He looks exceptionally well and so far it's been great. You have no option I don't think, but to go straight to the Tingle Creek. There's nowhere else to go. He would go for the Shloer at Cheltenham if he was ready. I just think we'll see how things are going. There isn't much for him other than the Tingle Creek and the Victor Chandler (before Cheltenham). I don't think there's any need for heart monitors or anything like that. We'll know with the first bit of work he does."

 

SATURDAY 30th AUGUST 2014

WHAT A DAY FOR A DAYDREAM!

It's Newmarket Open day again on Sunday September 21. One of the big attractions is bound to be the John Gosden-trained KINGMAN, a four-time Group One victor, who is on course to be crowned the 2014 Europe’s champion miler. The three-year-old son of INVINCIBLE SPIRIT has had seven triumphs from eight career wins, including the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James’s Palace and the Qipco Sussex Stakes and, last time out, the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville; his only forgiveable lapse being a second in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas. This champion will certainly be one to look out for as he joins all the other other horses working out at 9am on Newmarket’s historic Warren Hill training grounds.

 

The Betfair-sponsored event, which raises money for four racing charities, will also feature John Gosden's demonstration at the world-famous Tattersalls sales ring as to what he looks for when he sets out to try to purchase a potential champion. Thirty of the Newmarket stables will open their gates from 9.30 to 12.30, including, a first for this event, the late Sir Henry Cecil's Warren Place Stable, now run by Lady Cecil, where the great FRANKEL was trained.

Another Open Day must-see will be at the Stanley House Stud where visitors will be able to meet OUIJA BOARD, dam of AUSTRALIA, this year’s Investec Derby winner. There will also be exciting happenings on the renowned Rowley Mile racecourse.

 

Among the personalities who will welcome the public will be winning trainer Luca Cumani, in his Bedford House Stables, who commented: “We are thrilled to be involved in an event that, not only allows the public and racing enthusiasts to get an insight into all that is involved in a racing yard, but also supports four fantastic and worthy charities. We are looking forward to opening the Bedford House Stables gates and meeting everyone on the day.”

 

THAT'S THE SPIRIT!

It has been announced that the family-owned malt whisky producer, Glenfarclas, has renewed its association with Cross Country racing at Cheltenham for another three years. Currently the company's involvement includes The Open and International meetings and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase which takes place at The Festival. The additional good news is that the total prize fund will be increased by twenty percent in 2015, a grand sum of £60,000.

 

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechases are something unique in this country. No other racecourse has the combination of banks, ditches and rails spread out over such a twisting track. 1995 saw the introduction Cheltenham's Cross Country racing which came about when Sunday racing was first approved. This feature did not become part of the Festival, though, until 2005. MCGREGOR THE THIRD won the first-ever race in the colours of Grand National winning owner, Fiona Whitaker. The striking chestnut gelding, trained by the late Gordon Richards went on to appear on the promotional posters for the race, claiming the race the following year and again on New Year’s Day 1998.

 

Tony Martin-trained LINDEN LOTTO soon took over the winning mantle, notching up three victories and marking the beginning of the Irish domination of this particular event. It was County Kilkenny trainer, Enda Bolger, however, long considered the master of the Punchestown cross country, who began to assert his superiority in this particular racing discipline, noticeably with the J P McManus-owned SPOT THEDIFFERENCE, who soon became the racegoers' darling, winning the famous event no less than seven times. The same owner/trainer partnership produced the victorious GARDE CHAMPETRE, a six-time winner and, thereby, are attributed with the raising of Cross Country racing to the level of popularity it enjoys now.

 

John Grant, Chairman of Glenfarclas, commented: “We are delighted to renew our contract to sponsor the three Cross Country races at Cheltenham. We have been sponsoring these races now for six years and the results have been very gratifying. Hopefully, by the end of the nine years, we will have finally persuaded people to refer to ‘The Glenfarclas’ as they do with other longstanding race sponsorships."

 

GOING FLAT OUT

After two years of negotiation with the British Horseracing Authority and others, including English Heritage, officials at Catterick are now ready to submit a formal planning application for permission to run all-weather Flat races in 2017. It is still proposed to continue its National Hunt racing, as that circuit is separate apart from a couple of areas, similar to what happens at Kempton Park. The North Yorkshire track is hoping to augment the number of Flat races by at least 30 so that the total season's fixtures would include fifty Flat races on the all-weather and ten over jumps on turf.

 

John Sanderson, Chief Executive of International Racecourse Management, which runs Catterick, made the following statement: "We started working on this two years ago. We spent quite a lot of time on the design of the track, which will replace the turf track if it happens, with the assistance of the BHA and the racecourse department. We've had to involve English Heritage as there are a lot of Roman remains at Catterick. We are now formulating our formal planning submission to the local authority. Jumping will continue at Catterick. They are two separate tracks, they do intertwine twice but that isn't an issue and that's all been approved by the BHA.”

 

FRIDAY 29th AUGUST 2014

WHETHER THE ALL-WEATHER CAN GET IT TOGETHER

An on-line petition has been launched in an attempt to stop an all-weather track being created. The National Trainers’ Federation is against Newcastle's plan to replace the turf course and has intensified its opposition to force, owners, Arena Racing Company, to think again before going ahead. All the trainers who wish to retain the turf track at Newcastle would have no objection to an all-weather facility at Catterick, situated nearer to the principal Yorkshire training centres. The problem is that Newcastle has already got permission to build an all-weather track with floodlights and will be able to go ahead provided that provision is made for an agreed number of fixtures in 2015. This appears to be the only hold-up preventing the announcing of next year’s fixture list.

 

The other sticking point is that Newcastle’s floodlights would only be positioned on the straight mile. That means that any evening fixtures would breach the British Horseracing Authority’s rule that there should be two races over a mile or more with an average of at least two-and-a-half miles altogether. The fact that Newcastle has already been granted an exemption on this point has caused great opposition in the Horsemen’s Group, the body that represents breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys and stable staff.

 

Chief Executive of NTF (The National Training Federation), Rupert Arnold, stated: “We want to make sure, before the diggers start their work, that everyone is given a chance to express their opposition, not just the trainers. At our regional meetings a lot of people have asked if anything can be done and this will give those people a chance to have their voices heard. The decision has been made with the assumption that there was no alternative venue for an all-weather venue in the north in the foreseeable future. We are sensitive to the needs of our northern members who want an all-weather in the north, but they’ve all said if there was alternative to Newcastle they would support that instead.”

 

Susannah Gill, Director of external affairs at ARC, said: “We are aware of the NTF’s petition. The BHA conducted a survey and commissioned Deloitte to do a detailed report on the need for an all-weather in the north. Since that time we have received the necessary permissions to proceed with the £10million investment in Newcastle. Work will commence once we reach a satisfactory outcome on the BHA’s fixture allocation process.”

 

OPERATION NOT SO STABLE

Godolphin's Highfields Stable in Newmarket have been closed down, involving a small number of job losses. This latest action is not thought to be the signal for any significant reduction in the number of horses being trained by the Maktoum family's private thoroughbred horse racing stable. Nevertheless it has bound to have sent a certain frisson through the Flat racing’s headquarters, where Godolphin founder, Sheikh Mohammed, has set up a racing and breeding empire.

 

Hugh Anderson, Godolphin’s Managing Director commented yesterday: “Godolphin today moved the horses out of one of our smaller yards in Newmarket, Highfields. Those horses have been distributed around other Godolphin or Darley training yards in the town and, as a result, a number of staff have also been redeployed within the company here or in Dubai.

With fewer horses to train, there has unfortunately been a need to let a relatively small number of yard staff go.”

No comment was made about how many staff lost their job at Highfields, which is one of the organisations smaller yards in Newmarket. This Grade II Listed stable probably handles up to fifty horses at any one time. By contrast the two top training yards in the area, Godolphin Stables and Moulton Paddocks, run by Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby, each deal with at least three times that amount.

An interesting fact is that despite the huge amounts of money it invests in horse racing, Godolphin has yet to record a top-level victory in Europe this season. The only successful horse has been the eight-year-old CAVALRYMAN who scored in two Group 2 contests last month; the Artemis Goodwood Cup and the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket

 

MADE A BIG FFOS

Lambourn trainer, William Muir and jockey, Martin Dwyer, made it a double at Ffos Las yesterday. First of the mark, in the Walters UK Handicap, was IMPROVIZED, an 8/1 chance, who, although she took some time to get going, eventually got her act together and won the contest by two lengths.

 

The Hungerford-based trainer admitted afterwards: "To be honest, we've been getting her wrong all year. She won first time out over seven furlongs last year and was still very weak and we thought she would want stepping up in trip this season. She's been running from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half and just hasn't been getting home, so she's come back to a mile today and Martin said that's her trip. He said we shouldn't sell her on the cheap as she's still a weak filly and she could easily go and win two or three more for us, so we'll see where we go from here."

 

The double for the Newmarket duo came in the very next race when juvenile, RESTORER, put down a firm career marker. The son of MASTERCRAFTSMAN was the 8/1 shot for the PT Civil Engineering Maiden Stakes. Once again things took a while to warm up. Then Roger Charlton's BOLD, with James Doyle aboard, threw down the gauntlet which RESTORER to which RESTORER responded with impressive acceleration, considering that the ground had been considerably softened by recent rain, and went clear in the final furlong to win by three lengths.

 

As William Muir said: "Martin rode him work on Friday of last week and got off him and said, 'You've got a proper one here'. I told him I was going to run him over a mile at Ffos Las and he told me I was crazy as he had so many gears he should be running over six furlongs.

"I knew he was bred to get the mile and he's obviously just a very good horse. Martin said he was the first two-year-old who has really carried him into the race for a long time. He's real deal and really could be anything. We haven't got any plans for him at this stage. We'll just wait and see what the handicapper does and go from there."

 

It could even have been a treble for the Muir-Dwyer partnership in the later Walters Land Rogerstone Handicap. Certainely four-year-old BIG BAZ seemed to have every chance one furlong out. He surged ahead inside the final stretch but was eventually overhauled by the 20/1 outsider, MERRY ME, trained by Andrew Balding.

THURSDAY 28th AUGUST 2014

THE FEELING'S MUTUAL!

Hero of the Betfred Ebor, MUTUAL REGARD, is being considered for a Group Three race at Kempton next week. This is all part of Johnny Murtagh's bold plan to run his five-year-old son of HERNANDO in the Melbourne Cup in November. This is only the Navan-born jockey's

second season as a trainer and he rode off with one of European racing's most lucrative prizes at York. That victory has now whetted his appetite for even greater challenges. To achieve this latest ambition, however, he is well aware that his Andrew Tinkler-owned gelding needs another victory to raise his rating high enough to gain a definite a place in the two-mile contest worth some $6.2 million. So he has done his paperwork and earmarked a stint at The Sunbury-on-Thames all-weather track, whilst considering a crack at the Caulfield Cup in October, also run at the Melbourne racecourse. An interesting fact about the Knavesmire triumph was that Johnny Murtagh booked the services of five-pound claimer Louis Steward as advised by MUTUAL REGARD's owner Andrew Tinkler, but this time the County Meath trainer might well use a local rider for the famous Flemington fixture.

 

Johnny Murtagh commented:"We may run him one more time at Kempton, and all being well he can head to the first quarantine in time for the Caulfield Cup, but the main plan would be the big day in Melbourne. Hopefully, I don't have to give him another run, but if I do it will probably be at Kempton as that's where we'll get the fast ground. Fast ground and two miles around Melbourne, I think it will suit him really well. It's a long way down to Melbourne, but there's only one Melbourne Cup. It's a huge prize and if you have a horse that has a realistic chance, I think you have to take it."

 

ONE MORE MAKES FIVE

John Gosden understandably wants to win the oldest Classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger for a fifth time. On record he already has to his credit: SHANTOU in 1996, LUCARNO in 2007, ARCTIC COSMOS in 2010 and MASKED MARVEL in 2011. With that goal in mind, the Clarehaven Stables trainer plans to saddle three challengers at Doncaster in just over two weeks' time. His hopefuls are his three-year-old ROMSDAL, who came third in this year's Derby; last week's winner of the Absolute Aesthetics March Stakes at Goodwood and, last but not least, MARZOCCO who made fourth in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes on August 23.

 

As John Gosden put it: "We've got three horses in the race who all belong in it. "Romsdal ran a great race in the Derby and ran very well at Chester. He didn't run a good race in the King George. He got done on that looser ground and spun his wheels. Hughesie (Richard Hughes) wasn't happy with him so he left him alone. He's a legitimate horse for the race and we've always had the Derby, the King George and then the Leger as his plan. Forever Now won very well the other day in the March Stakes, which is a proper trial for the Leger. He stays well, the one-mile-six and 132 yards will not bother him one bit and he's got a grand attitude. He's an immature horse, but he's an improving horse and he belongs in the race. Marzocco was staying on again in the Voltigeur. He's a very idle horse, very laid-back and he doesn't seem to wake up until the race is virtually over. The plan for the moment is those three horses will run. They all have legitimate claims."

 

RIDING LIKE A PRO

The amateur jockey who won last year's Midlands Grand National is off to Hamilton for the first time today as a professional. East-Lothian rider, Mikey Ennis, will have two rides. First off, he'll be aboard the Alan Bailey-trainer COINCIDENTLY in the £10,000 Taggarts Jaguar Lanarkshire Scottish Trophy. In this feature race, he'll be pitching his skills against ten other rivals, including top pros, Kieren Fallon, Joe Fanning and Graham Lee but his mount is the current favourite. In the very next race he be riding TRIPLE EIGHT, also a favourite, trained by Philip Kirby. So, with any luck he'll come away with at least one success.

 

Mikey Ennis commented: "I went as a kid to Hamilton when my dad was a starter and I've ridden there two or three times as an amateur. It's a great track to ride and I'm very excited about going back. How Coincidently runs depends on how she has come out of her win at Epsom on Monday. You don't know how much she took out of himself but I'd say she has to have a good shout."

 

WEDNESDAY 27th AUGUST 2014

LIFE IN THE OLD BOY YET

The North of Galway racetrack, Ballinrobe, witnessed a veteran showing his younger rivals how to win a race. Twelve-year-old FOSTERS CROSS proved again that there's still plenty of ability in the old boy yet when he won the feature race of the evening, the Donal Downes Water Towers Chase. The son of DR MASSINI was up against a doughty odds/on favourite, SPECIAL TIARA, trained by Henry de Bromhead. The latter seemed to have no difficulty being sixteen pounds heavier in the handicaps and clearly aimed to have it all done and dusted by by making all the running and putting eight lengths between him and his nearest rival. FOSTERS CROSS, however, with Davy Russell aboard, slowly reeled him by two out and asserted himself to go on to beat also the favourite’s stable-companion ENJOY RESPONSIBILITY two and a half lengths. Ultimately perhaps the seven-year-old son of KAYF TARA did feel the effects of the extra weight as he finished eleven lengths adrift of the winner.

 

In the absence of trainer, Tom Mullins, it was left to the winning jockey to comment: “Credit must go to Tom. He’s always been a good horse and was good again today, for his age. The leader jumped a bit left early on and my fellow followed him. Other than that, he was spot-on and won well.”

 

POETS' DAY

There is a definite air of optimism around the Tom Hogan yard that GORDON LORD BYRON will be back fighting fit at Haydock next week to defend his Betfred Sprint Cup crown. The six-year-old won the Merseyside Group One last September in great style, adding to the top-level victories accumulated so far in his successful career. Last June was a disappointment in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but subsequently it was discovered that he was suffering from a back problem. After a two month break, however, he was close on producing his old form when he was only beaten by a nose in last Saturday's Renaissance Stakes at the Curragh.

 

Trainer, Tom Hogan commented: "He's come out of the weekend in great shape and we're hoping he'll improve for the run and come forward a good bit ahead of the race on Saturday week. If he'd have got the split he'd have won without coming off the bridle on Saturday, so it was a good run and there was no slouching about. A minute and 10 (seconds) at the Curragh is a pretty sharp time. Hopefully there isn't too much more rain. He's pretty adaptable ground-wise, but he doesn't want it too deep. I think he'll go to Haydock in as good a form as last year, if not a bit better, so we're looking forward to it."

 

ALL ON TRACK

It has been announced the newly founded Chelmsford City racecourse has become an official member of the Racecourse Association. The RCA, representing all but one of the 59 racing venues in Britain and has formally welcomed the track, previously known as Great Leighs, to the organisation as detailed preparations are made to get ready for the first meetings next year.

 

Stephen Atkin, RCA's Chief Executive said: "We are delighted to see racing back at Chelmsford City Racecourse and to welcome them as the newest member of the RCA. We are looking forward to working with the racecourse on a wide range of issues and helping them in the run-up to their first fixtures.'

Chelmsford's General Manager, Phil Siers added: "Now that we are about to start racing, it is essential that Chelmsford City Racecourse is able to benefit from the comprehensive help the RCA can provide. We are delighted to be a new member and look forward to CCR working with our colleagues there."

 

ACCORDING TO TREV(E)

The champion of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a likely to race in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp in three weeks' time. Her French trainer has expressed great confidence in her filly after her workout a couple of days ago. TREVE, daughter of MOTIVATOR, extended her unbeaten record to five after a blistering performance in last Autumn's Arc but has certainly been off form this season. First of all she was beaten by compatriot CIRRUS DES AIGLES when she returned to the track in April in the Prix Ganay. She didn't do any better the next time out at Royal Ascot when she only managed third in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot but it was discovered afterwards to have pulled muscles.

 

Trainer Mme. Christiane Head-Maarek has has clearly had a job on her hands getting her star fit again and obviously hopes that all will be back to normal soon.

As she stated: "Treve worked this morning with three lead horses over 2000 metres (mile and a quarter) and I was very happy with her. The ground was a bit soft after all the rain, so that helped her," said the trainer. She seems fine, she's happy in herself and it looks like all the problems are gone, so we keep our fingers crossed. She is en route to either the Prix Vermeille or the Prix Foy (both September 14), but I think the Vermeille is more likely."

 

TUESDAY 26th AUGUST 2014

STEWARDS HAVE THE LAST VOID

The totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Handicap at Epsom yesterday ran its full five-furlong course. The George Baker-trained HUMIDOR, with James Doyle aboard, passed the post first and netted his owners £25,000. Not quite how it worked out, however. The contest, on completion, was then declared a false start and was made void by the stewards who subsequently interviewed James Doyle and fellow riders Ryan Moore, Sam James, Paul Hanagan, David Probert, Kieran O’Neill, Daniel Muscutt and Martin Lane. Their conclusion was that Kieran O’Neill’s mount TAURUS TWINS jumped the start, broke open his gate and set off ahead of the others. Added to this, none of the riders seemed to see the flag man on the track and so continued the race. It was subsequently revealed that the advance flag operator “initially took several steps to his right” before waving the recall flag. This was confirmed by the jockeys who stated that this official was out of their line of sight because he had moved to his right, particularly as visibility conditions were hindered by the weather. The stewards, therefore, decided that none of the riders would be subject to any further actions and forwarded a full report to the British Horseracing Authority. Generously a few bookmakers announced they would pay out on the 'winner', HUMIDOR, and even refunded all losing bets.

 

Trainer, George Baker, was at Chepstow at the time, notching up a winner with YUL FINEGOLD, but was informed about what had happened at Epsom by his stable team.

He commented: “I am delighted with the horse, but obviously very disappointed with the result. It would have been the first time Humidor had won in almost three years, it was a massive day for that horse and his owners. I’m the most laid-back guy in the world and I don’t want to be seen to be jumping up and down, but my team have worked incredibly hard with the horse at home to try and win a race with him and there is nil recourse for compensation. The one bright side, if there is one, is that the horse thinks he’s won his first race for the first time in three years, so hopefully it will do his confidence good. We’ll take it as far as we can, I suspect that won’t be very far, but I’ll talk to the BHA in the morning.”

 

A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS

A brave front-running effort was mounted by the Richard Fahey-trained IZZTHATRIGHT, resulting in a win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs. Old Trophy at Ripon yesterday. The MOSS VALE colt was on his seventh career start after scoring at Catterick ten days ago in the Be Premiere Hair Nursery, employing similar front-running tactics. The 9-2 favourite with three 1sts, two 2nds and two 4ths under his belt has more than paid his way this season for his connections. Ridden by Tony Hamilton, IZZTHATRIGHT gave any challenge short shrift and secured victory by half a length. The win meant back-to-back successes in the race for Richard Fahey and Tony Hamilton, after their triumph with SUPPLICANT last year.

 

The winning jockey said: "He had enough toe to get to the rail and he picked up well. He got put up 1lb for his last win, which is a big hike, but he's done nothing but improve since we got him. He's very tough and he has a lot of early toe to get you where you want to be. I always thought I had some horse underneath me, so if they'd come to me I think he would have gone again."

 

KING AFTER THE CROWN AGAIN

So Grand National runner-up, BALTHAZAR KING, is off to the Hippodrome de Craon in France next month in attempt repeat last year's success in the Listed Grand Cross Country de Craon Crystal Cup.

 

Trainer Philip Hobbs, speaking at his annual owners' day at his Minehead, Somerset yard commented: "He's very well in himself and will be going back to France in a few weeks, where they have dubbed him ‘the best cross-country horse in the world', which might be a bit over the top. He fell in another valuable cross-country event in France in May when still going very well six out. He soon got over that and has been working very well ahead of this next assignment. On the domestic front he'll likely wait for the cross-country race at Cheltenham's Open meeting and further ahead another tilt at the Grand National after his fine second to Pineau De Re is likely to be the plan."

 

MONDAY 25th AUGUST 2014

DEAUVILLE DOUBLE FOR DETTORI

The Norman town of Deauville was raided by the Brits yesterday. First John Quinn-trained THE WOW SIGNAL stole the show in the Prix Darley Morny Stakes with Frankie Dettori aboard. Then half-an-hour later the man from Milan did it again on James Fanshawe's RIBBONS in the Prix Darley Jean Romanet Stakes.

 

In the first contest the son of STARSPANGLEDBANNER, the thirteen-length winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, had to beat the Wesley Ward-trained victor of the Windsor Castle Stakes, HOOTENANNY, in order to make three career wins in a row. THE WOW SIGNAL was sent off 9/4 joint-favourite alongside ERVEDYA, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. Frankie Dettori kept his mount handy until the pace increased significantly and then a bit of extra work was required. He had no concerns, however, as the Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt responded immediately and produced a remarkable finish to win by half-a-length. This triumph initiated John Quinn into the elite group of trainers who have produced Group One winners on the Flat and over the sticks.

 

The winning trainer commented: “We’re delighted. It’s a great day. These are the days you dream of. He’s crying out for seven furlongs and I would say it will either be the 
Dewhurst or the Prix Jean-Luc 
Lagardere for him next.”

 

A surprising result was produced by Frankie Dettori's second win of the day, James Fanshawe's RIBBONS, who was the impressive victor in the Darley Prix Jean Romanet. For this one, the three-times champion jockey seemed to have a more relaxed ride on the Elite racing Club-owned four-year-old filly who was sent off a 11/1 shot. Rounding the home town the daughter of MANDURO only had a couple of threats to deal with and, switching wide of the field in the home straight, she swiftly covered a lot of territory to win by two lengths.

 

A SWITCHED-ON WINNER

Last year's Ladbrokes St Leger winner and Gold Cup hero, LEADING LIGHT, trained by Aidan O'Brien, was top weight in yesterday's Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger Trial Stakes at the Curragh but that didn't stop him adding this race to his list of triumphs. With the trainer's son, Joseph aboard, the four-year-old son of MONTJEU made it eight wins from ten starts and seemed never to be under threat after he surged to the front at about a furlong from home.

 

The Master of Ballydoyle commented afterwards: "I'm delighted with that. He's had a good break since Ascot. We let him down well after that and it's nice to get him started back. He came here two weeks ago for a canter to wake him up a bit. He should come on nicely from that as he's giving a good blow. The (Irish) Leger falls lovely in the second half of the season for him. I don't know where he'll go after that but the main thing is the lads would like him back for Ascot next year. He ran in the Arc last year, but was back a long way. They'll decide where he goes."

 

IN DEFEAT: DEFIANCE

Nobody likes losing and at least Paul Hanagan is honest when he admits that TAGHROODA's narrow defeat at York on Thursday was 'a bitter pill to swallow'. The twice champion jockey on the Flat clearly was banking on another impressive performance by the John Gosden-trained Oaks and King George prima donna in front of the thousands of exspectant racegoers. But it wasn't to be. The SEA OF STARS filly ended up half-a-length behind Aidan O'Brien's TAPESTRY, leaving the Warrington-born jockey suspended in anti-climax astride the hot favourite of the day. Jockeys are made of sterner stuff, however, and he did recover fairly quickly to go on to score twice later in the day.

 

Paul Hanagan commented after these successes: "I needed that really. Taghrooda losing was hard to take. She had a big build up, all my family and friends had gone expecting her to win. We had no excuses, we were just beaten by a high-class filly. Usually, when she quickens she quickens and gallops away, but I don't want it to sound like I'm making excuses for her - the winner is very good."

 

SUNDAY 24th AUGUST 2014

JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME AGAIN!

The secret of success? Easy peasy! Buy a used horse at an equine clearance auction; put an unknown teenage apprentice in the saddle; run him in Europe’s richest handicap and go home with £265, 000.

Not everyone would or could do that but former top jockey turned trainer, Johnny Murtagh, possesses both the nerve and the know-how and did just that. Ten months ago the County Meath handler bought MUTUAL REGARD, formerly trained by Sir Mark Prescott, for 60,000 guineas (£63,000 in real money!)

 

After winning the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship European Breeders Fund for the new trainer at the Curragh at the end of June, followed by a creditable third in the Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown last month, it was decided to test the son of HERNANDO's mettle on the Knavesmire. As he would be running off his highest-ever rating, however, Johnny Murtagh thought seriously about saddling his mount in a level-weights contest on the previous day. But even trainers are human and the Betfred Ebor prize fund of £265,000 was too much of a temptation, so trusting in his great faith in his fledgling's ability, the man from Navan switched entries and the rest is history.

 

The surprise element was the fact that MUTUAL REGARD was ridden by teenage apprentice, Louis Steward. The latter was not only riding in the historic handicap for the first time but it was the first time he had sat on the Ebor winner. Later Johnny Murtagh admitted that the decision to book the 18-year-old novice was not his but that of the owner Andrew Tinkler.

 

The winning trainer stated afterwards: “I nearly ran the horse in the Lonsdale Stakes as he had so much weight in this one but we went for it and it’s worked a treat. I never won it as a jockey and it’s great to get it on the board as a trainer. Our own apprentice is currently suspended and we needed someone to claim the 5lb off the horse. Andrew is a man who’s hot on his stats and he said that Louis was the man to ride. I didn’t actually know who he was, but he’s done a great job.”

 

Sir Mark Prescott, who won this prestigious event twenty years with HASTEN TO ADD was magnanimous in defeat. (His horse PALLASATOR could only manage fourth!)

He commented: “He won five races, but he’s a gelding, so he had to go and Johnny has, as I would have expected, done a super job with him. But I’d rather it was me that had won it.”

 

GIMME GIMCRACK!

The Charlie Hills-trained MUHAARER, won the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes yesterday at York, giving his owner Sheikh Hamdan a day to remember at the races. The latter's famous blue and white silks have appeared in the winner's enclosure quite a few times in this season's two-year-old contests. It was a close-run thing, though, as the two-year-old son of OASIS DREAM battled it out to the finish with Mark Johnston's progressive JUNGLE CAT and technological help was required to decide the outcome which was a win by a nose.

As the Berkshire-based Charlie Hills said: "He has always shown plenty and it is nice when it falls into place though. It never really worked last time and Paul has given him a lovely ride today. He is growing up and is in plenty of the top class races for the rest of the year. The Middle Park will be his primary target."

 

MIND ON THE JOB

After all the publicity about retiring, it was good to see that Jamie Spencer was able to concentrate on his current business, winning races. He produced a cliff-hanger conclusion to York's Julia Graves Roses Stakes when he rode the David Brown-trained MIND OF MADNESS to the narrowest of victories.

 

The AZAMOUR juvenile got off to a good start in his racing career by winning the Horsesource Seabuckthorn Conditions Stakes at Newmarket in April, coming second in the EBF Stallions / 4 Head Novice Stakes at Yarmouth in June, and second in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot the following week. Having disappointed his connections on his next outing at Newmarket the two-year-old colt had amends to make and he didn't let anyone down this time.

 

David Redvers, who is owner Qatar boss Sheikh Fahad al Thani's racing manager summed it up as follows: "That meant a lot. It's been a long week and we've had a few seconds. This boy has been on the go a long time, so it's a great training performance. We might look at the Flying Childers now."

 

SATURDAY 23rd AUGUST 2014

O SOLE MIO. O SOLE POWER!

The outcome of yesterday's Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes was decided in the last six strides. SOLE POWER, for the second time in five years, on this occasion with champion jockey Richard Hughes aboard, won this celebrated contest by just half a length ahead of William Muir's STEPPER POINT.

 

The cold hard facts of that paragraph, however, give no indication of the dramatic way this five-furlong contest panned out in the final stages and does no justice to the manner in which the winner powered his way into the record books.

 

Victory, however, didn't seem on the cards for the Eddie Lynam-trained son of KILLACHY as he was blocked in by a wall of horses as they approached the winning post. Then, as if by some miracle, a narrow gap appeared between Paul Mulrennan-ridden MOVIESTA and HOT STREAK, with the soon-to-retire Jamie Spencer aboard. Richard Hughes, never one to look a you-know-who in the you-know-what, seized his chance and asked his mount to go for it and the rest, as they say, is history. It was a case of déja vu. The same happened at Royal Ascot in June when the same dynamic duo denied victory to the same runner-up in the King’s Stand Stakes.

The record books will now confirm that SOLE POWER, the shock 100-1 winner of the 2010 Nunthorpe, is one of Flat racing’s all-time great sprinters, following in hoof steps of the legendary BORDERLESCOTT. The previous dual winner of this prestigious Group One contest. SOLE POWER is owned by David and Sabena Power, heads of the Paddy Power betting dynasy, who were advised by trainer, Eddie Lynam, to buy the as yet unproven horse at the Doncaster Sales in 2008 for a bargain price of £32,000. What a return on their money! Hos career earnings up to date are over £1.5 million. Yesterday’s victory means that Lynam/ Power partnership has won all four British Group One sprints so far this season.

 

The County Meath-based trainer commented afterwards: “Two weeks ago, Sole Power had American ringworm; we had to get him right for it and we had only 10 days to train him. He’s a super horse, a horse of a lifetime, it’s just the way he does it. I think those are the rides Richard likes. He enjoys it more than we do but he was excellent on him – full credit to him, he’s a top-class jockey and it was a first-class ride. I always felt he was going to get there.”

 

MOVE OVER JAMIE!

Following yesterday's story about Jamie Spencer's retirement, we have now heard from Qatar Racing that Andrea Atzeni will become the principal rider from January. Oisin Murphy, this season’s leading apprentice jockey, will also join him as number two, taking over from Harry Bentley, whose contract runs out at the end of this season.

 

David Redvers, the operation’s racing manager, issued the following statement: “Andrea and Oisin have impressed us greatly this season and we are delighted to agree terms with them to take effect from the start of 2015. Harry will continue to ride for us when the opportunities allow. We wish him continued luck and success.”

 

Italian-born Andrea Atzeni was reported as saying: “In particular, I would like to thank Roger Varian and his wife Hanako for their support. I credit Roger with putting put me on the map, through horses such as Kingston Hill. I am very grateful to Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and Luca Cumani, who have both been terrific.”

FLOWER POWER

The Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup at York yesterday was not a royal prerogative. It was won by Dermot Weld-trained, PALE MIMOSA, on only her third outing of the season. The five-year-old daughter of SINGSPIEL hit the front just over a furlong out and stayed on strongly, managing to rebuff the late challenge from Ryan Moore, riding the Queen’s bay mare, ESTIMATE, who didn't give up the fight but didn't seem to have enough to get the better of the eventual winner.

 

Pat Smullen commented: “She’s a very good mare when everything is right for her, she’s just a bit fragile and the boss has done a great job of minding her and keeping her right. I was glad we had a drop of rain last night as it just took the real firmness out of the ground, that was our concern but when conditions are right she is good. She travelled beautifully and at halfway I was very confident, they just give you that feel when everything is going right. She’s not just a dour stayer, she has a turn of foot as well. She doesn’t need it very soft, just a bit of kindness in it.”

 

The winning trainer added: : ``I was delighted with her, she's a very progressive mare. She won well at Leopardstown and was here two years ago in the Galtres. They were two very brave fillies fighting it out, her heart was in the right place under a tactical ride. The race was run to suit her and Pat had her in the right position throughout. The plan was to sit handy and not many others ride a better type of race than Pat. We had no worries about the ground today and it looked a very good renewal.”

 

FRIDAY 22ND AUGUST 2014

LADY'S DOWNFALL ON LADIES' DAY

John Gosden-trained TAGHROODA, unbeaten in her four previous career starts, disappointed yesterday at York. The three-year-old daughter of SEA THE STARS was pipped at the post in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks by Aidan O'Brien's TAPESTRY, with Ryan Moore aboard.

 

After TAGHROODA's superb performances in the Investec Oaks and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, connections could perhaps be forgiven in thinking that this latest Group One challenge would be just a matter of course and serve as a preparation for the real goal, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Everything certainly looked that way as they approached the long home straight, with Paul Hanagan poised to throw down the gauntlet. The suddenly things changed as onto the scene galloped the three-year-old GALILEO colt who soon overhauled the leader, who seemed to have nothing extra with which to meet the challenge and went down by half a length.

 

It's true that the ground conditions had been changed by the overnight rain to good from good-to-firm but this victory was achieved by a rival who, according to his trainer, needs quick conditions. So no real excuses. TAPESTRY had finished second last time out at the Curragh to her stablemate, BRACELET, in the Irish Oaks when everyone really expected a win so this race was a kind of compensation

 

As the Ballydoyle king said afterwards: “It didn’t go right in the 1000 Guineas but there was a glimmer in the Coronation Stakes (sixth). She’s come forward with every run and the last day in the (Irish) Oaks she stumbled coming out of the stalls and the saddle went out on her rump. It was hard to believe she went the whole race with the saddle where it was and still just got beaten.”

 

FAST TRACK 100

The nineteen-times champion jockey's been at it again! This time he has bettered his own record for the fastest 100 winners in a jumps season. Tony McCoy rode ARABIC HISTORY, making his début in a bumper, to victory in the last race of the day at Newton Abbot yesterday, the IRL Independent Racecourses Ltd Intermediate Open NH Flat Race. The result might have been different, as the four-year-old TEOFILO colt appeared to be struggling half-way through the race but aboard was the never-say-die Maestro from Moneyglass who kept his mount on the attack and surged on to defeat the favourite, Evan Williams-trained, UPSANDDOWNS, by 11 lengths.

 

Forty-year-old Tony McCoy arrived at the meeting just two winners short of his previous record, established on 4 September 2002, also at Newton Abbot. He secured his ninety-ninth success quite easily on Jim Best's CRANNAGHMORE BOY. He had to wait until the end of the evening to celebrate, however, as he came second in the next race on CHALK IT DOWN, and third in the last-but-one contest on ACCESSALLAREAS.

 

The evening took a decidedly watery turn, however, as immediately after his triumph, Tony McCoy had a bucket of cold water thrown over him, having been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge by his friend and old rival Ruby Walsh. Sportingly he said he enjoyed the experience after a hard evening’s work and joked that it was “the first nice thing Ruby’s done for me”.

 

GIVING UP RIDING

It has just been announced that thirty-four-year-old Jamie Spencer will be retiring from racing at the end of the season. It seems like yesterday (it's actually sixteen years!) since the young jockey from County Tipperary made his mark on the the Flat racing scene when he won the Airlie Coolmore Irish 1,000 Guineas on TARASCON. Sheikh Fahad's racing is going great guns at the moment so it does seem a funny time to retire and hand over future Classic and Group One horses to his replacement. However, he maintains he's "ready for a change" and taking up a management position with Qatar Racing seems to attract him. There is no doubt that the Qatar business will benefit from Jamie Spencer's articulate and intelligent approach to racing.

Any bets he might return to racing?

THURSDAY 21st AUGUST 2014

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

After an easy victory yesterday in the Juddmonte International Stakes it's now looks like Aidan O'Brien-trained AUSTRALIA will now stay at home for his next race, the Irish Champion Stakes rather than head off to France for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The ballydoyle trainer is quoted as saying he wakes up at four o’clock every morning with “my heart thumping” when he thinks how good his three-year-old colt really is and the way the son of GALILEO cruised to a two-length victory helps you to see what he means. Aidan O'Brien has had innumerable top-class Flat horses over his twenty-year career but he has always maintained that AUSTRALIA is the best of the lot. Despite not being at his of his peak form he was able to see off some of the best in the business. That includes the locally trained THE GREY GATSBY, Dante Stakes and Prix du Jockey Club winner, who, try as he might in the last furlong, was unable to make any impression on the eventual victor and even the latter's trainer, Kevin Ryan, acknowledged a “fantastic” winner.

 

Aidan O'Brien commented: “He is everything. He has won top races over a mile and a half, but he has the speed for shorter trips. And the thing about today was that, after his summer break, he was 15 to 20 kilos overweight and only really ready for a racecourse gallop. That’s where he was at. But we reasoned that this prestigious race and big prize-money was much more enticing than a racecourse gallop. And if he had been beaten today it would have been my fault, not his.”

 

British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, assessed AUSTRALIA's latest performance as worth a handicap rating in the mid-120s, but even that is still more than a fourteen pounds behind the legendary FRANKEL when he won the 2012 International Stake.

 

NOT THIS TIME

Roger Varian decided the ground was too fast for KINGSTON HILL so he pulled the Derby runner-up out of the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at yesterday's York's Ebor meeting. The three-year-old son of MASTERCRAFTSMAN will now save his energy for the Ladbrokes St Leger.

The Newmarket-based trainer commented: "It was a very difficult decision but we have got to think long term, we have got to think if we want to have a crack at the St Leger in three and a half weeks' time. The ground is quick and it is drying out. I walked the course before racing, I watched two races and I spoke to the jockeys - there is no jar but it is quick. We might get away with it but, if in doubt, we have chosen to sit it out. He has got a future, he has got big targets in the autumn and he is likely to stay in training. He is a hell of a good horse. I think we would have to go straight there if we go for the Leger but we can get him ready on the day. It is agonising that it has come to this with such a late call but you have to go with your gut feeling, usually in this game your gut feeling is right. "

 

IT'S A MATTER OF SEX.

Today John Gosden's TAGHROODA, heroine of such contests as the Investec Oaks and the King George shouldn'T have too much of a problem when she runs in today's Darley Yorkshire Oaks, particularly as she will only be up against her own sex for a change. Racing is, of course, unpredictable but somehow it seems a strong bet that the three-year-old daughter of SEA THE STARS will carry her regular jockey, Paul Hannagan, to his fourth Group One victory of the season. After all the Warrington-born rider is practically at home on the Knavesmire. It is intetesting to note that TAGHROODA could win even if she is not on top form because her rivals will have a big challenge on their hands. A possible threat could come from Aidan O'Brien's TAPESTRY who is slowly progressing and came second in the Irish Oaks.

 

WEDNESDAY 20th AUGUST 2014

REET CHAMPION!

Well, it's 'ere! The Ebor Festival at York. The stage is set for the test of quality and stamina of the current batch of three-year-old middle distance runners, including AUSTRALIA and KINGSTON HILL who came first and second, respectively in the Epsom Derby. This race, it's worth noting, the two colts had very much to themselves in the final stages of the contest but this may well not be the case this time around. AUSTRALIA will probably handle the drop back in trip back to a mile-and-a-quarter in the Juddmonte International. He demonstrated his adaptability when coming a close third in the 2000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket in May so it might come as a bit of a shock if he is beaten.

The usual unpredictability of the weather has given connections a certain amount of concern. The other imponderable is that, after earlier statements to the contrary, the trainer's son, Joseph O'Brien will now be aboard after all. This is interesting as 8st. 12lbs. is well below his best fighting weight.

 

Anyhow, it seems that if the GALILEO colt has any weaknesses then they will be sussed out by MUKHADRAM, who is probably running his best distance and proved it last season by becoming a course and distance winner. What is more, the five-year-old son of SHARDAL is in great form. He won the Coral Eclipse at the beginning of July and that was after coming a brave second to AFRICAN STORY in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan.

The result will probably come from those two but with the presence of THE GREY GATSBY, AROD and TELESCOPE anything could happen and probably will.

 

GRAND WIN BY THE DUKE?

Still with the Ebor Festival, the race before, the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes, is certainly one where Aidan O'Brien must be hoping for a strong performance by his three-year-old GRANDDUKEOFTUSCANY to facilitate entry into next month's Ladbrokes St Leger. This is the GALILEO colts first run in the UK. His début at the Curragh in June is best forgotten. He only managed to come sixth. All was forgiven two weeks later in Tipperary when he scored his first victory, by an incredible nineteen lengths.

 

The Ballydoyle King commented: "Granddukeoftuscany had a nice run at the Curragh first time. He obviously improved and then he won his maiden very easily. He is a horse that got a mile and a half well the last time, so you would think and hope that he would probably get further in time."

 

WATCH IT! AT A PRICE.

Like to go and watch your favourite horse at work on the gallops? One race track is reviewing the custom of 'work-watching', as they call it. This traditional practice has been going on at Newmarket for well nigh four-hundred years. The Jockey Club, however, is threatening to restrict access to 'work-watchers' on the gallops due to insurance fears. The problem is that the general public, strictly speaking, only have free access to the heath after 1pm and they need permission to be there before that time. The Jockey Club's plan is to only allow those people employed by a particular trainer onto the gallops in the morning. Alternatively, they will have to be part of an organised trip and it is proposed that there will be an entry charge.

 

Nick Patton who is the training grounds manager commented: “There is no public access to the heath before 1pm and, by rights, the work watchers shouldn’t be out here as they aren’t insured. In future, visitors in the mornings will have to be part of an organised trip unless they are the guest of a particular trainer. The organised parties will have to pay a charge but the fee has yet to be determined.”

 

TUESDAY 19th AUGUST 2014

SAM CAN WHAT GENGHIS KHAN

Late Summer is sometimes called the 'silly season', defined as a period when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories or when there is a surge of frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behaviour. When the headlines appear: 'Winner of the Mongol Derby' many readers will undoubtedly assume that this topic is just part of the seasonal silliness. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. The sixth renewal of this extraordinary event, initiated in 2009, has just finished. The Mongol Derby is the longest and toughest horse race in the world. The 1000-kilometre course purports to represent a recreation of the postal system instigated by the legendary Genghis Khan in 1224. It was the world's first long-distance postal system, based on a network of horse stations. The Mongol Derby, as is the original course upon which it is based, consists of 25 horse stations and rest-stops through the Mongolian Steppe. The competitors change horses every 40 kilometres and rough it living with herders or pitch their own tents. In 2010, the Mongol Derby achieved the Guinness World Record title of longest multi-horse race.

 

Every year about thirty professional, semi-professional and enthusiastic amateur riders compete against each other for the Derby crown. Riders must obviously possess both good equestrian and survival skills, but also great determination and more than a little luck, if they are to stand a chance of finishing, let alone winning.

 

Winners of the five previous contests:

 

2013 - Lara Prior-Palmer (England)

2012 - Donal Fahy (Ireland)

2011 - Craig Egberink (South Africa)

2010 - Justin Nelzin (U.S.A.)

2009 - Shiravsamboo Galbadrakh (Mongolia) and Charles van Wyk (South Africa

 

This year's emphatic winner has just been announced: Sam Jones of Australia. Before you jump to conclusions, this is a female contestant, only the second in the event's history! She, a forty-year-old mining operator, was the fastest rider on the course, although unable to shake off her rivals until the final stages of the race. In fact she rode much of time uncertain how far behind her nearest competitors were but had to balance this lack of information with the knowledge that if she pushed her horse too hard, the same would happen to her as befell Devan Horne in 2013 and Barry Armitage in 2012. They were both first to cross the line but were disqualified as a result of the strict veterinary penalties imposed after checking the horse's condition.

 

SECOND-CLASS BUT COULD BE FIRST

Royal Mail may have just announced that it will now only collect once a day but Mick Channon clearly believes that FIRST CLASS MAIL, in his first handicap race, can finally deliver the goods. The West Isley-based trainer puts quite a positive gloss on the two-year-old's three runs to date, when he produced two fifths and a sixth, describing them as 'solid, introductory runs'. The son of WINKER WATSON is running in the Bulmers Cider Nursery at Leicester today against twelve rivals, including one with a win to his name and two others who finished in the frame.

 

The chestnut colt, wearing the blue and green colours of the Daily Mail and MailOnline, will also have a visor for the first time. FIRST CLASS MAIL, it seems, wasn't particularly enamoured of the downhill section at Newmarket nor the Brighton gradients so connections are hoping that he will be happier on the more conventional Leicester track.

 

Mick Channon commented: ‘I would have like to have raced over seven furlongs but I think the visor will sharpen him up – he’s been tried in one at home – and that is why I am happy to stick at six furlongs for the moment. He worked well on Friday and I couldn’t have been happier with him. Charlie (Bishop) rides him – he knows him well, having ridden him a couple of times. I expect him to run a decent race.”

FIRST CLASS MAIL will have the company of a group of Daily Mail readers who have been chosen to be owners for the day.

 

TAPETA TEST

Last night's second meeting at Wolverhampton, using the newly installed Tapeta track, has produced mixed reactions.

Jockey Martin Dwyer commented: "It's riding well - it's a little bit slow but I guess it will tighten up and ride a little bit quicker."

 

Whereas Connor Beasley, having ridden on Tapeta for the first time, added: "It's riding like good ground and is a much better surface than the previous one."

 

Wolverhampton-born Racheal Kneller, who won the first race of the day on Mark Usher's ARLECCHINO .20 seconds slower than the first 5-furlong race the previous week, stated: "It's riding quite quick and there's no kickback, which is great."

 

Fergus Cameron, Clerk of the course reported: "It appears one of the rolls on one of the gallop masters wasn't turning round at the same speed and caused a build-up of material so we ensured we reinstated the track as it should have been. We'll investigate the machine and make sure there isn't anything untoward to make sure we're sorted for Thursday."

 

MONDAY 18th AUGUST 2014

NEW KING IN FRANCE

The Grade One Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville yesterday was won by a contestant of royal Irish-American descent. The John Gosden-trained KINGMAN, with cool tactician James Doyle aboard, demonstrated yet again his devastating turn of foot on what was demonstrably unsuitable testing ground. In comparison to his last victory in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last month this was even more impressive as the pace set early on by the five runners was annoyingly slow. Owner, Prince Khalid Abdullah's retained rider didn't allow Frankie Dettori’s tactics on OLYMPIC GLORY deter him from his intention to put his mount in a position to show what he was made of and sprint clear in the last furlong to win by an imposing two lengths ahead of the French favourite ANODIN, trained by Freddie Head.

 

The winning jockey commented afterwards: “It’s a shame they went so slowly early on because then it turned into a dash to the line. I wasn’t sure that he would be able to go and do his usual thing on the ground, but he was just the same Kingman when I asked him to pick up as he’s always been.”

 

There was torrential rain on the track prior to the event and KINGMAN's participation was touch-and-go until just before the race. The final decision to run was made by Prince Khalid Abdullah.

 

As John Gosden said: “It was a 50-50 to run in my mind, and a very sporting gesture by the Prince. I’m very proud because the Jacques le Marois is the most prestigious mile race in France. I didn’t think he was entirely in love with the ground – it was different to anything else he had faced – but he’s got a wonderful temperament and showed he can cope with anything. It was a muddling pace, and James kept wondering when they were going to quicken it up. You had to be impressed with the way he went and won his race – the good thing was that he completely switched off. The plan is now the QEII at Ascot on October 18 which has always been his end-of-year objective.”

 

JOLLY GOOD FELLOWES

EPSOM HILL is a progressive handicapper, trained by Newmarket-based Charlie Fellowes, who has performing well for his connections. He won the Punter Southall Transaction Services Handicap at Newbury (the first at this track for his trainer) last time out by three lengths, only bettered at the beginning of August with a victory of ten lengths in the Jayne And Joe Parker's Birthday Celebration Handicap. No wonder his training is wondering whether he should keep his Swedish-bred colt running while he's on a winning streak.

 

Charlie Fellowes commented: "It's a tricky one. I have had a look at the programme book and as he's in such good form, I could put him in the Melrose at York on Saturday. But on the other hand, there are a couple of nice races later on and I could put him away for the November Handicap. Ground is the key to him. We'll see how he comes out of Friday's race. My gut feeling is to put him away, but it's a nice dilemma to have."

 

WOW. THE RIGHT SIGNALS!

Look out Deauville! It is reported that John Quinn has his sights on next Sunday's Darley Prix Morny. His THE WOW SIGNAL is reported to be shaping up well for this contest. The Al Shaqab Racing-owned two-year-old, on two wins out of two career starts, hasn't raced since the beginning of June when he won the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Unfortunately he had to be pulled out of the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh last week-end because signs of infection were detected when a fibre-optic probe was put down his throat.

 

The North Yorkshire-trainer commented; "We had a small hiccup with him when he didn't scope clean but we've been very pleased with him over the last few days. He just cantered this morning and we worked him yesterday with a view to running in France next weekend. It's all going well."

SUNDAY 17th AUGUST 2014

MOORE THE MERRIER

A Grade One double at Arlington, Chicago last night has confirmed this talented thirty-year-old as one of the world’s best jockeys. Ryan Moore won the Secretariat Stakes on the Aidan O'Brien-trained ADELAIDE and the Beverly D Stakes on Marco Botti's EURO CHARLINE on a night when European raiders asserted their superiority.

 

ADELAIDE's last two outings produced a second in the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes last month and a second in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot which was his last appearance in the UK. The three-year-old GALILEO colt was sent off the 11/10 favourite for the Secretariat Stakes and justified punters' support with an impressive performance, winning by a convincing length and a half. The success also gave his Ballydoyle trainer a third victory in this prestigious event.

 

The Beverly D Stakes was Ryan Moore's second win in a row, having triumphed last year on DANK. This time the three-times champion jockey showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels, when launching EURO CHARLINE on an unassailable attack down the home stretch, fighting off any challenge from the US favourite, STEPHANIE'S KITTEN, ridden by Frankie Dettori. Charlie Hills-trained JUST THE JUDGE came in a close third.

 

These British victories raised connection's hopes for their champion, MAGICIAN, in the Arlington Million Stakes but, although it looked as if another son of GALILEO had it in the bag when he took the lead early in the straight, he was unable to fend off the challenge close to the finish from rank outsider, American-trained HARDEST CORE. Another English raider, SIDE GLANCE, trained by Andrew Balding, managed to claim third for the second time in his career.

 

LASS WITH THE DELICATE AYR

More than 6,000 racegoers flocked to Ayr Racecourse last for the most glamorous night of the year – QTS Ladies Night. As a special feature there was a Fashion Show before racing in the Paddock Lawn Marquee which proved to be a great success. Former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch, host of STV’s Riverside Show was the celebrity compère, joined by Gary Lamont, who plays Robbie Fraser in BBC’S River City. The outcome was that 14 ladies received bronze coins and were placed in the final for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Ladies Da, taking place on Friday September 19. The twenty-seven finalists will also draw the name of a horse running in that day’s William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup.

 

The first prize is a Vauxhall Adam Glam 1.4. Second prize is a fantastic holiday in Dubai, including flights for two from Glasgow to Dubai with Emirates Airlines with four nights at the four star Vida Downtown Dubai. The third winner will receive cosmetic treatments from Coast Clinic.

 

The event was blessed with sunny weather, adding to the pleasure of the large gathering on the Champagne Lawn Gardens. All the clothes for the Fashion show were provided by Wish with Hats from William Chambers.

Lindsey Smith, Ayr Racecourse Sales & Marketing Manager commented: “The evening was an unqualified success. We tried something a little different with the Fashion Show and it worked a treat.”

 

PRIDE AND NO PREJUDICE

It was North Yorkshire trainer, Ann Duffield's day at Ripon where she saddled a double. She didn't waste any time either. The first race of the day, the RiponBet Place 6 Maiden Auction Stakes, was won by her juvenile, 20/1 outsider, MARSH PRIDE, contrary to the expectations of many punters who had gone for a big gamble on the Joseph Tuite-trained FAST DANCER, backing him in on the morning of the race from 25/1 down to 5/1. For much of the contest, indeed, it looked as though their gamble would pay off, as the two-year-old son of FAST COMPANY was the overall leader, setting a strong pace but was eventually headed by MARSH PRIDE inside final furlong

 

Ann Duffield's other success of the day came in the Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes with DARK RECKONING, owned by Qatar Racing and ridden by Harry Bentley.

The Sun Hill trainer commented afterwards: “On paper, she should only have finished third but I knew she'd be better for a sixth furlong and appreciate a bit of give. She'll get an entry in the Listed race here now (Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy), but the race for her might be the Group Three at Ayr (Firth of Clyde)."

 

SATURDAY 16th AUGUST 2014

 

PASTORAL CARE

The Hughie Morrison-trained PASTORAL PLAYER hasn't been in the winner's enclosure for quite a while, not since June 2, in fact, when he won the Group 3 Timeform Jury Stakes at Haydock. He's made regular unsuccessful appearances in the top six, seven and eight furlongs contests but, with his handicap in the 100s, he found it tough going. So maybe today's the day for a win with an easier task than the seven-year-old son of PASTORAL PURSUITS has taken on for some time. For one thing the heavy-handed handicapper has finally had a heart and put him down in the weights and another he has 7lb claimer Charlie Bennett in the saddle and that must be a bonus in the 15.15 at Newbury, the Betfred Goals Galore Ladies Day Handicap. He's still giving four pounds to his nearest rival, Marco Botti's FOXTROT ROMEO but this is his best chance for some time to get back into winning ways

 

CHICAGO MAGIC

It's not AUSTRALIA, it's America! And the horse is MAGICIAN and the venue is today's thirty-second renewal of the Arlington Million, the biggest day of racing in Illinois. This is where the O'Brien father/son team hope their four-year-old GALILEO colt will notch up their second major success in America, after THE FUGUE's claiming of the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November.

Connections have decided to make the trip to Chicago in an effort to compensate for MAGICIAN'S disappointing performance in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month when he only managed sixth well behind John Gosden's TAGHROODA.

 

The Ballydoyle king commented: "Quick ground is essential to him really and he hasn't had that this year. The ground was gone for him (in the King George) and I knew after a furlong I wasn't comfortable. We're hoping he can come back to that (Breeders' Cup) sort of form."

 

FOUR FOR THE PRICE OF ONE

Trainer, Richard Fahey, is leaving nothing to chance in his attempt to bag the £70,000 William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon today. Four of the nineteen runners are his.

 

The North Yorkshire-based trainer offered a few personal clues about his entrants: “Supplicant is drawn 10 so at least he can go either way from that stall. He likes the track and is coming back to himself so I’d like to think he’ll run well. He’ll win one of these big handicaps, if not this season then next, and is no back number.

 

Any rain would help Flyman. I had to run him in the 32Red Cup at Goodwood as he was in danger of going stale at home having not had a race since May. He does go on fast ground but is much better with cut and is in good order at home.

 

We’re dropping Majestic Moon in trip after he showed an awful lot of speed to lead them for a long way in the International at Ascot. He’s a horse who’s definitely got quicker as he’s gets older and Tony Hamilton has opted to ride him.

 

Tatlisu ran a blinder in the big consolation race at Goodwood the other day when everything just happened away from him in the finish. He was only beaten two short heads and must have a good chance again.”

 

FRIDAY 15th AUGUST 2014

SMART MOVE

As all keen racegoers will know, the Welcome To Yorkshire Ebor Festival starts next Wednesday and no-one is looking forward to it more than trainer, Bryan Smart. This is particularly because he has a star in his stables, a MOVIESTA, in fact, whom he has entered for the fastest race of the week, next Friday's Group One Coolmore Nunthorpe, worth £265,000 to the lucky winner.

The Sutton Bank-based trainer summed up his feelings about the prospect of having success at this prestigious event: “I’m a Yorkshireman so to go there with some good chances is what it’s all about. To get a winner is the dream.”

The four-year-old son of HARD SPUN, co-owned by Queens Park Ranger's manager Harry Redknapp, seems to like the Knavesmire. He proved it by winning the Ralph Raper Memorial Stakes and the 32Red Handicap last season. The probable highlight of his career so far, though, must be his performance at Goodwood in the Betfred King George Stakes (Group 2) last August, when he pulled out all the stops and beat John Gosden's SWISS SPIRIT by a length-and-a-half.

Bryan Smart was delighted with that result: “He ran really well at Goodwood and he has been in terrific form since. Fingers crossed for a clear run between now and next Friday.”

 

DARYL'S BACK - LEG, KNEE AND ELBOW INTACT

The 2012 Grand national champion, Daryl Jacob was back in the saddle yesterday after an absence of five months as a result of a freak accident at the Cheltenham Festival. He suffered a broken leg, knee and elbow when his horse, PORT MELON crashed through the running rails on the way to the start for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

His first race back was at Fontwell Park where he rode the Brian Barr-trained NORFOLK SKY in the Sara Tiara Hat Company Novices' Hurdle. Luck wasn't with the rider from Donegal, however, as he only managed to bring his five-year-old mare home in third place, twenty-two lengths adrift of the winner. To be fair the daughter of HAAFHD did attempt to win from the front but the duo had to contend with the aggressive 19-times champion, Tony McCoy, riding the odds-on favourite, MY DIRECTION who surged passed at the third last flight and went well clear of URIAH HEEP ridden by Richard Johnson.

 

A THREE-PRONGED ATTACK

You'd expect a local trainer, a specialist with two-year-olds, to take advantage of the benefits of his local track. That's exactly what Richard Hannon is doing today at Newbury. In particular he's gunning for the feature race of the afternoon, the Bathwick Tyres St Hugh's Stakes with a triple-loaded barrel.

DANGEROUS MOONLITE seems to be the pick of the trio, as stable jockey and champion on the Flat for the last two years, Richard Hughes, has chosen her in preference to PARSLEY, to be ridden by Pat Dobbs and SPIRIT OF XIAN who'll have Sean Levey aboard. This race has a special family connection as Richard Hannon's father, also called Richard, was triumphant in the 2007 renewal of this contest with CAKE, who coincidentally was partnered by a certain Pat Dobbs.

The Marlborough-based trainer Hannon commented: "Dangerous Moonlite has won two out of three and you can forget her one blip as it came in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and she was found to be in season straight after the race. She is all speed, so we have kept her back for this race, while Spirit Of Xian is also a decent filly who deserves to take her chance."

THURSDAY 14th AUGUST 2014

 

NOT THREE TIMES FOR THE LADY

The equestrian world is usually able to take news in its stride, good or bad but yesterday the racing community was noticeably taken aback. The reason for this? The current incumbent has decided not to run a third time for President of the International Equestrian Federation. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports was founded in 1921 and has its with headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Among many of its responsibilities is protecting the welfare of the horses from physical abuse or doping.

 

Princess Haya of Jordan became the organisation's President in 2006 but was instrumental in bringing about the reduction of the presidential reign to two terms. She has been so respected in this role that a hundred National Federations pleaded with her to stay on, when her eight-year tenure expires this year. The rules were even changed so that this could happen and it looked like all was set for her to be re-elected. Yesterday, however, the 40-year-old daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan stated that family commitments, the political situation in the Middle East and her humanitarian work have forced her to change her mind.

 

The Princess, who is married to the UAE's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and whose mother, Queen Alia, was Palestinian, is on record as saying that the equestrian sports community were like "family" to her but more recently she stated that the people of the Middle East "are also my people and my family".

 

GO ON, MY SON!

If Aidan O'Brien's AUSTRALIA participates in next week's Juddmonte International, one jockey who won't be aboard is the trainer's son, Joseph, who has ridden the three-year-old GALILEO colt in all six starts. No, there hasn't been a family spat! It's simply that Joseph O'Brien can't make the 8st 12lb AUSTRALIA will have to carry in the York feature race.

 

The Ballydoyle trainer, winner of York's richest race three times in the last six years, commented last night: "We won't be making a decision about Australia running for another few days. He's being trained with the race in mind, but it's still in the balance if he will travel. If he does run Joseph won't be riding him as 8st 12lb is below his minimum. We'll wait until we decide about running before confirming a jockey."

 

A natural replacement would be Ryan Moore but he's already booked to ride Sir Michael Stoute's second favourite, TELESCOPE and another possibility, Jamie Spencer will be partnering Qatar racing's AROD, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam.

 

THE PATTERN OF THINGS TO COME

Group races, also known as Pattern races, or Graded races, are the highest level of races in Thoroughbred horse racing. They include most of the world's iconic races, such as, in Europe, the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe; in Australia, the Melbourne Cup; and in the United States, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup races.

 

Next year racegoers will have the thrill of another Group One race at Royal Ascot to look forward to. The European Pattern Committee announced yesterday that it had recommended this innovation as part of a general move to strengthen the sprinting programme for three-year-olds. This decision concerns changes to 10 races in Britain, Ireland, France and Germany as well as the creation of the new race.

One of the main beneficiaries of this change is Ascot because one of its major activities is the staging of the British Champions Sprint every October. The good news is that this contest has now been promoted to Group One status, providing the Royal venue with two additional top-class races. Although the European Pattern Committee has been debating and planning changes for over six months, the announcement of this new new race took the racing world by surprise.

The current chief executive, Charles Barnett, said he hoped the new race, over six furlongs, “will now become a significant new option for three-year-old sprinters . . . before they go on to compete against their elders in the July Cup and later races. It is remarkable to think that in 2001, there were just four Group One races at Royal Ascot, none of which were sprint races, and we now have eight Group Ones.”

 

The October race's upgrading means that British Champions’ Day will from next year have four Group Ones. As BHA racing director, Ruth Quinn, explained: “The opening months of the European season do not currently provide sufficient opportunities for young sprint horses to develop and progress to the best of their ability. They have tended to have their stamina stretched in mile races or find themselves pitched in against older horses at an inappropriately early age. Sometimes they have been retired to stud at the end of their two-year-old season because of a lack of opportunity for them the following year.

 

David Redvers, a bloodstock agent, was clearly pleased with the development when tweeting: “We sold Frederick Engels because there was no programme and nearly sold Extortionist and Hot Streak too. This will help no end.”

WEDNESDAY 13th AUGUST 2014

A DIFFERENT KIND OF RACE

Everyone knows about the famous boat race that takes place each year between Oxford and Cambridge. Now the long-standing sporting rivalry between these top universities will encompass a Varsity Flat horse race which is planned for October 17 at Newmarket on Dubai Future Champions Day. The Light Blues (Cambridge) will take on the Dark Blues (Oxford) in a contest consisting of ten runners.

 

Harry Beckett, son of Lord Grimthorpe, who is racing manager for Khalid Abdullah came up with the idea, as he explained: "I've spent two years trying to get this race off the ground so I'm delighted to see it come to fruition. I sincerely hope that this is just the start of a real connection between racecourses and students, as there is a real need for more sustainable investment. We hope students turn out in force to cheer on the riders and take advantage of the amazing free entry offers at Newmarket and Ascot."

 

In preparation for the event, seven riders from each university are being trained at the British Racing School in Newmarket and at Oaksey House in Lambourn in readiness for the race which will be run over one mile. The final list of competitors is expected early in October.

 

This venture forms part of a much greater drive to involve students much more in racing and includes such initiatives as free entry to Future Champions Day and Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 18.

 

A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME!

Racing UK, the horse racing channel which represents 34 racecourses including Ascot, Cheltenham and Aintree, has signed up Michael Owen for a two-year deal. He is to be a kind of ambassador for the TV Channel and also take part in advertising. The former England footballer, well-known for his enthusiasm for horse racing, owns a stable in Cheshire with 90 horses. He already has a high-profile marketing and presenting deal with BT Sport and now it is planned that he will appear at special days for Racing UK subscribers at his racing stables.

 

Clive Cottrell, Racing UK’s Marketing Director commented: “Michael is hugely passionate and knowledgeable about racing, as evidenced by his fantastic state-of-the-art set-up at Manor House stable. He is one of the country’s best-loved sportsmen and his tremendous appeal will add to the channel’s output and bring horseracing to a new audience.”

 

THIRD TIME NOT LUCKY

Apprentice jockey, Anna Hesketh, who notched up a double on Ultimate Ladies' Night at Carlisle last week, was clearly hoping to continue her succesful streak at Carlisle yesterday. She was back on RASSELAS in the ApolloBet Free Download App Claiming Stakes. The seven-year-old gave the 7lb claiming jockey the first of her two wins on that occasion. It is interesting to note that this time, however, she was the only lady rider, whereas at Carlisle all the races were restricted to female riders, amateur and professional. Apart from that it was a similar kind of race to last week's and so there was every hope that the Dandy Nicholls-trained son of DANEHILL DANCER would do the honours again. It was, however, not to be. They were always trailing in the rear and, even two furlongs out, it became evident that all was not going according to plan and the result was sixth out of seven, some eleven lengths behind the winner.

TUESDAY 12th AUGUST 2014

THREE FOR THE KNAVESMIRE! ROGER!

Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival” starts a week tomorrow and Roger Varian is already lining up his team. There is strong speculation that the Newmarket-based trainer will confirm KINGSTON HILL, his winner of the Racing Post Trophy, for the £800,000 Group One Juddmonte International Stakes and the £150,000 Group 2 Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes. These two contests are on the fixture for the first day of this annual four-day prestigious gathering. The three-year-old son of MASTERCRAFTSMAN was second, only one-and-a-quarter lengths adrift, behind Aidan O'Brien's AUSTRALIA in this year's Investec Derby and was last seen at Sandown in July when coming fourth in the Coral Eclipse behind the William haggas-trained MUKHADRAM.

 

Roger Varian commented: “We gave Kingston Hill a short break after Sandown and he looks great for it. He is a high-class colt and I think he is set for a good autumn. The plan since Sandown has been to head to York. If we looked like getting a soft-ground Juddmonte International, he could go there. If the ground is good, we would more likely head to the Great Voltigeur over a mile and a half. He also has an entry this weekend at Newbury in the Geoffrey Freer and it is a case of watching the weather and taking a look at all the options.”

 

Also in Roger Varian's team is his two-year-old CURSORY GLANCE who has only had two outings and scored in both – the Albany Stakes at Ascot in June and the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Kempton Park in the previous month. This daughter of DISTORTED HUMOR could be heading for the £150,000 Group 2 Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes – a contest for juvenile fillies over six furlongs to be held on Thursday, August 21.

 

The trainer's view on this entry: “Cursory Glance has been working very well and her Albany Stakes victory remains one of the strongest pieces of form in 2014 for two-year-old fillies. The Lowther Stakes looks a good option for her although I wouldn’t run her on soft ground. She is also entered in the Debutante Stakes at The Curragh, which could be an alternative if the ground goes against us at York.”

 

Last but not least there's AMBIVALENT who certainly wasn't in 'two minds' when winning the "Betfred £10 Million Scoop6 This Saturday" Middleton Stakes at the York Dante Festival in May and could well be destined for another strike on the Knavesmire in the £330,000 Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The five-year-old daughter of AUTHORIZED can probably be forgiven her less than encouraging performance at the Curragh last time out when she only managed fourth out of eight runners in the Pretty Polly Stakes.

Last word from the Master of Kremlin House Stables: “Ambivalent ran a little flat in the Irish Pretty Polly and we gave her a short break after that. She looks in great shape and we would like to give her a run in Europe before targeting an international campaign this autumn.”

 

MORPHINE INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE

It's taking its time but the BHA is slowly coming round to blaming contaminated feed as the most likely cause of the traces of morphine in now eight horses, including the Queen's horse, ESTIMATE. This was the general consensus when it came to light. It is now reported that seven of the eight samples taken indicate the same source of contaminated feed. The investigation is taking its time because the BHA wants all these cases heard at the same time by a specially appointed disciplinary panel.

The latest case, making the eighth, it seems, is a stablemate of one of the original seven horses, adding strongly to the view that contaminated horse feed has to be the answer. A product manufactured by Dodson & Horrell, a company based in Northamptonshire, was quickly suspected of being the source of the contamination. The British Horseracing Authority is now waiting for the results of more samples before it is ready to set a date for the hearing. It will work on the premise “that where the trainer has taken all reasonable precautions to safeguard against a positive test, no penalty should be imposed on the trainer. However, according to the rules of racing, the horses involved should be disqualified".

 

NEW TRACK WELCOMED

Among the first jockeys to praise the new Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, after its initiation yesterday, were James Doyle and Sylvestre De Sousa. This revolutionary track surface has been used successfully for some time at Dubai's Meydan racecourse and, indeed, at various racecourses and training centres across the world, so there was inevitably great curiosity among the large crowd assembled at Dunstall Park.

 

As it happened, James Doyle combined the special event with a triumphant afternoon's racing. He notched up a double, winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes on the Charlie Hills-trained ANGEL WINGS and the Bet Now At 32RedSport.com Handicap on MADAME MIRASOL, trained by Kevin Ryan.

 

The Cambridge-born winning jockey commented after his successes: “I used to ride around here quite a bit, so it’s nice to come and have a couple of winners. It rode perfectly nice. It feels safe. It’s funny as it doesn’t strike me as a whole lot different. It still feels like Wolverhampton. I suppose only in extreme temperatures will we find out how the surface reacts, but certainly you couldn’t fault it. There is a bit (of kickback), but it’s very powdery and light. The horses seem to be facing it, so it’s not a problem.”

 

Sylvestre De Sousa was not among the day's victors but is well experienced on this surface from riding at Meydan and, to prove it, won the Dubai World Cup on Godolphin's AFRICAN STORY, trained by Saaed bin Suroor, in March.

 

The Brazilian-born jockey's view was: “It’s a nice surface. It’s just riding a bit slow, but when the ground settles I think it will be nice. There is plenty of give in it. Maybe a bit of rain will make it compact a bit more and it just needs proper racing. It’s not exactly the same (as the surface at Meydan), but it’s riding well and if I had a horse I would run it here. All the way round it’s consistent.”

MONDAY 11th AUGUST 2014

EARN AGAIN, WHITTINGTON

The Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh yesterday continued to be dominated by trainer, Aidan O’Brien, whose DICK WHITTINGTON was more than a match for the favourite who continued to give his all right to the line. This is not the first time this Group 1 six-furlong contest has been won by one of Ballydoyle’s two-year-olds - JOHANNESBURG in 2001, GEORGE WASHINGTON in 2005, HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR in 2006 and MASTERCRAFTSMAN in 2008, to mention just a few. It's perhaps a little premature to speculate that this RIP VAN WINKLE colt will go on to emulate such an array of equine excellence but stranger things have happened. One consideration is that the contest wasn't as tough as it might have been due to the fact that three 'big guns' were withdrawn from the race - stable companions, THE GREAT WAR and WAR ENVOY and, especially ANTHEM ALEXANDER, trained by Eddie Lynam, who won the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) at Ascot in June.

 

After the withdrawal of such illustrious company, however, the general consensus was that the Richard Hannon-trained KOOL KOMPANY would claim the prize and accordingly he was sent off the 8/11 favourite, with Richard Hughes aboard. The latter was for a while boxed in by trainer son, Joseph O’Brien who was riding the eventual 6/1 victor but the champion Flat jockey soon got himself out of difficulty and threw down the gauntlet in the final furlong. In the ensuing battle neither colt seemed prepared to cede victory but DICK WHITTINGTON just managed to pull out a little extra in the final strides and won by half a length.

 

Aidan O'Brien commented afterwards: “He’s a tough, hardy horse. We weren’t sure before today if he would get a mile or not but after that you would think he will. He won very well on fast ground at Navan and I’d say the ground doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s had a busy enough time for a young horse so we won’t be in any panic with him now. He’s had a tough race there and we’ll give him a little break. The dad [Rip Van Winkle] was very genuine, and it’s good to see he’s passed that on.”

 

A GENTLEMAN OF A HORSE”

Richard Fahey-trained GARSWOOD made up for his recent disappointing runs by storming to victory in yesterday's Group One Prix de Maurice Gheest at Deauville. He upset the local apirations of THAWAANY, trained by retired French champion jockey, Freddie Head. Celebrations were also in order because it was the Yorkshire trainer's first Group One winner since MAYSON won the 2012 Darley July Cup at Newmarket. The favourite in the race was John Gosden’s GREGORIAN who seemed he might justify his support but, after starting out well, he seemed to run out of steam and eventually dropping out of contention and carried his jockey, William Buick, over the line in tenth position.

 

GARSWOOD didn't have it all his own way, however, as the German entry, SOMMERABEND, seemed to determined to outrun his rivals by setting off at a cracking pace early on. But the son of DUTCH ART found new wind at about two furlongs out and grtadually overhauled his rivals to get ahead by half a length.

 

Richard Fahey said: "It's just great to win a Group One with Garswood, as he is an absolute gentleman of a horse - a gentleman with a lot of ability, which is what you want! I can honestly say I've never trained a horse with a mind like his. He literally doesn't have a care in the world. He never sweats or plays up or anything like that. I could put my daughter on him.”

 

LOOKS GOOD ON THE SURFACE

Well today's the day! Racing takes place this afternoon at Wolverhampton on the track's freshly laid Tapeta, a world-class synthetic racing surface. We first heard in April that the existing Polytrack was to be replaced by this synthetic surface, invented by Michael Dickinson, perhaps most famous for his extraordinary feat of training the first five in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup: BREGAWN, CAPTAIN JOHN, WAYWARD LAD, SILVER BUCK and ASHLEY HOUSE

 

Tapeta has been in use for a while now at the Meydan racetrack in Dubai and other racing venues and training centres all over the world and now Wolverhampton is to be the first in the UK. The newly-laid surface underwent trails earlier on in the week and attracted nothing but praise from jockeys and trainers.

 

Fergus Cameron, Clerk of the Course commented: He said: "We're very much looking forward to staging the first race meeting to take place on Tapeta in the United Kingdom. It's exciting. Obviously it's very early days and we'll be expecting feedback from horsemen about how the surface rides tomorrow. We want to ensure we have a safe and sustainable surface going forward, so this is only the first step."

 

Dunstall Park prides itself on being a leading pioneer for British all-weather racing. It was, for example, the first to introduce the use of floodlights at its track.

Kate Hills, communications director for owners, stated that the group was keen to offer owners, trainers and jockeys a choice of racing surfaces across its tracks with Polytrack being retained at Lingfield and Fibresand remaining in use at Southwell.

SUNDAY 10th AUGUST 2014

THE GIRLS MISS THE POINT

A Sovereign and Eclipse Award-winning jockey was the queen of yesterday’s Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot. Emma-Jayne Wilson rode a double in this annual team extravaganza but, sadly, it wasn't enough to give victory to her Girl team at Ascot. The winner, by only one point, was the Europe team which consisted of the captain, Frankie Dettori, Olivier Peslier and Andrie De Vries.

 

Ontario-born Emma-Jayne Wilson commented after her first winner in Britain aboard the Lady Cecil-trained RETIREMENT PLAN: “It means absolutely everything, I’m elated. Winning a race over here means a lot to me personally. Ten years ago when I started riding I never dreamed I’d be here in this position. I’m proud to be here, and proud to be a Canadian.” She went on to score her double on the David Nicholls-trained DON'T CALL ME.

 

Frankie Dettori, usually a big hit at Ascot, confessed he didn't add much to his team's success:

"What a captain I am. I'm different class! Three points and four of my horses are lame. Thank goodness for the other two. But in truth we did have the most experienced team. And we just had to beat those girls.”

 

South African Durban July Handicap champion, S’managa Khumalo, making his debut riding for the Rest Of The World Team, seemed to enjoy himself but didn't score on any of his three rides.

 

Champion jockey, Richard Hughes, saved the day at the eleventh hour for his team Great Britain & Ireland, by winning the last race of the event on David O'Meara's HIGH ACCLAIM. In any case, he was a nose ahead of his team mate, Jimmy Fortune, who was riding GOLDEN STEPS, trained by Marco Botti, so either of them would have made it for the team win.

What both of them didn't expect, however, was the wrath of the stewards who handed out a two-day ban to the pair for excessive use of the whip!

 

IT WAS ALL GO FOR JOE

Meanwhile two-hundred miles North at Haydock Park another J F was having a great day. Joe Fanning caused a lot of excitement when notching up a tantalising treble. The County Wicklow jockey wasted no time and made his mark in the first race of the day, the modest Betfred 'Play Todays 1 1/2 Million Scoop6' Nursery, when he rode the William Haggas-trained SQUATS to a narrow victory.

 

An hour later Joe Fanning was back in the winner's enclosure, on 14/1 chance, AMRALAH, trained by Mick Channon, who ironically missed seeing his four-year-old son of TEOFILIO claim the Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes because he was stuck in traffic on the M6 and eventually had to return to his West Ilsey stables.

 

The treble came in the very next race, again courtesy William Haggas, whose well-backed TOKEN OF LOVE did the honours in the Betfred TV/EBF Stallions Dick Hern Fillies' Stakes, winning by a surprising two-and-a-quarter lengths. Connections had expected a tougher time of it particularly against Olly Steven's LIGHTNING THUNDER, runner-up in both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, but the latter seems to have been below par since her disappointing performance at Royal Ascot and could only manage fourth, some five lengths behind the victor.

 

FERGAL'S BACK!

Another Irishman is planning to return to British racing after an absence of ten years. Fergal Lynch, who admitted to stopping a horse, BOND CITY, from winning at Ripon in August 2004 and supplying inside information about six of his rides, has been booked for one ride at Ayr on Monday. Irish trainer, Michael O'Callaghan, announced the other day that he intended to give the Derry-born jockey the ride on MR BOUNTY in the Ayr's Danny Tyson Handicap.

 

The former champion apprentice received a fine of £50,000 in 2009 and as part of a plea bargain agreement with the British Horseracing Authority, he agreed not to ride in Britain for at least a year. He has now been granted permission, as an overseas jockey, to ride in Britain under BHA rules for a probationary period.

 

SATURDAY 9th AUGUST 2014

ACTRESS UPSTAGED BY FILLY

Newmarket has been selected as the stage for the Mark Tompkins-trained PEEPS to make her début. The two-year-old filly, whose Dam, appropriately, is called TWELFTH NIGHT, is co-owned by Dame Judi Dench, whose professional début was as Ophelia at the Royal Court, Liverpool. The Yorkshire-born actress has had some success owning horses. Her last horse, SMOKEY OAKEY, also trained by Mark Tompkins, had a successful career, with seven Wins, three Seconds and five Thirds from fifty-five outings, earning over £16,000 for his owners. In gratitude Dame Judi Dench gifted this much-loved horse to the owners of Littlebrook Equestrian Centre in Surrey – home of East Park Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), of which she is Patron. It is hoped that the ten-year-old son of TENDULKAR, after re-training, will provide riding as therapy for the RDA. Whether PEEPS will live up to her owner's aspirations remains to be seen.

Ted Durcan will take the ride in th first race of the day, the BBAG-sales.de-The German Bloodstock Sales Maiden Fillies' Stakes. When the trainer was asked whether James Bond's 'M' would be there to cheer on her protégé, he just commented philosophically: “She is a workaholic, sadly.”

 

ZULU DAWN

Today is the Shergar Cup at Ascot. Of all the riders who have come to the Berkshire track to take part in this annual team competition, perhaps none has more significance than the South African, top jockey from the townships, S’manga Khumalo. The 28-year-old, making his British début, has just become South Africa’s first black champion jockey. The victory is so recent that no formal presentation has been made yet. S’manga Khumalo, despite his sudden fame, is a gently spoken man who has succeeded in this highly competitive sport in the most unorthodox manner and cheerfully accepts the added responsibilities as role model. Any teenager struggling to decide what to do in life should look up his journey to success. They might take comfort from the fact that S’manga Khumalo hadn't ever seen, or wanted to see, a horse until he was 14 years old.

The twenty-eight-year-old Zulu rider will be aboard Sir Mark Prescott's BIG THUNDER, the John Ryan-trained TENOR and Ed Dunlop's TRIP TO PARIS.

 

GIVE HIM A BIG HAND!

