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.

 

 

30 November 2018

 

Play it again, Sam!

Last season this Black Sam Bellamy gelding made his mark on the staying hurdle scene when he beat Colin Tizzard's The Dutchman by seventeen lengths in the Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle and then went onto to deny L'Ami Serge victory in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. The Jedd O'Keeffe-trained Sam Spinner then, however, blotted his copybook with a couple of below-par performances at Cheltenham and Aintree. Today the six-year-old is bidding to make amends in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury where connections are hoping for another of his front-running successes.

 

He'll be there!

Such is this Germany gelding's reputation that, on Wednesday, several bookmakers suspended betting on tomorrow's BetVictor Fighting Fifth Hurdle because there were suggestions that he might not make the trip across the Irish Sea. Trainer, Gordon Elliott, has quashed the rumours, however, confirming that Samcro "definitely runs" at Newcastle. Despite a shock defeat in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal earlier this month, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old is still the best-priced 9/2 second-favourite for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March behind two-time 5/2 favourite. Buveur D'Air.

 

And then there were none!

It has just been announced that one of the favourites for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury tomorrow will not now run as he is unable to make the journey from Ireland due to bad weather. The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy proved himself as a leading contender for this prestigious handicap when winning the Clonmel Oil Chase two weeks ago. The County Carlow handler, who won last year's renewal with Total Recall, had seven entries at Monday's confirmation stage but now he has none.

 

29 November 2018

 

No doubting Thomas

The Champion jump jockey believes this Winged Love gelding has a good chance of winning the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury on Saturday. Richard Johnson will be aboard the Tom Lacey-trained Thomas Patrick has plenty in this three-mile-plus feature handicap. There was no stopping the six-year-old last season and he finished off in style by claiming the Betway Handicap Chase at the Aintree Grand National meeting in April. Thomas Patrick made an encouraging comeback at Sandown earlier this month when he was denied victory in the final strides by Colin Tizzard's Elegant Escape. The two meet up again on Saturday but the latter is seven pounds heavier than his old rival this time.

 

That's a Grand!

This racehorse ownership syndicate, the most successful in the UK, with more than 100 in training, notched up a landmark victory at Lingfield yesterday. Middleham Park Racing, launched in 1995 by Tim Palin, now joined by Mike Prince as a partner, scored with the Nicky Henderson-trained El Kaldoun in the starsports.bet Standard Open NH Flat Race, making it their 1000th winner. One of their original horses, China Castle, went on to win 26 times so they are obviously keeping their fingers crossed that they are onto another long-time winner.

 

High Five!

It's only a novices' chase but but there's a lot of money to be won down to sixth place so this County Meath-based trainer has entered five horses. Gordon Elliott is obviously hoping for good things from his Cheltenham Festival winners Delta Work and Blow By Blow in Sunday's baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse. The former won the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, following that up with a close second in the Grade One

Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown and a winning chase debut at Down Royal at the beginning of November. Blow By Blow won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' race in March and added the W.B. Gavin & Co. Irish EBF Beginners Chase to his credits last month. Gordon Elliott is not leaving anything to chance, though, as he will also be saddling Cubomania, Duca De Thaix and Hardline. His old rival, Willie Mullins, by contrast, only has one runner, Cadmium.

 

28 November 2018

 

1000th Winner

This racehorse ownership syndicate, the most successful in the UK, with more than 100 in training, notched up a landmark victory at Lingfield yesterday. Middleham Park Racing, launched in 1995 by Tim Palin, now joined by Mike Prince as a partner, scored with the Nicky Henderson-trained El Kaldoun in the starsports.bet Standard Open NH Flat Race, making it their 1000th winner. One of their original horses, China Castle, went on to win 26 times so they are obviously keeping their fingers crossed that they are onto another long-time winner.

 

Back again!

The Champion jump jockey believes this Winged Love gelding has a good chance of winning the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury on Saturday. Richard Johnson will be aboard the Tom Lacey-trained Thomas Patrick has plenty in this three-mile-plus feature handicap. There was no stopping the six-year-old last season and he finished off in style by claiming the Betway Handicap Chase at the Aintree Grand National meeting in April. Thomas Patrick made an encouraging comeback at Sandown earlier this month when he was denied victory in the final strides by Colin Tizzard's Elegant Escape. The two meet up again on Saturday but the latter is seven pounds heavier than his old rival this time.

 

Taking no chances!

It's only a novices' chase but but there's a lot of money to be won down to sixth place so this County Meath-based trainer has entered five horses. Gordon Elliott is obviously hoping for good things from his Cheltenham Festival winners Delta Work and Blow By Blow in Sunday's baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse. The former won the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March, following that up with a close second in the Grade One

Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown and a winning chase debut at Down Royal at the beginning of November. Blow By Blow won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' race in March and added the W.B. Gavin & Co. Irish EBF Beginners Chase to his credits last month. Gordon Elliott is not leaving anything to chance, though, as he will also be saddling Cubomania, Duca De Thaix and Hardline. His old rival, Willie Mullins, by contrast, only has one runner, Cadmium.

 

27 November 2018

 

Problem with Jumps

A couple of top jockeys think that the fences at Ireland's major chase tracks are generally superior to those in Britain. Gold Cup-winning rider, Robbie Power, believes work is necessary on the take-off side of fences at quite a few British tracks. Harry Skelton also feels the upright nature of obstacles at some venues makes them difficult to manoeuvre. Both jockeys were giving their views after last Saturday's Betfair Chase, after which Haydock's fences, which only days before had been deemed too high and stiff by a BHA inspector, were criticised by quite a few jockeys. Many thought they were stiffer and a more serious challenge than on previous years. Their views seem to have been be corroborated at the end of the day when it was revealed that there were seven falls or unseated riders from the twenty-five runners in the four chases. Jockey Nico De Boinville certainly wasn't happy following Might Bite's surprise defeat and added his criticism.

 

Rain rain. Don't go away!

Gordon Elliott is keeping a watchful eye on the weather forecast for Newcastle, where he's planning to saddle Samcro in the Betvictor Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday. The six-year-old Germany gelding had a good season as a novice but he suffered a surprise defeat in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal three weeks ago and was withdrawn at the last minute from last Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown because of the good ground. Gordon Elliott lost no time in going for the Newcastle Grade One contest where there could be a possible clash with reigning champion hurdler, Buveur D'Air, but the final decision will depend on whether more rain falls on High Gosforth Park.

 

Can't Wait!

The 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton is only a month away and connections can't wait for the seasonal reappearance of their Flemensfirth gelding. The Grade One-winning Waiting Patiently, trained by Ruth Jefferson, bypassed the Cheltenham Festival in March to concentrate on a race at the Grand National meeting last season but various problems prevented him from running at Aintree. The same problems prevailed longer than expected so the seven-year-old was late getting back into training and so missed that fixture as well. So Waiting Patiently's first time out will be on Boxing Day where he is third-favourite behind Might Bite (10/3) and Native River (5/1).

 

26 November 2018

 

Not even a nibble!

Saturday's Grade One Betfair Chase was billed as a rematch between the Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old and Native River who had already denied him victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier in the season. In the event, however, Might Bite came last in the five-strong field, twenty-nine lengths behind the winner, not, however, by Colin Tizzard's Indian River gelding but Bristol De Mai, who returned to repeat his last-year success in this three-mile-plus feature race, beating Native River into second place by four lengths. Might Bite, ridden by Nico de Boinville, was, as expected, sent off the evens favourite on his seasonal reappearance but some thing seemed not right. The The Knot Again Partnership-owned gelding was not making much headway at about four out and then weakened as he approached the second from the last. The Middleham Park Racing handler has since reported that nothing appears to be amiss such as injury and so Might Bite is still scheduled to run in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

 

Winning's Allowed

Eleven of the twenty-five runners in yesterday's Ladbrokes Troytown Chase at Navan were from this County Meath trainer's yard in his bid for a fifth successive victory in this three-mile race but not even one got into the frame. Gordon Elliott's winning streak came to an end when the Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis claimed the feature event by four-and-half lengths. This Linda's Lad gelding, ridden by Sean Flanagan, moved up to challenge the prominently racing Mr Diablo at the last-but-one fence as all other contenders began to drop away. The five-year-old grey still had plenty in reserve as he approached the last to jump two lengths ahead of the Presenting gelding and galloped to an easy victory. It's been twenty-one years since Noel Meade last won this event with Heist and he was obviously delighted to land the main prize for owners, Gigginstown House Stud.

 

Rain rain. Don't go away!

Gordon Elliott hasn't got time to brood over yesterday's disappointment at Navan. He is now keeping a watchful eye on the weather forecast for Newcastle, where he's planning to saddle Samcro in the Betvictor Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday. The six-year-old Germany gelding had a good season as a novice but he suffered a surprise defeat in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal three weeks ago and was withdrawn at the last minute from last Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown because of the good ground. Gordon Elliott lost no time in going for the Newcastle Grade One contest where there could be a possible clash with reigning champion hurdler, Buveur D'Air, but the final decision will depend on whether more rain falls on High Gosforth Park.

 

25 November 2018

 

Taking a Fence

After the hot favourite came in last of five runners in the Betfair Chase yesterday there was talk among racing professionals about the state of the fences for Haydock's first meeting of the jumps season. Many thought they were stiffer and a more serious challenge than on previous years. Their views seem to have been be corroborated at the end of the day when it was revealed that there were seven falls or unseated riders from the twenty-five runners in the four chases. Jockey Nico De Boinville certainly wasn't happy following Might Bite's surprise defeat. The Merseyside crowd, however, fully appreciated the performance of the winner, Bristol De Mai, who has not been beaten in four races at this track. The 2017 King George VI Chase winner who was also second to Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, finished some thirty lengths adrift of the winner, virtually walking over the finishing line.

 

Pants on the Ground”!

The jockey who won the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, wasn't exactly covered in glory at Ascot. In fact, part of him wasn't covered at all! Jamie Moore was unseated at the seventh fence in the Waitrose & Partners Handicap Chase when riding Casse Tete, trained by his father, Gary. Not only did he come down but so did his trousers! The Brighton-born 31-year-old appeared to see the funny side of it, though, as he was seen smiling as he stood on the track in his underwear, attempting to pull his pants up.

 

Night Four Celebration!

After a treble at Kempton the night before, Adam Kirby went on to claim four victories at Wolverhampton last night. The twenty-six-year-old Suffolk-based rider started the evening full of confidence when he partnered the John Butler-trained Pushkin Museum to a one-length victory in the Betway Casino Handicap, having shrewdly decided to take the shortest route close to the rail. The second race, the Betyourway At Betway Handicap, was also timed to perfection when Adam Kirby rode Rockies Spirit to a narrow victory ahead of Bellevarde. Things didn't work out so well in the third when he only managed second aboard David O'Meara's Bravery but he got back to winning ways in the fourth when Man Of Verse dominated. In the next contest Adam Kirby changed tactics and decided to dictate the tempo aboard the William Haggas-trained Dal Horrisgle and, despite hanging badly to the right, this Nathaniel gelding was brought under control and stayed on to win by three-quarters of a length. With four winners in the bag, punters naturally thought they were into another winner when they heavily backed Pour Me A Drink in the Ladbrokes, Home Of The Odds Boost EBF Novice Stakes. This Nathaniel colt, however, was clearly restless in the stalls and too keen in the race so he only manage third place. Four wins a second and a third – not a bad night's work!

 

24 November 2018

 

Pants Friday!

The jockey, who aboard Ben Alco, won last Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, wasn't exactly covered in glory at Ascot yesterday. In fact, part of him wasn't covered at all! Jamie Moore was unseated at the seventh fence in the Waitrose & Partners Handicap Chase by Casse Tete, trained by his father, Gary. Not only did he come down but so did his trousers! The Brighton-born 31-year-old appeared to see the funny side of it, though, as he was seen smiling as he stood on the track in his underwear, attempting to pull his pants up.

 

Family Night Out

The inaugural session of the Welsh Racing Awards was held in Chepstow and it proved a unique experience for this Little Newcastle-based family. Peter Bowen, who recently launched his own Racing Club, was awarded the Gain Equine Welsh Trainer of the Year award. His elder son, Sean, became the Welsh Jockey of the Year while his younger son, James, got the award for the Rising Star of the Year. It was also a big night for trainer Rebecca Curtis, coinciding with her latest triumph at Market Rasen when Drovers Lane won the Pertemps Education Network Chase. Another of her horses, Joe Farrell, was crowned Welsh Chaser of the Year.

 

Second's Out!

Unfortunately there was no fairytale ending for this legendary Italian trainer who announced his imminent retirement last month after 43 years at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket. Luca Cumani had confirmed earlier this week that Swansdown would be the last horse he would saddle as a trainer and, as expected, the Dubawi filly was a heavily-backed 6/5 favourite for the Ladbrokes, Bet £5 Get £20 Nursery at Wolverhampton. Swansdown, with Oisin Murphy aboard, was to the rear of the field for much of the extended nine-furlong journey and seemed to have no chance as the runners entered the back straight. Swansdown finally got her act together, however, and looked like she could claim the prize but was beaten by three-quarters of a length by Roger Teal-trained Fitwood Star. So an illustrious training career sadly ended without a winner!

 

23 November 2018

 

Bowens' Night

Last night the inaugural session of the Welsh Racing Awards was held in Chepstow and it proved a unique experience for this Little Newcastle-based family. Peter Bowen, who recently launched his own Racing Club, was awarded the Gain Equine Welsh Trainer of the Year award. His elder son, Sean, became the Welsh Jockey of the Year while his younger son, James, got the award for the Rising Star of the Year. It was also a big night for trainer Rebecca Curtis, coinciding with her latest triumph at Market Rasen when Drovers Lane won the Pertemps Education Network Chase. Another of her horses, Joe Farrell, was crowned Welsh Chaser of the Year.

 

No Winning Conclusion

Unfortunately there was no fairytale ending last night for this legendary Italian trainer who announced his imminent retirement last month after 43 years at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket. Luca Cumani had confirmed earlier this week that Swansdown would be the last horse he would saddle as a trainer and, as expected, the Dubawi filly was a heavily-backed 6/5 favourite for the Ladbrokes, Bet £5 Get £20 Nursery at Wolverhampton. Swansdown, with Oisin Murphy aboard, was to the rear of the field for much of the extended nine-furlong journey and seemed to have no chance as the runners entered the back straight. Swansdown finally got her act together, however, and looked like she could claim the prize but was beaten by three-quarters of a length by Roger Teal-trained Fitwood Star. So an illustrious training career sadly ended without a winner!

 

Thumbs up!

Tomorrow's Betfair Chase at Haydock will renew the rivalry between the Nicky Henderson-trained, Might Bite, last season's King George winner and Colin Tizzard's Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Native River. Nico de Boinville, sidelined since suffering a thumb injury in a fall at Chepstow almost a month ago, will partner the former and the latter will be steered by champion jockey, Richard Johnson.

 

22 November 2018

 

Training on

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah has just announced that Enable will stay in training as a five-year-old and will make a bid for a third victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next year. The John Gosden-trained filly only had three races this season after problems earlier on but she made up for lost time when claiming her second Arc victory at Longchamp in October as well as adding the Breeders' Cup Turf to her credit earlier this month. Enable's victory at Churchill Downs was the first time an Arc winner had gone on to score in the prestigious American event. If Enable does win a third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, she will become the first triple winner in the illustrious history of this 12-furlong race.

 

Grounds for jumping

It looks more and more likely that good-to-firm will no longer be acceptable over jumps in the future if racing is to remain cost-effective. Good-to-firm ground effectively reduced Tuesday’s racing programme for the six-race card at Fakenham to just 26 horses. Eight of those were in the opening selling handicap hurdle, while the remaining events had three, five, two, three and five runners, respectively. Yet this was the most valuable meeting of the day, with £59,000 up for grabs including no fewer than £15,800 guaranteed in the beginner’s chase, which originally attracted three declared runners but one subsequently was a non-runner. All but one of the events paid out to eighth place so just finishing would have been rewarded. The going, of course, is the problem and owners and trainers are understandably reluctant to enter their horses in any race where the word “firm” appears anywhere in the description.

 

Higher he goes

This High Chaparral gelding is reported to be in "spectacular form" after a racecourse gallop yesterday. The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior remains unbeaten in 14 starts over jumps - a run that features three successive wins at the Cheltenham Festival, including last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase. It was decided not to run the eight-year-old in last weekend's Shloer Chase at Prestbury Park but, instead, to give him a day out, in the hands of conditional jockey Ned Curtis, at Newbury's Ladbrokes Winter Carnival gallops morning. The Middleham Park Racing handler revealed that it was the first time Altior had worked on grass this season and he is now preparing for his planned reappearance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 8.

 

21 November 2018

 

Racing Conditions

It looks more and more likely that good-to-firm will no longer be acceptable over jumps in the future if racing is to remain cost-effective. Good-to-firm ground effectively reduced Tuesday’s racing programme for the six-race card at Fakenham to just 26 horses. Eight of those were in the opening selling handicap hurdle, while the remaining events had three, five, two, three and five runners, respectively. Yet this was the most valuable meeting of the day, with £59,000 up for grabs including no fewer than £15,800 guaranteed in the beginner’s chase, which originally attracted three declared runners but one subsequently was a non-runner. All but one of the events paid out to eighth place so just finishing would have been rewarded. The going, of course, is the problem and owners and trainers are understandably reluctant to enter their horses in any race where the word “firm” appears anywhere in the description.

 

Carnival Gallop

This High Chaparral gelding is reported to be in "spectacular form" after a racecourse gallop yesterday. The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior remains unbeaten in 14 starts over jumps - a run that features three successive wins at the Cheltenham Festival, including last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase. It was decided not to run the eight-year-old in last weekend's Shloer Chase at Prestbury Park but, instead, to give him a day out, in the hands of conditional jockey Ned Curtis, at Newbury's Ladbrokes Winter Carnival gallops morning. The Middleham Park Racing handler revealed that it was the first time Altior had worked on grass this season and he is now preparing for his planned reappearance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 8.

 

Going for three!

Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah has just announced that Enable will stay in training as a five-year-old and will make a bid for with a third victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next year. The John Gosden-trained filly only had three races this season after problems earlier on but she made up for lost time when claiming her second Arc victory at Longchamp in October as well as adding the Breeders' Cup Turf to her credit earlier this month. Enable's victory at Churchill Downs was the first time an Arc winner had gone on to score in the prestigious American event. If Enable does win a third Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, she will become the first triple winner in the illustrious history of this 12-furlong race.

 

20 November 2018

 

Still Sceau good!

Sceau Royal made a winning start to his new season with a hard-fought two-and-a-quarter-length victory in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham. The Alan King-trained six-year-old, back on the track for the first time since injury put paid to his novice season after winning at Doncaster in January, had to work hard to get the better of the 28/1 outsider Simply Ned. This Nicky Richards-trained front-running Fruits of Love gelding made the 5/4 favourite work hard all the way, but after coming level at the second-last and then holding a slender lead at the last, Sceau Royal still had a little in hand to beat the rallying runner-up by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Moore and Moore!

Baron Alco produced a doughty front-running performance and won the Betvictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The Gary Moore-trained Dom Alco gelding battled valiantly up the notorious incline against the top-weight Frodon to win the prize in what was a family affair. The trainer's son, Jamie, a late replacement for brother Joshua, had nothing but praise for a horse that came second in the Plate on his last time out. It was fortuitous that 8/1 seven-year-old was out in front as he, thus, managed to avoid being involved in the series of falls happening behind him. As usual Bryony Frost was aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon, who travelled and jumped smoothly and looked in a good position to take control of proceedings as the front two galloped clear of the rest of the field around the home turn but the Nickname gelding couldn't couldn't get past the eventual winner. It was the first time that West Sussex-based handler has won this race, scooping a £160.000 prize into the bargain.

 

Saved by a neck!

The Steel Plate & Sections Novices Chase has often been the starting point for many future stars and this year's event continued in the same vein. Count Meribel, ridden by Mark Grant,

came up in the last seconds to win the two-and-a-half-mile feature race by a neck giving his delighted jockey his first win at Cheltenham. Previous winners of this contest include Denman and Imperial Commander who both then went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Mark Grant put on something of a star turn when he succeeded in staying aboard the Three Valleys gelding at the 2nd last fence after a terrible mistake. The jockey was thrown up the horse's neck but, amazingly, somehow managed to maintain his mount's momentum. The 6-year-old then fortunately had enough in reserve to hold off Ben Pauling's Le Breuil in an exciting climax.

 

19 November 2018

 

Moore the Merrier!

Baron Alco produced a doughty front-running performance and won the Betvictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The Gary Moore-trained Dom Alco gelding battled valiantly up the notorious incline against the top-weight Frodon to win the prize in what was a family affair. The trainer's son, Jamie, a late replacement for brother Joshua, had nothing but praise for a horse that came second in the Plate around this course on his last time out. It was fortuitous that 8/1 seven-year-old was out in front as he, thus, managed to avoid being involved in the series of falls happening behind him. As usual Bryony Frost was aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon, who travelled and jumped smoothly and looked in a good position to take control of proceedings as the front two galloped clear of the rest of the field around the home turn but the Nickname gelding couldn't get past the eventual winner. It was the first time that the West Sussex-based handler has won this race, scooping a £160.000 prize into the bargain.

 

Clinging on!

The Steel Plate & Sections Novices Chase has often been the starting point for many future stars and this year's event continued in the same vein. Count Meribel, ridden by Mark Grant, came up in the last seconds to win the two-and-a-half-mile feature race by a neck giving his delighted jockey his first win at Cheltenham. Previous winners of this contest include Denman and Imperial Commander who both then went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Mark Grant put on something of a star turn when he succeeded in staying aboard the Three Valleys gelding at the 2nd last fence after a terrible mistake. The jockey was thrown up the horse's neck but, amazingly, somehow managed to maintain his mount's momentum. The 6-year-old then fortunately had enough in reserve to hold off Ben Pauling's Le Breuil in an exciting climax.

 

Still Sceau good!

Sceau Royal made a winning start to his new season with a hard-fought two-and-a-quarter-length victory in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham. The Alan King-trained six-year-old, back on the track for the first time since injury put paid to his novice season after winning at Doncaster in January, had to work hard to get the better of the 28/1 outsider Simply Ned. This Nicky Richards-trained front-running Fruits of Love gelding made the 5/4 favourite work hard all the way, but after coming level at the second-last and then holding a slender lead at the last, Sceau Royal still had a little in hand to beat the rallying runner-up by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

18 November 2018

 

Thanks Bro!

High five for jockey Harry Skelton who continued his successful season by notching up five wins at Uttoxeter. Four of them were for his trainer brother, Dan, and the other was for Northhamptonshire-based Caroline Bailey. The 25-year-old Warwickshire rider has now reached 109 wins for the season which positions him nineteen behind the current champion, Richard Johnson, in the jockeys' title race. Meanwhile Dan Skelton is approaching £1million in total prize money, with £978,000 for this season from 114 winners.

 

Dream Win

The Willie Mullins-trained Voix Du Nord gelding certainly proved that he had learned a lot from last month's successful debut over fences at Galway, when mounting a solid front-running performance in the Betway Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown. Voix Du Reve, ridden by Paul Townend, was allowed to gallop along ahead of the five-runner contest in the knowledge that six-year-old had enough in reserve to outpace Gordon Elliott's Hardline by seven lengths. His stable companion, Cadmium, with Ruby Walsh aboard, was nine lengths further adrift in third place.

 

Sceau good!

This Doctor Dino gelding begins his second season over fences at Cheltenham this afternoon. The Alan King-trained Sceau Royal lines up in the Shloer Chase this afternoon. It is generally thought that, after his successful novice campaign, the six-year-old, owned by the well-known Simon Munir and Isaace Souede, could well be a serious rival to Nicky Henderson's Altior for Champion Chase honours. Sceau Royal won four of his five starts but, for various reasons, hasn't competed since January, even missing the Prestbury Park Festival meeting in March. All the problems seem to have been solved, however, and the Wiltshire-based trainer is confident that Sceau Royal is ready for the next challenges in his career.

 

17 November 2018

 

Weighty matters

Nineteen runners fight it out today in the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon is top weight by nine pounds. The six-year-old Nickname gelding earned this penalty after making his successful seasonal debut in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month. Interestingly Frodon ran in this race two years ago as a four-year-old but was unplaced. He then returned to Prestbury Park the following month and won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. As usual Bryony Frost will be aboard.

 

Got the Benefit

Victory in the Canter Carpet Mares' Novices' Chase at Bangor continued this Beneficial mare's unbeaten record over fences. According to the betting the Stuart Edmunds-trained Maria's Benefit only faced one serious rival in this Listed competition - Tom Lacey's Jester Jet. The latter was a challenge not to be taken lightly as she had demonstrated her class last month at Ffos Las when, on her chasing debut, she was two lengths down against Bags Grove. As usual, Maria's Benefit, ridden by Ciaran Gethings, went off at quite a lick but was hotly pursued by the Robbie Dunne aboard Jester Jet and the two were within touching distance as they jumped the second last fence. The Overbury mare, however, just couldn't really get on terms and Maria's Benefit battled on bravely to win by a length and a quarter.

 

Kem on Boy!

The winner of a valuable EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival last time out was back at Clonmel bidding for the Clonmel Oil Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy was taking on last year's winner, trained by Gordon Elliott. Early on in the contest the four-year-old, ridden by Paul Townend, never really looked in any serious danger but, that said, when the five runners turned into the straight, they all seemed to have a chance. In the last resort, though, it was the huge final effort by Kemboy who took a flying leap over the last fence, thus gaining a two-length advantage and clinching the race by three lengths.

 

16 November 2018

 

Reaping the Benefit

Victory in the Canter Carpet Mares' Novices' Chase at Bangor continued this Beneficial mare's unbeaten record over fences. According to the betting the Stuart Edmunds-trained Maria's Benefit only faced one serious rival in this Listed competition - Tom Lacey's Jester Jet. The latter was a challenge not to be taken lightly as she had demonstrated her class last month at Ffos Las when, on her chasing debut, she was two lengths down against Bags Grove. As usual, Maria's Benefit, ridden by Ciaran Gethings, went off at quite a lick but was hotly pursued by the Robbie Dunne aboard Jester Jet and the two were within touching distance as they jumped the second last fence. The Overbury mare, however, just couldn't really get on terms and Maria's Benefit battled on bravely to win by a length and a quarter.

 

Weighty Matter

A maximum field of 20 has been declared for tomorrow's BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon is top weight. The six-year-old Nickname gelding earned this penalty after making his successful seasonal debut in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month. Interestingly Frodon ran in this race two years ago as a four-year-old but was unplaced. He then returned to Prestbury Park the following month and won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. As usual Bryony Frost will be aboard.

 

That's my Boy!

The winner of a valuable EMS Copiers Novice Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival last time out was back at Clonmel yesterday bidding for the Clonmel Oil Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy was taking on last year's winner, trained by Gordon Elliott. Early on in the contest the four-year-old, ridden by Paul Townend, never really looked in any serious danger but, that said, when the five runners turned into the straight, they all seemed to have a chance. In the last resort, though, it was the huge final effort by Kemboy who took a flying leap over the last fence, thus gaining a two-length advantage and clinching the race by three lengths.

 

15 November 2018

 

Horse and Cartier

The 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year Award went to John Gosden's Roaring Lion who beat stable companion Enable to claim the prestigious prize. The Kitten's Joy colt received the accolade at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards, European horse racing's equivalent of the Oscars. The three-year-old, owned by Qatar Racing Limited, provided the Newmarket trainer with his fourth such award in the last five years, including Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017). Roaring Lion was bought as a yearling in 2016 for £125,000 and rewarded his owners with victories in three Group One contests over 10 furlongs in the space of just over two months - the Coral-Eclipse, the Juddmonte International and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.

 

Riding Blind!

Halfway through the third race at Chelmsford there was a power cut and the track was plunged into darkness. All the eight runners in the Extra Places At totesport.com Handicap got back safely but the seven-furlong contest was declared void. It is reported that a subsequent stewards' inquiry concluded there was insufficient light to declare a result. Trainer Jamie Osborne, however, insisted Florencio, was the winner and he had filmed evidence to prove it.

The Lambourn trainer commented: "I am annoyed. It was blatantly obvious to me and the racegoers watching just who had finished first, second, third and fourth. They probably could have limited the damage of this by allowing the result to stand but the stewards had no interest in seeing my film, and apparently the rule is that if the judge can't determine the first four home, then the race has to be void."

 

Hold that Tiger!

This year's Grand National winner is due to run in today's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll has also three Cheltenham Festival wins to his credit. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned eight-year-old suddenly found new life again in March and April, having not scored for a whole year. It remains to be seen whether he'll find it tough at the top when running at Prestbury Park.

 

14 November 2018

 

Lights Out!

Halfway through the third race at Chelmsford last night there was a power cut and the track was plunged into darkness. All the eight runners in the Extra Places At totesport.com Handicap got back safely but the seven-furlong contest was declared void. It is reported that a subsequent stewards' inquiry concluded there was insufficient light to declare a result. Trainer Jamie Osborne, however, insisted Florencio, was the winner and he had filmed evidence to prove it.

The Lambourn trainer commented: "I am annoyed. It was blatantly obvious to me and the racegoers watching just who had finished first, second, third and fourth. They probably could have limited the damage of this by allowing the result to stand but the stewards had no interest in seeing my film, and apparently the rule is that if the judge can't determine the first four home, then the race has to be void."

 

Roaring Success

The 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year Award went to John Gosden's Roaring Lion who beat stable companion Enable to claim the prestigious prize. The Kitten's Joy colt received the accolade at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards, European horse racing's equivalent of the Oscars. The three-year-old, owned by Qatar Racing Limited, provided the Newmarket trainer with his fourth such award in the last five years, including Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017). Roaring Lion was bought as a yearling in 2016 for £125,000 and rewarded his owners with victories in three Group One contests over 10 furlongs in the space of just over two months - the Coral-Eclipse, the Juddmonte International and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.

 

On a Roll

This year's Grand National winner is due to run in Friday's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll has also three Cheltenham Festival wins to his credit. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned eight-year-old suddenly found new life again in March and April, having not scored for a whole year. It remains to be seen whether he'll find it tough at the top when running at Prestbury Park.

 

13 November 2018

 

N another thing!

This Vinnie Roe gelding made his chasing debut win at Carlisle yesterday and made the bookies sit up and take notice for when they are quoting odds for his possible Cheltenham Festival entry next March. The Kim Bailey-trained Vinndication (Not a printing error!) maintained his unbeaten record when winning the Smarkets Novices' Chase. The five-year-old, with David Bass aboard, was sent off the even-money favourite in this thirteen-strong field on rain-softened ground that was obviously to his liking as he made all the running. There were a couple of threatening moments when first Red Rising and then Uncle Alastair loomed large at the second-last but Vinndication had enough in reserve to claim the prize by two lengths.

 

Taken by Storm

There was another successful debutant at Ffos Las. The Colin Tizzard-trained Kilbricken Storm, surprise winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March, made a successful start to his chasing career with a victory in testing conditions at the Welsh track. The Oscar gelding, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, subsequently proved that his Prestbury Park triumph was no fluke when finishing a close-up third in a Grade One Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown the following month. On this occasion he was the 8/11 favourite in the Walters Group Novices' Chase and went into the lead at the halfway stage. There was a moment when Kilbricken Storm looked like being denied victory when Jonjo O'Neill's Cobolobo passed him after the final fence but the five-year-old battled back bravely in the heavy ground to win by a short head.

 

Horseless Rider!

In yesterday's Grade Three For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan Evan Daly narrowly avoided serious injury when he was in front of the field as the horses entered the back straight. The problem was that the seven-pound claiming jockey wasn't riding in this race. As he had two hours to go before the first of his two booked rides later in the afternoon, Evan Daly decided to go for a jog on the course and because he was listening to music on his headphones, he did not hear the horses galloping up behind him. Fortunately he was able to swerve to the right at the last minute. The stewards didn't take too kindly to these antics and issued him with a caution.

 

12 November 2018

 

Sensational Season

John Gosden finished his sensational season with a record sixth victory in Doncaster's November Handicap. The Newmarket-based trainer's successes at home and abroad with stable stars such as Enable and Cracksman have made racing news throughout the Summer. It was, therefore, a fitting conclusion to the Flat season when Royal Line made up for his disappointing performance in last year's event. This time not the favourite but a 9/1 shot, the Dubawi colt, ridden by Robert Havlin, showed a clean pair of heels to the likes of Hughie Morrison's Not So Sleepy and Ian Williams' Reshoun, leaving them trailing in his wake by one and a half lengths and a head, respectively.

 

Cool Victory.

This horse and jockey repeated their successful partnership of last year by reclaiming the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton. It was Bryony Frost's victory twelve months ago on the Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man that helped her to new heights as a jockey, going on to win in Grade One company aboard Black Corton later that season. The Presenting gelding was top weight this time but that didn't seem to bother him as he produced an impressive round of jumping in this three-mile-one-furlong feature event. The Devon-born jockey was content to keep her mount just in behind the leader until about two fences out when she urged him on into the lead. Fortunately the eight-year-old had enough in reserve to see off by two-and-a-half lengths the challenge from Tom George's Sumkindofking.

 

11 November 2018

 

Royal Victory

John Gosden finished his sensational season with a record sixth victory in Doncaster's November Handicap. The Newmarket-based trainer's successes at home and abroad with stable stars such as Enable and Cracksman have made racing news throughout the Summer. It was, therefore, a fitting conclusion to the Flat season when Royal Line made up for his disappointing performance in last year's event. This time not the favourite but a 9/1 shot, the Dubawi colt, ridden by Robert Havlin, showed a clean pair of heels to the likes of Hughie Morrison's Not So Sleepy and Ian Williams' Reshoun, leaving them trailing in his wake by one and a half lengths and a head, respectively.

 

Frost returns!

This horse and jockey repeated their successful partnership of last year by reclaiming the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton yesterday. It was Bryony Frost's victory twelve months ago on the Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man that helped her new heights as a jockey, going on to win in Grade One company aboard Black Corton later that season. The Presenting gelding was top weight this time but that didn't seem to bother him as he produced an impressive round of jumping in this three-mile-one-furlong feature event. The Devon-born jockey was content to keep her mount just in behind the leader until about two fences out when she urged him on into the lead. Fortunately the eight-year-old had enough in reserve to see off by two-and-a-half lengths the challenge from Tom George's Sumkindofking.

 

Feeling Blue

After wins on the Flat and in a Listed hurdle at Kempton last month this Getaway mare produced a sparkling display to shrug off any challenges from more exalted rivals in the Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton. The Nicky Henderson-trained Verdana Blue, with Jeremiah McGrath aboard, had no trouble with the step up to Grade Two company. Her stable companion, was We Have A Dream, sent off the well-backed 7/4 favourite and it looked like it could turn into a fierce domestic battle but he ran out of steam after turning for home. That's when If The Cap Fits and the eventual winner made their move. If The Cap Fits was in front two out but an untidy jump didn't do him any favours, giving the strong-travelling Verdana Blue the opportunity to overtake him as they approached the last flight and go on to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

10 November 2018

 

Gunning for gold

The Amy Murphy-trained Kalanisi gelding put down his marker for the Racing Post Arkle when he made a successful debut on his chasing career at Warwick yesterday. Kalashnikov, the 1/4 shot favourite in the £50 Risk Free On Racing With Smarkets Novices' Chase, romped home by eleven lengths in this two-mile contest. Jockey Jack Quinlan was obviously keen to teach the five-year-old something about negotiating the larger obstacles and succeeded quite well. Despite making a mistake at the fourth and pecking the sixth, Kalashnikov easily went into the lead from the ninth and from then on it was plain sailing.

