22 May 2018

 

All Heart!

This Group 1-winning Equiano gelding who made a frustrating trip to Hong Kong last December after developing a fever when arriving, proved he was back in supreme health at Windsor last night when winning the Listed Weatherbys Hamilton Leisure Stakes. The James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man stamped his mark again on the race he won in 2016 and thereby also confirmed his claim as a leading contender for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Tom Queally had the presence of mind to steer the six-year-old across the track from his position coming out of stall six to the middle of the course and closer to where the action was. The strategy paid off and The Tin Man sailed past the eventual second and third, D'bai and Projection, respectively, with three-quarters of a length to spare.

 

Distance didn't Thai him down!

An owner flew all the way from Thailand especially to watch his Clodovil colt race at Redcar yesterday. Chris Hirst flew to England on Friday and is already on his way back today but his journey wasn't in vain. The Mick Channon-trained Certain Lad faced ten rivals in the Watch Racing UK Anywhere Novice Auction Stakes for his first career appearance and some of them had raced before. Undaunted the two-year-old initially chased the leaders and eventually went into the lead about a furlong from home, running on well to win by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Eminently sound.

It's Royal Ascot in a month's time and one particular race, the Prince of Wales's Stakes, is the target for this Frankel colt who ran disappointingly at Chester a week ago, later attributed to a heart fibrillation. The Martyn Meade-trained Eminent has now been given a clean bill of health after extensive tests revealed that the four-year-old's heartbeat has completely settled down and is back to normal. So it has been decided that problem was a one-off and racing will continue as planned.

 

21 May 2018

 

Knew Sioux would do!

A Group One penalty didn't stop this Scat Daddy colt from claiming the Goffs Lacken Stakes at Naas yesterday. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Sioux Nation, winner of last season's Phoenix Stakes, on his first start for 204 days, nevertheless treated his rivals with disdain when sent off the 15/8 favourite in this Group Three contest. Sioux Nation, also hero of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017, transported Ryan Moore to a length-and-a-quarter victory ahead of his stable companion, Fleet Review. Connections are now anticipating further successes for their protégé at Ascot next month in either the Commonwealth Cup or the King's Stand Stakes.

 

Easy to Justify

One more race to go and this Scat Daddy colt will be able to add his name to the greats of American horse-racing history. The Bob Baffert-trained Justify, winner of the 144th renewal of the Kentuck Derby two weeks ago, won the Preakness Stakes at the rain-soaked track in Baltimore. With 52-year-old Mike Smith aboard, Justify took on seven rivals in this second leg of the US Triple Crown and was well and truly tested by a demanding Good Magic but eventually had enough in reserve to beat challenges from both Bravazo and Tenfold.

 

Crystal Clear!

Interestingly, following his success over ten furlongs at Sandown last month, it was decided that this Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sea The Stars colt should take a step back up in trip to a mile and a half for the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury yesterday. Clearly the move was right as the Crystal Ocean proved a class above his rivals, providing an impressive display in this Group Three feature race, perhaps better known as the Aston Park Stakes. The four year old dominated the race inside the final two furlongs and went on to put six lengths between himself and his nearest rival, appropriately named Second Step.

20 May 2018

 

Blooming Good!

Of the four horses that Aidan O'Brien saddled in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury yesterday one came first and the other third. Rhododendron was the one, however, who gave the Ballydoyle trainer his second triumph in this one-mile feature contest, the last time being in 2003 with Hawk Wing. The David Simcock-trained Lightning Spear, ridden by Oisín Murphy, looked like he was going to be the 16/1 shock winner of the day. Ryan Moore, however, had already got the Galileo filly into top gear down the centre of the track and came up trumps by a short head. Stable companion, Lancaster Bomber, cruised in two-and-three-quarter lengths behind in third place.

 

Easy to Justify

One more race to go and this Scat Daddy colt will be able to add his name to the greats of American horse-racing history. The Bob Baffert-trained Justify, winner of the 144th renewal of the Kentuck Derby two weeks ago, won the Preakness Stakes at the rain-soaked track in in Baltimore. With 52-year-old Mike Smith aboard, Justify took on seven rivals in this second leg of the US Triple Crown and was well and truly tested by a demanding Good Magic but eventually had enough in reserve to beat challenges from both Bravazo and Tenfold.

 

Wedding! What Wedding?

There's one clergyman who was not one bit interested in the royal wedding. That's because Vicar Of Bray, formerly trained by Toby Balding, had something more important to celebrate as far as he was concerned - his 31st birthday, thus beating the average life expectancy for horses of between 20 and 30 years. To mark the special occasion, his owner, Fiona Le Vin, gave him his very special celebratory present - a carrot. Incredibly, Vicar Of Bray retired as long ago as 1997, after completing thirty-seven career starts, which produced four Wins, one Second and five Thirds. 

 

19 May 2018

 

Four to go!

The feature race at Newbury today is the Lockinge Stakes and fifteen runners line up in the prestigious prize, he clearly intends to succeed again by saddling over a quarter of the field. With this in mind, Aidan O'Brien has decided that Rhododendron, ridden by Ryan Moore, should drop back in trip to a mile. This Galileo filly was the impressive winner of the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in September 2016 and was runner-up in last season’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. The Ballydoyle trainer strengthens his bid by including in his quartet of contenders: the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up, Lancaster Bomber, who will be partnered by Séamie Heffernan; Deauville, with Wayne Lordan aboard, and War Decree, steered by Pádraig Beggy.

 

A High Note

This Sea the Stars colt brought music to his connections' ears with an impressive victory in yesterday's Yorkshire Cup. The John Gosden-trained Stradivarius was the 4/6 favourite in this fourteen-furlong Group 2 contest, part of the British Champions Series and thoroughly deserved that ranking. On reaching the long home straight on the Knavesmire, Stradivarius ran his rivals ragged and came home three lengths ahead of his nearest rival, Desert Skyline.

 

Happy Birthday!

There's one clergyman who's not one bit interested in today's royal wedding. That's because Vicar Of Bray, formerly trained by Toby Balding, had something more impoprtant to celebrate this week - his 31st birthday, thus beating the average life expectancy for horses of between 20 and 30 years. To mark the special occasion, his owner, Fiona Le Vin, gave him his favourite present, a carrot. Incredibly, Vicar Of Bray retired as long ago as 1997, after completing thirty-seven career starts, which produced four Wins, one Second and five Thirds. 

 

18 May 2018

 

Roaring to go.

This Kitten's Joy colt galloped to a four-and-a-half-length victory with more than a purr in the Dante Stakes at York yesterday. The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion is now the 6/1 second favourite for the Investec Derby next month after routing his eight rivals in this ten-furlong contest. It's not yet clear, though, that the Newmarket handler will send his Qatar Racing-owned three-year-old to Epsom, perhaps preferring, instead, the French Derby at Chantilly on June 3, which is, after all, sponsored by the grey colt's owner, Sheik Fahad.

 

Crown Jewel

John Gosden had a double celebration yesterday. He saddled Coronet in the Betfred Middleton Stakes. This Dubawi filly won the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last Summer and finished fifth in the St Leger and third on Champions Day at Ascot. For her first race of the season, however, she was dropped in class and distance. Coronet was urged to go for home about two furlongs out and, although she idled for a while in the lead, she dominated her rivals and passed the post with a length and a half in hand.

 

Rising Sun

There was exciting action 'darn sarf' in Salisbury, too. A Frankel filly romped clear of her ten rivals to win the Smith & Williamson Fillies' Novice Stakes by twelve lengths. Surprisingly, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sun Maiden was the best backed horse of the day, even though she had only managed fourth place on her first career outing in the 32Red Casino Fillies' Novice Stakes on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton last December. The punters' money seemed never in danger, however, as the Khalid bin Abdullah-owned Sun Maiden went into the lead with two furlongs to go and carried Pat Dobbs to an impressive victory.

 

17 May 2018

 

Angel's Delight

Day One of York's Dante Festival delivered all the expected excitement. The Clive Cox-trained Dark Angel colt got his campaign off to a good start in the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. Harry Angel, ridden by Adam Kirby, was the 4/9 favourite on his first start since October, when he came fourth in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes. David Griffiths' Ornate headed the field for a lot of the six-furlong trip, with Harry Angel shadowing him very closely. Then, inside the final two furlongs, he didn't need asking twice to take over the lead and easily pulled two lengths clear of Brando who, although he looked like he “could have been a contender”, had no response.

 

Took more than she gave!

Seven runners lined up in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, a recognised trial for next month's Investec Oaks at Epsom. The favourite was, as expected, Highgarden, trained by John Gosden who was hoping for his fourth successive win and his sixth in the last eight years in this ten-furlong event. Indeed, things started well for the Nathaniel filly as she headed into the lead from the start but, by the time she reached the last two hundred yards, it was clear that this was not going to be her day. There then ensued a fiercely-fought battle between the William Haggas-trained Give And Take and Ed Vaughan's Dancing Brave Bear and it was the former who took more than she gave, carrying James Doyle past the post with a length in hand.

 

George's Day

Earlier on the first day of the Dante Festival racegoers had the unexpected spectacle a 10/1 shot, who hasn't won since this time last year, come from last to first in the Infinity Tyres Handicap. The Richard Fahey-trained George Bowen was nearer last than first during the early stages of this six-furlong contest but made rapid progress from about halfway and found even more speed to go into the lead with more than a furlong yet to run. Connor Beasley confidently kept his mount to the task and, leaving any potential rivals to do battle for a minor place, George Bowen went further and further ahead and passed the post with six lengths clear.

 

16 May 2018

 

Time for Timmy

A forty-three-year-old jockey, probably best remembered for his most famous victory when he rode the David Pipe-trained Comply Or Die in the 2008 Grand National, has announced his retirement. Timmy Murphy, previously successful over the jumps, switched codes to the Flat in 2015. The County Kildare rider who rode over 1,000 horses since that switch, with a 20% strike rate over jumps and 8% on the Flat over the last five years, decided the time was right after he partnered the Neil Mulholland-trained Happy Escape to victory in the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap at Chepstow yesterday.

 

Have it your own way!

A contrite twenty-six-year-old jockey didn't beat about the bush on his Twitter account, admitting he 'just fell off'! Tom Cannon was aboard the Chris Gordon-trained Jumping Jack in the Cumnor House Sussex - Where Children Flourish Maiden Hurdle. When the odds-on favourite, Sir Prancealot gelding, approached the second-last hurdle ahead of the field, he jinked and the rider thought he was going to duck out and crash through the rail so he took the appropriate corrective action to prepare for the imminent collision. Jumping Jack, however, then changed his mind, straightened up and decided to make the jump after all. The inevitable result was that the two parted company and the dreaded UR appeared in the race result

 

Double for Declan

The riding honours at Killarney yesterday were certainly deserved by this County Meath jockey. Declan McDonogh landed the first race of the day when he partnered the Dermot Weld-trained Zamroudpour the first race of the evening, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction (C & G) Maiden. Then the thirty-eight-year-old rider was aboard the John Murphy-trained Emperor Waltz when he caused a huge upset when he rode the 33/1 Fastnet gelding to a one-length victory ahead of his stable companion, Nelson Road, with the 2/5 favourite, Scarpeta, only managing to finish fourth.

 

15 May 2018

 

Parting of the Ways

A contrite twenty-six-year-old jockey didn't beat about the bush on his Twitter account, admitting he just fell off! Tom Cannon was aboard the Chris Gordon-trained Jumping Jack in the Cumnor House Sussex - Where Children Flourish Maiden Hurdle. When the odds-on favourite, Sir Prancealot gelding, approached the second-last hurdle ahead of the field, he jinked and the rider thought he was going to duck out and crash through the rail so he took the appropriate corrective action to prepare for the imminent collision. Jumping Jack, however, then changed his mind, straightened up and decided to make the jump after all. The inevitable result was that the two parted company and the dreaded UR appeared in the race result

 

Black for more!

This Irish jockey, who became the first distaff winner of Irish conditional jockeys’ title last year, displayed her brilliant equine talents again yesterday. Rachael Blackmore was aboard the John Patrick Ryan-trained Icantsay in the Killarney National Handicap Chase. This Spadoun gelding was keen to disputed the lead early on but was soon headed. The 16/1 shot eight-year-old stuck to the task, however, and managed to regain dominance in the closing stages and won by three-quarters of a length. It was certainly Rachael Blackmore's day because she picked up a spare ride earlier on the Harry Rogers-trained Benkei after the scheduled jockey, Phillip Enright, was stood down following a heavy fall on Sunday. This Galileo gelding, who hasn't struck lucky since October 2017, did the honours, winning the Easy Clean Limited Handicap Hurdle by three-and-a quarter lengths.

 

Ladies' Day

A second female jockey at Killarney turned the evening fixture into something of a Ladies' Day by also bagging a double. Maxine O’Sullivan's first success was a family affair when she rode Citizen Al, trained by her father, Eugene, to a one-and-a half-length victory in the M D O’Shea & Sons Mares’ Maiden Hurdle. The Lombardstown-born rider showed her skills again later in the Celtic Steps Show Lady Riders’ Bumper when she triumphed aboard Sam Curling-trained Raya Time, who claimed this two-mile-one-furlong contest by fourteen lengths.

 

14 May 2018

 

Brit Vic!

Three British raiders targeted the renewal of the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (the French 1000 Guineas) at ParisLongchamp yesterday and one of them triumphed. North Yorkshire-based Karl Burke was hoping that Ellthea could match her stable companion, Lauren's triumph in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile At Newmarket in October. Newmarket trainer, Marco Botti, saddled Capla Temptress and the Trillium Place Stables-based David Simcock was keeping his fingers crossed that Teppal could make it three out of three. In fact, well inside the final furlong, there were quite a few runners with a good chance but it was Olivier Peslier who drove the Camacho filly to victory, giving David Simcock his first Classic success.

 

Haza chance!

It looks like yesterday's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown has provided Dermot Weld with another potential Classic contender. This Shamardal colt, in fact, only had one maiden victory from three outingto his credit until yesterday. The 16/1 shot, Hazapour, with Declan McDonogh aboard, remained midfield for much of the mile-and-a-quarter contest. When entering the home straight, however, the Aga Khan-owned three-year-old not only zoomed past Nelson and The Pentagon, both trained by Aidan O'Brien, but also beat his stable companion, Delano Roosevelt, by three-quarters of a length and, thereby, put down his marker to emulate Harzand, who also claimed this Group Three contest and then went on to triumph in the 2016 Epsom Derby.

 

Who's Who?

Following her victory in a Group Three over seven furlongs last time out, this Zoffany filly made a winning return to a mile when scoring again in her second successive race. The Ger Lyons-trained Who's Steph continued her successful career when claiming the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown yesterday. Colin Keane settled the three-year-old just behind the early pace set by Aidan O'Brien's Ballet Shoes but quickly sent her on inside the final furlong and passed the post a length clear of Ship Of Dreams.

 

13 May 2018

 

French Toast?

The Poule D'Essai Des Pouliches (the French 1000 Guineas) at ParisLongchamp today is being targeted by four foreign raiders, three British and one Irish. The David Simcock-trained Teppal will be seeking to make it three-in-a-row, after last-season victories at Lingfield and Kempton Park. North Yorkshire-based Karl Burke will be hoping that Ellthea can match her stable companion, Lauren's triumph in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile At Newmarket in October. Last but not least, Marco Botti saddles Capla Temptress, who is back in his Newmarket stables after spending some time in America, with Bill Mott, and was last seen winning the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, Toronto. Hoping to claim the prize for the Emerald Isle, however, Aidan O'Brien pits his Could It Be Love against the thirteen rivals, with French trainer, Freddy Head, with two entries, Polydream and Sea Prose and his compatriot, Andre Fabre, saddling Musis Amica and Wind Chimes.

 

Good Turner Round

The former champion apprentice and Group One-winning jockey snatched victory by a neck in the totescoop6 Victoria Cup at Ascot yesterday. This was the biggest win since Hayley Turner came out of retirement. The Nottingham-born rider revealed how she had to literally starve herself to make the required 8st 1lb on the bottom weight but the 'torture' paid off when she partnered the David Elsworth-trained Ripp Orf in this seven-furlong contest. Afterwards she confessed she was looking forward to a good dinner.

 

Knight's Day

This Harry Dunlop-trained Sea The Stars colt put down his marker for Epsom when winning yesterday's Betfred Derby Trial at Lingfield. Richard Kingscote took Knight To Behold to the front once the runners had settled down and gained an unassailable lead in this mile-and-a-half contest. By the time the field entered the straight, Knight To Behold was a good six lengths in the clear. Ryan Moore did his best to make up the ground on the well-backed 8/11 favourite Kew Gardens, trained by Aidan O'Brien, but the eventual winner was still three-and-a-quarter lengths ahead as he past the post.

 

12 May 2018

 

It's Magic!

Having his first race since joining the Ian Williams' Dominion Racing Stables at Alvechurch near Birmingham, this Makfi gelding pulled off a stunning victory in the 188Bet Chester Cup on the Roodee yesterday. Magic Circle, ridden by Fran Berry, produced an amazing turn of foot in the straight, quickly going clear in the final furlong and romping home by six lengths, making it four times that his owner, Dr Marwan Koukash, has claimed this prestigious long-distance handicap.

 

Tree-mendous!

This Richard Fahey-trained Lawman gelding followed up his his victory in the bet365 Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago with an impressive win in yesterday's Homeserve Huxley Stakes at Chester. Tony Hamilton brought Forest Ranger into contention with Eminent, the 8/13 favourite, trained by Marty Meade, on the turn for home. For some reason the Frankel colt, after leading earlier on, quickly ran out of stem two furlongs from home, leaving Forest Ranger to gallop clear inside the final furlong and claim the prize by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

French Toast?

The Poule D'Essai Des Pouliches, the French 1000 Guineas, at ParisLongchamp tomorrow, is being targeted by three British and one Irish raider. The David Simcock-trained Teppal will be seeking to make it three-in-a-row, after last-season victories at Lingfield and Kempton Park. North Yorkshire-based Karl Burke will be hoping that Ellthea can match her stable companion, Lauren's triumph in the Group 1 bet365 Fillies' Mile At Newmarket in October. Last but not least, Marco Botti saddles Capla Temptress who is back in his Newmarket stables after spending some time in America with Bill Mott, and was last seen winning the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, Toronto. Hoping to claim the prize for the Emerald Isle, Aidan O'Brien pits his Could It Be Love against thirteen rivals, with French trainers, Freddy Head with two entries, Polydream and Sea Prose and Andre Fabre saddling Musis Amica and Wind Chimes.

 

11 May 2018

 

Winning State

After six consecutive Group One races over the previous two years this Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo horse was back in Group Three company when he lined up in yesterday's Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester. Idaho, ridden by Ryan Moore was the 8/11 favourite in this six-strong contest. John Gosden's Muntahaa was a bit keen at the outset and went to the lead about a furlong out, accompanied by Richard Hannon's Danehill Kodiac. Ryan Moore kept the five-year-old perfectly positioned in third slot for much of the way and then got a dream run against the rail as the field came round the home turn. It was then that Idaho's superior class came into its own as he galloped passed the post three-and-a-half lengths clear of Danehill Kodiac.

 

Struck the right chord!

Five of the last seven renewals of the Homeserve Dee Stakes at Chester have now been won by the Ballydoyle maestro. Aidan O'Brien saddled Rostropovich in this ten-furlong Listed event where he was the 5/2 favourite (the horse not the trainer!). This Frankel colt won a Group Two race as a juvenile and caught the eye when coming fourth in the Grade 3 Fontainebleau Stakes at Longchamp last month. Ryan Moore semed in no hurry to get the job done, allowing his mount's stablemate, Kenya, to contest the lead with the Mark Johnston-trained King's Proctor for much of the time. Then about two furlongs from home Rostropovich started to make headway and was in the lead one furlong out and eventually triumphed by three-and-and-three-quarter lengths

 

Verse got better!

Last night's Fortress Home Insurance Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton gave the Philip Hobbs-trained Yeats mare another chance to display her versatility. Little Miss Poet demonstrated her staying powers in her previous three races at Taunton, Uttoxeter and also at this Somerset track where the ground had been good, good to soft. Last night's going was good, (g had the advantage of having champion jockey, Richard Johnson, on board and also wore a hood for the first time. This combination seems to have done the trick as she scored a narrow victory ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Garo De Juilley

 

10 May 2018

 

Young at heart

This Intello colt cause quite a surprise yesterday when winning the Chester Vase, a race claimed by Aidan O'Brien for the last five years and eight times overall. The William Haggas-trained Young Rascal, though still quite inexperienced, won this Derby trial contest by half-a-length from Dee Ex Bee, trained by Mark Johnston. Aidan O'Brien's Hunting Horn had to settle for third place, three lengths behind. Whether the Mrs André Fabre-bred three-year-old can do the same in the Epsom extravaganza in June is another matter but, based on yesterday's performance, Young Rascal's odds have been reduced to 10/1.

 

Magic!

Another successful outsider had her odds for the Investec Oaks more than halved after winning the Arkle Finance Cheshire Oaks at Chester. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Magic Wand, one of three Ballydoyle runners in this nigh-on one-and-a-half-mile contest, made every yard of the running, after benefiting from a first-class pace-setting ride in the hands of Ryan Moore. The Brighton-born jockey made the most of his favourable draw and eventually went on to score by three-and-a- half lengths.

 

Be my Guest!

A Newmarket-based trainer, having launched the career of this nineteen-year-old apprentice jockey, was duly rewarded by victory in the Follow Us On Twitter At starsports-bet Handicap. Sebastian Woods was aboard the Rae Guest-trained Kachumba in this seven-furlong contest and came home half-a-length ahead of River Rule to move within one winner of having his claim reduced to five pounds.

9 May 2018

 

Quick as a flash

The County Kildare track also marked the successful reappearance of a Frankel filly who lined up in the Coolmore Mastercraftsman Irish EBF Athasi Stakes. The Ger Lyons-trained Lightening Quick, enjoyed a winning start to her career at Leopardstown last September but failed to live up to her name three weeks later in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket. The Qatar Racing-owned three-year-old, a 9-2 shot for this seven-furlong Group Three contest, however, travelled strongly throughout, steered confidently by jockey Colin Keane. The top-weight Xenobia, trained by Bill Farrell, made much of the running and was a good ten lengths ahead at the half-way mark but Lightening Quick gradually wore the Falco filly down to claim the prize by comfortable three-quarters of a length.

 

Moher and Moher!

This Galileo colt, runner-up in last year's Derby but without a win since Chester a year ago, rediscovered his winning ways at Naas. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Cliffs Of Moher took on six rivals in the Coolmore Camelot Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes and was the 13/8 favourite for this ten-furlong Group Two. Ryan Moore patiently allowed another Ballydoyle trainee, Yucatan, to slug it out upfront with the Ken Condon-trained Success Days before swooping in the last hundred yards and riding Cliffs Of Moher to a length-and three-quarter victory

 

Can't Weight!

Another rider proves what a tough life race-riding is for some, particularly with the constant battle with the scales. Apprentice jockey, Josh Doyle, based with successful trainer David O'Meara in Upper Helmsley just outside York, admits he has become tired of the extreme measures he has to submit to, such as running with sweatsuits on, even wearing them in the car and constantly sweating in baths but, as he puts it: “you can't stop mother nature." The 22-year-old, who at 5ft 10" is tall for a Flat jockey, progressed from pony racing and show jumping in Ireland and reduced his claim down to 3lb, after notching up fifty-six winners since joining David O'Meara's team five years ago.

7 May 2018

 

Brook no resistance.

Yesterday's Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket didn't quite work out as expected with the favourite only managing to come third. The horse that caused all the upset was the Richard Hannon-trained 66/1 outsider, Billesdon Brook, who surprisingly, could only finish fourth in the Nell Gwyn Stakes just under three weeks ago. This time, however, this Champs Elysees filly was in top form and worthy of Classic glory. Karl Burke's Laurens seemed to have the race in the bag when committing for home quite early on but Billesdon Brook, ridden by Sean Levey, took control in the final furlong and scored by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

A Grey Day!

That wasn't the only shock result on 1000 Guineas day at Newmarket. The seven-race fixture kicked off with the Qatar Racing Handicap and the favourite was the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Adamant, who eventually ended up in seventh position. The surprise winner was Grey Britain, trained by John Ryan and ridden by Gerald Mosse who came in at 50/1. This result was completely out of the blue as this Arcano gelding was well beaten on two occasions during the Dubai Carnival at Meydan earlier this year and was last seen finishing way down the field in the 32Red Lincoln at Doncaster in March. Stepping up half a mile in distance seems to have done the trick, however, as Grey Britain travelled smoothly into the lead inside the final furlong and finished strongly, a length and a half ahead of Uae Prince and Alqamar.

 

Lloyd knows how!

This Lloyd Weber performer took a while to get her act together, probably because she didn't like the faster ground. When it came to the final act, however, the John Gosden-trained Lah Ti Dar made it two curtain calls from two shows when she won the Listed Tweenhills Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. This Dubawi filly had already caught the eye when scoring impressively on her debut in the BJP Celebrating 20 Years Maiden Fillies' Stakes at this Berkshire track three weeks ago and firmly built on that success with a three-and-a-quarter length victory.

 

6 May 2018

 

Triple Success

One trainer in particular had the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in his sights yesterday as it would be a triple landmark achievement if his horse won. The legendary Aidan O’Brien was bidding for his ninth win in twenty years in this one-mile colts' Classic; his thirtieth British Classic victory and, incredibly, his 300th Group One winner. And the Ballydoyle king was crowned again. He got the tactics just right. Murillo, with Wayne Lordan aboard, did the front running down the centre of the track and his stable companion, Saxon Warrior, ridden by the trainer's youngest son, Donnacha O’Brien, shadowed him closely. The race began to develop away from one of the main rivals on the stands’ side as the Deep Impact colt entered the Dip, when O’Brien junior decided it was time to go for it. Saxon Warrior didn't need asking twice and easily went two lengths ahead of the chasing pack and crossed the line well clear of his nearest rivals.

 

Easy Rider

The retained jockey for Paul Nicholls has decided to go freelance this season, although he plans to continue riding on a regular basis for the ten-time champion trainer, for whom he has been the number one jockey since 2014. Sam Twiston-Davies, who has regularly notched up a 'ton' of winners over the last five seasons, apparently still dreams of becoming champion jockey one day. The twenty-five-year-old clearly believes that this new arrangement will boost his career in that direction. The new jumps campaign got underway at Hexham and Uttoxeter, where he had two rides. Unfortunately not a good start to the season. Templehills, trained by his father, Nigel, came fourth and Jamie Snowden's Lostnfound was sixth.

 

Justify-able Winner!

No European-based horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby and that fact was corroborated at Churchill Downs yesterday when the 144th renewal of this world-famous event was won by Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, making it his fifth victory win in this Louisville-based contest. As well as success at Newmarket Aidan O'Brien was particularly hoping to go down in history when he saddled Mendelssohn, who had already cause quite a stir with his sensational victory in the UAE Derby at Meydan. Things didn't look good from the outset, however, as the Scat Daddy colt was knocked sideways on leaving the stalls. Ryan Moore did his best to urge his mount on but in vain. Justify kicked off the bend and never looked like being caught. Realising there was no hope of even a place, the Brighton-born jockey just let Mendelssohn come home in his own good time and he finished last.

 

5 May 2018

 

Guineas – Book of Records!

The main racing attraction in Europe must be today's Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. One trainer in particular has this prize in his sights again. Victory in this one-mile colts' Classic would give Aidan O'Brien his ninth win in twenty years and his thirtieth British Classic success overall. With this in mind, the Ballydoyle handler will be saddling both the likely favourite Gustav Klimt and Saxon Warrior. The latter will be partnered by the trainer's nineteen-year-old son, Donnacha. As the Galileo colt's regular jockey, Ryan Moore, however, has opted to ride Mendelssohn in today's Kentucky Derby, Seamus Heffernan is being offered the golden opportunity of adding a second British Classic to his credit.

 

Ticket to ride!

The retained jockey for Paul Nicholls has decided to go freelance this season, although he plans to continue riding on a regular basis for ten-time champion trainer, for whom he has been the number one jockey since 2014. Sam Twiston-Davies, who has regularly notched up a 'ton' of winners over the last five seasons, apparently still dreams of becoming champion jockey one day. The twenty-five-year-old clearly believes that this new arrangement will boost his career in that direction as the new jumps campaign gets underway today at Hexham and, particularly, at Uttoxeter where he has two booked rides, one for his father, Nigel, and the other for Jamie Snowden.

 

Music to his ears?

No European-based horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby, the prestigious race that forms the first leg of US horse racing's Triple Crown, the others being the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Today at Churchill Downs Aidan O'Brien will be bidding to enter racing history when he saddles the well-fancied Mendelssohn in the twenty-one-strong field. This Scat Daddy colt, last seen romping home to an eighteen-length victory in the UAE Derby Sponsored By Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group at Meydan a month ago, will be partnered by Ryan Moore, who has decided to ride in this legendary contest rather than take part in the first British Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

 

4 May 2018

Lucky in Kentucky?

No European-based horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby, the prestigious race that forms the first leg of US horse racing's Triple Crown, the others being the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. On Saturday at Churchill Downs Aidan O'Brien will be bidding to rewrite the racing history books when he saddles the well-fancied Mendelssohn in the twenty-one-strong field. This Scat Daddy colt, last seen romping home to an eighteen-length victory in the UAE Derby Sponsored By Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group at Meydan a month ago, will be partnered by Ryan Moore, who has decided to ride in the legendary Kentucky Derby rather than take part in the first British Classic of the season, the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

 

Home, James!

This Newmarket trainer hasn't notched up a Group One winner yet but he is clearly hoping that the Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes winner at Ascot will change all that. The James Tate-trained Invincible Army has already claimed his first Pattern-race victory in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton on his last-but-one outing last season. The 11/8 favourite, Invincible Spirit gelding was never far far off the early pace set by Abel Handy and, when asked by Ryan Moore, he accelerated smartly to cross the line a length and a half ahead of clear of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Eqtidaar.

 

Paul's Call?

A County Wexford trainer is making a four-horse attack on the seven-race jumps fixture at Cork today. Paul Nolan's greatest chance of success could well be with his hat-trick-seeking Rooster Byron who should make light of the heavy going in the Mallow Handicap Hurdle, with Kevin Sexton aboard. Another strong contestant lines up in the Follow Us On Twitter Rated Novice Hurdle and that is is Quamino, who came an impressive second at Fairyhouse, although he has to take on the much respected Azu Emery, trained by Gordon Elliott. Roney represents the Toberona House stables in the last race of the day, the Mares Flat Race but this race is quite competitive and includes the likes of the Jessica Harrington-trained Emily Moon and James Nash's Hollow Crest. Kicking of the evening at this Mallow racetrack, Paul Nolan also tries his luck with Baboin on his second career start after coming fifth in the P.J. Foley Memorial Flat Race at Gowran Park in January.

 

3 May 2018

 

Gotcha!

There was drama in yesterday's Sodexo Conditions Stakes at Ascot. The Aidan O'Brien-trained 1/7 favourite, The Irish Rover, reared up in the stalls as the race started and thereby gave his three rivals at least a five-length advantage. One runner, on his debut outing, who gained from this unexpected gift was a Champs Elysees gelding, with a name not as grand as his sire's. The Clive Cox-trained Getchagetchagetcha, with Alan Kirby aboard, stayed on well over on the far side and just nosed his way to victory ahead of the more experienced Vikivaki.

 

Punch-drunk?

This County Meath trainer must now be catching his breath after a furious five days at the Punchestown Festival. Gordon Elliott began the final week of the Irish season with a seemingly unassailable lead, forcing the reigning champion to fight all the way to the line. 'Never-say-die' Willie Mullins, however, pulled out all the stops and made up the deficit and went decisively into the lead and claimed his twelfth crown. The result by no means belittles Gordon Elliott's superb campaign: he notched up 200 winners in a season for the first time and he won the English and Irish Grand Nationals.

