16 June 2019

 

Going for Gold

The Ian Williams-trained Gold Mount, who scored at Royal Ascot in 2016 when he was called Primitivo, won the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup at York. Previously trained by Alan King before heading out to compete in Hong Kong, the six-year-old has the Melbourne Cup as a long-term aim. Gold Mount produced some creditable performances in top races in the Far East for Tony Cruz, including a fourth place finish in the Dubai Gold Cup. Yesterday Andrea Atzeni kept him at the back of the field for a while, allowing the favourite, Mekong, to make the pace. Then as the latter and Austrian School dropped away, the battle was between Raheen House and Gold Mount, who eventually galloped away to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

A Kurious winner

The Listed Randox Health Scurry Stakes at Sandown on Saturday was claimed by the Henry Candy-trained Kurious. This race is a test of speed and it usually produces subsequent Group winners such as Battaash and Easton Angel in recent years. This year's contest did not appear particularly strong, however, with just three of the eight-strong field having an official rating above 100 and the top-rated on 106. Leodis Dream set a fair early gallop shadowed by Well Done Fox but the Kuroshio filly, ridden by Kieran Shoemark, travelled smoothly on the outside and surged into the lead as the eighth-strong field approached the two-furlong marker, staying on doggedly to establish a course-and-distance double.

 

Her weight in Champagne!

Carol Bartley notched up a second victory in the Queen Mother's Cup at York, a race for lady jockeys, this time aboard Arctic Fox. The East Ayrshire-based rider first tasted success on the Jim Goldie-trained Nanton in 2013 and clearly benefited from this experience. Traditionally the winning jockey gets her weight in champagne as a special prize – so it must the one occasion when the winner wants to see the needle on the scales move rapidly to the right when she jumps on the scales!

 

15 June 2019

 

Stable Rivals

The Mark Johnston-trained duo, Austrian School and Making Miracles, go head to head for the fourth time this season when they both run in today's Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes at York. Austrian School has the advantage with two victories over his stable companion but Making Miracles got one back when claiming the Chester Cup last month when Austrian School could only manage ninth out of thirteen runners. Making Miracles subsequently finished fourth in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown an Austrian School got a third in the Group Three. Connections think that the stable companions will be closely matched in today's £50,000 prize event but perhaps the drop back to one mile and six furlongs will be more Austrian School's favour.

 

A Classy Filly

The William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class will take on a maximum of ten rivals in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot next Wednesday. This classy Sea The Stars filly is scheduled to make her seasonal reappearance in this Day Two Berkshire track feature after last year winning the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks and claiming second place to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

 

Irish Oaks, OK?

It looks like this Ralph Beckett-trained Lope De Vega filly will be aiming for Classic glory in next month's Kerrygold Irish Oaks after her four-length victory in the Johnnie Lewis Memorial British EBF Stakes at Newbury. Antonia De Vega, ridden by Harry Bentley, who lost her unbeaten record when finishing down the field in the Fillies' Mile on her final start last season, made up for it with an impressive return to action on her first trip of over a mile and a quarter in this Listed event. The Waverley Racing-owned three-year-old gradually got the better of both the favourite, Terebellum, trained by John Gosden and Richard Hannon's Star Terms inside the final furlong before pulling away for an easy win.

 

14 June 2019

 

More hope for the Lope

It looks like this Ralph Beckett-trained Lope De Vega filly will be aiming for Classic glory in next month's Kerrygold Irish Oaks after her four-length victory in the Johnnie Lewis Memorial British EBF Stakes at Newbury yesterday. Antonia De Vega, ridden by Harry Bentley, who lost her unbeaten record when finishing down the field in the Fillies' Mile on her final start last season, made up for it with an impressive return to action on her first trip of over a mile and a quarter in this Listed event. The Waverley Racing-owned three-year-old gradually got the better of both the favourite, Terebellum, trained by John Gosden and Richard Hannon's Star Terms inside the final furlong before pulling away for an easy win.

 

A Filly of Class

The William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class will take on a maximum of ten rivals in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot next Wednesday. This classy Sea The Stars filly is scheduled to make her seasonal reappearance in this Day Two Berkshire track feature after last year winning the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks and claiming second place to Enable in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

 

First on the Flat

This Dorset-based trainer is no stranger to big-race victories over jumps in Ireland. Most recently his Unowhatimeanharry won a second Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. But today at Cork, Harry Fry saddles his first-ever runner on the Flat when Four White Socks runs in the Munster Oaks. This Lope De Vega filly, previously trained by Luca Cumani, who has now retired, is a recent addition to the Manor Farm yard. Four White Socks, who was the impressive winner of the NSPCC Speak Out Stay Safe 'Confined' Fillies' Novice Stakes at Goodwood last June makes her first competitive appearance since September in today's Group Three feature race.

 

13 June 2019

 

Chance in a Million

Whichever horse wins the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup at York on Saturday will gain automatic entry in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor in August. One runner who could well claim this much sought after place is the Ian Williams-trained Gold Mount. This Excellent Art gelding began his racing career known as Primitivo in the Alan King yard and won the 2016 King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot. He was then sold and raced in Hong Kong, where he was renamed Gold Mount. A three-time handicap winner over there, he was also placed three times in Grade One company, including a third in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup over a mile-and-a-half in last May. His most recent appearance was in the in the Grade Two Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan when he came fourth behind Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter .

 

American in Ascot

It's ten years since a little-known American trainer brought a string of horses across the Atlantic to try their luck at Royal Ascot. Back then Wesley Ward won the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening afternoon with Strike The Tiger and, thereby, became the first American-based trainer in history to claim a Royal Ascot winner. It's not surprising, therefore, that the California-based handler will be back again at the Berkshire track next week as keen as ever to claim another victory.

 

This Cup Runneth Over

The Melbourne Cup is now worth £4.4 million, making it once more the richest race of the week of Spring racing at Flemington. In what is seen as a direct response to Racing NSW’s inaugural £4 million for the Golden Eagle contest at Rosehill on Victoria Derby day, the increase of just £3.8 million on last year’s purse guarantees that the world’s richest handicap remains the country’s richest race for the first week of November. Amanda Elliott, Victoria Racing Club Chairperson stated subsequently that the Melbourne Cup remains the race owners and trainers most want to win.

 

12 June 2019

 

Cup Runneth Over

The Melbourne Cup is now worth £4.4 million, making it once more the richest race of the week of Spring racing at Flemington. In what is seen as a direct response to Racing NSW’s inaugural £4 million for the Golden Eagle contest at Rosehill on Victoria Derby day, the increase of just £3.8 million on last year’s purse guarantees that the world’s richest handicap remains the country’s richest race for the first week of November. Amanda Elliott, Victoria Racing Club Chairperson stated subsequently that the Melbourne Cup remains the race owners and trainers most want to win.

 

An American in Ascot

It's ten years since a little-known American trainer brought a string of horses across the Atlantic to try their luck at Royal Ascot. Back then Wesley Ward won the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening afternoon with Strike The Tiger and, thereby, became the first American-based trainer in history to claim a Royal Ascot winner. It's not surprising, therefore, that the California-based handler will be back again at the Berkshire track next week as keen as ever to claim another victory.

 

A Worthy A Mount

Whichever horse wins the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup at York on Saturday will gain automatic entry in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor in August. One runner who could well claim this much sought after place is the Ian Williams-trained Gold Mount. This Excellent Art gelding began his racing career known as Primitivo in the Alan King yard and won the 2016 King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot. He was then sold and raced in Hong Kong, where he was renamed Gold Mount. A three-time handicap winner over there, he was also placed three times in Grade One company, including a third in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup over a mile-and-a-half in last May. His most recent appearance was in the in the Grade Two Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan when he came fourth behind Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter .

 

11 June 2019

 

A not so quiet American

It's ten years since a little-known American trainer brought a string of horses across the Atlantic to try their luck at Royal Ascot. Back then Wesley Ward won the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening afternoon with Strike The Tiger and, thereby, became the first American-based trainer in history to claim a Royal Ascot winner. It's not surprising, therefore, that the California-based handler will be back again at the Berkshire track next week as keen as ever to claim another victory.

 

A horse by another name.

Whichever horse wins the Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Grand Cup at York on Saturday will gain automatic entry in the £1m Sky Bet Ebor in August. One runner who could well claim this much sought after place is the Ian Williams-trained Gold Mount. This Excellent Art gelding began his racing career known as Primitivo in the Alan King yard and won the 2016 King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot. He was then sold and raced in Hong Kong, where he was renamed Gold Mount. A three-time handicap winner over there, he was also placed three times in Grade One company, including a third in the Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup over a mile-and-a-half in last May. His most recent appearance was in the in the Grade Two Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan when he came fourth behind Melbourne Cup winner, Cross Counter .

 

Another Irish Victory

Willie Mullins had already claimed the last three renewals of the Prix la Barka at Auteuil with Un De Sceaux and Shaneshill and Bapaume. Now Mr Adjudicator, ridden by French jockey, Bertrand Lestrade, denying his stable companion, Bapaume, back-to-back wins, has given the County Carlow trainer his fourth victory. Once again due to one of the quirks of the sport of horse racing, five of the nine runners were from the same Closutton stables. Blue Dragon, one of the four home-trained horses, led the field ahead of Stormy Ireland, another horse trained by you-know-whom, followed by Paul Townend on Bapaume who was in no hurry at that stage. After getting the better of Blue dragon as they jumped the last, Paul Townend thought he could gain the advantage by seizing the prime position on the rail but Mr Adjudicator, possibly benefitting from the expertise of a local jockey, was ridden down the centre of the track and went on to win by three lengths.

 

 

10 June 2019

 

Another Irish Victory

Willie Mullins had already claimed the last three renewals of the Prix la Barka at Auteuil with Un De Sceaux and Shaneshill and Bapaume. Now Mr Adjudicator, ridden by French jockey, Bertrand Lestrade, denying his stable companion, Bapaume, back-to-back wins, has given the County Carlow trainer his fourth victory. Once again due to one of the quirks of the sport of horse racing, five of the nine runners were from the same Closutton stables. Blue Dragon, one of the four home-trained horses, led the field ahead of Stormy Ireland, another horse trained by you-know-whom, followed by Paul Townend on Bapaume who was in no hurry at that stage. After getting the better of Blue dragon as they jumped the last, Paul Townend thought he could gain the advantage by seizing the prime position on the rail but Mr Adjudicator, possibly benefitting from the expertise of a local jockey, was ridden down the centre of the track and went on to win by three lengths.

 

A Classic race

The William Haggas-trained Klassique proved too good for the hot favourite in the Betway Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock. Willie Mullins' decision to switch his successful smart hurdler, True Self, to the Flat had proved a master stroke as the six-year-old followed up a Cork maiden triumph with three successive Listed victories at Bath, Newmarket and Gowran Park respectively. So this Oscar mare was duly expected to notch up a fifth win and, into the bargain, add a Group Three success to her CV. Indeed the 8/11 market leader, ridden by Colin Keane, travelled powerfully for much of the mile-and-a-half trip. Klassique, however, responded well when Danny Tudhope's urged her to take the lead in very testing conditions and she passed the post three lengths clear of True Self.

 

Up in the air

Making his debut for Nicky Henderson in the Heineken UK Handicap Chase at Perth this Great Pretender gelding, ridden by Nico de Boinville, was the 2/1 favourite in this two-and-a-half-mile contest with six runners. At the third fence, however, Diablo De Rouhet jumped awkwardly, launching his rider into the air but, fortunately, Nico de Boinville didn't let go of the reins and was able to regain his equilibrium. This incident meant, however, that a lot of ground had been lost but, as the early pace had been quite slow, it wasn't so difficult to make it up. Diablo De Rouhet slowly managed to get back into contention in the second half of the race and maintained the momentum to win by an incredible fourteen lengths.

 

9 June 2019

 

Is it Safe?

The John Quinn-trained Safe Voyage made his fourth trip to Haydock and claimed his fourth victory when winning the Betway John Of Gaunt Stakes by one-and-three-quarter lengths. Having previously established his credentials at the Merseyside track, this Fast Company gelding was expectedly the 5/4 favourite for this Group Three contest. His chances were improved further after his only serious rival, Mankib, blew it by rearing up when the stalls opened. Safe Voyage, ridden by Jason Hart, travelled smoothly in third position for much of the seven-furlong contest before moving into the lead halfway up the home straight. Danny Tudhope urged Suedois into pursuit inside the final furlong but, despite the heavy ground, Safe Voyage still found that little extra.

 

Summer good

Richard Fahey’s Summer Sands produced an impressive victory in the £40,000 Truckingby Brian Yeardley Two-Year-Old Trophy at Beverley yesterday. An 11/4 chance in this five-strong, five-furlong contest, this Coach House colt, with Barry McHugh aboard, looked every bit a winner and took control inside the final 100 yards. Oh Purple Reign, trained by Richard Hannon, mounted a spirited challenge but Summer Sands kicked on to win by half a length.

 

Self Less

The William Haggas-trained Klassique proved too good for the hot favourite in the Betway Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock. Willie Mullins' decision to switch his successful smart hurdler, True Self, to the Flat had proved a master stroke as the six-year-old followed up a Cork maiden triumph with three successive Listed victories at Bath, Newmarket and Gowran Park respectively. So this Oscar mare was duly expected to notch up a fifth win and, into the bargain, add a Group Three success to her CV. Indeed the 8/11 market leader, ridden by Colin Keane, travelled powerfully for much of the mile-and-a-half trip. Klassique, however, responded well when Danny Tudhope's urged her to take the lead in very testing conditions and she passed the post three lengths clear of True Self.

 

8 June 2019

 

Haz another go!

Dermot Weld, who first scored at Royal Ascot with Klairvimy in the 1973 King Edward VII Stakes and last had a winner there with Free Eagle in the 2015 Prince of Wales's Stakes, is placing all his hopes on Hazapour to provide him with an 18th Royal Ascot winner this year – 46 years after his first. This Aga Khan-owned Shamardal colt, who gained his second Group 3 success the Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown last month, having dropped down in trip to a mile, will run in the first race of the day, the Queen Anne Stakes, a week on Tuesday.

 

Nos Da, Jeremy!

Newmarket-based Jeremy Noseda has announced his immediate retirement. The 56-year-old has been a trainer since since 1998, winning the 2006 St Leger with Sixties Icon but his string of horses has dramatically dwindled from more than 100 ten years ago to less than a third of that total in recent years. Jeremy Noseda, who also landed the 2006 Irish 2,000 Guineas with Araafa and 2010 Irish Leger with Sans Frontieres, had hoped that his career would take off again but then Phoenix Thoroughbreds removed 14 of their horses from his Newmarket stables in May last year.

 

The Comeback Kid!

This Cape Cross gelding was retired from racing some years ago after tailing off in one particular contest and returning home with a leg injury. Trainer Sophie Leech, at that time, thought that after Tamarillo Grove had recovered he would become a suitable riding horse for her 15-year-old daughter. But a Summer break in the Forest of Dean seemed to have worked miracles. The remarkable twelve-year-old astonished everyone by winning two races, only three weeks apart, at Newton Abbot, worth a total of £26,000. In fact, the Cheltenham Racing Club-owned Tamarillo Grove has won at least one race a season since 2017.

 

7 June 2019

 

Back again

The David O'Meara-trained Fayez seems to be turning out to be something of a Ripon specialist. This Zoffany gelding won the Wilmot-Smith Memorial Handicap at this North Yorkshire track last month and came back yesterday to win the Weatherbys TBA Handicap. The five-year-old was a 13/2 shot for this competitive 10-runner race. Having been settled at the rear by Shane Gray for part of the way, Fayez quickened smartly and galloped down the outside to win by a length and a half from Just Hiss. The Upper Helmsley-based trainer was full of praise for his jockey and revealed that he had his doubts about the 10-furlong trip.

 

The Comeback Kid!

This Cape Cross gelding was retired from racing some years ago after tailing off in one particular contest and returning home with a leg injury. Trainer Sophie Leech, at that time, thought that after Tamarillo Grove had recovered he would become a suitable riding horse for her 15-year-old daughter. But a Summer break in the Forest of Dean seemed to have worked miracles. The remarkable twelve-year-old astonished everyone by winning two races, only three weeks apart, at Newton Abbot, worth a total of £26,000. In fact, the Cheltenham Racing Club-owned Tamarillo Grove has won at least one race a season since 2017.

 

Goodbye to another trainer

Newmarket-based Jeremy Noseda has announced his immediate retirement. The 56-year-old has been a trainer since since 1998, winning the 2006 St Leger with Sixties Icon but his string of horses has dramatically dwindled from more than 100 ten years ago to less than a third of that total in recent years. Jeremy Noseda, who also landed the 2006 Irish 2,000 Guineas with Araafa and 2010 Irish Leger with Sans Frontieres, had hoped that his career would take off again but then Phoenix Thoroughbreds removed 14 of their horses from his Newmarket stables in May last year.

 

6 June 2019

 

Back again

After temporarily closing down his operation, as a result of a run of poor performances last month, Martyn Meade is back again and seems to have been pleased with the way his first runners for four weeks performed at Nottingham yesterday. Meade decided to call a halt after his Sandown Classic Trial runner-up Technician ran well below his best in the Chester Vase. Things were better this time as the Marlborough-based trainer's two runners both finished second - King Ademar in the Bet At racingtv.com Handicap and Palladium in the Join Racing TV Now Handicap.

 

Local Hero?

Dubawi Fifty lines up in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle at the end of this month and his trainer, Karen McLintock, would like him to win this prestigious two-mile handicap, if for no other reason than her stables are just nineteen miles from the Gosforth Park racecourse. This Dubawi gelding was all set to run in this race last year after finishing second to the Willie Mullins-trained Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes but was withdrawn at the final declaration stage. The six-year-old has been sidelined since then but Karen McLintock is now hopeful that his problems are behind him.

 

Phoenix to rise again

Charlie Hills clearly can't wait for Royal Ascot when his Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Phoenix Of Spain runs. The Lope De Vega colt made his much-expected reappearance in last month's Curragh Classic and, ridden by Jamie Spencer, produced a very impressive front-running display comfortably defeating his old rival, Too Darn Hot. The two clash are due to clash again in the St James's Palace Stakes on June 18.

 

5 June 2019

 

Fifty Fifty

Dubawi Fifty lines up in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle at the end of this month and his trainer, Karen McLintock, would like him to win this prestigious two-mile handicap, if for no other reason than her stables are just nineteen miles from the Gosforth Park racecourse. This Dubawi gelding was all set to run in this race last year after finishing second to the Willie Mullins-trained Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes but was withdrawn at the final declaration stage. The six-year-old has been sidelined since then but Karen McLintock is now hopeful that his problems are behind him.

 

Achilles Heel?

The David Griffiths-trained Ornate could be back on the track in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Saturday just a week after his surprise win in the Investec Dash at Epsom. The Doncaster-based trainer, whose website bears the motto “Nothing Is Impossible”, has entered the six-year-old in the five-furlong Listed contest which he won in 2016 with Take Cover. Although David Griffiths seems to have always believed in Ornate's ability, last Saturday he obvious felt that Duke Of Firenze, his other runner, would be the better of the pair as he had a better draw. That was also how the betting market saw it as the latter was sent off at 8/1 and the former at 33/1. As it turned out, however, Duke Of Firenze came seventh after being hampered at a crucial stage whereas Ornate enjoyed an unhindered run to the line.

 

A Sizzler

After victory in the mile-and-a-half Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap on Derby day, William Knight is hoping that Soto Sizzler can do it again at Royal Ascot in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap. David Elsworth's Dash Of Spice won these two races races last Summer so the Littlehampton-based trainer would like some of the same for his Mastercraftsman gelding. The four-year-old had no trouble with five-pound rise in his rating after winning the Great Metropolitan Handicap in April and going on to produce an impressive display when beating Byron Flyer by a length and a half in the Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap.

 

4 June 2019

 

Hope for the best!

Danny Tudhope rode the David O'Meara-trained Ingleby Hollow to victory in the racingtv.com Handicap at Thirsk and thereby achieved a career milestone of 1,000 domestic winners, his first being in 2004. This win was all the more poignant as he is stable jockey for the Upper Helmesley-based trainer. Danny Tudhope was always well positioned aboard the Beat Hollow gelding and went easily into the lead about two furlongs from home. Mark Johnston's Francophilia made a serious challenge in the final hundred yards but Ingleby Hollow was not going to be denied victory and crossed the line three-quarters of a length ahead of his rival.

 

A quick turnaround

The David Griffiths-trained Ornate could be back on the track in the Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Saturday just a week after his surprise win in the Investec Dash at Epsom. The Doncaster-based trainer, whose website bears the motto “Nothing Is Impossible”, has entered the six-year-old in the five-furlong Listed contest which he won in 2016 with Take Cover. Although David Griffiths seems to have always believed in Ornate's ability, last Saturday he obvious felt that Duke Of Firenze, his other runner, would be the better of the pair as he had a better draw. That was also how the betting market saw it as the latter was sent off at 8/1 and the former at 33/1. As it turned out, however, Duke Of Firenze came seventh after being hampered at a crucial stage whereas Ornate enjoyed an unhindered run to the line.

 

A Master Craftsman.

After victory in the mile-and-a-half Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap on Derby day, William Knight is hoping that Soto Sizzler can do it again at Royal Ascot in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap. David Elsworth's Dash Of Spice won these two races races last Summer so the Littlehampton-based trainer would like some of the same for his Mastercraftsman gelding. The four-year-old had no trouble with five-pound rise in his rating after winning the Great Metropolitan Handicap in April and going on to produce an impressive display when beating Byron Flyer by a length and a half in the Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap.

 

3 June 2019

 

Le Derby Français!

A 10/1 shot beat the 6/4 favourite by two lengths in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, sometimes known as the 'French Derby'. The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King looked like he could easily follow up his French 2000 Guineas victory when taking the lead from Motamarris, as the fifteen runners came into the straight but he just seemed to run out of steam in the closing stages. At that point the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Sottsass came out of the pack to lay down the challenge and eventually dominated in the final 100 metres, giving the Senonnes-based trainer a fourth French Derby triumph and in record time.

 

Cool Coolmore

Anthony Van Dyck won yesterday's Derby presenting Aidan O'Brien a seventh victory in this world-famous Epsom race, equalling the record of Sir Michael Stoute. Eighteen years since his first triumph in the premier Classic with Galileo, the Ballydoyle trainer saddled no fewer than seven of the 13 runners. Anthony Van Dyck - a three-time winner as a two-year-old - earned his Epsom place after an impressive comeback victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial three weeks ago. This Galileo colt, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, raced in mid-division for much of the trip and, when he reached the final quarter-mile, he still had a few horses to pass. Sir Dragonet and Madhmoon were disputing the lead as they entered the final furlong. Anthony Dan Dyck then swiftly galloped up the inside of the pair and went on to win by half a length. Madhmoon battled on valiantly for second place, thus denying Aidan O'Brien a clean sweep. Another Ballydoyle runner, Japan, came in third, ahead of his stable companions Broome and Sir Dragonet in fourth and fifth respectively. The other three of the Ballydoyle septet, all owned by Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith of the Coolmore stud, came sixth, eighth and tenth.

 

33/1 Surprise winner!

One of the surprise victories at Epsom was in the Investec 'Dash' Handicap at Epsom when the David Griffiths-trained Ornate made just about all the running to win by a neck. This Bahamian Bounty gelding had had a good season on the all-weather during the winter and made a winning return to the turf in the Barons Cambridge BMW Handicap at Newmarket in April. However, since the six-year-old came nowhere in the subsequent Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and the Duke of York Stakes, punters didn't pay him much attention and he was sent off as a huge 33/1 shot, for what is traditionally considered one of the most competitive sprint handicaps of the year. How wrong they were! A fast start gave jockey, Phil Dennis, the chance to move Ornate from his low draw to the centre of the track and he was soon in the lead going at a furious pace. Several rivals tried to take him on inside the last furlongs but Ornate was having none of it and still had enough in reserve to hold off not for passing and had enough in hand to hold off Scott Dixon's Dark Shot.

 

2 June 2019

 

Ballydoyle – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10!

Anthony Van Dyck won yesterday's Derby presenting Aidan O'Brien a seventh victory in this world-famous Epsom race, equalling the record of Sir Michael Stoute. Eighteen years since his first triumph in the premier Classic with Galileo, the Ballydoyle trainer saddled no fewer than seven of the 13 runners. Anthony Van Dyck - a three-time winner as a two-year-old - earned his Epsom place after an impressive comeback victory in the Lingfield Derby Trial three weeks ago. This Galileo colt, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, raced in mid-division for much of the trip and, when he reached the final quarter-mile, he still had a few horses to pass. Sir Dragonet and Madhmoon were disputing the lead as they entered the final furlong. Anthony Dan Dyck then swiftly galloped up the inside of the pair and went on to win by half a length. Madhmoon battled on valiantly for second place, thus denying Aidan O'Brien a clean sweep. Another Ballydoyle runner, Japan, came in third, ahead of his stable companions Broome and Sir Dragonet in fourth and fifth respectively. The other three of the Ballydoyle septet, all owned by Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith, came sixth, eighth and tenth.

 

Le Derby!

Today it's the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly, also known as the French Derby, for some reason. The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King takes on fourteen rivals when he bids to complete a Classic double, having claimed his fifth successive win with a comprehensive victory in the French 2000 Guineas three weeks ago. The Kingman colt is sure to be the hot favourite to provide the local trainer, who also saddles Roman Candle and Slalom, with his fifth victory in this feature contest. Aidan O'Brien is bidding to claim the prize for the first time and has entered three runners. Ryan Moore rides Cape Of Good Hope; Donnacha O'Brien will be aboard Mohawk and Seamie Heffernan will partner Blenheim Palace. Three British entries are also hoping for French Derby fame: Andrew Balding's Raise You, John Gosden's Kick On and Roger Varian's Surfman.

 

Outsider surprise

One of the surprise victories of the day was in the Investec 'Dash' Handicap at Epsom when the David Griffiths-trained Ornate made just about all the running to win by a neck. This Bahamian Bounty gelding had had a good season on the all-weather during the winter and made a winning return to the turf in the Barons Cambridge BMW Handicap at Newmarket in April. However, since the six-year-old came nowhere in the subsequent Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and the Duke of York Stakes, punters didn't pay him much attention and he was sent off as a huge 33/1 shot, for what is traditionally considered one of the most competitive sprint handicaps of the year. How wrong they were! A fast start gave jockey, Phil Dennis, the chance to move ornate from his low draw to the centre of the track and he was soon in the lead going at a furious pace. Several rivals tried to take him on inside the last furlongs but Ornate was having none of it and still had enough in reserve to hold off not for passing and had enough in hand to hold off Scott Dixon's Dark Shot.

 

1 June 2019

 

Ballydoyle - Seven, Others - Six!

Horse racing differs from other sports in many ways but one aspect in particular is unusual. Because trainers handle horses from different owners it means they can enter more than one runner in a race, giving them a greater chance of success. In today's Derby, for instance, of the thirteen runners seven of them are from Aidan O'Brien' yard and Sir Dragonet, winner of the Chester Vase, is the top favourite. This Camelot colt earned the right to be supplemented in the Epsom Classic at a cost of £85,000 when he won by an impressive eight-length victory on only on his second start. Even more surprising, as Sir Dragonet had only made his debut at Tipperary two weeks earlier. Aidan O'Brien has also declared Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Circus Maximus, Japan, Norway and Sovereign.

 

Le Derby!

On Sunday it's the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly, also known as the French Derby, for some reason. The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King takes on fourteen rivals when he bids to complete a Classic double, having claimed his fifth successive win with a comprehensive victory in the French 2000 Guineas three weeks ago. The Kingman colt is sure to be the hot favourite to provide local trainer, who also saddles Roman Candle and Slalom, with his fifth victory in this feature contest. Aidan O'Brien is bidding to claim the prize for the first time and has entered three runners. Ryan Moore rides Cape Of Good Hope; Donnacha O'Brien will be aboard Mohawk and Seamie Heffernan will partner Blenheim Palace. Three British entries are also hoping for French Derby fame: Andrew Balding's Raise You, John Gosden's Kick On and Roger Varian's Surfman.

 

Royal Return

It has been calculated that, since 1988, the Queen has earned nearly £8 million from her racehorses. The 534 wins from 3,205 runs (16.6%) she has notched up, on the Flat or over jumps, have brought in £7,768,448. Her Majesty's best year was 2016, when her horses won £506,274. Her highest-earning horse so far is Carlton House, who has banked £772,815. The Queen gets an average of nine wins a year and, although she has never won the Derby, (and does not have a runner tomorrow), she may still has a chance of success at Epsom when the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sextant, ridden by Ryan Moore, runs in the Class 2 Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap. Of course, the report does not reveal how many horses the Queen owns and how much the training and other costs are. There might not be a lot of change from the average annual revenue of £250,000!

 

31 May 2019

 

Ballydoyle Bid

Of the thirteen runners declared in tomorrow's Derby seven of them are from Aidan O'Brien' yard and Sir Dragonet, winner of the Chester Vase, heads this string. This Camelot colt earned the right to be supplemented in the Epsom Classic at a cost of £85,000 when he won by an impressive eight-length victory on only on his second start. Even more surprising as Sir Dragonet had only made his debut at Tipperary two weeks earlier. Aidan O'Brien has also declared Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Circus Maximus, Japan, Norway and Sovereign.

 

Le Derby!

On Sunday it's the Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly or what is also known as the French Derby, for some reason. The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King takes on fourteen rivals when he bids to complete a Classic double, having claimed his fifth successive win with a comprehensive victory in the French 2000 Guineas three weeks ago. The Kingman colt is sure to be the hot favourite to provide local trainer, who also saddles also saddles Roman Candle and Slalom, with his fifth victory in this feature contest. Aidan O'Brien is bidding to claim the prize for the first time and has entered three runners. Ryan Moore rides Cape Of Good Hope,

Epsom Blue Riband Trial winner, Donnacha O'Brien will be aboard Mohawk and Seamie Heffernan will partner Blenheim Palace. Three British entries are also hoping for French Derby fame: Andrew Balding's Raise You, John Gosden's Kick On and Roger Varian's Surfman.