 

Present and correct

The Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton today should provide this Presenting gelding with the chance to repeat last year's success. The Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man is said to be in top form. The eight-year-old, however, is seventeen pounds heavier than when he won last November, when he attempts to emulate the Evan Williams-trained Swansea Bay, who claimed this prize in 2002 and 2003.

 

Apple of his eye

This Saddle Maker mare takes on five rivals in tomorrow's Lismullen Hurdle at Navan when she, too, is bidding for back-to-back victories. The Gordon Elliott-trained Apple's Jade claimed this Grade Two prize on the way to successfully defending her crown in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse last season, and the Cullentra-based handler is clearly keen to follow the same route.

 

9 November 2018

Onwards and upwards

After Cross Counter's triumph on Tuesday, giving his owner, Godolphin, their first Melbourne Cup, the sky's the limit, it seems. Trainer, Charlie Appleby, now has his eye on the Kentucky Derby. For the second time this year the Newmarket trainer broke new ground for Sheikh Mohammed-owned Godolphin. In June Masar won the Derby and, thereby, became the first horse to carry the famous royal blue colours to victory in this world-famous contest. It is no secret that Charlie Appleby would very much like to emulate his fellow Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, by winning the Dubai World Cup on Sheikh Mohammed's home ground.

 

Never rains but it ...

It's been twenty-five years since a British-trained horse triumphed in 'the race that stops a nation' and then this time they go and occupy the first three places. However, it was the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter who landed the number one slot in Australia's most iconic sporting event, the Melbourne Cup. The three-year-old Teofilo gelding, owned by Godolphin (winning this race for the first time) was given the perfect ride by Kerrin McEvoy, winner of this prestigious prize in 2016 and 2000. Then in the final three-hundred yards, both Hughie Morrison and Charlie Fellowes with Marmelo and A Prince of Arran, respectively, thought they were going to be the first Brit to train a Melbourne Cup winner since the Dermot Weld's Vintage Crop in 1993 but it wasn't to be. A strong gallop by Cross Counter, who came from way back in the field, saw him going away from the field and giving the honours to the Godolphin trainer and the minor places to his fellow countrymen.

 

In the Lap of God's

This Oscar gelding, who hasn't struck gold since April 2016, made up for lost time by landing the second Haldon Gold Cup of his career at Exeter. The Tom George-trained God's Own won this Grade Two feature event back in 2014 and since that success at the Punchestown Festival two years ago, has produced quite a few place results but never quite made it in front. As a consequence the ten-year-old was able to take full advantage of a drop in the ratings and return to handicap company. Champion jockey, Richard Johnson, decided to set the pace aboard Ozzie The Oscar and, despite making a mistake at the open ditch on the far side of the track, was still in the lead as he approached the last fence. Paul Nicholls' stable companions, Diego Du Charmil and San Benedeto, were effectively out of it by that point and Ozzie The Oscar got away best from the last fence. All was not over, however, as God's Own's reeled in the front-runner and scored by half a length.

 

8 November 2018

 

In the Lap of God's

This Oscar gelding, who hasn't struck gold since April 2016, made up for lost time by landing the second Haldon Gold Cup of his career at Exeter. The Tom George-trained God's Own won this Grade Two feature event back in 2014 and since that success at the Punchestown Festival two years ago, has produced quite a few place results but never quite made it in front. As a consequence the ten-year-old was able to take full advantage of a drop in the ratings and return to handicap company. Champion jockey, Richard Johnson, decided to set the pace aboard Ozzie The Oscar and, despite making a mistake at the open ditch on the far side of the track, was still in the lead as he approached the last fence. Paul Nicholls' stable companions, Diego Du Charmil and San Benedeto, were effectively out of it by that point and Ozzie The Oscar got away best from the last fence. All was not over, however, as God's Own's reeled in the front-runner and scored by half a length.

 

Never rains bit it ...

It's been twenty-five years since a British-trained horse triumphed in 'the race that stops a nation' and then this time they go and occupy the first three places. However, it was the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter who landed the number one slot in Australia's most iconic sporting event, the Melbourne Cup. The three-year-old Teofilo gelding, owned by Godolphin (winning this race for the first time) was given the perfect ride by Kerrin McEvoy, winner of this prestigious prize in 2016 and 2000. Then in the final three-hundred yards, both Hughie Morrison and Charlie Fellowes with Marmelo and A Prince of Arran, respectively, thought they were going to be the first Brit to train a Melbourne Cup winner since the Dermot Weld's Vintage Crop in 1993 but it wasn't to be. A strong gallop by Cross Counter, who came from way back in the field, saw him going away from the field and giving the honours to the Godolphin trainer and the minor places to his fellow countrymen.

 

Onwards and upwards

After Cross Counter's triumph on Tuesday, giving his owner, Godolphin, their first Melbourne Cup, the sky's the limit, it seems. Trainer, Charlie Appleby, now has his eye on the Kentucky Derby. For the second time this year the Newmarket trainer broke new ground for Sheikh Mohammed-owned Godolphin. In June Masar won the Derby and, thereby, became the first horse to carry the famous royal blue colours to victory in this world-famous contest. It is no secret that Charlie Appleby would very much like to emulate his fellow Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, by winning the Dubai World Cup on Sheikh Mohammed's home ground.

 

7 November 2018

 

Brit Fix

It's been twenty-five years since a British-trained horse triumphed in 'the race that stops a nation' and then this time they go and occupy the first three places! However, it was the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter who landed the number one slot in Australia's most iconic sporting event, the Melbourne Cup. The three-year-old Teofilo gelding, owned by Godolphin (winning this race for the first time) was given the perfect ride by Kerrin McEvoy, winner of this prestigious prize in 2016 and 2000. Then in the final three-hundred yards, both Hughie Morrison and Charlie Fellowes with Marmelo and A Prince of Arran, respectively, thought they were going to be the first Brit to train a Melbourne Cup winner since the Dermot Weld's Vintage Crop in 1993 but it wasn't to be. A strong gallop by Cross Counter, who came from way back, saw him going away from the field and giving the honours to the Godolphin trainer and the minor places to his fellow equines.

 

Taking the Mick

The Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle gave this Court Cave gelding a successful start to the season. The Mick Channon-trained Mister Whitaker, last seen winning the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, defied a nearly eight-month absence by landing the prestigious Listed prize by two and a quarter lengths. The well-backed evens favourite, Cyrname, trained by Paul Nicholls, made the running under Harry Cobden and was still in the lead on the turn for home. By this time, however, the chasing pack had closed up, headed by Dan Skelton's Rene's Girl. Then Happy Diva swept around the outside inside the final two fences, with Adrian Heskin looking for victory aboard Mister Whitaker in the final stages. The plan worked to perfection and the rest is history.

 

Striking the right chord

An eight-year-old grey, a Grade One-winning hurdler in his younger days with the late Dessie Hughes, seems to have found new life in the hands of trainer, Nicky Richards, who is even considering that this Dark Angel gelding could claim another Cheltenham victory. Guitar Pete, penalised by a stone ( 14 pounds) in the weights after winning the Cheltenham Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in December, is booked to run in the BetVictor Gold Cup a week on Saturday.

 

6 November 2018

 

Counter Charge

It's been twenty-five years since a British-trained horse triumphed in 'the race that stops a nation'. Now the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter has landed the prize in Australia's most iconic sporting event, the Melbourne Cup. The three-year-old Teofilo gelding, owned by Godolphin(also winning this race for the first time) was given the perfect ride by Kerrin McEvoy. In the final three-hundred yards, however, Hughie Morrison thought Marmelo was going to make him the first Brit to train a Melbourne Cup winner but a strong gallop by Cross Counter, who came from near last, saw him going away from the field and giving the honours to the Godolphin trainer.

 

Tuning Up

An eight-year-old grey, a Grade One-winning hurdler in his younger days with the late Dessie Hughes, has found new life in the hands of trainer, Nicky Richards, who is even considering that this Dark Angel gelding could claim another Cheltenham victory. Guitar Pete, penalised by a stone ( 14 pounds) in the weights after winning the Cheltenham Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in December, is booked to run in the BetVictor Gold Cup a week on Saturday.

 

Call Me Mister

The Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle gave this Court Cave gelding a successful start to the season. The Mick Channon-trained Mister Whitaker, last seen winning the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, defied a nearly eight-month absence by landing the prestigious Listed prize by two and a quarter lengths. The well-backed evens favourite, Cyrname, trained by Paul Nicholls, made the running under Harry Cobden and was still in the lead on the turn for home. By this time, however, the chasing pack had closed up, headed by Dan Skelton's Rene's Girl. Then Happy Diva swept around the outside inside the final two fences, with Adrian Heskin looking for victory aboard Mister Whitaker in the final stages. The plan worked to perfection and the rest is history.

 

5 November 2018

 

Expert Win

Sir Michael Stoute's Acclamation colt produced a perfectly-timed run to win the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs. Expert Eye was off the pace early on in the race and still had plenty to do when the fourteen runners reached the straight. Chad Brown's Analyze It was one of the early front-runners, pursued by the David Simcock-trained Lightning Spear and Aidan O'Brien's Happily, who both seemed to have every chance of victory in the final furlong. But then the Khalid Abdullah-owned Expert Eye produced a devastating turn of foot in the final fifty yards, triumphing in the final strides.

 

New Record

This Nathaniel filly became the first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner to follow up with a victory at Churchill Downs when she claimed an historic victory in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. The John Gosden-trained Enable was given a confident ride just off the pace and then sent wide just before the home turn. After that it was Aidan O'Brien's fellow Euro raider, Magical, who was the biggest danger but Enable took that challenge in her stride, galloping home for a decisive victory. The Juddmonte Farms-owned four-year-old had scored her second successive victory in the Arc last month and was strongly tipped to go down into racing folklore. History was not on her side, though, as no Longchamp winner had ever achieved such a feat in the same season but record books were duly rewritten yesterday.

 

Speedy Result

Things didn't go so well in Kentucky for other European raiders however. The John Sadler-trained Accelerate, with Joel Rosario aboard, furthered his chances of winning the US Horse of the Year title by demolishing any opposition from his thirteen rivals in the Breeders Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. The much improved Lookin At Lucky five-year-old lived up to his name and produced a devastating performance of class and courage in this one-and-quarter-mile contest, giving his rider his first Classic success.

 

 

4 November 2018

 

Historic Record

Yesterday this Nathaniel filly became the first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner to follow up with a victory at Churchill Downs when she claimed an historic victory in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. The John Gosden-trained Enable was given a confident ride just off the pace and then sent wide just before the home turn. After that it was Aidan O'Brien's fellow Euro raider, Magical, who was the biggest danger but Enable took that challenge in her stride, galloping home for a decisive victory. The Juddmonte Farms-owned four-year-old had scored her second successive victory in the Arc last month and was strongly tipped to go down into racing folklore. History was not on her side, though, as no Longchamp winner had ever achieved such a feat in the same season but record books were duly rewritten yesterday.

 

Speed Master

Things didn't go so well in Kentucky yesterday for other European raiders however. The John Sadler-trained Accelerate, with Joel Rosario aboard, furthered his chances of winning the US Horse of the Year title by demolishing any opposition from his thirteen rivals in the Breeders Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. The the much improved Lookin At Lucky five-year-old lived up to his name and produced a devastating performance of class and courage in this one-and-quarter-mile contest, giving his rider his first Classic success.

 

An Eye for Victory

This Sir Michael Stoute-trained Acclamation colt produced a perfectly-timed run to win the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs. Expert Eye was off the pace early on in the race and still had plenty to do when the fourteen runners reached the straight. Chad Brown's Analyze It was one of the early front-runners, pursued by the David Simcock-trained Lightning Spear and Aidan O'Brien's Happily, who both seemed to have every chance of victory in the final furlong. But then the Khalid Abdullah-owned Expert Eye produced a devastating turn of foot in the final fifty yards, triumphing in the final strides.

 

3 November 2018

 

Line of Duty

The first European success came last night at Churchill Downs, Kentucky when this Galileo colt scored in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. The Charlie Appleby-trained Line of Duty, ridden by William Buick, won in the final strides of the one-mile contest. This victory marked the eighth Breeders' Cup win for owner, Godolphin, a second success for the jockey and an incredible third triumph for the trainer, who last won in 2013 Juvenile Turf with Outstrip.

 

Current Chance

County Durham trainer Chris Grant saddles Acdc at Ayr today in the Johnnie Walker Handicap Chase and connections could well be celebrating a victory with a certain brand of whisky after the race. The King's Theatre gelding is not a course and distance winner but he has won over an extended three miles on this track. He raced at Wetherby in the middle of last month after a Summer break and produced an impressive performance to get home by three lengths ahead of a couple of decent rivals, Willie Boy and Ballyandy. There was clearly room for some improvement on that run and the extra five pounds he carries today should be a problem.

 

Out of Favour

A disappointing seasonal debut in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal yesterday by this Germany gelding has knocked his ratings in the ante-post betting for Cheltenham. Champion Hurdle favourite, Samcro, trained Gordon Elliott, the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner last season, was sent off the red hot favourite but a middling performance resulted in his being beaten by Rachael Blackmore's 12/1 chance, Bedrock. Everyone expected the eight-tear-old to romp home easily on his first step towards the Cheltenham Festival but he just seemed to lose it after the final obstacle. There is likely to be much discussion now as to the next step in his career. The Cheltenham Festival is some months away but already doubts have arisen about the favourite for the Champion Hurdle.

 

2 November 2018

 

Germany Calling!

This Germany gelding makes an eagerly-awaited return in today's WKD Hurdle at Down Royal. The Gordon Elliott-trained Samcro comes up against just three rivals in this two-mile contest. The six-year-old proved to be an impressive novice hurdler last season, winning each of his first four starts, including the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Then the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Samcro unfortunately fell the last time out in April when he stepped out of novice company for the first time in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle. Connections have been considering since then whether he should stay with hurdling this season or follow a career over fences. It has now been revealed that Samcro will stick with the smaller obstacles with the intention of running him in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.

 

Sodden course!

Today's the first day of the 2018 meeting at Churchill Downs and one British trainer in particular, John Gosden, was keen to know what the racing conditions would be like. In fact plenty of rain hit the Louisville track where he will saddle Enable, twice winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and Roaring Lion in the Breeders' Cup Turf and in the Classic. The Newmarket-based trainer commented: "The condition of the course is sodden, and it's pretty loose on the top. However, the forecast is for the rain to die down on Friday and for Saturday to be dry.”

 

A Running Chance

The Jockey Club has teamed up with Reach, the UK’s largest publisher, and Hollicom Events to launch a new initiative giving runners the chance to take part in events at three of Britain’s most prestigious racecourses. Mass participation running events will take place in the autumn of 2019 at Cheltenham (September 1st), Aintree (September 8th) and Newmarket’s Rowley Mile October 20th) - homes of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, The Randox Health Grand National and the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. Thousands of runners of mixed ability will get the unique opportunity to complete circuits of the iconic racecourses with each ‘festival of running’ including a Classic 10km Run, Junior Run and a Family Mile event. Elite and club runners will also be able to compete for prize money in next year’s three-race series.

 

1 November 201

 

Willing Enable

This Nathaniel colt, winner of the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe for a second time three weeks ago, has been offered a golden opportunity to claim another top class event. The John Gosden-trained Enable has landed an ideal draw in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. The four-year-old filly, on only her third outing for the season and her tenth career start, has been lucky enough to get stall 2 for her latest overseas mission, whereas the Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist, considered to be one of the chief threats, fared less well and comes out of stall 12 of 13.

 

Presenting the Winner!

Connections were hoping that their Presenting gelding would make a winning return to the track in yesterday's Pudding Norton "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle at Fakenham and they were not disappointed. The Nick Gifford-trained Didtheyleaveuoutto took on six rivals on his hurdling debut in this two-mile event, his first start since finishing way down the field in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Barry Geraghty was content to keep the JP McManus-owned five-year-old comfortably in fourth place, allowing first Gold Runner and then Starjac to set the rather sedate pace, until the latter speeded up on the final circuit. Didtheyleaveuoutto then moved easily into second place before reaching the second hurdle from home and then challenged Starjac, managing eventually to win by a neck.

 

Reach for the Sky!

It has been agreed that the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham will be sponsored by Sky Bet for another five years. This two-mile feature race is the first event on the opening day of the Festival, and its start is traditionally greeted by the famous "Cheltenham Roar", a loud cheer generated by the crowds of onlookers. The renewals of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle have produced some impressive winners, most notably Nicky Henderson's Altior in 2016 who came back the following year to land the Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase and in 2018 he claimed the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. This year's race was won by the Tom George-trained Summerville Boy, who beat Kalashnikov by a neck after an exciting duel.

 

31 October 2018

 

Not left out this time!

Connections are no doubt hoping that their Presenting gelding will make a winning return to the track in today's Pudding Norton "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle at Fakenham. The Nick Gifford-trained Didtheyleaveuoutto takes on six rivals on his hurdling debut in this two-mile event, his first start since finishing way down the field in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Prior to this defeat in Grade One company at Prestbury Park, the JP McManus-owned five-year-old had followed up his debut success at Lingfield with an impressive win in the St Andrews Holdings Championship Standard Open NH Flat Race at Ascot last December.

 

Good Draw

This Nathaniel colt, winner of the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe for a second time three weeks ago, has been offered a golden opportunity to claim another top class event. The John Gosden-trained Enable has landed an ideal draw in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. The four-year-old filly, on only her third outing for the season and her tenth career start, has been lucky enough to get stall 2 for her latest overseas mission, whereas the Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist, considered to be one of the chief threats, fared less well and comes out of stall 12 of 13.

 

Sky's the Limit!

It has been agreed that the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham will be sponsored by Sky Bet for another five years. This two-mile feature race is the first event on the opening day of the Festival, and its start is traditionally greeted by the famous "Cheltenham Roar", a loud cheer generated by the crowds of onlookers. The renewals of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle have produced some impressive winners, most notably Nicky Henderson's Altior in 2016 who came back the following year to land the Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase and in 2018 he claimed the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. This year's race was won by the Tom George-trained Summerville Boy, who beat Kalashnikov by a neck after an exciting duel.

 

30 October 2018

 

Out for the count

An unfortunate incident early on in the Prix Royal-Oak at Chantilly cost two of the British raiders the chance of victory. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Flag Of Honour, ridden by Ryan Moore, almost ran out at the course crossing and stopped, also putting paid to the chances of Charlie Appleby's Brundtland as the pair, as a result, both found themselves at the rear of the field, eventually finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Tony Piccone, meanwhile, aboard Holdthasigreen, kicked on some way from home and battled on bravely to beat Called To The Bar by three-quarters of a length.

 

Good Meeting

Chantilly's Criterium International provided Saeed bin Suroor with his second Group One-winning two-year-old this month. Royal Meeting, following up his successful debut at Yarmouth almost six weeks ago, had no problems with the big step up to the top level. The Godolphin-owned Invincible Spirit colt, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, put on an impressive performance in this six-furlong contest. John Gosden-trained Kessaar, the Mill Reef winner, tried to dominate but had nothing left when push came to shove. Hermosa was urged by Ryan Moore to go for it but the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly couldn't prevent Royal Meeting's three-quarters-of-a-length victory.

 

Frost back

The Paul Nicholl-trained Frodon notched up another impressive success for the talented Bryony Frost when landing the Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree. The six-year-old Nickname gelding, back for the first time since his wind operation a couple of months ago, took up the running half a mile from home and, at one stage, looked like he might have gone to soon and would be caught. Javert, Theo and eventually Cloudy Dream all moved dangerously close to make a challenge. The trio failed to get on terms with Frodon, however, who went on to win by a length and a quarter.

 

29 October 2018

 

Right Royal!

Yesterday's Criterium International at Chantilly provided Saeed bin Suroor with his second Group One-winning two-year-old this month. Royal Meeting, following up his successful debut at Yarmouth almost six weeks ago, had no problems with the big step up to the top level. The Godolphin-owned Invincible Spirit colt, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, put on an impressive performance in this six-furlong contest. John Gosden-trained Kessaar, the Mill Reef winner, tried to dominate but had nothing left when push came to shove. Hermosa was urged by Ryan Moore to go for it but the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly couldn't prevent Royal Meeting's three-quarters-of-a-length victory.

 

A Touch of Frost

The Paul Nicholl-trained Frodon notched up another impressive success for the talented Bryony Frost when landing the Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree. The six-year-old Nickname gelding, back for the first time since his wind operation a couple of months ago, took up the running half a mile from home and, at one stage, looked like he might have gone to soon and would be caught. Javert, Theo and eventually Cloudy Dream all moved dangerously close to make a challenge. The trio failed to get on terms with Frodon, however, who went on to win by a length and a quarter.

 

Almost Out.

An unfortunate incident early on in the Prix Royal-Oak at Chantilly yesterday cost two of the British raiders the chance of victory. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Flag Of Honour, ridden by Ryan Moore, almost ran out at the course crossing and stopped, also putting paid to the chances of Charlie Appleby's Brundtland as the pair, as a result, both found themselves at the rear of the field, eventually finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Tony Piccone, meanwhile, aboard Holdthasigreen, kicked on some way from home and battled on bravely to beat Called To The Bar by three-quarters of a length.

 

28 October 2018

 

Invincible

Yesterday's Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes, the final Group One of the British Flat season at Doncaster was narrowly claimed by this Aidan O’Brien-trained Invincible Spirit colt, making it the Ballydoyle handler's ninth victory in this one-mile contest. The 16/1 shot, Magna Grecia, came second to Persian King in the Autumn Stakes last time out, and based on that performance, connections decided to supplement him for this race and they were not disappointed. Ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, the two-year-old was held up in mid- division, allowing stable companions, Western Australia and Circus Maximus, to make the running and, in fact, this duo opened up quite a gap as they approached the final quarter of a mile. At that point Magna Grecia was urged to go off in pursuit and, inside the final furlong, when Phoenix Of Spain and Great Scot joined the Ballydoyle band, it looked like any of these five horses were in with a chance but Magna Grecia had other ideas.

 

Despite the weather!

On a cold and wet final day of Cheltenham's Showcase meeting, a hardy contingent of supporters were determined, nevertheless, to cheer the locally-trained Passing Glance gelding into the winners' enclosure after claiming the Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. The Fergal O'Brien-trained Strong Glance was ridden by Alain Cawley who was perhaps even more delighted with the half-length victory, as it was his first win at Cheltenham for for almost seven years. It seems that Naunton-based trainer has had this two-mile contest in mind ever since he won it in 2017 with Herecomestheboom.

 

Neck and Neck

Not all the exciting racing yesterday was at Cheltenham. Newbury had its fair share. In particular, the Teddington Royal British Legion Stakes added another dead-heat result to the fifty already on record since 1801, the last being in the Ayr Gold Cup between Baron Bolt and Son of Rest. Young Rascal and Morando went down in racing history after battling it out in the final yards of this one-and-a-half-mile contest.

 

27 October 2018

 

Doubts are out!

Despite having won 28 races in a row and accumulated more than £14 in prize money, there were still lingering doubts from some quarters about the successes of this Street Cry mare. There are no lingering doubts now! The Chris Waller-trained Winx confirmed her status as one of the greatest racehorses of all time when she won a record fourth Cox Plate at the Melbourne race track, making it her 29th straight victory and her 22nd at Group One level. The seven-year-old, ridden as usual by Hugh Bowman, didn't put a foot wrong in this two-mile event. As anticipated, a challenge was mounted in the final two-hundred yards by the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl but Winx found that little extra and won by two lengths.

 

Doubts surface

There is concern that this Kitten's Joy colt will have more problems with the running conditions than the competition in next week's Breeders' Cup Classic. The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, after a sensational season on home soil, winning four Group One contests, the last of the season, is scheduled to compete in this American show-piece. The Newmarket trainer says that his three-year-old star should handle the surface, itself, all right but admits that he is worried about how Roaring Lion will cope with the kickback which can be considerable.

 

Out Touts!

A landmark judgement for the home of National Hunt racing came into force yesterday and will be in place for the whole season. Cheltenham became the first racecourse in the country to be granted an injunction by the High Court which bans ticket touts from the Prestbury Park venue. This means that the unofficial buying or selling of tickets on racecourse property is now illegal.

 

26 October 2018

 

A Walk in the Park

It's hard to believe that six months have gone by since horses last tackled the infamous run-in at Prestbury Park so today's meeting is the inevitable cause for much anticipated excitement. It's the first fixture of the season at Cheltenham, a showcase meeting, heralding, what's in store for the rest of the year. Despite the fact that the ground is officially listed as ‘Good’, due to lack of rain, ninety-four runners take part in the seven races today, proof of the lure of Cheltenham as the official opener of the jumps season proper.

 

In your face!

There is concern that this Kitten's Joy colt will have more problems with the running conditions than the competition in next week's Breeders' Cup Classic. The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, after a sensational season on home soil, winning four Group One contests, the last of the season, is scheduled to compete in this American show-piece. The Newmarket trainer says that his three-year-old star should handle the surface, itself, all right but admits that he is worried about how Roaring Lion will cope with the kickback which can be considerable.

 

Ticket – a sticky wicket!

A landmark judgement for the home of National Hunt racing comes into force today and tomorrow and will be in place for the whole season. Yesterday Cheltenham became the first racecourse in the country to be granted an injunction by the High Court which bans ticket touts from the Prestbury Park venue. This means that the unofficial buying or selling of tickets on racecourse property is now illegal.

 

25 October 2018

 

Colt against Mare

This Street Cry mare, with an incredible record of 28 successive victories to her credit, is certainly the one to beat in Saturday's Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. That's because the Chris Waller-trained Winx has dominated the last four renewals of this prestigious Australian contest so any challenger will certainly have his or her work cut out. One deemed good enough to take on the unbeaten seven-year-old comes from the Saeed bin Suroor yard. Benbatl has already put down his marker with his impressive victory in the Group One Caulfield Stakes when he made his successful Australian debut earlier this month. The four-year-old Dubawi colt, having also notched up wins in Dubai and Germany, is reported to be in good shape and connections are confident he will perform well in his toughest test so far.

 

Luca like he's going.

This legendary Newmarket trainer has decided to retire after 43 years in the business. Luca Cumani, born and raised in Italy and former assistant trainer to the late Sir Henry Cecil, will bring his illustrious career to an end later this year. The sixty-nine-year-old has had innumerable top-race winners including the 1988 and 1998 Epsom Derbies.

Luca Cumani commented: "I've been very lucky and privileged to have won big races all around the world and I no longer have the material to do so. I've been to Churchill Downs and Melbourne, and now we're having more runners at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford and it's not quite the same.”

 

That's the Ticket!

The British High Court is considering an injunction sought by Cheltenham racecourse officials which aims to ban ticket touts from their track. As happens everywhere at major sporting events across the country, touts have been present at Prestbury Park for many years.

Regional Director for the south west region of The Jockey Club, Ian Renton, commented: "Touting is an activity that occurs on our property on race days and has a negative impact on our racegoers. For the past few years, we have been working to try to ensure that they are prohibited from trading on our property and tomorrow's High Court hearing is the next step in this legal process.”

 

24 October 2018

 

Let Batl begin!

This Street Cry mare, with an incredible record of 28 successive victories to her credit, is certainly the one to beat in Saturday's Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. That's because the Chris Waller-trained Winx has dominated the last four renewals of this prestigious Australian contest so any challenger will certainly have his or her work cut out. One deemed good enough to take on the unbeaten seven-year-old comes from the Saeed bin Suroor yard. Benbatl has already put down his marker with his impressive victory in the Group One Caulfield Stakes when he made his successful Australian debut earlier this month. The four-year-old Dubawi colt, having also notched up wins in Dubai and Germany, is reported to be in good shape and connections are confident he will perform well in his toughest test so far.

 

Things ain't what they used to be!

This legendary Newmarket trainer has decided to retire after 43 years in the business. Luca Cumani, born and raised in Italy and former assistant trainer to the late Sir Henry Cecil, will bring his illustrious career to an end later this year. The sixty-nine-year-old has had innumerable top-race winners including the 1988 and 1998 Epsom Derbies.

Luca Cumani commented: "I've been very lucky and privileged to have won big races all around the world and I no longer have the material to do so. I've been to Churchill Downs and Melbourne, and now we're having more runners at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford and it's not quite the same.”

 

Out Tout!

The British High Court will today consider an injunction sought by Cheltenham racecourse which aims to ban ticket touts from their track. As happens everywhere at major sporting events across the country, touts have been present at Prestbury Park for many years. Regional Director for the South West region of The Jockey Club, Ian Renton, commented: "Touting is an activity that occurs on our property on race days and has a negative impact on our racegoers. For the past few years, we have been working to try to ensure that they are prohibited from trading on our property and tomorrow's High Court hearing is the next step in this legal process.”

 

23 October 2018

 

Another day, another National

Gordon Elliott added another Grand National to his trophy list which already includes the English and the Irish. This time it was the American version at Far Hills, New Jersey. Version is the right word as The Grand National Hurdle Stakes, as it name indicates, has the easier form of obstacles and is run over just two miles and five furlongs. Nevertheless, whatever the nature of the contest, over £340,000 was up for grabs. Jury Duty was the County Meath trainer's runner with Robbie Power aboard. Several other familiar rivals were bidding for the desirable prize, including Ben Pauling's Jaleo, and Charlie Longsdon's Hammersly Lake and Hinterland. None of these, however, could match Jury Duty's turn of speed as he turned for home except the Emmet Mullins-trained Tornado Watch but even he had to concede defeat by three and a quarter lengths.

 

The Wrong One!

A surprise for the Ballydoyle trainer at Leopardstown when his outsider won the Killavullan Stakes instead of the second-favourite. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Old Glory, was sent off 2/1, broke well and clearly intended to dominate under the guidance of Seamie Heffernan. In fact the Frankel colt had a two-length lead as the ten-strong field headed into the straight. Then his stable companion, Coral Beach, a 16/1 shot, ridden by Michael Hussey, having bided her time in this seven-furlong Group Three contest, suddenly accelerated much faster and ran out a one-length winner. Jim Bolger's Guaranteed stayed on valiantly to snatch second place by a head, with Old Glory having to settle for third.

 

Off Course

A fence that had been omitted on the second of three circuits of the Sedgefielders Racing App Durham National Handicap Chase, due to a faller on the first lap, was reinstated in time for the final pass. Sean Quinlan, aboard the Jennie Candlish-trained Red Giant, was in front as he approached the second last fence on the final circuit in this three-mile-five-furlong contest but, it seems, wasn't aware that this obstacle had to be jumped and steered around it. Then, on realising his mistake, he pulled up his mount. The stewards took a dim view of the incident and decided Quinlan had taken the wrong course and banned him for twelve days.

 

22 October 2018

 

Life's a Beach!

A surprise for the Ballydoyle king at Leopardstown yesterday when an outsider won the Killavullan Stakes instead of the second-favourite. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Old Glory, was sent off 2/1, broke well and clearly intended to dominate under the guidance of Seamie Heffernan. In fact the Frankel colt had a two-length lead as the ten-strong field headed into the straight. Then his stable companion, Coral Beach, a 16/1 shot, ridden by Michael Hussey, having bided her time in this seven-furlong Group Three contest, suddenly accelerated much faster and ran out a one-length winner. Jim Bolger's Guaranteed stayed on valiantly to snatch second place by a head, with Old Glory having to settle for third.

 

Isn't it Grand!

Gordon Elliott added another Grand National to his trophy list which already includes the English and the Irish. This time it was the American version at Far Hills, New Jersey. Version is the right word as The Grand National Hurdle Stakes, as it name indicates, has the easier form of obstacles and is run over just two miles and five furlongs. Nevertheless, whatever the nature of the contest, over £340,000 was up for grabs. Jury Duty was the County Meath trainer's runner with Robbie Power aboard. Several other familiar rivals were bidding for the desirable prize, including Ben Pauling's Jaleo, and Charlie Longsdon's Hammersly Lake and Hinterland. None of these, however, could match Jury Duty's turn of speed as he turned for home except the Emmet Mullins-trained Tornado Watch but even he had to concede defeat by three and a quarter lengths.

 

Not taking a fence!

A fence that had been omitted on the second of three circuits of the Sedgefielders Racing App Durham National Handicap Chase, due to a faller on the first lap, was reinstated in time for the final pass. Sean Quinlan, aboard the Jennie Candlish-trained Red Giant, was in front as he approached the second last fence on the final circuit in this three-mile-five-furlong contest but, it seems, wasn't aware that this obstacle had to be jumped and steered around it. Then, on realising his mistake, he pulled up his mount. The stewards took a dim view of the incident and decided Quinlan had taken the wrong course and banned him for twelve days.

 

21 October 2018

 

Cracking Winner!

The QIPCO British Champion Stakes at Ascot gave this Frankel colt the chance to bounce back to his brilliant form after cancelled trips to York and Paris recently. The John Gosden-trained Cracksman produced a disappointing performance at Epsom at the beginning of June when he just managed to bag the Coronation Cup by a head and then succumbed to Poet's Word at Royal Ascot in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes last time out. The four-year-old, wearing blinkers for the first time, made amends yesterday, however, by winning his second Champion Stakes and third Group one of the year.

 

The Best Horse Wins

This Kodiac colt, owned by Godolphin, claimed Australia's Caulfield Cup in a photo-finish. Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Best Solution, with Pat Cosgrave aboard, was in the lead three furlongs out but victory was a close-run thing as he had to cling on bravely to get the better of the fast-finishing Homesman. The four-year-old was expected to run handy but wasn't supposed to miss the break which he did, giving his jockey a lot of unexpected work to do to make it to the front of the the eighteen-strong field.

 

Roaring Success

It was a case of a first success over a mile for this Kitten's Joy colt at Ascot yesterday. Roaring Lion, also handled by John Gosden, made the successful drop in trip to to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day, following up his victories in the Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and Qipco Irish Champion Stakes. All these races were over a mile-and-a-quarter but, due to the soft conditions, it was decided to drop him back to a mile. Although this meant that he didn't have to take on his stable companion, Cracksman, in the Champion Stakes, he did face some of best milers in the business and had his work cut out in the closing stages. Ultimately Roaring Lion did just enough to notch up his fourth Group One victory.

 

20 October 2018

 

Winning – the Best Solution!

This Kodiac colt, owned by Godolphin, has just claimed Australia's Caulfield Cup in a photo-finish. The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Best Solution, with Pat Cosgrave aboard, was in the lead three furlongs out but victory was a close-run thing as he had to cling on bravely to get the better of the fast-finishing Homesman. The four-year-old was expected to run handy but wasn't supposed to miss the break which he did, giving his jockey a lot of unexpected work to do to make it to the front of the the eighteen-strong field.