 

Girl Friends!

Thirty female members from five different countries comprise the first-ever Irish syndicate, called, not surprisingly, It's All About The Girls. The group has already enjoyed success with dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour in Australia and the Grade 3-placed Our Majesty in the America. Now they have added an Irish victory to their list. The Jessica Harrington-trained filly, appropriately called Chicas Amigas, made her debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Dundalk. This Dragon Pulse two-year-old led the six-strong field for about a furlong before being headed and slipping to second position about half-way through this six-furlong contest. Shane Foley, however, kept her concentrating on the task at hand and she held on well inside final furlong to claim the prize by three-quarters of a length.

 

2 May 2018

 

Shining Example

This Aqlaam mare claimed the Peter Symonds Catering Fillies' Handicap at Salisbury. The Ian Williams-trained Pretty Jewel made it two wins from three starts in this mile-and-a-half feature event. It took a while for the Kieran O'Neill-ridden five-year-old to get into her stride, though. About two furlongs from home it certainly didn't look as though this was her day but after switching right one furlong out, she managed to to get her head in front and stay on in the lead to beat her nearest rival, I'm A Believer, by a nose.

 

Pie in the Sky?

Royal Ascot, and all other races at the Berkshire track, are the object of a bid for the pay-TV rights by the Satellite channel, At the Races, which is to be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing from January. This re-named company aims to make Royal Ascot the highlight of a schedule of more than 650 fixtures if they can take over terrestrial rights to broadcast, currently held by ITV. Sky’s growing interest in the sport has already been noticed after its poaching of meetings at Chester and Bangor from rival TV company, Racing UK.

 

It's a gas!

The 4.35 race at Thirsk was delayed for almost half an hour because the veterinary team had to go to a nearby petrol station. It wasn't that they were low on fuel. They were summoned after a horse got stuck in its box when the trainer's vehicle pulled in to get petrol after leaving the North Yorkshire track. It seems that the horse had managed to get over a partition which wasn't designed for getting over and was well and truly trapped. The racecourse emergency services spent about twenty-five minutes rescuing the animal and were back on duty to supervise the 'Irish Day' At thirskraces Saturday 19th May Maiden Auction Stakes at 5.04.

 

1 May 2018

 

Winning Beginning

The recently re-crowned Irish Champion jockey kicked off the new season with a win at last night’s Kilbeggan meeting. Davy Russell was aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Crezic, lining up in the Follow Kilbeggan On Twitter Maiden Hurdle. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned Califet gelding didn't exactly cover himself with glory last time out when he came third, some fifteen lengths behind the winner, in the McWilliam Park Hotel (C & G) Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe. This time, however the French-bred five-year-old made amends with a convincing one-and-three-quarter-length victory in this two-mile contest

 

Boxed in.

Yesterday's 4.35 race at Thirsk was delayed for almost half an hour because the veterinary team had to go a nearby petrol station. It wasn't that they were low on fuel. They were summoned after a horse got stuck in its box when the trainer's vehicle pulled in to get petrol after leaving the North Yorkshire track. It seems that the horse had managed to get over a partition which wasn't designed for getting over and was well and truly trapped. The racecourse emergency services spent about twenty-five minutes rescuing the animal and were back on duty to supervise the 'Irish Day' At thirskraces Saturday 19th May Maiden Auction Stakes at 5.04.

 

Sky's the limit!

Royal Ascot, and all other races at the Berkshire track, are the object of a bid for the pay-TV rights by the Satellite channel, At the Races, which is to be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing from January. This re-named company aims to make Royal Ascot the highlight of a schedule of more than 650 fixtures if they can take over terrestrial rights to broadcast, currently held by ITV. Sky’s growing interest in the sport has already been noticed after its poaching of meetings at Chester and Bangor from rival TV company, Racing UK.

 

30 April 2018

Lucky Star!

One jockey's misfortune was certainly another one's gain at Sha Tin yesterday. Kerrin McEvoy was booked to ride Pakistan Star but had to cry off because of an ear problem. Into the breach, however, stepped William Buick, who only discovered when his plane landed at Chep Lap Kok airport, that not only was he riding Godolphin's Blue Point in the Chairman's Sprint Prize but that he would also be partnering the Tony Cruz-trained Shamardal gelding in the very next race, the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup. As it turned out, it was the Norwegian-born jockey's lucky day. He came last (ninth) aboard Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby, but rode Pakistan Star to a three-length victory, thereby notching up one of his biggest overseas career wins.

 

Retiring Duo

The retirement of two top female jockeys within twenty-four hours of each other has left something of a vacuum in Irish racing. Katie Walsh announced she was hanging up her saddle on Friday evening after scoring at Punchestown and then the next day, at the same County Kildare track, her sister-in-law, Nina Carberry, followed suit after winning the Dooley Insurances Cross Country Chase aboard the Enda Bolger-trained Josies Orders. Both 33-year-old jockeys were successful in the Irish Grand National, Nina Carberry in 2011 riding Organisedconfusion and Katie Walsh in 2015, partnering Thunder And Roses. A national hunt is now on for the next superstars on the distaff side.

 

He Cracked it!

This Frankel gelding, the 2017 winner of the Champion Stakes, outran his six rivals on his seasonal return in the Prix Ganay Stakes yesterday at the redeveloped and renamed ParisLongchamp. The John Gosden-trained Cracksman went into the lead over two furlongs out in this one-mile-two-furlong event and went indisputably clear in the final quarter of a mile. It looks like we could look forward to seeing further impressive performances from this four-year-old at Ascot.

 

29 April 2018

 

Riding High

The Nicky Henderson-trained High Chaparral gelding, winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month, extended his unbeaten record over fences to nine when he won the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown Park yesterday. Altior, partnered by Nico de Boinville, was sent off the 2/11 favourite for this two-mile Grade One contest and still had enough in reserve to negotiate the Sandown hill to triumph by three-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Walsh waves goodbye.

First Noel Fehily was booked to partner Antey in the SalesSense International Novice Hurdle but he was injured earlier in the evening; then second choice, Danny Mullins, joined him later in hospital. Even Rachael Blackmore was unavailable because she had also gone to hospital - but only to keep another injured rider company. So trainer, Willie Mullins, must have been at his wits' end in his effort to find a rider for his Lord Of England gelding. Then as he was desperately scanning the weighing room for a jockey, Katie Walsh crossed his path and he beckoned her over and she was in the saddle five minutes later. Little did the County Carlow king know what a momentous decision he was making. It turns out that this illustrious member of the Walsh family had been planning for about a fortnight to retire when she next rode a winner, whenever it happened to be. The 34-year-old's plan evolved quicker than expected when she rode her mount to victory, beating The Joseph O'Brien trained Shady Operator, ridden by Barry Geraghty, by a nose. After this triumph, the highly successful female jump jockey stunned the Festival crowd by announcing her immediate retirement. Katie Walsh had already proved that a woman can have a long and successful career as a jump jockey, beginning notably with a double at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010. She won an Irish Grand National in 2015 and rode in six Grand Nationals, only failing to complete one of them.

 

Step in the right direction

At Sandown yesterday this Indian River gelding virtually dominated the bet365 Gold Cup and finished thirteen lengths ahead of any rival. The Mark Bradstock-trained Step Back was sent off a 7/1 shot and his jockey, Jamie Moore, gave him a confident ride throughout. For a while Pat Hobbs' Rock The Kasbah took on the eventual winner. Even Present Man and Relentless Dreamer both tried to get into the act but Step Back just kept finding more until any opposition faded away.

 

28 April 2018

 

Good-bye Katie!

First Noel Fehily was booked to partner Antey in the SalesSense International Novice Hurdle but he was injured earlier in the evening; then second choice, Danny Mullins, joined him later in hospital. Even Rachael Blackmore was unavailable because she had also gone to hospital - but only to keep another injured rider company. So trainer, Willie Mullins, must have been at his wits' end in his effort to find a rider for his Lord Of England gelding. Then as he was desperately scanning the weighing room for a jockey, Katie Walsh crossed his path and he beckoned her over and she was in the saddle five minutes later. Little did the County Carlow king know what a momentous decision he was making. It turns out that this illustrious member of the Walsh family had been planning for about a fortnight to retire when she next rode a winner, whenever it happened to be. The 34-year-old's plan evolved quicker than expected when she rode her mount to victory, beating The Joseph O'Brien trained Shady Operator, ridden by Barry Geraghty, by a nose. After this triumph, the highly successful female jump jockey stunned the Festival crowd by announcing her immediate retirement. Katie Walsh had already proved that a woman can have a long and successful career as a jump jockey, beginning notably with a double at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010. She won an Irish Grand National in 2015 and rode in six Grand Nationals, only failing to complete one of them.

 

Twelve-time Champ

Willie Mullins finally notched up his twelfth Irish trainers' championship title yesterday and, remarkably, eleven of them in a row. The County Carlow king scored fourteen times in the last four days of the Punchestown Festival, producing an unassailable lead of £475,000. The new reigning champion was quick to pay tribute to his rival, Gordon Elliott, and admits that the emergence of the County Meath contender had forced him to try that little bit harder.

 

Higher and Deeper

This High Chaparral gelding takes on five adversaries when defending his crown in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown today. The Nicky Henderson's trained Altior concluded his unbeaten novice campaign with a runaway success in this Grade One contest last year ago and must be the red-hot favourite to do the same again. The eight-year-old missed the first half of the season due to breathing problems but has since proved that he is as good as ever with a particularly powerful performance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month.

 

27 April 2018

 

What a Day!

It was the County Carlow king's day again at Punchestown. In what was an astonishing turnaround, Willie Mullins went into the lead in the battle for the Irish jumps trainers' championship with just two days of the season left. The eleven-times champion, after an amazing six winners on Wednesday, started Day Three of the Festival with an advantage of about £41,000, after beginning the week some £450,000 behind Gordon Elliott. Willie Mullins couldn't have wished for a better result. Not only did he have the pleasure of increasing his financial lead over his rival to over £280,000 with a one-two-three in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle but he also had the special delight that the first home in that three-mile feature event was none other than former Champion Hurdle hero, Faugheen, who, without a win since November 2017, defied his age to gallop home to a thirteen-length victory.

 

A Steal!

A horseless highwayman stole a twelve-length victory at Punchestown yesterday. The Willie Mullins-trained Footpad, winner of the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last month, ran his rivals ragged in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase. The brilliant six-year-old Creachadoir gelding, ridden by Daryl Jacob, produced a superb round of jumping, maintaining his unbeaten record over fences. Castlegrace Paddy, trained by Pat Fahy, vainly did his best to stay with this top novice but Footpad was not for turning and even his old adversary, Petit Mouchoir, had no response.

 

Higher and Deeper

This High Chaparral gelding takes on five adversaries when defending his crown in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown tomorrow. The Nicky Henderson's trained Altior concluded his unbeaten novice campaign with a runaway success in this Grade One contest last year ago and must be the red-hot favourite to do the same again. The eight-year-old missed the first half of the season due to breathing problems but has since proved that he is as good as ever with a particularly powerful performance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month.

 

26 April 2018

 

It's not over till ...”

The contender for the Irish champion trainer title, Gordon Elliott, started the week at Punchestown with a lead of over £400,000 on Mullins and was still ahead by over £300,000 at the start of the second day of the Festival meeting. The county Meath trainer, however, saw his chances diminish as reigning champion, Willie Mullins, saddled six of the seven winners on day two. The clincher was the last race of the evening, the Weatherbys General Stud Book Irish EBF Mares Flat Race, which Colreevy, ridden by Patrick Mullins, won by five-and-a-half lengths. Paul Townend had already taken the County Carlow king into the lead when he claimed a narrow victory in the preceding Guinness Handicap Chase. Also earlier in the evening, Bellshill, Next Destination, Tornado Flyer and Pravalaguna established a lead of over £40,000 on Elliott at the end of the day. Day four should be exciting!

 

Winning Wand

The Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom yesterday gave this John Gosden-trained Dansili colt the opportunity to display his credentials when he narrowly claimed the prize in this ten-furlong contest. Crossed Baton may have seemed half asleep as he strolled around the paddock, but that it was a different story when he came out of the stalls. The Khalid ibn Abdullah-owned three-year-old was given his head and allowed to quicken in his own time and the race seemed his, as the field approached the final furlong but Crossed Baton was obviously tiring and just managed to fight of the late-challenging My Lord And Master by a head.

 

Princely Victory

Stamina didn't seem to be a problem for this Exit To Nowhere gelding in the Adare Manor Opportunity Series Final Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown. The Matthew Smith-trained Prince Garyantle showed his twenty-three rivals no mercy and made all to win by eight-and-a-half lengths, which rather upset the betting apple cart as he was sent off a 25/1 outsider.

 

25 April 2018

Dramatic Punch

This Shatoun gelding scored in dramatic fashion in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown last night. Of the eleven runners lining up in this three-mile Grade One, five were saddled by Gordon Elliott and three by his rival, reigning irish champion trainer, Willie Mullins. The latter, though, looked set for victory as the runners rounded the home turn, with his Invitation Only and Al Boum Photo both challenging on either side of the Henry de Bromhead-trained 2/1 favourite, Monalee. Then all hell broke loose. Monalee took a crashing fall two fences from home, badly hampering Invitation Only, who promptly unseated his jockey, David Mullins. This left Al Boum Photo in the advantage but then, for some inexplicable reason, Paul Townend tried to manoeuvre the Buck's Boum gelding across the track and ended up running out through the wing and, unfortunately, taking the Colin Tizzard-trained Finian's Oscar with him. Gordon Elliott's The Storyteller then suddenly found himself in the lead and transported Davy Russell to a six-furlong lead, followed by stable companions, Monbeg Notorious and Jury Duty, providing the County Meath trainer with an unexpected one-two-three. Paul Townend was subsequently banned for 21 days for dangerous riding and ordered to forfeit his riding fee.

 

Will Willie?

Willie Mullins had already got off to a flying start in this year's Punchestown Festival when Draconien, with Noel Fehly aboard, surprisingly, claimed the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle by two-and-a-quarter lengths. The reigning Irish champion trainer has a lot of ground to make up to catch his rival, Gordon Elliott. With this in mind he must have been pleased when Rachael Blackmore steered True Self to a confident win in the next race, the Killashee Handicap Hurdle. Then he carried on the good work when claiming first and second slot when Un De Sceaux and Douvan did the honours in the BoyleSports Champion Chase, the first Grade One contest of the week.

 

No Release for winning!

This son of Frankel, having caught the eye when winning a Newcastle maiden in December, further impressed by landing the John Kemp 4x4 Centre Of Norwich Novice Stakes at Yarmouth yesterday. The John Gosden-trained Without Parole, the 4/9 favourite, shadowed the front-running Ostilio for most of the first six furlongs of this mile contest and then was urged to reel-in the New Approach colt. It took a while for the three-year-old to get into his stride but when he did his rival had no response and was left trailing six length in the winner's wake.

 

24 April 2018

 

A five-day Feast

Ireland's famous National Hunt Festival begins at Punchestown today bringing down the curtain on another fantastic season and it looks like horse-racing fans are in for five-day treat. There will be County Cork-born Davy Russell hoping to add to his recent Aintree Grand National victory aboard Tiger Roll, which marked his finest season in the saddle, by being crowned champion jockey for the third time. Then there's the prospect of seeing in action the likes of Douvan, Samcro, Laurina and many other equine stars. A special attraction is bound to be the on-going fight for the Irish trainers' championship between Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.

 

Well composed

This Scat Daddy colt certainly hit the right notes when winning the first race of the day at Navan by seven- and-a-half lengths. The Aidan O'Brien's Sergei Prokofiev, who was making only his second career start after coming second twelve days ago on the Dundalk polytrack, didn't seem troubled by the 'yielding to soft ground' when he saw off his four rivals in the five-furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race.

 

That's the Spirit!

The latest first-season sire to produce a first winner was Gregorian when the Tom Clover-trained Gypsy Spirit triumphed on her debut in the Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds 30th Anniversary Fillies' Novice Auction Stakes at Windsor last night. The two-year-old filly was purchased last year by the trainer for 6,000 guineas at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. Her nine-year-old sire was previously trained by John Gosden and won six races including the Group 3 Diomed Stakes, Group 3 Criterion Stakes and the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes. Gregorian now stands at the National Stud in Newmarket.

 

23 April 2018

 

A Win to Order.

Yesterday's Group Three Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan was like taking candy from a baby for this Galileo colt. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Order Of St George only had two rivals to deal with in this one-mile-six-furlong contest. The three-time Group One winner was understandably the 2/9 favourite and didn't require any whipping, either, from his jockey, Ryan Moore, to get the job done. There might have been a few missed heart beats for favourite backers when the six-year-old was urged to go and catch the long-time leader, Lord Yeats, trained by Jedd Keefe, but all's well that ends well and Order Of St George claimed the prize by five-and-a-half lengths.

 

Whaddya know. Joe!

A 33/1 shot, trained by Rebecca Curtis and ridden by Adam Wedge, claimed the Scottish Grand National by a nose at Ayr. Vintage Clouds, fancied by many punters, dominated for most of the time and went into the lead five fences from home. Joe Farrell, however, had been tracking every move and eased into second place when jumping the next fence. With momentum in his mount's favour, Adam Wedge decided to go for home with still three jumps to go. By this time Vintage Clouds began to feel the strain but Ballyoptic, with Tom Bellamy aboard, was getting into his stride. It was close but Joe Farrell just held off the Old Vic gelding by the shortest of distances after four miles of racing.

 

Exceeds expectations.

This Exceed And Excel colt clearly likes Newbury and proved it by notching up his second his Group success by winning the Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes. Winner of the Mill Reef Stakes last September, the George Scott-trained James Garfield showed he had progressed since then by producing a dazzling display to win this six-furlong contest by three-quarters of a length.

 

22 April 2018

 

Three not to be.

It's was Scotland's chance to be nationally grand when Ayr staged the 160th renewal of the Scottish Grand National. There were twenty-nine runners in this nigh on four-mile event. One jockey, in particular, was hoping to live down his disappointment of not making it beyond the first fence seven days ago at Aintree. Sam Twiston-Davies, whose mount, Blaklion, was unfortunately brought down before the race really got going, sought compensation by making history on the Paul Nicholls-trained Vicente. If this nine-year-old Dom Alco gelding had triumphed in the richest race run in Scotland, he would have not only won the £215,000 in prize money but, more importantly, he would have become only the fourth horse in history to win this prestigious race three times. Sadly it was not to be. A 33/1 outsider, Joe Farrell, trained by Rebecca Curtis. claimed the prize and Vicente had to be content with fifth slot.

 

Lloyd knows how!

This John Gosden-trained Dubawi filly put on a real posh performance for her celebrity owner when she made a successful debut in the BJP Celebrating 20 Years Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Newbury. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Lah Ti Dar looked every bit the part as she galloped decisively clear of her thirteen rivals. Ed Walker's Arendelle initially set a cracking pace and was eight lengths clear as the field turned for home but ran out of steam and was passed three furlongs out. The 7-2 joint-favourite, Lah Ti Dar however, was still going well at this stage and took her curtain call, six lengths ahead of Arcadian Cat, who could have come straight from one of her owner's musicals, Cats!

 

Expert failed

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Acclamation colt caused quite a stir when winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last August but failed to follow up that success in his subsequent line-up in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newbury in October, finishing last (9th). That's why connections are expecting better thing from Expert Eye in today's Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes where the market seems to think he has a chance as he is currently the 11/8 favourite. The four-year-old, steered by Ryan Moore started off steadily but was held up in fifth position for part of the way. Though bravely tracking leaders over two furlongs from home he was unable to quicken but managed to stay on and claim second slot.

 

21 April 2018

 

Victory times Three?

It's now Scotland's chance to be nationally grand when Ayr stages the the 160th renewal of the Scottish Grand National this afternoon. There are twenty-nine runners in this nigh on four-mile event. One jockey, in particular, will be hoping to live down his disappointment of not making it beyond the first fence seven days ago at Aintree. Sam Twiston-Davies, whose mount,

Blaklion, was unfortunately brought down before the race really got going, will seek compensation by making history on the Paul Nicholls-trained Vicente. If this nine-year-old Dom Alco gelding triumphs in the richest race run in Scotland, he would not only win the £215,000 in prize money but, more importantly, he would become only the fourth horse in history to win this prestigious race three times.

 

Real lah-di-dah!

This John Gosden-trained Dubawi filly put on a real posh performance for her celebrity owner when she made a successful debut in the BJP Celebrating 20 Years Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Newbury yesterday. The Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned Lah Ti Dar looked every bit the part as she galloped decisively clear of her thirteen rivals. Ed Walker's Arendelle initially set a cracking pace and was eight lengths clear as the field turned for home but ran out of steam and was passed three furlongs out. The 7-2 joint-favourite, Lah Ti Dar however, was still going well at this stage and took her curtain call, six lengths ahead of Arcadian Cat, who could have come straight from one of her owner's musicals, Cats!

 

An Eye for Success?

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Acclamation colt caused quite a stir when winning the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood last August but failed to follow up that success in his subsequent line-up in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newbury in October, finishing last (9th). That's why connections are expecting better thing from Expert Eye in today's Al Basti Equiworld Supporting Greatwood Greenham Stakes where the market seems to think he has a chance as he is currently the 11/8 favourite.

20 April 2018

 

No go.

With yesterday's temperature rising to around 80F at Prestbury Park by mid-afternoon, the Cheltenham administration took the unusual decision to abandon the fourth race of the day, the JRL Group Mares' Handicap Chase. After discussing the conditions with trainers, jockeys and veterinary staff, who reported that some of the runners who had competed in previous races were found to be suffering from heat stress, the three-mile-two-furlong event was cancelled on welfare grounds. Not everyone was happy with this decision, however. Quite understandably, some of the trainers who had horses scheduled to run in the race were aggrieved at being denied the opportunity to compete. Trainer,Donald McCain, in particular, even claimed the decision set a "dangerous precedent" for the sport.

 

Rue the Day

Nigel Hawke, who won the 1991 Grand National aboard Seagram, could have been this year's winning trainer at Aintree and pocketed the £561K prize money but he sold the horse nearly five years ago for what seemed a handsome profit at the time. The Devon-based handler originally bought Tiger Roll for £10,000 in 2013 and even saddled him to win his first-ever race, a juvenile hurdle at Market Rasen in November of that year. Then, for whatever reason, the Authorized gelding was put up for auction at the Brightwells Cheltenham Sale the following month and Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud snapped him up for £80,000 and his trainer became Gordon Elliott and the rest is history.

 

Measure for Masar

The bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket yesterday presented racegoers with an impressive front-running display that somewhat upset the apple cart. The John Gosden-trained Roaring Lion, after coming second in the Racing Post Trophy and winning three of his four juvenile starts, including the Royal Lodge Stakes over this course and distance, was expectedly the 8/13 favourite to claim the one-mile Class 3 contest. Masar, trained by Charlie Appleby, who flirted with dirt at Meydan last month and finished way down the field, clearly relished his return to turf. William Buick got the New Approach colt off to a smart start and clearly planned to take to make all from the word go. Roaring Lion did the best he could to reel in the leader but failed to make any impression on the gap which eventually extended to a nine-length victory.

 

19 April 2018

 

No Trafic jam!

This Astarabad gelding was well ahead of his fifteen rivals by the first fence in the Barchester Healthcare Silver Trophy Chase at Cheltenham yesterday. The plan seemed to be for the Gary Moore-trained Traffic Fluide to win from the front but Go Conquer and Days Of Heaven had other ideas and challenged him for that role, the latter making the best progress. Coming down the hill, however, Art Of Payroll threw down the gauntlet and, with Traffic Fluide struggling back in sixth position, Bryan Cooper must have thought it was all done and dusted but the eight-year-old Traffic Fluide lived up to his name and glided smoothly up the hill to score by a length and a half.

 

Speech Marks

It's been over seven months since this Dubawi filly claimed the Lavazza Fillies' Novice Stakes at Ascot, so it was good to see that the Charlie Appleby-trained Soliloquy had not lost her winning ways when she lined up in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket, recognised as a trial for the Qipco 1000 Guineas. Ridden by William Buick, the 4/1 shot was quickly away and was soon setting the pace for the eleven-strong field. Silvestre De Sousa did his best to get Altyn Orda involved but the eventual winner never really looked in serious trouble and went on to claim the Group Three prize by a length and three-quarters.

 

'Non, je ne regrette rien!...'

Nigel Hawke, who won the 1991 Grand National aboard Seagram, could have been this year's winning trainer at Epsom and pocketed the £561K prize money but he sold the horse five years ago for what seemed a handsome profit at the time. The Devon-based handler originally bought Tiger Roll for £10,000 in 2013 and even saddled him to win his first ever race, a juvenile hurdle at Market Rasen in November of that year. Then, for some reason, the Authorized gelding was put up for auction at the Brightwells Cheltenham Sale the following month and Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud snapped him up for £80,000 and his trainer became Gordon Elliott and the rest is history.

18 April 2018

 

Not literally this time!

Trainer Tom Dascombe got a kick out of yesterday's result at Newcastle when his Dark Angel colt cruised home to a one-and-three-quarter-length victory in the Montaz Restaurant EBF Novice Stakes, the first two-year-old contest of the season. That experience was totally different to the one he had at last year's Goffs UK Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale when Jackstar literally kicked his trainer in the face. With Richard Kingscote aboard, the two-year-old hit the front as he approached the final furlong and left Olympic Glory colt, Ynys Mon, trailing in his wake.

 

Cashing in.

The re-scheduled £85,000 Rybo Handicap Hurdle Fairyhouse yesterday had a surprising result. The 25/1 outsider, Low Sun, one of champion trainer Willie Mullins' ten entries in this two-mile contest, came through to challenge the front-running Yaha Fizz just before the final flight and stayed on well to triumph by two-and-a-quarter lengths. Success in this valuable contest means that the County Carlow handler, in his bid to retain the championship title, not only won the prize-money for the winner but also for Pravaulguna (fourth), Karalee (fifth) and Meri Devie ( sixth) - another £62000 in the kitty.

 

Skipping along!

A good day at Carlisle for this South Cumbrian conditional jockey who notched up his fourteenth win of the season. Patrick Cowley partnered the Laura Mongan-trained Skipping On in the Read Silvestre De Sousa At 188Bet Novices' Handicap Chase and the nine-year-old Westerner gelding lived up to his name by making all in this two-and-a-half-mile contest and winning by eleven lengths, building on his two wins at Towcester and at Southwell earlier this season.

17 April 2018

Catch up.

Today's Fairyhouse fixture features the £85,000 Rybo Handicap Hurdle which was scheduled to be the final day of the County Meath track's Easter Festival but the weather had other ideas. Champion trainer Willie Mullins, ever mindful of the necessity to reduce Gordon Elliott's significant lead in the Irish trainers' championship if he is to keep his title, will be saddling ten of the nineteen runners against Gordon Elliott's four and Joseph O'Brien's two.

 

Naughty boy!

A Grand National jockey was got a rap over the knuckles for trying to help wave fellow jockeys round Becher’s Brook on their second circuit. Danny Cook, who had fallen from I Just Know at this famous obstacle on the first circuit was, it seems, just being good-spirited. He knew his weighing room colleague, Charlie Deutsch, had taken a dive from Houblon Des Obeaux and was being attended to by medics behind the screens erected by the fence. But The British Horseracing Authority was not amused. Surprisingly, as if they couldn't guess, a stewards’ enquiry was held after the running of the world-famous steeplechase, as to why the Romford-born rider had been waving the riders around the by-passed fence. Subsequently no action was taken against Danny Cook but he was told in no uncertain terms that it wasn't his responsibility to become involved in such matters as that is the job of the track officials.

 

Bookie bashing!

Turf Accountants took quite a knock at Tramore last night. The Emmet Mullins-trained Tornado Watch, backed as high as 16/1 earlier in the day, and sent off at 11/4, went on to easily win the Becks Lager Handicap Hurdle by four-and-half under the trainer’s cousin David. Then to add insult to injury, the St. Stephens Green trainer's other runner in the final race of the day, the Bulmers Cider (C & G) Flat Race, Sunday At Augusta, had been as high as 50/1 but was eventually 5/2 on the off. This Arakan gelding, however, failed to claim the prize by just a couple of lengths and so spared the bookies further big pay-outs. Those punters who went E/W on the earlier high odds were not complaining, though!

 

16 April 2018

 

Another day, another dollar.

Fewer than 24 hours after riding in this year's Grand National the winning jockey was back in the saddle at Tranmore where he rode a 14/1 double. Davy Russell only got back to Ireland on Saturday night after his victory on the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll at Aintree but he was off again, this time to the County Waterford track, for five rides. He didn't waste any time, either. In the first race of the day, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle, he rode the John Kiely-trained Decision Time to a three-quarters of a length victory after a perfectly-timed run from the back of the field. Half-an-hour later, with, no doubt, Aintree applause still ringing in his ears, the thirty-eight-year-old County Cork jockey renewed his partnership with the winning trainer, Gordon Elliott and steered his Monatomic to a narrow victory in the Waterford & Tramore Racecourse Family Fun Afternoon Maiden Hurdle.

 

All in a day's work.

You'd think that achieving the best result for a British female jockey in Grand National history and the second-best ever result for a female jockey was a great reason to go out and celebrate. For Bryony Frost, however, who finished fifth on Milansbar in Saturday's Aintree spectacular, it was business as usual. It is reported that the 23-year-old Devon-born rider mucked out ten horses on Sunday morning before making the three-hour trip to Plumpton where she partnered the Richard Rowe-trained Remember Forever in the In Play Betting At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase when she came third.

 

Second surprise

It's been eleven years since this County Meath trainer savoured victory in the Grand National when he saddled Silver Birch. No doubt Gordon Elliott was still finding it hard to believe that his diminutive Tiger Roll had outrun his thirty-seven rivals to secure for him a second success in this Aintree spectacular. The Cullentra handler, who caught the ferry back to Ireland on Saturday night, reported that his National hero had arrived home safe and well.

 

15 April 2018

 

Tiger on a roll.

Incredibly, after over four-and-a-quarter miles and thirty jumps (over two laps) the result of the world's most famous steeplechase was a photo-finish. The race seemed pretty well done and dusted for the Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll and jockey Davy Russell after negotiating the last fence but it wasn't over yet. Pleasant Company, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by his nephew, Davy, produced a last-minute challenge and was just denied victory by a head. Tiger Roll is owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, who last won this race with Rule The World in 2016. The diminutive eight-year-old Authorized gelding, already a three-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, including last month's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, becomes the fifth horse of that age to win the Grand National since 1988 and by the second shortest distance (a head) in recent history. It is reported that the Ryanair Chief Executive, using his own airline to return home, was so delighted with the result that he offered a free bar to all his passengers. This is a generosity not often shown by this Irish low-cost airline who, some years ago, even threatened to charge for using the on-board toilets!

 

Luck wasn't a Lady

One of the rising stars of the weighing room this season failed to make history yesterday by becoming the first female jockey to win the Grand National. Bryony Frost, one of three female riders in Aintree spectacular, partnered the Neil King-trained Milansbar and it seemed that the Milan gelding had a good chance of success and raced prominently throughout. The eleven-year-old, however, came up against stiff opposition towards the end of this four-and-a-quarter-mile contest. He stuck valiantly to his task, though, and finished a creditable fifth. As Katie Walsh only managed twelfth aboard Baie Des Iles and Rachel Blackmore's mount, Alpha Des Obeaux, unfortunately fell at the fifteenth obstacle ( The Chair), we shall have to wait another year for another bid to insert a special entry into the racing archives.