 

Royal Return

It has been calculated that, since 1988, the Queen has earned nearly £8 million from her racehorses. The 534 wins from 3,205 runs (16.6%) she has notched up, on the Flat or over jumps, have brought in £7,768,448. Her Majesty's best year was 2016, when her horses won £506,274. Her highest-earning horse so far is Carlton House, who has banked £772,815. The Queen gets an average of nine wins a year and, although she has never won the Derby, (and does not have a runner tomorrow), she may still has a chance of success at Epsom when the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sextant, ridden by Ryan Moore, runs in the Class 2 Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap.

 

30 May 2019

 

First she will, then she won't!

The John Gosden-trained Enable is due to make her long-awaited return in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in July after a decision was made for her not go to Royal Ascot. The twice winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe been kept in training as a five-year-old, with the aim of becoming the first horse in history to win Europe's premier middle-distance contest three times but she has yet to make her seasonal debut. Owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah's racing manager confirmed earlier this month the Nathaniel mare would miss this week's Coronation Cup at Epsom and instead be aimed at either the Prince of Wales's Stakes or the Hardwicke at the Royal meeting. Then Enable's workout yesterday persuaded connections to change their minds again as they thought that the race at Ascot would be too soon.

 

Young versus old

The Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist will race against a growing list of top-class older horses who'll be running in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. This five-year-old Galileo progeny was a Group One winner last season in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and finished twice behind Enable, at ParisLongchamp and the Breeders' Cup and also stormed to victory in the Prix Ganay over an extended 10 furlongs. The first two home in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Enable and Sea Of Class, are also aiming to be there - along with Aidan O'Brien's Magical and Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean.

 

From a different songsheet!

Kevin Ryan has confirmed that he will saddle his Hello Youmzain, the impressive winner of the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock four days ago, in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. In that six-furlong Group Two contest John Gosden's Calyx was the 2/13 hot favourite but obviously Hello Youmzain hadn't read the race card because he inflicted a first career defeat on the Kingman colt. This was generally regarded as one of the shocks results of the season but Kevin Ryan didn't seem at all surprised. After all, the three-year-old had completed his juvenile campaign with a Group Two victory in France.

 

29 May 2019

 

That's the Spirit!

The Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeistwill race against a growing list of top-class older horses who'll be running in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. This five-year-old Galileo progeny was a Group One winner last season in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and finished twice behind Enable, at ParisLongchamp and the Breeders' Cup and also stormed to victory in the Prix Ganay over an extended 10 furlongs. The first two home in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Enable and Sea Of Class, are also aiming to be there - along with Aidan O'Brien's Magical and Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean.

 

Where there's Hope …

Danny Tudhope has enjoyed a flying start to his season and arrived at Redcar yesterday with 21 winners to his credit so far in the Stobart-sponsored jockeys' championship. Then fate struck. Three of his rides had to be pulled out at the start. But the Ayrshire-born jockey didn't give up hope (it's part of his name!) and steered the Archie Watson-trained Inspired Thought to a half-a-length victory in the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Handicap, putting him just behind Oisin Murphy in the race for the crown.

 

Hello, Hello!

Kevin Ryan has confirmed that he will saddle his Hello Youmzain, the impressive winner of the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock four days ago, in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. In that six-furlong Group Two contest John Gosden's Calyx was the 2/13 hot favourite but obviously Hello Youmzain hadn't read the race card because he inflicted a first career defeat on the Kingman colt. This was generally regarded as one of the shocks results of the season but Kevin Ryan didn't seem at all surprised. After all, the three-year-old had completed his juvenile campaign with a Group Two victory in France.

 

28 May 2019

 

Prince of fortune

Roger Varian's Zabeel Prince claimed the first Group One of his career with an impressive performance in the Prix d'Ispahan at ParisLongchamp. The lightly-raced six-year-old had only tackled this level once before when he disappointed connections in last year's Lockinge at Newbury. He did, however, return to winning ways this season in the Earl of Sefton at Newmarket. Ridden by Andrea Atzeni this Lope De Vega gelding was just behind the pace, set by Harry Dunlop's Knight To Behold. When James Doyle made a bid for home aboard Wild Illusion, it briefly looked like she was going to be the winner but she soon ran out of steam as did Dream Castle. Zabeel Prince then increased the tempo and while Study Of Man closed in menacingly, he never looked like winning and had to be content with second place.

 

Classic Double

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Hermosa won the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, thereby completing a Classic double. The Galileo filly had already upset the apple cart at the beginning of the month by claiming the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, after making all the running as the supposed third string of the Ballydoyle entries. With Ryan Moore's stewardship this result was even more impressive., Hermosa was always up with the pace and was a length in front with two furlongs togo, with Pretty Pollyanna close her heels. For a few strides it looked as though the British-trained filly could launch a successful challenge but Hermosa revealed her inherited stamina and went further and further clear, eventually winning by four lengths. This victory gave Aidan O'Brien his eighth success win in this Classic.

 

Just Magical!

Another Aidan O'Brien-trained filly produced a dominant display in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. Magical, a winner on Champions Day at Ascot last year, had already notched up her first two wins this season but she looked much improved on this occasion. Ryan Moore kept her tracking the Irish St Leger winner and stable companion, Flag Of Honour with the three other rivals some way behind. When the runners turned into the straight, however, it soon became clear that none of the followers was making any progress and when Magical was urged to make her challenge, the five-year-old 2/7 favourite quickened clear to win by an easy seven lengths.

 

27 May 2019

 

Now the Irish

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Hermosa won the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh yesterday, thereby completing a Classic double. The Galileo filly had already upset the apple cart at the beginning of the month by claiming the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, after making all the running as the supposed third string of the Ballydoyle entries. With Ryan Moore's stewardship this result was even more impressive., Hermosa was always up with the pace and was a length in front with two furlongs togo, with Pretty Pollyanna close her heels. For a few strides it looked as though the British-trained filly could launch a successful challenge but Hermosa revealed her inherited stamina and went further and further clear, eventually winning by four lengths. This victory gave Aidan O'Brien his eighth success win in this Classic.

 

Magical display

Another Aidan O'Brien-trained filly produced a dominant display in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh. Magical, a winner on Champions Day at Ascot last year, had already notched up her first two wins this season but she looked much improved on this occasion. Ryan Moore kept her tracking the Irish St Leger winner and stable companion, Flag Of Honour with the three other rivals some way behind. When the runners turned into the straight, however, it soon became clear that none of the followers was making any progress and when Magical was urged to make her challenge, the five-year-old 2/7 favourite quickened clear to win by an easy seven lengths.

 

Princely performance

Roger Varian's Zabeel Prince claimed the first Group One of his career with an impressive performance in the Prix d'Ispahan at ParisLongchamp. The lightly-raced six-year-old had only tackled this level once before when he disappointed connections in last year's Lockinge at Newbury. He did, however, return to winning ways this season in the Earl of Sefton at Newmarket. Ridden by Andrea Atzeni this Lope De Vega gelding was just behind the pace, set by Harry Dunlop's Knight To Behold. When James Doyle made a bid for home aboard Wild Illusion, it briefly looked like she was going to be the winner but she soon ran out of steam as did Dream Castle. Zabeel Prince then increased the tempo and while Study Of Man closed in menacingly, he never looked like winning and had to be content with second place.

 

26 May 2019

 

Phoenix rises again

The odds suggested that yesterday's Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.was a two-horse contest between Too Darn Hot and Magna Grecia. But hey were wrong! The Charlie Hills-trained Phoenix Of Spain had been runner-up to each of these two on his last two starts last year lined up in this Classic without a previous run this season and ran the race of his life. Jamie Spencer got the Lope De Vega colt smartly away and soon settled in a good position. Skardu and Emaraaty Ana were also prominent alongside Aidan O'Brien's Magna Grecia and Mohawk. Too Darn Hot loomed ominously in the centre of the track just after the three-furlong pole but then Magna Grecia visibly weakened and was soon out of contention. Too Darn Hot put in a strong challenge but there was no stopping Phoenix Of Spain who galloped on strongly to win by three lengths.

 

Hello, Hello!

There was also an unexpected result in the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. The John Gosden-trained Calyx, following his successful return to action at Ascot at the beginning of the month, was, not surprisingly, the red- hot favourite(2/13) for this six-furlong Group Two contest against just three rivals. Kevin Ryan's Hello Youmzain, ridden by Robert Havlin, quickly recovered from a bump on leaving the stalls and inflicted a shock three-and-a-quarter length defeat on the previously unbeaten Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old who looked threatening two furlongs out but drifted to his left when push came to shove. Hello Youmzain, on the other hand, galloped on relentlessly to claim the prize.

 

Back to Back

The 2017 Prix de l'Abbaye winner, Battaash, trained by Charlie Hills, once more staked a big claim for top sprinting honours when he triumphed in the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock. Caspian Prince and Kachy didn't hang about from the off and made the running towards the far side, hotly pursued by Alpha Delphini. At about half way, Jim Crowley decided to move the Dark Angel gelding over towards the two leaders and he soon dominated on his first outing since minor wind surgery. From that point Battaash didn't look back and galloped past the line two-and-a-half lengths clear of Alpha Delphini, thereby becoming the first horse to land back-to-back victories since Mind Games in 1995 and 1996.

 

25 May 2019

 

One to note

The John Gosden-trained Private Secretary narrowly won the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood and thereby confirmed his place on the Royal Ascot team. It had already been decided that the Kingman colt wouldn't run in the Epsom Derby so this victory, his third in a row, was a timely preparation for the Royal meeting. The Denford Stud three-year-old was settled at the rear of the field during the early stages of this one-mile-three-furlong contest and slowly worked his way through the seven-strong field to make his challenge, beating Spanish Moon by a neck.

 

Boy oh Boy!

The British Horseracing Authority and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board have declared The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy the highest-rated National Hunt performer of last season in the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications, hosted at Sandown Park. The seven-year-old Voix Du Nord gelding had a splendid season, winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, the Betway Bowl at Aintree and the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup. Kemboy's two-length defeat of Gold Cup-winning stable companion, Al Boum Photo (175) at Punchestown earned him a rating of 177, the highest awarded since Don Cossack in the 2015-16 season.

 

Two Guineas?

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Magna Grecia is bidding for a Classic double in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh today. The Invincible Spirit colt, with only one defeat in four career starts, added to his juvenile Group One success at Doncaster by claiming the first colts' Classic of the season at Newmarket, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

The Ballydoyle trainer commented: "The plan is to run most of our entries in both races (1,000 and 2,000 Guineas). Magna Grecia seems fine and is in good form and it was always the plan to come to the Curragh.”

 

24 May 2019

 

Boy's the tops!

The British Horseracing Authority and Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board have declared The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy the highest-rated National Hunt performer of last season in the annual Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications, hosted at Sandown Park. The seven-year-old Voix Du Nord gelding had a splendid season, winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, the Betway Bowl at Aintree and the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup. Kemboy's two-length defeat of Gold Cup-winning stable companion, Al Boum Photo (175) at Punchestown earned him a rating of 177, the highest awarded since Don Cossack in the 2015-16 season.

 

Currie in favour

Victory on Seraphinite in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes at Kempton means that Nicola Currie now occupies the tenth slot on the list of the most successful British women Flat-racing jockeys of all-time. The Lambourn-based rider, who was crowned the all-weather champion apprentice last month after another successful winter campaign, notched up her 127th victory of her career on the two-year-old Gutaifan filly, who was the 33-1 outsider in he six-furlong contest. Nicola Currie's Kempton success is her 26th winner of 2019, following her 81 winners last year, the crowning glory of which was her winning the Challenge Cup victory on Raising Sand at Ascot in October, the biggest win of her career.

 

Doubling up?

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Magna Grecia is set to bid for a Classic double in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday. The Invincible Spirit colt, with only one defeat in four career starts, added to his juvenile Group One success at Doncaster by claiming the first colts' Classic of the season at Newmarket, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

The Ballydoyle trainer commented: "The plan is to run most of our entries in both races (1,000 and 2,000 Guineas). Magna Grecia seems fine and is in good form and it was always the plan to come to the Curragh.”

 

23 May 2019

 

Currie in favour

Victory on Seraphinite in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes at Kempton last night means that Nicola Currie now occupies the tenth slot on the list of the most successful British women Flat-racing jockeys of all-time. The Lambourn-based rider, who was crowned the all-weather champion apprentice last month after another successful winter campaign, notched up her 127th victory of her career on the two-year-old Gutaifan filly, who was the 33-1 outsider in he six-furlong contest. Nicola Currie's Kempton success is her 26th winner of 2019, following her 81 winners last year, the crowning glory of which was her winning the Challenge Cup victory on Raising Sand at Ascot in October, the biggest win of her career.

 

Darn it!

John Gosden's Too Darn Hot has become a surprise entry in Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Last year's champion juvenile had to miss the Newmarket equivalent due to problems early on in the year. He was back in action at York last week in the Dante Stakes but, stepping up in trip to ten furlongs, may have been one of the reasons that he just failed to beat Telecaster. The Newmarket trainer John Gosden ruled out the Derby as the next step but the St James's Palace Stakes was stated as his next target. Now, it has now been decided to leave Too Darn Hot in the Irish Classic. Other plans will follow. Watch this space!

 

Kew next winner?

Aidan O'Brien hopes last year's St Leger hero Kew Gardens can improve on his previous experience of Epsom and provide him with a ninth victory in the Investec Coronation Cup. For this the Ballydoyle king will rely on this Galileo colt, who finished ninth in last year's Derby, after ruling out Magical from this Group One prize. After finishing down the field in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last time out, Kew Gardens found Morando too good when conceding 7lb on his seasonal return in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

 

22 May 2019

 

DXB

The Mark Johnston-trained Dee Ex Bee puts his Gold Cup credentials on the line when he runs in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes at Sandown tomorrow. The four-year-old is generally the 10/1 third favourite for this two-and-a-half-plus feature race after winning on his seasonal debut at the Berkshire course three weeks ago. His five rivals include two stablemates - Making Miracles who won the Chester Cup and Austrian School who was actually sent off the 3-1 favourite that day but was well beaten as the rain-soddened ground was not to his liking.

 

Hot again

John Gosden's Too Darn Hot has become a surprise entry in Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. Last year's champion juvenile had to miss the Newmarket equivalent due to problems early on in the year. He was back in action at York last week in the Dante Stakes but, stepping up in trip to ten furlongs, may have been one of the reasons that he just failed beat Telecaster. John Gosden ruled out the Derby as the next step and the St James's Palace Stakes was stated as his next target. Now, it has now decided to leave Too Darn Hot in the Irish Classic. Other plans will follow.

 

On Kew.

Aidan O'Brien hopes last year's St Leger hero Kew Gardens can improve on his previous experience of Epsom and provide him with a ninth victory in the Investec Coronation Cup. For this the Ballydoyle king will rely on this Galileo colt, who finished ninth in last year's Derby, after ruling out Magical from this Group One prize. After finishing down the field in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on last time out Kew Gardens found only Morando too good when conceding 7lb on his seasonal return in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

 

21 May 2019

 

Lost Heart!

This three-time Group One winning Equiano gelding, trained by James Fanshawe, had claimed the Weatherbys Hamilton Stakes twice in the last three years so quite naturally he was the 11/10 favourite to win it again. This wasn't to be, however, as the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream Of Dreams continued his last-month all-weather success at Chelmsford with a one-length victory in this six-furlong race, perhaps better known as The Leisure Stakes. Ryan Moore kept the 11/4 second favourite comfortably placed midfield early on before making a move to lead inside the final furlong and stay on for victory, followed by Glorious Journey, The Tin Man was a length further back third place.

 

Bravo Davy!

Davy Russell nipped over to France and rode the Isabelle Pacault-trained Carriacou to a nine-length victory in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil. This Califet gelding was third in this three-mile-five furlong contest two years ago, after which he was off the track for almost two years before returning to action for a hurdle race in January. Ridden in true professional Davy Russell style, the seven-year-old was the only horse still on the bridle as the nineteen runners approached the final fence and sprinted easily clear.

 

British Rule

Meanwhile three British trainers decided to take on the Germans in the 2000 Guineas at Cologne. In what was a dominant display, the Richard Hannon-trained Fox Champion, ridden by Oisin Murphy, made every yard of the running on his first run over a mile. The Kodiac colt managed to hold off late challenges from Mark Johnston's Arctic Sound and Tom Dascombe's Great Scot to win by a neck, with Johnston's Marie's Diamond back in fourth. Now it looks like Royal Ascot for the three-year-old, whether the Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs or the St James's Palace Stakes over a mile has yet to be decided.

 

20 May 2019

 

Bravo Davy!

Davy Russell nipped over to France and rode the Isabelle Pacault-trained Carriacou to a nine-length victory in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil. This Califet gelding was third in this three-mile-five furlong contest two years ago, after which he was off the track for almost two years before returning to action for a hurdle race in January. Ridden in true professional Davy Russell style, the seven-year-old was the only horse still on the bridle as the nineteen runners approached the final fence and sprinted easily clear.

 

British Raiders

Meanwhile three British trainers decided to take on the Germans in the 2000 Guineas at Cologne. In what was a dominant display, the Richard Hannon-trained Fox Champion, ridden by Oisin Murphy, made every yard of the running on his first run over a mile. The Kodiac colt managed to hold off late challenges from Mark Johnston's Arctic Sound and Tom Dascombe's Great Scot to win by a neck, with Johnston's Marie's Diamond back in fourth. Now it looks like Royal Ascot for the three-year-old, whether the Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs or the St James's Palace Stakes over a mile has yet to be decided.

 

Just Perfect!

This Scat Daddy filly, who had already shown top-class form as a juvenile, when she finished second to Advertise in the Phoenix Stakes, showed her style again when winning the feature race, Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas yesterday. So Perfect, with Ryan Moore aboard, had already pleased connections when coming third in the seven-furlong Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury last month. The three-year-old's career, however, now looks set for sprinting after her performance in this six-furlong event when she came down the centre of the track to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

19 May 2019

 

First Group One

Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mustashry won his first Group One at the age of six when beating Laurens to the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury yesterday. This was a career-best for the six-year-old Tamayuz gelding following on from third place in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket last month. Jim Crowley kept his mount always prominent just off the pace set by Ostilio and Laurens and then switched to the outside inside the final two furlongs, going on to score by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

The right note

The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, one of last season's staying stars after scoring on each of his five starts, got off to a good start on his return when winning the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup. This Sea The Stars progeny landed the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million and followed that up with a victory in this Group Two qualifier with triumphs in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup - and added the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup. As a result Stradivarius was saddled with a 3lb penalty but, although he came under pressure early in the home straight, he responded well to his jockey's commands. Aidan O'Brien's Southern France did his best to make a race of it, but with the rail to help, the five-year-old passed the post a comfortable three-quarters of a length ahead.

 

Royal Attraction

Magnetic Charm, carrying the Queen's colours, claimed a narrow victory in the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies' Stakes at York. The William Haggas-trained Exceed And Excel filly caught the eye last Summer when scoring at Newbury and produced creditable performances when stepping up to Group class in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood and the May Hill at Doncaster.

Magnetic Charm was a 7/1 chance for her seasonal reappearance in this Listed contest with the John Gosden-trained Twist 'N' Shake the 11-8 favourite. This Kingman filly looked to have no problems for much of this one-mile contest but then Twist 'N' Shake quickened to the front inside the final furlong. Magnetic Charm, however, was never far away and eventually got the upper hand a neck.

 

18 May 2019

 

A successful string.

The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, one of last season's staying stars after scoring on each of his five starts, got off to a good start on his return when winning the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup. This Sea The Stars progeny landed the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million and followed that up with a victory in this Group Two qualifier with triumphs in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup - and added the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup. As a result Stradivarius was saddled with a 3lb penalty but, although he came under pressure early in the home straight, he responded well to his jockey's commands. Aidan O'Brien's Southern France did his best to make a race of it, but with the rail to help, the five-year-old passed the post a comfortable three-quarters of a length ahead.

 

Are we clear? Crystal!

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean is bidding today to add to his easy victory at Sandown last time when he lines up in the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury. The Sir Evelyn De Rothschild-owned five-year-old won the Gordon Richards Stakes for a second time on his return to the track last season and he certainly seems to have progressed from there so he shouldn't have any problems with this contest.

 

Royal Charm

Magnetic Charm, carrying the Queen's colours, claimed a narrow victory in the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies' Stakes at York. The William Haggas-trained Exceed And Excel filly caught the eye last Summer when scoring at Newbury and produced creditable performances when stepping up to Group class in the Prestige Stakes at Goodwood and the May Hill at Doncaster.

Magnetic Charm was a 7/1 chance for her seasonal reappearance in this Listed contest with the John Gosden-trained Twist 'N' Shake the 11-8 favourite. This Kingman filly looked to have no problems for much of this one-mile contest but then Twist 'N' Shake quickened to the front inside the final furlong. Magnetic Charm, however, was never far away and eventually got the upper hand a neck.

 

17 May 2019

 

Key Victory

The John Gosden-trained Lah Ti Dar. stepping down to a mile and a quarter for the first time in a year to run in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes at York, made hard work of it but ultimately claimed the £70,000 prize. Henry Candy's Queen Of Time had set a moderate pace until the six-strong field reached the straight where the race really got going. Lah Ti Dar had to fight off the persistent challenge of Sir Michael Stoute's Rawdaa but eventually scored by a neck.

 

Close call

Garrus, trained by Jeremy Noseda, following up his success in the Watch Racing TV Now Conditions Stakes at Nottingham last month, came out on top in an exciting three-horse finish to the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York. The Acclamation colt, ridden by Ryan Moore, was stepping up to Listed class for the first time. Archie Watson's Soldier's Call and Clive Cox's Shades Of Blue were equally intent to deny victory to Garrus as all three lunged at the line. After a short while, the judge announced that Garrus had won by a short head from Shades Of Blue, with Soldier's Call a neck further away in third.

 

An expensive decision.

This Hughie Morrison-trained New Approach colt, bred and trained in Britain, threw down his challenge for this year’s Derby trials. Telecaster, unraced as a two-year-old, inflicted a first defeat on last year’s champion, Too Darn Hot, in the Al Basti Equiworld Dante Stakes. The Castle Down Racing-owned three-year-old is now the 5/1 second favourite for Epsom on June 1, behind Aidan O’Brien’s Sir Dragonet. Ironically, it will cost the owners a supplement of £85,000, as both horses were originally entered for the contest but were subsequently taken out.

 

16 May 2019

 

Kingman Filly rules

The Roger Varian-trained Nausha scored by just a neck in a thrilling finish to the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York, a contest recognised as a trial for the Investec Oaks at Epsom. Ten fillies went to post, in including John Gosden's Sparkle Roll who was the well-backed favourite at 7/4. I'll Have Another, trained by mark Johnston, set the pace for a good part of the way but wandered across the track when under pressure. Nausha, ridden by Andrea Atzeni, went into the lead inside the final furlong, joined by the William Haggas-trained Frankellina and Entitle, a half-sister to the brilliant Enable, John Gosden's second hopeful. There was little to choose between the trio as they approached the post but Nausha was declared the winner, with Frankellina and Entitle dead-heating for second.

 

End of an era?

Ryanair's CEO has decided, for family reasons, to wind down his operation. No, not the airline! Michael O'Leary has just announced he will phase out his National Hunt activity over the next five years. The fifty-nine-year-old's Gigginstown House Stud is one of the biggest in the jumping world, with horses such as Grand National winner, Tiger Roll, and Cheltenham Gold Cup winners War Of Attrition and Don Cossack sporting the famous maroon and white silks. Michael O'Leary plans to reduce his involvement over the coming years and his decision not to keep or buy any more horses means his team's days are numbered.

 

Unbeatable

The Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes was won emphatically by the James Tate-trained

Invincible Army. This Invincible Spirit colt had already shown much improvement when winning the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in late March so, naturally, he was he was a 7/2 joint-favourite as he stepped up to Group Two level on the Knavesmire. PJ McDonald gave the four-year-old a patient ride for much of the six-furlong contest in which El Astronaute adopted his usual pace-setting role. As the latter's challenge ran out of steam inside the final furlong, Invincible Army was just getting going and he then galloped to win by an impressive two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

15 May 2019

 

A Credit to her Mare

The Willie Mullins-trained Princess Vega, the first foal of Quevega, made a winning debut in yesterday's BetVictor Bet 5 Get 30 Offer Maiden Hurdle at Tramore. Quevega, also handled by the County Carlow king, made history by becoming the first horse to win at the Cheltenham Festival six years in a row – claiming the Mares' Hurdle between 2009 and 2014. Princess Vega was the 5/4 favourite in this opening race of the day and was ridden by the newly-crowned champion jockey Paul Townend. The Beat Hollow filly travelled well for most of the two-mile trip and, although she showed signs of her inexperience when asked to go for home, she still managed to win comfortably by seven-and-half lengths.

 

Temperature's rising

Too Darn Hot comes up against seven rivals when he makes his eagerly-awaited return to the track in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York. The John Gosden-trained Dubawi colt won each of his four starts, including the Dewhurst at Newmarket. He was the red-hot favourite for the 2000 Guineas but was ruled out of an intended trial run in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury and ultimately missed the first colts' Classic of the season. There is still a chance that the Anthony Lloyd Webber-owned Too Darn Hot could run in the Derby but it all depends on whether he can handle the the step-up to a mile and a half in tomorrow's race.

 

Not for the High Jump!

Ryanair's CEO has decided, for family reasons, to wind down his operation. No, not the airline! Michael O'Leary has just announced he will phase out his National Hunt activity over the next five years. The fifty-nine-year-old's Gigginstown House Stud is one of the biggest in the jumping world, with horses such as Grand National winner, Tiger Roll, and Cheltenham Gold Cup winners War Of Attrition and Don Cossack sporting the famous maroon and white silks. Michael O'Leary plans to reduce his involvement over the coming years and his decision not to keep or buy any more horses means his team's days are numbered.

 

14 May 2019

 

Lady be good!

John Gosden has sent two impressive fillies to York in a bid to score again in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a Group Three contest he has claimed five times in the last eight years with the likes of the Fugue and So Mi Dar. This time he is counting on Entitle, a half-sister to the brilliant Enable, and Sparkle Roll, a half-sister to the 2017 Derby winner, Wings Of Eagles. Both of these fillies hold entries in the Investec Oaks at the end of this month.

 

A clean sweep!

A stylish victory by Broome in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown completed a week of Classic trial domination for Aidan O'Brien. After victories by Sir Dragonet, Circus Maximus and Anthony Van Dyck, the Donnacha O'Brien-ridden Australia colt was sent off the 2/5 favourite, confident of staking his own Epsom claims, having previusly impressed in the Ballysax Stakes over this course and distance first time out. Supporters might have had a few anxious moments as he came round the bend but Broome continued to make significant progress from two out and was well in command in the final hundred yards, ultimately winning by two-and-a-half lengths ahead of his stable companion, Blenheim Palace.

 

Double, no toil, no trouble.

Trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jack Kennedy were able to put the disappointing results at the recent Punchestown Festival behind them when Swingbridge bagged last night's £35,000 Tote Killarney National Handicap Chase. The Milan gelding was always travelling well, joining the leaders as the twelve runners headed for home. Then just before the second last fence, the 11-year-old went clear and had no problem dealing with the persistent Auvergnat, leaving him eight lengths adrift. This made it a double for the Elliott-Kennedy partnership as they had earlier won the BetVictor Sliabh Hurdle with Flaxen Fare.

 

13 May 2019

 

Haza go!

Dermot Weld notched up his eighth success in the Comer Group International Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday. Hazapour, ridden by Oisin Orr, put on an authoritative display in this Group Three contest. His stable companion, Zuenoon, was urged to the front after Aidan O'Brien's Dunkirk Harbour broke smartly and went into the lead. Hazapour then moved into third place and was soon in a dominant position to claim the prize. Jim Bolger's Verbal Dexterity made a brave challenge but was unable to match Hazapour, who crossed the line two and a half lengths ahead, adding to his victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial on this card last year.

 

Derby Domination

Aidan O'Brien continued his domination of the Investec Derby trials yesterday when Broome beat two stable companions to win the Leopardstown's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial by two and a half lengths. It was the Ballydoyle trainer's twelfth success in this one-and-a-quarter-mile event and followed on his victories with Cape Of Good Hope at Epsom last month, Sir Dragonet and Circus Maximus at Chester during the week and Anthony Van Dyck at Lingfield on Saturday. Thursday's Dante Stakes at York will see Japan bidding to maintain Aidan O'Brien's domination.

 

Godolphin's King

Yesterday Godolphin hit the magic mark of 300 worldwide Group 1 wins and it could be that the 299th victory provided by Persian King will be the one longest remembered, although it was Castle Lady who finished the day in style in the fillies' Classic 35 minutes later, bringing up the milestone achievement. It was the Andre Fabre-trained Persian King, however, who secured a seventh victory in the Emirates Poule D'essai Des Poulains Group 1 Stakes. The Kingman colt defied the heavy Longchamp ground and pulled clear of Shaman, with the Roger Varian-trained San Donato staying on for third.

 

12 May 2019

 

A Masterly Stroke

After triumphing in yesterday's RaceBets Derby Trial at Lingfield Anthony Van Dyck is now seen as a strong contender for the Derby in June. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo colt, ridden by Ryan Moore was sent off the 2/1 favourite and always travelled comfortably. After drawing alongside the leader Pablo Escobarr as they approached the final furlong it was from there on a foregone conclusion as he went on to score by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Weld done again!

Dermot Weld notch ed up his fourth success since 2012 when his Tarnawa claimed the Irish National Stud Racing Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes at Naas. This Shamardal filly denied victory to the odds-on favourite, Who's Steph, in the last few yards of this one-and-a-quarter-mile contest. The latter had tried to make all the running and add to her success at Gowran Park only six days ago but she was constantly harassed in her attempts by Aidan O'Brien's Delphinia. Who's Steph eventually managed to see off that Ballydoyle filly and it certainly looked as though the prize was hers. But never count your whatever! Chris Hayes urged Tarnawa to make one final challenge and she got there by a neck.