 

All Heart!

In the QIPCO British Champions Sprint title at Ascot today the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man is bidding to regain this prestigious prize. The Equiano gelding first claimed this Group One feature race back in 2016 but last year he had to settle for fifth slot. The six-year-old notched up another top level victory in September when he won the Haydock Sprint Cup and the Newmarket-based trainer is clearly keen to strike gold again before the end of the season.

 

Reputation on the Lion.

The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion drops down to a mile for today's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. The Kitten's Joy colt was also entered for the QIPCO Champion Stakes which would have involved an exciting clash with stable companion, Cracksman but, after walking the course on Thursday the Clarehaven Stables' handler decided that the shorter, mile contest is more suitable for Roaring Lion. It will, however, be his first run over this distance since coming fifth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and a first Group One at this distance, to boot, having proved himself over a mile-and-a-quarter with wins in the Betfred Dante, Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes. Nevertheless the bookies don't seem to think tht Roaring Liion will have a problem as he is currently the 5/2 favourite.

 

19 October 2018

 

Getting it Across

This Dubawi filly won her handicap debut at Ffos Las in the middle of August although her performance two weeks later at Sandown is best forgiven and forgotten. The James Tate-trained Across The Sea is worth another chance, however, in today's Racing Welfare Nursery Handicap at Haydock when she takes on ten rivals over a distance and in conditions that are obviously to her liking.

 

You've got to have heart!

It's the QIPCO British Champions Sprint title at Ascot tomorrow and the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man is bidding to regain this prestigious prize. The Equiano gelding first claimed this Group One feature race back in 2016 but last year he had to settle for fifth slot. The six-year-old notched up another top level victory in September when he won the Haydock Sprint Cup and the Newmarket-based trainer is clearly keen to strike gold again before the end of the season.

 

Roaring to go.

It has been confirmed that the John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion will drop down to a mile for tomorrow's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. The Kitten's Joy colt was also entered for the QIPCO Champion Stakes which would have involved an exciting clash with stable companion, Cracksman but, after walking the course yesterday Clarehaven Stables' handler has decided that the shorter, mile contest is more suitable for Roaring Lion. It will, however, be his first run over this distance since coming fifth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and a first Group One at this distance, to boot, having proved himself over a mile-and-a-quarter with wins in the Betfred Dante, Coral-Eclipse, Juddmonte International and QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes.

18 October 2018

 

A Win to Order

This Brian Boru gelding was back in action again after his easy win at the Galway Festival in August. The Henry de Bromhead-trained Sub Lieutenant faced no real threats in the Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown yesterday, giving Rachael Blackmore a fairly trouble-free ride. The nine-year-old disputed the lead early on and dominated from from the sixth fence. Gordon Elliott's Outlander, also owned by Gigginstown House Stud, made a substantial challenge shortly after but Sub Lieutenant easily dealt with that, going clear two out and staying on to claim the three-mile-plus contest by nine lengths.

 

Winning Return

Absent from the track since August when he suffered a a crashing fall at Killarney, this County Kildare jockey claimed his first victory since his return. Ruby Walsh was aboard the Willie Mullins-trained My Sister Sarah in Enhanced Each-Way Every Day At Coral Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown, his third ride since his first couple of unsuccessful attempts at Limerick on Sunday. The Martaline filly, who made her winning debut in a bumper at Roscommon in August, was the 4/11 favourite in this two-and-a-half-mile event and came home an easy ten-length winner. It was difficult to tell which Willie Mullins was more excited about, the successful return of his stable jockey or the resounding victory of My Sister Sarah!

 

A Century

It was only last month that this former Champion Conditional jockey notched up 3,500 career wins. Not resting on his laurels, however, Richard Johnson hit another landmark at his local track by claiming his 100th winner of the season. The Hereford-born rider reached the ton for the season when steering the Bernard Llewellyn-trained Arty Campbell to victory in the equestrianprojects.co.uk Handicap Hurdle. It wasn't an entirely straightforward ride, however, as the Dylan Thomas gelding, after going into the lead at the last-but-one hurdle, looked like he had decided he didn't want to jump the last but the skilful Richard Johnson quickly regained control and urged him to a three-and-a-quarter-length victory.

 

17 October 2018

 

Winning Return

Absent from the track since August when he suffered a a crashing fall at Killarney, this County Kildare jockey claimed his first victory since his return. Ruby Walsh was aboard the Willie Mullins-trained My Sister Sarah in Enhanced Each-Way Every Day At Coral Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown yesterday, his third ride since his first couple of unsuccessful attempts at Limerick on Sunday. The Martaline filly, who made her winning debut in a bumper at Roscommon in August, was the 4/11 favourite in this two-and-a-half-mile event and came home an easy ten-length winner. It was difficult to tell which Willie Mullins was more excited about, the successful return of his stable jockey or the resounding victory of My Sister Sarah!

 

The Missing Race

One British race that this Ballydoyle trainer has thus far failed to add to his illustrious CV is the main attraction on Ascot’s British Champions Day, the QIPCO Champion Stakes. To fill this gap the Aidan O'Brien-trained Capri will have to beat John Gosden’s two star performers, Cracksman and Roaring Lion on Saturday. Even his Prix De L'arc De Triomphe winner, Found, failed in her attempts, twice finishing second behind Fascinating Rock in 2015 and Almanzor in 2016. Another Ballydoyle runner, Highland Reel, was third in 2017 but although nothing proved the match of Cracksman who galloped to championship honours by seven lengths. With ground conditions forecast to be soft for one of British racing’s feature events, the Galileo colt is already the evens favourite to notch up a second victory in what could well be the final race of his career.

 

Ton Up!

It was only last month that this former Champion Conditional jockey notched up 3,500 career wins. Not resting on his laurels, however, Richard Johnson hit another landmark at his local track yesterday by claiming his 100th winner of the season. The Hereford-born rider reached the ton for the season when steering the Bernard Llewellyn-trained Arty Campbell to victory in the equestrianprojects.co.uk Handicap Hurdle. It wasn't an entirely straightforward ride, however, as the Dylan Thomas gelding, after going into the lead at the last-but-one hurdle, looked like he had decided he didn't want to jump the last but the skilful Richard Johnson quickly regained control and urged him to a three-and-a-quarter-length victory.

 

16 October 2018

 

Winners' Night

The top Curragh racing awards last night went to Jessica Harrington and Ronan Whelan. The County Kildare-based trainer claimed the prize for the leading training performance of the season with Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Alpha Centauri and I’m So Fancy, a winner of three races at the track this season. Ronan Whelan headed the riding performance category for his successes aboard Skitter Skatter and Sea The Lion. The leading trainers' category section was as usual occupied by Aidan O’Brien with his thirty-four winners for the season, accumulating just under £3 million in total prize-money. His son, Donnacha, was crowned the leading jockey with nineteen wins and Sue Magnier received the top owner award with thirty-five winners.

 

Cracking Stuff!

One British race that this Ballydoyle trainer has thus far failed to add to his illustrious CV is the main attraction on Ascot’s British Champions Day, the QIPCO Champion Stakes. To fill this gap the Aidan O'Brien-trained Capri will have to beat John Gosden’s two star performers, Cracksman and Roaring Lion on Saturday. Even his Prix De L'arc De Triomphe winner, Found, failed in her attempts, twice finishing second behind Fascinating Rock in 2015 and Almanzor in 2016. Another Ballydoyle runner, Highland Reel, was third in 2017 but although nothing proved the match of Cracksman who galloped to championship honours by seven lengths. With ground conditions forecast to be soft for one of British racing’s feature events, the Galileo colt is already the evens favourite to notch up a second victory in what could well be the final race of his career.

 

Money on the quiet!

After this Kayf Tara gelding's two-length victory in the Fox Family Persian War Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow he now looks set for further successes this season as a novice chaser. The Paul Nicholls-trained Secret Investor, who, despite being out of action for nearly six months after having a wind operation, looked his old self in this two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two contest. The Jamie Snowden-trained Double Treasure valiantly tried to make all but was overtaken between the last two flights by Secret Investor, who went on to win by two lengths.

 

15 October 2018

 

Hot Stuff

This Dubawi colt, hot from winning his first three career races, two at Sandown and the other at Doncaster, was, as expected, the clear even-money favourite in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. The John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot, making his Group One debut, started off a little too keenly but settled down after about a furlong. In the early stages the seven-furlong contest was dominated by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Christmas, who set the pace, with with his stable companion, Anthony Van Dyck and Martyn Meade's Advertise in close pursuit. Too Darn Hot switched to the right about two furlongs out and started to make headway entering final furlong. There were a few anxious moments when the Lord Lloyd Webber-owned two-year-old looked like he had too much on his plate but, once a gap opened up, he stormed home by two and three-quarter lengths.

 

Major Victory

The former British flat racing Champion Apprentice added another lucrative success to her credit at York. Josephine Gordon was aboard the Kevin Ryan-trained Major Jumbo, lining up in the seventeen-strong Coral Sprint Trophy. The Zebedee grey finished off his last season with success over this course and distance, followed by a win at Newmarket in April. Since then he has been knocking on the door without success but has produced some fine performances in defeat. The four-year-old's recent disappointment was finishing close to the tail end of the field in Ayr Gold Cup. Major Jumbo recovered his old form on the Knavesmire, though, when he got the better of a drawn-out duel with his stable companion, Teruntum Star and managed to repel the late challenge of the aptly-named Flying Pursuit and claim the prize by by three-quarters of a length.

 

Italian Star

A Sardinian-born jockey was the star of the the British contingent in Canada. Andrea Atzeni notched up not one but two Grade 1 wins at the Ontario track. First of all the twenty-seven-year-old rider partnered the David Simcock-trained Desert Encounter to victory in the Pattison Canadian International. This Canadian International developed into a battle between the eventual winner and Thundering Blue, trained by David Menuisier, who both pulled clear in the last two furlongs and battled it out to the line. Fran Berry was in a better position on the inside with plenty of space and looked to be able to call the tune. The Halling grey, however, was just getting started as they approached the final furlong pole and came with a sweeping run to go a length clear of his rival. The double came in the very next race, the ten-furlong E.P.Taylor Stakes, when Andrea Atzeni was aboard the Roger Varian-trained Sheikha Reika. This three-year-old Shamardal filly secured her third career victory after taking the lead about seventy-five yards from home and beating Golden Legend by three-quarters of a length.

 

14 October 2018

 

Woodbine Winner

A Sardinian-born jockey was the star of the the British contingent in Canada last night. Andrea Atzeni notched up not one but two Grade 1 wins at the Ontario track. First of all the twenty-seven-year-old rider partnered the David Simcock-trained Desert Encounter to victory in the Pattison Canadian International. This Canadian International developed into a battle between the eventual winner and Thundering Blue, trained by David Menuisier, who both pulled clear in the last two furlongs and battled it out to the line. Fran Berry was in a better position on the inside with plenty of space and looked to be able to call the tune. The Halling grey, however, was just getting started as they approached the final furlong pole and came with a sweeping run to go a length clear of his rival. The double came in the very next race, the ten-furlong E.P.Taylor Stakes, when Andrea Atzeni was aboard the Roger Varian-trained Sheikha Reika. This three-year-old Shamardal filly secured her third career victory after taking the lead about seventy-five yards from home and beating Golden Legend by three-quarters of a length.

 

Cool Colt!

This Dubawi colt, hot from winning his first three career races, two at Sandown and the other at Doncaster, was, as expected, the clear even-money favourite in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. The John Gosden-trained Too Darn Hot, making his Group One debut, started off a little too keenly but settled down after about a furlong. In the early stages the seven-furlong contest was dominated by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Christmas, who set the pace, with with his stable companion, Anthony Van Dyck and Martyn Meade's Advertise in close pursuit. Too Darn Hot switched to the right about two furlongs out and started to make headway entering final furlong. There were a few anxious moments when the Lord Lloyd Webber-owned two-year-old looked like he had too much on his plate but, once a gap opened up, he stormed home by two and three-quarter lengths.

 

Major Victory

The former British flat racing Champion Apprentice added another lucrative success to her credit at York. Josephine Gordon was aboard the Kevin Ryan-trained Major Jumbo, lining up in the seventeen-strong Coral Sprint Trophy yesterday. The Zebedee grey finished off his last season with success over this course and distance, followed by a win at Newmarket in April. Since then he has been knocking on the door without success but has produced some fine performances in defeat. The four-year-old's recent disappointment was finishing close to the tail end of the field in Ayr Gold Cup. Major Jumbo recovered his old form on the Knavesmire yesterday, though, when he got the better of a drawn-out duel with his stable companion, Teruntum Star and managed to repel the late challenge of the aptly-named Flying Pursuit and claim the prize by by three-quarters of a length.

 

13 October 2018

 

One Horse Race.

The Everest, Australia's richest race, was won again by last year's Snitzel gelding. The Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Redzel, ridden again by Kerrin McEvoy, provided another big payday of just over £3 million for his lucky connections. The six-year-old wasted no time getting out of the stalls and turned the six-furlong sprint virtually into a one-horse race. Trapeze Artist battled gamely on and finished one-and-a-half lengths in second place. Aidan O'Brien's US Nave Flag, with Ryan Moore aboard, as expected, struggled from halfway due to the heavy ground and could only manage ninth from the twelve-runner field.

 

Colt – Man enough for the job?

Another British raider had more luck 530 miles away in Melbourne in the the Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl won the ten-length event a short head in front of another Godolphin-owned Blair House, trained by Charlie Appleby. Aidan O'Brien's Cliffs Of Moher battled bravely on but finished just out of the places. It is no secret that Benbatl's next big assignment is to take on Wondermare Winx at the Moonee Valley racetrack next week-end and, after this latest victory, where he obviously enjoyed the ground, connections are quietly confident that the four-year-old colt will give the seven-year-old mare a run for her money.

 

Son beats Father

This Joseph O'Brien-trained Ruler Of The World filly turned out to be the surprise heroine in Newmarket's bet365 Fillies' Mile. Iridessa made a big impression on her winning debut at Killarney in July and coming third in Ballylinch Stud Irish EBF Ingabelle Stakes last time out at Leopardstown. Stepping up to Group One level obviously presented the two-year-old with a much bigger challenge but she seemed to take it in her stride. Pretty Pollyanna, winner of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Prix Morny earlier in the season, looked to have the race in the bag as she cruised effortlessly into the lead under Danny Tudhope. The Oasis Dream filly, however, was tackling a mile for the first time and, although she did her best inside the final furlong, the outcome was clearly going to be between Iridessa and the favourite, Hermosa – a contest between father and son trainers, Aidan and Joseph O'Brien. Ultimately the latter's mount quickened up the better and did enough to win by a length and a half.

 

12 October 2018

 

Dampened spirits

The TAB Everest, inaugurated at Royal Randwick, Australia, in 2017, is billed as the world's richest race on turf and twelve of the world's top sprinters will be bidding to get a slice of the £8 million prize money tomorrow. Last year, the inaugural running of this event was won by Redzel and Kerrin McEvoy will be aboard once more to defends his title. One of the hopefuls, in what is seen as an open race, is the Aidan O'Brien-trained US Navy Flag, winner of the Middle Park and Dewhurst as a two-year-old and runner-up in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. The War Front colt recently put down his marker for this six-furlong when winning the Darley July Cup Stakes at newmarket in July. The major consideration now is that the Sydney track has now had quite a lot of rain and the the three-year-old really only seems happy on good to firm.

 

Horse of a different colour!

On the very day when he will be officially crowned champion jockey for a third time, this Brazilian-born rider begins an eighteen-day suspension. Silvestre de Sousa has been banned by a disciplinary panel of the British Horseracing Authority under the totting-up procedure, which found him guilty of using his whip above the permitted level on too many occasions within a six-month period. Ironically it means that the thirty-seven-year São Paulo citizen will miss Champions Day at Ascot next week-end.

 

Not so champion!

Many racegoers, or even riders, may not have not have given much thought to the fact that traditionally the outer framework for jumps is painted orange. Research recently carried out at Exeter University, however, funded by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Racing Foundation, has revealed that horses adjusted their jump angles when orange was not used and produced a longer total jump distance when the obstacle was white. The research seems also to indicate that horses see the colour orange as a shade of green. Consequently it has been decided that fences and hurdles in Britain will have a major makeover, whereby fluorescent yellow and white markers will be used to aid visibility. The changes will be subjected to extensive trials at training grounds before there are any modifications on racing tracks..

 

11 October 2018

 

Back again?

It's hard to believe that it is six years since this veteran won the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National when trained by the legendary Dessie Hughes. Thirteen-year-old Raz De Maree, now handled by Gavin Cromwell, proved he's still got what it takes by winning the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in January, just a week after officially becoming a teenager. The Shaanmer gelding, however, who has not raced since finishing well down the field in the Grand National at Aintree in April, could make another appearance at Limerick on Sunday, if there is enough give in the ground, in a bid to repeat his 2012 triumph.

 

Colour blind?

Many racegoers, or even riders, may not have not have given much thought to the fact that traditionally the outer framework for jumps is painted orange. Research recently carried out at Exeter University, however, funded by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Racing Foundation, has revealed that horses adjusted their jump angles when orange was not used and produced a longer total jump distance when the obstacle was white. The research seems also to indicate that horses see the colour orange as a shade of green. Consequently it has been decided that fences and hurdles in Britain will have a major makeover, whereby fluorescent yellow and white markers will be used to aid visibility. The changes will be subjected to extensive trials at training grounds before there are any modifications on racing tracks..

 

Third Prix?

John Gosden is so elated by this Nathaniel filly's second triumph in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe that he strongly hopes that she will continue training as a five-year-old, with the aim of notching up a record third victory. Enable added her name to an elite list of turf champions with her incredible feat on Sunday and since the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned four-year-old has had only a short racing season, due to injury problems, there is already speculation as to whether she will be back next year. Much as the Clarehaven trainer, who has now won the epic European event for the third time in four years, hopes for this outcome, he knows that the final decision rests with her owner and breeder.

 

9 October 2018

 

Not a long way to Tipperary!

The first female jockey to win the Irish Conditional Riders' title in the 2016/2017 season is going from strength to strength. Tipperary-born Rachael Blackmore notched up a double on both days of racing at her local track. Her first success came yesterday when she partnered the Joseph O'Brien-trained Young Turk in the www.tipperaryraces.ie Beginners Chase. The 5/1 shot Poliglote gelding was urged to take over the lead just before the final fence and, despite dawdling a bit on the run-in, the seven-year-old managed to keep going to win by a length and three-quarters. Half-an-hour later Rachael Blackmore was back in the winner's enclosure again after riding the Henry de Bromhead-trained Ellie Mac for in the two-and-a-half mile Schooling At Tipperary Rated Novice Chase. This five-year-old Court Cave mare dominated the race after the second-last, going on to extend her lead and eventually scored by five lengths.

 

Lucky Seven?

It certainly looks like Willie Mullins has designs on Saturday's Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch as, at the five-day confirmation stage, he still has seven runners entered, headed by the ante-post favourite, Stratum. If the latter does line up in this prestigious event, connections will be hoping that the five-year-old Dansili gelding will make amends for his disastrous performance in the Ebor at York in August when he was a well-backed 3-1 favourite but came nowhere. Other strong contenders trained by the County Carlow king are Limini, Low Sun and Uradel with Whiskey Sour, Law Girl and Meri Devie bringing up the rear.

 

Billet not so doux!

Despite the fact that Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was the first running of the race at Longchamp after a £123 million redevelopment, there were only 35,000 paying spectators compared with 55,000 when this race was run at this location in 2015. It looks like France Galop, French racing’s ruling body, has a problem attracting racegoers. The price of admission must have something to do with the low numbers. A general ticket on Sunday cost £68, more than double what it cost to watch the event at Chantilly last year and more than three times the price to watch the last Arc run at the old Longchamp.

 

8 October 2018

 

Ready, Willing, Enable

A Nathaniel filly won Europe's premier middle-distance contest for a second year in a row, thus becoming the eighth dual winner of this prestigious event since its inauguration in 1920. The John Gosden-trained Enable, despite missing much of the current campaign through injury, successfully defended her crown in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp yesterday. The Khalid ibn Abdullah-owned four-year-old, was always travelling strongly in pursuit of the leaders and when she took over the lead, the crowds in the packed grandstands roared with delight. The William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class made an heroic attempt to claim the prize but Enable still had a little left in reserve to hold on and win by a neck. This was John Gosden's third success in this race, the first being with Golden Horn in 2015.

 

Yes, Master!

Two hours after watching Sea of Class's narrow defeat in the main feature of the day at ParisLongchamp, William Haggas received some consolation from One Master's victory in the Qatar Prix de la Foret. The Fastnet Rock filly, whose latest success was in a Group Three contest at Tipperary, was making a mighty step-up in class and, not surprisingly, was a 25/1 shot. Such a rating seemed justified as the four-year-old was nearer last than first as the fifteen runners came round the home turn. When Pierre-Charles Boudot managed to manoeuvre her past the leaders, however, One Master showed she was made of sterner stuff and triumphed by a short head.

 

Weld Done!

This Curragh handler last won the Coolmore Stud Home Of Champions Concorde Stakes in 2013 but at Tipperary yesterday Yulong Gold Fairy claimed this Group Three contest and thus notched up a remarkable twelfth victory for her trainer, Dermot Weld, who first won the prize in 1983. Once more it was the case of a patient ride back in the field until Shane Foley urged the Mount Nelson filly late into the lead where she managed to hold off the challenge from Jim Bolger's Smash Williams by a head.

 

7 October 2018

 

Streets Ahead!

The Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare did it again at Flemington. With a remarkable late turn of foot Winx notched up her 28th consecutive victory when she landed the Tab Turnbull Stakes. With the customary Hugh Bowman aboard, the seven-year-old seemed to have her work cut out as she pursued a bevy of runners as they entered the straight. But, as on every previous occasion, she produced her late surge of power to comfortably claim the prize. It was also Winx's 21st straight Group One victory and she now goes back to Moonee Valley later this month to try to make history with a fourth Cox Plate win.

 

A Tireless Victory

There was speculation that this Siyouni filly might be feeling the effects of a busy season, especially as it's just three weeks since she claimed the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend. No need for any worries. The Karl Burke-trained Laurens claimed her fifth Group One victory of her career when winning the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. The three-year-old, ridden again by Danny Tudhope as her regular jockey, PJ McDonald, was still sidelined by injury, went for stride for stride with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Happily in the early stages of the contest but, about a furlong out, it seemed that all the others were hard at work. It wasn't until the final yards that Laurens appeared in any danger but she held on to win by a head.

 

Russian around

If his breeding is anything to go by, this Dubawi colt will certainly go far and he put down another marker at Newmarket yesterday when coming home a length and a half clear in the British EBF Crown At Stowupland Novice Stakes. The J H M Gosden-trained Turgenev was the 10/11 favourite for this one-mile event and gave an impressive performance, easily beating the Aidan O'Brien-trained Il Paradiso. As a result, connections, apparently, are now not ruling out one more Group One appearance before the end of the season.

 

6 October 2018

 

Tired but Fired for action

It could be that this Siyouni filly is starting to feel the effects of her long season as she prepares for her sixth run in tomorrow's Group One Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. The Karl Burke-trained Laurens started this season's campaign with a second slot in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. After that the three-year-old won three Group One races - the Prix Saint Alary, the Prix de Diane and the Matron Stakes. Only once has Laurens been out of the first two in any race and that was when she was unplaced in the mile-and-a-half Yorkshire Oaks.

 

Make it this time!

It's not surprising the usual suspects will once more be thronging to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp at the end of October. Fans from Japan have turned up in France every October. hoping that their runner will win Europe's most prestigious race but, so far, they have always gone away disappointed. There have been several famous near-misses, however. In 1999 El Condor Pasa came second, half-a-length behind Montjeu. In 2006 Deep Impact finished third in 2006, although he was subsequently disqualified. Orfevre then looked certain to triumph in 2012 but was headed in the final strides by Solemia who also returned the following year but could only manage a distant second to the 'Criquette Head-trained Treve. This time legendary Japanese jockey, Yutaka Take, strongly believes he has a winning runner when he partners the appropriately-named Clincher. The Deep Sky colt doesn't come with the best of credentials, however, having come last of six in the Prix Foy in September but the champion jockey, fresh from notching up his 4,000th winner, has commented that it would be dangerous to underestimate his mount.

 

Cry Goodbye?

Connections of this legendary Street Cry mare are hoping that she can extend her world-winning streak to 28 races when she lines up in today's Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, Australia. This is an historic occasion as it will probably be the last time the Chris Waller-trained Winx will race at the Melbourne track before she prepares for her swansong at the Moonee Valley racecourse, also in Melbourne, on October 27.

 

5 October 2018

 

 

A Record Goodbye?

Connections of this legendary Street Cry mare are hoping that she can extend her world-winning streak to 28 races when she lines up in tomorrow's Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, Australia. This is an historic occasion as it will probably be the last time the Chris Waller-trained Winx will race at the Melbourne track before she prepares for her swansong at the Moonee Valley racecourse, also in Melbourne, on October 27.

 

End of Season feeling

It could be that this Siyouni filly is starting to feel the effects of her long season as she prepares for her sixth run in tomorrow's Group One Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. The Karl Burke-trained Laurens started this season's campaign with a second slot in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. After that the three-year-old won three Group One races - the Prix Saint Alary, the Prix de Diane and the Matron Stakes. Only once has Laurens been out of the first two in any race and that was when she was when unplaced in the mile-and-a-half Yorkshire Oaks.

 

A Triumph at last?

It's not surprising the usual suspects will once more be thronging to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp at the end of October. Fans from Japan have turned up in France every October. hoping that their runner will win Europe's most prestigious race but, so far, they have always gone away disappointed. There have been several famous near-misses, however. In 1999 El Condor Pasa came second, half-a-length behind Montjeu. In 2006 Deep Impact finished third in 2006, although he was subsequently disqualified. Orfevre then looked certain to triumph in 2012 but was headed in the final strides by Solemia who also returned the following year but could only manage a distant second to the 'Criquette Head-trained Treve. This time legendary Japanese jockey, Yutaka Take, strongly believes he has a winning runner when he partners the appropriately-named Clincher. The Deep Sky colt doesn't come with the best of credentials, however, having come last of six in the Prix Foy in September but the champion jockey, fresh from notching up his 4,000th winner, has commented that it would be dangerous to underestimate his mount.

 

3 October 2018

 

Beyond Berlief

It is hard to believe that this Bertolini progeny has only ever appeared three times on a race track but even more difficult to accept that his racing career is over before it's hardly begun. Berlief Aramis, 'Bertie' to his friends, has always been a popular resident at the Alan Phillips' yard in Worcester and has attracted the interest of a small but devoted syndicate. The Isobel Coltman-owned and bred gelding made his late debut, at the age of eight, at Hereford at the beginning of January and, disappointingly, had to be pulled up. Then he returned to the same track in March and came sixth from eight runners but, at least, he finished. His excellent trainer, however, to give him full credit, still kept faith with Bertie, truly believing he has a lot of potential. Undaunted, he sent the eight-year-old off once more to Worcester in June where, unfortunately, he had to be pulled up again. Clearly, all was not well with Berlief Aramis. And so it turned out. As seems to be the case with many race horses, Bertie was diagnosed with a breathing problem, necessitating an operation. Nothing to worry about. Many horses undergo this process and go on to have successful racing careers. The big day was arranged with the vet and Bertie was delivered for what has become a routine procedure. Unfortunately things didn't turn out as hoped for. It transpired that Bertie's problem was not the usual affliction on the left-hand side of the larynx but a more complicated situation involving the right-hand side which, it seems, cannot be operated on. So Berlief Aramis is a potential star with no future firmament. Or is he? Such a talented horse is too young to lounge around idly in a field for the next ten years or so. One possible solution is for him to be retrained as a show-jumper which doesn't require as much staying power and therefore will not affect his breathing so much. If anyone has any other ideas or is interested in taking Bertie on loan to re-train him, please get in touch.

 

26 September 2018

 

Another Landmark

At Warwick yesterday a three-times champion jockey notched up his 3,500th career victory. Richard Johnson rode the Tom Lacey-trained He's A Goer to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory in the Smarkets Betting Exchange Novices' Hurdle. The Yeats gelding didn't get off to a good start as as he veered to the right as he left the stalls and was held up in the rear for some time until making headway about three obstacles from home. The four-year-old was persuaded to make more of an effort towards the next but all looked lost when he blundered last. All credit to Richard Johnson who managed to survive that imminent catastrophe and land up in the winner's enclosure.

 

Promise a Win.

Fairyhouse's Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes was pretty much at the beck and call of this Invincible Spirit filly. The Willie McCreery-trained Lethal Promise, who failed to deliver when managing only tenth in the Byerley Stud Stakes at Newbury in the middle of last month, seemed determined to make amends this time. The 8/1 shot two-year-old, ridden by Billy Lee, appeared to enjoy being back on home soil and went into the lead after the first furlong and laid down her terms from then on. Various challengers tried to catch her up in the home straight, but lethal promise, owned by the Irish National Stud Breeding&Racing Club, never really looked in any danger of being caught and surged passed the post one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of the 2/1 favourite Inverleigh.

 

Three times a Double?

This North Yorkshire-based trainer has Saturday's Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes firmly in his sights when he saddles Emaraaty Ana in this six-furlong feature race. The Shamardal colt already has the Gimcrack Stakes to his credit and Kevin Ryan is hoping for his third-time double, after achieving this feat with Amadeus Wolf in 2005 and Astaire in 2013.

 

25 September 2018

 

Lethal Victory

The Ballyhane Blenheim Stakes at Fairyhouse yesterday was pretty much at the mercy of this Invincible Spirit filly. The Willie McCreery-trained Lethal Promise, who failed to deliver when managing only tenth in the Byerley Stud Stakes at Newbury in the middle of last month, seemed determined to make amends this time. The 8/1 shot two-year-old, ridden by Billy Lee, appeared to enjoy being back on home soil and went into the lead after the first furlong and laid down her terms from then on. Various challengers tried to catch her up in the home straight, but lethal promise, owned by the Irish National Stud Breeding&Racing Club, never really looked in any danger of being caught and surged passed the post one-and-three-quarter lengths of the 2/1 favourite Inverleigh.

 

K becomes a C!

The son of a six-time champion jockey notched up his first victory at Leicester yesterday on only his third ride of his career, Cieren Fallon, son of Kieren, was aboard the John Ryan-trained Plucky Dip in the seven-furlong Racing Excellence "Hands And Heels" Apprentice Series Handicap The nineteen-year-old rider boldly urged the Nayef gelding into the lead as the thirteen-strong field entered the final furlong and from there the seven-year-old Plucky Dip kept finding that bit extra to claim victory by half a length.

 

Double Stakes

This North Yorkshire-based trainer has Saturday's Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes firmly in his sights when he saddles Emaraaty Ana in this six-furlong feature race. The Shamardal colt already has the Gimcrack Stakes to his credit and Kevin Ryan is hoping for his third-time double, after achieving this feat with Amadeus Wolf in 2005 and Astaire in 2013.

 

24 September 2018

 

Rogue Win

This Intello colt more than made made up for for his disappointing seventh in the Investec Derby in June at Newbury. The William Haggas-trained Young Rascal restored his connections' faith when claiming the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes. Ridden by Jim Crowley, the three-year-old raced prominently and travelled well, but, at the furlong pole, it looked like the best he would get would be third. He was urged to make one final effort, however, and beat Mirage Dancer by a short head and thus claimed his second Group Three contest of the season,

 

The Heat of the Day

As if the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup isn't exciting enough in its own right, it always seems to need that bit extra publicity. Last year was bad news as it was unfortunately abandoned due to the waterlogged track. This year the prestigious £200,000 event was declared a dead heat, the first such result since the race's inauguration in 1804. The prize was shared between the 5/1 favourite, Son of Rest, trained by County Tipperary-based Fozzy Stack and ridden by Chris Hayes and the 28/1 outsider, Baron Bolt, trained in Berkshire by Paul Cole and ridden by 20-year-old Preston-born apprentice Cameron Noble. It took the judges seven nerve-wracking minutes to reach the decision.

 

Signs of the Kodiac

This Kodiac colt, winner of the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton in September, was the undoubted victor of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. Two furlongs out, though, it didn't look as though the John Gosden-trained Kessaar was going to make it, as Karl Burke's True Mason took over the lead. There were only a few anxious moments, however, as two-hundred yards from home, Kessaar was back in command and pulled two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of his only serious rival.

 

23 September 2018

 

Dead Lucky

As if the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup isn't exciting enough in its own right, it always seems to need that bit extra publicity. Last year was bad news as it was unfortunately abandoned due to the waterlogged track. This year the prestigious £200,000 event was declared a dead heat, the first such result since the race's inauguration in 1804. The prize was shared between the 5/1 favourite, Son of Rest, trained by County Tipperary-based Fozzy Stack and ridden by Chris Hayes and the 28/1 outsider, Baron Bolt, trained in Berkshire by Paul Cole and ridden by 20-year-old Preston-born apprentice Cameron Noble. It took the judges seven nerve-wracking minutes to reach the decision.

 

Signs of the Kodiac

This Kodiac colt, winner of the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton in September, was the undoubted victor of the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury yesterday. Two furlongs out, though, it didn't look as though the John Gosden-trained Kessaar was going to make it, as Karl Burke's True Mason took over the lead. There were only a few anxious moments, however, as two-hundred yards from home, Kessaar was back in command and pulled two-and-three-quarter lengths clear of his only serious rival.

 

Young at heart

Young Rascal duly made amends at Newbury yesterday for his disappointing seventh in the Investec Derby in June. The William Haggas-trained Intello colt restored his connections' faith when claiming the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes. Ridden by Jim Crowley, the three-year-old raced prominently and travelled well, but, at the furlong pole, it looked like the best he would get would be third. He was urged to make one final effort, however, and beat Mirage Dancer by a short head and thus claimed his second Group Three contest of the season,

22 September 2018

 

Every Little Helps

Last year's Western Meeting at Ayr, Scotland's biggest meeting on the Flat, which includes William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, had to be abandoned for the first time in living memory, because of a waterlogged track, with an estimated financial loss running into seven figures. It has just been announced that Ayr racecourse is considering seeking compensation from Tesco's who have a supermarket next door. The contention is that water draining from the store's car park onto the track was a contributory factor.

 

Ayr's to the Irish!

There are two Irish raiders in the field of twenty-five runners lining up for today's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. The 'Fozzy' Stack-trained Son Of Rest is the hot favourite bidding to become the first Irish-trained winner of this prestigious prize. This Pivotal colt is back on the track just six days after being beaten by half a length by Havana Grey in the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh. The other visitor from the Emerald Isle is the Adrian Keatley-trained G Force, who had a win at Naas in April but he's a 20/1 shot so this probably won't be the Tamayuz gelding's day.

 

Mare to come?