 

Stolen Victory

This Henry de Bromhead-trained Kayf Tara gelding, having never before raced beyond two and a half miles, took on a significant step-up in trip to three miles when he lined up in the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at Aintree. The 2015 Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner, Identity Thief, however, literally took the the extra distance in his stride to notch up his first victory since October 2016. Tom Scudamore adopted a pace-setting role aboard Coole Cody for much of the way before dropping away and pulling up his mount three from home. Joe Colliver then took the initiative and urged the 6/5 favourite, Sam Spinner, into the lead as the field came round the home turn. That didn't last long, though, as both Identity Thief and Wholestone were more than a match for him and it was then just left to the versatile Sean Flanagan to urge the eventual winner five lengths clear and maintain that distance until the line.

 

14 April 2018

 

 

Take Your Pick.

The winner of what is considered to be the first running of the Grand National in 1839 was called Lottery and the chance of picking a winner in this four-mile-two-furlong-plus world-famous race is surely that. According to grandnationalstats.co.uk, there are all sorts of reasons why the general betting public selects a particular horse; most of them are related to the physical appearance or even the name of the horse. The following are the statistics for how winners have been picked in the past:

 

47.4 % of punters pick a horse because of the name

19.4 % because of horse's colour

19 % because of the horse's number

Interestingly only 7.3 % bet on a horse because of the jockey.

 

Naas One!

This Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo colt started off his four-year-old season with a bang in the Toals.com Bookmakers Alleged Stakes at Naas yesterday. With Ryan Moore aboard, Capri, winner of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and Ladbrokes St Leger, went immediately into the lead, hotly pursued by his four rivals. The four-year-old 7/4 favourite responded well to his jockey's urgings and proved he had the stamina for the testing conditions. Things got dangerous when Cannonball made a late lunge but Capri held on by a head.

 

Streets Ahead

The legendary Street Cry mare has notched up a record-equalling 25th consecutive win with victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Randwick, Australia. Chris Waller-trained Winx, ridden by Hugh Bowman, hasn't lost a race in three years and has now matched the twenty-five successive wins established by her fellow Australian mare, Black Caviar, who retired in 2013. The six-year-old made this her eighteenth Group One triumph after coming from the back of the ten-horse field to win by three and three-quarter lengths. The plan is now that Winx will take a well-earned rest before returning in October in an attempt to claim a record-breaking fourth Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

13 April 2018

 

Might was Right!

The Nicky Henderson-trained Scorpion gelding won the Betway Bowl Chase with ease on the first day of the Aintree extravaganza. It was no secret that the Seven Barrows handler had certain qualms about running Might Bite so soon after his epic battle with Native River in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham Festival just under a month ago but, as it turned out, there was no cause for concern. Clearly Daryl Jacob had been briefed to put pressure on the King George winner from the word go as he urged Bristol De Mai ahead of his seven rivals in this three-mile-one-furlong contest. By the second time around, however, only the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux was able to even keep contact with this leading duo. There were a few anxious moments when the nine-year-old made a mistake at the fourth from home but Nico de Boinville soon got him back on the bridle and went on to win by seven lengths.

 

A Friend in Need

It was certainly Nicky Henderson's day at the Liverpool track. He notched up an Aintree Grade One treble when L'Ami Serge, ridden by Daryl Jacob, won the Betway Aintree Hurdle. This King's Theatre gelding has established a reputation for not trying hard enough in the closing stages of a race but yesterday he put that behind him. In retrospect this two-and-a-half-mile contest couldn't have panned out better for the eventual winner. Gary Moore's Diakali set off at a blistering pace on his first run for Cisswood Racing Stables and was joined in the straight by Clyne and these two were in the lead for about two furlongs. By the last flight, however, the race's leading contenders were knocking on the door. Jessica Harrington's Supasundae was the first to throw down the gauntlet, after My Tent Or Yours began to run out of steam. L'Ami Serge dealt successfully with all challengers and galloped three lengths clear.

 

Wanna Bet?

The winner of what is considered to be the first running of the Grand National in 1839 was called Lottery and the chance of picking a winner in this four-mile-two-furlong-plus world-famous race is certainly that. According to grandnationalstats.co.uk, there are all sorts of reasons why the general betting public selects a particular horse; most of them are related to the physical appearance or even the name of the horse. The following are the statistics:

 

47.4 % of punters pick a horse because of the name

19.4 % because of horse's colour

19 % because of the horse's number

Interestingly only 7.3 % bet on a horse because of the jockey.

 

12 April 2018

 

Might is Right?

This Nicky Henderson-trained Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up is the short favourite for today's Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree. Might Bite, winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton in December, was, however, denied victory by four lengths by Native River at Prestbury Park last month but looks set to make amends in this three-mile-one-furlong feature event.

 

Stats the winner!

Historical research, according to GrandNational.org.uk, clearly defines which horse will win this year's Grand National on Saturday. This company has studied the winning horses since this world-famous event started in 1839 and has come up with the following statistics that will provide the winner :

 

Age - nine-years old.

Handicap - 10st 7lbs.

Jockey – called John or Tommy.

Owner – named John.

Odds – 100/1

 

From this year’s expected line-up, there is only one runner that meets two of the conditions of age and handicap and that is the Dan Skelton-trained Virgilio

who is currently 100/1 with some bookies. Anyone worried about the unfavourable odds should remember that a 100/1 outsider, Mon Mome, won this Aintree extravaganza in as 2009 when a nine-year-old. The problem with the rest of the statistics is that the jockeys haven't been declared yet but it has got to be the trainer's brother, Harry. Whether this rider has John or Tommy as a middle name is not stated on Google. Similarly with the owners. One of them, however, is listed as C. J. Edwards so he could be a John!

 

Supa Day!

Another race that also catches the eye on this opening day of the Grand National meeting. The Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae is the evens-favourite in the Betway Aintree Hurdle. This eight-year-old Galileo gelding was last seen when finishing runner-up to the Willie Mullins-trained Penhill in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and, noticeably, drops back in distance for this two-and-a-half-mile contest.

 

11 April 2018

 

Stats the winner!

Historical research, according to GrandNational.org.uk, clearly defines which horse will win this year's Grand National on Saturday. This company has studied the winning horses since this world-famous event started in 1839 and has come up with the following statistics that will provide the winner :

 

Age - nine-years old.

Handicap - 10st 7lbs.

Jockey – called John or Tommy.

Owner – named John.

Odds – 100/1

 

From this year’s expected line-up, there is only one runner that meets two of the conditions of age and handicap and that is the Dan Skelton-trained Virgilio who is currently 100/1 with some bookies. Anyone worried about the unfavourable odds should remember that a 100/1 outsider, Mon Mome, won this Aintree extravaganza in as 2009 when a nine-year-old. The problem with the rest of the statistics is that the jockeys haven't been declared yet but it has got to be the trainer's brother, Harry. Whether this rider has John or Tommy as a middle name is not stated on Google. Similarly with the owners. One of them, however, is listed as C. J. Edwards so he could be a John!

 

Might is Right?

This Nicky Henderson-trained Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up is the short favourite for tomorrow's Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree. Might Bite, winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton in December, was, however, denied victory by four lengths by Native River at Prestbury Park last month but looks set to make amends in this three-mile-one-furlong feature event.

 

Supa Day!

Another race that also catches the eye on the opening day of the Grand National meeting. The Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae is the evens-favourite in the Betway Aintree Hurdle. This eight-year-old Galileo gelding was last seen when finishing runner-up to the Willie Mullins-trained Penhill in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and, noticeably, drops back in distance for this two-and-a-half-mile contest.

 

10 April 2018

 

Sure Fire

After a journey of 250 miles from Ross-on-Wye to Carlisle, it was the last hundred yards that decided the fate of this Zafeen gelding in the Premier League Betting At 188Bet Handicap Chase. The Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis battled on gamely in mid-division under the patient supervision of jockey, Benjamin Poste, who eventually manoeuvred the nine-year-old into third position four fences from home on this right-handed track, notorious for its steep incline over the last half mile. Also worth noting is that the going can get very heavy in Winter. And so it was yesterday. The tough conditions may have have taken their toll on Zayfire Aramis whose progress was not helped by a collision with a rival after he negotiated the tenth obstacle, causing him a loss of momentum. The Aramis Racing-owned gelding, however, recovered and valiantly chased the eventual winner, Doktor Glaz, before two fences from the finish but, either he needed a stronger partner to goad him on or he just ran out of steam in the testing conditions. Whatever the reason, Zayf Aramis slipped back two places in the final half furlong and came fourth.

 

Long Time

The rebranded ParisLongchamp racetrack opened its gates again after a £120-million revamp, including a new glass-covered grandstand building, an extended parade ring and 500 screens for watching races. The Prix la Force Stakes was the first Group race to be run at the new-look track and this occasion was ironically marked by a triumph for a British challenger. The Martyn Meade-trained Chilean, winner of two races from four starts as a two-year-old last season, including the Ascendant Stakes at Haydock, carried Oisin Murphy to a one-and-a-quarter-length victory in this nine-furlong contest.

 

National Treasures

It was 1988 when three female jockeys last rode in the Grand National - Penny Ffitch-Heyes (Hettinger), Venetia Williams (Marcolo) and Gee Armytage (Gee-A). Unfortunately none of them finished on that occasion. Next Saturday three riders from the distaff side will again attempt to make history. Irish jockey, Rachael Blackmore, has been booked to ride Alpha Des Obeaux, trained by 'Mouse' Morris, who won the National two years ago with Rule The World; Bryony Frost will be aboard Neil King's Milansbar and the Ross O'Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles will be partnered by Katie Walsh. The latter has achieved the highest placing by a female jockey in the Grand National, finishing third on Seabass in 2012.

 

9 April 2018

 

Went Forth

After going forth 250 miles from Ross-on-Wye to Carlisle, the last hundred yards decided the fate of this Zafeen gelding in the Premier League Betting At 188Bet Handicap Chase yesterday. The Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis battled on gamely in mid-division under the patient supervision of jockey, Benjamin Poste, who eventually manoeuvred the nine-year-old into third position four fences from home on this right-handed track, notorious for its steep incline over the last half mile. Also worth noting is that the going can get very heavy in Winter. And so it was yesterday. The tough conditions may have have taken their toll on Zayfire Aramis whose progress was not helped by a collision with a rival after he negotiated the tenth obstacle, causing him a loss of momentum. The Aramis Racing-owned gelding, however, valiantly chased the eventual winner, Doktor Glaz, before two fences from the finish but, either he needed a stronger partner to goad him on or he just ran out of steam in the testing conditions. Whatever the reason, Zayf Aramis slipped back two places in the final half furlong and went fourth!

 

Grandes Dames

It was the year 1988 when three female jockeys last rode in the Grand National - Penny Ffitch-Heyes (Hettinger), Venetia Williams (Marcolo) and Gee Armytage (Gee-A). Unfortunately none of them finished on that occasion. Next Saturday three riders from the distaff side will again attempt to make history. Irish jockey, Rachael Blackmore, has been booked to ride Alpha Des Obeaux, trained by 'Mouse' Morris, who won the National two years ago with Rule The World; Bryony Frost will be aboard Neil King's Milansbar and the Ross O'Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles will be partnered by Katie Walsh. The latter has achieved the highest placing by a female jockey in the Grand National, finishing third on Seabass in 2012.

 

Paris Matched

The rebranded ParisLongchamp racetrack opened its gates again yesterday after a £120-million revamp, including a new glass-covered grandstand building, an extended parade ring and 500 screens for watching races. The Prix la Force Stakes was the first Group race to be run at the new-look track and this occasion was ironically marked by a triumph for a British challenger. The Martyn Meade-trained Chilean, winner of two races from four starts as a two-year-old last season, including the Ascendant Stakes at Haydock, carried Oisin Murphy to a one-and-a-quarter-length victory in this nine-furlong contest.

 

8 April 2018

 

Too Soon!

A French jockey received a fourteen-day ban for coming third in the At The Races Handicap Hurdle at Fakenham yesterday. The problem was that Maxime Tissier, riding the Lucy Wadham-trained Iconic Sky, thought he had won but, in fact, he had finished a circuit too soon. The twenty-seven-year-old 5lb claimer, who had ridden two winners from four previous rides at Fakenham this season and eight winners in total, even punched the air with delight when crossing the line. When he realised his mistake, he quickly set about getting his mount back into contention and, remarkably, Iconic Sky stayed on gamely to finish just four lengths behind the winner, Le Breuil, trained by Ben pauling.

 

Three to go.

It was the year 1988 when three female jockeys last rode in the Grand National - Penny Ffitch-Heyes (Hettinger), Venetia Williams (Marcolo) and Gee Armytage (Gee-A). Unfortunately none of them finished on that occasion. Next Saturday three riders from the distaff side will again attempt to make history. Irish jockey, Rachael Blackmore, has been booked to ride Alpha Des Obeaux, trained by 'Mouse' Morris, who won the National two years ago with Rule The World; Bryony Frost will be aboard Neil King's Milansbar and the Ross O'Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles will be partnered by Katie Walsh. The latter has achieved the highest placing by a female jockey in the Grand National, finishing third on Seabass in 2012.

 

Fast Work!

The Willie McCreery-trained Fast Company gelding was certainly a force to contend with in the Cork Stakes at Navan yesterday. Six-year-old Downforce made all the running to claim the Listed race by one-and-a-quarter lengths. The 8-11 favourite, Son Of Rest, trained by James 'Fuzzy' Stack, made every effort to close the gap as the four runners came close to home but Billy Lee's mount was not to be caught.

7 April 2018

 

Secret Wish

The Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Maiden Hurdle at Uttoxeter today is where connections are hoping their Flemensfirth gelding will finally get off the mark over hurdles after four attempts, coming third in three of those. The Ian Williams-trained Secret Legacy, with Tom O'Brien aboard, will take on nine rivals in this two-and-a-half-mile contest. The seven-year-old has already proved he can handle the distance and the heavy ground shouldn't cause him any problems.

 

Lady's First!

There's currently an ongoing campaign to highlight the male and female inequalities in all walks of life, from BBC presenters to Oscar winners. No-one, however, has yet mentioned the Grand National in this context but it's a fact that no female jockey has ever won this world-famous Aintree event. Since 1977 twenty-six female riders have competed in the four-and-a-quarter-mile endurance test and fifteen of them failed to finish for various reasons. The best result was produced by Katie Walsh who came third when she rode Seabass in 2012. A week tomorrow another jockey from the distaff side will bid to rewrite racing history. Bryony Frost, who has thirty-one wins to her credit (18%) this season, renews her partnership with the Neil King trained Milansbar, whom she has only ridden once before when the Milan gelding triumphed in Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick in January. Bryony Frost is already hard at work in Lambourn, schooling the eleven-year-old over Grand National-style fences.

 

He's the Guy!

Bryony Frost may or may not get into the history books next week but Aintree will certainly make its mark when the first amputee jockey races over the famous Grand National fences. Former Army Captain, Guy Disney, has a prosthetic lower right leg after being injured in Afghanistan in July 2009. The thirty-five-year-old rider became the first amputee jockey to win a race under rules in Britain when he won aboard Rathlin Rose in last year's Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown, which he claimed again in February. Guy Disney is scheduled to partner the Kim Bailey-trained Gallery Exhibition in the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase.

6 April 2018

 

Sight for Sore Eyes

This jockey was at least able to watch his horse win at Lingfield even if he couldn't be aboard. Sadly, Freddy Tylicki was left paralysed from the waist down after a fall at Kempton in October 2016. The German-born thirty-two-year-old is, however, co-owner, with Dr Catherine Wills, of the James Fanshawe-trained Insurgence who won the US Masters 6 Places At 188Bet Handicap by a dramatic three-quarters of a length. The three-year-old Sepoy gelding had his work cut out, though, as the Grace Harris-trained Bungee Jump went well clear in the straight. Daniel Muscutt, however, managed to coax Insurgence into producing that little extra and he succeeded in catching and beating the 20/1 shot close to home.

 

Luck be a Lady!

There's currently an ongoing campaign to highlight the male and female inequalities in all walks of life, from BBC presenters to Oscar winners. No-one, however, has yet mentioned the Grand National in this context but it's a fact that no female jockey has ever won this world-famous Aintree event. Since 1977 twenty-six female riders have competed in the four-and-a-quarter-mile endurance test and fifteen of them failed to finish for various reasons. The best result was produced by Katie Walsh who came third when she rode Seabass in 2012. A week tomorrow another jockey from the distaff side will bid to rewrite racing history. Bryony Frost, who has thirty-one wins to her credit (18%) this season, renews her partnership with the Neil King trained Milansbar, whom she has only ridden once before when the Milan gelding triumphed in Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick in January. Bryony Frost is already hard at work in Lambourn, schooling the eleven-year-old over Grand National-style fences.

 

Disneyland

Bryony Frost may or may not get into the history books next week but Aintree will certainly make its mark when the first amputee jockey races over the famous Grand National fences. Former Army Captain, Guy Disney, has a prosthetic lower right leg after being injured in Afghanistan in July 2009. The thirty-five-year-old rider became the first amputee jockey to win a race under rules in Britain when he won aboard Rathlin Rose in last year's Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown, which he claimed again in February. Guy Disney is scheduled to partner the Kim Bailey-trained Gallery Exhibition in the Randox Health Foxhunters' Chase.

 

5 April 2018

 

Ebor and More

Another historic race, dating from 1843, is to be financially boosted in the coming years. Leeds-based bookmaker, Sky Bet, plans a massive cash injection over five years into York’s Ebor Handicap, raising the reward to £1 million, enough to rival the Grand National. The one-mile-five-furlong-plus fixture was worth £285,000 last year, when sponsored by Betfred, making it Europe’s richest Flat handicap. This August a £500,000 prize fund will be on offer and this will be doubled in 2019.

 

Grand Designs

This County Meath trainer plans to build on his first success in the Irish Grand National on Monday, by launching a three-horse bid to complete a great Grand National double a week on Saturday. Gordon Elliott, now ahead of Willie Mullins in the Irish trainers' championship competition, obviously believes that Tiger Roll, who romped home in the Cheltenham Festival's Cross Country Chase last month, will easily deal with the unique challenge of the Aintree attraction. To keep the eight-year-old Authorized gelding company in his task the Cullentra House team will also be saddling Ucello Conti and Bless The Wings.

 

'Big Bucks' for Aintree!

The first race of Aintree's three-day Grand National Festival is to have a special sponsorship to remember an equine legend. Top national Hunt owner, Andy Stewart, is to initiate the £100,000 Grade One Big Buck's Celebration Manifesto Novices' Chase which will be run over two and a half miles on the Mildmay Course. As the name suggests the prestigious event will commemorate that remarkable staying hurdler, Big Buck's, who won a record eighteen consecutive races over the lower obstacles between January, 2009 and December, 2012, ten of them at Grade One level, including a record four wins of the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham plus a record four successes in a row at Aintree in the race now known as the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle. The French-bred Cadoudal gelding, now fifteen years old, retired from racing in 2014 with twenty-three wins from 40 starts and prize money earnings of £1.3 million to his credit. Big Buck's apparently still enjoys a day's hunting with Lucy Felton and the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt and also accompanies her children and their ponies on rides.

 

4 April 2018

 

Big Time

The first race of Aintree's three-day Grand National Festival is to have a special sponsorship to remember a legendary equine. Top national Hunt owner, Andy Stewart, is to initiate the £100,000 Grade One Big Buck's Celebration Manifesto Novices' Chase which will be run over two and a half miles on the Mildmay Course. As the name suggests the prestigious event will commemorate that remarkable staying hurdler, Big Buck's, who won a record eighteen consecutive races over the lower obstacles between January, 2009 and December, 2012, ten of them at Grade One level, including a record four wins of the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham plus a record four successes in a row at Aintree in the race now known as the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle. The French-bred Cadoudal gelding, now fifteen years old, retired from racing in 2014 with twenty-three wins from 40 starts and prize money earnings of £1.3 million to his credit. Big Buck's apparently still enjoys a day's hunting with Lucy Felton and the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt and also accompanies her children and their ponies on rides.

 

More for Ebor

Another historic race, dating from 1843, is to be financially boosted in the coming years. Leeds-based bookmaker, Sky Bet, plans a massive cash injection over five years into York’s Ebor Handicap, raising the reward to £1 million, enough to rival the Grand National. The one-mile-five-furlong-plus fixture was worth £285,000 last year, when sponsored by Betfred, making it Europe’s richest Flat handicap. This August a £500,000 prize fund will be on offer and this will be doubled in 2019.

 

Double? No Trouble!

This County Meath trainer plans to build on his first success in the Irish Grand National on Monday, by launching a three-horse bid to complete a great Grand National double a week on Saturday. Gordon Elliott, now ahead of Willie Mullins in the Irish trainers' championship competition, obviously believes that Tiger Roll, who romped home in the Cheltenham Festival's Cross Country Chase last month, will easily deal with the unique challenge of the Aintree attraction. To keep the eight-year-old Authorized gelding company in his task the Cullentra House team will also be saddling Ucello Conti and Bless The Wings.

3 April 2018

 

Gordon's First!

It was inevitable that that two top Irish trainers would be battling it out in the finish of yesterday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, as seventeen of the thirty runners were saddled by them. It wasn't just about this particular feature race, either, but the Irish Champion trainer title was at stake. Gordon Elliott (13 runners) and Willie Mullins (4 entries) ultimately ended up in first and second place in the three-and-a-half-mile-plus contest in which, due to the testing conditions, only eight horses finished but all made it home safe and sound. It was Gordon Elliott's 20/1 shot, General Priniciple, however, who headed Willie Mullins' Isleofhopendreams on the line to provide the County Meath trainer with his first-ever victory in this Ireland's richest jumps race. When the result of the photo finish was announced, the winning trainer's delight was clearly visible by the way he punched the air, when he realised he had finally landed the big one.

 

Sceau Lucky!

The County Carlow king had already savoured victory in the previous race, the Grade Two Devenish Chase, however. Willie Mullins saddled the 5/6 market leader, Un De Sceaux, in this two-and-a-half-mile contest and the Denham Red gelding was perhaps a little lucky. Davy Russell urged the second-favourite Doctor Phoenix, trained by Gordon Elliott, up alongside the long-time leader but the Dr. Massini gelding got it all wrong at the penultimate fence and crashed out, leaving Willie Mullins' ten-year-old to gallop to an eighteen-length victory under Paul Townend.

 

Stormy Success

Christophe Soumillon, who had just returned from winning the Dubai World Cup at Meydan, tasted victory again in yesterday's Prix Edmond Blanc at Saint-Cloud. The thirty-six-year-old Belgian jockey took the unconventional step of taking the Ed Walker-trained Stormy Antarctic over to the near-side rail in the straight in the hope of finding better ground and this bold initiative paid off. The Stormy Atlantic gelding responded well to the manoeuvre and claimed victory by two lengths ahead of Nice To See You.

 

2 April 2018

 

Five To Four

Horse racing is an unusual sport in many ways. One peculiar phenomenon is that, since top trainers are lucky enough to work for multiple owners, they can have more than one horse running in the same race. In yesterday's Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, for instance, two handlers saddled all the nine runners – Willie Mullins five and Gordon Elliott four. The latter, ahead of the former by over £400,000 in this season's Irish Champion trainer stakes as the week-end racing began, had this lead shortened, as Willie Mullins claimed both Grade Ones at this top-class meeting at the County Meath track. The County Carlow king had already added £52,000 to his coffers when, earlier in the day, Laurina won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final by eight-and-a-half lengths. The day wasn't over yet, however. The current champion and contender came eye-to-eye in the aforementioned feature event when the Gordon Elliott-trained Shattered Love seemed to be travelling best of all for Jack Kennedy and, as she hit the front, appeared to be benefiting from her seven-pound mares' allowance. However, Al Boum Photo, ridden by the trainer's nephew, David, managed to urge the Buck's Boum gelding to greater things and ultimately claimed victory by a length.

 

Victory in the Air?

The County Carlow and County Meath trainers clash again this afternoon in the Irish Grand National. This time it's Gordon Elliott who seems to have the upper hand, having thirteen runners to Willie Mullins' four. The Core Partnership, owners of one of the former's entries, Folsom Blue, will, no doubt, be keeping their fingers crossed that their veteran Old Vic gelding can play his part in in helping Gordon Elliott claim his first title. Indeed, this Fairyhouse feature could go a long way to deciding who will be crowned this season's Irish champion National Hunt trainer, as total prize money of some £440, 000 is on offer.

 

Moon Rising

As mentioned earlier, the Willie Mullins-trained Laurina notched up her first Grade One victory of her career at Fairyhouse, following up her triumph in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. By the way she is shaping up, it seems that the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final will not be the last top-level triumph for this Spanish Moon filly. In fact, for most of the race, all her jockey, Paul Townend, had to do was to sit motionless and let her do the work. There was an anxious moment, though, when stable companion, Redhotfillypeppers, fell when in the lead and could have caused trouble but Laurina was nimble-footed enough to stay upright and went on to win by eight-and-a-half lengths.

 

1 April 2018 

Local makes good.
A locally-born jockey scored yesterday at Musselburgh's  opening card of the new Flat season in Scotland.  Andrew 'Midge' Mullen was aboard the Archie Watson-trained Brandon Castle in the feature race, the Queen's Cup Handicap, in which there were twelve other runners, including the favourite, Time To Study, from the Mark Johnston yard. The Dylan Thomas gelding made all and was a good twelve lengths clear five furlongs out. There was trouble one furlong from home, however, when the favourite made a strong challenge. The six-year-old held on gamely, though, and secured the prize by a neck. 

 

Victory in the Air?
It's clear that this County Carlow trainer not only wants to win today's Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase Fairyhouse on Sunday but is also keen to reduce the lead that rival, Gordon Elliott, has in the race for Irish Champion handler. With that twin goal in mind Willie Mullins will be saddling an equine quintet. Paul Townend will be aboard Invitation Only, who was last seen at the Cheltenham Festival when he made a bad mistake four fences from home and was subsequently pulled up in the JLT Novices' Chase. Al Boum Photo, who will be partnered by David Mullins, didn't fare any better in the  RSA Insurance Chase when he fell at the second-last. The remaining three are Montalbano (unseated rider in the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles); Saturnas who won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse at the beginning of January and Up For Review, winner of a beginners' chase at Gowran Park.

 

My, My, Dubai!
The Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline was won by the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow.  It was an outstanding  night at Meydan for Godolphin, who notched up four winners. Following wins by James Doyle on Jungle Cat, Oisin Murphy on Benbatl and William Buick on Hawkbill, Christophe Soumillon, who had managed to get his Helmet colt  all the way across from stall 10 to make the running, until the turn into the straight when Thunder Snow  responded with a burst of speed that gave him a five-and-three-quarter length victory

 

31 March 2018

 

Five go racing!

It's clear that this County Carlow trainer not only wants to win the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase Fairyhouse on Sunday but is also keen to reduce the lead that rival, Gordon Elliott, has in the race for Irish Champion handler. With that twin goal in mind Willie Mullins will be saddling an equine quintet. Paul Townend will be aboard Invitation Only, who was last seen at the Cheltenham Festival when he made a bad mistake four fences from home and was subsequently pulled up in the JLT Novices' Chase. Al Boum Photo, who will be partnered by David Mullins, didn't fare any better in the RSA Insurance Chase when he fell at the second-last. The remaining three are Montalbano (unseated rider in the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles); Saturnas who won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at Fairyhouse at the beginning of January and Up For Review, winner of a beginners' chase at Gowran Park.

 

French Connection

Three of the big races in the Lingfield's All Weather Championships Finals yesterday were won by French horses. The Christophe Ferland-trained Funny Kid won the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes by a nose. Then two races later City Light, trained by Stephane Wattel, triumphed in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes. The biggest shock of the day, however, was produced by the Joel Boisnard-trained Lucky Team, the 40/1 outsider, who snatched victory from William Haggas's 11/8 favourite, Second Thought.

 

Kentucky-bound

This Jeremy Noseda-trained Lonhro colt made it four from four on the all-weather when winning yesterday's 32Red Burradon Stakes at Newcastle. Gronkowski, who is being aimed at the Kentucky Derby on May 5, was given a patient ride by Jamie Spencer, who settled him comfortably towards the rear of the field, allowing Mark Johnston's filly Nyaleti to dominate the proceedings. A gap on the rail two furlongs down gave the three-year-old the chance he was waiting for and he quickened up impressively to win by by a length and a quarter.

 

30 March 2018

 

Better late than never!

Last night's sunbets.co.uk Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton was delayed for quite some time because the Tom Dascombe-trained Cashel got very stressed in the stalls and had to be taken out. Unfortunately in the process the Sepoy colt broke loose and it took more than twenty minutes to get him under control. Meanwhile the other runners had to be removed from the stalls. The three-year-old was still on the loose, however, and a gang of racecourse staff and his trainer somehow managed to guide him back to the stables and the race got on the way more than forty minutes delayed.

 

Who's master?

Today's Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championshps Conditions Stakes at Lingfield will witness an interesting re-match between Master The World and Mr Owen. The latter, trained by David Simcock, actually passed the post first in the Winter Derby at this Surrey track last month but was later found to have interfered with David Elsworth's Master The World, who was subsequently awarded the race.

 

Kerry On!

A trainer, fined £3,000 and a jockey, banned for fourteen days, were ultimately successful in their appeals against these penalties. Kerry Lee and Jamie Moore were handed this punishment, after stewards deemed that Kings Monarch did not run on as well as he ought have done in the Foresters By Steve White Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow earlier this month, when finishing fourth, beaten by around twenty lengths. The local stewards had claimed that the Schiaparelli gelding, also owned by the trainer, "appeared to be tenderly handled throughout before running on under minimal effort up the home straight". The Brighton-born jockey had told the enquiry that the horse could be over-keen and had a history of bleeding. His intention, therefore, had been to get him settled and give him a nice experience. Despite this evidence's being corroborated by connections and the trainer Kings Monarch was also banned from running for forty days. After yesterday's the disciplinary panel chairman, William Norris QC, issued a statement that: “ The panel considered that, given this horse's history of bleeding and the fact that on its previous runs it had evidently been very keen, we think it was actually ridden on March 21, 2018 in such a way as to obtain the best possible placing in the circumstances.”

29 March 2018

 

One Owen

Tomorrow's Betway Easter Classic All-Weather Middle Distance Championshps Conditions Stakes at Lingfield will witness an interesting re-match between Master The World and Mr Owen. The latter, trained by David Simcock, actually passed the post first in the Winter Derby at this Surrey track last month but was later found to have interfered with David Elsworth's Master The World, who was subsequently awarded the race.

 

Final Cue

So it has finally been decided that this King's Theatre gelding will terminate his illustrious National Hunt career on the last day of the jumps season at Sandown on April 28. Owner, Jean Bishop and trainer, Colin Tizzard, had been in two minds whether twelve-year-old Cue Card should have one more crack at a Grade One, the Melling Chase at Aintree or a Grade Two, the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown. They have finally plumped for the Esher circuit because it is most likely to be a small field which would suit him and the ground is likely to be to his liking.

 

Winning Distance!

The Ken Condon-trained Success Days has gone all the way to Australia where he is scheduled to run in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 14. The six-year-old grey, a Group Two winner at York last season, will be partnered by Joao Moreira when, among other rivals, he takes on the equine phenomenon Winx, who has been unbeaten in his last twenty-four contests.

28 March 2018

 

#samtheman!

This twenty-five-year-old jockey only had one ride at Hereford yesterday but it was a significant one. Sam Twiston-Davies partnered the Alistair Ralph trained Broughtons Admiral to a nine-length victory in the first race of the day, the myracing.com For Free Hereford Tips Juvenile Maiden Hurdle. That, in itself, was enough reason for celebration but this triumph also marked the hundredth winner this season for the Paul Nicholls-retained rider. Harry Derham, the Ditcheat trainer's assistant said on Twitter: "A brilliant achievement from @samtwiston - determined, strong, hard working and an all round brilliant jockey, congratulations on another 100 winner season. #samtheman."

 

Gone Down Under

The Ken Condon-trained Success Days has gone all the way to Australia where he is scheduled to run in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 14. The six-year-old grey, a Group Two winner at York last season, will be partnered by Joao Moreira when, among other rivals, he takes on the equine phenomenon Winx, who has been unbeaten in his last twenty-four contests.