York’s Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes is one option for County Kildare trainer, Michael O’Callaghan. There he hopes to saddle his talented juvenile, RAPID APPLAUSE. The two-year-old son of ROYAL APPLAUSE won the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden at Cork in April, following that up with a creditable 4th in the GAIN Railway Stakes at the Curragh at the end of June and a 3rd in the Jebel Ali Racecourse & Stables Anglesey Stakes (Group 3)last month. Michael O’Callaghan is hopeful that his rising star has more improvement to come and that's why he may make his UK début on the Knavesmire on August 23.

 

FRIDAY 8th AUGUST 2014

WHEN A BODY MEETS A BODY!

Visitors to Ascot tomorrow for Shergar Cup Day may well be a little discombobulated (always wanted to use that word!) by the sight of a six-foot high racehorse statue that has just been unveiled for the occasion. The striking equine image, ridden by German rider, Stefanie Hofer, is formed by ten contortionists whose bodies have been transformed using detailed and elaborate artwork. The Shergar Cup, which has been running for fourteen years is probably one of the most popular events at Ascot as it is the only racing fixture that has a team format. The event attracts thousands of racegoers who turn out to support one or other of the four teams of top international jockeys. The winning team is the one that acquires the most number of points in the six feature races on the day. It will be the aforementioned Stephanie Hofer's debut riding for The Girls team, whose other members include Emma-Jayne Wilson and Hayley Turner. Other celebrity riders are Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni and South African superstar S’manga Khumalo, the first black jockey to win the Durban July Handicap.

 

Ascot's Head of communications, Nick Smith, commented: “We wanted to do something genuinely different to celebrate our partnership with Dubai Duty Free. They have extended their support of the Shergar Cup by becoming sole sponsors this year. It is a unique competition and deserved something striking to mark its place on the calendar. The acrobats and Stefanie performed miracles to produce the pose, and we hope everyone will agree that it’s fascinating.”

 

If you didn't understand all that about the contortionists forming a horse, you can watch it here:

http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/08/03/building-horse-takes-10-humans/#axzz39nNrXWoP

 

ONE OUT OF TWO

Former top jockey now trainer, Johnny Murtagh, saddled his first-ever two runners at Southwell last night and went home with a winner and a second. His first success came in the fifth race of the evening, the 10 Free Bet At 32RedSport.com Handicap. Eight-year-old STEUBEN, formerly trained by professional gambler, Barney Curly, was ridden by apprentice jockey, Ross Coakley, who didn't have the easiest of times battling against the 20/1 outsider, MASTER DAN, but he persevered and rallied inside the final furlong to win by a neck. The son of MONSUN, off the track for 653 days and making his debut for the new trainer, concluded a major gamble, having been backed at 6-1 on Wednesday night and then being sent off the 11/10 Favourite.

 

Johnny Murtagh was clearly counting on a double half-an-hour later with BWINDI who was the 8/13 market leader in the Macmillan Roseland Business Park A1 Eastmidlands Handicap but the three-year-old son of HIGH CHAPARRAL ran a strange sort of race with Kieren Fallon aboard, never seeming to want to get competitive. The six-times British Champion jockey from County Clare, however, gave him his usual forceful ride and did manage to make up a lot of ground in the straight. Unfortunately all this effort came a little bit too late because, although the duo was hauling in the eventual winner, MOVING WAVES, in the final furlong, it wasn't enough and they finished half a length down in second place.

 

81 WINNER BANNED

Adam Kirby, received a a 19-day ban yesterday. This means he will miss the whole of York's Ebor Festival next week. This has not come at a good tim,e as the Newmarket-born jockey is doing well in the jockeys' title table this season, with 81 winners under his belt. Now he has the prospect two lengthy periods out of action. Six days of the ban are to be deferred for six weeks until October 8 in addition to the suspension which will run from August 15 until August 27 inclusive.

The BHA disciplinary panel held an enquiry into Adam Kirby's use of the whip when riding ES QUE LOVE at Glorious Goodwood in the Lennox Stakes at the end of last month. The Goodwood stewards referred this incident to the BHA after an enquiry on the day of the race because it was the jockey's fifth misuse-of-whip offence in the last six months, warranting a suspension of between two to six days. The length of suspension took into account the number of rides (522) and the period of time during which the suspensions had occurred. It also registered that Adam Kirby had already been referred to the panel for misuse of the whip in the previous 12 months.

THURSDAY 7th AUGUST 2014

RIGHT ON. BRIGHT ON !

Richard Hughes may have been a little coy lately about his chances of still being champion jockey at the end of the current season but that didn't stop him notching up a four-time win at Brighton yesterday. What's more this feat was achieved in some ofthe least prestigious races of his career. This winning opportunity also came at a good moment, as his great rival, Ryan Moore, who is twenty wins ahead in the leadership stakes, does not have any more rides until the weekend.

The current champion Flat jockey didn't waste any time at East Sussex track and scored in the first two contests. The first didn't seem to cause him too much trouble. He was aboard the Richard Hannon-trained L'ETACQ, in the Hills Prospects Nursery. The two-year-old son of ROYAL APPLAUSE gave him a good ride and despite being hampered at four out went on to finish half-a-length in hand. The second success came half-an-hour later when he was riding once more for his boss and this time on CRAFTY CHOICE in the EBF / Laines Best Maiden Stakes. Once more it wasn't a race to write home about. The INTIKHAB colt pressed for supremacy when only one furlong into this six furlong race and was still in the lead inside final furlong, leaving Luca Cumani's GRAND SPIRIT trailing by one-and-three-quarter lengths at the post.

 

The third triumph was for the Lewes-based trainer, Sheena West. Now this one gave Richard Hughes a few problems, even demanded some courage and determination over and above the call of duty, you might say. The scene was the Thorley Taverns Selling Handicap and it became clear that all was not well. First UNIDEXTER forced his rider to jump before entering the stalls, then continued playing up once in the stalls. Professionals are made of sterner stuff, however, and Richard Hughes refused to give up. He gave it one more toss of the horseshoe and succeeded in getting the four-year-old of FOOTSTEPSINTHESAND involved in the race, although things didn't look hopeful from the start. Then prospects improved as leading rivals began to fade and Richard Hughes went wide around the home bend and managed to urge his previously recalcitrant mount on to win by a length.

The winning jockey commented afterwards: "It was hard work, all right. I had to jump off when I was checking my reins and then there was a filly in the stall next door and he was trying to get over. I had one last try, pulled him out wide, and thought, 'This might work.'"

 

Trainer, Sheena West added: "I know he's a champion jockey but plenty of champion jockeys wouldn't have stuck that out. The horse did everything to try to kill him three times. I've seen plenty of good rides, but I've not seen any better 'I-will-get-on-you-and-I-will-ride-you' ones. I don't think the horse will run on the Flat again, he'll go to Fontwell next Thursday."

 

The champion jockey even got a round of applause on his return to the weighing room.

 

THE WORMS' TURN

Chepstow is to resume racing again next Thursday but only on the round course. The original races at the Monmouthshire course over five and eight furlongs have been abandoned and three new races have been added to the fixture. The cause for the cancellation of all races was the infiltration of the track by nematodes who were destroying the grass roots. These multicellular 'wormlike' animals feed on plants and are so tiny that a microscope is needed to see them.

Richard Linley, British Horseracing Authority senior inspector of courses, expressed himself satisfied with what he saw after yesterda's inspection, but, as yet, though the straight course is still not in a fit enough state to stage competitive races.

 

Racing director for owners, Arena Racing Company, Jim Allen, commented: "We are pleased with the improvement shown with the turf and delighted to be racing next Thursday.

 

CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE

As of now, there are thirty-seven entries for the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in October, including such greats as AUSTRALIA, CIRRUS DES AIGLES and TAGHROODA. The total prize money for this prestigious event is £1.3 million, making it the richest mile-and-a-quarter race in Europe.

 

No stranger to the race, CIRRUS DES AIGLES, will be returning for his fourth appearance in this Group One contest, winning it in 2011, coming second behind FRANKEL in 2012 and runner-up to FARHH last year. The eight-year-old son of EVEN TOP has been off the track since sustaining an injury when winning the Investec Coronation Cup but word has it that he will be well recovered by the Autumn.

 

Trainer, Mme. Corine de Barande-Barbe commented: "Cirrus des Aigles est très bien. Il a bien récupéré de la blessure qu'il a subi à Epsom sur Derby Day, ce qui démontre son courage habituel. Je tiens à le faire revenir pour le Prix Dollar à Longchamp le jour avant l'Arc et si tout va bien, ce serait bien de le faire courir dans les Champion Stakes pour la quatrième fois.” And no-one would argue with that!

 

The big rivals on the day, if they run, will be Dual Derby winner, AUSTRALIA and TAGHROODA, heroine of the Oaks and King George. That is not to say that we should ignore the presence of AFRICAN STORY, winner of the Dubai World Cup, AL KAZEEM, victor, amongst others, of the Coral-Eclipse, the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Tattersall's Gold Cup, and, of course, MUKHADRAM, this year's Coral-Eclipse hero.

 

WEDNESDAY 6th AUGUST 2014

DREAM, DREAM, DREAM”

David Evans, well known for his skill for bringing on two-year-olds, caused quite a stir in the opening contest, the British Stallion Studs EBF Median Auction Maiden Fillies' Stakes, at Ffos Las yesterday when his 25/1 outsider, AS A DREAM, showed them all a quick pair of heels. On the face of it, the Abergavenny-based trainer had not exactly waxed lyrical about his two-year-old daughter of AZAMOUR and you can't blame him, as she had come 4th, 13th, 5th and 9th on her four previous career starts. As things turned out, however, the odds-on favourite KHAWAATER, with Andrea Atzeni aboard, gave it her all but it was not enough. Then David Simcock-trained ESCRICK promised the goods inside the final two furlongs but then seemed to run out of steam, leaving AS A DREAM to show what she was made of and as she surged passed in the closing stages to win by a length, making it an all-Welsh occasion, as she was ridden by Caerphilly-born David Probert.

Part-owner, Arwyn Morgans, a Builth Wells butcher, commented afterwards: "I can't believe it. The first time she ran at Windsor, the ground was loose and she loved it but when it got harder she struggled. She's an Azamour, so she liked it a bit softer. I've been with David for a long, long time. I didn't have a penny on, I asked David if I should have a bet, he said 'no, we'll wait and see'. At least the missus has backed her at 33-1!"

 

PHASES OF THE MOON

Trainer, Markus Krug, thinks SEA THE MOON is up to taking his place in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He asserts that his three-year old is ready for it and will make his last preparations at Baden-Baden in September. The German trainer believes the son of SEA THE STARS has what it takes to succeed in the prestigious world-famous French feature on October 5th but recognises that the major challenge will be the British Classic winners, Aidan O'Brien's AUSTRALIA and John Gosden's TAGHROODA. SEA THE MOON laid down his credentials in the German Derby last month when he won by a massive 11 lengths ahead of Group 1 winner, LUCKY LION. Currently SEA THE MOON is an 11/2 shot for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but, as stated earlier, will have a prep in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden next month.

Trainer, Markus Klug commented: “He is fit and well. The plan is to go to Baden-Baden on September 7.”

 

OAKS OK

John Gosden-trained TAGHROODA is on plan to line up in the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks at the Ebor Festival on Thursday. The Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned filly has been second-to-none in four career starts to-date and is acknowledged as one of the stars of the 2014 Flat season with her successes in the Investec Oaks at Epsom and even holding her own against the male of the species and older horses in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month. Another feather in her cap is that she was the first filly from the Classic generation to win the prestigious Ascot summer show piece since PAWNEESE achieved that feat in 1976.

Although the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is in her long-term sights, her connections are reported to be keen to have a go at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks before that.

 

Richard Hills, who is the Assistant Racing Manager for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, commented: “Taghrooda has been great since Ascot and the plan is to head to the Yorkshire Oaks. She has only had four career starts so it makes sense to keep her going and this race looks ideal. I was very impressed with her performance at Ascot. She has done everything we have asked of her.”

After the British Champions Day, the Group One Darley Yorkshire Oaks offers record prize money of £330,000 which makes it the richest all-aged fillies and mares contest in the country.

The York Festival's richest race ever is the Juddmonte International Stakes, worth £800,000 to the winner. This Group One is the long-awaited feature of the opening day of the Ebor Festival and racegoers are looking forward to seeing the William Haggas-trained, Coral-Eclipse winner, MUKHADRAM, in the line up. The latter was victor in the Sky Bet York Stakes in 2013 and was last seen finishing a strong third behind TAGHROODA in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month in July.

 

Richard Hills' verdict on the five-year-old son of SHAMARDAL was: “His run at Ascot was fantastic. He justified his place in the field and we were delighted with him. Whether he really stayed the mile and a half I don’t know, but he proved again what a brave horse he is. He came out of Ascot well and the Juddmonte International is the plan. I think he goes there as the one they all have to beat.”

 

TUESDAY 5th AUGUST 2014

A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR!

A foal born to Australian champion mare, MORE JOYOUS, with a little bit of help from retired superstar, FRANKEL, has caused quite a stir Down Under. She is the first reported Frankel filly, bred by John Singleton, whose mare won eight Group 1 races including the Doncaster Mile. That isn't the reason for the great surprise among connections, however. It's the fact that the new arrival is a chestnut with two white socks and a blaze, whereas Sire and Dam are both bays.

Duncan Grimley, Manager of Singleton's Strawberry Hill Stud, commented: "I certainly wasn't expecting that. More Joyous has a black father and bay mother and Frankel is by a bay out of a bay, so when you're thinking about what the foal will be like, chestnut doesn't really enter your head. I've done a bit of research now though and 25 per cent of Frankel's first northern hemisphere crop of foals are chestnut and his sire Galileo has left plenty of good chestnuts, including this year's Derby winner Australia."

 

WET WET WET!

No. Not the weather forecast! The performers at the concert that followed a special night's racing at Carlisle yesterday. This is the event, reported to be the only one of its kind in the world, when the distaff side takes over the Cumbrian course for the annual ‘girls only’ meeting. The evening's seven-race fixture was confined to female jockeys only. Group One-winning jockey, Hayley Turner, was present the first time.

 

The Southwell-born rider commented before racing began: “It’s fun, everyone’s buzzing and it’s nice to be involved. It’s different but nice to be here. It’s unique as I don’t think that anyone else does it. They used to have a ladies race at Chantilly on Oaks day but I don’t think they even do that anymore.”

 

Four-time national lady amateur champion jockey, Serena Brotherton, who had four rides said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for lady riders as you get the chance to ride more than one horse on a card.”

 

First-timer, Hayley Turner did make it into the winner's enclosure, after riding the Tony Newcombe-trained MY METEOR to victory in the Compare Bookies Odds At bookies.com Handicap but the star of the event was Anna Hesketh, achieving a double for the David Nicholls' yard with wins on RASSELAS and BAJAN BEAR.

 

GONNA MAKE YOU A STA. A MOVIESTA!

After an impressive performance at Glorious Goodwood last week it has been announced that

Bryan Smart-trained MOVIESTA will line up in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting on 22nd August. The four-year-old son of HARD SPUN has been below par since his triumph in the King George Stakes at Goodwood exactly a year ago. He came last out of seventeen in last season's Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes and this was apparently due to his sustaining an injury during the contest. He ran a reasonable race coming fifth in the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes in May Palace House at Newmarket but he clearly didn't like the soft ground in the Duke of York Stakes at York or the July Cup at Newmarket. He was back at Goodwood last Friday , defending his King George title and came a respectable third, only a neck and a short head behind first and second, respectively.

 

Ritchie Fiddes, part-owner with, Queens Park Rangers manager, Harry Redknapp, commented: "He ran the same race as last year, basically, but the difference was this time there was a front runner who didn't stop. He's never actually run a bad race when he's had his ground, it was soft in the July Cup and he wasn't 100 per cent fit yet he still ran OK. All we can hope is that the ground is fast at York, then we'll have no excuses.”

 

MONDAY 4th AUGUST 2014

BALDING ON TOP

Andrew Balding's INTRANSIGENT claimed the first Listed race of his career when winning yesterday's Queensferry Stakes at Chester. The Kingsclere trainer's sprinter was making up for last year's result when he was mugged on the line by the David Baron-trained HITCHENS. Since then the son of TRANS ISLAND hasn't exactly covered himself with glory. He won a minor event at Haydock, the Betfred Salford Red Devils' In The Community E.B.F. Conditions Stakes last September otherwise, since then, he has been on something of a losing run until now, that is.

 

The task at Chester was not an easy one, though, as jockey, Oisin Murphy, had to contend with a wide draw (11) but, fortunately, the Killarney-born rider was wiley enough to get an advantageous slot from where he was able to mount a successful challenge down the outside on approaching the short home straight. Up to then it certainly seemed to be the 2/1 favourite ERTIJAAL's race as he moved slowly up the inside rail but INTRANSIGENT, living up to his name, brooked no resistance in a very strong finish and eventually won by two lengths ahead of Richard Hannon's COULSTY, who managed to nudge the favourite into third place by a short head.

 

The winning jockey commented: "I might have hit the front too soon on him here the last day, but that was over seven furlongs and he was dropping back to six today. I knew the ones in front would come back to me, I thought I had probably hit the front too soon again but he ran on well. I'm getting great support from Mr Balding as well as Ed De Giles and Joe Tuite. After you lose your claim it's important to keep your name in the papers by riding winners."

 

CHANGING TRACKS

Yesterday heralded a successful trial at Wolverhampton of a new racing surface called Tapeta.

This innovation consists of sand, fibre, rubber and wax making up the top 4-7 inches of the racing surface, which is then covered by either porous asphalt or a geotextile membrane. Directors of the Dunstall Park track announced at the end of April that the current Polytrack surface would be replaced by a new synthetic surface invented by Michael Dickinson, a retired Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer who emigrated to America.

 

Director of communications for Wolverhampton's owners, Arena Racing Company, Kate Hills, stated: "The jockeys who rode were really pleased and there were loads of good comments. Michael Dickinson was there, as was Nicky Carlisle, the BHA's senior inspector of courses. They are doing another trial on Tuesday and we're looking forward to having our first meeting on August 11."

 

THE HILL IS ALIVE TO THE SOUND OF EBOR

The 2014 York Ebor Festival was confirmed yesterday as the next port of call for the Roger Varian-trained KINGSTON HILL who came second to Aidan Obrien's AUSTRALIA in this year's Investec Derby. The three-year-old son of MASTERCRAFTSMAN is entered into two contests, the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Juddmonte International on the Knavesmire so it's obvious that the young Newmarket trainer is determined to take full advantage of his three-year-old colt's versatility.

 

KINGSTON HILL's last outing was in the Coral Eclipse in June, when he finished fourth some four lengths behind the winner, MUKHADRAM, trained by William Haggas.

 

Roger Varian commented: "After the Eclipse he had an easy couple of weeks. I think he's set for a great second half of the season. He's entered in everything, from 10 furlongs to the Leger over a mile and six, but the plan is to run at York. He's got plenty of options but he's a very good horse."

 

SUNDAY 3RD AUGUST 2014

HAPPY AND GLORIOUS

The weather on the last day of Glorious Goodwood could have been better but that didn't prevent a sell-out crowd from enjoying racing of the highest standard. Trainer, John Gosden, ably abetted by regular jockey, William Buick, pulled off his second Group 1 win of the week, after TAGHROODA won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes last Saturday and KINGMAN did the honours in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, the second day of Glorious Goodwood. This time it was the turn of SULTANINA who scored in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes. The trainer/jockey partnership claimed this Group One contest last year with WINSILI and the year before with THE FUGUE. The older among us might recall that this makes John Gosden's fourth Nassau Stakes victory as he also won with RYAFAN in 1997. The Clarehaven Stables trainer has now won three Group Ones in a row within a week. His comment was: “It’s the sort of thing you don’t forget when you’re an old guy in your rocking chair.

 

William Buick added: “I am absolutely delighted. I am over the moon for everybody - for the owner/breeder, John and the whole team back home at Clarehaven. It’s fantastic. We have had a good week and this filly has really stepped up to the plate.”

 

William Buick became Glorious Goodwood's top jockey with five winners and won the prize of £1000 which he generously donated to Racing Welfare. As he explained: "I was reading about the Mirror and Racing UK's David Yates' bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats, which he is doing in aid of Racing Welfare, so that seems a very worthy donation.”

 

The Norwegian-born jockey had to wait until the very last race of the festival to claim his award. He didn't have a ride in this race but Joe Fanning and Richard Hughes did and they each had four winners to their name so far. In the event neither of them added to their total and William Buick became Goodwood's Top Jockey 2014.

 

Mark Johnston became the week's leading trainer for the ninth time after securing four winners, beating Richard Hannon by one.

 

QUATTRO CHEERS FOR ANDREA!

Just to prove there is life outside Goodwood, Andrea Atzeni gained his first four-time win at Doncaster. His first was aboard the Luca Cumani-trained PLEASANT VALLEY, the 11/8 favourite in the Unison Essential Protection For Workers Maiden Stakes. He barely had time to

change and weigh in as he was back again in the fourth contest of the day, the Unison And UIA Insurance Handicap, once more for his Italian compatriot, riding the Galileo colt, MIZZOU. The Sardinian made it a treble in the Unison Defending Our NHS Handicap, this time for another Newmarket trainer, David Simcock, whose WHISPERING WARRIOR pipped Richard Fahey's SPIRIT OF THE LAW to the post by three-quarters of a length. By comparison, the fourth victory seemed easy-peasy with 11/10 favourite Roger Varian-trained JUSTINEO winning comfortably after making all the running in the Unison Defending Public Services Conditions Stakes.

Andrea Atzeni commented afterwards: "That's my first four-timer, but it's easy when you've got the right horses."

Quite a busy day also for UNISON, Britain's biggest trade union, sponsoring all eight races with a total prize money of £76,730. Let's hope that some of the ordinary members enjoyed the day and had a few winners to offset their union dues.

SATURDAY 2nd AUGUST 2014

 

TWO FILLIES FOR NASSAU

When his 2012 winner, THE FUGUE, had to retire prematurely due to injury, John Gosden, must have thought he had a bat's chance in hell of winning the Nassau Stakes for a third successive year. The Clarehaven Stables trainer, however, is enjoying the luxury of having a strong string of a middle-distance fillies, such as the recent Oaks and King George winner TAGHROODA, and so can even saddle two credible candidates in this contest. First there is SULTANINA, winner of the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock in May but was beaten to the post by stablemate, POMOLOGY, when returning to the same track at the beginning of last month to compete in the Lancashire Oaks. This four-year-old daughter of NEW APPROACH, will be ridden by stable jockey, William Buick, and is probably John Gosden's main contender. His other entry, however, EASTERN BELLE, with former stable jockey, Jimmy Fortune, aboard has been doing all the right things, winning the Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes last time out at Newbury and could well be in the frame.

As the Suffolk-based trainer said: "In the absence of The Fugue and Thistle Bird the complexion of the race has changed. Consequently we have two fillies in it. Sultanina has good, solid form. We'll be hoping for the forecast rain in the morning as she would very much appreciate it, having raced so far only on ground with some give. It's important to her so I might be walking the track yet again. Eastern Belle is the outsider but deserves to take her place and will go on anything. She was second at Goodwood in what we used to call the Lupe on soft ground, then she won the Ballymacoll at Newbury on fast ground, so she's not bothered what the weather does."

 

VENGEANCE IS RED

The outcome of the Betfred Mile was decided by a short head. That was the distance that separated the winner, RED AVENGER from the runner-up. It was an exciting finish to the mile contest. Mark Johnston's HEAVY METAL, was going for his third victory in as many weeks, the highlight of which was success in last Saturday's International Stakes at Ascot but the four-year-old son of WAR FRONT, wearing blinkers for the first time, reacted positively to the most forceful of rides from Jimmy Fortune and went on to the £80,825 first prize.

 

The winning jockey commented: "I wasn't sure [he'd won] but he was certainly game. I wanted to be handier but he jumped a bit slow and I had to sit. They went plenty quick enough and came back to him. He's a grand horse and has only just won but it was a competitive handicap and today was his day."

The winning trainer, Ed Dunlop added: "We put a pair of blinkers on him and that made the difference as he has won a big one. I thought we were beaten. I always thought he was a good horse and he has flattered to deceive a little bit. Today on fast ground and with the blinkers to make him concentrate he has proved he is a good horse.

 

The day turned out less fortunate for the winning jockey, as the stewards ruled that he had whipped Red Avenger above the permitted level and after the winning post. He was, therefore, suspended for nine days and fined £2,300 and will misses the four-day Ebor meeting at York into the bargain.

Perhaps they will call him Jimmy Misfortune from now on!

 

DAVID'S BIG TIME DAY!

Trainer, David Griffiths made it into the big time at Goodwood yesterday, courtesy his impressive sprinter, TAKE COVER, who took the five-furlong Betfred King George Stakes by a neck. David Griffiths, with stables in Yorkshire, used to be an apprentice jockey for Ian Balding and Reg Hollinshead and had 100 winners to his name. But, there's no denying that this Group Two success ranks as his biggest triumph in his four seasons he has been working as a trainer.

 

The son of SINGSPIEL had already shown his ability by storming home from the front in the John Smith's City Walls Stakes last month. This time around, given a great ride by talented Sardinian, Andrea Atzeni, the seven-year-old gelding was always kept handy and although edging right to far side from over 1f out, he managed to hold off the challenge by EXTORTIONIST with Ryan Moore aboard.

 

The Bawtry-based trainer commented: "I'm delighted, it's unbelievable. He's my first Group winner, and my first Goodwood winner. We've always said he was good and he's that quick he burns them off and keeps going."

FRIDAY 1st AUGUST 2014

ROYAL DISAPPOINTMENT

The Artemis Goodwood Cup turned out to be quite a struggle for the Queen's horse, ESTIMATE and this contest might prove to be the last for the 2013 Gold Cup winner, arguably one of the best horses ever owned by the Queen. The five-year-old put on a disappointing performance for Her Majesty, finishing eighth in a field of eight, trailing some eigthteen lengths behind the winner, Goldolhin's veteran, CAVALRYMAN, ridden by Kieren fallon.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained daughter of MONSUN never got to grips with Goodwood's undulating terrain and certainly never looked like the 2/1 favourite she was billed to be. To be charitable, however, it was only the mare's second career defeat at this Sussex track. She came third in the 2012 Lily Langtree Stakes behind WILD COCO, trained by the late Henry Cecil.

It would now appear that there are't many options to go for and and retirement must feature high on any list. That would undoubtedly be a sad conclusion to a fairly short career that consists only of ten life-time outings, from which came four 1sts, one 2nd and two 3rds, culminating in last year's Ascot Gold Cup victory, that probably gave her royal owner one of her happiest days on a racecourse.

 

Afterwards John Warren, royal racing adviser, commented: ‘Ryan said she felt uncomfortable. He even wondered whether she was in season but Michael didn’t think so. Probably the track doesn’t suit her. It is complicated now. We were hopeful that if she did well today(Thursday) that we would be brave enough to go to the Irish St Leger to sharpen her up and see if she had enough toe for Melbourne. Now we are back to the drawing board. The option are so limited. We will have to get our heads around it and see what the Queen thinks.’

 

WINNING LAST RUN

This year's Lillie Langtry Stakes at Glorious Goodwood was won by the Michael Winters-trained MISSUNITED. Sadly the seven-year-old daughter of GOLAN finished lame after the race and it has now been decided to retire her To Michael Winter's farm in Co Cork.

MISSUNITED achieved twelve victories on the Flat, including the Galway Plate, exactly a year to the day before yesterday's win.

Ascot-born Jim Crowley, aboard for, what turned out to be, the winning finale, kept his mount well up with the pace, established by NYMPHEA, trained by German former champion jockey, Peter Schiergen, and decided to go for it three furlongs from home. There was never any shortage of challengers in the closing stages but MISSUNITED held on determinedly in a race that will be remembered as her last.

 

SIR'S UP FOR THE CUP!

Trainer, Tim Pitt, will be saddling SIR MAXIMILIAN, winner of the 60,000-euro Rockingham Stakes at the Curragh ten days ago, in tomorrow's 32red Stewards Cup at Gloroius Goodwood. The Cup is one of the leading sprint handicaps in Europe and will be fierclye contested by 28 runners.

The five-year-old son of ROYAL APPLAUSE has landed up with stall 11. The Market Drayton-based trainer commented: “It’s not the worst draw in the world. A lot of winners of this come from the middle of the track. He’s in really good nick. I couldn’t be happier with him.”

SIR MAXIMILIAN is rated a 20/1 shot by the sponsors and some bookmakers even have him at 33/1, to which the trainer doesn't take kindly: “It’s an absolute insult. “If he was trained by one of the big names he’d be half that.”

THURSDAY 31st JULY 2014

FIGHTING FOR THE CROWN

KINGMAN did what everyone expected and beat TORONADO in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and thereby tightened trainer, John Gosden's command of top level British Flat racing. In less than one week Clarehaven Stables has given the racing world both a champion colt and a filly. Yesterday's triumph by the son of INVINCIBLE SPIRIT over two older horses came just days after three-year-old TAGHROODA achieved a similar success in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

 

Whilst Richard Hannon's crown holder, TORONADO, could not be faulted in his brave resistance, he did seem set up as the fall guy as the contest got off at a slow pace. It just needed James Doyle to get himself organised by the approach of the furlong. Aidan O'Brien's DARWIN, ridden by son Joseph, was content to set the pace but didn't appear in a hurry to stretch the four runners. It was obvious that the defending champion, TORONADO, with Richard Hughes aboard, would be not leave it too late to make his mark and the opportunity came when KINGMAN, appearing to confirm concerns about the lightning fast ground and the unusual track, seemed to be some slight confusion. That's when Richard Hughes seized the moment and struck for home, perhaps with hindsight, a little too early. A repeat of the expected 'Duel on the Downs' ensued and, despite TORONADO'S valiant effort, KINGMAN finally found his top gear, surging past in the final strides to win by a length.

 

The winning trainer commented: “It was a very tactical affair, rather like the Olympic cycling races when they go round the velodrome. They do nothing for ages and then they go mad. It was a clever ploy and for a furlong and a half we had to get on an even keel, but in the last furlong his class came through. He could see, he switched leads and then got rolling. It was a clever way to try to beat him but his class shone through. Actually he has the class to do it under hands and heels. It reminds me I had him in the July Cup and if truth be known, he would have won it. That’s not me being loud-mouthed after the event because I feel it was a statement of fact.”

 

Richard Hughes' comment explained: “I hit the final two furlongs at full belt and I knew it would take a good one to get by me. I knew Kingman was brilliant the way he went by me (on Night Of Thunder) at Ascot. It was a different horse today, I got first run on him again off a slow pace and he has still beaten me.”

 

£100,000 TO PROVIDE COVER

What do you think the Southern hemisphere covering fee for adual world champion is? Well, the princely sum to you, if you want FRANKEL for your mare, that is, will be £100,000 for the coming season. This is a bit of a discount because his covering fee for the the 2014 Northern Hemisphere season was £125,000.

 

The son of GALILEO was restricted to 21 mares at Banstead Manor last year, including MORE JOYOUS and MORE STRAWBERRIES, both owned by John Singleton, who is obviously a FRANKEL fan, as he will be setting up more dates for his triple Group 1 winner SAMANTHA and two-time winner DEEDRA.

 

FRANKEL'S first offspring have already made a resounding impact on the British bloodstock industry. You may have seen news cameras from the BBC, ITV and Sky all flocking to the National Stud to film one of his early arrivals, a filly out of SONG. Meanwhile, recently, at public auction FRANKEL's first colt fetched £1,150,000, together with his dam CRYSTAL GAZE.

 

JUMPS ONLY AND THAT'S FLAT!

The Jockey Club has decided to discontinue Flat racing at Warwick after next month so the very last fixture on August 25, the Bank Holiday Monday. At the moment the Midland track presents eleven Jumps meetings ten the Flat, but from next year the plan is to stagseventeen meetings under National Hunt rules annually. The decision was obviously made in the light of the recent problems involving horses falling on the home bend in wet conditions. The change would mean there would no longer be any necessity to change the camber on that turn.

 

Ian Renton, Course spokesman, stated: "We could invest further in the Flat track at Warwick, such as increasing the camber, but that work would just return the Flat course to a position where the course has been struggling. I feel this is the right move for British racing in the long-term. It's time for Warwick not just to survive, but thrive."

 

It was in 1966 that Worcester decided to drop Flat racing and concentrate on jumps and Aintree followed suit in 1976. Interestingly Nottingham, Windsor and Wolverhampton used to hold both types of racing but now all of them only have races on the Flat.

WEDNESDAY 30th JULY 2014

 

ALL YA NEED IS LOVE, YA DA DA DA-DA

The Clive Cox-trained ES QUE LOVE put on an impressive performance in the bet365 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood yesterday. Since switching trainers from Mark Johnston, the son of CLODOVIL notched up a creditable third in the Al Basti Equiworld Hackwood Stakes at Newbury ten days ago and before that the same placing in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York in May.

 

On this occasion the five-year-old, a 7/1 chance, was stepping up to seven furlongs for the first time this year and travelled really well, ridden by Adam Kirby, who seemed not a little concerned that he might have hit the front too soon. TOORMORE, last season's champion juvenile, was the odds-on favourite to help his backers forget his disappointing efforts in the 2000 Guineas and the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and, as expected, was up with pace from the start of the race and leading inside the final furlong. But Richard Hughes, aboard TOORMORE, probably hadn't counted on ES QUE LOVE's ability to accelerate under pressure and a neck separated the two in the final analysis.

 

The winning jockey commented afterwards: “We all thought we were coming here with a massive chance. He loves the track, he loves the ground. They didn't feel to me they went very quick and I travelled very strong. He's come there on the bridle and he's done it easy to be fair to him. We learnt quite a lot about him last time. He's not ungenuine, but today we thought we'd play it a bit later and it paid off. He's in real good form and Clive's done a great job."

Trainer, Clive Cox added: "I'm delighted to win this because we've missed out a couple of times before with Dunelight and it's a race I've always wanted to win so it's nice to get it in the bag. We've won a Group Two and he's well-entered now for the rest of the year. I'm not sure where we'll go but he's versatile on trip, he's even run over five furlongs but I think this is his best distance. He is versatile in that he is quick enough for six furlongs but is clearly able over seven. I think this is his ground today - he enjoyed that very much.”

 

It was Clive Cox's 24th Goodwood win and his seventh at the Glorious Goodwood meeting

 

ADDITIONAL REWARDS FOR THE LADIES

The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association has submitted a proposal to the Levy Board which would significantly increase the financial rewards for racing National Hunt fillies and mares. The proposal, which bears the title NH Mare Owners' Prize Scheme (MOPS!), makes provision for a bonus of £10,000 to the winners of selected bumper races and £15,000 for novice hurdles and chases, including mares' events. Mares' black-type races will be in line for additional prize-money.

 

Bryan Mayoh, recently elected to the TBA board, commented: "We're trying to provide a greater incentive for owners to purchase fillies at the sales, ensuring a better return for breeders. We also want to encourage breeders to race their own fillies before retiring them to stud - and in the long-term, it might encourage more owners to breed themselves."

 

MOPS will be available to all British-bred or sired National Hunt or dual-purpose fillies for a proposed fee of £50 for TBA members, and £100 for non-members. The Levy Board would be responsible for the main funding for the bonuses which, this year, allocated £56.4 million from its budget to prize-money on both the Flat and jumps – which represents a significant increase on the £50.2m in 2013. The 2015 budget for 2015 will be set in the latter part of the year. Before that the TBA will endeavour to encourage its member to contact the Levy Board to express its support for the proposal.

 

Brian Mayoh added: "In the first year, 2015, we expect the scheme to cost less than £300,000, because only that year's four-year-olds will be eligible," said Mayoh. "If it's approved before November at the latest, we aim to register those who are three and younger before December to get it off the ground quickly, but we aim to close the gap to registering just foals and yearlings quickly. In the second year, with more horses eligible, it's expected to cost between £700,000 and £800,000, with maximum funding of £1.2m in future years - but it will only reach that if the number of fillies and mares in training doubles from what it is now. If it costs less it hasn't worked. However, it's important to stress that this won't reduce the total prize-money in circulation - it all goes to the owner, trainer and jockey as normal, it doesn't go to the breeder. It's simply a reallocation of what is already there."

 

TUESDAY 29th JULY 2014

CHARITY BEGINS AT … GOODWOOD

It's Ladies’ Day at Glorious Goodwood on Thursday and it really is something special. They're staging the Magnolia Cup again and none other than Olympic eventer, Tina Cook, numbers among the field of high-profile ladies taking part this year. The celebrity line-up for the charity race also figures top fashion model, Edie Campbell, a previous winner of this fixture and also Goodwood Ladies’ Day ambassador. The latter commented: “I’m very excited to take on the role of leading lady. I can’t wait to get back into full jockey mode.”

 

But 'the dedicated follower of fashion' won't have it all her own way on Thursday as she will be up against the likes of Tricia Simonon, model and ex-manager of The Clash, and Philippa Holland, a jeweller who has won the event for the past two years. They are not all regulars, however. Among the new faces, apart from the aforementioned Tina Cook, is Clare Salmon, director of Royal London Group.

 

Although it's Tina Cook's dėbut, in this race, she is by no means a stranger to racing. Her father Josh (Gifford) was four times Champion Jockey and became a trainer, as did her brother, Nick. Her mother Althea Roger-Smith was a successful international show jumper who won the Queen Elizabeth Cup, came second in the Hickstead Derby and represented Great Britain in the Nations Cup. Tina won a charity race at Cheltenham in 2012 and must have victory in her sights again.

All these celebrity jockeys will wear silks created by top fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, Sarah Burton, Jasmine Guinness, Bella Freud and Beulah.

Two charities will benefit from the proceeds - the Reading Agency, an organisation dedicated to helping people improve their life chances by becoming confident readers and Best Beginnings, a charity dedicated to addressing child heath inequalities in the UK.

 

POCO A POCO FOR CHOPIN

German trainer, Andreas Wohler, seems not to be in any hurry to find a contest for his four-year-old, CHOPIN, until he has identified a race on a day when there is some guaranteed cut in the ground. The son of SANTIAGO, who only managed seventh in last year's Derby and fourth in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury is entered in next month's Molson Coors Celebration Mile at Goodwood but things aren't hopeful because he hasn't been seen on the track for a few months.

The Gutersloh-based trainer stated: "He's fine, we just need a bit of softer ground and that's what we're waiting for. Last time at Newbury, when we supplemented it was soft ground, and when he ran it wasn't soft at all. There are plenty of races over a mile, or maybe a bit further, later in the season."

 

ON APPROVAL

SEAL OF APPROVAL, trained by James Fanshawe, notched up an impressive Group One victory last October in the British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot but then followed that up with a disappointing performance in the Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup in May when she came fourth and an even more devastating result (8th) in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at the beginning of this month. Connections must by now be hoping to see something more positive from their five-year-old daughter of AUTHORIZED and may be aiming to run her in the Yorkshire Oaks as soon as next week or wait a while for the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury next month.

 

The Newmarket trainer commented: "Obviously she was disappointing (at Haydock). Going into the race she hadn't really got to her best weight. Since then she has come on well and she's moving well," the trainer told At The Races. We've got the forfeit for the Yorkshire Oaks next week so we'll probably leave her in that and there is also the Geoffrey Freer, which is a week before. We couldn't have run her anywhere (recently) with the way the ground is. We've still got plenty of time with her as she loves soft ground."

MONDAY 28th JULY 2014

 

THE LADY'S NOT FOR TURNING

Last year's Galway Hurdle winner, MISSUNITED, trained by Michael Winters, has also produced some good form on the Flat, particularly her impressive third in the Gold Cup at Ascot just over a week ago. Now the County Cork trainer will be wishing on lucky shamrock that the ground at Goodwood will have a drop of moisture in it when his seven-year-old daughter of GOLAN attempts to get back into winning ways in the Sterling Insurance Lillie Langtry Stakes on Thursday. In fact he also makes no secret of the fact that he would have preferred to run his dual-purpose mare in defence of her Galway crown this week, but it seems her owner, Vanessa Hutch, prefers to keep her protégée involved in Flat racing and the Group 3 contest happens to be on the same day.

 

Trainer Michael Winters commented: ” She’s in great order and you’d like to think if she goes there in the same form as she went to Ascot that she’ll have every chance. I suppose I’m a bit lonesome that she isn’t going to Galway. We went to Galway expecting her to win last year and we’ve kept her back from running over hurdles since to try and go and win it again. The owner wanted to go down this route, though, and we’re quite happy to do that. If she goes to Goodwood and wins, it will be good compensation. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of rain in Goodwood to take the sting out of the ground, but she goes on good ground perfectly well. I think the track should suit her well – the more twists and turns there are the sweeter she is. On a big, galloping track she can become a sitting duck. She was given a peach of a ride in Ascot and Jim (Crowley) will ride her again next week, all being well.”

 

WEATHER TO WATER OR NOT

Talking of Goodwood, Clerk of the Course, Seamus Buckley, hasn't yet made up his mind whether to bring out the sprinklers. He's hanging on until this afternoon to see whether the forecast rain arrives. That's about as long as he can delay as the long-awaited Glorious Goodwood starts tomorrow. It will be touch-and-go as no rain fell yesterday and the going is now officially described as good, good to firm in places on the round course.

 

Seamus Buckley confirmed: If they do not materialise watering will take place on selected areas to maintain the existing conditions," Buckley confirmed this morning.”

 

The five-day meeting is the highlight of Goodwood's racing season and leading trainer, John Gosden, has already walked the course to check whether conditions will be suitable for KINGMAN, who is due to take on ingman, who is set to tackle the Richard Hannon-trained TORONADO in the Group 1 Qipco Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.

 

WANNA BET?

There's another big event starting today - the 2014 Galway Race Festival, the seven-day racing bonanza at Ballybrit that will play host to over 150,000 racing fans. A lot of interest seems to be focussed on Dermot Weld, one of Ireland's most successful racehorse trainers who holds the record for the most winners trained in Ireland. A qualified veterinarian and former jockey, Dermot Weld runs his stable in Rosewell House, in Curragh.

 

Last year Dermot Weld was crowned the leading trainer for the 27th year, after notching up eleven winners. So there is a flurry of betting on how many winners he will get this year . In fact Boylesports is offering 7/4 that Dermot Weld will have fewer than twelve winners. You can also get 4/1 that he will saddle a winner on all seven days of the Festival.

PR Executive at Boylesports, Liam Glynn, said: “Judging by the year so far we are expecting turnover levels to exceed last year’s figures as in the past six months our mobile customers have grown rapidly and continue to grow on a daily basis. With results favouring the punters in the last two months, which included an excellent Royal Ascot, Australia winning the Epsom Derby and the domination of Eddie Lynam’s Power horses in the valuable sprints, we are expecting punters to have a betting bonanza throughout the week at Ballybrit.”

SUNDAY 27th JULY 2014

 

THREE TIMES A LADY

It's forty-one years since a filly won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Now John Gosden-trained TAGHROODA now ranks alongside DAHLIA (1973) and PAWNESE (1976), previous fillies who made this prestigious contest their own.

 

The daughter of SEA THE STARS proved she was, as her trainer put it, "something a bit special" as she tackled one of the toughest contests of her career but did it with such power and authority that even the connections of the 'losers', TELESCOPE (2nd three lengths adrift) and third-placed MUKHADRAM, seemed happy with the result. In any case both of them were carrying than 14lbs more than the winner, calculated on a weight-for-age scale so there were bound to be at some disadvantage.

 

With hindsight it is now clear that Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum made the right move by deciding at the very last moment to line up his three-year-old filly as the only female in the race and not go for perhaps the safer option of the Irish Oaks. Sheikh Hamdan's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, usually rides MUKHADRAM strongly from the front but yesterday he was content to let his replacement, Dane O'Neill, take on that role which he did handsomely when he overhauled the pacemaker, LEITIR MOR. As expected MUKHADRAM went for his customary charge around the home bend, hotly pursued by TELESCOPE, with Ryan Moore aboard, determined not to let him get away with it on this occasion. There were a few moments when you might have thought that TAGHROODA would be settling for an honourable third but no. Miraculously she had enough in reserve to race past Sir Michael Stoute's four-year-old and straight into the record books, making it a double with the Investec Oaks she won in June.

 

Trainer, John Gosden, commented afterwards: "It was a special performance and I'm very glad Sheikh Hamdan made the correct decision. She's right up there and would have to be the best filly I've had over a mile and a half. The Fugue would have beaten anything over a mile and a quarter and Royal Heroine was the best at a mile. I thought he [Hanagan] rode a beautiful race. It would make some sense, but it's entirely up to the owner. She's still a three-year-old filly and there's a decent weight allowance. Races like the Yorkshire Oaks and the Arc – that's probably a nice pattern for her.

The winning jockey's reaction: "I actually heard the roar as I headed up the straight – I'd never heard a crowd react like that before."

 

JOHNSTON ROCKS AGAIN

Mark Johnston, did it again in yesterday's Longines International Stakes at Ascot when he saddled HEAVY METAL, a 33/1 outsider, to win over £93,000 in the seven-furlong Class 2 contest. The Middleham-based trainer was repeating what he did a year ago when GALICIAN, also owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, won this valuable Heritage Handicap.

 

On this occasion the four-year-old son of EXCEED AND EXCEL had to overcome a 3lb penalty which he managed in great style, beating the challenging DONT BOTHER ME by one length. GALICIAN subsequently went on to come fourth a week later in the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood so it remains to be seen whether history will repeat itself again.

 

CUP OF GOOD CHEER

The Queen's horse, ESTIMATE, winner of the 2013 Ascot Gold Cup, has her sights on the Artemis Goodwood Cup next Thursday along with fourteen other hopefuls. Despite the fact that last week's morphine controversy is still rumbling on, trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, is apparently still allowed to enter the five-year-old daughter of MONSUN, as the outcome of the investigation will not involve a ban. BROWN PANTHER, last year's winner, will line up as his connections decided not to enter their six-year-old son of SHIROCCO in yesterday's King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Other competition will come from: last year's runner-up, AHZEEMAH; Godolphin's CAVALRYMAN and EXCELLENT RESULTS, both trained by Saeed bin Suroor; Dr. Marwan Koukash's double entry, the Chester Cup winner SUEGIOO and victor in the Northumberland Plate, ANGEL GABRIAL; Ralph Beckett-trained TALENT, who scored in the Investec Oaks 2013. For once, EYE OF THE STORM, trained by Aidan O'Brien's is the only Irish-trained horse in the field.

 

One horse conspicuous by her absence is Michael Winter's mare, MISSUNITED, who was technically third behind ESTIMATE in the Gold Cup, although now presumably second after the disqualification of the Queen's horse.

Now we're back to the drugs' scandal again! Can't seem to get away from the subject.

 

SATURDAY 26th JULY 2014

A RECORD IN FOCUS

If Highclere-owned TELESCOPE pulls it off today in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes it will make sir Michael Stoute the most successful trainer in the history of Ascot's richest middle-distance contest. The four-year-old GALILEO colt, who won the Hardwicke Stakes by seven lengths at Ascot a month ago, has long been regarded as top class but didn't have a crack at last year's Derby for some reason. He's now got a chance to show what he can do in top-class company.

 

Harry Herbert, who is Highclere's Managing Ddirector said as much: "It is his first crack at a Group 1. It's not just any Group 1 but a race that is certainly going to be tough. He's in great shape according to Sir Michael and the team around him. They feel they have him absolutely spot-on. When you have a horse like this, a talented, improving four-year-old, it is such a relief to have him with a trainer who is the expert in producing them and eking out ever more improvement at this time of development. We have seen what he can do with Harbinger, although we are not in any way comparing Telescope with him. We are fortunate enough to have gone through that situation and see how it can happen, and that leaves us with that feeling of how much there is to come from Telescope. The vibes appear to be very positive.”

 

The going is now officially good to soft, good in places (from good to soft) and, with a dry, bright day forecast and further change is anticipated.

 

IN DEFENCE OF RACING

On the eve of his big day at Newmarket, John Gosden has rallied to the defence of the racing industry after a week of nothing but headlines about the morphine 'scandal' which have dominated the sport this week and virtually supplanted most of the advanced coverage of the Suffolk track's midsummer highlight, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

 

As luck would have it, Newmarket trainer is not directly involved, as he does not use feed from Dodson & Horrell, the firm suspected of supplying the contaminated product so he can speak more freely. His main message is that he feels the standing of his beloved sport is being undermined and for no good reason.

 

John Gosden stated: “It’s the most horrific bad luck for people. It’s quite obvious, talking to the professionals, you can get a cluster of some grain that’s gone in to feed mills that has got contaminated with poppy seeds that grow on the edge of any field. It’s quite obvious that whatever shows up wouldn’t affect the horse’s performance but the tiniest, tiniest trace is enough [for a positive test]. I think it’s really sad and unfortunate for anyone involved. It could happen to anybody. It’s no reflection on anything other than possibly the feed company failing to test their grain coming in but can you imagine the turnover of grain they have, testing every batch? It’s probably a logistical nightmare. I find the headlines unfortunate, hitting the front pages of the broadsheets and the news, because people already assume, ‘Oh, there’s something going on here,’ which of course there isn’t. And I think the BHA needs to get that message out there very loud and very clear because the last thing we need is, every time we hit the headlines, it’s for a negative. And this is the finest and cleanest of racing.

I just feel I’m getting a little tired that when we make the front pages it’s for entirely the wrong reasons. And this [story] is all about wrong place, wrong time, innocent, it really is.”

 

The Clarehaven Stables' trainer is clearly concerned that the general public will not understand the sophistications of the case and will just see it as one more drug scandal on a par with the Al-Zarrooni case last year.

 

SECOND-CLASS DELIVERY

The Daily Mail owned-FIRST CLASS MAIL failed to deliver, coming fifth in the Adnams Copper House Gin Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Newmarket last night. It seems, however, that connections were not disappointed, even upbeat, though the son of WINKER WATSON was a good eighteen lengths behind the winner, the indomitable HOME OF THE BRAVE. They consoled themselves with the fact that it was only their mount's third career start over six furlongs.

 

FIRST CLASS MAIL, the 33/1 outsider, was a little slow to get out of the stalls but soon made up for it and tracked the early pacesetters. He was, however, unable to match the increased pace when the eventual winner made for home about two furlongs out. He was doing his best to catch up when he was confronted by the rising ground in the final furlong which just seemed too much for him.

 

Having raced three times, the Mick Channon-trained two-year-old now qualifies for a handicap mark and will be eligible to race in nurseries (two-year-old handicaps).

 

FRIDAY 25th JULY 2014

DISAPPOINTING, MR. PRESIDENT

Contrary to the pre-race build-up the Aidan O'Brien-trained JOHN F KENNEDY could only manage a second in his début race, the Frank Conroy EBF Maiden at Leopardstown yesterday. The two-year-old had the been the ante-post favourite for next season's Investec Derby with a number of bookies. But when it came to it the son of GALILEO failed to live up to expectation and was well beaten by Jim Bolger's HALL OF FAME, with Kevin Manning aboard. JOHN F KENNEDY, ridden by the trainer's son, Joseph, just didn't seem to be able to find his rhythm until well into the race and even then didn't have an answer when the eventual victor, who was always in a handy position, set sail for home.

A great disappointment, no doubt, for Aidan O'Brien as he has called this race his own for the last five years, his most memorable triumph being with CAMELOT in 2011.

 

THE EAGLE HAS NOT YET LANDED

It looks like nine horses could be lining up for Saturday's for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot with the possibility that this number might yet be reduced by one. This is because, although trainer, John Gosden, has entered EAGLE TOP, at a cost of £75,000, there is a slight doubt as to whether he will compete because the ground conditions may be unsuitable. John Gosden planned to walk the course today before deciding whether to saddle the winner of the King Edward VII Stakes winner.

 

The Newmarket-based trainer announced: “Eagle Top is in very good form. Unfortunately our supplementary system is five days before the race. In France, it’s a much better system, it’s at 48 hours,” Gosden told At The Races. At the five-day stage there was talk of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday, but now it looks like the rain is much more likely on Sunday. With the owners, who know the family well and know the horse well, we’ll make a decision. I’ll be at Ascot tomorrow (Friday) and walk the track. Then we will be making our decision.”

The trainer has two other hopefuls for the Group 1 contest in Investec Oaks victor, TAGHROODA running alongside stablemate, ROMSDAL.

 

HUGHES TOP JOCKEY, THEN?

It has been announced that the Glorious Goodwood Top Jockey Award this year will again be sponsored by Racing UK. Champion jockey, Richard Hughes, is Sky Bet's 11/8 favourite to retain his title for the fifth consecutive year. The winning jockey over the five-day festival, starting Tuesday, July 29, will get a subscription to Racing UK, a £1,000 donation to the charity of his/her choice, and a deluxe Goodwood hamper. Richard Hughes was last year’s top jockey and so will be wearing the Racing UK blue and white armband for Tuesday's opening race, the bet365.com handicap.

 

Racing UK’s Marketing Director, Clive Cottrell, commented:“Racing UK is delighted to sponsor the Glorious Goodwood Top Jockey Award for the fifth year running. We have been a long-standing supporter of the jockeys, primarily through our sponsorships and continued close association with the Professional Jockeys Association. We’re always keen to get involved with the sport’s real ambassadors.”

Richard Hughes's only really has one great rival and that is Ryan Moore, who is the 13/8 second favourite to win this Racing UK-sponsored award. Sky Bet Racing PR Manager, Michael Shinners, said: “As the prices suggest we fully expect a winner to come from either Richard Hughes or Ryan Moore. The firepower that they can both call upon means it will be a shock if the winner comes from outside these two in the Racing UK Top Jockey Award at Glorious Goodwood"

 

BATTLE OF THE TITANS

The Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday is abuzz with the news that those two racing giants, TORONADO and KINGMAN will be battling it out on the Sussex downs. The talented pair are among nine horses still entered for the Group One feature. TORONADO won this prize event last year and then made a remarkable comeback by winning the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

 

Trainer, Richard Hannon, has, however, kept in the mix Lockinge victor OLYMPIC GLORY and Glory SHIFTING POWER, who came fourth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and second in the Irish equivalent.

 

The filly to watch out for, however, is Sir Michael Stoute's INTEGRAL, who launched her Group One campaign by winning the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July.

 

The Ballydoyle wizard, Aidan O'Brien, will be saddling three possibles: DARWIN, ILLUSIVE and WAR COMMAND. Not to be outdone Godolphin will be rooting for OUTSTRIP who came third in the St James's Palace.

 

Racing manager for Kingman's owner, Khalid Abdullah, Teddy Grimthorpe, commented: "We're still looking at the race and the Prince (Abdullah) will make a decision over the weekend. He'll have to make a decision before declaration time on Monday."

THURSDAY 24th JULY 2014

 

CAN HE DELIVER THIS TIME?

Thirteen rivals will line up in Friday's six-furlong Adnams Copper House Gin Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Newmarket to deny victory to FIRST CLASS MAIL, who runs in the colours of the Daily Mail and Mail Online. It will be the two-year-old's third outing, having not entirely covered himself with glory in his runs at Windsor and Bath where he came sixth and fifth, respectively. Apprentice jockey, Charlie Bishop, renews his partnership with the Mick Channon-trained colt, after ceding the second ride to William Twiston-Davies. It's perhaps a surprise that FIRST CLASS MAIL is back on the track so soon as it's only a week since his last run at Brighton where he never seemed comfortable with the ups-and-downs of the Sussex track. Connections are obviously hoping that the son of WINKER WATSON will adapt more readily to the Newmarket contours, though he will have to tackle HOME OF THE BRAVE who came second, three lengths ahead, when they met last time at Windsor.

 

JOHNNY BE GOOD

At this stage there are thirty-three runners in this year's Ladbroke' St. Leger and trainer, John Gosden is bagging five of the slots in an attempt to strengthen his challenge to make it a fifth win in the Doncaster Classic. His strongest hopes would appear to come in the form of ROMSDAL, who came a creditable third in the Investec Derby and EAGLE TOP who triumphed in the King Edward VII, both of whom might also run in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. Then he has entered FOREVER NOW who broke his duck in the rafbf.org Maiden Stakes at Doncaster in the middle of June; HRH Princess Haya Of Jordan's MARZOCCO, who was successful in his début at Kempton in October last year and came second in the Investec Derby Trial (Conditions Race) in April; and, last but not least, Lady Rothschild's three-year-old CLOUDSCAPE, who has two wins and one second to his credit. It seems a shame, however, that there would appear to be no place on the team for WESTERN HYMN, last Sunday's impressive victor in the Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-laffitte

 

BE MY GUEST

The Rae Guest-trained MINALISA got her revenge yesterday by landing the listed Yeomanstown & Morristown Lattin Studs Fillies Stakes in Naas last night, a contest she lost by a head last year. Thirty-three-year-old Fran Berry was aboard for the second time since last July. The five-year-old daughter of OASIS DREAM soon dominated his top-weight rival, TOBANN, trained by Jim Bolger, and made the race hers inside the final furlong, winning by a length-and-a-half, and leaving the minor prizes to the Eddie Lynam-trained duo, GATHERING POWER and YULONG BAOJU.

 

Trainer, Rae Guest commented afterwards: “Fran said the ridges cost her the race last year. So, when they took them out, we felt we should come back, with the same jockey. It’s great she got her head in front, to get some black type as she’s a very well-bred filly, from the same family as Dick Whittington, and will be kept for breeding. I knew she was in good form. Fran gave her a nice, sensible ride and she did it all nicely. She loves summer ground, but it’s difficult to find six-furlong fillies-only races for her. I’m not sure where she’ll go next. She’s entered for the Curragh next month (in both the Phoenix Sprint and Renaissance Stakes) and, if the ground is right, she might come back.”

 

FIERY END OF THE DAY

Lingfield Park at least brought some cheering news to The Queen after a day of 'you-know-what' in the news. Her Majesty's FIERY SUNSET, trained by Michael Bell, got off the mark quite admirably when winning the Aldermore Block Discounting Maiden Stakes by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Dubliner, Richard Hughes, took the ride for the first time on the three-year-old filly's fifth career start and always looked at ease on the 6/1 shot, quite happy to let Andrew Balding's JONNY RAE make the running in the early stages. The Champion jockey, didn't hang about, however, and kicked on just before the home turn. A late challenge by Lady Cecil's BUTTON DOWN was easily beaten off and the outcome was assured.

 

Interestingly, despite all the publicity surrounding her Majesty's horses, all eyes at the start were on the infamous BATTLE GROUP, who, you will remember, has made quite a name for himself for refusing to start, which he did in this year's Crabbie's Grand National. This time the Johnny Farrelly-trained son of BEAT HOLLOW did oblige by going into the stalls for début on the Flat but that was as far as it went. After that the nine-year-old lived up to his Sire's name and got 'beat hollow'!

WEDNESDAY 23rd JULY 2014

WE ARE NOT AMUSED

Heard the one about the Queen, her horse, Estimate and a failed drugs' test?

Cause: apparently contaminated feed, probably from poppy pollution.

No ban.

Disqualification.

We'll see them both again at Glorious Goodwood.

End of story.

 

No not quite. Her Majesty will have to give back her £80,000 prize money.

 

THE FRENCH HAVE WORD FOR IT - 'CHAOS'!

Lets take our minds off drugs with yet another chaotic chase à la française. You will recall that about two weeks ago a chase at Castera-Verduzan disintegrated into a Benny Hill-type farce. This time the action takes place at Saint-Pierre-la-Cour, a small racecourse not far from Rennes in North West France. The problem started towards the end of the first circuit of this tight figure-of-eight track. A couple of loose horses caused so much havoc on the home turn that the leading rider was forced off into a different direction from the remaining field.

 

It soon becomes apparent that something is not quite right, as the camera follows the main group, who now seem to be running in the opposite direction to earlier. We even catch a glimpse of frantic efforts to move a silver car which seems to suggest that “tout ne va pas bien”! Shortly afterwards, things were certainly going pear-shaped as the five remaining riders are seen having to take evasive action to avoid the car, which, incredibly, is now being driven straight down the middle of the track. And that is just one hair-raising happening of this Keystone Cops caper that consists of heavy falls and nail-biting near misses.

 

It's anyone's guess but of the ten who started the race only three riders appear to make it to the end of the race. But then, almost as an after-thought, the camera switches to one lonely rider appearing at the far turn, more than two and a half minutes after the rest. Presumably the earlier leader running his own race – the right way round?!

 

See for yourself what happened:

 

http://www.lescourseshippiques.com/hippodrome/495/saint-pierre-la-cour/20-07-2014/83321/course-8-prix-marc-vettier-videos.html

 

CLASH OF THE TITANS

It seems that Ladbrokes might have to withdraw its sponsorship of the St Leger because of a fixture clash between the famous feature and the new Champions Weekend in Ireland. Entries for the Doncaster Classic, scheduled for September 13th, closed yesterday. This year marks the 10th that the Harrow-based bookmakers have supported this event which will be worth £650,000in prize money this year. This possible action also comes when the current three-year deal is drawing to a close so there are different plans under consideration anyway.

 

Ever since Ladbrokes agreed to sponsor the St Leger, its profile has grown and grown. The height of interest for the event was probably in 2012 when CAMELOT, winner of the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby, failed in his attempt to seize NIJINSKY's crown, the first Triple Crown winner in 1970.

 

This year’s St. Leger, however, will have to compete with the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, which will probably steal the limelight, as it will feature Aidan O’Brien’s dual Derby winner AUSTRALIA.

 

When Ireland announced its Champions Weekend plans going on a year ago, it appears that neither Ladbrokes nor Doncaster was informed. The bookmakers say that the BHA did not inform them of the fixture.

 

Mike Dillon, who is PR director for Ladbrokes, commented: ‘We have no gripe with the Irish authorities but I have made no secret of the fact that there was no communication (with the BHA), which was surprising. It was a dereliction of duty. It was me who told Doncaster. How can you not consult the stakeholders? It beggars belief. I decided we would not make a knee-jerk reaction but we can’t make a decision about renewing sponsorship. We need to see how things pan out this year and then make a judgement.’

 

TUESDAY 22nd JULY 2014

LOSING TRACK

Yesterday's racing at Cartmel was the centre of unwanted attention from the racing world. The event that set caused all the fuss was the Champagne Louis Roederer Handicap Hurdle. Tom Scudamore was riding RUN FOREST RUN, when he seems to have suffered a catastrophic collapse in concentration and he somehow thought that he was taking part in a chase. As the rest of the field set off into the country for the first time, the Gloucestershire born jockey, who was positioned towards the rear, didn't follow the others but rode the Karen McLintock-trained 10-year-old onto the chase course. It was only after he took the first fence that he realised his mistake and pulled up.

 

After that no-one seemed to be interested in the winner, Richard Ford's MAKELLYS BLACKPOOL, but all discussion was concentrated on Tom Scudamore's blunder. The stewards took a dim view of the transgression and handed a 12-day ban to the Cheltenham Festival-winning rider.

 

Occasional navigational problems by jockeys on British race tracks is nothing new but yesterday's faux-pas was strange. It was almost as though Tom Scudamore was completely not conscious of the fact that he was that was riding over hurdles from the start.

 

Naturally the 32-year-old jockey apologised profusely after the race: "It was very unprofessional of me. I was riding in a chase later on and I thought it was a chase, I had a mental block. I feel very sorry for horse's connections and everyone that backed him. I was given a 12-day ban by the stewards and for once I don't feel hard done by."

 

RUN FOREST RUN's owner, Caroline Todd: "It's very disappointing, I can't really say a lot more. We came here rather than go to Uttoxeter later in the week, but we'll have to go there now. On the plus side is that the horse is fine and we know he can jump a fence."

 

DON'T COUNT YOUR EAGLE BEFORE ….

Though it cost to £75, 000 to enter EAGLE TOP into the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, connections have warned that they will not risk their colt on really fast ground. The John Gosden-trained three-year-old colt was yesterday's big market mover for the race. The son of PIVOTAL, victor of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, is one of three entries in the mile-and-a-half contest from the Clarehaven Stables. The other two are, as mentioned yesterday, TAGHROODA, winner of the Oaks and ROMSDAL, who came third in the Derby.

 

Racing Manager, Hugo Lascelles, did say, however: ‘The intention is to run but I would not be backing him yet. It will be fine if the ground is like it was at the royal meeting but it got very fast at the last meeting at Ascot and we would want it like that.”

 

One piece of good news, if you fancy EAGLE TOP, is that Ascot ground staff are already watering the track and there might just be showers towards the end of the week.

 

THAT'S THE TICKET!

The inaugural Weekend of Champions fixture is being used as an opportunity to attract a younger audience to horse racing. It has been announced that students will get free access. For the first time this year, the newmarket Dubai Future Champions Day on Friday 17th October is followed by the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday 18 October and students will be able to attend both days for free under a Great British Racing-led scheme.

 

Chief executive of British Champions Series, Rod Street, said yesterday: “Not only will students enjoy top-class action on the track but there will also be an exclusive student area with great entertainment, dedicated facilities and after-party to provide them with an all-round brilliant raceday experience.”

Interested students must register at their chosen racecourse's website, to secure tickets, students using offer code STUDENTSBCD for Ascot and STUDENT14 for Newmarket.

 

MONDAY 21st JULY 2014

GO MANGO!

For the second year in succession the a row the Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh was won by team Sir Michael Stoute/Ryan Moore. The latter was aboard MANGO DIVA who took the Group Two contest by a short head in the final strides. It seemed as though David Wachman's LAHINCH CLASSICS, who made a bold challenge in the final furlong, had done sufficient to claim the prize but it wasn't to be. It became apparent, however, that Ryan Moore had already booked his place in the winner's enclosure and was in no mood to be denied victory.

 

The Great Farm Barns' travelling head lad, James Savage, commented afterwards: “We were glad there wasn’t much rain last night. She’s a good-moving filly and wants top of the ground. I was praying for it to stop but in the end it just made it nice ground. She’s progressive and forward moving and while that could be her trip, she will stay 10. She just gets caught on her head a bit over a mile. The boss and the owner will look for her next race, but she might follow the Dank route.”

 

TWIN PEAKS

TAGHROODA and MUKHADRAM are both planned to take Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's racing successes even higher as they are both entered in the £1 million King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. The season's leading owner committed ommitted his Oaks champion, TAGHROODA, trained by John Gosden the line-up last Thursday but the decided to strengthen his attack against the ante-post favourite, TELESCOPE, by including his William Haggas-trained, Eclipse Stakes winner, MUKHADRAM, tto be ridden by Dane O'Neill. It will be the latter's highest-profile ride since he was appointed second jockey to Sheikh Hamdan in October 2012. Interestingly, the former champion apprentice will partner MUKHADRAM instead of the owner's first jockey, Paul Hanagan, who has ridden him on all 13 previous outings.

 

As things stand, Paul Hanagan will be aboard TAGHROODA, who will be seeking to become the first three-year-old filly to win the mile-and-a-half contest since PAWNESE in 1976.

 

For the other partnership it will be unknown territory for both horse and jockey. MUKHADRAM has never run more than a mile-and-a-quarter and Dane O'Neill has never ridden the five-year-old son of SHAMARDAL at home or on the track.

 

Trainer, William Haggas, commented: "I'm expecting Mukhadram to run in the King George on Sunday. I haven't heard any different and he's been in good form at home since Sandown. I'm pretty sure Paul Hanagan will be riding Taghrooda and, anyway, Dane O'Neill would struggle to do the weight on her which is 8st 6lb whereas Mukhadram will be carrying 9st 7lb. I expect Dane will ride Mukhadram and I'm not worried about the fact he's never ridden him before as he's quite a straightforward horse."

 

THE RICHARDS KEEPING IT KOOL

Middleham Park Racing-owned, Richard Hannon-trained and Richard Hughes-ridden KOOL KOMPANY won the Group 2 level in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons Laffitte yesterday and thereby took his record to five wins from six starts. Connections were delighted that their two-year-old, named in honour of Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, was able to bring his recently proven skills to the track and was well up to fighting it out with the Charlie Hills-trained STRATH BURN.

Richard Hughes had let it be known that he would be quite happy to let KOOL KOMPANY amble along ahead of the field but, in the event, it didn't work out like that and he had to settle for second spot when the favourite, GOKEN, decided to get into the act.

 

The son of JEREMY was, in fact, the first one to come off the bridle but, as he has demonstrated on previous occasions, he keeps finding more to give and when Richard Hughes asked him to tackle the leader, he did just that and soon wore him down and managed to hold off the fast-finishing STRATH BURN, ridden by Jamie Spencer by half-a-length who in turn pipped French horse, LEHAIM by a head.

 

Memorably this victory for Richard Hannon came nineteen years after his father claimed the same race with LUCKY LIONEL, ridden by John Reid and marks Great Britain's second success in the last three years. Charlie Appleby's RECKLESS ABANDON scored in 2012.

 

 

 

SUNDAY 20th JULY 2014

 

PIPE DREAM ACHIEVED

So a Lincolnshire race track became the historic setting for a 19-times champion jockey to surpass the record of a 15-times champion trainer. At Market Rasen yesterday Tony McCoy finally established himself as the most successful race-winner of all time, by notching up his 4,192nd winner of his career, thus beating the now retired Martin Pipe’s record of career wins.

AP McCoy passed 4,000 wins in November and decided to set his sights on another record, the one set up by the Somerset trainer, Martin Pipe, a former boss and later good friend, who retired from training in 2006 with 4,191 winners.

 

The Moneyglass master was aboard Jonjo O'Neill's IT'S A GIMME in the Betfred Summer Plate seemed to be having no problems for most of the two-and-three-quarter-mile listed contest and easily moved into the lead in the back straight. The last furlong wasn't the easiest, however, as he was strongly challenged by LOST LEGEND, also trained by Jonjo O'Neill and ridden by Richie McLernon. Then the champion launched one of his trademark late rallies and sealed the historic victory by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

Tony McCoy's winning total consists of 4,049 British jumps, 134 jumps in Ireland and nine on the flat. This was just one of many landmark successes of a remarkable jockey who already has 76 winners and could be on his way to become the first jockey to ride 300 winners in a season. After that, who knows? He's bound to be secretly thinking about the magical number of 5000. Only 809 to go which might only take him three years.

 

AP McCoy commented after his triumph: “The record was just a very personal thing between me and Mr Pipe. He set the standard.”

 

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING

Another Classic success for a renowned Irish racing dynasty. Yesterday's Darley Irish Oaks was won by Aidan O'Brien-trained BRACELET but unusually not with son Joseph aboard but Colm O'Donoghue.

The three-year-old MONTJEU filly has proved herself to be top-class at a wide range of distances. She won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, also over one-and-a-half miles and before that the Group 3 Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial over 7 furlongs. Yesterday's victory was also her Sire's 31st Group 1 winner, and a back-to-back win because CHIQUITA won this event last year. What is more, Dad isn't the only success story. The winner's Dam, CHERRY HINTON has produced three successful runners so far: WADING scored in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and SIMPLY STAR was runner-up in the Listed Tipperary Stakes at the beginning of this month.

 

One disappointment for the O'Brien family is that daughter, Ana(stasia), didn't become the first female jockey to ride in the Darley Irish Oaks. It was a valiant effort but her 80/1 shot, BEYOND BRILLIANCE, just didn't have enough left in the final stages and came fourth, five lengths adrift. But trainer, Aidan O'Brien wasn't complaining. He had saddled the first, second (TAPESTRY) and third with a total prize money of over £250,000.

 

NOWHERE ON RETURN

Heavily backed 11/10 favourite, AL KAZEEM, proved a disappointment to all his supporters by not making the frame in the appropriately named Doom Bar Stakes at Newbury yesterday. The Roger Charlton-trained son of DUBAWI was back on the track for the first time since last October. The Wiltshire-based trainer remained upbeat about his protégé's performance, pointing to a lack of fitness as the main reason for the defeat. No game plan has yet been announced but it's a reasonable guess that AL KAZEEM will step up to Group One company in the autumn.

Roger Charlton commented: “I was really pleased. I thought, looking at him before the race, he was clearly happy and relaxed and, of all the horses in the paddock, he was sweating the least. James [Doyle, the jockey] said he felt fantastic going to the start and he came into the race like he was going to win it and travelled up there very smoothly. I think … he just got tired, which is fair enough. I don’t think one can criticise the horse. He’s only been in training since the beginning of May and that race will have done him a huge amount of good. It’s disappointing for most people watching but I don’t think you can condemn the horse on that at all. He ran really well, showed all his enthusiasm and will improve.”

 

The Beckhampton Stables' handler is on record as saying he thought that AL KAZEEM was about 20kg heavier than his ideal racing weight. It is interesting, therefore, that the six-year-old, who won three Group Ones last year, was so well supported and backed down from 15-8 to 11-10 favourite. The punters obviously thought they knew something that the trainer didn't!

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THURSDAY, 28th FEBRUARY 2013


 PONTE'S PRIZE


The 2013 Flat season will see Pontefract's total prize money go over £1million for the first time in five years. It was announced yesterday that there would be a dramatic 34% year-on-year increase in the prize money offered at the track, attributable, amongst other things, to a combination of increased media rights payments and a £100,000 rise in overall funding from the Levy Board. That will mean a minimum value of £5,000 for every race on Pontefract's 16-fixture programme. Our champion, KAYF ARAMIS, was always unlucky at this track. He went there 7 times but never managed to win, securing two 2nds. and one 3rd.

 

RAIN, RAIN, GONE AWAY. COMING BACK ANOTHER DAY!”

Rain is forecast for Cheltenham towards the end of next week so it looks like they won't have to turn on the taps after all. This is contrary to the earlier statement by Simon Claisse, clerk of the course, that watering was a possibility, despite the excessively wet winter.

Now he states: "… since last Wednesday it has been exceptionally cold and grey and it would only take tiny amounts of rain to make a difference to the ground. At the moment, each track is good to soft, soft in places, but as we move into next week we lose the frosts and start to see temperatures climbing. However between next Thursday and the start of the first race, a range of between 15 and 18 millimetres of rain is forecast. A lot can change, but if the forecast is right, we will not be watering."

 

THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

It's probably human nature to assume that iconic sporting events are fixtures in history and have always been as they are now. Take the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for instance. This traditional National Hunt event, first run in 1819, was a race on the flat, over 3 miles on Cleeve Hill. The Cheltenham Gold Cup, as we know it today, was first run in 1924. Also this prestigious race was not the Festival Highlight as it is now. It was generally considered as a trial for the much more important event - The Grand National.

 

STALL OF FAME

CHELTENHAM CHAMPIONS

 

ARKLE (19 April 1957 - 31 May 1970)

A bay gelding trained by Tom Dreaper.

27 wins from 35 starts.

Distances from 1m 6f to 3m 5f. (A range quite phenomenal in horse racing.)

Rated as the best chaser of all-time.

Won three Gold Cups among a host of big races.

His first victory at Cheltenham was the Broadway Chase which he won by 20 lengths.

 

GOLDEN MILLER (1927–1957)

Trained by Basil Brisco.

28 wins from 52 races.

The most successful Cheltenham Gold Cup horse ever. He won the race over five consecutive years between 1932 and 1936 - which is still a record.

He is also is the only horse to have won both of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year (1934).

 

SEA PIGEON (1970 – 2000)

An American-bred, British-trained racehorse (Peter Eaterby).

37 Wins from 85 starts

Excelled in both National Hunt and flat racing.

Best known for his performances in the Champion Hurdle which he won twice. He was credited as being one of the best flat stayers of his generation winning major handicap races. Unfortunately, as he was a gelding, he was not eligible to enter the most prestigious flat staying races, such as the Ascot Gold Cup.

When he retired he was regarded as Britain's "best known horse after Arkle and Red Rum.

 

RED RUM (3 May 1965 - 18 October 1995)

Trained ultimately by the legendary Ginger McCain.

Probably the most famous National Hunt horse of all-time.

Achieved an unmatched treble in the Grand National (1973, 1974, 1977)

He also was runner-up in 1975 and 1976.

Red Rum's success made him a celebrity in Britain and Ireland.

 

WEDNESDAY, 27th FEBRUARY 2013

 MOMENT OF TRIUMPH?

Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Handicap Chase at Bangor today could be MORNING MOMENT's time for striking. The lightly raced, Caroline Bailey-trained 11-year-old made a reasonable come-back when coming fourth in the Larkshill Engineering Handicap Chase at Doncaster on 7th February, so could be ready to show some form. The problem is that he showed up on the track just once in 2012 and altogether has only notched up 10 starts over his 4-year racing period. In his favour, however, is that he is only four pounds heavier than when he won a similar race at Haydock in 2011 and he will benefit from the drying ground at Bangor. Some bookies obviously agree as some even have him as joint favourite.

 

BORN TO BE KING?

The runner-up in the National Hunt Sprint Hurdle, MEISTER ECKHART, is clearly one of Alan King's horses that is expected to go onto better things, with possibly next month's Coral Cup specifically in mind. The lightly raced 7-year-old didn't disgrace himself at Fontwell, chasing home winner PPROSPECT WELLS at Fontwell on 24th February which might just persuade the Barbury Castle handler to enter him for Cheltenham.

As Alan King put it: "Meister Eckhart has really put a spring in my step as the race attracted a very strong representation from Paul Nicholls. He ran a huge race to be second as this was his first run of the campaign. "I had done plenty with him beforehand but I would still expect some improvement from that and he could now head for the Coral Cup."

 

STALL OF FAME (2)

American Champions

 

ASSAULT (March 26, 1943 – September 2, 1971)

From 42 starts the chestnut had 18 Wins, six 2nds and seven 3rds. And earned $675,470ASSAULT was nominated the Champion 3-year-old male and 1946 Horse of the Year and the 7th Triple Crown winner. He easily won the Kentucky Derby by 8 lengths in the same year. By the end of his 3-year-old season, ASSAULT's earnings eclipsed the one-season mark set in 1930. BARBARO (April 29, 2003 – January 29, 2007)

7starts and six Wins. Earning $2,302,200

BARBARO was the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Before this victory, he won the Florida Derby, Holy Bull Stakes, and Tropical Park Derby. The 6 1/2 length victory he achieved in the Derby was so impressive that he was considered to be the best Triple Crown threat in many years. Sadly BARBARO suffered injuries whilst running in the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2006. After a false start, he fractured three bones in and around the fetlock of his right hind leg. The injury ruined any chance of a Triple Crown in 2006 and ended his racing career. His performance during his short life made him a favourite among the American public.

BLACK GOLD (February 17, 1921 - January 18, 1928)

From 35 starts 18 Wins, five 2nds. And four 3rds. Earning $110,553

Remembered for winning the 50th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1924. As a 3 year old he also won the Louisiana, Chicago, and Ohio Derbys.

 

TUESDAY, 26th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

VIOLIN STRINGS THEM ALONG

As suggested yesterday, the Harry Fry-trained VIOLIN DAVIS put on a great show at Plumpton in EBF/TBA Mares' Novices' Chase, making a hat-trick after previous wins at Newbury and Bangor. The 7-year-old bay mare kept up the pressure and, although having a tendency to jump to the right from time to time, kept pressing the leader, ANNIMATION, going on to lead from the 7th. until 9th. She surrendered the lead temporarily but was soon ahead again, drawing clear from 3 out and running away to win by a comfortable 19 lengths.

Noel Fehily commented afterwards: "She did what we expected her to do. She just popped away there and she's done it nicely. She enjoyed the better ground there. The mares' final (EBF/TBA Mares' Novices Chase, March 23) at Newbury is probably her target and it's been her target all along."

 

COMMAND AND CONQUER

Nigel Twiston-Davies is planning to put the finishing touches to the preparations for IMPERIAL COMMANDER's run in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. He aims to give his champion a racecourse gallop this weekend, something he has frequently included in his training programme. The successful Naunton trainer sounds pretty confident that IMPERIAL COMMANDER is still well capable of giving his younger rivals a run for their money. Any member of the Kayfaramisracing club that has had the pleasure of being by the trainer's gallops at Grange Hill Farm will also agree that the 12-year-old is in fine form.

Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "I was hoping to take him to Newbury on Saturday but they won't let us. They want us to go on Sunday, and if I can't find anywhere on Saturday or this week then we may go on the Sunday."