This Dubawi colt could knock the famous Street Cry heroine off her pedestal if this trainer's dreams come true. This could happen when the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Benbatl takes on the Chris Waller-trained Winx in Australia next month. The seven-year-old wonder mare notched up 27 straight victories at Randwick last Saturday. The two could do business in either the Caulfield Stakes or the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, a race that Winx has claimed for the last three seasons.

 

21 September 2018

 

Ben to battle

This Dubawi colt could knock the famous Street Cry heroine off her pedestal if this trainer's dreams come true. This could happen when the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Benbatl takes on the Chris Waller-trained Winx in Australia next month. The seven-year-old wonder mare notched up 27 straight victories at Randwick last Saturday. The two could do business in either the Caulfield Stakes or the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, a race that Winx has claimed for the last three seasons.

 

Every Little Helps

Last year's Western Meeting at Ayr, Scotland's biggest meeting on the Flat, which includes William Hill Ayr Gold Cup, had to be abandoned for the first time in living memory, because of a waterlogged track, with an estimated financial loss going into seven figures. It has just been announced that Ayr racecourse is considering seeking compensation from Tesco's who have a supermarket next door. The contention is that water draining from the store's car park onto the track was a contributory factor.

 

Luck of the Irish?

There are two Irish raiders in the field of twenty-five runners lining up for tomorrow's William Hill Ayr Gold Cup. The 'Fozzy' Stack-trained Son Of Rest is the hot favourite bidding to become the first Irish-trained winner of this prestigious prize. This Pivotal colt is back on the track just six days after being beaten by half a length by Havana Grey in the Group 1 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh. The other visitor from the Emerald Isle is the Adrian Keatley-trained G Force, who had a win at Naas in April but he's a 25/1 shot so this probably won't be the Tamayuz gelding's day.

 

20 September 2018

 

New Found Glory

Last year's highest-priced purchase at Goffs Orby Yearling Sale put the first £9000 back into the kitty after winning on his debut outing at Naas last night. With a name that belies his age, Old Glory, a Frankel colt bought for £1.4 million, trained by Aidan O’Brien, claimed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden by one-and-a-half lengths. Ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, Old Glory travelled well and challenged the leader, Erich Bloch, as they approached the final furlong. It took the two-year-old a while to take over the lead but he got ahead in the last 150 yards and stayed there.

 

Great Shakes!

This Shamardal filly has suffered the humiliation of being beaten twice when the favourite since her victorious return at Newmarket in April. The Roger Varian-trained Sheikha Reika finally put an end to a frustrating campaign when she lined up in the nine-strong EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth yesterday. The Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned three-year-old clearly had no problems with the step up to a mile and a quarter and defeated her stable companion, Rasima, by four and a half lengths.

 

Wadi you know!

Another Frankel colt took his record to three wins from five outings after scoring in the Smarkets Fortune Stakes at Sandown. The Owen Burrows-trained Wadilsafa, ridden by former champion, Jim Crowley, initially seemed in danger of losing the race when Silvestre de Sousa surged ahead aboard Simon Crisford's Archetype but ultimately it was Wadilsafa's turn in the winner's enclosure after dealing with all challenges in fine style and coming home a length and three-quarters in front of Hathal, the runner-up.

 

19 September 2018

 

It's Magic!

This Scat Daddy colt's impressive length-and-a-quarter victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes at Yarmouth yesterday caused quite a stir and has even prompted bookmakers to quote him for next year's Qipco 2000 Guineas. The Ed Vaughan-trained Magic J cost the owners some £730,000 as yearling so the £7,000 prize money was the beginning of a hopefully continuing payback time. Immediately after the six-furlong sprint Paddy Power and William Hill were offering 50/1 for the Phoenix Thoroughbred-owned two-year-old for the colts' Classic over a mile which is not until next May.

 

The Bear Facts

Ed Vaughan is back again at Yarmouth today, no doubt hoping for more of the same. He saddles Dancing Brave Bear in the EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth. This is the Street Cry filly's first appearance since Royal Ascot in June, a result best forgotten. Dancing Brave Bear had been on top form before then, winning her first two career starts on the all-weather at Lingfield and Chelmsford and looked promising on her turf debut when runner-up to Give And Take in the Musidora Stakes at York in May. The Newmarket trainer is, therefore, hopeful that she will get back to her best form when tackling this ten-furlong Listed contest in the hands of Ryan Moore.

 

No time for sleeping!

This Rip Van Winkle four-year-old used to be trained by Michael Bell and produced some solid performances but hasn't had a win since July 2017. Winston C has since been transferred to Harry Fry's stables in Seaborough. The Mr Charles Wentworth-owned two-time winner also had a gelding operation last October so it will be his first start for almost a year when he lines up in today's Eppleworth Handicap at Beverley. Interestingly, this will be the first time the Dorset-based Harry Fry has had an entry at Beverley, said so a couple of question marks hover over the possible outcome.

 

17 September 2018

 

The Hunt is on!

After an exciting weekend of Flat racing's Classics and Group 1s, at last for those who have been missing some stimulating National Hunt action, today's the day. There are two british jump meetings at Hexham, Worcester. At the latter, although not fully subcribed, four strong rivals meet up in the Class 2 bestofbritishbeer.co.uk Handicap Chase with the likes of Sam Twiston-Davies, Harry Skelton, Ben Poste and Noel Fehily battling for for the £13,000 prize. Further afield across the Irish Sea Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott will be vying with each other again, unleashing some potential stars in a competitive Galway card with future prospects in the maiden and bumper events.

 

A Daddy of a race!

At the Curragh another Scat Daddy filly continued making her mark when winning the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Skitter Scatter presented her trainer, Patrick Prendergast, and her jockey, Ronan Whelan, with the biggest success of both of their careers. The victory must have come as something of a shock, however, as a good two furlongs from home, the two-year-old was a bit sluggish, giving Lady Kaya a chance to hit the front and look like she would claim the prize. Her stamina, unfortunately, began to ebb away and Skitter Scatter found extra reserves and galloped ahead to win the seven-furlong contest by two lengths.

 

Double, no trouble.

Trainer, Karl Burke, continued in top form, celebrating a Group One double on Irish Champions Weekend. On Saturday at Leopardstown, Laurens, ridden by Daniel Tudhope, unexpectedly beat Alpha Centauri by four lengths in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes. Then, twenty-four hours later, came a more predictable success. Havana Grey, who put on an impressive display, though not winning, in the Nunthorpe last time out, seemed determined to win the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh and did so by eight lengths. The three-year-old grey, ridden by Richard Kingscote on this occasion as his regular rider, PJ McDonald, was sidelined due to injury, was the 15-8 favourite. Unusually Take Cover, an habitual front-runner, seemed, on this occasion, to be having problems holding his own, whereas Havanna Grey's jockey was able to sit motionless before going for home.

16 September 2018

 

Streets Ahead

The Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare has now scored her twenty-seventh victory in a row, marking twenty Group 1 wins, after claiming the Group 1 Colgate Optic White Stakes at the at Randwick race course in Sydney, Australia. Seven-year-old Winx, inevitably he 1/10 favourite, dominated in the final two-hundred yards, defeating Le Romain by four lengths. Hugh Bowman,who has been aboard for twenty-five of Winx's thirty-one career starts, says the champion mare transcends generations and Australia is unlikely to see another horse like her in his lifetime.

 

No doubting Thomas!

This Halling gelding hasn't scored since June 2017 at Royal Ascot but was the 2/1 favourite to beat his stable companion in the Doncaster Cup. Ultimately the market was right and the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson beat Max Dynamite by half a length but, nevertheless, both these Rich Ricci-owned stars will be making the trip to the Flemington racetrack for the renewal of Australia's most prestigious annual Thoroughbred horse race, the Melbourne Cup. Thomas Hobson, runner-up to Desert Skyline in last year's renewal of this Group Two contest, was ridden by Ryan Moore, who was content to keep him at the rear of the field for much of the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest. When Andrea Atzeni urged Max Dynamite into to the lead in the last two-hundred yards, Ryan Moore was ready for him and matched the move aboard the strong-travelling Thomas Hobson who turned out to be the tougher when push came to shove.

 

Now for Group 1!

After his runner's impressive victory in the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, this Upper Lambourn-based trainer is looking forward to his first Group 1 success as a trainer. The Archie Watson-trained Soldier's Call, Royal Ascot and French Group 3 winner, surged quickly from the stalls, transporting his jockey, Daniel Tudhope, to claim this Group 2 prize, beating Richard Hannon's Well Done Fox by two-and-a-quarter lengths. It seems that the winning trainer now has his sights on the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp in October and November's inaugural running of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs, Kentucky.

 

15 September 2018

 

Hobson's Choice

This Halling gelding hasn't scored since June 2017 at Royal Ascot but was the 2/1 favourite to beat his stable companion in yesterday's Doncaster Cup. Ultimately the market was right and the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson beat Max Dynamite by half a length but, nevertheless, both these Rich Ricci-owned stars will be making the trip to Flemington for the renewal of Australia's most prestigious annual Thoroughbred horse race. Thomas Hobson, runner-up to Desert Skyline in last year's renewal of this Group Two contest, was ridden by Ryan Moore, who was content to keep him at the rear of the field for much of the two-and-a-quarter-mile contest. When Andrea Atzeni urged Max Dynamite into to the lead in the last two-hundred yards, Ryan Moore was ready for him and matched the move aboard the strong-travelling Thomas Hobson who turned out to be the tougher when push came to shove.

 

Trainer's Call

After his runner's impressive victory in yesterday's Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, this Upper Lambourn-based trainer is looking forward to his first Group 1 success as a trainer. The Archie Watson-trained Soldier's Call, Royal Ascot and French Group 3 winner, surged quickly from the stalls, transporting his jockey, Daniel Tudhope, to claim this Group 2 prize, beating Richard Hannon's Well Done Fox by two-and-a-quarter lengths. It seems that the winning trainer now has his sights on the Prix de l'Abbaye in October and November's inaugural running of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

 

Streets Ahead!

The Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare has scored her twenty-seventh victory in a row, marking twenty Group 1 wins, after winning the Group 1 Colgate Optic White Stakes at Randwick. Seven-year-old Winx, the 1/10 favourite, dominated in the final two-hundred yards, defeating Le Romain by four lengths. Hugh Bowman,who has been aboard for twenty-five of Winx's thirty-one career starts, says the champion mare transcends generations and Australia is unlikely to see another horse like her in his lifetime.

 

14 September 2018

 

Divine Right

Beaten by a short head in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock in July, fourth in the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood last month and third last time out at Deauville, this Nathaniel filly had a bit of making up to do. The Luca Cumani-trained God Given was, not surprisingly, only given a 5/1 chance in yesterday's DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster. Under Jamie Spencer, the two-year-old took a keen hold in the early stages, switching right three furlongs out, making her move inside the final quarter of a mile. The Andrew Balding-trained Horseplay managed to hold a narrow advantage as they raced inside the final two-hundred yards but God Given gradually gained the upper hand and scored by a neck.

 

Charity Run

Sixteen former jockeys were back in the saddle again at Doncaster in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes. This popular charity fixture has been held for last eight years, raising money for the Injured Jockeys Fund's Jack Berry House as well as the Northern Racing College. A seven-time champion jockey in the United Arab Emirates, who notched up over 1,000 winners in Great Britain, claimed the honour of the day. Ted Durcan whose successful career lasted from 1992 to 2017, urged the Ian Williams-trained Central City to produce an unassailable last-minute run to win this one-mile contest by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Galway all the way!

A County Galway trainer/jockey partnership triumphed at the Listowel Festival yesterday. The Craughwell-based trainer, Brian Cawley and up-and-coming seven-pound claimer, Liam Gilligan, landed the Connolly’s Red Mills Maiden Hurdle with Whatsafellatodo. The Beneficial gelding was sent off a well-backed 9/2 shot, based on the good impression he had made when runner-up in Kilbeggan last month and he didn't disappoint. The five-year-old stayed on gamely in this fourteen-strong £18,000 contest, beating the 5/2 favourite, Court Maid by one and a half lengths

 

13 September 2018

 

Snow way to go!

This Presenting gelding certainly made up for his disappointing result in the Galway Plate at the beginning of August. The Noel Meade-trained Snow Falcon lined up against seventeen rivals in the three-mile Guinness Kerry National at Listowel yesterday.With Jonathan Moore aboard, the eight-year-old assumed a prominent position from an early stage, comfortably holding his position. Then, when Gordon Elliott's Rogue Angel took the lead as the field entered the final circuit, Snow Falcon was urged to move into second place in pursuit of the leader. The 6/1 chance then went to the front three fences from home but seemed to take things a little too easy, allowing a possible chance for the fast-finishing Saturnas. The eventual result, however, was a win for Snow Falcon by a neck.

 

Standing Orders

With the 2016 Royal Ascot Gold Cup and two Irish St Legers to his name as well as thirteen other victories from twenty-five career starts, this Galileo horse has now been retired and will pursue the inevitable destiny of all racing champions. Order Of St George, trained by Aidan O'Brien, will be kept busy in his retirement, however, as he will stand as a National Hunt stallion for the County Tipperary Coolmore Stud next year. The six-year-old has not been seen his disappointing performance when only managing to claim a fourth slot in this year's Gold Cup and this may have persuaded connections that it was time to call it a day. Nevertheless they have nothing to complain about as their retiring star has banked going on £2 million in win and place prize money.

 

Charity Run

Sixteen former jockeys were back in the saddle again at Doncaster yesterday in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes. This popular charity fixture has been held for last eight years, raising money for the Injured Jockeys Fund's Jack Berry House as well as the Northern Racing College. A seven-time champion jockey in the United Arab Emirates, who notched up over 1,000 winners in Great Britain, claimed the honour of the day. Ted Durcan whose successful career lasted from 1992 to 2017, urged the Ian Williams-trained Central City to produce an unassailable last-minute run to win this one-mile contest by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

12 September 2018

 

Kerry on!

Seventeen go to post in today's Kerry National at Listowel but inevitably all eyes will be on the Gordon Elliott-trained Jury Duty, ridden by Robbie Power, who will endeavour to defy top-weight in this £180,000 contest. On the face of it, the Well Chosen gelding could face strong opposition from the likes of 2015 winner, Rogue Angel, or Willie Mullins' Blazer but, if all goes well, with the ground conditions to his liking, the Sideways Syndicate-owned seven-year-old should claim the prize.

 

Grubs up!

Tomorrow's fixture at Epsom had already had to be cancelled because the track has been infested by coleoptera whose eating habits have made the ground unsafe for racing. Now it has just been announced that this afternoon's meeting at Salisbury is also off due to chafer grub damage. Chafer grubs, generally known as 'June bugs' in the States, feed on the roots of most grasses, both wild and cultivated and have previously made a meal of other tracks such as Bath and Goodwood. Which one's on the menu next?

 

Standing Order

With the 2016 Royal Ascot Gold Cup and two Irish St Legers to his name as well as thirteen other victories from twenty-five career starts, this Galileo horse has now been retired and will pursue the inevitable destiny of all racing champions. Order Of St George, trained by Aidan O'Brien, will be kept busy in his retirement, however, as he will stand as a National Hunt stallion for the County Tipperary Coolmore Stud next year. The six-year-old has not been seen his disappointing performance when only managing to claim a fourth slot in this year's Gold Cup and this may have persuaded connections that it was time to call it a day. Nevertheless they have nothing to complain about as their retiring star has banked going on £2 million in win and place prize money.

11 September 2018

 

Grubs up!

Epsom's Thursday fixture has had to be cancelled because the track has been infested by coleoptera whose eating habits have made the ground unsafe for racing. Chafer grubs, generally known as 'June bugs in the States, feed on the roots of most grasses, both wild and cultivated and have previously made a meal of other tracks such as Bath and Goodwood. Andrew Cooper, Clerk of the Course at Epsom Downs Racecourse, commented: ”This is a problem that can arise overnight and was identified earlier today during a routine walk of the course ahead of racing on Thursday.”

 

Unwanted Tip!

Trainer Richard Hannon and others had a close shave at Haydock Park. The light aircraft, in which they were travelling to the Merseyside track, was involved in an incident with a stationary empty plane on the runway, clipping the tip of its wing, after skidding on the wet ground as it landed. The passengers were afterwards all full of praise for the pilot's skill in avoiding more serious consequences. As it happened, the plane they hit was the one that had been used by Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, who went on to win the first race of the day.

 

Seoul Winner

The Keeneland Korea Cup was claimed again by a Japanese-trained runner. Richard Fahey dispatched Forest Ranger and Willie Mullins sent Riven Light on the long trip East to Seoul. Both the British and Irish raiders, however, finished down the field behind last year's winner, London Town, trained by Kazuya Makita and ridden by Yasunari Iwata. Interestingly, the County Carlow handler's Riven Light was well supported in the betting in this Grade One contest worth over £700,000, as a result of his impressive victory in the BMW Mile at the Galway Festival in July. The Raven's Pass gelding, however, after being settled in midfield in the early part of the race, gradually dropped back through the field and finished last of the fourteen runners. Richard Fahey's Forest Ranger began well and ran in third position for much of the nine-furlong contest. In fact the Lawman four-year-old was still in that slot as the runners entered the home turn and, give him his due, be battled on relentlessly and finished an honourable fifth.

 

10 September 2018

 

Seoul Winner

The Keeneland Korea Cup was claimed again by a Japanese-trained runner. Richard Fahey dispatched Forest Ranger and Willie Mullins sent Riven Light on the long trip East to Seoul. Both the British and London Irish raiders, however, finished down the field behind last year's winner, London Town, trained by Kazuya Makita and ridden by Yasunari Iwata. Interestingly, the County Carlow handler's Riven Light was well supported in the betting in this Grade One contest worth over £700,000, as a result of his impressive victory in the BMW Mile at the Galway Festival in July. The Raven's Pass gelding, however, after being settled in midfield in the early part of the race, gradually dropped back through the field and finished last of the fourteen runners. Richard Fahey's Forest Ranger began well and ran in third position for much of the nine-furlong contest. In fact the Lawman four-year-old was still in that slot as the runners entered the home turn and, give him his due, be battled on relentlessly and finished an honourable fifth.

 

Unwanted Tip!

Anna Lisa Balding, trainer Richard Hannon and others had a close shave at Haydock Park yesterday. The light aircraft, in which they were travelling to the Merseyside track, was involved in an incident with a stationary empty plane on the runway, clipping its wing, after skidding on the wet ground. The passengers were all full of praise for the pilot's skill in avoiding more serious consequences. As it happened, the plane they hit was the one that had been used by Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, who went on to win the first race of the day.

 

Action just louder than Words!

There were only three runners in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race at Navan yesterday but, despite that, it was an exciting race. Very soon, also, it was clearly a two-horse contest between the Aidan O'Brien-trained Battle Of Jericho and the 4/7 favourite, Gordon Lord Byron from the Tom Hogan yard. The latter, back in action after a return to form at York two weeks ago, came under pressure some way out as the Seamie Heffernan-ridden War Front colt started to dominate. The 10-year-old Byron gelding, however, not one to give up easily, kept giving as much as he was getting and lost out by just a short head.

 

9 September 2018

 

Still Able

The John Gosden-trained Nathaniel filly, last year's superb Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine, shrugged off an absence of nearly a year with with an impressive victory in the Group Three 188Bet September Stakes at Kempton yesterday. Enable, sent off the 8/15 favourite, was perhaps a little bit fresh at the start, but she soon settled into her designated front-running role and claimed the one-and-a-half-mile event by three-and-a-half lengths ahead of Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean.

 

He's All Heart!

Third time lucky for this Equiano gelding in yesterday's 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock. The James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man, third last year and second two years ago in this six-furlong contest, went into the lead with more than a furlong to run, steered by Oisin Murphy. Earlier on the red-hot favourite Harry Angel, having negotiated the stalls with no problems this time around, after his previous fiasco at Royal Ascot seemed to tire early. Although initially the race looked wide open with a variety of challengers coming from behind, including Brando and Gustav Klimt, it was 7/1 shot, The Tin Man's day as he hung on to victory by half a length.

 

Mind Candy

This six-year-old Tagula Gelding seems to have been a regular feature at big-race meetings for quite some time and certainly sets the standard for today's Ryedale House Garrowby Stakes at York. The Henry Candy-trained Limato also got back into winning ways at Newmarket two weeks ago after drawing a blank since last October. For that contest the Lambourn-based handler decided to drop the six-year-old down in class and that proved successful. Limato remains at Listed level for what will be only his second visit to the Knavesmire. If all goes well tomorrow, it seems a trip to the Breeders' Cup could well be on the cards.

 

8 September 2018

 

A Win's a Reality!

Today's Unibet Mile at Haydock could be a chance for this Intello colt to double his Group Three score if he can handle the soft ground. The lightly-raced Sir Michael Stoute-trained Regal Reality, produced an emphatic victory in the Britannia Stakes at Glorious Goodwood five weeks ago and certainly put down a marker for future successes. His trainer has also allowed the three-year-old plenty of time to recover from that win and connections report that they have been very pleased with his preparation work.

 

Showcase Victory?

Last season's 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock was easily claimed by the Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel and connections are certainly hoping he can bounce back to his brilliant best on his return to Merseyside today. The Dark Angel colt, however, has not raced since his injury in the stalls at Royal Ascot. Notwithstanding, he's still the short-odds favourite which is surprising. With that doubt in mind, it may be worth considering the William Haggas-trained Tasleet who was second in this six-furlong sprint twelve months ago as well as claiming runner-up spots in the Diamond Jubilee and the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot last season. This Showcasing progeny has also been absent from the track for four months since finishing third in the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in May.

 

Mind Candy!

This six-year-old Tagula Gelding seems to have been a regular feature at big-race meetings for quite some time and certainly sets the standard for tomorrow's Ryedale House Garrowby Stakes at York. The Henry Candy-trained Limato also got back into winning ways at Newmarket two weeks ago after drawing a blank since last October. For that contest the Lambourn-based handler decided to drop the six-year-old down in class and that proved successful. Limato remains at Listed level for what will be only his second visit to the Knavesmire. If all goes well tomorrow, it seems a trip to the Breeders' Cup could well be on the cards.

 

7 September 2018

 

£1 Million Bonus!

The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown is returning for the 2018-19 season which means that National Hunt Racing's top staying chasers will have the opportunity to bag a £1 million bonus. This prize will be awarded to any horse who wins the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in December, and the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup next March. As well as this bonus, the winner will also be presented with the Kauto Star Trophy, named in honour of the last horse to achieve this particular feat in 2006-7. The good news is that the prize money will be shared between the winning owners, the trainer, the jockey and the yard staff.

 

Unsettled Bet

A nineteen-year-old Northern Ireland student bet almost £25,000 on twelve horses running in four races, at Bath, Kempton and Naas on 22nd June 2016. Megan McCann got lucky and was due to pocket about a £1 million. The bookmaker who accepted the bets was Bet365 and they subsequently refused to pay out the winnings, claiming that the punter's stake for the bet was provided by a “third party” which contravenes the firm’s terms and conditions. The company also refused to return her initial stake. Megan McCann is suing the online bookmaker for £1,009,793 in unpaid winnings and she will finally get her day in court on 13th November at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast.

 

No go.

This Monmouthshire track is still deemed 'unraceable' so its two remaining fixtures on the Flat have been transferred to other locations. Chepstow had to abandon its August Bank Holiday fixture after the second race as it was decided that the track was unsafe. That is still the situation, it seems, as the British Horseracing Authority has just declared that the final two meetings of the Flat season will now be re-scheduled to Ffos Las on 13th eptember and Lingfield on 18th September.

 

6 September 2018

 

A Winning Case?

A nineteen-year-old Northern Ireland student bet almost £25,000 on twelve horses running in four races, at Bath, Kempton and Naas on 22nd June 2016. Megan McCann got lucky and was due to pocket about a £1 million. The bookmaker who accepted the bets was Bet365 and they subsequently refused to pay out the winnings, claiming that the punter's stake for the bet was provided by a “third party” which contravenes the firm’s terms and conditions. The company also refused to return her initial stake. Megan McCann is suing the online bookmaker for £1,009,793 in unpaid winnings and she will finally get her day in court on 13th November at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast.

 

Off Track

This Monmouthshire track is still deemed 'unraceable' so its two remaining fixtures on the Flat have been transferred to other locations. Chepstow had to abandon its August Bank Holiday fixture after the second race as it was decided that the track was unsafe. That is still the situation, it seems, as the British Horseracing Authority has just declared that the final two meetings of the Flat season will now be re-scheduled to Ffos Las on 13th eptember and Lingfield on 18th September.

 

Fair Shares

The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown is returning for the 2018-19 season which means that National Hunt Racing's top staying chasers will have the opportunity to bag a £1 million bonus. This prize will be awarded to any horse who wins the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in December, and the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup next March. As well as this bonus, the winner will also be presented with the Kauto Star Trophy, named in honour of the last horse to achieve this particular feat in 2006-7. The good news is that the prize money will be shared between the winning owners, the trainer, the jockey and the yard staff.

 

5 September 2018

 

The right Kitt

This Camelot colt will now step up to a mile after his impressive performance in the Solario Stakes at Sandown. Arthur Kitt, trained by Tom Dascombe, was undaunted when passed by Too Darn Hot, holding on to second position, three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Confiding. It was the two-year-old's first appearance since winning the seven-furlong Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot towards the end of June and the Cheshire-based trainer obviously now feels the time is right for a longer run.

 

Can Do

The John Gosden-trained Enable, last seen in October when she won the the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by two-and-half lengths, is aimed for more of the same at Longchamps next month. As preparation for that, however, the Nathaniel filly makes her eagerly awaited seasonal reappearance in the 188Bet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday. Interestingly, this £40, 000, one-and-half-mile Group 3 event was reopened until Tuesday morning as only nine runners had been entered, so it will be interesting to see what the competition looks like.

 

Angel's 17

Next Saturday's Group One feature at Haydock - the 32Red Sprint Cup – includes among its seventeen runners last year's impressive winner. The Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel returns from an eleven-week absence due to an inury he sustained in the starting stalls prior to the renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. The Dark Angel colt was sent off the 5/2 favourite on that that day but failed to come anywhere because of the accident. This weekend connections are clearly expecting better things from Harry Angel when he returns to the Merseyside track where he remains unbeaten from two previous visits.

 

4 September 2018

 

Be an Angel!

Next Saturday's Group One feature at Haydock - the 32Red Sprint Cup – includes among its seventeen runners last year's impressive winner. The Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel returns from an eleven-week absence due to an inury he sustained in the starting stalls prior to the renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. The Dark Angel colt was sent off the 5/2 favourite on that that day but failed to come anywhere because of the accident. This weekend connections are clearly expecting better things from Harry Angel when he returns to the Merseyside track where he remains unbeaten from two previous visits.

 

Stepping Up

This Camelot colt will now step up to a mile after his impressive performance in the Solario Stakes at Sandown. Arthur Kitt, trained by Tom Dascombe, was undaunted when passed by Too Darn Hot, holding on to second position, three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Confiding. It was the two-year-old's first appearance since winning the seven-furlong Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot towards the end of June and the Cheshire-based trainer obviously now feels the time is right for a longer run.

 

Able and Willing

The John Gosden-trained Enable, last seen in October when she won the the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by two-and-half lengths, is aimed for more of the same at Longchamps next month. As preparation for that, however, the Nathaniel filly makes her eagerly awaited seasonal reappearance in the 188Bet September Stakes at Kempton on Saturday. Interestingly, this £40, 000, one-and-half-mile Group 3 event was reopened until this morning as only nine runners had been entered, so it will be interesting to see what the competition looks like.

 

3 September 2018

 

Keener Kenya

This Galileo colt hadn't impressed very much on his first three starts this season and was, in fact, returning to the track after ninety days' absence. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Kenya was making his handicap debut in the the Tote Irish Cambridgeshire at the Curragh. Ridden by Seamie Heffernan, the three-year-old was sent off at 20/1 but for punters prepared to take a big odds risk there was never an anxious moment. Kenya went into the lead until passed at the one-furlong marker but when he was about two-hundred yards from the post he rode clear and lead the field home by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

Music to his ears

The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Dubawi colt proved he was a potential superstar at Sandown when when claiming the 188Bet Solario Stakes by four lengths. At last, with Too Darn Hot, it looks as though the Musical Maestro might finally have a champion on his hands in time for Classics time at Epsom. The John Gosden-trained two-year-old won so impressively that he now heads the Derby market at odds ranging between 5-1 and 8-1.

 

Monumental Mastery

This War Front gelding not only won Chelmsford's £100,000 Betfred Chelmsford City Cup Handicap, the track's richest race so far and the most valuable contest of the day in Britain, but also completed a hat-trick for his trainer. Jeremy Noseda's Cenotaph, formerly handled by Aidan O'Brien, stayed on strongly to defeat Charles Molson by a length and a quarter in this feature seven-furlong event, defying a twelve-pound rise in the weights and also a wide draw. Cenotaph, unbeaten in three starts for his current trainer, is entered for the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October, although his handler might have wider aspirations for the six-year-old.

 

1 September 2018

 

Back for more

It's only a week since this No Nay Never colt ran his twenty-four rivals ragged on his debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at the Curragh but he's back again hopefully for more of the same. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Ten Sovereigns is back at the County Kildare track today over the same six-furlong trip with only seven rivals this time in the Group 3 John Sisk & Son Round Tower Stakes. The Smith/ Magnier/Tabor-owned two-year-old is scheduled to run in all the major end-of-season juvenile races but connections apparently have Newmarket's Middle Park Stakes in their sights.

 

Stepping Up

Also at the Curragh today, Mick Channon is wondering whether his Gregorian filly can handle the step-up to a mile for the first time in the the Group Three Flame Of Tara Irish EBF Stakes. Chynna won over five-and-a-half furlongs at York in July but then went on to produce a good third in the seven-furlong Ladbrokes Prestige Stakes at Goodwood a week ago. The Newbury handler clearly thinks that he has been training Chynna for the wrong distance and the mile evnt is where she will come into her own. Fingers crossed!

 

Valuable Race

Tonight Chelmsford City Racecourse stages its most valuable race ever, the £100,000 Betfred Chelmsford City Cup. The Dean Ivory-trained Lucymai, five-time course and distance winner, heads an exciting fifteen-strong field for this second most-richly endowed evening meeting staged in Britain. There is disappointment, however, about some of the supporting races which have disappointingly small fields, with only five runners each of two £35,000 two-year-old races and only four in a five-furlong novice race worth £11,400. The officials will review this situation in the coming weeks.

 

31 August 2018

 

Star at night

This Galileo colt followed up his successful Betway Maiden at Galway three weeks ago with a victory at Bellewstown. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Astronomer, lined up against seven rivals in the Thatch Bar And Restaurant Handicap. The three-year-old, ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, was the 6/4 favourite and rightly earned that support when easily overhauling the front-running Warnaq more than a furlong from home, staying on gamely to beat Tony Martin's The Mouse Doctor by four lengths. This means als that the winning jockey is now twelve wins ahead of the the reigning champion, Colin Keane, in the contest for the Jockeys Championship.

 

Winning again

It was good to see Royston Ffrench notching up his first victory since coming back from serious injury sustained following a fall when riding Jebel Ali in January. Having only just got back into action at Southwell on Monday, after five rides without success, he got back into the winner's enclosure aboard Raselasad in a seven-furlong handicap at Catterick. He got the Tracy Waggott-trained four-year-old smartly out of the stalls, dominating the contest and galloping on strongly to win by two lengths.

 

Bath ran dry

Surprisingly this Somerset track doesn't have any watering facilities and has consequently suffered during the recent heat wave, losing five fixtures due to potentially hazardous ground conditions. After an inspection by the British Horseracing Authority, however, the news is that Bath has been given the go-ahead to stage its meeting on September 5.

 

30 August 2018

 

Saw the stars

This Galileo colt followed up his successful Betway Maiden at Galway three weeks ago with a victory at Bellewstown last night. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Astronomer, lined up against seven rivals in the Thatch Bar And Restaurant Handicap. The three-year-old, ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, was the 6/4 favourite and rightly earned that support when easily overhauling the front-running Warnaq more than a furlong from home, staying on gamely to beat Tony Martin's The Mouse Doctor by four lengths. This means als that the winning jockey is now twelve wins ahead of the the reigning champion, Colin Keane, in the contest for the Jockeys Championship.

 

Back Winning

It was good to see Royston Ffrench notching up his first victory since coming back from serious injury sustained following a fall when riding Jebel Ali in January. Having only just got back into action at Southwell on Monday, after five rides without success, he got back into the winner's enclosure aboard Raselasad in a seven-furlong handicap at Catterick yesterday. He got the Tracy Waggott-trained four-year-old smartly out of the stalls, dominating the contest and galloping on strongly to win by two lengths.

 

Bath with no water.

Surprisingly this Somerset track doesn't have any watering facilities and has consequently suffered during the recent heat wave, losing five fixtures due to potentially hazardous ground conditions. After an inspection by the British Horseracing Authority, however, the news is that Bath has been given the go-ahead to stage its meeting scheduled for September 5.

29 August 2018

 

Chance it!

This Kodiac colt has had a tough season since winning his debut at Wolverhampton in May and producing impressive performances in the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. The Simon Crisford-trained Sporting Chance, ridden by last year's champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, pulled out all the stops to claim the the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy, 2018 Stakes at Ripon. Barbill and Sunsprite set a cracking pace for this six-furlong sprint but the 6/1 shot, Sporting Chance, went clear inside the final two-hundred yards. Then there a few dramatic moments when Jack Mitchell produced a last-minute challenge aboard Tom Glover's Gypsy Spirit and failed by just a head.

 

More the Merrier!

An interesting aspect of horse racing is the fact that a trainer can enter as many horses as he wishes, provided, of course, he has enough owners with talented runners. That means that the most successful trainers have a greater chance of success, because they attract the wealthiest owners. This was the case in yesterday's Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh when Aidan O'Brien saddled half the runners for this seven-furlong event. The odds were inevitably in his favour. Already favourite for next year's Derby, Anthony Van Dyck, ridden by Ryan Moore, lead the the six-strong field home followed by his stable companions, Christmas and Mohawk, making it a one-two-three for the Ballydoyle handler. All three horses are owned by the affluent Smith/Magnier/Tabor partnership.

 

Cancelled

Drama at this Monmouthshire track. Trainers, officials and jockeys were prompted to inspect the surface at Chepstow after the first race as there was some concern about the ground at the six-furlong start. After some delay, the second race finally took place. Another inspection was called for, however, and it was decided that conditions were not safe to continue and the rest of Monday's fixture was abandoned. Race course officials said it would offer a 50% refund to spectators and payments will also be paid to owners and jockeys affected by the cancellation.

 

28 August 2018

 

In with a Chance

This Kodiac colt has had a tough season since winning his debut at Wolverhampton in May and producing impressive performances in the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. The Simon Crisford-trained Sporting Chance, ridden by last year's champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, pulled out all the stops to claim the the British Stallion Studs EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy, 2018 Stakes at Ripon. Barbill and Sunsprite set a cracking pace for this six-furlong sprint but the 6/1 shot, Sporting Chance, went clear inside the final two-hundred yards. Then there a few dramatic moments when Jack Mitchell produced a last-minute challenge aboard Tom Glover's Gypsy Spirit and failed by just a head.