 

Last Race on Last Day of the Season

So it has finally been decided that this King's Theatre gelding will terminate his illustrious National Hunt career on the last day of the jumps season at Sandown on April 28. Owner, Jean Bishop and trainer, Colin Tizzard, had been in two minds whether twelve-year-old Cue Card should have one more crack at a Grade One, the Melling Chase at Aintree or a Grade Two, the bet365 Oaksey Chase at Sandown. They have finally plumped for the Esher circuit because it is most likely to be a small field which would suit him and the ground is likely to be to his liking.

 

27 March 2018

 

That was the Week that Was!

It certainly wasn't a happy week for trainer, Kerry Lee. Last Wednesday she received a £3,000 fine after stewards deemed that Kings Monarch was a 'non-trier' in the Foresters By Steve White Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow. Then she had the shock of watching her 1/20 short favourite, Tree Of Liberty, being defeated in the Alfa Aggregate Products Novices' Chase at Ludlow on Thursday. However, a pretty smile came back to the Presteigne-based trainer's face when Happy Diva landed her third win of the season over fences, a length ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained odds-on favourite, Adrien Du Pont.

 

Another Record

This County Meath trainer notched up a record 194 winners in an Irish jumps season when Poormans Hill won the Toals Bookmakers Ulster National Irish EBF Handicap Chase at Downpatrick. Earlier on in the same fixture Gordon Elliott had already equalled the previous record last year, which he shared with Willie Mullins, after scoring a double with Percy in the WKD Maiden Hurdle and Isodon in the digita.agency Handicap Hurdle.

 

Always On The Go!

Victory in the Tote Irish Lincolnshire at Naas gave this Arakan gelding his fifth success on the Flat. After his last win at Tipperary in early October, the Michael Mulvany-trained On The Go Again had a stint of three runs over hurdles, which certainly seemed to have improved his fitness so that he had no problem dealing with the soft to heavy ground in this feature handicap contest over a mile. The early part of the race was dominated by Beach Bar and Aussie Valentine and these two were still out front two-and-half furlongs from home but no particular runner was yet guaranteed the honours. As the field spread across the track, though, the 6/1 favourite, On The Go Again produced a strong run to win by a length and three-quarters from Saltonstall.

 

26 March 2018

 

Here we go again!

Victory in the Tote Irish Lincolnshire at Naas yesterday gave this Arakan gelding his fifth success on the Flat. After his last win at Tipperary in early October, the Michael Mulvany-trained On The Go Again had a stint of three runs over hurdles, which certainly seemed to have improved his fitness so that he had no problem dealing with the soft to heavy ground in this feature handicap contest over a mile. The early part of the race was dominated by Beach Bar and Aussie Valentine and these two were still out front two-and-half furlongs from home but no particular runner was yet guaranteed the honours. As the field spread across the track, though, the 6/1 favourite, On The Go Again produced a strong run to win by a length and three-quarters from Saltonstall.

 

Approaching a double ton.

This County Meath trainer notched up a record 194 winners in an Irish jumps season when Poormans Hill won the Toals Bookmakers Ulster National Irish EBF Handicap Chase at Downpatrick. Earlier on in the same fixture Gordon Elliott had already equalled the previous record last year, which he shared with Willie Mullins, after scoring a double with Percy in the WKD Maiden Hurdle and Isodon in the digita.agency Handicap Hurdle.

 

A Happier Bunny!

It certainly wasn't a good week for trainer, Kerry Lee. On Wednesday she received a £3,000 fine after stewards deemed that Kings Monarch was a 'non-trier' in the Foresters By Steve White Novices' Hurdle at Chepstow. Then she had the shock of watching her 1/20 short favourite, Tree Of Liberty, being defeated in the Alfa Aggregate Products Novices' Chase at Ludlow on Thursday. However, the smile came back to the Presteigne-based trainer's face yesterday when Happy Diva landed her third win of the season over fences, a length ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained odds-on favourite, Adrien Du Pont.

25 March 2018

 

Prince Invincible

The Listed Doncaster Mile Stakes was claimed by a Lope De Vega gelding who hasn't raced since last October. The Roger Varian-trained Zabeel Prince, with Andrea Atzeni aboard, dominated the six-runner field and even had a burst of energy left for a strong finish in the testing ground. Karl Burke's Born To Be Alive was the one to throw down the gauntlet but the Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned five-year-old was not to be deprived of victory and pulled away in the closing stages to win by two and a half lengths.

 

She does it again!

The conditional jockey winner of the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival was back in the winner's enclosure again at Newbury yesterday. Bridget Andrews replaced her boyfriend, Harry Skelton, sidelined after an injury, aboard Roksana who made it three-in-a-row when landing the EBF & TBA Mares' "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle Finale by two-and-three-quarter lengths. The Dan Skelton-trained Dubai Destination mare took command of the Grade 2 extended two-and-half-mile contest as she approached the final flight and had enough in reserve to shrug off any challenge form Jamie Snowden's Kalahari Queen.

 

A Win Izzer Win!

This Clodovil colt put his name on the first two-year-old flat race of the turf season. Mick Channon-saddled Izzer in the five-furlong Unibet Brocklesby Conditions Stakes at Doncaster yesterday and there was a lot of support for the David Hudd & Chris Wright-owned colt. Izzer demonstrated an impressive turn of foot when Charlie Bishop steered him into the lead two furlongs out. A few of his dozen rivals got threateningly near in the last half-furlong but Izzer had enough stamina to claim victory by three-quarters of a length.

 

24 March 2018

 

Think Big

Today heralds the first official meeting of the Flat turf season at Doncaster. The ground is recorded as soft, even very soft, bordering on heavy. The snow has now pretty well disappeared and the forecast is predominantly dry. The feature race event is the 32Red Lincoln. One to keep an eye on is this Michael Appleby-trained High Chaparral gelding. Although Big Country was allotted a five-pound penalty for winning the sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton at the beginning of the month, he still warrants plenty of respect as he also has the advantage of having on board the 2017 champion jockey, Silvestre De Sousa.

 

A far Cry

Another piece of racing history was established at the Western Sydney Rosehill race track yesterday when the Chris Waller-trained Street Cry mare scored her seventeenth top-level victory when winning The Agency George Ryder Stakes. Winx thereby passed the previous record of sixteen Grade 1 triumphs, set up by American champion, John Henry in the early 1980s, and moved her total consecutive wins to an incredible 24. The seven-year-old also demonstrated her versatility by easily dropping back in trip, although she was given a run for her money this time by Happy Clapper, who chased her home, only three-quarters of a length adrift.

 

Field of Dreams

This Willie Mullins-trained Great Pretender gelding hardly broke sweat when easily winning yesterday's Toals.com Bookmakers Webster Cup Chase at Navan. Great Field, making his first appearance since scoring in last year's Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival, surged clear of his rivals to win by one-and-three-quarter lengths. The Gordon Elliott-trained Doctor Phoenix, made a belated attempt to challenge but was unable to catch his younger rival.

23 March 2018

 

Cap that!

Ludlow was the scene of one of the biggest shocks in National Hunt racing history yesterday when the 1/20 favourite was beaten by a 20/1 outsider. The Kerry Lee-trained Tree Of Liberty attempted to make all the running in the two-mile Alfa Aggregate Products Novices' Chase but was challenged by Cap'n and Over To Midnight who took a crashing fall at the second-last fence. The seven-year-old Gamut gelding, trained by Claire Dyson and ridden by Brendan Powell, although making a mistake at the second from home, went into the lead and won by two-and-a-half lengths ahead of a weakening Tree Of Liberty. The latter, the Ludlow chief veterinary officer discovered later, had suffered bleeding from the nose, which may have accounted for his somewhat erratic jumping and disappointing result.

 

WCs for Aintree

A distinguished owner and his horse-racing son are aiming for further glory at Aintree next month. The Warren Greatrex-trained Theatre Territory, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, will line up in the Randox Health Topham Chase on April 13 and son, Sam will be aboard. The father/son partnership has won this two-and-three-quarter-mile handicap chase twice before with Rajdhani Express in 2015 and Liberthine in 2006. The King's Theatre mare was last seen finishing third to Fergal Obrien's Master Dee in the Betdaq Chase at Kempton last month.

 

Field of Dreams

Prestbury Park racegoers were denied the pleasure of watching the Willie Mullins-trained Great Field having a tilt at the Cheltenham Champion Chase a couple of weeks ago. Now anyone who can get to Navan will be able to see this exciting chaser make his seasonal reappearance in the Grade Two Toals.com Bookmakers Webster Cup. This Great Pretender gelding, who will once more have Jody McGarvey aboard, has been unbeaten in his four starts over fences. Particularly noteworthy was his last performance at Punchestown in the Ryanair Novice Chase which he won by eleven lengths. The seven-year-old is expected to put on a similar display this afternoon.

 

22 March 2018

 

A Real Leader

The Cheltenham Festival's dynamic trainer/jockey partnership followed up last week's prestigious awards by scoring again at Limerick yesterday. The Gordon Elliott-trained Lackaneen Leader, partnered by Davy Russell, won the Kerry Group EBF Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle. This Oscar filly was a 4/1 chance in the Grade Three contest. For a moment it looked as though Moyhenna, aiming for three-in-a-row, had been allowed too much of a lead as the field headed into the straight. The County Meath handler's mare, however, found a little extra under pressure and went on to win by a length and a quarter.

 

W-Cs for Aintree!

Distinguished owner and horse-racing son are aiming for further glory at Aintree next month. The Warren Greatrex-trained Theatre Territory, owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, will line up in the Randox Health Topham Chase on April 13 and son, Sam will be aboard. The father/son partnership have won this two-and-three-quarter-mile handicap chase twice before with Rajdhani Express in 2015 and Liberthine in 2006. The King's Theatre mare was last seen finishing third to Fergal Obrien's Master Dee in the Betdaq Chase at Kempton last month.

 

Rivalry Intensified

The competition for the Irish trainers' championship continues to hot up when the two rivals face each other in the UCC Horse Racing Society Hurdle at Cork this afternoon. Gordon Elliott, who is leading Willie Mullins by some £400,000 probably has the slight edge with Last Minute Man, ridden once again by Davy Russell. The County Carlow king opposes him with the Paul Townend-ridden Antey, who is seeking his first win after three runs, all of which were over two miles. So the Lord Of England gelding is also facing a step-up in trip.

 

21 March 2018

 

Back to Business

A former Irish point-to-pointer, bought for only £20,000 last year, put on an impressive display when winning the Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap Chase at Wetherby yesterday. The Phil Kirby-trained Allmyown finally open his account under rules after five disappointing previous tries over hurdles. Considering the seven-year-old's origins it was probably no surprise that he was happier jumping the larger obstacles, as was demonstrated at Catterick last month when, on his first start over fences, he came third in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Chase. This time the Mr Combustible gelding, ridden by Adam Nicol, left nothing to speculation when he left the 7/4 favourite Bandon Roc trailing well back in the field, some eleven lengths in his wake.

 

Bookies taken to the Cleaner!

A wild promise made after placing a £1 each way Lucky 31 bet at the Cheltenham Festival last week has cost the eventual winner £10,000. A Devonshire cleaner joked that, if he were successful, he would take his seven mates to Las Vegas to celebrate. The fifty-five-year-old grandfather actually thought that his last selection, Missed Approach, wouldn't make it and that's when he made the insane offer. In the event he won £160,000 and, as he put it: 'I'm a man of my word' and so they are all off to the gambling capital of the world. He has told his friends, however, to bring their own spending money!

 

French Pride

A former French jockey who moved to Ireland over forty years ago and worked for the legendary Dessie Hughes for twenty-seven of them, notched up his first win as a trainer at Down Royal. Donegal-based Christian Delcros took out his licence twelve months ago but has only had a couple of placings so far. Yesterday that all changed, however, as Rossmore's Pride, ridden by Simon Torrens, finally broke his duck after nine times of trying when he triumphed in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

 

20 March 2018

 

V for Victory!

This Kevin Ryan-trained War Front gelding showed quite a lot of promise as a juvenile but, somehow, never managed to score. Vj Day was then switched to the all-weather surface at Wolverhampton in February and things started to look good, when he finished a valiant runner-up to Dubai Acclaim. The three-year-old's win last time out at Newcastle further consolidated his improvement and tonight, back at the High Gosforth Park track, off a six pounds higher mark, the Aquis Farm Pty Ltd-owned Vj Day is well set to repeat the exercise.

 

Over - and Dover

The Paul Nicholls-trained Canford Cliffs gelding, who won a series of juvenile hurdles two seasons ago, but missed the whole of the last year because of injury, was back in style, winning his second race on the Flat this month at Lingfield yesterday. The short favourite, Cliffs Of Dover, partnered by the trainer's daughter, Megan, lined up in the Betway Stayers Handicap. The short favourite looked like not making it as he got trapped wide on the bend as the Gary Moore-trained Age Of Wisdom clung doggedly (equinely?) to the rail but the five-year-old stuck to his task and ultimately won by three-quarters of a length.

 

French Pride

A former French jockey who moved to Ireland over forty years ago and worked for the legendary Dessie Hughes for twenty-seven of them, notched up his first win as a trainer at Down Royal. Donegal-based Christian Delcros took out his licence twelve months ago but has only had a couple of placings so far. Yesterday that all changed, however, as Rossmore's Pride, ridden by Simon Torrens, finally broke his duck after nine times of trying when he triumphed in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

 

19 March 2018

 

Aiming for the Top

There's still a month or so to go before the National Hunt Season officially concludes but there are already signs that the Flat turf season is not so far away. The current Champion jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, who was crowned for a second time last season, is off to Lingfield for his first ride aboard the William Knight-trained Sea Shack in the Play For Free At sunbets.co.uk/vegas Handicap. The Brazilian-born rider, who hasn't raced in this country since November, during which time he was riding in the Middle East, has already announced that he intends to bid for a third title. Another would-be champion is also back in the saddle at the all-weather track, the only racing venue today after the return of the snow storms this time, courtesy the 'Mini Beast from the East'. Godolphin's retained jockey since January 2015, William Buick, also gets back in the saddle today, having also spent his time abroad, when he rides the Charlie Appleby-trained Sportswriter in this afternoon's 32Red.com Novice Stakes. The Norwegian-born rider has also expressed his desire to become champion jockey one day but as he put it 'not at any cost' so perhaps it's not a number one priority.

 

Kong King

It's nineteen years since David Harrison won the Hong Kong Derby aboard Holy Grail. Now another British jockey has joined him in the Hall of Fame. Ryan Moore partnered the John Size-trained Ping Hai Star in the feature race. It seems connections' main concerns were whether the Nom Du Jeu gelding could manage the ten-furlong trip as he had recently won three races in a row over the shorter distance of seven furlongs. The other worry was that the five-year-old is always keen to go into the lead from the off. The Brighton-born jockey obviously had a solution to that one: he settled him at the back. When the fourteen-strong field proceeded down the back straight, Ping Hai Star was some ten lengths adrift of the leaders but, coolly and calmly, Ryan Moore urged his mount into contention on the home bend and the duo stayed on strongly to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths, demonstrating quite clearly that Ping Hai Star had no problems stepping up in trip.

 

Regal Reckoning

On his way from Somerset to Staffordshire trainer Bob Buckler began to wonder whether he was doing the right thing. Just five days earlier Regal Flow had triumphed in the South West Racing Club Handicap Chase at Taunton and now he was on his way to Uttoxeter to line up in the four-mile-two-furlong Midlands Grand National. The Bridgwater-based handler needn't have been concerned. Although the Erhaab gelding is now eleven years old, he seems to like nothing better than when the going is tough and the mud is flying as he demonstrated last Monday when skipping three lengths clear to win that three-mile-plus contest. Yesterday's snow flurries and bottomless ground couldn't stop Regal Flow from notching up his second victory in a week when he left his rivals trailing ten lengths in his wake.

 

18 March 2018

 

Star Performance

It's nineteen years since David Harrison won the Hong Kong Derby aboard Holy Grail. Now another British jockey has joined him in the Hall of Fame. Ryan Moore partnered the John Size-trained Ping Hai Star in the feature race. It seems connections' main concerns were whether the Nom Du Jeu gelding could manage the ten-furlong trip as he had recently won three races in a row over the shorter distance of seven furlongs. The other worry was that the five-year-old is always keen to go into the lead from the off. The Brighton-born jockey obviously had a solution to that one: he settled him at the back. When the fourteen-strong field proceeded down the back straight, Ping Hai Star was some ten lengths adrift of the leaders but, coolly and calmly, Ryan Moore urged his mount into contention on the home bend and the duo stayed on strongly to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths, demonstrating quite clearly that Ping Hai Star had no problems stepping up in trip.

 

Go with the Flow

On his way from Somerset to Staffordshire trainer Bob Buckler began to wonder whether he was doing the right thing. Just five days earlier Regal Flow had triumphed in the South West Racing Club Handicap Chase at Taunton and now he was on his way to Uttoxeter to line up in the four-mile-two-furlong Midlands Grand National. The Bridgwater-based handler needn't have been concerned. Although the Erhaab gelding is now eleven years old, he seems to like nothing better than when the going is tough and the mud is flying as he demonstrated last Monday when skipping three lengths clear to win that three-mile-plus contest. Yesterday's snow flurries and bottomless ground couldn't stop Regal Flow from notching up his second victory in a week when he left his rivals trailing ten lengths in his wake.

 

17 March 2018

 

Bravo!

The St James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase at Cheltenham yesterday was won for a second year in a row by the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder. Even more dramatically it was revealed afterwards that the Muhtathir gelding was partnered by a jockey on only her second ride under rules and, what is more, suffering from a dislocated shoulder. Harriet Tucker seemed to be having a problem on the run-in and she confirmed in the winning enclosure that she had been forced to pop her shoulder back into place at the same time as urging her mount on to victory. Harriet Tucker said she suffered the injury in her previous race and was told by doctors she did not need an operation. Her brave ride meant that she is only the fourteenth female jockey ever to register a win at the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Flowing Victory

Another surprise victory came in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup when the favourite was beaten by four-and-a-half lengths. Third in last year's race, won by Sizing John, the Colin Tizzard-trained Native River, with champion jockey Richard Johnson aboard, easily out-galloped Nicky Henderson's Might Bite in this three-and-a-quarter-mile contest, thus adding to his last-season successes in the Hennessy Gold Cup and Coral Welsh National. After the Indian River gelding suffered a few problems at the end of last year, Colin Tizzard decided to give him a rest and wait for this Spring's activity. And a wise decision it it turned out to be, too! Richard Johnson's victory came at a price, though. He has been banned for seven days and fined £6,550 after being found guilty of excessive use of the whip.

 

Irish Domination

This year's Cheltenham Festival was certainly dominated by the Irish so it was no surprise that Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell were crowned leading trainer and jockey, respectively, with Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud being named leading owners.

16 March 2018

 

Real Corkers!

St Patrick's Thursday at Cheltenham was well and truly celebrated by two top Irish riders. Cork-born jockeys, Davy Russell and Paul Townend dominated the third day of the Cheltenham Festival by scoring five times between them. Davy Russell notched up an easy treble which included beating Un De Sceaux aboard the Henry De Bromhead-trained Balko Des Flows in the Ryanair Chase. This was just after riding the Gordon Elliott-trained Delta Work to victory in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle. The thirty-eight-year-old then went on to triumph in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase aboard The Storyteller, also handled by Gordon Elliott. Paul Townend also did his bit for the 'Apostle of Ireland', winning on two Willie Mullins-trained runners, Penhill in the Stayers Hurdle, and Laurina, who cruised home to an eighteen-length victory in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

 

Three in a Row

The County Carlow king has now won all three of the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle races since their inauguration, making him the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival. The Willie Mullins-trained Laurina certainly looked a class above her thirteen rivals in this two-mile-plus contest. This Spanish Moon mare easily pulled away from the rest of the field between the last two flights and crossed the line eighteen lengths clear of Fergal O'Brien's Cap Soleil.

 

Bookies' Day

Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival will be remembered by the bookies as the day they recovered from the savaging of the previous forty-eight hours and finally got their heads in front. This change of affairs was mainly brought about by two well-backed favourites losing the two big races of the day: the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux failed to repeat his last year's success in the Ryanair Chase and Sam Spinner, the 9/4 favourite , came a disappointing fifth in the Stayers' Hurdle.

15 March 2018

 

Higher and Higher!

The tacky ground and the fact he was reported lame two days earlier with pus in the hoof (sub-solar abscess) wasn't going to stop this High Chaparral gelding from winning the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. Altior didn't run his usual sort of race, however, mainly because he clearly didn't like the ground. When the nine runners were Coming down the hill it certainly looked as though his jockey had a big problem as three big rivals, Politologue, God's Own and Min all appeared to be making good progress. It's moments like this that a true champion shows his mettle and Altior was not lacking in this respect. As soon Nico De Boinville pulled him out, however, the eight-year-old responded with a burst of speed and galloped up his favourite hill to win the two-mile contest, seven lengths ahead of the Willie Mullins-trained from Min, providing Nicky Henderson with a record sixtieth Festival triumph.

 

The Irish Banker

This Gordon Elliott-trained Germany gelding made it seven in a row when he claimed the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle yesterday. Samcro fully justified his billing as the Irish banker of the Cheltenham Festival and teenage jockey, Jack Kennedy, gave him a professional ride, keeping the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old in touch, tracking the leaders before throwing down the gauntlet on the final bend and leaving Tom George's Black Op trailing two-and-three-quarter lengths in his wake.

 

On a Roll!

This County Meath-based trainer had a good day at Prestbury Park yesterday. After winning the first race of the day, mentioned earlier, he came back into the winner's enclosure after the fifth. He saddled Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and he also delivered the goods. This Authorized gelding already had the Triumph Hurdle and four-mile National Hunt Chase to his credit and this success made it his third Cheltenham victory. The eight-year-old was always kept up front by his jockey, Keith Donoghue, tracking the pace-setting Beeves. The only really anxious moment came when a stable companion, Bless The Wings, fell at the twelfth fence and nearly brought him down.

14 March 2018

 

Air we go!

This Nicky Henderson-trained Crillon gelding successfully defended his crown in the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham yesterday, albeit he had to work a bit harder this time. Buveur D'Air, having cruised to easy victories on his previous three starts this season, was naturally the hot favourite to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of this Grade 1 two-mile contest since Hardy Eustace, trained by the legendary Dessie Hughes, in 2004 and 2005. The eventual winner's stable companion, Charli Parcs, set himself the task of challenging Faugheen for the lead. Quite some way from home, however, it became apparent that the Willie Mullins-trained Germany gelding was not performing as well as usual and it was left to the other County Carlow inmate, Melon, with Paul Townend aboard, to take on the reigning champion. Things were close as the pair jumped the final flight and there was quite a battle up the notorious Prestbury Park hill but Buveur D'Air and Barry Geraghty claimed the prize by a neck.

 

A Blessed Victory!

The OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham provided Willie Mullins with his ninth victory in eleven years. The Irish champion trainer triumphed an unbelievable six times with the remarkable Quevega, in addition to a win by Glens Melody in 2015, followed by Vroum Vroum Mag. Benie Des Dieux took second place in the betting behind last year's winner Apple's Jade, who used to be trained by Willie Mullins but is now with Gordon Elliott. Jack Kennedy gave this Saddler Maker mare a powerful ride and all seemed well in hand some distance from the home turn. Ruby Walsh, back from injury, was, however, more determined and continued to work away on Benie Des Dieux who responded and scored by half a length.

 

Cool Partner!

The RSA Insurance Novices' Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon provides a unique opportunity to watch 'childhood sweethearts' race against each other. Twenty-two year-old Bryony Frost challenges her nineteen-year-old boyfriend, Harry Cobden, in this three-mile contest. The story is that they got to know each other as children riding on Dartmoor and have been an 'item' for the last couple of years. As they both 'wear the trousers' it is not easy to predict who will dominate in this contest!

 

13 March 2018

 

Well it's on! Despite all the uncertainty during the recent unusually bleak weather, the 2018 Cheltenham Festival starts today. This four-day extravaganza was initiated in 1860 when the National Hunt Chase was first held at Market Harborough. The event was originally called the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations. Around the turn of the 20th century it was mostly held at Warwick Racecourse. In 1904 and 1905 it was staged at Cheltenham over a new course established at Prestbury Park in 1902. From 1906 to 1910 it was again held at Warwick but further additions and major improvements made at the Cheltenham track, including, among other things, a new stand (the fourth!), an extensive drainage system, paving in the enclosures and the paddock extended to accommodate thirty-five saddling boxes, persuaded the National Hunt Committee at a meeting in 1911 that this prestigious event should be permanently located at Prestbury Park. One of the earliest uses of the word "Festival" is to be found in the Warwick Advertiser of 1907.

 

Today's Cheltenham Festival will be on the wettest ground for some thirty-six years. The going at the Gloucestershire track is officially described as heavy, soft in places after a lot of rain over the last few days. More than 250,000 spectators will flock into Prestbury Park over the next four days with bookmakers estimating that around £350 million will be placed on bets. Hundreds of horses will line up in a total of twenty-eight races, competing for record prize money totalling £4.6 million.

 

12 March 2018

 

Lord lost the Call!

It took a stewards' inquiry to decide the winner of the Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown yesterday. First past the post was the Jamie Bargary-ridden Mr Antolini, a neck ahead of the Nicky Henderson-trained  Call Me LordThe reason for the enquiry, apparently was that the two came very close in the final yards of this two-mile contest but, ultimately, the result was allowed to stand and it was Mr. Antolini's victory.

 

High Five!

Five out of five for the County Carlow king at Gowran Park yesterday. As a nice warm-up for next week's Cheltenham Festival Willie Mullins, saddled five winners. The Closutton-based trainer began as he intended to carry on. In the first race of the day, the Kilkenny Hunt Maiden Hurdle, the 2/5 favourite, Saglawy had an easy fifteen-length victory. Then half-an-hour later, Epicuris, also ridden by Paul Townend, carried off the prize by eight lengths in the Best Of Luck To The Irish At Cheltenham Maiden Hurdle. The two races later, new recruit to the yard, Pairofbrowneyes beat the Gordon Elliott-trained Space Cadet by three-and-three-quarter lengths in the Leinster National. Then the 1/5 favourite, Up For Review, notched up number four when landing the Irish Machinery Auctions Beginners Chase. That left the five-year-old Derby to make the high five, by winning the Raceday Packages At gowranpark.ie Point-To Point Flat Race by nine lengths.

 

Big Win

This Mick Appleby-trained High Chaparral gelding continued his winning ways on the all-weather when riding out the clear-cut winner of the sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial Handicap at Wolverhampton yesterday. Big Country, who is already entered in the Lincoln at Doncaster in two weeks' time, went for home a furlong out after shadowing the pacesetting Swift Emperor for most of this mile-long contest. The five-year-old was kept up to the task by his jockey, Luke Morris, and managed to hold off the challenge by the fast-closing Pactolus by three-quarters of a length.

 

10 March 2018

 

Won but lost a day!

This former Champion Hurdler Milan gelding hasn't had a win since October but yesterday at Leopardstown he made amends. The Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki took on four rivals in the Leopardstown Classic Trials Day April 14th Hurdle. The race wasn't without incident, however. The Stewards decided to examine an incident that took place at the bend into the home straight which involved the Ruby Walsh-ridden Karalee and the eventual winner, partnered by jockey Barry Geraghty. As a result the latter picked up a one-day ban but Jezki still held onto his winning slot with the Gordon Elliott-trained Lieutenant Colonel runner-up, two lengths behind.

 

Jewel of a Duel

All being well (if the weather allows), the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next Wednesday should provide a fascinating clash between two stars. The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior had a wind operation in the Autumn so has missed much of the season but, even so, the nine-year-old High Chaparral gelding is the odds-on favourite to notch up his third Festival success, no doubt as a result of his impressive four-length victory on his reappearance in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury last month. The Willie Mullins-trained Douvan has also been absent for nearly a year after suffering a shock defeat and injury in this race last season. But this ten-year-old Walk in The Park progeny, however, matches his forthcoming rival with wins in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy. So a fascinating contest is on the cards at Prestbury Park next week.

 

The Right Chord

The first three places in yesterday's 32Red Patton Stakes at Dundalk were claimed by Aidan O’Brien. The Ryan Moore-partnered Mendelssohn led home the Ballydoyle threesome in this mile-long feature contest. This was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner's first race on the all-weather and he took it in his stride, winning by three-quarters of a length, followed home by stable companions Threeandfourpence and the Champagne Stakes winner, Seahenge.

9 March 2018

 

Two to watch 

All being well (if the weather allows), the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next Wednesday should provide a fascinating clash between two stars. The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior had a wind operation in the Autumn so has missed much of the season but, even so, the nine-year-old High Chaparral gelding is the odds-on favourite to notch up his third Festival success, no doubt as a result of his impressive four-length victory on his reappearance in the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury last month. The Willie Mullins-trained Douvan has also been absent for nearly a year after suffering a shock defeat and injury in this race last season. But this ten-year-old Walk in The Park progeny, however, matches his forthcoming rival with wins in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy. So a fascinating contest is on the cards at Prestbury Park next week.

 

A Hole in One!

As racing journalists like to say, this Gamut gelding 'dug deep' to claim back-to-back victories in the Enhanced Place Odds At 188Bet Handicap Chase at Carlisle yesterday. It's exactly a year since the Jennie Candlish-trained Grove Silver triumphed in this two-and-a-half-mile contest, then in a first-time visor, this time in blinkers. It seems some sort of headgear does the trick for the 13/8 favourite, ridden this time by Sean Quinlan. At first it looked like the Micky Hammond-trained Caraline would be a main obstacle to success but the Martaline mare ran out of steam after the third-last. That just left Major Hindrance as a just that and he did threaten to edge in front after the last fence but Grove Silver found that little extra to win by half a length.

 

Midnight Special?

Jamie Snowden, a former Captain of the King's Royal Hussars, saddles Midnight Monty in today's Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown. This Midnight Legend gelding is owned by The Cherry Pickers, a syndicate comprising members from that regiment. Midnight Monty, ridden by another former member, Major Harry Wallace, finished second, four-and-a-half lengths behind the David Pipe-trained Rathlin Rose in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at the Esher venue last month.

 

8 March 2018

 

Ruby's back!

After nearly four months' absence from race riding due to breaking a leg at Punchestown in November, this County Kildare jockey gets back into the saddle at Thurles today, when he'll be aboard not On The Mend, as you might expect, but Lareena in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle. Ruby Walsh had hoped to make his come-back last week-end but the freezing temperatures put the kibosh on that. The thirty-eight-year-old rider has always asserted that he would be back in time for the Cheltenham Festival, where he has been leading rider 11 times and, as a special reward, he will be aboard the ante-post favourite Getabird, trained by Willie Mullins, in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle that opens the Prestbury Park party on Tuesday.

 
Rain. rain, go away!

If it's not one thing, it's another. The valiant staff have just dealt with huge task of clearing tons of snow from Prestbury Park, now rain has come and more is threatened. Cheltenham had a light shower last night but the going remains soft, good to soft in places on all three courses. Heavy rain is forecast by Sunday, however, so the the going could well be heavy by then. It seems there is hope that the weather could improve again at the beginning of next week.

 

Derby Time!

It has just been announced tha twelve riders will compete in the Pertemps Champions Willberry Charity Derby at Epsom, on August Bank Holiday Monday. The contest which covers the same course and distance as the famous Epsom Derby attracted one-hundred-and fifty applications from people in all parts of the UK. Ten hopefuls will line up with two cousins that have already been announced, Lissa Green, one of Britain’s rising eventing talents and daughter of eventing star, Lucinda Green MBE, and Lara Prior-Palmer, winner of the 2013 Mongol Derby.