 

Another Epsom Hopeful?

A six-length victory by Anapurna in the RaceBets Money Back All Losers Oaks Trial Fillies' Stakes at Lingfield further also strengthened John Gosden's prospects for Epsom next month. Despite showing signs of immaturity, this three-year-old Frankel filly went into the lead early in the home straight and galloped well clear of her nearest rival, Roger Varian's Tauteke.

 

11 May 2019

 

I believe in Miracles!

The Sportpesa Chester Cup was won by a Mark Johnston-trained Pivotal gelding in desperate conditions. Despite being drawn out wide in stall 16, Making Miracles, ridden by course specialist Franny Norton, got off to a quick start and into the lead. Low Sun soon joined him and the duo dominated the race from there on. The Willie Mullins-trained Champs Elysees, however, lost touch as they entered the straight but the 16/1 shot, Making Miracles, kept up the gallop and won by an easy six lengths.

 

First for Twelve Years

The Richard Fahey-trained Forest Ranger became the first horse for twelve years to claim back-to-back wins in the Homeserve Huxley Stakes at Chester. It was back in 2007 that the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Maraahel achieved the third of his three consecutive triumphs. Yesterday the five-year-old Lawman gelding overhauled the long-time leader, Success Days, halfway down the home straight and claimed this extended mile and a quarter contest, three-quarters of a length ahead of Mark Johnston's Matterhorn.

 

Chester First

Tom Dascombe notched up his first success at Chester this year when Sha La La La Lee, ridden by Jane Elliott, scored his first victory on turf in the Liverpool Gin Earl Grosvenor Handicap. The Cheshire-based trainer had had no luck on the first two days of the Boodles May Festival but he finally made it when the four-year-old Helmet gelding made all in this extended seven-furlong race to beat Richard Fahey's Gabrial The Saint by a length and a quarter.

 

10 May 2019

 

More Morando

The Andrew Balding-trained Morando seemed to have no problem with the extra furlong and a half step-up in trip when claiming the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester. The Kendargent gelding was kept in third slot by champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, shadowing Warnaq and Cypress Creek who had set off at a very stiff gallop and then, two furlongs from home, he moved suddenly into a clear advantage. This manoeuvre obviously caught his rivals by surprise and Ryan Moore, aboard the odds-on favourite, Kew Gardens, had to come around the outside from the rear to make a challenge but Morando was not going to be caught now and went on to win by eight lengths.

 

One-Two, again!

Just twenty four hours after Sir Dragonet and Norway dominated the Chester Vase, the Ballydoyle team did it again in the other major Derby trial of the meeting, the Homeserve Dee Stakes. The Aidan O'Brien-trained 5/4 favourite, Circus Maximus, had tracked the leader, Allmankind, throughout the race and was urged by Ryan Moore to take the lead on the final turn. This two-length advantage turned out to be crucial as stable companion, Mohawk, slowly reeled him in but couldn't quite make it as Circus Maximus crossed the line one-and-a-quarter lengths ahead.

 

Turf going

This John Ryan-trained Cape Cross gelding notched up his first win on turf since June last year, having spent the winter months racing on the all-weather. Returning to five furlongs, the 22/1 chance, Merhoob, surprised everyone on his his first visit to Chester when winning the first race of the day, the Gateley PLC Handicap. The seven-year-old travelled well initially in the middle of the pack and then unexpectedly surged past the favourite, Copper Knight, inside the final furlong and held him off by a length.

 

9 May 2019

 

Dee Day

Aidan O'Brien will saddle Circus Maximus and Mohawk in a bid to win an eighth Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester today. The Ballydoyle trainer has dominated this recognised Derby trial in recent years with the likes of Cliffs Of Moher and Rostropovich. Circus Maximums appears to be the stable's biggest hope this time around, having rounded off his juvenile campaign by finishing a close-up fourth behind his 2000 Guineas-winning stablemate Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. His stable companion, Mohawk, is a talented performer in his own right, however, having won the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last September.

 

Stewards Rule. OK!

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has denied a request for an appeal by the connections of Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first place in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Lexington attorney, Barry Stilz, made the request on behalf of owners Gary and Mary West, in which he asked for an appeal to be heard by the full commission because the stewards' actions were "arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations. Their determination to disqualify Maximum Security is not supported by substantial evidence". The appeal was rejected, with a letter from KHRC general counsel John Forgy explaining that request was denied because Kentucky regulations do not allow appeals of stewards' decisions.

 

Could be a Contender?

The winner of yesterday's Chester Vase Stakes has suddenly made connections wonder whether he should be entered for next month's Derby. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Sir Dragonet only made his racecourse debut 13 days ago, winning a maiden at Tipperary. Dashing Willoughby had set a good gallop up front, with Technician one of the first to feel the strain along with the winner's better-fancied stable companion, Norway. Donnacha O'Brien, aboard the Camelot colt, began to make his move about half a mile out. The Charlie Fellowes-trained King Ottokar seemed to be going well as he moved up on the outside but Sir Dragonet had his measure and careered off to win by eight lengths ahead of Norway.

 

8 May 2019

 

Stewards Rule. OK!

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has denied a request for an appeal by the connections of Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first place in Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Lexington attorney, Barry Stilz, made the request on behalf of owners Gary and Mary West, in which he asked for an appeal to be heard by the full commission because the stewards' actions were "arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with applicable administrative regulations. Their determination to disqualify Maximum Security is not supported by substantial evidence". The appeal was rejected, with a letter from KHRC general counsel John Forgy explaining that request was denied because Kentucky regulations do not allow appeals of stewards' decisions.

 

New Start

This King's Theatre gelding retired from racing in April of last year after sixteen wins under rules, including eight Grade One triumphs including three Betfair Chases at Haydock, the King George VI Chase at Kempton and two Cheltenham Festival wins, in the Champion Bumper and the Ryanair Chase. Today Cue Card embarks on a new career at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Jean Bishop-owned 13-year-old, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard, joined show horse producer Katie Jerram in Essex a month ago and he will appear on the first of five days at Royal Windsor - taking part in the ROR (retraining of racehorses) Open In-hand Show Series.

 

Chester hope

Aidan O'Brien will saddle Circus Maximus and Mohawk in a bid to win an eighth Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday. The Ballydoyle trainer has dominated this recognised Derby trial in recent years - saddling five of the last seven winners, including the last two Cliffs Of Moher and Rostropovich. Circus Maximums appears to be the stable's biggest hope this time around, having rounded off his juvenile campaign by finishing a close-up fourth behind his 2000 Guineas-winning stablemate Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. His stable companion, Mohawk, is a talented performer in his own right, however, having won the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last September.

 

7 May 2019

 

Happen to win

Ten fillies and mares lined up in the Coolmore Gleneagles Irish EBF Athasi Stakes at the Curragh and one of the notables was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Happen, runner-up in the 1000 Guineas at Leopardstown in April. Her supporters will have been holding their breath when the War Front filly was still at the rear of the field a furlong from home. But their concerns were short-lived, however, as the Ryan Moore-ridden three-year-old made a late surge forward and clobbered Mick Channon's Dan's Dream right on the line to win by a short head.

Aidan O'Brien commented afterwards: "Her dam (Alexandrova) was always best doing that and she couldn't come from far enough back.”

 

Good Start

This 7lb claiming apprentice won his first ride for a Newmarket trainer at Windsor yesterday. Cieren Fallon, son of former champion Kieren, in fact, notched up a double as he had earlier steered Michael Attwater's Real Estate to victory in the first race of the day. His ride for Amy Murphy was on Erissimus Maximus in the Phil Rendell Forty-Thirteenth Birthday Handicap. This Holy Roman Emperor gelding led from the start and had enough in reserve to beat the Ed Walker-trained Blackheath by three-quarters of a length.

 

New Career

This King's Theatre gelding retired from racing in April of last year after sixteen wins under rules, including eight Grade One triumphs including three Betfair Chases at Haydock, the King George VI Chase at Kempton and two Cheltenham Festival wins, in the Champion Bumper and the Ryanair Chase. Today Cue Card embarks on a new career at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Jean Bishop-owned 13-year-old, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard, joined show horse producer Katie Jerram in Essex a month ago and he will appear on the first of five days at Royal Windsor - taking part in the ROR (retraining of racehorses) Open In-hand Show Series.

 

6 May 2019

 

Guineas Double

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Hermosa won the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and, thereby, completed another Guineas double for her trainer. In fact, it was the fourth time the Ballydoyle handler had won both opening Classics of the season. There was little doubt that the Galileo filly could handle the task and jockey, Wayne Lordan, was happy to make it a real test. As the three-year-old ran into the dip, it seemed sure she would be caught by Lady Kaya or Angel's Hideaway, who were both travelling strongly. The plucky Hermosa, however, just kept on finding more under pressure and began to pull away again on the rising ground, beating Lady kaya by a length.

 

Who's Who?

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran was won emphatically by the Ger Lyons-trained Who's Steph. Jockey, Colin Keane, aboard this Zoffany filly, decided to take the initiative and soon the grey took an early lead in ths one-mile-plus contest. Who's Steph, who was strongly fancied for last year's Irish 1,000 Guineas last season but only managed to finish midfield, was nevertheless sent off at 2/7 in this Listed event. Colin Keane kept her closest to the far rail and she gradually pulled further and further clear to win by eight lengths.

 

Latest Communique

Champion jockey, Silvestre De Sousa, won the Roaring Lion Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket on the Mark Johnston-trained Comminique. Against expectations, this Casamento colt gave a powerful front-running performance to land the Group 2 event. Although a previous winner over the course and distance, the four-year-old was well-beaten in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes at Newbury in the middle of last month and faced a tough task as John Gosden's Coronet and Roger Varian's Defoe were among the six rivals. Surprisingly, the 12/1 chance Communique only set only a moderate pace in front but Silvestre de Sousa knew his mount had that little extra and so he speeded up inside the final quarter of a mile. Last year's winner Defoe made a desperate challenge but Communique never looked in any real danger of being caught and won by a length and a quarter.

 

5 May 2019

 

Winner disqualified

Trainer Jason Servis was about to celebrate matching his brother's victory in the 2004 Kentucky Derby when his first-past-the-post Maximum Security was disqualified by the Churchill Downs stewards, after an objection was made about interference caused by the winner's drifting to the right on the home turn. It was subsequently revealed that the riders of Long Range Toddy and Country House, had lodged complaints against Maximum Security, saying that here had been interference as they left the quarter-pole and headed for home. So the shock winner of the 145th renewal was second-past-the-post, Country House. This is the first time in the history of the legendary Kentucky Derby that the winner has been disqualified.

 

Champ-to-be?

Thanks to the successes of exploits of Roaring Lion last year, this 22-year-old Killarney jockey is now regarded as one of the current top riders. Oisin Murphy is obviously hoping that his impressive start to the new Flat season will put him in good stead to make a challenge for the champion jockey's title which gets under way this weekend, on the same day as the Qipco British Champions Series at Newmarket. To achieve this ambition Oisin Murphy will have to topple his good friend Silvestre de Sousa from the top slot.

 

Tank's for the memory!

This Colin Tizzard-trained Jeremy gelding successfully held off the late challenge by Sams Profile in an exciting climax in the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. A strong field of eleven runners lined up for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade One contest with Martin Brassil's City Island the red-hot 11/10 favourite. Reserve Tank was successful in his three previous recent starts over hurdles, having completed his hat-trick with a unexpected triumph at Aintree's Grand National meeting. Ridden by Robbie Power, the 13/2 chance five-year-old, at the front of the chasing pack pursuing Royal Rendezvous who led for much of the way, easily cruised into the lead before the home turn. Reserve Tank looked set for an easy victory at the top of the straight, but Mouse Morris's Sams Profile charged for the line after the final flight and just failed by half-a-length.

 

4 May 2019

 

Questions answered

The JP McManus-owned Buveur D'Air, trained by Nicky Henderson, produced an impressive winning performance in the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle. There were a few questions marks hanging over this two-time winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham before his Irish debut, as in March he fell when bidding to become the sixth horse to win a third two-mile hurdling crown at Prestbury Park and then found Supasundae too much in the Aintree Hurdle. The 2/1 joint-favourite, Buveur D'Air, ridden at short notice by Davy Russell, as Mark Walsh suffered an injury earlier in afternoon, went well throughout this two-mile contest and loomed ominously into the slipstream of Petit Mouchoir as the field rounded the home turn and once urged to go, went on to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Enough in Reserve

This Colin Tizzard-trained Jeremy gelding successfully held off the late challenge by Sams Profile in an exciting climax in the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. A strong field of eleven runners lined up for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade One contest with Martin Brassil's City Island the red-hot 11/10 favourite. Reserve Tank was successful in his three previous recent starts over hurdles, having completed his hat-trick with a unexpected triumph at Aintree's Grand National meeting. Ridden by Robbie Power, the 13/2 chance five-year-old, at the front of the chasing pack pursuing Royal Rendezvous who led for much of the way, easily cruised into the lead before the home turn. Reserve Tank looked set for an easy victory at the top of the straight, but Mouse Morris's Sams Profile charged for the line after the final flight and just failed by half-a-length.

 

Aiming for the top.

Thanks to the successes of exploits of Roaring Lion last year, this 22-year-old Killarney jockey is now regarded as one of the current top riders. Oisin Murphy is obviously hoping that his impressive start to the new Flat season will put him in good stead to make a challenge for the champion jockey's title which gets under way this weekend, on the same day as the Qipco British Champions Series at Newmarket. To achieve this ambition Oisin Murphy will have to topple his good friend Silvestre de Sousa from the top slot.

 

3 May 2019

 

Everyone for himself!

The owner and trainer of this Policy Maker gelding must be wondering whether they might have another potential superstar on their hands after yesterday's victory in the Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival. The Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi, owned by Rich Ricci, notched up his second win from only his second start in Ireland, after hurdling in France. The seven-year-old, having created a huge impression on his first run at Naas in March, had a much tougher time in the hottest novice chase of the season as he was up against Philip Hobbs' JLT winner, Defi Du Seuil, Arkle hero Duc Des Genievres, Aintee scorer Ornua and Voix Du Reve, a Grade One victor last time out. As expected Henry De Bromhead's Ornua went off at a tremendous gallop but was caught at the second last by the Willie Mullins-trained Duc Des Genievres. The latter was doggedly tracked by his stable companion, Chacun Pour Soi, ridden by Robbie Power, who had replaced Ruby Walsh, who unexpectedly announced his retirement on Tuesday. Champion jockey, Richard Johnson was content to shadow him on Defi Du Seuil and hold off any challenge as late as possible. Chacun Pour Soi, however, wasn't finished yet and went on again to win by four-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Ruby was a Gem!

Kemboy's victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup yesterday marked the end of a legendary riding career. Ruby Walsh decided to end his brilliant time in the saddle after the two-length victory in this Grade One event. The 39-year-old rider from Kill, Ireland, was seen to wave goodbye to the Punchestown crowd as he crossed the line aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Voix Du Nord gelding. The announcement seemed as much as a surprise for the county Carlow trainer as well as for the rest of the racing community! Ruby Walsh retires after notching up over 2,500 winners and with more Cheltenham Festival victories to his name than any other rider in history. At one stage in his career he had the best of both worlds, riding as main jockey for Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland, before he eventually decided to devote time to riding in his own country.

 

Harry up!

The Harry Fry-trained Unowhatimeanharry last won the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival two years ago and he came back yesterday to prove his days as a leading staying hurdler are not quite over. With Mark Walsh aboard for just the second time since Noel Fehily's retirement, the eleven-year-old Sir Harry Lewis gelding travelled better than he has for quite some time, remaining with the first three or four throughout the contest. When the pace-setting Killultagh Vic ran out of steam, there were still a few in with a chance but Unowhatimeanharry stayed on best of all, galloping up the run-in to win by three lengths.

 

2 May 2019

 

In for the Kill

Kemboy's victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup yesterday marked the end of a legendary riding career. Ruby Walsh decided to end his brilliant time in the saddle after the two-length victory in this Grade One event. The 39-year-old rider from Kill, Ireland, was seen to wave goodbye to the Punchestown crowd as he crossed the line aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Voix Du Nord gelding. The announcement seemed as much as a surprise for the county Carlow trainer as well as for the rest of the racing community. Ruby Walsh retires after notching up over 2,500 winners and with more Cheltenham Festival victories to his name than any other rider in history. At one stage in his career he had the best of both worlds, riding as main jockey for Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland, before he eventually decided to devote time to riding in his own country.

 

Beat Hollow

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Minella Indo won the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, thus re-confirming his Cheltenham superiority over Allaho who came third to the Beat Hollow gelding's first in the Albert Bartlett at Prestbury Park in March. Ruby Walsh changed his tactics from those employed at Cheltenham and tried to make Allaho dominate from the front, and, in fact, it seemed to be a good decision, as the No Risk At All gelding, when jumping the second last, certainly appeared to be going better than Minella Indo. When the duo turned into the straight, however, Rachael Blackmore urged her mount to challenge the leader and he responded well, galloping clear of Allaho to win by two lengths.

 

Kingman Colt Victory

John Gosden's Calyx maintained his unbeaten record with an impressive performance in the Merriebelle Stable Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes at Ascot. Until the end of last week, the Kingman colt was scheduled to run in the 2000 Guineas but was switched to this six-furlong contest as the Clarehaven Stables' trainer decided that it would be an easier option, since the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned three-year-old hadn't raced for the best part of a year. Even so, Calyx was sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1/3 but backers had few concerns as he surged past the widely spread-out field and won by four lengths.

 

1 May 2019

 

Sceaux good!

Last year's winner of the two-mile of the BoyleSports Champion Chase at Punchestown produced another tremendous front-running display to successfully defend his crown. The ever popular Un De Sceaux, trained by Willie Mullins, had only run twice since that triumph; the first when he gave Altior a run for his money in the Tingle Creek at Sandown; the second when he came fifth in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. This Denham Red gelding, however, was 11/4 shot to strike gold on his return to action, with his stable companion, Min, the 8/13 favourite. The eleven-year-old, ridden by Paul Townend, however, soon dominated affairs with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Min, hot on his tracks. The latter tried close the gap as the field left the back straight, but was untidy at the fence before the home turn and it soon became clear that he would have his work cut out to get on terms. Un De Sceaux galloped remorselessly on, safely negotiating the final two fences, going on to win by four lengths.

 

Back to Work

This Gordon Elliott-trained Network gelding, who hadn't had a win since December, got back into winning ways again with a dominant display in the Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned Delta Work had been the star performer in Ireland's staying novice division last year - winning his first three starts over fences including successive Grade One wins at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown. The six-year-old, however, only managed finish third when a hot favourite to claim his second Cheltenham Festival success in the RSA Chase. British raider, Drovers Lane, and Articulum disputed the lead for much of this extended three-mile journey but Davy Russell was content to take his time with Delta Work until he finally allowed to cruise to the lead just before the home turn. Henry De Bromhead's A Plus Tard, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, made a brief challenge but Delta Work easily dealt wit that and galloped on to triumph by twelve lengths.

 

A Dream of a win!

The Willie Mullins-trained Klassical Dream added to his recent Cheltenham Festival triumph by winning the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle. This Dream Well gelding had already scored a record sixth victory his trainer in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park. As expected, Gordon Elliott's Aintree winner, Felix Desjy, took on his usual pace-setting role from the start of the race and the strong gallop certainly caused most of his rivals a lot of problems a long way from home. Klassical Dream, however, with Ruby Walsh aboard, went into the lead jumping the last-but-one hurdle, going well clear in the straight, winning an easy five-and-a-half lengths. .

 

30 April 2019

 

A True Master

The Joseph O'Brien-trained Master Of Reality gave an impressive front-running performance, causing a major upset in the Sequence Events Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan. Nine runners went to post for this Group Three contest which, this year, is the sole Irish qualifier for the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million, whereby £1 million bonus is on offer for any horse who can win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York. Stradivarius achieved this feat last year. Aidan O'Brien's Capri, winner of the Irish Derby and St Leger two years ago, was the 5/4 favourite but he was under pressure a long way from home and couldn't cut the mustard. Master Of Reality, ridden by Wayne Lordan, was only a a 33/1 chance shot but was in the lead for much of this one-mile-six-furlong journey. When, however, the Ger Lyons-trained Mustajeer challenged him it looked as though the best the Frankel gelding could hope for was a place but he rallied gamely and won the race by a neck.

 

A Hat Trick

The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior led all the way to win the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown for the third successive year, thereby taking his unbeaten run over fences to a record 19 in a row. The High Chaparral gelding, ridden by Nico de Boinville, dominated from the off and, whenever a rival came close, he accelerated easily away. Alan King's Sceau Royal did seem to pose a threat at one stage, but his challenge was haughtily dismissed and the 1/6 favourite went on to win by two and a half lengths. Nine-year-old Altior had already matched the mighty staying hurdler, Big Buck's, with 18 wins when he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a second time at Cheltenham last month.

 

A Touch of Frost

Bryony Frost, on her first ride back from injury, notched up her 50th winner for the season when riding the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton to victory in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown. The 24-year-old Devonshire-born jockey thus confirmed her position as champion conditional jockey with this Grade Two victory aboard a horse that has given her so mush success. Moving on three out at the Pond fence, the 15/8 favourite scored his first victory of the season, eleven lengths ahead of Nicky Henderson's Gold Present.

 

28 April 2019

 

Riding High

At Sandown yesterday the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior led all the way to win the bet365 Celebration Chase for the third successive year, thereby taking his unbeaten run over fences to a record 19 in a row. The High Chaparral gelding, ridden by Nico de Boinville, dominated from the off and, whenever a rival came close, he accelerated easily away. Alan King's Sceau Royal did seem to pose a threat at one stage, but his challenge was haughtily dismissed and the 1/6 favourite went on to win by two and a half lengths. Nine-year-old Altior had already matched the mighty staying hurdler, Big Buck's, with 18 wins when he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a second time at Cheltenham last month.

 

It's all Talk

Last year's winner of the bet365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Sandown, Step Back, did just that and came third. The new kid on the block was the Alan King-trained Talkischeap, one of the youngest in the fifteen-strong field. Wayne Hutchinson gave the Getaway gelding a confident ride from a long way out whilst several horses faded under the strain. Step Back led until the seventeenth fence but then seemed to lose it. Sam Waley-Cohen looked a strong contender aboard The Young Master but the latter blundered at the second, causing his jockey to lose his iron briefly but, after a miraculous recovery, the Echo Of Light gelding went into second place after the fourteenth obstacle and was temporarily in the lead as the runners approached the last, where Talkischeap made a tremendous leap and went on to win by ten lengths.

 

She's Champion!

Bryony Frost, on her first ride back from injury, notched up her 50th winner for the season when riding the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton to victory in the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown. The 24-year-old Devonshire-born jockey thus confirmed her position as champion conditional jockey with this Grade Two victory aboard a horse that has given her so mush success. Moving on three out at the Pond fence, the 15/8 favourite scored his first victory of the season, eleven lengths ahead of Nicky Henderson's Gold Present.

 

27 April 2019

 

Happy 17th Birthday to Kayf Aramis!

 

Winner of the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham 

 

10 years ago!

 

Tenth Win

Sir Michael Stoute notched up his tenth victory in the bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown, courtesy Crystal Ocean who got back into winning form for the first time since since last June, after being runner-up in his last three races. In last year's Group Three contest this Sea The Stars progeny had to work hard to score but, this time, he produced an impressive performance to become just the second two-time winner of this prestigious prize. After tracking the early pace set for much of the 10-furlong journey by eventual runner-up, Knight To Behold, Crystal Ocean moved into a strong lead two furlongs from home and eventually crossed the line with two-and-a-quarter lengths to spare.

 

Second Ton-Up

For only the second time in his career Richard Johnson achieved his 200th winner mark at Perth on Friday. The Hereford-born 41-year-old enjoyed a career-best 235 winners when was crowned champion jockey for the first time at the end of the 2015-16 season. For the last two seasons, however, a double century has eluded him. But on the eve of gaining his fourth champion jockeys' title he did it again aboard two Gordon Elliott-trained runners at he Scottish track. His 199th winner came with Count Simon in the Scone Palace Handicap Hurdle and his 200th riding stable companion, Load Up Time, in the St Andrews Students Racing Society Handicap Hurdle.

 

Chasing a Third Victory

This afternoon the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior is going for third successive victory in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown, the scene of four of his previous wins this season. The High Chaparral gelding's most recent victory was when he successfully defended his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which saw Altior extend his unbeaten sequence over jumps to 18 - a joint-record of successive wins along with Big Buck's. It will be a big surprise if he does not make it again at the close of the jumps season at Sandown.

 

26 April 2019

 

3 Years without winning!

The 2016 Triumph Hurdle winner, Ivanovich Gorbatov, made his trainer, Joseph O'Brien, wait over three years and 24 runs before getting back into the winner's enclosure again. Not since that Cheltenham Festival success when this Montjeu gelding got the better of subsequent ten-time Grade One winner Apple's Jade - has Ivanovich Gorbatov dominated a race in this way but he was certainly back to his best in the RYBO Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse which he claimed by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Derby chance?

Aidan O'Brien claimed his first victory in the Investec Blue Riband Trial Stakes at Epsom, courtesy Cape Of Good Hope, who also boosted his chances of running in this year's Investec Derby. This three-year-old Galileo colt, full-brother to multiple Group One winner, Highland Reel, was placed twice placed at Group-race level last season, and made a triumphant return in this mile-and-a-quarter Listed contest. Ryan Moore settled Cape Of Good Hope near the rear of the field in the early stages of the race but the 4/1 chance gradually worked his way to the front of the field inside the final furlong, holding off the fast-finishing Cap Francais by half a length.

 

Scat Daddy Filly

The Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 should see the impressive Qabala heading up a field of 24 runners after the latest forfeit stage. Roger Varian's Scat Daddy filly has become the favourite in the ante-post market after her breathtaking performance when she beat her stable companion, Mot Juste, in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket last week.

 

25 April 2019

 

Hope for the Derby?

Aidan O'Brien claimed his first victory in the Investec Blue Riband Trial Stakes at Epsom, courtesy Cape Of Good Hope, who also boosted his chances of running in this year's Investec Derby. This three-year-old Galileo colt, full-brother to multiple Group One winner, Highland Reel, was placed twice placed at Group-race level last season, and made a triumphant return in this mile-and-a-quarter Listed contest. Ryan Moore settled Cape Of Good Hope near the rear of the field in the early stages of the race but the 4/1 chance gradually worked his way to the front of the field inside the final furlong, holding off the fast-finishing Cap Francais by half a length.

 

Worth the wait

The 2016 Triumph Hurdle winner, Ivanovich Gorbatov, made his trainer, Joseph O'Brien, wait over three years and 24 runs before getting back into the winner's enclosure again. Not since that Cheltenham Festival success when this Montjeu gelding got the better of subsequent ten-time Grade One winner Apple's Jade - has Ivanovich Gorbatov dominated a race in this way but he was certainly back to his best in the RYBO Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse which he claimed by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

One in a 1000

The Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 should see the impressive Qabala heading up a field of 24 runners after the latest forfeit stage. Roger Varian's Scat Daddy filly has become the favourite in the ante-post market after her breathtaking performance when she beat her stable companion, Mot Juste, in the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket last week.

 

24 April 2019

 

Camelia blooms at Fairyhouse

The Willie Mullins-trained Camelia De Cotte produced an impressive front-running display to win the BoyleSports Grand National Festival John & Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase at Fairyhouse. Successful on five of her first six starts over fences, including victories at Listed, Grade Three and Grade Two level, this Laveron mare was back competing against her own sex in this Grade Three contest, after finding the promising gelding, Kaiser Black, too strong to beat on her latest outing in the Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase in March. The seven-year-old made all and, although she was not fluent at last, she stayed on well on the run-in to win comfortably by five-and-a-half lengths.

 

Crowned again

After another incredible campaign on Saturday at the bet365 Jump Finale at Sandown, Richard Johnson will be crowned Stobart Champion Jump Jockey for a fourth consecutive year. To celebrate his latest title, Great British Racing has teamed up with legendary sports commentator, Eddie Butler, to produce a video which pays homage to the 41-year-old jockey's tenacity, resilience and talent that have contributed to his winning four back-to-back titles since 2015. having been runner-up to AP McCoy for sixteen years, Richard Johnson finally claimed his first title in 2016 when the Moneyglass-born jockey retired.

 

A Wildcard?

If the Tom Dascombe-trained Arthur Kitt wins the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom this afternoon, he will also earn a place in the Derby. That is because the winner of this Listed race will get a wildcard entry into the Epsom Downs world-famous race, if not already entered. This Camelot colt won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot last June on his second start and followed that up with a second slot to Too Darn Hot in the Solario Stakes at Sandown at the beginning of September. The three-year-old didn't quite live up to expectations when coming fifth in the Royal Lodge Stakes at newmarket in November but he finished a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last time out.

 

23 April 2019

 

First Three Home.

It's been a year when Willie Mullins has broken new ground. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March for the first time with Al Boum Photo and yesterday he claimed another race he had never won before - the Irish Grand National. In fact, not content with just winning, the County Carlow trainer saddled the first three home - Burrows Saint, Isleofhopendreams and Acapella Bourgeois. The well-backed winner was given a confident ride by Ruby Walsh, who urged him on three from home, and he still had enough stamina to fend off both of his stable companions.

 

Money for Honey

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle extended her winning run to four with an impressive performance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse. The Sulamani mare, who had to miss Cheltenham due to a minor injury, was kept in the perfect position throughout by Rachael Blackmore, just behind the front runners. As the sixteen-strong field turned into the straight it was clear that no horse was travelling better than this five-year-old 6/4 favourite, who jumped clear at the second last. Although Honeysuckle jumped the final flight a little awkwardly, it did hinder her momentum and she sprinted five-and-a-half lengths ahead of Willie Mullins' Elfile, leaving Cheltenham winner, Eglantine Du Seuil, three lengths further back in third.