 

Can't Lose!

An interesting aspect of horse racing is the fact that a trainer can enter as many horses as he wishes, provided, of course, he has enough owners with talented runners. That means that the most successful trainers have a greater chance of success, because they attract the wealthiest owners. This was the case in yesterday's Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh when Aidan O'Brien saddled half the runners for this seven-furlong event. The odds were inevitably in his favour. Already favourite for next year's Derby, Anthony Van Dyck, ridden by Ryan Moore, lead the the six-strong field home followed by his stable companions, Christmas and Mohawk, making it a one-two-three for the Ballydoyle handler. All three horses are owned by the affluent Smith/Magnier/Tabor partnership.

 

They're Off!

Drama at this Monmouthshire track yesterday. Trainers, officials and jockeys – including Franny Norton, Luke Morris and Harry Bentley – were prompted to inspect the surface at Chepstow after the first race as there was some concern about the ground at the six-furlong start. After some delay, the second race finally took place. Another inspection was called for, however, and it was decided that conditions were not safe to continue and the rest of Monday's fixture was abandoned. Race course officials said it would offer a 50% refund to spectators and payments will also be paid to owners and jockeys affected by the cancellation.

 

27 August 2018

 

Odds in his favour

An interesting aspect of horse racing is the fact that a trainer can enter as many horses as he wishes, provided, of course, he has enough owners with talented runners. That means that the most successful trainers have a greater chance of success, because they attract the wealthiest owners. This was the case in yesterday's Galileo Irish EBF Futurity Stakes at the Curragh when Aidan O'Brien saddled half the runners for this seven-furlong event. The odds were inevitably in his favour. Already favourite for next year's Derby, Anthony Van Dyck, ridden by Ryan Moore, lead the the six-strong field home followed by his stable companions, Christmas and Mohawk, making it a one-two-three for the Ballydoyle handler. All three horses are owned by the affluent Smith/Magnier/Tabor partnership.

 

Lady's Day

The Weatherbys Racing Bank Supreme Stakes at Goodwood yesterday was depleted by four non-runners due to the heavy rain, which meant only one filly was left in the six-strong field. This proved to be no problem for the Richard Hannon-trained Anna Nerium, last in the winners' enclosure when winning the European Free Handicap at Newmarket in April. Ridden by Tom Marquand, the three-year-old Dubawi filly switched right as she neared the final two-hundred yards, taking over the lead and kept on to claim the prize by three lengths.

 

That's my Boy!

This Paco Boy gelding got back into the winner's enclosure again with an impressive victory in the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile at Goodwood. The Andrew Balding-trained Beat The Bank who failed to cut the mustard in the Qatar Sussex Stakes on his last visit to the Sussex track, seemed to be determined to make amends as he faced seven rivals, all who seemed in with a chance in the final furlong. Indeed, for a while, it looked very much as though Clive Cox's Zonderland would get his just deserts, having been runner-up in this event for the past two years, but Oisin Murphy produced a sustained last-minute effort from the 11-8 favourite, who went on to beat William Haggas's Whisky Baron by half a length.

 

26 August 2018

 

£Million Bonus!

The John Gosden-trained Sea The Stars colt made it four in a row and, thereby, bagged the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million bonus after completing a clean sweep of the series with an impressive win in the Lonsdale Cup at York. Stradivarius, having scooped the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, proved himself the best top-class stayer, with a performance that was full of guts and determination. It wasn't all plain sailing for the 4-11 favourite, however, but he eventually dominated his old rival, Count Octave, in the final two-hundred yards and came in a length and a half ahead.

 

All Class

It's not likely that many punters would have risked their money on a 40/1 outsider but those who did are laughing all the way to the bank! The shock of the day happened in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York. The 4/5 hot favourite was the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash, ridden by Jim Crowley, in this five-furlong sprint. The fifteen runners went off at quite a lick with speedsters, Take Cover and Caspian Prince, leading the way, hotly pursued by Battaash and Alpha Delphini. The latter, trained by Bryan Smart, with Graham Lee aboard, went into a narrow lead ahead of Mabs Cross in the final furlong, held on gamely and, after several minutes of suspense, was declared in a photo-finish to have won by a neck. Battaash was ultimately relegated to fourth position, edged out by Blue Point.

 
Land Ho!

This Dutch Art progeny hasn't scored for two years so his connections surely have their fingers crossed that their five-year-old can pull it off in the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile at Goodwood. The Clive Cox-trained Zonderland had to settle for second best behind Lightning Spear in the two previous renewals of this one-mile feature event. This rival isn't running this time around so the Cheveley Park Stud-owned runner may stand a chance of finally claiming the prize.

 

25 August 2018

 

Classy Outsider

It's not likely that many punters would have risked their money on a 40/1 outsider but those who did are laughing all the way to the bank! The shock of the day happened in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York. The 4/5 hot favourite was the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash, ridden by Jim Crowley, in this five-furlong sprint. The fifteen runners went off at quite a lick with speedsters, Take Cover and Caspian Prince, leading the way, hotly pursued by Battaash and Alpha Delphini. The latter, trained by Bryan Smart, with Graham Lee aboard, went into a narrow lead ahead of Mabs Cross in the final furlong, held on gamely and, after several minutes of suspense, was declared in a photo-finish to have won by a neck. Battaash was ultimately relegated to fourth position, edged out by Blue Point.

 

Musical Million

The John Gosden-trained Sea The Stars colt made it four in a row and, thereby, bagged the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million bonus after completing a clean sweep of the series with an impressive win in the Lonsdale Cup at York yesterday. Stradivarius, having scooped the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup, proved himself the best top-class stayer, with a performance that was full of guts and determination. It wasn't all plain sailing for the 4-11 favourite, however, but he eventually dominated his old rival, Count Octave, in the final two-hundred yards and came in a length and a half ahead.

 

Going Dutch

This Dutch Art progeny hasn't scored for two years so his connections surely have their fingers crossed that their five-year-old can pull it off in the Ladbrokes Celebration Mile at Goodwood today. The Clive Cox-trained Zonderland had to settle for second best behind Lightning Spear in the two previous renewals of this one-mile feature event. This rival isn't running this time around so the Cheveley Park Stud-owned runner may stand a chance of finally claiming the prize.

 

24 August 2018

 

Class Act

This Sea The Stars filly delivered an even greater performance than her victory in the Irish Oaks when she stormed to an emphatic victory in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks yesterday. As expected, Karl Burke's Laurens was the first out of the stalls but couldn't hold off Magic Wand who went smartly into the lead. Coronet and Eziyra competed for supremacy as they entered the straight but it was all over bar the shouting when the William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class, ridden by James Doyle, held calmly in the rear for a good while, burst onto the scene and galloped clear to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths. The victory was particularly poignant as it was the trainer's 58th birthday.

 

Mark of Distinction

A trainer made the headlines on the second day of York's Ebor meeting yesterday. Mark Johnston notched up his 4,194th British winner and, thereby, went one clear of the previous record holder, Richard Hannon Snr. Surprisingly this was achieved by a 20/1 outsider, Poet's Society, who claimed the Clipper Logistics Handicap by a neck. The Middleham-based trainer, originally from Scotland, was cheered as he entered the winner's enclosure. York's Ebor meeting was an appropriate location for this achievement as Mark Johnston's stables are just forty miles away in North Yorkshire.

 

Sound of Music

The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Dubawi filly looked every inch a future Group 1 heroine when claiming the British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes at Yorks. The John Gosden-trained Lah Ti Dah, absent since May when she won the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket, remained in midfield until turning for home but then made the twelve-furlong contest very much her own, coming into the straight. The three-year-old easily took the lead about two-and-a-half furlongs out and crossed the line ten lengths ahead of the Fran Berry-ridden Light Of Joy.

 

23 August 2018

 

Roaring Success

John Gosden didn't have the benefit of his stable star, Cracksman, in yesterday's Juddmonte International Stakes at York but he still had another horse who proved just as unbeatable. Roaring Lion, with Oisin Murphy aboard, added to his earlier Knavesmire triumph in the Dante Stakes and stormed to victory, beating the favourite, Poet's Word, by three-and-a-quarter lengths. The three-year-old grey surged into the lead three-hundred yards from home, taking advantage of the Poet's Voice gelding who appeared unable to get a clear run and, thereby, denying Sir Michael Stoute a seventh win in this feature event.

 

Phoenix rises again

Earlier in the day another favourite was denied victory. The Charlie Hills-trained Phoenix Of Spain beat Watan by one-and-a-half lengths in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes at York. This Lope De Vega colt won the mymedsuk.com Online Pharmacy Novice Stakes on the all-weather at Wolverhampton three weeks ago and was sent off at 9/2 in this Group Three race. It looked as though Oisin Murphy had the strongly-fancied Watan in a strong position to triumph but Jamie Spencer managed to bring his mount over to the stands rail for a final challenge, thus giving Charlie Hills his second success in this race, the last with Dutch Connection in 2014.

 

Oaks again

Today, the second day of the Ebor Festival at York, marks an exciting renewal of the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. The William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class deservedly has favourite spot after her dazzling performance in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh a month ago, although the Sea The Stars filly is set for a tougher test this time when she comes up against the Karl Burke-trained Laurens, the impressive heroine of the Prix de Diane at Chantilly in June. The only problem for this Siyouni filly is not the step-up in trip but the faster ground so her connections are certainly hoping for the showers that are forecast for later today.

22 August 2018

 

Ebor Score

This Sixties Icon gelding hasn't scored since last year's Sky Bet Ebor but his trainer is confident he's still in top form. The Iain Jardine-trained Nakeeta hasn't been too busy but did manage a fifth place in the Melbourne Cup last November. The Dumfries-based handler admits that he's given his stable star a bit of an easy time recently but he feels that Nakeeta will come good at just the right time. The seven-year-old may face a tough test on Saturday, however, as he will be up against an exceptionally strong field.

 

A Stoute Word

Sir Michael Stoute is bidding for his seventh victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York when he saddles this Poet's Voice progeny. In addition to that result, if Poet’s Word does deliver the goods, he will become only the second horse in history, (the first was Duke of Marmalade in 2008), to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes, QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Juddmonte International all n the same season.

 

Only Eight

Eight top horses will compete for the million-pound Juddmonte International at York today. There was a big question mark as to whether there would be one more but one was not declared. Anthony Oppenheimer, Cracksman's owner, had warned earlier this month that the John Gosden-trained Frankel four-year-old would need cut in the ground to run and that, unfortunately, is not the case as the ground is forecast as good to firm. The Newmarket trainer is not out of it, however, as he still saddles Roaring Lion and Without Parole who will be up against Poet's Word, Saxon Warrior, Benbatl, Thunder Snow, Latrobe and Thundering Blue. The latter's connections must be confident as they added him to the race at a cost of £75,000.

 

21 August 2018

 

Not One Over the Eight!

Eight top horses will compete for the million-pound Juddmonte International at York tomorrow. There was a big question mark as to whether there would be one more but one of the Ebor meeting was not declared. Anthony Oppenheimer, Cracksman's owner, had warned earlier this month that the John Gosden-trained Frankel four-year-old would need cut in the ground to run and that, unfortunately, is not the case as the ground is forecast as good to firm. The Newmarket trainer is not out of it, however, as he still saddles Roaring Lion and Without Parole who will be up against Poet's Word, Saxon Warrior, Benbatl, Thunder Snow, Latrobe and Thundering Blue. The latter's connections must be confident as they added him to the race at a cost of £75,000.

 

Ready for Ebor

This Sixties Icon gelding hasn't scored since last year's Sky Bet Ebor but his trainer is confident he's still in top form. The Iain Jardine-trained Nakeeta hasn't been too busy but did manage a fifth place in the Melbourne Cup last November. The Dumfries-based handler admits that he's given his stable star a bit of an easy time recently but he feels that Nakeeta will come good at just the right time. The seven-year-old may face a tough test on Saturday, however, as he will be up against an exceptionally strong field.

 

My Word!

Sir Michael Stoute is bidding for his seventh victory in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York tomorrow when he saddles this Poet's Voice progeny. In addition to that result, if Poet’s Word does deliver the goods, he will become only the second horse in history, (the first was Duke of Marmalade in 2008), to win the Prince of Wales's Stakes, QIPCO-sponsored King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Juddmonte International all n the same season.

 

20 August 2018

 

Trainer's First Listed

The EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies Stakes at Pontefract provided this Middleham-based trainer with his first Listed winner at the first attempt. The Ben Haslam-trained Castle Hill Cassie was a 20/1 shot but surprised everybody by coming fast and late to claim this six-furlong event. This Casamento filly's jockey, Graham Lee, had to negotiate his way through the twelve-strong field towards and, frankly, didn't look as though she had much of a chance of success about a furlong out. Miss Bar Beach, trained by Kenny Dalgleish, had made all running and wasn't going to cede victory very willingly. In the last fifty yards, however, it was all change. Castle Hill Cassie moved from the rail to the outside of Miss Bar Beach and managed to steal the race by half a length.

 

Pretty Good!

Two British-trained fillies dominated the finish of the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville yesterday – the Michael Bell-trained Pretty Pollyanna and Signora Cabello from John Quinn's yard. These two pulled well clear of their seven rivals in the closing stages of this five-furlong sprint. Pretty Pollyanna, winner of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes by seven lengths at Newmarket, showed that she was still on form when she tackled the first Group One race of the season for two-year-olds in France. An almighty duel ensued with Signora Cabello mounting a strong challenge and looking for a while as though she might follow up her Group Two victories in the Queen Mary Stakes and Prix Robert Papin. Pretty Pollyanna, however, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, was always dominant in the centre of the track as Karl Burke's Comedy led on the near side and when push came to shove, this Oasis Dream filly had enough in reserve to claim victory by three-quarters of a length.

 

High Price

There was only one Dubawi colt in the Arqana August Yearling Sale at Deauville and the Ballylinch Stud, based in Co Kilkenny, was clearly determined to own him. So much so that their representative, John O’Connor, forked out £1.25 million for the pleasure. The colt was jointly bred by the China Racing Club and Qatar Racing. Ballylinch Stud is owned by John Malone, an American billionaire businessman of Irish descent, who is chairman of Liberty Global whose portfolio includes, among others, Virgin Media.

 

19 August 2018

 

Joint Winner!

Dr Richard Kimble's victory in the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap at Ripon yesterday means that Mark Johnston has equalled Richard Hannon Sr's career total of

4,193 winners, becoming the joint winning-most trainer in British racing history. The Middleham-based handler started the day two behind but with nine runners across meetings at Doncaster, Newbury, Newmarket and Ripon he was almost certain to score. The first triumph came at Doncaster when the 9/2 shot, Quintada, upset the apple cart by beating the favourite, Mehdaayih, by three-quarters of a length in the Follow Sun Racing On Twitter EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes. Three hours later at Ripon another 9/2 chance, Dr Richard Kimble, ridden by Joe Fanning, made all the running in the last race of the day, the William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

High Five

Another great day for this Irish trainer at one of his favourite racing venues, Perth. Gordon Elliott and champion jockey, Richard Johnson, scored five times at the Scottish track yesterday. They started out as they meant to carry on when Make My Heart Fly won the first race of the day, the Supreme Recruitment Handicap Hurdle by sixteen lengths. Then half-an-hour later the dynamic duo's Galvin claimed the Supreme Fast Foods Maiden Hurdle. King's Song then made it three in a row when taking the next race, the Supreme Recruitment Handicap Hurdle by fifteen lengths. The Cullentra trainer was still on a roll when his Cubomania claimed the SPM Scotland Novices' Handicap Chase but was unlucky in the next two contests, however, when High Expectations got pipped at the post in the Stone Of Destiny Handicap Hurdle and the 7/4 favourite, Anytime Now, came third in the thesupremegroup.com Handicap Hurdle. There was still one runner left to fly the flag, though, and that was Carrie Des Champs in the Mackie's Ice Cream Dash Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race and the Robin Des Champs filly didn't let the side down, passing the line some seven lengths ahead of any rival.

 

A Merry Dance

It just wasn't the favourite's day in the Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes at Newbury. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Gustav Klimt, having been placed in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville, surprisingly finished way down the field. The David Elsworth-trained Sir Dancealot, however, already had two big races to his credit over his favourite seven furlongs this season, having scored in the Criterion Stakes at Newmarket in June and the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last month. Initially veteran French jockey Gerald Mosse kept the 4/1 shot was back in the field but the Sir Prancealot gelding soon made rapid progress and hit the front more than a furlong out and, from then on, never really looked in any danger and won by a length and a quarter.

 

18 August 2018

 

Another record!

So the Street Cry progeny has made it into the record books. The Chris Waller-trained Winx overtook the the legendary Black Caviar with her twenty-sixth victory at the Sydney racetrack. In a raced named in her honour, the Winx Stakes, the seven-year-old mare was partnered again by Hugh Bowman, who has now been on board for all but two of the winning rides. Winx surged down the straight to beat Invictus Prince by over a length, thereby notching up her nineteenth Group One success and continuing a winning streak that dates back to May 2015. Winx still has a long way to go, however, because the world record for most consecutive wins for a thoroughbred racehorse stands at fifty-six and that was achieved by Camarero in Puerto Rico between 1953 and 1955.

 

High Society

The Byerley Stud Stakes at Newbury was the opportunity for the Archie Watson-trained Shumookhi to show what she was made of and she certainly did that. She left her thirteen rivals trying to catch her up as she made all in this five-furlong sprint. The Society Rock filly has taken on some tough tasks since winning the Annual Badge Holder's Guest Day Fillies' Novice Auction Stakes at Catterick in May. Shumookhi, ridden by Oisin Murphy, was a 15/2 chance for this Listed assignment and her flying start gave her an early lead. By the final two furlongs it was clear that the rest of the field was struggling as she kept going for the line, winning by three lengths.

 

Hoping a New

Charlie Appleby can't wait to see his New Approach filly make another appearance in the Shadwell Prix de la Nonette at Deauville today. Hadith scored twice towards the end of her juvenile campaign but has been absent for nine months since winning the Listed Montrose Fillies' Stakes at Newmarket. Today's contest will be a tough one as she takes on seven rivals at Group Two level but the Newmarket trainer is clearly hoping for a good performance to complete her season.

 

17 August 2018

 

Three-time failure

For three successive years the favourite has failed to claim the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury. Nothing unusual about that, as such, but in this case it involves three horses with the same owner. The Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam added one more disappointment to his owner, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, when coming fourth in yesterday's biggest event of the year event at the Wiltshire track. The Frankel colt began the season with an impressive effort in the 2,000 Guineas but now he's become a bit of an enigma. As the exasperated North Yorkshire-based trainer put it: “Something’s bothering him!”

 

A 'C' not a 'K'!

It's never easy following in a father's footsteps, and when he's a six-time champion jockey with sixteen British Classic wins to his credit, deciding to become a jockey is a tough proposition. That's what the eighteen-year-old son of Kieren Fallon will be doing when he rides the Martin Smith-trained Rivers Of Asia in the Fly London Southend Airport To Budapest Handicap at Newmarket this evening. Cieren Fallon only got his licence two weeks ago and there had been speculation that he might ride in an apprentice race at Wolverhampton next week but it has been decided that he should take the plunge and try his luck against the likes of Andrea Atzeni, Fran Berry, Gerald Mosse, Hayley Turner and Tom Queally.

 

Race Track is Toast ...er

This Northamptonshire race track, which held its first meeting in 1928, may have run its last race. The future of Towcester racecourse is now in doubt after the company, which owns the track, announced that it is going to place the business into administration. The Towcester Racecourse Company Limited - the proprietors of Towcester Racecourse – stated that it was "currently experiencing trading difficulties". At short notice all fixtures for the weekend have been cancelled.

 

The William Hill Great St. Wilfrid Handicap, Ripon racecourse's most valuable contest is the feature event on Saturday. This famous six-furlong handicap for sprinters, always a bit of a conundrum for punters and once more, because of its £75,000 prize money, it has attracted a highly competitive field. Proof of this is that there are sixty-one entries at the five-day-stage and that number will reduced to a maximum of twenty by the day.

 

16 August 2018

 

Alpha Female

It looks like racegoers will have the pleasure of seeing this highly successful Mastercraftsman filly race as a four-year-old. Jessica Harrington has confirmed that she is confident that Alpha Centauri, the indubitable star of the 2018 flat season, after scintillating wins in four Group 1 races, will continue her campaign next season. The Niarchos Family-owned three-year-old, who triumphed in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville last Sunday, is due to run again in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 15th, the first day of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

 

Street Cry Mare

Recently voted the world's best racehorse, this Champion Australian Thoroughbred will have to prove it all over again when she faces ten rivals in Saturday's Group 1 Winx Stakes at the Royal Randwick Racecourse, Australia. The Chris Waller-trained Winx will be attempting to notch up her twenty-sixth consecutive victory and, thereby, overtake the unbeaten record of Black Caviar. The seven-year-old Street Cry mare will certainly be the long-odds-on favourite to win but she may not have it all her own way this time. James Cummings, Godolphin's head trainer in Australia, has changed his plans and decided that Kementari should take on the superstar and there are many who think that the Lonhro colt is a more attractive bet.

15 August 2018

 

The Winx Jinx?

Recently voted the world's best racehorse, this Champion Australian Thoroughbred bay mare will have to prove it all over again when she faces ten rivals in Saturday's Group 1 Winx Stakes at the Royal Randwick Racecourse, Australia. The Chris Waller-trained Winx will be attempting to notch up her twenty-sixth consecutive victory and, thereby, overtake the unbeaten record of Black Caviar. The seven-year-old Street Cry mare will certainly be the long-odds-on favourite to win but she may not have it all her own way this time. James Cummings, Godolphin's head trainer in Australia, has changed his plans and decided that Kementari should take on the superstar and there are many who think that the Lonhro colt is a more attractive bet.

 

Saints Alive!

The William Hill Great St. Wilfrid Handicap, Ripon racecourse's most valuable contest is the feature event on Saturday. This famous six-furlong handicap for sprinters, always a bit of a conundrum for punters because, with its £75,000 prize money, has attracted a highly competitive field. Proof of this is that there are sixty-one entries at the five-day-stage and that number will reduced to a maximum of twenty by the day.

 

Starring again.

It looks like racegoers will have the pleasure of seeing this highly successful Mastercraftsman filly race as a four-year-old. Jessica Harrington has confirmed that she is confident that Alpha Centauri, the indubitable star of the 2018 flat season, after scintillating wins in four Group 1 races, will continue her campaign next season. The Niarchos Family-owned three-year-old, who triumphed in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville last Sunday, is due to run again in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 15th, the first day of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.

 

14 August 2018

 

Pays to Advertise

The Martyn Meade-trained Advertise challenged Ballydoyle's supremacy in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and came out on top. Aidan O'Brien has claimed this six-furlong event sixteen times in the last twenty-one renewals, the first success in 1998. Since acquiring the Historic Manton Estate in late 2017, Martyn Meade, former polo player and Master of the Hounds, has gone from strength to strength with top-rate horses. Now he has notched up his first his first Group One winner he is hoping for bigger and better things to come. His Showcasing colt is now due for a couple of months' break before taking a crack at the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October

 

Shining Finish

The Dermot Weld-trained Making Light lived up to her name with an impressive three-length win in theGroup One Goffs Platinum Stakes at Cork. The Tamayuz filly had already claimed a Group Three race at Naas at the start of the season and then notched up a third at the same level in Group Two company at the Curragh in May. The four-year-old travelled particularly well under Declan McDonogh's stewardship and soon dominated long-time leader Pincheck with a furlong to run. By the time she reached the post, the Moyglare Stud-owned Making Light was three lengths to the good.

 

Shooting Star 

This Mastercraftsman filly claimed her fourth Group 1 victory in a row, this time at Deauville. The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri took on ten rivals in the Haras De Fresnay-le-buffard Jacques Le Marois Stakes at Deauville. The three-year-old, sporting the world-famous colours of her owners, the Niarchos Family, who had won this prestigious French feature race eight times before, initially tracked the leader in the second nearside group but, when urged by Olivier Peslier to challenge the overall leader, as they approached two furlongs from home, Alpha Centauri had no objections and soon galloped two lengths clear, increasing that to two and a half by the time she passed the post.

13 August 2018

 

Star Performer

This Mastercraftsman filly claimed her fourth Group 1 victory in a row, this time at Deauville. The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri took on ten rivals in the Haras De Fresnay-le-buffard Jacques Le Marois Stakes at Deauville yesterday. The three-year-old, sporting the world-famous colours of her owners, the Niarchos Family, who had won this prestigious French feature race eight times before, initially tracked the leader in the second nearside group but, when urged by Olivier Peslier to challenge the overall leader, as they approached two furlongs from home, Alpha Centauri had no objections and soon galloped two lengths clear, increasing that to two and a half by the time she passed the post.

 

Light Work

The Dermot Weld-trained Making Light lived up to her name with an impressive three-length win in theGroup One Goffs Platinum Stakes at Cork yesterday. The Tamayuz filly had already claimed a Group Three race at Naas at the start of the season and then notched up a third at the same level in Group Two company at the Curragh in May. The four-year-old travelled particularly well under Declan McDonogh's stewardship and soon dominated long-time leader Pincheck with a furlong to run. By the time she reached the post, the Moyglare Stud-owned Making Light was three lengths to the good.

 

A Million Dollars!

The British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes at Ayr this afternoon will include a Karl Burke-trained Scat Daddy filly, who was bought at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale for a million dollars. Mistress Of Love makes her debut for Phoenix Thoroughbreds, part of the Amer Abdulaziz’s operation.

 

12 August 2018

 

Well, they did it!

Believe it or not yesterday was the eighteenth renewal of the Shergar Cup, the world’s premier jockeys’ competition in which three top riders in each of four teams - Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, Rest of the World and The Girls – race against each other in an exciting six-race competition. There was something different this year, however, The Girls won! Hayley Turner, Hollie Doyle and Josephine Gordon, secured the team prize with 76 points, with the European team in second place on 70. It was a double celebration for The Girls, as Hayley Turner was awarded the Silver Saddle as top jockey on the day.

 

No Luck

Things didn't go so well for the European riders at Arlington last night, however. Chad Brown scored in the Beverly D Stakes with Sistercharlie and Robert Bruce rode Almanaar to victory in the Arlington Million. The Secretariat Stakes, the other Grade One race on the fixture, was won by Tom Morley when Carrick unexpectedly beat Analyze It. Dermot Weld produced a good result for the Europeans when Bandua got the best placing in the Secretariat. Aidan O'Brien, however, failed to score with Hunting Horn and Lucius Tiberius, although his son, Joseph, got a six spot with Ming. The Mark Johnston-trained Nyaleti also came sixth in the Beverly D. Simon Crisford's Century Dream crossed the line third in the Arlington Million but was subsequently demoted to fourth.

 

Another Edition

This Zoffany filly notched up her fifth victory from six runs when she made all in the german-thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. The Mark Johnston-trained Main Edition was bidding to make amends for her disappointing performance in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at this Suffolk track last time out. PJ McDonald sent the two-year-old straight into the lead, where she held her own gamely and defeated Charlie Appleby's La Pelosa by a length and a quarter.

 

11 August 2018

 

Christmas Present

The Festive Season arrived early at Tipperary when this Galileo colt presented his connections with a win in the Coolmore Caravaggio Stakes. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Christmas, ridden by Ballydoyle boss's son, Donnacha, went off eagerly into the lead, clearly determined to follow up his maiden success at Roscommon at the beginning of July. The two-year-old's main threat was clearly to come from Highland Fortune, who was kept in a handy fourth slot by Billy Lee, and for a while looked as though he was going better than Christmas,

and even seemed to edge in front inside the final furlong. The latter, however, refused to be daunted and fought back to deny victory to his fellow joint-favourite by a neck.

 

Full Mark's

Victory in the Archerfield Cup Handicap at Musselburgh yesterday made it five in a row for the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Archipenko gelding. Timoshenko is the type of horse this Newmarket-based handler does well with. The three-year-old gelding was disappointing on his first five outings as a two-year-old, though, but has thrived since being stepped up to longer trips, first to one mile and a half and to two miles at Chepstow two weeks ago. The Middleham Park Racing-owned Timoshenko paid the price for his current success, however, as he carried a sixteen-pound penalty for the nigh-on two-mile contest. With Luke Morris aboard, Timoshenko went into the lead in the final two-hundred yards, beating off a last-minute challenge from Mark Johnston's Austrian School to win by a neck.

 

A Vin Win

X Rated's success in the Smarkets Betting Exchange Handicap at Haydock not only provided Hong Kong-based jockey, Vincent Ho, with a win on his first ride in England but also nudged trainer, Mark Johnston, closer to breaking the record for number of winners trained in Britain. The former Hong Kong champion apprentice, unfortunately, has had visa problems which delayed his riding overseas so now and he will only be able to stay for ten days. The twenty-eight-year-old rider, therefore, wasn't about to waste any time and demonstrated all his equine skills at the Merseyside track. The 6/1 shot grey seemed to take a while to get into his stride but he always looked a winner and proved it by claiming the ten-furlong race by half a length.

 

10 August 2018

 

Gimme Five!

The Archerfield Cup Handicap at Musselburgh today looks like giving this Sir Mark Prescott -trained Archipenko gelding the chance to make it five in a row. Timoshenko is the type of horse this Newmarket-based handler does well with. The three-year-old gelding didn't do well on his first five outings as a two-year-old but has thrived since being stepped up to longer trips, first to one mile and a half and to two miles at Chepstow two weeks ago. The Middleham Park Racing-owned Timoshenko has paid the price for his current success as he now carries a sixteen-pound penalty for today's nigh-on two-mile contest. It looks like, however, that he could still have more to come.

 

Gung Ho!

X Rated's success in the Smarkets Betting Exchange Handicap at Haydock yesterday not only provided Hong Kong-based jockey, Vincent Ho, with a win on his first ride in England but also nudged trainer, Mark Johnston, closer to breaking the record for number of winners trained in Britain. The former Hong Kong champion apprentice, unfortunately, has had visa problems which delayed his riding overseas so he will only be able to stay for ten days. The twenty-eight-year-old rider, therefore, wasn't about to waste any time and demonstrated all his equine skills at the Merseyside track. The 6/1 shot grey seemed to take a while to get into his stride but he always looked a winner and proved it by claiming the ten-furlong race by half a length.

 

Too Hot to handle

This Dubawi colt certainly lived up to his name in the current climate when cruising to a seven-length victory on his debut at Sandown last night. The Andrew Lloyd Webber-owned (and bred) Too Darn Hot, trained by John Gosden, soon outran his four rivals in this one-mile Slug And Lettuce 2-4-1 Tanqueray Thursdays EBF Maiden Stakes. Another credit to his Dam,Yorkshire Oaks and Dubai Sheema Classic winner, Dar Re Mi, who was retired to stud in 2010.

9 August 2018

 

They're the Tops!

A County Tipperary jockey, now based in this country, went into the history books at Yarmouth last night. Jamie Spencer joined the elite list of the top twenty highest-scoring Flat jockeys in Britain. The thirty-eight-year-old rider achieved this honour when he rode the David Simcock-trained Late Change to victory in the Gold And Silver Exchange Of Great Yarmouth Fillies' Handicap, thereby notching up his 2,069th winner. Jamie Spencer now takes his place alongside current jockeys, Joe Fanning, Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori. This illustrious list also features legendary riders such as Sir Gordon Richard, Fred Archer, Pat Eddery, Lester Piggott and Willie Carson.

 

'A little fire in the gorse'

Drama of a different kind at the East Coast track. Racing was delayed twice after two fires erupted close to the back straight. The first blaze occurred just after the first race, ironically sponsored by Electrical Contractors, but the fire brigade was quickly on the scene and had no problems containing that fire, which meant the second race went off without delay. The second incident, however, happened closer to the track, spreading onto the adjacent golf course and looked more serious than the first. This caused the third race, the Nikki Meadows Birthday Bash Handicap, to be delayed by ten minutes or so but more fire crews were on hand by this time so this second blaze was dealt with promptly and racing continued. With typical British understatement, Richard Aldous, the Clerk of the Course, commented: "Australians would call it a bush fire, we would call it a little fire in the gorse.

 

Alpha Female

It's been an exciting season for this Cork jockey, particularly when riding the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpha Centauri, winner of three Group Ones in a row, (the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Coronation and Falmouth Stakes). There's more to come as the County Kildare handler is now sending her stable star off to Deauville on Sunday where Colm O'Donoghue hopes to continue this unbroken record. The Mastercraftsman filly takes on the colts for the first time in the Prix Jacques le Marois. As the three-year-old grey is at her best on good ground, it's good news for connections that the forecast storm unexpectedly by-passed the Normandy track.

 

8 August 2018

 

Dazzling Dozen

The County Carlow king has once again been crowned the leading trainer at the Galway Festival. Willie Mullins equalled his last-year score of twelve winners, which included claiming the feature event on five of the seven days. The highlight of the Festival was obviously Sharjah's triumph in the Galway Hurdle on Friday, making it a family affair as trainer's son, Patrick, was in the saddle. Another remarkable victory was that of Riven Light, who won the BMW Mile for the second year in a row and that, despite nearly a ten-month absence from the track due to a serious leg injury sustained in Australia last October. Only one other trainer has notched up more more winners in a week at Galway and that is Dermot Weld who established the record of seventeen wins in 2011.

 

Fire Away!

A former top-class hurdler, who used to be trained by Willie Mullins, before being retired earlier this year, made a winning comeback at Cork. That was because Arctic Fire's owner, Nick Peacock, subsequently changed his mind and returned the nine-year-old to training with Denis Cullen in his County Kildare stables. The Soldier Hollow gelding has had two outings since coming out of retirement at Punchestown and Cork, coming an impressive third on both occasions but he hadn't had a win since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Not surprisingly, Arctic Fire was the 11/8 favourite in the three-mile Joe Walsh Memorial Hurdle at the Killarney Road track. With Denis O’Regan in the saddle Arctic Fire jumped particularly well, and passed the leader, Flaxen Flare, between two and three out, kicking clear to win by eight lengths.

 

Lady's Day

This Dragon Pulse filly proved that she was worthy of favouritism in the feature event at the Curragh, the Mongey Communications Race. The Jessica Harrington-trained Chicas Amigas, partnered by Colm O'Donoghue, couldn't wait to get out of the stalls and show her predominantly male rivals the way to the finishing post. She was in the lead as the runners turned into the straight in this six-furlong contest but she had a bit of a battle in the closing stages when Evasive Power took over briefly. Chicas Amigas, however, made a determined effort and claimed the prize by a short-head.

 

7 August 2018

 

Back Fire

A former top-class hurdler, who used to be trained by Willie Mullins, before being retired earlier this year, made a winning comeback at Cork yesterday. That was because Arctic Fire's owner, Nick Peacock, subsequently changed his mind and returned the nine-year-old to training with Denis Cullen in his County Kildare stables. The Soldier Hollow gelding has had two outings since coming out of retirement at Punchestown and Cork, coming an impressive third on both occasions but he hadn't had a win since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. Not surprisingly, Arctic Fire was the 11/8 favourite in the three-mile Joe Walsh Memorial Hurdle at the Killarney Road track. With Denis O’Regan in the saddle Arctic Fire jumped particularly well, and passed the leader, Flaxen Flare, between two and three out, kicking clear to win by eight lengths.