 

7 March 2018

 

Ruby Tuesday

After nearly four months' absence from race riding due to breaking a leg at Punchestown in November, this County Kildare jockey hopes to get back into the saddle at Thurles tomorrow. Ruby Walsh had hoped to make his come-back last week-end but the freezing temperatures put the kibosh on that. The thirty-eight-year-old rider has always asserted that he would be back in time for the Cheltenham Festival, where he has been leading rider 11 times and, as a special reward, he will be aboard the ante-post favourite Getabird, trained by Willie Mullins, in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle that opens the Prestbury Park party on Tuesday.

 

A Gordon for me!

At last year's Cheltenham Festival this County Meath-based trainer saddled six winners and with a view to doing even better than that he plans to send over thirty horses to the Prestbury Park. It's nearly eleven years since Gordon Elliott hit the headlines when his Silver Birch won the Grand National, even though he hadn't yet saddled a winner in Ireland. The forty-year-old handler has now fourteen Festival winners to his credit and is once again ahead of his great rival, Willie Mullins, in the race for this year's Irish champion National Hunt trainer crown. It was, however, a similar situation last season until the County Carlow king produced a last-minute challenge at Punchestown, denying Gordon Elliott his first title. It seems only a matter of time, though, before he achieves this prestigious prize.

 

Re-scheduled

Kelso's abandoned meeting will now take place next Sunday. The Scottish border track was due to present one of its most high-profile fixtures of the season, with the Premier Chase set to feature the Betfair Chase winner, Bristol De Mai, and the Sandy Thomson-trained Grand National hopeful, Seeyouatmidnight. This prestigious event, also featuring the Premier Hurdle, had to be abandoned last Wednesday because of snow, but course officials, together with help from the British Horseracing Authority, have fortunately been able to re-schedule the meeting.

 

6 March 2018

 

The More the Merrier!

At last year's Cheltenham Festival this County Meath-based trainer saddled six winners and with a view to doing even better than that he plans to send over thirty horses to the Prestbury Park. It's nearly eleven years since Gordon Elliott hit the headlines when his Silver Birch won the Grand National, even though he hadn't yet saddled a winner in Ireland. The forty-year-old handler has now fourteen Festival winners to his credit and is once again ahead of his great rival, Willie Mullins, in the race for this year's Irish champion National Hunt trainer crown. It was, however, a similar situation last season until the County Carlow king produced a last-minute challenge at Punchestown, denying Gordon Elliott his first title. It seems only a matter of time, though, before he achieves this prestigious prize.

 

Another Day, Another Race

Kelso's abandoned meeting will now take place next Sunday. The Scottish border track was due to present one of its most high-profile fixtures of the season, with the Premier Chase set to feature the Betfair Chase winner, Bristol De Mai, and the Sandy Thomson-trained Grand National hopeful, Seeyouatmidnight. This prestigious event, also featuring the Premier Hurdle, had to be abandoned last Wednesday because of snow, but course officials, together with help from the British Horseracing Authority, have fortunately been able to re-schedule the meeting.

 

Getting Better

The latest is that Prestbury Park is making a good recovery after heavy snow shrouded the whole of the course last week. It seems now that the going is listed as primarily soft. In excess of two-hundred tons of snow was still in the process of being manually removed from the course, with most of the work concentrating on the sixty-two obstacles that were covered by drifts. Most of the other snow had thawed naturally from the track so things look more optimistic for the Cheltenham Festival which starts a week tomorrow.

 

5 March 2018

 

Got it right this time!

After being disqualified from a race at the Nottinghamshire track in the middle of January when his trainer saddled him in the wrong race, this Lonhro gelding had a luckier day yesterday. The Ivan Furtado-trained African Trader lined up in the seven-strong sunbets.co.uk Handicap at Southwell, getting mixed up with his stable companion, Scribner Creek who should have been running in the one-mile handicap and this mistake cost the South Yorkshire trainer a fine of £2,000, but the Wiseton Stables' handler was all smiles back at Southwell yesterday when his heavily-backed 6-1 shot got up late to claim victory by a short head. The prize money was £3,500!

 

Festival Fever

The latest is that Prestbury Park is making a good recovery after heavy snow shrouded the whole of the course last week. It seems now that the going is listed as primarily soft. In excess of two-hundred tons of snow was still in the process of being manually removed from the course yesterday, with most of the work concentrating on the sixty-two obstacles that were covered by drifts. Most of the other snow had thawed naturally from the track so things look more optimistic for the Cheltenham Festival which starts a week tomorrow.

 

A Bumper day!

This Somerset trainer certainly seems to like the idea of the all-jumper-bumper fixture at Kempton Park this afternoon. Paul Nicholls saddles six horses in the seven-race fixture, including Tommy Silver and Zubayr who are expected to do well next week at the Cheltenham Festival. The former races in the 32Red Jumpers’ Bumper, presumably with the intention of getting him last-minute fit for his attempt at the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase. Six-year-old Zubayr, ridden by Bryony Frost, notched up a win and a place on his previous two visits to Kempton and will be seeking to add to his successes when he lines up in the 100% Profit Boost At 32Redsport.com Jumpers’ Bumper. Others to look out for are Brahms De Clermont, Diamond Guy, Peter The Mayo Man and Volpone Jelois.

 

4 March 2018

 

First in the First

This Danehill Dancer gelding claimed the first race of the day at Lingfield yesterday. The Sir Robert Ogden-owned Constantino, trained by Richard Fahey, has not been seen since September but that didn't seem a problem. The five-year-old lined up against seven rivals in the Play For Free At sunbets.co.uk/vegas Handicap and, in the early stages of this one-mile contest, was kept handy in midfield by his jockey, Paul Hanagan, allowing Poet's Society and Sea Fox to set the pace, before going for gold in the straight and scoring by half a length ahead of Humbert.

 

Twenty-Three

The Group One Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick, Australia, was the scene of another remarkable triumph. After an absence of 126 days this Street Cry mare extended her winning streak to 23 with an impressive victory. The Chris Waller-trained Winx, on track again for the first time since winning a third Cox Plate last October, was settled towards the back of the field in the early stages of the mile contest. Racing widest of all around the home turn, the Hugh Bowman-ridden six-year-old fair sailed past her eight rivals to win the prestigious prize seven lengths ahead of Victoria Derby winner, Prized Icon.

 

Getting there

Meanwhile back at Prestbury Park the worst of the weather seems to be over and the Cheltenham festival looks like it will take place. With the aim of ensuring a consistent racing surface for next week's four-day bonanza, the racecourse staff resorted to clearing the track of snow in the old way. Fifty-odd workers will use shovels to clear away drifts of snow that have built up around the fences and hurdles to prevent the creation of boggy patches of ground on the take-off and landing sides as the snow melts. Simon Claisse, who has been Cheltenham's Clerk of the Course for some eighteen years, says he has never known snow to on the so close to a Festival. He calculates that around three inches fell in the last few days. There still remains a light dusting of snow lies on the turf between the fences and up the famous hill to the winning post but that is expected to melt fairly quickly, now that temperatures are back above freezing and should stay there for the rest of the week.

3 March 2018

 

Winxed!

The Group One Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick, New South Wales, was the scene of another remarkable triumph yesterday. After an absence of 126 days this Street Cry mare extended her winning streak to 23 with an impressive victory. The Chris Waller-trained Winx, on track again for the first time since winning a third Cox Plate last October, was settled towards the back of the field in the early stages of the mile contest. Racing widest of all around the home turn, the Hugh Bowman-ridden six-year-old fair sailed past her eight rivals to win the prestigious prize seven lengths ahead of Victoria Derby winner, Prized Icon.

 

It's all go!

All three of today's fixtures are 'systems go' after losing out to the worst weather for years yesterday and earlier. Lingfield abandoned its Friday's card because of the Beast from the East, Storm Emma – or both! George Hill, Clerk of the course was planning an 8am inspection this morning but, due to the rapidly changing conditions he was able to give the go-ahead earlier than expected and the Surrey track presents a seven-race card, which includes the Listed 32Red Spring Cup. Chelmsford also lost out on Friday. Originally there was supposed to be an 8am inspection but the OK was given twenty minutes earlier with the going reported as standard. Newcastle lost meetings on Wednesday and Thursday due to snow but the surface has now improved and the going is also listed as standard. Unusually, the day's racing will consist entirely of bumper races.

 

Will Simon get lucky?

The big question on everyone's 'chapped lips' this week was whether the current bad weather will have cleared sufficiently by a week on Tuesday – the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. From training yards throughout the country come stories of trainers struggling to keep their stables functioning on the third day of severe weather. A rare red snow alert has been issued, with matters made worse because the lady of the moment, Storm Emma, is teaming up with the so-called Beast from the East, creating some of the most testing weather conditions not seen in the UK for many years. It's not exactly business as usual as trainers make their preparations for the Prestbury Park bonanza but there seems to be a prevailing determination not to allow their plans to be 'blown off course'. On the face of it, with all three race courses operating today, Cheltenham's Clerk of the course, Simon Claisse's optimisim about milder weather during Festival week could well prove well-founded.

 

2 March 2018

 

Snow way to go!

The big question on everyone's 'chapped lips' is whether the current bad weather will have cleared sufficiently by a week on Tuesday – the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. From training yards throughout the country come stories of trainers struggling to keep their stables functioning on the third day of severe weather. A rare red snow alert has been issued, with matters made worse because the lady of the moment, Storm Emma, is teaming up with the so-called Beast from the East, creating some of the most testing weather conditions not seen in the UK for many years. It's not exactly business as usual as trainers make their preparations for the Prestbury Park bonanza but there seems to be a prevailing determination not to allow their plans to be 'blown off course'. A typical example is Kim Bailey, whose yard is situated near Cheltenham racecourse at Andoversford, who commented: "It's snowing and -6C and, while you certainly wouldn't race here today it's not enough to stop us doing anything. I can't work horses when it's this cold as it burns their lungs but we've been cantering them.”

 

1 March 2018

 

Fairy Tale?

Though Hardline and Doctor Phoenix provided trainer, Gordon Elliott and jockey, Davy Russell a big-race double at Naas it seems there are no plans as yet for either of these two horses to run at the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks' time. It seems more likely that Hardline, in particular, will be aimed at the big Easter meeting at Fairyhouse's after his fourth career victory in a row after winning the Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle. Impact Factor tried to make all in this Grade Two contest, but Hardline made his challenge as they approached the last obstacle and went on to score by half a length. Doctor Phoenix also impressed with his thirteen-length victory in the two-mile Paddy's Rewards Chase, also parnered by the talented Davy Russell. So Cheltenham's loss is Fairyhouse's gain.

 

Onward and Upward

This Brian Boru gelding gave the current Champion jockey his 150th victory at Ayr. Richard Johnson was aboard the Tim Vaughan-trained   Looksnowtlikebrian in the Bet At racinguk.com Novices' Chase. The seven-year-old was only up against two rivals in this two-and-half-mile-plus contest and he certainly had their measure. He tracked the leader, Bobbie's Diamond until four out and, although he made a couple of mistakes at this fence and the last, jockey, Richard Johnson kept his cool and urged his mount on to a three-quarters of a length victory.

 

Wi Not!

It has just been announced that, by the end of this Summer, all fifteen of the tracks run by the Arena Racing Company will be fully equipped with Wi-Fi. It is not yet clear, however, whether this will include racegoers' access to all bookmakers' websites. As this new service is being provided in partnership with Sky it an odds-on bet that Sky Bet's website will be accessible. Anyway, everyone at the racecourse will have access to Arc's Wi-Fi, from the customers in the grandstands, paddocks, bars and restaurants to owners, trainers, jockeys and racing staff. It is also envisaged that there will be separate designated access available for the media, course staff and VIP guests, and even a provision for access for guests at corporate events on non-racedays.

 

 

28 February 2018

High Fi!

It has just been announced that, by the end of this Summer, all fifteen of the tracks run by the Arena Racing Company will be fully equipped with Wi-Fi. It is not yet clear, however, whether this will include racegoers' access to all bookmakers' websites. As this new service is being provided in partnership with Sky it an odds-on bet that Sky Bet's website will be accessible. Anyway, everyone at the racecourse will have access to Arc's Wi-Fi, from the customers in the grandstands, paddocks, bars and restaurants to owners, trainers, jockeys and racing staff. It is also envisaged that there will be separate designated access available for the media, course staff and VIP guests, and even a provision for access for guests at corporate events on non-racedays.

 

Where Next?

Though Hardline and Doctor Phoenix provided trainer, Gordon Elliott and jockey, Davy Russell a big-race double at Naas it seems there are no plans as yet for either of these two horses to run at the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks' time. It seems more likely that Hardline, in particular, will be aimed at the big Easter meeting at Fairyhouse's after his fourth career victory in a row after winning the Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle. Impact Factor tried to make all in this Grade Two contest, but Hardline made his challenge as they approached the last obstacle and went on to score by half a length. Doctor Phoenix also impressed with his thirteen-length victory in the two-mile Paddy's Rewards Chase, also parnered by the talented Davy Russell. So Cheltenham's loss is Fairyhouse's gain.

 

Another Milestone

This Brian Boru gelding gave the current Champion jockey his 150th victory at Ayr. Richard Johnson partnered the Tim Vaughan-trained Looksnowtlikebrian in the Bet At racinguk.com Novices' Chase. The seven-year-old was only up against two rivals in this two-and-half-mile-plus contest and he certainly had their measure. He tracked the leader, Bobbie's Diamond until four out and, although he made a couple of mistakes at this fence and the last, jockey, Richard Johnson kept his cool and urged his mount on to a three-quarters of a length victory.

 

27 February 2018

 

Ton and a Half!

This Brian Boru gelding gave the current Champion jockey his 150th victory at Ayr yesterday. Richard Johnson was aboard the Tim Vaughan-trained Looksnowtlikebrian in Bet At racinguk.com Novices' Chase. The seven-year-old was only up against two rivals in this two-and-half-mile-plus contest and he certainly had their measure. He tracked the leader, Bobbie's Diamond until four out and, although he made a couple of mistakes at this fence and the last, jockey, Richard Johnson kept his cool and urged his mount on to a three-quarters of a length victory.

 

High Fi!

It has just been announced that, by the end of this Summer, all fifteen of the tracks run by the Arena Racing Company will be fully equipped with Wi-Fi. It is not yet clear, however, whether this will include racegoers' access to all bookmakers' websites. As this new service is being provided in partnership with Sky it an odds-on bet that Sky Bet's website will be accessible. Anyway, everyone at the racecourse will have access to Arc's Wi-Fi, from the customers in the grandstands, paddocks, bars and restaurants to owners, trainers, jockeys and racing staff. It is also envisaged that there will be separate designated access available for the media, course staff and VIP guests, and even a provision for access for guests at corporate events on non-racedays.

 

Swerving Prestbury Park?

Though Hardline and Doctor Phoenix provided trainer, Gordon Elliott and jockey, Davy Russell a big-race double at Naas it seems there are no plans as yet for either of these two horses to run at the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks' time. It seems more likely that Hardline, in particular, will be aimed at the big Easter meeting at Fairyhouse's after his fourth career victory in a row after winning the Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle. Impact Factor tried to make all in this Grade Two contest, but Hardline made his challenge as they approached the last obstacle and went on to score by half a length. Doctor Phoenix also impressed with his thirteen-length victory in the two-mile Paddy's Rewards Chase, also parnered by the talented Davy Russell. So Cheltenham's loss is Fairyhouse's gain.

 

26 February 2018

 

Naas One!

A surprise winner in the Paddy Power Betting Shops Rated Novice Hurdle at Naas yesterday. Willie Mullins saddled two runners in this two-mile-three-furlong contest but the won that one was not his front-running star, the 5/2 favourite, Contingency but his 14/1 outsider. Uradel was, in fact, held up in last until the third hurdle and then made good headway entering the straight. His jockey, Danny Mullins switched the Kallisto gelding to the right as they approached the second and got him into the lead and stayed on strongly to score by seven lengths.

 

Going Global

Trainer, Ben Pauling and jockey, Daryl Jacob teamed up again and landed the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle. Global Citizen, previously trained by Jonjo O'Neill, had already given his new handler an eight-length victory in the freebetting.co.uk Supporters Of UK Horse Racing Novices' Hurdle at Southwell three weeks ago and was a five-to-one shot in this step-up to Grade Two company. Daryl Jacob was determined to go for it and urged the Alkaadhem gelding into the lead from the off. He was headed just after the second hurdle but from there on it was plain sailing as he went well clear in the straight, leaving the Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon trailing nine lengths in his wake.

 

Join the Cue

After much discussion it has been decided that Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card's final appearance at the Cheltenham Festival will be in the Ryanair Chase. On his first visit to Prestbury Park back in March 2010 the now 12-year-old was the 40/1 winner of the Champion Bumper and he has been a welcome feature of the Festival ever since. The King's Theatre gelding finished fourth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle when a five-year-old, was second in the Arkle and added the Ryanair Chase to his list of credits in 2013. Sadly he fell on his next start there in the 2016 Gold Cup. Cue Card fell again at last year's Festival after which it was mooted that he might be retired but the nine-time Grade One winner was giving up that easily and came back with an impressive run when finishing second at Aintree in the Betway Bowl Chase.

 

25 February 2018

 

Sound as a Bell

Yesterday's At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse was won by the Willie Mullins-trained Bellshill which, it seems, has prompted the County Carlow handler to think of aiming him at the Irish Grand National. The eight-year-old, who hasn't been seen since last year when he finished a distant third in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, was sent off the 8/13 favourite in this Grade Three heat. The King's Theatre gelding, with David Mullins aboard, travelled well throughout the three-mile-one-furlong contest and went two lengths clear after the last fence and eventually put four-and-three-quarter lengths between him and runner-up, A Genie In Abottle.

 

Right on Cue

After much discussion it has been decided that Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card's final appearance at the Cheltenham Festival will be in the Ryanair Chase. On his first visit to Prestbury Park back in March 2010 the now 12-year-old was the 40/1 winner of the Champion Bumper and he has been a welcome feature of the Festival ever since. The King's Theatre gelding finished fourth in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle when a five-year-old, was second in the Arkle and added the Ryanair Chase to his list of credits in 2013. Sadly he fell on his next start there in the 2016 Gold Cup. Cue Card fell again at last year's Festival after which it was mooted that he might be retired but the nine-time Grade One winner was not giving up that easily and came back with an impressive run when finishing second at Aintree in the Betway Bowl Chase

 

Bay Watch!

The Betfred Eider Chase at Newcastle saw this Winged Love gelding return to winning ways with an eye-catching performance. The Nicky Richards-trained Baywing won the Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby last season but had failed to cut the mustard in the next five starts, although he did reveal a spark of promise, coming third last time out at Newcastle in the Read Noel Fehily At 188Bet Handicap Chase when he really demonstrated his staying powers and stamina. The Midlands National winner, Milansbar, endeavoured to make all in this taxing four-mile-plus contest but started to struggle as they turned into the straight and that left the Susan Smith-trained Hainan in the lead. West Of The Edge then threw down the gauntlet but Ryan Day had his mount ready and, although West Of The Edge looked like he had a chance, Baywing galloped clear to win by four lengths.

 

24 February 2018

 

Acting Up?

Today's feature race at Kempton Park, the Betdaq Handicap Chase stirs up memories of the the likes of Desert Orchid (1990), Rough Quest (1996) and Gloria Victis (2000). This three-mile event has perhaps lost some of its allure since those illustrious years. There's a runner today, however, who does conjure up the intrigue and magic of yore. Harry Fry saddles Acting Lass (a gelding despite his name!) who is the clear favourite, having won his first three chasing starts at Market Rasen, Leicester and Ascot. This King's Theatre progeny is, it's true, fourteen pounds heavier than when making his chasing debut at Market Rasen in November but, by all accounts, the Dorset-based trainer is quietly confident that the seven-year-old will keep his unbeaten record in tact.

 

Cue – a Decision!

Colin Tizzard asserts that no decision has yet been made as to what race his twelve-year-old King's Theatre gelding will tackle in next month's Cheltenham Festival. Apparently Cue Card's owner, Mrs. Jean Bishop, is paying a three-day visit to the trainer's Spurles Farm Stables on the Dorset/Somerset border starting tomorrow so it's more than likely that this matter will be discussed during this time. In his last two attempts at the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cue Card fell at the third last, the first time when an incredible £1-million bonus was at stake. Paddy Brennan has been aboard for five of Cue Card’s nine Grade One victories, including, unfortunately his two Gold Cup disasters. The thirty-six-year-old County Galway jockey was back in the saddle again last weekend for the Betfair Ascot Chase and was runner-up to Waiting Patiently.

 

Back on Screen

It's been nearly two years since this Tagula gelding only managed fifth place in the 2016 Derby so there are many questions about the long-awaited return to the track of Humphrey Bogart in today's Grade Two Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton. The five-year-old, who used to be trained by Richard Hannon but is now with Nicky Henderson, has been away so long because of a tendon injury so this will be his first race since finishing fourth out of five in the the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury in 2016.

 

23 February 2018

 

That's my Girl!

Dan and Harry Skelton did their double act at Huntingdon again yesterday when their eight-year-old Presenting mare won the Smarkets Lady Protectress Mares' Chase by two lengths. Rene's Girl was an impressive winner of the Listed Sky Bet Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares' Chase at Doncaster last time out and now, after notching up the most lucrative victory of her career, will be aiming for a first outing at Grade One level.

 

The 'Old One Two'!

Gigginstown House Stud were in the news again at Thurles when top top trainer, Gordon Elliott, did the 'old one two' in the Thurles Racecourse Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle. The first one home was Blow By Blow, who hasgiven connections something of a frustrating time since winning the Champion INH Flat Race at the Punchestown Festival two years ago. The Robin Des Champs gelding's recent efforts at Naas last month didn't bring any joy, either. This time around, however, the seven-year-old was more like his old self as he tracked his stable companion, Roaring Bull, and then overhauled Jessica Harrington's Not Many Left on the home turn. Blow By Blow went well clear between the last two flights and Rachael Blackmore made sure he saw off a challenge by Gun Digger to win by fourteen lengths. It might have been the 'old one, two three' for the County Meath trainer and Gigginstown House Stud if Roaring Bull hadn't fallen at the final hurdle.

 

Sister Act

it has just been revealed that this Fergal O'Brien-trained Central Park mare will now not run at Fontwell in the totepool National Spirit Hurdle this weekend but make the Cheltenham Festival her next port of call. Colin's Sister started her campaign with flying colours when winning the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby. Although the seven-year-old hasn't scored since, she did perform well in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Relkeel and Cleeve Hurdles at Cheltenham. The Naunton-based trainer is obviously now keen to keep Colin's Sister in top form to line up in the Sun Bet Stayers' Hurdle at Prestbury Park on March 15.

 

22 February 2018

 

Then the BHA got wind of it!

This Galileo colt, a 25/1 shot, won the 32Red On The App Store Novice Stakes by three quarters of a length at Newcastle yesterday but his trainer was fined £290. The Charlie Hill-trained Jetstream, who finished last of 11 on his only start in July, easily outran the favourites, Culpability and Native Appeal. The problem was that the three-year-old had had a wind operation but this was not revealed until after the final declarations and only a short time before the race. Strangely enough this information only emerged when a Racing Post employee mentioned this fact on Twitter just after midday. Apparently the British Horseracing Authority interviewed the trainer’s representative as to why the wind surgery had not been declared until the day of the race. Clearly they were not satisfied with the explanation but didn't reveal what it was and applied a not-too-prohibitive fine.

 

Do it again, Sam!

The Jedd O'Keeffe-trained Black Sam Bellamy gelding, second favourite for the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham next month, enjoyed something of a busman's holiday at Newcastle on Tuesday. Sam Spinner, hero of the Betfair Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock and the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, cantered a full circuit of the all-weather track at Gosforth Park, accompanied by stable companion, Instant Attraction. Apparently Leanne Kershaw, assistant trainer and former Flat jockey, was delighted with the results and can't wait for the big day at Prestbury Park

 

Dynamic Duo

Today in Dubai two top-class sprinters clash in the Group Two Meydan Sprint. Ertijaal, formerly trained by William Haggas, but for the last couple of weeks now with Ali Al Rayhi, is the track-record holder over five furlongs, only losing once in six starts over course and distance. The Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point, was a dual Group Three winner in Britain last season and came a close third to Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup. This contest will also be used by the Newmarket trainer to decide whether the Shamardal colt will run over five furlongs or six for the rest of the season.

 

21 February 2018

 

Pookie got Lucky!

As the eleven runners in yesterday's Follow Racing_UK On Twitter Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby approached the final hurdle it certainly looked like the best that Stuart Coltherd-trained Putra Pekan gelding could hope for was fourth slot. But this is horse racing and it isn't over until that certain lady sings! The Adam Nicol-ridden Northern Girl seemed to have everything under under control until she took a dive at the last flight. As a result the Rebecca Menzies-trained Dulce Panem was offered the bonus of a big lead but two strides after that fateful hurdle he ploughed into the fallen Northern Girl and hit the deck. Ten lengths behind this tangled-up duo the favourite, Along Came Theo, appeared to present his jockey, Brian Hughes, with a lucky break but the eight-year-old Vertical Speed gelding ran out of steam in the final fifty yards and then along came Pookie Pekan, ridden by the trainer's son, Sam, to snatch victory, three strides from the line.

 

No Hope for Cheltenham.

Disappointing news already for next month's Cheltenham Festival. Trainer Gavin Cromwell has just announced that the up-and-coming novice, Espoir D'Allen, will miss the Prestbury Park phenomenon. The Voix Du Nord gelding, successful on his first four career starts, was being aimed at either the Supreme Novices' Hurdle or the JCB Triumph Hurdle but his recent discouraging display in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, when he finished four out of five, twenty-four lengths behind the winner, has persuaded the County Meath trainer that his French import, owned by John P McManus, is due for a well-earned rest.

 

Jess the Best!

On Monday, at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge before a specially invited audience representing the British racing industry, Jessica McLernon was crowned Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Employee of the Year and was presented with the perpetual Godolphin Trophy by special guest presenter Michael Owen. She also won the Leadership Award recognising her rapid progress since joining Richard Fahey's yard in 2011 and was given a cheque for £40,000, half of which is to be shared amongst the rest of Malton-based staff.

20 February 2018

 

Another Murphy!

The Warren Chase Stables' incumbent only took out his licence this season and he has already saddled over forty winners. Warwickshire-based Olly Murphy, previously assistant to Irish Champion Trainer, Gordon Elliott, saddled two horses at Carlisle yesterday in the first and last race of the day. He scored in the first one, when 7lb conditional jockey, Fergus Gregory, partnered Ballinslea Bridge in the Faller Refunds At 188Bet Novices' Hurdle in which the six-year-old Pierre gelding led the his six rivals home by seven lengths. Things didn't go so well in the last race, however, the Play Roulette At 188Bet Casino Standard Open NH Flat Race in which there were only three runners. It's tue that General Custard, also ridden by Fergus Gregory, did come second but he was twenty-four lengths adrift of the winner, Windsor Avenue from the Brian Ellison yard.

 

No Hope for Cheltenham.

Disappointing news already for next month's Cheltenham Festival. Trainer Gavin Cromwell has just announced that the up-and-coming novice, Espoir D'Allen, will miss the Prestbury Park phenomenon. The Voix Du Nord gelding, successful on his first four career starts, was being aimed at either the Supreme Novices' Hurdle or the JCB Triumph Hurdle but his recent discouraging display in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, when he finished four out of five, twenty-four lengths behind the winner, has persuaded the County Meath trainer that his French import, owned by John P McManus, is due for a well-earned rest.

 

Weigh to go!

After twenty-five years in the saddle this Classic-winning jockey has decided to weigh in no more. Ted Durcan's two major claims to fame were partnering the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Light Shift to victory in the 2007 Epsom Oaks and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mastery in the St Leger in 2009. The 44-year-old rider served his apprenticeship in Ireland with Jim Bolger, for whom he had his first winner, Nordic Pageant, at Fairyhouse in 1992, before moving to Britain in 1997, based at Jack Berry's stables, where he will now continue as part of trainer Sir Michael Stoute's team at Newmarket. The County Mayo-born jockey rode the last of more than 1,000 career winners aboard the John Gosden-trained Face The Facts in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket in September.

19 February 2018

 

Monbeg to Differ

This Gordon Elliott-trained duo made up half of the runners in yesterday's Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan and they didn't half make the best of it. Noel Meade's Moulin A Vent set out to make all but, after making a bad mistake at the third fence, things didn't look good. With the Willie Mullins-trained C'est Jersey's pulling up after the third, the Saga Mix gelding couldn't but succumb to the dominance of Monbeg Notorious, following up his win in the Thyestes Chase, and stable companion, Mossback, with the former leading the way home for owners, Gigginstown House Stud. The 5/4 favourite, Monbeg Notorious, was ahead before the last and claimed victory by just half-a-length with Moulin A Vent a further nineteen lengths adrift.

 

Just a Second!

One of Japan's favourite European jockeys doesn't often have to settle for second-best but yesterday was one of those days. Ryan Moore was aboard the hot favourite, Gold Dream, in the thirty-fifth renewal of the February Stakes at the Tokyo track. This feature race is just one of two Grade 1 events in the Japan Racing Association calendar that is run on dirt. As well as being a prestigious event in its own right, this 216 million yen (£1.45m) contest is Japan's major trial for the Dubai World Cup. In fact after winning this race last year, Gold Dream went on to Meydan, where he failed to distinguish himself, however. The Gold Allure offspring looked sure to win this time around as he was in the lead inside the final furlong but Nonkono Yume didn't give up and overhauled his rival in the final yards to claim victory by by a neck.

 

Weigh to go!

After twenty-five years in the saddle this Classic-winning jockey has decided to weigh in no more. Ted Durcan's two major claims to fame were partnering the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Light Shift to victory in the 2007 Epsom Oaks and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mastery in the St Leger in 2009. The 44-year-old rider served his apprenticeship in Ireland with Jim Bolger, for whom he had his first winner, Nordic Pageant, at Fairyhouse in 1992, before moving to Britain in 1997, based at Jack Berry's stables, where he will now continue as part of trainer Sir Michael Stoute's team at Newmarket. The County Mayo-born jockey rode the last of more than 1,000 career winners aboard the John Gosden-trained Face The Facts in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newmarket in September.

18 February 2018

 

She does it again!

Only two days earlier Ruth Jefferson saddled her first winner since taking out her licence. Yesterday she did it again with another horse trained by her father, Malcolm, who died just two weeks ago. Waiting Patiently, with Brian Hughes aboard, provided the emotionally-charged victory for the Malton-based team, when winning the Grade One Betfair Ascot Chase. The triumph was even more poignant due to the fact that the 2/1 favourite, Cue Card, was denied his third success in the exciting renewal of this two-and-a-half-mile-plus contest.

 

Trainer is King

First Katchit in 2008, then Mille Chief in 2011 and last year Yanworth – who all won the Betway Kingwell Hurdle for their Swindon-based trainer. At Wincanton yesterday, it was Elgin's turn to do the honours and make it a fourth victory for Alan King. Originally the Duke Of Marmalade gelding was going to go for last week's Betfair Hurdle but it was decided to miss that one in favour of this nigh on two-mile contest and connections must be very glad he did. The six-year-old scored by two-and-a-half lengths from Dan Skelton's Ch'Tibello.

 

Tough Trial

It's almost a year since the Venetia Williams-trained Yala Enki was in the winner's enclosure so scoring in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock yesterday delighted his connections. There were only eight runners in this gruelling contest and only three finished. Paul Nicholls' Silsol was an early casualty, unseating Noel Fehily at the first fence. The Dutchman only completed one circuit before being pulled up by Danny Cook. With still a mile to go that left Wild West Wind who hit the front, pursued by Yala Enki and Blaklion and it looked as though he might make it but he stopped abruptly and was soon pulled up. That left Yala Enki, ridden by Charlie Deutsch, in the lead, fifty-four lengths ahead of the favourite, Blaklion. The only other one to finish was the Michael Scudamore-trained Mysteree.

 

17 February 2018

 

Disney Lands Again!