 

Dan's the Man

The victory in the Racing TV Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Market Rasen was one for the racing history as it gave Dan Skelton his 200th winner in a single season, making him only the second National Hunt trainer in history to achieve such a feat. Martin Pipe was the first to reach such a milestone in Britain, doing so on eight separate occasions. In fact, Dan Skelton actually enjoyed a six-timer on Easter Sunday, four at the Lincolnshire track, with Present Ranger, Gortroe Joe, Zamparelli and Montego Grey. His other two triumphs were at Plumpton where Istimraar and Kereman scored.

 

22 April 2019

 

Double Ton Up

The victory in the Racing TV Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Market Rasen was one for the racing history as it gave Dan Skelton his 200th winner in a single season, making him only the second National Hunt trainer in history to achieve such a feat. Martin Pipe was the first to reach such a milestone in Britain, doing so on eight separate occasions. In fact, Dan Skelton actually enjoyed a six-timer on Easter Sunday, four at the Lincolnshire track, with Present Ranger, Gortroe Joe, Zamparelli and Montego Grey. His other two triumphs were at Plumpton where Istimraar and Kereman scored.

 

School run

This Mark Johnston-trained Teofilo colt, ridden by Joe Fanning, claimed the Queen’s Cup Stakes at Musselburgh by six lengths. The Dr Jim Walker-owned Austrian School, Tiger Roll’s half-brother, tracked leaders, moving into second slot eleven furlongs from home. The three-year-old went into the lead from the three-furlong post and was well clear for the rest of the contest. Austrian School was consequently cut to 6/1 from 10/1 for the Chester Cup and to 14/1 from 33/1 for the £1,000,000 Sky Bet Ebor by Sky Bet, as it seems probable that these top staying prizes will be in his sights now. Mark Johnston, who saddled four runners in this one-and-a-half-mile, commented: “Last year he kept going up and up and up in the weights for not even winning races but we always knew he was a really good horse.”

 

Honey for the money

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Honeysuckle extended her winning run to four with an impressive performance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse. The Sulamani mare, who had to miss Cheltenham due to a minor injury, was kept in the perfect position throughout by Rachael Blackmore, just behind the front runners. As the sixteen-strong field turned into the straight it was clear that no horse was travelling better than this five-year-old 6/4 favourite, who jumped clear at the second last. Although Honeysuckle jumped the final flight a little awkwardly, it did hinder her momentum and she sprinted five-and-a-half lengths ahead of Willie Mullins' Elfile, leaving Cheltenham winner, Eglantine Du Seuil, three lengths further back in third.

 

21 April 2019

 

Back to School!

This Mark Johnston-trained Teofilo colt, ridden by Joe Fanning, claimed yesterday's Queen’s Cup Stakes at Musselburgh by six lengths. The Dr Jim Walker-owned Austrian School, Tiger Roll’s half-brother, tracked leaders, moving into second slot eleven furlongs from home. The three-year-old went into the lead from the three-furlong post and was well clear for the rest of the contest. Austrian School was consequently cut to 6/1 from 10/1 for the Chester Cup and to 14/1 from 33/1 for the £1,000,000 Sky Bet Ebor by Sky Bet, as it seems probable that these top staying prizes will be in his sights now. Mark Johnston, who saddled four runners in this one-and-a-half-mile, commented: “Last year he kept going up and up and up in the weights for not even winning races but we always knew he was a really good horse.”

 

Invincible

Earlier at the East Lothian track Mick Appleby's Saaheq landed the Scottish Sprint Cup Handicap. Hollie Doyle, aboard this Invincible Spirit gelding, tracked Final Venture on the stands’ rail and urged him into the lead one furlong out, going on to a convincing three-quarter length victory ahead of the long-time leader. It looks like Saaheq could be in for a good Summer with plenty of lucrative sprinting prizes up for grabs.

 

Meet again!

The Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield gave the Mark Johnston-trained Watersmeet the opportunity to make it third time lucky, having finished second in 2017 and third last year 12 months. Despite missing the break, this Dansili gelding, who is usually a front-runner, managed to come with a strong challenge from off the pace before being urged on by Joe Fanning about a furlong from home and eventually passed the post, two-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of the odds-on favourite Amade.

 

19 April 2019

 

Four wins. Roger!

The bet365 Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket was won by Zabeel Prince, thereby continuing Roger Varian's excellent run of form. The Newmarket trainer had already scored a one-two in Tuesday's Nell Gwyn Stakes, with Qabala soundly beating stable companion, Mot Juste. He then followed that up twenty-four hours later when UAE Jewel claimed the bet365 Wood Ditton Maiden Stakes by five lengths. To crown it all, Zabeel Prince, with Andrea Atzeni aboard, then provided Roger varian with a fourth success in yesterday's Group Three Earl Of Sefton Stakes. Zabeel Prince was given a patient ride by his Italian jockey before switching wide to mount a challenge, two furlongs from home. The six-year-old revealed an impressive turn of foot and went into the lead, winning by two-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of last year's winner Forest Ranger.

 

£3000 – again!

Kupatana's victory in the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase Series Final at Cheltenham means that Paul Nicholls has become only the third trainer in history to saddle 3,000 winners over jumps in Britain. The Somerset trainer actually notched up his 3,000th win overall, when Capitaine triumphed at Taunton in February, but that score included 25 in Ireland, 4 in France and 11 on the Flat. Dr Sanderson provided Nicholls with his 3,000th British winner at Ludlow at the beginning of this month. Yesterday Paul Nicholls he joined Martin Pipe and Nicky Henderson as the only trainers to saddle 3,000 winners over jumps in Great Britain.

 

Fighting for the Crown

Today Nicola Currie will be crowned All-Weather Champion Apprentice at Bath after another successful winter campaign. The 25-year-old, originally from Isle of Arran in Scotland but now based in Lambourn with trainers Richard Hughes and Jamie Osborne, will receive this award after notching up a total of 30 wins in the All-Weather Championships, 12 more wins than her nearest rival, Phil Dennis. The All-Weather Championships is decided on victories secured from Tuesday October 23 2018 until Friday April 19 2019 on All-Weather tracks.

 

18 April 2019

 

A Guineas Chance?

This Shamardal colt maintained his unbeaten record with a narrow victory in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket. This race is considered to be a key trial for the 2000 Guineas so trainer William Haggas could be feeling that he might have a chance of landing that Classic for the first time. Shardu was settled at the rear by James Doyle and made a late challenge when Set Piece made a strong move down the outside. The Roger Charlton-trained Momkin then burst through near the rails and went into the lead for a while but then Skardu just pipped him at the post by a neck.

 

Key to success

The Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket was unexpectedly won by the 66/1 outsider, Keystroke, giving trainer, Stuart Williams, a Group Three victory, the biggest success of his career. The Pivotal progeny had already made a winning stable debut at Kempton in January but still had plenty to prove after coming nowhere in the sunracing.co.uk Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton last time out. Adam Kirby made a rapid amount of late headway aboard the seven-year-old in this six-furlong contest prize and managed to get his head in front of Richard Hannon's Yafta, with Brando - seeking a third straight win in this race - a further neck away in third.

 

Jewel in the crown

This Roger Varian-trained Dubawi colt produced an impressive performance to triumph in the bet365 Wood Ditton Maiden Stakes at Newmarket. Uae Jewel, who is already entered in next month's Dante Stakes at York, fully justified his short odds (10/11) by storming clear of his rivals late on in this mile contest prize, defeating William Haggas's Al Hadeer by five lengths.

 

17 April 2019

 

A Pivotal Three

The Kevin Ryan-trained Brando is clearly chasing a third successive win in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket. For the last two years the Thirsk-based handler has used today's Group Three contest as a preparation for champion sprinter Brando. This seven-year-old Pivotal gelding has been a real money-spinner for connections, having also won the Ayr Gold Cup and the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest in France and just failing to add to his winnings last season when coming second to The Tin Man in the Haydock Sprint Cup.

 

Getting a Kick out of it!

The John Gosden-trained Kick On had to work hard to claim his second career victory by bravely holding off Richard Hannon's Walkinthesand to win the bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. The Charm Spirit colt scored in the Bonhams EBF Maiden Stakes at this Suffolk track in September before joining Group One company at Doncaster, where he finished sixth behind Magna Grecia in the Futurity Trophy. Riding for connections who enjoyed a great success last year with Roaring Lion, Oisin Murphy was keen to grab the rail from where he was able to dominate all the way and triumph by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Rise and Shine!

Trainer Andrew Balding continued his good start to the season when Shine So Bright made all the running to win the bet365 European Free Handicap at Newmarket. The Oasis Dream colt, having landed thirds in the Richmond Stakes, Gimcrack and Mill Reef last season, was sent off at 5/2 for his first win since June 2018. Champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, was able to dictate his terms after grabbing the rail slot early. As the field raced into the dip, Shine So Bright soared ahead by four lengths. Richard Fahey's Space Traveller managed to get within a length and three-quarters but the result was never really in doubt.

 

16 April 2019

 

Bidding for another

Godolphin trainer, Charlie Appleby, is bidding for a second successive victory in the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow. This time he saddles Zakouski who finished third in the Rowley Mile Classic before claiming the Investec Derby. This New Approach colt, facing nine rivals in this one-mile contest, made a big impression on his successful racecourse debut at Kempton in November when he won the 32Red Casino / ebfstallions.com Novice Stakes. Although Zakouski faces a big step up in class on his first start on turf, he is already the favourite for Wednesday's one-mile Group Three.

 

Stable move

Charlie Fellowes has acquired Luca Cumani’s historic stables in Newmarket and the ambitious young trainer is to move his string of horses there in the next few weeks. The 120-box Bedford House Stables – built in 1820 and listed since 2006 – is one of the town’s most prestigious yards and has been Luca Cumani’s yard for more than 40 years. It is an exciting time for Charlie Fellowes, whose King Ottokar is a strong contender for the Derby in seven weeks’ time in. The 32-year-old trainer hit the headlines in the autumn when he sent Prince Of Arran to Australia to win a £100,000 handicap and then run third in the Melbourne Cup three days later.

 

Putting in a good word

The Roger Varian-trained Mot Juste makes her reappearance in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket and is expected to improve for the run. The American-bred filly had a couple of impressive successes at the end of her juvenile season. She won her final two starts, including victory over the Nell Gwyn course and distance in the Oh So Sharp Stakes six months ago. Mot Juste meets up again with her rivals, Angel's Hideaway, who was runner-up, and, Sunday Star, who came third. The Newmarket trainer is clearly hoping that the three-year-old Distorted Humor filly can earn herself a crack at the Qipco 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile on May 5.

 

15 April 2019

 

Magical Performance

On her seasonal debut this Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo filly added to her already growing reputation by winning the Group Three Alleged Stakes at Naas in impressive style. The four-year-old Magical was an even-money favourite, following her victory in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot last October and her impressive second to the invincible Enable hard in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. Returning to 10 furlongs, Magical, ridden by Ryan Moore, shadowed her stable companion, Flag Of Honour, for the first part of the race and then eased past the long-time leader to gallop clear by four-and-half lengths.

 

Jolly good, Fellowes!

Charlie Fellowes has acquired Luca Cumani’s historic stables in Newmarket and the ambitious young trainer is to move his string of horses there in the next few weeks. The 120-box Bedford House Stables – built in 1820 and listed since 2006 – is one of the town’s most prestigious yards and has been Luca Cumani’s yard for more than 40 years. It is an exciting time for Charlie Fellowes, whose King Ottokar is a strong contender for the Derby in seven weeks’ time in. The 32-year-old trainer hit the headlines in the autumn when he sent Prince Of Arran to Australia to win a £100,000 handicap and then run third in the Melbourne Cup three days later.

 

A Fine Show

Marcus Tregoning says that Mohaather is in fine form the day after his impressive display in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury. The Showcasing colt ended his juvenile campaign with an unexpected success in the Horris Hill Stakes at this Berkshire venue and decisively crowned that victory with an impressive performance on his seasonal reappearance. Mohaather is now generally a 16/1 chance for the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmaket next month.

 

14 April 2019

 

Taking Risks paid off!

A 25/1 outsider won the Scottish Grand National at Ayr yesterday to the delight of jockey, Sean Quinlan and trainer, Nicky Richards, whose legendary father, Gordon, won the race twice, way back in 1969 with Playlord and again in 1990 with Four Trix. The Greystoke handler has enjoyed a successful couple of seasons with the likes of Simply Ned, Guitar Pete and Baywing. This time it was Takingrisks, following his success at Carlisle last month, who did the honours. When the Sue Smith-trained favourite, Vintage Clouds weakened, it left Takingrisks and Crosspark to battle it out and the former finally dominated by four lengths.

 

Bye Bye  to the Street Cry mare

The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick provided racegoers with their last view of

Winx, who signed off her brilliant career in the best possible fashion. With 33 wins in a row, 25 of these at Group One level, this Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare has, inevitably, become something of a superstar with the Australian media. The seven-year-old, who survived an incident on Thursday when she kicked out at the railings, leaving a hole in an advertising board, came with her usual run from about half a mile out. As the crowds roared in the grandstand, jockey, Hugh Bowman, urged his mount to go for home with a furlong and a half to run and Winx sprinted clear to beat Kluger by a length and a half.

 

A Mohaather of winning

This Showcasing colt could be a strong QIPCO 2000 Guineas contender after his impressive victory in the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes at Newbury yesterday. The Marcus Tregoning-trained Mohaather, winner of his last two races at Newbury and Nottingham, profited from the absence of Guineas favourite, Too Darn Hot, who didn't run after all. The outcome was pretty well a foregone conclusion. Jim Crowley just had to stay on and allow Mohaather to do his thing. There was a brief moment when it looked as though Richard Hannon's Urban Icon might be able to get on terms but Mohaather had enough in reserve to deal with that challenge and won by three-quarters of a length.

 

13 April 2019

 

33 Winx

The Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick provided racegoers with their last view of

Winx, who signed off her brilliant career in the best possible fashion. With 33 wins in a row, 25 of these at Group One level, this Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare has, inevitably, become something of a superstar with the Australian media. The seven-year-old, who survived an incident on Thursday when she kicked out at the railings, leaving a hole in an advertising board, came with her usual run from about half a mile out. As the crowds roared in the grandstand, jockey, Hugh Bowman, urged his mount to go for home with a furlong and a half to run and Winx sprinted clear to beat Kluger by a length and a half.

 

Vintage Victory?

The Sue Smith-trained Vintage Clouds, who fell at the first fence at Aintree last week, is aiming to make amends for that disappointing performance by taking on the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr today. This Cloudings gelding was a popular choice for the Grand National but things didn't go right for him. The nine-year-old grey was also previously runner-up to the Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month and these two come up against each other again at Ayr tomorrow.

 

Long Live the King!

King Ottokar's convincing win in the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup British EBF Conditions Stakes at Newbury could mean that trainer, Charlie Fellowes, has a strong contender for the Derby. The Motivator gelding, who finished down the field in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on his final start last season was back at the scene of his debut victory in September. The three-year-old, ridden by Ben Curtis, thwarted the hopes a number of unbeaten rivals when comfortably taking the step-up in trip.

 

12 April 2019

 

Bye, Bye, Kentucky!

The Aidan O'Brien-trained U S S Michigan failed in his bid to run in next month's Kentucky Derby. The War Front colt was the 15/8 favourite in the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford, a qualifying race for the Louisville contest. His attempt was thwarted by three other runners, at the head of which was Bye Bye Hong Kong, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa who gave his new partnership with King Power Racing an early-season boost. Positioned just in behind the early pace, the Andrew Balding-trained Street Sense colt responded well to the champion jockey's urging and managed to hold off a late rally by Antilles, with Mark Johnston's Dark Vision a further head back in third. U S S Michigan could only manage a distant fourth.

 

Mare to come

Among the twenty-six entries for the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom next month is the John Gosden-trained Enable, another 'wonder-mare' who has triumphed in ten of her eleven starts to date, including seven Group One victories. The dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine became the first horse to follow up victory in Paris with success at the Breeders' Cup and she now makes her first appearance since her that historic victory at Churchill Downs.

 

King of the Clouds

The Sue Smith-trained Vintage Clouds, who fell at the first fence at Aintree last week, is aiming to make amends for that disappointing performance by taking on the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr tomorrow. This Cloudings gelding was a popular choice for the Grand National but things didn't go right for him. The nine-year-old grey was also previously runner-up to the Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last month and these two come up against each other again at Ayr tomorrow.

 

11 April 2019

 

Chelmsford First

Aidan O'Brien saddles his first ever runners at Chelmsford in the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes. That's because this inaugural £60,000 contest is the last of seven races in the 'European Road To The Kentucky Derby'. Success in this event means the winner gains thirty qualification points for the opening leg of the US Triple Crown, which takes place at Churchill Downs on Saturday May 4. Two of the nine declared horses for the Chelmsford feature are vying for for the Kentucky Derby. The most notable is the Aidan O'Brien-trained U S S Michigan, the impressive winner of the Lengthen The Odds With BetVictor Maiden on the all-weather at Dundalk last month.

 

Stage Fright

The final racecourse gallop of racing's biggest equine star had unexpected dramatic results. The Chris Waller-trained Winx's kicked a sign attached to metal railings, which necessitated an official veterinary check. When the news got out quite naturally all the media descended on the Sydney track, where the seven-year-old mare was working out with jockey, Hugh Bowman, in preparation for her last official appearance in Saturday's Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The record-breaking Winx, triumphant in her last 32 races, was typically cool as cucumber when she paraded in front of camera crews but off-stage she began to misbehave, rearing up and lashing out from behind, narrowly missing her trainer

 

Mare to come

Among the twenty-six entries for the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom next month is the John Gosden-trained Enable, another 'wonder-mare' who has triumphed in ten of her eleven starts to date, including seven Group One victories. The dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine became the first horse to follow up victory in Paris with success at the Breeders' Cup and she now makes her first appearance since her that historic victory at Churchill Downs.

 

10 April 2019

 

Out of the race

The rider of 1988 Grand National winner, Rhyme 'N' Reason, has announced that he is retiring. 59-year-old Brendan Powell, who showed his remarkable skills as a jockey when winning the Aintree prize for David Elsworth, went on to have a successful training career of his own, enjoying notable triumphs in Dubai with the likes of Dark Emerald.

Brendan Powell commented: "I have no regrets about giving up training. Time has come to do something else with my life. I've been extremely lucky to have two successful careers in racing, especially as Jenny Pitman and and David Gandolfo both said I'd never make a jockey!"

 

Hot enough?

Among the fourteen entries for the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, the John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot certainly catches the eye. This Dubawi colt had great success as a juvenile, winning each of his four starts, including an impressive dominant victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes last season. The three-year-old is even odds-on favourite with some bookmakers for next month's Qipco 2000 Guineas and is generally expected to make a winning return in this weekend's recognised trial for the first colts' Classic of the season.

 

Another Grand Day!

At the confirmation stage for the Saturday's Scottish Grand National the Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear, winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, is tops the weights. Vintage Clouds, handled by Sue Smith, was a first-fence faller in Saturday's Grand National at Aintree but, nevertheless, appears ready to try again just a week later at Ayr. Big River is another of those prominent in the market for this weekend's four-mile marathon and Lucinda Russell will no doubt be hoping that her nine-year-old will keep Scotland's biggest jumps prize at home.

 

9 April 2019

 

Time for a Change

The rider of 1988 Grand National winner, Rhyme 'N' Reason, has announced that he is retiring. 59-year-old Brendan Powell, who showed his remarkable skills as a jockey when winning the Aintree prize for David Elsworth, went on to have a successful training career of his own, enjoying notable triumphs in Dubai with the likes of Dark Emerald.

Brendan Powell commented: "I have no regrets about giving up training. Time has come to do something else with my life. I've been extremely lucky to have two successful careers in racing, especially as Jenny Pitman and and David Gandolfo both said I'd never make a jockey!"

 

Hotting up

Among the fourteen entries for the Watership Down Stud Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, the John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot certainly catches the eye. This Dubawi colt had great success as a juvenile, winning each of his four starts, including an impressive dominant victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes last season. The three-year-old is even odds-on favourite with some bookmakers for next month's Qipco 2000 Guineas and is generally expected to make a winning return in this weekend's recognised trial for the first colts' Classic of the season.

 

Another Grand!

At the confirmation stage for the Saturday's Scottish the Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear, winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, is tops the weights. Vintage Clouds, handled by Sue Smith, was a first-fence faller in Saturday's Grand National at Aintree but, nevertheless, appears ready to try again just a week later at Ayr. Big River is another of those prominent in the market for this weekend's four-mile marathon and Lucinda Russell will no doubt be hoping that her nine-year-old will keep Scotland's biggest jumps prize at home.

 

8 April 2019

 

Welcome Home!

Once again Summerhill in County Meath was the scene of a triumphant parade of the Grand National winner. Just like last year, Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott, took to the streets of his home town fewer than 24 hours after racing into the history books and was treated to a rapturous welcome from the locals, who lined the streets to celebrate his homecoming. The nine-year-old Authorized gelding had become the first horse since the great Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals of the world's most famous steeplechase in 1973/74. Gordon Elliott - a native of Summerhill, had thereby also notched up his third Grand National having struck Aintree gold with Silver Birch in 2007.

 

Clear Blue Sky

The Willie Mullins-trained Mister Blue Sky led home a one-two in the Fairyhouse Racecourse Supporting Irish Injured Jockeys Association Novice Hurdle. The county Carlow handler had saddled already won five of the last six renewals of this Grade Two contest and was clearly determined to score again by saddling three entries – Roll Again, Cash Back and Mister Blue Sky. Ruby Walsh, having plumped for the latter, sent off the 15/8 favourite, was content to bide his time for much of the two-mile trip while David Mullins, aboard stable companion, Cash Back, made much of the running. The duo pulled clear of their four rivals as they approached the final flight and battled it out in the final yards. Ruby Walsh, however, produced that little bit more from the Royal Applause gelding and won by three-quarters of a length.

 

A Corker

Formerly with Jim Bolger and now trained by Joseph O'Brien, Cimeara claimed the BetVictor Bet 5 Get 30 Offer Irish EBF Noblesse Stakes at Cork. The four-year-old filly, ridden by the trainer's brother, Donnacha, was always close to the pace set by Matthew Smith's Warnaq and was always ready to go for it when the time was right. The moment came in the final furlong when Cimeara responded to a request to quicken up and beat Who's Steph, the 11-8 favourite, by half a length.

 

7 April 2019

 

Roaring to Victory

It's taken 45 years for Red Rum's back-to-back Grand National win to be matched and the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll fully justified his entry into the history books. The nine-year-old Authorized gelding looked in better form than ever following his two recent wins in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan and the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - his fourth Cheltenham Festival success. Davy Russell kept the 4-1 favourite well positioned throughout the four-and-a-quarter-mile trip and there was only one slightly anxious moment when Tiger Roll clipped the top of the twenty-sixth fence. After that he moved confidently to the front and still had enough stamina to handle the long run-in and claim an historic victory.

 

To Cap it all!

Of the fifteen runners lined up in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree one horse attracted particular attention before the off. Gordon Elliott's prolific Apple's Jade, was back in action after a disappointing display when the favourite to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month. The County Meath trainer's earlier confidence that the Saddler Maker mare could put that defeat behind her seemed justified as she took up her usual pacesetting role, steered by Jack Kennedy. When the runners entered the home straight, however, it was clear that it wasn't going to be that easy as both Harry Fry's If The Cap Fits and Dan Skelton's Roksana took up the challenge. There was little to choose between the trio as they jumped the final flight and all three galloped hell for leather for the line. It was only in the last few strides that Apple's Jade weakened, allowing If The Cap Fits and Roksana to pass the post seemingly as one. It was later confirmed, however, that If The Cap Fits had claimed the prize by a head.

 

She's Magic!

Many racegoers were perhaps rooting for another kind of record in the Grand National. Only thirteen mares have won this world-famous event since 1841, the most recent being Nickel Coin in 1951. Trainer Jessica Harrington, who was having her first crack at the four-and-a-quarter-mile Aintree extravaganza, saddled the 66/1 shot, Magic Of Light, the only mare in the forty-strong field. Considering that this Flemensfirth progeny's maximum trip until yesterday had been just over three miles, she put on an impressive display, even going into the lead at the twenty-fifth fence. Perhaps the distance started to take its toll towards the end but she stayed on gamely and gained the runner-up slot, just two-and-three-quarter lengths behind Tiger Roll.

 

6 April 2019

 

On a Roll

If the punters' favourite wins the Grand National this afternoon it is estimated that it will cost the bookmakers around £200 million. The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll is bidding to make history by becoming only the second horse ever to win back-to-back Grand Nationals, a record that was last achieved by Red Rum in 1974. The nine-year-old Authorized gelding, last year's victor, won the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham last month and is heavily backed to triumph again at Aintree this afternoon.

 

Just a Min.

History repeated itself in reverse in yesterday's JLT Chase at Aintree. In last year's contest the Willie Mullins-trained Min lost to Politologue by a neck. This time the Walk In The Park gelding more than got his revenge by putting twenty lengths between him and his old rival, trained by Paul Nicholls. Once more, as he did on Kemboy 24 hours earlier, Ruby Walsh dictated the pace and the others seemed content to follow their leader. When the six-strong field turned into the straight, however, the County Kildare jockey was taking no prisoners and, after jumping the third from home, he urged Min to go for home.

 

Jade got it made?

Gordon Elliott seems confident that this Saddle maker mare has got over her disappointing performance at Cheltenham and will show what she's made of in this afternoon's Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree. Apple's Jade was well beaten in the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy after triumphing in all her four previous starts this season. One of those victories came over this distance of three miles. The seven-year-old has also beaten Supasundae, winner of Thursday's Aintree Hurdle, twice this season. Indeed, on her only previous visit to the Liverpool track, she beat Ivanovich Gorbatov by 41 lengths in the Grade One juvenile hurdle. With such an exemplary career record, it's not surprising that that Gordon Elliott believes Apple's Jade will redeem herself in this afternoon's contest.

 

5 April 2019

 

Sundae on Thursday

This Galileo gelding made amends for his disappointing effort in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham by winning the Betway Aintree Hurdle. The Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae, ridden by Robbie Power, seemed much more comfortable with the shorter trip. The result was to a certain extent influenced by the fact that Willie Mullins's former champion hurdler, Faugheen was pulled up early on and Melon fell at the first flight in the home straight. Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air, the former dual champion, was also not at his best. This is not to detract from Supasundae's performance , however, as he was definitely travelling very well and managed to hold on and beat Buveur D'Air by a length and a quarter.

 

Boy, was he good!

The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy was another runner who performed disappointingly at Cheltenham but came good at Aintree. The Voix Du Nord gelding was fancied for the Gold Cup at the Festival but he got no further than the first fence. It was a different story in the Betway Bowl Chase, however, where he won by a decisive nine lengths. Kemboy was quicker away than his five rivals, with Ruby Walsh sitting motionless for much of the time and his jumping was practically faultless throughout the three-mile-plus contest.

 

Gunning for victory

Trainer Amy Murphy notched up her first Grade One success when Kalashnikov scored in the Devenish Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree. Six top-quality horses lined up for the opening race of the Grand National meeting. The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi was well backed to extend her unbeaten success over fences. Kalashnikov had had a bit of a raw deal so far this season, having been beaten at Kempton and Sandown and then was badly hampered by a faller at Cheltenham, causing him to unseat his rider. So the Kalanisi gelding was a bit of a question mark for punters as he was also stepping up to two-and-a-half miles for the first time. Nevertheless Kalashnikov handled himself well and took over the lead from La Bague Au Roi as they approached the second-last fence. All seemed done and dusted but then the six-year-old blundered at the next but fortunately recovered and flew over the last to maintain his advantage.

 

4 April 2019

 

On Parade.

On this first day of the Aintree festival a retrained Grand National winner joins the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) parade alongside eight other retired champions. Pineau De Re, formerly trained by Dr Richard Newland, won the iconic event in 2014 when ridden by Leighton Aspell and ran his final race at Uttoxeter in 2016. The now 16-year-old gelding was then retrained by Dr Newland’s daughter, Amelia, and rider, Lizzie Doolittle. With the latter he made his eventing debut at Aston-le-Walls in April 2017 and is a great success in his second career. Pineau De Re will be joined by five other former Grand National Festival winners in the parade ring, including Always Waining, El Dancer, Peddlers Cross, Walkon and Saphir Du Rheu.

 

Coming up for Air?

Nicky Henderson is confident Buveur D'Air can put his disappointing performance at Cheltenham behind him and score again in the Betway Aintree Hurdle this afternoon. The eight-year-old Crillon gelding lined up in the Champion Hurdle at Prestbury Park last month, bidding to become only the sixth horse in history to win the prestigious prize for a third time and the first since another JP McManus-owned champion, Istabraq in 2000. Unfortunately Buveur D'Air fell at the third flight so it's fingers crossed all round for the 3.25 contest.

 

Lucky 13?

Remarkably, nearly a third of the 40 runners in Saturday's Grand National have the same trainer. Gordon Elliott has entered a record-breaking 13 runners in the Aintree extravaganza. Bless The Wings who came third last year, has just gained a place after Sandymount Duke, the outsider, was forced out due. The 2018 winner, Tiger Roll, the hot favourite and 2018 winner, heads up the Gordon Elliott equine army, which also includes the American Grand National winner, Jury Duty. The County Meath-based trainer, who won the 2007 Grand National with Silver Birch, is heavily tipped to win this week's prestigious prize.

 

3 April 2019

 

One in Three Chance!

Remarkably, a third of the 40 runners in Saturday's Grand National have the same trainer. Gordon Elliott has entered a record-breaking 13 runners in the Aintree extravaganza. Bless The Wings who came third last year, has just gained a place after Sandymount Duke, the outsider, was forced out due. The 2018 winner, Tiger Roll, the hot favourite and 2018 winner, heads up the Gordon Elliott equine army, which also includes the American Grand National winner, Jury Duty. The County Meath-based trainer, who also won the 2007 Grand National with Silver Birch, is heavily tipped to win this week's prestigious prize.