 

Girl Power

This Dragon Pulse filly proved that she was worthy of favouritism in yesterday's feature event at the Curragh, the Mongey Communications Race. The Jessica Harrington-trained Chicas Amigas, partnered by Colm O'Donoghue, couldn't wait to get out of the stalls and show her predominantly male rivals the way to the finishing post. She was in the lead as the runners turned into the straight in this six-furlong contest but she had a bit of a battle in the closing stages when Evasive Power took over briefly. Chicas Amigas, however, made a determined effort and claimed the prize by a short-head.

 

The Galway Governor

The County Carlow king has once again been crowned the leading trainer at the Galway Festival. Willie Mullins equalled his last-year score of twelve winners, which included claiming the feature event on five of the seven days. The highlight of the Festival was obviously Sharjah's triumph in the Galway Hurdle on Friday, making it a family affair as trainer's son, Patrick, was in the saddle. Another remarkable victory was that of Riven Light, who won the BMW Mile for the second year in a row and that, despite nearly a ten-month absence from the track due to a serious leg injury sustained in Australia last October. Only one other trainer has notched up more more winners in a week at Galway and that is Dermot Weld who established the record of seventeen wins in 2011.

 

6 August 2018

 

Playing it Safe

The final afternoon of the Galway Festival added to the exciting racing of the week when an English raider, still well back in the field when the sixteen runners rounded the turn for home, made little of the final hill to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Ahonoora' Handicap. The John Quinn-trained Safe Voyage was a 7/1 shot on his first outing since his resounding victory in the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap at Haydock in May. The £90,000 feature even was bound to be a very competitive affair with trainers Brian Ellison's Baraweez and Jarlath Fahey's Dream Walker, both bidding to win the race for a third time. With the Irish-based, seven-pound claimer, Sean Davis, aboard, however, the five-year-old fast Company gelding thwarted the ambitions of both his rivals.

 

Go on, my Sun!

Willie Mullins notched up his fifth feature race of the Galway Festival when Katie O'Farrell rode Low Sun to victory in the Galway Shopping Centre Handicap Hurdle. The duo's last success was at the Curragh last month and a similar result was expected this time. The Champs Elysees gelding was making good progress in the early stages but seemed to have been caught napping when headed briefly by Harry Fry's Minella Awards, who for a brief moment looked as though he could provide the Brits with a first winner of the week. 7/1 shot, Low Sun, however, fought back bravely and won by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Win by a Head!

Even the French racegoers must have had to hold back a few tears as this Newmarket-based trainer was denied his first Group 1 prize in the final stages of the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville yesterday. George Scott's James Garfield was robbed of victory by the dramatic record-breaking late charge of Polydream. The Exceed And Excel colt, wearing blinkers for the first time, attempted to take the race from the outset with a bold front-running attack. Maxime Guyon, however, aboard the Freddie head-trained Polydream, produced a courageous challenge in the dying strides of this six-furlong contest and, thereby, gave his trainer a record seventh success.

 

5 August 2018

 

A Gifted horse

This Kodiac gelding has won over a variety of distances in his twenty-six-race career and notched up his only other handicap victory at Newmarket in May. The Hugo Palmer-trained Gifted Master defied top weight, taking advantage of a five-pound claim by apprentice jockey, Jason Watson, produced a thrilling run in the Unibet Stewards' Cup at Goodwood yesterday. The five-year-old is usually a front-runner but he was passed at about at halfway by Justanotherbottle, trained by Declan Carroll, gaining the advantage of being nearer the stands rail than Gifted Master who came out of stall 25. It was a close thing as the dynamic duo flashed past the post but the 20/1 shot, Gifted Master, won by a short head.

 

Rossa the Bossa

A former champion pony rider has now clearly got the Stobart champion apprenticeship title in his sights after registering the first treble of his career at Ffos Las. County Galway-born Rossa Ryan came nowhere in the first four races of the evening but suddenly his luck changed in the last three events. He steered the Jamie Osborne-trained Sicario to a one-and-a-half-length victory in the Mintbet 100% Horse Racing Acca Boost Handicap. Half an hour later he was in the winner's enclosure again after partnering Richard hannon's Zalshah. The eighteen-year-old rider then finished the evening with success aboard ten-year-old Swendab, trained by John O'Shea. This treble moved Rossa Ryan onto twenty four winners for the championship season and his chances of winning the title were increased by the news a few days ago that the

defending champion David Egan, who was already well in the lead, had pulled out of the competition by taking out his professional licence.

 

Thanks a Million! (or two!)

After winning his debut contest at Yarmouth last October, when trained by William Haggas, this Dansili colt was bought for over £2 million by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and moved to Roger Varian's Newmarket stables. Willie John, with Andrea Atzeni aboard, made his first down payment when easily winning the Unison And LV Liverpool Victoria Car Insurance Novice Stakes at Doncaster. The three-year-old was a bit keen in the early stages of his first seasonal appearance but Andrea Atzeni soon managed to settle him down and almost seamlessly Willie John cruised five lengths clear of Sir Michael Stoute's Hidden Depths.

4 August 2018

 

Four out of Five

The County Carlow king notched up his fourth feature race victory in the first five days of the 2018 Galway Festival with another outsider not fancied by the betting market. The Willie Mullins-trained Nessun Dorma, ridden by Billy Lee, stepped up alongside stable companions, Uradel, who won the Connacht Hotel QR Race on Monday; Riven Light, hero of the Colm Quinn BMW Mile on Tuesday and Sharjah who carried off the spoils in the Guinness Galway Hurdle on Thursday. The Canford Cliffs gelding was kept in front from the start, and after gaining two lengths' advantage in the straight, managed to shrug off a renewed challenge from Gavin Comwell's Princess Yaiza and win by a neck.

 

Rossa the bossa

A former champion pony rider has now clearly got the Stobart champion apprenticeship title in his sights after registering the first treble of his career at Ffos Las. County Galway-born Rossa Ryan came nowhere in the first four races of the evening but suddenly his luck changed in the last three events. He steered the Jamie Osborne-trained Sicario to a one-and-a-half-length victory in the Mintbet 100% Horse Racing Acca Boost Handicap. Half an hour later he was in the winner's enclosure again after partnering Richard hannon's Zalshah. The eighteen-year-old rider then finished the evening with success aboard ten-year-old Swendab, trained by John O'Shea. This treble moved Rossa Ryan onto twenty four winners for the championship season and his chances of winning the title were increased by the news a few days ago that the

defending champion David Egan, who was already well in the lead, had pulled out of the competition by taking out his professional licence.

 

Enable and willing

Connections are obviously keeping their fingers crossed that their Nathaniel filly will be ready to return to action in the Juddmonte International at York in three weeks' time. The John Gosden-trained Enable, has been off the track after experiencing problems earlier in the season but, it appears, after a gallop at Newmarket, the Khalid Abdullah-owned four-year-old is well on the mend. Clearly in mind is Enable's defence of her Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe crown in October. Racing Manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, however, is adamant that the multiple Group One winner won't be rushed into anything as there are other options if the York outing is too soon.

 

3 August 2018

 

Victory on a Plate

Trainer Gordon Elliott continued his successful season when Clarcam romped home to a six-length victory in thetote.com Galway Plate, despite his being the 33/1 outsider. The Califet gelding, a successful dual Grade One-winning chaser, hadn't scored since November 2017 so he was largely overlooked by punters. Jockey, Mark Enright, however, obviously appreciated what calibre of horse he was riding and positioned the eight-year-old close to the front from the off. By a quirk of fate the Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner found himself in the lead when when Harry Fry's Drumcliff took a tumble six fences from home. Taking advantage of that situation, Clarcam steadily extended his lead over the rest of the field and was way ahead when negotiating the final obstacle. Not surprisingly he tired somewhat on the long stretch home which briefly gave the Willie Mullins-trained favourite, Patricks Park, some hope but he failed to close the gap and Clarcam passed the post six lengths ahead.

 

Quite a Fellah!

A successful three-mile hurdler, with over £400,000 in prize money to his credit, astounded his owners by winning the Matchbook Betting Podcast Goodwood Handicap at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. The Neil King-trained Lil Rockerfeller, winner of the Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot in November, is rated 153 over hurdles but only 82 on the Flat. Incredibly this Hard Spun gelding hasn't raced on the Flat for more than three years. That, however, didn't stop the seven-year-old from dominating his thirteen rivals and claiming victory by fifteen lengths, providing connections with a very welcome £31,125 in prize money.

 

Glorious Feeling

This Bated Breath filly certainly took punters' breath away when she won the Victoria Racing Club Maiden Fillies' Stakes at odds of 125/1. The George Baker-trained Feel Glorious, having come nowhere in her first two career outings at Brighton and Kempton in June and July, was kept in mid-division by Pat Cosgrave for quite a while but she stayed on strongly and took the lead about a hundred yards from home. The 4/1 favourite, Alhakmah, trained by Richard Hannon, challenged gamely in the final stages but was denied victory by a neck. At those odds all her backers couldn't help but feel glorious!

 

2 August 2018

 

Goodwood and Glorious

This Bated Breath filly certainly took punters' breath away when she won the Victoria Racing Club Maiden Fillies' Stakes at odds of 125/1. The George Baker-trained Feel Glorious, having come nowhere in her first two career outings at Brighton and Kempton in June and July, was kept in mid-division by Pat Cosgrave for quite a while but she stayed on strongly and took the lead about a hundred yards from home. The 4/1 favourite, Alhakmah, trained by Richard Hannon, challenged gamely in the final stages but was denied victory by a neck. At those odds all her backers couldn't help but feel glorious!

 

Lil Big Win

A successful three-mile hurdler, with over £400,000 in prize money to his credit, astounded his owners by winning the Matchbook Betting Podcast Goodwood Handicap at the Qatar Goodwood Festival yesterday. The Neil King-trained Lil Rockerfeller, winner of the Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot in November, is rated 153 over hurdles but only 82 on the Flat. Incredibly this Hard Spun gelding hasn't raced on the Flat for more than three years. That, however, didn't stop the seven-year-old from dominating his thirteen rivals and claiming victory by fifteen lengths, providing connections with a very welcome £31,125 in prize money.

 

Further success

Trainer Gordon Elliott continued his successful season when Clarcam romped home to a six-length victory in thetote.com Galway Plate, despite his being the 33/1 outsider. The Califet gelding, a successful dual Grade One-winning chaser, hadn't scored since November 2017 so he was largely overlooked by punters. Jockey, Mark Enright, however, obviously appreciated what calibre of horse he was riding and positioned the eight-year-old close to the front from the off. By a quirk of fate the Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner found himself in the lead when when Harry Fry's Drumcliff took a tumble six fences from home. Taking advantage of that situation, Clarcam steadily extended his lead over the rest of the field and was way ahead when negotiating the final obstacle. Not surprisingly he tired somewhat on the long stretch home which briefly gave the Willie Mullins-trained favourite, Patricks Park, some hope but he failed to close the gap and Clarcam passed the post six lengths ahead.

 

1 August 2018

 

Another String

The odds-on favourite Sea The Stars gelding struck the right chord again with a back-to-back victory in the Goodwood Cup yesterday. Stradivarius, trained by John Gosden, denied victory to the two Irish raiders who had come to claim his crown. The biggest threat came from the Jessica Harrington-trained Torcedor, with Colm O'Donoghue aboard, who set the early pace but the 4/5 favourite Stradivarius, partnered by Andrea Atzeni, covered every move and snatched the lead a furlong from home. The Fastnet Rock gelding struck back but Stradivarius increased the tempo and went on to win by by half a length. The other Irish challenger, Aidan O'Brien's Idaho, was clearly outpaced and came in third, two lengths behind. This triumph, following success in the Yorkshire Cup in May, now means that Stradivarius could present his connections with a £1 million bonus for being the best stayer of the season, if he can win the Lonsdale Cup at next month's Ebor Festival.

 

Leading Light

This Raven's Pass gelding's last race was in Australia in October, where he sustained a serious leg injury and subsequently had to have screws inserted. So after this lengthy absence it was a surprise and a joy to see the Willie Mullins-trained Riven Light back in top form and winning the Colm Quinn BMW Mile Handicap for the second successive year at Galway. Initially the prospects didn't look good as the Rich Ricci-owned six-year-old not only had to deal with competing off a mark some sixteen pounds higher than last year but, he also had to overcome the disadvantage of coming out of stall 18. Ridden by the trainer's nephew, Danny, much better known as a jumps rider, Riven Light, even some way out seemed to be travelling better than any of his sixteen rivals and the question was whether he would run out of steam as he hadn't raced for over nine months. There was no cause for concern, however, as the 11/1 shot stayed on powerfully, beating Aidan O'Brien's Bond Street by three-quarters of a length and thus becoming only the second horse ever to win back-to-back renewals of this contest.

 

Fire!

A horsebox arriving at Goodwood yesterday with a runner for today's meeting caught fire on the road outside the track. The vehicle was transporting the Ed Dunlop-trained Fabulous Red, entered for the one-and-quarter-mile EBF Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap. Robin Trevor Jones, the travelling head man commented: “ “Fabulous Red was in the box but she’s safe and sound. The first I knew was when Mark Johnston said, 'Is this your horse?' and I said, 'Yes!'. He explained it had come off a horsebox that had caught fire on the road. It’s not ideal but she’s perfectly all right.”

 

31 July 2018

 

 

Another String?

Two Irish raiders are here with hopes of bagging the Goodwood Cup today. Jessica Harrington is bidding for Group One glory with Torcedor and Aidan O’Brien saddles Idaho for this opening-day Goodwood Festival highlight. The one they both have to beat, though, is the John Gosden-trained Stradivarius, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup. An added bonus for the latter is that, if he scores today, he will only need one more victory in York’s Lonsdale Cup in three weeks' time to secure a £1 million bonus for dominating this season’s staying division.

 

Ruby Monday!

The jockey from Kill, County Kildare was back in action yesterday, claiming his first victory after four months' absence since breaking his leg for a second time at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Ruby Walsh was aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Easy Game who certainly lived up to his name in the galmont.com & galwaybayhotel.com Novice Hurdle, the opening race of the 2018 Galway Festival. The Barastraight gelding, sent off the 5/4 favourite, went into the lead early on and was still in front three furlongs out. The four-year-old made an impressive leap at the last and still had plenty in reserve to beat off a challenge from the Gordon Elliott-trained Count Simon to win by four and a quarter lengths.

 

Benbatl's a win

This Saeed bin Suroor-trained Dubawi colt, three-time winner at Meydan earlier in the year, including a brilliant victory in the Dubai Turf on World Cup night, was in top form again in the Grosser Dallmayr Preis - Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich last night. Four-year-old Benbatl produced a disappointing performance when favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, finishing well down the field but this time, with a confident Oisin Murphy aboard, certainly dominated a perhaps less challenging field.

30 July 2018

 

Bookie Bashing!

It has been estimated that a Brazilian rider and a Rutland-based trainer cost the Bookies £2.5 million at Pontefract yesterday. Champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa scored on all his four rides for Mick Appleby - Michele Strogoff, Big Country, Future Score and Classic Pursuit, with total odds of 654/1. Silvestre de Sousa's amazing performance made it an expensive day for BoyleSports, with one punter reportedly winning over £14,000 for a stake of just £13 on a Lucky 31 bet. It seems the Bookies' Saturday profits were wiped out in about five minutes on Sunday!

 

Never too old!

It may be nine years since Sir Michael Stoute last won the Champion trainer title (his tenth) and chances of landing the crown again seemed remote - until last week, that is. After the Berkshire-based trainer's 1/2 triumph in Saturday’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot with Poet’s Word and Crystal Ocean the seventy-two-year-old's odds for winning an eleventh title have been slashed from 20/1 to 6/1. If his Jersey Stakes winner, Expert Eye, were to claim the £1million Group One Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, then the odds could be even shorter. Sir Michael Stoute is actually almost £700,000 in prize money behind John Gosden, the current title race leader, but the latter has problems with two of his top horses: Enable is recovering from injury and Cracksman needs to have softer ground.

 

Big Win

This High Chaparral gelding was a popular winner of the Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract. The Mick Appleby-trained Big Country got away smartly in this six-strong, one-mile contest. Silvestre De Sousa decided to urge his mount to join the other two runners charting a course on the wide outside. This trio eventually attracted the company of the other three starters, with David O'Meara's Salateen leading the way as they entered the straight. Big Country managed to get his head in front about a furlong from home, however, and kept on well to claim the Listed honours by half a length.

 

29 July 2018

 

My Word!

It was a Knight's day at Ascot. Winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes a month ago, Poet's Word, trained by Sir Michael Stoute won the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and thereby gave the Barbadian handler a record-breaking sixth success in this one-and-a-half-mile feature event. Rostropovich and Salouen set a strong pace from the start and James Doyle, aboard the Poet's Voice progeny, had a lot to do from the back of the field but managed to edge the five-year-old to the front in the last hundred yards. William Buick, at this stage, riding Crystal Ocean, lookeand gave chase, ultimately beating his stable companion by a neck, making it a one-two for the Beech Hurst Stables.

 

Neck and Neck

After this Exchange Rate gelding's impressive performance in yesterday's Sky Bet York Stakes, he could well be in a good position to bid for the Juddmonte International in just under a month's time. Runner-up in the John Smith's Cup over the same course and distance two weeks ago, Thundering Blue came galloping home late to claim the Group Two honours, presenting his trainer, David Menuisier, his biggest success to date. The Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam set out to make all the running in a bid to make amends for his disappointing run in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and was well in the lead in the last two-hundred yards. Fran Berry, however, wasn't about to give in so easily and urged Thundering Blue on to win by a neck.

 

From Place to Place!

Last June a horse owner achieved the remarkable feat of having had a runner at every racecourse in the country. Once he had this goal behind him, David Henery immediately focused his attention on his next personal milestone – a horse winning or placing at every track. Luckily he seems to have a willing partner to carry out this unique personal quest. An impressive grey, Vincenzo Coccotti, was a close runner-up in Thursday’s ITV7 Starts Now Handicap at Doncaster, making it the six-year-old's fifth placing in a row. The recent results were achieved at Newbury, Bath, Wetherby, Yarmouth and Doncaster.

28 July 2018

 

Coulis keeps cool

It's been more than twelve years since this North Yorkshire trainer had a winner at Ascot so yesterday was a big day. David Barron saddled Clon Coulis in the Markerstudy British EBF Valiant Stakes. This Vale Of York filly, having claimed her first Listed success in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract last time out, seemed comfortable doing the same again. With Ben Curtis aboard, the four-year-old surged into the lead inside the final furlong and succeeded in beating off a challenge from the Ralph Beckett-trained Di Fede to win by a neck. With typical Northern irony David Barron commented: "That was all right, I'll have to come back!

 

Bath without water!

As a result of the prolonged spell of dry weather, next Friday's meeting at Bath has been rescheduled to Wolverhampton. Due to its high location on Lansdown Hill, the Somerset track does not have a watering system. While Wednesday's fixture took place without any problems, it was decided that, as the ground was hard in places, the venue should be changed.

 

He knows his place!

Last June a horse owner achieved the remarkable feat of having had a runner at every racecourse in the country. Once he had this goal behind him, David Henery immediately focused his attention on his next personal milestone – a horse winning or placing at every track. Luckily he seems to have a willing partner to carry out this unique personal quest. An impressive grey, Vincenzo Coccotti, was a close runner-up in Thursday’s ITV7 Starts Now Handicap at Doncaster, making it the six-year-old's fifth placing in a row. The recent results were achieved at Newbury, Bath, Wetherby, Yarmouth and Doncaster.

 

27 July 2018

 

Disappointing Diva

This Camelot filly didn't answer her connections' prayers when coming last of six in the Jockey Club Of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Goddess, a ten-length winner at the track earlier in the month, was, as expected, the hot favourite for this seven-furlong event and Ryan Moore certainly gave the two-year-old a positive ride. Just as the Brighton-born jockey really started to get to work on her, about two furlongs from home, however, suddenly the Patrick Prendergast-trained Skitter Scatter appeared ominously from behind. This Scat Daddy filly was responding well to Ronan Whelan's encouragement and when he gave the signal, the 10/1 shot surged ahead and still had plenty in reserve in the final hundred yards to score by a length and a half.

 

Bye, Bye, Justify!

It has just been announced that the recent Triple Crown winner will not race again. So the Scat Daddy colt concludes his all-to-brief career on the track with a perfect six-out-of-six record, starting in February and concluding in June. Including, of course, the memorable triumphs in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes when he became only the thirteenth all-time winner of the US Triple Crown.

 

An offer they couldn't refuse!

The ante-post favourite for the Unibet Golden Mile at the Qatar Goodwood Festival has been sold and will continue his racing career in Hong Kong. Tigre Du Terre trained by Richard Hannon, was the 6/1 favourite for this event, after an impressive victory on his handicap debut at Sandown last time out. Tim Palin, a spokesman for the owners, Middleham Park Racing, commented: "We were as impressed as everyone else was at Sandown and he looked like a Group-race performer there. It was a private deal, but the figure we were offered was astronomical and we would have been foolhardy to turn it down. I believe they are buying him with the Hong Kong Derby in mind and I wish the

 

26 July 2018

 

Bye, Bye, Justify!

It has just been announced that the recent Triple Crown winner will not race again. The Bob Baffert-trained Justify has been forced into early retirement due to ankle problems. The Scat Daddy colt concludes his all-to-brief career on the track with a perfect six-out-of-six record, including the memorable triumphs in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes when he became only the thirteenth all-time winner of the US Triple Crown.

 

Will prayers be answered?

Today's Jockey Club Of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown will probably be dominated by this Camelot filly who is the short favourite. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Goddess only managed ninth out eleven runners on her debut at the Curragh at the end of June but then went on to register an hugely impressive ten-length victory over this course and distance in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden a fortnight ago. It was that performance that gained her ante-post favouritism with some bookmakers

 

Hold that Tiger!

The ante-post favourite for the Unibet Golden Mile at the Qatar Goodwood Festival has been sold and will continue his racing career in Hong Kong. Tigre Du Terre trained by Richard Hannon, was the 6/1 favourite for this event, after an impressive victory on his handicap debut at Sandown last time out. Tim Palin, a spokesman for the owners, Middleham Park Racing, commented: "We were as impressed as everyone else was at Sandown and he looked like a Group-race performer there. It was a private deal, but the figure we were offered was astronomical and we would have been foolhardy to turn it down. I believe they are buying him with the Hong Kong Derby in mind and I wish them every success."

 

25 July 2018

 

Fastest Fifty

The County Carlow king broke the fifty-winner barrier for the season in Ballinrobe last night. Willie Mullins, on a rare visit to the County Mayo track, also notched up his fastest ever half-century of National Hunt winners. The night started well when Masons Daughter, on only her second start over fences, proved she was too good for her fourteen rivals and, ridden by Patrick Mullins, made the most of the running and won by eighteen lengths. The next triumph came in the Investec Rated Novice Hurdle Pleasure Dome, this time with Paul Townend in charge, went into a four-length lead before three hurdles from home and ran on well to win by two-and-quarter lengths.

 

Stoute-hearted Man

Sir Michael Stoute is bidding to become the most successful trainer in the history of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. The Barbados-born trainer first won the King George in 1981 with Shergar. Then went on to score with Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010). He currently shares the honour of being the race's most successful trainer with Saeed Bin Suroor and the late Dick Hern. In an attempt to claim sole glory Sir Michael Stoute has called on the services of James Doyle, who maintains his partnership with Prince of Wales's Stakes winner, Poet's Word, and William Buick who will be aboard Crystal Ocean.

 

Not Dead yet!

The 188Bet Mobile Bet10 Get20 Novices' Handicap Chase at Market Rasen was declared a dead heat and one of the trainers was not happy with that decision and asked the BHA to review the result. The Ian Williams-trained Royal Village stayed on well under pressure and joined the leader, Whoshotwho, as they passed the post. The senior racecourse judge on duty had no mirror image available so, because Royal Village's head almost totally obscured that of the Beneficial gelding, he had no choice but to declare a dead-heat. Trainers have five days to lodge an appeal, which will be considered by Nick Bostock, Market Rasen's judge of the day, and BHA officials, including Emma Marley, who is the BHA's head of race-day operations.

 

24 July 2018

 

Result very much alive.

The 188Bet Mobile Bet10 Get20 Novices' Handicap Chase at Market Rasen was declared a dead heat and one of the trainers is not happy with that decision and has asked the BHA to review the result. The Ian Williams-trained Royal Village stayed on well under pressure and joined the leader, Whoshotwho, as they passed the post. The senior racecourse judge on duty had no mirror image available so, because Royal Village's head almost totally obscured that of the Beneficial gelding, he had no choice but to declare a dead-heat. Trainers have five days to lodge an appeal, which will be considered by Nick Bostock, Market Rasen's judge of the day, and BHA officials, including Emma Marley, who is the BHA's head of race-day operations.

 

Good Choice

Trainer John Quinn's decision to bypass the Weatherbys Super Sprint and go for the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte instead, worked out well. Signora Cabello, winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last month just pipped the previously unbeaten Sexy Metro at the post. As expected Pocket Dynamo, trained by Robert Cowell, took an early lead of the five-strong field, closely pursued by the 6/4 favourite, Signora Cabello. The latter hit the front in the final two hundred yards and kept on gamely to claim another Group Two honour.

 

Aiming for the top

Sir Michael Stoute is bidding to become the most successful trainer in the history of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. The Barbados-born trainer first won the King George in 1981 with Shergar. Then went on to score with Opera House (1993), Golan (2002), Conduit (2009) and Harbinger (2010). He currently shares the honour of being the race's most successful trainer with Saeed Bin Suroor and the late Dick Hern. In an attempt to claim sole glory Sir Michael Stoute has called on the services of James Doyle, who maintains his partnership with Prince of Wales's Stakes winner, Poet's Word, and William Buick who will be aboard Crystal Ocean.

 

23 July 2018

 

Magic Moments

After a couple of disappointing runs at Newmarket last October and Longchamps in April this Galileo filly finally struck gold at the Curragh yesterday. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Magical lined up in the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes against six rivals. Ryan Moore got down to business from the start and went into the lead and was one length clear three furlongs out. The three-year-old dealt easily with with the challenge from Jessica Harrington's four-year-old, I'm So Fancy, in the last two hundred yards and went on to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Havana a good time!

This Havana Gold colt, who hasn't scored since August last year, produced a surprise result in the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh. The Karl Burke-trained Havana Grey, a Group Three winner as a juvenile, finally seems to have got his act together in this five-furlong sprint. As expected Mick Appleby's Caspian Prince, who won this contest last year, made it clear that he wanted to claim the prize again and made the running in the centre of the track. Havana Grey, ridden by PJ McDonald, well placed on the far side, then made clear headway and beat off any further challenges to score by a length.

 

Music to her ears

Jessica Harrington started off well in the first race at the Curragh when Chocolate Music, with Colm O'Donoghue aboard, produced an impressive last-minute gallop to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. The Dark Angel filly came third on her debut at Fairyhouse in July and really had her work cut out to beat off the serious challenge from the Paddy Twomey-trained Foxtrot Liv but she made it by a nose.

 

22 July 2018

 

A Class Act

After two successes in Listed company this Sea The Stars filly took the step up to the top level in her stride. The William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class, ridden by James Doyle, claimed victory in the last strides in yesterday's Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh. Bye Bye Baby, one of three of Aidan O'Brien's runners in this seven-strong field, went into the lead early on, accompanied by her stable companion, Forever Together. The latter, with the trainer's son, Donnacha, aboard, dominated as the field turned for home. Sea Of Class, however, found that little extra when needed and achieved a precision finish, thwarting the hopes of the Epsom Oaks heroine by a neck.

 

Cracked it

Richard Hannon notched up a second victory in the £250,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury yesterday. Ginger Nut, partnered by Harry Bentley proved the fastest of the twenty-five runners in this five-furlong-plus sprint. This Sir Prancealot filly finally broke her duck after five attempts when winning British EBF Stallions Fillies' Novice Median Auction Stakes at Windsor last time out. In the closing stages of this contest it looked like the prize would go to the Bryan Smart-trained maiden Moojim but the 16/1 shot, Ginger Nut, made one last surge to win by a neck.

 

A Likely Lad

This Footstepsinthesand colt certainly left his mark on the Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh yesterday. The David O'Meara-trained Larchmont Lad, ridden by James Doyle, dominated the race from from the outset, even outsmarting Ryan Moore's serious attempt to claim the prize for the Aidan O'Brien-trained 11-8 favourite, St Patrick's Day. The four-year-old ultimately led home a one-two win for the York-based trainer with So Beloved taking the runner-up spot.

21 July 2018

 

Haza poor show again

The Group Three ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown was the scene of another shock result. The short-favourite, Hazapour, trained by Dermot Weld, down three furlongs in trip following his defeat in the Derby, was expected to make amends against three rivals, with a weight advantage over two strong contenders, Deauville and Turret Rocks. The Shamardal colt, briefly threatened the older horses on the outside but failed to dominate either of them. It was left to the Jim Bolger-trained Turret Rocks who edged out Deauville in the run to the line to score by a neck.

 

Pride and Joy

The Mark Johnston-trained Natalie's Joy came a disappointing seventh out of eleven in the Chesham Stakes at Ascot a month ago so a lot was expected of her yesterday in yesterday's Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury. The Lope de Vega filly made a big impression on her debut at Goodwood in May when winning by six lengths. Dropping back to six furlongs the two-year-old fair bounded out of the stalls and never saw another rival for the rest of the trip. For a few moments it looked as though the Charlie Hills-trained Chuck Willis would pose a threat but Natalie's Joy just lengthened her stride and came home one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead.

 

Galileo versus Galileo

Two Stable companions are to battle it out in today's Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Magic Wand beat Forever Together by a comfortable three-and-a-half lengths in the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks at Chester at the beginning of May. The tables were turned the next time out in the Investec Oaks at Epsom last month when Forever Together claim the Classic, leaving Magic Wand struggling back in fifth place. So it should be an interesting contest.

20 July 2018

 

The Lady's Goodbye.

This Scat Daddy filly, twice Royal Ascot winner, won't be racing round the Berkshire track any more or any other race course, for that matter. It has been announced that the sensational Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia has been retired. The four-year-old sprinter stamped her mark on the English racing scene when she won the 2016 Queen Mary Stakes at the royal meeting and Group 1 King's Stand Stakes the following year. Lady Aurelia also proved that she was good as the males when she triumphed in the Group 1 Darley Prix Morny at Deauville which led to her being crowned the twenty-sixth winner of the Cartier Award for Champion two-year-old filly.

 

How dya like them apples!

A new exclusive sponsorship of the Cheltenham Gold Cup has just been announced. The Magners Irish Cider group has struck a four-year agreement with Jockey Club Racecourses which means that Prestbury Park will stage the first Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup next year. The agreement also allows for the County Tipperary-based Magners to be the presenting partner for the four-day spectacular which will be billed as 'The Festival, presented by Magners'. Jason Ash, Chief Marketing Officer of C&C Group plc, owners of Magners, commented: "Magners Cider is 100 per cent Irish, made in Clonmel, County Tipperary, where William Magner first started making cider over 80 years ago.” As a matter of interest, the cider was originally produced as "Bulmers" and continues to be sold under that name in the Republic of Ireland, although the product is no longer owned by H. P. Bulmer.

 

For the High Jump

The 2012 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winner, formerly trained by Saeed bin Suroor, seems to be enjoying his new career as a show-jumper since his retirement from racing. Colour Vision, raced for four years under Rules before retiring from the track aged five in September 2013. The ten-year-old grey was acquired by Bev Seymour through the Godolphin rehoming programme in 2015 who commented: “He loves to jump — it was a very easy job for me to train him. He is naturally athletic and he has a very good stride for show-jumping. The transition to show-jumping was a bit chaotic in the beginning as when we got to showjumping shows, he thought he was going to race and was very, very excitable.”

18 July 2018

 

Fit for a Prince

This Dylan Thomas gelding, formerly handled by Tony Coyle, will aim to retain his crown in the Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday. The Mick Appleby-trained Caspian Prince, beaten by a short head by Battle Of Jericho in the Tote Rockingham Handicap when he last appeared at this County Kildare track, faces fourteen rivals in this Group Two contest.

 

Sugar's Sweet

It looks like this Lope De Vega gelding will be off to Ireland for Irish Champions Weekend. The Roger Fell-trained Burnt Sugar landed the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket last Saturday and thereby took his career earnings over £250,000, having also scored in the "Sovereign Path" Handicap at Leopardstown last September. Mike Prince of owners Middleham Park Racing commented: "Roger's done a great job with him. He's a real seven-furlong specialist."

 

Rehomed

The 2012 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot winner, formerly trained by Saeed bin Suroor, seems to be enjoying his new career as a show-jumper since his retirement from racing. Colour Vision,

raced for four years under Rules before retiring from the track aged five in September 2013. The ten-year-old grey was acquired by Bev Seymour through the Godolphin rehoming programme in 2015 who commented: “He loves to jump — it was a very easy job for me to train him. He is naturally athletic and he has a very good stride for show-jumping. The transition to show-jumping was a bit chaotic in the beginning as when we got to showjumping shows, he thought he was going to race and was very, very excitable.”

17 July 2018
 

Another Mullins!

Victory in the Blind Tiger Flat race at Sligo means that the son of Ireland's legendary horse racing family has become the most successful amateur rider of all time. Patrick Mullins, overtook the record of 545 winners, previously held by Ted Walsh, with victory aboard Queens Boulevard, trained by his father, Willie. The twenty-eight-tear-old jockey kept his five-year-old Fair Mix filly always close to the pace and all looked set for an easy victory as the field entered the straight. The result was closer than expected, however, but half a length is still a win.

 

A Star!

This High Chaparral filly, who scored on her first two starts last year but only managed fourth out of six at Gowran on her only outing this season, was, not surprisingly, rated a 12/1 shot in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney. The bookies were proved wrong, however, as the Dermot Weld-trained Bella Estrella, ridden by Declan McDonogh, really looked as though she meant business as the race heated up. The Ballylinch Stud-owned four-year-old did start to look a little vulnerable as Aidan O'Brien's Hence surged menacingly out of the pack but she stuck her neck boldly out to claim this one-mile-plus event.

 

A Chip off the old Block

Legendary sire, Galileo, notched up his fifth juvenile success at Killarney. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck looks yet another exciting progeny when claiming the one—mile Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden by eight lengths. Just after half way, jockey, Donnacha O'Brien, started to ask a few questions of the the two-year-old colt and got an impressive response. Anthony Van Dyck went into the lead about two furlongs from home and galloped home to a clear victory.

16 July 2018

 

Bella, Bella!