Another one for the record books at Sandown yesterday. Captain Guy Disney rode the David pipe-trained Rathlin Rose to a four-and-a-half length victory in the special race for amateur military riders, the Castel Royal Artillery Gold Cup and thus became the first back-to-back winner of this three-mile-plus event. The victory is all the more poignant due to the fact that Captain Guy Disney lost his right leg below the knee, while serving in Afghanistan in July 2009, when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and he became the first jockey with a prosthetic leg to ride a winner under rules in Britain. The thirty-six-year-old rider also won last year's Grand Military Gold Cup on the same horse.

 

Back in Tune

This Anthony Honeyball-trained Midnight Legend mare was on form again at Sandown yesterday when winning the Grade Two Weatherbys General Stud Book Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' HurdleMidnight Tune started off the season well but then it all seemed to fall apart when she ran in Class 1 olbg.com Mares' Hurdle at Ascot in January when she came a lamentable last, over a hundred lengths behind the winner. This time around the seven-year-old was back in the picture, tracking Banjo Girl for most of the contest before Aidan Coleman urged her to take up the running to eventually claim the two-and-half-mile contest by two and three-quarter lengths.

 

In Memoriam

The Timeform-sponsored Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso was an emotional time for a rookie trainer whose father and mentor died just two weeks ago. Ruth Jefferson, who took over the licence from her father, Malcolm, saddled her first winner as a trainer when Cyrus Darius landed the £25,000 contest for the second year in a row. The Overbury gelding was, in fact, trained by Malcolm Jefferson, whose funeral was in Malton yesterday. The nine-year-old failed to attain the successful chasing career that he once promised but, back over hurdles, he proved he was superior to his three rivals.

 

16 February 2018

 

One for Dad

Yesterday's Timeform-sponsored Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso was an emotional time for a rookie trainer whose father and mentor died just two weeks ago. Ruth Jefferson, who took over the licence from her father, Malcolm, saddled her first winner as a trainer when Cyrus Darius landed the £25,000 contest for the second year in a row. The Overbury gelding was, in fact, trained by Malcolm Jefferson, whose funeral is in Malton today. The nine-year-old failed to attain the successful chasing career that he once promised but, back over hurdles, he proved he was superior to his three rivals.

 

Aiming high.

Today's feature event at Sandown could provide this Blewbury, Oxfordshire-based trainer with the biggest winner of his career to date. Noel Williams saddles Sensulano in the nigh on two-and-half-mile Weatherbys General Stud Book Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle. The Milan mare finally scored after four previous tries, three bumpers and one hurdle, in the British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle at Warwick last time out. The five-year-old takes on nine rivals at Grade Two level this time.

 

Back again?

One name that hasn't figured in racing fixtures over the past three months could re-appear as soon as next week. Ruby Walsh, the top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 11 of the last 14 seasons, suffered a fracture of his right tibia, when Let’s Dance, the odds-on favourite, fell at the fourth-last flight in the Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle at Punchestown in November. The County Kildare jockey says he hopes to be riding out by the end of next week with the intention of getting back to racing fairly soon and certainly in time for the Prestbury Park jamboree next month.

 

15 February 2018

 

Dynamic Duo

A successful trainer/jockey partnership at Musselburgh yesterday. Keith Dalgleish saddled Silver Concorde in the 188bet.co.uk Download The App Novices' Hurdle and Brian Hughes rode him to an easy five-length victory ahead of The Road Home, whose jockey, Derek Fox, was subsequently disqualified by the clerk of the scales for failing to weigh-in at the correct weight. The dynamic duo repeated the exercise in the next race when Delegate, who used to be trained by Gordon Elliott, put on an impressive display in the 188Bet Mobile Novices' Chase on just his second start for his new handler. The Robin Des Champs gelding was back on the track for the first time since having a wind operation and travelled nicely throughout the two-mile-three-furlong-plus contest and won by seven lengths.

 

Making up for it.

Robin Dickin-trained Oneida Tribe made up for his being disqualified at Bangor last time out by scoring in the Call Starsports On 0800 521321 Novices' Handicap Chase at Towcester yesterday. This Turtle Island gelding originally dead-heated at the Welsh track last month but was subsequently relegated to second place after stewards deemed he had interfered with Pinch Of Ginger on the run up to the line. Interestingly, when the race was looked at again later, Oneida Tribe actually crossed the first but the result remained unaltered due to the original decision of the stewards.

 

Two more!

The Irish jump jockeys' championship was a couple of points nearer for this Cork-born rider.

Davy Russell continued in top form when clocking up a double at Fairyhouse yesterday. The Gordon Elliott-trained Pat's Oscar gave him his first win of the day in the Fairyhouse Easter Festival 1st-3rd April Novice Handicap Hurdle. Later on the Sean Aherne-trained Nicole's Milan justified his favourite slot when winning the Bobbyjo Bistro Great Food Great Deals Handicap Chase by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

14 February 2018

 

Cash for the Bash!

According to a recent study, on average, a typical visitor to the Cheltenham Festival spends 30% of the statistical monthly salary in Britain, that is a whacking £660 over the four days. Not surprisingly, most of that mind-blowing sum is spent on alcohol. This analysis was based on interviewing 2,612 UK-based adults, aged 18 or over, who have attended the Cheltenham Festival on previous occasions and were also planning to return to this year's event for at least one day or more. When asked how much money they thought they’d spend at Prestbury Park next month, the replies ranged from £40 up to a staggering £1,900!

 

She's the Tops!

A ten-time champion trainer doubts whether there will ever be a champion female jump jockey. Paul Nicholls' comments were made with reference to Bryony Frost, whose "No 1 fan" he claims to be. The Ditcheat handler is of the opinion that no woman could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tony McCoy or Richard Johnson, merely on the basis of the amount of injuries sustained from falling in a race, apart from the fact that they would have to have six rides a day for all and sundry, making it a very tough life. Nevertheless Bryony Frost has no shortage of admirers and has even been quoted 25/1 to become champion jockey in the next ten years. The twenty-two-year-old rider was virtually unknown twelve months ago but is now a regular visitor to the winner's enclosure. She won the Foxhunter on the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder at last year's Cheltenham Festival and has added the Badger Ales Trophy and Warwick's Classic Chase to her list of winners this season.

 

Bell rings off.

One successful female jockey will not become champion, however. Sammy Jo Bell has just announced that she is to retire. The twenty-seven-year-old rider hit the headlines in 2015 when, as an apprentice, she rode two winners at the Shergar Cup at Ascot and was crowned the leading rider at the annual international team competition. Things didn't go so well after that, though. She was wheelchair-bound for several weeks, following a pelvic operation after Royal Duchess reared up and then fell on top of her on the way down to the start for a seven-furlong handicap at Carlisle. Sammy Jo Bell returned to racing last January and rode her first winner at Musselburgh in April but recently she had to have further surgery and rehabilitation.

 

13 February 2018

 

Never say Never!

A ten-time champion trainer doubts whether there will ever be a champion female jump jockey. Paul Nicholls' comments were made with Bryony Frost in mind, whose "No 1 fan" he claims to be. The Ditcheat handler is of the opinion that no woman could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tony McCoy or Richard Johnson, merely on the basis of the amount of injuries sustained from falling in a race, apart from the fact that they would have to have six rides a day for all and sundry, making it a very tough life. Nevertheless Bryony Frost has no shortage of admirers and has even been quoted 25/1 to become champion jockey in the next ten years. The twenty-two-year-old rider was virtually unknown twelve months ago but is now a regular visitor to the winner's enclosure. She won the Foxhunter on the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder at last year's Cheltenham Festival and has added the Badger Ales Trophy and Warwick's Classic Chase to her list of winners this season.

 

Sound as a Bell

One successful female jockey will not become champion, however. Sammy Jo Bell has just announced that she is to retire. The twenty-seven-year-old rider hit the headlines in 2015 when, as an apprentice, she rode two winners at the Shergar Cup at Ascot and was crowned the leading rider at the annual international team competition. Things didn't go so well after that, though. She was wheelchair-bound for several weeks, following a pelvic operation after Royal Duchess reared up and then fell on top of her on the way down to the start for a seven-furlong handicap at Carlisle. Sammy Jo Bell returned to racing last January and rode her first winner at Musselburgh in April but recently she had to have further surgery and rehabilitation.

 

In the Pipeline

The David Pipe-trained Eamon An Cnoic got back into the winner's enclosure again after scoring in the David Ashforth And Friends Limited Handicap Chase at Plumpton yesterday. The Westerner gelding was beaten into third place at Haydock in December after winning there earlier in the month. This time the seven-year-old made things happen his way although it was a close run thing in the last strides, when Holbrook Park got close to snatching victory but Tom Scudamore managed to keep his mount going for a half-a-length victory.

 

12 February 2018

 

T'is Easy for Colin!

Exeter's fixture yesterday provide this Sherborne-based trainer with a well-earned treble. In the first race of the day, the 188Bet Daily Racing Specials 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle, Colin Tizzard saddled two horses, Golden Sunrise and Mount Rushmore and the former beat the latter by just three-quarters of a length. Half-an-hour later Tom Scudamore did the honours aboard Vision Des Flos who routed the rest of the field by thirty-one lengths in the In Play Betting At 188Bet Novices' Hurdle. The treble came up in the Six Nations Rugby At 188Bet Graduation Chase when Tom O'Brien was aboard Elegant Escape who lived up to his name and won by thirteen lengths.

 

Hard also has it easy

The Gordon Elliott-trained Hardline benefited from thedrop in class to get bak into winning ways when scoring in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle at Punchestown yesterday two- an-a-quarter lengths. The Arcadio gelding had come been third in two Grade Ones since his victories at at Wexford and Clonmel. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old was the 5/2 joint-favourite and got lucky at the second-last flight when both the two leaders Riders Onthe Storm and Another Barney made mistakes which Davy Russell wasn't slow to take advantage of. Riders Onthe Storm did recover sufficiently to consider making another challenge but, by that time it was too late; the equine bird had flown.

 

All's right!

It was two out of two for this Bienamado gelding at Newbury. The Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively At Betfair Novices' Hurdle, with ten runners (none saddled by the Ditcheat handler!), proved no problem for the Nicky Henderson-trained Whatswrongwithyou who also benefited from his chief market rival, Air Navigator's mistake when he jinked left and unseated his rider. From then on the evens favourite hardly had to exert himself to take this two-mile contest by nine lengths.

 

11 February 2018

 

Gunning for Greatness!

This Kalanisi gelding provided Amy Murphy with the biggest success of her training career when he won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Kalashnikov had already made his mark by notching up a bumper and two hurdle victories at Wetherby and Doncaster. The five-year-old came second in last month's Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown but there was no disgrace, either. Yesterday he was, however, making his handicap debut in one of the most fiercely competitive races of the season as the 8/1 joint-favourite, partnered by Jack Quinlan. For most of the two-mile contest Kalashnikov remained comfortably in mid-field but responded well when his jockey urged him on when leaving the back straight and battled his way to the front on the run to the final flight. Although the strong-travelling Bleu Et Rouge seemed to pose a big threat, the Paul Murphy(Amy's dad)-owned runner was not to be caught and passed the post an easy four-and-a-half lengths ahead.

 

The Altior the Better

A forty-one week absence was brushed aside as of no significance when this Nicky Henderson-trained High Chaparral gelding cruised to victory in the Betfair Exchange (Game Spirit) Chase at Newbury yesterday. Altior had caused a lot of discussion earlier in the season when was ruled out of the Tingle Creek but, after wind surgery, he was back on top form. Politologue had claimed that missed ace in Altior's absence but had no answer when the eventual winner took over on the bridle after the last fence.

 

Rolling River!

Newbury heralded the triumphant return in the the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase yesterday. The Colin Tizzard-trained Native River, who came third in last year’s Gold Cup, hadn't been seen since the 2017 Cheltenham Festival but he obviously was none the worse for wear as he galloped to a comfortable success. The Indian River gelding only had two rivals in this nigh-on three-mile contest, Cloudy Dream and Saphir Du Rheu, the former also returning from his own absence and the latter looking as though he needed the run. Native River claimed this race for the second year running.

 

10 February 2018

 

A Zayf Place.

Prior to the running of the Get Daily Tips At racinguk.com Handicap Chase at Huntingdon, jockey, Tom Scudamore shrewdly hinted that four of the seven runners, probably Minella For Me, Glenforde, Bally Gilbert and Ratify, would set a very fast pace early on. And so it turned out but, at least, the Zayfire Aramis was prepared and gave chase, maintaining a not-too-distant fourth slot. The situation dramatically changed when, sadly, Minella For Me, whom the Zafeen gelding beat at Leicester last month, fell at the first fence. By the third from home, Tom Scudamore's mount had moved into third position and seemed to be holding his own but not making any further headway, probably due to the furious early pace. Also the Huntingdon track is noted for a lack of undulations which tends to favour the speedier type of horse as there is less emphasis on stamina. This means that bold jumping front-runners tend to do well here. So it was another third for the Eccles Wall Court rising star (but eighteen lengths ahead of the favourite, Glenforde!). Needless to say, all the connections of Zayfire Aramis were very pleased with his performance and Tom Scudamore even intimated that it was one of the most professional efforts so far. Trainer, Michael Scudamore, was also impressed with Zayfi's performance but he said he would wait to see how the nine-year-old recovered from the day's exertions before deciding what's next on the bill.

 

Modus Vivendi

This Paul Nicholls-trained Motivator gelding fell at Exeter in December so a lot was hanging on the Matchbook VIP Graduation Chase at Kempton yesterday. The Barry Geraghty-ridden Modus, unbeaten in his two starts over fences before his Kennford calamity, nevertheless, sent off the 8/15 favourite in this four-runner contest, set off in front, dictating a very steady pace. The four-year-old jumped well for most of the two-and-a-half-mile-plus contest and, quickening as he approached three from home, he made a magnificent jump over the last to secure victory by three lengths.

 

High Time?

The Ben Pauling-trained High Bridge and Nicky Henderson's Jenkins head up a field of twenty-four runners in today's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. This is an improvement on last year when only sixteen horses vied for the UK's richest handicap hurdle. High Bridge is well fancied as he won the Gerry Feilden Hurdle over the course and distance on his last appearance at the beginning of December. The Monsun gelding does share top-weight of 11st 12lb for this fiercely competitive handicap but amateur rider, Alex Ferguson, takes a useful seven pounds off.

9 February 2018

 

Zayf and Sound

In the parade ring at Huntingdon yesterday, prior to the running of the Get Daily Tips At racinguk.com Handicap Chase, jockey, Tom Scudamore told the Zayfire Aramis owners and two members of the syndicate (only Joe and James were able to make it) that he had an idea that four of the seven runners, probably Minella For Me, Glenforde, Bally Gilbert and Ratify, would set a very fast pace early on. And so it turned out but, at least, the Zafeen gelding was prepared and gave chase, maintaining a not-too-distant fourth slot. The situation dramatically changed when, sadly, Minella For Me, whom Zayfire Aramis beat at Leicester last month, fell at the first fence. By the third from home, Tom Scudamore's mount had moved into third position and seemed to be holding his own but not making any further headway, probably due to the furious early pace. Also the Huntingdon track is noted for a lack of undulations which tends to favour the speedier type of horse as there is less emphasis on stamina. This means that bold jumping front-runners tend to do well here. So it was another third for the Eccles Wall Court rising star (but eighteen lengths ahead of the favourite, Glenforde!). Needless to say, all the connections of Zayfire Aramis were very pleased with his performance and Tom Scudamore even intimated that it was one of the most professional efforts so far. Trainer, Michael Scudamore, said he would wait to see how the nine-year-old recovered from the day's exertions before deciding on when the next race would be, which could be as early as two weeks' time.

 

Vinn Win.

Also at Huntingdon, the Kim Bailey-trained Vinnie Roe gelding made it four in a row when claiming the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle by three-and-a-quarter lengths. After winning a bumper at Ludlow and two triumphs over hurdles at Leicester and Ascot Vinndication handled his step-up to Listed company in style. Jockey, David Bass, obviously had great confidence in the five-year-old as he decided to go for home after four out and soon had his five rivals trailing in his wake, with only the Richard Johnson-ridden Western Ryder able to just about keep up with the 5/2 favourite who was well clear two hurdles out.

 

A Fair Chance?

The Ben Pauling-trained High Bridge and Nicky Henderson's Jenkins head up a field of twenty-four runners in tomorrow's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. This is an improvement on last year when only sixteen horses vied for the UK's richest handicap hurdle. High Bridge is well fancied as he won the Gerry Feilden Hurdle over the course and distance on his last appearance at the beginning of December. The Monsun gelding does share top-weight of 11st 12lb for this fiercely competitive handicap but amateur rider, Alex Ferguson, takes a useful seven pounds off .

8 February 2018

 

Model Trainer

This Worcester-based trainer made the two-hundred-mile round-trip to Southwell with just one horse and came back a winner. Alan Phillips saddled The Model County in the last race of the day, the Compare Free Bets At freebetting.co.uk Mares' Handicap Hurdle. This Robin Des Champs mare, ridden by the talented Sean Bowen, didn't exactly put on the best of performances, particularly over the third and fourth hurdles. The eight-year-old tended to jump slowly, particularly on first circuit but nevertheless made all and held off her nearest rival, Frosty Dawn, by one-and-a-quarter lengths. With this deserved victory it is to be hoped that  the Jennett Tree Lane handler's star is finally in the ascendant.

 

Weight no more!

The British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping has decided he will relinquish his his role at the end of May this year. Phil Smith joined the BHA in 1995 as a Handicapper for Flat races. In 1999 he became the Senior National Hunt Handicapper and ten years ago he was appointed to his current position. During this time he has been responsible for a number of significant advancements in handicapping practice, including the introduction of the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification in season 1999-2000; the provision of data which helped to bring about two changes in the jumping weight-for-age scale; and recently he achieved a European agreement, making an adjustment to the flat weight-for-age scale. Phil Smith also assisted Aintree and the sponsors to raise the profile of the Grand National and improve the quality and safety of the horses that run in it. A successor has already been nominated. Dominic Gardiner-Hill will become the new British Horseracing Authority's head of handicapping from May of this year, having been deputy head of handicapping for the past eleven years.

 

Prize Racing Event

A new horse racing championship has been announced, with prizes totalling more than £12.2 million, making it one of the sport’s richest events. Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz Horse Championship will rival the Kentucky Derby in size and, it is hoped, will attract competitors from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. There is no indication yet, however, as to when the first event will take place. For some time it has been known that Riyadh's intention was to develop its sports industry in line with reforms that will diversify the economy beyond oil exports andalso help to build a more modern, dynamic society.

 

7 February 2018

 

A Fillip for Alan!

This Worcester-based trainer made the two-hundred-mile round-trip to Southwell with just one horse and came back a winner. Alan Phillips saddled The Model County in the last race of the day, the Compare Free Bets At freebetting.co.uk Mares' Handicap Hurdle. This Robin Des Champs mare, ridden by the talented Sean Bowen, didn't exactly put on the best of performances, particularly over the third and fourth hurdles. The eight-year-old tended to jump slowly, particularly on first circuit but nevertheless made all and held off her nearest rival, Frosty Dawn, by one-and-a-quarter lengths. With this deserved victory it is to be hoped that  the Jennett Tree Lane handler's star is finally in the ascendant.

 

The Job's a Handicap!

The British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping has decided he can weight no longer and will relinquish his his role at the end of May this year. Phil Smith joined the BHA in 1995 as a Handicapper for Flat races. In 1999 he became the Senior National Hunt Handicapper and ten years ago he was appointed to his current position. During this time he has been responsible for a number of significant advancements in handicapping practice, including the introduction of the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classification in season 1999-2000; the provision of data which helped to bring about two changes in the jumping weight-for-age scale; and recently he achieved a European agreement, making an adjustment to the flat weight-for-age scale. Phil Smith also assisted Aintree and the sponsors to raise the profile of the Grand National and improve the quality and safety of the horses that run in it. A successor has already been nominated. Dominic Gardiner-Hill will become the new British Horseracing Authority's head of handicapping from May of this year, having been deputy head of handicapping for the past eleven years.

 

New Racing Event

A new horse racing championship has been announced, with prizes totalling more than £12.2 million, making it one of the sport’s richest events. Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz Horse Championship will rival the Kentucky Derby in size and, it is hoped, will attract competitors from the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. There is no indication yet, however, as to when the first event will take place. For some time it has been known that Riyadh's intention was to develop its sports industry in line with reforms that will diversify the economy beyond oil exports andalso help to build a more modern, dynamic society.

6 February 2018

 

A Fillip for Alan!

This Worcester-based trainer made the two-hundred-mile round-trip to Southwell yesterday with just one horse and came back a winner. Alan Phillips saddled The Model County in the last race of the day, the Compare Free Bets At freebetting.co.uk Mares' Handicap Hurdle. This Robin Des Champs mare, ridden by the talented Sean Bowen, didn't exactly put on the best of performances, particularly over the third and fourth hurdles. The eight-year-old tended to jump slowly, particularly on first circuit but nevertheless made all and held off her nearest rival, Frosty Dawn, by one-and-a-quarter lengths. With this deserved victory it is to be hoped that the Jennett Tree Lane handler's star is finally in the ascendant.

 

A Pauling Treble!

Another trainer, this time from Cheltenham also made the two-hour journey to Southwell which proved even more profitable. Ben Pauling saddled three winners at the Nottinghamshire track. The wins started in the very first race, the Free Betting Offers At freebetting.co.uk Novices' Chase when Nico de Boinville rode Two Swallows to a two-and-a-half-length victory. An hour later, despite his name, Boreham Bill, gave Daryl Jacob a very interesting ride in the Free Casino Offers At freebetting.co.uk Maiden Hurdle, winning by two lengths. The County Wexford-born jockey then repeated the exercise on Global Citizen in the next race, notching up a double on the day for himself and a treble for Ben Pauling

 

Sam Again!

Gordon Elliott's Samcro also delighted his connections when he notched up his sixth victory in a row, when claiming the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. The County Meath trainer's star was the 4/6 favourite, despite dropping back down to his usual two-mile-trip, after stepping up to two-and-a-half miles last time out at Navan when he won the Grade 3 'Monksfield' Novice Hurdle. The pace was no great shakes early on with Patrick Mullins grabbing the lead aboard Real Steel. As the eleven runners turned into the straight, there wasn't much between them but Jack Kennedy looked the business aboard the Germany gelding and when Paloma Blue went for home, Samcro found that little extra and easily went five-and-a-half lengths clear.

5 February 2018

 

Mona Leader

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Milan gelding delighted his followers with an impressive display of jumping which won him the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown yesterday. The joint-favourite, Monalee, who was due to make amends for his Chritsmas outing when he fell, handled every fence with assured accuracy. With Noel Fehily aboard, the seven-year-old was just one of the eleven runners with a chance as they approached the last obstacle. Then Sutton Place was the first to go, making a bad mistake down the back straight and was pulled up. Monalee was then threatened by Invitation Only but the former relied on his proven stamina and raced on doggedly to win by three-quarters of a length.

 

Germany Calling!

Gordon Elliott's Samcro also delighted his connections when he notched up his sixth victory in a row, when claiming the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. The County Meath trainer's star was the 4/6 favourite, despite dropping back down to his usual two-mile-trip, after stepping up to two-and-a-half miles last time out at Navan when he won the Grade 3 'Monksfield' Novice Hurdle. The pace was no great shakes early on with Patrick Mullins grabbing the lead aboard Real Steel. As the eleven runners turned into the straight, there wasn't much between them but Jack Kennedy looked the business aboard the Germany gelding and when Paloma Blue went for home, Samcro found that little extra and easily went five-and-a-half lengths clear.

 

You be the Judge!

Another runner maintained his unbeaten record yesterday, this time four in a row, when winning the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle. The Willie Mullins-trained Mr Adjudicator, stepping up to Grade One company, after scoring at the Christmas meeting at this Dublin track, was allowed to remain off the pace by his jockey, Paul Townend. The 66/1 outsider, Tenth Amendment, only maintained a steady tempo upfront which wasn't to the liking of the over-keen, Barry Geraghty-ridden, 4/5 favourite, Espoir D'Allen, who eventually came last-but-one. The Gordon Elliott-trained Farclas, making his hurdling debut, loomed up as the field turned in but a confident Paul Townend still played it cool until asking his mount to go for it after the last.

 

4 February 2018

 

Super Saturday for Supersundae!

This Galileo gelding made his trainer, Jessica Harrinton's day when winning the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday. That result didn't originally appear to be on the cards as former Cheltenham Champion Hurdler, Faugheen, specifically returned to the Dublin track, where he was pulled up in December, to make amends to his connections. The Germany gelding, quite naturally, had a lot of support in the market and was accordingly sent off the 9/10 favourite. The ten-year-old, with Paul Townend aboard, took up the early running and led most of the way in the 2 mile contest. The Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae, however, had other ideas as to who would be the winner of this two-mile contest and provided the Co-Kildare-based trainer with another Grade 1 win when holding off Faugheen in the closing stages. Despite the latter's efforts Supasundae, who had tracked him all the way, went into the lead after the last flight of hurdles and won by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Another for Jessica?

The Irish Grand National winner returns to Leopardstown today to take on the nine other runners in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup, the feature race on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown. The Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke was the impressive victor of last year’s Boylesports Irish Grand National Chase but sustained a back injury on his disappointing performance in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in November. Today's event has been scheduled for some time for the eight-year-old Oscar gelding and trainer and jockey Robbie Power are pleased with Our Duke's recovery.

 

Funny Business!

The incident of two five-year-old geldings running in the wrong races at Southwell was described by an official of the BHA as being "a comedy of errors" but "not in any sense funny"! African Trader and Scribner Creek, originally trained by Daniel Mark but switched to Ivan Furtado's yard the week before, were wrongly identified when they ran at the Nottinghamshire track last month. In fact four opportunities were missed to correctly identify them when they made their stable debuts on the same card on 14 January. BHA officers failed to notice the mix-up even after both had been scanned. It was only the following day, during an analysis, after one of the runners was selected for dope testing, that the discrepancy came to light. James O'Mahoney, BHA's Disciplinary Panel Chairman, said such incidents risked bringing racing into disrepute. Ivan Furtado was fined £1000 for each race!

 

3 February 2018

 

Who'll sparkle in the Arkle?

Two horses who came third and fourth in last March's Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham are set to battle it out in today's Frank Ward Solicitors Irish Arkle at Leopardstown. The Henry de Bromhead-trained Petit Mouchoir, also winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle last season, takes on Footpad, trained by Willie Mullins. This Creachadoir gelding is justifiably the current favourite to triumph in the English equivalent at Cheltenham next month as his two runs over fences to date were text-book examples of how to run a race over the larger obstacles.

 

We are not amused!

The incident of two five-year-old geldings running in the wrong races at Southwell was described by an official of the BHA as being "a comedy of errors" but "not in any sense funny"! African Trader and Scribner Creek, originally trained by Daniel Mark but switched to Ivan Furtado's yard the week before the race, were wrongly identified when they ran at the Nottinghamshire track last month. In fact four opportunities were missed to correctly identify them when they made their stable debuts on the same card on 14 January. BHA officers failed to notice the mix-up even after both had been scanned. It was only the following day, during an analysis, after one of the runners was selected for dope testing, that the discrepancy came to light. James O'Mahoney, BHA's Disciplinary Panel Chairman, said such incidents risked bringing racing into disrepute. Ivan Furtado was fined £1000 for each race!

 

Duke's no fluke!

The Irish Grand National winner returns to the track tomorrow to take on the ten other runners in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup, the feature race on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown. The Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke was the impressive victor of last year’s Boylesports Irish Grand National Chase but sustained a back injury on his disappointing performance in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in November. Tomorrow's event has been on the cards for some time for the eight-year-old Oscar gelding and trainer and jockey Robbie Power are pleased with Our Duke's recovery.

2 February 2018

 

Northern Attractions

Michael Scudamore, who took over the licence from his grandfather – also Michael – in 2008, is not averse to making long trips up North, if he senses the race is right or it's not so competitive. Today he makes the long haul to Catterick, (a three-to-four-hour trip) to saddle Sheneededtherun in the Only 1000 Racing UK Free Trials Mares' Handicap Chase. The strategy seems to be justified as the Ross-On-Wye-based trainer scored at Newcastle on Tuesday with Cadeyrn and has been successful at Ayr, Carlisle, Hexham, Kelso and Musselburgh over the past five seasons. Today could well be the day for the Eccleswall Court team in this £16,800 contest as this Kayf Tara eight-year-old only takes on three rivals, including two, Milly Baloo and Same Circus, whom she beat in a similar race at Wetherby in December.

 

Not a winning Head!

No fairytale conclusion to the legendary career of one of France's most popular trainers when she entered two runners at Chantilly, her local track. Christiane 'Criquette' Head-Maarek, who announced last month that she was to retire after forty successful years, saddled Damanda's Dream in the seven-furlong Princeline Stakes but the Wiener Walzer filly came last. An improvement with her next runner, Monsieur Enzo, in the last race of the day, the Route Des Fermettes Handicap but ultimately he could only oblige with a fourth slot.

 

King of the Jungle

The fourth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse last nighrt provided Godolphin another big win in the feature race . The Charlie Appleby-trained Jungle Cat won the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort, completing a quick treble for this internationally recognised racing operation. James Doyle was aboard this Iffraaj six-year-old who was always prominent in this 1400-metre contest on turf and, after initially tracking the early leader, Janoobi, he was urged to go for home halfway down the straight. After a brief battle with the former, Jungle Cat galloped clear to win by three-quarters of a length.

1 February 2018

 

Deer, Deer!

The first race on Newcastle's fixture yesterday, the Betway Live Casino Handicap was certainly live! The Mrs Marjorie Fife-trained Luv U Whatever, with Barry McHugh aboard, was well ahead of the field in this one-and-a-half-mile contest but then the unexpected happened. As the leader entered the final straight, two deer galloped nonchalantly across the all-weather circuit and disappeared into the adjacent woodland. The Needwood Blade gelding was so distracted by this small stag party that he lost momentum and was eventually overhauled by the persistent Desert Ruler who claimed victory by a length.

 

Spoilt for Choice

The inaugural two-day Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown this weekend presents trainer Gordon Elliott with a number of chances for another victory. He is pretty sure that his unbeaten Germany gelding will come up trumps. With that in mind he has entered him in three of the races. At the moment Samcro is listed in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle, the Deloitte Novice Hurdle and the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle. The County Meath handler is confident that the six-year-old will win whichever one he opts for.

 

Something A Miss!

Fans of the likes of Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly have probably never had any doubt but, according to a recent study, carried out in the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool, female jockeys' performance is as good their male counterparts. The analysis covered a period of fourteen years, examining more than 1.25 million individual race results, and concludes that if the quality of the horses they are riding is taken into account, then female jockeys do as well as male jockeys. An interesting fact is that 11.3 per cent of professional licences are held by female jockeys but they only account for 5.2 percent of available rides analysed in the same period. These findings are likely to embarrass even further British racing officials who, despite their efforts at gender balance, have to face the fact that female jockeys are still only offered one ride in twenty.

 

31 January 2018

 

Good as You!

Fans of the likes of Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly have probably never had any doubt but, according to a recent study, carried out in the Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA at the University of Liverpool, female jockeys' performance is as good their male counterparts. The analysis covered a period of fourteen years, examining more than 1.25 million individual race results, and concludes that if the quality of the horses they are riding is taken into account, then female jockeys do as well as male jockeys. An interesting fact is that 11.3 per cent of professional licences are held by female jockeys but they only account for 5.2 percent of available rides analysed in the same period. These findings are likely to embarrass even further British racing officials who, despite their efforts at gender balance, have to face the fact that female jockeys are still only offered one ride in twenty.

 

Taking a Breather

After unexpectedly being pulled up before the last in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday when the 11/4 favourite, Finian's Oscar is giving his trainer cause for a re-think. Colin Tizzard seems to be still confident, however, that the Oscar gelding will be do much better on drier ground in Spring. The fact that the six-year-old weakened quickly under pressure before being pulled up, is cause for a little concern and it has now been announced that a breathing operation is on the cards. Consequently Finian's Oscar will not be in any shape to run in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Lady Be Good!