 

Which race?

Venetia Williams has entered Aso in both the Betway Bowl on Thursday and the JLT Chase on Friday and has yet to declare which one it will be. The Herefordshire-based trainer is clearly praying for sufficient rain at Aintree to give this Goldneyev gelding the chance to go one better than last time out at the Cheltenham Festival. The nine-year-old was runner-up in the Ryanair Chase. Luck has not been with Aso in both his starts this season but he did notch up a couple of victories after making a winning return at Newbury last November following more than a year off the track and then struck gold in a Grade Three at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

 

He does it again!

Burrows Saint scored in the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick, making it five times in six years that Willie Mullins has claimed this prize. He was denied victory in 2017 by the subsequent Irish National winner, General Principle. It is no secret that the County Carlow king used this Grade Three last year as preparation for Kemboy to go on to Grade One glory this season. Burrows Saint, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was sent off the 6/5 favourite but about two fences out, it began to look like punters had gone for the wrong horse as stable companion, Robin Des Foret, partnered by Paul Townend, appeared to be travelling much better. Ruby Walsh, however, got the advantage at the final fence and urged Burrows Saint to a four-length victory.

 

2 April 2019

 

Praying for rain

Venetia Williams has entered Aso in both the Betway Bowl on Thursday and the JLT Chase on Friday and has yet to declare which one it will be. The Herefordshire-based trainer is clearly praying for sufficient rain at Aintree to give this Goldneyev gelding the chance to go one better than last time out at the Cheltenham Festival. The nine-year-old was runner-up in the Ryanair Chase. Luck has not been with Aso in both his starts this season but he did notch up a couple of victories after making a winning return at Newbury last November following more than a year off the track and then struck gold in a Grade Three at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

 

3000 – again!

Dr Sanderson's victory in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices' Hurdle at Ludlow gave

Paul Nicholls his 3,000th winner in Britain. The Ditcheat trainer actually achieved this total back in February when Capitaine scored at Taunton but that included 25 wins in Ireland, 4 in France and 11 on the Flat. Paul Nicholls, who has been champion trainer 10 times before, the last time in in 2015-16, now has an almost unassailable lead over his nearest rival, Nicky Henderson in his race to gain the championship again.

 

Five out of Six

Burrows Saint scored in the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick, making it five times in six years that Willie Mullins has claimed this prize. He was denied victory in 2017 by the subsequent Irish National winner, General Principle. It is no secret that the County Carlow king used this Grade Three last year as preparation for Kemboy to go on to Grade One glory this season. Burrows Saint, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was sent off the 6/5 favourite but about two fences out, it began to look like punters had gone for the wrong horse as stable companion, Robin Des Foret, partnered by Paul Townend, appeared to be travelling much better. Ruby Walsh, however, got the advantage at the final fence and urged Burrows Saint to a four-length victory.

 

1 April 2019

 

A rising Star

This Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old was the most inexperienced horse in the Unibet Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster with just four previous career races. The Godolphin-owned Auxerre, however, proved himself a potential star performer. Jockey, James Doyle, had sacrificed the opportunity of riding on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan for the chance to be present at the start of the UK turf season. The decision was worth it and success was hardly in doubt throughout the entire straight mile. The Iffraaj gelding was quick off the mark and obviously enjoyed the drying ground and bounded clear in the closing stages to beat Kynren by two-and-a -quarter lengths.

 

Two-time Winner by a nose.

The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow became the first ever dual winner of the Dubai World Cup in an exciting renewal of this Meydan highlight. The five-year-old who provided his trainer with a record eighth World Cup success last season, dominated the race from the front, steered by Belgian top jockey, Christophe Soumillon. Thunder Snow completed his 2018 campaign by finishing a commendable third in the Breeders' Cup. Despite the fact that the five-year-old was the beaten odds-on favourite three weeks ago, the Godolphin trainer was confident that Thunder Snow would put up a strong defence of his crown. Christophe Soumillon settled the 4/1 chance behind the leaders, tracking the strong-travelling North America and Gronkowski into the home straight. As North America flagged it turned into a contest between Thunder Snow and Gronkowski. The latter battled valiantly but, ultimately, Thunder Snow made history by the narrowest of margins.

 

Take it as Red!

After a disappointing period in Australia or Hong Kong late last year the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Verdon got back into winning ways with his first victory for over a year in the Unibet Conditions Stakes at Doncaster. This Lemon Drop Kid gelding proved he still has plenty of ability in this six-strong, one-and-a-half-mile contest. Marco Botti's Crowned Eagle set out to dominate but was headed by Red Verdon who galloped on resolutely to a one-and-a-quarter-length victory ahead of Indianapolis .

 

31 March 2019

 

Up Hill!

The Join Stratford Racecourse 25 Club Handicap Hurdle over a distance of three miles, two-and-a-half furlongs is one of the UK's longest races over hurdles. On paper this contest should well suit the David Rees-trained Gardiners Hill. This Stowaway gelding needs the strongest test of his stamina possible, as was clearly demonstrated when he won at at Hereford at the beginning of January. The nine-year-old was tackling an extended three miles one furlong at the Roman Road track and four furlongs from home he looked like an also-ran. But then he found more and slowly overtook his nine rivals and from the last hurdle he went on to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths. At 110 pounds today he is just three pounds higher than his penultimate win at Ludlow last December. Gardiners Hill, ridden by Aidan Coleman, should be carried along by Boreham Bill who has led or been just off the leaders in his last six contests so he could well be making a challenge as he comes off the back stretch before Stratford's short run-in.

 

Snow way to win!

According to Saeed bin Suroor the pace of the Dubai World Cup will be a crucial factor as to whether Thunder Snow can become the first dual winner of this prestigious event. The five-year-old helped to provide the Godolphin trainer with a record eighth victories in the Meydan show piece last season, when he dominated the contest from the front, partnered by Belgian top jockey Christophe Soumillon. The Helmet progeny concluded last year's campaign by finishing a creditable third in the Breeders' Cup Classic and then was a beaten odds-on favourite on his return to action in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge three weeks ago, better things are expected from Thunder Snow.

 

Invincible?

The James Tate-trained Invincible Army was in fine fettle in the first part of last season, when he landed the Group Three Pavilion Stakes at Ascot and lost by just a nose to to Sands Of Mali in the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock. The Invincible Spirit gelding, however, struggled with the dry conditions in the summer and was well beaten in two races before injury took its toll cut short his season. Connection are hoping that Invincible Army will live up to his name in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster.

 

29 March 2019

 

 

Winning Matter

Tomorrow at Kempton Park the Mark Johnston-trained Matterhorn is bidding to make it six in a row when he steps up to Listed level in the Matchbook Magnolia Stakes. There's been no stopping this four-year-old's progress, winning at Lingfield off a mark of 80 on December 12 and then, just five races later on 6 March, he scored off 107. This last race was over the same course and distance he faces tomorrow and it was a dazzling five-length victory. so, should be more to come from this rising star.

 

Longing to get back

Bryony Frost, who broke her collarbone a couple of weeks ago after falling from the Caroline Fryer-trained Midnight Bliss at Southwell is desperately hoping she will can be back in action before the end of the season for her final bid for the Stobart Conditional Jockeys' Championship. The Devonshire-born jockey, who is currently top of the table with 49 winners, is undergoing rehabilitation at Oaksey House in Lambourn but is quietly confident that her next scan on April 3 will reveal that the break is mending sufficiently to make her return to the saddle possible in the near future.

 

Aiming at another million

John Gosden is bidding to claim the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million for the second successive season, after deciding on the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup as his first target in May. The son of Sea The Stars claimed last season's Group Two prize at York, before going on to notch up victories in the Ascot Gold Cup, Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup back at the Knavesmire in August and, thereby, scoop the seven-figure bonus. After making it five wins from as many starts last season in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day, the diminutive five-year-old was reported to be in good shape ahead of his seasonal return on Monday at a WH Stayers' Million event at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.

 

28 March 2019

 

An unwelcome break

Bryony Frost, who broke her collarbone a couple of weeks ago after falling from the Caroline Fryer-trained Midnight Bliss at Southwell is desperately hoping she will can be back in action before the end of the season for her final bid for the Stobart Conditional Jockeys' Championship. The Devonshire-born jockey, who is currently top of the table with 49 winners, is undergoing rehabilitation at Oaksey House in Lambourn but is quietly confident that her next scan on April 3 will reveal that the break is mending sufficiently to make her return to the saddle possible in the near future.

 

Second Bid

Hayley Turner is bidding to become only the second female jockey to win the Unibet Lincoln when she partners the David Elsworth-trained Ripp Orf in this feature race at Doncaster on Saturday. The Nottingham-born rider has ridden this Rip Van Winkle gelding five times before and has only been out of the first three once.

 

Thanks a million!

John Gosden is bidding to claim the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million for the second successive season, after deciding on the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup as his first target in May. The son of Sea The Stars claimed last season's Group Two prize at York, before going on to notch up victories in the Ascot Gold Cup, Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup back at the Knavesmire in August and, thereby, scoop the seven-figure bonus. After making it five wins from as many starts last season in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day, the diminutive five-year-old was reported to be in good shape ahead of his seasonal return on Monday at a WH Stayers' Million event at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.

 

27 March 2019

 

Good Mix

The Willie Mullins-trained Annamix scored for the first time at Clonmel, providing Gold Cup-winning jockey, Paul Townend, with his first 100th winner of the season in Ireland. The Martaline gelding never made it for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after failing by two and three-quarter lengths to win his debut race at Limerick jat the end of December. The six-year-old, however, got it right this time and won the Goatenbridge Maiden Hurdle by a length and a half. Annamix was again the odds on favourite but on paper he didn't appear to have everything his way as the second-favourite, another grey, Raya Time, trained by Henry De Bromhead was increasingly backed as the race time neared. As was predicted, these two had the race to themselves well clear of the rest of the field for the whole contest. Unfortunately Raya Time, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, made one significant mistake in the back straight and Annamix, himself jumped into a narrow lead at the second-last and stayed on to win, despite making a mistake at the final hurdle.

 

A Million to One!

John Gosden is bidding to claim the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million for the second successive season, after deciding on the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup as his first target. The son of Sea The Stars claimed the Group Two prize at York in May, before going on to notch up victories in the Ascot Gold Cup, Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup back at the Knavesmire in August and, thereby, scoop the seven-figure bonus. After making it five wins from as many starts last season in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day, the diminutive five-year-old was reported to be in good shape ahead of his seasonal return on Monday at a WH Stayers' Million event at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.

 

Second Bid

Hayley Turner is bidding to become only the second female jockey to win the Unibet Lincoln when she partners the David Elsworth-trained Ripp Orf in this feature race at Doncaster on Saturday. The Nottingham-born rider has ridden this Rip Van Winkle gelding five times before and has only been out of the first three once.

 

26 March 2019

 

Another Scoop?

John Gosden is bidding to claim the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million for the second successive season, after deciding on the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup as his first target. The son of Sea The Stars claimed the Group Two prize at York in May, before going on to notch up victories in the Ascot Gold Cup, Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup back at the Knavesmire in August and, thereby, scoop the seven-figure bonus. After making it five wins from as many starts last season in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day, the diminutive five-year-old was reported to be in good shape ahead of his seasonal return on Monday at a WH Stayers' Million event at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.

 

Five out of Eight

The Jessica Harrington-trained Still Standing claimed his fifth victory from just eight career starts when winning the Devoy Stakes at Naas. There were eight runners in this ten-furlong Listed contest, including Aidan O'Brien's Amedeo Modigliani - who had been absent due to injury since winning at the 2017 Galway Festival. Still Standing had completed his 2018 season with victory in the Fairyhouse Winter Festival 1st & 2nd December Handicap and was tipped to make a winning return. Amedeo Modigliani travelled well for much of the distance but the long absence from the track soon took its toll. Still Standing, however, never seemed in any trouble as he transported Jessica Harrington's newly-appointed stable jockey, Shane Foley, to a three-and-a-half-lengths victory.

 

Naas one!

Normandel just hung onto victory in the Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express Stakes at Naas. The trainer/ jockey partnership of Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning had already notched up two winners on the start of the new season's fixture and the Le Havre mare was a 14/1 shot to complete a 5,354/1 treble in this one-mile Group Three contest. In the final furlong, however, the Dermot Weld-trained favourite, Yulong Gold Fairy, seemed to be travelling the strongest but she was unable to catch the plucky Normandel who kept finding extra stamina to hold on by a head.

 

25 March 2019

 

Still winning

The Jessica Harrington-trained Still Standing claimed his fifth victory from just eight career starts when winning the Devoy Stakes at Naas yesterday. There were eight runners in this ten-furlong Listed contest, including Aidan O'Brien's Amedeo Modigliani - who had been absent due to injury since winning at the 2017 Galway Festival. Still Standing had completed his 2018 season with victory in the Fairyhouse Winter Festival 1st & 2nd December Handicap and was tipped to make a winning return. Amedeo Modigliani travelled well for much of the distance but the long absence from the track soon took its toll. Still Standing, however, never seemed in any trouble as he transported Jessica Harrington's newly-appointed stable jockey, Shane Foley, to a three-and-a-half-lengths victory.

 

Fairytale Ending

The Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper at Newbury provided Noel Fehily the perfect conclusion to an illustrious career. The County Cork-born jockey, who announced his intention to retire from the saddle at the Cheltenham Festival last week, has been one of the most popular members of the weighing room for twenty years. Trainer, Harry Fry, admitted he was feeling the pressure to send Noel Fehily out on a winner for this auspicious occasion. Get In The Queue, despite being sent off the 1/3 favourite, briefly looked to be dangers for a while. The Mount Nelson gelding was carrying a double penalty, as a result of his two previous wins but, ultimately, his stamina proved itself inside the final quarter of a mile, giving the Seaborough-based trainer his third successive win in this valuable race.

 

Treble. Treble, Toil and Treble!

Normandel just hung onto victory in the Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express Stakes at Naas. The trainer/ jockey partnership of Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning had already notched up two winners on the start of the new season's fixture and the Le Havre mare was a 14/1 shot to complete a 5,354/1 treble in this one-mile Group Three contest. In the final furlong, however, the Dermot Weld-trained favourite, Yulong Gold Fairy, seemed to be travelling the strongest but she was unable to catch the plucky Normandel who kept finding extra stamina to hold on by a head.

 

24 March 2019

 

Off in style

The Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper at Newbury provided Noel Fehily the perfect conclusion to an illustrious career. The County Cork-born jockey, who announced his intention to retire from the saddle at the Cheltenham Festival last week, has been one of the most popular members of the weighing room for twenty years. Trainer, Harry Fry, admitted he was feeling the pressure to send Noel Fehily out on a winner for this auspicious occasion. Get In The Queue, despite being sent off the 1/3 favourite, briefly looked to be dangers for a while. The Mount Nelson gelding was carrying a double penalty, as a result of his two previous wins but, ultimately, his stamina proved itself inside the final quarter of a mile, giving the Seaborough-based trainer his third successive win in this valuable race.

 

32 Winx 

The Chris Waller-trained Winx extended her winning streak to 32 with a fourth victory in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill, her 24th Group One win. Hugh Bowman settled the Street Cry mare towards the rear of the eight-strong field during the early stages. Then about a furlong and a half from home, the seven-year-old made effortless progress past her rivals and only needed a brief shake of the reins out before galloping well clear. Winner of four Cox Plates, Winx is now scheduled to have the final start of her glittering career in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13. The North Parramatta-based trainer is adamant, however, that he will not be tempted to go for a fifth Cox Plate.

 

The new Jonjo

After celebrating his first Cheltenham Festival winner last week aboard Early Doors, Jonjo O'Neill junior landed a big-race double at Newbury yesterday. The first win was aboard the Richard Hobson-trained Chic Name and later the 21-year-old jockey teamed up with his father, trainer Jonjo O'Neill, to take the Grade Two EBF & EBA Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle Series Final riding Annie Mc to complete his first ever double. Although returning a beaten favourite at Exeter on her most recent start, the five-year-old Mahler mare bounced back to winning ways when cruising to victory by eight lengths.

 

23 March 2019

 

Winx again

The Chris Waller-trained Winx extended her winning streak to 32 with a fourth victory in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill yesterday, her 24th Group One win. Hugh Bowman settled the Street Cry mare towards the rear of the eight-strong field during the early stages. Then about a furlong and a half from home, the seven-year-old made effortless progress past her rivals and only needed a brief shake of the reins out before galloping well clear. Winner of four Cox Plates, Winx is now scheduled to have the final start of her glittering career in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13. The North Parramatta-based trainer is adamant, however, that he will not be tempted to go for a fifth Cox Plate.

 

No more Noel!

Noel Fehily admits he will be feeling emotional at Newbury as the curtain comes down on his celebrated career with three rides at Newbury today. The County Cork-born jockey is widely considered to be one of the best horsemen of his generation and the last ten years have definitely been the most successful for him. The forty-three-year-old kicked off his racing career riding for Charlie Mann – for whom he had his first winner, Ivy Boy, in 1998, following that with his first Grade One winner, on Air Force One at Punchestown. It was when standing in for an injured Ruby Walsh, however, on such horses as Master Minded that gained him the job riding for owner Jared Sullivan, in whose colours he won the 2013 and 2014 King George VI Chase on Silviniaco Conti.

 

Great Scott!

Dashel Drasher won the Be Wiser Insurance Novices' Hurdle at Newbury yesterday and thereby provided his trainer, Jeremy Scott, with a personal-best seasonal tally of 31 winners, opening up a possibility of a trip to the Punchestown Festival. After triumphing at Chepstow and Ascot, the improving six-year-old made it a hat-trick with a front-running four-length victory in the extended two-and-a-half-mile contest.

 

22 March 2019

 

One more for luck

Phil Kirby, ahead in the race to be top trainer at Aintree this season, already has one Grand National hopeful for this year - Blaklion - but he is hoping that Top Ville Ben will also be a contender in next month's contest, after the seven-year-old's fine display at Wetherby. The Beneficial gelding was considered an outsider by most punters in the RSA Novices' Chase last week but the Yorkshire-based trainer was confident he would outrun his odds. Unfortunately, Top Ville Ben never got the chance to prove his trainer right as he fell at the sixth fence. Phil Kirby scored a notable double on Charlie Hall Chase day with Lady Buttons and Nautical Nitwit.

 

Roll on.

Now, after much speculation, it has been announced that this Authorized gelding will run in the Aintree Grand National on April 6 in a bid to repeat his last year triumph. In addition to that, the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll may well be one of a number of the Cullentra House Stables' residents to follow up in the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on April 22. If that happens Tiger Roll will be vying with the legendary Red Rum who, in 1973, went on to win the Scottish Grand National just three weeks after winning the Aintree spectacular.

 

Back to Aintree

Lalor heads back to Aintree next month where he has won for the last two years, in a Grade Two bumper and Grade One novices' hurdle. The It's Gino gelding performed disappointingly at Cheltenham last week but his trainer, Kayley Woollacott, says she can find no reason for the seven-year-old's poor showing when he was pulled up in the Arkle. Lalor seems most at home on good ground so it's possible that the heavy rain on the opening day of the Festival was not to his liking. Lalor's most obvious target will be the Maghull Novices' Chase at the Grand National meeting.

 

21 March 2019

 

All's well

Lalor heads back to Aintree next month where he has won for the last two years, in a Grade Two bumper and Grade One novices' hurdle. The It's Gino gelding performed disappointingly at Cheltenham last week but his trainer, Kayley Woollacott, says she can find no reason for the seven-year-old's poor showing when he was pulled up in the Arkle. Lalor seems most at home on good ground so it's possible that the heavy rain on the opening day of the Festival was not to his liking. Lalor's most obvious target will be the Maghull Novices' Chase at the Grand National meeting.

 

Tiger burning bright!.

Now, after much speculation, it has been announced that this Authorized gelding will run in the Aintree Grand National on April 6 in a bid to repeat his last year triumph. In addition to that, the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll may well be one of a number of the Cullentra House Stables' residents to follow up in the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on April 22. If that happens Tiger Roll will be vying with the legendary Red Rum who, in 1973, went on to win the Scottish Grand National just three weeks after winning the Aintree spectacular.

 

Top of his game?

Phil Kirby, ahead in the race to be top trainer at Aintree this season, already has one Grand National hopeful for this year - Blaklion - but he is hoping that Top Ville Ben will also be a contender in next month's contest, after the seven-year-old's fine display at Wetherby. The Beneficial gelding was considered an outsider by most punters in the RSA Novices' Chase last week but the Yorkshire-based trainer was confident he would outrun his odds. Unfortunately, Top Ville Ben never got the chance to prove his trainer right as he fell at the sixth fence. Phil Kirby scored a notable double on Charlie Hall Chase day with Lady Buttons and Nautical Nitwit.

 

Betcha ya don't know!

How did the 2009 Cheltenham champion, Kayf Aramis, get his name?

Read all about it and much more in 'Pertemps To Dream. From Cowshed to Cheltenham'. The story of a young girl's dream coming true.

 

 

20 March 2019

 

On a Roll.

Now, after much speculation, it has been announced that this Authorized gelding will run in the Aintree Grand National on April 6 in a bid to repeat his last-year triumph. In addition to that, the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll may well be one of a number of the Cullentra House Stables' residents to follow up in the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on April 22. If that happens Tiger Roll will be vying with the legendary Red Rum who, in 1973, went on to win the Scottish Grand National just three weeks after winning the Aintree spectacular.

 

Last Race

Noel Fehily has confirmed he will retire at Newbury on Saturday, bringing an end to a fantastic career. The top jockey announced at the Cheltenham Festival last Thursday that he was about to retire after riding the Willie Mullins-trained Eglantine Du Seuil to a narrow victory. At thattime he didn't give a definte retirement date but on Twitter on Monday he confirmed that he will be hanging up his saddle this weekend. Noel Fehily won the Champion Hurdle twice on Rock On Ruby and Buveur D'Air as well as the Champion Chase on Special Tiara.

 

Top of his game?

Phil Kirby, ahead in the race to be top trainer at Aintree this season, already has one Grand National hopeful for this year - Blaklion - but he is hoping that Top Ville Ben will also be a contender in next month's contest, after the seven-year-old's fine display at Wetherby. The Beneficial gelding was considered an outsider by most punters in the RSA Novices' Chase last week but the Yorkshire-based trainer was confident he would outrun his odds. Unfortunately, Top Ville Ben never got the chance to prove his trainer right as he fell at the sixth fence. Phil Kirby scored a notable double on Charlie Hall Chase day with Lady Buttons and Nautical Nitwit.

 

19 March 2019

 

A Turf Winner

The impressive winner of the Grade Three Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park last month

claimed another victory in the Toals.com Webster Cup at Navan. The Joseph O'Brien-trained Darasso was the even-money favourite on his return to the larger obstacles in this Grade Two contest. The Konig Turf gelding didn't have it all his own way, however, and even appeared to be struggling to keep up with the strong pace set by Tycoon Prince and Woodland Opera in the early stages of the two-mile contest. But then Tycoon Prince faltered and Woodland Opera made a bad mistake at the fence before the home straight. That resulted in a duel between the top two in the betting. The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium, ridden by Ruby Walsh, seemed to be the stronger of the pair on the run to the second fence from home. Darasso responded well to Barry Geraghty's urging, however, and went into the lead at the last fence and from there to a comfortable two-and-a-quarter-length victory

 

Hanging up Saddle

Noel Fehily has confirmed he will retire at Newbury on Saturday, bringing an end to a fantastic career. The top jockey announced at the Cheltenham Festival last Thursday that he was about to retire after riding the Willie Mullins-trained Eglantine Du Seuil to a narrow victory. At thattime he didn't give a definte retirement date but on Twitter on Monday he confirmed that he will be hanging up his saddle this weekend. Noel Fehily won the Champion Hurdle twice on Rock On Ruby and Buveur D'Air as well as the Champion Chase on Special Tiara.

 

Who said that?

I think she was totally shocked when I said we might enter him for Cheltenham and even more shocked to discover that we actually got into the race. I should think that she's probably on a stretcher now!”

Gems like this and much more to be found in 'Pertemps To Dream. From Cowshed to Cheltenham'. The story of a young girl's dream coming true.

 

18 March 2019

 

Wicked!

A big career win was celebrated by Jordan Nailor, when he rode Wicked Willy from last to first to win by six lengths in the Matchbook VIP Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle at Kempton. The 7-pound claiming jockey kept the Arcadio gelding at the rear of the field for much of this two-and-a-half-mile contest and then managed to bring the eight-year-old into the lead as he went over the last hurdle and then going on to claim the prize ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained My Way.

 

Bridge not too far.

Nico de Boinville ended a memorable week with victory in the royal silks of The Queen when riding Forth Bridge in the Matchbook Silver Bowl Handicap Chase at Kempton. After winning the leading rider prize at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time on Friday, the Gold Cup-winning jockey enjoyed another feature race winner on the Charlie Longsdon-trained six-year-old who scored for the first time this season.

 

Welcome Corner

The Marston's 61 Deep Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter was the scene of Christian Williams' biggest win of his training career when Potters Corner, ridden by James Bowen, claimed a three-length victory. The nine-year-old Indian Danehill gelding made amends for his successive falls in Wincanton's Somerset National and in the Eider Chase at Newcastle. Ms Parfois, a Grand National entry for Anthony Honeyball, was prominent throughout the race and was in the lead in the straight, defying the driving rain and fierce gale on the increasingly heavy ground. Potters Corner was always close, however, and kept going the best in this marathon four-and-a-quarter-mile trip.

 

17 March 2019

 

Career Triumph

The Marston's 61 Deep Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter was the scene of Christian Williams' biggest win of his training career when Potters Corner, ridden by James Bowen, claimed a three-length victory. The nine-year-old Indian Danehill gelding made amends for his successive falls in Wincanton's Somerset National and in the Eider Chase at Newcastle. Ms Parfois, a Grand National entry for Anthony Honeyball, was prominent throughout the race and was in the lead in the straight, defying the driving rain and fierce gale on the increasingly heavy ground. Potters Corner was always close, however, and kept going the best in this marathon four-and-a-quarter-mile trip.

 

That was Wicked!

Another career big win was celebrated by Jordan Nailor, when he rode Wicked Willy from last to first to win by six lengths in the Matchbook VIP Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle at Kempton. The 7-pound claiming jockey kept the Arcadio gelding at the rear of the field for much of this two-and-a-half-mile contest and then managed to bring the eight-year-old into the lead as he went over the last hurdle and then going on to claim the prize ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained My Way.

 

Came Forth!

Nico de Boinville ended a memorable week with victory in the royal silks of The Queen when riding Forth Bridge in the Matchbook Silver Bowl Handicap Chase at Kempton. After winning the leading rider prize at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time on Friday, the Gold Cup-winning jockey enjoyed another feature race winner on the Charlie Longsdon-trained six-year-old who scored for the first time this season.

 

Dream of the Decade

What a shame Aidan Coleman didn't win the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle yesterday aboard the Emma Lavelle-trained Flemcara. He seemed to have every chance when in the lead on the last bend. Then it all slipped away when a gang of horses surged by as they approached the last hurdle. The now retired Kayf Aramis's owner and connections were certainly all rooting for the Innishannon-born jockey as he was aboard the Kayf Tara gelding when he won this prestigious prize exactly ten years ago. It would have been a fairy-tale result. To commemorate this auspicious occasion an e-book has been published, revealing the remarkable story of how a colt born in a cowshed went on to become a champion on the Flat and over jumps.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node=341689031&field-keywords=pertemps&rh=n:341689031,k:pertemps

 

14 March 2019

 

Pertemps To Dream

Today is the renewal of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle which Kayf Aramis, ridden by Aidan Coleman, won ten years ago. Unfortunately, because of the current regulations introduced after the recent equine flu epidemic, Kayf Aramis wasn't allowed to take his rightful part in the Parade of Champions on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. To mark this auspicious occasion, however, an e-book has been published, revealing the remarkable story of how a colt born in a cowshed went on to become a Champion, fulfilling the dream of his owner/breeder, Isobel Coltman.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node=341689031&field-keywords=pertemps&rh=n:341689031,k:pertemps

 

13 March 2019

 

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago Kayf Aramis, ridden by Aidan Coleman, won the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. Unfortunately, because of the current regulations introduced after the recent equine flu invasion, Kayf Aramis isn't allowed to take part in the Parade of Champions at Prestbury Park. To commemorate the occasion, however, an e-book has been published, presenting the remarkable story of how a colt born in a cowshed went on to be a Champion, fulfilling the dream of his owner/breeder, Isobel Coltman.

 

 

11 March 2019

 

 

"Dream the impossible Dream"

 

Who won the Pertemps Final ten years ago?

 

Which Cheltenham Champion was born in a cowshed?

 

Which horse won his first contest when there was such a thick mist and heavy rain that only the beginning and the end of the race were visible?

 

What is the name of the sire of a future Cheltenham Champion who won the Ascot Gold Cup and the Irish St. Leger twice, the Yorkshire and the Goodwood Cup?

 

Which Champion two-mile-plus stayer on the Flat has since become the top British jumps sire, producing champions such as Special Tiara and Thistlecrack?

 

Read all about it in 'Pertemps To Dream, From Cowshed To Cheltenham'.

The enchanting story of a young girl's dream come true.

 

On Kindle now:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node=341689031&field-keywords=pertemps&rh=n:341689031,k:pertemps

 

 

4 March 2019

 

 

Ready for the Cheltenham Festival?

 

As a warm up:

 

Which Cheltenham Champion was born in a cowshed?

 

Which horse won his first contest when there was such a thick mist and heavy rain that only the beginning and the end of the race were visible?

 

What is the name of the sire of a future Cheltenham Champion who won the Ascot Gold Cup and the Irish St. Leger twice, the Yorkshire and the Goodwood Cup?

 

Who won the Pertemps Final ten years ago?

 

Which Champion two-mile-plus stayer on the Flat has since become the top British jumps sire, producing champions such as Special Tiara and Thistlecrack?

 

Answers in the ebook, 'Pertemps To Dream, From Cowshed To Cheltenham'.