 

STALL OF FAME (2)

American Champions

 

ASSAULT (March 26, 1943 – September 2, 1971)

From 42 starts the chestnut had 18 Wins, six 2nds and seven 3rds. And earned $675,470ASSAULT was nominated the Champion 3-year-old male and 1946 Horse of the Year and the 7th Triple Crown winner. He easily won the Kentucky Derby by 8 lengths in the same year. By the end of his 3-year-old season, ASSAULT's earnings eclipsed the one-season mark set in 1930. BARBARO (April 29, 2003 – January 29, 2007)

7starts and six Wins. Earning $2,302,200

BARBARO was the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Before this victory, he won the Florida Derby, Holy Bull Stakes, and Tropical Park Derby. The 6 1/2 length victory he achieved in the Derby was so impressive that he was considered to be the best Triple Crown threat in many years. Sadly BARBARO suffered injuries whilst running in the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2006. After a false start, he fractured three bones in and around the fetlock of his right hind leg. The injury ruined any chance of a Triple Crown in 2006 and ended his racing career. His performance during his short life made him a favourite among the American public.

BLACK GOLD (February 17, 1921 - January 18, 1928)

From 35 starts 18 Wins, five 2nds. And four 3rds. Earning $110,553

Remembered for winning the 50th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1924. As a 3 year old he also won the Louisiana, Chicago, and Ohio Derbys.

MONDAY, 25th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

ANOTHER STRING TO HARRY'S BOW?

After Saturday's win at Kempton, trainer, Harry Fry, is running VIOLIN DAVIS at Plumpton today in the EBF/TBA Mares' Novices' Chase. The new trainer will be looking to continue his successful period with his 7-year-old achieving three in a row, following wins at Newbury and Bangor. The mare was a good hurdler for Harry Fry's former boss, Paul Nicholls last season, so the omens are looking good for the young handler.

 

“ … WHEN I SEE A HURRICANE FLY!”

According to Ruby Walsh, speaking on Channel 4 Racing's The Morning Line, we've not yet seen the best of HURRICANE FLY at the Cheltenham Festival. He only narrowly beat PEDDLERS CROSS in the Champion Hurdle 2011. Then in 2012 the now 9-year-old was beaten into third place by ROCK ON RUBY and OVERTURN when he was an odds-on favourite. Yet HURRICANE FLY then went on to win four in a row in Ireland (2 at Punchestown and 2 at Leopardstown) the last success being the Irish Champion Hurdle for the third successive year. Ruby Walsh commented: "Even when he won back at Punchestown he didn't have any of the pace that he has, the speed that he has, or even the enthusiasm. He was far too easy to settle, he was far too easy to hold. I don't think we've seen the best of him (at Cheltenham). I hope not."

 

STALL OF FAME (2)

American Champions

 

ASSAULT (March 26, 1943 – September 2, 1971)

From 42 starts the chestnut had 18 Wins, six 2nds and seven 3rds. And earned $675,470

ASSAULT was nominated the Champion 3-year-old male and 1946 Horse of the Year and the 7th Triple Crown winner. He easily won the Kentucky Derby by 8 lengths in the same year. By the end of his 3-year-old season, ASSAULT's earnings eclipsed the one-season mark set in 1930.

 

BARBARO (April 29, 2003 – January 29, 2007)

7 starts and six Wins. Earning $2,302,200

BARBARO was the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Before this victory, he won the Florida Derby, Holy Bull Stakes, and Tropical Park Derby. The 6 1/2 length victory he achieved in the Derby was so impressive that he was considered to be the best Triple Crown threat in many years. Sadly BARBARO suffered injuries whilst running in the Preakness Stakes on May 20, 2006. After a false start, he fractured three bones in and around the fetlock of his right hind leg. The injury ruined any chance of a Triple Crown in 2006 and ended his racing career. His performance during his short life made him a favourite among the American public.

 

BLACK GOLD (February 17, 1921 - January 18, 1928)

From 35 starts 18 Wins, five 2nds. And four 3rds. Earning $110,553

Remembered for winning the 50th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1924. As a 3 year old he also won the Louisiana, Chicago, and Ohio Derbys.

SUNDAY, 24th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

KAYLIF ARAMIS CLAIMS HIS PLACE

KAYLIF ARAMIS ran a great race, finishing 3rd by a narrow margin in the Soccer AM Handicap Hurdle at Kempton Park yesterday. It was only his sixth race over hurdles but he seems already to have acquired more control and skill and raced more like a professional. He was positioned well by jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, in fourth or fifth position, in the field of fifteen. He gave strong chase after the leaders, challenging them from 2 hurdles out. He went narrowly into the lead after the last hurdle, which had the Aramis fan club in my house screaming and yelling, urging him on (scenes no doubt replicated all around the country!). Unfortunately he was passed in the last fifty yards by BABY SHINE who beat KATKEAU into second place by a neck and KAYLIF ARAMIS was nudged into third place by a similar margin.

 

OWZAT!

OPENING BATSMAN won the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton Park yesterday and gave Harry Fry his biggest prize since he took out a trainer's licence. The young trainer learned his trade as an assistant to Paul Nicholls. One can't help feeling there was a certain amount of mixed professional satisfaction on both sides. For Paul Nicholls there would have been the pleasure of seeing a trainee do so well, even though it meant the pleasure was double-edged as his own ROLLING ACES was deprived of the victory. Harry Fry, on the other hand, could take pride in beating his former boss at his own game.

As Harry Fry generously commented: “Paul will be disappointed I’ve beaten him but I wouldn’t be where I am without four fantastic years working for him.”

During that period Harry Fry trained ROCK ON RUBY at a Nicholls' satellite yard and went on to see him win the 32Red Hurdle (Listed Race) on 4th February.

OPENING BATSMAN, as you might have guessed, has cricket connections. The 7-year-old grey is owned by the Twelfth Man Partnership, headed up by the former Gloucestershire wicket-keeper, Andy Brassington.

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

 

 SATURDAY, 23rd FEBRUARY 2013.

 KAYLIF ON THE BALL

Today KAYLIF ARAMIS is running in the Soccer AM Handicap Hurdle at Kempton Park. It's his fifth race over hurdles and he will looking to follow up his success at Ffos Las three weeks ago. From his total of eight starts the 6-year-old brother of KAYF ARAMIS has notched up one 1st, two 2nds and two 3rds. Members of the fan club, Kayfaramisracing.com, were very much impressed by him when they watched him at work on the gallops recently and with Sam Twiston-Davies aboard it should be a great race.

 

DIDN'T HE DO WELL!”

No-one will dispute that one of the most talented young riders around is Aidan Coleman. He rode in the 2008 Grand National (10th on MON MOME) when he was a few months short of his 19th birthday and then went on to win the prestigious Red Rum Handicap Chase, riding STAN, at Aintree in the same year. None in the Kayf Aramis Racing Club will ever forget his stupendous win on KAYF ARAMIS in the Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) in 2009. Aidan Coleman's career is literally riding high in a record-breaking year. He achieved a career-best 10 days ago by notching up his 73rd winner this season at Catterick aboard the Venetia Williams-trained SHANGANI. Today’s feature Racing Plus Chase at Kempton could well see him once again in the winners' enclosure on SUMMERY JUSTICE. The 8-year-old gelding has the benefit of being lightly-weighted in this 3--mile handicap chase on what will prove to be testing ground, conditions that both trainer and jockey, as it happens, seem to do well in.

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

 

 

FRIDAY, 22nd FEBRUARY 2013.

 

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE BUT ….

After all the flooding and race cancellations over the past months, it seems incredible that the track may have to be watered for the Cheltenham Festival. England had its wettest year on record last year and the wet conditions have continued in the first two months of 2013. So any statement about turning the taps on at Prestbury Park comes as a real surprise. Yet that was the news from Cheltenham's Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse. He revealed in THE TIMES that the course has dried out significantly over the past week and the going could be good to soft by the end of this week so he is watching the changing conditions very closely.

Simon Claisse commented: "My forecasters are telling me that it will stay dry all through the next week. The first chance of significant rain will come in the week before the Festival. If that should change, and the rain is no longer expected, I would have to consider watering. "I know that might surprise some people but I honestly cannot rule it out."

 

BRING IT ON!

9-year-old OVERTURN, winner of a host of major handicap races on the flat and a good second to ROCK ON RUBY in the Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Grade 1 last March seems to produce his best when front-running. So one way to put him off his stride, you might think, could be to challenge his lead in the Racing Post Arkle on March 12. Trainer Donald McCain doesn't see that as a problem and even welcomes any rivals to take him on. He doesn't think that any challenger can stay with OVERTURN over the first few fences.

The handler of Bankhouse stables said: "I don't think anybody needs to question the way Overturn is ridden. I keep reading about horses that are going to take him him on, but he's led Chesters Cups, Northumberland Plates and Champion Hurdles so I don't see why anything should change, that's just his way of racing. If something wants to go quicker than him, get on with it and good luck."

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

  

THURSDAY, 21st FEBRUARY 2013.

 JOCKEY APPEAL

Tom O'Brien was given a ten-day ban yesterday at Doncaster and he plans to appeal as that will exclude him from the Cheltenham Festival. O'Brien only managed a 7th position on BENEFIT CUT, trained by Renee Robeson in the SIG Insulation EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier) over two miles. The stewards reached the decision that the rider had not observed the rules by "failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to obtain the best possible position". The 7-year-old finally finished 32 lengths behind the winner, MINELLA FORFITNESS.

The Racing Post's verdict was: "Took keen hold in rear, kept on from 3 out, never a factor". NEVER A FACTOR!

Tom O'Brien is a former champion amateur and champion conditional rider and was visibly upset by the decision. In his defence he commented: "He was a 66-1 shot. How could I get him to run any better than that? I thought he ran well. I didn't want to completely bottom him; he's a temperamental horse and is very keen. What do you do?"

 

ANOTHER NATIONAL WINNER?

Trainer Venetia Williams plans to run the seven-year-old, KATENKO, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15 and is very excited about his chances in this year’s John Smith’s Grand National. The top trainer last won the Grand National in 2009 with 100/1 outsider, MON MOME. It looks like she has a strong contender this year in KATENKO, already a bookies' favourite to feature highly at Aintree.

The Diva of King's Caple commented: “It’s hugely exciting. I bought him in July at Arqana - he wasn’t very expensive at 30,000 Euros. Part of my sales pitch to Andrews Brooks was that he was qualified to get into the Grand National. Now he doesn’t just sneak in at the bottom but is the fifth or sixth highest-rated horse in the field.

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

 

WEDNESDAY, 20th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN?

Who'll be fielding a super-strong team at the Cheltenham festival? Well. Nicky Henderson for one! BOBS WORTH ( they don't say how much! Or should there be an apostrophe?) is the 11/4 favourite at the moment for the Gold Cup and it was announced that MY TENT OR YOURS will compete in the Supreme Novice Hurdle and is now the 7/4 favourite. It seems, however, that Nicky Henderson thinks his record-breaking performance of 2012 is "unrepeatable". Last year, readers will remember, not only did he notch up an unprecedented seven successes, but one of his staff even made over £1m betting on them! The Henderson Magnificent Seven included SPRINTER SACRE, SIMONSIG and BOBS WORTH.

Henderson commented: "What happened last year is unrepeatable, unless maybe [chief rivals] Willie Mullins or Paul [Nicholls] have seven winners. It happened to us once, and you can't see how it could happen again. Ok, there are seven that are capable of winning, but you know as well as I do they can't all win - can they? "You would settle for one. Everything is gratefully received."

 

GOOD BUY. NOT GOODBYE!

Top trainer, Venetia Williams, paid £13,000 for SAROQUE at the Brightwells Ascot February Sale and so the 6-year-old son of Revoque, will return to Aramstone, King's Caple. Venetia Williams has trained SAROQUE for all of his eight starts, including his success in a Wetherby novice handicap hurdle in December. The bay gelding was sold by owners, Connect Racing, whose National Hunt runners are trained by Venetia Williams. Interestingly enough, the gelding has twice before appeared at auctions. Rathbarry Stud paid €8,500 ( £7,300 in real money!) for him as a foal at Tattersalls, Ireland. He was then acquired by Venetia Williams in 2010 at the Goffs Land Rover June National Hunt Sale for €8,000 (£6,880.) It is reported that the Herefordshire trainer has now bought SAROQUE on behalf of a new client.

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

TUESDAY, 19th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

ON A SWISS ROLL!

ANCIENT GREECE, trained by George Baker, staked his claim to a piece of Swiss racing history on Sunday when he won the Grand Prix The St Leger Club of Lucerne on ice. This was his third win on successive weekends at St Moritz. With Jim Crowley in the saddle, the six-year-old produced his best at the last minute, much to the delight of his trainer who said: “I’m so excited and thrilled. They’re telling me no horse has won on three weekends on the trot – it’s amazing. For a 77-rated handicapper who could have been running round Wolverhampton for £1,500, it’s great. He’s won over £20,000 for the three races. Huge credit goes to the owners for agreeing with my madcap idea, and the horse has been a real star.”

 

WACES ON THE WIRELESS

Racecourse Media Group has signed a deal with the BBC to continue radio coverage of the sport for a further four years. The agreement is that BBC Radio will continue to present all 27 races from the annual Cheltenham Festival as well as other major races throughout the year on its BBC Radio 5 station. Derek Thompson (Tommo!), racing broadcaster, Andrew Thornton, jockey, and Paralympic swimmer, Kate Grey, will form part of the BBC's racing presentation team at this year's Cheltenham Festival, (12th to 15th March).

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

 

 MONDAY, 18th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

THAT'S THE SPIRIT

OSCAR WHISKY is now headed for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, as confirmed by owner, Dai Walters. There was, it seems, a little discussion between him and trainer, Nicky Henderson, as to which was the best target for the winner of the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle Grade 1 in 2011 and 2012. But after running such a splendid race in the Cleeve Hurdle over three miles on the 26 January where he was just pipped to the post by a neck by REVE DE SIVOLA, it now seems the World Hurdle is the preferred choice rather than having another crack at the Champion Hurdle, in which he was 3rd in March 2011. The 8-year-old gelding only managed 5th in last year's World Hurdle, some 13 lengths behind the winner, BIG BUCK'S, but connections feel that OSCAR WHISKY was not quite up to strength that day.

 

CALL ME BRONCO

Aidan Coleman deserves the bucking bronco award after a valiant attempt at staying on board his ride, the Venetia Williams-trained IFYOULETMEFINISH, in the Late Great Ted Munnelly Birthday Memorial Novices' Chase over 2 miles 6 furlongs at Market Rasen. The 6-year-old bay gelding had a bad stumble after jumping into the lead at the 11th and the jockey was thrown upwards out of the saddle. It looked as if Aidan Coleman would surely be thrown clear as his horse galloped off but somehow he managed to hold round his horse's neck and then spent the next few anxious moments trying to haul his way back into the saddle. This determined fight against the elements continued for some eighty yards or so. At one stage the jockey was hanging upside down under the horse's neck but finally he had to obey the laws of gravity and fell, incurring, miraculously, only a few minor bruises.

He was particularly pleased at the outcome for both horse and rider - but especially for himself - as he is booked to ride KATENKO in the Cheltenham am Gold Cup on 15 March.

A modest Aidan said last night: "There was nothing particularly skilful about it, just pure self-preservation. When I did fall off I got a few kicks but the horse was very good. It could have been worse."

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

ALYDAR (March 23, 1975 – November 15, 1990)

From 26 starts the chestnut colt had 14 Wins, nine 2nds and one 3rd, and earned $957,195.

ALYDAR was the first and only horse to run second in all three Triple Crown Races running second to AFFIRMED every time. As a 3-year-old he won the Florida Derby, Flamingo Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes, Arlington Classic, Whitney and Travers. As mentioned above he won when AFFIRMED was disqualified.

He sired 10 champions including Alysheba (mentioned below) and Easy Goer.

His unusual claim to fame is that he was the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.

 

ALYSHEBA (March 3, 1984 – March 27, 2009)

From 26 starts the bay colt, sired by ALYDAR, had 11 Wins, eight 2nds and two 3rds and earned $6,679,242

ALYSHEBA won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished 4th in the Belmont. As a 4-year-old, he won the Strub Stakes, Santa Anita and San Bernardino Handicaps, the Philip H. Iselin, Woodward and Meadowlands Cup.

 

SUNDAY, 17th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

NICKY OR PAUL!

Paul Nicholls is still, no doubt, smarting from having to withdraw TIDAL BAY from the John Smith's Grand National due to injury. With his two big players, BIG BUCK'S and AL FEROF already out of the game, the withdrawal of TIDAL BAY was a big downer on Nicholls's hopes of following up last season's successful Grand National win with NEPTUNE COLLONGES but more than that, it makes beating off his rival, Nicky Henderson, in the trainers' championship that bit more difficult. The latter is well placed for success at Cheltenham Festival with a few strong cards, including SPRINTER SACRE and SIMONSIG. Paul Nicholls, however, seems to have a good chance of gaining an eighth champion trainer title as he is now over £100,000 clear of his rival, with total prize-money of £1,571,677.

 

ARABIANS ON ICE

Few people may know this but pure-bred Arabian horses have raced over St Moritz's frozen lake for over a century. Today's event, however, will be the first ever race purely on an icy track. As you might expect, these Arab horses were originally bred to cross the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula so the task of racing over a mile in the ice and snow could be the supreme challenge for the seven runners who are entered for the €25,000 contest (£21.500 in real money!) The aim of the the St Moritz race, promoted by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup series, is to publicise the Arabian breed to racing fans internationally. The series has already embraced the US, Australia, Germany, Poland, Morocco, France and Britain. So now the drive is to promote races in predominately European locations. A race is planned at Longchamp on Arc de Triomphe day as well as at Ascot on the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes card. Now His Highness, Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will now include Switzerland in the list of countries where his Arabian horses race.

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

  

SATURDAY, 16th FEBRUARY 2013.

CAVIAR COULD BE BLACK AT ASCOT?

BLACK CAVIAR made it 23 in a row at Flemington a few hours ago. Peter Moody, her trainer, could only say he "was lost for words"! after the magnificent mare won in grand style. The amazing sprinter even broke the track record in the race named in her honour, the Group One Black Caviar Lightning Stakes. It was also her first appearance since Royal Ascot last year when she had a dramatic 'close' call in in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes when she just pipped MOONLIGHT CLOUD by a head. The 7-year-old, however, made an effortless return to the track and defeated MOMENT OF CHANGE by two and a half lengths.

Later, recovering his powers of speech, Peter Moody then said: "I am proud to have her back. I am just so proud of her and my team. We were on a hiding to nothing by bringing her back. The job was done and we thought it was over, but to come back and do that and run a record, I'm lost for words. I think it was the first time I've been nervous for a long time - I suppose it was the seven-month break - but I'm just so proud of her."

He didn't, however, repeat what he had said earlier about the possibility of BLACK CAVIAR returning to Ascot, probably much to Ascot's Head of international racing, Nick Smith' dismay as he is in Melbourne at the moment recruiting for this year's Royal meeting.

 

ROCKY STALL ONE?

In today's line-up for the Sodexho Prestige Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot is ROCKY CREEK who will at the same time be aiming to assure his place at the Cheltenham Festival. The seven-year-old grey, trained by Paul Nicholls got off to a very good start over fences. He beat MOLOTOF by 4 lengths at Doncaster in December then capped that by making it 15 lengths ahead of FILL THE POWER at Warwick on 12th January.

Co-owner Andy Stewart commented: "Whether he's good enough to beat Dynaste in the RSA I doubt, but I'm not rubbishing his form either. We're going to go for the RSA with him anyway.”

 

STALL OF FAME

American Champions

 

AFFIRMED ( February 21, 1975 – January 12, 2001)

From 29 starts the chestnut thoroughbred had 22 Wins, five 2nds and one 3rd and earned his owners $2,887, 999.

He was the eleventh and most recent winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and was also known for his famous rivalry with ALYDAR. The two of them raced against each other on ten occasions, including all three Triple Crown races. On their final encounter in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. AFFIRMED, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Laffit Pincay, hindered ALYDAR when entering the far turn. As a result AFFIRMED finished first but was disqualified and placed second. The two rivals never met again.

Final score: AFFIRMED 7, ALYDAR 3.

 FRIDAY, 15th FEBRUARY 2013.

FAVOURITE NOT FOR GRAND

It has been announced that TIDAL BAY will not be in the Grand National due to injury. As a consequence William Hill has now made PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE is the outright favourite for the John Smith's Grand National. The Graham Wylie-trained 12-year-old was discovered to have suffered a stress fracture.

Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls said: "I have got some bad news to report. Tidal Bay is out of the Grand National. As previously mentioned, he was slightly lame before the Argento and we couldn't get him ready in time for that race, or the Irish Hennessy. The news from Buffy (vet Shirley-Beavan) is that Tidal Bay has a tiny stress fracture of the lower cannon bone on his right hind leg. This is something that the x-rays we took before his problem in the Argento didn't pick up; only today's MRI did. He needs a month's box rest, so that rules out the National."

 

COURSE STUDY

Newmarket's New Astley Club has launched a series of courses that will enable stable staff to brush up on their key skills. The Fred Archer Way club, who have teamed up with the City of Bristol College, has initiated the new 15-week courses, combining ICT, maths and English. Each participant on completing the course will receive a qualification which will be the equivalent of an A grade at GCSE level.

Project manager, Kevin Parsons, said “The idea of running these courses is to allow stable staff the chance to build up functional skills they can transfer to other industry sectors as many of the ones they use in racing are not transferable.”

The first of these new classes, funded by the government body, Union Learn, has already started but they will be officially opened today by Matthew Hancock, the MP for Newmarket.

 

THURSDAY, 14th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

IT'S A LONG WAY TO GO!”

Paddy Brennan travelled over 300 miles to Musselburgh yesterday just for one ride. Now we know why. He was booked to ride the Tom George-trained GOD'S OWN in the Country Refreshments Novices' Hurdle. The 5-year-old finished third behind Saturday's Betfair Hurdle winner, MY TENT OR YOURS, at Huntingdon in January, also ridden by Paddy Brennan, so it was no surprise that he was favourite for this race. The long trip proved to be to everyone's satisfaction, including canny punters who had taken note of the jockey's extended journey. In the event the gelding, owned appropriately by the Crossed Fingers Partnership, romped home by 22 lengths.

All Paddy Brennan would say was: "We've travelled a long way for better ground, it's good out there which is what he needs and it was a good performance. "

DINNER? THAT'LL BE CHAMPION!

A charity dinner at Gisborough Hall on Thursday 21 March will have as its guest speaker the 1981 Grand National winner, and top jockey of his time, Bob Champion MBE. He achieved his dream of winning the Aintree Spectacular on the 11-year-old ALDANITI. This success was the more remarkable due to the fact that he had miraculously recovered from testicular cancer and ALDANITI, against all odds, from a damaged foreleg. As a result of this experience he established the Bob Champion Cancer Trust in 1983. This story was immortalised in the film, “Champions” in the same year, starring John Hurt as Bob Champion and ALDANITI as himself.

Now's the chance to meet one half of the legend. The other half died at the age of 27 in 1997.

 

WEDNESDAY, 13th FEBRUARY 2013.

CHAMPION JOCKEY TAKES WRONG FLIGHT!

Tony McCoy took a plane to Edinburgh instead of Glasgow which is more than 80 miles from his intended destination - Ayr. But, by hook or by crook, the resourceful McCoy still got there with time in hand for his two rides. Which was just as well as he won on both of them!

His first success was the Tim Easterby-trained DEEPSAND in the opening BetVictor Welsh Open Final Frame Insurance Maiden Hurdle. Although the 4-year-old performed a couple of awkward jumps to the left in the final stretch, he still had enough to rebuff the challenge offered by HALLMARK STAR by a length. The Champion jockey's devious route to Ayr was fully justified, however, (and it was clearly why he was there) when he rode the the JP McManus-owned and Lucinda Russell-trained TAP NIGHT to an audacious win in the BetVictor Non Runner Free Bet At Cheltenham Novices' Chase.

 

OVERCOMING THE HURDLES

Sandown's Friday card has been provisionally re-programmed to an all-chase affair in an effort to salvage the fixture. The day will include the three chases originally planned and three other chase events will be organised. In an attempt to attract entrants, the additional three races will be free to enter. Any final decision as to whether the existing hurdle races will be officially abandoned and the provisional chases put in their place will be made at 8am tomorrow morning. Entry for the additional chases will close at midday today and, if they do go ahead, declarations will close at 10am on Thursday. The going at Sandown at the moment is described as heavy, with soft places in the back straight.

 

TUESDAY, 12th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

PUS AFOOTING AROUND!

Unbeaten over four starts before Sunday's Listed event at Exeter, PUFFIN BILLY gave his connections quite a shock by putting on the lack-lustre performance he did. The reason for this now seems to have been pus in one of his feet, virtually making him lame. The 5-year-old, trained by Oliver Sherwood, went off as the odds-on favourite but he had nothing to match Melodic Rendezvous who eventually won by nine lengths. PUFFIN BILLY is also entered in the William Hill Supreme and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdles at Cheltenham which are not so far away.

Sherwood commented: "My farrier dug out a whole load of pus from one of his feet (on Monday morning). What with the wet weather, it's like getting a blister and he'll have two or three quiet days having it poulticed. Hopefully he'll be able to be ridden towards the end of the week. I don't like to have sour grapes, and take nothing away from Melodic Rendezvous, but at least we have some sort of reason for his run."

 

CHASE AND STATUS

Saturday at Wincanton looks like being an all-hurdle affair because the chase course has had to be abandoned. The course plans to stage the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle, the final significant Champion Hurdle trial this weekend and, accordingly, entries for the Grade Two event have now been reopened until today. That unfortunately means that two Bathwick Tyres-sponsored handicap chases and a veterans' event have had to be postponed. New hurdles races will now be substituted on a track that is currently listed as soft, heavy in places.

Barry Johnson, clerk of the course said: "After walking the course with Richard Linley, senior course inspector, it has been agreed to abandon the chase races. The chase course is waterlogged in places, with various false patches, and with the forecast has no chance of recovery before Saturday. The hurdles course at present is heavy, soft in places, 80% fresh ground."

 

MONDAY, 11th FEBRUARY 2013.

 

TESTING CONDITIONS?

FLEMENSTAR, probably the most popular Irish chaser this season and a strong prospect for the Cheltenham Festival is to be tested for problems after losing the Hennessy Gold Cup (Grade 1) at Leopardstown on Saturday. It's almost as if connections of the 8-year-old want make sure that he remains at the centre of discussion in the run-up to Cheltenham. FLEMENSTAR'S owner, Stephen Curran, was not at all a happy bunny when his horse succumbed to SIR DES CHAMPS by 1¾ lengths over the three mile chase. Curran stated that his gelding, who had been unbeaten in a run of seven chases until early December, would be tested in the next few days. There has been a lot of discussion over the past months as to what is the best distance for him but he has always done well in distances up to two and a half miles. The grey is entered for all three of the Festival's feature chases – the Gold Cup, the Ryanair and Queen Mother Champion Chase – but Stephen Curran insists that no decisions have been made yet.

 

WINNERS IN THE PIPE LINE

Sunday's Exeter card produced two winners from just three runners for David Pipe. He wasn't really expecting his first entry, HIGH VILLE, to cause any ripples and so it turned out. The 7-year-old grey came last of five runners in the Listed Bathwick Tyres Plymouth Novices' Hurdle. The Devon-based handler, however, had two aces up his sleeve and came up trumps. He had the odds-on favourites, VIEUX LION ROUGE and THE LIQUIDATOR in both divisions of the Bathwick Tyres Intermediate Open NH Flat Race and both runners didn't let him down, winning by 14 and 24 lengths respectively.

SUNDAY, 10th FEBRUARY 2013

 

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING.”

As predicted, SILVINIACO CONTI won the Betfair Denman Chase in decisive fashion yesterday and thus retained his unbeaten record for the season. As the saying goes about the tough getting going when the going gets tough, the 7-year-old demonstrated precisely that and thereby strengthened his claims for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. MAIL DE BIEVRE, with Paddy Brennan on board, went off in the lead but soon weakened (it was his first run for 500 days!) when the eventual winner and THE GIANT BOLSTER, ridden by Tom Scudamore, fought for domination. Ruby Walsh kept his cool when Tom Scudamore challenged strongly four out and was soon back in control by the third last and went on to win by 7 lengths.

Ruby Walsh commented said: "Through the race he travelled well and jumped well. He quickened up well and joined Paddy (Brennan on Mail De Bievre). He did well for a horse short of full fitness on quite testing ground. Paul (Nicholls) has not got him fully wound up. He has one race in mind. If he improves as much from the Charlie Hall as he did to the Betfair Chase he will run a big race in the Gold Cup.”

 

JUST NEEDS A BIT OF PREP.

The Racing Plus Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton next month could possible see SIMONSIG having a preparatory run before his big day at the Cheltenham Festival. The 7-year-old grey gelding is already the odds-on favourite for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy but was unable to have a run in the Betfair Super Saturday Chase, registered as the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury yesterday.

Nicky Henderson commented: "It's a pity. I wanted to run him, but I couldn't and he needs a quiet week now. The ideal race is to come back here for the Pendil and I wouldn't mind going over two and a half, but his owner is away and he said if you don't need to run him (before the Arkle) I'd rather you didn't."

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This week's trainer has nag's boring week (14)

 

SATURDAY, 9th FEBRUARY 2013

 

CUTTING TO THE CHASE.

Two of Paul Nicholls' greatest horses have gone from winning the Denman Chase to Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup so there's every hope that SILVINIACO CONTI will be the next jewel in the crown today at Newbury. One of the champion trainer's previous stars gave his name to this Grade Two prize and racegoers will have the delight of seeing DENMAN make his first public appearance since retiring when he parades before the beginning of the day's events. The second of the two winners of the Denman Chase was KAUTO STAR whom SILVINIACO CONTI has now replaced as Nicholls' top staying chaser after winning the Charlie Hall Chase and Betfair Chase at Haydock. Resting since then, the short favourite, ridden by Ruby Walsh, is up against seven rivals over the three-mile race, including LITTLE JOSH, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. Nicholls commented earlier that he "wouldn't swap him for any horse in the Gold Cup line-up" so it should be an inteteresting race.

 

PLAYING WILD CARDS.

Unfortunately, as reported yesterday, Nicky Henderson had to withdraw his ace performer, SIMONSIG, from today's Betfair Super Saturday Chase at Newbury but he's still got two wild cards to play in the form of FRENCH OPERA and TANKS FOR THAT.

The 10-year-old gelding, FRENCH OPERA, with Barry Geraghty aboard, won this race in 2011 but didn't show much form when going for the longer trip in the Peterborough Chase at Kempton in December.

Things are not looking much better for TANKS FOR THAT who was pulled up on his last two outings at Ascot and Aintree in December. All Nicky would say is that he was going to run both the horses anyway!

Perhaps under the circumstances PIGEON ISLAND is worth an each way bet. After all the 7-year-old grey does have Sam Twiston-Davies aboard!

 

FRIDAY, 8th FEBRUARY 2013

 

SIMONSIG: DON'T GO TO CHELTENHAM!

The Cheltenham preparatory race will be without the Arkle favourite SIMONSIG after being pulled out of Saturday's Betfair Super Chase at Newbury. The 7-year-old grey, trained by Nicky Henderson, would have been the heavy odds-on favourite for Saturday's race but connections have now decided not to run him. Trainer, Nicky Henderson said last night: "Simonsig's trachea wash result today was 95 per cent but we'd only run if it was 100 per cent. Accordingly, we'll give him a week ticking over at home and then make a decision over whether to run before the festival."

SIMONSIG has won his last two chases at Ascot and Kempton and is sure to be one of the hottest favourite's at next month's four-day Cheltenham Festival.

 

PEA SUPER FOR TRIUMPH

CHRIS PEA GREEN had an easy win in the 32Red Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon yesterday and as a result could be on his way to the Cheltenham Festival next month. He has now been given a 33-1 shot by Paddy Power for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, but trainer, Gary Moore, was more cautious than the gelding's owners were in the winner's enclosure trainer. He just commented: "He's in the Triumph and we may well go there, although he also has the option of waiting for Aintree. He keeps surprising us and before today I didn't really rate the form of his previous races but that was a good performance."

Jockey Joshua Moore added: "He's quite a tall, gangly horse and his legs tend to go everywhere when he gets in a bit close but hopefully he can improve with a bit more schooling. He's got every right to go there [Triumph] - whether he's good enough is a different matter."

 

THURSDAY, 7th FEBRUARY 2013

 

CALCULATING THE RISK

Trainer JOHN QUINN, whose 5-year-old gelding, COUNTRY FLAME won last year's JCB Triumph Hurdle, is now expecting CALCULATED RISK to improve his chances for this year's Cheltenham Festival with a run in the 32Red Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon today. Traditionally this 2½-mile race is considered a good trial for the Triumph Hurdle. There are 11 other contestants in the race but John Quinn believes his the four-year-old chestnut can acquit himself well.

As he commented: "He certainly could be a Triumph horse and I think he'll win plenty of races. I just hope the ground dries out a bit for him at Huntingdon."

 

A RIGHT ROYAL RUNNER FOR DONNY

CLOSE TOUCH, owned and bred by Her Majesty The Queen, runs at Doncaster this afternoon in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing E.B.F. 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier) over 2miles 3 furlongs. The 5-year-old gelding has had three wins from three starts, all ridden by Barry Geraghty.

Sir Michael Oswald, the Queen's jumps racing adviser, said: "He's entered in the Supreme (Novices Hurdle Cheltenham, 12th March) but I would not be keen to run unless he looked to have an obvious chance."

 

WEDESDAY, 6th FEBRUARY 2013

 

RICHARD (WHICH ART) IN HEAVEN!

Newbury's Saturday event will give OUR FATHER another chance to prove how good he is. The 7-year-old grey seems to have a dual personality. He starts off brilliantly at the beginning of the season and then fails to deliver in the later stages of the season. This year was no exception. He won his novice chase debut at Cheltenham in November by 20 lengths but then failed miserably when odds-on favourite at the same course in December. The gelding is trained by David Pipe who has entered him in the Better Prices On Betfair Mobile Novices' Chase on Sunday, with the Exeter Bathwick Tyres Bridgwater Novices' Chase as an insurance policy.

Owner David Johnson said: "As long as his blood is OK, he'll run. We'll see how he performs and hopefully learn if he can go on to Cheltenham. He seems to run best when fresh, but the last time at Cheltenham was not his running. I think he's a lot better than that. You never know what you are going to get with him, but we'll see what unfolds and I'd be very hopeful he'll run well."

AMEN TO THAT!

 

THINGS WILL GET BETTER IF YOU PLANET!

Neptune Investment Management has announced that it will be extending its horse racing sponsorship portfolio by supporting one hurdle and one flat race at Ascot. The first Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle over 2½ miles will take place on 16th February and the prize money will be £25,000. Final decisions are being made about the flat race but it is understood that it will be a competition for 3-year-olds over 1½ miles to be run on Saturday 13th July, with a prize money of £50,000.

Neptune Investment Management commented: "Our passion and professionalism are a perfect match for all that top class racing represents in the minds of sport and racing fans alike. Moreover, at Neptune we pride ourselves in nurturing and developing young talent whether this is through racing, our educational and arts projects or our own employees. "We are delighted to be working with arguably the world's most famous racecourse, increasing our race sponsorship portfolio and thereby giving further opportunities to the horseman.”

  

TUESDAY, 5th FEBRUARY 2013

 OK IN THE LONG RUN!

LONG RUN, it is reported, will now not run in Saturday's Betfair Denman Chase and instead will head straight for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival on 15th March. It seems that trainer, Nicky Henderson, decided that the 8-year-old gelding doesn't need a run at Newbury this weekend. LONG RUN won this Grade Two heat last year but the ground appears too testing this time around. So he will now go straight to Cheltenham without another run intent winning back the title he won in 2011.

Nicky Henderson stated: "Long Run is not running (at Newbury). We just decided with it being soft to heavy and everything, we are not desperate to go. We are under no pressure so we will go our own way."

 

MAMMA MIA. THAT'S THE LAST STRAW!

Yesterday long delays to traffic in all directions around major cities was caused by bales of hay and straw. All the main Italian roads and motorways were blocked by riders on horseback. Queues of 10 miles or more were reported on the Grande Raccordo Anulare in Rome. The aim of these demonstrations is to make politicians and members of the public aware of the financial difficulties faced by the racing industry. There was no racing on Friday as thousands of those involved in the racing business marched on Piazza Septembre in Rome. During the weekend the Stadio San Paolo, home of Napoli FC was blockaded. There was also a demonstration before AC Milan's match at San Siro. It's not the first time that Italian racing has had its problems. For the whole of January 2012 there was no horse racing in the whole of Italy. Then it was in protest at the 40% reduction in prize-money. The demonstrations this year by breeders, owners, trainers and racecourses, as well as many other organisations and individuals who make their living from racing, are about receiving the funds that were promised to the sport in 2012. There are ongoing meetings between government representatives and officials of the racing industry but it looks like nothing much is going to happen before the general election on February 24-25.

 

MONDAY, 4th FEBRUARY 2013

 A SUCCESSFUL DAY OUT FOR THE ARAMIS FAMILY

SATURDAY 2nd FEBRUARY 2013

 

1) KAYF ARAMIS 3RD AT WETHERBY

The first ARAMIS to enter the fray was KAYF in the totepool Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby. He set off smartly and was very soon in the lead. He was SHORTLY eye-balled (despite the blinkers!) by PAUSE AND CLAUSE but KAYF ARAMIS dominated the race until about 5 out. Then HERDSMAN started to make some ground as PAUSE AND CLAUSE tired and fell back. The Festival hero continued in the lead for a while after until HERDSMAN decided to challenge and headed our champion as they approached the third last hurdle. The doughty KAYF ARAMIS rallied again and drew alongside. Then at the 2nd out he did something that has never happened in all his 40 races over hurdles. He stumbled on landing. Jockey Dave Crosse somehow managed to stay on board and KAYF ARAMIS got his legs back. It did, however, take a while to recover from that nasty jolt but he did and temporarily managed to hold onto second position. But the stumble had clearly upset his rhythm and he was overtaken by TWEEDLEDRUM, the lightest horse in the field, who then couldn't quite catch HERDSMAN and lost by a neck.

Tha was an exciting race for the KAYF ARAMIS fan club!

(Join at www.kayfaramisracing.com).

Trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies said afterwards that, but for that stumble, KAYF ARAMIS would have been a winner.

  

2) KAYLIF ARAMIS TRIUMPHS AT FFOS LAS

The second ARAMIS of the day was KAYLIF, full brother to KAYF, who was running his 4thrace over hurdles, having notched up two 3rds and a 5th in previous events. He was kept handy in 4th and 5th position by jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies. He then gradually overhauled the leaders just before 2 out and rode on well between the last two hurdles, making a very slight mistake over the last. He pressed on well, however, inn the final 100yds and knocked champion jockey,Tony McCoy, on THE BEAR TRAP  into second place by a head.

 

3) ZAYFIRE ARAMIS 3RD IN FIRST-EVER RACE

The third ARAMIS rounded off the day perfectly. ZAYFIRE, (4-YEAR-OLD SON OF ZAFEEN and KAYLIFA, KAYF'S sister) was running in his first-ever race and showed plenty of family spirit in the Wetherbyracing.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. He tracked the leaders well and briefly went into the lead when 3 out. Then when making a challenge between horses in the final furlong, he seemed to be slightly squeezed out by the leaders, DAKAR RUN and BALTIMORE ROCK but then had nothing to match the impressive speed of the two leaders, particularly DAKAR RUN who went on to beat BALTIMORE ROCK by 4½ lengths. By this time ZAYFIRE ARAMIS was another 5 lengths behind but well clear of the rest of the field. This was a creditable performance for his début.

 

AN AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT

This was one of the most successful days for the ARAMIS stud. Larger stud farms and wealthy horse owners may think nothing of entering more than one horse in races on the same day but these three horses, KAYF ARAMIS, KAYLIF ARAMIS and ZAYFIRE ARAMIS were bred by Isobel Phipps Coltman in muddy, rented fields and are all in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies. All three of them raced yesterday and produced a Winner and two 3rds.

 That's a great story not picked up by any other racing journalist!

 Read more of this incredible story at www.kayfaramisracing.com

  

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This jumps trainer is bashed brown! (11)

Answer: Andrew Hobbs.

Another one next week.

 

SUNDAY, 3rd FEBRUARY 2013

 

A SUCCESSFUL DAY OUT FOR THE ARAMIS FAMILY

 

1) KAYF ARAMIS 3RD AT WETHERBY

The first ARAMIS to enter the fray was KAYF in the totepool Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby. He set off smartly and was very soon in the lead. He was SHORTLY eye-balled (despite the blinkers!) by PAUSE AND CLAUSE but KAYF ARAMIS dominated the race until about 5 out. Then HERDSMAN started to make some ground as PAUSE AND CLAUSE tired and fell back. The Festival hero continued in the lead for a while after until HERDSMAN decided to challenge and headed our champion as they approached the third last hurdle. The doughty KAYF ARAMIS rallied again and drew alongside. Then at the 2nd out he did something that has never happened in all his 40 races over hurdles. He stumbled on landing. Jockey Dave Crosse somehow managed to stay on board and KAYF ARAMIS got his legs back. It did, however, take a while to recover from that nasty jolt but he did and temporarily managed to hold onto second position. But the stumble had clearly upset his rhythm and he was overtaken by TWEEDLEDRUM, the lightest horse in the field, who then couldn't quite catch HERDSMAN and lost by a neck.

That was an exciting race for the KAYF ARAMIS fan club!

(Join at www.kayfaramisracing.com).

Trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies said afterwards that, but for that stumble, KAYF ARAMIS would have been a winner.

  

2) KAYLIF ARAMIS TRIUMPHS

The second ARAMIS of the day was KAYLIF, full brother to KAYF, who was running his 4thrace over hurdles, having notched up two 3rds and a 5th in previous events. He was kept handy in 4th and 5th position by jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies. He then gradually overhauled the leaders just before 2 out and rode on well between the last two hurdles, making a very slight mistake over the last. He pressed on well, however, inn the final 100yds and knocked champion jockey,Tony McCoy, on THE BEAR TRAP  into second place by a head.

 

3) ZAYFIRE ARAMIS 3RD IN FIRST-EVER RACE

The third ARAMIS rounded off the day perfectly. ZAYFIRE, (4-YEAR-OLD SON OF ZAFEEN and KAYLIFA, KAYF'S sister) was running in his first-ever race and showed plenty of family spirit in the Wetherbyracing.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. He tracked the leaders well and briefly went into the lead when 3 out. Then when making a challenge between horses in the final furlong, he seemed to be slightly squeezed out by the leaders, DAKAR RUN and BALTIMORE ROCK but then had nothing to match the impressive speed of the two leaders, particularly DAKAR RUN who went on to beat BALTIMORE ROCK by 4½ lengths. By this time ZAYFIRE ARAMIS was another 5 lengths behind but well clear of the rest of the field. This was a creditable performance for his début.

 

AN AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT

This was one of the most successful days for the ARAMIS stud. Larger stud farms and wealthy horse owners may think nothing of entering more than one horse in races on the same day but these three horses, KAYF ARAMIS, KAYLIF ARAMIS and ZAYFIRE ARAMIS were bred by Isobel Phipps Coltman in muddy, rented fields and are all in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies. All three of them raced yesterday and produced a Winner and two 3rds.

 That's a great story not picked up by any other racing journalist!

 Read more of this incredible story at www.kayfaramisracing.com

  

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This jumps trainer is bashed brown! (11)

 

 

 

SATURDAY, 2nd FEBRUARY 2013 – IT'S GROUNDHOG DAY! AGAIN!

 

DARK HORSES TUNING UP

Paul Nicholls, the champion trainer, already has one much-fancied entrant in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – FAR WEST - but he clearly wants to add a little spice to the mix by hinting that he may also be entering two decidedly 'dark horses', namely stable mates, the 4-year-old BRINESTINE who has raced seven times in Ireland with two wins and LAC FONTANA, also 4 years old, who has had six starts on the flat in France with one win and would be making his début over hurdles.

Paul Nicholls stated in his exclusive column he writes for Betfair: ""I always reserve judgement on my juveniles until I have seen them on the track. But both are pleasing me at home. Brinestine was progressive on the Flat in Ireland, and was due to run at Sandown tomorrow before the rain intervened. He has options at Huntingdon and Taunton next week. Lac Fontana showed smart Flat form over 1m 2f in France."

 

YOU SHALL NOT GO FOR THE CUP, HUNT BALL!

HUNT BALL's hopes for the Betfred Gold Cup have been dashed as he has been scratched from the event. The trainer has doubts about last season's handicap hopeful running in the 3m 2½f trip. It has been decided that The Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival would be a more suitable alternative. It seems owner (Anthony Knott) and trainer (Keiran Burke) are not quite singing from the same hymn sheet because Knott, stated: "Keiran wants to go for the Ryanair but it's £13,500 to sub up for that. Obviously I've already done my money and not even had a run yet so we'll come down in class and I need to get a bet on to recoup the money I've lost and the obvious race for that is the Byrne Group Plate. Back down in trip he'll look lethal, and even on the wrong ground I think he'll have plenty in hand. He'll be off 11st 10lb or 12st but he did that last year, and there may be one or two that sneak in at the bottom of the weights, but we feel he'll be able to take care.”

 

THE ARAMIS THREE – ALL FOR ONE!

Kayf and Zayfire Aramis at Wetherby.

Now there's a Saturday treat!

The Aramis clan, as all agree,

Will be very hard to beat.

Kayf Aramis we all know is capable

Of winning a competitive race.

His triumph at Cheltenham – unforgettable!

Amongst champions he's taken his place.

For bother Kaylif Ffos Las is the race track

Sam Twiston-Davies will be on board.

With two 3rds in the bag he's got the knack

It is now really time he scored.

Zayfire Aramis is new on the scene

And has yet to find his way.

So for this 4-year-old son of the great Zafeen

The bumper could make the day!

 

FRIDAY, 1st FEBRUARY 2013

 

SANDOWN REMOVES THE LAST HURDLE

Officials at Sandown have decided to abandon the scheduled programme of hurdle races tomorrow. There will now be only chases. There was an eight o'clock inspection and the hurdle track was found to be waterlogged. As the chase course was in fairly good shape, Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course, had already had the foresight to provisionally plan an extra three chases which will now take place of the programmed hurdles. Unfortunately a victim of this change is the big race of the day - the Betfred Mobile Sports Contenders Hurdle - which would have included, among others, Nicky Henderson's Champion Hurdle contender, DARLAN, who will now most likely head off to Doncaster on Monday to finalise his Cheltenham Festival preparations.

 

KAYF AND ZAYF

Kayf and Zayfire Aramis at Wetherby.

Now there's a Saturday treat!

The Aramis duo, as all agree,

Will be very hard to beat.

Kayf Aramis we all know is capable

Of winning a competitive race.

His triumph at Cheltenham – unforgettable!

Amongst champions he's taken his place.

Zayfire Aramis, however, is new on the scene

And has yet to find his way.

So for this 4-year-old son of the great Zafeen

The bumper could make the day!

THURSDAY, 31st JANUARY 2013

 

HE WAS SUSPENDED BUT HE DIDN'T TAKE A FENCE!

You may well be a Grand National-winning jockey but if you miss a fence – and he did – you will receive a suspension – and he did - 12 days. Liam Treadwell's mistake happened when he was ahead on the Venetia Williams-trained SPECIAL ROBON in the Cream Gorse Novices' Handicap Chase at Leicester. For some reason he bypassed the first fence in the straight instead of the second. All he could do was pull up the 5-year-old gelding when he saw the other runners jump the obstacle. The poor jockey held his hands up in horror when he realised his error.

He said afterwards: "I must apologise to all connections. It was a poor bit of riding in the heat of the moment. It slipped my mind what was actually happening in front of me. I'm very sorry for everyone. I'm not going to make any excuses. It was an error on my part and I'm disappointed for all the connections and people who backed the horse."

But the good news is that later Liam rode REGINALDINHO to win the Thrussington Handicap Chase by six lengths. After all, he rode champion, KAYF ARAMIS, at Fontwell a couple of years ago and finished 2nd. So he can't be that bad!

 

OH, AINTREE SWEET …. !

The Aintree Grand National on 6 April looks like attracting a maximum field of 40 runners. But five of the entries have yet to qualify, according the British Horseracing Authority's strict conditions. One of these is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained LITTLE JOSH, who won the Grand Sefton Chase two months ago. The problem is that the Grand Sefton is run over two miles five and a half furlongs whereas the National is restricted to horses that have finished in the first four in a steeplechase over at least three miles. This achievement has eluded the 11-year-old gelding so far, although he did manage to finish sixth at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010 in the Grade One RSA Chase run over three miles.

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies commented: "The rules are there, I'm not going to make a noise about it but it's a shame as a sixth in the RSA Chase is as good as a fourth anywhere else. Any four-runner race will qualify you, so it doesn't make much sense, but there you go."

Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the National twice - with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002. He has four entries in this year's race but the only possible qualifier is LITTLE JOSH as, unfortunately, IMPERIAL COMMANDER is a doubtful runner.

WEDNESDAY, 30th JANUARY 2013

 

ONE FOR THE ROAD

RANSOM NOTE, who has appeared in such wide-ranging venues as Sha Tin, Longchamp and Deauville and was even one of the five to challenge Frankel in the Lockinge, a Group One in May 2012 showed up in the Billeshurst Wood "Jumpers' Bumper" National Hunt Flat Race (Class 4) yesterday. It's not unusual for unexpected horses to crop up quite often in the jumpers' bumpers races which are put on with the aim of keeping National Hunt horses competing whilst tracks in most areas are frozen and 'unraceable'. So it was not surprising to see a Cheltenham Festival winner on the card by the name of FINGER ON THE PULSE, winner of the Jewson Novice Chase in 2008 and the Galway Plate in 2010, lined up in pursuit of a modest first prize of £2,924. As it turned out RANSOM NOTE, rated 115 when he lined up against Frankel last year, could only manage third place. The Mick Channon-trained FOSTER'S ROAD, ridden by Will Kennedy, beat the 5/4 favourite by half a length. It was obviously one of those days because Tony McCoy had five rides on the card and went home empty-handed.

 

A TURNOVER FOR OVERTURN?

The Scottish Future Champions Novices' Chase at Musselburgh on Sunday will feature one of the highest rated horses ever to race at this track. The Donald McCain-trained OVERTURN will race against a top-notch field including TETLAMI and MALT MASTER (Nicky Henderson) and THERE'S NO PANIC, GRANDIOSO (Paul Nicholls) and ATTAGLANCE (Malcolm Jefferson). The latter will, in all probability, be the main competition. The7-year-old gelding won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at last year's Cheltenham Festival and then went on to win a listed Hurdle Handicap at the Grand National meeting at Aintree. OVERTURN is an impressive 13-time winner over flat and jumps and has won prize money of just under £700,000.

TUESDAY, 29th JANUARY 2013

 

“ …. WHEN I SEE A HURRICANE FLY!”

If HURRICANE FLY regains the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March he could be up for being recognised as Ireland’s best ever hurdler. Noel O’Brien who is the the Turf Club’s National Hunt handicapper stated yesterday that he rates Irish Champion Hurdle success at Leopardstown on Sunday as equalling the 9-year-old's Cheltenham triumph in 2011 when the former Horse of the Year received an official rating of 173. This rating is a mere 3lb behind the legendary Istabraq's best rating and Aidan O’Brien even thought his gelding could surpass that benchmark at the Festival.

The continuous winner of Irish Champion trainer award for the past 12 years commented: “Hurricane Fly was visually very impressive at Leopardstown but I can’t rate it better than winning what looked at the time a very competitive Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2011,” O’Brien said yesterday. He beat Thousand Stars, who he always beats, by a very easy five lengths, and Binocular who hadn’t run for a long time and looked like he would come on for the race.”

 

NOT A VINTAGE RUN

GRANDS CRUS' disappointing performance at Cheltenham has persuaded connections to give him a break while they take stock of the options. It looked very much like the 8-year-old grey was in for a good year and was already a short-priced favourite for November's Paddy Power Gold Cup. Then tragedy struck. He was pulled up in Saturday's Argento Chase and has had a breathing operation. Trainer David Pipe admitted that he was hoping for a really big run from him on that day even though the heavy ground was not the best for him but he was offering no excuses for a poor run. But a breathing problem is a reasonable excuse in most racegoers' books!

MONDAY, 28th JANUARY 2013

 

BINOCULAR IN THEIR SIGHTS

Race Stewards were not, it seems, happy with BINOCULAR's performance in yesterday's BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and decided to look into it further. The problem seemed to be that the 2010 Cheltenham Champion Hurdler was going quite well for most of the trip in this Grade One event - his first race since last March. But then he seemed to lose it and was left trailing behind HURRICANE FLY, the eventual winner. Then, even worse, he just failed to get past THOUSAND STARS to claim second place and had to be content with third spot, by a nose. Both trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey, Tony McCoy, were interviewed by the stewards. It seems that Nicky Henderson confirmed that the champion jockey had not received any riding instructions as he was a regular rider and knew the horse well. The top Lambourn-based handler stated that he was satisfied with the ride but thought that the 9-year-old would have acquitted himself better on firmer ground. Tony McCoy informed the stewards that his plan was to follow HURRICANE FLY but by the second-last hurdle he realised he couldn't get to the leader but still hoped to gain a second place. Despite all his efforts, however, he couldn't get BINOCULAR past THOUSAND STARS because his mount was tiring fast.

The stewards accepted the explanations and that was the end of that.

 

THAT'S A BONUS!

Sunday racing will henceforth benefit from a special bonus, courtesy The British Horseracing Authority. It has been announced that the boost in funds as a result of selling leasehold fixtures to racecourses will be used as special cash bonuses for certain "Sunday Bonus Races" (two selected each week) who will get a bonus of up to £5,000 a race. The Horsemen's Group and Racecourse Association developed this plan jointly, the aim of which is to promote competitiveness and field sizes in selected Sunday races at as many race tracks as possible.

 

A MORNING TO REMEMBER!

The Members' Open Morning on the gallops at the Twiston-Davies yard was a great success. Around 30 KAYF ARAMIS fans, from as far away as Surrey and Nottinghamshire made the early morning start to be there. Some unfortunately couldn't make it because of the snow and ice. But that didn't deter the appearance of a reporter from the local radio station, BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Even the weather brightened up for the event with the sun streaking down over the snowy ground. Kayfaramisracing members were delighted to be able to watch all the horses, including the ARAMIS clan, work out on the gallops and then get up close to them afterwards in their stables. One member was so thrilled to be there, exclaiming that membership was worth it just to have this opportunity once a year but the Open Mornings are one of the regular features of club membership. The successful day was crowned by a visit to The Hollow Bottom to warm up by the fire and partake of the excellent food and drink.

 The 17th century pub used to be called Ye Olde Inn but its name was was changed to The Hollow Bottom because the local people used to refer to it as the pub in the Hollow at the Bottom of the village.


 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

After the race this week's trainer has a drab divot hunt. (14)

The answer: David Arbuthnot, the successful Surrey trainer.

Another one next week, if you can wait that long!


 SUNDAY 27th JANUARY 2013 – DOMINIC'S BIG BIRTHDAY!!

  

IMPERIAL WAS THE COMMANDER BUT ...

 What a race! The 2010 Gold Cup winner, IMPERIAL COMMANDER, put on a faultless performance in the Argento Chase yesterday. He tracked the leaders all the way and levelled with them at the 10th fence and was already in the lead by the 12th and 3 lengths clear but the 9-year-old CAPE TRIBULATION caught him in the last strides to win by half-a-length, 'mugged on the line' as some commentators put it! It seemed hard and unfair but that's racing. But nothing detracted from the superb performance after nearly two years off the track!

 Congratulations to all the team at the Twiston Davies yard and all the connections!

  

SEE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING!

 The Members' Open Morning on the gallops at the Twiston-Davies yard was a great success. Around 30 KAYF ARAMIS fans, from as far away as Nottinghamshire made the early morning start to be there. Some unfortunately couldn't make it because of the snow and ice. But that didn't deter the appearance of a reporter from the local radio station, BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Even the weather brightened up for the event with the sun streaking down over the snowy ground. Kayfaramisracing members were delighted to be able to watch all the horses, including the ARAMIS clan, work out on the gallops and then get up close to them afterwards in their stables. One member was so thrilled to be there, exclaiming that membership was worth it just to have this opportunity once a year but the Open Mornings are one of the regular features of club membership. The successful day was crowned by a visit to The Hollow Bottom to warm up by the fire and partake of the excellent food and drink.

 The 17th century pub used to be called Ye Olde Inn but its name was was changed to The Hollow Bottom because the local people used to refer to it as the pub in the Hollow at the Bottom of the village.

  

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

 After the race this week's trainer has a drab divot hunt. (14)

 

SATURDAY 26th JANUARY 2013

 

IMPERIAL BUT CAN HE COMMAND?

They say that the 2010 Gold Cup winner, IMPERIAL COMMANDER, is in a "strong position" ready for this afternoon's racing at Cheltenham which, to everyone's relief, got the go-head at this morning's early inspection. The 12-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies has not raced for 680 days, after numerous injuries but is reported to be back on course for the Gold Cup. But before that, though, IMPERIAL COMMANDER has to prove himself in a very strong Argento Chase field. Paul Costello, syndicate manager for his owners, commented: "His last couple of racecourse gallops have gone very well and he was spot-on in his last piece of work at Warwick. If he can run to 10lb of his top rating he'll be hard to beat at the weekend."

 

MR X BUYS A HORSE WITH THINGY AND THINGY

The former well-known X Factor judge, Simon Cowell, has extended his empire to owning a race horse. The man who could cruelly end the aspirations of a budding entertainer with a few terse comments has decided to go for a different kind of act - a two-year-old thoroughbred. And the co-owners are ANTthony McPartlin and DEClan Donnelly (Geddit? Ant and Dec!) who are, it seems, well-known on television. These three have their newly-acquired colt in training with Newmarket-based James Fanshawe. The horse was bought for 35,000 guineas ( £36,750 in real money!) and is said to have been named It’s A Yes From Me – something the former X Factor judge didn't say very often!

 FRIDAY 25th  JANUARY 2013 ---- HAPPY BURNS' NIGHT!

 

 DOUBLE, DOUBLE, TOIL AND … TURNER!

 The metaphorical ink was hardly dry on yesterday's piece on Hayley Turner than she got back into her winning ways by scoring a double at Lingfield on Day 2 of her return to racing. She rode HOMEBOY to a 3-length victory in the Selling Stakes. The Nottinghamshire-born jockey, unbelievably in her 13th year of professional riding, soon made that a double on WOM in the Follow Us On Twitter At LingfieldPark Handicap. The win on HOMEBOY was all the more unexpected, as the 4-year-old gelding won a similar race on Tuesday, after three seasons and 27 starts. It was, therefore, somewhat unexpected that Marcus Tregoning would race him again so soon.

 The Lambourn-based trainer merely commented: "There have been plenty of days where he hasn't run well, but while he is in form, it made sense to go again."

 As it was a Selling Stakes he also decided to bid £6,500 at the auction to hold on to his now successful runner.

  

LIFE'S A BEACH!

 Woolacombe Beach is apparently out-of-bounds to Victor Dartnall’s horses after 18 years. The North Devon-based trainer has been regularly exercising his horses on this beach since 1995. The handler, with an impressive 18% strike rate over the past five years, claims Parkins Estate, who own the beach, informed him on Tuesday that he would be served with a court injunction if he exercised his horses on the beach again.

 Mr Dartnall commented: “Woolacombe Bay is a huge beach with an enormous amount of space. It’s three miles long and with a great depth to it too. In the winter, particularly during the week, it’s virtually empty with just a handful of walkers and a few dogs.

 Mr Dartnall, with a staff of about 14 people is very disappointed with the decision particularly as he is a key employer in the area. It is interesting to note that previous users of the beach were the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

  

THURSDAY 24th JANUARY 2013

 

TURNER RETURNED FROM DOWN UNDER!

Hayley Turner officially got back in the saddle yesterday at Lingfield for the first time since undergoing an operation on her ankle in November. Unfortunately she failed to make her comeback memorable, finishing 5th out of 7 runners on PRINCE OF BURMA. As everyone found out from her frequent tweets, the Group One-winning jockey had been taking a long holiday in Australia recuperating. She says she is going to be competing on the all-weather tracks until the Turf season starts again. Good to see her back!

 

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

FRANKEL is still in the news. Now Doncaster wants racegoers to come up with a name for a new Listed race for two-year-olds which will be run at the St Leger Festival in September. The acknowledged best horse in the world won this seven-furlong race in 2010 at Doncaster on only his second ever start. The drawback is that anyone interested in taking part in this competition has got until midday tomorrow to come up with a winning suggestion. The winner will receive two County Stand badges for Friday, September 13, the day of the race. So get your thinking caps on!

Frankel and Johnny Stakes? Er … Frankely Speaking Challenge Cup. Um …. Frankely I don't give a damn! Er ..er...

 

EXCHANGE IS NO ROBBERY

LADBROKES has bought the betting exchange Betdaq for £25m. Officials of Ladbrokes and Dermot Desmond, Betdaq's billionaire owner, virtually completed the deal last night and full details were announced this morning. Ladbrokes will also take a 10% stake in TBH Guernsey Ltd, the company that provides Betdaq with its technology. The high street bookmaker was founded in 1886 by Messrs Schwind and Pendleton as commission agents for horses trained at Ladbroke Hall in Worcestershire. The name Ladbrokes was adopted in 1902.

  

 WEDNESDAY 23rd JANUARY 2013

 

INCHING ITS WAY TO SUNDAY?

There is a possibility that Saturday's Trials Day meeting at Cheltenham could be held on Sunday. Prestbury Park had more snow last night and, although the track is protected from frost by covers that were astutely put on last week, the snow resting on top of the covers is a big problem. Staff worked hard to remove a lot of the white stuff yesterday but any further snowfalls would just put things back to Square One and make Saturday's racing even more doubtful.

 

OFF AGAIN!

As was expected Huntingdon's Friday meeting has been abandoned because of snow. The track was still thick with up to 3 inches of snow this morning so the 9.30am course inspection was was virtually a formality. So our champion, KAYF ARAMIS, was yet again denied the chance to delight his fans and 'owners for the day'.

 

NO MUSH, MUSH!

Everyday we bemoan the cancellation of yet another horse race due to bad weather but spare a thought for our other four-legged friends. Over the weekend the British Siberian Husky racing event, due to be staged at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire, had to be cancelled due to the wintry conditions. Now these splendid dogs can handle temperatures as low as -50C but it was decided that the compacted ice would risk the health and safety of the riders as they raced at speeds of up to 25mph.

 

TUESDAY 22nd JANUARY 2013

 

13th TIME LUCKY!

Despite the weather Graham Gibbons added an 11th victory to his score this year after only three weeks when he won two and a quarter lengths on MAYPOLE JOE at Wolverhampton yesterday. It had been anticipated that he would be off again to the Far East but he must be thankful he decided not to go! It was the 3-year-old grey's 13th attempt to enter the winner's enclosure but he made it despite being the top weight.

 

THE BOOT'S ON THE OTHER FOOT

Heard the one about the jockey and his valet? No? Well, you'll have to read the marvellous piece in the Daily Telegraph today by racing journalist, Marcus Armytage, former National Hunt jockey who won the Grand National as an amateur in 1990, riding Mr Frisk. Probably not many readers know that jockeys have a valet to keep them looking spick and span. But there are limits, it seems to a valet's duties - and shoes might just be one of them!!

  

ONLY 48 HOURS FROM D-DAY”!

The next 48 hours at Cheltenham will be crucial for the decision whether the Festival Trials will be held there on Saturday. As previously stated the track is all right under the protective covers but there are still freezing temperatures and more snow has been forecast. Although there is a glimmer of hope of better weather after Wednesday. The event is still very much “in the balance" and so it's fingers crossed for the Wednesday inspection.

MONDAY 21st JANUARY 2013

 

JUMP TO IT!

As reported in the Daily Telegraph, KAUTO STAR is adjusting well to his new life as he gets the hang of the discipline of dressage. The Grade One winning chaser, owned by Clive Smith, was put in the capable hands of one of the country's leading eventers, Laura Collett, at the end of last year which was a great surprise to many in the racing community. It seems that Clive Smith's intentions were purely for the welfare of his champion, aimed at keeping his 13-year-old active in retirement. Laura Collett seems to be very pleased with his progress after so short a period.

 

ON COURSE FOR TODAY

After Kempton had to abandon today's fixture due to 'ice crystals in the track', the only hope for any racing today lies with the fate of Wolverhampton. The track got the thumbs up after passing a 6.30am inspection. Fergus Cameron, the clerk of the course, deemed it wise to re-check the state of the track because there is more snow forecast but felt able to give the go-ahead. The going is officially termed as 'slow' at the moment but the track is 'raceable'. Temperatures are going to hover around freezing all day and there could be more snow. Another important factor for a successful racing day is the ability of racegoers to get there and all local roads are reported as being accessible.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has raw collar (9)

The answer: A W Carroll.

Another one next week

SUNDAY 20th JANUARY 2013

  

ONE TO FOLLOW

 March’s Cheltenham Festival will probably see the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained THE NEW ONE as one of the bookies' favourites. The 5-year-old charged home by 16 lengths in the Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick. As a result the bay gelding is now in favour with some bookmakers for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle. It is reported that he'll be back at Cheltenham on Saturday, January 26, for trials day before having another attempt at the Festival.

 Nigel Twiston-Davies commented: “He won but we still don’t know enough about him and that encourages me to look at the programme book and find another two-and a-half miler for him in order to give him some more experience.”

  

HOPE SPRINGS

 There is now a stronger possibility there will be racing at Cheltenham and that next Saturday's important fixture will go ahead, despite the fact that the track is still covered with snow in some areas. Cheltenham's clerk of the course, Simon Claisse, announced that about 2 inches fell on Friday but the strong wind had blown it about so that some parts of the track have none whereas other parts have drifts of 20 inches or so. Since frost covers were laid in the early part of last week, the track remains unfrozen underneath. Although there is obviously still some doubt, it seems that racing is more likely to take place at Cheltenham next Saturday than not. This is good news for trainers who will be hoping to give their horses a final run before considering what races to aim for in the Festival in March. One of these is Paul Nicholls who has to decide what to do with TIDAL BAY who has two options: the World Hurdle and the Gold Cup at the Festival. Everyone, including punters, are keen to know what Nicholls' choice will be but the champion trainer clearly doesn't want to give anything away too soon and, in any case, there is a possibility he could bypass Cheltenham and go straight for the Irish Hennessy in February.

   

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

 An easy one today!

 This trainer has raw collar (9)

   

 SATURDAY 19th JANUARY 2013

 

 SNOW WAY TO GO

 The whole of the UK had a rare day without racing yesterday as snow caused all fixtures to be abandoned. Nor did the all-weather meeting at Lingfield escape the ravages of the weather. It is now expected that The Victor Chandler Chase will held at Cheltenham. The Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial, however, originally arranged for Haydock, will now be run at Doncaster. Under these revised circumstances entry for The Victor Chandler will be reopened and the race will be staged as the fourth race on an eight-race card on Cheltenham Trials day. Sadly because of the change of venue, the prize money will be reduced to £70,000 whereas it would have been £105,000 if run at Ascot. The Champion Hurdle Trial will be affected in a similar way, reduced to £45,000 instead of the original £75,000. There will also be an additional hurdle race at Huntingdon on Friday in replacement of the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novice Hurdle, which should have been run at Haydock today, where KAYF ARAMIS should also have run. There will be an additional all-weather fixture on Tuesday at Wolverhampton and Ayr, one of the rare tracks not to be affected by snow will hold an extra jump meeting on Wednesday.

 

 CROSS FINGERS! KNOCK ON WOOD!

The weather forecast for Warwick next Thursday is: 'Partly cloudy' – not a flake of snow in sight. That's good news for KAYF ARAMIS fans because he has been entered for the RacingUK.com HCP Hurdle over 3m 1f. Excitingly his younger brother, KAYLIF ARAMIS is also going to try for his first win in this event. It will be interesting to see how they race against each other 'for real'. Their friendly rivalry on the gallops is well-known to members who have taken up the Club's offer to be there to watch them. The next Club Morning on the Gallops is on 26th but that is after this race.

 

OR EVEN HALT DAUMEN AND DOIGTS CROISES!

 

 

FRIDAY 18th. JANUARY 2013

 

QUEVEGA GOING FOR BIG BUCKS! (NO APOSTROPHE!)

 

QUEVEGA may have received an offer she can't refuse – an entry in this year’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle due to the absence of Big Buck’s who has ruled out for the season through injury. In any case the 9-year-old mare will not be on track until the first day of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival in March when she will be going for a fifth win in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. Trainer, Willie Mullins, however, now has the option of entering his magnificent mare in the famous stayers’ championship. The absence of Big Buck’s has resulted in an unexpected high entry of 61 potentials, including last year’s third and fifth home, SMAD PLACEand OSCAR WHISKY. Seven of the contestants are from the Nicky Henderson yard including RIVERSIDE THEATRE and ROBERTO GOLDBACK. Rival trainer, Paul Nicholls has entered TIDAL BAY. The Donald McCain-trained PEDDLERS CROSS comes back to hurdles and could have the three-mile race in his sights. Other entries could include David Pipe’s GRANDS CRUS and DYNASTE. Could be quite an event!

   

CHECK MATE!

 They're checking at Wolverhampton later to see whether any racing is possible. Wolverhampton got an inch of snow overnight but this is already being cleared. They're also checking Lingfield which has not yet had any snow but it is forecast. Amongst the casualties today Chepstow has been called off which is bad news for the Aramis family because KAYLIF ARAMIS was due to show his skills over hurdles there. Unfortunately tomorrow's important meeting at Haydock is also off and that means our champion, KAYF ARAMIS, will not be be running and his 'owners for the day' will be denied a lovely day out at the races.

    

THURSDAY 17th JANUARY 2013

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, THE RAIN IS GONE”

 Oh really? Then you should have been at Lingfield yesterday. Because of thick fog the judge was only able to declare the first two in the apprentice handicap. BABY DOTTIE, ridden by Sophie Ralston, was declared the winner by six lengths. But because of the fog the judge had to call a photo-finish to decide which horse was finished second. This place was finally given to SPARTIC, trained by Alan McCabe. Worse than that. Because of the poor visibility the judge was ultimately unable to name the rest of the seven runners. They are all just listed as 'also ran'!

   

JUMPING JACK FROST

 Saturday's three jumps meetings prepared for the worst as snow is forecast and weather conditions taking a turn for the worse. The common enemy has been frost which is causing difficulties after the extended wet period. It seems that officials at Ascot, Haydock and Taunton are doing their best to keep the show on the road. Zero temperatures are reported at Ascot, where the Victor Chandler Chase is due to run. Chris Stickels, clerk of the course, said yesterday: "We were disappointed to see snow come into the equation again. We remain hopeful, but we've got to consider that racing has got to be under a bit of a threat for that forecast. We don't want to take the covers off too soon because temperatures will remain below freezing, about minus 3C on Thursday night and Friday night.”

 At Haydock, where KAYF ARAMIS is due to run the position is that there was a hard of frost last night and more is due until Friday. So not looking good,

 

WEDNESDAY 16th JANUARY 2013 

  “YOU'RE THE TOP. YOU'RE EQUINE EXCELLENCE! 

YOU'RE THE TOP. IF THE RATINGS MAKE SENSE!”

The mysterious group of international handicappers who are responsible for compiling the World Thoroughbred Rankings have designated FRANKEL as a "benchmark of equine excellence". This all started with Sir Henry Cecil's colt being officially crowned the highest-rated horse in history and being awarded a final mark of 140, when completing his racing career unbeaten after 14 starts. Interestingly DANCING BRAVE previously held the title of the best horse on a mark of 141 which he gained in the 1986 season. Sadly they have reassessed this rating and downgraded it to 138. It was no surprise, therefore, that Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority's head of handicapping, had to to confess he felt "cautious" about describing Frankel as the world's best-ever racehorse. It wasn't until 1977 that the international rankings system was established and the handicappers, themselves, have admitted that the techniques employed to create the rankings these days vary greatly from those in earlier years. This means that many horses in the 70s and 80s were given inflated marks compared with what they would be given today. It seems the handicappers have tried to re-establish a fair balance and so have have adjusted the historical figures. Doesn't that sounds a bit 1984-ish! Anyway that's why FRANKEL now presides at the head of the all-time ratings list. 

The handicappers released the following statement: "From a European perspective, while eight horses have been champion racehorse at both two and three years of age since the International Classifications commenced in 1977, Frankel this year became the first horse to be officially a champion (or joint-champion) at two, three and four years of age during that period. An outstanding racehorse, it is fair to say in the circumstances that he constitutes a new benchmark for equine excellence on the racecourse." 

Here's to FRANKEL whatever the handicappers' tune! 

 

ONLY EVENS ON HAYDOCK FOR SATURDAY 

KAYF ARAMIS fans will be crossing their fingers (or 'knocking on wood' as last week there were twice as many website hits from the US as from the UK last week. 600 to 300!) that the Merseyside racetrack will beat the elements and be able to run Saturday's card. One fan in particular who will be hoping to be there is Bruce B. who is thrilled to have just won two tickets in the kayfaramisracing.com Membersip draw. You, too, can be part of the action. Just become a registered fan! 

The day will not only see our champion race in the Follow The StanJames.com Road To Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle but also there will be a chance to see the long anticipated reappearance of PEDDLERS CROSS. 

Ominously the track has been under frost covers for the last few days and Kirkland Tellwright who is clerk of the course is obviously concerned: "We are covered up. It's been so far so good and we were fit to race (on Tuesday morning) after it got down to minus 2C. "The next couple of nights look like a bigger test as we might get down to minus 8C or minus 9C. "Covered or not, that will be a fair challenge. All we can do is take it one step at a time." 

 

TUESDAY 15th JANUARY 2013

 

JEEPERS CREEPERS IT'S JUMPERS' BUMPERS!

Because of the wintry weather forecast for later this week the British Horseracing Authority has had to make the decision to hold two additional AW meetings at Lingfield and Kempton. A programme of jumpers' bumpers will be held at Lingfield on Thursday. Five of the races are mainly for hurdlers and chaser and there are a further two Open National Hunt Flat races. An extra A/W Flat meeting will be held at Kempton on Saturday. Details of the seven-race event will are expected to released today.

 

HAYDOCK DOESN'T PULL 'EM IN LIKE IT USED-TA!

The StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial to be held at Haydock on Saturday has opened its books again until today due to the low number entries – just seven. This Grade Two race, won by Celestial Halo a year ago and by a host of fine horses in the past, such as as Mysilv, Rooster Booster and Inglis Drever may possibly be the scene for the comeback for Peddlers Cross, the 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up. An alternative contest is also on the cards for the 8-year-old and that is Keltbray Holloway's Hurdle in which the Alan King-trained Raya Star is also a contestant. 

MONDAY 14th JANUARY 2013

  

HE'S THE ONE!

After his convincing win at Warwick on Saturday, THE NEW ONE will be at Cheltenham in two weeks. The 5-year-old was a leading horse in bumpers last season and was also was impressive in his first two runs over hurdles at Cheltenham in October. He had been off the track for three months but the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained son of King's Theatre put all competition to the sword and won by over 16 lengths in the Leamington Novices' Hurdle on Saturday. He is now a favourite with some bookies for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Before that great event, however, he will have another run in a Neptune-sponsored race on 26th January.

 Nigel Twiston-Davies commented: "He's fine this morning and the plan is to run him again in a fortnight's time in the Neptune race at Cheltenham. He didn't have more than an exercise canter yesterday ( Ha, Ha!) and I'd like to give him another run for experience before he goes to the Festival.”

  

ASKER AND IT WILL BE GIVEN!

The Gary Moore-trained ASKER seems to have what it takes to win the Race Passes At timeform.com Novices' Hurdle today at Plumpton. The 5-year-old certainly has a lot of potential even though he performed disastrously in his début novices' hurdle race at Kempton on Boxing Day. That race was trainer Gary Moore's first attempt at turning him into a good jumper but the bay gelding, who shares his real birthday with Shakespeare, could only manage last place out of the six runners. That was a tough introduction to the jumping game but with that experience under his saddle this could lead to something good. “Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing” as the great bard didn't say. But who did? 

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM 

Cheer skinny don for this trainer (14) 

No-one won the £1000 prize for this one. (Only joking! ) 

The answer is: Nicky Henderson. 

Another one nxet week . 

 

 SUNDAY 13th JANUARY 2013

 

 A LADY WITH WINNING WAYS.

 

Venetia Williams has had her horses in top form all season. RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENEdidn't let her down today at Warwick when in the very last strides he landed the Betfred Classic Chase. Only six runners were still fighting it out as they came into the back straight for the last time and there were only just three after the next two fences. The 7-year-old grey put up a challenge between the front-running pair of Godsmejudge and Pete The Feat who was going for his sixth straight win. It certainly looked as though Venetia Williams' protege was a gonner when he dived at the last fence leaving the back straight but, he still managed to get back into contention. Noel Fehily, on Pete The Feat, tried to urge his mount on but he looked a weary horse. Jockey, Robbie Dunne succeeded in getting a last-minute run out of RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENE and they came home with just half-a-length to spare.

 Dunne, who has not always found it easy to get rides seemed delighted that he had managed to pull off such a big win. As he said afterwards: "I'm a 3lb-claimer who can't ride in boys' races any more, so it isn't easy, but hopefully a win like this will help.”

  

THE RETURN OF THE KING

 The 2010 Gold Cup winner, IMPERIAL COMMANDER seems to be about ready to make his first racecourse appearance for nearly two years. He had another successful pre-race run at Warwick following on from his gallop at Chepstow a week earlier. He even managed to run well clear of stable companion, making it a strong possibility that he'll run in two weeks' time in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham. The 12-year-old hasn't raced since he became lame in the 2011 Gold Cup. Then a planned return earlier this season in the Betfair Chase was thwarted when it was discovered that he had a hairline fracture to a hind splint bone.

 Fingers crossed this time!

  

THE NEW ONE WON!

As tipped yesterday, THE NEW ONE won the Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Warwick 16 lengths ahead of his nearest rival! Well done Sam Twiston-Davies! And, of course, Dad, Nigel!

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

Cheer skinny don for this trainer (14)

 

  SATURDAY 12th JANUARY 2013

 

 THE NEW ONE TO WIN?

 The Grade Two Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Warwick, perhaps, to some, better known to the race-going fanatic as the Leamington Novices' Hurdle, will see THE NEW ONE, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, seek to achieve his third win from three starts over fences. The 5-year-old demonstrated his skills when he won by a clear margin in his hurdling début at Newton Abbot in October and to prove that wasn't a fluke he went on to victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Class 2) 18 days later at Cheltenham. He has, however,been off the track for the last three months but, according to reports emanating from Grange Hill Farm, this contender for favouritism is ready for action in a race that has been won by some talented horses over the years, not the least everyone's favourite, INGLIS DREVER.

 Trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, commented: "We're very pleased with him and hopefully he will win it tomorrow. He's done nothing wrong so far and everything should suit him, the distance, the conditions and the track. Hopefully all goes well and then we will see where we are."

 

A HORSE TO KEEP AN EYE ON?

 As noted in yesterday's Racing News, it looks like 9-year-old BINOCULAR will return to the track in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown. For all those passionate about racing the next cherished event is the Cheltenham Festival and that is not so far away. What's two months among friends? BINOCULAR's owner, J P McManus, like any keen racegoer, loves having winners, particularly at the Cheltenham Festival and this year it looks like he has a very strong contingent. It is already planned that many of the entrants will have one more preparatory run before the big day. BINOCULAR has not been seen on the track since last year’s Champion Hurdle and then he only managed a fourth place. But it seems he's fit and ready to go and could have Cheltenham in his sights.

 

FRIDAY 11th JANUARY 2013

 

THE LUCK OF THE IRISH

Rumour has it that JEZKI, unbeaten in his last four hurdle races and, what is more, the favourite for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, is about to be bought by JP McManus. The five -year-old, trained by Jessica Harrington is thought to be worth over £400,000. He was successful in two of the three bumpers he ran last season. He has won 6 of his eight starts.