This lady trainer and her husband haven't watched a race together since their visit to Lingfield Park thirty years ago, just before they got married. This is because Anabel Murphy, who has just announced her retirement, was also known to many as the “lady in red”, due to the fact that she used to get wildly excited when one of her horses was winning. On that pre-marital occasion her future, more reserved, husband warned his bride-to-be not to get too animated, if her horse looked like he was going to win. His exhortations were to no avail, however. He tried to restrain her but she just wriggled out of her red coat and proceeded to scream the horse home while running the final furlong alongside it. Her embarrassed boyfriend, meanwhile, left holding the red coat, vowed never to watch a race standing next to her again! The Stratford-upon-Avon based trainer, for quite a while after marrying bloodstock agent, Aiden Murphy, used her maiden name, King, because she thought there were 'too many Murphys already training racehorses'! From Friday, when she fittingly ended her career with a winner, Krazy Paving, and at Lingfield Park, there will be another - her son, Ollie!

 

30 January 2018

 

Lady in Red.

This lady trainer and her husband haven't watched a race together since their visit to Lingfield Park thirty years ago, just before they got married. This is because Anabel Murphy, who has just announced her retirement, was also known to many as the “lady in red”, due to the fact that she used to get wildly excited when one of her horses was winning. On that pre-marital occasion her future, more reserved, husband warned his bride-to-be not to get too animated, if her horse looked like he was going to win. His exhortations were to no avail, however. He tried to restrain her but she just wriggled out of her red coat and proceeded to scream the horse home while running the final furlong alongside it. Her embarrassed boyfriend, meanwhile, left holding the red coat, vowed never to watch a race standing next to her again! The Stratford-upon-Avon based trainer, for quite a while after marrying bloodstock agent, Aiden Murphy, used her maiden name, King, because she thought there were 'too many Murphys already training racehorses'! From Friday, when she fittingly ended her career with a winner, Krazy Paving, and at Lingfield Park, there will be another - her son, Ollie!

 

No Rainbow for Finian!

After unexpectedly being pulled up before the last in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday when the 11/4 favourite, Finian's Oscar is giving his trainer cause for a re-think. Colin Tizzard seems to be still confident, however, that the Oscar gelding will be do much better on drier ground in Spring. The fact that the six-year-old weakened quickly under pressure before being pulled up, is cause for a little concern and it has now been announced that a breathing operation is on the cards. Consequently Finian's Oscar will not be in any shape to run in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Report Back

After the New Year's Day nightmare at Exeter when trainer, Evan Williams, had to watch as his 4/11 favourite, Report To Base, was disqualified and placed last in the Premier League Betting At 188Bet Beginners' Chase, due to jockey, Adam Wedge's incorrectly bypassing the third-last fence, the result at Hereford was clearly very welcome. The Westerner gelding well and truly compensated for that loss by winning the ROA/Racing Post Owners' Jackpot Beginners' Chase by ten lengths after transporting jockey, Leighton Aspell fluently over every obstacle. 

 

29 January 2018

 

Trick of the Hat

The County Carlo king and jockey, Paul Townend were in good form again at Naas yesterday. They didn't waste any time, clocking up a win in the first race of the day, the New Experience At Naas Racecourse Maiden Hurdle. The 8/11 favourite, Sayo, despite not jumping well from the third-last, triumphed by three-quarters of a length. Half-an-hour later the duo were in the winner's enclosure again when Sandsend put on a doughty display when winning the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle. The five-year-old, slowly but surely, hauled in the long-time leader Forge Meadow, who was narrowly ahead at the last flight but Turgeon gelding found that little bit extra to win by a neck. The treble came up an hour later when the 9/10 favourite, Ballyward, impressively held off As You Were by half a length in the two-and-a-half-mile I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

 

Top Gun

Whatever happened in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Florida's Gulfstream Park, it had already been decided that the next port of call for the Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year was a stud farm. So it was fitting that the Steven Asmussen-trained Gun Runner, defying a wide draw (10), went out in a blaze of glory on his final career start and claimed the prestigious prize in the world's richest horse race. The Candy Ride progeny, ridden by Florent Geroux, shot out of the gates like a sprinter and gained a handy second slot by the first bend. After that, the five-year-old could do nothing wrong and duly joined the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate in the record books as the second winner of this $16 million contest, which was inaugurated last year.

 

One for Ray

There were also emotional celebrations at Doncaster when the Sue Smith-trained Wakanda snatched a last-minute victory in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase. It's some fourteen years since Truckers Tavern came second behind Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Both these horses are owned Margaret and Ray Scholey. Sadly the latter died earlier this week and so missed this special occasion. This Westerner gelding was runner-up in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day and he looked set to continue his role as 'always the bridesmaid and never the bride' as he negotiated the final fence but somehow his jockey, Henry Brooke, persuaded him to have one more go and, lunging late the nine-year-old beat Paul Nicholls' Warriors Tale by a head, with Nicky Henderson's 13/8 favourite, L'Ami Serge, half-a-length further behind, in third position.

 

28 January 2018

 

Firing on all cylinders.

Whatever happened in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Florida's Gulfstream Park yesterday, it had already been decided that the next port of call for the Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year was a stud farm. So it was fitting that the Steven Asmussen-trained Gun Runner, defying a wide draw (10), went out in a blaze of glory on his final career start and claimed the prestigious prize in the world's richest horse race. The Candy Ride progeny, ridden by Florent Geroux, shot out of the gates like a sprinter and gained a handy second slot by the first bend. After that, the five-year-old could do nothing wrong and duly joined the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate in the record books as the second winner of this $16 million contest, which was inaugurated last year.

 

Definitely!

North Yorkshire trainer, Brian Ellison, hasn't had a winner at the traditional home of National Hunt racing for sixteen years so it was a day for celebration when Definitely Red triumphed in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase by eight lengths. The Definite Article gelding slowly but surely made his way through handicaps last year, with one scary moment, when he was nearly brought down in the Grand National. Now the nine-year-old has proved that he has the makings of a real Gold Cup winner.

 

Emotional Victory

There were also emotional celebrations at Doncaster yesterday when the Sue Smith-trained Wakanda snatched a last-minute victory in the Sky Bet Handicap Chase. It's some fourteen years since Truckers Tavern came second behind Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Both these horses are owned Margaret and Ray Scholey. Sadly the latter died earlier this week and so missed this special occasion. This Westerner gelding was runner-up in the Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby on Boxing Day and he looked set to continue his role as 'always the bridesmaid and never the bride' as he negotiated the final fence but somehow his jockey, Henry Brooke, persuaded him to have one more go and, lunging late the nine-year-old beat Paul Nicholls' Warriors Tale by a head, with Nicky Henderson's 13/8 favourite, L'Ami Serge, half-a-length further behind, in third position.

 

27 January 2018

 

All Change.

There's a change of jockey for French Champion Hurdle hero in today's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. Davy Russell will now be aboard L'Ami Serge when he returns to fences after an absence of more than a year. His regular rider, Daryl Jacob who has partnered the Nicky Henderson-trained King's Theatre gelding for thirteen of his last fifteen starts has commitments elsewhere. He is retained rider for the owners of Gold Cup contender, Bristol De Mai, who runs in the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase on the same day.

 

Young at Heart!

A rookie trainer, who's scored three winners from just ten runners so far, is hoping to add to this total at Doncaster today. Fifty-two-year-old Richard Mitford-Slade saddles Samuel Jackson in the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle. A former point-to-pointer, this Alflora gelding has scored in both his races under rules to date; the first when he was the 100/1 shot in the Ivor Brimblecombe Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Taunton in the middle of December and, to prove that wasn't a fluke, he followed that up with a decisive win in the Stella Artois Supporting Bangor-On-Dee Novices' Hurdle earlier this month.

 

At Last!

Over recent years, this County Meath trainer has proved his skills with staying handicap chasers in Ireland but, somehow, he never managed to bag this £800,000-plus contest. Not any more. Of the six horses entered by Gordon Elliott in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, it was Monbeg Notorious, ridden by Jack Kennedy, who did the honours. Wearing a visor for the first time, the Milan gelding was following up his beginners' chase victory at Punchestown on New Year's Eve. Owned by the Gigginstown House confidently tracked the leader, Fine Theatre for a good part of the time and then took over from the third fence from the finish. Monbeg Notorious had no difficulty negotiating the remaining fences and went on to win by eleven lengths. This win added further to Gordon Elliott's significant lead over Willie Mullins in this season's Irish champion National Hunt trainer contest.

 

26 January 2018

 

He did it!

Over recent years, this County Meath trainer has proved his skills with staying handicap chasers in Ireland but, somehow, he never managed to bag this £800,000-plus contest. Not until yesterday, that is. Of the six horses entered by Gordon Elliott in the Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, it was Monbeg Notorious, ridden by Jack Kennedy, who did the honours. Wearing a visor for the first time, the Milan gelding was following up his beginners' chase victory at Punchestown on New Year's Eve. Owned by the Gigginstown House confidently tracked the leader, Fine Theatre for a good part of the time and then took over from the third fence from the finish. Monbeg Notorious had no difficulty negotiating the remaining fences and went on to win by eleven lengths. This win added further to Gordon Elliott's significant lead over Willie Mullins in this season's Irish champion National Hunt trainer contest.

 

A Friend in Need

There's A change of jockey for French Champion Hurdle hero in Saturday's Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. Davy Russell will now be aboard L'Ami Serge when he returns to fences after an absence of more than a year. His regular rider, Daryl Jacob who has partnered the Nicky Henderson-trained King's Theatre gelding for thirteen of his last fifteen starts has commitments elsewhere. He is retained rider for the owners of Gold Cup contender, Bristol De Mai, who runs in the Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase on the same day.

 

Young at Heart!

A rookie trainer, who's scored three winners from just ten runners so far, is hoping to add to this total at Doncaster tomorrow. Fifty-two-year-old Richard Mitford-Slade saddles Samuel Jackson in the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle. A former point-to-pointer, this Alflora gelding has scored in both his races under rules to date; the first when he was the 100/1 shot in the Ivor Brimblecombe Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Taunton in the middle of December and, to prove that wasn't a fluke, he followed that up with a decisive win in the Stella Artois Supporting Bangor-On-Dee Novices' Hurdle earlier this month.

25 January 2018

 

Do it again, Sam!

It really looks like this County Meath trainer wants to win this valuable race that has eluded him for so long. To that end Gordon Elliott saddles six of the fifteen runners in the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park today. Not only that, he is obviously hoping that the latest teenage wonder can pull something out of the hat for him. So, sixteen-year-old James Bowen, fresh from his high-profile wins in the Lanzarote Hurdle and Welsh Grand National, has been booked to ride Out Sam, who hasn't had his head in front for almost two years. As a result, this nine-year-old Multiplex gelding has now attracted a lot of attention and has become the 4/1 favourite to claim the £50,000 prize.

 

Toast Master?

The 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up, who was retired to stud after suffering a tendon injury but returned to racing after more than three years' absence, lines up with eleven others in the world's richest race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The Jamie Osborne-trained Toast Of New York, who enjoyed his first come-back victory in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Lingfield at the beginning of December, is running in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup for his owners, Al Shaqab Racing.

 

Ay, Ay! Ton Up!

The Betway Handicap at Lingfield yesterday provided this apprentice jockey with her hundredth career win. Hollie Doyle partnered the David Elsworth-trained Ay Ay to victory in

one-and-a-quarter-mile contest. The four-year-old Pour Moi gelding came between horses more than a furlong from home and surged into the lead to score by three-quarters of a length.

 

24 January 2018

 

The One that Got Away!

The result of the Listed Charnwood Forest Mares' Chase came as a bit of a surprise at Leicester yesterday. The Oliver Reed-trained American Post mare was the 4-1 outsider of the small field of three runners but had a large weight benefit. As expected Antartica De Thaix and the 8/11 favourite Lastbutnotleast battled it out for supremacy in the early stages of the nigh-on three-mile contest but, unexpectedly the latter, trained by Donald McCain jnr., seemed to have problems from a long way out and quickly dropped away, leaving the Paul Nicholls-trained Antartica De Thaix, with Sam Twiston-Davies aboard, in the lead, pursued by Got Away, who appeared to be travelling much the better. Leighton Aspell decided the moment was right to seize the initiative four fences from home. The five-year-old fortunately still had plenty in reserve and galloped for the line four-and-a-half lengths clear.

 

Taking French Leave

A legendary French trainer, renowned for back-to-back renewals of the Prix de l'Arc Triomphe will saddle her last runners on February 1. Christiane 'Criquette' Head-Maarek, recently closely associated with the brilliant mare, Treve, has decided to call it a day after forty years of training so that she can spend more time supervising her Deauville-based family stud, Haras du Quesnay. The seventy-year-old began as an assistant to her father, Alec, before taking out her own licence in 1977. Two years later she became the first female trainer to saddle the winner of the Arc - Europe's most prestigious race - with Three Troikas, ridden by her brother, Freddy, and owned by her mother, Ghislaine. In addition to her three Arc wins, 'Criquette' won the French 1,000 Guineas seven times, the French Oaks three times, the 2,000 Guineas and Derby once each and the English 1,000 Guineas four times, most recently with Special Duty in 2010.

 

Runner-up for Cheltenham

It looks as though the Nigel Hawke-trained Kapgarde gelding will now go for the Betfair Ascot Chase after coming second in the Clarence House Chase on Saturday. The result of this race in no way demeans Speredek's performance in the two-mile-plus feature race where he was up against, none other than, the multiple Grade One winner, Un De Sceaux. The Tiverton-based handler has always maintained that the seven-year-old needs a right-handed track and soft ground and the Cheltenham Festival, given the right conditions, fits the bill.

23 January 2018

 

Not Criquette!

A legendary French trainer, renowned for back-to-back renewals of the Prix de l'Arc Triomphe will saddle her last runners on February 1. Christiane 'Criquette' Head-Maarek, recently closely associated with the brilliant mare, Treve, has decided to call it a day after forty years of training so that she can spend more time supervising her Deauville-based family stud, Haras du Quesnay. The seventy-year-old began as an assistant to her father, Alec, before taking out her own licence in 1977. Two years later she became the first female trainer to saddle the winner of the Arc - Europe's most prestigious race - with Three Troikas, ridden by her brother, Freddy, and owned by her mother, Ghislaine. In addition to her three Arc wins, 'Criquette' won the French 1,000 Guineas seven times, the French Oaks three times, the 2,000 Guineas and Derby once each and the English 1,000 Guineas four times, most recently with Special Duty in 2010.

 

En Garde!

It looks as though the Nigel Hawke-trained Kapgarde gelding will now go for the Betfair Ascot Chase after coming second in the Clarence House Chase on Saturday. The result of this race in no way demeans Speredek's performance in the two-mile-plus feature race where he was up against, none other than, the multiple Grade One winner, Un De Sceaux. The Tiverton-based handler has always maintained that the seven-year-old needs a right-handed track and soft ground and the Cheltenham Festival, given the right conditions, fits the bill.

 

In Good Voice

Today the Tim Easterby-trained Poet's Voice mare could follow up her recent course win at Southwell when she lines up in the Betway Sprint Handicap. Midnight Malibu scraped home by a neck in the Betway Handicap on New Year's Day at this Nottinghamshire track and the handicapper only gave her an extra two pounds for success. That was the five-year-old's second run on Fibresand and her second win so she clearly feels comfortable with the unique surface which needs a specialist's approach. 

 

22 January 2018

 

Four Candles!

Yesterday Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud celebrated again, this time at Thurles. They claimed the first race of the day when Jack Kennedy rode Pete So High to a five-length victory in the www.thurlesraces.ie Maiden Hurdle. Half-an-hour later they were back in the winner's enclosure with sixteen-length winner, Dortmund Park, in the W.T. O'Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle. They took a break for an hour and scored again when Jack Kennedy partnered A Toi Phil, who won the Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase by nine-and-a-half lengths. Then Dinaria Des Obeaux completed the four-timer in the Coolmore National Hunt Sires Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase. The five-year-old had struggled a bit in a couple of Grade Ones but this Grade Two was much more to her liking as she was back competing against her own sex. A few anxious moments when this Saddler Maker filly wasn't so fluent over the last fence but Jack Kennedy, completing a treble on the day, got her focussed again and the couple passed the line eight lengths to the good.

 

Got the wind Up and won!

An unusual record was established at Taunton when the Warren Greatrex-trained Boite scored in the Bathwick Tyres Seniors' Handicap Hurdle. The recent British Horseracing Authority regulation that trainers must declare any horse that has undergone certain wind surgeries came into force on Friday. Four runners were listed as such in yesterday's fixtures but the unusual record was claimed by the Authorized gelding who had not only had the operation but won his race.

 

Honey gets the money

Willie Mullins only had one winner at Navan but the race was well and truly his as he saddled a 1-2-3 in the Race Displays Event Signage Beginners Chase. Bonbon Au Miel, ridden by the trainer's nephew, David Mullins, led the trio home in this two-and-a-half-mile contest in testy conditions. This Khalkevi gelding made most of the running and seemed not unduly exerted when easily sprinting away approaching the last to win by eleven lengths. Stable companions, Turcagua and and Cadmium followed him home.

 

21 January 2018

 

Numero Un!

Three in a row - for Un De Sceaux! At Ascot yesterday the Willie Mullins-trained Denman Red gelding made winning the Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase look easy-peasy as he scorned his four rivals by claiming the £85,000 prize by an easy seven lengths. Speredek, trained by Nigel Hawke, did his best to outrun the field and was a good twelve lengths clear at at one stage until Un De Sceaux, shunning his usual front-running tactics, was urged to close in on the leader by his jockey, Paul Townend, as the field turned for home. From the second fence from home the race was in the bag for the 4/9 favourite who thereby he took his Grade One tally to eight and notched up his twentieth career success.

 

Getting the Wind Up!

An unusual record was established yesterday at Taunton when the Warren Greatrex-trained Boite scored in the Bathwick Tyres Seniors' Handicap Hurdle. The recent British Horseracing Authority regulation that trainers must declare any horse that has undergone certain wind surgeries came into force on Friday. Four runners were listed as such on yesterday's fixtures but the unusual record was claimed by the Authorized gelding who had not only had the operation but won his race.

 

Going Dutch

The Colin Tizzard-trained King's Theatre gelding won the three-mile-plus Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock by thirteen lengths. The Dutchman, ridden by Harry Cobden, a 13/2 shot, established the early pace accompanied by Venetia Williams' Yala Enki. These two proceeded at quite a lick and everything was going their way after the well-fancied Rock The Kasbah and Highland Lodge both pulled up around the halfway mark. The Dutchman still kept his slot up front but Yala Enki ran out of steam. For a while it looked as though Fine Rightly might have a chance but he also fell victim to the testing conditions. All The Dutchman had to do was keep running an the race was his.

 

20 January 2018

 

Give me a ring!

A win in the olbg.com Mares' Hurdle at Ascot today will not only notch up a hat-trick this season but also mark the biggest career success for this Doctor Dino mare. The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi is bidding to claim her first Grade Two level success in this extended two-mile-seven-furlong contest worth over £28,000 prize, having already celebrated her fourth Listed career victory in her first start over three miles in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle

at Kempton in November.

 

Striking the right Chord

Connections are hoping that this Dark Angel gelding can inject more cash into the kitty to add to his Cheltenham winnings in December when he lines up in the bet365 Handicap Chase at Ascot today. It seems that trainer, Nicky Richards, has long planned to run Guitar Pete, winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, in this valuable race. The eight-year-old grey didn't exactly cover himself with glory when competing in the BetVictor Gold Cup, coming ninth out of eleven runners but he has improved his form this season.

 

Rode like an Egyptian!

The David Pipe-trained Martaline gelding got back into winning ways yesterday at Chepstow when he made easy work of claiming the Daily Racing Specials At 188Bet Novices' Chase. Ramses De Teillee, with Tom Scudamore aboard, had scored on his debut over fences at this Monmouthshire track in November but failed to follow up this success on his next outing at Fontwell. This time, however, the 11-8 favourite six-year-old proved too good for his three opponents and surged into the lead from three out to win by seven lengths. It was a double celebration as it marked Tom Scudamore's 50th win of the season.

19 January 2018

 

Case Won!

This Shantou gelding clocked up three in a row when scoring in yesterday's Higos Insurance Services Somerset National at Wincanton. The Ben Case-trained Themanfrom Minella made all in this three-mile-three-furlong contest in testing conditions. The race was was originally scheduled for Newcastle and Plumpton but had to be abandoned due to inclement weather. This must have suited the Banbury-based trainer down to the ground as his yard is only twenty-seven miles away.

 

By a Nose

The UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan yesterday produced an exciting photo-finish when Winter Lightning and Rayya battled it out for supremacy. There was nothing between it as the duo raced neck and neck down the straight in this seven-furlong contest and the outcome was by means certain, as they flashed past the post together. The camera decided, however, that the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Winter Lightning, ridden by Pat Cosgrave, won the day by a nose.

 

Sceaux So!

The Willie Mullins-trained 4/7 favourite, Un De Sceaux, takes on just four rivals when he bids for a third successive victory in the Royal Salute Whisky Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday. On the face of it, the Denham Red gelding shouldn't have a problem. Nicky Henderson's Brain Power could just put a spanner in the works, however. Although he's only a novice on his third outing over fences, he's probably the best of the opposition. Speredek, handled by Nigel Hawke, has won five of his last six handicap starts but this a huge step in company. Paul Nicholls saddles San Benedeto who came last in the Tingle Creek on his most recent outing. Kylemore Lough, who used to be with Kerry Lee but is now with Harry Fry, is certainly a Grade One winner but he will have to overcome his disappointing performance at Cheltenham in November when he was pulled up three from home in the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase.

18 January 2018

 

Berlief is Everything!

Another member of the Aramis clan made his debut this week and for the first time at Hereford. Following his half-brother Zayfire Aramis's success at Leicester, it was now the turn of this Bertolini gelding to demonstrate what family genes he had inherited. For various reasons, this was Berlief Aramis's first race and, what is more, it was a maiden hurdle, as he had not had the benefit of gaining racing experience by running in the customary National hunt flat races (bumpers). So everybody realised this was a big learning curve for the eight-year-old, trained by Alan Phillips. Connections naturally wondered how he would react to the experience – the noise and the attention of the crowd in the pre-parade ring and around the track, the reaction to racing with other horses in a real race not on the gallops and even feeling the touch of the whip. However, surprise surprise, Berlief Aramis ('Bertie' to his friends!) was first out in the ring, walking around proudly, head high, without any sign of nerves, apart from an initial neigh as, apparently, he was missing his companion back in the stable. The talented Sean Bowen took the ride and his brief was to make his mount feel comfortable, let him get involved in the excitement of a race and basically find out his what he could do and what his reactions were. Berlief Aramis jumped well throughout for a beginner but failed to keep up with the pace of his ten rivals, some of whom were more experienced. (They'd done it before!). His jockey decided to pull him up two before the end but he could have finished the course. He didn't seem in the least tired afterwards. As an Aramis progeny he clearly doesn't lack ability or stamina but as he hadn't raced before, maybe he wasn't sure what he was supposed to be doing. A couple more races should set him straight. Everyone was delighted with this first attempt. Even the sun came out for the occasion, after heavy rain earlier.

 

16 January 2018

 

Trapped!

Blinkered for the first time this Enrique gelding got back into winning ways after two disappointing runs at Haydock and Newcastle in December. That was after an impressive display at Carlisle in November when he claimed the Bet At racinguk.com Handicap Chase by a length and three quarters. The James Ewart-trained Un Guet Apens, with his new partner, Conor O'Farrell, lined up against six rivals in the Children's Immunology Trust Handicap Chase at Kelso. The ten-year-old pursued the leaders and finally touched base approaching two from home and challenged the long-time leader, Ramonex, in the final few strides of this two-mile-five-furlong-plus contest to win the £25,000 prize by a neck.

 

What the Doctor ordered.

Nicky Bradley Racing bought this Dr Massini gelding at the beginning of last year for £10,000 and it looks like he was a bargain. Doctor Phoenix was on only his fourth run for Gordon Elliott at Fairyhouse yesterday and he produced a career-best performance when he won the £59,000 Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase by nine lengths, adding to his previous victory at Cork in November. The ten-year-old was urged into contention by Davy Russell inside the final three furlongs and he didn't need any further persuasion as he galloped clear after the last fence to beat Kilcarry Bridge who had valiantly made all the running thus far.

 

Frost Again!

The second female jockey in Britain or Ireland to win a top-class race over jumps continued her remarkable season when partnering the Neil King-trained Milansbar to victory in the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick. Bryony Frost began her incredible rise to fame when she won the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. This victory was even more poignant as the Milan gelding was back on track just a week after unseating Trevor Whelan in the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. The eleven-year-old, fitted with blinkers for the first time, put in some pretty accurate jumping over each of the fences down the back straight and left his rivals trailing in his wake as he claimed the £42,000-plus prize by eleven lengths.

 

14 January 2018

 

High Five? Nearly!

The three-time Champion jockey was back with a vengeance at Wetherby yesterday where he suffered concussion and was sidelined for a week or so as a result of a fall on Boxing Day. Things certainly worked out better this time around, however, as he notched up four victories. Richard Johnson was clearly intent on making up for lost time and claimed the first race of the day, the Racing UK Jump To It Novices' Hurdle aboard the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Noble Robin. The double followed in the next race, when Hogan's Height, trained by Jamie Snowden's made all the running in the Racing UK In Stunning HD 'Confined' Novices' Chase. An hour later he trebled aboard the Philip Hobbs-trained Westend Story in the totescoop6 Results On totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap Hurdle. The Hereford-born rider's fourth winner of the day came when he steered Harriet Bethell's Newberry New to victory in the Book Now For Medieval Day - 3rd February Handicap Chase. It looked like another triumph was on the cards in the last race, the Racing UK On Sky 432 Fillies' 'Junior' Standard Open NH Flat Race with the John Butler-trained So Lonely but he was deprived of a quintuplet by just a length.

 

Get Away!!!

The County Carlow king had won six of the last nine winners of this Grade Two contest with the likes of Mikael D'Haguenet (2009), Vautour (2014) and Douvan (2015) who all went on to Cheltenham Festival glory later in the season. Willie Mullins was back in the winner's enclosure again at Punchestown yesterday after saddling the unbeaten Getabird in the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle. The champion Irish trainer wasn't leaving it all to fate, though, as he had three runners in this year's renewal but it was the six-year-old Getaway gelding that came up trumps.

 

Bay's Day?

This Milan mare hasn't yet scored after six career outings and connections are clearly hoping that today could be the day at Kelso. The Lucinda Russell-trained Topham Bay has her ups and downs, however, and she was pulled up last time out at Hexham in November. This is not to say that the six-year-old hasn't got ability but maybe she's destined for a test of stamina which she'll certainly get today in this Persimmon Homes Handicap Hurdle over nigh-on three-and-a-quarter miles on soft ground. Topham Bay is also five pounds lighter than when she ran promisingly in a couple of handicap hurdles at this track in September and October which should see her in good stead.

 

13 January 2018 

 

Zayf's gift

An owner/breeder and her aunt received a special winning present twenty-four hours after their shared birthday. The scene - the Leicester race course, the race - the Hose Thorns Handicap Chase and the horse – the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis. This Zafeen gelding hasn't had a win for well over a year despite some good placings and clearly the time was ripe for the 'nephew' of Cheltenham champion, Kayf Aramis. This time around, however, the nine-year-old seemed more mature in the way he approached the contest. He was kept mid-division for the first part of the race by the experienced Tom Scudamore but soon made headway on the outside as he pursued the leaders before the eleventh fence. The duo moved into second slot and were travelling very well three from home. In the last two hundred yards, however, unlike on previous occasions, Zayfire Aramis found that little extra to outrun his nearest challenger, Minella For Me and galloped home three-quarters of a length clear. It was champagne all round - before and after the race!

 

Just William!

This lightly-raced King's Theatre gelding, trained by Nicky Henderson has only had eight races under National Hunt rules, one for each year of his life. William Henry lines up in the the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton today and is a top novice hurdler, having run three times at Cheltenham, winning the last race over an extended two and a half miles. The eight-year-old was also runner up last year in the Grade 2 Neptune trial, finishing in front of Poetic Rhythm who has since gone on to win a Grade 1. It was originally thought that William Henry would do well as a chaser but his first attempt in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in November was a complete disaster; he constantly jumped to the right, made frequent mistakes and was eventually pulled up when his saddle slipped. Connections are expecting him to be in top form this afternoon back over hurdles.

 

Hadn't the Foggiest.

The Kilsheelan Mares Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel took place without one of its official runners because the starter couldn't see the mare wasn't there! The problem was that the fog was so thick around the County Tipperary track that the meeting was eventually abandoned after five races. In this first race, however, the starter counted all the horses as they passed on the way to the post but he didn't see that Devine Star was not among them when they lined up and waved his flag and let them go. Afterwards it was revealed that the Westerner mare had overshot the start by a furlong or two and was cantering back to join the others but was too late.

 

12 January 2018

 

Fire One!

Yesterday an owner/breeder and her aunt received a special winning present twenty-four hours after their shared birthday. The scene - the Leicester race course, the race - the Hose Thorns Handicap Chase and the horse – the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis. This Zafeen gelding hasn't had a win for well over a year despite some good placings recently and clearly the time was ripe for the 'nephew' of Cheltenham champion, Kayf Aramis. This time around, however, the nine-year-old seemed more mature in the way he approached the contest. He was kept mid-division for the first part of the race by the experienced Tom Scudamore but soon made headway on the outside as he pursued the leaders before the eleventh fence. The duo moved into second slot and were travelling very well three from home. In the last two hundred yards, however, unlike on previous occasions, Zayfire Aramis found that little extra to outrun his nearest challenger, Minella For Me and galloped home three-quarters of a length clear.

 

Another chance

Today's Smarkets Chatteris Fen Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon could prove an interesting contest. The Philip Hobbs-trained Gumball won his first two races at Stratford and Chepstow but was then brushed aside by seventeen lengths by Apple's Shakira, trained by Nicky Henderson in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham in November. Now the No Risk At All gelding comes up against another Seven Barrows' rising star, Style De Garde and has now got to prove that his last performance was due to his being under par for some reason, as his trainer hinted.

 

Hadn't the Foggiest.

The Kilsheelan Mares Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday took place without one of its official runners because the starter couldn't see the mare wasn't there! The problem was that the fog was so thick around the County Tipperary track that the meeting was eventually abandoned after five races. In this first race, however, the starter counted all the horses as they passed on the way to the post but he didn't see that Devine Star was not among them when they lined up and waved his flag and let them go. Afterwards it was revealed that the Westerner mare had overshot the start by a furlong or two and was cantering back to join the others but was too late.

 

11 January 2018

 

A Pony Tale

Almost imperceptibly things have been changing in British weighing rooms all over the country. It has generally been accepted over the last twenty years that Irish jockeys reigned supreme but recently it has been noticed that British jump jockeys have started to make their presence felt. The most recent acclaimed 'future champion' is sixteen-year-old James Bowen, who won the Welsh Grand National on Raz De Maree. Sibling rivalry is also at play here because his brother, Sean, has also been tipped for this top honour. What is interesting, though, is the fact that both brothers have one thing in common; they both honed their initial riding skills on the British pony-racing circuit. The latter is now considered to be the prime source of talented young jump jockeys in Britain. That is really not as surprising as it sounds because pony racing in Ireland has been producing top-class riders for over thirty years; Norman Williamson and Adrian Maguire are just a couple of examples. What is noteworthy, however, is how quickly the British equivalent is making up for lost time.

 

That's My Girl!