The enchanting story of a young girl's dream come true.

 

Out this week.

You'll love it!

 

Check this space!

 

3 March 2019

 

Ninth Victory

The William Hill Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury, first run in 2004, was won for a ninth time by Paul Nicholls. 11/1 chance, San Benedeto, with Nick Scholfield aboard, ran a strong race in this two-and-a-half-mile Grade Three in the company of two stable companions, the favourite, Dolos and Warriors Tale. The eight-year-old Layman gelding was kept mid-division for the first part of the race but steadily made progress before four out and going second at the last fence. On the run-in San Benedeto took over the lead and claimed victory by two-and-quarter lengths.

 

Supermare!

Supermare Winx notched up a world record 23 Group 1 victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick and thereby surpassed Hurricane Fly's record number of top-flight triumphs. The Chris Waller-trained eight-year-old, sent off 112 favourite, also stretched her number of unbeaten races to 31. Winx is rated the equal-best in the world and has proved for nigh on four years that nothing in Australia can beat her. For a moment it looked as though things were about to change when Happy Clapper stormed to a commanding lead but once again Australia's best-loved equine reeled him in.

 

Destrier rides again!

The Neil Mulholland-trained Carole’s Destrier won the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Veterans' Handicap Chase at Newbury yesterday. Things, however, didn't appear to be going well for the Kayf Tara gelding as he approached the final fence as Colin Tizzard's Theatre Guide had suddenly got well clear of the field. Unfortunately the King's Theatre gelding made a hash of the last obstacle, giving the Tom Scudamore-ridden Carole’s Destrier the chance to make a comeback which he duly did, going into the lead fifty yards from home and holding on to win by a length-and-a-half.

 

2 March 2019

 

She does it again!

Supermare Winx notched up a world record 23 Group 1 victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick and thereby surpassed Hurricane Fly's record number of top-flight triumphs. The Chris Waller-trained eight-year-old, sent off 112 favourite, also stretched her number of unbeaten races to 31. Winx is rated the equal-best in the world and has proved for nigh on four years that nothing in Australia can beat her. For a moment it looked as though things were about to change when Happy Clapper stormed to a commanding lead but once again Australia's best-loved equine reeled him in.

 

Fighting for the crown

Rachael Blackmore rode the Liam Burke-trained Rebel Early to a one-length victory in the Coral 100K Cash Cheltenham Smart Money Series Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel, thus beating her championship rival Paul Townend. There is still, however, a gap of six (89-83) between the pair, in favour of the latter as he went on to score later aboard Just Get Cracking, trained by James Dullea, in the Coral Double Your Cheltenham Winnings First Race Every Day Handicap. So the battle goes on.

 

Frost's back!

This Devon-born jockey must be keeping her fingers crossed that the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton will get back into the winner's enclosure after lining up in today's Belhaven Brewery Premier Chase at Kelso. The eight-year-old Laverock gelding enjoyed a fantastic campaign last season, winning no fewer eight races, including a career-defining first Grade One success for the jockey in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton. Unfortunately Black Corton has failed to score so far this season, although coming second in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby. Bryony Frost will be making the 400-mile journey from Somerset, hoping she will not return empty-handed.

 

1 March 2019

 

Six apart

Rachael Blackmore rode the Liam Burke-trained Rebel Early to a one-length victory in the Coral 100K Cash Cheltenham Smart Money Series Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday thus beating her championship rival Paul Townend. There is still, however, a gap of six (89-83) between the pair, in favour of the latter as he went on to score later aboard Just Get Cracking, trained by James Dullea, in the Coral Double Your Cheltenham Winnings First Race Every Day Handicap. So the battle goes on.

 

Another boycott.

A second boycott at Arena Racing Company courses in protest against low prize money seems

gaining support. The ongoing protest resulted last weekend in one walkover and one race with no entries at all on the high-profile Winter Derby card at Lingfield. It is reported that there are further plans afoot for more 'strikes' with trainers being urged by colleagues to boycott next week's two meetings at Lingfield and one each at Fontwell, Southwell and Newcastle. The entry deadline for the first two of those fixtures is midday today and, so far it has been confirmed that at least one major partnership of owners will join the proposed boycott.

 

Go local

The Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom looks set to miss Saturday's Edinburgh Gin Premier Kelso Novices' Hurdle and in favour of the RR Elite 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Newbury tomorrow. Unbeaten in two bumpers and two races over hurdles to date, it looks like the trainer would prefer to keep this Gold Well gelding closer to home where the ground is softer. Emitom was scheduled to run in the Sidney Banks Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon on the day racing was cancelled due to the flu outbreak.

 

28 February 2019

 

Strike!

A second boycott at Arena Racing Company courses in protest against low prize money seems to be gaining support. The ongoing protest resulted last weekend in one walkover and one race with no entries at all on the high-profile Winter Derby card at Lingfield. It is reported that there are further plans afoot for more 'strikes' with trainers being urged by colleagues to boycott next week's two meetings at Lingfield and one each at Fontwell, Southwell and Newcastle. The entry deadline for the first two of those fixtures is midday today and, so far it has been confirmed that at least one major partnership of owners will join the proposed boycott.

 

No Risk At All

The Philip Hobbs-trained Gumball, having his first start on the Flat, inflicted a surprise defeat on Unibet Champion Hurdle contender, Verdana Blue, in yesterday's 32Red Casino Novice Stakes at Kempton Park. The No Risk At All gelding was given a good ride by Oisin Murphy, preferring to race wide of his eight rivals in the initial stages, before moving over to lead with a clear advantage. Luke Morris had settled the Nicky Henderson-trained favourite in third position but when Gumball kicked for home, Verdana Blue had too much work to do and failed to get on terms, trailing by a length and three-quarters at the line.

 

Stay at Home

The Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom looks set to miss Saturday's Edinburgh Gin Premier Kelso Novices' Hurdle and in favour of the RR Elite 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Newbury tomorrow. Unbeaten in two bumpers and two races over hurdles to date, it looks like the trainer would prefer to keep this Gold Well gelding closer to home where the ground is softer. Emitom was scheduled to run in the Sidney Banks Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon on the day racing was cancelled due to the flu outbreak.

 

27 February 2019

 

Thank you Ma'am!

The current champion jump jockey had a right royal time yesterday. With 3,500 winners to his credit during a 25-year career in the saddle, including being sixteen times runner-up to Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson was presented with an OBE by the Queen. After collecting his honour at Buckingham Palace, he said: "The Queen asked me how the championship is going - and obviously mentioned Cheltenham which is just around the corner.”

 

Donald's Back

Donald McCain will saddle two runners at Musselburgh tonight that restrictions on his yard that were imposed following the equine influenza outbreak were finally lifted. The virus was first found at his Cheshire base on February 6, forcing the British Horseracing Authority into the unprecedented action of calling off the following day's racing late that night. Three horses initially tested positive for the infection and then three more failed tests. Luckily, despite the fact that further cases of the disease being found, racing was able to resume.

 

Number One

Jessica Harrington has nominated Shane Foley as her number one jockey for the 2019 Flat season, replacing Colm O'Donoghue. The thirty-year-old jockey won the Irish 1000 Guineas on Jet Setting in 2016 and the Irish 2000 Guineas on Romanised in 2018. Shane Foley's biggest triumph for the County Kildare trainer last year was at Listed level on Sparkle'n'joy in the Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes at Leopardstown. His latest big-race victory was earlier this month in the San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita, when he scored on Platinum Warrior, trained by John Sadler.

 

26 February 2019

 

Going for a Third

The Paul d'Arcy-trained Martineo could make it three from three runs at Wolverhampton tonight where he lines up in the Like Sun Racing On Facebook Handicap. TheDeclaration Of War gelding scored on only his second career start last March, when he was with William Haggas. The four-year-old made a triumphant return a month ago after switching Newmarket stables. Martineo only carries an extra two pounds for his latest successes and the additional furlong should be in his favour.

 

Nice one, Mate!

The Gordon Elliott-trained Chosen Mate just held on to land a dramatic win in the Paddy Power Novice Hurdle at Naas yesterday. It looked as though the Well Chosen gelding had it made when he was urged by Davy Russell to gradually raising the tempo when leading three from home and was a good few lengths ahead after jumping the last hurdle. It was a mistake to underestimate the staying power of J C McConnell' Hannon, who made a tremendous last-minute effort in the run-in, just failing to deny the 9/10 favourite victory by a nose.

 

Also a Naas one!

The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium took a lot on when challenging Gordon Elliott's Doctor Phoenix in the WhatOddsPaddy? Chase at Naas. It was pretty much anyone's race at the last fence. The Early March gelding, however, with Paul Townend aboard, finally got on top close to home and was three lengths ahead of Davy Russell's mount at the line in the two-mile Grade Three contest. As a result it looks like Cadmium will be lining up in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham

 

25 February 2019

 

Naas one!

The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium took a lot on when challenging Gordon Elliott's Doctor Phoenix in the WhatOddsPaddy? Chase at Naas. It was pretty much anyone's race at the last fence. The Early March gelding, however, with Paul Townend aboard, finally got on top close to home and was three lengths ahead of Davy Russell's mount at the line in the two-mile Grade Three contest. As a result it looks like Cadmium will be lining up in the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham

 

Top Triumph

A Midnight Legend gelding provided this Northampton-based trainer with the biggest success of her career. Caroline Bailey's Crosspark, third in the Classic Chase at Warwick last time out, was sent off at 12/1 for the extended four-mile marathon. Usually at this time of the year this contest is run in testing conditions but, this season for a change, the ground was Good to Soft. Ironically the the mud-loving Daklondike decided in advance that the conditions weren't to his liking and he refused race for Tom Scudamore. The good ground also meant unusually that there were still plenty in with chances on the final circuit. Among those who were always handy were Harry The Viking, Irish raider Kilkishen and Charlie Mann's Morney Wing. Michael Scudamore's Mysteree hit the front for Brendan Powell late on but he could not shake off Crosspark, who, urged on by Jamie moore, found that little extrat in the final fifty yards and won by a neck.

 

Vision of Victory

This Balko gelding, trained by Colin Tizzard, finally got the big-race victory he has long been in line for. Having finished in the frame in four of his six starts this season, including when chasing home dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air at Sandown, Vision Des Flos finally got off the mark in the NetBet Casino National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park. The six-year-old travelled well throughout in this Grade Two two-mile-three-furlong contest and took over from the 2016 winner, Lil Rockerfeller, at the second hurdle from home and managed to hold off the favourite, If The Cap Fits, by a length and a half.

 

24 February 2019

 

Eighth Success

Willie Mullins' eighth success in the BetVictor Bobbyjo Chase in the Grade Three feature at Fairyhouse means that Rathvinden is firmly on course for Aintree. Not seen since since finishing fourth in the Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown in April, the Heron Island gelding's stamina was the key to success in the closing stages after Gordon Elliott's Alpha Des Obeaux had made a bold bid to lead all the way. Rathvinden was not to be denied, however, when Paul Townend brought the eleven-year-old into contention from four out and he triumphed by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

The money just flu!

It is estimated that the outbreak of equine influenza that stopped all racing two weeks ago has cost the industry £5 million. There was about a £1.2 million lost in the racing levy when taking average quantities, funding for additional race meetings and prize money into account. Jockeys missed out on an estimated £228,000 in riding fees, agents lost £29,000 and valets £22,000. Owners had to fork out £189,000 for the cost of swab testing. Racecourses were hit even harder. The cancellation of thirteen meetings at courses owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC) is estimated to have cost between £1.5 and £2 million.

 

Career Triumph

A Midnight Legend gelding provided this Northampton-based trainer with the biggest success of her career. Caroline Bailey's Crosspark, third in the Classic Chase at Warwick last time out, was sent off at 12/1 for the extended four-mile marathon. Usually at this time of the year this contest is run in testing conditions but, this season for a change, the ground was Good to Soft. Ironically the the mud-loving Daklondike decided in advance that the conditions weren't to his liking and he refused race for Tom Scudamore. The good ground also meant unusually that there were still plenty in with chances on the final circuit. Among those who were always handy were Harry The Viking, Irish raider Kilkishen and Charlie Mann's Morney Wing. Michael Scudamore's Mysteree hit the front for Brendan Powell late on but he could not shake off Crosspark, who, urged on by Jamie moore, found that little extrat in the final fifty yards and won by a neck.

 

23 February 2019

 

The money just flu!

It is estimated that the outbreak of equine influenza that stopped all racing two weeks ago has cost the industry £5 million. There was about a £1.2 million lost in the racing levy when taking average quantities, funding for additional race meetings and prize money into account. Jockeys missed out on an estimated £228,000 in riding fees, agents lost £29,000 and valets £22,000. Owners had to fork out £189,000 for the cost of swab testing. Racecourses were hit even harder. The cancellation of thirteen meetings at courses owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC) is estimated to have cost between £1.5 and £2 million.

 

New Top Trainer?

For the past five years the County Carlow king has started favourite to be top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. Three years ago he was as short as 1/14 to win the crown, which he duly did with seven winners. Things don't look so promising this year for Willie Mullins, however, who has just announced that he expects to have only around 40 runners at Prestbury Park, down from 55 last year and is lagging behind both Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson in ante-post markets. His great rival Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson are 6/4 and 15/8, respectively, with Willie Mullins at 11/4.

 
Spoilt for choice

Owner Dai Walters is hoping that the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle at Kempton today will clinch Angels Breath's claim for a place at the Cheltenham Festival. The latter, trained by Nicky Henderson, had been the favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle but he was beaten by Al Dancer, also owned by Dai Walters, in the Betfair Hurdle last weekend. With both horses vying to compete this year's Cheltenham Festival Dai Walters is spoilt for choice!

 

22 February 2019

 

Time for Change?

For the past five years the County Carlow king has started favourite to be top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. Three years ago was as short as 1-14 to win the crown, which he duly did with seven winners. Things don't look so promising this year for Willie Mullins, however, who has just announced that he expects to have only around 40 runners at Prestbury Park, down from 55 last year and is lagging behind both Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson in ante-post markets. His great rival Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson are 6/4 and 15/8, respectively, with Willie Mullins at 11/4.

 

Going for Gold

Owner Philip Reynolds has just announced that Presenting Percy will race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15. The Patrick Kelly-trained Sir Percy gelding already has two Festival wins to his credit, having claimed the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in 2017 and the G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase last year. The six-year-old has only had one outing this because of unsuitable ground conditions but that one run was a success. Presenting Percy won the G2 Galmoy Hurdle over three miles at Gowran Park on January 24.

 

Wanna bet Unibet?

Laurina secured her place in the Unibet Champion Hurdle with a six-length victory in the Smart Money's On Coral Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown. With this victory the Spanish Moon mare made it six in a row. Ruby Walsh was happy to take a lead off stable companion Stormy Ireland until just before they turned for home. Laurina proved that this two-and-a-half-mile trip was never going to be any problem and made an early strike for home. Laurina looks another real danger to the Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D'Air - who has won the last two renewals.

 

20 February 2019

 

Three Thousand!

Capitaine, ridden by Harry Cobden, easily won the Greene King Handicap Hurdle at Taunton yesterday and thereby notched up the 3,000th winner for Paul Nicholls. The seven-year-old grey was a well-backed 3/1 favourite for what looked a seriously competitive edition. Philip Hobbs' Sternrubin was narrowly in the lead on the run-in but Harry Cobden steered Capitaine to a length-and-a-half win to celebrate this landmark for the ten-times champion trainer.

 

Up for the Cup

Owner Philip Reynolds has just announced that Presenting Percy will race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15. The Patrick Kelly-trained Sir Percy gelding already has two Festival wins to his credit, having claimed the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in 2017 and the G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase last year. The six-year-old has only had one outing this because of unsuitable ground conditions but that one run was a success. Presenting Percy won the G2 Galmoy Hurdle over three miles at Gowran Park on January 24.

 

Reaching for the Moon

The Willie Mullins-trained Laurina runs in the Smart Money's On Coral Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown today in a bid to strengthen her claims for the Unibet Champion Hurdle. The six-year-old Spanish Moon mare is already favourite for the Cheltenham after a run-away 48-length victory in the Unibet Mares' Hurdle at Sandown last month, which was her only outing so far this season.

19 February 2019

 

Al's a Pal!

The antepost favourite for the prestigious Betfair Hurdle at Newbury also justified 5/2 favouritism in the rearranged fixture at Ascot. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, Al Dancer, won this two-mile feature contest convincingly by three-and-three-quarter lengths. Already twelve pounds heavier as a result of his easy eleven-length win in handicap company at Cheltenham last time out, this six-year-old Al Namix gelding faces yet another increase from his current 141. So it looks like his days are numbered in this sort of race.

 

Hold that Tiger!

The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll, last year's Grand National winner, kicked off his Spring campaign with a decisive victory in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan yesterday. The Authorized gelding was sent off at 25-1 for this Grade Two race over two miles and five furlongs. Coquin Mans, trained by Willie Mullins, led until three flights from home. Then Tiger Roll jumped ahead at the last-but-one hurdle and went on to win by four lengths. The plan is now to go for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, which he won in 2018 and then bid to become the first horse since Red Rum (1973-74) to land back-to-back victories in the Grand National.

 

Not one over the Eight!

A ten-time champion trainer saddled eight winners over three fixtures yesterday. Paul Nicholls notched up five of the seven Ascot winners, two more at Wincanton and one at Haydock. Brio Conti, ridden by Bryony Frost, was the first one off the mark in the first race of the afternoon, the Ascot Supports Berkshire Community Foundation Handicap Hurdle. Then two hours later Harry Cobden steered stable star, Clan Des Obeaux, to an eleven-length victory in the Betfair Denman Chase. Harry Cobden was back in action again aboard Cyrname, who won by a staggering seventeen lengths. The same trainer/jockey partnership scored again in the next race with Worthy Farm in the Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle and in the final race of the day, the British EBF Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race Harry Cobden did it again with Silver Forever. Meanwhile over at Wincanton, Daryl Jacob did the honours on Magic Saint in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase, followed by Harry Skelton's sterling effort on Grand Sancy in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle. Earlier in the day Sean Bowen was the hero at Haydock Park where he partnered Quel Destin in the William Hill Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle, winning by eight lengths.

 

18 February 2019

 

On a Roll

The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll, last year's Grand National winner, kicked off his Spring campaign with a decisive victory in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan yesterday. The Authorized gelding was sent off at 25-1 for this Grade Two race over two miles and five furlongs. Coquin Mans, trained by Willie Mullins, led until three flights from home. Then Tiger Roll jumped ahead at the last-but-one hurdle and went on to win by four lengths. The plan is now to go for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, which he won in 2018 and then bid to become the first horse since Red Rum (1973-74) to land back-to-back victories in the Grand National.

 

Great Eight!

A ten-time champion trainer saddled eight winners over three fixtures yesterday. Paul Nicholls notched up five of the seven Ascot winners, two more at Wincanton and one at Haydock. Brio Conti, ridden by Bryony Frost, was the first one off the mark in the first race of the afternoon, the Ascot Supports Berkshire Community Foundation Handicap Hurdle. Then two hours later Harry Cobden steered stable star, Clan Des Obeaux, to an eleven-length victory in the Betfair Denman Chase. Harry Cobden was back in action again aboard Cyrname, who won by a staggering seventeen lengths. The same trainer/jockey partnership scored again in the next race with Worthy Farm in the Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle and in the final race of the day, the British EBF Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race Harry Cobden did it again with Silver Forever. Meanwhile over at Wincanton, Daryl Jacob did the honours on Magic Saint in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase, followed by Harry Skelton's sterling effort on Grand Sancy in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle. Earlier in the day Sean Bowen was the hero at Haydock Park where he partnered Quel Destin in the William Hill Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle, winning by eight lengths.

 

Strictly Dancer!

The antepost favourite for the prestigious Betfair Hurdle at Newbury also justified 5/2 favouritism in the rearranged fixture at Ascot yesterday. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, Al Dancer, won this two-mile feature contest convincingly by three-and-three-quarter lengths. Already twelve pounds heavier as a result of his easy eleven-length win in handicap company at Cheltenham last time out, this six-year-old Al Namix gelding faces yet another increase from his current 141. So it looks like his days are numbered in this sort of race.

 

17 February 2019

 

Eight is great!

A ten-time champion trainer saddled eight winners over three fixtures yesterday. Paul Nicholls notched up five of the seven Ascot winners, two more at Wincanton and one at Haydock. Brio Conti, ridden by Bryony Frost, was the first one off the mark in the first race of the afternoon, the Ascot Supports Berkshire Community Foundation Handicap Hurdle. Then two hours later Harry Cobden steered stable star, Clan Des Obeaux, to an eleven-length victory in the Betfair Denman Chase. Harry Cobden was back in action again aboard Cyrname, who won by a staggering seventeen lengths. The same trainer/jockey partnership scored again in the next race with Worthy Farm in the Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle and in the final race of the day, the British EBF Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race Harry Cobden did it again with Silver Forever. Meanwhile over at Wincanton, Daryl Jacob did the honours on Magic Saint in the Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap Chase, followed by Harry Skelton's sterling effort on Grand Sancy in the Betway Kingwell Hurdle. Earlier in the day Sean Bowen was the hero at Haydock Park where he partnered Quel Destin in the William Hill Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle, winning by eight lengths.

 

Waltzes Home

The antepost favourite for the prestigious Betfair Hurdle at Newbury also justified 5/2 favouritism in the rearranged fixture at Ascot yesterday. Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, Al Dancer, won this two-mile feature contest convincingly by three-and-three-quarter lengths. Already twelve pounds heavier as a result of his easy eleven-length win in handicap company at Cheltenham last time out, this six-year-old Al Namix gelding faces yet another increase from his current 141. So it looks like his days are numbered in this sort of race.

 

Grand Win

Interestingly the Alan King-trained Sceau Royal was sent off the 11/10 favourite, even though he was having his first run over hurdles since April 2017. Clearly hopes were high that this Doctor Dino gelding would get back into winning ways in Betway Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. But these hopes were dashed by the 4/1 shot, Grand Sancy, trained by Paul Nichols, was still in front coming down to the last hurdle and responded well to rider Harry Skelton's every urging to win by three-quarters of length.

 

16 February 2019

 

Forsa Destiny

The Mick Channon-trained Glen Forsa, stepping up in grade following handicap triumphs at Chepstow and Kempton, got the better of leading Arkle Trophy contender, Kalashnikov, in yesterday's Agetur UK Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Sandown. The race had been rescheduled after racing at Warwick was cancelled last week due to the outbreak of equine influenza and, consequently, only attracted just four runners and one of them, Dalila Du Seuil, was withdrawn at the start. Glen Forsa was immediately sent to the front by Jonathan Burke, with Kalashnikov shadowing him for much of the two-mile trip. These two battled it out down the back straight, with Glen Forsa demonstrating far better jumping skills. It was soon all over bar the shouting as Glen Forsa went on to score by nineteen lengths.

 

Money all round!

The Ruth Jefferson-trained Waiting Patiently only takes on five rivals in his bid to win the Betfair Ascot Chase crown for a second year running. Because of the low entry, due to the influenza crisis, even the last home will £2000. Last year's success was the Flemensfirth gelding's seventh successive victory but then he suffered a setback which kept him out for the remainder of the campaign. Tomorrow the eight-year-old faces strong opposition from Charbel, Cyrname, Fox Norton, Politologue and Aso. Waiting Patiently's finally got back on track this season in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, where he was hampered and unseated his rider at the ninth fence after Bristol De Mai fell in front of him.

 

Extra! Extra!

The BHA has announced that will be six additional fixtures between February 20 and February 28 in an attempt to make up some of the ground lost due to the equine influenza-enforced shutdown. Paul Johnson, Head of Racing at the BHA, said: "Given the extraordinary circumstances of recent days, we were acutely aware of the number of horses who will be needing to run next week throughout all levels of the horse population. As such, we have moved as quickly as possible to add six fixtures next week across both codes.

 

Additional fixtures

Chelmsford City (AW) – Wednesday, February 20

Wolverhampton (AW) – Thursday, February 21

Catterick – Friday, February 22

Uttoxeter – Monday, February 25

Ffos Las – Tuesday, February 26

Musselburgh – Thursday, February 28

 

15 February 2019

 

Prize Money for all six!

The Ruth Jefferson-trained Waiting Patiently only takes on five rivals in his bid to win the Betfair Ascot Chase crown for a second year running. Because of the low entry, due to the influenza crisis, even the last home will get £2000. Last year's success was the Flemensfirth gelding's seventh successive victory but then he suffered a setback which kept him out for the remainder of the campaign. Tomorrow the eight-year-old faces strong opposition from Charbel, Cyrname, Fox Norton, Politologue and Aso. Waiting Patiently's finally got back on track this season in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, where he was hampered and unseated his rider at the ninth fence after Bristol De Mai fell in front of him.

 

Extra! Extra!

The BHA has announced that will be six additional fixtures between February 20 and February 28 in an attempt to make up some of the ground lost due to the equine influenza-enforced shutdown. Paul Johnson, Head of Racing at the BHA, said: "Given the extraordinary circumstances of recent days, we were acutely aware of the number of horses who will be needing to run next week throughout all levels of the horse population. As such, we have moved as quickly as possible to add six fixtures next week across both codes.

 

Additional fixtures

Chelmsford City (AW) – Wednesday, February 20

Wolverhampton (AW) – Thursday, February 21

Catterick – Friday, February 22

Uttoxeter – Monday, February 25

Ffos Las – Tuesday, February 26

Musselburgh – Thursday, February 28

 

Not a close shave!

There were only two runners in the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase at Kelso yesterday where once again there were high rewards for just running. The Stuart Coltherd-trained Captain Redbeard, sent off at 9/2, unexpectedly got the better of the red hot favourite, Cheltenham Gold Cup hopeful, Definitly Red by two lengths and claimed the first prize of £15, 640.

 

14 February 2019

 

Racing Returns!

Yesterday's return to comparative normality was greeted with a sigh of relief by the racing world. Normally a midweek meeting at Plumpton wouldn't receive much attention but after a six-day shutdown of more than 170 yards because of equine flu, anything was welcome. There may have been no Grade One action for punters to enjoy, with the best prize on offer a Class Three novices' handicap chase - but to the track's leading trainer Gary Moore, and so many more like him, the actual return of any grade of racing was the thing that mattered.

 

Welcome Back!

Southwell also enjoyed getting back to something like normality. It may only have been a Betway Apprentice Handicap but after week's absence it was much appreciated by racegoers. The Lawrence Mullaney-trained Gorgeous General, ridden by 7lb claimer, William Carver, got home just a neck ahead of the well-backed favourite Liamba in a ding-dong duel up Southwell's straight, giving his rider just his seventh winner overall. The Captain Gerrard gelding was was recording a third win in his last four starts.

 

Rule Unfair!

Trainer Nick Williams has launched a scathing attack on the BHA's handling of the equine flu outbreak, maintaining that yards who have not vaccinated in the last six months have been "unfairly prejudiced". Nick Williams' wife Jane, who is also a trainer, was due to saddle the well-fancied Monsieur Lecoq in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last Saturday but now the five-year-old is ineligible to run in the rescheduled event at Ascot on Saturday because of the BHA's stipulation that all runners must have been vaccinated for equine flu within the last six months.

 

13 February 2019

 

Racing Back!

Late on Monday night the British Horseracing Authority announced that racing resumes today but with what they term "a risk-managed return to racing". The news generally received a positive reaction, especially as Saturday's National Hunt card at Ascot will now go ahead with not only the highlight of the day, the Ascot Chase, but also last week's abandoned Betfair Hurdle and Denman Chase at Newbury having been rescheduled for the Berkshire track. Some trainers are not happy with the BHA's latest guidelines, however, because no entries or declarations will be accepted from horses that have not been vaccinated in the previous six months. This short-term measure does seem a little strange as the normal requirement is that horses should have had the vaccination in the previous twelve months. This means that many trainers will not be able to run their horses for some time.

 

 

8 February 2019

 

Equine Influenza

All race meetings in Britain have been cancelled until at least next Wednesday, the biggest shutdown since foot and mouth hit horse racing in 2001. The BHA is awaiting test results from more than 100 stables whose horses that could have been exposed to equine influenza. This disease is endemic in Britain’s horse population and vaccination against the disease is mandatory for thoroughbreds and most other horses that are used competitively, such as eventers. Due to these precautions outbreaks are extremely rare. The fact that all three of the horses affected at Don McCain’s stable had been vaccinated caused immediate concern that a new strain of the disease could affect the racing industry. Equine influenza causes similar symptoms in horses to those suffered by humans; including fever, nasal discharge and a harsh, dry cough. It is rarely fatal, though it can lead to complications including pneumonia and some horses can take several weeks, or even months, to recover fully from an infection.

 

7 February 2019

 

Sceau far so good

Eleven runners are scheduled to line up in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury on Saturday and the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux looks like the one to beat. The eight-year-old made his comeback in the King George at Kempton and was almost brought down by Bristol De Mai, unseating Brian Hughes. He hasn't run since because of fast ground. It was decided at the last minute not to let multiple Grade One winner take on Altior again in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot. As the ground is forecast as being soft, conditions are likely to be in Un De Sceaux's favour.

 

Third Time Lucky?

The Paul Nicholls-trained Topofthegame will now now go straight to next month's Cheltenham Festival for a crack at the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase. The seven-year-old has been runner-up in each of his two starts over fences this season - most recently at Kempton on Boxing Day in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase where he was beaten by La Bague Au Roi. Connections will be hoping for third time lucky when he runs in the three-mile prize on March 13.

 

New Fixtures

The British Horseracing Authority has just announced that Musselburgh will this weekend be able to stage several of the races which were lost to the frost when its Cheltenham Trials meeting was abandoned. A number of the races that were originally scheduled to take place last weekend will now take place on Sunday, February 10. Exeter will also stage an additional jumps fixture on Monday, after the long list of abandoned fixtures around Britain during the cold spell over the past week.