 

JP McManus is the leading owner at the Cheltenham Festival. He notched up 37 wins a year ago. The champion Irish owner is possibly aiming for a fifth Champion Hurdle win with DARLAN and BINOCULAR.

  

THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE YOUNG

 The 21-year-old novice jockey, Lee Theobald, is progressing in leaps and bounds and he clearly has a strong ambition to rise to the top of his game At the moment he has joined Nicky Martin’s Somerset point-to-point yard. It is rumoured that he is soon to apply for a professional jumps licence. Lee only started horse racing a couple of years ago but he has done really well so far. Just a year ago he scored his first winner at Kempton for Julia Feilden’s yard.

 He commented: “I’m working at a point-to-point yard in somerset and I’m really enjoying it. My aim is to ride before the end of this year, which has been a big dream of mine. Coming from a flat yard to a jump yard is a big step, it means that I have to put more weight on and ride a little differently, but I’d like to think I’ve adapted quickly to the change.”

 

THURSDAY 10th JANUARY 2013

  

AGE SHALL NOT WEARY HIM NOR CHANNEL 4 CONDEMN

John McCririck, the now ex-Channel 4 presenter, is claiming “ageism” after being dropped by the TV channel and is seeking damages totalling £3million. McCririck was one of a number of presenters to lose their job after Channel 4 awarded the production contract for its racing coverage to IMG Sports Media. McCririck has decided to take Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media to court over this decision.  

Channel 4 commented: "We are grateful to John McCririck for his contribution towards the success of Channel 4 Racing over many years. However, we reject the suggestion that discrimination on the basis of age played any part in the decision not to renew his freelance contract and we will be vigorously defending this claim." 

In a statement McCririck said: "After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation. I am 72. For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking £500,000. Ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society. I am seeking a further exemplary, punitive £2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace."

  

A WEIGHTY DECISION 

The North Yorkshire Grand National Handicap Chase at Catterick today features trainer Venetia Williams' PENTIFFIC and he could be the one to go for. Last weekend the 10-year-old sailed back to form, winning by 14 lengths at Musselburgh and he seems capable of making a swift return to the fray. Venetia Williams is clearly set on getting another run in before the 10-year-old gelding is reassessed in the handicaps. 15lb lower in the weights, PENTIFFIC won very easily at Musselburgh. The handicapper is bound to consider penalising him fairly heavily for that easy win.

 

WEDNESDAY 9thJANUARY 2013

 

YOUR TURN IS OVER

The 1stsecuritysolutions.co.uk Novices' Chase at Doncaster today will provide the second start over fences for OVERTURN after his impressive 14-length victory at Sandown in November. The one thing that has delayed his return to the fray is the ground. Trainer, Donald McCain has been waiting for better conditions since the 9-year-old's chasing début. After various attempts to find a suitable race it looks like today's event is it, as the ground is listed officially as Good-to-Soft. The only threat appears to be CONQUISTO, trained by Steve Gollings who won his first chase at Doncaster on 29th December, also by an impressive 14-lengths. The rest of the quintet consists of ATTAGLANCE, the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree winner and Jeremy Scott's WHAT ER SAY who was pulled up last time out at Ffos Las.

 

RMG ON COURSE  

Cheltenham, Aintree, Newmarket, Epsom, York, Newbury, Goodwood, Sandown and Ascot, will join Racecourse Media Group racetracks, offering pool betting services and on-course betting shops. The arrangement for pool betting means that on-course Totepool betting service will be available at those racetracks until at least July 2018. Betfred will operate all on-course betting shops for this period. The good news is this deal guarantees that Betfred and Totepool's race sponsorship which includes the Ebor, Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch, will continue across all the 32 courses. RMG chief executive officer Richard FitzGerald commented : "We are delighted to conclude these deals with Betfred and Totepool which guarantee and protect the future of pool betting and Totepool products at our racecourses until July 2018. The aim is to not only provide a first-class service for racegoers but also to grow the business for the benefit of the sport as a whole." 

TUESDAY 8th JANUARY 2013

 

FROM WINNER TO WHIPPING BOY

Three of the seven winning favourites at Taunton were provided by trainer Venetia Williams and jockey Aidan Coleman. This dynamic duo helped to push the trainer's total past 50 for the season so far. Aidan Coleman's first win was pretty well in the lap of the gods when EMPEROR'S CHOICE inched (centimetred?) past Shuil Royale to win by the closest of finishes – a short head and contributed to an amazing finish for the Annual Membership Proves Great Value Beginners' Chase.

Williams and Coleman then followed up this success with wins with BENNY'S MIST by 22 lengths in th15.40 BBC Stargazing Live Here 10th January Handicap Chase and in the final raceof the day with JUPITER REXin the Come Racing For A Tenner - 29th January Handicap Hurdle.

As recompense for a superb day's riding, however, Aidan Coleman received a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level on EMPEROR'S CHOICE. To remind readers this is 8 times in any Jump Racing (and only five times in the last furlong/after the last obstacle. )

 

AINTREE STAKES ITS REPUTATION ON PLASTIC

The Grand National fences have been the centre of much debate over the last two years and to give them fair dues, Aintree officials have listened carefully to what worries animal lovers. The plan is to to remove all wooden stakes from the fences with the aim of making them safer. The fences are now to be made of birch and plastic rather than traditional wood. To look at, the jumps will seem to be the same height, width and appearance. Trials were held at the Becher meeting in December where the last two fences were made of a plastic centre and two of the ditches had a construction of birch under their usual of green spruce. This will be the pattern for this year’s race on April 6. They will start constructing this year’s Aintree fences early in February.

 

 MONDAY 7th JANUARY 2013

 

CBEEBIES FOR GROWN-UPS?

The so-called reality TV show, Celebrity Big Brother, (CBEEBIES for grown-ups?) has been joined by a little brother, Frankie Dettori, who, though he could be up for early ejection, still seems to have a lot of backers. Apparently the Italian jockey's anecdotal charm and easy-going nature seem to have won him a good many fans. Lanfranco has also been wowing his CBEEBIE fellow guests with his culinary skills. Against all odds you can still get get 4/1 on his being a stayer in this long race with obstacles, unknown territory for a jockey who only races on the on the Flat. Notwithstanding the surprise eviction order pending from his fellow CBEEBIES, the 3-times champion jockey may have enough backing to hang around for a while. So no flying leaps at the moment!

 

MORE TO COME FROM MOORE?

Plumpton locals clearly rejoiced at the easy win by WELL REFRESHED in the At The Races Sussex National at Plumpton yesterday. The Gary Moore-trained 9-year-old looks like he could be a horse to follow in 2013. The trainer's son, Joshua, rode him patiently as he joined the leading horses three out. The main threat was PETTIFOUR, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, tipped here yesterday as a 'value bet', but the outcome was virtually not in doubt as Moore's mount romped home by 28 lengths.

Gary Moore commented: "That was a great result, it's probably the only National I'll ever win though! It's good for the horse and the yard. A lot of people deserve a fair bit of credit, from the vet through to Joshua. I couldn't be more pleased.”

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This week's trainer loved this draw (13)

No-one came up with the answer which is:

David Elsworth.

Until next week!

 

 SUNDAY 6th JANUARY 2013

 

A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR

MONBEG DUDE won the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow yesterday, ridden confidently by Paul Carberry, who was a last-minute replacement for Jamie Moore. The 8-year-old, trained by Michael Scudamore, was kept at the back of the field for most of the race. By contrast the favoutie TEAFORTHREE, under Tony McCoy was well up with the pace. Then things changed dramatically. GILES CROSS, who had been going well so far suddenly seemed to have problems and was pulled up. At this stage MONBEG DUDE was about 10 lengths behind the pair, TEAFORTHREE and TRIGGERMAN, in the final straight but the experienced Carberry still remained motionless and calm, urging his mount on to win with perfect timing. The champion jockey did his best to fight back but the extra 16lbs took their toll and he lost by half-a-length. Unfortunately yesterday's 'dark horse', VIKING BLOND, started off well but by the 11th fence was jumping slowly and making mistakes. By 5 out he was looking decidedly tired and was pulled up before he got to the 3rd.

 

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

PETTIFOUR is running at Plumpton today in the At The Races Sussex National (Handicap Chase) over 3 miles 5 furlongs. It's true the 11-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, hasn't won a race since the Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in November 2009 but he did show signs of an emerging will-to-win last time at Haydock two months ago. It's interesting, too, that the handicapper has left him on the same mark of 120. PETTIFOUR was as high as 160 over hurdles back at the beginning of 2009 when he raced unsuccessfully against BIG BUCK'S. So, as they say, if you are looking for a value bet, this could be something worth considering. In addition it should be important that PETTIFOUR does best on Good to Soft so the possibility of drying ground also comes into the equation.

If he wins tell everyone where you got the tip.

If not, keep it quiet!

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This week's trainer loved this draw (13)

 

 SATURDAY 5th JANUARY 2013

 

BLOND - A DARK HORSE?

With the wettest winter on record, today's Coral Welsh National at Chepstow could be one of the toughest contests for all the horses involved. But one contestant who appears to be at the height of his powers is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained VIKING BLOND. Last time in this race he was the favourite but he found it all far too tough and tailed off half-way through the race. But signs were that he was clearly capable of winning such a race and in such conditions. With a couple of good runs this season at Cheltenham, things certainly looked to be stacked in his favour. He will also be five pounds lower in the handicap this time. The manner in which he battled on bravely over almost three and a half miles at Cheltenham in November, points to the stamina that will be necessary in his second attempt to win this honour. On the plus side, Nigel Twiston-Davies has notched up three winners since Boxing Day and he has his son, Sam, riding and that can only hint at success. TEAFORTHREE is the favourite and champion jockey, AP McCoy, thinks his odds are too short. Putting it bluntly, most of the rest of the field consists of worthy veterans past their sell-by date. Whatever, all of the runners face a brutal test of stamina and you could do worse than risk a modest win bet on VIKING BLOND currently at 6/1.

 

NOT A LUCKY BREAK FOR LUCY!

Unfortunately Lucy Alexander broke her collarbone at Musselburgh yesterday and so will be out of action for a while. She had a serious fall from Isla Pearl Fisher in the 3m handicap chase and was taken off to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Happily Lucy Alexander, who is hoping to miss riding for only a few weeks, was successful earlier in the day on Buffalo Ballet, also trained by her father. This was her second win of the year so far.

 

FRIDAY 4th JANUARY 2013

 

KAYF ARAMIS FOR MERSEYSIDE

Kayf Aramis will be entered for a Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday 19th January. Time to join the fan club and be part of the action. Go to: kayfaramisracing.com

 

HIGH AND DRY

Newcastle has got the go-ahead for tomorrow. Gosforth Park was threatened by waterlogging but it was decided this morning that the ground was suitable for racing. The forecast is for dry weather into the weekend so all was deemed to be in order by Clerk of the course, James Armstrong, who said: "We're raceable, subject to doing some rail movement and taking out the odd obstacle. The ground had improved more than I thought it would after a dry night. Subject to the dry forecast being correct, we should be OK."

The going at Newcastle is listed as officially 'heavy'.

 

THAT TAKES THE BISCUIT

Seabiscuit star and Hall of Fame jockey, Gary Stevens, is coming out of retirement to saddle up at Santa Anita on Sunday. The 49-year-old, whose last ride was in 2005, earned more than $221million in prize money in 26 years. His major successes include three runs in the Kentucky Derby, two in the Preakness Stakes, three in the Belmont Stakes, eight Breeders' Cup wins and a record nine wins in the Santa Anita Derby. In 1999 he rode for Sir Michael Stoute here in England. In the same year he won the Juddmonte International on Royal Anthem for Sir Henry Cecil.

Gary Stevens commented: "There's been a lot of speculation, people have seen me out there working horses in the morning, and I'm coming back on Sunday. I've worked some exciting horses over the past couple of weeks, and a couple that in particular made hairs stand up on the back of my neck that I haven't felt in a long time. I've been getting healthy and fit and I haven't felt like this since five years before I quit riding, body-wise and mental-wise, and I want to give it a go again."

 

THURSDAY 3rd JANUARY 2013

 

WINNER ON TAP

As reported yesterday, TAP NIGHT ran his début chase at Ayr ridden by Tony McCoy. The 6-year-old had opposition from only three others in the Download The BetVictor Spincast App Now Novices' Chase and, to the obvious dismay of connections, was five lengths down after a slow jump three out. But he soon made up the ground seemingly effortlessly and won by five lengths.

Winning trainer, Lucinda Russell, commented afterwards "He was a bit 'novicey' at a couple, but he jumped well in the main and he was entitled to win it off his mark. I like the way he quickened up - AP (McCoy) was quite happy so it's all good news.”

That was not the only success for Lucinda Russell. GREEN FLAG in the 12.20, although ceding 10lbs to each of his rivals in the EBF/Follow Us On Twitter @BetVictorRacing "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, beat Balleybogey by 10 lengths. He has now won three of his four starts over hurdles. And to add the icing to the cake, IMJOEKING produced a very similar successful ride in in the Get The BetVictor App Maiden Hurdle, giving the Kinross trainer victory in the first three races of the day and three wins from her eight entries.

 

DEAL OR NO DEAL

Talking of Lucinda Russell, she seems to have a stock of good horses and one of them is, without doubt, NO DEAL who is scheduled to run in the Follow Us On Twitter At BetVictorRacing Maiden Hurdle at Ayr. The 7-year-old gelding scored in a début bumper at Carlisle in November in tough conditions. It looks like he will enjoy every yard of this extended three-mile.

WEDNESDAY 2nd JANUARY 2013

 

THE LASS WITH THE DELICATE AYR

One person who will be delighted that racing goes ahead at Ayr today is trainer, Lucinda Russell. She is sending eight of her horses there. The first race of the day, the 2m4f novices' hurdle will see GREEN FLAG and SHE WILL ROCK YOU compete for honours with the heavy ground favouring the 6-year-old GREEN FLAG who won last time out but over 2m 6f so this is a drop back in trip for him. Then comes IMJOEKING in the Get The BetVictor App Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles, only his second race over hurdles.

Lucinda Russell has another two hopefuls in the 2 mile Novices' Chase at 13.20. They are TAP NIGHT and LORD OF DRUMS who are both making their début. The former is the favourite of the four runners in the race. In the 13.50 she runs SHOOTING TIMES and DELIGHTFULLY who is carrying an 8lb penalty for her win at Newcastle in November. The final member of her octet is PROSECCO who is bidding for a hat-trick and his fifth win at Ayr but is on his highest handicap of his career.

Let's wish the Kinross trainer Bliadhna mhath ùr!

 

TAKE A TIP FROM ME!

Kevin Perry, the racing editor of The Daily Telegraph, known as Marlborough, has become the Champion Tipster of 2012. He beat nine other horse-racing tipsters in the National Press Challenge, sponsored by the Racing Post. The competition runs from Jan 1 to Dec 31 every year. The chief tipsters of the national newspapers are ranked according to the percentage return that they achieve on turnover to a £1 stake on all their selections. In 2012 Marlborough picked 2,146 winners from his 8,316 selections, a strike rate of 25 per cent, and those winners returned 90.85% of turnover. His closest rival was Rob Wright of The Times, who had a record of 2,102 winners from 8,403 selections and a return of 90.09 per cent.

The 2013 competition started on Tuesday and, although there is a long way to go, Marlborough made a good start to the year, finding 14 winners from his 32 selections that's a profit of £13.80 to a £1 level stake!


 

TUESDAY 1st.JANUARY 2013

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS!

 

BP GIVES FUEL FOR THOUGHT!

Appropriately named AWARD WINNER, gave Brendan Powell something to celebrate at Uttoxeter - his 500th win as a trainer, The grey gelding owned by JP McManus, was on his ninth win when scoring in the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle. With Tony McCoy on board the 9-year-old never seemed to have any problems and gained a healthy advantage over the last hurdle and eventually won by a length and three-quarters. It's worth remembering that it was in 1988 that Brendan Powell won the Grand National (then known as the Seagram Grand National) by four lengths on RHYME 'N' REASON and he notched up a total of 684 winners in his riding career. So it's good to see that he is coming up trumps in the tough training world.

Brendan Powell commented: "I've been training for 12 years and we average around 45 to 50 winners a year. When you've got a yard with 35 to 40 horses, as long as we can keep it going we'll be happy. That was my 25th winner for JP (McManus) as well, so that was nice. AP (McCoy) has been good to me over the years. He does some schooling for me and it's nice to give him a winner."

 

A FOAL AND HIS MONEY …..... “

The first two-year-olds, sired by Derby and Arc winner, SEA THE STARS, will be strutting their stuff this year. Bookies are already trying whip up some kind of excitement about this prospect. They have issued special bets on the chances of this world champion becoming a successful Dad, as far as passing on racing genes is concerned. Paddy Power has stuck its neck out the furthest and offers 8-1 on any progeny of SEA THE STARS winning a British or Irish Group 1 in the 2013 Flat season. William Hill is a little more cautious and offers 4-1 on the same outcome.

SEA THE STARS seems to have had his pick of international mares in his first year at stud. For example, 9-year-old VODKA, now a mum-to-be is off back to her native Japan, whilst the Aga Khan's 8-year-old mare, ZARKAVA, already has a 2-year-old filly, called ZERKAZA, who has just started training in France.

It is interesting that Stan James takes a different slant on the outcome. They are offering 11-10 against SEA THE STARS siring a Group or Grade 1 winner worldwide in 2013. They gave the following explanation: "The reason we bet 11-10 against Sea The Stars having a Group 1 winning two-year-old in his first crop in his first crop is two fold. For one, he was a Group 2 winning two-year-old himself and he didn't prove himself a Group 1 horse until his three-year-old career, when he stamped himself as the most versatile and one of the best three-year-olds we have ever seen. Two, his half-brother, the world's greatest sire, Galileo, did not manage to get a Group 1-winning two-year-old in his first crop."

 

  

MONDAY 31st. DECEMBER 2012

 

THEY'RE NOT OFF. IT'S OFF!!

Sadly there will be no racing at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. The event has been abandoned because the track is waterlogged. Earlier in the week it had been announced that there would be an inspection at 3pm today but the powers-that-be had to bow to the inevitable. There is more rain due and the track is already unusable as the ground is saturated. There have been talks with the BHA in the past few days to see whether Pony Club Raceday Novices' Chase (registered as the Dipper Novices' Chase) might take place somewhere else."

 

GO WITH THE TIDE

TIDAL BAY, after his last-minute victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on Friday might have a crack at he Betfred Gold Cup in March but only if the ground is soft, according to his trainer, Paul Nicholls. The champion trainer also thinks the talented 11-year-old would have a big chance in the World Hurdle before going on to the Grand National.

Paul Nicholls commented: "I've been looking at the betting for the World Hurdle and he's third favourite. He'd have a big chance in that. It might be an unorthodox route but we'd like to go for the Grand National with him at the end of the season. To go World Hurdle then back for the Grand National would be different but he's one horse who could do that."

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has dear apartment (13)

Everyone must have got this one – Amanda Perrett!

Another next week.

SUNDAY 30th DECEMBER 2012

 

RECORD BROKEN AFTER 97 YEARS

The long-standing record for the number of winners ridden by an amateur jockey in a calendar year has been broken in Ireland. Patrick Mullins won on Zuzka yesterday in the IBTA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown. This win made his 73rd victory for 2012 and beats Billy Parkinson, who got 72 winners in 1915. It is only six years since Patrick Mullins rode his very first winner at the age of 16.

He said afterwards: "To achieve the record on the second last day of the year was extra special. I was lucky enough to equal it a couple of weeks back but I was beginning to wonder of I'd ever get to 73 winners!"

 

THAT'S THE SPIRIT!

Nicky Henderson's OSCAR WHISKY is reported to have worked out well on the champion trainer's main all-weather gallop and even managed to put in some half-speed work in preparation for the Centaur Hurdle scheduled for New Year's Day at Cheltenham. Everyone is praying that this event will survive the continuous heavy rain. As announced earlier this week there will be a precautionary inspection today. It has also been mooted that the 7-year-old grey may drop back to the minimum distance for another tilt at the Champion Hurdle in March if the soft conditions persist till then. He came third in this race last time.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has dear apartment (13)

 

SATURDAY 29th DECEMBER 2012

 

BAY WATCH

The Lexus Chase which ran at Leopardstown yesterday witnessed veteran TIDAL BAY's beating First Lieutenant to give victory to Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh. The 11-year-old is an old sparring partner of KAYF ARAMIS who beat him into second place in the 2010 John Smith's Hurdle at Wetherby. It seems no-one was expecting this result, preferring instead to favour Flemenstar but he seemed to lose it when jumping the last, giving jockey, Andrew Lynch, certain cause for alarm. Ultimately the only real threats were First Lieutenant and Sir Des Champs but TIDAL BAY, after adopting his usual rear slot until about three jumps out, asserted his dominance and challenged between horses close to the line and won by a head.

 

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!

KAYF ARAMIS' local racecourse, Cheltenham, will be holding a precautionary inspection tomorrow morning in advance of the meeting planned for New Year's Day. There has been so much rain at Prestbury Park in the last week that there is concern about the feasibility of running the busy 7-race card. Simon Claisse who is Clerk of the course stated: "It's precautionary because we are raceable at the moment, but we have a weather forecast which causes us a bit of concern. We are forecast another 27 millimetres of rain ( an inch in old currency!), on top of the 57 millimetres (2¼ inches) we have had since the last meeting on December 15, on ground that is already heavy. We are set for something like seven or eight tomorrow, then a further four or five millimetres on Sunday. Forecasts have been known to be wrong, but we will take a look."

 

FRIDAY 28th DECEMBER 2012

 

NOW FOR THE GOLD CUP!

Now that LONG RUN has reclaimed his King George VI Chase crown next on the cards looks like being the Cheltenham Gold Cup that he lost in March. Before that, though, it's possible that trainer, Nicky Henderson will give him a preparatory run in the Denman Chase at Newbury. They will be playing things carefully because it is well-known that the King George is a tough race and can take a lot out of a horse.

As Nicky Henderson put it: "He's fine, he ate up last night and is a happy bunny. We haven't really digested anything yet. We were Long Run will go to Newbury like last year. It also gives him a bit more time after the King George, and he'll tell us if he's ready. We'll just be mindful about how much it took out of him because that was tough."

 

SANCTUARY MUCH SAY CONNECTIONS

SANCTUAIRE won the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton by an amazing 13 lengths yesterday. Wishfull Thinking travelled really strongly when he emerged from the back straight but Ruby Walsh kept his cool and it was but a short afterwards that he rode SANCTUAIRE back into the lead beating Kumbeshwar by this big margin. The 6-year-old grey hasn't always been an easy horse to handle so connections were pleased to see him win in such a convincing fashion.

THURSDAY 27th DECEMBER 2012

 

BY GEORGE, HE DID IT!

As tipped in yesterday's Racing News, LONG RUN with jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen, aboard won his second William Hill King George VI Chase. There were doubting Thomases, however, as the 7-year-old's credentials were starting to look dubious after his lack-lustre third in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase in March and his defeat by Silviniaco Conti on his return to the fray at Haydock in November. But all was about to be forgiven when he fair sailed along approaching the 5th from the finish. There was then a brief moment when doubts arose once more as he he bungled that one, giving further chances to Champion Court and Captain Chris to make challenges in the final straight. But with great determination LONG RUN regained the lead and won by the closest of margins – a neck.

Sam Waley- Cohen commented: "He was so brave. I had to keep asking him - I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave. This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us. That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege. Dad has had every opportunity to put someone else on the horse, but he has always been really good and said he was my ride. I'd like to thank him more than anyone."

 

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD

CARRUTHERS, a son of Kayf Tara and winner of last year's Hennessy Gold Cup, made the most of his less prestigious race entry by winning the Professional Security Management Handicap Chase at Ffos Las by 15 lengths. The 9-year-old gelding seems to have been struggling to make his mark since that Newbury triumph. He was 9lbs lighter as a result of his disastrous defence of his Hennessy title at the beginning of December. Ridden by amateur jockey, Nico de Boinville, he led for most of the race and, despite the heavy ground, pulled clear and stayed on well for this resounding victory.

 

WEDNESDAY 26th DECEMBER 2012

 

CORAL WELSH ON 4

As anticipated, the Coral Welsh National on Thursday at Chepstow has been abandoned because the track is waterlogged. The entire day's racing has been moved to January 5. After a Christmas Eve inspection and with further rain in the offing, there was little choice but to cancel the meeting. The Welsh National is recognised as one of the tougher races on the calendar and every effort has to be made to ensure the ground is safe. The Finale Hurdle will also be up an extra £5,500 as the prize money was already scheduled to be increased in 2013. These changes mean also that the Welsh National, sponsored by Coral since 1973, will be shown on television by Channel 4 and not the BBC, which has virtually abandoned screening any horse racing, in any case. This year's race is also significant because it marks Coral's 40th year of sponsorship of the race.

 

A WINNER IN THE LONG RUN

Kempton will prove a stern testing ground for stamina and class today when the William Hill King George V1 Chase is run. One horse with more than a good chance is LONG RUN who was victorious by 13 lengths three years ago and is the highest rated horse. If only he can show the same staying powers he displayed last year when he was beaten by just 1¾ lengths by Kauto Star, then he could claim his second King George scalp. This son of French Cadoudal's last success was at Newbury in February in the Betfair Denman Chase but he seems to have kept himself in good shape. Kempton does give the impression of being an easy track but the three miles is quite tough as the pace does tend to be fast at the beginning. LONG RUN is probably the strongest of the 10 runners capable of making the distance with a bit in hand.

 

MONDAY 24th DECEMBER 2012

 

A RIDE EVOLVES – REVE DE SIVOLA!

Connections are hoping their Long Walk Hurdle winner, REVE DE SIVOLA, can draw maximum advantage from the absence of the unbeatable BIG BUCK'S. The 7-year-old, trained by Nick Williams, produced a 14-length win over Smad Place at Ascot, after catching up with KAYF ARAMIS, who had boldly led by some 8-10 lengths until the fourth out.

The World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March now looks wide open and it seems a natural that REVE DE SIVOLA will be going for it.

Paul Duffy, a member his Diamond Partnership syndicate had this to say:

"We were hopeful at Ascot, but you never know until the day when a horse comes back from a long period off through injury. His first run was encouraging and that was fruition to it. He always stays on, he's a stayer, and we rode him differently because we wanted to make sure it was a staying race. The horses behind him weren't as guaranteed to stay as Reve, we thought, and that's why Nick's instructions to Richard Johnson to be there or thereabouts. And he was just relentless.”

 

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT. YOU BETTER NOT CRY.

BETTER NOT POUT, I'M TELLING YOU WHY

CHEPSTOW OFFICIALS ARE DECIDING TONIGHT.

 

Christmas Eve is the deadline for a decision whether the Coral Welsh National will run the day after Boxing Day at Chepstow. Unfortunately the track has suffered substantial rainfall in the crucial week before its most important fixture of the year. The course is now waterlogged in places and more rain is forecast. Keith Ottesen, Clerk of the course, said yesterday: "In just over 24 hours we have had 45 millimetres, (that's about 1¾ inches in old currency!) which takes us up to 135mm in nine days - that is nearly five and a half inches. (Ah! He is familiar with the old currency!) We are up to 1500mm for the year and we had 849mm for the whole of 2011, so it's not quite doubled, but we're not far off. However, there is quite high confidence that another band of rain is coming in tonight, bringing something between 10 and 15 millimetres, and that will leave us where we were on Saturday.”

Just in case, there are plans afoot (ahoof?) to switch the event to January 5, if there is no improvement in the conditions.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

It seems no-one had a crack at this one.

Short thin corn is (not so !) obviously Chris Thornton.

  

SUNDAY 23rd DECEMBER 2012

 

THE BROTHERS KAYFARAMISOV!

(The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky - Geddit?)

Well, the ARAMIS boys had their day in the field. KAYLIF ran a very good race and there were moments when it looked like he would make a serious challenge for the key position. It has to be remembered, however that this was only his third race over hurdles and he is still a bit green. He made a valiant challenge 2 out and then hung to the left before finishing out of the frame.

He's still a winner in waiting.

His elder brother, KAYF, on the other hand, took the lead from the off, setting a very strong pace in the testing conditions. The plan seems to have been to tire out the rest of the runners in the heavy conditions, although Sam Twiston-Davies said that no-one else wanted to take on the lead, so he did. Whatever the reason, KAYF ARAMIS surged ahead in determined fashion. He made a superb jump at the 3rd., 'picking up steam and getting a good stride as well' (as the commentator put it) and established a lead of 10 -12 lengths over Reve de Sivola, who was pursuing well clear of the rest of the field in second place.

It is interesting to note that Marcus Armytage, writing in the Telegraph, doesn't mention KAYF ARAMIS' brave front run. He states that Reve de Sivola was 'ridden from the front by Richard Johnson'.

Anyway, our champion remained well ahead until a circuit to go. He was headed at the 9th hurdle by Reve de Sivola and the rest caught up with him near Swinley Bottom, as the testing conditions took their toll. It seems KAYF ARAMIS paid the penalty for bravely front-running – a tactic that has not always been the best for him – and particularly in such difficult conditions.

He did all his fans proud and the lucky ones were those who were there at Ascot.

Be there next time. Join the fan club!

 

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW'

FINIAN'S RAINBOW, trained by Nicky Henderson is out of the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. The reason given that the ground will be too soft for last year's winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Henderson commented: "He told us here at the last meeting that ground wasn't his type and I always thought that was the case with him. It's sad because when he won at Aintree last year we felt the King George was his sort of race. We were dying to up him to three miles and still will, just not in this ground.”

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

Short thin corn for this Yorkshire trainer (13)

 

SATURDAY 22nd DECEMBER 2012

 

WHETHER DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER.

Big day for ARAMIS fans at Ascot. KAYF runs at 2 o'clock in the Long Walk Hurdle Grade 1 and his brother, KAYLIF is on duty in the first race of the day, the Foundation Developments Novices´ Handicap Hurdle. The one rival none of them can beat is the weather. Rain is still falling and the ground is officially listed as Heavy. It's fingers crossed that all of today's races can go ahead.

 

ROSS TIMES TWO COULD BE FOR YOU!

Nigel Twiston Davies' DOUBLE ROSS might be the surprise of the day in The Ladbroke at Ascot today. For one thing the 6-year-old chestnut gelding loves the mud. For another he never seemed happy when he tackled fences earlier on in the season. When he reverted to hurdles in the Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, he absolutely lapped it up and won by a resounding eight lengths in fairly difficult conditions. This ability to race well in testing conditions will be a real bonus for anyone backing him this weekend, because, as reported yesterday, the ground at Ascot will be as bad as it gets. DOUBLE ROSS is admittedly on a career-high rating but he has demonstrated before that he can handle such challenges.

 

SIMPLE SIMONSIG

The Betfred Novices' Chase at Ascot provided SINMONSIG with an ideal beginning for his chasing career. There were only two finishers out of the original five runners. Two fell and one unseated the rider. It was already virtually a forgone conclusion for the Nicky Henderson-trained grey but the task was made even easier when Act of Kalanisi and Dare Me fell at the same fence. Then Ashbourne Folly unseated his rider at the next. Sulpius was now left in the lead but only because Barry Geraghty, on SIMONSIG, was happy to trail his only rival left in the race. The winning margin was recorded as an amazing 49 lengths.

 

FRIDAY 21st DECEMBER 2012

 

 

***** STOP PRESS *****

 

HE AINT HEAVY. HE'S MY BROTHER”!

It has just been confirmed that KAYLIF ARAMIS, the 5-year-old brother of KAYF ARAMIS, will also be running at Ascot in the Foundation Developments Novices' Handicap Hurdle over 3 miles. With two Thirds under his belt for his last two runs, he has got to be a winner in waiting.

A big day for the Aramis family!

 

HE AINT HEAVY EITHER, HE'S KAYF ARAMIS!

KAYF ARAMIS and the six other runners (Paul Nicholls' FIVE DREAM is the latest to be withdrawn) may be in for a tough time in the Long Walk Hurdle, scheduled for Ascot on Saturday, as conditions are forecast to be testing, to say the least. The current going is is described as 'heavy, soft in places', but there is more rain on the way according to the weatherman. Chris Stickel, clerk of the course, is even contemplating amending that condition report even before tomorrow's meeting. The course is currently 'raceable' but a precautionary inspection could still be called.

Chris Stickel said: "We've had 28 millimetres (1¼ inches in old money!) of rain since late yesterday and the going is heavy, soft in places. I think actually it will probably go heavy all over by the end of today. This rain is not going to clear until late afternoon. The forecast is for the rain to die away tonight and for it to be dry for 24 hours. Wet weather is coming in Friday night and the early hours of Saturday morning when the next rain band is due and to last all day Saturday. It does look pretty testing."

KAYF ARAMIS won on heavy at Chepstow in 2009 so fans should have an exciting day.


 BY GEORGE! IT'S JUNIOR!

The Boxing Day William Hill King George VI Chase will see SIR DES CHAMPS as the only Irish contender left after both SIZING EUROPE and FIRST LIEUTENANT were withdrawn at the five-day declaration stage. The big surprise is the last-minute entry of JUNIOR, trained by David Pipe. It is reported that connections paid £10,000 to get him into the race. Kayfaramisracing fans may remember that their champion finished only 5 lengths behind JUNIOR in the Pertemps Handicap in April 2007, a thrilling race where the first nine contenders finished bunched up together at the finish.

That means there will now be 15 possible contenders for next Wednesday's race, including all of the expected big names such as Long Run, Cue Card, Riverside Theatre, Grands Crus, Kauto Stone and Captain Chris. Could be an interesting race!

 

THURSDAY 20th DECEMBER 2012

 

RAIN, RAIN WON'T GO AWAY!

Racing at Exeter this afternoon is off. Sadly that means that rescheduled Grade 2 Levy Board Peterborough Chase will also not take place. The going was already listed as Heavy and then another 1½ inches of rain fell overnight and the track became 'uraceable'.

Barry Johnson, clerk of the course, decided to call everything off even before thescheduled 8am inspection.
He commented: "We have had 31mm already, with another ten forecast before 11am and even with the best will in the world you can't beat the weather. It's so annoying, if we'd had 25mm then we would have probably got away with it but 31mm tips it, and it is hammering down at the moment so we have no chance of improvement."

 

SERIOUS CHARGES OF BREACHING THE RULES

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has charged jockey, Eddie Ahern with serious breaches of the rules of racing. Also charged are registered owner Neil Clement, James Clutterbuck, the son of Newmarket trainer Ken Clutterbuck, and three unlicensed individuals - Paul Hill, Martin Raymond and Michael Turl. Eddie Ahern's charges concern five races that were run between September 2009 and February 2011. The hearing is due to be held between April 29 and May 3, 2013. It appears that Ahern is to answer corruption charges for allegedly stopping Judgethemoment from running competitively when he finished last at Lingfield on January 21, 2011. The BHA has also to decide whether he passed on 'inside information' concerning four other races at Chester (Sisindu), Wolverhampton (Downhill Skier) and twice at Kempton (Love You Louis and French Art). Neil Clement faces charges linked to the same races in which Ahern was riding. He is also charged with laying Hindu Kush, whom he used to own, when the 7-year-old gelding finished last of six runners at Kempton on February 2, 2011. James Clutterbuck, assistant trainer for his father – Paul Hill, Michael Turl and Martin Raymond are due before before a disciplinary panel with regard to a race at Lingfield on March 9, 2011. James Clutterbuck is accused of passing on 'inside information' to Hill, Turl, Clement and Raymond when Stoneacre Gareth, trained by his father Ken Clutterbuck, finished fourth.

 

WEDNESDAY 19th  DECEMBER 2012

 

ANOTHER COURSE FOR THE HIGH JUMP

After Hereford, reported yesterday, Folkestone, which has staged racing events since 1898, is the next racecourse to close its gates for the last time. There was clearly an atmosphere of sadness at the final meeting, with racegoers realising, perhaps for the first time, that Kent was suddenly deprived of a racing venue. This racecourse with its ease of access via the M20 motorway and the nearby Westenhanger railway station was always popular with racegoers in the South. Yesterday a crowd of just under 2,500 attended to bid a sad goodbye. Ironically this number was close to the number of racegoers attracted to Hereford's final meeting last Sunday. It says something that the number of those present was higher than recorded for the most popular meeting of the calendar, the United Hunts Cup evening in the Spring. It seems fans wanted to be present at the track's demise. The races at Folkestone were never top notch but it never claimed to be a Cheltenham or Ascot. Nevertheless jockeys and trainers praised the quality of the track. The very last race was appropriately called "Save The Last Race" For Eastwell Manor Handicap Chase. Later Sam Twiston-Davies summed up the general feelings of jockeys after winning on Quapriland in the Cheltfest Non Runner Free Bet Only At BetVictor Handicap Chase: "It's a real shame to lose Folkestone. It's a Monday-to-Friday course, one that pays your bills.”

 

THEY'LL BE BACK!

BIG BUCK'S and AL FEROF have not suffered injuries that will affect their future racing, assures Paul Nicholls. The champion trainer added these further comments: "I must stress that they are not career-threatening injuries, and maybe we could have even given them both a month's rest, and then kicked on again with them. But I have learned down the years to stop and sort the problem immediately in these circumstances. They were two separate incidents, and unfortunately these kind of injuries are part and parcel of the game when training supremely fit racehorses. With Big Buck's, Clifford detected a tiny bit of heat on Sunday and that sent the alarm bells ringing. So Buffy scanned his near fore tendon on Monday, and that confirmed a tiny bit of damage. He will now be given a month's box rest, and then be given 2-3 hours walking daily until the ground is better in April and we will turn him out. Then he will probably come back in on September 1, with a view to running again next Christmas. And the same recovery and training schedule awaits Al Ferof. He too had some heat in a leg at the weekend and I imagine he knocked himself either schooling or working, and suffered a bit of damage. But in these situations you never know for sure how and when it occurred."

 

TUESDAY 18th. DECEMBER 2012

 

BIG BUCK'S OUT OF THE LONG WALK

Champiom trainer Paul Nicholls has announced dramatically that it is "unlikely" BIG BUCK'S and AL FEROF will appear again this season. BIG BUCK'S was about to aim for 19th win in a row in Saturday's Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. AL FEROF, on the other hand, was scheduled to take on the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Paul Nicholls released a statement last night : "At evening stables tonight, we discovered a problem with both Big Buck's and Al Ferof. I am not in a position to go into great detail at this point, but I can confirm that Big Buck's will not be taking up his engagement at Ascot on Saturday and Al Ferof will not be running in the King George. And both are unlikely to run again this season." Andy Stewart, Big Buck's' owner, commented that the remarkable nine-year-old, who has won his last 18 races, had suffered a leg injury and would not defend his crown in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next March. He was a little bit anxious in one of his legs at evening stables and after Clifford (Baker, Nicholls' head lad) and the vet inspected him, we decided to draw stump”.

On a happier note, however, this means that KAYF ARAMIS will only have seven rivals in this prestigious Grade One event, including two Nicholls-trained geldings, PROSPECT WELLS and FIVE DREAM. Nicky Henderson will be represented by CUCUMBER RUN and MASTER OF THE HALL. Tim Easterby's TRUSTAN TIMES, winner of the Betfair Brush Hurdle at Haydock in November, may be one for KAYF and Sam to keep an eye on. The other two runners are Alan King's SMAD PLACE and Nick Williams' REVE DE SIVOLA.

The kayfaramisracing fan and fun club is in for a great day!

 

ALL GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES!

The Paul Webber-trained CANTLOW, from the McManus stable, caused a few hairy moments for champion jockey, Tony McCoy, in the SIS Live Novices' Chase when he ( the horse, of course!) crashed through the fourth fence from the finish and was not particularly fluent over the last but he got there in the end.

Webber said afterwards: "There was never a dull moment but he got the job done.”

McCoy made it a treble on the day, adding Brendan Powell's SIR FREDLOT and Philip Hobbs' THUNDERSTORM to his triumphs.  

MONDAY 17th. DECEMBER 2012

 

PAH! WHAT'S 240 YEARS OF HISTORY?

Hereford racecourse possibly closed its gates for the final time yesterday. A year this famous racecourse opened, Captain Cook arrived with his ship Resolution in Capetown and slavery was outlawed in England. So it was an occasion for a certain amount of sadness and a decent crowd of 2,600 gathered were there to bid farewell - around twice as many as usual according to clerk of the course. Sadly only half of those were locals even though over 500 tickets were distributed free in the area and Darren Cook, the General Manager, was reported to be "disappointed, as we promoted it heavily".

Owners, Arena Racing Company (ARC), blamed disputes with the local council over the lease for their decision to discontinue a business which, it maintains, is not financially viable. In any case, any races of any importance have already been switched to other tracks. Hereford race track will remain dormant for the remaining 17 years of its lease. No doubt property developers will be falling over each other to get hold of the land, situated as it is, within the developing urban landscape.

Down Memory Lane, Richard Johnson, consistent runner-up in the jockeys' championship stakes, was born just five miles down the road and had his first-ever winner at Hereford, riding his grandfather's RUSTY BRIDGE, way back in 1994.

It is not beyond anyone's wildest dreams that Hereford could survive, because ARC has, anyway, to keep it maintained for the near future. Otherwise Hereford will be added to an ever growing list of forgotten racecourses. And who remembers Wye (1849 - 1974 ), Hurst Park (1890 - 1962), Lanark ( closed 1978) and Lewes (active for 200 years. Closed 1964)?

 

RUBY SPARKS

Navan yesterday saw 6-times Irish champion, Ruby Walsh, really sparkle when he produced an incredible four wins. First he rode BOSTON BOB to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Beginners Chase in the first race of the day. An hour later he steered PONT ALEXANDRE to a 13 length win in the Navan Novice Hurdle (Grade 1). Within 30 minutes he was back again aboard WINGTIPS, winning the HRI On-Line Client Website Maiden Hurdle by 11 lengths. And just to drive home his 2-hour domination of the racing at Navan, he was victorious on the 5-year-old MATSUKAZE in the www.hri.ie/login Handicap Hurdle.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

I launch polls for this week's trainer (12)

The answer is champion trainer: Paul Nicholls

Another one next Sunday.

 

SUNDAY 16h DECEMBER 2012

 

REET CHAMPION! NICHOLLS! 

Paul Nicholls-trained ZARKANDAR, produced an excellent performance when he won the Stanjames.com International Hurdle at Chetlenham yesterday. Nicholls, already on the four-winners mark, was on record as saying before the contest that he hoped the 5-year-old gelding's stamina and fitness might be effective and he seemed to be proved right as the favourite accepted the challenge courageously and valiantly beat off challenges from the likes of Rock On Ruby and Grandouet. The latter was a late challenge by Barry Geraghty. ZARKANDAR and Ruby Walsh, however, were well capable of holding off this threat by two lengths.

Nicholls said:afterwards "I don't think he was himself last year, especially after he fell at Aintree and even two weeks before Wincanton (Elite Hurdle) I thought he'd have no chance of running well but he just suddenly picked up and was enjoying his schooling again. He's the right age and I think he's still improving. He'll probably go for the Kingwell in February but I haven't made up my mind."

 

UNIONISTE RULES, OK?

Talking of Paul Nicholls – again!-, his 4-year-old UNIONISTE, a last-minute entry at Cheltenham on Friday morning, when another horse was pulled out, went on to win the £100,000 Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup. The French grey travelled really well, ridden by conditional jockey, Harry Derham, the champion trainer's nephew. The duo gained the advantage over the favourite Walkon on the run to the second-last fence and went on to win. Jockey Derham commented: "He jumped fantastically, he handled the ground and turning in I was always hopeful that we were going to pick up and win. I was always conscious that he was just a four-year-old but he looked to have everything in his favour and so it proved." Nicholls added: "I was pleased with his handicap mark and he knows how to jump, I thought he might not get a chance in a race like this again. Harry gave him a peach of a ride and it's great for him to win a race like this."

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

I launch polls for this week's trainer (12)

 

SATURDAY 15thDECEMBER 2012

 

SUPER TROOPER”

Not a million miles from  Cheltenham racecourse and KAYF ARAMIS' stamping ground lives Gloucestershire jockey, Jason Maguire, in a place called Birdlip. Yesterday he delighted local and national fans by achieving a winning start to the International meeting, riding SUPER DUTY. The 6-year-old bay gelding and the Irish-born 32-year-old slogged through the heavy conditions in the Shloer Novices' Chase and gave trainer, Donald McCain his first winner at Prestbury Park outside the Festival. SUPER DUTY made just about all the running and won by 13 lengths, well ahead of Forgotten Gold and the well-backed favourite, Broadbackbob, who put on a poor show of jumping. 

 

NO LONGER AT THE RACES

News coverage of racing at Ascot will switch to Racing UK for the start of the 2014 Royal meeting and this is a blow for At The Races. Racing UK, owned by Racecourse Media Group, is responsible for the majority of Britain's major racecourses, including Cheltenham and Newmarket. Ascot has now decided to join them on June 12, 2014. At The Races lost the coverage of Exeter, Kelso and Perth earlier this year and soon Folkestone and Hereford will no longer be operational so they will be gone, too.

Charles Barnett, Ascot's chief executive commented: "After careful consideration we have decided to extend our relationship with RMG, with whom we recently negotiated the exclusive terrestrial television contract with Channel 4. We have also partnered with the RMG courses since 2007 in the provision of our pictures to betting shops through Turf TV. We have had an excellent and productive relationship with At The Races since 2004 and are most grateful for all they have done for us.”

 

SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF …..”

All doesn't seem to be sweetness and light since Kauto Star left Nicholls' yard on Tuesday if the headlines are anything to go by. The Guardian carried the following: “Paul Nicholls upset at swift departure of Kauto Star from his yard”. When pushed Paul Nicholls will only admit that the situation ( whatever that means!) could have been handled better.

"You can always do things differently when you look back but you get forced into situations," said the Champion trainer. I don't want to go over old coals but the most important thing to me there's one star in the whole thing of this. It's not me and it's not Clive (Smith), it's Kauto Star.”

Nicholls will say no more on the matter. When asked, however, whether there was any chance of a future owner/trainer relationship he replied that he couldn't see that happening. His final comments were: “ I've enjoyed every moment but all things come to an end. I wish Clive all the very best, good luck in the future and we've been both very lucky to have a wonderful horse."

 

 

FRIDAY 14th DECEMBER 2012

 

BIG DAY FOR KAYF ARAMIS AND HIS FANS

Here's an interesting fact.  From Grange Hill Farm, home of KAYF ARAMIS, to the Cheltenham racecourse at Prestbury Park is a distance of just over 14 miles and takes about 30 minutes, driving legally at 30mph. The Citipost Handicap Hurdle, in which KAYF ARAMIS was second to OSCARGO last year, is 3 miles and the winning time in 2011 was 5 minutes, 50.8 seconds. That's also just over an average speed of 30mph. Kayfi could race the horse box to the race track and win!

But the ground conditions last year were Good, Good to Firm and today the official going is Good to Soft with more rain to come.

GOOD LUCK, KAYFI!!!

 

WORTH EVERY PENNY

An agreement has just been reached between the Racehorse Owners Association and Professional Jockeys Association that riding fees will rise by 2.8% on January 1. Jockeys will receive £115.52 (up from £112.37 in 2012) on the Flat and £157.72 (from £153.42) over jumps. Richard Wayman, ROA chief executive said: "We are glad to have come to a fair and reasonable agreement with the PJA that riding fees will increase by 2.8% in 2013. The ROA Council recognised the difficult financial situation faced by many jockeys, particularly given the continuing high motoring and fuel costs which make up a significant proportion of their expenses."

 

... FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'”

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained CHANGING TIMES added to his recent victory at Market Rasen by winning the Remembering Victor Thorne Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Taunton yesterday. Sam Twiston-Davies was in full command and kept the 6-year-old bay gelding well up with the pace. The only really serious challenge came from Rajdhani Express approaching the third last but the dynamic duo jumped well clear. After that it seemed a bit of a doddle as Sam brought the Irish son of Dr Massini home by seven lengths, ahead of Bally Legend.

Sam Twiston-Davies said afterwards: "I was impressed by him. On a bit better ground this horse will be OK. He was very good at his fences. He hates tacky ground but he has coped with it very well today. He was screwing in the air a little bit but I would say that was down to him not enjoying the ground."

 

 

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY 13th DECEMBER 2012

 

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING!

The Cross Country course at Cheltenham will be inspected early on Friday before the scheduled race on that track. It is reported that this course, situated in the middle of Prestbury Park, is 'unraceable' at the moment. Simon Claisse Cheltenham's head of racing is confident, however, that things will go ahead if the forecast for the rest of the week is accurate. He commented; "We are currently experiencing very cold weather at Cheltenham and the going is now good to soft, soft in places on all three courses. The Cross Country course is not currently raceable due to it being frozen in parts and for that reason I have decided to hold a precautionary inspection at 8am on Friday. However, the forecast for later in the week remains much more positive and the current prediction is for temperatures to reach 9C on Friday in the daytime. We are also still due to receive heavy rain from early on Friday morning."

This is all good news for our doughty champion, KAYF ARAMIS, who is due to race at 15.05 on Friday in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle where the going is currently described as Good to Soft-Soft in places – just how the son of Kayf Tara likes it. Sam Twiston-Davies will take the ride again. The big danger among the fifteen rivals must be AT FISHERS CROSS, who is seeking his hat trick, with Tony McCoy aboard. The 5-year-old bay gelding has had four Wins and one Second from 6 starts, all on soft ground.

 

RUN OUT OF TIME

As reported here, FINGAL BAY ran out dramatically at Exeter last Friday. As a result he sustained an injury that has now ruled him out for the season. The 6-year-old hadn't finished out of the frame in eight of his starts and then he had a this disastrous run when he ran out just before the home straight.

Trainer, Philip Hobbs' commented:"He sustained a minor tendon injury but that wasn't the reason he was jumping so much to the left. Unfortunately he's out for the season. Next season he'll have to run in conditions races with little experience which isn't ideal."

WEDNESDAY 12th DECEMBER 2012

 

JACK FROST DOES HIS WORST

Today's meetings at Leicester and Hexham are off because the track is frozen and tomorrow's racing at Huntingdon and and Ludlow has also been abandoned. That leaves the two polytrack venues, Kempton and Lingfield to keep racing enthusiasts happy.

 

A GIMCRACKING SPEECH

Rachel Hood, President of the Racehorse Owners’ Association, delivered a blunt message last night at the 242nd Gimcrack dinner – an event that celebrates the champion racehorse of the 18th century. She warned race course officials not to allow iconic horses such as Frankel, Kauto Star and Big Buck's to detract from the main aim of ensuring the future prosperity of horse racing in this country by offering increasing levels of prize money. She was, however, full of praise for the work of the work of Racing for Change and the media in general for promoting 'superhorses' such as Frankel, who, alone, was instrumental in attracting a record of over 30,000 racegoers to York’s Juddmonte International. She was also of the view that the quality of British racing was the envy of the world.

 

TUESDAY 11th DECEMBER 2012

  

DRESSED UP FOR NEW CAREER! 

KAUTO STAR, recently retired from the racing circuit may take up a career in dressage. The 5-times winner of the William Hill King George VI Chase will parade before the big race. Since the 10-year-old chaser's retirement two months ago, his owner , it seems, has been pondering what his champion will do next. Now after much discussion with Yogi Breisner, an Eventing expert, the decision has been taken to put KAUTO STAR in the hands of leading event rider, Laura Collett, who will put him through a month's crash course in the art of dressage. There is a precedent for this. Other retired racehorses have gone on to have successful career in the dressage ring - the 1991 Gold Cup winner, GARRISON SAVANNAH and NEPTUNE COLLONGES, winner of this year's Grand National - to name just a couple.

Smith commented: "It's been amazing how the public have been so incredibly supportive and kind - at Sandown on Saturday and his excitement at returning to the racecourse. He was kicking out at Sandown on Saturday because he's just so full of himself - he nearly took two people's head off as he was going out. He did something he hasn't done for eight years the other day and dropped Clifford (Baker, Nicholls' head groom) and trotted back home down the road. I think Clifford was a bit embarrassed."

 

YOU'VE GOT TO HAND IT TO HIM!

Monday afternoon at Leopardstown was the scene for Aidan O'Brien to officially receive his latest accolade – the Irish Flat trainers' title at the 10th annual Horse Racing Ireland awards. The Ballydoyle trainer had another successful multiple Group One-winning year, highlighted by Camelot's bid for the Triple Crown after winning in the Qipco 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby. In between he had success in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Father O'Brien also had the pleasure of seeing his son, Joseph, ride Camelot in his Classic successes and proudly watch him being crowned champion Flat jockey in Ireland for the first time. O'Brien has been champion trainer continuously since 1998, but the achievement of the pair in winning both titles was the first time a father and son had been crowned since 1916.

MONDAY 10th DECEMBER  2012

 

NO POINT IN A POINT TO POINT

Amateur jockey, Paul John, was over the proverbial moon yesterday when MORTIMERS CROSS won the John Smith's Scottish Borders National and gave him a big-race winner on his first visit to Kelso. The 11-year-old bay gelding, owned and trained by John Needham, made most of the running and ultimately won by a length. Commenting afterwards, the elated jockey said: "That's my one winner from one ride here and I made the right decision as I could have ridden at a point to point instead. The dream is one day to turn professional but this old horse has given me a terrific ride and he is so game."

Needham, the trainer, added: "He's a thoroughly genuine old horse and he never knows when he's beaten. I would love him to get into the Grand National one day but his rating needs to go up a fair bit to get in."

 

LAURELS AREN'T FOR RESTING ON

Champions don't have long to indulge their prowess before there are others knocking on the stable door, bidding for their special place in history. There was the recently retired, unconquerable KAUTO STAR, just preceded by fabulous FRANKEL. Before him came SEA THE STARS. And who can ever forget DESERT ORCHID (“Dessie”) winning the King George? Then the not so young will recall the incredible John Gosden-trained ISTRABRAQ who won 23 of his 29 races over hurdles. And the list goes on. Now after SPRINTER SACRE's faultless performance in Saturday's Tingle Creek we have another star in the firmament but who knows for how long?

It seems the 6-year-old son of Network will be aiming for two further targets this season: The Victor Chandler at Ascot and then the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival. Could it be that Nicky Henderson has his eye on regaining the champion trainer's title?

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has menial ranch (11)

It is, of course, Charlie Mann.

Only one reader sent in the correct answer.

Another one next week.

 

SUNDAY 9thDECEMBER 2012

WHO LUVS YA? SAM DOES!

HELLO BUD defied anno domini by winning the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase for a second time at Aintree. The ever-popular 14-year-old, owned and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, seems to have always produced his best over the Grand National fences and yesterday's sterling performance was no exception. The veteran ran his usual race up front and led until the 13th. He was nudged out of this position temporarily but he was soon leading with three to go. The busy scene behind him changed regularly with a number of potential challengers lining up to have a crack at the doughty bay gelding – among them Big Fella Thanks, Swing Bill and Join Together. It was finally left to the Paul Nicholls-trained Join Together to throw down the gauntlet but HELLO BUD held on gamely to win by a neck.

Winning jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies couldn't contain his excitement and joy, saying: "You would never believe he was 14 - it is a shame he is not actually eight. He is unreal. He just loves jumping. I cannot tell you how much this horse means to me. He means more than anything else. He is unbelievable. I love this horse more than anything else in the world - almost on a par with my mum and dad. Hello Bud is the best thing that has ever happened to our family and the best thing that has happened this season. His heart is so big, he jumps for fun and goes on any ground. He just keeps galloping. He was out on his head in the last half-furlong and just kept digging in, digging in.”

 

SACRE BLEU! HE DID IT AGAIN!

As mentioned yesterday, SPRINTER SACRE, ridden by the talented Barry Geraghty, was on course to show the world how to win a Grade 1 Chase. The 6-year-old seemed to hardly break into a sweat when routing the other six contenders to win the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase by 15 lengths. The much vaunted Paul Nicholls-trained SANCTUAIRE originally shared the billing in what was being described by the Press as a 'two-horse' race but the eventual confrontation turned out to be a one-sided affair. The Nicky Henderson champion is probably the most exciting two-mile chaser to come on the scene in years and fully deserved the rapturous reception he received when he paraded in front of the stands after the race.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has menial ranch (11)

SATURDAY 8th DECEMBER 2012

 

RUNNING OFF THE RAILS

The Philip Hobbs-trained FINGAL BAY ran out at Exeter yesterday at the third last fence in the Harry Dutfield Memorial Novices' Chase. The 6-year-old gelding was the shortest of favourites in this three-hander. His backers would not have been at ease to see their champion jumping wildly to the left throughout the race. Nevertheless. despite his eccentric jumping, he was still in the lead when entering the straight. Then when there was no room to jump to the left he had no option but to run out into the running rail and jockey, Richard Johnson, could do nothing about it. So the race was gifted to Tom George's grey, CHARTREUX.

 

SACRE BLEU ( ET ROUGE)!

Sandown on Saturday will have the pleasure of seeing twice winner of the Tingle Creek, KAUTO STAR, parade before the day's racing. Welcome as this will be to all the race-goers, this will not detract their thoughts from the horse, the possible king of the chasers – SPRINTER SACRE. The 6-year-old gelding had a matchless 5 wins from 5 starts in his novice chasing season and this included a 7-length victory over CUE CARD in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Grade 1 in March at Cheltenham. The Nicky Henderson-trained champion's reputation goes before him with 9 wins from 11 starts. But Nicky Henderson thinks there's no tougher start to the season than the Sportingbet.com Tingle Creek Chase. A great rival is clearly Paul Nicholls' SANCTUAIRE, a progressive chaser, who beat SOMERSBY, no mean chaser, by a resounding 17-length in his final race of last season. So we'll have to wait for Sandown on Saturday to see whether Henderson or Nicholls will be in the winners' enclosure with their supercharged horses.

Any bets? Then try Sportingbet. They guarantee to provide the best odds of all bookmakers on  SPRINTER SACRE, from 9am until race time. In addition if SPRINTER SACRE wins by ten lengths or more, they will pay out at evens!

 

FRIDAY 7th DECEMBER 2012

HIT AND MISS

Daryl Jacob received a 10-day suspension at Wincanton yesterday. That means he will miss a busy Christmas time including a number of very important rides. He was aboard ULIS DE VASS in the Racing Welfare Fox-Pitt Handicap Hurdle. All was going well and he was challenging for the lead. Then it seemed he mistook the 50 yards marker pole for the winning post and eased down for a couple of moments. To be fair it was probably not likely that he would have beaten the eventual winner, QUADDICK LAKE but the winning margin was only a neck and so the stewards ruled that he had failed to ride out "on a horse that could have been placed first". So the poor chap has been banned him for 10 days. Daryl Jacob cannot now ride between December 20 to January 1 and that, unfortunately includes his booked ride on Kauto Stone in the King George VI Chase and the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on the following day.

 

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS …. !

One lucky punter has 56,422 reasons to celebrate Christmas early. Incredibly he picked out six winners from eight races at Lingfield yesterday and bagged that amount of cash. He had a £1 each-way accumulator and was victorious with Muhandis (10/3), Maid A Million (11/1), My Sweet Lord (10/1), Swiss Cross (4/1), Bubbly Balerina (5/1) and Honey Of A Kitten (7/1). He must have been close to a heart attack in the third part of his bet when My Sweet Lord only made it to the front in the final stride and won by the narrowest of margins – a nose!

 

THURSDAY 6th DECEMBER 2012

 

WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD BUCK'S?

BIG BUCK'S has won the Long Walk Hurdle for the last four years and is likely to go for his fifth at Ascot on December 22. The 9-year-old, an easy winner at Newbury last Saturday will then take a break before aiming for his fifth win in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The presence of this champion stayer seems to have frightened off a few challengers as there have only been 13 entries this year. One champion who will take him on fearlessly is our own KAYF ARAMIS who has run against the son of Cadoudal on four previous occasions, coming 4th in two of the races.

 

FRANKIE PAYS THE PRICE

As a result of Frankie Dettori's six-month suspension the Professional Jockeys Association PJA) has said that it is determined to bring to the fore all issues concerned with the mental well-being of their members' and highlight what support is available. The former champion jockey was notified of his ban yesterday after having tested positive for a prohibited substance in France. Paul Struthers, PJA's chief executive, was keen to stress that the number of positive tests for drugs or alcohol among jockeys was very low and stated that there was "no fundamental drugs problem".

Struthers commented: "As in any walk of life jockeys will make mistakes. Frankie Dettori has made such a mistake and accepted the consequences of it, and if he needs any support the PJA and Injured Jockeys Fund between them can provide that. Jockeys in Britain are subjected to regular testing and, from 2,607 in-competition urine tests and 3,697 breath tests since 2005, there is no evidence to suggest that there is a fundamental drug problem with jockeys. 0.3% of urine tests were positive for drugs and 0.2% of both urine and breath tests were positive for alcohol.”


 WEDNESDAY 5thDECEMBER 2012

 

A CENTUREE FOR GRAHAM LEE!

After a toll of injuries as a jump jockey, 36-year-old Graham Lee, Grand National winner, decided enough was enough and thought he'd try racing on the flat last Spring. He notched up 87 victories in that season and ended up eighth in the jockeys' championship. He continued riding on the all-weather tracks during the winter and to cap an incredible beginning of his first year as a Flat jockey he won on the Jeremy Noseda-trained PROPHETS PRIDE yesterday at Wolverhampton which made his 100thwinner of 2012.

 

SANDOWN HEADS FOR COVER

Frost covers will be put down at Sandown today in an attempt to protect the track ahead of the two-day meeting, starting on Friday, which features among other things the Tingle Creek Chase. Temperatures, however, are forecast to fall below zero on Friday night endangering the much-anticipated race-off between SPRINTER SACRE and SANCTUAIRE. It is reported that Clerk of the Course, Andrew Cooper has been studying the forecasts for the week and it seems that temperatures will be lowest on Wednesday and Friday nights. Therefore he decided to cover the whole of the hurdle and chase courses as a precaution.

He commented: "The covers are permeable and although they will soak up some of the moisture, the rain will get through if it arrives and I can't see the ground drying up much between now and the weekend. Indeed, on the hurdles course, it could potentially be heavy."

 

IT'S ALL RIGHT FOR SOME!!

Contrary to reactions at Sandown, the state of the ground at Aintree is much welcomed by the officials there in preparation for Saturday's Betfred-sponsored day of racing despite plenty of rain. Half-an-inch has fallen in the last 36 hours making the going on the National Course Soft and Heavy at the Canal Turn. the forecast is that Wednesday will be dry with sunny spells. Thursday could produce a quarter -of-an inch of rain and Friday and Saturday are due to be dry and bright.

Here endeth the weather forecast!

 

TUESDAY 4thDECEMBER 2012

(HAPPY NAME DAY TO ALL BARBARAS!)

 

SOUTH (NOT)WELL UNDER THE WEATHER

After a further assessment of the damage caused by the recent floods, Southwell has had to give up its January fixtures. As reported earlier the Nottinghamshire all-weather track was deluged and shifted its December fixtures to other venues. Clean-up operations, however, have only just got going so racing now cannot possibly take place until at least early February. Roderick Duncan, the clerk of the course said: "It's devastating, but what can you do? We're still attaining all the information we need and talking with the insurers about where we go next. Samples of the Fibresand surface are in the process of being sent away for analysis and these things take time.”

7 of the 11 all-weather fixtures in January are now to be run at Wolverhampton, with the balance planned for Lingfield. The remaining National Hunt meetings originally arranged for January 3 and 21 will be offered to all other jumps courses.

 

'NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP' *

Robert Winston was a four-time winner yesterday at Wolverhampton. His first success was on the 3-year-old filly, PASSIONADA in the (deep breath!) Like Us On Facebook Wolverhampton Racecourse Handicap (Div 1) over five furlongs. Ed McMahon's filly had not done much since winning a maiden at Pontefract last season so a welcome victory.

Then came THECORNISHCOCKNEY in the wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk Handicap for whom there had been a lot of support early in the day and backers were not disappointed. Robert Winston's treble came with the compliments of RED DRAGON who gave trainer, Charlie Hills, a fillip by getting off the mark in a 7-furlong nursery.

BALTI'S SISTER, in the final race of the day, had already won four of her five races at Wolverhampton but, for some reason, was not the favourite. The Terry Clement-trained filly, however, was handled superbly by Winston and won confidently by 2¾ lengths.

Making it 4!!

* Another Winston. Churchill!!

 

MONDAY 3rd DECEMBER 2012

 

NOW HE'S FOR THE HIGH JUMP!

A possible surprise present in the Jill's Big Birthday Beginners' Chase at Plumpton today could be PATEESE who's making his first trip over fences. Trainer, Philip Hobbs clearly thinks the time is ripe for his 7-year-old to abandon hurdling as he is now rated 140, a career-high mark. The bay gelding has earned his stripes competing over hurdles. He finished in third place in last year's Imperial Cup, ran bravely in the conditionals' race at the Cheltenham Festival in March and then went on to win impressively on his return there the following month. His last appearance was in the Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in May when he produced a not-to-be-sneezed-at 3rd. Now connections must be have their fingers crossed that he can switch his obvious talents to fences.

 

A HAT TRICK

The highlight of the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse yesterday was the 3-in-a-row win for JEZKI, ridden by Barry Geraghty. Jessica Harrington's 4-year-old was a firm 9/4 behind the favourite, CHAMPAGNE FEVER, the Cheltenham bumper winner. The latter, under Willie Mullins, led the field for most of the trip in this Grade One race. It wasn't until the last jump that JEZKI decided to get involved. He soon demonstrated greater speed and pulled well clear of the competition and maintained his unbeaten record over hurdles. Barry Geraghty commented afterwards: "We were hoping he'd do that - he showed great pace at Naas. He was very good, although I think he is better than that. There's a lot to like about him."

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has mystic beaker (12)

The answer: Mick Easterby.

Another one next Sunday

SUNDAY 2nd DECEMBER 2012

 

ONLY 5p  IN METRIC BUT EXCELLENT VALUE!

BOB'S WORTH won the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Newbury yesterday with
panache. Barry Geraghty was content to stay close to the inside rail
for most of the race using FIRST LIEUTENANT almost as his own
personal pace maker and the latter was still in command two fences
from the finish. Then Geraghty overtook approaching the last with
only a loose horse for company. But BOB'S WORTH seemed troubled by
neither fence nor riderless horse. (Isn't it strange that a horse
loses its identity when the jockey falls off?). For a while it looked
as if the 11-year-old TIDAL BAY might be a threat. (Fans will
remember he came 3
rd to KAYFARAMIS' 2nd in the Sportinglife handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in January.) But the top-weight couldn't match  Nicky Henderson's protégé on the
flat who won by three and a half lengths.  THE PACKAGE, mentioned in yesterday's Racing News finished 4
th  at 8/1. So he was worth a punt!

 

TRENDING THE BUCK'S

The Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle was won for the fourth time by the incomparable BIG BUCK'S. With that victory, the Paul Nicholls-trained champion came one win closer (18) to matching the British record of 21 consecutive victories which was set by Meteor in the 18th century! The 9-year-old gelding won the race with seemingly consummate ease, accompanied by his stablemate FIVE DREAM who was just ahead when they came to the third
last. Ruby Walsh bided his time, not moving a muscle, casually casting lingering looks in all directions. He knew that at this stage BB was never in any danger.

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This trainer has mystic beaker (12)

 

SATURDAY 1st DECEMBER 2012

 

NEWCASTLE NOT AILING!

Newcastle passed an 8am inspection so racing goes ahead this
afternoon as planned. James Armstrong, clerk of the course, was
pleased to give the all-clear after walking the track. That means the
the awaited StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle will take place.
Armstrong commented: "We are on. We have a couple of areas to
look at but if they don't improve, we can simply bypass them. "We
will also move the bend into the straight so we are on fresh ground."

 

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF OUR BRAVE JOCKEYS

After winning the GPG Novices' Chase at Newbury yesterday
Timmy Murphy had a heavy fall later on in the afternoon. He was
aboard L
EEROAR in the last race of the day, the Inkerman London
"National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle when his mount fell at the third flight. He was taken for X-rays in a Swindon hospital. The unlucky thing is that Murphy was booked ride THE PACKAGE for trainer
David Pipe in today's Hennessy Gold Cup. He was well enough to tweet, however: "Two broken vertebrae for my troubles but hey still walking!!" The jockey will have further checks today but it
seems he'll have to be off the track 6 weeks.

 

 

THE HENNESSY GOLD CUP CHASE

It's the big race at Newbury today. There are many with chances but THE PACKAGE could be
in with a shout. Sad for Timmy Murphy! (See previous piece) The 9-year-old gelding was off the track for over a year but made a good come-back , coming 4th in the 3m1f handicap at the
Cheltenham Festival  and then claiming the Badger Ales Trophy in November. He is a good stayer and likes soft ground before and is also a Cheltenham course winner. So could be worth a punt.





FRIDAY, 30th NOVEMBER 2012 

TEAFORTHREE AND GLEE FOR AP!





Due to a late change of plans, whereby the champion jockey had to forego
a ride at Newcastle, Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup will unexpectedly
see Tony McCoy aboard TEAFORTHREE. As DARLAN was withdrawn from the
Fighting Fifth Hurdle, trainer Rebecca Curtis was able to book McCoy
for the big race as well as for stablemate AT FISHERS CROSS. Her
partner Gearoid Costelloe added this to the drama: "Rebecca
wasn't certain about running but when AP became available that helped
to make our minds up. The obvious plan for him has always been the
Welsh National, but this is a big race and the horses are running so
well that he'd have to be in with an each-way chance. The ground
won't worry him and we were pleased with his reappearance run."

  

HE HAS HIGH HOPES

Nigel Twiston-Davies still hopes that IMPERIAL COMMANDER will run
at Cheltenham in the New Year. The Gold Cup winner was due to run
this year but couldn't make the Betfair Chase due to injury. \it now
looks as if his trainer will be aiming for the end of January.

Twiston-Davies
commented: "He's OK and will probably start road work and
swimming on Monday. With a splint bone it's just a growth on a bone
and you knock it off. It's not a problem, it just stops you. In six
weeks he will hopefully start cantering and it's going to be tight
again but I'm hoping to have him back for the Argento Chase at
Cheltenham."

Let's hope he makes it
this time!

 

TOPPER THE MORNING!

The Kim Bailey-trained HARRY TOPPER, ridden by Timmy Murphy won
the GPG Novices' Chase at Newbury yesterday.  The 5-year-old bay
gelding was well held back at the tail end as Irish 6-year-old
raider. BENEFFICIENT streaked ahead ridden by AP McCoy. But Murphy
was not daunted and rallied his steed very late and still had at
least 15 lengths to catch up. The dynamic duo, however, dominated in
the final 50 yards and won, still accelerating, by one and a half
lengths. Kim Bailey, not one for much comment after races, unusually
had quite a few words for her protégé: "He won't see a
racecourse very often, as Timmy said I've got to look after him as he
is desperately weak. I've always held a very high opinion of him and
he's the best horse I've had since Master Oats. He is the horse of my
dreams."

 

THURSDAY, 29th  NOVEMBER 2012

JOCKEYING FOR A GOOD POSITION

It has been announced that Declan McDonogh will be retained as the Aga Khan's Irish rider next season. McDonogh replaces Johnny Murtagh, who had his contract terminated in August. Kayf  Aramis fans will remember Murtagh’s fabulous ride at York in 2009 when he rode our champion to a 14-length victory. McDonogh who was Irish champion jockey in 2006 commented: "I'm delighted to have been given this amazing chance. It's a huge honour and a huge privilege to be riding for His Highness."

McDonogh has already had a chance to demonstrate his skills on one of the Aga Khan's horses. He rode the 2-year-old ZAND, trained by John Oxx, to victory at Leopardstown in October.

 

HARROWING TIMES AT KEMPTON

Kempton will host an all-weather jump card on Sunday arranged by The British Horseracing Authority. An additional six-races have been organised after a host of abandoned races which has played havoc with racing fixtures. The adverse weather conditions are not over yet, however, and rain is threatening more events prior to what is scheduled to be a busy weekend’s racing. A novel idea is that Kempton's track will be harrowed with a view to trying to produce Standard to Slow conditions approximating a slowish Good on a the turf.

WEDNESDAY 28th NOVEMBER 2012

 

NOT SO SO ALL-WEATHER, THEN!

Recent flooding at Southwell means the track will be closed for at least a month for repairs. This is not the first time this racing venue in Nottinghamshire has had to close. Five years ago it was closed for months due to severe flooding and it looks like the water level has reached similar heights in the last week. Some of the buildings were flooded as high as seven to nine inches and the areas around the racecourse buildings and some of the track are well under water. The other ARC (Arena Racing Company)-owned tracks of Wolverhampton and Lingfield have taken over Southwell's December fixtures and the jumps fixture scheduled for December 4 has been offered to other tracks within the British Horseracing Authority. Lingfield will hold this meeting if there are no bidders. It has been arranged that Wolverhampton will have races in the afternoon and evening on Saturday, December 15 in order to be able handle the races transferred from the Southwell. It is hoped that normal service will be resumed in January. The drying and repair work has already started.

 

IT COULD WORK OUT, IF YOU PLANET.

As it is a handicap race, the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase which runs at Newbury on Saturday always holds out hope to lightly-raced lightweights in the ratings. Such a hope is the Philip Hobbs-trained PLANET OF SOUND who came second in this race last year. Just like KAYF ARAMIS, this 10-year-old gelding was sired by the twice Ascot Gold Cup winner, KAYF TARA. In addition, the Hobbs stable seems to be in good form at the moment and had a stream of winners in the passed week. As PLANET OF SOUND also has the advantage of being 6lb lower in the handicap ratings than a year ago, he could be worth betting on at the large price he is at the moment. The only problem is that his six life-time wins have been mainly on Good to Soft and the Newbury conditions might just turn to Heavy by Saturday.

 

TUESDAY 27th NOVEMBER 2012

 

BARGAIN 37% DISCOUNT ON COVER PRICE

And it's not for a book! The Aga Khan's Gilltown Stud in County Kildare has decided to reduce the cover fees for AZAMOUR and DALAKHANI. The latter has sired five Group 1 winners, among them CONDUIT and RELIABLE MAN, but the fee for his services is cut from €40,000 to to €25,000. While AZAMOUR, who has produced a first Group 1 winner this year with VALYRA, winner of the Prix de Diane, is available for €10,000, down from €15,000. SEA OF STARS, on the other hand, with 8 wins from 9 runs, will do the job for €85,000 – the same fee for the last four years since he retired to perform breeding duties.

 

FAST EDDIE BACK ON TRACK

On Wednesday Lingfield will see Eddie Ahern back in action for the first time since it was revealed that he is being investigated by the British Horseracing Authority, under suspicion of a serious but unspecified breach of its rules. His agent says the jockey will pursue a "business as usual" policy. He also thinks Eddie Ahern has been placed in a terrible position because news of the case leaked out before the BHA had even decided to pursue charges. Gavin Horne who has booked Ahern's rides for the past months months hopes that trainers will not now be reluctant to employ the 34-year-old. The possible investigation came to light when Ahern applied for a licence to ride in India this Winter. This prompted the local racing authorities to check his status with the BHA. A spokesman for the Bangalore Turf Club is quoted as saying: "We got a communication from the BHA stating that he would probably be charged with a serious offence".

The BHA refused to make any comment, its normal policy when investigations are pending. It is generally understood, however, that the BHA values being able to swap information with fellow racing authorities overseas. The golden rule is that such information is not passed onto the Press. The BHA will probably give a timely reminder about this to the Bangalore Turf Club!

 

MONDAY 26th NOVEMBER  2012

 

SOUTH- AND FONT- NOT WELL!

Today's and tomorrow's meetings at Southwell have been abandoned. Today's card was called off yesterday morning because parts of the track are waterlogged. There is another fixture for Wednesday but this meeting was scheduled to have an inspection at 8am this morning. Roderick Duncan, the Southwell clerk of the course said: "The track has not worsened, but all the buildings and the offices are going under water. There is further rain forecast - it's not going to improve.”

Meanwhile Wednesday's meeting at Fontwell is already in jeopardy. There will be an inspection at 3pm this afternoon. The course is said to be heavy, waterlogged in places with patches of false ground after three-quarters of an inch of rain fell in the last 24 hours. More rain is forecast overnight and into today which will not help one bit!.

 

NO FAVOURS FOR ORFEVRE

Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up, ORFEVRE, was nosed out of victory in the Japan Cup after a stewards' inquiry. There was a lot of European interest in the race, including SOLEMIA' the Arc winner but ultimately it was all about Japanese horses. Interestingly enough, ORFEVRE was favourite because of his supreme performance in Paris. It certainly looked as if it was his race for the asking but then he seemed to drift around in the final few yards and lost on the line by the narrowest of margins.

In the process of making a winning bid, however, GENTILDONNA seemed to find herself a little short of room and, when forcing her way out, bumped Orfevre. An inquiry was quickly called by the stewards and trainer, Sei Ishizaka, had a nervous few minutes' wait before his 3-year-old filly was declared the winner.

 

SUNDAY 25th NOVEMBER 2012

 

A NAME TO CONJURE WITH!

You read it here on Friday: "SILVINIACO CONTI, the Charlie Hall Chase winner, probably the one to deny him (LONG RUN) that aspiration”. Asuperb round of jumping saw the 6-year-old win the Betfair Chase for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh. The chestnut gelding out-jumped the competition for the whole three-mile race, increasing his lead by a length at every jump. The first hint of an mistake was at the last fence but neither one of his two closest rivals was good enough to gain from that and SILVINIACO CONTI won by two-and-a half lengths.

 

CHEERS, JOHN SMITH'S!

After 2013 they'll be no more sponsorship of the Grand National by brewing company, John Smith's who have sponsored the three-day April meeting since 2005. David Jones, John Smith's spokesman said: "We will continue to be involved with the sport at other courses, including York, Newcastle and Brighton. The Grand National has been one of the jewels in our sponsorship crown and this decision was difficult.”

Lord Daresbury, chairman of Antree, appears to be confident that the event will not lack for bidders to take over the sponsorship. He was clearly not happy that John Smith's decision has come at a time when they have just got a new management team in place which adds to the pressure.

Karen Crowley, John Smith's brand manager thinks it is "the right time to move on" after a nine-year association with the Grand National.

John Baker, regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses and responsible for running Aintree, thinks John Smith's has put its own stamp on the image of the Grand National.

 

STATUE KAUTO?

Yes it's KAUTO STAR who had a statue unveiled in his honour at Haydock racecourse yesterday. The champion chaser, trained by Paul Nicholls, hung up his racing shoes at the end of October, after an amazing career. He won the King George VI Chase at Kempton on a record five occasions and bagged the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice. He made the Haydock's Betfair Chase his domain on four occasions, including the time he returned from the brink of retirement last year and beat LONG RUN by eight lengths.

The half life size statue was created by Somerset-based sculptor, Will Newton, whose studios are near Nicholls' Ditcheat yard. Nicholls and Kauto Star's owner, Clive Smith, were present at the unveiling ceremony – and, of course, so was the real KAUTO STAR!

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

One mad jersey for this trainer. (12)

 

SATURDAY 24th NOVEMBER 2012

 

WET WET WET – RAIN IS ALL AROUND!

OSCAR WHISKY, FINIAN'S RAINBOW and LONG RUN, triple stars in Nicky Henderson's firmament are due to be exposed to the elements today. This is despite the fact that this famous Lambourn trainer withdrew SPRINTER SACRE and DARLAN from Cheltenham last week when he thought that the conditions were too testing. But Nicky Henderson said that he was inclined to run his top horses at Ascot and Haydock in defiance of the poor weather forecast. As he said: "It sounds awful and I don't know if they will cope with it, but it's wet everywhere. It will be wet next week and the week after. What do you do? I'm most worried about Long Run. I think Oscar Whisky and Finian's Rainbow will be okay. A drop or two of rain might even help them slosh through it. It's not ideal on their first runs of the season. But they've got to run somewhere."

Never said a truer word!!

 

SCUDAMORE- NO LESS!