This High Chaparral filly, who scored on her first two starts last year but only managed fourth out of six at Gowran on her only outing this season, was, not surprisingly, rated a 12/1 shot in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cairn Rouge Stakes at Killarney yesterday. The bookies were proved wrong, however, as the Dermot Weld-trained Bella Estrella, ridden by Declan McDonogh, really looked as though she meant business as the race heated up. The Ballylinch Stud-owned four-year-old did start to look a little vulnerable as Aidan O'Brien's Hence surged menacingly out of the pack but she stuck her neck boldly out to claim this one-mile-plus event.

 

Amateur Record

Victory in yesterday's Blind Tiger Flat race at Sligo means that the son of Ireland's legendary horse racing family has become the most successful amateur rider of all time. Patrick Mullins, overtook the record of 545 winners, previously held by Ted Walsh, with victory aboard Queens Boulevard, trained by his father, Willie. The twenty-eight-tear-old jockey kept his five-year-old Fair Mix filly always close to the pace and all looked set for an easy victory as the field entered the straight. The result was closer than expected, however, but half a length is still a win.

 

In Dad's Hoof Prints

Legendary sire, Galileo, notched up his fifth juvenile success at Killarney yesterday and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck looked yet another exciting progeny when claiming the one—mile Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden by eight lengths. Just after half way, jockey, Donnacha O'Brien, started to ask a few questions of the the two-year-old colt and got an impressive response. Anthony Van Dyck went into the lead about two furlongs from home and galloped home to a clear victory.

 

15 July 2018

 

545 not out!

Another horse racing record is on the verge of being passed. Ted Walsh's amazing achievement of 545 winners as an amateur jockey has just been equalled by Patrick Mullins. The County Carlow rider had his work cut out, though, to get the 4/9 favourite, Irish Lass, past the post first in the Book Online At www.limerickraces.ie Mares Maiden Hurdle at Limerick yesterday. The Willie Mullins-trained Getaway filly was settled behind the leaders before going into the lead approaching the second-last hurdle. Then came the drama as she nearly ran out at that flight, hampering Jessica harrington's Gambling Mistress into the bargain. Despite losing the lead at that crucial stage of the contest, Patrick Mullins managed to rally the five-year-old on the run-in to snatch victory from Harrys Gift by a short-head.

 

A Front Winner

The decision to drop this War Front colt down to six furlongs for the Darley July Cup at Newmarket paid off. The Aidan O'Brien-trained US Navy Flag, a dual Group One hero as a two-year-old, winning the English and Irish 2000 Guineas, hadn't scored since last October but seemed back to his top form yesterday. Ryan Moore took the three-year-old into the lead from the start and that's where he virtually stayed, going on to win the six-furlong sprint by one-and-three-quarter lengths. His jockey was particularly grateful, as that was his first July Cup win.

 

One to Bank on!

This Paco Boy gelding made up for his unlucky run in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot by triumphing in the Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes when he returned to the Berkshire track yesterday. The Andrew Balding-trained Beat The Bank, with Oisin Murpy aboard, mounted a last-minute charge between horses in the last hundred yards to land this Group Two contest. Zhui Feng had set the pace early on with Eminent, followed by Century Dream but they soon faded and the David O'Meara-trained Suedois took up the challenge, pursued by his stable companion, Lord Glitters. Both of these were thwarted, however, when Beat The Bank took advantage of an opportune gap to win by a neck.

 

14 July 2018

 

A Good Thyne for Tara!

Last night at Cork this Kayf Tara filly made things look almost as easy as they were for her at Ballinrobe in May when she won by sixteen lengths. The Willie Mullins-trained mare Good Thyne Tara pretty well outclassed her six rivals in the featured Little Hours Play After Racing Hurdle. The eight-year-old 8/13 favourite travelled determined under Paul Townend, gliding easily alongside Woodland Opera as they approached the second last obstacle and was fully in command before the final hurdle, eventually winning by eight lengths.

 

Lucky Lucius.

On a highly successful day for this horse racing Irish family, this Aidan O'Brien-trained Camelot colt virtually came from last to first to snatch a last-minute victory in the Irish Stallions Farms EBF Nasrullah Handicap at Leopardstown. The 7/2 favourite, Lucius Tiberius, got up on the line to deny Ger Lyon's Mawaany victory by a short head, adding to the tally of talented jockey, Donnacha O'Brien.

 

Rookie Rooke Rejoices

It was a big night at Chepstow for this seventeen-year-old apprentice who, after graduating from the British Racing School joined Richard Hughes' Lambourn yard last Autumn. George Rooke, who had his first ride only last month when third on Inuk at Lingfield, notched up his first winner on Kath's Legacy. The Cockney rebel mare, the 2/1 favourite in the one-and-half-mile Follow Sun Bets On Twitter Apprentice Training 'Confined' Handicap, was urged into an early lead by George Rooke, and, beating off a strong challenge by Jessica Cooley's mount Pour L'Amour two furlongs from home, kept on well to score by a length and a half victory. The three-time champion jockey, now trainer, Richard Hughes, was quick to praise the young rider and tweeted: "Well done to George Rooke on his first winner on only his third ride, it took me 50 rides!”

13 July 2018

 

Diva Delight

Last night's Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at the Curragh gave this Camelot filly the chance to make amends for her very disappointing performance on her debut at this County Kildare track two weeks ago. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Goddess, with Seamie Heffernan aboard, had certainly learnt a thing or two from that experience and ran her five rivals ragged to win this seven-furlong event by ten lengths

 

The Best Solution

Things have been a bit quiet for this particular Godolphin trainer but he now seems to have his share of potential Group One horses at last. Best Solution, last seen finishing fifth in the Dubai Sheema Classic behind Hawkbill, put on a determined performance in the Princess of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. The 2/1 favourite, Mirage Dancer, trained by Sir Michael Stoute was the major threat but the Kodiac colt, ridden by Pat Cosgrave, went into the lead as the runners entered the final two furlongs and, although pressed on both sides throughout the final two hundred yards, ran on gamely to claim the one-and-half-mile contest by half a length.

 

So Farhh, so Good.

The Tim Easterby-trained Wells Farhh Go made all in yesterday's Bahrain Trophy Stakes at Newmarket and, thus, probably put down a marker as a leading contender for the final Classic of the season, the St Leger at Doncaster on September 15. Winner of last season's Acomb Stakes at York, this Farhh colt had pulled too keenly when finishing down the field on his two previous runs this season at Royal Ascot and York but this time he gave his jockey, David Allan, an easier ride by comfortably winning this Group Three contest by two lengths.

12 July 2018

 

Back more for Blackmore

The 2016/2017 Champion conditional jockey is currently leading the Irish jump jockeys' championship, six clear at the top of the table. Rachael Blackmore rode a double at Roscommon and, thereby, notched up her twentieth winner this season. So far she has got the better of more established names such as: Danny Mullins and Sean Flanagan who have both ridden 14 winners: former champion (2010/11) Paul Townend who has 11 and the reigning champion jockey, Davy Russell, is back on 10. The twenty-nine-year-old County Tipperary rider has scored for eleven trainers but she owes most of her victories to Henry De Bromhead, for whom she has ridden six so far this season, all in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud. The first time Rachael Blackmore was crowned champion conditional jockey she had a tally of thirty-two; last season she went two better. The way things are going, it looks like she won't have a problem going even higher.

 

More Entente Cordiale

This evening's Mirage Signs Novice Auction Stakes at Newbury heralds a new partnership between leading British syndicators, Middleham Park Racing, and a prominent French owner, Gerard Augustin-Normand. The Richard Hannon-trained Boitron, bought for £40,000 at the Osarus yearling sale in France last September, makes his debut in this six-furlong novice contest. The partnership might be new but Middleham Park Racing have strong connections with Le Havre who is Boitron's sire

 

Lucky Thirteen!

The new sponsors of next month's £500,000 Sky Bet Ebor at York, Britain's richest handicap (worth £1 million next year!), have listed Chelkar their 10-1 favourite after 100 entries have been declared. This Azamour gelding is one of thirteen runners for Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who is bidding for a second Ebor success, after winning it with Sesenta in 2009. The five-year-old made his debut for the County Carlow handler when he came fourth in the Ascot Stakes in June, having previously been trained by Jean-Claude Rouget in France.

11 July 2018
 

Hold your Horses!

Even horse racing hasn't escaped the effects of the World Cup and the prospect of the England Football team reaching the final after beating Sweden last Saturday. England now play Croatia in Moscow tonight and, if they win, they will meet France in Sunday's final, an occasion last celebrated in 1966, when England beat Germany. The problem is that there are racing fixtures on that day as well, no doubt, other sports. Officials at Southwell and Stratford, however, have decided to avoid any possible clash of interests. As the final is scheduled to kick-off at 4pm British time, there is a plan to move back race times at both English racecourses in the event that England will be playing. Racing at the two tracks is currently planned to start at 2.10 and at 2.20pm and end at 5.25 and 5.35pm, respectively. If England wins Wednesday's semi-final, then the first races will start at just after mid-day and finish by 3.30pm in good time for those who want to watch the Moscow match. There is no news about the other racing fixture on Sunday. As it's Perth, however, and Scotland was eliminated from the competition, many racegoers might prefer to stick to their equine sport!

 

Star Performance?

The Jessica Harrington-trained Mastercraftsman filly is now aimed at the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday. Originally Alpha Centauri, who followed up her Irish 1,000 Guineas triumph with an impressive win in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, breaking the track record into the bargain, was earmarked to run in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on August 12, but, after a successful workout with jockey, Colm O'Donoghue, the County Kildare handler has decided to go for a Group One hat-trick on the July Course.

 

Fake Racing News

The Goodwood Festival is just three weeks away and the officials came up with a novel event to promote one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Members of the public were invited to take part in an interactive ‘Jockey Challenge’ in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth’s best-known shopping centre. Two mechanical horses, placed alongside a simulation of Goodwood Racecourse’s unique contours, challenged participants to ride the finish of a race just as a real jockey would over a distance of either four or six furlongs. Hundreds of people of all ages and nationalities took part over the weekend. Goodwood Racecourse ambassador, Hollie Doyle, and former Champion apprentice jockey, Tom Marquand, were present to give advice and tips on how to get the best out of the simulators. Many of those who participated in the Jockey Challenge commented on how physically demanding it was and many of them even commented that they now had more respect for professional jockeys.

 

10 July 2018

 

Wish upon a Star!

The Jessica Harrington-trained Mastercraftsman filly will now, it seems, compete in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on Friday. Originally Alpha Centauri, who followed up her Irish 1,000 Guineas triumph with an impressive win in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, breaking the track record into the bargain, was earmarked to run in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on August 12, but, after a welcome workout with jockey, Colm O'Donoghue, yesterday, the County Kildare handler has decided to go for a Group One hat-trick on the July Course.

 

Changing Times

Even horse racing hasn't escaped the effects of the World Cup and the prospect of the England Football team reaching the final after beating Sweden last Saturday. England plays Croatia in Moscow on Wednesday evening and if they win, they will meet either Belgium or France in Sunday's final, an occasion last celebrated in 1966, when England beat Germany. The problem is that there are racing fixtures on that day as well, no doubt, other sports. Officials at Southwell and Stratford, however, have decided to avoid any possible clash of interests. As the final is scheduled to kick-off at 4pm British time, there is a plan to move back race times at both English racecourses in the event that England will be playing. Racing at the two tracks is currently planned to start at 2.10 and at 2.20pm and end at 5.25 and 5.35pm, respectively. If England wins Wednesday's semi-final, then the first races will start at just after mid-day and finish by 3.30pm in good time for those who want to watch the Moscow match. There is no news about the other racing fixture on Sunday. As it's Perth, however, and Scotland was eliminated from the competition, many racegoers might prefer to stick to their equine sport!

 

Fake Racing News

The Goodwood Festival is just three weeks away and the officials came up with a novel event to promote one of the highlights of the racing calendar. Members of the public were invited to take part in an interactive ‘Jockey Challenge’ in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth’s best-known shopping centre. Two mechanical horses, placed alongside a simulation of Goodwood Racecourse’s unique contours, challenged participants to ride the finish of a race just as a real jockey would over a distance of either four or six furlongs. Hundreds of people of all ages and nationalities took part over the weekend. Goodwood Racecourse ambassador, Hollie Doyle, and former Champion apprentice jockey, Tom Marquand, were present to give advice and tips on how to get the best out of the simulators. Many of those who participated in the Jockey Challenge commented on how physically demanding it was and many of them even commented that they now had more respect for professional jockeys.

9 July 2018

 

In the lap of the Gods

After seven attempts this Camelot filly finally scored her first victory on the last day of May and, following a busy season, most trainers would have considered giving her a well-earned break. But Aidan O'Brien isn't 'most trainers', seeming to have extraordinary intuition as far as horses are concerned. Just six days after winning the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the Ballydoyle king had Athena loaded onto a transatlantic flight to Belmont Park, USA, to confront nine rivals in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes. One of the titles of Athena in Greek mythology was Goddess of warfare and, in this respect, the three-year-old certainly lived up to her name. Initially kept towards the rear of midfield by Ryan Moore, the filly made good headway from about one-and-a-half furlongs from home before battling her way into a clear lead in the final two-hundred yards. The war was eventually won by two-and-half lengths.

 

Unconcerted Effort

The Grade Three Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park was supposed to be a chance for this Aidan O'Brien-trained Scat Daddy colt to put his disappointing performance in the Kentucky Derby behind him and also gain further experience of racing on dirt but, as Robert Burns said; "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men gang aft agley” or, in modern terms, things often don't go to plan! Mendelssohn was bumped early on and quickly went off key after heading the score in the early movements and even looking as though he might go for it as he came round the the home turn. The Jason Servis-trainedFirenze Fire had other ideas, however, and was the runaway winner, with Mendelssohn only managing third.

 

Love Lost

The Bill Farrell-trained Xenobia produced a surprise result in the Group Three Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stud Stakes at Fairyhouse yesterday. It was generally thought that this contest would be for the taking by the 5/6 favourite, Could It Be Love, trained by Aidan O'Brien, who came second in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and third in the Jersey Stakes, and she certainly looked like landing the prize. The four-year-old Falco filly had plenty to do more than a furlong from home but, responding well to Chris Hayes' urging, she produced a late surge to claim victory by half a length, thus denying victory to the Ballydoyle trainer in one of the very few races of note in Ireland that he hasn't yet won.

8 July 2018

 

Day of Reckoning

The Coral-Eclipse at Sandown yesterday was practically dominated by two high-class three-year-olds. Two older runners, Hawkbill and Forest Rangermade the running in the early stages but it was the younger generation who took charge when push came to shove. The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, ridden by Oisin Murphy, had his work cut out against his old rival, Saxon Warrior, but the Kitten's Joy colt battled on determinedly and won the ten-furlong contest by just a neck. The two came quite close in the final yards and a stewards' inquiry was called but but the result stayed with Roaring Lion.

 

Sheer Horseplay!

The result of the Lancashire Oaks was certainly not God Given. It was well and truly earned by the Andrew Balding-trained Cape Cross filly. A lot was expected of the Nathaniel offspring as she had triumphed the Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance on her previous start in June and she duly set off with serious intentions, pursued by Aidan O'Brien's Irish raider, Flattering. After making all the running, Jamie Spencer decided to up the tempo in the straight and God Given responded well. Horseplay, with David Probert aboard, second to Coronet in the Middleton Stakes at York on her seasonal debut in May, had still a lot in reserve, however, and beat her main rival by a short head after battling it out in the final furlong. This also notched up Andrew Balding's 50th winner of the year.

 

Still Not in Tune

The Grade Three Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park last night was supposed to be a chance for this Aidan O'Brien-trained Scat Daddy colt to put his disappointing performance in the Kentucky Derby behind him and also gain further experience of racing on dirt but, as Robert Burns said; "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men gang aft agley” or things often don't go to plan!Mendelssohn was bumped early on and quickly fell out of contention after being prominent in the early stages and looking as though he might go for it as he came round the the home turn. The Jason Servis-trained Firenze Firehad other ideas, however, and was the runaway winner, with Mendelssohn only managing third.

 

7 July 2018

 

Day of Reckoning

Donnacha O’Brien has had two rides and two wins aboard this Deep Impactgelding but wasn't booked for his last two outings to Epsom and the Curragh where the three-year-old came fourth and third, respectively. The nineteen-year-old son of trainer, Aidan O'Brien, however, is back on Saxon Warrior in today's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. It had been expected that the three-year-old would have a rest after coming third in the Irish Derby last week and then go on to have a crack at the Juddmonte International at York in August. However, Saxon Warrior makes a rapid turnaround to race at his optimum trip of one-and-quarter miles. Unfortunately it was announced last night that Masar suffered a leg injury during morning exercise and will not now run. So that still leaves Roaring Lion and Dee Ex Bee two colts who beat Saxon Warrior to the post in the Epsom Derby.

 

Ladies' Derby

This Librettist gelding claimed the Focus Rigging Ladies' Derby Handicap (for lady Amateur Riders) at Epsom for a fourth time and three in a row since 2013. The Jacqueline Coward-trained Tapis Libre, was ridden by the owner's daughter, Joanna Mason who has been aboard the ten-year-old on all four occasions. Anyone unused to watching how Tapis Libre operates, he might have seemed to be finding things difficult for most of the mile-and-a-half contest run on Derby course but his fans had no doubt that their hero would stay when it mattered. And so it was and victory came in the last seventy-five yards.

 

Surprise Winner

The winner in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, for his County Meath trainer. Of the eleven runners in this £55,000 feature race the undoubtable favourite was the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave, winner of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and Irish St Leger, even though he was the heaviest in the race. Paul Townend set himself the task of keeping this nine-year-old in the slipstream of the pacesetting Dr Mikey and urged him into the lead as the field came round the home turn. That's when the Noel Meade-trained Joey Sasa, with Sean Flanagan aboard, produced his unexpected move and passed the Beat Hollow gelding to claim the prize. He didn't beat him hollow but a length and a half was enough!

6 July 2018

 

Joey's all-goey!

Last night's winner in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, for his County Meath trainer. Of the eleven runners in this £55,000 feature race the undoubtable favourite was the Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave, winner of the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and Irish St Leger, even though he was the heaviest in the race. Paul Townend set himself the task of keeping this nine-year-old in the slipstream of the pacesetting Dr Mikey and urged him into the lead as the field came round the home turn. That's when the Noel Meade-trained Joey Sasa, with Sean Flanagan aboard, produced his unexpected move and passed the Beat Hollow gelding to claim the prize. He didn't beat him hollow but a length and a half was enough!

 

Warrior fighting back

Jockey of the moment, Donnacha O’Brien, has had two rides and two wins aboard this Deep Impact gelding but wasn't booked for his last two outings to Epsom and the Curragh where he came fourth and third, respectively. The nineteen-year-old son of trainer, Aidan O'Brien, however, will be reunited with Saxon Warrior in tomorrow's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. It was expected that the three-year-old would have a rest after coming third in the Irish Derby last week and then go on to have a crack at the Juddmonte International at York in August. However, he makes a rapid turnaround to race at his optimum trip of one-and-quarter miles to take on once more Masar and Roaring Lion, two colts who followed him past the post in the Guineas but headed him in the Derby.

 

Roll out the Carpet!

This Librettist gelding claimed last night's Focus Rigging Ladies' Derby Handicap (for lady Amateur Riders) at Epsom for a fourth time and three in a row since 2013. The Jacqueline Coward-trained Tapis Libre, was ridden by the owner's daughter, Joanna Mason who has been aboard the ten-year-old on all four occasions. To anyone unused to watching how Tapis Libre operates he might have seemed to be finding things difficult for most of the mile-and-a-half contest run on Derby course but his fans had no doubt that their hero would stay when it mattered. And so it was and victory came in the last seventy-five yards.

5 July 2018

 

Jockeying for the Crown

He may be trailing by twenty-one in this year's contest but the three-time champion jockey hasn't yet given up hope of securing a fourth crown. Richard Johnson was short-odds favourite at 2/5 to retain the Stobart-sponsored championship when the new campaign began in May but the bookies are being more cautious now. The big threat is Harry Skelton who notched up a remarkably rapid fifty wins when scoring at Stratford yesterday and his odds have come in drastically from 5/1 to 13/8. This time last year he just reached a total of thirty so he is going great guns. There's still time for Richard Johnson to catch up in the next couple of months, however.

 

Another Kim Wins!

The Prix du Bois at Deauville proved a winner for this Garswood filly. After finishing well down the field in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June Little Kim provided trainer Karl Burke with another big-race win in France after his previous two successes in the Prix Saint Alary and Prix de Diane. The two-year-old responded well under pressure and found last-minute reserves to defeat the Wesley Ward-trained Chelsea Cloisters by a length.

 

Wild about Harry

Last time out the Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel got upset when being loaded into the stalls and missed the break when the gates opened. It was discovered later that the Dark Angel colt had sustained a leg injury which explained his disappointing run. Now it is reported that he has made a quick recovery and could well be up to defending his crown in the July Cup at Newmarket in two weeks' time.

4 July 2018

 

A Lot by Little

The Prix du Bois at Deauville yesterday proved a winner for this Garswood filly. After finishing well down the field in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June Little Kim provided trainer Karl Burke with another big-race win in France after his previous two successes in the Prix Saint Alary and Prix de Diane. The two-year-old responded well under pressure and found last-minute reserves to defeat the Wesley Ward-trained Chelsea Cloisters by a length.

 

Be an Angel

Last time out the Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel got upset when being loaded into the stalls and missed the break when the gates opened. It was discovered later that the Dark Angel colt had sustained a leg injury which explained his disappointing run. Now it is reported that he has made a quick recovery and could well be up to defending his crown in the July Cup at Newmarket in two weeks' time.

 

Fighting for the Crown

He may be trailing by twenty-one wins in this year's contest but the three-time champion jockey hasn't yet given up hope of securing a fourth crown. Richard Johnson was short-odds favourite at 2/5 to retain the Stobart-sponsored championship when the new campaign began in May but the bookies are being more cautious now. The big threat is Harry Skelton who notched up a remarkably rapid fifty wins when scoring at Stratford yesterday and his odds have come in drastically from 5/1 to 13/8. This time last year he just reached a total of thirty so he is going great guns. There's still time for Richard Johnson to catch up in the next couple of months, however.

 

3 July 2018

 

Chips off the old block

Victory in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh firmly established that Coolmore Stud's Camelot is a chip off the old block, (his sire was Montjeu) by providing a major Classic winner from the first of his progeny, LatrobeCamelot won the Irish Derby in 2012, one of three Classic successes in that year, so it was a fitting result. It is also ironic that Latrobe is trained by Joseph O'Brien, who, also a chip off the old block (his sire is Aidan O'Brien!), was Camelot's winning jockey in the Curragh Classic six years ago.

 

Never outfox the Fox!

This Foxwedge filly's entry in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh produced an unexpected result. After all, it was the William Haggas-trained Urban Fox's first attempt at a Group 1 and the first time she had tackled a mile-and-a-quarter contest. None of this seemed to bother the four-year-old, however, as she soon got into third position and into the lead from about three furlongs out. From then on, it was obvious that the Aidan O'Brien-trained 4/6 favourite, Forever Together, with Ryan Moore aboard, was unable to mount any kind of challenge, leaving Danny Tudhope the pleasure of steering Urban Fox to a three-and-a-quarter-length victory and his fourth Group 1 success.

 

That's Grand!

The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud produced a thrilling result for this twenty-four-time French trainer. Although the Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeist was always the strong favourite for the 12-furlong Group 1 race, he nevertheless had quite a battle on his hands in the form of John Gosden's Coronet, who had been supplemented for this race rather than taking on Forever Together in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh but, in the end, the Galileo colt beat the Dubawi filly and will probably go for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

2 July 2018

 

Fox News

This Foxwedge filly's entry in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh yesterday produced an unexpected result. After all, it was the William Haggas-trained Urban Fox's first attempt at a Group 1 and the first time she had tackled a mile-and-a-quarter contest. None of this seemed to bother the four-year-old, however, as she soon got into third position and into the lead from about three furlongs out. From then on, it was obvious that the Aidan O'Brien-trained 4/6 favourite, Forever Together, with Ryan Moore aboard, was unable to mount any kind of challenge, leaving Danny Tudhope the pleasure of steering Urban Fox to a three-and-a-quarter-length victory and his fourth Group 1 success.

 

Chip off the old block

Victory in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh established that Coolmore Stud's Camelot is clearly a chip off the old block, (his sire was Montjeu) by providing a major Classic winner from the first of his progeny, LatrobeCamelot won the Irish Derby in 2012, one of three Classic successes in that year, so it was a fitting result. It is also ironic that Latrobe is trained by Joseph O'Brien, who, also a chip off the old block (his sire is Aidan O'Brien!), was Camelot's winning jockey in the Curragh Classic six years ago.

 

That's the Spirit!

Yesterday's Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud produced a thrilling result for this twenty-four-time French trainer. Although the Andre Fabre-trained Waldgeistwas always the strong favourite for the 12-furlong Group 1 race, he nevertheless had quite a battle on his hands in the form of John Gosden'sCoronet, who had been supplemented for this race rather than taking on Forever Together in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh but, in the end, the Galileo colt beat the Dubawi filly and will probably go for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

 

1 July 2018

 

Gotcha, Dad!

An O'Brien saddled the first five home in yesterday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. However, the winner was the son who teamed up with his brother to deprive their father of his thirteenth victory in this prestigious event. The Joseph O'Brien-trained Latrobe, ridden by Donnacha, outran Ballydoyle's Rostropovich, Saxon Warrior, Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagonin that order, to claim Ireland’s premier Flat race at the Curragh. The first few furlongs of the race were a bit disorderly until Padraig Beggy grabbed the lead aboard Rostropovich. Saxon Warrior, fourth in the Epsom Derby looked well positioned to strike but never quite managed to make it to the front. The 14/1 shot, Latrobe, went into the lead two furlongs from home but had to battle all the way to the line to fight off a gutsy Rostropovich who was eventually beaten by half a length, with the even-money favourite, Saxon Warrior, a neck behind in third.

 

A Field Day!

Champs Elysees gelding, who was last seen in October on his impressive win in the Cesarewitch, made all in the Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate Handicap at Newcastle yesterday. Robert Winston aboard the Roger Charlton-trained Withhold had no problem dominating the race from the front. Mark Johnston's Watersmeet did what he could to try to keep up with the Tony Bloom-owned five-year-old but in vain. Once Withhold got going at top speed it was all done and dusted and he came home two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Prince Of Arran.

 

Shall we Dance?

It's only a week since this Sir Prancelot gelding raced at Royal Ascot but he was more than ready and able to take on the challenge in the form of the Betway Criterion Stakes at Newmarket. The David Elsworth-trained Sir Dancealot certainly seemed to welcome the step back up to seven furlongs for this Group Three contest. Gerald Mosse kept the four-year-old firmly at the rear of the field and then, about furlong from home, he urged him on to sweep past his six rivals to score by a length, making it a double for the winning jockey.

 

30 June 2018

 

Victory on a plate?

Over his thirty-year training career the County Carlow king has only saddled five runners in the Northumberland Plate. So it must be significant that Willie Mullins, twelve times champion trainer over jumps, has entered Lagostovegasin today's fiercely competitive extended two-mile contest. After all, it's only eleven days since this Footstepsinthesand mare notched up her fourth Berkshire victory when winning the Ascot Stakes by a length. Clearly Willie Mullins doesn't think the dual-purpose Lagostovegas was over-taxed by that success and he would obviously like to add this prestigious prize to his over-full trophy cabinet before he retires.

 

Lord knows how!

This ten-year-old Byron gelding hasn't scored since the Greenlands Stakes over today's course and trip in May 2017 but his trainer, Tom Hogan, obviously thinks he's worth another outing. So the remarkable Gordon Lord Byron returns to the Curragh this afternoon to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Dash Stakes, bidding for his seventeenth victory and a second success in this six-furlong sprint, which he first landed in 2015. Sadly the veteran is not the same horse that won three Group Ones but connections assert that he still retains a certain enthusiasm for racing.

 

New I-ran

It's only a week since this Old Persian won the King Edward VII Stakes but trainer and jockey would clearly like to make it a Derby Double after Masar's memorable victory. The Charlie Appleby-trained Dubawi colt has won three of his four starts this season and improved considerably for the step up to a mile and a half at Royal Ascot. The three-year-old will be partnered once more by William Buick in today's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh. Last week's contest was, however, a comparatively slow-run affair and it looks like today's Irish equivalent will be much more of a test. The negative aspect is, of course, the quick turnaround but the Godolphin owners obviously feel that their colt has a lot more to give.

29 June 2018

 

Brothers in Arms

Not satisfied with going all the way to Australia and denying his famous father the pleasure of winning the Melbourne Cup last November, Joseph O'Brien now has his sights on the Irish Derby. There, though, he comes up against six runners saddled by Aidan O'Brien, including the odds-on favourite Saxon Warrior. The twenty-five-year-old seems unperturbed, however, and has recruited his talented brother, Donnacha, to ride Latrobe in Saturday's contest at the Curragh. The battling brothers seem to think that the Camelot colt is more than just a 25/1 outsider, even though he only broke his duck three weeks ago at this County Kildare course.

 

Healthy Supplements

It now turns out that champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, who rode this Mark Johnston-trained Farhh colt in the Epsom Derby and came second behind Masar, will now be aboard again in Saturday's Irish version. This is because William Buick, who was in line to partner Dee Ex Bee,who was supplemented only yesterday, is now required to ride for Golphin who have also made their own late supplementation with Old Persian after his impressive victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.

 

Powers that be

The Marcus Tregoning-trained Power Of Darkness was held up at the rear of the nine-strong field for most of the one-mile Molson Coors Handicap at Salisbury. At about two furlongs from home, Hayley Turner then urged the three-year-old to make a challenge for the lead. The Power colt responded well but then his immaturity came to the fore. Once the 3/1 favourite hit the front in the final furlong he started drifting across towards the far rail and it looked as though Richard Hannon's Wahash would claim the prize as he took over the lead. Power of Darkness, however, managed to get himself back together again and snatched victory by a nose in the final yards.

 

27 June 2018

 

Bookies spared a bashing

It is estimated that victory by the red-hot favourite in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot last Saturday would have cost the bookies some £3 million but they were saved by a 33/1 outsider. The John Gosden-trained Dreamfield, ridden by James Doyle, made most of the running until joined two furlongs out by Bacchus, with former champion jockey, Jim Crowley aboard. Despite hanging badly left inside the final furlong, the four-year-old Kheleyf gelding managed to stick to his task and deprive the favourite of victory by a neck. Now the bookies are afraid there will be a repeat of one of the biggest gambles of last season in Saturday's Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate. The Roger Charlton-trained Withhold justified his strong backing by winning last year's Cesarewitch and yesterday the turf accountants got scared and reduced the four-year-old's odds to 7/2 from 5/1 for Newcastle's £150,000 handicap.

 

All the Classics

This thirty-four-year-old jockey just needs to win Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and he'll have notched up the complete set of classics in England and Ireland. Ryan Moore is scheduled to ride the Aidan O'Brien-trained Saxon Warrior when he bids to finally break his duck in the £1.3 million contest at the Curragh. It will be a seventh time that the Brighton-born rider has ridden in Ireland’s premier Classic and the nearest he’s got to winning was coming second aboard Idaho in 2016. Coolmore’s No. One jockey was third on Wings Of Eagles last year; fourth on Carlton House in 2011 and third again on Tartan Bearer ten years ago.

 

Could Bee the one!

It looks like this Mark Johnston-trained Farhh colt will be running in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned Dee Ex Bee put on such an impressive performance, when coming second in the Investec Derby at Epsom earlier this month that connections decided to miss Royal Ascot, where they had considered the King Edward VII Stakes and save Dee Ex Bee for the Curragh Classic.

26 June 2018

 

Moore needs one more.

This thirty-four-year-old jockey just needs to win Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and he'll have notched up the complete set of classics in England and Ireland. Ryan Moore is scheduled to ride the Aidan O'Brien-trained Saxon Warrior when he bids to finally break his duck in the £1.3 million contest at the Curragh. It will be a seventh time that the Brighton-born rider has ridden in Ireland’s premier Classic and the nearest he’s got to winning was coming second aboard Idaho in 2016. Coolmore’s No. One jockey was third on Wings Of Eagles last year; fourth on Carlton House in 2011 and third again on Tartan Bearer ten years ago.

 

So Farhh so good

It looks like this Mark Johnston-trained Farhh colt will be running in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned Dee Ex Bee put on such an impressive performance, when coming second in the Investec Derby at Epsom earlier this month that connections decided to miss Royal Ascot, where they had considered the King Edward VII Stakes and save Dee Ex Bee for the Curragh Classic.

 

They hate to lose!

Bookmakers are afraid there will be a repeat of one of the biggest gambles of last season in Saturday's Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate. Then the Roger Charlton-trained Withhold justified his strong backing by winning last year's Cesarewitch and yesterday the turf accountants got scared and reduced the four-year-old's odds to 7/2 from 5/1 for Newcastle's £150,000 handicap. It was already estimated that victory by the red-hot favourite in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot last Saturday would have cost the bookies some £3 million but they were saved by a 33/1 outsider. The John Gosden-trained Dreamfield, ridden by James Doyle, made most of the running until joined two furlongs out by Bacchus, with former champion jockey, Jim Crowley aboard. Despite hanging badly left inside the final furlong, the four-year-old Kheleyf gelding managed to stick to his task and deprive the favourite of victory by a neck. 

25 June 2018

 

One more time!

This trainer/ jockey partnership added to an outstanding week at Royal Ascot with another win at Gowran Park yesterday. Jessica Harrington, saddled St Brelades Bay in the www.gowranpark.ie Handicap. Now, the financial gain for winning this seven-furlong contest pales into insignificance compared with the £300,000-plus in the Berkshire bonanza but it was still a welcome addition to the coffers. As expected the Denis Hogan-trained Turbine emerged from the pack as the major challenger but he was soon headed. Colm O'Donoghue urged the Camacho gelding into a challenging position about two furlongs out and eventually into the lead a furlong from home. The six-year-old gelding stayed on well inside the final hundred yards to claim the prize by half a length.

 

Ex marks the spot.

It looks like this Mark Johnston-trained Farhh colt will be running in next Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. The Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned Dee Ex Bee put on such an impressive performance, when coming second in the Investec Derby at Epsom earlier this month that connections decided to miss Royal Ascot, where they had considered the King Edward VII Stakes and save Dee Ex Bee for the Curragh Classic.

 

Saved by a neck!

It is estimated that victory by the red-hot favourite in the Wokingham Stakes would have cost the bookies some £3 million but they were saved by a 33/1 outsider. The John Gosden-trained Dreamfield, ridden by James Doyle, made most of the running until joined two furlongs out by Bacchus, with former champion jockey, Jim Crowley aboard. Despite hanging badly left inside the final furlong, the four-year-old Kheleyf gelding managed to stick to his task and deprive the favourite of victory by a neck.

 

24 June 2018

 

They're the Tops!