 

5 February 2019

 

A Dream of a Win

After winning at Kempton, his first race for the Willie Mullins yard since coming from France, this Dream Well gelding battled gamely to fend off his stable companion, Aramon, and win the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. To everyone's surprise, Ruby Walsh chose to be aboard Klassical Dream and in the final stages of the race it looked like he had made the wrong choice. Aramon, ridden by Paul Townend, made a late charge and went a neck in front and looked certain to notch up a second Grade One victory. Ruby Walsh wasn't beaten yet, however. He managed to conjure up a fantastic final thrust from Klassical Dream who claimed the prize by a head.

 

No Respect

There were only four runners left in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown after six horses were pulled out due to the firm ground. As a result the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect was the unexpected 5/6 favourite. Sean Flanagan was determined to take this Gamut gelding into the lead on the first circuit ahead of his main rival, the Ruby Walsh-ridden Bellshill. Road To Respect, however, lost ground negotiating several fences down the back straight but somehow recovered and after a huge leap at the last he had the advantage over Bellshill who did not start gaining ground on him until the final hundred yards. The gap closed with every stride and there seemed no stopping the determined Ruby Walsh, The result was that the two rivals pair crossed the line together, with Bellshill getting the verdict in a photo finish.

 

Ring, Ring!

The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi continued her triumphant season over fences by winning the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown. The Doctor Dino mare, ridden by Richard Johnson, thus added to her top-class victory in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on 28 December. La Bague Au Roi's jumping put her into a clear lead after the second fence. A trio of potential contenders, Mortal, Winter Escape and Hardline started to close up as they came round the final bend but Richard Johnson urged his mount into the last and she responded well. The only strong challenge was posed by Kaiser Black in the final furlong but La Bague Au Roi was able to shrug that off and come home with one-and-a-quarter lengths to spare.

 

4 February 2019

 

Photo Finish

There were only four runners left in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown after six horses were pulled out due to the firm ground. As a result the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect was the unexpected 5/6 favourite. Sean Flanagan was determined to take this Gamut gelding into the lead on the first circuit ahead of his main rival, the Ruby Walsh-ridden Bellshill. Road To Respect, however, lost ground negotiating several fences down the back straight but somehow recovered and after a huge leap at the last he had the advantage over Bellshill who did not start gaining ground on him until the final hundred yards. The gap closed with every stride and there seemed no stopping the determined Ruby Walsh, The result was that the two rivals pair crossed the line together, with Bellshill getting the verdict in a photo finish.

 

A certain Ring

The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi continued her triumphant season over fences by winning the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown. The Doctor Dino mare, ridden by Richard Johnson, thus added to her top-class victory in the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on 28 December. La Bague Au Roi's jumping put her into a clear lead after the second fence. A trio of potential contenders, Mortal, Winter Escape and Hardline started to close up as they came round the final bend but Richard Johnson urged his mount into the last and she responded well. The only strong challenge was posed by Kaiser Black in the final furlong but La Bague Au Roi was able to shrug that off and come home with one-and-a-quarter lengths to spare.

 

A Dream Win

After winning at Kempton, his first race for the Willie Mullins yard since coming from France, this Dream Well gelding battled gamely to fend off his stable companion, Aramon, and win the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. To everyone's surprise, Ruby Walsh chose to be aboard Klassical Dream and in the final stages of the race it looked like he had made the wrong choice. Aramon, ridden by Paul Townend, made a late charge and went a neck in front and looked certain to notch up a second Grade One victory. Ruby Walsh wasn't beaten yet, however. He managed to conjure up a fantastic final thrust from Klassical Dream who claimed the prize by a head.

 

3 February 2019

 

Like them Apple's?

The BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown provided Apple's Jade with a run-away victory. The Gordon Elliott-trained Saddler Maker mare, ridden by Jack Kennedy, was the 8/11 favourite was always in control and didn't have to make any serious efforts to keep the other five runners at bay. Apple's Jade eventually came home sixteen lengths ahead of her nearest rival, Jessica Harrington's Supersundae. Now connections will have to decide what their six-year-old should aim for in the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Min Win

The Willie Mullins-trained Min, as expected, landed the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase again, repeating his 2018 success. Harry Whittington's Saint Calvados went for it from the off but the Walk In The Park gelding always had him covered and when they jumped the last fence it was clear who was in command. There were still two-and-a-half furlongs to run but all Ruby Walsh had to do was sit motionless and allow Min to race for home and win by six lengths.

 

Back in business

This Crillon gelding's shock defeat at Kempton last month was soon forgotten when he claimed his third victory in the 888Sport Contenders Hurdle at Sandown yesterday. The Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D'Air barely came off the bridle in this nigh-on two-mile contest. Just to be on the safe side Barry Geraghty took a look over his shoulder between the final two flights to see where a possible rival, Vision Des Flos, was but after urging Buveur D'Air to extend his lead after the last hurdle, the eight-year-old coasted home by two lengths.

 

2 February 2019

 

Just a Min!

Willie Mullins is hoping that last year's winner Min will provide him with a second success in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown today. At the confirmation stage the champion trainer had in fact two strong cards for this this two-mile contest, the other being stable companion, Footpad. The latter was the undoubted star of the two-mile novice division last season, but his reputation has since been significantly dented, after falling and suffering injury at Naas, then being narrowly defeated over the Christmas period. Nevertheless bookmakers still rated this Creachadoir gelding as the greatest threat to Min. For some reason or other, however, Footpad's entry was not confirmed and so Min is the odds-on favourite to repeat his victory of 12 months ago.

 

Lines up for retirement.

Shergar's former work rider brought a 70-year racing career to a fitting conclusion at Lingfield yesterday when his Catapult made every yard of the running and won the sunracing.co.uk Maiden Handicap. Cliff Lines, who took out his own training licence only eight years ago, was considered to be one of the best work riders in the business and was employed by the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Noel Murless, to name just a couple of trainers. Cliff Lines, who has his 84th birthday next month, started out as an apprentice in 1949. He has decided now is the time to retire and Hollie Doyle's riding the well-backed 4/1 joint-favourite to victory was an appropriate leaving present.

 

Vindicated decision

This Vinnie Roe gelding is seeking a seventh victory in a row this afternoon in the 888Sport Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown. Vinndication won a Ludlow bumper and three novice hurdles last season, completing his four-timer in the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon. Understandably trainer Kim Bailey didn't want the six-year-old to overdo it so he made a brave decision not to run him in the Spring festivals. Vinndication justified that decision by returning this season and impressively scoring twice over fences, the most recent a Grade Two prize at Ascot. Vinndication will step up to his highest level for the first time today.

 

1 February 2019

 

Draft Victory

Yesterday's fifth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan proved a good one for the Doug Watson-trained Drafted. This Field Commission gelding, ridden by stable jockey Pat Dobbs, was an impressive winner of the Al Shindagha Sprint and also gave the Dubai-based trainer his third consecutive victory, following wins by Cool Cowboy in 2017 and My Catch last year. In fact, the latter was also running, bidding for a repeat success this time year and was actually heading the field until the 300 yard pole as he battled with American invader Switzerland. Drafted actually looked outpaced for the first half of the race but stayed on strongly, ultimately going into the lead the final 100 yards and winning by three-quarters of a length.

 

Sizing the day

A force to be reckoned with couple of years ago, Sizing John has suffered a combination of injuries which meant he has not been seen on a racecourse since disappointing at Leopardstown in December 2017. Jessica Harrington, is, therefore, praying the rain so that she can get the Midnight Legend gelding back in action before making a possible bid to regain his crown in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. The nine-year-old has already missed a series of races this season due to the prevailing quick ground. The County Kildare trainer also made an early decision to cancel any entry in this weekend's Dublin Racing Festival.

 

Cliff Hanger

Shergar's former work rider brought a 70-year racing career to a fitting conclusion at Lingfield yesterday when his Catapult made every yard of the running and won the sunracing.co.uk Maiden Handicap. Cliff Lines, who took out his own training licence only eight years ago, was considered to be one of the best work riders in the business and was employed by the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Noel Murless, to name just a couple of trainers. Cliff Lines, who has his 84th birthday next month, started out as an apprentice in 1949. He has decided now is the time to retire and Hollie Doyle's riding the well-backed 4/1 joint-favourite to victory was an appropriate leaving present.

 

31 January 2019

 

Between the Lines

Shergar's former work rider brought a 70-year racing career to a fitting conclusion at Lingfield yesterday when his Catapult made every yard of the running and won the sunracing.co.uk Maiden Handicap. Cliff Lines, who took out his own training licence only eight years ago, was considered to be one of the best work riders in the business and was employed by the likes of Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Noel Murless, to name just a couple of trainers. Cliff Lines, who has his 84th birthday next month, started out as an apprentice in 1949. He has decided now is the time to retire and Hollie Doyle's riding the well-backed 4/1 joint-favourite to victory was an appropriate leaving present.

 

Keep off track!

There has also been a wealth of criticism aimed at the British Horseracing Authority after it fined trainer Henry Oliver for waving his arms at Burrenbridge Hotel to urge him to go to the start at Uttoxeter. The eight-year-old had dug his feet in on the way to the starting post in the SWUK Steel Decking Handicap Chase so the Worcestershire-based trainer went out on to the track to encourage his horse to move. When the BHA's report was eventually released giving the information that Henry Oliver had been found guilty of "misconduct", several prominent racing personalities questioned the punishment.

 

Sizing the day

A force to be reckoned with couple of years ago, Sizing John has suffered a combination of injuries which meant he has not been seen on a racecourse since disappointing at Leopardstown in December 2017. Jessica Harrington, is, therefore, praying the rain so that she can get the Midnight Legend gelding back in action before making a possible bid to regain his crown in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. The nine-year-old has already missed a series of races this season due to the prevailing quick ground. The County Kildare trainer also made an early decision to cancel any entry in this weekend's Dublin Racing Festival.

 

30 January 2019

 

Coming up for Air

Buveur D'Air is now set to try for a third successive victory in the 888Sport Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. The eight-year-old has used this Listed contest as a stepping-stone to claiming Champion Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in each of the last two seasons and Nicky Henderson is clearly hoping that history will repeat itself. The eight-year-old Crillon gelding will bid to become the sixth horse to claim the two-mile hurdling crown three times - and the first since Istabraq in 2000, also owned by JP McManus.

 

Shoddy decision!

Having made a ruling last week that all horses should be fully shod for National Hunt racing (it's already in force for racing on the Flat) the BHA has decided to delay its enforcement. This is because there has been such an outcry from racing professionals and, in particular, from Gavin Cromwell, one of the most respected farriers in Ireland, who has added his name to the protest, describing the proposal as "complete rubbish". The County Meath-based trainer/farrier who has shod countless Grade 1 winners for Gordon Elliott, is adamant that such a decision should be left to trainers.

 

Misconduct?

There has also been a wealth of criticism aimed at the British Horseracing Authority after it fined trainer Henry Oliver for waving his arms at Burrenbridge Hotel to urge him to go to the start at Uttoxeter. The eight-year-old had dug his feet in on the way to the starting post in the SWUK Steel Decking Handicap Chase so the Worcestershire-based trainer went out on to the track to encourage his horse to move. When the BHA's report was eventually released giving the information that Henry Oliver had been found guilty of "misconduct", several prominent racing personalities questioned the punishment.

 

29 January 2019

 

For want of a shoe ...

Having made a ruling last week that all horses should be fully shod for National Hunt racing (it's already in force for racing on the Flat) the BHA has decided to delay its enforcement. This is because there has been such an outcry from racing professionals and, in particular, from Gavin Cromwell, one of the most respected farriers in Ireland, who has added his name to the protest, describing the proposal as "complete rubbish". The County Meath-based trainer/farrier who has shod countless Grade 1 winners for Gordon Elliott, is adamant that such a decision should be left to trainers.

 

Waving - the rules

There has also been a wealth of criticism aimed at the British Horseracing Authority after it fined trainer Henry Oliver for waving his arms at Burrenbridge Hotel to urge him to go to the start at Uttoxeter. The eight-year-old had dug his feet in on the way to the starting post in the SWUK Steel Decking Handicap Chase so the Worcestershire-based trainer went out on to the track to encourage his horse to move. When the BHA's report was eventually released giving the information that Henry Oliver had been found guilty of "misconduct", several prominent racing personalities questioned the punishment.

 

Bidding for a third

Buveur D'Air is now set to try for a third successive victory in the 888Sport Contenders Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. The eight-year-old has used this Listed contest as a stepping-stone to claiming Champion Hurdle glory at Cheltenham in each of the last two seasons and Nicky Henderson is clearly hoping that history will repeat itself. The eight-year-old Crillon gelding will bid to become the sixth horse to claim the two-mile hurdling crown three times - and the first since Istabraq in 2000, also owned by JP McManus.

 

28 January 2019

 

Join the Club!

Victory aboard Birchdale in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham means that Barry Geraghty has notched up 1,875 career wins ( 635 winners in Britain and 1,240 in Ireland) and, thereby, becomes the fourth most successful jump jockey in Britain and Ireland, overtaking Richard Dunwoody. The County Meath jockey takes his new position behind the now retired Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh. It was perhaps fitting that Barry Geraghty reached this milestone riding for his old boss, Nicky Henderson, in the famous silks of his retainer and leading owner JP McManus.

 

Female Gold Cup Winner?

In 1984 Jenny Pitman became the first female trainer of a Gold Cup winner when Burrough Hill Lad landed the prestigious prize at the Cheltenham Festival. In the same year Linda Sheedy also made history as the first woman to ride in this feature event. Another thirty-three years passed until Lizzie Kelly became only the second female jockey to take part in this race. Next month, however, history could be made when Bryony Frost makes her bid for fame. She and the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon put down their marker yesterday by winning the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase – considered as a dress rehearsal for National Hunt racing’s blue riband – at Cheltenham on Saturday.

 

Four from Four

The Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park gained his fourth victory from four starts this season when easily winning the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham. The Oscar gelding has been hugely successful so far, winning the Racing UK Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October, followed by Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in November and then claiming Grade One glory in the Long Walk at Ascot in December. The seven-year-old was the favourite and didn't disappoint, truly setting himself up as Britain's leading hope for the Stayers' Hurdle at Prestbury Park in March. Lil Rockerfeller and Sam Spinner, as expected, turned the three-mile contest into an exacting test of stamina. Aidan Coleman was asking for more and from Paisley Park some way out and, not for the first time, he responded generously, making a fine leap over the final flight and galloping fiercely up the infamous incline to win by twelve lengths.

 

27 January 2019

 

Frost in the Gold Cup

In 1984 Jenny Pitman became the first female trainer of a Gold Cup winner when Burrough Hill Lad landed the prestigious prize at the Cheltenham Festival. In the same year Linda Sheedy also made history as the first woman to ride in this feature event. Another thirty-three years passed until Lizzie Kelly became only the second female jockey to take part in this race. Next month, however, history could be made when Bryony Frost makes her bid for fame. She and the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon put down their marker yesterday by winning the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase – considered as a dress rehearsal for National Hunt racing’s blue riband – at Cheltenham on Saturday.

 

Number Four

Victory aboard Birchdale in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham means that Barry Geraghty has notched up 1,875 career wins ( 635 winners in Britain and 1,240 in Ireland) and, thereby, becomes the fourth most successful jump jockey in Britain and Ireland, overtaking Richard Dunwoody. The County Meath jockey takes his new position behind the now retired Tony McCoy, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh. It was perhaps fitting that Barry Geraghty reached this milestone riding for his old boss, Nicky Henderson, in the famous silks of his retainer and leading owner JP McManus.

 

A Walk in the Park!

The Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park gained his fourth victory from four starts this season when easily winning the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham. The Oscar gelding has been hugely successful so far, winning the Racing UK Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October, followed by Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock in November and then claiming Grade One glory in the Long Walk at Ascot in December. The seven-year-old was the favourite and didn't disappoint, truly setting himself up as Britain's leading hope for the Stayers' Hurdle at Prestbury Park in March. Lil Rockerfeller and Sam Spinner, as expected, turned the three-mile contest into an exacting test of stamina. Aidan Coleman was asking for more and from Paisley Park some way out and, not for the first time, he responded generously, making a fine leap over the final flight and galloping fiercely up the infamous incline to win by twelve lengths.

 

26 January 2019

 

Big step up

This Nicky Henderson-trained Jeremy gelding got off to a great start in his racing career by winning the Actioncoach Invest In The Best Maiden Hurdle by four lengths at Warwick in the middle of December, his debut over obstacles. Now connections are keeping their fingers crossed that Birchdale can handle the big step up in grade when he takes on four rivals in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham this afternoon.

 

Looking good

Giving Glances got back on track with an impressive victory in the Sky Bet Top Price Promise Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster. The Alan King-trained Passing Glance filly won her debut over jumps at Hereford but then let the side down by having to be pulled up before the last in the Betway Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree the next time out. The four-year-old, however, made up for her previous run, travelling well throughout. Tom Cannon urged Giving Glances into the lead between the last two flights and she kept going, beating the rallying Via Delle Volte by a length and three-quarters and the favourite, Fabianski, by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

Dynamite!

Dynamite Dollars, trained by Paul Nicholls, should, if all goes well in the Napoleons Casino & Restaurant Owlerton Sheffield Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster, put down a marker as a leading contender for the Arkle Trophy. This Buck's Boum gelding has impressed since switching to fences, winning three of his four starts including big-race victories in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown and the Wayward Lad at Kempton.

 

25 January 2019

 

Back on form

Following a number of beaten favourites from the Closutton yard there has inevitably been talk that Willie Mullins is starting to lose his touch. It's always a mistake to jump to conclusions, however, because a trainer's form depends on a number of temporary things, weather, disease, injury or just the general well-being of the horse. But a trainer's class is permanent as Willie Mullins has clearly demonstrated for over a decade or more. This was clearly proved at Gowran Park yesterday when Invitation Only, ridden by Ruby Walsh, won the Thyestes Chase, making it the seventh time the champion trainer has claimed this prestigious prize. This victory was also the first of a treble on the day for the County Carlow

king.

 

Too Darn Hot

The European Two-Year-Old Classifications have just been published and this Dubawi colt has been crowned the leading juvenile of 2018. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Too Darn Hot, trained by John Gosden, has received a rating of 126, ranking him as the best two-year-old in Europe, since Frankel shared top honours with Dream Ahead on the same mark in 2010. Apart from these three, no other juvenile has been rated higher since the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Xaar in 1997. Too Darn Hot finished his last campaign unbeaten in four starts – the last victory being in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October.

 

Winning return

Gowran Park also provided a dramatic return to the track for Presenting Percy, fully justifying his position as the favourite to win Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Pat Kelly-trained Sir Percy gelding hadn't raced since last March due to unfavourable ground but he clearly demonstrated what he is capable of, if the conditions are right,when winning the Grade Two John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle. Last year's brilliant RSA Chase winner, ridden by Davy Russell, scored by a length and a quarter, taking the prize for the second year running. Presenting Percy is now the 3/1 market leader to claim the prestigious prize at Cheltenham.

 

24 January 2019

 

Sir's gelding's back!

There's no jump racing today in the UK so all eyes will be on Gowran Park. Of particular interest is Presenting Percy's seasonal reappearance in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle. Though the Sir Percy gelding hasn't raced since notching up his second Cheltenham Festival success in the RSA Chase last March, he is still the ante-post favourite for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in a couple of months' time. The eight-year-old's return to action has been delayed by the unusually dry winter in Ireland, causing him to miss several important races, including the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase and the Savills Chase at Leopardstown. Today, however, the ground is forecast to be on the easy side so, at last, Presenting Percy can make his belated comeback in a contest he won last year and champion jockey, Davy Russell, is reported to be looking forward to getting back on board.

 

Amazing recovery

A young jockey produced a gravity-defying ride at County Cork. Mikey Sweeny was aboard the Declan Queally-trained Ask Heather, who took off a little too early at the last fence and crashed into it, throwing her rider into the air. Normally that would have meant a nasty fall for the jockey and considerable time out of action. Somehow, however, Mikey Sweeney was able to grab hold of the reins, cling on to the mare's neck and then swing his way back into the saddle. Not only that. The main rival, Whatdastory, after taking over the lead after this incident, didn't seem determined enough on the run to the line. So, as if the amazing acrobatics weren't enough, Mikey Sweeny was also able to steer Ask Heather to victory.

See for yourself:

https://twitter.com/irishp2p/status/1087021976374386692

 

Temperature's rising

The European Two-Year-Old Classifications have just been published and this Dubawi colt has been crowned the leading juvenile of 2018. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Too Darn Hot, trained by John Gosden, has received a rating of 126, ranking him as the best two-year-old in Europe, since Frankel shared top honours with Dream Ahead on the same mark in 2010. Apart from these three, no other juvenile has been rated higher since the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Xaar in 1997. Too Darn Hot finished his last campaign unbeaten in four starts – the last victory being in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last October.

23 January 2019

 

Hang on!

A young jockey produced a gravity-defying ride at County Cork. Mikey Sweeny was aboard the Declan Queally-trained Ask Heather, who took off a little too early at the last fence and crashed into it, throwing her rider into the air. Normally that would have meant a nasty fall for the jockey and considerable time out of action. Somehow, however, Mikey Sweeney was able to grab hold of the reins, cling on to the mare's neck and then swing his way back into the saddle. Not only that. The main rival, Whatdastory, after taking over the lead after this incident, didn't seem determined enough on the run to the line. So, as if the amazing acrobatics weren't enough, Mikey Sweeny was also able to steer Ask Heather to victory.

See for yourself:

https://twitter.com/irishp2p/status/1087021976374386692

 

It's Saturday

Two past winners are among the fourteen entries for the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday. The Nick Williams-trained Agrapart won this Grade Two prize last year and Harry Fry's Unowhatimeanharry was successful in 2017. Emma Lavelle's Paisley Park and Colin Tizzard's West Approach, who were first and second respectively in the Grade One JLT Hurdle at Ascot last month, will also be competing as will Aux Ptits Soins, trained by Dan Skelton.

 

No stopping her!

Despite two falls within 35 minutes at Thurles on Sunday, one a crashing tumble from Cool Saint at the final flight in the 2m6½f novice hurdle, Rachael Blackmore says she will definitely be ready for the Thyestes Chase on Thursday. The Tipperary-born jockey is seven winners behind Paul Townend in the Irish jockeys' championship. Rachael Blackmore confirmed that luckily no limbs were broken and she just feels a little stiff.

 

21 January 2019

 

Mister Winner

Nicky Henderson claimed a fourth victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Haydock with this Jeremy gelding. Mister Fisher, the even-money favourite, tracked ben pauling's front-running Bright Forecast and went in front at the hurdle from home. Fortunately he regained his fluency in time for the last obstacle and James Bowen had to work him hard to beat off his rival's renewed challenge by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

UR joking!

In 2017 this Milan gelding became only the second Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National. After an extended absence the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur returned to Aintree last month to run in the Betway Many Clouds Chase but, unfortunately unseated his jockey, Tom Scudamore, at the third fence. Reunited with his Grand National partner Derek Fox, the ten-year-old took on ten rivals in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock but seemed to be struggling to keep up with the leaders, making a mistake at the fourth fence and once more unseated his rider. The only thing that can be said for him is that at least he got further round than last time!

 

Streets ahead!

A 28/1 outsider upset the apple cart in the Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices' Chase at Haydock. The Charlie Longsdon-trained Castafiore seemed to have no chance if the official ratings were anything to go by. The six-year-old was the rank outsider of the five runners in this two-and-a-half-mile contest. Paul O'Brien, however, managed to keep the Street Cry mare right on the pace throughout the race and urged her into the lead as they approached the final fence. The favourite, Jerrysback, trained by Philip Hobbs, looked to have every chance in the straight but Castafiore pulled five lengths clear on the run-in.

20 January 2019

 

UR again!

In 2017 this Milan gelding became only the second Scottish-trained winner of the Grand National. After an extended absence the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur returned to Aintree last month to run in the Betway Many Clouds Chase but, unfortunately unseated his jockey, Tom Scudamore, at the third fence. Reunited with his Grand National partner Derek Fox, the ten-year-old took on ten rivals in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock yesterday but seemed to be struggling to keep up with the leaders, making a mistake at the fourth fence and once more unseated his rider. The only thing that can be said for him is that at least he got further round than last time!

 

Angling for victory

Nicky Henderson claimed a fourth victory in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle at Haydock with this Jeremy gelding. Mister Fisher, the even-money favourite, tracked ben pauling's front-running Bright Forecast and went in front at the hurdle from home. Fortunately he regained his fluency in time for the last obstacle and James Bowen had to work him hard to beat off his rival's renewed challenge by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Outsider's day

A 28/1 outsider upset the apple cart in the Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices' Chase at Haydock yesterday. The Charlie Longsdon-trained Castafiore seemed to have no chance if the official ratings were anything to go by. The six-year-old was the rank outsider of the five runners in this two-and-a-half-mile contest. Paul O'Brien, however, managed to keep the Street Cry mare right on the pace throughout the race and urged her into the lead as they approached the final fence. The favourite, Jerrysback, trained by Philip Hobbs, looked to have every chance in the straight but Castafiore pulled five lengths clear on the run-in.

19 January 2019

 

A hard decision!

Because Willie Mullins expected the ground to be firm he decided not to let Un De Sceaux run at Ascot today. In the event, the going is good to soft, so, unfortunately, racegoers are denied the chance of watching the Denham Red gelding's bid for a fourth win in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase. This means that the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior, the 1/8 favourite, only faces two rivals in this £150,000 two-mile feature race. This High Chaparral gelding is one win away from the record eighteen successive victories established by champion staying hurdler, Big Buck’s. Only two possible obstacles stand in the way of the nine-year-old's entering the record books, apart from bad weather or making mistake, and they are represented by Colin Tizzard's Fox Norton, who is returning to the track just over a year since his last start in the 2017 King George and Paul Nicholls' Diego Du Charmil, who finished nineteen lengths behind Altior in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December.

 

One For Arthur

The 2017 Grand National winner returns to action in one of the big races of the weekend. The Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur takes on eleven rivals in the £75,000 Grade Two Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock Park today. Previous winners of this three-mile-plus contest have been top-class chasers such as Our Vic (2010) and Bristol De Mai (2017). The latter also went on to achieve back-to-back renewals of the Grade One Betfair Chase, also at Haydock. Injury has restricted this Milan gelding to just one start since his famous Aintree triumph. On his eagerly-awaited comeback last month, unfortunately, the ten-year-old got no further than the third fence when he unseated Tom Scudamore in the Grade Two Betway Many Clouds Chase over the Mildmay Course at the Liverpool track. If he performs today as expected then One For Arthur will most likely be on his way for another crack at the Grand National in April 6.

 

Back with a treble

The Champion National Hunt jockey returned to action and notched up a treble, following two days on the sidelines recovering from bruises after being unseated at the start at Fontwell on Monday. Richard Johnson missed the action at Newcastle on Tuesday and Newbury on Wednesday but he made up for it by riding the Martin Keighley-trained Back On The Lash to a narrow victory in the Plymouth Carvery Novices' Hurdle at Ludlow. The Hereford-born jockey scored again in the very next race, the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase, aboard Little Miss Poet, trained by Philip Hobbs, this time by seven lengths. The third leg of Richard Johnson's treble was victory riding Henry Daly's Rapper in the Jubilee Restaurant Maiden Hurdle. Martin Keighley, was full of praise for the Champion jockey after his first win but not by his third. as he trained Reve who came second!

 

18 January 2019

 

High Chance

Due to the firm ground Willie Mullins has decided not to let Un De Sceaux bid for a fourth win in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot tomorrow. This means that the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior, the 1/8 favourite, will take on just two rivals in this £150,000 two-mile feature race. The High Chaparral gelding is one win away from the record eighteen successive victories established by champion staying hurdler, Big Buck’s. Only two things stand in the way of the nine-year-old's entering the record books, apart from bad weather or making mistake and they are Colin Tizzard's Fox Norton, who is returning to the track just over a year since his last start in the 2017 King George and Paul Nicholls' Diego Du Charmil, who finished nineteen lengths behind Altior in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton in December.

 

Treble no trouble!

The Champion National Hunt jockey returned to action yesterday and notched up a treble, following two days on the sidelines recovering from bruises after being unseated at the start at Fontwell on Monday. Richard Johnson missed the action at Newcastle on Tuesday and Newbury on Wednesday but he made up for it by riding the Martin Keighley-trained Back On The Lash to a narrow victory in the Plymouth Carvery Novices' Hurdle at Ludlow. The Hereford-born jockey scored again in the very next race, the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Chase, aboard Little Miss Poet, trained by Philip Hobbs, this time by seven lengths. The third leg of Richard Johnson's treble was victory riding Henry Daly's Rapper in the Jubilee Restaurant Maiden Hurdle. Martin Keighley, was full of praise for the Champion jockey after his first win but not by his third. as he trained Reve who came second!

 

Sheer Poetry

This Dubawi filly gave Godolphin a seventh victory in the last nine years in the Cape Verdi at Meydan yesterday. The Charlie Appleby-trained Poetic Charm won the Group Two heat by four lengths. James Doyle was content to keep the four-year-old at the back of the field until they approached the straight. He then urged Poetic Charm, the 11/10 favourite, to move out and make her challenge and she obliged by kicking clear to score by a length and a quarter.

 

17 January 2019

 

Weigh out, Man!

Tom O'Brien enjoyed a great Festive Season with wins in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle and Welsh Grand National and had been riding the crest of a wave - until yesterday at Lingfield, that is. He received a seven-day ban, not for any misdemeanour on the track. He finished third aboard the Paul Henderson-trained Shaw's Cross in the Read Davy Russell's Exclusive Blog starsportsbet.co.uk Handicap Hurdle and his performance couldn't be faulted. It's just that he forgot to weigh in after the race. Apparently he had things on his mind. The horse was subsequently disqualified.

 

Best horse ever

This Lambourn trainer rates his Gold Well gelding as one of the best horses he has had and he was not disappointed as he watched the race at Lingfield. The Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom maintained his unbeaten record, now four from four under rules, with an easy victory in the starsports.bet Novices' Hurdle. As the race progressed the 1/8 favourite gradually got into the swing of things and only needed Gavin Sheehan to remind him of his task and the five-year-old surged ahead to win by five lengths.