Haydock stewards banned Tom Scudamore for four days after finding him guilty of breaching the whip rules' use. The rider suffered this penalty as a result of winning aboard GEVREY CHAMBERTIN in the ( deep breath!) Brown Shipley Wealth Well Managed "Fixed Brush" 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Haydock and, as a consequence of that peccadillo, will be absent from the track from December 9-12 inclusive. But this suspension is in addition to the six-day ban he picked up at Cheltenham last week. So that will add an extra week to his inactivity from December 2 – 9.

 

GOODWOOD WINS DOUBLE AWARD

Two major horse racing awards have been won by Goodwood Racecourse at the 2012 Racecourse Association Showcase and Awards, including the top honours for best racecourse. These awards are the acme of success in the racing industry. Only two racecourses were nominated for impressive three awards on the night and Goodwood was one of them and, it must be noted, it was competing against the best in the country. One of Goodwood's major awards was in the Marketing category where it was triumphant for its successful campaign surrounding the August Bank Holiday Weekend fixture. As if that weren't achievement enough, Goodwood then won the ‘Showcase Champion’ award which is the highest accolade possible. The West Sussex racecourse also had a nomination in the Corporate and Social Responsibility category. This was in recognition of the Magnolia Cup Ladies' Race which succeeded in raising over £200,000 for charity at Glorious Goodwood last year. To cap it all, the winning racecourse was also nominated in the Food & Beverage category, with reference to its major refurbishment and re-launch of the ‘1812 Bar’ in the Richmond Enclosure.

FRIDAY 23rd NOVEMBER 2012

 

CHASING A WINNER

The 6 runners in the Betfair Chase on Saturday at Haydock could be in for a hard slog as the weather deteriorates. The going at the moment is officially soft but more rain is forecast for today before more drying weather comes along. That means there are bound to be patches of 'heavy' in the ground. Colin Tizzard, however, is one trainer who doesn't care how much the ground deteriorates. He has already said that CANNINGTON BROOK was not likely to race unless the ground was almost 'unraceable.'

LONG RUN, who was second to KAUTO STAR last year, is aiming to get back into winning ways, with SILVINIACO CONTI, The Charlie Hall Chase winner, probably the one to deny him that aspiration. The rest of the opposition consists of THE GIANT BOLSTER, the Gold Cup runner-up and the unpredictable WEIRD AL. The line-up is completed by outsiders, WAYWARD PRINCE and the afore-mentioned CANNINGTON BROOK.

Of course, we shall all miss the 2010 winner, IMPERIAL COMMANDER, whose come-back bid in this race has been prevented by further injury.

 

THE SPORT OF KINGS – DOWNSIZED AGAIN?

TV's only major presenter of horse racing, Channel 4, intends to concentrate more on high-quality racing, according to Jamie Aitchison, Head of Sport. Unfortunately focusing on racing's showpiece events could inevitably mean that coverage of smaller tracks will suffer. This is the road the BBC went down until it only covered one or two major events a year and then abandoned the sport altogether. Here we are talking of ignoring a major sport with over 6 million racegoers in 2011. Aitchison was keen to stress the overall expansion of Channel 4's coverage of racing by revealing there are 88 days of racing to be covered and Morning Line is to be shown for another 62 editions in 2013. There are also plans to improve winning-line camera angles and to allow the announcement of photo finish results simultaneously on television and at the track.

 

 THURSDAY 22nd NOVEMBER 2012

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO OUR AMERICAN FRIENDS!

 

WHETHER - DEPENDS ON THE WEATHER.

Today's racing at Hereford has been abandoned because of a waterlogged track. There was an inspection yesterday after continuing rain and the last straw was a burst drain that runs though the centre of the course. Not to be outdone Wincanton has also called off any racing due to flooding on the track. An inch-and-a-half of rain fell prior to the 8 o'clock inspection. The clerk of the court confessed to 'never having seen it so wet.'

When it rains, it pours , as the saying goes.

Market Rasen held a precautionary inspection this morning, hoping to be the only the only jump cards for the day and – got lucky! The going is soft with cloud and wind.

 

NOWHERE IN THE WORLD

Frankie Dettori has announced that he will not be competing anywhere in the world before his hearing with France Galop. He has, in any case, been suspended from riding in France because of the pending case re his being positively tested for a banned substance. This decision not to ride at all, means he will not have to seek any authorisation to compete in Britain, had he wished to do so. The British Horseracing Authority's Jamie Stier, Director of raceday operations and regulation commented : "We have spoken to Frankie Dettori and his solicitor, and ascertained that he has no intention of riding in Britain between now and his hearing with France Galop. Should his plans change, he has been made aware that as he has been stood down by France Galop on medical grounds, he would be required to undertake a medical examination by the BHA Chief Medical Adviser before being permitted to ride in Britain."

WEDNESDAY 21st NOVEMBER 2012

 

NOT FAKING 'EM BUT FAKENHAM

There was unexpected drama at Fakenham yesterday when 'the about to win', BENNY THE SWINGER, 'swang' onto the wrong course in the (deep breath!) Diana And Tony's Favourite Racecourse Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase. (Phew!) The consequence of this error was that jockey, Brendan Powell got a 14-day ban. The 7-year-old bay gelding had already jumped the final fence well clear of the rest of the field. But then, instead of going to the left of the fence which is practically alongside the winning post, the fated duo veered to the right and jumped the next obstacle. The jockey seemed to be aware of his boo boo when approaching the obstacle but it was all too late. Then ROC DE GUYE, who seemed to have the race in the bag, also made mistakes and this left PEAK SEASONS, winner at Leicester on Monday, the chance to surge forward and get his head in front at the line.

Trainer Chris Gordon said: : "It's one of those things that happens up there (at Fakenham) far too often. If only they dolled it off on the final circuit, so jockeys can't make a mistake. It's such a tight circuit. I'm not going to shout at the boy, I'll let his father (Brendan Powell senior) give him a bit of a rollicking”

Brendan Powell will be out of action December 4-17 inclusive.

 

THINGS NOW CLEARER!

The future looks pretty good for 5-year-old gelding, EXPLAINED. after beating leading bumper horse, SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR at Folkestone yesterday. The latter, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, had three unbeaten starts in National Hunt Flat races last season, even claiming Listed prizes at Ascot and Newbury. But his future doesn't look so rosy now, viewed by yesterday's lacklustre performance. Even champion jockey, Tony McCoy, couldn't get more than 3rd place on him in the totequadpot EBF 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle. On the other hand EXPLAINED, ridden by Richard Johnson, performed with great zest throughout the race and had enough to spare to win by a length and a quarter.

 

IT'S ORF!

Sadly today's meeting at Warwick has had to be abandoned because of a waterlogged track. Over half-an-inch of rain fell there overnight and, after an 8am inspection, the clerk of the course had no choice but to cancel.

  

TUESDAY 20th NOVEMBER 2012

 

PRESSURE ON THE WIND” - PIPE

After his disappointing run in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday, GRANDS CRUS needs treatment for a breathing issue, shrewdly hinted at during the race by the commentator. The 8-year-old grey, trained by David Pipe, proved his staying ability over hurdles when he won last year's Feltham Novices' Chase. But in this first major handicap of the season he had to be pulled up before the second-last fence.

Pipe commented: "Geoff Lane had a look at him and he wasn't happy with his wind. It's ongoing, but I should think we'll do something about it this week."

 

ANY SUBSTANCE IN THE CHARGE?

Today is the day for Frankie Dettori's appearance before a France Galop inquiry, after testing positive for a banned substance in September at Longchamp. Reports suggest that the 3-times champion jockey failed the test due to the alleged presence of cocaine and consequently faces a six-month ban, Such a ban could be enforced round the world. It was widely reported that Dettori was cautioned by police for possession of cocaine way back in 1993. In fact when asked by the Daily Mail in 2010 what his biggest regret was, he said: "Getting caught with cocaine in 1993. I was on all the front pages and put my family through hell. I was cocky and had too much too soon. It made me grow up."

 

NOT KAYLIF'S DAY

Bookies' favourite throughout the day, KAYLIF ARAMIS, sadly, didn't live up to expectations. He ran well in the early stages - as is now expected from any member of the ARAMIS family, but inexperience showed when he wasn't very fluent over the 4th and 5th hurdles. He recovered well, however, and moved into second spot. But, after making a mistake two furlongs out, he failed to hold his position and was pipped into third place by a nose and that nose belonged to BENEFIT CUT – a topic much in the news at the moment!

So another 3rd but a 1st must be on the cards - and soon.

 

MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2012

 

MOVE OVER BIG BROTHER!

After his brother's supreme effort at Cheltenham on Saturday, KAYLIF ARAMIS has his turn at Leicester today in a Novices' Hurdle. It's only his second time over hurdles. The last time was at Bangor at the end of October when he came 3rd. A number of bookies have him as Favourite so it could be another good day for the Aramis family

 

ROSS IS BOSS

DOUBLE ROSS scored in the Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham yesterday. The 6-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, ran over fences a couple of times in October but, somehow, seemed to enjoy being confronted by less challenging obstacles in this two mile five furlong race. As the leaders came down the hill in the difficult conditions, most of the field began to struggle and could make no impact on the leader. From two furlongs out DOUBLE ROSS soon opened up a lead of some six lengths or more and never looked like being caught. David Pipe's horse, Close House, was the only real hope for second place, eight lengths behind the eventual winner

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

Curse dull snail

Answer - LUCINDA RUSSELL

Another one next week.

 

SUNDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2012 

DIDN'T HE DO WELL!!

KAYF ARAMIS had his 15th race at Cheltenham and the 79th of his career yesterday after 184 days' absence from the track. It was as if he had never been away. Becky, 'his lass', said he squealed with excitement when he arrived a the parade ring; so pleased was he to be back racing and at his favourite track. He also had a new jockey - David England, as Sam Twiston-Davies decided to miss what would have been his tenth ride with the familiar green silks. Kayfi was kept handy in the first half-a-mile or so and led boldly from the second to the sixth hurdle. Even when he had to surrender the lead, he kept pressing the leader. By 3 out, however, it became obvious that he was feeling tired, after so much exertion on his first run of the season. Trainer and jockey were delighted with his performance as were the 14 members of Kayfaramisracing.com who enjoyed a good day at the races.

 

TRAINER AND JOCKEY GET HANDS ON PADDY POWER CUP – AT LAST!

Paul Nicholls finally won the last of the major prizes that has eluded him for so long.

AL FEROF, yet another successful grey, was the star in the Paddy Power Gold Cup yesterday at Cheltenham. Coincidentally, this prestigious prize was also missing from jockey, Ruby Walsh's, long list of accomplishments. If the latter was feeling any tension or apprehension at the thought of trying to rectify this omission, he wasn't letting on. He was probably the calmest jockey in this eventful Grade 3 Handicap Chase. (18 started, 6 finished. 11 PU and 1 F).

Ruby kept his 7-year-old mount under control and well out of trouble in the early stages. The dynamic duo moved up into second place at about 4 furlongs out, challenged for leadership two out and from there pushed on to win by two lengths, no mean feat for a horse who last won a Novices' Chase in December 2011

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

Curse dull snail for the name of this trainer


 

SATURDAY 17th NOVEMBER 2012

EVERYONE'S FAVOURITE.

Today Kayf Aramis runs his 79th race of his career and makes his 15thappearance at Cheltenham. To date he has run 41 races (Flat Turf), 1 (All-Weather) and 36 (Hurdle). From all his racing to-date he has clocked up 7 Wins, 16 seconds and 6 Thirds.

His very first race at Cheltenham in March 2009 was memorable: he won the Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle). And that made it THREE WINS IN A ROW, as he had won in the previous month at Chepstow and Warwick.

On his second appearance at Cheltenham a month later he came 2nd and, interestingly, for his third start, he notched up a 3rd. All in all, from his 14 races at this prestigious racetrack he has produced one FIRST, three SECONDS and two THIRDS.

Members of his fan club – kayfaramisracing.com - will be there to cheer on their champion, as will innumerable fans around the world, including Japan. Two lucky members, Sarah and Sean, have won a free day at Cheltenham to watch KAYF ARAMIS in action.

Go Kayfi, go!

 

DIE NASTY? NO, DYNASTE!

As reported yesterday, the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham was, for all intents and purposes, a two-horse race – between FINGAL BAY and DYNASTE. The latter, trained by David Pipe, emulated his stablemate, Grands Crus, who won the race 12 months ago. The 6-year-old grey progressed smoothly throughout the race on this his chasing debut and took the lead with a great jump at the last fence. Jockey, Tom Scudamore, needed no whip, just hands and heels, to urge his mount on to an impressive victory, adding to his excellent hurdling credentials, having chased Big Buck's home in no less than three races.

All trainer, Philip Hobbs had to say about Fingal Bay was: "He jumped very well and was just beaten by a better horse. Dynaste was a seriously good hurdler and we were giving him weight.”

Aye there's the rub!

 

 

FRIDAY 16th NOVEMBER 2012

FINGAL OR NOT FINGAL – THAT IS THE QUESTION.

Today's Cheltenham opening meeting begins with what could be an exciting contest between FINGAL BAY and DYNASTE. The Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase has a history of top-class performers but today's event seems to be more than a match as this dynamic duo will be joined by CARLITO BRIGANTE, a former Cheltenham Festival winner over hurdles, UNIONISTE, an entry by Paul Nicholls and a respectable THEHILLOFUISNEACH, ridden by champion jockey, McCoy. However, only FINGAL BAY has had any success over fences with the Grade 1 win at Chepstow in October so that adds a little spice to the competition.

Trainer, Philip Hobbs commented: "He seems in very good form. He jumped really well first time out at Chepstow and we were very happy with that but it obviously doesn't help that we're giving weight to a horse like Dynaste."

Aye there's the rub! FINGAL BAY has to concede 5lb to Dynaste, who has tried three times unsuccessfully to beat BIG BUCK'S but he is no doubt a high-class performer.

 

STABLES SHUT DOWN

Trainer, Victor Dartnall's Devon stables have been shut down following an outbreak of equine herpes virus and trainers and racecourses everywhere have been warned to keep a close eye on any unusual medical developments. Dartnall's runners were at Wincanton last Saturday and at Exeter and Chepstow earlier this month. There is always the risk that his horses were infected by the disease before any symptom were revealed. The British Horseracing Authority is endeavouring to keep the outbreak under control.

Professor Tim Morris, BHA's director of equine science and welfare, said: "We have been working with the trainer and his veterinary surgeon to ensure that the correct, robust security measures have been put in place. It is in theory possible that horses may have been infectious before the signs of the disease appeared. We have therefore alerted racecourse, trainer and veterinary representatives to possible exposure but stress that the actual risk of transmission of this virus in a controlled raceday environment is relatively small.”

 THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER 2012

BIG BUCKS FOR FRANKEL

It has just been announced by Juddmonte Farms where FRANKEL is standing, (as they say!) that his stud fee will be an amazing £125,000, and that's just for his first season as a stallion. As everyone knows by now FRANKEL is rated as the best racehorse in the world with a career record of 14 wins from 14 starts. Owner, Khalid Abdullah's Banstead Manor Farm in Newmarket will be his base. He will not be alone in providing his services. He will be joined on duty by BATED BREATH, who used to be trained by Roger Charlton. The sprinter, however, will command a fraction of FRANKEL's fee – a mere £8,000!

The general manager of Juddmonte Farms, Philip Mitchell said: "We believe our stallion roster is the best we have been able to offer breeders - and we are very excited with both of our new arrivals. The fee for Frankel reflects his merits as being perhaps the greatest racehorse we have ever witnessed. He is by Galileo, who is now recognised as the best sire in the world. Bated Breath will give breeders the opportunity to use a most genuine sprinter who was placed second in four Group One races.”

 

END OF THE ROAD FOR THE TRACK

Hereford's track owners have applied to the British Horseracing Authority for a renewal of its licence in 2013 even though they announced in July that they cease trading at the end of the year. So Hereford might still be an occasional location for jumps meetings next year, perhaps with fixtures transferred from other courses in the Arena Group. If the BHA approves its application then it is possible that Hereford could put on any abandoned meetings in the group that includes tracks at Worcester, Lingfield, Doncaster and Southwell.

Arena seems to think it's a good idea to keep Hereford on standby. In any case they are still leasing the land from Herefordshire Council. Sadly there are just three scheduled jumps meetings left - on November 22, December 5 and 16. So, if you want to be a part of history in the making, you've still go time.

 

WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2012

AGE SHALL NOT WITHER THEM, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN.

Not long ago, Frankie Dettori was the highest-paid jockey and, more than that, one of the most respected and admired in the racing world. But the positive drug test and the recent parting of the ways with the Godolphin stable have given his career something of a knock from which he may not recover. He is possibly facing a worldwide riding ban, having tested positive for illegal substances while competing in France. Added to that, he is 41, which is reaching the top end of the range, even for a Flat jockey. Ironically, it seems to be an age that is difficult for jockeys. Kieren Fallon was also 41 when he first tested positive for a banned substance in France. Interestingly Fallon has only produced 87 wins in Britain this year, compared to 154 in 2011. That means his strike-rate has declined to 13% and that's his lowest result since 1994. Coincidentally Dettori's strike-rate this year is also 13% and it has never gone lower than 17% in the past 20 years of his riding. He has now achieved just 51 wins in this country. It now seems

a long time since Frankie Dettori could deliver first-class results week in, week out. Most of the hardest-working jockeys notch up 1,000-rides every year but Frankie has failed to do this since 1995.

We wish him many more successful seasons.

 

WONNA GO TO NEWCASTLE?

If you're in the mood, conveniently situated or just plain short of ideas of what to do next Friday, then this is for you. www.freebets.comare offering five pairs of tickets for Friday's races at Newcastle. The first race is at 12.20pm and takes in the Freebets.com Handicap Chase. 15 runners are entered for the contest so it could be quite a competitive race so make your selection and be there to watch your horse win!

Find out how you can get free tickets, for you and a wife, partner, girl-friend or whatever . Log onto Freebets Facebook page.

Good luck!

 

TUESDAY 13th NOVEMBER 2012

 WHO'S FOR THE HIGH JUMP?

Today Lingfield is hosting a special race. Nine Flat jockeys will find out what it's like to to take a running jump! Eddie Ahern, Kirsty Milczarek and Martin Harley, to name but three, will saddle up for the William Hill 'Flat Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle over two miles. Jamie Goldstein who has had experience under both codes and has 100 winners to his name over jumps, looks like a nap among this amateur field which, though notching up over 1600 winners between them on the Flat, have not had one single success over jumps. Most of them probably never tried. Robbie Fitzpatrick, for one, however, is looking forward to making his mark in his first public race under National Hunt rules.

He commented: "I've been schooling horses on and off for years but when I saw this race was coming up I wanted to give it a go in a real race. It'll be a bit of craic but we're in it to win it.”

Also in action will be Fergus Sweeney who said: "I was more interested in National Hunt racing when I was growing up so although I was lucky enough to stay light enough to ride on the Flat, riding over hurdles is always something I have wanted to have a crack at. "

 

FOLLOW MY LEADER

The final race of the day at Southwell, the Betfred Mobile Sports Novices' Hurdle, was won by IMPERIAL LEADER, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. Owned by Imperial Racing Partnership No 2 and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the 4-year-old bay gelding was sporting the colours of the more famous IMPERIAL COMMANDER, who is due to race in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on the 24th.

This was only IMPERIAL LEADER's third start. He came 2nd. in his two previous races at Bangor, ridden on both occasions by Sam's brother, William Twiston-Davies.

The two are 'Imperials" are by the same sire but different dams, so there is no sibling relationship, according to horse breeding genetics.

Not many people know that!

 

MONDAY 12th NOVEMBER 2012

CARBERRY'S TRIPLE DELIGHT

The famous Carberry racing family, had a memorable international day in Ireland, France and England yesterday.

Philip Carberry started off with a two-and-a-half lengths win on the Francois Cottin-trained KALMANN in the Prix de Beaugency at Auteuil in France.

Then barely 15 minutes later at Market Rasen, Peter Carberry, riding ALPINE BREEZE dead-heated for first place with BRASS TAX, ridden by Daryl Jacob.

After that came the hat-trick when Paul Carberry rode DYLAN ROSS to a win in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Navan.

Now the pressure was on sister Nina Carberry to make it four in a row by winning the bumper at Navan. She gallantly made third place on the 4-year-old bay gelding, ELIGIBLE. It looked like she would be up there with her brothers as she had a 20 length lead at half-way. In the last furlong, however, she was passed and ended 150 yards down at the post.

 

MCCOY TURNS 50!

Tony McCoy took little time getting back into the Winners' Enclosure at Ffos Las yesterday as AT FISHERS CROSS came up trumps in the opening novices' hurdle of the day. The 5-year-old, owned by JP McManus, and previously trained by Charlie Swan in Ireland, was first time on track for Rebecca Curtis, successful trainer of Cheltenham Festival winner TEAFORTHREE. The bay gelding ran well throughout the race and just needed a little shaking up before the last two flights. He then went on to win comfortably by 2¼ lengths.

The Curtis/McCoy partnership struck again, just half-an-hour later, with with an impressive 11-length win by BOYFROMNOWHERE. This victory gave McCoy his 50th winner at Ffos Las and, to mark the fact that the champion had ridden a treble at the track's opening fixture in 2009, racecourse chairman, Dai Walters, presented him with a painting of SEA WALL, his first winner on that momentous day.

 

SUNDAY 11th NOVEMBER 2012

 OBEAUX IN TUNE FOR VENETIA.

HOUBLON DES OBEAUX, who only beat KAYF ARAMIS by a head in the Sportinglife.com Handicap Hurdle in January, added to the successes of trainer, Venetia Williams, by winning the Totepool Rising Stars Novices' Chase at Wincanton yesterday. The five year old bay gelding wasn't really fancied for the Grade Two contest even after getting a 1st in his first-ever chase at Worcester in October, and winning by 11 lengths under Aidan Coleman. The latter was riding this time and kept his mount always up front and the pair dominated as they came to the final turn. The successful partnership won by a resounding four and a half lengths. The favourite Poungach could only manage second place in his attempt to give trainer, Paul Nicholls, his fifth winner in this particular event since 2006.

 

HUGHES ON FIRST BASE? RICHARD IS!

Doncaster witnessed the crowning of Richard Hughes as champion Flat jockey for 2012. This had been his life-long ambition and he had the title in the bag for some weeks after he had built up an unassailable lead over nearest challenger, Silvestre de Sousa. and William Buick who came 3rd. Hughes delighted his son, Harvey, by taking him onto the podium at Doncaster to receive his trophy, along with his wife, Lizzie, mother, Eileen, and father and top trainer Dessie Hughes.

The champ commented: "It's a great feeling, much better than being runner-up, especially two years ago (after a hard-fought battle with Hanagan that went to the last day). I'd have walked here today if I'd had to. You only get out of this game what you put in - I don't think I have been lucky, I think I have earned it. I worked really hard in September and it paid off. I didn't want to be going here there and everywhere in October."

 

THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM

I'm a van thug for this successful trainer.

  

SATURDAY 10th NOVEMBER 2012

PADDY AND COMMANDER

In 14 days IMPERIAL COMMANDER will be ready to acquit himself with distinction – well so says part-owner Ian Robinson. The 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has been out of action for some time after suffering an injury in 2011. It is on the cards that he may return to action in the Betfair Chase on November 24. As already reported, Paddy Brennan took him for a gallop over two miles at Towcester last week.

Ian Robinson stated: “The enthusiasm in Paddy’s voice when he phoned me shortly before 8.00am told me everything I needed to know, he was delighted with Imperial Commander’s performance. Imperial worked over two miles with an unraced four-year-old bumper horse (who is very highly regarded) finishing upsides and showing plenty of enthusiasm.”

So we shall see how imperial the return is!

 

CUTTING TO THE CHASE

Everyone seems to be aiming for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24. Now it has been announced that GIANT BOLSTER, trained by David Bridgwater, will also be trying his luck there. Maybe the huge £200,000 prize money has something to do with it. As reported earlier this week, Paul Nicholls has also been tempted to send Big Buck's there (for the Big Bucks!!). 7-year-old GIANT BOLSTER's last success was coming second in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. He did produce a notable win by 17 lengths in the Grade Three Murphy Group Chase at Cheltenham in January so his credentials are sound.

Bridgwater said: "The Betfair Chase is the likely starting point for The Giant Bolster. He has been all right since he came back from his summer break and is in good form. He had a good season last year.”

 

FRIDAY 9th NOVEMBER 2012

A BITTER-SWEET SUSPENSION

Six-times champion jockey, Kieren Fallon, received a 5-day suspension at the start of a race at Lingfield yesterday. Louise Best-trained TWO SUGARS wouldn't go into the stalls and so was withdrawn from the Freebets.co.uk Free Bets Handicap. It seems the starter reported that Fallon 'appeared to strike his horse'. The stewards later held an inquiry to consider whether Fallon had in fact hit his horse over the head when the 4-year-old bay gelding was being led back. The stewards heard the evidence and viewed recordings of the incident and ultimately decided to find Fallon guilty of improper conduct.

 

BYE, BYE CHAMP! HELLO STUD!

FRANKEL left his Warren Place stable in Newmarket, training base of Sir Henry Cecil, for the last time yesterday. He is due to begin a new career as a stallion at stud. The 4-year-old colt made the short trip back to where he was born, Banstead Manor Stud. There he will assume stallion duties next year. The Galileo son ended his racing career with an unbeaten record of 14 wins from 14 starts. He was last seen in October in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot. The champion thoroughbred got a really warm welcome from the Juddmonte team at Banstead Manor. Philip Mitchell, the General Manager, commented: “In the foaling unit on 11 February 2008 at 11.40pm, little did we realise that we were witnessing the birth of a phenomenal racehorse. Frankel will be served by the best mares, with potential partners including the unbeaten Australian mare Black Caviar and Midday, who spent her racing days at the Cecil stable.

 

 

 

THURSDAY 8th NOVEMBER 2012

NOT BUCKING THE TREND

Following IMPERIAL COMMANDER's example at Chepstow last week, Paul Nicholls has decided that BIG BUCK'S will have a pre-race gallop at Exeter on November 14, before going for his first race at either Newbury or Haydock. Normally the 9-year-old gelding makes his seasonal appearance at Newbury, if the five previous seasons are anything to go by. Since Paul Nicholls has been his trainer he has arranged BIG BUCK'S to have a gallop at Exeter.

Nicholls commented: "We did it at the same time last year, when he galloped with Kauto Star and Mon Parrain, before he won the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, and it worked very well. He'll have a day out and a spin around the racecourse."

 

HYBRID ON THE TRACK

Today will witness something distinctly different about Musselburgh's National Hunt track. A section of worn turf has been replaced by fibresand. The East Lothian racecourse has forked out a hefty sum installing a hybrid strip with the aim of improving safety. The ground had become loose due to excess wear and tear. This innovation has already met with great approval from all those who have tested it out.

Bill Farnsworth, the general manager had this to say; "It's a sizeable investment for a course our size, but we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of the racing surface at Musselburgh. The winning post bend is tight and quite narrow and as the jump season progresses the turf gets badly damaged, to the extent that by February there is not a lot of grass left, especially in a wet year.”

WEDNESDAY 7th NOVEMBER 2012

 WERE YOU ON CUE?

As reported yesterday, CUE CARD was due to be a strong contender for the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and he did not disappoint. The six-year-old, ridden by Joe Tizzard led throughout the whole race with superb jumping and kept on increasing his lead effortlessly until he won by 26 lengths. He never looked in danger despite every attempt by rivals Edgardo Sol and Menorah to stay in the race.

Trainer Colin Tizzard commented : "That was fantastic. He was faultless. I entered him for the Betfair Chase this morning, but he'll probably not go there. We'll aim for the King George because Kempton would be the ideal course for him over three miles."

 

NICHOLLS MAY GO AFTER THE BIG BUCKS!

BIG BUCK'S could be back at Haydock on Betfair Chase Day says Paul Nicholls. The 17-times unbeaten 9-year-old was expected to make his traditional reappearance at Newbury's Hennessey Gold Cup meeting but Nicholls commented yesterday: "Big Buck's has been given an entry in the Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle on Betfair Chase Day. It is a very valuable race, worth more than the Newbury race that is normally his reappearance, but money isn't everything and we will do what is best for the horse. But, at this stage, Haydock is only a tentative entry for him, so don't get carried away yet."

On the same day that it was revealed that our KAYF ARAMIS has also been entered for that race.

Better go to Newbury, BIG BUCK'S!

 

  

TUESDAY 6th NOVEMBER 2012

 ON CUE FOR GOLD CUP?

MENORAH, trained by Philip Hobbs takes on CUE CARD in the Sportingbet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter today. The Colin Tizzard-trained 6-year-old beat the impressive FOR NON STOP at Newbury in December 2011 and then went on to finish second in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Grade 1. MENORAH, however, seemed to take a while to adjust to fences so did badly in that race. But when he got to Aintree in April this year he got things sorted and won a Grade One race in style, beating Cristal Bonus by seven lengths. He ended his season with a fourth in heavy ground at the Punchestown Festival. So this 5-horse race should be worth watching with bookies split between these two main rivals.

 

TEA FOR TWO? NO THREE!

The Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on Saturday includes the Cheltenham Festival winner TEAFORTHREE among its 17 runners. The eight-year-old's notable success last season was victory in the four-mile Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase and the Wincanton race could could just be the bay gelding's launchpad for his new campaign.

Trainer Rebecca Curtis commented: "I've just entered him there and he's got a few options. The main aim is the Welsh National and I want to give him a couple of prep runs. I'm not sure Wincanton will be ideal for him, so it's not 100% he's going to run yet. We'll just see what happens with the ground and the other options we've got for him. He's in really good form."

 

MONDAY 5th NOVEMBER 2012

STARTING THE WEEK WITH A BANG!!

 

THE AMAZING DOUBLE ACT

Joseph O'Brien, who was champion apprentice only 12 months ago and joint-champion the year before that, has won his first jockeys' championship at the age of 19. Even more remarkable than that, it's over six decades since a jockey became champion apprentice one year and champion jockey the next.

And the hits keep on coming!

His Dad, Aidan O'Brien, was the Champion Amateur Jockey of 1993/94, the same season in which he trained his first winner. In 1996, he became Ireland's youngest ever Champion Trainer, a title he has now held continuously since 1998.

And, to cap it all, this is the first time since 1916 a father and son have been crowned Champion trainer and Champion jockey, respectively, in the same year.

The O'Briens will receive their well-deserved honours at the HRI (Horse racing Ireland) Awards in December.

 

ALL GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES.

LADY WINGSHOT proved an easy winner in the Knockaire Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday, providing trainer Jim Bolger with an incredible 53-1 treble to mark the end of the Irish Flat season. The 3-year-old filly showed her mettle with a four-length win, providing her 19-year-old jockey, Ronan Whelan, with something to write home about, as it was his first win at Listed level and, what is more, gave him a double on the very day he gained the champion apprentice crown.

Jockey and trainer kicked off the day in incorrigible fashion when 2-year-old BUNAIRGEAD claimed victory in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Bolger's hat-trick was sealed in the Book Tickets Online At www.christmasatleopardstown.com Handicap when MIRACLE CURE, ridden by Rory Cleary beat One Fine Day by a length and three-quarters.

 

SUNDAY ANAGRAM

The answer was, of course, Nicky Henderson!

Another one next week.

 

SUNDAY 4th NOVEMBER 2012

NICKY STRIKES GOLD AT ASCOT

The United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase was won impressively by ROBERTO GOLDBACK at Ascot yesterday, making it a hat-trick for trainer Nicky Henderson. The 10-year-old bay gelding, previously trained by Ireland-based Dessie Hughes and Jessica Harrington, was running for the first time for the Lambourne-based trainer and won convincingly, ridden by Barry Geraghty, in a race not short of surprises not the least when the second-last fence was omitted on both circuits. Barry Geraghty dominated from some way out and it took but a good jump at the last fence to seal a nine-length victory over the trailing Duke Of Lucca.

 

ONE TWO AP!

A few stitches in the face and a couple of cracked teeth after a fall at Wetherby on Friday couldn't keep an old pro down. Champion jockey Tony McCoy came back fighting and rode a 1st on MY TENT OR YOURS in the GL Events Owen Brown Novices' Hurdle and followed up with a 2nd in the William Hill Priority Prices Handicap Hurdle on IT'S A GIMME, who only just beat KAYLIF ARAMIS in the final furlong in the E B F "Junior" Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Exeter in 2010.

 

SUNDAY ANAGRAM

I am sweet villain for this trainer.

 

 

SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER 2012

 A WHACK IN THE EYE, A KICK IN THE TEETH!

That's life, it seems, even for top jockeys. First it was Hayley Turner who got hit in the eye at Lingfield on Thursday. Then even more dramatically it Tony McCoy got kicked in the face by MR WATSON after being unseated, even before racing began at Wetherby yesterday. He was taken to a York hospital. Later it was announced that he had no broken bones and was released after a while with stitches around the nose and mouth. He commented: "I have had a few stitches in my face and have a couple of cracked teeth and I intend visiting a dentist on the way home. Otherwise I am feeling next to fine. I was fully aware of what happened to me as the horse just gave me a bit of a kicking. The reason I didn't take my other ride was because I was bleeding so badly. However, I will be at Ascot tomorrow to take all my rides."

Hope the doc agrees!

 

TIME FOR OLDIES

The Argentinian CALIDOSCOPIO, now nine years old, has won the 2012 Marathon at Santa Anita Park, thus becoming the oldest ever winner of a Breeders' Cup race. Aaron Gryder powered his talented stayer down the home stretch when the favourite, ATIGUN, seemed to be losing it, after leading down the far side. After the win the track looked more like a football ground with people cheering and waving frantically the Argentinian flag. Jockey Grydon said afterwards: "It's been a privilege to get on this horse. These people were great to bring this horse in and kept him for this race."

 

 

 

FRIDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2012

 COME BACK IMPERIAL , ALL IS …...

Trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies confidently predicts that IMPERIAL COMMANDER is on track to tackle the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24, after his (the horse's!) recent gallop around the track, prior to the official racing events at Chepstow. The 2010 Gold Cup hero maybe showed something of his former self when cantering, I repeat cantering, the two miles, around the course, ridden by Aidan Coleman and accompanied by his new stable mate, Ransom Note, on Saturday. Nigel Twiston-Davies thinks the 11-year-old, owned by Our Friends in the North, went very nicely, although it was only a canter.

He'll need more than that to meet the challenge of November 24th. He's only got 3 weeks!

 

O-O-O-NE HUNDRED!!

Tony McCoy clocked up his 100th winner of the season when he rode VASCO DU RONCERAY to a resounding victory in the first race at Hereford yesterday. The 17-times champion jockey won by 32 lengths in the Pertemps People Development Group Juvenile Hurdle. He will hardly have ever had an easier time of things than on Nicky Henderson's three-year-old. Bookmakers were clearly suitably impressed by the horse's performance, too. BetVictor has set him up as the 16-1 favourite for the JCB ( J C Bamford Excavators Limited) Triumph Hurdle at next year's Cheltenham Festival.

 

THURSDAY 1st NOVEMBER 2012

STAR OF WONDER, STAR OF  ….

KAUTO STAR, five times winner of the King George VI Chase has been retired. Trainer Paul Nicholls made the official announcement yesterday: "The end of an era has finally arrived. Clive (Smith) was here this morning and we have taken the decision to retire Kauto Star. We have had nine superb years with the horse but, after seeing him in his work these past few weeks, myself, Clifford and Dan were of the opinion that the time had arrived to retire him.”

The 12-year-old bay gelding, originally from France, has served his owners and connections well. He was probably the best chaser in Britain for a long time. One of his greatest achievements was undoubtedly becoming the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup crown. The jockey most connected with KAUTO STAR's career was, of course, Ruby Walsh, who rode him to 17 great wins, amongst them the Gold Cup triumphs and his five wins in the King George.

Ruby summed it up: "He's the horse of my lifetime. I'm very lucky to be the one who got to ride him. He's got me to places I didn't think I'd ever be. He was just an incredible horse.”

 

ONE IN THE EYE FOR HAYLEY!

Unfortunately Hayley Turner had to give up her rides at Kempton last night. It was reported she suffered some kind of minor injury at Lingfield earlier on in the day. Britain's top lady rider had two races a Lingfield but then did not show up at Kempton where she was due have four rides.

Guy Jewell, her agent said later: "I believe she got a whack in the eye and the doctor has signed her off. I think she'll be back tomorrow."

Indeed she is with five rides at Lingfield and one at Kempton.

Good luck to her today!

  

WEDNESDAY 31st OCTOBER 2012

CAVIAR BLACK IN FASHION

22-times unbeaten racehorse, BLACK CAVIAR was all the news yesterday in Australia. In Horse and Hound? Nay! The Racing Post? You'd think that, wouldn't you? Surprisingly this equine celebrity is the cover model of Vogue Magazine's December issue. As is well-known, Vogue magazine is the place where usually supermodels and actresses strut their stuff. Not any more. For the first time in the 53-year history of Vogue Australia, a horse is featured on the magazine’s front cover alongside Australian model Julia Nobis. That's not all. As there is such tremendous interest in the 6-year-old mare, the magazine has even had to to bring forward its on-sale date to 2nd November, which is the day before Australia's Derby Day in the Melbourne Cup Carnival. The inside feature has an interview with Peter Moody, the mare’s trainer, and her owners.

Edwina McCann, Vogue's editor-in-chief, writes in her editor’s letter: "Black Caviar certainly knows when the lens is focused on her, and it’s terrific to celebrate her beauty, rather than just her speed.”

 

AYE, AYE. THAT'S YOUR LOT!

Edmond Mahony, Tattersalls Chairman, had the sad duty of taking to the rostrum to sell the the horses hailing from John Dunlop's Castle Stables. Dunlop is retiring at the end of this year so these lots at Tattersalls are the final group to represent the Castle Stables banner.

Mahoney commented: "This is the final draft to pass through Tattersalls from Castle Stables. I'd like to thank John and Sue for their wonderful support over the years and wish them all the best for their retirement."

John and Sue Dunlop looked on quietly, and maybe sadly, as each group of horses was bid for and found new homes. Altogether, the sale came to over 309, 500gns. (£324, 975 to all you metric folk!). It was touching that five of the sales were horses that Dunlop had trained - SAKHEE, BIG BOB, OLDEN TIMES and KODIAC. A further seven were out of mares also trained at his stables based at Arundel.

There was a certain confusion over Lot 651 – the dual Listed-winning stayer, BARBICAN, who went for 58,000 gns. It was then announced that the winning bidder had bid on the wrong horse! So BARBICAN had to parade around the ring again and was bought back for the far less sum of 32,000gns.

So it seems that if you do make a wrong bid at an auction, you can get out of it.

That's a horse of a different colour!

TUESDAY 30th OCTOBER 2012

HUGHES ON …. AND ON … AND ON

After the super-human feat of riding seven of the eight winners two weeks ago at Windsor, the champion jockey-elect delighted racegoers by winning the first three races at Leicester. First of all Hughes rode INTRIGO in the Haymarket Nursery for trainer, Richard Hannon, followed by TAKE THE LEAD in the Hoby Median Auction Maiden Fillies' Stakes also for Hannon. Then he went on to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Stakes on BARBS PRINCESS for Charlie Hills. He almost made it four in a row on SHAMAAL NIBRAAS but was pipped at the post by a short head. He was denied victory in the next two races but came back to glory in the final race of the day on GLOSSY POSSE. After his third win in a row the bookies were trembling in their boots, with memories of BLACK MONDAY at Windsor just two weeks earlier still fresh in their minds.

David Stevens of Coral said: “He has enjoyed a fantastic season, and is a worthy champion, but from our point of view we'll be glad when this Flat season is over and he goes on his winter holiday!"

 

ARNIE'S BACK?

TOMINATOR, the 5-year-old grey gelding, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, made easy work of winning the Cock O Barton Holsten Vier Novices' Hurdle at Bangor yesterday. After winning the Northumberland Plate in 2011 he had a high rating of 100 on the Flat. Tony McCoy kept him back in the early part of the race and his inexperience showed through as he made a few mistakes over the early hurdles but he was soon given his head and went 12 lengths clear at the end. The Champion Jockey commented: "He was novicey at a few hurdles and he'd schooled better at home than he jumped here. Not making excuses but the sun was pretty bad down the back so that didn't help but it will have taught him plenty and he'll have gained experience from it.”

 

DIDN'T HE DO WELL!

KAYLIF ARAMIS, full brother to KAYF ARAMIS, made his début as a hurdler yesterday in the 2.30 at Bangor in fine style. He was a little green over the first few jumps but he soon got the hang of it. By the 8th, he was really doing well and he seemed to have every chance. Then at the 2ndout he jumped to the left and was not particularly fluent. He then made an error at the last which denied him any chance of winning but he hung on bravely and got into the frame in 3rd place. A good start to his jumping career.

Congratulations to the 4th Musketeer!

  

MONDAY 29th OCTOBER 2012

LITTLE BROTHER'S BIG DAY

Today KAYLIF ARAMIS, full brother to KAYF ARAMIS, makes his début as a hurdler in the 2.30 at Bangor, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. The 5-year-old has run four Bumper races so far, coming 2nd. in two of them so it will be interesting to see how well he fares. He is reported to have done some sterling work at the Twiston-Davies yard.

So fingers and crossed for the Aramis clan!

 

JOHNNY BE GOOD!

It seems there is no hurry to replace Johnny Murtagh as retained rider for the Aga Khan's Irish-trained horses. Murtagh, readers will remember, was sacked by the owner with immediate effect at the end of August as a result of "differences between the parties". Kayf Aramis fans will prefer to remember Murtagh's stupendous ride at York in 2009 when he and our equine hero routed the opposition by 12 lengths.

 

WEIGHT AND SEE

Rebecca Curtis-trained, GUS MACRAE, an eight-year-old gelding, was one of the few horses who seemed at home in the Aintree mud bath yesterday when he won the Weatherbys Hamilton Bloodstock Insurance Handicap Chase. He clearly benefited from jockey Patrick Corbett's 10-lb claimer. It did look, however, like foregone conclusion when Silver Roque surged ahead four out. Corbett managed, however, to keep his mount within striking distance and the weight advantage seemed to gradually take its toll. He managed to slowly edge GUS MACRAE closer and closer into the slip stream of Silver Roque who stayed on valiantly but was eventually beaten by three and three-quarter lengths. This was only Patrick Corbett's third win of his career so a day for celebration all round.

 

SUNDAY ANAGRAM

The answer was: Aidan O'Brien.

Too easy! Tougher one next Sunday.

 

SUNDAY 28th OCTOBER 2012

KIDS' STUFF!

Aidan O'Brien got his first juvenile winner of 2012 in Britain when KINGSBARNS won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster yesterday. The kids of Ballydoyle haven't had a good year so far but this colt, yet another Galileo offspring, helped to correct things by winning the final Group One of the season in impressive style. Son of trainer, Joseph O'Brien , settled the 2-year-old bay colt comfortably behind the leading pair, Trading Leather and Steeler. The O'Brien junior gently established his challenge and it was immediately obvious that KINGSBARNS was handling the things much more easily than his rivals. However, this son of Galileo, probably due to immaturity, didn't react as expected and failed to gain the advantage he did eventually respond to his jockey's demands and finished ahead by a length and three quarters at the line. KINGSBARNS was the trainer's 7th winner of this mile race.

 

WHAT A BLOW!

IMPERIAL COMMANDER'S owners and connections were very pleased with his vitally important gallop around the track before the day's racing at Chepstow yesterday. The 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner showed he was in great form and on course for his planned participation in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24. The 11-year-old, who has not raced since the 2011Gold Cup , because of injury, had a good work-out over the 2 miles, ridden by Aidan Coleman and accompanied by his new stable mate, Ransom Note.

Ian Robinson said for the owners, the Friends of the North Syndicate, “ He worked alongside Ransom Note, so you'd expect him to have a blow after that. He's been off for 18 months, so it's case of getting him back in the habit. We have a few weeks to the race yet and we're very happy. I've spoken to Nigel and he's very happy.

 

SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This successful Irish trainer has 'no air in a bed'.

  

SATURDAY 27th OCTOBER 2012

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Qatar Racing operation has confirmed that Jamie Spencer will be their retained jockey for the next two seasons. The champion jockey in 2005 and joint-champion with Seb Sanders in 2007 has signed a two-year contract with Sheikh Fahad. David Redvers, racing manager and bloodstock advisor, said: "I can confirm that we have agreed terms and that Jamie Spencer will be first jockey for Qatar Racing on a two-year contract, starting from January 1. Sheikh Fahad was very keen to get a team together and I'm delighted to have done so. Harry Bentley will be retained as our second jockey and will ride most of the horses out of Robin's Farm (trained by Olly Stevens). One or the other will ride all of the horses and if for whatever reason they can't, then we'll use the best available. Champions Day at Ascot is sponsored by Sheikh Fahad through his Qipco banner.

 

ERSTWHILE MASTER AND COMMANDER

IMPERIAL COMMANDER, who challenged Denman and Kauto Star so memorably to win the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will make his first appearance on a race track for more than 18 months today. The 11-year-old is making his first tentative strides towards taking on the Betfair Chase again to be run at Haydock on November 24. He won this race in 2010. Before racing starts at Chepstow the top-class chaser will canter two miles around the track with a stable-mate. Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies commented: "He has not been back with me long, since early September with the prep work done on the stud in Ireland. Hopefully it will be the Betfair Chase again with him and it will bring him on a long way."

Readers will remember that Imperial Commander was pulled up injured when defending his Gold Cup title in 2011 and was absent the whole of last season.

 

FRIDAY 26th OCTOBER 2012

 

WHO HAS THE WHIP HAND?

The British Horseracing Authority has decided to give Ryan Powell a 25-day ban for breaking the whip regulations no fewer than five times since last May. Ryan Powell's latest breach of t in second place. This alleged offence was referred to the BHA by the stewards, as it was reportedly his fifth offence in six months. The disciplinary panel found him in breach of the rules and considered, with hindsight, that it would have deserved a suspension of four days after viewing a recording of the race. The new suspension will, therefore, run from Friday, November 2 to Monday, December 3. This includes days when Flat racing is scheduled to take place.

 

DA, DA, DAAH - DAAH, DA DAAH!

Aidan O'Brien and connections are hoping that STARSPANGLEDBANNER will produce a much improved performance in the Mercury Stakes at Dundalk today. The multiple Group One winner has not done so well since returning to O'Brien's care from a not too successful session at stud. Whatever that means! Nevertheless O'Brien thinks the 6-year-old may be returning to his best form. The plan now is for him to run in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint next week so something special will be required to put those dreams into reality.

As O'Brien is reported as saying: "We had it in our head a little bit that he might stay further and we were holding onto him a bit when the ground was bad. We're very happy with him and have decided we want to concentrate on sprinting. He'll run in Dundalk and head on out to America."

THURSDAY 25th OCTOBER 2012

 PUTTING THE CARTIER BEFORE THE HORSE!

The unbeatable FRANKEL is in line for the Cartier Horse Of The Year award. The four-year-old son of Galileo will now be retired to stud at his owner's, Khalid Abdulla's, Banstead Manor, rejoicing in a perfect record of 14 wins from 14 starts, ridden by Tom Queally. 10 of these wins were at Group One level. FRANKEL's victory over Cirrus Des Aigles, the previous year's winner, almost assures that he will receive this prestigious award. He will thus become the first horse in the 22-year history of the Cartier Racing Awards to receive this distinction two years running. Ouija Board is the only horse so far that has won the Cartier Horse Of The Year twice in both 2004 and 2006. The Cartier Awards were established in 1991 with the aim of rewarding excellence in horse racing. They are based on points earned by horses in races throughout the current year. These results are combined at the end of season with the opinions of a group of racing journalists and also include votes from Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph readers. What might be considered as European horseracing's equivalent of the Oscars will be presented at a ceremony before an invited audience at London's Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday, November 13. FRANKEL holds a commanding advantage on points in the Cartier Older Horse category. Cirrus Des Aigles is up to 112 after his valiant second at Ascot but still trails the champion. FRANKEL was also honoured with the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award last year and was Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt in 2010.

 

AMYING FOR THE TOP

When flat turf racing officially comes to an end in about two weeks' time there is one young jockey who could possibly claim two 2012 jockeys' championships. You guessed it – Amy Ryan. She is not only in an excellent position to win the apprentice jockeys' title but she is also in line to carry off the Prolinx Lady Jockeys' Championship. Amy's lead in the apprentices' race will probably make her unassailable in the short time left in the season, Hayley Turner, however, is hot on her heels in the race for the ladies' title. She is less than one percentage point behind in the winners-to-rides strike rate – the factor that decides the championship. After exceeding 30 winners for the season, Amy entered the gold award category of the Lady Jockeys' Championship and went ahead of Hayley who had been the leader early on. This particular contest is sponsored by business IT solutions provider Prolinx Ltd. The current leader for the Silver award is at the moment Laura Barry and Hannah Nunn is leading the claims for the Bronze section. The three awards have a prize-money of £5,000, £3,000 and £1,000 respectively.

 

 

WEDNESDAY 24thOCTOBER 2012

YOU SAY GOODBYE AND I SAY HELLO - HELLO, HELLO!”

Frankie Dettori returns to the fray for the first time since we heard that he will not be retained by Godolphin in 2013. He has a ride in every race at Newmarket today, but this time all for different trainers. Two of his bookings are for Sheikh Mohammed's organisation. The first is on IKHTISAS, trained by Saeed bin Suroor in division one of the British Stallion Studs EBF TBA Maiden Stakes. The second is on QUINTILIAN, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Nursery. So nothing new there! But news travels fast in the racing community and Lanfranco's availability has not been ignored. Charlie Hills has booked Frankie to ride SUNBULA in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Median Auction Maiden Fillies' Stakes. Then veteran John Dunlop has acquired Dettori to partner GOODWOOD MIRAGE in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Maiden Stakes. This will be followed by MASTER MING, trained by Brian Meehan, in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Houghton Conditions Stakes. The full card is completed by Gerard Butler's ZAIN EAGLE in the British Stallion Studs EBF TBA Maiden Stakes Division Two and then by Tim Easterby's NO POPPY in the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Fillies' Handicap.

Phew no peace for the wicked!

TUESDAY 23rd OCTOBER 2012

HUGHES NOT ON FIRST BASE!

The one person you'd think would win the Royal Windsor Hughesie Seven Handicap didn't. Richard Hughes' suspension cost him the honour of winning the race, named in honour of his epic achievement at Windsor last week. Hwas, however, allowed to present the prize, and later receive a painting and a plaque. Hughes was obviously trainer Richard Hannon's first choice jockey for ALDWICK BEY, but all was not lost as Pat Dobbs stepped into the breach and rode his charge to beat Snow Trooper by three-quarters of a length.

Richard Hughes did not waste his time, though. He was busy signing copies of his autobiography, “A Weight Off My Mind”.

He just commented: "You always hope it might happen, but it was an unbelievable day. I was listening to Frankie Dettori interviewed recently and he said only three jockeys in 300 years had ridden seven winners at a meeting, so it's a great achievement. Normally when I get beaten here, the lads hang a clock on my peg to tell me I got my timing wrong!"

 

IAN TAKES A BREAK

Conditional jockey Ian Popham unfortunately came off OYSTER HILL, trained by Martin Keighley, when on the way to the start for the last race at Plumpton yesterday. He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton to have X-rays which have revealed that the poor chap has broken his pelvis in four places. Ian Popham seems not to be the luckiest of jockeys as he broke his pelvis in three places last September. He only got back into action in the summer.

They'll be calling him ELVIS THE PELVIS!

Just goes to show what risks these guys take every day.

We wish him a speedy recovery!

MONDAY 22nd OCTOBER 2012

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO SAY GOODBYE. (Goodbye, Goodbye!)
NOW IS THE TIME TO YIELD A SIGH. (Yield it, Yield it!)

It's just been announced that Frankie Dettori is to leave Godolphin where for the last 18 years he has been the retained rider for Sheikh Mohammed. Nine English Classic winners were clocked up by Frankie for Godolphin. One notable success was riding DUBAI MILLENIUM to a glorious win in the Dubai World Cup of 2000. Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager said yesterday: "We have had a tremendous association with Frankie over many years. He has achieved so much. However, Frankie is looking for a fresh challenge and we felt that the retainer was not really working so this is the best way forward.”

Frankie also has to his credit Godolphin's first Classic winner, BALANCHINE in 1994 and his name has been linked with many of the stable's top horses since that time.

Godolphin's retained riders in 2013 will be Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa.

 

NON, RIEN DE RIEN …!!!

There are no regrets,” said Corine Barande-Barbe, trainer of CIRRUS DES AIGLES who was runner-up to FRANKEL yesterday. She thinks it was a great privilege that she had a horse good enough to oppose such a champion. She commented: “I am very proud of my gelding. It was a great day and it was just like a victory for us just to have the horse to make Frankel gallop.”

Madame Corine Barande-Barbe also revealed that she plans to have another crack at the Champion Stakes in 2013.

 

ANSWER FOR THE SUNDAY ANAGRAM:

'richly sincere': Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of the incomparable FRANKEL.

 SUNDAY 21st OCTOBER 2012

 

NOT HIS BEST BUT HE DID IT!

It was a bit of a hairy start as FRANKEL seemed to hesitate and even slightly stumble as he came out of the gates. Tom Queally had the unusual role of playing catch-up for the first furlong or so. Bullet Train, his half-brother and faithful companion, was slightly put off his pace-making task as jockey, Ian Mongan, kept looking around for the champion. After the first anxious moments, FRANKEL got his act together and it was clear that he was going to win. He went from last to second with ease and it was just a matter for Tom Queally, who had remained fairly motionless for most of the ride, to ask him to go and FRANKEL galloped easily ahead of the only serious rival, Cirrus des Aigles, last year's winner. He won this time by only 1¾ lengths, not the 6 or 7 to which we had become accustomed but he WON. That's 14 out of 14!

 

IMPERIAL BUT NOT YET IN COMMANDER

2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Imperial Commander, might not be ready in time for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24. Trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, thinks things could be "quite tight". Owned by Our Friends in the North Partnership, the 11-year-old has not raced since the 2011 Gold Cup when he was pulled up with a broken blood vessel. Then he missed the whole of last season because of a tendon injury. He is said to have done plenty of road work in Ireland before returning to Twiston-Davies' yard in September.

The Gloucestershire trainer commented: "He's ticking along nicely and the Betfair Chase is the plan but it's five weeks away, which will be quite tight as he hasn't been back with us long.”

 

SUNDAY ANAGRAM

This champion trainer is richly sincere

 

 SATURDAY 20th OCTOBER 2012

ASCOT DRY OVERNIGHT. CHAMPION!

Racing fans' dreams came true overnight when it was announced this morning that Ascot had had a dry night which will considerably enhance the chances of one last great performance from FRANKEL. It was becoming more and more doubtful that the world's highest-rated horse would be able to race, as ground conditions were deteriorating as the week passed. Now with the sudden improvement it looks likely that the 4-year-old son of Galileo could go to post in the highlight of the second British Champions Day.

It's not 100% certain, though. Racing manager to Frankel's owner Khalid Abdullah, Teddy Grimthorpe, commented: "I will walk the course this morning, as I always do. If we are still concerned about the going then we will monitor the first few races."

 

THANKS A MILLION!

If you'd coughed up more than a million quid buying a horse, you'd be forgiven for expecting to see some results but that's just what the owners paid for ex-French filly, TESTOSTERONE, and they haven't had much to show for it yet. Trainer Ed Dunlop, however, seems to think that this filly will come good and could well be worth a punt at high odds in the Fillies and Mares race on Ascot's Champions Day today. Things are not that easy, though, because 4-year-old daughter of DANSILI had to be withdrawn from the Arc weekend at the last minute due to unsuitable conditions. Now Dunlop is looking for more suitable ground for this race. It's probably fair to say, however, that on the basis of her earlier reputation in France, TESTOSTERONE is well overpriced compared with her more-exposed rivals.

FRIDAY 19th OCTOBER 2012

CHARITY AND CHELTENHAM

After the official race card at Cheltenham on Saturday the Greatwood Charity Race will be run to raise funds for neglected and ill-treated racehorses. Kayfaramisracing members already support HEROS through their subscription. Greatwood is a similar charity and, like HEROS, has been raising money since the 1990s. Greatwood also combines its care of over 50 horses with the care and encouragement of children and young people who have special educational needs. There are proven benefits for the latter from being near horses to help them develop their life skills. A mile and five furlongs will be the length of the race. Several racing personalities will be taking part. Arena Leisure's PR director, Kate Hills, is going to ride Brendan Powell's Terra Bleu. Ex-professional jockey, Mark Caswell, who last rode at the corresponding meeting exactly 25 years ago will ride Martin Keighley's Sky Calling. Paul Nicholls' wife, Georgie, will be aboard Saint Roque and Rodger Sargent, previous owner of Festival winner, Tikram, partners Fergal O'Brien's Jacks Grey.

Looks like a fun race!

 

ROOKIE, YOU WERE GOOD! ('FIELD OF DREAMS')–

SUBTLE SOVEREIGN's finishing second to Gas Line Boy at Wincanton yesterday was almost a dream too far for rookie trainer, Harry Fry. Fry, who used to work at a Paul Nicholls' yard and is generally credited with the success of champion hurdler, Rock On Ruby. He will be delighted with his successful début (even if he didn't win!) and the performance of his 5-year-old grey who was a 20-1 shot.

 

 

 

THURSDAY 18th OCTOBER 2012

 

NOT HALF, BROTHER!

You would expect, MORPEUS, a half-brother to Frankel, Noble Mission and Bullet Train, to be high in the odds and, in fact, Sir Henry Cecil's 2-year-old bay colt did not disappoint on that score at Nottingham, although he was behind the favourite, Tawhid. Sir Henry Cecil described his colt as being more of a 3-year-old type and you could see what he meant, judging by his performance. (The colt not Sir Henry!) He could be forgiven for missing the break slightly, and he did make up some ground by the time they hit the final furlongs but he was unable to cut the mustard and the the more experienced of the bunch left him behind. MORPHEUS eventually finished seventh, despite Tom Queally's valiant efforts.

 

TEMPUS FUGIT

Today at Wincanton will see Andrew Thornton's return to the fray after three months' absence due to injury. In July he injured his knee in a nasty fall at Southwell, also rupturing ligaments. GORING ONE will be his first ride in the Bathwick Tyres Yeovil Handicap Chase for Anna Newton-Smith.

A delighted Thornton said: "I'm back tomorrow. I've been off since July 16 so it's been all summer. It had been four years since my last bad injury, time flies, so I'd had a good run. I'm fully recovered and raring to go and I think he'll have a bit of a chance, I've been riding him out and he's in good form.”

WEDNESDAY 17thOCTOBER 2012

SHAMARDAL COLT. MAN, THAT'S TOPS!

There was no shortage of the readies on the second day of Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. Three lots sold for more than 200,000 guineas. 208 lots were sold for 9,300,500 guineas which is an average of 44,714 guineas. That's an increase of 7% in turnover, compared with the second day of last year's sales. The top sale of the day was the Shamardal colt out of Princess Spindrift Wwho went for 245, 000 guineas (that's £257,250 in real money!). This was great news for his owners who bought him at last year's Tattersalls December Foal Sale for a mere 32,000 guineas.

 

WELL. STONE ME!

A fresh challenge awaits FRANKEL when he competes in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot on Saturday in an attempt to gain his 14th. consecutive win. He will be 14lbs (that's a stone in real measurements!) heavier than any his rivals. He was rated 147 after his 11-length win in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. That's the highest rating ever given to a horse in Timeform's history. And there are no shortage of rivals to thwart him in his record-breaking attempt. One of them is Champion Stakes winner, the French-trained gelding, CIRRUS DES AIGLES. He has been rated 133 by Timeform and was the impressive winner of the Group 2 Prix Dollar at Longchamp. Saturday's race will probably be FRANKEL'S last so most people will be hoping he can keep his record intact for his swansong.

 

THAT'S ONE SONG WE HOPE WILL HAVE A HAPPY ENDING!

 

 

TUESDAY 16th OCTOBER 2012

 HUGHES IN SEVENTH HEAVEN!

Richard Hughes, champion jockey-elect, was in unstoppable form yesterday at Windsor.

He won seven of the eight races on the card.

Even in the one he lost he came 3rd!

His wins were:

PIVOTAL MOVEMENT in the EBF Joe Ward Hill Memorial Maiden Stakes.

EAST TEXAS RED inthe davisbakerycaribbean.com Nursery.

EMBANKMENT in the Ladbrokes Game On! Maiden Stakes.

MAGIC STREET in division one of the Ladbrokes Mobile Handicap.

LINKS DRIVE LADY in Ladbrokes mobile Handicap

DUKE OF CLARENCE in the Bet in Play Ladbrokes handicap

MAMA QUILLA in the skybet.com Handicap

That's an incredible 10,168-1!

Now that's a Champion Jockey

 

BRIGHTON ALL-WEATHER

Over eight-and-a-half inches of rain have fallen in the last three weeks at Brighton. As a result Thursday's meeting has had to be abandoned and all the races have been transferred to the all-weather track at Wolverhampton. A few minor distance alterations were also necessary. Original entries for the fixture are not valid, however. New entries must be submitted by mid-day today and declarations must be made by 10am on Wednesday.

 

MONDAY 15th OCTOBER 2012

FILLY STOLE MY HEART AT THE CURRAGH!

The Hacketts Bookmakers Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh yesterday saw VOLEUSE DE COEURS run her rivals into the ground, winning by ten lengths. The 3-year-old bay filly, trained by Dermot Weld's won previously by eight lengths on her first two-mile attempt at the Galway Festival. This win cost her a huge 15lb penalty. But that didn't stop her as she cruised into the final straight. Apprentice jockey, Leigh Roche, couldn't believe his luck as no serious rivals presented themselves in the last two furlongs.

Weld said: "We thought she would win and that's been the plan since Galway.”

 

FRANKIE BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE!

Frankie Dettori is clearly at the top of his class at the moment and he showed it when he rode JOSHUA TREE, trained by Marco Botti, in the Pattison Canadian International (Grade 1) at Woodbine yesterday. He held on superbly from the fast-finishing DANDINO, ridden by Jim Crowley. This made it a British one-two in this Canadian International. Frankie had won the race twice before on MUTAFAWEQ in 2000 and SULAMANI IN 2004.

Dettori said: "That was always the plan, to get to the front and dictate our own tempo."

The Woodbine racegoers were also impressed by his customary flying dismount.

 

 

SUNDAY 14th OCTOBER 2012

 

ANOTHER ROYAL RASCAL HITS THE HEADLINES!

In the limelight yesterday, as winner of the Rockingham Stakes at York, was ROYAL RASCAL, trained by Tim Easterby. Jockey David Allan struck for home two furlongs out and then had a last-minute battle with LUCKY BEGGAR. The 2-year-old, however, pulled out all the stops when push came to shove and, although seeming to put the brakes on in the final hundred yards, she eventually galloped across the line and won by 1¾lengths.

 

HERE COME THE JUDGE!

Earlier success on her first outing at Newbury, followed up by an impressive win in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes, JUST THE JUDGE, trained by Charles Hills, appeared in the silks of Qatar Racing Limited for the first time. She was entered in the Vision.ae Rockfel Stakes (Fillies' Group 2) over 7 furlongs at Newmarket yesterday. And the 2-year-old filly didn't disappoint her new owners. Ridden by Michael Hills she won by an impressive length and a quarter. With four wins from so many starts, giving him one of the biggest victories of his career so far, trainer Hills seems to have a potential champion on his hands in this daughter of LINEMAN.

 

SATURDAY 13th OCTOBER 2012

CESAREWHO FOR THE CESAREWITCH?

Richard Hughes, soon to be champion jockey, has never won the Cesarewitch which will be run again at Newmarket today at 15.35. But he now thinks his time has come. He will be astride George Baker’s MARTYR, a horse he used to ride when the bay gelding, now a 7-year-old, was trained by Richard Hannon a few years ago.

Hughes commented: “I’ve never won it, but Frankie won it last year for the first time so I’ll keep trying. It’s a great race. He has plenty of pace, travels well but I’d be a little concerned about the ground if it got too soft.”

 

GOING OUT WITH A BANG?

ESTEBSAAL will be John Dunlop's hope to acquit himself with glory on Sunday when the 3-year-old son of Dansili runs at Goodwood in the Lavant House School Diamond Jubilee Stakes. As announced last month, John Dunlop plans to retire at the end of the year. As a special honour the great trainer has been invited as a special guest for the last race day of the season.

 

KAYF ARAMIS KNOWS HOW IT FEELS!

 So in the news this week is the story that biologist Prof Sir John Gurdon, who has just been awarded the Nobel Prize (for medicine ) for his pioneering work in the field of cloning, got a report from his teacher, when he was at Eton, stating it would be “a sheer waste of time” for Gurdon to pursue a career in science. What's new? When Kayf Aramis was racing on the flat, a well-known jockey, who shall remain nameless, commented that Kayfi was second-rate and would always be beaten by superior horses. Kayfi went on to score two more impressive wins at York, making three in four years for this annual race. His last win was by 13 lengths! Later, when it was decided that Kayf Aramis should switch to jump racing, a certain trainer said that it was a waste of time because he'd never make a jumper. Kayfi has had 3 Wins, including the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, 8 Seconds and 4 Thirds so far in his National Hunt career.

 

 FRIDAY 12th OCTOBER 2012

(Thanks to a keen fan and avid reader of Racing News for the idea for this item!)

 

KAYF ARAMIS KNOWS HOW IT FEELS!

So in the news this week is the story that biologist Prof Sir John Gurdon, who has just been awarded the Nobel Prize (for medicine ) for his pioneering work in the field of cloning, got a report from his teacher, when he was at Eton, stating it would be “a sheer waste of time” for Gurdon to pursue a career in science.

What's new? When Kayf Aramis was racing on the flat, a well-known jockey, who shall remain nameless, commented that Kayfi was second-rate and would always be beaten by superior horses. Kayfi went on to score two more impressive wins at York, making three in four years for this annual race. His last win was by 13 lengths!

Later, when it was decided that Kayf Aramis should switch to jump racing, a certain trainer said that it was a waste of time because he'd never make a jumper. Kayfi has had 3 Wins, including the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, 8 Seconds and 4 Thirds so far in his National Hunt career.

 

RYAN'S DAUGHTER

Rain-soaked Ayr was not exactly the surroundings for anything special but Amy Ryan took it in her stride by winning the Giles Insurance Nursery on DELORES ROCKET. This win makes her two clear at the top in the race to be champion apprentice for 2012. The 2-year-old filly, trained by Amy's Dad, Kevin, won at Pontefract only two days ago but, defying a 9lb penalty, she battled through the mud and beat SLIPSTREAM by three and a quarter lengths.

Afterwards Amy said: "At the minute things are going great so if I stay a couple clear then I can relax a little bit. It was always in the back of my mind to give it a go as it was my last year as an apprentice but to be in this position is great.”

 

THURSDAY 11th OCTOBER 2012

 DOWNSIZING GOLD CUP DAY

The number of racegoers at next year's Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival will be reduced by about 5% to avoid over-crowding. This year the official total was 70,000 people who watched Jonjo O'Neill's SYNCHRONISED win the famous Gold Cup. In 2013 the maximum crowd will be 67,000. Edward Gillespie, the outgoing MD, made this surprise announcement yesterday. The capacity at Prestbury Park will be looked at again when redevelopment work has been finished.

Gillespie symbolically marked the handover of power by passing the new regional director for Cheltenham and the South West, Ian Renton, a set of reins at the press conference yesterday. He also said that Renton had worked for him as an assistant in the mid-1980s.

He quipped: "When he left I told him he ought to apply for my job when it cropped up – and he did!"

 

WAS SISTER TOPS

The Galileo sister to WAS topped proceeding's at 1,500,000 guineas on the second day of Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. Galileo fillies have traditionally come top of the sales in recent history and this year appears to be following the trend. Tuesday marked the highest grossing session at Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale since it began in 2003. But that only lasted a day! Yesterday a record 25,022,000 guineas was raised from 140 lots sold, averaging at 178,729 guineas a sale. Among those keen to buy the Galileo sister was James Delahooke and underbidder John Magnier, but the successful bidder was ultimately Nicholas de Wantrigant of Mandore International, acting for an unnamed client.

  

WEDNESDAY 10th OCTOBER 2012

 

SHANKS'S PONY FOR KINANE

Former jockey and trainer Chris Kinane is off to Fontwell again later this month for one of his charity walks. Sadly he suffered severe injuries when he was kicked in the head in 2005. On 24th October the 55-year-old will try to complete a full circuit of the parade ring at Fontwell on Hennings Wine Raceday. His aim is to raise money for Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund's rehabilitation centre in Malton.

The irrepressible Kinane said: "I relish the challenge of the walk and look forward to kick-starting the fundraising for a hydrotherapy pool at Jack Berry House because my weekly sessions in the pool at Fontwell have had a very positive impact on my rehabilitation. Fontwell is my local track and I have lots of happy memories there."

Good luck to Chris!

 

WHAT AM I BID?

Last year's takings at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale seemed to set a record that wouldn't be beaten this year. But after the first of three day's trading it seems that the Book 1 chapter is not yet ready to close. Despite all the doom and gloom of the IMF regarding the world economy, the top ten in the buyers' list throughout the day registered interest from places as far apart as Dubai, Ireland, Japan, Qatar and Turkey. The opening day showed an average buy price of 165,583gns which far exceeded last year's first session figure. The day's turnover of 23,016,000gns easily topped last year's 18,148,000gns. The top purchase was 800,000gns for the son of RAVEN'S PASS, bought by John Ferguson who was determined to beat the strong counter-bids from John Magnier. Ferguson said: "Raven's Pass has obviously done very well and we are thrilled with Steeler [from his first crop]. There are are plenty more in the pipeline by Raven's Pass and they are all showing the right signs.”

 

TUESDAY 9th OCTOBER 2012

A BOY CALLED DENMAN

A mother loved the 2008 Gold Cup winner, DENMAN, so much that she named her son after him. The lady in question also discovered that she had the same heart condition, atrial fibrillation, that DENMAN had. Consequently she had to spend the last months of her pregnancy in hospital, connected to wires and machines but that didn't stop her watching the race and cheering on her equine hero. She commented: “I’ve always loved DENMAN — he’s such a big, brave warrior. When I found out my son was due in March I was furious I’d miss Cheltenham! I had to call my son Denman. And I’d love for him to be a jockey and see him storming up the Cheltenham hill.”

Any takers for Kayf Aramis as a middle name?

 

WHO'S SORRY NOW?

6-year-old PENITENT probably wont run in the Dubai Challenge Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. He ran a great race and finished 2nd in the Qatar Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Sunday and this followed his win in the Group Two Nayef Joel Stakes at Newmarket nine days earlier. This means that now he'd have to carry a penalty in the Saturday Group Two race, the first of the Dubai Future Champions Day at Newmarket .

Trainer, David O'Meara said: "He's on his way back from France now and he'll be back in the yard this evening but I believe he came out of the race fine. I don't know whether he will run on Saturday. I would say it's unlikely at the moment as it's a case of conserving him now.

 

MONDAY 8th OCTOBER 2012

 

SOLEMIA DOES NO-ONE ORFEVRE

The big surprise of yesterday was SOLEMIA beating ORFEVRE in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. The 4-year-old, Carlos Laffon-Parias trained, filly, with Olivier Peslier on board, won one of Europe's most prestigious prizes. It did seem that ORFEVRE would bag this historic first victory for Japan – his 13th attempt – when he charged to the front, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, after sweeping ahead of all rivals, but Peslier forced his filly's head in front on the line to claim this famous victory by a neck. This was Peslier's fourth win in this race as well as making it a double on the card for himself and Laffon-Parias.

Peslier commented afterwards: "I'm very honoured, and as I'm still riding maybe I will break that record. I respected Orfevre the most in the race, and I have ridden in Japan a lot so it's sad for the Japanese, but these things happen in racing."

 

CAMELOT TO GIVE A LOT

Though CAMELOT only made 7th in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Aidan O'Brien has stated that the 3-year-old will likely stay in training next year. This would make him the second Qipco 2,000 Guineas winner to race again at four. FRANKEL, the 2011 Guineas victor, continued as a 4-year-old and went on to enhance his reputation. O'Brien considers CAMELOT "without doubt" the best he has trained so he will be hoping for similar success.

O'Brien's thoughts were: "He's done an awful lot for a three-year-old and he'll be something to look forward to next year. The lads are very sporting and they want their horses to compete. I didn't think so before the race, but the Leger obviously left its mark. Today he just flattened out."

SUNDAY 7th OCTOBER 2012

 

APP FOR THE ARC

In case you were on another planet today's the big day at Longchamps. Can Frankie do the business on CAMELOT? Or will you do yourself ORFEVRE?

To make the event even more exciting, if that is possible, if you bet through the Racing Post APP. your stake will be refunded as a free bet, if your horse finishes second to CAMELOT. What's more, if you bet £1 or more on this race you be able to watch the race for free through the app. This offer is available FREE on all smartphones

 

RYAN NO MORE!

Ryan Moore commented in an interview yesterday:

"I don't need to be talked about. I don't see why anyone needs all this information – it's an illness, people staring at their iPads all day. If people are that interested in me, I think they need to get another hobby."

Perhaps he meant GET A LIFE!

 

DIDN'T HE FONTWELL!

The two-day Fontwell October festival was a great event for Sam Twiston-Davies. He had a double on Friday with MARODIMA and MALAVENTA and followed this up yesterday with a win on BROUSSE EN FEUX. That was enough for Sam to be crowned Top Rider of the festival. Sam's two winners on Friday also gave his Dad, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, a double – keeping the celebrations in the family, as it were.

This was only the Festival's second year so its success was very important as it is intended to make this event a real feature of the start of the jump racing season.

 

SATURDAY, 6th OCTOBER 2012

THE GIRLS GO FOR IT!

West Ilsley trainer, Mick Channon, has entered fillies in both Tattersalls Millions races at Newmarket today – OLLIE OLGA and GRAPHIC GUEST. He has done this, it seems, because he doesn't want them to compete against each other. Not a lot of trainers would take that approach! OLLIE OLGA will have a crack at the £500,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Trophy. GRAPHIC GUEST, however, will stay with the girls and is entered for the £300,000 Tattersalls Millions 2YO Fillies' Trophy.

Channon said: "We wanted to keep the two fillies apart as they are both lovely fillies with good chances to win, and I think Ollie Olga has a great chance against the colts. As for Graphic Guest, she messed around in the stalls last time, but since then she has passed the stalls test and I think she will have a great chance."

 

BE MY GUEST

Trainer George Margarson has high hopes for IMPERIAL GUEST in the Betfred Challenge Cup at 3.35. at Ascot today. The 6-year-old won a valuable handicap at Goodwood two races ago. It may, however, not be easy for the chestnut gelding, who is racing for the 16th time at Ascot as his only win here was when he beat DEACON BLUES in a handicap last year. Margarson said: "He is in good nick and seems to have a good draw [ten] and hopefully he can land another big one."

FRIDAY, 5th OCTOBER 2012

WHAT A JOCKEY!

The 14.50 at Bangor saw our Sam (Twiston-Davies) push WHAT A WARRIOR on to win by 14 lengths. At a mile out the 5-year-old bay gelding was about 11 lengths off the pace and it didn't seem that he was going to be able make any impression on the long-term leaders, BENHEIR, ridden by AP McCoy and CROSS OF HONOUR under Richard Johnson. But at two fences out WHAT A WARRIOR had got into an advantageous position and then by the final fence was challenging BENHEIR, with CROSS OF HONOUR dropping out of contention very rapidly. Then, after hanging to the right a little, it seemed no problem for SAM to push his mount on for a decisive win.

 

RYAN MOORE OVER THE MOON

Ryan Moore, who has been off the track since injuring his wrist at Warwick in August has been passed fit in time Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He will ride Sir Michael Stoute's 5-year-old SEA MOON who has not raced since coming 5th behind DANEDREAM and NATHANIEL in the King Gorge V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July.

In fact Ryan Moore will be back in the saddle today in the 5.15pm at Ascot, riding DUKE OF FIRENZE.

For those who are intrigued by coincidences: Moore came back to racing after a long absence through injury at the identical Ascot meeting 12 months ago.

Is that an omen?

THURSDAY, 4th OCTOBER 2012

 

FRANKIE GOES TO … LONGCHAMPS.

Frankie Dettori couldn't believe the sequence of events that gives him the enviable ride on CAMELOT in the Arc de Triomphe next Sunday: first trainer Aidan O'Brien's son, Joseph, can't make the 8st 11lb for the race; then SNOW FAIRY whom Frankie was standing by to ride, was ruled out for the rest of the season due to a leg injury and, to cap it all, John Gosden confirmed that Nathaniel had returned a bad blood test – a likely indication of a low-level viral infection. CAMELOT'S appearance at the famous race at Longchamps was also looking dubious after his defeat in the St Leger at Doncaster last month – the race where he was denied the Triple Crown by ENCKE. But after a good workout at the O'Brien stables in Ballydoyle yesterday, it was decided to let the 3-year-old colt have a go. Son, Joseph, will ride stablemate, St. Nicholas Abbey, as a consolation.

Dettori said: “It's an honour for me to ride the horse. Let's hope he's in top tip (sic) shape he's had a pretty long season now but if the Camelot we know turns up he should have a very good chance.”

Let's hope that as well as being in 'top tip' shape CAMELOT will be our 'top tip'!!

 

RAIN FOR ASCOT EVEN IF IT'S DRY

The Qipco British Champions Fillies' And Mares' Stakes at Ascot on October 20 will see the return of DANCING RAIN who won this race a year ago. The William Haggas-trained winner of the 2011 Oaks has plagued by injury since racing in Japan last November. Liam Norris, who manages the racing interests of owners Martin and Lee Taylor commented: "She is on target for the race. She had two small chips removed from both front fetlock joints earlier in the season. She came back to me after that and we nursed her back through. She did really well. She looks fantastic now and is a big, strong filly - much bigger than she was last year.”

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY, 3rd OCTOBER 2012

DO ME ORFEVRE!

Who's now the clear favourite for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe? ORFEVRE! DANEDREAM and NATHANIEL have now been pulled out, can you believe? First we heard from Peter Schiergen that his amazing mare, DANEDREAM, had been placed into quarantine. Then Julien Pescatore, France Galop's media manager, confirmed: "There is a quarantine period of 90 days, and for that reason Danedream will not be able to run in the Arc. It is really sad that she will not be able to run, but there is nothing we can do about it."

Then shortly afterwards John Gosden stated that NATHANIEL would also not run after providing unsatisfactory blood tests. What this means for punters is that that Japanese ORFEVRE has been made the clear favourite. Twice Derby winner, CAMELOT, is now second-favourite.

 

YOU HAVE TO CALAF.

After success at Doncaster in May, 4-year-old CALAF has had problems. But he came back to form in the small field of four runners, Back The Bhoys With BetVictor Handicap at Ayr. Jockey, Dale Swift, looked a picture of confidence when challenging in the final. There was a temporary blip when CALAF hung across the track but once he got to the the front, there was no stopping him and he beat ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE by a length and three-quarters.

Trainer, Ellison said: "We have spent a lot of time trying to get him settled as he was very keen in his races. Eventually we've got there with him and the hood has probably helped. The plan is to go over hurdles with him. He's been schooling and jumps really well. We'll see what happens but he might get another run on the Flat first."

TUESDAY, 2nd OCTOBER 2012

 SAM PLAYED IT AGAIN - AND AGAIN!

Kayfaramisracing's favourite jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, had six rides at Newton Abbot yesterday. He got two 1sts (THE NEW ONE and MOULIN DE LA CROIX) and two 2nds (DOUBLE ROSS and RED RIVERMAN.)

 

MOVE OVER BIG BRO!

Not to be outdone, William Twiston-Davies had success on the flat at Bath, riding the Duke of Clarence, winning by a short head

 

MASTER AND COMMANDER – THAT'S IMPERIAL

IMPERIAL COMMANDER seems to be in good shape according to Nigel Twiston-Davies. The 11-year-old gelding, 2010 Gold Cup winner, has had problems with injuries since being pulled up in last year's Gold Cup, but is now reported to be back in full training. It looks like the Betfair Chase at Haydock towards the end of November could in his sights.