With no winners on the first day of Royal Ascot it started to look like the usually unstoppable combination of Aidan O'Brien, Ryan Moore and Coolmore wasn't going to dominate affairs this year. Slowly but surely, however, the dynamic trio began to assert itself. The first success came on Wednesday with Kew Gardens in the Queen's Vase. Thursday saw two more victories when Magic Wand scored in the Ribblesdale Stakes and Hunting Horn won the Hampton Court Stakes by four-and-a-half lengths. Yesterday added a fourth win but it was a close run affair when Merchant Navy won in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes by a short head after a photo-finish. This result meant that Aidan O'Brien, Ryan Moore and Coolmore were honoured with top trainer, jockey and owner titles, respectively.

 

So near yet so far

Merchant Navy's victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes not only provided his trainer with the top Royal Ascot title but deprived another trainer of his first Group 1 win after thirty years of holding a licence. It certainly looked as though Stephane Wattel's dream had come true when French raider, City Light, surged past the post alongside the Aidan O'Brien-trained Fastnet Rock colt. The judge, however, called for a photo and this revealed that Merchant Navy had won by a short head. There was a touching moment when the losing trainer and jockey, Christophe Soumillon, embraced each other, sharing the feelings of disappointment.

 

So Long

Not surprisingly the longest race at Royal Ascot, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, has more often than not been won by runners from National Hunt yards. That was certainly the case again yesterday when the Gordon Elliott-trained Pallasator, with Jamie Spencer aboard, claimed the extended two-mile-five-furlong contest by a length and a half, the second success in the race in the last three seasons for the County Meath-based trainer.

 

23 June 2018

 

Another First!

Yet another trainer scores for the first time at Royal Ascot. Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, Alpha Centauri, trained by Jessica Harrington, who missed out on the Albany Stakes last year by just a neck, made amends yesterday in the Coronation Stakes. The Mastercraftsman filly eventually dominated her eleven rivals, including the likes of Billesdon Brook and Teppal, and, by one furlong from home, she had them all trailing in her wake. With no challengers in sight, all jockey, Colm O’Donoghue, had to do was calmly steer Alpha Centauri to a six-length victory, finishing in record time into the bargain. The County Kildare-based trainer admitted to being very nervous before this one-mile Group One event, even though she is accustomed to winning such prestigious National Hunt victories as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase.

 

Genius prevails

A 12/1 shot caused quite a shake-up in yesterday's Commonwealth Cup. Since, however, the winner came from the stables of a trainer who notched up a record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory this week, it really shouldn't have come as that great a surprise. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Eqtidaar took advantage of the favourite, Sioux Nation's early failing to go into the lead inside the final two-hundred yards. The Invincible Spirit colt, ridden by Jim Crowley, just managed to hold off Richard Fahey's strong finishing Sands of Mali by half a length. The 2016 Champion jockey, celebrating his first winner of the week, immediately joined the long list of jockeys who paid to pay tribute to Sir Michael Stoute's mastery, even calling him a 'genius'.

 

Water To-do!

There was an incident just before the start of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot yesterday. Apparently, as a result, a stalls handler had to appear before Ascot stewards, along with his team leader, the starter and a Racetech representative. It seems that the unnamed loader was accused of having thrown water at the James Tate-trained Invincible Army. In explanation the person in question stated that, as the Invincible Spirit colt was causing problems going into the stalls, he had cast a small amount of water at the three-year-old in an attempt to encourage him to go forward. The accused added that the water had not made contact with the horse and that he was unaware he was not supposed to throw anything under such circumstances. Nevertheless, a report on the incident was sent to the BHA head office in London for further consideration.

 

22 June 2018

 

Trainer's First Ascot Win

Royal Ascot's oldest and most prestigious contest gave racegoers an extraordinary thrill yesterday but it also turned out to be something extra special for the winning trainer. Surprisingly, for John Gosden, who has had his fair share of the world's great races, it was a first Royal Ascot winner. Those who doubted Stradivarius's stamina had to admit that the Sea The Stars colt had more than what it takes after a three-way competition in the last quarter of a mile. For much of the race, the four-year-old was kept midfield shadowing the Aidan O'Brien-trained Order Of St George, the other joint-favourite. The latter, however, who won this race two years ago, started to feel the pressure half a mile from home and at the moment Jessica Harrington's Torcedor swept to the front. Then the Aga Khan-owned Vazirabad appeared on the scene to make a challenge but was unable to get the better of Stradivarius who claimed the prestigious gold Cup by three quarters of a length.

 

Simon says: Win!

This former racing manager enjoyed many Royal Ascot successes over his more than twenty years of tenure with Godolphin. For Simon Crisford, however, who took out a licence in 2014, no doubt nothing can compare with a first Ascot winner as a trainer. The Kremlin House Stables handler saddled the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned Ostilio in the Britannia Stakes and was up against some of the best trainers in the business. But he also had the benefit of the equine skills of former champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, who took the initiative to urge the New Approach colt across to the stands' rail from the unfavourable stall 15. From there the three-year-old set a pace that kept him five lengths clear of his rivals and, against all expectations, managed to hold on and win by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Moore to come

Ten years ago Ryan Moore notched up his first Royal Ascot win aboard the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Colony in the King George V Handicap. Since that auspicious beginning the the Brighton-born jockey has never had a blank year and has been top jockey at the meeting for seven of the last eight years. Yesterday the thirty-four-year-old rider achieved his fiftieth success at the Berkshire track. Riding the Aidan O'Brien-trained Hunting Horn Ryan Moore claimed the Hampton Court Stakes by four-and-a-half lengths.

 

21 June 2018

 

Royal First

Hard to believe but yesterday trainer Marco Botti got his first Royal Ascot winner. Aljazzi, ridden by William Buick, was sent off a 9/2 chance in the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. The five-year-old, returning to the track after a break of almost two months, seemed to enjoy getting back onto faster ground and galloped home towards the stands' side rail and passed the post three-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Tribute Act. The big disappointment of the race was, without doubt, Aidan O'Brien's Hydrangea, who seemed to be going well but weakened about a furlong out and finished way back in the field.

 

Stud Second

Yesterday's Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot further enhanced the reputation of Juddmonte-bred runners. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Expert Eye had been somewhat off form since his superb win in last year's Vintage Stakes at Goodwood but this time the three-year-old showed his twenty rivals how to run a race, scoring by four-and-a-half lengths. The victory means that Expert Eye became the second Royal Ascot winner for his sire, Acclamation, following Equiano.

 

My Word!

Poet's Word won the Prince of Wales's Stakes and, thereby, gave his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, a record-breaking 76th Royal Ascot victory. The result was significant also because last October, at this track, the John Gosden-trained Cracksman had left this Poet's Word progeny trailing seven lengths in his wake in the Champion Stakes. On paper it looked as though the Poet's Voice would have a tough task turning the tables on the Galileo colt. Cracksman, however, was clearly not his old self and although, to his credit, he took the lead in the straight he had nothing left when James Doyle urged Poet's Voice past him to score by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

20 June 2018

 

Royal Regrets?

Whilst The Queen is hosting one of her favourite racing functions at Royal Ascot this week, no doubt her thoughts strayed to the only horse she has in training in Australia. The David Hayes-handled Bold Sniper, who hasn't raced since April 2017, was running in Wednesday's synthetic trials at Racing.com Park in Victoria. Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, this New Approach gelding finished third at Royal Ascot in the King George V Handicap. As the time Down Under is eleven hours ahead Wednesday's almost over and the race in particular finished three hours ago. The Queen will have already been informed that Bold Sniper came third some seven lengths behind the winner

 

Break a leg?

Still recovering from a broken leg he sustained at Cheltenham in March when Al Boum Photo fell on the second day of the Festival just after he was getting back to racing after a similar accident in November, Ruby Walsh is now hoping that he'll be sufficiently recovered to ride in the Galway Festival which runs at Ballybrit from July 30 to August 5.

 

Triple Tipple

The first day of Royal Ascot proved to be a highly successful start for this trainer/jockey partnership. First the John Gosden-trained Calyx, with Frankie Dettori aboard, claimed the Coventry Stakes by a length. Then two races later this partnership scored again in the St James's Palace in which, Frankel colt, Without Parole, denied Aidan O'Brien's Gustav Klimt victory by half a length. There was more to come before the day was over, however. In the last race of the day, the Wolferton Stakes, the Clarehaven Stables handler saddled Monarchs Glen who made easy work of the this ten-furlong contest, providing trainer and jockey with a triple.

19 June 2018

 

French Connection

This Siyouni filly's last trip across the Channel was at the ned of May when she won the Group 1 Gurkha Coolmore - Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp. The Karl Burke-trained Laurens obviously impressed connections sufficiently to let have another crack at a French contest. Yesterday the three-year-old lined up with twelve rivals in the he Prix de Diane at Chantilly, known as the French Oaks. Lauren, with PJ McDonald aboard, got off to a swift start from her wide berth in stall 12. Throughout the race she was trapped wide of the track but, nevertheless, was still travelling very strongly as the field neared the top of the home straight. With two furlongs to go, the former jump jockey had a bit of work to do but Laurens had no problem thwarting all challengers to claim a popular victory.

 

Flattering will get you everywhere!

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Flattering, winner of this Group Three prize three times in the last four years, was a 5/2 chance in the Munster Oaks at Cork yesterday. This Galileo filly, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, got off to a good start and soo found herself heading the nine-strong field. The major threat came from Bloomfield, trained by Willie McCreery, in the home straight but Flattering had enough in reserve to deal with that challenge and won the race by a length,

 

A Sea Breeze

The Johnnie Lewis Memorial British EBF Stakes at Newbury proved another step in the learning process for this Sea The Stars filly, whose connections had decided should to skip the Investec Oaks at Epsom as she lacked sufficient experience. The decision proved sound as the William Haggas-trained Sea Of Class achieved a comfortable win. James Doyle set the three-year-old filly a pretty stiff task, allowing her to remain way back behind the leaders. Sea The Class had no difficulty whatsoever making up ground when asked to so so. The eventual runner-up, Mrs Sippy, looked like being a serious threat but Sea Of Class quickened effortless and claimed the prize by two lengths.

17 June 2018

 

All-round Victory

This Libourne Lad filly made a last-minute bid for the Toals.com Bookmakers Fillies Race in Fairyhouse and claimed the prize by two lengths. The Michael Halford-trained Surrounding, ridden by Conor Hoban, was content to track the leaders for a while until challenging more than a furlong out. Aidan O’Brien's Most Gifted, with the trainer's son, Donnacha aboard, was sent off the 2/5 favourite for this four-runner event over seven furlongs but unfortunately wasted a lot of energy competing for supremacy with the Kevin Manning-trained Gasta. Meanwhile the five-year-old Surrounding took advantage of this on-going duel to win her third career victory.

 

Long-distance Challenge

Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot is now the target for an American challenger from a Japanese sire, Yoshida, who was last seen winning the Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park in October. The Bill Mott-trained Heart's Cry colt is said to be in great form since making the long trip across the Atlantic. The trainer's son and assistant, Riley Mott, has supervised all preparations since the four-year-old's arrival and delivered an upbeat bulletin about Yoshida's condition at an international challengers' press morning in Newmarket.

 

East meets West

A top-level Japanese jockey has come over again to spend some time with trainer, Roger Varian in Newmarket. This time British racegoers may have a chance to appreciate Yuga Kawada's equine talents first-hand. The thirty-two-year-old jockey, who has won Classics on Japanese top horses such as Gentildonna, Harp Star and Makahiki didn't manage to fit in any races last time he was at the Varian Stables but it is planned to give him some chances this time around.

16 June 2018

 

Fourth Best!

Justify may have been the star of this year's American Triple Crown but he has still only been rated joint-fourth alongside his stable companion, West Coast, in the latest Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, based on a horse’s best performance in the calendar year. Australian super mare, Winx, who is now back in training with Chris Waller, claims the top slot, ahead of the now retired Pegasus World Cup hero, Gun Runner. Coronation Cup winner, Cracksman, is rated number three. The Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah and two-time winner, Arrogate, topped the charts in the previous three years.

 

American Challenger

Winner of the Grade One Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in early May, American challenger, Yoshida, is now here to bid for further glory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot next Tuesday. The Bill Mott-trained Heart's Cry colt is said to be in great form since making the trip across the Atlantic. The trainer's son and assistant, Riley Mott, has supervised all preparations since his arrival and delivered an upbeat bulletin at an international challengers' press morning in Newmarket yesterday.

 

The Rising Son!

The highly-tipped heir apparent to Japanese riding legend, Yutaka Take, has come over again to spend some time with trainer, Roger Varian in Newmarket. This time British racegoers may have a chance to appreciate Yuga Kawad's equine talents first-hand. The thirty-two-year-old jockey, who has won Classics on Japanese top horses such as Gentildonna, Harp Star and Makahiki didn't manage to fit in any races last time at the Varian Stables but it is planned to give him some chances this time around.

 

14 June 2018

 

Not for the Irish!

It has been decided that Godolphin's New Approach colt, winner of Investec Derby two weeks ago, will not be aiming for a Classic double by running in the Irish Derby at the Curragh. Instead the Charlie Appleby-trained Masar will go for next month's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. This will will involve his dropping back in trip to ten furlongs for this Group One feature race at the Esher track on July 7 and also a not insignificant supplementation fee.

 

Tip for the Top

The seventeen-year-old champion conditional jockey, having ridden out his claim at Southwell on Tuesday night, when he won the myracing.com For Royal Ascot Tips Handicap Hurdle aboard the Nicky Henderson-trained Brave Eagle, thereby achieving his seventy-fifth victory. James Bowen, the youngest jockey ( at 16) to win the Welsh National, has been tipped as a future champion jockey. His current boss, Nicky Henderson, and his father, Peter Bowen, have been a couple of his biggest supporters, although more than a hundred different trainers have enjoyed the jockey's services since he took out a licence.

 

Dee for me!

It looks like, however, that the runner-up in this year's Epsom Derby will go for the Irish equivalent at the end of this month, particularly as it has just been announced that the winner, Masar, won't be at the Curragh. The Mark Johnston-trained Dee Ex Bee, who carries the colours of Godolphin's boss, Sheikh Mohammed's son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, will take advantage of this change and should stand a good chance of being number one in Ireland.

13 June 2018

 

The one to Crack it?

Trainer, Martyn Meade, is confident that this four-year-old Frankel colt, a Group Two winner in France last year, is back to top form and ready to shine in the the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. It was expected that Eminent would have problems in the Huxley Stakes at Chest in May and, sure enough, he trailed in last of the five runners. The Marlborough-based handler, however, now thinks those problems are behind him but he is fully aware that everyone agrees that John Gosden's Cracksman is the one to beat.

 

Stayers Only

There's a welcome introduction to racing for three-year-olds and older on the cards. Newbury has scheduled a new £100,000 stayers' handicap, the JLT Cup, for 21st July. This two-mile-plus contest will form part of Weatherbys Super Sprint Day and which will now have a total prize-money of over £500,000. It has also been announced that two of the Britain's oldest handicap races in the stayers' programme will also be financially boosted. Newmarket's Cesarewitch and York's Ebor, will offer £1,000,000 in prize-money from 2019 and 2020 respectively.

 

Champ to be?

This 19-year-old jockey, son of the legendary Ballydoyle trainer, is having quite a season and his next target is to notch up his first Royal Ascot winner. Donnacha O’Brien is keen to play down his chances of a first championship but he has become the odds-on favourite for the title after taking his total of winners in Ireland to 29, two more than the reigning champion, Colin Keane. It runs in the family, of course, because his older brother, Joseph, was champion in 2012 and 2013 before having to give up his riding career because of weight problems. It seems Donnacha O’Brien also has difficulties with the scales but, for now, the possibility of a family double is on the cards.

 

12 June 2018

 

Here to stay!

There's a welcome introduction to racing for three-year-olds and older on the cards. Newbury has scheduled a new £100,000 stayers' handicap, the JLT Cup, for 21st July. This two-mile-plus contest will form part of Weatherbys Super Sprint Day and which will now have a total prize-money of over £500,000. It has also been announced that two of the Britain's oldest handicap races in the stayers' programme will also be financially boosted. Newmarket's Cesarewitch and York's Ebor, will offer £1,000,000 in prize-money from 2019 and 2020 respectively.

 

A Likely story

The Richard Hughes-trained More Than Likely not only gave trainer and jockey, Shane Kelly, a seven-length victory in the Roger Is Not Quite 60 Yet Novice Auction Stakes at Brighton yesterday but also got her freshman sire, Coach House, off the mark. The Cobhall Court Stud-bred filly came a promising third on her debut at Windsor last month so it was not surprising that she was sent off the 6-5 favourite and she justified this support by going for gold about two furlongs from home, leaving her five rivals trailing in her wake.

 

Champion in the balance

This 19-year-old jockey, son of the legendary Ballydoyle trainer, is having quite a season and his next target is to notch up his first Royal Ascot winner. Donnacha O’Brien is keen to play down his chances of a first championship but he has become the odds-on favourite for the title after taking his total of winners in Ireland to 29, two more than the reigning champion, Colin Keane. It runs in the family, of course, because his older brother, Joseph, was champion in 2012 and 2013 before having to give up his riding career because of weight problems. It seems Donnacha O’Brien also has difficulties with the scales but, for now, the possibility of a family double is on the cards.

 

11 June 2018

 

What's in a Name!!

This Mick Channon-trained colt defied his ungainly name and ten rivals when he won the Trucking By Brian Yeardley Two Year Old Trophy Conditions Stakes at Beverley, a race claimed six years ago by his sire, with the equally cumbersome name, Bungle Inthejungle. Mark Johnston's Victory Commandwas sent off the 9/4 favourite and seemed keen to set his own pace and was in the lead as the runners approached the final two of the five furlongs but the 8/1 shot, Jungle Inthebungle, ridden by Charles Bishop,finally managed to get his head in front and rebuff a renewed challenge by Tin Hat to claim the prize by half a length.

 

Prince Charming

This nine-year-old Dylan Thomas gelding defied top weight to triumph in the Edinburgh Gin's Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh. The Mick Appleby-trained Caspian Prince, who's had almost as many trainers as his age, needed a win as he hadn't scored from three starts for his current handler. El Astronaute, trained by John Quinn, got away quickly and was in the lead in the early stage, accompanied by Copper Knight and the eventual winner. At the furlong pole, however, the 16/1 shot, Caspian Prince, with Alistair Rawlinson aboard, was firmly in control and won by two-and three-quarter lengths.

 

In Your Face!

A Portuguese jockey has been suspended for twenty-one days for beating a former champion jockey at Goodwood yesterday. Raul da Silva didn't actually win the CSS Seismic Sweepstake Handicap. He came last. Neither did Jim Crowley; he came fifth. Clearly something happened before, during or after the opening seven-furlong handicap. A statement from the British Horseracing Authority stewards revealed that Raul Da Silva "had struck Jim Crowley in the face, causing an injury which required medical treatment".

 

10 June 2018

 

Justify the Champion

No-one had even heard of this Scat Daddy colt before he made his debut at Santa Anita last February but everyone knows him now. Yesterday the Bob Baffert-trained Justify became only the thirteenth horse to achieve the most coveted prize in American racing - the Triple Crown when he won the Belmont Stakes by an easy one-and-three-quarter lengths, adding to his previous victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. It has only been three years since the title was previously won by Pharoah, also trained by Bob Baffert but as that was after a thirty-seven-year gap, the enormity of achieving this honour is highlighted even more. Justify went into the record books for another reason: he became the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without having run as a two-year-old.

 

Kept rivals at Baie!

A French-named horse winning a French race at Auteuil doesn't sound unusual but this success was achieved by a County Kildare trainer. The Ross O'Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles

produced a stunning display of jumping and galloping to land the Des Drags Grade 2 Chase at the Paris track yesterday. This Barastraight filly was having her first run for Greenhills Stables and, partnered by Paul Townend, she never faltered once as she beat off a late challenge by the favourite, Bipolaire,

 

Take it as Red

This Teofilo gelding streaked home in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap at Newmarket yesterday. The Ed Dunlop-trained Amazing Red put his past troubles behind him when staying on impressively in this one-mile-six-furlong contest to win by three-and-a-half lengths, the five-year-old's second win of the season.

 

9 June 2018

 

Happy Birthday, Ma'am!

A horse bred and owned by Queen Elizabeth II won the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational yesterday just in time for her official birthday today. Call To Mind, ridden by Javier Castellano wearing the familiar royal purple and scarlet silks, was sent off as the 9/5 favourite and not only won the race by a length but also established a new track record for the two-mile contest. The William Haggas-trained Galileo four-year-old, the Queen's first runner at Belmont Park since October 2012, earned £164,000 for the victory, more than doubling his career bankroll to £268,000, produced from three wins from nine outings.

 

A Star Performance

This Declaration Of War filly was certainly fighting fit at the Curragh yesterday when she won the TRM Ballyogan Stakes by one-and-a-quarter lengths. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Actress, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, made just about all the running after a smartish departure from the stalls. The three-year-old Group Three winner never saw another rival in this six-furlong sprint and made up for her below-par form to-date.

 

Triple Crown?

Today this Scat Daddy colt, unbeaten in five previous races, will bid to become the thirteenth horse to complete the triple crown when he runs in the 150th renewal of the Belmont Stakes, the longest of the triple crown races. As of yesterday the Bob Baffert-trained Justify was a 4/5 odds-on favourite to win at the New York track but there is speculation that the three-year-old won't necessarily have it all his won way as showers are forecast for the one-and-a-half-mile contest at Belmont Park. Justify did, however, win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in soft conditions.

 

8 June 2018

 

Sousa's no loser!

The champion National Hunt jockey was in fine form again at Ripon yesterday when he notched up a double. Silvestre de Sousa had already partnered this Showcasing gelding for three of his four victories but this time, about a furlong out, it looked like the Weatherbys General Stud Book Handicap wouldn't provide him with another one. The Karen McLintock-trained Gurkha Friend, carrying an extra eight pounds after his two-and-a-half-length victory in the Wilmot-Smith Memorial Handicap at this North Yorkshire track two weeks ago, was challenged for the lead by David O'Meara's Trading Point, but managed to regain dominance at the top of the straight. Then Frank BridgeDawaaleeb and Storm Ahead all had a go at the six-year-old Gurkha Friend but battled on gamely and claimed victory by a nose. Silvestre de Sousa's second win was with the Roger Charlton-trained Savaanah who made all to win the Visit ripon-races.co.uk 'Confined' Novice Stakes by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

MMM for Mullins!

What must be one of the longest names for a race provided the County Carlow king with the 3,000th winner of his career at Wexford. Willie Mullins saddled Timi Roli, appropriately carrying the silks made famous by twenty-two-time Grade One winner, the legendary Hurricane Fly, in the (deep breath!) World Cup Betting On The Brand New, Faster Than Ever BoyleSports App Hurdle. The Roli Abi gelding tracked the leaders in fifth position and moved up to lead the eight-strong field as they entered the straight and then bounded away to an eight-and-a-half-length lead.

 

Amirr for the Beer!

Uttoxeter provided a fitting conclusion to a twenty-eight-year career for this forty-five-year-old Cleveland-born jockey. Andrew Thornton had four rides for his finale, three supplied by his long-time supporter, Seamus Mullins, and the other by the Northamptonshire-based Caroline Bailey. It was the third race of the day that did the honours, however, when Andrew Norton was aboard the Seamus Mullins-trained Amirr racing in the Abacus Decorators "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle. The New Approach gelding travelled well throughout the nigh-on two mile contest and looked the likely winner with three to jump. The even-money favourite continued to progress and eventually came home ten lengths ahead of Blue N Yellow.

 

6 June 2018

 

He's Off!

The 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey will race for the last time at Uttoxeter today after twenty-eight years in the saddle. Andrew Thornton belongs to that select group of jockeys who have notched up over a thousand National Hunt winners, including that momentous victory at Prestbury Park. The forty-five-year-old Cleveland-born rider enjoyed a number of big-race successes such as the 1997 King George VI Chase aboard See More Business; the 1997 Tolworth Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle riding French Holly and the 2007 Welsh National and the 2008 Red Square Vodka Gold Cup both aboard Miko De Beauchene.

 

Champions Duel?

This Deep Impact colt may have only managed fourth in the Epsom Derby but he is already an early odds-on favourite for the Irish edition at the end of this month. The bookies obviously think that the Aidan O’Brien-trained Saxon Warrior, if entered as intimated, will get his revenge in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. As Masar’s trainer, Charlie Appleby, has already indicated that the Curragh is also in his sights, there is the prospect a mouth-watering clash between Coolmore (Saxon Warrior) and Godolphin (Masar).

 

Racing Ahead.

ITV Racing plans to televise Newcastle's evening meeting on June 29 after its successful debut in evening racing when it covered the Sandown's Brigadier Gerard meeting last month. ITV Racing is doing surprisingly well at the moment as it is reported last weekend's Derby viewers reached an amazing 1.8 million, the highest since 2013. After a hesitant start ITV Racing's audience figures for live race day coverage are up nine per cent year on year, with an average audience figure of 550,000 across both its main channel and ITV4.

5 June 2018

 

He'll be back!

This Deep Impact colt may have only managed fourth in the Epsom Derby but he is already an early odds-on favourite for the Irish edition at the end of this month. The bookies obviously think that the Aidan O’Brien-trained Saxon Warrior, if entered as intimated, will get his revenge in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. As Masar’s trainer, Charlie Appleby, has already indicated that the Curragh is also in his sights, there is the prospect a mouth-watering clash between Coolmore (Saxon Warrior) and Godolphin (Masar).

 

Retiring

The 1998 Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey will race for the last time at Uttoxeter on Wednesday after twenty-eight years in the saddle. Andrew Thornton belongs to that select group of jockeys who have notched up over a thousand National Hunt winners, including that momentous victory at Prestbury Park. The forty-five-year-old Cleveland-born rider enjoyed a number of big-race successes such as the 1997 King George VI Chase aboard See More Business; the 1997 Tolworth Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle riding French Holly and the 2007 Welsh National and the 2008 Red Square Vodka Gold Cup both aboard Miko De Beauchene.

 

Things looking up

ITV Racing plans to show Newcastle's evening meeting on June 29 after its successful debut in evening racing when it televised the Sandown's Brigadier Gerard meeting last month. ITV Racing is doing surprisingly well at the moment as it is reported last weekend's Derby viewers reached an amazing 1.8 million, the highest since 2013. After a hesitant start ITV Racing's audience figures for live race day coverage are up nine per cent year on year, with an average audience figure of 550,000 across both its main channel and ITV4.

4 June 2018

 

Man, what a performance!

Yesterday's Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, otherwise known as the French Derby, was won by a French-trained Japanese-sired colt. Pascal Bary's Study Of Man added to his impressive three-and-a-half-length victory in the Prix Greffulhe at Saint-Cloud last month, by claiming Classic glory. The Deep Impact progeny travelled strongly in midfield and slowly started to reel in the leaders in the home straight until Stephane Pasquier urged him into the lead inside the final furlong. A number of rivals attempted to rob him of victory as they approached the post but Study Of Man clung on to win by half a length. Key Victory failed to provide trainer Charlie Appleby, jockey William Buick and Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation with a second Derby triumph in twenty-four hourts after Masar's win at Epsom on Saturday. Aidan O'Brien also went home empty-handed after his his quartet of runners, Flag Of HonourKenyaRostropovich and Hunting Horn all finished unplaced.

 

Soq-ed it to them!

Considered as the most prestigious five-furlong handicap sprint in Britain, the Investec Corporate Banking "Dash" Handicap at Epsom provided an undoubted champion. There was the customary furious early gallop, this time set by three-time winner Caspian Prince but, having the worst of the draw, he soon capitulated, leaving Harry Hurricane and Just That Lord out in front. The Paul Midgley-trained Tanasoq, however, found a gap against the rail and Jimmy Sullivan rode the 12/1 shot to a one-and-three-quarter length victory.

 

Revenge!

Another Deep Impact colt may have only managed fourth in the Epsom Derby but he is already an early odds-on favourite for the Irish edition at the end of this month. The bookies obviously think that the Aidan O’Brien-trained Saxon Warrior, if entered as intimated, will get his revenge in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. As Masar’s trainer, Charlie Appleby, has already indicated that the Curragh is also in his sights, there is the prospect a mouth-watering clash between Coolmore (Saxon Warrior) and Godolphin (Masar).

 

3 June 2018

 

Family Occasion

This colt's sire, New Approach, won the 2008 Derby and yesterday it was his turn to follow in his family's 'hoofsteps'. The Charlie Appleby-trained Masarput an end to Saxon Warrior's bid to become just the fourth horse in history to pull off an English Triple Crown, by claiming the Epsom prize by one-and-a-half lengths. The victory also gave trainer and jockey, William Buick, a first success in this world-famous race. It was a family occasion, too, for the owners. Sheikh Mohammed Maktoum's winner was followed home by his son, Hamdan’s Dee Ex Bee, ridden by Sylvestre De Sousa. Odds-on favourite, Saxon Warrior, trained by Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, could only finish a disappointing fourth to the ecstatic delight of the bookies who were due to lose millions if the Deep Impact gelding had scored.

 

Four for the Prix of one!

Today is the the famous Prix du Jockey Club, also known as the French Derby, run at the famous Hippodrome Chantilly. Aidan O'Brien will be seeking consolation for yesterday's disappointing run by Saxon Warrior at Epsom. He will be saddling a quartet of Irish raiders:- Rostropovich, the impressive winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester on his last time out, who was sent across the Channel instead of to Epsom Down yesterday; Hunting Horn and Flag Of Honour, who were third and fifth, respectively, in the Chester Vase and Kenya, who played 'second cello', finishing way down the field behind Rostropovichat Chester on May 10.

 

Never Say Die

This Brazilian jockey, denied his first Derby triumph yesterday by by one-and-a-half lengths, was undeterred and went on to claim a double in the last two races at Epsom. In the Investec Out Of the Ordinary Handicap he was aboard the David Elsworth-trained Dash Of Spice who had no problem seeing off any challenges from his sixteen rivals, making all and scoring by six lengths. Punters realised they were onto a good thing so they backed the champion jockey's mount in the last race of the day, the Investec Asset Management Handicap. Here the Ian Williams-trained Aces who became the 11/2 joint-favourite, having started the day as a 10/1 chance, was helped by the fact that Richard Fahey's Brian The Snail wandered across the track on the bend, taking three or four rivals with him. The Dark Angel gelding, however, still had to be negotiated out of a difficult position but that was easily accomplished by the experienced Sylvestre De Sousa and Aces galloped on strongly inside the final furlong, repelling a late challenge by Russian Realmand won by a length and three quarters.

 

2 June 2018

 

Deep Impact Derby

Aidan O'Brien-trained Saxon Warrior heads a field of twelve runners in today's Investec Derby at Epsom and is one of five Ballydoyle entrants. ( Delano RooseveltKew GardensThe Pentagon and Zabriskie also declared.) This Deep Impact colt conjured up dreams of a bid for the Triple Crown after his impressive one-and-a-half-length victory in the 2000 Guineas Newmarket in early May and has been the odds-on favourite to win the second leg ever since. Concerns about the going after the recent heavy rain at the Surrey track are now receding as the ground is now reported to be drying out. He also comes out of Stall One which is not the best of draws but Ryan Moore will certainly be able to deal with that problem.

 

Four for the Prix of one!

After today's Derby there follows the famous Prix du Jockey Club, run at the Hippodrome Chantilly. Aidan O'Brien clearly has designs on this feature event, first run in 1836, as he is sending a quartet of Irish raiders:- Rostropovich, the impressive winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester on his last time out, heading across the Channel instead of to Epsom Down tomorrow; Hunting Horn and Flag Of Honour, who were third and fifth, respectively, in the Chester Vase and Kenya, who played 'second cello', coming last of seven behind Rostropovich at Chester on May 10.

 

Not Tongue-tied

In Germany horses will no longer be allowed to run with a tongue-tie, as this practice has been banned due to animal welfare concerns. Tongue ties, applied over the tongue and tied under the chin to prevent a horse getting the tongue over the bit, making control more difficult, are a regular feature on British racetracks. Their use was already forbidden in other equestrian sports in Germany and is now applied to horse racing.

 

1 June 2018

 

Warrior's Worries

Aidan O'Brien-trained Saxon Warrior heads a field of twelve runners in tomorrow's Investec Derby at Epsom and is one of five Ballydoyle entrants. ( Delano RooseveltKew GardensThe Pentagon and Zabriskie also declared.) This Deep Impact colt conjured up dreams of a bid for the Triple Crown after his impressive one-and-a-half-length victory in the 2000 Guineas Newmarket in early May and has been the odds-on favourite to win the second leg ever since. There are, however, concerns about the ground after the recent heavy rain at the Surrey track and he also comes out of Stall One which is not the best of draw, because when the ground is soft, it is a big advantage to be up against the stand side rail.

 

Freedom of Speech!

As from today in Germany horses will no longer be allowed to run with a tongue-tie, as this practice has been banned due to animal welfare concerns. Tongue ties, applied over the tongue and tied under the chin to prevent a horse getting the tongue over the bit, making control more difficult, are a regular feature on British racetracks. Their use was already forbidden in other equestrian sports in Germany and is now applied to horse racing.

 

Four for France

The day after the Derby there is the famous Prix du Jockey Club, run at the at the Hippodrome Chantilly. Aidan O'Brien clearly has designs on this feature event, first run in 1836, as he is sending a quartet of Irish raiders:-Rostropovich, the impressive winner of the Dee Stakes at Chester on his last time out, heading across the Channel instead of to Epsom Down tomorrow;Hunting Horn and Flag Of Honour, who were third and fifth, respectively, in the Chester Vase and Kenya, who played 'second cello', coming last of seven behind Rostropovich at Chester on May 10.

31 May 2018

 

Cool Hand Luke!

Last night's Thomaston Handicap at Gowran Park gave this promising apprentice a chance to demonstrate his considerable equine skills. Luke McAteer was aboard the Jim Bolger-trained Admodum and put on a confident display in this one-mile contest. The American-bred Majestic Warrior gelding was held up at the back of the field and somewhat detached up to half way round. Then from about two furlongs out the five-year-old started to make good headway and then came storming down the middle of the track secure an unexpected three-quarter of a length victory.

 

Worth the wait

A Redcar victory by a Bated Breath filly is causing her Newmarket handler to have second thoughts about going to Ireland for the Irish Oaks later in the year. The David Lanigan-trained Worth Waiting was sent off the odd-on favourite in the Racing UK HD On Sky 426 Median Auction Maiden Stakes had no problems getting the better of all ten rivals except Tom Tate's Roddy who did cause her to work that little bit harder than usual to eventually triumph by one-and-a-half lengths.

 

Weld Done!

Another trainer was unexpectedly delighted when his Nathaniel filly scored on her racecourse debut at Gowran Park. The Dermot Weld-trained Romiyna, ridden by Leigh Roche, lined up in the www.gowranpark.ie Fillies Maiden and certainly looked inexperienced and in need of the run. The Aga Khan-owned three-year-old, nevertheless, was the best of the seven runners and claimed this one-and-a-half-mile contest by six lengths. Romiyna is also entered in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh on July 21.

 

30 May 2018