 

Never alone with a drone!

Not only airports but racecourses are now demanding action to prevent UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems) - or drones as they are commonly called - from being deployed over their territory. It is claimed that are being used to send pictures to punters which can give them an unfair advantage over fellow gamblers who they are betting against in-running, on exchanges such as Betfair. Track officials say the super-fast images provided by drones are being bought by gamblers because they receive them a few seconds ahead of those provided by TV companies. The list of racecourses over which drones have been seen in recent months includes Leicester, Nottingham, Southwell, Uttoxeter and Wolverhampton.

 

16 January 2019

 

Good as Gold

This Lambourn trainer rates his Gold Well gelding as one of the best horses he has had and he was not disappointed as he watched the race at Lingfield yesterday. The Warren Greatrex-trained Emitom maintained his unbeaten record, now four from four under rules, with an easy victory in the starsports.bet Novices' Hurdle. As the race progressed the 1/8 favourite gradually got into the swing of things and only needed Gavin Sheehan to remind him of his task and the five-year-old surged ahead to win by five lengths.

 

Weight. You forgot something!

Tom O'Brien enjoyed a great Festive Season with wins in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle and Welsh Grand National and had been riding the crest of a wave - until yesterday at Lingfield, that is. He received a seven-day ban, not for any misdemeanour on the track. He finished third aboard the Paul Henderson-trained Shaw's Cross in the Read Davy Russell's Exclusive Blog starsportsbet.co.uk Handicap Hurdle and his performance couldn't be faulted. It's just that he forgot to weigh in after the race. Apparently he had things on his mind. The horse was subsequently disqualified.

 

Unfair advantage

Not only airports but racecourses are now demanding action to prevent drones being deployed over their territory. It is claimed that UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems) are being used to send pictures to punters which can give them an unfair advantage over fellow gamblers who they are betting against in-running, on exchanges such as Betfair. Track officials say the super-fast images provided by drones are being bought by gamblers because they receive them a few seconds ahead of those provided by TV companies. The list of racecourses over which drones have been seen in recent months includes Leicester, Nottingham, Southwell, Uttoxeter and Wolverhampton.

 

15 January 2019

 

Came right in the end

This Galileo gelding, who made a big impression on his racing debut at the Curragh last May but then disappointed in the King George V Cup at Leopardstown, could be off to Cheltenham after his successful start to his jumping career at Punchestown. The Fozzy Stack-trained Carlo Biraghi was sent off the 12/1 shot in the Introducing Racing TV Maiden Hurdle and travelled well behind the pace-setting Andalusa, trained by Willie Mullins, for most of the two-mile trip. The four-year-old did reveal signs of inexperience when drifting around on the approach to the final flight but Danny Mullins got him settled by the run-in and Carlo Biraghi took the prize by seven and a half lengths

 

All about Eve

This Flatter filly was bought for £160.000 in 2017 by Sir Mark Prescott for a prospective owner but the latter didn't 'fancy' her so the Newmarket trainer planned to sell her in England. Then near-disaster struck. Arriving back from the Keeneland sales in Kentucky, the now named Eve Harrington managed to get out of her stall and jump off the plane onto the runway at Stansted. As a result the filly was badly injured and couldn't, therefore, be sold and, their being no other option, became the first horse Sir Mark Prescott has ever owned. The story has a happy ending, however. Not only did Eve Harrington survive her ordeal but she was nursed back to health and yesterday she repaid the care and attention she had received over the past year by winning the Ladbrokes Novice Stakes at Southwell on her second time out. This victory now makes her a highly saleable commodity as a prospective broodmare, especially as her pedigree looks even better now than it did when she was bought.

 

Great Escape

Winter Escape, who used to be trained by Alan King, seems to have found a new lease of life with little-known trainer, Aidan Howard and showed fine form yesterday at Punchestown when winning the Total Event Rental Novice Chase, making it three wins in a row. Already a Grade Three winner, the eight-year-old Robin Des Pres gelding was bearing an extra seven pounds for his previous win and, in addition, was up against the 5/4 favourite, A Plus Tard, who was not only three years younger but six pounds lighter. Ridden by Mark Walsh, though, Winter Escape always looked confident, tracking the favourite into the straight before a good jump at the last confirmed his supremacy by two and a quarter lengths.

 

14 January 2019

 

Happy Ending

This Flatter filly was bought for £160.000 in 2017 by Sir Mark Prescott for a prospective owner but the latter didn't 'fancy' her so the Newmarket trainer planned to sell her in England. Then near-disaster struck. Arriving back from the Keeneland sales in Kentucky, the now named Eve Harrington managed to get out of her stall and jump off the plane onto the runway at Stansted. As a result the filly was badly injured and couldn't, therefore, be sold and, their being no other option, became the first horse Sir Mark Prescott has ever owned. The story has a happy ending, however. Not only did Eve Harrington survive her ordeal but she was nursed back to health and yesterday she repaid the care and attention she had received over the past year by winning the Ladbrokes Novice Stakes at Southwell on her second time out. This victory now makes her a highly saleable commodity as a prospective broodmare, especially as her pedigree looks even better now than it did when she was bought.

 

An Honour to win

Gordon Elliott's Vision D'Honneur looks to have a promising future after he claimed the Sportinglife.com Maiden Hurdle by four-and-a-quarter lengths at Punchestown yesterday. The Vision D'etat gelding was winner of his only start on the Flat in France and his reputation having preceded his arrival in Ireland, he was naturally sent off favourite on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown over Christmas. He disappointed backers by only coming fourth in that contest. He didn't disappoint yesterday, however. The five-year-old was kept handy throughout by Jack Kennedy and, when prompted, sprinted clear of the Willie Mullins-trained Elixir D'Ainay to win by four and a half lengths.

 

The Great Escape

Winter Escape, who used to be trained by Alan King, seems to have found a new lease of life with little-known trainer, Aidan Howard and showed fine form yesterday at Punchestown when winning the Total Event Rental Novice Chase, making it three wins in a row. Already a Grade Three winner, the eight-year-old Robin Des Pres gelding was bearing an extra seven pounds for his previous win and, in addition, was up against the 5/4 favourite, A Plus Tard, who was not only three years younger but six pounds lighter. Ridden by Mark Walsh, though, Winter Escape always looked confident, tracking the favourite into the straight before a good jump at the last confirmed his supremacy by two and a quarter lengths.

 

13 January 2019

 

Star Performance

The McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Chase at Warwick was won by the Neil Mulholland-trained Busy Flight gelding who claimed his win over fences. Impulsive Star, ridden by Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen, hadn't managed to score on five previous outings over the larger obstacles but came fourth in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham in March. The eight-year-old was making his handicap debut in this prestigious contest. Last year's winner, Milansbar, was out in front for much of the three-mile-five-furlong journey but ran out of steam as he came down the back straight for the second time. Impulsive Star then took over the lead and was challenged in turn by Calett Mad and Crosspark in the home straight but managed to hold on to win by three and a quarter lengths.

 

For want of a shoe the …..”

Nicky Henderson and Paul Webber are two top trainers backing Mick Easterby who has requested that the BHA should review a new rule that will make the wearing of horseshoes on all four hooves compulsory. This new regulation is scheduled to come into effect on February 1, following a two-year data review backed up by consultation with a number of racing authorities. The BHA considers that this change, also introduced for horses on the Flat in 2016, is an important health and safety measure, intended to reduce the risk of horses slipping during a race. Mick Easterby and his nephew Tim, as well as Sue and Harvey Smith, however, insist that leaving the two rear hooves without shoes can help reduce the risk of a horse injuring itself by striking its front leg and they also dispute that this process increases the chances of slipping.

 

Top Notch

This Nicky Henderson-trained Poliglote gelding gave a hint of greater things to come when he scored his first victory this season in the 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton. Top Notch was late starting his season last month, after suffering a bad reaction to a flu jab, and finished third in the JLT Hurdle at Ascot. The eight-year-old was back over fences yesterday and certainly seemed to thrive, taking the Listed prize by five lengths ahead of Paul Nicholls' Black Corton.

 

12 January 2019

 

 

Favourite not Favourite

Bryony Frost rides her favourite horse once again in today's 32Red Casino Chase at Kempton. The Paul Nichols-trained Black Corton scored seven times last season with this jockey aboard. The highlight was the Grade One victory in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at this Sunbury venue. At the beginning of November the Laverock gelding finished runner-up to Brian Ellison's Definitly Red in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and last time out at Newbury the eight-year-old obviously found the combination of heavy weight and soft ground too much to handle in the Ladbrokes Trophy and was pulled up. Today Black Corton faces four rivals in this two-and-a-half-mile feature event.

 

New Team

Trainers, John Oxx and Patrick Prendergast, are forming a new alliance operating from the same location in the Curragh. The former handled some of the greatest names in racing, including Sea The Stars and Sinndar, and is approaching 2000 winners. Patrick Prendergast, who plans not to renew his training licence, has also had impressive successes, notably with Skitter Scatter who provided him with a maiden Group One success, in the Moyglare Stud Stakes in September. The fact that Oxx's Currabeg Stables and Prendergast's base at Melitta Lodge are close together will obviously work to their advantage, continuing to employ both teams of staff in the new venture, which has the backing of all the owners.

 

"For want of a shoe the ..."

Nicky Henderson and Paul Webber are two top trainers backing Mick Easterby who has requested that the BHA should review a new rule that will make the wearing of horseshoes on all four hooves compulsory. This new regulation is scheduled to come into effect on February 1, following a two-year data review backed up by consultation with a number of racing authorities. The BHA considers that this change, also introduced for horses on the Flat in 2016, is an important health and safety measure, intended to reduce the risk of horses slipping during a race. Mick Easterby and his nephew Tim, as well as Sue and Harvey Smith, however, insist that leaving the two rear hooves without shoes can help reduce the risk of a horse injuring itself by striking its front leg and they also dispute that this process increases the chances of slipping.

 

11 January 2019

 

Not up to it

Royal Marine, winner of of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, didn't live up to expectations in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was hoping that the Raven's Pass colt would emulate Thunder Snow, who made a seamless switch from turf to dirt and went on to win the Dubai World Cup. Royal Marine, however, never looked like cutting the mustard and trailed home in fourth place, sixteen lengths behind the impressive winner, Walking Thunder. The latter was defending his unbeaten record in the mile and never looked like causing any concern for either jockey, Connor Beasley, or trainer, Ahmad bin Harmash.

 

Cup Runneth Over!

Only fifteen horses ran in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup but it looks like nearly three times that many could be lining up on 15 March. Among the list of 43 entries are three previous winners - Native River (2018), Sizing John (2017) and Coneygree (2015). It is the largest field for twelve years. Willie Mullins, who has not yet bagged this prestigious prize seems determined to make it happen this time. He is planning to enter nine of his trainees. Colin Tizzard intends to saddle Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack. The former won the 2018 Welsh National, whilst the latter scored in the 2016 King George VI Chase. Thistlecrack was also runner-up in last month's King George at Kempton, which was won by Clan Des Obeaux, who is also a possible one of four runners for Paul Nicholls. The Patrick Kelly-trained Presenting Percy, winner of the RSA Chase at last year's Cheltenham Festival, heads a record 24 Irish-trained entries for the big race.

 

Cool Win

Bryony Frost celebrated her first-ever victory at Leicester yesterday. The 23-year-old Devon-born jockey was aboard the Neil King-trained Regulation in the Dove Selling Hurdle. The Danehill Dancer gelding had problems with a loose horse running in front of him as they approached the last obstacle but managed to stay on and win by one-and-a-half lengths. Bryony Frost has a busy weekend ahead, partnering the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton in the 32Red Casino Chase and Neil King's Canyon City in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, both at Kempton tomorrow.

 

10 January 2019 

 

Up for the Cup

Only fifteen horses ran in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup but it looks like nearly three times that many could be lining up on 15 March. Among the list of 43 entries are three previous winners - Native River (2018), Sizing John (2017) and Coneygree (2015). It is the largest field for twelve years. Willie Mullins, who has not yet bagged this prestigious prize seems determined to make it happen this time. He is planning to enter nine of his trainees. Colin Tizzard intends to saddle Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack. The former won the 2018 Welsh National, whilst the latter scored in the 2016 King George VI Chase. Thistlecrack was also runner-up in last month's King George at Kempton, which was won by Clan Des Obeaux, who is also a possible one of four runners for Paul Nicholls. The Patrick Kelly-trained Presenting Percy, winner of the RSA Chase at last year's Cheltenham Festival, heads a record 24 Irish-trained entries for the big race.

 

Born to be King

This Frankel colt is only on of two runners in the the eleven-strong field at Chelmsford tonight who has won before. So, unless there is a surprise newcomer it looks like the John Gosden trained New King will claim another victory in the Extra Places At totesport.com Novice Stakes. The Qatar Racing Limited-owned three-year-old won the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost EBF Novice Stakes at Wolverhampton at the beginning of December. In this race New King was slow to break and was held up in the rear for quite a while but he stormed through inside the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length. Tonight's race is a furlong and a half longer but the phenomenal Frankel' statistics hint at further improvement for this progeny.

 

Wot a win!

A charity racing syndicate had a winner at Musselburgh. The Multiple Sclerosis Borders Racing Club was established in 2004 by Rhona Elliott after she had to retire from horse training after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This syndicate was established with the objective of raising awareness of the MS Society UK and Scotland and it certainly did that yesterday. Their horse, Wot A Shot, trained by Nicky Richards, won the Betway Handicap Hurdle by one-and-a-quarter lengths. This was particularly pleasing for connections as the ten-year-old hasn't scored since December 2017, although he has a number of good placings to his credit.

 

9 January 2019

 

Winning Charity

A charity racing syndicate had a winner at Musselburgh. The Multiple Sclerosis Borders Racing Club was established in 2004 by Rhona Elliott after she had to retire from horse training after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This syndicate was established with the objective of raising awareness of the MS Society UK and Scotland and it certainly did that yesterday. Their horse, Wot A Shot, trained by Nicky Richards, won the Betway Handicap Hurdle by one-and-a-quarter lengths. This was particularly pleasing for connections as the ten-year-old hasn't scored since December 2017, although he has a number of good placings to his credit.

 

When they got wind of it!

Colin Tizzard made reference to a wind operation in the post-race interview on Sky Sports Racing after his Duc Kauto won the the Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle. This caused quite a stir on some parts of the social media because this information did not appear on the racecards, as is now the rule. Later the Dorset-based trainer apologised for getting it wrong but not for the reasons expected. In fact, instead of forgetting to declare the wind op, Colin Tizzard had mistakenly thought that the six-year-old had undergone the procedure when, in fact, he had not. He was corrected by his daughter who telephoned straight after the interview to say: “No he hasn't!”

I guess such an error may be forgiven for a busy trainer who has saddled 357 runners and 113 different horses already this season!

 

Battle of the Doyen

This Doyen gelding made it three in a row from three career starts at Naas. The Gordon Elliott-trained Battleoverdoyen had to fight valiantly for victory in the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle. Eight runners went to post in a race which looked like a contest between the top trainers. Gordon Elliott's six-year-old had already proved himself in a Punchestown bumper and a Navan maiden hurdle this season and was the marginal favourite ahead of the Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer. This Flemensfirth gelding was third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham Festival last March and won the corresponding race at Punchestown before going on to win his hurdling debut. Unfortunately Tornado Flyer seemed to have problems from early on and Ruby Walsh eventually pulled him up in the back straight. Battleoverdoyen, on the other hand, gave his jockey, Jack Kennedy, a fairly trouble-free ride and, although he still had to work hard on the run to the final flight, he responded well and claimed victory by two- and three-quarter lengths.

 

8 January 2019

 

Wot a win!

A charity racing syndicate had a winner at Musselburgh. The Multiple Sclerosis Borders Racing Club was established in 2004 by Rhona Elliott after she had to retire from horse training after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This syndicate was established with the objective of raising awareness of the MS Society UK and Scotland and it certainly did that yesterday. Their horse, Wot A Shot, trained by Nicky Richards, won the Betway Handicap Hurdle by one-and-a-quarter lengths. This was particularly pleasing for connections as the ten-year-old hasn't scored since December 2017, although he has a number of good placings to his credit.

 

Oh, no he hasn't!

It seems the pantomime season isn't quite over. At Plumpton Colin Tizzard made reference to a wind operation in the post-race interview on Sky Sports Racing after his Duc Kauto won the the Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle. This caused quite a stir on some parts of the social media because this information did not appear on the racecards, as is now the rule. Later the Dorset-based trainer apologised for getting it wrong but not for the reasons expected. In fact, instead of forgetting to declare the wind op, Colin Tizzard had mistakenly thought that the six-year-old had undergone the procedure when, in fact, he had not. He was corrected by his daughter who telephoned straight after the interview to say: “No he hasn't!”

I guess such an error may be forgiven for a busy trainer who has saddled 357 runners and 113 different horses already this season!

 

Doing Battle

This Doyen gelding made it three in a row from three career starts at Naas. The Gordon Elliott-trained Battleoverdoyen had to fight valiantly for victory in the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle. Eight runners went to post in a race which looked like a contest between the top trainers. Gordon Elliott's six-year-old had already proved himself in a Punchestown bumper and a Navan maiden hurdle this season and was the marginal favourite ahead of the Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer. This Flemensfirth gelding was third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham Festival last March and won the corresponding race at Punchestown before going on to win his hurdling debut. Unfortunately Tornado Flyer seemed to have problems from early on and Ruby Walsh eventually pulled him up in the back straight. Battleoverdoyen, on the other hand, gave his jockey, Jack Kennedy, a fairly trouble-free ride and, although he still had to work hard on the run to the final flight, he responded well and claimed victory by two- and three-quarter lengths.

 

7 January 2019

 

Oh, no he hasn't!

It seems the pantomime season isn't quite over. Yesterday at Plumpton Colin Tizzard made reference to a wind operation in the post-race interview on Sky Sports Racing after his Duc Kauto won the the Download The At The Races App Handicap Hurdle. This caused quite a stir on some parts of the social media because this information did not appear on the racecards, as is now the rule. Later the Dorset-based trainer apologised for getting it wrong but not for the reasons expected. In fact, instead of forgetting to declare the wind op, Colin Tizzard had mistakenly thought that the six-year-old had undergone the procedure when he had not. He was corrected by his daughter who telephoned straight after the interview to say: “No he hasn't!”

I guess such an error may be forgiven for a busy trainer who has saddled 357 runners and 113 different horses already this season!

 

It aint over until ...

One of the most extraordinary results in recent racing history was witnessed at Newcastle. This North-Eastern track is notorious for its long run-in to the finish line after the final hurdle and so a lot can happen in the last stages of a contest. When the nine-strong field approached the last obstacle in the Border Minstrel Pub Novices' Hurdle, it certainly looked as though the Ann Hamilton-trained Point Break had it in the bag as he was ten lengths ahead of his nearest rival and many punters were no doubt spending their winnings already. The leader made a mistake, however, at the final hurdle and lost his momentum, giving a last-minute chance for For Three to swoop past and go on to win the race. The 66/1 outsider certainly looked unassailable inside the final furlong but, as the saying goes; 'it aint over till that certain person sings'! Out of the blue, the Tim Easterby-trained Mountain Hawk, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, who seemed to have no hope just seconds earlier, zoomed past both horses in front of him and claimed an incredible victory.

 

A Master Class.

The Follow At The Races On Twitter Novices' Chase at Plumpton was emphatically claimed by French raider Master Dino. This victory marks a first winner in England for trainer Guillaume Macaire since December 2012. The Doctor Dino gelding, the 11/10 favourite, always kept the front-running second-favourite, Knocknanuss, well in his sights before attacking at the second fence from home and going on to win by seven lengths. The five-year-old, ridden by Daryl Jacob, is now expected to run in the two-and-a-half mile JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in March and, if he is successful, he will be in line for a £60,000 bonus offered by Plumpton race track.

 

6 January 2019

 

Don't Count Your Chickens!

One of the most extraordinary results in recent racing history was witnessed at Newcastle yesterday. This North-Eastern track is notorious for its long run-in to the finish line after the final hurdle and so a lot can happen in the last stages of a contest. When the nine-strong field approached the last obstacle in the Border Minstrel Pub Novices' Hurdle, it certainly looked as though the Ann Hamilton-trained Point Break had it in the bag as he was ten lengths ahead of his nearest rival and many punters were no doubt spending their winnings already. The leader made a mistake, however, at the final hurdle and lost his momentum, giving a last-minute chance for For Three to swoop past and go on to win the race. The 66/1 outsider certainly looked unassailable inside the final furlong but, as the saying goes; 'it aint over till that certain person sings'! Out of the blue, the Tim Easterby-trained Mountain Hawk, ridden by Jamie Hamilton, who seemed to have no hope just seconds earlier, zoomed past both horses in front of him and claimed an incredible victory.

 

Surprise Surprise!

The day after this 19-year-old student got her jockey's licence she notched up her first victory. Emma Doyle, riding Northern Surprise, owned by her mother, Claire, and trained by her father, Tim, was making her racing debut in the BetVictor Handicap at Dundalk. The Azamour gelding hadn't scored since January 2016, when he won the www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap at this County Louth track. Initially it didn't look as though the eight-year-old's fortunes were about to change last night either, as he was held up for quite a while at the back of the field and pushed along two furlongs from home but he managed to stay on well inside the final two hundred yards, claiming the one-mile event by a neck.

 

Cracked it!

This Colin Tizzard-trained Al Namix gelding made all to claim the Grade One honours in the Unibet Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown. Elixir De Nutz, with Tom O'Brien in the saddle, produce a solid round of jumping and was more of a match for Grand Sancy who challenged him in the closing stages. The five-year-old was making it three in a row, following two wins at Cheltenham.

 

5 January 2019

 

What a Surprise!

The day after this 19-year-old student got her jockey's licence she notched up her first victory. Emma Doyle, riding Northern Surprise, owned by her mother, Claire, and trained by her father, Tim, was making her racing debut in the BetVictor Handicap at Dundalk. The Azamour gelding hadn't scored since January 2016, when he won the www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap at this County Louth track. Initially it didn't look as though the eight-year-old's fortunes were about to change last night either, as he was held up for quite a while at the back of the field and pushed along two furlongs from home but he managed to stay on well inside the final two hundred yards, claiming the one-mile event by a neck.

 

Make it a dozen!

The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior will take on a maximum of eight rivals in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot in two weeks' time. The High Chaparral gelding extended his unbeaten record over fences to eleven and notched up his sixteenth successive career victory when winning the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last week. The nine-year-old will undoubtedly be a red-hot favourite to claim another Grade One prize when he runs on the Berkshire track in preparation for defending his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March. The winner of this prestigious contest in each of the last three seasons, the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux, could be the one obstacle to achieving this goal.

 

Dubawi Dame

The William Haggas-trained Island Of Life surged through a gap one off the rail in the last furlong to win the Ladbrokes Fillies' Conditions Stakes by three-quarters of a length. The Dubawi mare produced a decisive turn of foot to take this fast-track qualifier for All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday. Crossing The Line and Miss Bar Beach set a strong pace whilst Richard Kingscote decided to keep Island Of Life towards the rear of the field. When the seven runners turned into the straight it looked as though a number of them had a good chance but they were thwarted when the 11/4 joint-favourite shot to the front ahead of Ben Haslam's Castle Hill Cassie.

 

4 January 2019

 

New Kid on the Block

Today Kempton stages the £25,000 32Red Conditions Race with seven runnings vying for glory. The winner of the six-furlong contest is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old Championships over the same distance at Lingfield on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday. One of the noteworthy contenders is the Richard Fahey-trained Charming Kid who had a successful debut at York in May. The Charm Spirit colt raced only five times last year. Apart from his win in British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes he came third in the Group Two Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket.

 

High Hopes

The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior will take on a maximum of eight rivals in the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot in two weeks' time. The High Chaparral gelding extended his unbeaten record over fences to eleven and notched up his sixteenth successive career victory when winning the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton last week. The nine-year-old will undoubtedly be a red-hot favourite to claim another Grade One prize when he runs on the Berkshire track in preparation for defending his crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March. The winner of this prestigious contest in each of the last three seasons, the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux, could be the one obstacle to achieving this goal.

 

Full of Life

The William Haggas-trained Island Of Life surged through a gap one off the rail in the last furlong to win the Ladbrokes Fillies' Conditions Stakes by three-quarters of a length. The Dubawi mare produced a decisive turn of foot to take this fast-track qualifier for All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday. Crossing The Line and Miss Bar Beach set a strong pace whilst Richard Kingscote decided to keep Island Of Life towards the rear of the field. When the seven runners turned into the straight it looked as though a number of them had a good chance but they were thwarted when the 11/4 joint-favourite shot to the front ahead of Ben Haslam's Castle Hill Cassie.

 

3 January 2019

 

Fresh Translation

The Betbright Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham eventually developed into a duel between

the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostinstranslation and Philip Hobbs' Defi Du Seuil. The former, a Flemensfirth gelding, ridden by Robbie Power, previously second and third a in a couple of Newbury races, set out to make all the running and jumped with accuracy throughout. His old rival, Black Op, however, who had narrowly denied him victory in the Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree over hurdles last Spring, made some expensive mistakes and could only manage third place. Lostinstranslation stayed on well to claim victory by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Willie's Trio

It was First, Second and Third for the county Carlow king in the Savills Chase at Tramore. Heading up the Willie Mullins' trio was Al Boum Photo, making a winning return to action. This Buck's Boum gelding was an unlucky loser on his last outing when he crashed into the wing and ran out at the last whilst in the lead in the Grade One Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last April. The seven-year-old, with Ruby Walsh aboard again, gave rise to just one slightly anxious moment when it looked as though he briefly unbalanced his jockey on landing over the last fence. After that it was all plain sailing as Al Boum Photo won by six lengths ahead of former Ladbrokes Trophy winner, Total Recall and another sixteen before Invitation Only made it past the post.

 

Around Midnight

Trained in West Yorkshire by Sue Smith, Midnight Shadow, added to his successes in the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham. The Midnight Legend gelding rounded off last season with victory in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr. The six-year-old, however, came nowhere in Cheltenham's Greatwood Hurdle in November but made amends by claiming the Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in early December. Midnight Shadow was taking on the tough challenge of stepping up to Grade Two level at Prestbury Park but, with Danny Cook aboard, he travelled strongly and threw down the gauntlet to last year's winner, Wholestone, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Old Guard in the home straight. Midnight Shadow jumped the last obstacle confidently and stayed on powerfully up the infamous incline to win by two and a quarter lengths.

 

2 January 2019

 

Boum, Boum, Boum!

It was First, Second and Third for the county Carlow king in yesterday's Listed Savills Chase at Tramore. Heading up the Willie Mullins' trio was Al Boum Photo, making a winning return to action. This Buck's Boum gelding was an unlucky loser on his last outing when he crashed into the wing and ran out at the last whilst in the lead in the Grade One Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last April. The seven-year-old, with Ruby Walsh aboard again, gave rise to just one slightly anxious moment when it looked as though he briefly unbalanced his jockey on landing over the last fence. After that it was all plain sailing as Al Boum Photo won by six lengths ahead of former Ladbrokes Trophy winner, Total Recall and another sixteen before Invitation Only made it past the post.

 

Got his Meaning?

The Betbright Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham eventually developed into a duel between

the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostinstranslation and Philip Hobbs' Defi Du Seuil. The former, a Flemensfirth gelding, ridden by Robbie Power, previously second and third a in a couple of Newbury races, set out to make all the running and jumped with accuracy throughout. His old rival, Black Op, however, who had narrowly denied him victory in the Betway Mersey Novices' Hurdle at Aintree over hurdles last Spring, made some expensive mistakes and could only manage third place. Lostinstranslation stayed on well to claim victory by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

See the Shadow?

Trained in West Yorkshire by Sue Smith, Midnight Shadow, added to his successes in the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham. The Midnight Legend gelding rounded off last season with victory in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr. The six-year-old, however, came nowhere in Cheltenham's Greatwood Hurdle in November but made amends by claiming the Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in early December. Midnight Shadow was taking on the tough challenge of stepping up to Grade Two level at Prestbury Park but, with Danny Cook aboard, he travelled strongly and threw down the gauntlet to last year's winner, Wholestone, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Old Guard in the home straight. Midnight Shadow jumped the last obstacle confidently and stayed on powerfully up the infamous incline to win by two and a quarter lengths.

 

1 January 2019

 

Merrie England

Sam England achieved the most notable success of her training career to date when Chef D'Oeuvre won The Last Fling Handicap Chase at Haydock. The Martaline gelding, who used to be trained by Warren Greatrex, joined the Leeds-based yard earlier this year and finished fourth at Uttoxeter and third at Carlisle on his first two starts. This three-mile-three-furlong contest carried a total prize fund of £25,000 and was contested by a field of ten. The trainer's husband, Jonathan, was in the saddle and steered the seven-year-old powerfully into the home straight to challenge the favourite, Back To The Thatch. They seemed fairly evenly matched as they jumped the final fence but, ultimately, it was Chef D'Oeuvre who prevailed by two and three-quarter lengths.

 

Going Posh

Connections are now daring to dream of Cheltenham Festival glory after their Stowaway mare notched up her second festive victory at Taunton. The Paul Nicholls-trained Posh Trish, ridden by Harry Cobden, was back on the track just four days after a win at Wincanton. The

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned five-year-old, taking on five rivals in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Mares' Novices' Hurdle, made all and, despite hitting the fourth obstacle, was a good two lengths ahead two hurdles from home. Indefatigable looked a big threat at the beginning of the home straight but Posh Trish had enough in reserve to secure victory by two lengths.

 

Up River

The two-time winner of the Newbury Denman Chase is set to use this three-mile feature race again as his final preparation for another crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Colin Tizzard-trained Native River followed up his last-year triumph in the Newbury Grade Two with a memorable victory over Might Bite at Prestbury Park last March. The eight-year-old India River gelding hasn't sparkled on his first two starts this season, coming second in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and third in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day. Brocade Racing, his owners, however, are confident that Native River is a leading contender for the prestigious prize.