Nigel Twiston-Davies commented: He is back in work and all is looking good at the moment. The early signs are positive and hopefully he'll be at Haydock at the end of November."

 

WISH UPON A STAR

The 5-time King George winner and dual Cheltenham Gold Cup champion, KAUTO STAR, was pulled up a full circuit out in the Blue Riband at Prestbury Park in March. This undoubtedly led to serious doubts as to whether the 12-year-old bay gelding would ever race again. Owner Clive Smith thinks a decision on his future will probably be made in the next two weeks or so. Apparently he (KAUTO STAR that is!) has returned to light training after a Summer break. There has been talk of a possible final run in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day but Smith is adamant that nothing definite has been decided at this stage.

He said: "He's fine but there's been no decision yet. He's just been cantering up the hill and is gradually getting fitter. If he is going to run again, then it won't be for three months, so there is no great rush.”

 

MONDAY, 1ST OCTOBER 2012

 

AN ARM AND A LEG FOR A RIDE!

If CAMELOT runs in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next Sunday Joseph O'Brien will not be aboard. O'Brien has ridden all five starts of the Dad-trained' four-times Group One winner. The problem is the son cannot make the weight for Europe's premier mile-and-a-half race at Longchamp. With typical dry humour Aidan O'Brien quipped: "Bar we cut off one of his arms, he (Joseph) will not be on Camelot. Nine stone or 8st 13lb is the lowest that Joseph will do, so that weight in the Arc (8st 11lb) is not an option. O'Brien senior then said that a decision on a potential trip to Paris is likely to be made on Tuesday or Wednesday.

 

SICK OF TRAVEL? NO. TRAVEL SICK.

GALILEO'S CHOICE, competing in the Melbourne Cup, was an unfortunate victim of travel sickness after his trip to Australia. The 6-year-old gelding was prescribed antibiotics when arriving in Melbourne and it seems his temperature is now back to normal. Trainer, Dermot Weld thinks there's enough time for him ( the horse not the trainer!) to recover before the big race on November 6. He commented: "He didn't travel very well, unfortunately. They had a very tough flight, a very difficult landing, and a lot of problems with the facilities in quarantine when the horses landed. His temperature is back to normal and he's back eating, but it did take a bit out of him. One of the reasons I sent him down a bit in advance was to allow for him having a few travel problems.”

 

HEY! IT'S ONLY BRITISH WEATHER!

Monday afternoon's Flat meeting at Hamilton Park has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

Tuesday's meeting at Ayr is subject to a 12pm inspection on Monday.

Today's National Hunt meeting at Newton Abbot must survive an 8am precautionary inspection.

SUNDAY, 30th SEPTEMBER 2012

ANGEL'S DELIGHT

The Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket was won by BRONZE ANGEL in a last-minute sprint for the line. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Marcus Tregoning hadn’t been seen since since the Britannia Stakes Royal Ascot when he came 3rd. And then he only got into the race at the last minute as the 35th entrant. Ridden by William Buick, he raced up the near side for over half the race and then swung over to the far side to join the other prominent runners. This group seemed to have the advantage in the final two furlongs. After hanging seriously to the right in the last furlong Buick managed to get sufficient speed out of BRONZE ANGEL to beat off Joseph O'Brien's on MULL OF KILLOUGH. Marcus Tregoning, who has had a lean time lately winning-wise, seemed delighted to get back into the limelight.

 

FRANKELY – WE DO GIVE A DAMN!

Many of the racegoers at Newmarket yesterday made sure they got there early enough to see the great FRANKEL sprint ahead of his long-suffering half-brother, BULLET TRIAN and one other gallant volunteer in a warm-up for his great race at Ascot on October 20th. Coincidentally, around about the same time, Ed Dunlop announced that SNOW FAIRY will miss Sunday’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe with a leg injury. Which only goes to illustrate the vicissitudes of horse racing. Anything can happen, at any time, no matter how tough these thoroughbreds appear to be. Everyone who has not been on another planet for the past year will know that Frankel has won all of his thirteen career races and is aiming to bow out with an unblemished record by winning the Championship Stakes. Trainer Sir Henry Cecil says he is pleased with his preparation for the race. He commented, with typical modesty: "He had a nice blow - that was exactly what we wanted."

Jockey Tom Queally also thinks the four-year-old will reach his peak in perfect time to protect his unbeaten record.

 

We'll drink to that!

 

 

FROM ARABIA TO ROYAL ASCOT ( AND KAYF ARAMIS!)

 Last chanceville for this marvellous exhibition at the British Museum. The story of the Arabian breed of horse is examined in parallel with the achievements of Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The Blunts travelled widely in the Middle East and established a celebrated stud for pure-bred Arabians, which was crucial for the survival of the Arabian breed, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. From the 17th century, three Arabian stallions, The Darley Arabian, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian were introduced, which bred with native mares and produced the Thoroughbred breed, which is now the foundation of modern racing; some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended from these three horses. If you go to www.kayf-aramis.comand click on Pedigree you will see that Kayf Aramis' line goes via Kayf Tara, Sadler's Wells. Northern Dancer to Neartic. From there it is a mere 20 direct breeding links back to The Darley Arabian. SATURDAY, 29th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

GET AHEAD ON TV - OR A NOSE!

From Monday all first place photo finishes will be displayed by racing broadcast services where the winning margin is a head or less. This is an innovation promoted by Fraser Garrity, the BHA's racing manager. Robin Mounsey, media manager, explained this latest initiative: "We had feedback from punters through a variety of sources, including email and tweets, which suggested there was a strong demand for the images to be displayed off course. So from Monday onwards every time the margin is a head or less it will be shown on screen by RUK or ATR, and also in betting shops. We already upload them on our own site on a weekly basis and we are looking at improving that service to a daily feed, too."

 

TIME FOR A JAR WITH MIJHAAR

Today's Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket will see the much favoured MIJHAAR aiming for his biggest win of his eight-race career. The Roger Varian- trained 4-year-old hasn't won since last year's maiden success at Haydock but he is a clear favourite to win the big handicap race. Trainer Varian said yesterday: "Mijhaar has been training well. Things haven't gone his way this season but he has some very good form and I was pleased with his run at Kempton last time. Ideally we would prefer softer ground so we are hoping for a shower or two before tomorrow afternoon."

MIJHAAR will have his work cut out, though. He faces 35 rivals in the 1m1f contest.

 

FROM ARABIA TO ROYAL ASCOT ( AND KAYF ARAMIS!)

There are just two days left (including today) to catch this marvellous exhibition at the British Museum. The story of the Arabian breed of horse is examined in parallel with the achievements of Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The Blunts travelled widely in the Middle East and established a celebrated stud for pure-bred Arabians, which was crucial for the survival of the Arabian breed, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. From the 17th century, three Arabian stallions, The Darley Arabian, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian were introduced, which bred with native mares and produced the Thoroughbred breed, which is now the foundation of modern racing; some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended from these three horses. If you go to www.kayf-aramis.comand click on Pedigree you will see that Kayf Aramis' line goes via Kayf Tara, Sadler's Wells. Northern Dancer to Neartic. From there it is a mere 20 direct breeding links back to The Darley Arabian.

FRIDAY, 28th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

HAVANA GOOD ONE?

You had a good one yesterday if you followed Racing News' tip! Richard Hannon-trained HAVANA GOLD won the Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket. The 2-year-old bay colt, with three wins from four starts under his belt, so to speak, (2 with Richard Hughes and one with Ryan Moore) progressed very well down the stands' rail, this time ridden by Richard Hughes. Both GLEAN (Hannon's other entry) and EBNA ARAB made serious challenges on the outside approaching the final furlong but HAVANA GOLD went into overdrive on the hill approaching the winning post and won seemingly easily by a length and a half.

 

JG PASSES O'B IN THE GG CHAMPIONSHIP

Yesterday John Gosden overtook Aidan O'Brien in the Flat trainers' championship contest with a Listed-race double as part of a treble on the first day of Newmarket. Gosden's horses are arguably his most race-fit yet but he said any idea of winning the title must wait until next month's British Champions Day at Ascot. Gosden commented modestly: "We've been top of the table before but been shuffled back to second, Stoutey (Sir Michael Stoute) came past us in the final furlong one year." The Newmarket trainer finished off a good day's work when Hezmah, ridden by Paul Hannigan, won the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing E.B.F. Fillies' Handicap.

 

FROM ARABIA TO ROYAL ASCOT ( AND KAYF ARAMIS)

There are just three days left (including today) to catch this marvellous exhibition at the British Museum. The story of the Arabian breed of horse is examined in parallel with the achievements of Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The Blunts travelled widely in the Middle East and established a celebrated stud for pure-bred Arabians, which was crucial for the survival of the Arabian breed, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. From the 17th century, three Arabian stallions, The Darley Arabian, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian were introduced, which bred with native mares and produced the Thoroughbred breed, which is now the foundation of modern racing; some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended from these three horses. If you go to www.kayf-aramis.comand click on Pedigree you will see that Kayf Aramis' line goes via Kayf Tara, Sadler's Wells. Northern Dancer to Neartic. From there it is a mere 20 direct breeding links back to The Darley Arabian.

 

THURSDAY, 27th SEPTEMBER 2012

CONDITIONAL SURRENDER? NO WAY!

Conditional jockey Paul O'Brien's delight was a sight to behold after he rode MULLIGAN'S MAN for his first win under Rules for trainer, Donald McCain, at Perth yesterday. The 20-year-old rider joined McCain's stable earlier this year and only had his first ride in a bumper a couple of weeks ago. Then out of the blue he was given the chance to ride the odds-on favourite in the Better Prices On Betfair Mobile Novices' Hurdle. MULLIGAN'S MAN had had three wins out of in three starts after being bought by McCain for £20,000 at Cheltenham Sales in May. Young O'Brien kept his cool and pushed his mount out after jumping the final hurdle to beat his rival, none other than Richard Johnson, by eight lengths. McCain comments afterwards were: "Paul came to me in February having been recommended to me by someone in Ireland and he's a good lad who works hard. He has plenty of point-to-point experience and he rides this horse every day, so it was ideal to let him ride today with the double penalty and it's worked out grand. He had his first ride for me in a bumper a few weeks ago and I think he'd be good value for a 7lb claim, never mind 10lb.”

 

HAVA NAGILA – HAVANA GOLD

It's Newmarket's 3-day Cambridgeshire today. Richard Hughes, the clear leader in the champion jockey stakes, rides HAVANA GOLD in the feature race. Champion trainer, Richard Hannon, has twice won the Group3 Sommerville Tattersalls Stakes in the last three years. This time he will have two irons in the fire as GLEAN, his 2-year-old chestnut colt, is also entered. But it looks like HAVANA GOLD will kick off favourite. Surprisingly, the going is listed as good, as East Anglia has been lucky to escape the torrential rain that has hit most of the rest of Britain. Michael Prosser, Newmarket's clerk of the course, had this to say: "We had 1mm of rain last night but it has been dry since then, although we could have a shower at any time and they could be quite spikey. The forecast for Thursday and Friday is for sunny spells and isolated showers, with a millimetre or two on both days, and at the moment Saturday looks to be dry with sunny spells.

 

FROM ARABIA TO ROYAL ASCOT

There are just four days left to catch this marvellous exhibition at the British Museum. The story of the Arabian breed of horse is examined in parallel with the achievements of Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The Blunts travelled widely in the Middle East and established a celebrated stud for pure-bred Arabians, which was crucial for the survival of the Arabian breed, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. From the 17th century, three Arabian stallions, The Darley Arabian, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian were introduced, which bred with native mares and produced the Thoroughbred breed, which is now the foundation of modern racing; some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended from these three horses. If you go to www.kayf-aramis.comand click on Pedigree you will see that Kayf Aramis' line goes via Kayf Tara, Sadler's Wells. Northern Dancer to Neartic. From there it is a mere 20 direct breeding links back to The Darley Arabian.

 

WEDNESDAY, 26th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

SUMMER JUMPS, SUMMER NOT!

At least one jockey welcomes the possibility of holding jumps racing at Chester this Summer. Andrew Thornton thinks it's an ingenious idea The officials are certainly condidering the prospect of running hurdle races around the track which is known for its tight circuit. The are planning a schooling session today. Trainer Donald McCain, who is based nearby will provide horses for the trial. A representative of The British Horseracing Authority will also be there to witness the occasion. Four flights of hurdles will be set up with experienced riders trying out the track over two miles on McCain's horses. Andrew Thornton, Cheltenham Gold Cup-winner rider and fellow jockey, Richie McGrath, will be there in their roles as jockeys' safety officers.

Thornton commented: "I'm going to be there on Monday and I think it's a very exciting idea. I take my hat off to Chester for taking the initiative. I know people will have their doubts as Chester is renowned as being a tight track, but Fakenham is just as sharp and nobody bats an eyelid there. At Fakenham, you jump the last hurdle four times over three miles and you're racing downhill past the stands. At Chester, after the turn for home, it's largely flat. I think it's a brilliant idea."

 

BAGS I YOUR KIT, AMY!

Inclement weather conditions yesterday caused an unexpected problem at Beverley: racing valets were held up in a queue of traffic on the A1. Their delay meant riders' kits did not arrive. Resourceful track officials, however, managed to find enough equipment not to hold up racing. The British Horseracing Authority was also prepared to tweak the schedule throughout the afternoon as the riders had to 'valet' for themselves. It seems the racecourse provides all the lead (for the saddle cloths) but they don't have anything to put the lead in! The jockeys helped each other out by lending bits of kit. Great amusement was caused when the girls lent some of the boys their breeches!

Champion jockey Paul Hanagan was one of those without any kit. He said: "I have a southern bag (of kit) and a northern bag, it saves hauling it around everywhere, so I got a bit of a shock when I came here and they said no one was here. Everyone who has walked through the door with a bag, we've jumped on! I had nothing at all, not even a skull cap. Robert (Winston) saved the day a bit. He had quite a lot of gear so I robbed a lot of it from his bag.”

 

FROM ARABIA TO ROYAL ASCOT

There are just five days left to catch this marvellous exhibition at the British Museum. The story of the Arabian breed of horse is examined in parallel with the achievements of Wilfrid Scawan Blunt and his wife, Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron. The Blunts travelled widely in the Middle East and established a celebrated stud for pure-bred Arabians, which was crucial for the survival of the Arabian breed, at Crabbet Park in Sussex, and another outside Cairo in Egypt. From the 17th century, three Arabian stallions, The Darley Arabian, the Byerly Turk and the Godolphin Arabian were introduced, which bred with native mares and produced the Thoroughbred breed, which is now the foundation of modern racing; some 95% of all modern Thoroughbreds are descended from these three horses. If you go to www.kayf-aramis.comand click on Pedigree you will see that Kayf Aramis' line goes via Kayf Tara, Sadler's Wells. Northern Dancer to Neartic. From there it is a mere 20 direct breeding links back to The Darley Arabian.

 

TUESDAY, 25th SEPTEMBER 2012

THEN CAME A LOT FOR CAMELOT!

Following Boylesports' decision to offer a 'non-runner no-bet' on the the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe CAMELOT has been heavily backed. Yesterday the double Derby winner was 4-1 favourite as a direct result of this 'non-runner no-bet deal. A Boylesports' spokesman said: "We reintroduced Camelot into the betting at 6-1 last Wednesday when we went 'non-runner no-bet' and it's really been a one-horse book since. We were bowled over with money from all over the place - not just in Ireland. In less than a week his price has dropped two full points and he's by far and away the best-backed horse in the Arc."

The money flooded in for CAMELOT the moment trainer Aidan O'Brien announced the 3-year-old colt was being considered for the race, even after his Triple Crown defeat in the Ladbrokes St Leger. O'Brien commented: “Many clearly believe he will run in the Arc and they feel he can reproduce his scintillating form which gave him the chance to go for the Triple Crown.”

 

HANNON AND ON

So far more than 100 individual juvenile winners have been by trained Richard Hannon but his success seems to know no bounds. He produced another potentially smart winner, ZURIGHA, with Richard Hughes aboard, yesterday at Kempton. The bay filly made an immediate impression in this her début in the first division of the 32Red/British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes. The clear favourite in the race was Godolphin's MAR MAR, ridden by Frankie Dettori, due to her impressive second place at Salisbury earlier in the month. And while there were moments when MAR MAR looked as if she could steal the show, ZURIGHA produced more when push came to shove and won by a neck.

MONDAY, 24th SEPTEMBER 2012

THAT'S THE TICKET!

At 9am today 1,500 tickets for QIPCO British Champions Day will go on sale, increasing the capacity to 32,000 for the big day in October. There will be a new temporary facility, west of the main grandstand , called the Champions Bar. Entrance fee, consisting of a Grandstand ticket and a Champions Bar badge, will cost £36. Existing Grandstand ticket holders will pay an additional £10, giving entrance to the Premier Admission lawn as well as the private marquee. For every upgrade sold to existing Grandstand ticket holders, a general Grandstand ticket will become available, so 1,500 additional racegoers can be accommodated on site.

You'd better hurry because it's only four tickets per caller! Frankel, here we come!

 

GREGORIAN CHANT

Punters who took what they believed to be a rock-solid 1/7 bet on GREGORIAN must have had the fright of their lives when things seemed not to be going too well at the beginning of the race. But the 3-year-old, obviously not relishing the soft ground, soon made steady headway, however, and beat ATLANTIC SPORT by ¾ of a length in the Bet totequadpot Text tote to 89660 EBF Conditions Stakes. Trainer Whillans said: "This was a surprise as we nearly withdrew him because of the testing conditions." Winning jockey William Buick said: "He has had a busy season and run some really good races. No horse likes ground as soft as it is out there so all credit to him for winning."

 

STRUTTING HIS STUFF

Racing News' favourite jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, had another winner yesterday at Uttoxeter. He rode the 9-year-old grey, PIGEON ISLAND, to a seven length victory. That's his 24th win from 163 runs 2012 -2013. A 15% strike rate. Nice one!



SUNDAY, 23rd SEPTEMBER 2012

VETERAN'S DAY BUT NOT A WINNER

After making history at Wolverhampton last night, 11-year-old DVINSKY is having a well-deserved rest in the paddock this morning. He completed his 218th competitive start in the 32Red.com Handicap at Dunstall Park – a record for modern times. Trained by Paul Howling the veteran had already nudged SHARP HAT (who retired in 2007 ) off the top slot when he made his 217th appearance at Kempton just over a week ago. There was no fairytale result this time, however, although he did break the record for the total number of runs and that's an achievement in itself. He raced in second position for much of the trip but tired in the straight and could only manage to come home ninth. Jockey, Tom McLaughlin, aboard for the 27th time, was not too demanding, once he realised that they were not going to make it. Paul Howling is still convinced, however, that the 11-year-old can win again.

He said afterwards: “We know he likes Kempton so we'll see if there is something there, or we could try and find a little race on the grass for him, as he's rated 5lb lower on turf. It would be nice if the handicapper gives him a bit of a chance. Another two or three pounds off his back would be a real help."

DVINSKY has still to beat SHARP HAT's record of 20 wins.

 

2-4-6-8. WHO IS GOING TO DOMINATE?

The Betfred Cesarewitch Trial Handicap was won by an appropriately named 5-year-old, DOMINATION, who surged away strongly from his rivals to win by 4½ lengths. The Irish bay gelding, trained by Charles Byrnes, produced a late run to storm past the favourite COURTESY CALL. It was a good day, too, for jockey, Niall McCullagh, giving him yet another big win after his victory in last week's Irish St Leger on ROYAL DIAMOND.

SATURDAY, 22ND SEPTEMBER 2012

DOCTOR WHO? NO DOC HAY!

Today's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup will certainly be dominated by the ground conditions. It also looks like the horse that wins will have previous form of more than six furlongs. There could also be a problem with weight. MAAREK and THE CHEKA are both serious contenders and will love the ground, but their weight is a serious consideration. One horse, though, who seems to be well handicapped is DOC HAY, although he does have a 5lb penalty for winning at Doncaster last week in the five-and-a-half-furlong Portland Handicap. But there again he did race home in that contest so seemingly effortlessly that the distance and the soft ground appear to pose no problems. DOC HAY has all the semblance of being the one to have your money on.

Now them's weasel words, if you like!

 

HUGHES ON FIRST BASE

This year's jockeys' title race is as good as over, according to some bookies who have already coughed up on Richard Hughes becoming champion for the first time in his career. Hughes had an incredible six wins on Wednesday, followed by two more on Thursday. This took him to 138 wins for the season and that's 16 clear of nearest rival, Ryan Moore, who unfortunately is still out-of-action because of injury. Hughes produced a double at Newbury yesterday, riding RULE BOOK and WENTWORTH for Richard Hannon. Victor Chandler and Paddy Power think he can't be caught. Charlie McCann of Victor Chandler commented: "When we opened a market on the 2012 title Hughes was 8-1 but was no bigger than 4-1 even when the BHA upheld the 50-day ban imposed by the Indian authorities earlier in the year, which kept him out of action until April 30. He went odds-on for the first time at the beginning of August and looked the champion jockey-elect even before Ryan Moore suffered his latest injury."

The Flat turf season officially finishes at Doncaster on November 10.

FRIDAY, 21st SEPTEMBER 2012

GOING FOR THE RECORD

The last time you read about this 11-year-old in RACING NEWS was on May 28th when he beat off eleven junior rivals at Kempton Park making his 19th win from 217 starts. If you haven't remembered the name, it is DVINSKY! Today he will be aiming to beat SHARP HAT's 1994 record for the most starts and if he wins it will be his 20th, still four behind SHARP HAT, though. His racing statistics thus far are 19 Wins, 34 Seconds and 33 Thirds. In that time his winnings have totalled £59, 214 and and total earnings £117, 128. His first race was at Goodwood in July 2004 when he was ridden by Johnny Murtagh and came 14th out of 17. Today, ridden by Tom McLaughlin, he will making his bid in the 32red.com Handicap at Wolverhampton.

DVINSKY has won twice at Wolverhampton and David Roberts, managing director, said: "We are delighted that Dvinsky is coming to Wolverhampton for his 218th appearance on Friday and that David Hardaker [owner] and Paul Howling continue to support the all-weather tracks with this record-breaking horse".

William Hill has come up with a number of special bets for DVINSKY. They have him at 10-1 to win, 5-2 to finish in the first three and 4-5 to win a race in 2013! From all the excitement on Twitter and elsewhere, it is clear that its not just the big names, such as FRANKEL and BLACK CAVIAR that have loads of fans around the country and even the world, but much-loved horses such as DVINSKY and KAYF ARAMIS who have not only won money for punters in the past but, in the process, have captured their hearts.

Go on have a bet!

 

WALKING ON AYR

Yesterday's meeting at the Scottish track was abandoned because of the waterlogged course but thankfully conditions have got better overnight so this afternoon's meeting at Ayr goes ahead after passing a 6.30am inspection. The drying conditions have turned the ground to heavy but fit for racing.

 

THURSDAY, 20th. SEPTEMBER 2012

 

GREAT BRITTAIN!

Clive Brittain, the veteran Newmarket trainer, was the bookies' friend again yesterday when he won the EBF At The Races John Musker Fillies' Stakes with his 125-1 shot, SEMAYYEL, pitched against the likes of 4/9 favourite, Sir Henry Cecil's TIMEPIECE (finished last-but-one!), mentioned here yesterday. Jockey, Freddie Tylicki, however, took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and rode the 3-old to victory defeating AISEED and MISS STARLIGHT with the biggest upset of the day. It's perhaps not so well-known that Clive Brittain has trained the winners of every British Classic except the Derby. He did,however, have a 500-1 second with TERIMON in that Epsom Classic in 1989. So he has long been someone to fear no matter how long the odds. The 70-year-old has fewer horses to train these days – about 40 but Sheikh Mohammed – for whom he trained PEBBLES for the Breeders' Cup Turf in 1985 still has confidence in him.

 

FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

CHAMONIX, son of Galileo, who could barely manage sixth on first time out at Leopardstown in July, then got off the mark with a 12-length victory at Killarney before taking Listed honours at Galway. Joseph O'Brien took the 3-year-old favourite immediately into the lead and by the home turn it was obvious that none of his rivals would catch him. CHAMONIX won with a resounding 3¾ length winning margin.

Joseph O'Brien, top of the Irish jockeys' table, said afterwards: "Chamonix is a tough horse, he tries hard. He handled the ground but I think he'll be a bit better on nicer ground. He's a horse that's going places. I think he'll be a much better horse next year - he's quite big and raw still.”

 

WEDNESDAY, 19th. SEPTEMBER 2012

 WATCH THIS ONE STRIKE!

The EBF At The Races John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth today will provide TIMEPIECE with an excellent chance of gaining her first win of the season. Trained by Sir Henry Cecil, the five-year-old mare has not scored since winning the Group One Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July 2011. That is not to say that she has not put up good performances since then. She did run a close fourth to Snow Fairy in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville in August.

Teddy Grimthorpe, owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager commented: "She started off the season slowly, but came back really nicely at Goodwood and ran a super race in Nassau. She then ran a really nice race in the Romanet at Deauville behind Snow Fairy and she wasn't beaten far. This does look like a nice opportunity with a view to stepping her back up to top-class company later on in the season, but there's no such thing as an easy Listed race."

 

CAVIAR BACK ON THE MENU?

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June was the last time BLACK CAVIAR raced when she injured herself making her 22nd straight win. The 6-year-old mare has spent the time since then recuperating in Britain and in Victoria, only doing light exercise for the past three weeks. Throughout her illustrious career BLACK CAVIAR has had regular problems with leg and soft tissue injuries. During the Royal Ascot race she damaged muscle in her hindquarters again as a result of the opposition who pushing her harder than ever. As a consequence she only won by a head on that occasion. According to her connections, however, she is in better shape now than at any time in her career. Should she run again next season then it is likely to be her swan song, probably two races in Melbourne and one in Sydney and one in Brisbane.

 

TUESDAY, 18th. SEPTEMBER 2012

 

RACHEAL ROCKS BRIGHTON

25-year-old jockey, Racheal Kneller, won a stick of Brighton rock for her success yesterday when she went nine lengths clear on HIGH FIVE PRINCE in the Ian Carnaby Apprentice Selling Handicap. Mark Usher's 3-year-old gelding was a good bet, despite the fact that he was still a 'maiden' after 17 starts. He soon proved his point, however. As soon as he hit the front there was no holding him back as Racheal, his regular gallops partner, realised.

She said afterwards: "I have probably won a bit too well in the end, but he was very difficult as a two-year-old. He gets very buzzed up and can be a real handful but he was so relaxed in the race.

Surprisingly, there were no bids at the auction for HIGH FIVE PRINCE so she may have another chance to put him through his paces and maybe win a real prize.

 

O FOR TORNADO

After winning the Champagne Stakes on Saturday with Richard Hughes aboard, TORONADO, the son of High Chaparral, will probably end his season at Doncaster in the Racing Post Trophy. The Richard Hannon-trained 2-year-old bay colt, it seems, will now be entered for the Town Moor race on October 27. Last time out he made it three out of three when he beat DUNDONNELL in the 7-furlong Group Two at Doncaster.

Richard Hannon commented: "We knew that seven furlongs was his bare minimum as he is a galloper, so I told Hughesie (Richard Hughes) not to stand for any messing about and that if nobody else wanted to make the running he should take up the cudgels.”

 

MONDAY, 17th. SEPTEMBER 2012

RUBY IN THE SKY WITH … RATTAN

Ruby Walsh , the reigning Irish National Hunt champion jockey, who has been out of action for a few weeks after fracturing his ankle in a fall in the Galway Hurdle, was back yesterday in the Kerrymaid Hurdle on the Willie Mullins-trained RATTAN. But things didn't go so smoothly for his return to the track. He had to work hard to get his mount in front. MILEY SHAH looked like making all the running but was awkward over the last two flights. RATTAN took the last hurdle on the run and got the momentum he needed for him to win by a head in what was a close finish. Walsh said afterwards: "I thought 4-9 shots were supposed to be easier than that!"

 

JOHN WILLIAMS GETS A LIFETIME AWARD

John ‘Welshy’ Williams, one of the most well-known faces at Newmarket has had a race named after him – a maiden race for 2-year-olds run in July. He and his family were the guests at Yarmouth Racecourse where he was presented with a Lifetime in Racing Award. Welshy started working in the racing yard in 1960. 'Welshy' worked for numerous trainers always in Newmarket. In the latter part of his career he worked ten years for John Gosden. When the latter moved to Manton, 'Welshy' decided to stay in his beloved Newmarket and joined Jeremy Noseda for whom he still works. He still rides out three times a day. He said that when the day comes when he does finally retire what he was most looking forward to was  “a lie-in”.

SUNDAY, 16h SEPTEMBER 2012

 

DON'T CRY FOR MICKAEL BARZALONA – ENCKE CHIEF OF THE ST. LEGER

No tears for Mickael Barzalona at Doncaster yesterday when he was victorious in the St. Leger riding ENCKE - an outcome that thwarted Aidan Obrien's dream of winning the Triple Crown with his star, CAMELOT. Son, Joseph, rode his usual patient ride, keeping his mount calmly to the rear for half the race. Then he moved him up on the inside in the last four furlongs and then switched to the right two out. At the furlong post he was in second position but couldn't catch the winner who won by ¾ of a length. Maybe Joseph O'brien left it a little too late to make his challenge. So the Darley-bred, ENCKE, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, stopped history in-the-making.

 

DEIDRE MAKES HER MARK IN HIS ABSENCE.

No doubt to the great relief of Mark Johnston's wife and assistant, Deidre, SIR GRAHAM WADE shrugged off the penalty he received for winning at Haydock last week with a narrow victory in the Ladbrokes Mallard Handicap at Doncaster. Her husband was away in America for the yearling sales so she decided to take a chance on SIR G.W. Kieren Fallon seemed keen not to let her down and had the three-year-old in a handy third position following Jamie Spencer's sedate pace on NO HERETIC. Not for long, though, because the race soon became a sprint in last three furlongs, leaving Fallon in the best position for a challenge. The duo managed to get a head in front, however, but it was a fight all the way to the post in the last furlong and the winning distance was a mere neck from NANTON, with NO HERETIC finishing just a snout behind in third position.

A good welcome-home present for Mr. Johnston!

SATURDAY, 15h SEPTEMBER 2012

 

TRIPLE CROWN FOR THE KING?

The last winner of the 2000 Guineas, Derby and Leger Triple Crown was Lester Piggott astride the incomparable NIJINSKY way back in 1970 and, before that it was BAHRAM 1935. In fact only 15 horses have gained this honour in the history of horse racing. CAMELOT has not run since winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. Aidan O'Brien has deliberately given him a rest with such an historical event on the horizon. It will also to be a great day for the Irish trainer from another point of view. If he is victorious in the St. Leger he will become the first handler to train all five British Classic winners in a one season. Apart from CAMELOT O'Brien's HOMECOMING QUEEN won the 1000 Guineas and WAS the Investec Oaks.

IT'S A GREAT DAY FOR THE IRISH!

 

TIMES UP MR. DUNLOP!

Appropriately, just after announcing his impending retirement, John Dunlop's 6-year-old gelding, TIMES UP, won the Stobard Doncaster Cup yesterday. This current season had probably been the worst in his 46 year career. TIME'S UP' s win in last month's Lonsdale Cup was reason for hope for better times. This proved true when Eddie Ahern's mount brought another success when mustering just enough last-minute effort the beat off a late lunge by HIGH JINX to win by a neck.

HOPE SPRINGS ….

 

FRIDAY, 14th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

DUNLOP TO RE-TIRE!

John Dunlop, the Classic-winning trainer, has decided to step down at the end of the current Flat season. He won the Derby twice with Shirley Heights in 1978 and Erhaab in 1994. He also had three St Leger winners - Moon Madness in 1986, Silver Patriarch in 1997 and Millenary in 2000. And that's not all. There were three 1000 Guineas winners - Quick As Lightning (1980), Salsabil (1990) and Shadayid (1991) - and two Oaks winners - Circus Plume (1984) and Salsabil (1990). The only race that got away was the 2000 Guineas. John Dunlop received an OBE for his charitable work. In his long career he produced over 3,500 winners.

 

I SHOULD COCO!

You read it here in Racing News yesterday. WILD COCO was a hot tip to win the DFS Park Hill Stakes. Well, she did! This race is popularly known as the fillies' St Leger, and a great race it turned out to be. At first it looked as if the Queen's Royal Ascot winner, ESTIMATE would win, after kicking clear by three lengths. But Tom Queally had his mount handy as they entered the final furlong and WILD COCO didn't need asking twice, revealing that stamina is one of her strong points.

THURSDAY, 13th SEPTEMBER 2012

 HOT COCO FOR DONNIE

The second day of the Doncaster St Leger meeting presents the DBS Park Hill Stakes. One filly everyone seems to be fancying is WILD COCO, trained by Sir Henry Cecil. The 4-year-old showed great promise last season but seemed to lose it in the last two races. But never say die, she made a impressive comeback with an easy victory over Jehannedarc with the Queen's filly, Estimate, in 3rd position, beaten by three lengths. The Royal mount may well take better to the fast course today, having previously won the Queens Vase over two miles, but WILD COCO should also show a lot of improvement.

 

KEEPING ONE JUMP AHEAD

The first major jump racing fixture of the Autumn in Britain is being organised at Market Rasen. There will be another short period of 2012 holiday from today. Then it's all systems go for the opening meeting on Saturday, September 29. Today traditionally marks the end of the 'Summer' National Hunt season and the start of 'Winter' jump racing. The exciting thing about this first fixture is that here are always very good horses competing, attracted, no doubt, by some very good prize-money. The Market Rasen 'Prelude' Handicap Chase, for instance, is the feature race and worth £50,000. The Market Rasen 'Prelude' Hurdle, the main major supporting event, is up for grabs at £30,000 Then there is the Market Rasen Juvenile Hurdle, with prize money at £15,500 which always attracts a good field of runners. Entry for the races is not until September 24. One challenger, however, for the £50,000 steeplechase is likely to be I HAVE DREAMED, the winner of the Betfred Summer Plate at Market Rasen two months ago. A few trainers have been successful over the years with this opening meeting, including Peter Bowen.

WEDNESDAY, 12th SEPTEMBER 2012

MICHELANGELO BLINKERED

MICHELANGELO will possibly wear blinkers for the first time in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday. Trainer, John Gosden, used this device with ARCTIC COSMOS who went on to win St. Leger two years ago and obviously thinks this will do the trick again. John Gosden has set himself two goals for this race: thwart CAMELOT's attempt to win the Triple Crown and complete a hat-trick in the race after his MASKED MARVEL won it last year.

 

GREAT BEAR FOR JOHNNY

Johnny Murtagh looks set to ride URSA MAJOR in a bid to win the Ladbrokes St Leger for the first time at Doncaster on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Tommy Carmody and yet another son of Galileo, was confirmed for the world's oldest Classic and interestingly enough, also has an entry in the Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger at the Curragh on the same day. Owner, Andrew Tinkler stated, however, that ROYAL DIAMOND would do the honours in that race. URSA MAJOR has made great progress since his debut in March. He won one and had two seconds in his first three races. Then he went on to easily win two handicaps before winning the Group Three Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh in August.

 

TUESDAY, 11th SEPTEMBER 2012

TURNING THE TABLES

Sir Henry Cecil's, THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, who was victorious in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot but then only managed fifth in the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes at York next time out, is expected to show more of his old form in Saturday's Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Racing manager, Barry Simpson commented: "He is in grand form and has been working well since he ran at York. We are looking forward to a good run from him.”

 

TEN TO ONE FOR CAMELOT!

Aidan O'Brien's fantastic three-year-old, CAMELOT will be taken on by a total of 10 rivals when he makes his attempt at Triple Crown glory in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday. He has already won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Investec Derby at Epsom. Bookies have him at long odds-on favourite in his bid become the first horse since the great Nijinsky in 1970 to complete the British Classic treble. Already he has notched up three Classics because after his Epsom triumph he went on to win the Irish Derby at the Curragh in June.

 

MONDAY, 10th SEPTEMBER 2012

NUDGE, NUDGE SAY NO MORE !

It's nearly three years since NUDGE AND NURDLE won a race and it's been some time since our favourite jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, was in the winning enclosure. But it all came together on his only ride at Fontwell yesterday. The 11-year-old bay gelding has been out of form for quite a while and this was only his third run this year. Some thing seemed to click in this race, however, and he showed some of his former talent, taking on the field two out and holding on strongly to win by half a length.

 

MEET AND RIGHT

MINCE, the Roger Charlton-trained filly, gave a really impressive performance yesterday in the Celebrating 45 Years Of Betfred Garrowby Stakes at York winning by 3½ lengths. Jockey, James Doyle, seemed set for a good ride right from the outset. He only had to ask the question and the 3-year-old pulled well clear and scored an easy victory.

 

SUNDAY, 9th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

THAT'S SNOW FAIRY, THAT'S FRANKIE!

Frankie Dettori on SNOW FAIRY beat Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes yesterday at Leopardstown. With an effortless run up the straight he cruised to victory. It was the 5-year-old mare's seventh Group One victory. Ryan Moore had previously the honour of the highest level win on her. When William Buick on Nathaniel made a surge for home off the bend Dettori had everything well covered. Surprisingly Nathaniel, on this occasion, looked an easy target and Dettori was so confident that he just waited for the right moment. It is now his fifth Irish championship and his 198th Group One in all.

Afterwards Dettori said: “The race went to plan. I had no idea how popular she was but I heard the roar when she hit the front inside the final furlong. She’s retained her will to win and won a race won by some great champions.”

 

NOT SO FAR TO TIPPERARY

REBEL FITZ is entered for the Tipperary Hurdle next month, thus taking the next step to what could be a Champion Hurdle challenge. The 7-year-old has won his last four races. First came his maiden on the Flat at Clonmel in May, then he beat Captain Cee Bee in the Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary. After that he won the Galway Hurdle. As if that weren't enough, he went on to win J.P McManus Hurdle at Cork. .

Trainer, Michael Winters said: "He's jumping out of his skin and the plan is to run at Tipperary providing the ground is right."

SATURDAY, 8h SEPTEMBER 2012

 

WHO'S QUEASY?

Richard Hughes, the jockeys' championship leader, unusually gave up his rides last night at Kempton because he was feeling unwell. He plans to be back in action today, however, when he has six rides, including the strongly-favoured STRONG SUIT in the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock and then he's off to Wolverhampton in the evening where he has another five rides. On Sunday he is scheduled to ride in four races, including SKY LANTERN for his boss Richard Hannon in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

His agent, Tony Hind reported: "He was playing golf this morning and he came over a bit queasy. He said he sat down and had a cup of coffee with sugar but as he'd got a busy weekend coming up he said he was going home and taking the evening off. Hopefully he'll be fine for tomorrow. He's at Haydock and Wolverhampton on Saturday and is riding in Ireland on Sunday."

  

CAN ST. NICK DO THE TRICK?

Aidan O'Brien has won more Irish Champion Stakes than any other trainer. Today he is running ST NICHOLAS ABBEY and DADDY LONGLEGS in an attempt to score his eighth victory the Red Mills-backed Group 1 at Leopardstown. O'Brien first won this race back in 2000 with GIANT CAUSEWAY. For the past two years he has carried off the prize with CAPE BLANCO and SO YOU THINK. This year things could be tougher, though, as ST NICHOLAS ABBEY is third favourite behind NATHANIEL and SNOW FAIRY, while his DADDY LONG LEGS is a 33-1 chance.

O'Brien commented: "We were very happy with St Nicholas Abbey's run at York. It was his first time over the trip in a top class race. We learned a lot from it and while he hasn't done a lot since, he's in good form. Things have not gone quite right for Daddy Long Legs since he captured the UAE Derby in March. He was pulled up in the Kentucky Derby before finishing fourth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

 

 

FRIDAY, 7th SEPTEMBER 2012

 

NO MEDECINS FOR SANS FRONTIERES

A recurrence of a tendon injury has kept SANS FRONTIERES from racing for the past two seasons. The 6-year-old son of Galileo, trained by Jeremy Noseda, recorded the highest-profile Flat success for his owner Sir Robert Ogden when he won the 2010 Irish St Leger at the Curragh. Sadly this proved to be his final outing. There had been plans to go for the 2010 Melbourne Cup but that was not to be due to illness which prevented him from flying to Australia. SANS FRONTIERES won four of his nine starts, including the Group 2 Princess Of Wales's Stakes and Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes. His total win and place prize-money amounts to £251,502. Now he will be retired to stud.

 

GOLD CUP LOSES SOME SPICE BUT IS STILL HOT

The winner of the Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon in August, PEPPER LANE has been pulled out the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup and is the most notable withdrawal at the latest entries stage. The 5-year-old mare, trained by David O’Meara, was one of the favourites for the race. Other significant withdrawals are the 2009 winner, JIMMY STYLES, BOGART and OASIS DANCER. That makes eight but there are still another 200 entered. The race that will be held on 22 September looks like being one of the most interesting of recent years. More than 30 horses are rated 99 or higher .

THURSDAY, 6th. SEPTEMBER 2012

 

NO LAME EXCUSES FOR DE SOUSA!

Silvestre de Sousa who is trailing Richard Hughes by 25 in the champion jockey stakes, escaped serious injury in a freak stalls incident at Lingfield yesterday. De Sousa was due to ride Godolphin's GOLD HUNTER in the 6f juvenile maiden. The colt, however, sat down in the stalls and then contrived to turned 180 degrees and broke out of the stalls head first. Jockey, Richard Mullen who was on DIGRESS two stalls away from De Sousa, said: "I saw the horse go down and then come back up facing the other way. Silvestre was so lucky the back gate opened as the horse came up, as that freed his leg. If it hadn't opened his leg would have been shattered."

De Sousa limped away from the incident and appeared to have hurt his ankle. His dreams of becoming champion jockey could have gone up in smoke there and then but within 15 minutes he was preparing for the next race. Tough these jockeys!

 

A TRIPLE CROWN FOR KING CAMELOT?

CAMELOT will be facing his stiffest challenge yet in the Ladbrokes St Leger next week when he will attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner for more than 40 years. That's the opinion of Aidan O'Brien, the 3-year-old's trainer. The Monjeu colt won the 2,000 Guineas, the Derby and Irish Derby and now is aiming to emulate NIJINSKY who gained the Triple Crown in 1970. Aidan O'Brien commented: "Everything's gone well - so far so good - but it's a very difficult test for a horse able to be dropped out in the Guineas over a mile on his first run of the season, to have that pace and then win the Derby."

 

WEDNESDAY, 5th. SEPTEMBER 2012

 

WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY !

It is now confirmed that William Buick will ride both ORTENSIA and NATHANIEL in their respective Group One races in England and Ireland on Saturday. Buick has established a good relationship with Paul Messara's 7-year-old mare after winning at Goodwood and York. But as reported yesterday there is a problem of logistics. The Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock runs at 15.25 BST and the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes is scheduled for 17.45. This doesn't give William Buick much time to travel from England to Leopardstown. But the problem seems to have been solved.

"I've been asked questions about it all week but up until now I genuinely didn't know, but now it's looking very possible. I'll be getting a helicopter from Haydock to Leopardstown and I'm looking forward to it. They are two fantastic horses." said Buick.

 

TONY AND REBECCA DAY

Tony McCoy is hoping for an opener and a closer at Hereford today. He's riding the odds-on favourites for the first and last races. Trainer Rebecca Curtis and the Champion Jockey have enjoyed a 33% strike rate together over the past five years. VEGAS CASH in the opening 2m4f novice hurdle and THE JUGOPOLIST in the final 2m1f Bumper will be their attempt to extend the success of this partnership.

 

TUESDAY 4th. SEPTEMBER 2012

MURTAGH STILL HAS AN OXX TO GRIND

Johnny Murtagh, who rode Kayf Aramis to victory at York in 2009, will ride for trainer John Oxx for the rest of the season after his sudden saccking by the Aga Khan. Murtagh's contract to ride the Aga Khan's horses in Ireland was terminated last week. Oxx has said, however, that he will still use Murtagh for his other horses. At the moment Murtagh is out-of-action after a fall at the Curragh in August. He should be fit to ride the Oxx-trained BORN TO SEA in Saturday's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. Oxx commented: "All being well, he'll be riding Born To Sea on Saturday and he will ride our horses for other owners for the remainder of the year, where appropriate. He was not retained by anybody other than the Aga Khan, so he is effectively a freelance now. He can choose what he wants to ride, but hopefully he'll be on a good few of ours for the rest of this season. He's been riding work and I think he's due to see the doctor Tuesday or Wednesday so he can get clearance to ride again. I think he'd quite like to ride on Wednesday so he is nice and sharp for the weekend."

 

HE'S JUST THE BILL FOR SATURDAY'S BETFRED SPRINT CUP

ORTENSIA'S connections are rooting for William Buick and will be very disappointed if he can't make the ride. Paul Messara's 7-year-old bay mare let connections down on her first run of the year in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot ridden by Craig Williams. Their hopes were raised, however, when she was ridden by William Buick for the first time and managed to finish 4th in heavy ground in the July Cup at Newmarket. Since then Buick has ridden the mare to victory in the King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York. There is some doubt, however, that he will be able to take the ride at Haydock. The complication is that he is committed to ride Nathaniel for his boss John Gosden in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday. There is just the possibility that he could travel to Haydock first before flying to Ireland.

 

MONDAY 3rd. SEPTEMBER 2012

 

PERCHANCE TO DREAM

DANEDREAM, the winner of the King George, neighed Auf Wiedersehen yesterday after decisively winning the Grosser Preis von Baden. Maybe this was a gentle reminder to anyone taking her on in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next month that she is a filly not be messed with when she defends her crown. Bookmakers are playing it cautious, however, as Germany's superstar filly is still a 6-1 shot for Longchamp. said part-owner Heiko Volz,who is a part owner, said: "Our plan is to go to Paris. We never had a Plan B!"

 

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

It seems it has now been decided where the great FRANKEL will run his last race. On the cards were the Champion Stakes at Ascot over a mile and a quarter and the Arc De Triomphe over a mile and a half – another step up in trip! Sir Henry Cecil and Prince Khalid Abdulla have finally made their momentous decision. The Arc is a notorious race for destroying the reputations of class horses. The track has false straights, a variety of winning posts and loose ground to boot. Not a place for our champion. So the greatest horse on earth will finish his career on home ground at Acot - as it should be.

SUNDAY 2nd. SEPTEMBER 2012

MOON ON THE BEAM

When William Buick settled Jeremy Noseda’s colt, FANTASTIC MOON, only raced once before, at the rear of the 7-strong field, no-one was expecting the final outcome. THA'IR seemed to have the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown in the bag when taking a narrow lead in the final furlongs. But Buick had other ideas. He produced a late dash on the outside, coming from last to first and won by a head. MASTER OF WAR was a close third. This has already earned FANTASTIC MOON a 25-1 quote for next year’s Derby!

Any bets?

 

RYAN'S DOUGHTY

Unbeaten BLAINE, will step up for the first time to Group 1 on his next race in the Dubai Middle Park Stakes on Future Champions Day at Newmarket. This is the proposed target for the 2-year-old chestnut colt trained by Kevin Ryan. BLAINE was only on his second outing when he got the better of HEAVY METAL, the Richmond Stakes winner, the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes at York in August. Ryan won the Gimcrack in 2005 with AMADEUS WOLF. Kevin Ryan clearly hopes that BLAINE can repeat that honour. Ryan posted on his website: "Any Group winner has to show class, bravery and a will to win, but for horse to show these qualities on only his second run, it is very impressive. With a well deserved rest now, Blaine will be asked to take another step up next time in the Group 1 Middle Park."

 

SATURDAY 1st. SEPTEMBER 2012

NOW YOU'RE TALKING – TURKEY?

Today's the first day of the biggest weekend in Turkish racing. Some £95,000 is up for grabs for the winners both the International Istanbul Trophy and International France Galop FRBC Anatolia Trophy. This has quite naturally attracted some of Britain's leading racing figures who will be once again mounting a serious challenge on Veliefendi track. Tom Dascombe's filly, RHYTHM OF LIGHT as well as the 3-year-old George-Baker-trained BELGIAN BILL are both running on Saturday. This dynamic duo will be hoping improve on their last appearances when they finished second in their respective events 12 months ago. Frankie Dettori is also in action HUNTER'S LIGHT, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, and will tackle the Group 2 Anatolia Trophy.

 

AP-PAULING BAD LUCK!

After being ruled out of the Galway Festival, having suffered a fracture to his left shoulder blade in a fall at Killarney during the middle of July, Grand National-winner, Paul Carberry was back in the saddle trying his luck on his return to the track at Down Royal with six rides. He rode SMITHFIELD for Noel Meade in the opening Dale Farm Maiden Hurdle but could do no better than finish fifth. He then bestrode hot favourite QUEEN OF THE HILL, trained by Tom Cooper in the Premier Bakeries Ireland Mares Maiden Hurdle but no luck here either. Undaunted Carberry rode the Cooper-trained KERRYHEAD STORM in the Procter & Gamble Maiden Hurdle but came a disappointing fifth. FORMAL BID promised Carberry hopes for victory in the McCormack Potato Handicap Hurdle but the five-year-old gelding fell when struggling at the rear of the field. The good news was both horse and rider were quickly up on their feet. Carberry had one more go at making his return to the track more memorable. His last ride of the day was on RAAJIH in the Allied Bakeries Handicap Hurdle. It turned out to be his best result of the day – he finished 3rd!

FRIDAY 31st. AUGUST 2012

LATE FOR SOON

Daughter of Galileo, SOON, racing for the third time in just over a week, left it until the last 50 yards before storming past ALLA SPERANZA to win by ¾ of a length. The Aidan O'Brien-trained filly was held up in last place by jockey, Seamie Heffernan who bided his time before mounting an uninterrupted late challenge in the centre of the track and won seemingly effortlessly. It was an appropriate win because SOON was bearing the colours of the late Vincent O'Brien's daughter, Sue Magnier.

MURTAGH GETS THE SACK

Johnny Murtagh’s contract, dating from November 2010, as retained jockey for the Aga Khan’s Irish-trained horses has ended shrouded in mystery. Murtagh issued a statement yesterday to the effect that the arrangement was being terminated with immediate effect. The Aga Khan has enjoyed great success with Murtagh as his main jockey. SINNDAR was victorious in the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2000, making up a total of 18 Group One wins for the Aga Khan. He also won the French Oaks aboard VALYRA in June. From comments by Pat Downes, the Aga Khan’s Irish stud farm manager, it seems that there had been some "differences between the parties".
This hasn't come at the best of times for Murtagh who is currently laid low by a hairline fracture to a small bone under an eye after being kicked by LOTTIE DOD during the preliminaries to the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 12.
Rumour has it also that the Carmody-trained URSA MAJOR's defeat of the Aga Khan’s HARTANI at the Curragh on Saturday was the last straw. Carmody trains in a yard that he rents from none-other than Johnny Murtagh. The Aga Khan's actions are all the more surprising because he was full of praise for Murtagh in June when he said after the Group 1 Prix de Diane win at Chantilly: "I had my secret weapon [Murtagh] on board, who is the best man in a finish in Europe if not the world.’’

 

 

THURSDAY 30th. AUGUST 2012

 MIRACLES COULD STILL HAPPEN IN HEREFORD

John Williams, 30 years the clerk of the course and secretary at Hereford, has put together a consortium of local racing figures to back a £1 million rescue plan. There is racing at the track tonight for the first time since the shock announcement made five weeks ago that it will close at the end of this year. Williams is convinced that the key to success is re-building the links with the area's rural community which, he thinks, have been lost since Northern Racing(now Arena Racing C assumed control in 2002. The aspirations of Williams and other potential investors - including trainer, Venetia Williams – are in abeyance awaiting the outcome of tomorrow's meeting between ARC managing director, Tony Kelly and John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council, which owns the racecourse. The reasons given by Kelly for the closure of the course are that , due to low attendances, it is no longer viable and the lease of 17 years is too short. As all of next year 's fixtures have been transferred to other tracks, an option for ARC could be to serve notice to break the lease and negotiate a deal to return it to the council. There is also a possibility of a new 125-year lease and an option to build a hotel.

 

WEDNESDAY 29th. AUGUST 2012

WHO DO? VOODOO!

The Grand National-winning jockey, Graham Lee, celebrated his first 50 wins as a Flat jockey after riding two winners at Ripon yesterday. He only switched to Flat racing on 1st May and can hardly believe, himself, how well things have gone. Nor did he achieve this feat on any old horse! His winning mount was VOODOO PRINCE, the first foal of probably one of the greatest racing mares in recent history, OUIJA BOARD

Graham Lee said afterwards: “He’s done that well. The pace was generous and even, and he slotted in nicely and picked up well. I’m just thankful to everybody over how well it’s gone so far. I’m really surprised and I keep having to pinch myself.”

 

MELBOURNE CUP DOUBLE IN DUNADEN'S SIGHTS

DUNADEN, who carried off the Melbourne Cup last year will be back at Flemington this year in an attempt to do the same again in 'the race that stops a nation'. The 6-year-old, owned by Sheikh Fahad al Thani, will first of all have a crack at the BMW Caulfield Cup on Oct 20, as a warm up for the defence of his Melbourne Cup crown on November 6th. Both races are handicaps and offer enormous prize money. The mile-and-a-half Caulfield Cup, first run in 1879, with a first prize of £1million and prize money right down to eighth place and £50,000 up for grabs, is very highly regarded as second only to the Melbourne Cup in terms of prestige in Australia.


TUESDAY 28th. AUGUST 2012

 

KAUTO'S STAR NOT YET SET

Everyone's favourite jumper, the 12-year-old KAUTO STAR, is back in training with Paul Nicholls. There is no firm indication yet, though, whether he will actually run again. After his relaxing, care-free, time out in a field all Summer it was back to business with a new set of shoes and a good wash down. Nicholls, like all good trainers, will probably leave it to his intuition as to when the horse might be ready.

He said yesterday: "There is no plan as yet. We're in almost the same position as we were this time last year although in a way we are in a much better situation this time because Kauto hasn't been in a bit of a dip for a year – he's come in as the highest- rated chaser in training. We'll start riding him, see how he is, but firstly make sure he's fine."

 

FLORENCE READY FOR THE GOLD CUP MAGIC

Sir Michael Stoute may run his rarely-to-be-seen DUKE OF FIRENZE in the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup which takes place on 22 September. The three-year-old has only run five times and almost made the grade at Newmarket last time. However, those contemplating an ante-post bet should possibly wait to see if he runs before then because his current rating of 93 would have prevented a start last season. There is every chance, though, that he will see action on the day, as the Silver and Bronze Cups take place on the same card.

Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s MD, considers “He’s a neat little horse – he’s not very big. We need to consider his programme. He’s out of a very good mare so we want to get it right. Ayr is certainly something to look at.”


MONDAY 27th. AUGUST 2012

 

TALES OF THE RIVER BANK - HOLIDAY!

Just when memories of abandoned racing fixtures were beginning to fade, Cartmel officials have had to cancel their Bank Holiday Monday fixture due to waterlogging. Racing did take place at the Cumbrian track on both Thursday and Saturday but the rain came on Saturday night and a lot more is forecast. It was a difficult decision to make because this is traditionally a very popular fixture.

Anthea Morshead, Clerk of the course made the following statement: "It's a big Bank Holiday meeting for Cartmel and we've had to abandon with a heavy heart. "We've had two feet of rain since early June and already five inches in August. We'd be struggling to race today and the forecast suggests we could get anything between 20 and 30 millimetres of rain. It's disappointing, but the safety of horses and jockeys is paramount."

 

 

GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

It seems a Summer break is just what the doctor ordered for jump jockeys. Nick Scholfield, the 23-year-old from Castle Cary is so minded anyway: "I think the break is a good thing. Four of us went to a villa in Portugal for four days – it gave us a chance to chill out, get some sun on our backs and give the body a rest."

He also took the opportunity to go to the wedding of good friend and fellow jockey, Daryl Jacob. Scholfield believes August is the best time for a holiday. September is admittedly quiet period for National Hunt racing but then a lot of trainers are beginning serious work with their horses and prefer jockeys to ride out during that period.

And to put his whip where his hand is, so to speak, Nick Scholfield clocked up win number 15 riding ON THE BRIDGE for Somerset trainer, Jeremy Scott , at Fontwell Park on Thursday. Not content with that he then triumphed with LION ON THE PROWL at Southwell on Sunday for trainer, Kim Bailey. A third win with MISS MIDNIGHT, eluded him, however. These two win were enough to maintain his position in the top 10 of the riders' championship with a total personal best of 48 winners.

 

SUNDAY 26th. AUGUST 2012

 

COME ON, LUCA. YA CAN'T TAKE OUR CUP, MITE!

Trainer, Luca Cumani is dispatching QUEST FOR PEACE and his stablemate, MOUNT ATHOS, down under as part of a concerted attempt to win the Melbourne Cup for the first time. In the past Cumani has come very close to success in Australia's most prestigious race. MOUNT ATHOS was already the ante-post favourite but QUEST FOR PEACE was added to the team en route for Flemington, after winning the Listed March Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday. Luca Cumani's wife who is also his assistant said: "They are both going there. Quest For Fame is a really exciting horse. They go into quarantine on September 6 and the owners of this one would like to see him run in the Caulfield Cup first.”

 

FRANKIE'S 'VENI. VIDI. VICI' DAY.

WILLING FOE finished 3rd on his most recent appearance at Ascot last month, so was not rated better than a 12-1 shot in the chance for the one-mile-six-furlong Betfred Ebor at York. Frankie Dettori overcame a wide draw and got himself into a good position when it was time to throw down the gauntlet in the final furlongs. The most serious threat came from ROYAL DIAMOND who was always prominent and maintained the pressure right to the end. WILLING FOE, however, didn't let Lanfranco down and gave his all to give the dynamic duo a win by a neck. Interestingly, a stewards' inquiry was called but the results remain unchanged.

The 3-times champion jockey from Milan, Frankie Dettori, said afterwards: "It's taken 25 years but my day has come. I was a bit worried about the draw but they went slow and it worked out. I thought I had a chance but it's the Ebor and I have never won it before.”

 

 

 

SATURDAY 25th. AUGUST 2012

 

MOTIVATED - GO, GO, GO!

Today's Betfred Ebor will see in action MOTIVADO, 4-year-old bay gelding, trained by Sir Mark Prescott who could get his second win in the richest Flat handicap in Europe. MOTIVADO, owned by Syndicate 2009, gains his rating at the head of the betting market because of an easy win at Glorious Goodwood, also ridden by today's jockey, Luke Morris. It seems Sir Mark Prescott is confident of a good performance. The one negative for this outcome is that the 4-year-old has had two previous disappointing starts, ending up well beaten on both occasions.

 

'A GENTLE KNIGHT ...'

Wednesday's incredible performance in Juddmonte International by FRANKEL has been described by Sir Henry Cecil as something that will be etched in his memory. The world's highest-rated racehorse stretched himself beyond his customary a mile for the first time in York's extended 10-furlong Group One. He showed his many Group One winning rivals how a race should be won and in style. Of course, other races such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Champion Stakes are being mooted for FRANKEL as the inevitable closing stages of his racing career draws unfold but SirCecil is in no hurry to decide on a particular race.

He wrote on his website, www.sirhenrycecil.com: "Wednesday was a day that we, at Warren Place, will never forget. Frankel did everything right. He behaved beautifully and seemed to get the trip really well. The outcome was a tremendous relief to me and, if there was anyone who doubted him in anyway, surely their thoughts were put to rest.

Cecil reserved special praise for the appreciative crowd on the Knavesmire.

He commented also: "The Yorkshire racing crowd gave Frankel a wonderful reception and I was so pleased that we managed to get him to the Knavesmire as the north really appreciates seeing good horses. I would like to thank so many people who helped to make it such a wonderful occasion - one I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life."

'FULL JOLLY KNIGHT HE SEEMED, AND FAIR DID SIT,
AS ONE FOR KNIGHTLY GIUSTS AND FIERCE ENCOUNTERS FIT.'

 

CHARITY BEGINS AT …... MALTON'S STABLES

The Yorkshire training centre will be doing its bit for charity and will be raising funds for charity on Sunday morning by hosting an open day at a number of Malton's stables. Visitors will have a chance to go round the yards of Richard Fahey, Brian Ellison and Tim Fitzgerald among others. There will also be demonstrations on aspects such as dentistry and farriery. Funds raised from the £10 entance fee will be shared between the Malton Hospital, Jack Berry House and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

 

 

 

FRIDAY 24th AUGUST 2012

 

YOU SEE. THE OAKS WAS OKAY!

As reported in yesterday's Racing News, SHARETA had all in her favour when lining up for the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Despite the driving rain, Alain de Royer-Dupre's mare swept all before her, showing oodles of determination as she got the best of John Godsen's MUSIDORA. Jockey, Lemaire, was relaxed enough to go for it right from the gate and fought it out in the early stages with Epsom Oaks winner, WAS. The latter's jockey, Seamie Heffernan tried his best to increase the pace but Lemaire kept his cool as he tracked the the leader. In the meantime, THE FUGUE initiated her move down the centre of the track. As any other threat dropped out of contention, the two market leaders took on a fight to the finish. THE FUGUE seemed to have all in her favour under William Buick, but the French 3-year-old filly stuck to the rail and claimed her first ever Group 1 prize.

An over-joyed De Royer-Dupre said: "We came because the filly was in very good condition and because this is a marvellous track. I know she stays. Many times in France the straight is much too short and she doesn't have time to show what she can do. Today she could continue, she was very strong.”

 

THE NUNTHORPE NOT COOL ANY MORE

The Coolmore Nunthorpe running at York today may unfortunately not see fast sprints up the track because two heavy showers of rain have changed the going to Good, from Good to Firm, Good in Places. Anthea Morshead, the Assistant clerk of the Course had not anticipated the ¼ inchof rain because the Met Office hadn't issued any warning. (Haven't we heard that somewhere before?) It seems tomorrow is going to be cloudy and there could be patchy rain through to early Saturday. Slower conditions will not be liked by Khalid Abdulla's 5-year-old, BATED BREATH who has now drifted out to 9/2.
Racing Manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, commented: "It's not ideal but what can we do. The plan is still to run, I suppose if it got really bad then we'd think about it but we'll wait and see and look at it tomorrow."


L'IRLANDAIS, PADDY BRENNAN CREE LA SENSATION …

Well that's how the French press put it when Paddy Brennan won at Clairefontaine yesterday on KAUTO SHINY, daughter of Kauto Star's half-sister Kauto Relstar. Kayfaramisracing fans will know what a great jockey Paddy Brennan is as he partnered Kayf Aramis a lucky 13 times, notching up two 2nds. and two 3rds. So this success comes as no surprise. Paddy settled down comfortably in mid-field in the early stages but as the race developed on the second circuit it became obvious that KAUTO SHINY was travelling much better than the others and she went on to win by three-quarters of a length.


 

THURSDAY 23rd. AUGUST 2012

13. LUCKY FOR SOME

The York Juddmonte International Stakes was the scene yesterday of great rejoicing and maybe a little relief that FRANKEL managed to take his win record to 13/13. There were naturally some doubts his ability to last his first attempt over 10 furlongs. But it has to be said he looked possibly even better over this distance than he had previously over the mile. Eddie Ahern tried to exercise his usual role as as pacemaker on BULLET TRAIN and jumped out of the stalls with the intention of securing the lead. It didn't work this time. He was beaten to it by the Ballydoyle pacesetters, ROBIN HOOD and WINDSOR PALACE. Ahern wisely decided to ignore the frenetic gallop set up by the pair and settled for a third position ahead St Nicholas Abbey. FRANKEL was unusually held up in rear closest to the rail. There seemed not to be any worry about getting a run and jockey, Tom Queally clearly knew what a powerhorse he was riding. Without much of an effort FRANKEL eased into the lead. Then when Queally gave him a little rein inside the final furlong he didn't need asking twice. He quickened to win in awesome style by seven lengths.

Everyone interviewed by Channel 4' reporting team had come just to see FRANKEL. He and Queally were given a resounding three cheers by the crowd as they entered the winners' enclosure.

A DAY TO BE REMEMBERED

 

THE OAKS OKAY

The cross-channel raider SHARETA, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupré, has crossed the Channel to try her luck in the in the Yorkshire Oaks on the second day of York's Ebor meeting. She was 2nd. in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last year so comes with good qualifications. SHARETA has, it's true, gone a year without winning a race but she has run well in some decent Group races. Last time out she was forced to make her own pace in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in which there were only 4 runners but she was two lengths ahead of DANEDREAM, the subsequent King George winner.

WEDNESDAY, 22ND. AUGUST 2012

MOVE OVER BIG BRO'!

The Neptune Investment Great Voltigeur Stakes at York today will see another member of the GALILEO family, NOBLE MISSION, in action trying to show big brother, FRANKEL, that he's not the only one who can win races. The 3-year-old bay colt will take on 5 others this afternoon in the race that has become established as a trial for the Ladbrokes St Leger. NOBLE MISSION showed his developing talent when he won at Glorious Goodwood in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes. The one he beat by a nose, ENCKE, will be seeking revenge.
Khalid Abdullah's racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, said: "Only the top three per cent of horses become Group winners so he is the genuine article. He is still a work in progress but he showed himself to be a much mature horse at Goodwood. I think York will suit him as well as anywhere he has been but he has to step up again."

 

IS THE FUGUE ON KEY?

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks will figure, amongst the top-class field of seven, THE FUGUE, who positively sparkled in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on August 4. This time, however, she will be challenged by a further 2 furlongs in her next Group 1 race, the showpiece on the Knavesmire, with prize money worth £310,000. She does, however, seem to have a liking for York, having won the prestigious Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at the May Dante Festival but she will have to beat WAS, the GALILEO filly who won the Investec Oaks. There will be stiff competition in the rest of the field, too. Trainer, John Gosden commented: "The Fugue has been in good form since the Nassau and she goes well on the track. She is stepping back up in trip but she is in good order."

 

TUESDAY 21st AUGUST 2012

 

KNIGHT WANTS TO BE THERE ON THE DAY

Trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, is to put aside health concerns because he so wants to be present at York on Wednesday when FRANKEL runs in the Juddmonte International Stakes. Ongoing cancer treatment meant that he couldn't be present at the easy victory in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

He commented: "Although I have had some medical treatment recently and not been racing because my immune system is low, I have been able to work from home. I am very hopeful that I will be able to make it to York on Wednesday to saddle my horses. I just cannot miss the day and I want to be there for Frankel. I do not think the distance is going to be a problem although we are going into unknown territory."

 

CAVIAR MAY BE BACK ON THE MENU

The Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June witnessed the close victory of the 6-year-old, CAVIAR, who just managed to hold on to her unbeaten record of 22 wins from as many starts.

After that the mare's future looked uncertain. Part-owner, Neil Werrett re-iterated that the plan was still to retire Black Caviar at the end of the Australian season in 2013. She will go back into training with Peter Moody. If she is not 100%fit then, she will put to stud.

Werret said: "We are just going to let the horse tell us and Pete has some really good advisers in chiropractors and vets."

 

MONDAY 20th AUGUST 2012

 

MINCE MEETS THE CHALLENGE

Three-year-old MINCE, trained by Roger Charlton, won well in the British Stallion Studs EBF Flying Fillies' Stakes at Pontefract yesterday beating his challenger, ULTRASONIC, by two lengths. Jockey, Frankie Dettori battled from the very beginning for the lead with LA FORTUNATA and managed to gain a clear advantage inside the final furlong pole.

Dettori's comment was "She's come on from strength to strength. She won really well at Ascot and has now won a Listed race, so I guess the next step would be a Group Three somewhere. The ground is important to her - she's got a very quick little action.

 

FRANKEL NOT TO BE STIFLED WITH.

Racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, was adamant that FRANKEL will not be ridden just to get the trip when he steps up to 1m2f for the first time the Juddmonte International on Wednesday. The usual tactics will be used by jockey, Tom Queally, when the world's highest rated horse will try to increase his unbeaten record to 13 on the Knavesmire. So far FRANKEL has not been under any kind of pressure in his three outings so far this season. This could be one of his last appearances at York, where he will be taken on by Sir Henry Cecil's 2011 International winner, Twice Over, and pacemaker Bullet Train.

Grimthorpe commented: "He's got this tremendous cruising speed and if you stifle that you're stifling the best part of him really. His stride takes him into the race, so there's no point in anchoring him or blasting him off.


SUNDAY 19th AUGUST 2012

 

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

The surprise of the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury yesterday was LETHAL FORCE ridden astutely by Adam Kirby. The 3-year-old grey colt was an outsider at 25/1 but, notwithstanding, contributed to the current on-going success of the Clive Cox stable. He bounded off into a clear lead in the early stages and finished the race virtually unchallenged. The only potential rival was STRONG SUIT ridden by Ryan Moore who tried to catch the leader but failed.

Adam Kirby said afterwards: "He's quite a smart horse. There didn't seem to be that much speed in the race and he lengthened really well. He's battled well."

 

“ ... JUST FLEW IN FROM THE WINDY CITY”

Hayley Turner won narrowly on I'M A DREAMER yesterday in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes, which was one of the notable supporting events on the Arlington Million card in Chicago. In doing so Hayley notched up the 3rd top-level victory of her career. Now recognised as Britain's most successful female jockey, she was riding again for Newmarket trainer, David Simcock, with whom she also achieved her debut Group 1 success on DREAM AHEAD in last year's July Cup. The 5-year-old bay mare hadn't won a race since the Group 3 Dahlia Stakes at the Guineas meeting on 1st May 2011.

Hayley Turner commented: "I can't believe it. Thanks to David Simcock and his team because I haven't had a lot to do with this filly. I always think that when you have a horse with a lot of ability, it makes your job a lot easier and I thought she had a good chance. “

THE WINDY CITY IS MIGHTY PRETTY

BUT THEY AINT GOT WHAT WE GOT – HAYLEY T!”


SATURDAY 18th AUGUST 2012

 

LEE FULL OF GLEE - AGAIN

At Newcastle yesterday, Graham Lee celebrated his first treble on the Flat since switching from jumps The Grand National-winning jockey won on favourites DISCRETION, WHITE NILE and CASKELENA, all for different trainers, to complete a 17-1 hat-trick. Up to now the highlight of Lee’s career was winning the 2004 National on Amberleigh House. This victory gave Ginger McCain his record-equalling fourth winner in the Aintree race. Lee rode 995 winners including 5 at the Cheltenham Festival. His career has unfortunately been plagued by serious injury, most notably fractures of a leg, an arm and a collar bone. In February he sustained a dislocated hip from a fall at Southwell. Usually the problem for jump jockeys is increasing weight which causes many of them to retire. With Graham Lee it was the opposite; he lacked weight. This persuaded him finally to abandon jump racing and give Flat racing a serious go. He has now had 45 winners since deciding to become a fully-fledged Flat- racing jockey in April.

Is that serious enough?

 

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED – WANNA VET?

The conditions for the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury today could be just what the doctor ordered for ALANZA, trained by John Oxx. The 4-year-old chestnut filly could only manage a poor 7th in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last time out but that was on soft ground. This time the ground at Newbury is set to be good to firm. It seems like good or faster ground is what she likes.

Oxx commented: "Because of all the rain we've had at home we decided to avail ourselves of the opportunity presented by the better ground, instead of waiting for conditions to come right in Ireland."


FRIDAY 17th AUGUST 2012

HERE'S THE DOPE

The British Horseracing Authority has fined Trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, £2,000 when, after taking urine samples from two of his horses, it was discovered that they contained a prohibited substance. Propoxyphene was found in the samples taken from MARINER'S CROSS, the Wood Ditton Stakes , and LYRIC OF LIGHT who ran in the Newmarket 1000 Guineas. It was announced by the disciplinary panel that they could not be satisfied the administration of the substance was accidental. They fined the Godolphin trainer, Al Zarooni, £1,000 for each offence. Both of the horses were disqualified from their respective races.

 

THAT'S ANOTHER STORY

Winner of the 1st division of the KJ Pike & Sons Maiden Auction Stakes at Salisbury, ANECDOTE turned out to be the latest success for Jonny Portman who has done exceedingly well with a small but select pack of 2-year-olds this season. This filly is the daughter of LUCKY STORY who sadly died when 9 years old after a successful racing career including 4 wins from 9 starts. ANECDOTE went easily to the front on entering the last furlong and won by a head. Each one of Portman's five juveniles this season has won.


THURSDAY 16th AUGUST 2012

LADIES THAT DO

On Beverley's always-popular Ladies' Day who was the star on TUMBLEWEED in the East Riding Mail Maiden Auction Stakes? Amy Ryan! Despite the weather this event always brings in a great crowd. TUMBLEWEED shrugged off an unfavourably high draw and dominated in the final furlong and managed to keep going to beat BOGSNOG by three-quarters of a length Trainer, Richard Whitaker, commented: "She did it well from a bad draw. She's been working with LOVE ISLAND at home and that one won at Thirsk on Monday. She's very green still, but she shouldn't be hammered (by the handicapper) for nurseries. There might be some improvement there."

I think he was referring to the horse!

 

DANCES WITH RAIN

The winner of last year's Oaks, DANCING RAIN looks set to make her seasonal appearance at York next week, probably with a view to having a crack at the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The 4-year-old filly, trained by William Haggas, has not been seen on the track since her disappointing performance in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup in Japan last November. Haggas admitted that he failed to get high-class filly ready in time for Ascot and preferred to run her in the Yorkshire Oaks rather than the Juddmonte International where she would come up against Superhorse, FRANKEL.

Rain is forecast for the Knavesmire.


WEDNESDAY 15th AUGUST 2012

THE LADBROKE ST LEGER IS NO LOTTERY

CAMELOT, the 3-year-old bay colt is gambling on completing the Triple Crown in September and thus become the first colt since Nijinsky to achieve such a featSince adding the Irish Derby and the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket to his triumphs, Aidan O'brien says The St Leger has always been the target. He said yesterday: "We're happy with him. Everything's gone well since the Curragh and it's a case of so far - so good. We were very worried about the ground for the Irish Derby. He's a beautifully-actioned horse and we had to hope he'd get away with it. He cruised around and Joseph said when he asked him to quicken he jinked a bit because the ground was very heavy but he won easily."

 

LOVE YOUR LOOKS - HUGHES

The Listed EBF Upavon Fillies' Stakes at Salisbury today is in trainer, Mike Murphy's sights. To improve his aim he has enlisted the help of title-chasing jockey, Richard Hughes to ride LOVE YOUR LOOKS. Hughes just happens to have had a 23% strike rate at Salisbury over the past 5 years. Murphy will obviously be hoping that the jockey's good form will complement the talents of his progressive filly. LOVE YOUR LOOKS kicked off the season by winning off a mark of 66 and races in this 1m2f contest today at 90.

Murphy commented: "She has progressed with each race this year, and is in very good form at the moment. I think the track will suit her and the distance is no problem. She likes good, quick ground, so I hope the rain which is forecast stays away."

So LOVE YOUR LOOKS could be worth a flirtation.


TUESDAY 14th AUGUST 2012

ROONEY FIRST PAST THE POST!

Wayne Rooney was able to proudly display his racing colours for the first time as an owner when PIPPY won the Book Tickets Online At wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk Nursery at Wolverhampton last night. The bay colt, sired by Exceed And Excel, was backmarker of the four runners for almost all of the 7-furlong race but managed to produce a good turn of foot in the final stages to beat by a head the 6-4 favourite Royal Steps, ridden by Richard Kingscote. The Man U and England striker, Wayne Rooney, owns three horses which are trained by Tom Dascombe and kept at the yard belonging to Michael Owen but this was his first win. Rooney bought PIPPY for £26,000 guineas – the sum he is reported to earn a day! This was the colt's 4th run having made a 2nd place on a previous occasion.

 

OH CLARE DE LA LUNE – MON AMI CHANNEL 4!

From January 2013 IMG Sports Media are to be the new producers of Channel 4's racing coverage. As a result of this new 4-year agreement Clare Balding, ex-BBC racing presenter, gets a senior role in the coverage of race meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot and the Grand National. The deal will run until December 2016 and runs parallel with Channel 4's contract with Racecourse Media Group. Blessings abound. In addition, Dubai, Channel 4 Racing sponsors have signed up for a further 4-years. Clare Balding will head up the presentation team from the beginning of January. Other presenters will be announced later in the year. She commented: "I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team. Racing is my 'home' sport and I am delighted that I will still be part of its coverage on TV. I am excited by Channel 4's plans for their coverage and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses. I look forward to working with IMG Sports Media who have a high quality reputation for sports programming."


MONDAY 13TH AUGUST 2012

 

NOT ONLY … BUT ALSO ….

PEDRO THE GREAT not only gave Aidan O'Brien a Group 1 double on Sunday afternoon at the Curragh but also a record-breaking 12th win in this race. Surprisingly it was not CRISTOFORO COLOMBO, the favourite to win, that did the honours in the Phoenix Stakes because he fell in the final furlong just when it looked as if the race was in the bag. This mishap gave a chance to his stablemate, PEDRO THE GREAT, who galloped home in the capable hands of Seamie Heffernan. This amounted to a second win from four starts for the son of Henrythenavigator. The race might well have worked out very differently if Joseph O'Brien had not taken the fall. Fortunately both he and CHRISTOFORO COLOMBO were soon up on their feet and able to walk back down the track.

 

THE NICK OF TIME

The world's highest-rated horse --- erm, erm, that would be er …..........?** is due to tackle 10 furlongs for the first time at York on August 22 in the Juddmonte International, a race sponsored by his owner, Khalid Abdullah. The 140-rated, 4-year-old colt could face at least one tough rival in this race and that could be ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY. Another potential challenger, CIRRUS DES AIGLES will definitely not be running. NATHANIEL, it seems, will probably make for the Irish Champion Stakes. It looks like Aidan O'Brien, however, has the Group One show piece in his sights. ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY, the dual Coronation Cup and Breeders' Cup Turf winner could well take up the gauntlet. This hint came straight from the horse's mouth or rather Aidan O'Brien's when commented at the Curragh: "St Nicholas Abbey could run next in the Juddmonte International Stakes."

 

**yes, FRANKEL!**


SUNDAY 12TH AUGUST 2012

 

THE GIRLS FAILED TO 'PUT ONE OVER ON THE BOYS'!

The much-publicised girls' team, written about last Wednesday, comprising Hayley Turner, Chantal Sutherland and Emma-Jayne Wilson failed to get a winner in the Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot but ended up with 54 points ahead of Great Britain & Ireland who had 46. The Rest of the World team were on top from from start to finish. Team member, Matthew Chadwick, a rising star from Hong Kong, even secured the Silver Saddle award. Yutaka Take, a well-known name outside Japan, failed in the honours league but the trio dominated the international jockey competition after race 4 and finished on 89 points..

 

GO DOLPHIN WENT AND DUNNIT!

As reported yesterday Godolphin were out to get their 4th successive win in the Group 3 German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket with their filly, CERTIFY. She had to show any rival what was what in the final furlong and revealed a swift turn of foot in doing so. The only serious threat came in the form of SKY LANTERN, ridden by championship-chasing Richard Hughes, but she soon had to settle for second best, trailing by one length. It looks like CERTIFY will step up next time to a mile for the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster on September 14 – another race Godolphin is starting to call their own, after winning it for the last two years.


SATURDAY, 11TH AUGUST 2012

 

NOW TO MAKE IT 4 IN A ROW!

Newmarket will be the scene today for Godolphin's attempt at a 4th successive win in the Group 3 German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes (phew! That's a mouthful!). Their hopes rest on CERTIFY who will be aiming for her second win from two starts. She is the daughter of ELUSIVE QUALITY and kicked off with an exciting debut there on July 12. She won by three lengths.

Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni commented: "Certify won her maiden well and she has been in good form since then. I think that seven furlongs will be no problem. She was going away from the field at Newmarket and I expect the step up in distance to suit her. It was soft ground for her debut but she should have no problem with faster going. She works on Tapeta at home and that surface rides quite quickly. She has done nothing wrong so far and now we have to find out how good she is."

CERTIFY is up against 7 other fillies including SKY LANTERN, a nursery winner, REDRESSTHEBALANCE, and Listed runner-up SAVANNA LA MAR. Godolphin's DISCOURSE did the honours last year, WHITE MOOMSTONE in 2010 and LONG LASHES the year before.

GO DOLPHIN GO!

 

 

A SHEER GANDER AT SHERGAR*

The Shergar Cup at Ascot today presents an attractive card with some competitive races, albeit not overcrowded, as there are only 10 runners in each race. Marcus Tregoning's BOOM AND BUST, in the first race, seems to stand out in the crowd. He's in Les Ambassadeurs Casino Shergar Cup Mile Handicap. He excelled in the Betfred Mile at Glorious Goodwood last week. This looks a less competitive race and, with Kieren Fallon on board, he's likely to be one to put your money on. In the Barclay's Shergar Cup Dash Handicap later, Frankie Dettori rides ELNAWIN, who likes to be front-runner and will also give you a run for your money. LIFE AND SOUL should acquit himself well in the Michael Page International Shergar Cup Challenge Handicap. (phew! That's another mouthful!). A previous course and distance winner, he ran well at the same event last year and looked 'reet champion' when finishing 5th. at Goodwood last week.

 

* Shergar won the 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths, the longest winning margin in the race's 226-year history.


FRIDAY, 10TH AUGUST 2012

'MIRACLES HARDLY HEVER HAPPEN' - IN HEREFORD!

Hereford racecourse will not host any racing fixtures next year – that's the latest word from the British Horseracing Authority. As reported here on Racing News, Arena Leisure and Northern Racing stated recently that, at the end of the 2012, Hereford was to close permanently and Folkestone was to be temporarily out of action. The sticking point over Hereford's closing is the length of the lease. Arena claim that a 17-year lease is "unviable" and would make future investment very difficult. Council leaders are still hopeful that a deal can be done to rescue the track.

The BHA released the following statement : "We note that talks will be held next month between the Council and Northern Racing / Arena. However, in the meantime, the BHA will respect the intention of Northern Racing / Arena to re-allocate Hereford's fixtures to other racecourses within their ownership group, as we understand they are entitled to do under the terms of the lease. We are aware that there has been some suggestion of local individuals or groups forming consortia in a bid to secure the future of Hereford Racecourse. If a viable business proposal is put together then the BHA would provide guidance in terms of what the criteria are in order to receive a racecourse licence and fixtures. However, it should be noted that the earliest that such a proposal could be considered would be for the 2014 Fixture List."

 

WE'LL GET YOU A WINNER. DON'T YOU FRET!

As often happens at Brighton race track, a mist comes in from the sea which obscures television coverage of the event. Much of the mile-and-a-half race was made invisible by the sea fret, as it is technically called. When the runners finally reappeared inside the last furlong the distinctive figure of Darryll Holland was easily pick-outable on the stands rail aboard ETHICS GIRL, an outsider in the betting stakes, who seemed to be fast overhauling the appropriately-named FLEETING IMAGE, pipping him close to the post and even drawing a length clear.

Trainer, John Berry remarked: "I'm so pleased for her owner Lawrence Wadey as we've been trying to get him a winner here for 18 years. She's not very big to carry a weight like 9st 6lb but she's very brave and has won at two miles and a mile. We've been aiming at this race for a long time, it's a big one for us."


THURSDAY, 9TH AUGUST 2012

 

THE HORSE WHO MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF

This 12-year-old was pulled up over a circuit out on his last appearance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. His connections were adamant that they would wait a while before deciding his future. Many National Hunt horses are now back in training, preparing for the new season but this worthy champion is still relaxing in the field, accompanied by his now-retired stablemate, Denman.

Ah. There's the clue!

Who is it? KAUTO STAR, of course!

His trainer, Paul Nicholls, is reported as saying: "We haven't made a decision yet and basically we're in the same position as we were this time last year. He's out in the field at the moment. He'll probably come into the yard in the next week to 10 days and he'll be paraded at the owners' open-day early next month. We'll get that out of the way and then me and Clive (Smith, owner) will discuss what we're going to do. He is out with Denman enjoying himself and relaxing.”

 

HUGHES ON FIRST BASE?

Richard Hughes levelled with his rival, Ryan Moore, in the Flat jockeys' championship competition. He produced an awesome treble at Brighton yesterday. Appropriately he had RISING LEGEND in the 15.20 but then he was CHASIN' RAINBOWS in the 16.20! This followed on from a fantastic four winners at Bath on Tuesday. Altogether this brings him him level in the title race. Unfortunately he failed to gain the upper hand as his luck or skill ran out with the three rides at Kempton last night. This means the dynamic duo are now level-pegging with 90 winners each.

Hughes, who has scored 7 winners from his last 13 rides, said: "I have caught up quite quickly after the Indian ban. I couldn't do it without Richard's horses - that's the key. I thought I had some good rides both yesterday and today but thought I might get one and it ended up a four-timer and today is going well."Hughes has 11 rides booked for Thursday.

WHO'S ON SECOND BASE?

NO, WHO'S ON FIRST. WHAT IS ON SECOND!


WEDNESDAY, 8TH AUGUST 2012

 

HUGHES 3 DOWN? - HUGHES IS.

In his quest to become champion jockey Richard Hughes (83) was trailing Ryan Moore (90) by 7 at the beginning of the day. But Hughes soon cut that back to three after winning four races in succession. Hughes didn't start off well, though, in the first race at Catterick when he came last on LADY CALANTHA. He soon made up for it, however, by winning four races 'on the trot'(!) on WASPY, DYNASTIC, GRIFFIN POINT and COCKNEY FIRE. Ryan Moore, with his three lead, doesn't have another ride until tomorrow.

Hughes said: "I thought I'd only ride one winner, but it was one of those days. I said if I was in a good position at Goodwood I'd give it (a championship challenge) a go, and I'm in a good position. It'll be flat out now until the end of the season."

Hughes is off to Brighton and Kempton for two rides today. Things weren't made any easier by the fact that he got a 2-day suspension (August 21 and 25) for using the whip more than the permitted level when riding COCKNEY FIRE. His comment was: "I got two days for the whip, but I felt she (Cockney Fire) needed everyone of them to get her to the line."

  

THE GIRLS ARE 'UP FOR PUTTING ONE OVER ON THE BOYS'!

Hayley Turner is to be captain of the first ladies' Shergar Cup racing team. This means there an all-female jockey team for the first time in the Shergar Cup at Ascot this Saturday. Hayley Turner, Britain’s top female jockey, will be joined by American jockeys Chantal Sutherland and Emma-Jayne Wilson. They will ride against three male teams — representing Great Britain and Ireland (Kieren Fallon (Captain), Johnny Murtagh and James Doyle), Europe ( Frankie Dettori (Captain) Andreas Suborics and Cristian Demuro) and the Rest of the World( Yutaka Take (Captain), Aaron Gryder and Matthew Chadwick.

Hayley has been taking part in the Shergar Cup since 2006. She captained the Great Britain team from 2008-2010.

Her latest comment: “I’m thrilled that it’s going ahead and having been with Chantal in Dubai last week, I can tell you that we’re both really up for putting one over on the boys!”


TUESDAY, 7TH AUGUST 2012

 

POOR LOSERS. WANNA BET?

MP Harriet Harman, the Labour Party's Deputy Leader 's says there are too many betting shops: “the boom of betting shops in the UK's towns and cities is "not just ruining the high street, it's ruining people's lives." She actually admits that her Party made a mistake over gambling law and calls for a reversal of measures in gaming legislation that has allowed growth of betting shops in poor areas. Many of these shops operate high-stakes roulette terminals. Research claims that British punters lost more than £1bn last year on the fixed-odds betting machines (FOBT) which allow bets of up to £100 every 30 seconds on touch-screen roulette games. These machines first appeared in 2001. The 2005 Gambling Act imposed a limit of four for each betting shop in England and Wales.

 

TRIUMPHANT LADIES' NIGHT

Lady jockeys really showed the men how to do it when they won every race at last night's Carlisle meeting. Before you get too excited. The reason was that this was an evening solely for female jockeys, an event innovated at Carlisle last year. Thousands of racegoers attended on a wet Monday night. One of those present, Kelly Harrison, thought the success of the occasion demonstrated a general improvement in the lot of women riders. She also said: "I've been riding for 11 years and, even in that time, I think things have got better for female jockeys,". Kelly was scheduled for five rides in the course of the evening. She is now based in Newmarket but she went back up North where she started her career ten years ago.

She commented further: "You still get plenty of times when a trainer might say, 'It's not a girl's ride,' and you can get a bit sick of that, but there are some great girl jockeys around and people are increasingly willing to give you a chance. You have to work hard to build up trust and make contacts and perhaps that is where it can take a bit longer for a girl; it just seems to take longer to get those relationships going.”

However, for the second year running, Britain's most successful female riding star, Hayley Turner, chose not to take part in this event. Instead she and her fellow top professional, Cathy Gannon, opted for the action at Wolverhampton.

 

Congrats to Amy Ryan. She had a double on Nasharra (25/1!) and Bavarian Nordic!


MONDAY 6TH AUGUST 2012

 

IT'S CHESTER ANOTHER SHOWER!

The last three races of Chester's Sunday's card had to be abandoned because of a waterlogged track. Fortunately the first three races were able to be run. Van Ellis, trained by Mark Johnston, won the M & S Bank Queensferry Stakes. Just before the fourth race, however, the Heavens opened and down came torrential rain. There was a programmed delay, first of all, of 30 minutes but soon it became clear that the rest of the afternoon's card would have to be called off as puddles had formed on the track.

 

THE FUGUE GOT THE RIGHT HANDLE

Richard Hughes handled his ride with near perfection when he brought THE FUGUE to top honours in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood yesterday. The 3-year-old wasn't the best fancied of John Gosden's entries but went on to win decisively all the same. The front-running TIMEPIECE could only manage 2nd. a good length behind. 

 

It was THE FUGUE's first victory since her success in the Musidora Stakes at York in May. She is the daughter of DANSILI but could only manage a 3rd in the Oaks at Epsom and a 2nd in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Hughes commented afterwards: "That's what you call a good spare ride. She's a beautiful filly and she floats across the ground. The more I pulled her back, the more she wanted to go - she was like an elastic band ready to quicken.”


SUNDAY 5TH AUGUST 2012

 

GLORIOUS WHOSE - NO HUGHES!

The Racing UK Glorious Goodwood Top Jockey Award went to Richard Hughes who won his 3rdstraight with four winners through the week. Hughes rode a record-breaking 9 two years ago and five winners last year. His reward is a lifetime subscription to Racing UK; a £1,000 donation to the charity of his choice and he chooses Retraining of Racehorses. In addition he receives a deluxe Goodwood hamper. Hughes came in late to head the field with only 4 races left at the 5-day meeting. He saved the day with his win on THE FUGUE in the Group One Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes. The battle wasn't over, however, as his total of 4 Wins was equalled by Tom Queally. Hughes clinched the award because he had more 2nds.

Hughes said: "My target was five winners for the week, so I fell short on that front but a Group 1 winner more than makes up for it and it was nice to do it for John (Gosden) who looked after me as a young lad."

Nick Mills, Racing UK's Commercial Directo, commented: "We were delighted to sponsor the Glorious Goodwood Top Jockey Award for a 3rd year running and it was great to see Richard win it yet again as he's such a fantastic ambassador for the sport."

 

LEE FULL OF GLEE

Graham Lee, Grand National-winning jockey, notched up one of the biggest betting races on the Flat, when HAWKEYETHENOO just pipped IMPERIAL GUEST at the post in yet another close finish at Goodwood Earlier. Two races at the track ended up as dead-heats. The judges needed a prolonged gander at the photo before deciding that the 9-1 chance was the winner.

Lee who had ridden his first-ever winner at Glorious Goodwood, said "It is cool. I am overwhelmed and I am delighted for the horse, he deserved it."

Graham Lee who took the racing world by surprise when he announced that he was switching from jumps to flat racing earlier in the year, also said: "It is my first season on the Flat and he [HAWKEYETHENOO] has taken me to some big places, to Royal Ascot and the Wokingham and the July Cup."


SATURDAY 4 AUGUST 2012

 

NEVER WAS A HEAT DEADER!

The result of the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes was declared a dead-heat when judges could not could not split TRUMPET MAJOR and ARCHBISHOP on the winning line. The former, trained by Richard Hannon bounced back from a disappointing performance in the Irish 2,000 Guineas He was ridden confidently by Richard Hughes. It looked like TRUMPET MAJOR was set for an outright win when moving into the lead inside the final furlong but Brian Meehan's ARCHBISHOP wasn't ceding victory so easily in the hands of Frankie Dettori and the two horses passed the line together.

Hughes commented: "He led them down to the furlong pole in the Guineas after going a good gallop. I had to wait for a gap and then when I got out I had to remember I was the only one with a 4lb penalty so I just sat for a few more strides before I went which was just as well because I only just hung on. It felt like Frankie's horse was ahead of me because he was quite a bit bigger but at the same time my lad's head was down and he's like a little terrier."

Dettori said: "I'll be honest, when it's that close you don't really know but my horse was very courageous and if it wasn't for a bad draw he probably would have won outright. Two teams are happy so everything's good, he's my first winner this week."

 

IN HERTFORD, HEREFORD AND HAMPSHIRE MIRACLES HARDLY HEVER HAPPEN!

It is possible that Hereford could still be saved from closure at the end of this year. Yesterday it was announced that the local authority, which owns the racecourse, is to meet the operators, Northern and Arena Group, early next month. According to a spokesperson for Herefordshire Council, the discussions will cover the current rent review and and how to restructure the lease. The Council has also written to the BHA in an attempt to stop the fixtures for 2013 from being moved from Hereford to other tracks. This appeal may have come too late., Northern's head of racing development, Jim Allen, confirmed his chairman, Tony Kelly, currently abroad on holiday, is due to meet Council Leader, John Jarvis, but he wasn't sure whether a date had been set.


FRIDAY 3 AUGUST 2012 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ROSS!!

 

BROKEN ANKLE FOR RUBY

Ruby Walsh will miss racing for a while after taking a tumble from DRIVE TIME in the Guinness Galway Hurdle. Walsh suffered the fall at one of the hurdles passing the stands as he still had a circuit to go. He was temporarily knocked unconscious and lay motionless on the turf for a while before being carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital for X-rays. He tweeted tonight: "Thanks to doctors at racecourse and all in Galway university hospital for looking after me. Small break in my ankle be out for a bit".

Ted, Walsh's father, commented: "Lexi's Boy galloped all over Ruby. The doctor told me he was unconscious for about 30 seconds and he's gone in for tests to make sure everything is OK. He was complaining of being sore of his shoulder but they looked after him well. They put him on a stretcher case, they have to take all those precautions in case there is anything wrong. It looks worse than it is, well I hope so anyway. He was talking to me and he asked me what won the race and what was second so he's not too bad."

 

NOSEDA WINS WITH GRANDEUR

3-year-old, GRANDEUR, had already run two great races in defeat at Epsom and Royal Ascot and was tipped to get back on the winning trail. William Buick struck ahead early in the straight. There was no shortage of challengers at a furlong out but none of them looked a serious threat. GRANDEUR went on to win by a length and three-quarters.

Buick said: "Everything happened for him early on. He got a nice lead, he travels really well and he likes the twists and turns of the place. A lot of good horses get beaten round here because they don't handle the track, but he certainly does."

Trainer, Noseda said: "He was a little bit unlucky to get beaten Epsom on Derby and we went to Royal Ascot thinking he had a big chance, but he's a horse who wants very quick ground and conditions didn't suit at Ascot."


THURSDAY 2 AUGUST 2012

 

WELL. HE DID IT!

No. Not him. Him!

Yes. Yes. FRANKEL won easily and made it 12 out of 12. What did you expect?

No, I mean OLYMPIC GLORY (written up in yesterday's Racing News). He won the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes. The 2-year-old bay colt, sired by Choisir, had to yield 3lbs to the rest of field as a consequence of his Group 2 win at Newmarket on 14th July. This time he didn't negotiate the track well coming round the turn and he just made it in the final strides which makes his win all the more impressive.

Jockey, Richard Hughes said: "The horse got me out of trouble, he just wasn't turning around the bend, he was hanging badly left and I didn't think he was going to turn. They got racing really early so I let him find his feet and he actually started running straight with me rather than trying to hold him in and then he took off. I thought at the two I'd get there but then Paul switched his (Ghurair) and that just stopped my run but then he was always going to get there. "He's a good horse to win this with a penalty."

Owner Julie Wood commented: "It was another dry mouth moment and I thought he'd got boxed in in the last furlong or so, but he flew and I knew we'd got it because we were standing on the winning line.”

This is certainly the year for OLYMPIC GLORY!

 

SEE. IT'S NOT JUST JUMP JOCKEYS !

Ryan Moore had a serious fall at Goodwood yesterday but, luckily, seems to have escaped serious injury. The former champion jockey was taken to hospital after suffering soft-tissue damage. His mount, Romeo Montague, slipped and catapulted his rider onto the turf. Fortunately he was allowed to leave hospital later, after it was revealed that he had suffered no broken bones. Tony Hind, his agent said: "I've spoken to Ryan and he tells me nothing is broken. He is on his way back to the racecourse to get a bit of physio. At this stage I don't know whether he will give racing a miss on Wednesday - I guess that will depend on how he feels in the morning - but I'm just glad nothing's broken."


WEDNESDAY 1 AUGUST 2012

 

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

What is a perfect name for a horse during the 2012 Games – what about OLYMPIC GLORY? It would be even more remarkable if he can win the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes today. Owner, Julie Wood, chose the name for her colt in the hope that he would be successful during this Olympic year. She certainly has no cause for disappointment. He had an impressive debut at Goodwood and then came a close second behind Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. To cap that, the juvenile then went on to win a Group Two prize of his own in Newmarket's Superlative Stakes.

"I applied for the name a long time ago, and it would be marvellous if the horse we chose to carry the torch happened to win during the Olympics," Julie Wood commented.

Trainer, Richard Hannon said on his website www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "Chandlery came on here after finishing second in the Superlative, but Olympic Glory actually won the Newmarket race, which means that he has to shoulder a 3lb penalty. Obviously, giving weight to nine other winners won't be easy, but we think that Olympic Glory, who is the only one with course form having bolted up in his maiden here first time out, is better than he looked at Newmarket as he had a hiccup at the start of that week and was probably just short of his best. He coped with that awful ground in the Superlative, but this better surface should suit him well. His Coventry Stakes second was a super run, and we are very hopeful."

 

ENOUGH SAID!

Too much has been written about FRANKEL and he is no longer a value bet. Best odds at the moment 1/20! But most racing fans will be hoping for an impressive victory for the world's top racehorse as he bids for his 12th successive win when he races in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood today.

 

ANAGRAM

This trainer could be:

Devising total wins.

Invading lowest site.

Viewing oldest saint.

Wasting violent side.

 

But maybe he : Is sweet and loving it!


 

TUESDAY 31 JULY 2012 – RUPERT'S BIRTHDAY!!

 

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE QIPCO STAKES

Just three rivals will take on the world's highest-rated horse, FRANKEL, when he tries for his 12th successive win in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood tomorrow. One of these will his stablemate and pacemaker, BULLET TRAIN. It looks like the main challenge will come from Godolphin's FARRH, who ran so well, in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse, though defeated on both occasions. Richard Fahey-trained GABRIAL, who managed 5th in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, is the only other one to try his luck. Unfortunately Sir Henry Cecil will not be there to watch the outcome. He has been receiving on-going treatment for cancer. He wrote on his on his website - www.sirhenrycecil.com:

"Unfortunately, I won't be at Goodwood on Wednesday as I have been undergoing some treatment. Although I am able to train my horses, I'm not quite fit to go racing yet, but I hope to be fully recovered in the near future. Everything has gone as we could have wished with Frankel since the Queen Anne Stakes. We gave him an easy time immediately after Royal Ascot before bringing him back into fast work.”

 

LEGS ELEVEN - BINGO!

The leading trainer at Glorious Goodwood for the last two years, Richard Hannon, is taking no chances on the first day of this festival. He is lining up 11 runners for the start of the meeting. LIBRANNO, who is something of a track-specialist, represents one of his best hopes for a win in the bet365 Lennox Stakes.

Hannon said on his website: "We might have higher rated horses in the yard than Libranno, but I doubt if we have any tougher. He was only beaten two lengths by Strong Suit in this race last year and he went back there in the autumn and won the Supreme Stakes, but he seems better than ever this season. He goes on any ground and I know he won't let us down."

The good news is that the going remains officially good. 1/10th of an inch of rain fell overnight but the forecast is that there will be light rain, clearing away mid-morning followed by a dry, bright afternoon.

Have a glorious day if you're going!!


MONDAY 30 JULY 2012

 

KATE AND WILLIAM SHOWED THE FRENCH HOW TO DO IT!

John Gosden's filly, ELUSIVE KATE, has raced in France for most of her juvenile season. She had two victories at the Deauville track before she won the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac. In the Group One Prix Rothschild yesterday she made all the running. The mile event for fillies, took place this time without the superb GOLDIKOVA, who won it four times in a row and is now enjoying retirement. William Buick put increasing space between him and the rest of the field from the moment the stalls opened. This success was one more top level victory for the Buick and Gosden team who have already had Group One victories in 2012, namely with Great Heavens (Irish Oaks), Izzi Top (Pretty Polly Stakes), Fallen For You (Coronation Stakes) and Nathaniel (Eclipse).

 

JUST WILLIAM- AGAIN.

No resting on laurels here. Now William Buick is expected to go out and win again when he rides EDINBURGH KNIGHT in the Group 2 bet365 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood tomorrow. Buick rode the 5-year-old bay gelding when he lost to Libranno by half a length in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on 30th June. He was then beaten by the same margin by FIELD OF DREAMS in the Betfair Summer Double International Heritage Handicap at Ascot on 21st July. Trainer, Paul D'Arcy, must be hoping it will be third time lucky.

He said: "Edinburgh Knight was hampered coming out of the stalls at Ascot and got stopped in his run over a furlong out but was only beaten by a fast-finishing horse on the other side of the course. My main worry on Tuesday is that it is going to be a bit of a tactical race, with little or no pace. It is now up to the jockey."


SUNDAY 29 JULY

 

WILLIAM AND KATE TIPPED FOR PRIX ROTHSCHILD AT DEAUVILLE

As GOLDIKOVA's not there this year a new name will be added to the roll of honour for the Prix Rothschild (Group 1) 1m. for the first time in five years. Today's race will see just 5 runners in the line up. But it is a race of the highest calibre. Any one of the runners could be a legitimate winner. Trainer, John Gosden has had quite a year so far. For today's race he putting his faith in the Prix Marcel Boussac winner, ELUSIVE KATE, ridden by William Buick. The 3-year-old bay filly is expected to build on her impressive comeback at Newmarket where she came 2nd on unfavourable soft ground.

Gosden commented: "The run was here at home at Newmarket, there was no travelling involved. In fairness to her we have been waiting for better ground all year, which she looks likely to get. This is a small but very elite field."

 

JOHNSTON MAKES HIS MARK ACROSS 4 RACETRACKS

Middleham-based trainer, Mark Johnston, had an incredible Saturday with winners at 4 race courses. He had winners at Ascot (SCATTER DICE), Newmarket (FULBRIGHT) and York (VAN ELLIS). As if that were not triumph enough, he went on to score in France with DISCERNABLE.

 

WATCH MY LIPS!

Chairman of Northern Racing and former Leader of the Conservative Party, Lord Howard, has stressed that no further racecourse closures are planned. Appearing on Channel 4's The Morning Line he said:"These are not decisions which have been taken lightly. I only live two miles away from Folkestone racecourse and it's a very sad day. I hope it's only temporary. I'm very sad about Hereford, too, but there's no doubt at all about Hereford. There were different stories doing the rounds yesterday but we've been in negotiations with Herefordshire Council for many years. Many people would agree the facilities are not up to scratch, they need substantial investment and you can't expect anyone to make that kind of investment when the lease only has 17 years left to run. We've been trying to persuade the council to give us a much longer lease without success and that is why we've had to close it down."


SATURDAY 28 JULY 2012

HEREFORD AND FOLKESTONE ON FINAL LAP

 

Reuben Brothers, who own the Northern and Arena Racing Group, have announced that Hereford racecourse is to close at the end of this year. A further shock for British racegoers is the the news that Folkestone racecourse is also set to close at the end of 2012. Its owners hope it may be possible to reopen the track, however. The future of Folkestone depends on plans to redevelop the site for the building of about 800 houses being approved. Racing was first recorded in 1771 at Hereford, and it will be the first course to close since Great Leighs lost its licence in 2009. There is still a glimmer of hope that racing will return. The last track to be lost permanently before these current problems was Stockton in 1981. Who remembers Stockton? The fixtures of Hereford and Folkestone will be redistributed among the other tracks in the group. When the Reuben Brothers bought Arena Leisure in March, Britain's largest racecourse group was formed, accounting for about 40% of fixtures in the UK.

MD, Tony Kelly, said: "Hereford is owned by Herefordshire County Council and run under a lease arrangement. Attempts to extend the lease, which has 17 years remaining, have been unsuccessful. Despite being unviable for several years we have supported the racecourse but much-needed investment, required to breathe new life into the racecourse, cannot be justified in the absence of a long-term future for the business."

Folkestone suffers from out-dated facilities and has been the subject of detailed discussion between the previous management, Arena Leisure and Shepway District Council for several years now."

 

To lose one race track may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

to paraphrase Lady Bracknell in 'The Importance of being Earnest.”

 

LATEST READER'S ENTRY FOR THE CORNIEST JOKE!

 

My husband's going to a race track in central Asia."
"Tibet?"
"Of course, why else would he go!"

 

CEYLON. ABYSSINIA!


FRIDAY 27 JULY 2012

ONE HOPES FOR BETTER

The Queen will be hoping that MOMENTARY will be back in the winners' enclosure again. The bay filly takes on 7 rivals in the Listed EBF Stobart PJA Testimonial Lyric Fillies' Stakes at York this evening. The 3-year-old, trained by Michael Bell, beat Shirocco Star by a short head at Newbury on 18th May but then failed to follow up this success in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, coming a disappointing 12th out of 14 runners. She's now back down in grade and another very successful filly, Hayley Turner, will be in charge. Michael Bell commented: "She's in great form and should like the track. Last time she got a bit bumped about, the ground was very soft and she didn't enjoy it."

I think he was talking about MOMENTARY!

 

FRANKEL VERSUS THE MAGNIFICENT 7

Frankel, the current top star of the racetrack, is the big attraction in next Wednesday's QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. It looks like Sir Henry Cecil's star will take on 7 rivals. One of the challengers is his stablemate and pacemaker, BULLET TRAIN. Aidan O'Brien might mount a show of strength with ISHVANA, the Jersey Stakes winner. REPLY and POWER are another two of his possible contestants. FARHH, the Coral-Eclipse Stakes runner-up, will not be competing. Godolphin has replaced him with STRONG SUIT. GABRIAL, the 3-year-old bay colt, trained by Richard Fahey, will take the total runners to 8.


THURSDAY 26 JULY 2012

 

DIBAYANI TO TIPPERARY, DIBAYANI TO GO!

It looks like DIBAYANI will have his next race in the Coolmore Canford Cliffs Stakes at Tipperary on August 10. He got off to a good start at the Curragh last weekend. The Aga Khan-owned, Mick Halford-trained Shamardal colt finished second in a maiden and then went on to win a maiden.

Halford commented: "He's come out of the race fine and we're looking at a Listed race at Tipperary on August 10 for him. He's also in the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh at the end of August but we'll just see how he goes. He's done everything well and he showed the benefit of his previous run. He'll have learned a lot. I thought he won despite the ground really, I'm convinced he'll be a better horse on better ground."

DIBAYANI TO TIPPERARY AND THE AGA KHAN'S – RIGHT THERE!

 

RYAN GOT MORE.

The race for the jockeys' title got a boost when 3-time champion, Ryan Moore, scored 4 at Lingfield and a double at Sandown to go 12 clear of his nearest rival, Richard Hughes. Moore's first winners included Great Run, Zenaat and Scottish Vespers. These were all breaking their maiden. Then he steered Jeremy Noseda's Hannibal Hayes to victory in the five-furlong handicap. Moore's day did not begin auspiciously, though, as he was narrowly beaten in the first race (a nose) and landed up ignominiously on Lingfield's all-weather track, courtesy AUGUSTINIAN. Undaunted he immediately hit back with an easy win on GREAT RUN, another Richard Hannon two-year-old. Sir Michael Stoute's ZENAAT was Moore's next win in the mile-and-a-half maiden. There followed a repeat double-act with SCOTTISH VESPERS. The former champion completed his fourth win on HANNIBAL HAYES. Later at Sandown Moore rode another two winners. He had DANZ CHOICE in the Molesey Nursery and JACOB CATS in the Racing Post Form With Totepool Mobile Handicap. Ryan Moore is now on a winning mark of 86 in the title race. Richard Hughes has 74.

THE MORE THE MERRIER.


 

WEDNESDAY 25 JULY 2012

 

DEATH ON THE GALLOPS

Our sympathy is with trainer, Michael Appleby who was left devastated on Tuesday when PRIME DEFENDER died on the gallops after a heart attack.

Appleby commented: "It's a huge loss. Unfortunately, he had a heart attack on the gallops this morning. We were all looking forward to seeing him run again, so it's very sad for everyone." The 8-year-old had appropriately 8 wins in his career, including the 2010 Group 2 Duke of York. He was then trained by Barry Hills. PRIME DEFENDER had been due to run in the Sky Bet Dash at York on Saturday before heading to Glorious Goodwood for the Stewards' Cup.

Here's to a great horse!

 

AYE, CHAMPION!

The new favourite for jockeys' title is none other than Richard Hughes. He is currently just six behind Ryan Moore in the jockeys' championship. Things are particularly in his favour as his traditional hunting ground, Glorious Goodwood, starts next week. So much so that William Hill have gone out to make him the 10-11 favourite for the title whereas Moore is 11-10.

If he succeeds, it will be a “Weight off my Mind”! to quote his recent autobiography.


TUESDAY 24TH JULY 2012

LINGFIELD FRANCA

The Lingfield race meeting on Monday, July 30, one of the four additional meetings announced last week will be a freebie. The reason is that so many meetings were lost because of bad weather earlier in the season. So, take the day off and make the trip to sunny Surrey for a glorious afternoon of racing.

NO COMMISSION FOR THIS PLUG!

 

ANDY CAPP's HANDICAP

The Senior British Horseracing Authority's handicapper, Phil Smith, has given DANEDREAM a rating of 122 for her performance in Saturday's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by Betfair. Now even an amateur race goer can see that that is 6 lbs. lower than her runaway Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victory at Longchamp last October. Hmm. Very interestink.

The thlot plickens when you see that the runner-up, NATHANIEL's performance, who was already conceding the 3-pound sex allowance to the German-trained filly, has been rated 124. Now that, confusingly enough, is two pounds less than his win in the race 12 months ago, but strangely the same as he recorded in the Coral-Eclipse two weeks ago. Not only that but it happens also to be the same mark as ST NICHOLS ABBEY's win in the Investec Coronation Cup.

Are you discombobulated? Join the club! Preferably Kayfaramisracing.com

See the next gripping episode of the great British 'andicapper in the Daily Mirror!


MONDAY 23 JULY – AMY'S BIRTHDAY!!

LITTLE SIS SHOWS BIG BROTHER HOW TO DO IT.

NATHANIEL's full sister, GREAT HEAVENS, trained by John Gosden, having won all three of her previous starts this season, went on to win the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh by 3 lengths. The win wasn't quite as easy as the result suggests. GREAT HEAVENS, ridden by William Buick, lost her possie in the straight and had to fight for room at the stage when she started her challenge. But when WB headed into the clear in the centre of the track, she was off and finished the job in style, outstaying all of her rivals in the very difficult conditions.

Maybe she should have taken on the German filly, DANEDREAM, rather than bro in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot!

 

McCOY'S ANGRY?

AP had a heavy fall at Southwell last Sunday and Market Rasen on Saturday was his only ride. It was on the cards for him to hop over to the Emerald Isle to ride Captain Cee Bee at Tipperary but he decided to relinquish the ride.

Dave Roberts, his agent said: "He's just a bit sore still, he hopes to be back on Tuesday or Wednesday."

We hope he's not sore next week!

 

KARATAS BEGINS AT HOME

Turkey's top jockey, Halis Karatas, did a 'Frankie Dettori' on Friday when achieving his magnificent seven at Veliefendi racecourse in Istanbul. Karatas is just as much a celeb in his homeland as Dettori is here. He is widely recognised as the most successful rider in Turkey. Karatas won all seven races on Veliefendi's card and thus equalled Dettori's record at Ascot in 1996. He is now hosted as a "living legend" by the Turkish press after his remarkable feat. Although it's churlish to point out that the quality of the races at Veliefendi was well below the standard of those at Ascot when Dettori did his stuff, it is fair to say that no other jockey had come close to matching such a feat until Karatas completed his clean sweep in 4 turf and 3 all-weather races on Friday's evening card.

Karatas comes from a racing family and started his very successful riding career at the age of 14. Reports from Turkey reveal that Karatas, after his 'seven-timer' record hinted at a "secret bond" between himself and the horses he rides. This, claims the jockey, has contributed to his considerable success.

WHO COULD SAY NEIGH TO THAT?


SUNDAY 22 JULY 

AFTER YOU, FRÄULEIN!

The only filly in the race, German-trained DANEDREAM, who won the Arc in spectacular fashion in October last year, once more showed the men how to win a race, when she won the Betfair-Sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot by the narrowest of margins – eine Nase!

NATHANIEL held sway from two furlongs out and was only deprived of victory at the very last minute. St NICHOLAS ABBEY was way off the pace in the early stages and was wrong-footed as the pace increased on the final bend. All credit to him, though, he stayed on to take third place but he was never really a threat to those in front. Market leader SEA MOON was also held up and, disappointingly, he failed to shine despite making up some ground over the final 2 furlongs.

Winning jockey, Andrasch Starke, said: "It was close - it was very tight - but I had a good feeling. It was exciting to come to race like this, and everything was in good shape. "She fought hard and it's definitely the biggest moment in my life."

DANEDREAM's trainer, Peter Schiergen, added: "The last race there was no pace, but today there was a good pace. It's a good feeling. It's very important for Germany and it's very good for German racing. We'll go to Baden-Baden (Grosser Preis Von Baden) next and after that we'll go to the Arc."

 

CHARITY BEGINS AT HAMMOND – MAYBE!

Trainer, Richard Fahey, who got his first British Group One success last week with Mayson in the July Cup, is ahead of the tipping trio. Sky Sports News presenter, Alex Hammond, will be crossing swords with him in the race to become the winning charity tipster. Dave Ord, Sportinglife.com editor, ended up last of three by a mile in 2011. He is rumoured to be burying his head in the form book to come up with winning tips. Sky Bet will donate a £50 free bet every day to each of the tipsters. This event will start at Ripon on Saturday and continue until the final day at Pontefract on Sunday July 29. All winnings will be divided equally between three very worthy charities: the Injured Jockeys Fund, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and New Beginnings.

He could be the winner by 'fahey'.

 

1134 (MCXXXIV) – A COMMON YEAR STARTING ON A MONDAY

Very interesting but these numbers also show how our favourite jockey, Sam, of the Twiston-Davies variety, socked it to them at Cartmel yesterday. He finished up with two 1sts, one 3rd and two 4ths. There's no stopping this guy!


FRIDAY 20 JULY 

A RIGHT ROYAL RETURN

The Transformers & Rectifiers Summer Mile Stakes on Saturday will include CARLTON HOUSE who will be tackling a shorter trip. Her Majesty's 4-year-old has not taken on a mile since he won a Maiden race at Newbury in October 2010. He did, in fact come back from a lengthy lay-off this year to be victorious in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown and also acquitted himself admirably, though beaten, in the Prince of Wales's Stakes. It looks like his greatest opposition will come in the form of John Gosden's QUESTIONING, who won the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket in April.

Let's hope the Queen's horse has the answers.

 

THE QUEEN'S DAD AND MUM RACE

NATHANIEL, a previous winner, leads a field of 10 runners in Saturday's King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. This Group One event, sponsored by Betfair, really deserves its midsummer top billing. 7 of the runners have already been winners at the highest level. NATHANIEL, trained by John Gosden, won the Coral-Eclipse barely 14 days ago. Aidan O'Brien's main hope will be ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY who won a second Coronation Cup in June. His stablemate, ROBIN HOOD, will accompany him and will probably assume his customary pacemaker role. SEA MOON will be Sir Michael Stoute's challenge to become the most successful trainer in the history of the race. Germany has a representative with DANEDREAM, who was last year's surprise winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Even Japan has come all this way to enter DEEP BRILLANTE.

A contest to enjoy.


THURSDAY 19 JULY

As fate would have it, BONFIRE, trained by Andrew Balding, has had to go down the route of many a good stallion – the gelding way; the operation which, according to one definition 'allows a male horse to be calmer and better-behaved, making the animal quieter, gentler and potentially more suitable as an everyday working animal'. Whatever the outcome, BONFIRE will now rest for the remainder of the season and only re-appear as a 4-year-old. BONFIRE won the Group 2 Betfred Dante Stakes in May, before having a disappointing run in the Investec Derby and Coral-Eclipse. Andrew Balding's 3-old caught our attention at York but, since then, has lacked that superb form in Group 1 races.

The Manager Director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, the owners of Bonfire, said yesterday: "He was gelded. We're trying to do what's best for the horse and to get him back to the animal we know he is. It made sense to allow Bonfire time to develop, He had to have one testicle removed as a two-year-old and it's quite possible he still had an issue with the remaining testicle. We felt he was going the wrong way. At Sandown he pulled, and never seemed happy. Bonfire is going through a growing phase, and appears a bit weak at the moment. He is just a shell of a horse. We sat down with Andrew and had a chat and decided it would make sense to geld him, give him the rest of the year off and allow him the time he needs to develop and mature.

 

HERE'S TO OUR BRAVE JOCKEYS!

Once again there was a serious riding incident. Wilson Renwick sustained a suspected shoulder injury in a tumble at Uttoxeter. He was taken to hospital for further examination, Wilson came off GREEN PASTURES, trained by John Wade, in the Monacor International Novices' Hurdle. He was conveyed to the Queen's Hospital in Burton-Upon-Trent and was to have further checks. Renwick was fit enough, though, to tweet: "In ambulance on way for X-rays. Probs just collar bone hopefully. This ain't gonna help the golf swing.” I guess I should put 'LOL' after this!


WEDNESDAY 18 JULY

 

A FRANKEL TOO FARHH

A potential Group 1 horse who had an easy 6-length win in the Thirsk Hunt Cup, FARHH is set to take on FRANKEL. Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said: "Farhh put up a really good performance in the Prince of Wales's at Royal Ascot after missing the break and not having a clear run. I think the best horse won the Coral-Eclipse - it would be wrong to say Farhh could have beaten Nathaniel. He used up a lot of energy to get to Nathaniel and probably did not have quite enough petrol in the tank in the last uphill drive. It was a big run but he told us that going back to a mile would probably be a good thing. He clearly did not get the trip at Sandown and we want to drop him back in distance."

The timing of the Goodwood contest rather than the track seems to suit Godolphin, despite the potential opposition. It may be the first time the two have competed against each other but they have met before.

Crisford continued: "He might recognise FRANKEL - we tried to race against FRANKEL once before, as a two-year-old in a conditions race at Doncaster. FARHH sadly reared up in the gates, hurt himself really quite badly and could not run. I remembered on that occasion, as the gates opened, absolutely spitting blood because he wasn't able to run. But, at the end of the race, I was thinking maybe we dodged a bullet there because FRANKEL was phenomenally brilliant that day, even though it was a three-runner race.”

 

THE WORCESTER IS TO COME

The proposed 7.30am inspection at Worcester was brought forward an hour after a dry night.

There could be more rain later but it was decided that conditions were good enough for the meeting to go ahead.

Fergus Cameron, Clerk of the course, said: "We didn't have any further rain, which was good news. What we would say, though, is that there is further rain forecast, so we wouldn't want a massive amount. We will continue to monitor the situation."

Meanwhile, a quarter of an inch of rain fell on Catterick but that wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of the course officials who were satisfied that the track was OK for racing.

The going is officially soft and racing starts at 2.10pm.


TUESDAY 17 JULY

 

GOTTA HAND IT TO YA, MANN!

It seems that trainers and racecourse bosses are close to a deal in their dispute over prize money. Trainer, Charlie Mann successfully organised a boycott last week at Worcester, a course owned by the Arena and Northern Racing Group. He has held meaningful talks with Ian Renton and Jim Allen who represents the course bosses.

Mann said: "We're not far off. We've had a meeting today with Ian Renton and Jim Allen. I think we'll know more tomorrow. We've had an offer made, we're not far off an agreement and I think it will benefit everyone. I've got to talk to everybody. What we've done has been a massive success. We've achieved what we set out to do."

The partex-direct.co.uk Novices' Hurdle was Mann's target as the prize money for the race fell below the Horsemen's Group set level by £900. Backed by his fellow trainers, Mann persuaded 11 of the 12 runners to withdraw. The result was a walkover for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Moulin De La Croix. It was decided by the delegation of trainers to let one horse run instead of withdrawing all 12 so that the prize-money could be collected and shared out between the trainers who faced fines for their action.

 

BONNIE PRINCE BLUE IS NO CHARLIE!

The Anchor Inn Worksop Handicap at Southwell this evening will see BONNIE PRINCE BLUE trying for the 13th win of his career from 100 starts. His ambition will be challenged by 12 other hopefuls but the 9-year-old gelding has every chance of getting back his winning streak.

 Trainer, Ian McInnes commented: “I think he still retains his enthusiasm but he's a bit of a character and you never know what side of the bed he will get out of in the morning. He likes Southwell, he's run some of his best races there but he's quite in and out. Two starts ago at Beverley he just didn't want to know but if the real Bonnie turns up then he would have a great chance."


MONDAY 16 JULY

 

ALL GOOD THINGS COME IN ….....

The O'Briens - Aidan and his successful jockey son, Joseph, made it a treble at Fairyhouse on Sunday with PARLIAMENT SQUARE, CHICAGO and WARWICK AVENUE. The latter held off Blue Corner by just a head after he had made all the running. Joseph said: "He is improving with every run and he is a horse with a great attitude."

It was PARLIAMENT SQUARE's fourth go at winning but he clinched it in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

O'Brien junior's comment was : "He's improving with racing and hopefully he'll keep going. He'll have no problem stepping up to Listed or Group company."

That just left CHICAGO to make up the treble in the final race of the day, the Fairyhouse Sunday Market Handicap.

 

IT WAS A GREAT DAY FOR THE IRISH!

 

WE SOMETIMES FORGET. RIDING'S A RISKY BUSINESS

Brendan Powell was taken to hospital after a crushing fall yesterday in the Mansfield Jobs today.co.uk Handicap Chase at Southwell. The young rider, who rode a winner on Friday for the Queen on the Flat at Newmarket, was knocked unconscious after falling from The Lemonpie. An ambulance took him to the Queen's Medical Centre. He was later released and was well enough to tweet: "Thanks for all your concerned tweets, a bit sore and a bit of a headache, but nothing broken!! thankgod"

Racing was delayed for more than an hour whilst waiting for the ambulance to return and then the delay was compounded when both ambulances had problems. The 2.40pm race eventually became the 4.05pm!

 

HERE'S TO BRENDAN!


SUNDAY 15TH JULY

 

THE GAMES HAVEN'T STARTED BUT OLYMPIC GLORY

The Group 2 32Red.com Superlative Stakes at Newmarket initiated the pre-games atmosphere when OLYMPIC GLORY, ridden by Richard Hughes just held on ahead of BIRDMAN to win. The margin was but a head at the post but a win is a win!

Richard Hughes said afterwards: "I wasn't sure about the ground, but he's by CHOISIR who is a good stallion and they go on everything. He just missed a few days earlier in the week and blew up a bit in the last 100 yards. He had a problem with his foot but he came back and we were lucky."

 

'KEEP RIGHT ON TO THE END OF THE ROAD!'

A 28-day ban was meted out to jockey Lee Newman by the Newbury stewards who found him guilty of dropping his hands. Newman was riding RUSSIAN RAVE in the Chrisbeekracing.com EBF Fillies' Handicap. He looked unassailable when he hit the front a furlong out. RUSSIAN RAVE, trained by Jonathan Portman, went ahead of OUR GAL but Newman seemed to look up briefly and to stop riding about a furlong from the winning post. It was only a split second but the stewards decided Newman's actions were enough to lose the race. He lost by a head behind. Newman was found guilty of failing to ride out on a horse that would have won. He was suspended from July 28 to August 24 inclusive.


SATURDAY 14TH JULY

(BASTILLE DAY – DE DE-DE DE DE DE DE DER DE DE!)

  

THE RAIN AGAIN FALLS MAINLY ON SALISBURY PLAIN !

For only the first time in 5 years Salisbury has had to abandon its racing because the track is waterlogged after more heavy rain. Saturday's card, it's sad to say, was expected to attract the greatest attendance of the season as it was to be Ladies' Night. More heavy showers overnight, however, have left parts of the track unusable.

Jeremy Martin, clerk of the course, commented this morning : "We had another 13 millimetres of rain between 7-9pm last night and parts of the course are waterlogged. They are within the last two furlongs and can't be avoided, they are key areas and they have just taken enough. We've had 110 millimetres in 11 days. It's the first meeting we've lost in five years. July 2007 was the last wet summer we had and our luck had to run out eventually."

 

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

The good news is that Hamilton has decided it can go ahead with this evening's meeting which features the rescheduled John Smith's Scottish Stewards' Cup. Earlier in the week you wouldn't have bet on it at any price but it's amazing what a couple of dry days can do with the help of capable groundstaff.

Hazel Peplinski, clerk of the course said after a 7am inspection this morning on Saturday: "It's good news for a change. We have no scary forecasts, we've got a bright morning and had only 0.2 millimetres overnight. The updated going is soft, heavy in places. There are different degrees of soft and different degrees.”

 

COULD BE FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH (AGAIN!)

Today's racing is jinxed with a record number of non-runners. Newmarket is top of the league with 18, while runner up is Chester with 10. Apart from that there is racing at 5 tracks today so enough to keep racing enthusiasts involved.


FRIDAY 13 JULY

NOT A GOOD DAY FOR THOSE WITH TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA!

 

A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR

The Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes is Friday's feature race and is a Group One contest for fillies and mares. Top of the league is GOLDEN LILAC, Group One-class daughter of Galileo. She's only been headed the one time in her 7-race career so far. And she did it again this season, winning a Group One contest by beating CIRRUS DES AIGLES. Last season she even won both the French Guineas and French Oaks. Putting all this together might suggest that she'll take a lot of beating.

So gather Lilacs while you may!

 

KNITTING MY BROW OVER THIS ONE

Much more of the wet stuff is forecast for Newmarket tomorrow. That could mean really testing conditions for the second day of the July Festival. The Piper-Heidsieck EBF Fillies' Handicap gets things going with an interesting runner, CARDIGAN, who certainly deserves more than her rating of 88. Trainer, William Haggas, is not in the habit of entering his horses in races that are not winnable so it is very interesting why CARDIGAN has been allowed to make her yearly return in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Pity CARDIGAN isn't a jumper!


12th JULY

DA, DER, DA, DER, DA-DER-DER

COMRADE BOND maintained his excellent record at Yarmouth by notching up a great victory yesterday. The 4-year-old had already had two 1sts and two 2nds from six earlier trips to this Norfolk race track. It looked like the favourite BORN TO SURPRISE had got it made when producing a winning run by Jamie Spencer but COMRADE BOND stayed on gamely and had a strong finish under Ryan Moore and added another scalp to his belt.Trainer Mark Tompkins said: "He seems to love Yarmouth, a bit like me. He won on faster ground here last time and then it was softer today, but he seems to handle everything, which is great. It was a nice little race to win. We'll get him home, give him 10 days and then run him again. He's one of those horses that doesn't need a lot of work and loves to race.”

We were expecting you, Mr Bond!

DER-EEYAAA DER-DER

 

RED CADEAUX – A GIFT HORSE!

Newmarket's July meeting's first big race on the opening day is the Group TWO Princess of Wales's Goldsmith Stakes. A few of the horses lined up will be remembered from their run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. RED CADEAUX managed 3rd behind the winner, SEA MOON. JAKKALBERRY was 5th and FIORENTE WAS 6th. RED CADEAUX's fettle seems never to have been finer and, despite a 3lb. penalty, he is expected to go well.


 

11th JULY

 

ABSOLUTELY UTTOXICATED!

Sam Twiston-Davies had a 1st and two 2nds at Uttoxeter yesterday.

His winning mount was STORMHOEK who won by 4 lengths in the 20.45 race with BRING ON THE JUDGE (in the 19.15) and DESOLAIT (in the 19.45) coming in second.

AND THE HITS KEEP ON COMING!

 

AN OPENING FOR THE CUP

The Ozzie syndicate, OTI Racing, has taken a 50% share in GATEWOOD, trained by John Gosden. The four-year-old is aiming for the Melbourne Cup. He seems to be progressing in leaps and bounds, having won all of his three races this season, including a handicap at Epsom on Derby day and the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot.

 

OTI Racing have been successful recently with BAUER and QUEST FOR PEACE.

Bloodstock agents Alastair Donald and Ed Sackville bought GATEWOOD on their behalf.

Sackville tweeted: "Very excited to have bought a 50% share in 4.C (four-year-old colt) Gatewood for @OTIRacing , current 16-1 joint fav for Melbourne Cup."


10th July

 

THE PASSING OF ANOTHER CHAMP

Winner of the 1994 Grand National, Miinnehoma, has died at the grand old age of age of 29.

When already 11 years old, wearing the colours of comedian Freddie Starr ( who??),  this gelding won the world's greatest steeplechase at Aintree. He was trained by David Pipe's father, Martin, at the family's Nicholashayne stables and the rider was none other than Richard Dunwoody.

 

Miinnehoma was on the race track from 1989 to 1996 and won 11 of his 25 starts which included the prestigious 1992 Sun Alliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. All in all he earned about £250,000 in total prize money.

 

David Pipe commented: “I am greatly saddened to inform you that we have lost one Pond House legend as 1994 Grand National winner Miinnehoma passed away peacefully of old age at the weekend - he was 29. He was the oldest living winner of the world's greatest steeplechase and was a regular at Aintree for the popular parade of former winners. He was a wonderful old horse - a real character and he remained at the yard under the care of our former head lad until the very end. He was a great champion and will be missed by all associated with him."

 

RIBBIT, RIBBIT

Rumours keep coming in that trainers are slipping their horses a new kind of powerful performance-enhancing drug, reportedly produced from the backs of a species of South American frog. But for quite a while post-race testing was unable to detect the substance,which appeared to be a painkiller much more potent than morphine. Then down in Denver a laboratory tweaked its testing procedures and, lo and behold, in recent days, more than 30 horses have tested positive for this substance, called dermorphin, suspected of helping horses to run faster. No stable has yet been formally charged, although the racing regulators expect that that day is not far off. Dermorphin is considered so potent in its ability to influence the result of a race that its use is deemed to be one of the racing industry’s most serious drug violations.

 

Dr. Steven Barker, head of the testing laboratory at Louisiana State University said: “We hear about some pretty exotic stuff, But frog juice — this is exotic!”

It seems the pain from injuries is dullened by dermorphin and horses are more likely to run faster than they otherwise would. Craig W. Stevens, professor of pharmacology at Oklahoma State University who has made a study of dermorphin, commented that the substance makes horses “hyper.”

The racing authorities will have to jump to it to stop this frog juice abuse!


9th July

 

A LAME EXCUSE!

As reported, BONFIRE ran a disappointing race in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday. Now it turns out, after inspection Sunday morning, that he was lame.

 

His trainer, Andrew Balding , will be be having him thoroughly checked out by the vet. His view is that the Dante Stakes winner threw away his chances of success by running too freely in the early part the 10 furlong race, subsequently won by NATHANIEL.

 

"He was lame on his rear off-hind leg this morning. We are going to have to investigate it tomorrow," Balding said yesterday. “He's not lame enough to use it as an excuse. He was just too keen in the race and didn't give himself a chance to run his race. We are back to the drawing board a little bit. We will take stock, give him a break, and try to get him sorted out."

 

THE ANSWER IS BLOWING IN THE WIND”

Tony Martin's mare, VICTRIX GALE was the convincing winner of the www.thetote.com Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase at Limerick yesterday, making it a hat-trick.The 11-4 favourite was among a number of runners with a chance two out. She made a great jump at the last-but-one fence and then forged ahead to win by two and a half lengths.

 

"She'll mix and match over fences and hurdles. She jumps well and we'll try to get some black type for her in those mares' novice races somewhere to make here a lot more valuable down the road for stud," Martin said. "There's nothing concrete regards plans. That would be a long way off Galway Plate class, but we'll just feel our way with her."


 

8th July

HALF-A-LENGTH, HALF-A-LENGTH, HALF-A-LENGTH ONWARDS!.

John Gosden, the Newmarket trainer, scored again with NATHANIEL on return to action in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. This was the son of Galileo's third victory. NATHANIEL was always in a good position and revealed great determination when Frankie astride FARHH challenged in the final stages. William Buick held his nerve against the irrepressible Dettori and rode to victory by half-a-length.

Buick said: "I have to say that was a fantastic training performance from John Gosden. To get the horse here in the shape he was in, all credit to John. He's got real quality and he showed today what a good horse he is. I have always had a lot of faith in this horse. He showed his versatility today and all being well he'll go for the King George again."

 

IT'S ORF!

Sadly Monday's races at at Newton Abbot have had to be cancelled due to you-know-what: a waterlogged track. An inspection took place at 11.30am on Saturday after there had been heavy overnight rain. The track is reported to be unraceable with little hope of any improvement in time for Monday.

Clerk of the course stated: "We had a deluge last night, as lots of places in the South West did, and that has left us waterlogged. The forecast is for a day of overcast weather with occasional showers and we would need a good few days of dry weather with a stiff breeze and warm sunshine to help. We don't have the time to dry out, so we have abandoned the meeting."


7th July

 

ONE CHAMPION TO ANOTHER

Tony McCoy was present at the funeral of Campbell Gillies at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh alongside hundreds of colleagues, family and friends. Many mourners had to stand outside and tributes were broadcast through public address system. McCoy said: "He excelled on Brindisi Breeze at Cheltenham and from the weighing room point of view he was a great lad, very happy."

Jockey Peter Buchanan, who has ridden for the Russell yard for many years, said: "When I was first asked to say a few words today I got a lot of testimonials from lots of the lads and it is amazing how many of them said the same thing. They would all start with how talented he was in the saddle and how quickly his career was progressing, we all know how true that was. I know he was certainly nipping at my heels, in fact he had my foot half off.”

 

FIRING UP FOR THE ECLIPSE

Andrew Balding’s promising and well respected colt, BONFIRE, who was perhaps a little unlucky not to become a Group Oner when he was a 2-year-old is lined up for today’s Coral Eclipse at Sandown. Many excuses were put forward for his lack of success in the Derby, such as ground and trip. Today looks like his chance. He has won on Good and he has won on Soft and Sandown is officially Good to Soft.

 

6th JULY

FRANKIE SHOULD GO FARHH

Farhh, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has now become favourite for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on Saturday now that So You Think is not running. The Aidan O'Brien-trained stallion was discovered to be lame before he was declared for the race. Farhh finished 3rd behind So You Think in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Ascot and could have been a bit unlucky with how the race panned out.

Coral spokesman Simon Clare said: "It is desperately disappointing that the reigning champion, So You Think, has been ruled out on the eve of the race, not least for the connections, but sadly these things do happen in horse racing. We are still thrilled to have a 10-runner field full of quality. We will miss So You Think but this is still an excellent renewal of the Coral-Eclipse."

 

ROONEY SCORES …. AT HAYDOCK!

Man. Utd. Striker, Wayne Rooney, had his first win as a racehorse owner yesterday when the, slightly rude-sounding, YOURARTISONFIRE won at Haydock. Rooney shares ownership of the the Elaine Burke-trained 2-year-old with Sunderland defender John O'Shea. The chestnut colt ran in the Distinction Doors EBF Maiden Stakes. He stayed on strongly in the final furlong and beat Mayaasem into second place by two and a quarter lengths.

Michael Metcalfe, the winning jockey said afterwards: "They went quite steady - you can sit and wait but I thought I would get him rolling and I always thought he would pick them up in the end. When I got him wide he picked up nicely and he'd probably even get an extra furlong the way he settled. He's very professional."


LAST RIDE

It somehow seems right that, due to bad weather, Perth cancelled racing this week amidst the general mood of sadness among the Scottish jump racing community in advance of Campbell Gillies's funeral today. It seems appropriate that everyone now has the chance to mourn and yet, at the same time, to celebrate a talented jockey who will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends on this sad day.



5th JULY

BITTAR FAIR BETTA FAIR

An historical agreement that will be worth about £40 million to the racing industry has been accepted by Betfair. The world's largest Internet betting exchange has signed a 5-year deal with British Racing, which is made up of The British Horse-racing Authority (BHA), the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen's Group. Over the 5 years, Betfair will pay British Racing 10.75% of all the horse racing income it receives from its UK customers. The agreement also guarantees minimum payments reflecting confidence in the future growth potential of British Racing.

Strongly linked with these minimum payments are British Racing's commitment to ensure a minimum number of fixtures a year. Betting information provided by Betfair will be instrumental in constructing a fixture list that will make British Racing a stronger betting product for he racing industry, betting operators and, of course, for the ordinary punter. This momentous accord will go a long way to align Betfair's business interests with those of British Racing in striving to increase revenues coming from a successful horse-racing industry.

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, who helped to steer the negotiations, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement with Betfair, one which represents a landmark for both the racing and betting industries. It brings many benefits, including substantial and increased guaranteed funding as well as importantly providing certainty for the sport in relation to Betfair's contribution. We hope that similar arrangements with other betting operators will follow.”

 

DOUBLE, DOUBLE, TOIL AND NO TROUBLE

Frankie made it a double for Godolphin at Kempton last night. In the instantly recognisable Godolphin blue, he won on MUNTASIR and RUMH, both trained by Saeed Bin Suroor.

Who said the champ was about to retire?


4th JULY: AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY

HORSE RACING IN AMERICA

Horse racing was in Americans' blood well before the Revolution. The first race track was set up in 1665 on Long Island in Hempstead Plains and was called Newmarket after you know where. Immigrants to America from our shores took their love of horse racing with them. George Washington was an expert rider and one of his pastimes was fox hunting. He attended races in Annapolis, Maryland, and kept a diary his winning and losing bets.

Many, maybe even most, of the jockeys in colonial South of America were slaves. They were known only by a first name. Racing was the one area, however, where slave jockeys could compete on equal terms with their white counterparts. After the Civil War, African-American jockeys became some of the top riders. Names such as Isaac Murphy, Willie Simms, and Jimmy Winkfield are immortalised in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO ALL OUR AMERICAN FRIENDS!

 

MCCAIN GOES FOR GLORY AT WORCESTER

Donald McCain, who already has had a 33 % strike-rate in the last two weeks, hopes to maintain this good run today at Worcester. He has entered HURRABORU (sounds like 'hullaballoo' in Japanese!) in the novice hurdle. Jason Maguire's ride made a successful start to his hurdling career when winning by 13 lengths at Perth last month. He is currently the 11-10 favourite. It's not a foregone conclusion by any means, however, as Dr Richard Newland, the only trainer with a better strike-rate than McCain over the same time, has his only runner, STAGE ACCLAIM, there today.


3rd July

A SAD FAREWELL

Campbell Gillies' funeral will take place at Mortonhall Crematorium in Edinburgh at 12 o'clock on Friday. Gillies died last Tuesday, as a result of a tragic swimming pool accident on holiday in Corfu. Everyone agreed that he was a future jump jockey champion. He celebrated his first Cheltenham Festival winner on Brindisi Breeze for Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. It is reported that the family will not be wearing black for the service and have encouraged all those attending to do the same. Poignantly, after the funeral service, all will go on to Musselburgh racecourse for a memorial ceremony.

 

GLOOM SPREADS OVER THE TRACK

After Tuesday morning's inspection Racing at Perth on Wednesday and Thursday has had to be abandoned because the track is waterlogged.

Harriet Graham, clerk of the course, said: "We had another 15 millimetres of rain last night and have large areas that are waterlogged. I'm afraid with the forecast there is no chance it would dry out in time. There's more rain forecast tonight - we've just had so much water over the last five days."


2nd JULY

ONE MORE CROWN IN JUBILEE YEAR?

The Triple Crown in the Ladbroke's St Leger is definitely in CAMELOT's sights after one more outing but it looks like he will not be taking on FRANKEL at York. The 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby champion maintained his unbeaten record with a decided victory in Saturday's Irish Derby. It seems he could now have a midsummer break. A race at Doncaster is firmly on the cards as the plan is that he might become the first horse since Nijinsky in 1970 to win the Guineas, Derby and St. Leger in Britain. What does not seem to be on the cards, however, is the likelihood of challenging FRANKEL in next month's Juddmonte International at York.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said yesterday: "Camelot seems fine this morning and ate up well. Obviously the St. Leger is the race we're looking at and he'll either have a racecourse gallop or a race in between. We will do the same after all the big races and wait a week before sitting down to discuss what will happen. To be honest, there aren't that many options between now and then. The Juddmonte International at York wouldn't be an ideal prep for the St Leger as he'd be coming back to a mile and a quarter - he is a strong traveller and we worked hard at getting him to settle."

FRANKELY DON'T GIVE A DAMN!

 

NOW DAS DEUTSCHE DERBY!

Our Frankie had a good try and got to the front for a brief spell at the top of the home straight, riding Black Arrow but his magic wasn't powerful enough this time. He was easily overhauled soon after. The previously unbeaten Novellist started hot favourite and he was finishing strongly and took the lead inside the final furlong. That wasn't enough, however, as Pastorius, trained by Mario Hofer, came very wide and grabbed the Group One glory right on the line.


1ST JULY

 

DERBY TIMES 2!

5/1 on favourite, CAMELOT did it! Won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh and thereby made it a double. But not without a few missed heartbeats. Trainer, Aidan O'Brien, was on the way to winning the Classic for a seventh successive season and CAMELOT was merely cantering, ridden by the trainer's son Joseph. However the colt jinxed to the left and Johnny Murtagh grabbed the initiative on Born to Sea who ebeually came 2nd. For a short while Murtagh's mount looked a real threat but Camelot soon went on to win by two lengths.

Aidan O'Brien said: "He's by far the best we've had - we've never had anything like this. We really felt it wasn't the right thing (to run on this ground) but he's a great horse. He's a real fast ground horse. We appreciate all the hard work everyone's put in, the sponsors, The Curragh - I can't say how thrilled we are to be part of it. It doesn't get any better than this. These are days you can't dream of. I never would have believed it could ever happen. He's by far the best we've had - we've never had anything like this.”


30th JUNE

 

FORMER No 1 TAKES A SWING AT NEWMARKET

Lee Westwood, golfing champion, teams up with his friend Frankie Dettori who is booked to ride sprinter, HOOF IT, in today's John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes at Newmarket. The Mick Easterby-trained HOOF IT won the Stewards' Cup last season as well getting a 3rd in the Haydock Sprint Cup, after coming 5th in the Duke of York Stakes.

Dettori has not ridden HOOF IT before but Chandler said: "For us to get Frankie is great. I'd like to think I know Frankie, but Lee and him are proper pals and have played golf together in events like the Dubai Desert Challenge. No disrespect to Ryan Moore or the other jockeys who have ridden HOOF IT, but this will be a real day for the family and I'm sure Lee will want to get his photo taken with Frankie and the horse."

 

HURRAH FOR THE CURRAGH!

Testing conditions are a bit of a worry at the Curragh for Kevin Ryan who has his in-form sprinter, TIDDLIWINKS, entered in Saturday's Woodies D.I.Y. Sapphire Stakes in a hat-trick bid. The six-year-old TIDDLIWINKS, owned by Guy Reed, out-classed some of the niftiest speedsters in the country when he started off his season with a great win in the Duke of York Stakes in the middle of May. And just to prove that this wasn't a chance one-off, he won the Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh 10 days later. In this race he drops back from six to five furlongs on his return to the track.

Ryan said: "The horse is in great form, but we need the ground to dry up a bit. Royal Ascot was never on the agenda for him and we decided to come here. He has to give weight away all round, but that doesn't bother me as he won with top-weight at the Curragh last time. I'll just have to see what the ground is like when I get there."

You Tiddle. I'll wink!


29th JUNE

 

CAME A LOT? NO JUST 6!

Camelot will face just six rivals when he attempts to become only the 16th horse to complete the Epsom and Irish Derby double at the Curragh on Saturday. Aidan O'Brien's so far unbeaten colt, ridden by the trainer's son, Joseph, will be accompanied by Astrology and Imperial Monarch. Stablemates, Daddy Long Legs, Father Of Science and Learn have not yet been declared.

The Curragh suffered heavy rain on Wednesday night but General Manager, Paul Hensey, expects the weather by the week-end to be good enough so that the conditions will not be testing. Hensey said yesterday: "We had a lot of rain overnight - 20mm fell - and the ground is now soft, heavy in places. It is only a couple of spots which are heavy. It was the band of rain which we thought earlier in the week would come on Thursday, but it stopped by 6.30am. To have Camelot in the field is fantastic and we're all looking forward to it."

 

TOP JOCKEYS JOGGING

Where will you find Ruby Walsh, Tony McCoy, Andrew McNamara, Johnny Murtagh and Davy Russell legging it? You'll never guess. They will be out supporting 'Jog for Jockeys' on Sunday, July 29, running 5km in aid of the Irish Jockeys Accident Fund. Events will take place at 12pm at Limerick, Leopardstown and the Curragh racecourses. More than 780 people participated last year raising over €25,000.

Organiser Audrey O'Dwyer said: "We are delighted to be running the 'Jog for Jockeys' again this year. Just like last year there will be a great atmosphere on the three courses and we really do want people to take part - you can walk or run it, it's really all about participation!"

Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Turf Club senior medical officer said: "What other sports person has a minimum of two ambulances and a doctor travelling behind them as they participate? Our riders travel at 35-40 miles per hour on a half ton of horsepower with the risk of falling at anytime from a height of three metres. Last year saw two of our Flat jockeys suffer very serious injuries. Among our National Hunt jockeys we recorded 13 cases of concussion, 36 fractures and multiple other injuries. Apart from the contributions to the Injured Jockeys Fund from owners, trainers and jockeys etc, fund raisers such as this are essential to maintain sufficient funds to support our jockeys when out injured and pay appropriate medical expenses."

ANY ODDS ON McCOY?


28th JUNE

ANOTHER TWISTON-DAVIES!

William Twiston-Davies, the younger son of trainer, Nigel, probably has jump racing in his blood and proved it when winning last year's Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree. He is, however, at the moment trying his hand at flat racing and rides for Richard Hannon. His handy 7lb claim was employed successfully by Alan McCabe for the ride on top-weight Levitatean 18-1 chance. Competing in the Lloyd Motor Group Carlisle Bell, William got this recent Doncaster winner into a position in the final strides where he was able to pass Toto Skyllachy to win by a short head.

"I thought I'd just got up. He travelled well for me and picked up when I asked him to," said Twiston-Davies. When the gap opened up he was tough enough to go through it. It's going really well, if my weight stays good I'll stay on the Flat. We'll see how I am in August or September. I eat three meals a day and I'm getting the rides, that's the main thing. I came here today for one ride and it paid off."


FRANKEL VERSUS CAMELOT?

Frankel, the incredible colt that notched up 11 wins in 11 starts will delight racegoers next at The Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. After that he will step up to a mile and a quarter for the first time on the Knavesmire in York, in a race sponsored by his owner, Khalid Abdullah. The latter won the Group One prize with Twice Over last season. Of course, the event everyone wants to see is Frankel against the unbeaten 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Camelot. It has been announced that Camelot will run this weekend in the Irish Derby. Trainer Aidan O'Brien, however, is said to be considering York as an option.


27th June

CAMPBELL GILLIES

Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, Campbell Gillies, died as the result of a swimming accident while on holiday in Kavos, Greece. He would have been 22 today. Gillies was attached to the Lucinda Russell yard in Kinross, Scotland. Gillies rode the biggest winner of his young career on Brindisi Breeze in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Lucinda Russell wrote: "Campbell was on a short holiday with one of our head lads, Mark Ellwood, and jockeys Nathan Moscrop, Henry Brooke and Harry Haynes. This dreadful news has hit the whole yard. He was a much loved, popular and respected member at Arlary, and it is so hard to lose part of our 'family'. We are immensely proud of the achievements of Campbell. It was through his innate ability and talent that he reached great heights as a jockey at such an early age. More than that he had a wonderful charm that I believe came across to everyone who met him, and through his media interviews. His victory at Cheltenham on Brindisi Breeze was the pinnacle of his career; the race epitomised him as a jockey; his belief and confidence and his innate timing. He became one with the horse. This empathy and love of his horses was one of the reasons that he was a truly great jockey."

Kayfaramisracing sends condolences to his family and friends.

 

With a strange twist of fate, Campbell Gillies' partner in his triumphant Cheltenham Festival win, Brindisi Breeze, died in a freak accident on 19th. May. He jumped out of his paddock, was hit by a lorry and died instantly.


26th. JUNE

BALDING KEEPS HIS HAIR ON!

Andrew Balding, Claire's brother, had a tough week at Royal Ascot last week and failed to gain any winners. Side Glance finished third behind Frankel and Time came close in the Windsor Forest. But, undaunted, he went to Chepstow and notched up a swift treble. All three were short price. HALLINGS COMET was perhaps the most impressive in the Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance Maiden Stakes. Barely 30 minutes later the joint-favourite, VISCOUNT VERT, won the Freebets.co.uk Free Mobile Betting Classified Stakes by two lengths. The dynamic duo, Balding and Probert, returned later to the number one spot when ROCKY REEF won the Freebets.co.uk Handicap.

"They all ran pretty well at Ascot and the horses are in very good form, as it's shown with three winners” said Probert. I've been with Andrew since I was an apprentice and he's been very helpful to me and he's been very loyal. It's great to have a treble. Even one winner a day is good, but to have three is unreal."

 

GOING, GOING ….. GONE!

Christie's, the world famous auctioneers have decided to end their long-running association with the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. They have sponsored this event at the Festival for the past 34 years but that will finish at the end of their current three-year deal. Peter McNeile, director of sponsorship at Cheltenham, said: "It has been a joy to have the support of such a well-known and successful brand for so long at The Festival. Christie's has been an excellent partner for this iconic race, but we will now begin the process of talking to other interested parties and recruiting a new sponsor for a prize that has been in existence since 1904, some 20 years before the Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run."


25th JUNE

MOORE CHAMPING AT THE BIT.

Royal Ascot 2012 crowned its leading jockey of the week and this honour fell to Ryan Moore who had 5 winners. Victory did not come easy as he had quite a ding-dong with William Buick, who was leading in the early stages. Buick was ahead after CAMBOURNE's victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stake but Moore clinched it in the final 35 minutes. The former champion jockey was once more astride Tuesday's Ascot Stakes winner, SIMENON, who came up trumps in the concluding Queen Alexandra Stakes. It was wafer-thin close as Buick also had five 1sts. But he had one 3rd to Moore's 2nd Yes, that close!

Moore's earlier successes were SEA MOON in the Hardwicke Stakes, ESTIMATE in the Queen's Vase and FAST OR FREE in the Britannia Stakes.

Buick's other 4 victories were JOVIALITY in the Windsor Forest Stakes, FALLEN FOR YOU in the Coronation Stakes, GATEWOOD in the Wolferton Handicap and NEWFANGLED in the Albany Stakes – these like CAMBOURNE were all trained by John Gosden, who was named leading trainer for the week.


BLACK CAVIAR SUFFERED TORN MUSCLES

BLACK CAVIAR's connections are most anxious to let the mare get over the exertions of Royal Ascot before deciding on her racing future. It looks like she would have been beaten within a few more strides, because MOONLIGHT CLOUD all but profited from the bad miscalculation by jockey Luke Nolen. The Ozzie Supermare was checked by a vet on Sunday morning and was diagnosed with torn back muscles. Part-owner Neil Werrett said: ""The mare pulled up pretty sore. She pulled a couple of back muscles and she was pretty sorry for herself this morning. Peter had the vet and the chiropractor look at her and she went into quarantine this morning. We'll reassess her when we get home."


A HOLLOW VICTORY!

The Hollow Partnership scored with DESOLAIT at Hexham yesterday. The successful jockey was none other than Sam Twiston-Davies, bringing his total wins to 13 from 79 runs (16.46%) as well as eleven 2nds and nine 3rds.

'Dėsolė' is the last thing he would have been after this 1¾ length win!


24th JUNE

CAVIAR OFF THE MENU

Australian superstar BLACK CAVIAR managed to hold onto her unbeaten record (just!), making it a straight 22 wins, with a dramatically close victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. The 1-6 favourite seemed always to be going well and struck to the front with two furlongs to run. She got ahead by a couple of lengths at that stage but FRENCH MOONLIGHT and RESTIADARGENT took up the challenge near home. They came to within half-a-length when Nolen seemed to ease up in the closing yards. Then he suddenly became more animated in the finishing stages, by which time Black Caviar managed to hold on by a head (half-a-head actually!) to Moonlight Cloud. BLACK CAVIAR's trainer, Peter Moody, was noticebly not in the 'mood' for casting stones and would not say even one word of censure regarding jockey, Nolen's performance. Instead he said he wanted only to enjoy the the adulation of BLACK CAVIAR who had won yet another race. A forlorn-looking Nolen seemed to realise that he had misjudged the situation in the closing stages. He said: "I underestimated the testing track of Ascot. She'd had enough and that big engine throttled right down. It's unfortunate, because we're going to talk more about my brain failure than the horse's fantastic effort. We won, but it may have overshadowed what was a fantastic effort by the horse. We got away with it.

Winning trainer, Moody, said: "You've only got to win by a quarter of an inch - we got the job done. We never expect dominance - we never ask her for dominance - we are extremely proud of her. I'm an extremely proud Aussie. It's very fitting that it's with a horse like this."

Minutes later we heard that BLACK CAVIAR would be on her way back to Ozzie Land and, therefore, not expose her record to challengers in the rest of Europe, as was originally mooted. Hmmm!

IS THE STRINE TOO MUCH?

 

DIDN'T HE DO WELL, OUR FRANKIE!

 Frankie Dettori excelled himself on the final day of Royal Ascot by winning the Chesham Stakes, riding Tha'ir for Godolphin. Tha'ir next assignment could well be Glorious Goodwood. Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford commented:"We came here hoping we'd do well, but we are really pleased with this one. We'll obviously talk to Sheikh Mohammed, but he'll maybe go to Goodwood for the Vintage Stakes on August 1."

LOOKS LIKE THE OLD DETTORI!



23rd JUNE

THE QUEEN AND SAM

Her Majesty had a victory yesterday with Estimate, winning the Queen's Vase. This was only her second win in this race since Buttress won in 1979. But Sam Twiston-Davies went one better! He had two winners at Market Rasen: Iona Days and Red Riverman. Now upstaging the Queen, that could definitely be considered lèse-majesté!

 

FRANKEL FOR GOODWOOD?

It has been confirmed by Sir Henry Cecil that FRANKEL'S most likely next race will be the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, after winning Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes.

The world's highest-rated racehorse romped home with a career-best when beating his rivals by 11 lengths. There is talk that he could also head for the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown.

Cecil said: "He seems fine, he went out yesterday for a trot and a walk and we'll feel our way. I'd say at the moment it's more likely he'll go to Goodwood and to York."


DISH OF THE DAY?

Never has there been such excitement and expectation as there is today at Ascot. The day has finally arrived when BLACK CAVIAR will take her place in the line-up the first time out of her native Australia. It's certainly on the cards that this Supermare will achieve 22 wins from 22 starts2 starts. It looks as if she has no-one who can take her on. There are some punters who will grab the odds of 1/4 on offer. With a potential return of 25%, that's much better than you'd get at any bank. But you need nerves of kryptonite and a bottom-less bank balance to risk huge huge sums on the outcome of today's Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Anything can go wrong but probably won't. Anyway, good luck to them all and may the force be with them! We'll soon see whether BLACK CAVIAR becomes the dish of the day!


22nd. JUNE

ANOTHER GREAT DAY FOR THE IRISH?

So our friends from the Emerald Isle have shone at Royal Ascot so they can be forgiven for keeping their hopes high for the penultimate day of the meeting. The leading challenge today will come from Aidan O'Brien with his Homecoming Queen in the Coronation Stakes. This English 1000 Guineas winner will be a strong claim. The daughter of Holy Roman Emperor will not be put off by the rain that has dampened the allure of Ascot during the last couple of days. On her last appearance in the Irish 1000 Guineas Homecoming Queen did not produce her best and was beaten into a distant fourth place by Samitar. But in May of this year the Ballydoyle challenger showed us produced a staggering performance in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. She beat her rivals by an impressive nine lengths. Homecoming Queen seemed to enjoy the soft ground of that classic fillies' race so there is every reason to believe that the conditions expected in today's main event will suit her down to the ground!

 

A WANING CHAMPION!

Retirement is on the cards the great Kauto Star according to his owner, Clive Smith.

The 12-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls notched up an historic fifth King George VI Chase on Boxing Day. Sadly he was subsequently pulled up when running in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

It is likely that a firm decision on his future racing career will debated towards the end of the summer.

Clive Smith commented: "We'll probably have a look at him at the end of August. We'll probably retire him, but you just don't know yet. He's bouncing around and is in great shape."

 

21st JUNE

 

STRONG ROYAL ASCOT LINKS WITH ARAMIS STUD

As Kayfaramisracing fans will know the Aramis line has a list of successes at this famous meeting.

Kayf Tara (Kayf Aramis' sire) won the Ascot Gold Cup twice (18 June 1998, 22 June 2000)

Zafeen (Zayfire's sire) won the St James's Palace Stakes on 17 Jun 2003. And last but not least Bertolini (Berlayf's sire) was third in the Jersey Stakes on16 June 1999 and third in the Kings Stand Stakes on 20 Jun 2000.

So it really is a case of 'All for one and one for all' for Aramis, as d'Artagnan so aptly put it!

 

LAND OF FAME AND GLORY!

Aidan O'Brien must be hoping that the forecast rain does not affect the going for Fame And Glory's bid for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot today. The 6-year-old has already met with defeats in two runs since winning the Gold Cup 12 months ago and then returned to Ascot to win on Champions' Day which was his first win this season. He will propbably be the short-priced favourite. It is clearly O'Brien's bid for a sixth Gold Cup success.

O'Brien said: "He's in very good form but I just hope they don't get much more rain. If they do his class might not shine through. I hope it stays dry for him."

Dr Jim Hay, who owns Fame And Glory along with the Coolmore trio, John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, clearly has aspirations that he can in some way emulate the great Yeats.

"The word from Ballydoyle is that they think Fame And Glory is even better than he was last year and that seems to be reflected in his price”, he is reported as saying. “Joseph (O'Brien) was really happy with him on the day. He phoned me up after the race and said everything he asked him to do, he did with great ease and confirming what Aidan has been saying (that) he's probably better than last year. As long as it's not extreme conditions at either end of the scale, he should run well.”

 

LAYS MAJESTY!

The second day of Royal Ascot turned out to be dismal day for racegoers. So You Think, in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Duntle, in the finale, were the only highlights on a dismal afternoon. Aidan O'Brien's Australian immigrant, So You Think, was odds on against earlier in the day but subsequently became the 4-5 favourite. There was even one reported bet of £100,000 at even money. The winner was not everyone's favourite because he beat the Queen's horse, Carlton House into second place.

In other times that could surely have been classed as lèse-majesté!

 

20th JUNE

 FRANKEL WINS BY 11 LENGTHS

The Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot will never be the same again after Frankel's great run that increased his unbeaten record to 11. The highest rated horse in the world has just won his 7th Group One from just 11 starts. Admittedly that is only just over half of that achieved by the second highest rated horse, Black Caviar, who will race on the final day of the Royal Meeting. Bullet Train, the star's brother and pacemaker, did all the front running as usual. His 10-times unbeaten sibling travelled strongly in his slipstream as planned, shadowed by Aidan Obrien's Excelebration. With around three furlongs to go Tom Queally took Frankel out into the clear and hardly moved in the saddle as his mount accelerated with apparent ease. Excelebration, who was trying for his fifth time to beat his old rival, had no answer for such speed. The final winning distance of 11 lengths was scarcely to be believed. He set off at 10 to 1 on and finished 10 + 1 ahead! Aidan O'Brien's four year old only managed narrowly to hold on to second position from a fast finishing Side Glance.

Sir Henry Cecil said: "It's a relief, I'm not surprised but relieved. There's no such thing as a certainty. He is a great horse and you've seen him for yourself so everybody can form their own opinion. He did exactly what I thought but he's still improving”.

 

MOST IMPROVED IN NAME AND DEED

Most Improved won the St James's Palace Stakes yesterday. His trainer, Brian Meehan did not try to conceal his high opinion he has of this colt. The 3-year-old had originally been an ante-post gamble for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas but had to miss that race, after problems in training. He did not escape trouble, either, in this mile Group One . The Nile suffered severe injury on the turn for home and causing interference to a few in the field. Kieren Fallon kept Most Improved in the best shadowing position and managed to avoid the melee caused by the ill-fated The Nile and ran on stubbornly to win by a narrow margin.

Meehan said afterwards: "He was doing really good work in the spring; he matured physically and today showed we were right.”

 

LATE TO BEDDY-BYES

Sam Twiston-Davies must have got to bed late last night. He was down in Newton Abbot, Devon, where he made a 2nd on Foundry Square in the 21.10, only half-a-length behind Tony McCoy on Sir Benfro.

 

19th June

ROYAL HIGH NOTE

Her Majesty had a winner at Warwick yesterday in the Voute Sales Warwickshire Oaks Stakes. Let's hope this is the start of a fantastic Royal Ascot week for the Queen to follow her successful Jubilee celebrations. 4-year-old filly, Set To Music, daughter of Danehill Dancer, trained by Michael Bell, was handy throughout the race in the capable hands of Jamie Spencer. Turning into the final straight Spencer was determined to occupy the near-side rail and, having achieved that, Set To Music, given the right key, increased tempo and won in right regal style, going away from Dragonera, who had set the pace earlier, by three and three-quarter lengths.

 

BLACK CAVIAR 20/1!

Up to 20 rivals will take on Black Caviar at Royal Ascot in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday. The Ozzie equine wonder hasn't yet managed to frighten off all the opposition, as she seeks to take her 100% record to 22 races in the six-furlong Group One. It's possible that Peter Moody's protégécould be accompanied by Ozzie mate, Ortensia. Society Rock, trained by James Fanshawe, will be trying to repeat his win in this race 12 months ago. Another fancied challenger is Moonlight Cloud. 

 

18th June

KISSED GOODBYE!

The 3-tear-old daughter of Galileo, Kissed, trained by Aidan O'Brien has been retired to stud.

She suffered a fracture in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly. After leading for the first part of the race,

ridden by Aidan's son, Joseph, she seemed to just to weaken suddenly in the straight.

The race was won by Valyra, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, providing the Aga Khan with a record seventh win in the Classic.

As Anne-Marie O'Brien put it tweetily:

"Kissed sustained a fracture of the sesamoid bones of her left fore at Chantilly today.

She is comfortable and will now be retired to stud."

 

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!

With Bated Breath, Roger Charlton will probably delay a decision about his inclusion in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday until the very last moment. He would clearly prefer to run him on the opening day rather than pit him against against Ozzie champ, Black Caviar in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes. The ground on the Ascot straight course was officially recorded as Good yesterday and showers are predicted.

"I'm frustrated by the weather and the constant changing forecast like everybody else," said Charlton. “ I know he's a better horse on faster ground- witness Haydock where he broke the track record. It was a pretty good performance there on rattling fast ground. What will happen at Ascot? I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see.

 

This leading trainer has a different idea on brain. (Tweet answer @kayfaramis)


17th June

 

'FOR THE APPAREL OFT PROCLAIMS THE MAN' (OR WOMAN?)
– AS POLONIUS SAYS IN HAMLET!
Royal Ascot is considered to be one of the most prestigious race meetings
in the world. So the powers-that-be have decided to live up to that reputation
and reinforce the dress code for the Royal Enclosure and the Grandstand Admission
area for The 5-day Royal Ascot Meeting beginning on Tuesday, June 19th . To make sure
that this code is 'implemented as smoothly as possible', a specially trained team of
dress tzars, sorry, 'dress code assistants' will be on duty outside the track to help
racegoers who 'have a problem' with their outfit.
Waistcoats, ties, pashminas and other fashion items will be available at the turnstiles
for those 'who need them'. Presumably they have to be hired for the afternoon.
Ladies in the Royal Enclosure must wear dresses and skirts of 'modest length',
defined as 'just above the knee or longer'. Hats must be worn; a headpiece which
has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter will be permitted as an alternative to a hat.
Gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure must wear either 'black or grey morning dress'
(or presumably suit!), which must include a waistcoat and tie (no cravats), a black
or grey top hat and black shoes.
In Grandstand Admission ladies must wear a hat, headpiece or fascinator
at all times. Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.
Gentlemen must wear a suit and tie.
As Mark Twain said: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or
no influence on society.”
  
'MOTIVATED ASS WINS'!
Moulin de Croix, the 8-year-old bay mare, owned and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
is certainly no donkey (or jenny!) and she proved it when she ran a superb race, winning easily by
14 lengths in the Teresa Duchett Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Hexham yesterday.
The win was also undoubtedly attributable to the 'motivation' provided by the great skills
of the jockey whose name just happens to be an anagram of the above!
 
FRANKIE RIDES IN CORONATION STAKES. LOL
Frankie Dettori will saddle Mick Channon's Laugh Out Loud in the Coronation Stakes
at Royal Ascot on Friday. Laugh Out Loud, a Listed winner at York, ill be having her second
attempt at Group One company after finishing 8th in the 1000 Guineas.
William Buick rode her on her last two outings but he is probably going to be needed to ride
for John Gosden.
The ever resourceful Channon , however, has booked a more than acceptable substitute.
"Booked Frankie Dettori for Laugh Out Loud in the Coronation Stakes."
he tweeted.

16th June

  

IF EVER A SNOOK WAS COCKED!

Next Thursday's Ascot Gold Cup cocks a snook at fate with its 13 runners.

Heading up this 'lucky' field is last year's winner, Fame And Glory, who will be endeavouring to gain his 6th win in the race in 7 years, to the ultimate pleasure, no doubt, of his his trainer, Aidan O'Brien.

The successful Ballydoyle trainer has also entered Memphis Tennessee, the not-to-be-sneezed-at Ormonde Stakes winner and last season's Investec Derby's 4th. But it looks like they'll have to watch out for a fellow Irish raider in the form of Saddler's Rock who shaped up well, finishing 2nd a week ago on his first start since winning the Doncaster Cuplast September.

John Oxx, his trainer, stated: "He came out of his race fine the other day, so we just have to hope the next week goes well,but it's so far so good."

The local challenge comes in the form of the Godolphin-owned Opinion Poll and Colour Vision while Mark Johnston,who previously trained Colour Vision, is planning to run Gulf Of Naples.

 

 

THE SCURRY WITH THE BLING ON TOP

Saturday's Novae Bloodstock Insurance Scurry Stakes at Sandown will witness 3-year-old Pearl Secret putting his unbeaten record on the line. David Barron's protégé appears in Listed company for the first time after winning his first three races most impressively. The owners, Pearl Bloodstock, have resisted the temptation to run him at Royal Ascot. Another change is that Richard Hughes will be astride him replacing the suspended Jamie Spencer.

David Redvers, the owner's racing manager exclaimed; "We've been delighted with him. He's a horse that David is very excited about and he's a horse we're very excited about and we hope this another step on an upward curve. I don't think he wants heavy ground by any stretch of the imagination, but he's good enough and able enough to handle it.”


15th June

 

SAM PLAYED IT AGAIN!

Sam Twiston-Davies had another success yesterday at Hereford. He rode the 6-year-old bay gelding, Royal Riviera, to a 3¾ length win. He was the clear leader approaching the last hurdle and could even afford to ease off towards the finish. That makes his 3rd win in the last two weeks and his 7th of the season from 61 runs. That's an enviable 11.5% strike rate!

 

TWIST ON, DAVIES!

 

 

SUPERMAN'S PLANET IS THE FACTOR FOR ASCOT 
Kieren Fallon will ride Krypton Factor, who has just arrived from Bahrain, in next Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. The 4-year-old won the Golden Shaheen at the World Cup race meeting. Trainer, Fawzi Nass, thinks that his recent effort in Singapore should not be held against him.

"I think what we saw in Singapore was not the best of him," Nass said. “He didn't travel as well as he did to here and the ground was pretty soft on race day which he didn't enjoy. Unfortunately we've come to a wet country but hopefully we get some summer heat next week and the ground is in good shape.”

SUMMER HEAT? WE'LL DRINK TO THAT!


14th June

 

THE MAGNIFICENT ELEVEN

Eleven rivals will take on Frankel in Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Frankel is a long odds-on favourite for this Group One race but he has not scared off potential challengers as there are plenty of rewards available for the places in this mile race.

Bullet Train, his stablemate and regular pacemaker is numbered among the 12 runners. Aidan O'Brien, the master of Ballydoyle, is also prepared to throw down the gauntlet to the world's highest rated horse. He has entered Excelebration, who didn't didn't make it against Sir Henry Cecil's unbeaten champion in the Lockinge as well as So You Think, former Australian superstar and multiple Group One winner, and Windsor Palace which sounds like a good entry for Jubilee Year!

 

SENT TO COVENTRY BUT NOT TO BE IGNORED

Trainer, Derek Shaw is sure that Top Boy will not be disgraced when he challenges the best 2-year-olds in the business in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. The colt certainly seems to earn his place after finishing second in the highly-rated Sir Prancealot at Sandown. Top Boy is still a maiden (strange as it may sound!) but has previously displayed a fair level of form when coming 4th. at Ascot behind Cay Verde. The only negative is that all Top Boy's races to-date have been over the minimum trip but he takes on six furlongs this time.

Leicestershire-based trainer, Derek Shaw commented: “He finished second behind what is supposed to be the best two-year-old that's been out (Sir Prancealot) so he's entitled to be there. I'm not saying he's going to win but he won't disappoint."


13th June

STAR AT NIGHT?
Sir Patrick Moore could run next at Newmarket in July. No. Not that one! He's nearly 90! This one is a 2-year-old grey colt who has had two wins from two runs, the latest being he Prix Amber Rama at Compiegne yesterday.
It is possible he will make another channel crossing but the July Stakes and the Superlative Stakes are being considered.
Trainer, Dunlop said: "He won first time out at Newbury and he's by Astronomer Royal (stallion based in France). I bought him basically to come back to France to try to win some premiums and some prize money as well.
Christophe (Soumillon) gave him a lovely ride. He virtually made the running throughout.”

 

NO WORRIES!
According to Peter Moody, Black Caviar will cope with any condition of ground in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot a week on Saturday.
The Berkshire track currently lists the going as soft, heavy in places with more rain to come over the weekend. Black Caviar has never raced on soft ground but her trainer doesn't seem to be too worried at this stage.
Moody stated: "Although she's never raced on wet she's done a lot training on it, even in the last six weeks here (in Australia) she's done a fair bit of her track work on it. She's always seemed to cope with that quite well and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.”


12th June

ROONEY'S MOUNT GOES STRAIGHT
Wayne Rooney's  Pippy performed his best to date. He finished second in the Sterling Service Chauffeurs Maiden Stakes at Folkestone. The two-year-old colt made his début at Chester last month, finishing last there and repeated this position at Carlisle. He did, however,  start to show some ability on this  third outing and was even an 8-1 chance. Trainer, Tom Dascombe's protégé  was at his best in the final furlong and managed a second place, but five lengths behind the winner, Joey's Destiny.
A tweet from Dascombe stated: "We have tried him (Pippy) left-handed and right-handed and now we are trying him in a straight line.”

 

THAT'S THE TICKET!
The three races on the shortlist for the first QIPCO British Champions Series "Performance of the Month" are Camelot's QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby victoriess and Frankel's JLT Lockinge Stakes triumph. 
If you vote for one of these performances on the British Champions Series website -www.britishchampionsseries.com – you will automatically be put into a free prize draw with a chance to win two tickets for a future QIPCO British Champions Series race day.

11th June

FRANKIE CAUGHT ON THE ACT!
Frankie Dettori, riding The Act , could only finish eighth in the Swiss Derby. The victory was ultimately fought out between two French-trained challengers.
Green Fees (Nicolas Clement/Thierry Thulliez) defeated compatriot Raheb by a head. The winner completed a hat-trick, having been successful at Chantilly and Strasbourg.
Dettori's mount had won the Swiss 2,000 Guineas but didn't seem to like the extra half-mile and was ultimately beaten by about seven and a half lengths. 

 

GOODWOOD POST-RACE CONCERT CANCELLED.
Goodwood have issued an apology to racegoers after Friday's post-racing DJ performance featuring Groove Armada was cancelled because of a power cut.
A statement by Goodwood Racecourse begins: "The decision to cancel the concert was not taken lightly”
Presumably that's why they did cancel, because of the light, or lack of !


10th June

SCOOPS TO (NOT) CONQUER
Saturday afternoon's Totescoop6 was not won as there was a dearth of winning favourites. This  meant the bet collapsed as early as Leg 4. Much of the damage, however, was brought about in Leg 3 when License To Till removed about 99% of tickets that were still active in true James Bond style. Victory for John Louis in the next Leg meant death for the remaining punters. That created a win fund of £195,323 roll-over to next weekend.

 

MORE FOR RYAN
High Jinx finally proved he an improving stayer when he won Newmarket's feature race, The Fly London Southend To Dublin Levy Board Handicap. The 4-year-old bay colt, son of High Chaparal, contributed to part of a 611-1 treble for Ryan Moore, who has now passed the 50-winner mark for the season. His first success of the day was provided by Fast Or Free in the Fly London Southend To Ibiza Handicap. The jockey, 3/1 Favourite to be Champion in 2012, completed his top-class afternoon when Havana Gold carried off victory in Division 2 of the Fly London Southend to Belfast Maiden Stakes.


9th June

WILL FRANKEL GO TO CAMELOT? IT'S A LOTTERY!
Sir Henry Cecil believes thinks the Juddmonte International at York in August, sponsored by Khalid Abdullah, Frankel's owner, would be just the venue for a run-off  between the two unbeaten colts from different generations. The interesting thing is that Frankel would be going up in distance from a mile and Camelot would be dropping down in trip.
Sir Henry Cecil  is reported as saying "If Frankel comes through these next two races all right (the Queen Anne and the Sussex), the Juddmonte would be more interesting,". He'll be going another two and a half furlongs and he'll be up against different horses, so it will be much more exciting, not for me but for other people. It would be very exciting to take on Camelot. He could do the Irish Derby, the Juddmonte and the St Leger.
The Newmarket trainer, interestingly enough is not so  keen on a match between Frankel and Black Caviar. 
"People talk about Black Caviar and Frankel, but it's stupid really - they are a different type of horse” he said. “One is a sprinter and one is a miler going on to a mile and a quarter. If you bring them together over six or seven furlongs it is like Usain Bolt running in the London marathon."


DOING A 'BLACK CAVIAR'!
Frankel has been given an invitation by the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) for
the Sportingbet Cox Plate on October 27. But here's betting that Sir Henry Cecil will not
follow Black Caviar's example and race on the other side of the world for the
AUS$3 million race. The Australian authority is trying very hard to attract big names to take
part. MVRC chairman Bob Scarborough said: "Frankel is widely regarded in the northern
hemisphere as a once-in-a-generation champion thoroughbred. All of his victories have been dominant and he is clearly better than the current crop of UK middle distance horses.
Just as Black Caviar has accepted the challenge to step out of her comfort zone and
travel halfway around the world to prove that she is without peer in the sprinting ranks
at Royal Ascot, I am hopeful that the connections of Frankel will accept our invitation to
travel to Melbourne to contest the weight-for-age championship of the southern hemisphere
- the Sportingbet Cox Plate."


8th June

MAMMA MIA! I'VE WON! HAVEN'T I?

Mirco Demuro received a 12-day ban after finishing a circuit too early at Wolverhampton. The Italian jockey will be off-track from June 21 to July 2. Demuro only realised his mistake when the other ten runners continued on past him after he had slowed down when he thought he had passed the winning post. He continued going but couldn't make up the lost ground and came in last.

Demuro is 5-times Italian champion jockey and has also won the world's richest race, the Dubai World Cup on Victoire Pisa at Meydan in March 2011.

 

G'DAY!

Black Caviar has arrived safely in preparation for her intended run at Royal Ascot.

The 6-year-old mare, unbeaten in 21 starts, trained by Peter Moody, is a strong favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Black Caviar landed at Heathrow airport late on Thursday afternoon after a 30-hour journey from Melbourne. She will stay at Jane Chapple-Hyam's Newmarket yard together with other international visitors. Chapple-Hyam tweeted: "Black Caviar due shortly at Abington Place Stables, she joins Ortensia and Joy and Fun the other international horses staying at the stables."

 

SAM PLAYED IT AGAIN!

Sam Twiston-Davies notched up another 3rd on Pigeon Island in the Wetherby Racecourse & Conference Centre Handicap Chase yesterday


7th June

BUDDING EXAMPLE
The Twiston-Davies trained Hello Bud was 3rd in yesterday's Stone Source Grand Veterans' Handicap Chase at Cartmel, ridden by our favourite jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies. This champion of  The Scottish Grand National and Becher Chase was last seen coming 7th in the Grand National at Aintree. This was his second appearance, having come 5th in 2010.
The remarkable 14-year-old was soon showing his rivals a fine set of hooves  and seemed to have them all beaten from halfway. But after jumping the last fence ahead he just seemed to tire in the final stages of the three-mile-six-furlong trip. The outcome was that Sea Saffron won by a length-and-a-half over Heez A Steel. Hello Bud finished 16 lengths behind.
Twiston-Davies (father) commented: "He ran a very good race, the ground had probably just gone a bit soft for him after the rain overnight.”

 

A REAL DELICACY ON THE CARDS
Black Caviar finally got her boarding pass for the trip to GB on Wednesday afternoon for her hugely-awaited appearance in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23. Moody's mare has established herself as one of the all-time greats Down Under. Connections are now looking for her 22nd victory from as many starts.

No chances have been taken as Black Caviar makes her first trip abroad. She has been fitted with a special compression suit. The journey will last more than 30 hours with a number of several stopovers.
Black Caviar should be in her quarters in Newmarket by Friday, accompanied by her vet, exercise rider and the stable foreman.
David Stevens of Coral said: "Sprinters from Down Under have proved their worth in Britain in recent years, but Black Caviar brings with her form that is far superior to the likes of Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast, and as far as we're concerned it's not if she wins, but a question of how far she wins by."

DIS IS D-DAY!
6th June 2012


ALL THE QUEEN'S HORSES ....
In ths Jubilee week it seems fitting to reflect on Queen Elizabeth's association with horses. It's a well-known fact that Her Majesty’s lifelong passion is horse-racing This is the one interest where she spends a lot of serious money. It has been estimated that Her Majesty's overall expenditure is between £500,000 and £700,000 a year for  keeping 25 horses in training each season.  However, Her Majesty is acknowledged  as one of the most knowledgeable bloodstock owners in the country so she knows where the money goes. It is wonderful that over the years Her Majesty's horses have won most of the major British races; the one that still eludes her is the Derby. They do say that if she hadn’t been Queen, she could have been a very successful bloodstock breeder.
Her grandfather, King George V, may have been resposnsible for instilling in her the interest in flat racing. When she was a small child she visited  her grandparents at Sandringham. Quite naturally she would go with the King have a look at the horses, stabled in the royal stud. Even now, her greatest joy seems to be to  go to that self-same stud, although it has been modernised and updated, to look at the mares and stallions.
The Queen seems to be fascinated by horse breeding.  Her Majesty has a good eye for a horse, its conformation, muscle and stride, and a great memory about pedigree and lineage. She regularly visits the stables where her horses are in training and watches them on the gallops. Like any good owner and breeder,  she will go down to the paddock and the pre-parade ring before the start of a race.
Some of the most delightful pictures of the Queen are when she is caught up in the excitement of a race. It might be said that her favourite week of the year is Royal Ascot, in June. After all, it is, her own racecourse!  The Duke of Devonshire, who was the Queen’s representative at Ascot for 15 years, says: “The Queen comes every day and, in recent years, has stayed for every race. She looks forward to it as a switch-off from her normal public duties.”
Horses seem to have been part of Her Majesty's life right from the very start. Her first horse was a Shetland pony called Peggy, which was given to her by her grandfather when she was four years old . When she was young she learnt to ride side-saddle. She rode this way for the ceremonial Trooping the Colour until 1987. Since that time she has attended this function in a carriage. When Her Majesty rides for fun, however, she appears to be happiest in the Norfolk countryside or in Windsor Great Park. Then she rides astride the horse, quite often wearing nothing more protective than a headscarf.
 
 WHEN IS AN EX-JOCKEY LIKE A BUS?
(Answer below!)
There was a time when the only coaching a jockey would get was a swift boot up the nether regions.
But  times have changed. Last week Carl Llewellyn - our very own Carl from Twiston-Davies' Grange Hill Farm - joined an elite group of  nine, mainly ex–jockeys,  who have attained a UK Coaching Certificate Level 3, putting them on a par with international cricket and rugby coaches. It seems it will not be long before apprentices or conditional jockeys who have got their licence will be assigned to a coach., who will ideally coach and mentor them throughout their riding career.
When it was rumoured that this was the first exam that Carl Llewellyn, twice winner of the Grand National, had ever passed. He protested:
“That’s not quite true. Apart from my driving test, it’s the first I’ve sat, so I actually have a 100 per cent record now.”
Carl explained how the scheme will work: “It will amount to a few hours a month. You watch them when they ride, go racing with them occasionally, go through videos with them, analyse their races and teach them how to manage their weight. Hopefully it will help them avoid the mistakes we made.”
Carl Llewellyn has already been assigned some pupils, including James Hudson, who is with Henrietta Knight. As the latter has  just announced her retirement I wonder what first piece of advice our Carl will offer!
 
WHEN HE'S A COACH!
BOOM, BOOM!

5th June
ON THE WANE (ROONEY)?
Pippy, Wayne Rooney's much-vaunted dabble into race  horse ownership still continued to disappoint as the 2-year-old colt finished  last again at Carlisle yesterday. Pippy was the first horse in  action from a trio belonging to ManU and England striker and his wife Coleen, in  training with Tom Dascombe. The young colt seemed to get far  less inviolved in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing E.B.F.  Maiden Stakes. Alarmingly he displayed wayward tendencies when hanging badly  left across the track. Not-so-nippy Pippy certainly looked unsuited to the course and was  eased home by Tom Eaves. Wayne and Coleen's other two-year-old Tomway, has only beaten three horses home in two starts. Not as a winner,  mind!
 
PERE ET FILS EN FRANCE POUR LE DOUBLE!
Aidan and Joseph O'Brien failed in their bid to  complete a Derby double as Imperial Monarch finished 8th behind  Saonois, the  surprise winner of the Prix du Jockey Club. Father and son had  nipped over to France after their amazing day at Epsom when their 2000 Guineas  champion, Camelot, completed a Classic double in the Investec  Derby.The unbeaten Imperial Monarch seemed to be a  promising prospect for the French equivalent following his triumph in the  Sandown Classic Trial last month. But 'twas not to be. Imperial Monrch was at  the back of the field when they all turned for home. Somehow he had slipped to  the rear in a quite a tough race. O'brien fils switched wide to  try to challenge in the straight and the 3-year-old was flying at the finish,  but it was too late to overhaul the leading pack.
TANT PIS!

4th June

TRIPLE CROWN FOR KING ARTHUR'S CASTLE?

 Camelot was superbly victorious in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday. But he  has really started something. There are now thoughts of the Triple Crown. It's some years since the mighty Nijinsky set the record in 1970  by winning the 2000 Guineas, the Derby and the St Leger. But that could all change after Aidan O'Brien's favourite notched up two parts of the magical treble. Joseph, the trainer's son, who is only 19,  took good counsel and bided his time towards the rear for much of the mile-and-a-half trip. He only began to make headway on the outside of the field coming round the home turn. For a while it looked like his stable companion, Astrology, had got the better of his rivals, but Camelot soon sorted that and passed him nearing the final furlong and finished strongly to secure a five-length success. John Magnier indicated that the Ladbrokes-sponsored St. Leger in September at Doncaster could be a strong possibility. He commented: "Camelot's brilliance is there for everyone to see and we are fortunate to have anything to do with him, and it's particularly important in the year his father (Montjeu) died."

  

NIGHT KNIGHT!!

Henrietta Knight's final two runners didn't cut the mustard at Fontwell and so she unfortunately failed to end her successful career on a high note.The West Lockinge trainer's luck ran out with My Friend Riquet and Seventh Hussar, both ridden by Dominic Elsworth.

My Friend Riquet was 11 out of 12 horses and Seventh Hussar finished last in the Hope for Hearing, Evie's Race Handicap Chase.

As reported in Racing News, Henrietta Knight decided to retire last month so that she could spend more time with her sick husband, former jockey Terry Biddlecombe. From her Wantage stables in Oxfordshire, she produced over 700 winners. She first started training in July 1989. Despite always being remembered for her most successful horse, Best Mate, Henrietta Knight was also responsible for Edredon Bleu, who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2000 and the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 2003. She will be missed.


2nd June

CAMELOT - HISTORY OR MYTH?

Today's Investec Derby has the smallest number of runners for many years. There will be just nine hopefuls going to post. Surely the long-time favourite, Camelot, cannot have frightened them all off! But he is a really special colt. The way he won 2,000 Guineas coming from off the pace and showing a tremendous turn of foot shows he's got what it takes. Nevertheless he's a son of Montjeu whose offspring seem to be much better over middle distances.

He's been highly thought of for a long time at Ballydoyle, It's about time Aidan O'Brien won another Derby and Camelot could just be the one. Of course, his very short price will not make him popular with every punter.

 

BUT YOU MIGHT PLAY WITH FIRE

The horse that is tipped to pose the greatest challenge to Aidan O'Brien ambitions in the Investec Derby is defintely the Andrew Balding-trained Bonfire, winner of the Dante Stakes at York which some consider Britain's definitive  Derby trial, .

"I was delighted with Bonfire at York - he did everything we could have asked and he seems to have come out of the race very well," said Balding. We had a big meeting at the beginning of the year with the owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, and sat down to talk with Harry Herbert and John Warren about the best way to progress to June. Camelot is a clearly a formidable opponent. He's obviously going to be very tough to beat, but we'll certainly give it a good go.

 

HOT TIP FOR THE DERBY - SHERGAR (1981!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpIzPuiDN60

 

1st June

WE ARE INDEED AMUSED

Carlton House came back in style after a long absence from the track when winning the Betfair Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown.

The colt, owned by Her Majesty The Queen and trained by Sir Michael Stoute had not been around since making a fourth in the Irish Derby last June. Carlton House sprinted inside the last furlong to win by a length and three-quarters under Ryan Moore.

Sir Michael commented: "We had him as fit as we could without taking any chances. He used up a little too much energy early on because the gallop wasn't strong enough, but he wanted it. He was very fresh today. When he went through the gap he filled up again as it wasn't a strong gallop."

 

FRANKIE GOES TO TOWN

Frankie Dettori was back in the headlines last night (apart from our own Racing News, that is!)  after relishing an ideal ride on the  impressive Henry II Stakes winner Opinion Poll. Godolphin's six-year-old struck the front in the final two furlongs and revealed an impressive turn of foot under Dettori's hands and heels to win with a lot to spare. 

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said: "He was very professional and we're very pleased. Not all can do what he does. He races in Dubai in the winter and Europe in the summer - he's very active. If he was to be given a break he would go bananas. He thrives on his racing." I think he was talking about the horse!

 

31st May

YA CAN'T KEEP THE OLDTIMERS DOWN!

Yet another 36 yr-old (11 by equine age) beats a gang of 20 yr-olds (4 & 5) in the wonderfully named: 'Happy 70th Birthday Eileen Wedlock Apprentice Handicap' at AYR yesterday. So a senior wins for a senior!

From 87 starts (44 Flat turf, 42 AW and 1 HURDLE) this horse has brought home 10 WINS, 8 SECONDS and 14 THIRDS.

Which horse achieved this feat? His name is HARARE, trained by Karen Tutty and owned by Thoroughbred Homes Ltd.

He was born just two weeks after Dvinsky mentioned earlier in the week. Interesting too is that they both hail from American stock.

 

If you missed the race: http://horses.sportinglife.com/Video/Racing/0,27770,500285_4,00.html

 

TALKING OF OLDTIMERS! (SORRY FRANKIE!)

It is reported that Frankie Dettori (41 or 115 in equine years!) has no immediate plans to retire, despite a lot of media speculation caused by his recent changed position at Godolphin. Godolphin has confirmed that Dettori will share Godolphin's big-race rides this season with rookies,  Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa. Barzalona will ride Kailani in the Investec Oaks at Epsom on Friday, leaving Dettori mountless. Dettori will also be unemployed for Saturday's Derby as Godolphin do not have an entry. 

Frankie told the Daily Telegraph: "I have no plans to retire. I am still young for a top jockey and I have many good years ahead of me. I will back myself to beat anybody."

 

30th May

A HORSE WITH NO NAME

Wayne Rooney's new equine acquisition, as yet unnamed, could be in action in the not-too-distant future, thinks trainer Elaine Burke. The Man U striker has bought a majority share in a Dutch Art two-year-old with his former teammate and fellow racing enthusiast, John O'Shea. Rooney has yet to strike in this particular sport, however, in his first venture into horse ownership with Cheshire trainer Tom Dascombe.  His first runner, Pippy, finished behind all the others ( didn't want to say last!)  on his first outing at Chester and his second acquisition, Tomway, also had quite a few horses in front at the finish. The latest nameless colt was bought by Elaine Burke's husband and former trainer, Karl. (trainer of the horses, I mean!)

"He's going to be named very soon - there have been a few names put forward and we're looking at them at the moment." Elaine Burke said. Odds-on against his being called 'Ferguson' or 'Capello'!

 

Talking of horses with no name, the band, America, was already a winner in 1972:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8uHVVq10B8

 

FLIGHT AND FRIGHT

Black Caviar's trainer, Peter Moody, is worried that his champion might not be able to tolerate the tiring flight from Australia to England. The six-year-old mare has only ever raced in her homeland, winning 21 consecutive races but is booked to contest the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Quarantine regulations and flight restrictions could possibly entail Black Caviar's being in transit for 30 hours or so before arriving in Newmarket, where she will get ready for the Royal meeting.

Moody said : "The travel does worry me. It is daunting. It is certainly exciting, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit tentative, a bit nervous about it all."

  

A GOOD NAME FOR A HORSE?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqj2hkbDnyM

YouTube - Videos from this email

 

29th May

AGE SHALL NOT WEARY HIM ...

Using an equine to human age calculator this horse is about 36.

Yet he beat a gang of 20-year-olds ( 4 and 5 in equine age) over a distance of 7 furlongs at Kempton Park yesterday. 

He seems to handle 6 and 7 furlongs equally well. So still quite a sprinter for an 11 year old! 

The condition of the ground doesn't seem to worry him, either, as he has won on GF, GS and AW. 

Amazingly this was his 209th. race since August 2003 (148 AW and 61 Flat Turf), during which time he has clocked up 19 Wins, 32 Seconds and 32 Thirds.

Who is this Champion the Wonder Horse?  DVINSKY (USA), trained by Paul Howling and ridden on this occasion so ably by Tom McLaughlin who has been on board on 20 previous occasions. His first-ever jockey was a young Eddie Ahern.

... NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN

HERE'S TO 250!

Watch and be amazed: http://horses.sportinglife.com/Video/Racing/0,27770,500012_4,00.html

 

FRANKELY,  CAVIAR AINT ON THE MENU

Sadly the QIPCO Sussex Stakes will not include Black Caviar among the entries on Tuesday. So any hopes of a meeting  of world champions are dashed. It is understood that the sponsors would increase the prize money of Goodwood's top race from £300,000 to £1 million if  Frankel and Black Caviar, the world's two highest-rated horses and unbeaten in 31 outings between them, took each other on.

Jeff O'Connor explained: "Moody Racing does not intend running Black Caviar at a mile in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, Frankel or no Frankel, as we are looking at getting her back to Melbourne for racing later in the year if she comes through Ascot as well as she can.

We understand it would have been a great selling point for Glorious Goodwood and we appreciate the more than generous offer from QIPCO in getting the conditions of the race to where they are but we will have to decline on this occasion."

It seems that Black Caviar's British campaign needs to finish by mid-July, if she is to return home in time to get ready for the Spring Carnival in Melbourne.

 

28th May

CHANNON'S GUINEAS

Trainer Mick Channon had nothing but praise for jockey, Martin Harley,  after he rode 12-1 shot Samitar to victory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh. This gave Channon his first Classic win since he started his training career 22 years ago. Aidan O'Brien had three challengers in the race but his Homecoming Queen weakened and Samitar finished strongly to claim the win. Harley said: "It was a big opportunity to be given my first ride in a Classic. The boss has given me a lot of chances and to give me a ride like this in a Classic is unbelievable."

NEVER SAY DIE!

Aidan O'Brien's Classic ambitions may have taken a knock at the Curragh on Sunday when Ishvana finished second behind Samitar  but those in the know expect business as usual at Epsom on Friday. Already lined up sat at the head of the market for Friday's Classic, is Maybe. O'Brien is also expected to have five colts listed for Saturday's Investec Derby but it appears he will wait until nearer raceday before finalising his running plans. Speaking at the Curragh on Sunday, O'Brien said: "Everything is fine with Camelot. It's a case of so far so good. It will be the middle of the week before we finalise running plans. The horses we have left in the race will have their scopes and blood tests in the next couple of days and then we'll sit down and decide how many we'll run."

 

27th May

WEIGHT FOR IT!
Many general racegoers find the handicapping system strange and incomprehensible.

"After all", they say, "you don't strap weights around Usain Bolt's ankles to stop him winning all the time and give someone else a chance"

That's true but also there is no betting industry built around athletics - well not officially anyway!

Each year about half of the races in Britain are listed as handicaps. These are races where the aim of the Handicappers is to try to give each horse an equal chance of winning. They do this by giving the highest rated (or 'best') horse in the race the highest weight to carry and reducing the weight carried by the other horses. The idea is that owners can wake up on the day of the race and think they have a chance of winning a race. Without the handicapping system the top horses would almost always win and there would be no point in owning anything other than a top horse. And, of course, they'd be no betting industry. And perhaps less horse breeding and selling.
The BHA has a team of twelve Handicappers whose job it is to study and interpret the form of all horses. They publish a list of ratings every week based on performances on the racecourse: the higher the rating, the better the horse. If your horse is rated 120 and mine is rated 110 then we believe that a difference of ten pounds in the weights that they carry would give each of them a fair chance of winning.

So now you know!!

 

SECOND THOUGHTS

The 8-time Group One winner, So You Think, will defend his Tattersalls Gold Cup crown at the Curragh today.

The Ballydoyle's six-year-old was a hot tip to win the Meydan showpiece in March, but only managed fourth in the hands of trainer Aidan O'Brien's son, Joseph. The latter is in the saddle again with high hopes of getting back on the winning trail.

"He seems in good form and we just felt he didn't act on the surface in Dubai," said O'Brien.

"We've been happy with him at home, but he has had a little break and this is only his first run back.

"I'm sure he'll improve, but hopefully he can run a big race."

 

  

26th May

ANYONE FOR THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL?

Edward Gillespie has managed the Cheltenham Festival for thirty-two years  making him one of the longest-serving administrators in all sports, not just racing. Older readers may remember his first tough assigment was to take back the 1980 Gold Cup from the owners of the 'winner', Tied Cottage, after the horse was disqualified for failing a dope test.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most important events in the racing calendar.  In fact this year's Gold Cup Day was the most successful ever in terms of numbers with a record 70,458 people attending. Nothing ever runs smoothly, however. There was a low point when the Festival in 2001 had to be abandoned because of foot and mouth. Handel's 'Sheep may safely graze' had obviously been taken too literally! 

Edward Gillespie kept a delicate balance in this most traditional of worlds as he modernised and developed the project. One of his triumphs was to persuade most sceptics to add a fourth day to the Festival from 2005.

So Edward Gillespie will be a hard act to follow, taking on what is probably the biggest job in racecourse management, in charge of  16 days racing. On top of the agenda are potentially controversial changes to the Festival format. One idea may be to scrap the midweek, Tuesday to Friday format, and include a Saturday fixture for the first time. Without a doubt, hard-core traditionalists will absolutely loathe such an idea.  So perhaps Mr. Gillespie may not be too sad to be leaving this particular problem behind. 

 

As David Bowie sang:

"Outside the pale

Someone sees it all

Goodbye Mr Ed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZkcsFRfBwo

 

 

 

YouTube - Videos 

 

 

TAIL END

One brave reader has sent me a list of her horse's favourite movies.

It includes: 

Prances with Hooves

Withering Heights

Rein Man,

Saturday Night Feeder

Gone with the Whinny

 

OUCH!

 

 

25th May

HAIL TO THE TURNER

Hayley Turner is going to ride Cavaleiro in the Investec Derby at Epsom next Saturday.

Hayley has already secured two Group One wins - the July Cup on Dream Ahead and the Nunthorpe on Margot Did.

But she has not yet had a crack at the Derby. This is about to change when she mounts Marcus Tregoning's horse.

As any horserace buffs knows, Alex Greaves is the only woman to have previously ridden in the Derby, finishing last (of 20) on Portuguese Lil in 1996.

Cavaleiro is the son of Tregoning's Derby winner Sir Percy. He was also third to Main Sequence in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

Turner told Racing UK: "I just got a call from Mr Tregoning and he said I could ride the horse for Mr Guy Brooks in the Derby, so that was very kind of him. I think he's the sort of horse that will suit the course, he's quite a strong traveller. I suppose for any jockey it's nice to have a ride in the Derby, male or female, so obviously I'm thrilled."

 

AND IT'S A GOOD KNIGHT FROM HER!

Henrietta Knight, the three-times Gold Cup-winning trainer,  has announced that she is retiring. 

Based in Wantage, Oxfordshire, she has saddled over 700 winners.

She will give up her National Hunt licence so that she can spend more time with her husband, Terry Biddlecombe, who suffered a stroke last October. The Oxfordshire trainer will always be remembered for her expert handling of Best Mate, who won three consecutive Gold Cups at the Cheltenham Festival between 2002-04.

Henrietta Knight commented: "I am hugely grateful for the backing that I have received over the past years from my family, my loyal owners, my dedicated staff and from numerous top jockeys. I would like to thank everybody who has helped me enjoy so many happy days."

 

24th May

NO IRISH HORSE FEED FOR FRANKEL.

The Leopardstown Group One, Red Mills (sponsored) Irish Champion Stakes is now not on the cards for the world-beating colt.

Sir Henry Cecil has decided that Frankel will not go to  Ireland on September 8,  although  his stablemate, Twice Over, is still one of 50 entries.

"It's a great race and everything, but it's not in his programme", commented Sir Henry, "but if, say, he's going to go for the Sussex Stakes (Goodwood, August 1) and then the Juddmonte (York, August 22), then he can't run in that, too. We can't enter him in everything."

 

GREAT SCOTT! GREAT LEIGHS!

Great Leighs' application to be given fixtures in 2013 has been turned down by the British Horseracing Authority.

The racecourse, near Chelmsford in Essex, was the first new track opened in Britain for 81 years. Sadly  it only lasted a few months before going into administration in January 2009. The track now has different owners who had hoped towards the end of last year that it could make a return. The BHA board, however, considered an application on behalf of MC Racetracks at their recent meeting and  decided not to approve it. 

Will Lambe, head of external affairs for the BHA, said: "We have informed those involved with the Great Leighs submission of the Board's concerns and although we won't be discussing them publicly, we have offered to provide the racecourse with some guidance as to how they might be addressed in any future applications.

 

23rd May

GETTING ON MY HIGH HORSE

It may seem that we have had the best of what is to come in the way of champion horse performances. (Goldikova, Sea the Stars, Big Buck's - name your favourite.) But last weekend a certain unbeaten horse, going by the name of FRANKEL, stretched his winning streak to ten in a row in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. This triumph was his seventh over a mile – the other three were over seven furlongs. Doesn't look like anything on four legs can beat him! But hold your horses! Australia's own wonder mare, BLACK CAVIAR, with an amazing twenty-one wins under her girth, is coming to town next month. This sequence includes stakes races and Group or Grade 1 contests. This miraculous mount will probably be at Royal Ascot this season, her first trip outside of Oz. Her regular trip is 6 furlongs but she has won one 7 furlong race which was perhaps more striking than some of her other victories. Wouldn't it be great if there were a possibility of a match between HER and HIM. Actually the chance of the two racing against each other is about as likely as a certain Mr. Johnson winning the 100 metres in the 2012 Olympics! (No offence, Boris!). The problem is that with each new victory the fear of defeat gets ever stronger. When you're on top, the only way is down, as they say! So connections of each horse would be loathe to decide in favour of such a confrontation. If it doesn't happen, perhaps Paddy Power could feed each horse's statistics into its famed Race Predictor and let's see what happens!

To paraphrase the Two Ronnies: "And it's goodbye from HER or maybe it's goodbye from HIM!"

 

THE PASSING OF A CHAMPION OF RACING

Lord Hemphill, who has died aged 83, transformed Irish horse racing from a sport into an industry. In particular, he introduced corporate sponsorship, procedures for deciding disputed results and mobile starting stalls, something we accept now as a standard racing feature. Lord Hemphill’s first involvement in racing was through the Galway Blazers for whom he was the hunt’s Joint Master from 1957 to 1960 and from 1972 to 1986. He was elected to the Irish National Hunt Society in 1965 and was Senior Steward in 1975 and 1980. In 1975 he introduced yellow toe boards (marking the base of a jump) to help jockeys judge distances. He was elected to the Irish Turf Club in 1972. As Senior Steward from 1985 to 1988, he persuaded the American brewers , Budweiser, to sponsor the Irish Derby. This Budweiser connection boosted the prestige of the Irish Derby and made it nearly as famous as its English counterpart. He was a member of the Galway Race Committee from 1958 to 2004 and chairman from 1991 to 1997, a period which saw Galway’s summer race festival grow from a two day event to seven. He had a new grandstand built and an advanced watering system installed. He was particularly concerned to maintain Galway’s record for bets placed at the Tote.

 

 

 

21st May

1 2 3 - IT'S SO EE-EASY!

At least that's the way Sam Twiston-Davies made it look yesterday at Stratford.

AFRICAN GOLD was his Winner by over four lengths. Sam proved to be a MUSICAL GUY with his Second and COOTEHILL gave him a mount for his Third. ( Hill! Mount! Geddit?)

Ronnie Ronalde, surprisingly whistled along very well for most of the race but, unfortunately blundered 3 out and landed our Sam on the deck.

So more of a Swan Song than a Sam Sung!

 

TWO QUID PRO (MORE THAN) QUO

A Totescoop6 punter was celebrating on Saturday night after winning a total of £193,505 when Al Muheer won the final leg at Thirsk. Just two tickets were left by the sixth and final leg. Al Muheer fulfilled the promise of his run at Chester's May meeting and  stormed clear of his rivals to win easily. The winner had placed just a £2 straight line on the bet and now has the chance to add a further £82,930 to the winnings in the bonus fund next weekend.

"Not many punters land the Totescoop6 on their own so I'd like to offer my warmest congratulations to this weekend's winner who's won a small fortune for just £2," said Totepool chairman, Fred Done.

 

 

20th May

FRANK(E)LY SPEAKING - FANTASTIC!

Frankel annihilated the opposition in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury yesterday.

Frankel is world's highest rated horse and he showed it with style when he returned to the Group One mile race at Newbury.

Gone were lingering doubts caused by an earlier injury which even had some commentators talking about premature retirement.

He seemed to be a calmer, stronger, more mature individual than last year. He was kept under a tight reign by his regular jockey, Tom Queally, following the pace set by his stable companion, Bullet Train. The latter took the field along, perhaps unwillingly, until the final quarter of a mile when Frankel swept past. Excelebration, a Group One winner and a high-class performer in his own right, had shadowed every move made by Frankel but just couldn't stay with this son of Galileo. Before you could say 'Sir Henry Cecil', the champ put a distance between himself and any potential rivals and cruised home five lengths clear, thereby extending his winning sequence to 10 and retaining his unbeaten record.

 

SAM SUNG!

Our favourite jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, has four rides at Stratford today.

One is on Cootehill who won last time out by over a length so could be worth a punt.

Another ride is on the interestingly named Ronnie Ronalde whom older readers may remember as a singer and entertainer of yonks ago. His popular rendition of "If I were a Blackbird" in which he added bird-song  imitations was a favourite of the day. Yes, really!

He might have to whistle for this one, though!

 

 

 

19th May

LET'S MAKE IT TEN!

Frankel is fit enough to do himself in today's JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, says Sir Henry Cecil.

The son of Galileo won each of his five starts in 2011, including wins  in the 2000 Guineas, the Sussex Stakes and the QEII Stakes. 

That makes for a nine unbeaten record altogether.  There was injury scare last month but he was soon back to form. It looks like Frankel is now ready to return to action.

"Considering Frankel had a 10-day setback I am pleased with the progress he has made in preparation for the Lockinge at Newbury on Saturday," the Newmarket handler said. "Some of the opposition have had a race, which is a great advantage, but I feel he has done enough to give a good account of himself. One thing I am pretty sure about is that he will come on for the race and will be a stronger and more settled horse this year."

 

LOL - NOT WHAT DAVID CAMERON THINKS IT MEANS!

Laugh Out Loud took the EquinITy Powered By Garmin Fillies' Stakes in good style  at York yesterday.

Mick Channon's filly was favourite for the mile Listed race, registered as The Michael Seely Memorial Stakes, and gave her many followers few moments of doubt.

Eighth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on her previous outing, she made the most of the drop in class to score by a length from Electrelane. The two had raced prominently throughout the race and both quickened impressively but it was William Buick's horse that proved the better and completed an across the card double for her trainer.

Buick said afterwards: "Like a lot of Mick's fillies she's very tough and I think she can keep on progressing from this."

 

18th May

ALAS POOR YORK!

Well it wasn't Kayfi's day yesterday! 

He looked fantastic before and after the race and as usual gave his all.

It is, of course, always easy to make excuses.

Tactically things didn't seem to work out. He raced well in mid-field 

and just when it looked like he would be able to make further headway

he got 'short of daylight', as the commentator said, got crowded out on the bend

and had to change direction. This clearly put him off his stride.

Having lost momentum it took him a while to get going again.

He did manage to get back in touch  about 4 furlongs out 

but by then the mad rush for the post had started with Cloudy Spirit and Dark Ranger battling it out, the former taking the prize by a neck.

 

UP FOR THE CUP!

The Sportingbet Yorkshire Cup is the feature race today There are quite a few of familiar horses. There is a newcomer, however, Be Fabulous, who became quite a good stayer in France last season and won the Prix Royal Oak last time out. 

She will be worth keeping an eye on but she is carrying a penalty for her last win.

But it could be Times Up who claims victory. 

He's a C & D winner who has been constantly improving. 

2 miles is his ideal distance and at around 6-1 he could be worth a punt.

 

 

17th May

 

A HIGH FIVE!

Today marks the 5th anniversary of Kayf Aramis' memorable winning of the Robert Pratt Memorial Stakes (Handicap).

At that time he was trained by John Spearing and ridden by Marc Halford.

It was our champion's second win at York and third win overall, soundly beating his old rivals, Great as Gold and Rose Bien.

The Racing Post, usually quite laconic when describing any of Kayfi's races wrote: 'Chased leaders, led over 4f out, edged right over 1f out, stayed on well' - and that is praise indeed!

 

 

CHILD'S PLAY?

 
 

Tiddliwinks flipped a great surprise in the Duke Of York Totepool Stakes yesterday.

The six year-old beat his better fancied rivals when winning the Group Two contest

by a head from The Cheka. Jamie Spencer rode a waiting race, covering every move

of the opposition and, when asked, last year's third produced an impressive turn of

foot to take the lead and held on bravely.

An emotional Kevin Ryan, the trainer, said: "I thought he'd got there too soon, but

when Jamie gave him a squeeze he just took off. Thankfully, he held on."

 

 

16th May

QUICK ON THE DRAW?

Well it's here. The one we have been waiting for. 

The start of the three day Dante meeting on the Knavesmire in York.

There is, of course, a lot of excitement about the second most important Derby trial, the Dante itself, but there are another twenty races to enjoy and speculate about, not the least, the last race tomorrow when Kayf Aramis is running.

A lot of thought has been given to the importance of the draw at York. 

It is generally agreed that in fields of 14 or more it can often be significant.

So what is a good stall? It looks like on the straight course, where the 5 and 6 furlong races take place, middle to high is the place to be.

On the 7 furlong course it's not so certain, though low may just have the advantage. 

But really if your horse doesn't win over 7 furlongs you can't blame the draw!

 

In large handicap races over a distance of between a mile and a mile and a half, a low draw is generally favoured if the race is run at a decent gallop. If there is a slow pace, however, the runners tend to bunch up and the horses with a low draw can get boxed in and have to give way to wider drawn horses at the start of the race. 

The difficulty here is knowing how the race will be run before placing a bet!

For the longer distances the draw does not have any real significance.

As it happens Kayf Aramis is drawn 13 - which is lucky for some!

 

 

15th May

'FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS'

Ernest Hemingway will run in Thursday's Betfred Dante Stakes at York only if the ground dries out and, for similar reasons, his Investec Derby entry is also in doubt. This Galileo colt won by 10 lengths on his only start to date at Dundalk and is a best priced 25-1 for the Derby next month. The plan was to give him a test run in the recognised trial on the Knavesmire. 

Speaking at Ballydoyle, trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "Ernest Hemingway is in the Dante, but he would only go to York if the ground was good or better. It is doubtful he would go to Epsom if he misses York."

 

A VOW WOW!

Johnny Murtagh, who rode  Kayf Aramis to his glorious 13-length victory in the RipleyCollection Stakes in 2009, was clearly impressed by another horse on Saturday. After his win on Vow at Lingfield the jockey thinks she is a good bet for the Investec Oaks at Epsom. Daughter of Motivator, Vow made an impressive racecourse debut at Newbury in April. She could give Murtagh and trainer William Haggas a second successive Oaks victory following Dancing Rain's win last year.

 

 

14th May

CONGRATULATIONS AND CELEBRATIONS!

Cliff Richard's Eurovision Song Contest entry from yonks ago could have been written for Willy Twiston-Davies who clocked up a winner at Uttoxeter yesterday.

He won by 7 lengths on Tour des Champs.

This clearly is just a warm-up in preparation for his ride on Kayf Aramis at York on Thursday!

 

ON THE SUBJECT OF THE YORK DANTE FESTIVAL

Fame And Glory is at the head of  16 entrants for the Sportingbet Yorkshire Cup, the feature race on the last day of the York Dante Festival.

Readers will recall that Aidan O'Brien's horse was a brilliant winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and also the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup at the same track.

 

 

13th May

RED MERLIN CASTS A SPELL

In a race with a name reminiscent of Kayf Aramis' triumph at Cheltenham, Red Merlin was an easy winner

of the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Haydock yesterday. Trained by Donald McCain's this well-backed

favourite ran well throughout the race keeping to the inside. Jason Maguire seemed full of confidence when he

pushed Red merlin out to make a challenge jumping the final hurdle. He was soon well ahead of the rest of the field,

finishing a comfortable two-and-a-half lengths clear of runner-up Tony Star at the post. Double Ross came next followed by Dream Esteem.

 

 INCREDIBUBBLE!

In one of the most remarkable races ever staged in Britain, all seven starters failed to put in a clear round at Southwell on 23 January, 2002. But the unusual raced did not end there. The odds-on favourite Family Business was later remounted and steered to victory by none other than the then six-times champion jockey Tony McCoy. His mount had fallen with a circuit to go and five horses still in the race. But then all the other five either fell, refused or unseated their rider. McCoy decided to jump back onto Family Business and made his solitary run for the finishing line.

Quite naturally, in view of the huge pay-outs on the odds-on favourite, the bookies were not happy bunnies! Some of them claimed the race should have been made void because Family Business had jumped one fence twice. However, the stewards' secretary Phil Tuck said: "We have spoken to London and they say that jumping a fence twice is not a reason for disqualification but it would be if he missed a fence out. A horse can be remounted and continue in the race as long as he goes back to where he departed."

 

 

12th May

A LEGEND IN HIS OWN LIFETIME

The sire of Kayf Aramis. Sadler's Wells (1981 - 2011). was trained at Ballydoyle by the legendary Vincent O'Brien (no relation to Aidan) and won six of his eleven races with distances from 7f to 10f. In 1984 he won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, the Irish 2,000 Guineas, Eclipse Stakes and inaugural Phoenix Champion Stakes. He came second in the Prix Du Jockey Club. By any standards Sadler's Wells would be remembered as a high-class racehorse whose form deserved a place in history. This was just the start, however, as he went on to become a phenomenon in the breeding world of Europe, dominating even the likes of the great Hyperion. Sadler's Wells was awarded 14 sires' championships in Britain and Ireland and was also champion sire in France three times, and once in North America. When he retired from stud duties he had already sired the winners of 106 European Group 1 races, including 23 Classics in Britain, Ireland and France. He died only last year at the ripe old age of 30.

Kayf Aramis certainly had a hard act to follow and he has certainly acquitted himself with distinction.

 

ASCOT ON THE CARDS

Thankfully there will be an an eight-race card at Ascot as racing on the round course got the all-clear. Alternative plans were prepared earlier this week because of the substantial rainfall so that if the races on the round course were affected then there could still be a six-race card. But that in the end wasn't necessary. After a rain-less night clerk of the course, Chris Stickels, was able to give the go-ahead to the first two races of the day after a crack-of-dawn inspection. The going is soft on the straight course and heavy, soft in places on the round course. 

 

 

11th May

WHETHER THE WEATHER BE …. !!!

The Lingfield’s trials have been moved the all-weather track for Saturday and it looks like the Dante will be run on soft ground at York next week. Our own Kayf Aramis will not complain about that! But the exceedingly wet weather is making for difficult decisions for a lot of connections.

It was in 1983 when the Derby was last run on real soft ground and that was when Teenoso won. Of course, chances are that the ground will dry up before everyone's favourite Classic is run on Saturday June 2. It would present a different kind of race if it doesn't.

 

“PUT OUT THE FIRE!” ( AS QUEEN RECORDED)

BONFIRE, who was on the cards to be Favourite for today's Group 3 Stobart Barristers Dee Stakes has been pulled out because of the Chester racetrack's tough conditions. Although only 1mm of rain fell on the course overnight, the going is described as soft, heavy in places, after the track was consistently deluged with rain all week. Trainer, Andrew Balding, made the decision to take Bonfire out of the race after walking the track. The owners, Highclere, tweeted: "Bonfire a non-runner due to appalling ground. A Balding walked the track this am & decided that it was simply too bad to allow him to run. "We will look now to the Dante next week. Such a shame as the horse is in great form but we can't risk him on such a bad surface."

 

10th May

 

AN OVERTURN IN THE CHESTER CUP

Ile De Re won the Chester Cup yesterday pushing his stablemate, Overturn, into second place but it still meant a first and second place for trainer Donald McCain. Overturn led gallantly for most of the way until Ile de Re, in his first race since leaving the Ian Williams yard, took the lead a furlong from home and won by a length and three-quarters. Gulf of Naples, the 11-2 joint favourite, finished third. Chester’s oldest and longest race, the StanJames.com Chester Cup, was changed to a flag start at the last moment on Wednesday so that the stalls wouldn't tear up the soft ground. Gulf of Naples, who had had a bad draw, gained from this change but in the end he couldn't catch the winner.


ROONEY FAILS TO STRIKE

Wayne Rooney's first experience as a racehorse owner ended in disappointment when Pippy came last of 9 runners. The two-year-old colt was always towards the back of the field after a slow start in the Manor House Stables Lily Agnes Stakes.

 

9th May

 

PRIZE MONEY UPPED BY THE JOCKEY CLUB

The Jockey Club (founded in 1750), Britain's largest commercial group in horse racing, is to raise prize money after an increase in turnover and profits last year. Their operating profit (earnings before paying interest and taxes) in 2011 was £19.2m, an increase from £18.3m. in 2010. An impressive £16.4m in prize money was paid out during the year.

The Jockey Club which owns the Cheltenham, Aintree, Newmarket and Epsom race courses plans to increase prize money this year to £16.7m. This welcome action will help to offset a decline in funding from the levy paid by the betting industry. Funds from the betting levy fell from £115m in 2007-08 to £65m in 2011-12 as a result of a number of bookmakers moving their business activities offshore.

 

"We were able to afford to contribute more than ever to British racing in the form of prize money, despite the challenging economic environment around us," said Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive. However, British racing is still significantly underfunded. We need the government to press on with a legislative framework that allows racing to receive a fair commercial return from the betting industry."

 

OPPOSITION ON THE WANE FOR ROONEY!

Coconut Kisses has also pulled out of Lily Agnes Stakes, so Wayne Rooney's Pippy now only has 9 rivals to beat after a total of four non-runners in Chester's opener at 1.35pm. You can get 5/1 at Paddy Power!

 

 

8th May

 

CAN MAN U STRIKER GET LUCKY?

Wayne Rooney will be racing his first horse as an owner this week. Pippy, one of three two year-olds he has in training with Tom Dascombe at the Manor House Stables owned by Rooney's team mate, Michael Owen, is entered for the Lily Agnes Stakes, at Chester tomorrow. The bay colt cost Rooney £66,780. Jamie Spencer will take the ride. Rooney and his wife, Coleen, are expected to be there. It is possible that Rooney's a second horse, Tomway, could run on Thursday. Traditionally Sir Alex Ferguson takes the whole Man U squad on an end-of-season outing to one day of the Chester fixture so perhaps they will all be cheering on Pippy or Tomway!

 

RACING FORUM MEETING AT YORK

Racing Forum, which is promoting radical proposals for the raising of a levy from bookmakers, are holding a dinner at York racecourse on Friday. The group, supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racecourses, journalists, punters and racegoers, will bring together racing's top people with representatives of the betting industry in order to add weight to their ideas.

The event will also provide a platform for MP Laurence Robertson, chairman of the All Parliamentary Racing Group, Andy Hornby, chief executive of Coral bookmakers, and Martin Cruddace, Betfair's chief legal and regulatory officer, to air their views.

 

7th May

FRANKLY FRANKEL

Frankel, the world's highest-rated thoroughbred, showed he was feeling fitter with a racecourse gallop at Newmarket on Saturday. The champion's future had been in doubt after he injured his leg in April. The good news was that he was given the go-ahead to continue racing after getting a positive scan a week later. This unbeaten 4-year-old increased his training this weekend in preparation for the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19. Frankel was put through his paces up the Rowley Mile accompanied by Bullet Train and Jet Away. The son of Galileo took a keen hold for his jockey, Queally, and soon raced clear of his stable companions in his usual exuberant manner.

Sir Henry Cecil said: "He really enjoyed himself and was very relaxed. Going down to the start he was switched off and after the work he had a little bit of a blow - you can't be anything but pleased. I think everything looks good for the Lockinge, before which he will need another two to three bits of work, but at the moment everything is fine.

If the ground is soft (at Newbury) I don't think that will worry him at all, and we know he gets a mile really well."

 

'DARBY' NOT 'DERBY'!

It's good to hear that Camelot has recovered well from his great win in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. 

The son of Montjeu may be encouraging connections to dream of a possible Triple Crown after winning this first Classic of the season on Saturday. Everything now points to Epsom and a crack at the Investec Derby.

 

6th May

I'LL HAVE ANOTHER!

The 138th Kentucky Derby was watched by a record crowd of 165,307 at Churchill Downs yesterday. The strong favourite, Bodemeister, made virtually all in the running and was still well ahead in the final stretch. 

Just as it looked like it was in the bag, I'll Have Another caught the Bob Baffert trained colt in the last 100 yards.

Any dreams of a transatlantic Classic double for Ballydoyle to coupleCamelot’s Guineas win earlier in the day were dashed as Aidan O'Brien's Daddy Long Legs could only manage 20th .

If you missed it, watch here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL_HO8cYuas&feature=related

 

COURT OF KING ARTHUR SHOWS THE WAY

As mentioned earlier hot favourite Camelot snatched the prize in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, beating French Fifteen by a neck. The colt was a short-priced favourite for this first Classic of the season but there was some uncertainty about the ground. 

Jean-Claude Rouget's Abtaal could only make 8th, even though the French trainer thought he'd be in the first three with his fellow countryman, Nicolas Clement, as quoted in yesterday's Racing News.

 

YouTube - Videos from this email

 

5th May

VIVE LA FRANCE!

Jean-Claude Rouget, the French trainer, is hoping that Abtaal, second favourite for today's Qipco 2,000 Guineas, will gain a second win for France in this race in the last three years. Makfi won in this first Classic race of the season in 2010 and Rouget thinks Abtaal can 'couper la moutarde' again.
"I hope to take my revenge because my horse was really quite fat on his first run," said Rouget. French Fifteen, who won last year, was more fit and had the advantage. I'm good friends with Nicolas Clement (French Fifteen's trainer) and we hope that we're both in the first three."
VIEWPOINT

Despite what Rouget says, it looks like the leading contenders are French Fifteen and Power, with the latter probably having the edge.

 

REMINDER!

This evening it's the 138th American version of the greatest two minutes in sport. A complete line-up of 20 runners faces the starter at Churchill Downs. Nine of the 13 runners from last November's Breeders' Cup Juvenile will be in the starting gate. This is a surprisingly large number of horses that have continued training as three-year-olds and managed to avoid the injuries that we hear so much about these days in horse racing.

If you missed it last year, here's a warm-up for this evening:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FuMNdtDQi0&feature=related

YouTube - Videos from this email

 

4th May

What is run on the Churchill Downs, is a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds, over 1m 2F?

Right! The Kentucky Derby (not 'Darby'!!)

 

The race to be run on Saturday will consist of some of the most successful horses for at least 10 years. 

Daddy Long Legs, the Irish colt, faces one of his toughest races in his bid to become the first European-trained winner of the Kentucky Derby.

Nine of the horses who took part last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at the same venue return for the US of A's most celebrated race. The likely favourite for the $2.2m event is the Arkansas Derby winner, Bodemeister, who will bid to become his trainer's fourth winner after Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).

Bob Baffert, the trainer, was trying not to take too much for granted when he said:

"This is one of the toughest Derbys I've been in probably in the last 10 years. It's a really competitive field."

 

Hughes is out of the Dante!

Richard Hughes will miss the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on May 17 after getting a one-day suspension for careless riding on runner-up Big Wave in the Totequickpick Fillies' Handicap at Lingfield. 

It is another blow for Hughes, who has just returned this week from a 50-day ban which he got in India.

Ah well. One less rival jockey for our Kayf Aramis when he returns there in 13 days!

 

 

 

3rd May 2012

 

From the Overbury Stud webpage:

Kayf Tara is Champion British National Hunt sire

Third title in four years for the 18-year-old son of Sadler's Wells

 

Kayf Tara, the sire of Kayf Aramis, has been crowned Champion British National Hunt sire for the third time in four years and finished seventh overall of active sires in Britain and Ireland for the 2011/12 season. Most encouragingly, Kayf Tara also boasts the highest strike rate of any living sire in the top 30 in either Britain or Ireland with 38 per cent winners to runners. His 55 winners this season from 146 runners include Carruthers, who led home his paternal half-brother and Grade 1 winner Planet Of Sound in the Hennessy Gold Cup, and the 151-rated Micheal Flips, successful twice this year over fences and runner-up in the Grade 1 Silly Isles Novices’ Chase.

 

Kayf Tara was also sire of two G1 performers at the recent Punchestown Festival, where Rathlin, already a Grade 2 winner, finished runner-up in the G1 Powers Gold Cup and Mozoltov added a third in the G1 Champion INH Flat Race to his two previous bumper victories.

Alfie Sherrin became Kayf Tara's second Cheltenham Festival winner after Kayf Aramis when landing the G3 JLT Speciality Chase and Charlie Logsdon's Magnifique Etoile looks to be a star for the future following his hat-trick of victories and G1 place in the Tolworth Hurdle.

 

A dual Ascot Gold Cup and Irish St Leger winner, Kayf Tara has stood at Overbury Stud in Gloucesterhire since his retirement from racing in 2001. His fee for 2012 is £4,000.

 

MIXED RACING AT HAYDOCK

Pertemps, a name forever associated with Kayf Aramis' triumph at Cheltenham, are to sponsor of one of Britain's few 'mixed' meetings at Haydock Park on Saturday 12 May. Meetings that stage on the same day racing on both the Flat and over jumps are quite common in Ireland but they are not frequent here. Haydock's opening May meeting is one of most popular of the year with spectators. The jockeys from both kinds of racing also enjoy it as they rarely have a chance to share the Weighing Room on the same day.

 

2nd April

THE FUTURE OF THE GRAND NATIONAL

The RSPCA are of the firm opinion that the John Smith's Grand National still has to undergo fundamental changes.

The British Horseracing Authority's review of this year's race concluded that the circumstances which led to the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete could neither have been "foreseen nor prevented".

But the RSPCA still feel action needs to be taken. Their propose amongst other things:

a reduction in the number of starters

only experienced jockeys and horses should be eligible

the removal of Becher's Brook.

Gavin Grant, who is the chief executive of the RSPCA, is quoted as saying: "Despite safety improvements the Grand National is still too risky for the horses.”

 

PONTEFRACT

Good to see that Pontefract, Kayf Aramis' old 'galloping' ground where he never quite managed a 1st, has passed a 6.30am inspection and Wednesday afternoon's meeting will go ahead. Currently in-form jockey, Joe Fanning, has four rides so may be worth a look-see.

 

 

1st May

MAY DAY, MAY DAY!!

The first official Racing News for the now LIVE Kayfaramisracing.com.

 

'HOT' JOCKIES

Of the 2 mentioned yesterday, Joe Fanning brought home a 1st, WICKED SPIRIT @ 7/2!

Today Sam Twiston-Davies has two rides at Exeter:

ROYAL RIVIERA at 14.20.

AMMUNITION at 15.30.

Good luck, Sam!

 

A LONGSHOT

It must be the return of these Arctic conditions but I rather fancy an E/W on:

WINTER DRESS at LINGFIELD 15.30, currently 16/1.

But that's not a tip, you understand!!

 

NON-NEWS

Kayf Aramis never raced on May 1st!

Older Kayfaramisracing members may remember the non-news sketch by Monty Python when they reported that: “No parrots were killed on the M1 today”.

 

30th April

SOME LIKE IT HOT!

It's depressing that the bad weather has claimed Towcester and Windsor today but there is still plenty of excitement.

'Hot' Jockies at the moment are:

 

Sam Twiston-Davies has had 4 Wins and 4 Places from 8 rides- a combined 50% strike rate!

Unfortunately his ride today was at Towcester.

 

Joe Fanning had 4 Wins and 7 Places from 13 rides ( 30.8% and 53.9% respectively). He rides Wicked Spirit,  WOLV, 19.25.

 

Ryan Moore had 6 Wins and 11 Places from 22 rides ( 27.3% and 50% respectively). He rides Sabre Tooth, KEMP 14.45

 

THE WORST IS TO COME!

Another Kayfaramisracing Member has no shame and has submitted the following:

A white horse walks into a pub and asks for a whisky.
The landlord says: "Hey, we've got a whisky named after you."
The horse replies: "What, George?"

 

29th April

OFFICIAL END OF THE JUMP SEASON

Everyone will have their memorable moments at the end of this National Hunt season.

No doubt many will look back with a mixture of sadness and pleasure at the performance of Kauto Star; sadness that we will never know how he would have fared in the Gold Cup had he not had a fall three weeks before; pleasure that he continued racing after being pulled up at Punchestown a year ago. Most of us would have then had him down for early retirement. Paul Nicholls’ decision to continue training was justified when he won a fourth Betfair Chase and a record fifth King George. The reception he received after those two races and even a standing ovation after being pulled up in the Gold Cup had to be witnessed to be believed. Now he can enjoy a happy retirement!

 

SAD EVENT AT THE GRAND NATIONAL

The greatest sadness was caused by the fate of both Synchronised and According to Pete in the Grand National. After all the changes brought in last year, no-one expected such an outcome. Inevitably there are once again calls for this great race to be discontinued. But risk cannot be totally removed from any sport and certainly not horse racing whether on the flat or over jumps.

 

A WINNER!

On a happy note. What a tremendous win by Tidal Bay yesterday when he cruised to victory by 15 lengths in the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase at Sandown.

Readers of Racing News yesterday will have seen the tip and backed him at 12/1!

 

28th April

NEVER SAY DIE! 

Paul Nicholls' Grand National win with Neptune Collonges sealed the trainers' championship two weeks ago but he hasn't stopped yet. The champion trainer has a powerful presence in today's bet365 Gold Cup with TIDAL BAY and ALDERTUNE. 

 

It looks like Tidal Bay has a great chance as he is favourably handicapped. And you can still get double-figure odds! The slightly quirky 11-year-old will also have no problem staying the trip. He's run up the Cheltenham hill very strongly many times after three miles or more. He certainly seems  to enjoy testing conditions. Daryl Jacob may have his work cut out, though, encouraging Tidal Bay to get involved. But at 10/1 and more it's a bet worth taking that he'll be in front despite his tricky ways.

Stable-mate, Aldertune, may also be worth backing at 14/1. He stays very well in soft conditions. His jumping is quite impressive and jumping off at a lighter weight he could be the one to give Tidal Bay most to do.  

 

TAIL ENDER

Another member risks the wrath of the Kayfaramisracing community with this contribution:

 

"Will I ever be able to race my horse again" the owner asked the vet. 

The vet replied, "You certainly will, and you'll probably beat her too!"

 

27th April (Kayf Aramis’ birthday)

Eboracum (as the Romans called it)

As Kayfaramisracing fans will already know, Kayf Aramis is off again to York for the Dante meeting on 17 May.

York racecourse is one of the premier flat tracks in the world and the Dante racing fixture is held over three days in the middle of May (16th to 18th) with a major classic trial for both the Oaks and the Epsom Derby and also a warm-up race for the Ascot Gold Cup in June.  
The event is named after Dante, the Yorkshire-trained winner of the Epsom Derby in 1945.

 

When Kayfi was last there on 14 May 2009 he won the Ripleyconnection Stakes, beating  an old rival, Rose Bien, by 13 lengths.

This was only two months after his triumph in the Pertemps Final.

He certainly lives up to Simon Sweeting's (Overbury Stud) description: "Kayf Tara's ultra-tough dual-purpose son, Kayf Aramis."

 

26th April

DERBY DOSH

Investec, the international specialist bank and asset manager, has agreed a sponsorship deal that will mean it will back the Derby Festival until 2021. This has been described as the biggest single sponsorship in British horse-racing history.

The sponsorship which includes the Oaks, the Coronation Cup, the Derby as well as its Epsom trial – is a marvellous endorsement of the most famous race on the Flat.

It is worth noting that the prize money for this year’s Investec Derby has this week been increased by £75,000.

So thE Derby regains the title of being the richest race run in ­Britain, with an overall prize fund of £1,325,000.

 

SAM DOES IT AGAIN!

Sam Twiston-Davies made it three 1sts out of four rides yesterday at Ffos Las.

There seems to be no stopping him!

 

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE ........

The official declaration of a drought seems to have resulted in a number of waterlogged tracks.

Uttoxeter has been abandoned for today. Leicester has called off its Saturday meeting and Ripon is inspecting on Friday in advance of the week-end.

These changeable racing conditions prompted one Kayfaramisracing member to send in this, ahem, joke:

 

What is the difference between a horse and a duck?
One goes quick and the other goes quack!

BOOM, BOOM!

 

 

25th April

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM!

 

Sam Twiston-Davies, Kayf Aramis' jockey, is off all the way to Perth today to ride 4 of the 5 horses entered by the Twiston-Davies yard. We wish him well. This amazing young jockey has had forty 1sts from 265 rides (15%), fifty-eight  2nds, thirty-seven 3rds and twenty-four 4ths. He notched up two 1sts and two 2nds at Ffos Las on St. George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday! What a celebration! 

 

HEREFORD CARD ABANDONED

It's good Sam went to Perth because today's meeting at Hereford has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track. As my newsagent said this morning: “ The moment they declare a hosepipe ban, the Heavens open!”

24th April

A Right Royal Tree-planting on Course

All 60 of Britain’s racecourses will be celebrating the 60 years of The Queen’s reign by planting trees, coppices or Jubilee Woods.

This will take in every racecourse in the country from Perth to Folkestone - as well as the very aptly named Goodwood and Aintree!

Stephen Atkin, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, said, “We are delighted that all racecourses are participating in the campaign.

It is a mark of appreciation for the contribution The Queen makes to British horse racing as well as recognition of the importance of the environment and racecourses’ contribution to the wider community.”

Several racecourses have already started their planting programmes, with Sandown Park well on the way to completing an avenue of Acers.

Taunton Racecourse is planting a coppice of birch trees which will provide sustainable fence building materials in years to come.

Hexham Racecourse will be planting a copse of Royal oaks, while Haydock Park is planting 400 trees and Huntingdon 100.

At Aintree, a tree will be planted close to the most famous fence that horses jump in the Grand National – Becher’s Brook.

One of the most ambitious projects is at Ffos Las in west Wales, where about 45,000 birch, ash, rowan, hazel, oak and other native trees have been planted to create a new 60-acre Diamond Wood.


Still on a Royal Note.

A travelling exhibition celebrating the Queen's 60-year involvement in horse racing will begin a tour of British racecourses at Sandown this weekend.

It will visit tracks as far away as Perth and Hexham.

Epsom will host it on Derby Day – the true start of the Diamond Jubilee and then on to Royal Ascot.

The exhibition will consist mostly of photographs.

 

 

23rd April

Today is the Pontefract Marathon Handicap.

Kayfaramisracing fans will remember that Kayf Aramis was a popular runner at this Northern track in his flat racing days. He went there seven times but a 1st always just eluded him. In this particular race in 2006 he was leading 3 furlongs out until just inside the last furlong when he was passed by Villago. The consolation was that he beat one of his old rivals, Great As Gold, by 1½ lengths.

 

The Grand National

Readers of Marcus Armytage's racing column in the Daily Telegraph will have appreciated the ideas he puts forward to save the Grand National. Not only does he believe that the prize money is too high (nearly £1 million),  thus attracting too many top level horses,  but he makes an interesting point about bypassing fences:

 

“For the second year running the well-intentioned bypassing of a fence had an unintended consequence. This time it may have contributed to the bringing down of According To Pete. Noel Fehily may not enjoy this idea, but if they could move Mick Fitzgerald off the course with a broken neck they can surely move someone with a broken leg in their five-minute window of opportunity. But, by bypassing the fence a circuit later, it meant that instead of the 20 horses still standing being nicely spread out going to Becher’s for the second time, they were funnelled back into a tight group at the 21st with little or no time to fan out again.”

(Courtesy Marcus Armytage. Daily Telegraph, 23/04/12)

 

I hope the BHA takes his views into account before rushing into any knee-jerk reactions.

 

 

22nd April

The Sport of Queens ( and Kings!)

The Queen celebrated her birthday yesterday by going to the first day of the Dubai Duty Free Spring at Newbury.

Despite the rain she inspected the horses in the parade ring on what is traditionally the first day of the flat season.

Kayfaramisracing fans will be looking forward to seeing Berlayf Aramis there in the not-to-distant future.

Martin Jones, his pre-trainer at Moat Stables describes him as an : "Exciting prospect on the flat".

Bring on the day!

 

Horsing Around!

What a wonderful sight in Hyde Park, also yesterday. Falstaff, one of the riderless horses that pulled the gun carriage for the 41-gun salute in the Queen's honour, broke loose and cantered across the grass in great form. He seemed to enjoy his bit of freedom but discipline prevailed and he was soon back in position for the return to Wellington Barracks.

 

 

20th April

Weighty Matters

 

Poor Kayfi! His reward for coming 8th in the Pertemps Final on 15th March was to carry an extra 15lbs (6.8kg!) in yesterday's race on Soft ground.

The Racing Post commented: 'Led until after 1st, pressed leader from 6th to 3 out, weakened soon after'.

 

No wonder he weakened! But the 'diminutive Kayf Aramis' ( as his journalist fans call him!) gave his all as always and Sam Twiston-Davies kindly spared him at the end.

 

But what an incredible ride by Sam in the 2.35! After a number of jumping mistakes by Mad Moose, Sam just refused to give up and came from 15 lengths down to snatch victory. Surely a future champion.

If you missed the race watch it on Sporting Life.

 

 

17th April

A LUCKY ONE FOUR CHELTENHAM?

 

What do Valentine's Day and France's Independence Day have in common?

Give up?

They're both connected with the number 14!

What has that got to do with racing? ( I hear you say!)

Well, this Thursday, Kayf Aramis will be at Cheltenham making his 14thappearance since his memorable win in the Pertemps Final in 2009.

Over this period he has clocked up an impressive record: one 1st, three 2nds and two 3rds.

Kayfaramisracing fans will want to be near a TV screen - at home, at work , at a bookies - or even on an iphone! - to watch that event.

 

TEN FOUR!

 

16th April

The Grand National. At what fence did you lose!!

1) Viking Blond fell

2) Junior and West End Rocker fell

5) Chicago Grey brought down, Rare Bob brought down, State Of Play unseated.

6) Synchronised fell

7) Alfa Beat fell Black Apalachi fell,Organisedconfusion unseated, Tatenen unseated, Becauseicouldntsee unseated, Killyglen unseated .

10) Treacle fell, Arbor Supreme unseated.

11) Giles Cross pulled up

15) Always Right unseated

17) Quiscover Fontaine fell

19) Deep Purple pulled up, Vic Venturi refused

22) Postmaster pulled up, Mon Mome pulled up, On His Own fell, According To Pete brought down

27) Weird Al fell

Congratulations to all Kayfaramisracing fans who picked the winner or one of the places!

Interesting to note that Planet of Sound, a Kayf Tara foal the same age as Kayf Aramis, came 12th.

 

 

15th April

TRAGEDY AT AINTREE

So sad that SYNCHRONISED, mentioned earlier in connection with Kayf Aramis in the Pertemps final 2009, suffered a fatal injury in the Grand National.

He had his moment of fun before the race when he unseated Tony McCoy and went off on a personal inspection of the course.

All looked fine until the Sixth (Becher's Brook) where he died. ACCORDING TO PETE also had to be put down when he fell later in the race, also at Becher's.

Our sympathies are with all the connections of these two brave horses.

On a lighter note, what a fantastic ride by Sam Twiston-Davies, son of Kayfi's trainer. He came 7th on Hello Bud.  

Even Sporting Life commented: 'tracked leaders, every chance 3 out ...'

 

14th April

BETTER TUNED IN?

SYNCHRONISED has suddenly become the 'bees knees' for today's Grand National.

There are questions, however, about this staying handicapper's jumping.

Whether he can live up to this support in the betting stakes, we shall find out very shortly.

Kayaramisracing fans may remember that Synchronised was a faller in KAYF ARAMIS' champion run in the Pertemps Final in 2009. Let's wish him well!

 

13th April

PASSING THE BUCK’S!

BIG BUCK'S made history on Thursday, 12 April at Aintree when he won his 17th successive race over hurdles. 

Kayfaramisracing fans will remember that KAYF ARAMIS raced four times against this worthy champion.

He was 5th to Big Buck's at Aintree Liverpool Hurdle Grade 1 in April 2010 (2 years ago this week) and 4th to Big Buck's in Long Walk Hurdle Grade 1 in December 2009 and 2010.

The Racing Post's Comments in Running for the Aintree race were;

'Kayf Aramis led to the 3rd, chased leader until led again 7th, ridden and headed approaching 3 out.

Big Buck's only went into the lead approaching the last!

 

That showed him, Kayfi!