The Dan Skelton-trained Presenting mare impressed with her ten-length victory in the re-scheduled Sky Bet Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares' Chase at Doncaster. Rene's Girl, with the trainer's brother, Harry, aboard, had no problems with her four rivals, claiming the two-and-a-half-mile contest with ease. The Warwickshire trainer is always ambitious for his horses and the next target for Rene's Girl could well be the Grade One Manifesto Novices' Chase at the Grand National.

 

Hot Currie!

A 5lb claiming jockey assured her position as first jockey this winter to trainer, Phil McEntee, when she made all aboard London to win the sunbets.co.uk Handicap at Southwell. Nicola Currie did well to overcome a difficult stall one position and handled the Galileo gelding very well on only his second outing on Fibresand. The Scottish-born rider is actually attached to the Richard Hughes stable but has taken over the same job that Josephine Gordon did last Winter at the McEntee yard in Newmarket.

 

9 January 2018

 

A Merry Dance!

This Kayf Tara mare notched up a first career win in yesterday's EBF Mares' "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle at Fontwell and, thereby, made it five winners from the last fifteen runners for the currently in-form trainer, Anthony Honeyball. My Dance, partnered again by the talented Aidan Coleman proved worthy of her Sire as she pulled eight lengths clear of the rest of the field on just her second start over hurdles.

 

Move Again, Sam!

The runner-up in the 2016 Investec Derby has switched trainers yet again. Humphrey Bogart, originally trained by Richard Hannon and then a short while with Henrietta Knight, has been sent to Nicky Henderson's yard in Lambourn in preparation for his hurdling career. The Tagula gelding has been sidelined by a tendon injury after coming fourth in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes in the middle of August.

 

Oh Boy!

The Tom George-trained Sandmason gelding caused quite a stir at Sandown by winning the 32Red Tolworth Novices' HurdleSummerville Boy seemed to enjoy the strong pace established by Paul Nicholls' Mont Des Avaloirs and, although Kalashnikov wasn't having the best of races, he was still with a chance as they approached the last obstacle. Summerville Boy didn't make the best of jumps but Noel Fehily, despite losing an iron, managed to keep his mount on his feet and urge him on to a four-length win.

 

8 January 2018

 

Howdy Cloudy!

Today's Racing Welfare 24 Hour Helpline 08006300443 Handicap Chase at Fontwell looks like an oportunity for this Cloudings gelding to claim another victory. The Venetia Williams-trained Cloudy Beach, has only had ten career starts under Rules, scoring in three of them. In his favour, however, is the fact that his two wins over fences were in heavy ground so the current conditions at the Arundel track should be no problem. On his last outing the eleven-year-old came a good second to the Colin Tizzard-trained Grand Vision at Lingfield so, just one pound higher for that success, this could be Cloudy Beach's day,

 

Vinnie Winny!

This Vinnie Roe gelding was originally trained in Ireland but is now at Hill Barn Stables in Wantage, handled by Harry Whittington. Vinnie Lewis, having already opened his account for his new master with an easy win at Sedgefield in November, was the indisputable winner in the At The Races Sussex National at Plumpton yesterday. Jockey, Harry Bannister, made sure that the seven-year-old was never too far off the pace in this three-and-a-half-mile £30,000 contest and eventually decided to go into the lead at the fourth from home. A number of his ten rivals found the testing conditions too much but Vinnie Lewis had no such problems and galloped on indomitably to a six-length victory.

 

Boy George!

The Tom George-trained Sandmason gelding caused quite a stir at Sandown by winning the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle. Summerville Boy seemed to enjoy the strong pace established by Paul Nicholls' Mont Des Avaloirs and, although Kalashnikov wasn't having the best of races, he was still with a chance as they approached the last obstacle. Summerville Boy didn't make the best of jumps but Noel Fehily, despite losing an iron, managed to keep his mount on his feet and urge him on to a four-length win.

 

7 January 2018

 

Coming of Age

A sixteen-year-old aboard a thirteen-year-old triumphs in a 122-year-old feature jump race. Yesterday's Welsh Grand National at Chepstow was won by the Gavin Cromwell-trained Raz De Maree, ridden by James Bowen. The Shaanmer gelding was runner-up in this event last year so clearly the young jockey was delighted that he got him to win this time, the oldest horse to claim the prize since 1945 and only the second runner from Ireland.

 

Dream On

The Nicky Henderson-trained We Have A Dream had to work a little harder than usual to make sure that he won the Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow yesterday. The Martaline gelding wasn't entered in the original race on December 27, which had to be abandoned due to waterlogging, but, fortunately, connections took advantage of the rescheduling to enter him and were rewarded with a Grade One triumph for their efforts.

 

Stepping Down

A sixty-seven-year-old Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer and former Classic-winning jockey has decided to retire. Christy Roche spent nearly thirty years in the saddle and was Irish champion jockey on seven occasions. The Tipperary-born trainer gained his licence in 1998 and notched up a series of  victories with horses such as GrimesJoe MacYoulneverwalkalone and Like-A-Butterfly, all of whom ran in the colours of JP McManus.

 

6 January 2018

 

Spud U Like

After ten days of 'wishin' and hopin' and thinking and prayin' the Welsh Grand National is due to be run today at Chepstow. The Fergal O'Brien-trained Altflora gelding was the one well fancied to win on the 26 December and there's a strong chance that he'll make it today. Chase The Spud has built up quite a reputation for for doing well in marathon staying handicaps. He proved the point in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last March when getting the better of the Michael Scudamore-trained Mysteree, whom he takes on again in this four-mile-plus contest. The ten-year-old did the business on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock Park six weeks ago over three and a half miles on heavy ground. Inevitably Chase The Spud has gone up in the ratings again but he undoubtedly has what it takes to deal with the extremely testing conditions this afternoon.

 

Time to go

A sixty-seven-year-old Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer and former Classic-winning jockey has decided to retire. Christy Roche spent nearly thirty years in the saddle and was Irish champion jockey on seven occasions. The Tipperary-born trainer gained his licence in 1998 and notched up a series of big-race victories with horses such as Grimes, Joe Mac, Youlneverwalkalone and Like-A-Butterfly, all of whom ran in the colours of JP McManus.

 

Gunning for Victory

One trainer retires and another is just starting. Newmarklet-based Amy Murphy has already achieved some significant success in her chosen occupation but a win today in the 32Red Tolworth Novices' Hurdle at Sandown will set her on the way to stardom. She saddles Kalashnikov in this Grade One contest. This Kalanisi gelding, after winning a bumper at Wetherby last March, returned to the Yorkshire track for his impressive hurdling debut in November which he won by ten lengths. Kalashnikov was last seen at the beginning of December when he won the Betfred Mobile British Stallion Studs EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle, also by ten lengths.

 

5 January 2018

 

Controversial Decision

This Cholmondeley-based trainer left Bangor with a 106/1 treble yesterday and not a little controversy. Donald McCain's yard was certainly on top form when Fin And GameTailor Tom and Pinch Of Ginger came up trumps. The latter's victory, however, was a bone of contention with rival handler, Robin Dickin, whose Oneida Tribe dead-heated with the Golden Lariat gelding. But when deciding the outcome of the photo-finish the stewards also found that Adrian Heskin's mount had interfered with Pinch Of Ginger on the run-up to the line which had improved Oneida Tribe's placing whilst forcing his rival to switch, rally again. It has been announced that Robin Dickin is to appeal against the stewards' decision to demote his horse.

 

On or Off?

Keith Ottesen, the Chepstow course clerk, is prepared to stick his neck out and state that he thinks the Welsh Grand National will go ahead tomorrow as planned, despite the threatening adverse weather conditions. This feature event, first run in 1895, was originally supposed to take place on December 27 but had to be abandoned because the track was waterlogged. The weather, however, in South-east Wales has been bad all week and there still remain doubts whether not only this race but the whole day's fixture will be able to take place.

 

Jockeying for Recognition

It's been quite a year for this talented and ambitious jockey. Charlotte Jones began 2017 as a stable lass at James Moffatt’s Cartmel stables and had a few rides as a conditional jockey but ended the year with four winners to her credit. The twenty-one-year-old rider, who graduated from Myerscough College with a First Class BSc in Equine Science, grabbed the headlines at the end of May when she scored for the first time riding Lough Kent in the Wainwright Ale Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. She rode the same horse to victory at the same track a month later and then went on to triumph aboard Altruism in the Cumbria Crystal Cup. Charlotte Jones also proved that she could win not only on her local track when successfully partnered Bon Chic in the Download The App At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October. Clearly a jockey to keep an eye on in 2018.

 

4 January 2018

 

Back on Top

The twice champion jockey, who hasn't raced since Boxing Day when he was unseated from Grey Gold in the 188bet.co.uk Handicap Chase and suffered concussion, was back in business yesterday at Ludlow. Richard Johnson was aboard the John Quinn-trained Look My Way in the Best Wishes For 2018 Juvenile Hurdle. This Pour Moi gelding eventually got into the lead when he made a mistake three from home and then started hanging left. Nevertheless the four-year-old managed to go clear over the last and, despite still hanging to the left, quickened away to claim this two-mile contest by ten lengths.

 

Wanna Bet?

Keith Ottesen, the Chepstow course clerk, is prepared to stick his neck out and state that he thinks the Welsh Grand National will go ahead on Saturday as planned, despite the threatening adverse weather conditions. This feature event, first run in 1895, was originally supposed to take place on December 27 but had to be abandoned because the track was waterlogged. The weather, however, in South-east Wales has been bad all week and there still remain doubts whether not only this race but the whole day's fixture will be able to take place.

 

Keeping up with this Jones!

It's been quite a year for this talented and ambitious jockey. Charlotte Jones began 2017 as a stable lass at James Moffatt’s Cartmel stables and had a few rides as a conditional jockey but ended the year with four winners to her credit. The twenty-one-year-old rider, who graduated from Myerscough College with a First Class BSc in Equine Science, grabbed the headlines at the end of May when she scored for the first time riding Lough Kent in the Wainwright Ale Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. She rode the same horse to victory at the same track a month later and then went on to triumph aboard Altruism in the Cumbria Crystal Cup. Charlotte Jones also proved that she could win not only on her local track when successfully partnered Bon Chic in the Download The App At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October. Clearly a jockey to keep an eye on in 2018.

 

3 January 2018

 

Keeping up with Jones!

It's been some twelve months for this talented jockey from Barrow. Charlotte Jones began 2017 as a stable lass at James Moffatt’s Cartmel stables and had a few rides as a conditional jockey and ended the year with four winners to her credit. The twenty-one-year-old rider, who graduated from Myerscough College with a First Class BSc in Equine Science, grabbed the headlines at the end of May when she scored for the first time riding Lough Kent in the Wainwright Ale Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. She rode the same horse to victory at the same track a month later and then went on to triumph aboard Altruism in the Cumbria Crystal Cup. Charlotte Jones also proved that she could win not only on her local track when she successfully partnered Bon Chic in the Download The App At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October. Clearly a jockey to keep an eye on in 2018.

 

Elusive Win

This King's Theatre mare finally got back into winning ways after a five unsuccessful performances and her trainer believes there are more good days to come. The Stuart Crawford-trained Elusive Theatre, having made her hurdling debut at Ayr last February, was a well-backed 11/4 favourite for the near £16,000 Racing UK Jump To It Handicap Hurdle at the Scottish track. The seven-year-old was always prominent and joined the leader, One For Harry, from the third flight from home. These two went clear of the rest of the field in the straight but it was and it was Elusive Theatre who triumphed by three lengths.

 

Princely Performance

The Tony Coyle-trained Caspian Prince, already with the Epsom Dash at the Curragh in the summer to his credit, has now earned a place on All-Weather Championships day at Lingfield on Good Friday, after winning the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle yesterday. Even the additional seven pounds imposed as a result of his Group Two success at the County Kildare track couldn't slow down this five-furlong speedster as he pulled out that little bit extra for his jockey, Ben Curtis, to to win the prize by a head. 

 

2 January 2018

 

V for Victory

It's nearly two years since this Old Vic gelding was seen on the track and he celebrated his return in style. The Willie Mullins-trained Killultagh Vic, who made a name for himself by beating Thistlecrack on his last appearance over hurdles at the 2015 Punchestown Festival, put on an impressive display to win the Free Festival Upgrade Ticket Offer Hurdle at the County Kildare track. Surprisingly, despite his long mammoth absence, Killultagh Vic was sent off the 9/10 favourite and, although his jumping wasn't all it should be, he looked a winner as he turned for home. Jockey, Paul Townend, seemingly unperturbed by his mount's jumping errors, negotiated the remaining hurdles with confidence and finished strongly two and three-quarter lengths ahead of the Ellmarie Holden-trained Ex Patriot.

 

Goodbye Steve!

After twenty-seven years this multiple Group One-winning jockey ended his racing career on a fitting high. Ten years after winning the July Cup on Sakhee's Secret, Steve Drowne steered this sire's filly, Met By Moonlight, to a two-and-three-quarter length victory in the Betway Dash Handicap at Lingfield yesterday. Appropriately, the forty-five-year-old rider secured this win for trainer, Ron Hodges, who has helped him so much along the road to a successful career in racing.

 

Double Century

The 32Red Casino Novice Median Auction Stakes at Lingfield on the last day of 2017 finally gave trainer, Richard Fahey, his double century of winners when Furzig did the honours. The Musley Bank handler's record to-date is 235 in 2015 and he he failed last year by two to make 200.

 

 

1 January 2018

 

Happy New Year!

 

Drowne and out.

After twenty-seven years this multiple Group One-winning jockey ended his racing career on a fitting high. Ten years after winning the July Cup on Sakhee's Secret, Steve Drowne steered this sire's filly, Met By Moonlight, to a two-and-three-quarter length victory in the Betway Dash Handicap at Lingfield yesterday. Appropriately, the forty-five-year-old rider secured this win for trainer, Ron Hodges, who has helped him so much along the road to a successful career in racing.

 

Victory Vic

It's nearly two years since this Old Vic gelding was seen on the track and he celebrated his return in style. The Willie Mullins-trained Killultagh Vic, who made a name for himself by beating Thistlecrack on his last appearance over hurdles at the 2015 Punchestown Festival, put on an impressive display to win the Free Festival Upgrade Ticket Offer Hurdle at Punchestown. Surprisingly, despite his long mammoth absence, Killultagh Vic was sent off the 9/10 favourite and, although his jumping wasn't all it should be, he looked a winner as he turned for home. Jockey, Paul Townend, seemingly unperturbed by his mount's jumping errors, negotiated the remaining hurdles with confidence and finished strongly two and three-quarter lengths ahead of the Ellmarie Holden-trained Ex Patriot.

 

Double Century

The 32Red Casino Novice Median Auction Stakes at Lingfield on the last day of 2017 finally gave trainer, Richard Fahey, his double century of winners when Furzig did the honours. The Musley Bank handler's record to-date is 235 in 2015 and he he failed last year by two to make 200.

 

31 December 2017

 

Verse got better!

Yesterday's Betfred Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury provided the Grange Hill Farm team with a first Grade One winner. It was a close-run thing at the finish, though, as the Fergal O'Brien-trained Poetic Rhythm just made it by a short head after doing last-minute battle with Mulcahys Hill, who fought back determinedly right to the line. Justifiably Paddy Brennan had decided that the testing conditions and stiff head wind should be treated with respect and so didn't urge the Flemensfirth gelding to pursue the leader too soon. When Poetic Rhythm did hit the front after the last hurdle, however, he still couldn't take victory for granted as the Warren Greatrex-trained Brian Boru gelding wasn't going a way with a fight.

 

Whose Benefit?

A last-minute surge of money unexpectedly launched this Beneficial mare into favouritism and into the record books. The Stuart Edmonds-trained Maria's Benefit took on four other runners in the totetrifecta Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Taunton and one of them was Nicky Henderson's unbeaten Sunshade, owned by the Queen, who has just rewarded the trainer in the New Year Honours list. Undaunted, jockey Ciaran Gethings urged his mount to go for it from the word go and drew well clear after the fourth hurdle, remaining unchallenged thereafter to win by an impressive thirty lengths. Her Majesty's horse finished third, forty-five lengths adrift. Do you think she'll ask for her award back?

 

Last Fling?

This Venetia Williams-trained ten-year-old winner of the Welsh National in 2014 hasn't had his head in front since November 2015. So Emperor's Choice's victory at Haydock yesterday in the, perhaps appropriately named, Last Fling Handicap Chase was all the more appreciated. Charlie Deutsch gave the Flemensfirth gelding a positive ride throughout and got him into the lead just before four from home, which position he maintained to triumph by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

30 December 2017

 

Faugheen Shock

Fate intervened at Leopardstown yesterday when, unexpectedly a 14/1 outsider won the Ryanair Hurdle and no-one was more surprised than his trainer. It was on the cards that the Willie Mullins-trained Faugheen would run away with this two-mile Grade 1 contest but the Germany gelding had close company from the third flight, was passed as he approached the fourth, quickly lost ground and was eventually pulled before the second. That's when the Gordon Elliott-trained Mick Jazz was offered his moment of glory and went on to win the feature event of the final afternoon of the four-day meeting at the Dublin track.

 

Nick of Time

The Queen's main National Hunt trainer has been made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in the New Year Honours list. Four-times Champion trainer, Nicky Henderson, has been a highly successful jumps trainers for nearly 40 years. The 67-year-old handler, based at Seven Barrows near Lambourn, Berkshire, first took out his licence in July 1978, after he had previously served as assistant to Fred Winter, the eight-time Champion trainer. His services to horse racing have been recognised by a well-known Royal lover of horses and racing and the honour is a "personal gift of the Sovereign, awarded to those who have served the Queen or the monarchy in a particular way".

 

Tonight Josephine!

Not yet created a Dame in the new Year's Honours list but, no doubt, the award was just as appreciated. Josephine Gordon was yesterday voted Lady Jockey of the Year at the 2017 Stobart Lesters awards' ceremony, after riding a record 106 winners. The twenty-four-year-old Devon-born rider has had a fantastic season which culminated in her becoming only the second lady jockey in history to ride over 100 winners in a calendar year, the first being Hayley Turner.

 

29 December 2017

 

That's the Spirit!

This Jeremy progeny made it four wins in a a row after a nineteen-length victory in the eventful renewal of the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. The favourite, the Gordon Elliott-trained Mengli Khan, seemed to have it done and dusted as the field approached the second-last flight but then, unexpectedly, plunged through the wing of the hurdle and sent his jockey, Jack Kennedy, flying. That incident left Patrick Mullins in front, aboard Sharjah, and Paul Townend riding on stable companion, Real Steel, as they approached the last. The excitement wasn't over yet, however. Both of these Willie Mullins-trained runners fell independently at this stage but the County Carlow handler had another surprise up his sleeve. He had a third runner in this two-mile Grade 1 contest and that was the 9/1 shot, Whiskey Sour, partnered by David Mullins, who, up to that point, had been detached, back in the field, making no real impression, until suddenly he found himself left in lead and came home unchallenged.

 

Simply the Winner

In the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown the first-past-the-post was disqualified for causing significant interference. The Willie Mullins-trained Min, the odds-on favourite, who made nearly all the running, seemed to bump into Nicky Richards' Simply Ned just after the last fence and then definitely lean on him as they approached the winning post. This incident caused the Fruits Of Love gelding to crash into the rail, sending bits of plastic flying into the air. Subsequently, after a long discussion by the stewards, Simply Ned was deservedly promoted to the first slot.

 

Grand to be back!

The Coral Welsh Grand National, which had to be abandoned because the Chepstow track was waterlogged, has been rescheduled and will now take place on Saturday, January 6th, . The three-mile-five-and-a-half-furlong contest, first run in 1895, has had December weather problems before. In fact, three of the last seven renewals have had to be run in early January and Coral, the race sponsor, and the British Horseracing Authority have stepped in and saved the day again.

 

28 December 2017

 

Lucky Thirteen!

This Paul Nicholls-trained Poliglote gelding's thirteen-length victory in the Unibet Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton yesterday was his third big-race victory this season. The short-priced favourite, Politologue, having already won the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and the Tingle Creek at Sandown, seemed fully at ease as his jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, tracked the leader, Special Tiara, trained by Henry De Bromhead who was bidding for a third victory in this Grade Two, two-mile contest. Unfortunately the Kayf Tara gelding, after travelling and jumping very well, made an uncharacteristic mistake five fences from the finish and took a bad fall. The ten-year-old's abrupt departure from the race left the way clear for Politologue's wide-margin win.

 

The Name of the Game

Earlier in the day Paul Nicholls had already saddled a clear winner in the 32Red.com Wayward Lad Novices' Chase at Kempton Park. Cyrname, this time steered by Sean Bowen, ran his rivals ragged, having gone straight into the lead from the outset, hotly pursued by his stable compamion, Tommy Silver, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies and the 6/4 favourite, Shantou Rock, from Dan Skelton's yard. In fact, this Shantou gelding looked as though he was a major threat as the remaining three runners came round the home turn but, sadly it looked like his early exertions had taken their toll and Cyrname still had plenty left and galloped to an impressive seven-length victory.

 

Grand to be back!

The Coral Welsh Grand National, which had to be abandoned yesterday because the Chepstow track was waterlogged, has been rescheduled and will now take place on Saturday, January 6th. The three-mile-five-and-a-half-furlong contest, first run in 1895, has had December weather problems before. In fact, three of the last seven renewals have had to be run in early January and Coral, the race sponsor, and the British Horseracing Authority have stepped in and saved the day again.

 

27 December 2017

 

Might is Right!

This Nicky Henderson-trained Scorpion gelding certainly made up for his disastrous performance a year ago at this track in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase. Might Bite, with Nico De Boinville aboard, notched up his fifth win in a row when winning the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton yesterday. The eight-year-old pursued Bristol De Mai who made most of the running until the latter seemed to be struggling from the fourth-last fence. The 6/4 favourite, Might Bite, had to fend off several challenges in the straight but never really looked like being caught, although he had to deal with a strong challenge from the 50/1 outsider, Double Shuffle which he did by a length. The Lizzie Kelly ridden Tea For Two came third another two lengths further back and last year's winner, Thistlecrack, was a disappointing fourth.

 

Coming up for Air

The reigning champion hurdler effortlessly made it eight wins in a row when adding the Unibet Christmas Hurdle to his list of triumphs at Kempton yesterday. Another Nicky Henderson-trained star, Buveur D'Air, had to follow in the wake of The New One who went off into the lead from the word go but by the second-last flight the Crillon gelding had got the measure of the contest and, when Barry Geraghty asked the six-year-old for a good jump over the last hurdle, his wish was his mount's command and the dynamic duo galloped two-and-a-quarter lengths clear.

 

Another Win Afoot!

Kempton Park wasn't the only location for exciting racing yesterday. Leopardstown had its fair share. The feature race of the day, the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase, provided an opportunity for the Willie Mullins-trained Footpad to add to his triumphs over the larger obstacles. The Creachadoir gelding had already shown his mettle when winning on his chasing debut at Navan last month and he looked even better in this two-mile-plus Grade One contest.

The five-year-old went into a dominant lead four fences from home and that's how the race panned out, with the nearest rival, Death Duty, trailing eleven lengths behind.

 

26 December 2017

 

All he's cracked up to be?

It's the Boxing day treat that all racegoers look forward to. The highlight of the action-packed seven-card fixture at Kempton Park features the King George VI Chase. Among the eight runners are two or three household names. One in particular catches the eye and that is last year's winner, Thistlecrack, trained by Colin Tizzard. When the Kayf Tara gelding claimed this 2016 prize it seemed that the steeplechasing world was his oyster. Since then, however, things have not quite gone to plan. First, the nine-year-old was beaten in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham at the end of January when he struggled on heavy ground, then he suffered a tendon injury which kept him away from the track for some time and, to cap it all, he was soundly beaten on his return to racing in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury at the beginning of this month. Thistlecrack's regular rider, Tom Scudamore, is still confident, however, that he will ride his mount to a fourteenth career victory this afternoon.

 

Elf and Safety

It may be Christmas but it appears that Santa cannot presume that he is welcome everywhere. Before racing took place at Lingfield Park on Saturday a mini festive parade took place, featuring Father Christmas on horseback, followed by two ponies bearing children dressed as elves. It appears that the ever-alert stewards had not been informed of this annual activity and filed a report to the BHA. Their complaint, it seems, is based on what they call biosecurity, where there might be a risk of cross-infection from the intruding animals (presumably the horse and ponies!). So a clause in the rule book could prevent this Claus appearing again!

 

Mare the Merrier!

The records reval that tt's twenty years since a female of the equine species won the 32Red Kauto Star Novices' Chase. There is speculation, however, that this racing anomaly is about to be rectified. The mare who could lead the six rival geldings home is the Alan king-trained Mia's Storm, who made quite an impression on her first two ventures over fences at Chepstow and Market Rasen in October and November, respectively. This three-mile race is admittedly a tougher proposition for the September Storm progeny but, in her favour, it has to be said that this Grade 1 event has witnessed better quality runners than today's line-up.

 

25 December 2017

 

Image result for funny christmas horse

 

23 December 20

 

Weight fort it!

After nine months France Galop has had second thoughts about the introduction of a special weight allowance for female jockeys. The revolutionary innovation produced a 165 per cent increase in the number of winners ridden by women, twice as many rides as during the same period in 2016. The 2kg (4.4lb) allowance will still be applied for jump races but the beginning of March female jockeys competing in races on the Flat will only enjoy a 1.5kg (3.3lb.) advantage in the weights.

 

Fork it!

The Kelso racing authority has been fined £1000 for exposing horses and jockeys to a potentially dangerous situation during a race. A fork which was being used to repairing rough ground between races was inadvertently left leaning against the kick-board in front of the open ditch. By the time the person responsible realised his mistake it was too late because the five horses were already galloping down to this second fence. Fortunately all of the runners managed to avoid this extra hazard. In fact the jockeys told a BHA inquiry in London yesterday that they were not sure exactly what they had evaded when tackling the fence and, by the time they returned on the next circuit, the offending fork had been removed. Jonathan Garratt, Kelso MD, admitted that the incident was highly embarrassing for for his staff, who were all dedicated to maintaining the highest possible standards of safety.

 

Sweet Music

This Anthony Honeyball-trained Mahler mare notched up her second victory in a week at Newbury. Ms Parfois, with Noel Fehily aboard, having secured two wins from five starts over hurdles, had already opened her account over the larger obstacles at Cheltenham last Friday. The Beaminster-based handler is obviously a believer in striking while the iron is hot, so he saddled the six-year-old in the Listed TBA Mares' Novices' Chase yesterday. The 9/4 favourite didn't disappoint,either, jumping accurately and travelling powerfully for most of the nigh-on three-mile contest. The Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva tracked her closely but never seemed to have enough to get on terms and Ms Parfois just kept finding more and claimed the prize by three-and-a- half lengths.

21 December 2017

 

Sometimes succeeds.

This Anthony Honeyball-trained Mahler mare notched up her second victory in a week at Newbury. Ms Parfois, with Noel Fehily aboard, having secured two wins from five starts over hurdles, had already opened her account over the larger obstacles at Cheltenham last Friday. The Beaminster-based handler is obviously a believer in striking while the iron is hot, so he saddled the six-year-old in the Listed TBA Mares' Novices' Chase yesterday. The 9/4 favourite didn't disappoint,either, jumping accurately and travelling powerfully for most of the nigh-on three-mile contest. The Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva tracked her closely but never seemed to have enough to get on terms and Ms Parfois just kept finding more and claimed the prize by three-and-a- half lengths.

 

Pound Down!

After nine months France Galop has had second thoughts about the introduction of a special weight allowance for female jockeys. The revolutionary innovation produced a 165 per cent increase in the number of winners ridden by women, twice as many rides as during the same period in 2016. The 2kg (4.4lb) allowance will still be applied for jump races but the beginning of March female jockeys competing in races on the Flat will only enjoy a 1.5kg (3.3lb.) advantage in the weights.

 

Forced to fork out!

The Kelso racing authority has been fined £1000 for exposing horses and jockeys to a potentially dangerous situation during a race. A fork which was being used to repairing rough ground between races was inadvertently left leaning against the kick-board in front of the open ditch. By the time the person responsible realised his mistake it was too late because the five horses were already galloping down to this second fence. Fortunately all of the runners managed to avoid this extra hazard. In fact the jockeys told a BHA inquiry in London yesterday that they were not sure exactly what they had evaded when tackling the fence and, by the time they returned on the next circuit, the offending fork had been removed. Jonathan Garratt, Kelso MD, admitted that the incident was highly embarrassing for for his staff, who were all dedicated to maintaining the highest possible standards of safety.

 

20 December 2017

 

Joyeux Noël!

A twenty-seven-year-old French jockey who has just started riding in the UK got an early Christmas present at Fakenham yesterday. Maxime Tissier, riding the Lucy Wadham-trained Banjo Girl, notched up his first victory this side of the Channel in the first race of the day at the Norfolk track, the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Novices' Hurdle. The Presenting mare made all the running and, despite the bad habit of frequently jumping to the right, went well clear from two out and claimed the two-mile contest by five lengths.

 

More for the ride

It has been announced that owners (ROA) and jockeys (PJA) have a agreed on a 3.1% increase in riding fees next year. Originally the British Horseriding Association (BHA) had suggested that, instead of generally increasing riding fees, a full fee should be paid to jockeys in the event of non-runners declared after 9 am on the day of race, instead of the current 40%. The ROA and the PJA, however, have decided to proceed with the increase in riding fee and address the non-runner issue separately next year. This means that in 2018 jockeys on the Flat will earn £124.40 and over the jumps £169.85.

 

Payback Time!

It took this Kodiac gelding ten starts before producing a winner for his then trainer, Richard Hannon. Eltezam switched to the Amanda Perrett's yard in July and has gained four placings from seven races. The four-year-old's last appearance was at Chelmsford in December when his performance wasn't half bad, finishing only three-quarters of a length down in second place. All credit is then due to his owners and connections who have stood by their protégé. It could well be that today's ROA/Racing Post Owners' Jackpot Handicap at Kempton will be Eltezam's chance to repay their loyalty.

 

19 December 2017

 

Dream On!

The four times British jump racing Champion trainer proved once again that he has a way with juveniles. The Nicky Henderson-trained We Have A Dream showed his five rivals how to run a race in the bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster. The triumph obviously brought back memories for the Seven Barrows handler as he had scored in this Grade Two event before in 2014 when Peace And Co did the honours. The Martaline gelding had given odds-on backers great pleasure previously when winning the Racing UK's Biggest Ever Free Trial Juvenile Hurdle by ten lengths at Warwick in November and, although the three-year-old was stepping up in class this time, they were not disappointed when Daryl Jacob easily pulled his mount ten lengths clear of Alan King's City Dreamer.

 

Geste got there!

This Poliglote gelding opened his account over the jumps in the Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle at Nava. The Liz Doyle-trained Gran Geste, owned by John P McManus and last seen when winning a bumper at Thurles in October, was a little keen in the early stages but Barry Geraghty managed to urge him into prominence in the straight, despite the heavy conditions, and throw down the gauntlet before the last hurdle. Gran Geste lived up to his name and stayed on well on the run-in to snatch the verdict by a short head, denying victory to the 6/4 favourite, Cask Mate.

 

How do ya like them Apples!

A Saddle Maker filly added to her growing reputation at Cheltenham with a second career win over hurdles. The Nicky Henderson-trained Apple's Shakira had a fairly easy time of it in the four-strong JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. The John P McManus-owned three-year-old had already shown she was one to take note of in her previous seventeen-length success at Prestbury Park so Barry Geraghty had no problem steering her to a three-and-a-half-length victory, ahead of the Dan Skelton-trained Nube Negra.

 

17 December 2017

 

One for the Record

Last night a Belgian-born multiple Group 1-winning jockey, retained by the Aga Khan, became this European calendar year's most successful jockey on the Flat. Christophe Soumillon took his 2017 total to 302 wins after a four-timer at Lyon La Soie. The thirty-six-year-old rider equalled Pierre-Charles Boudot's previous record of 301 with his third win on the card, aboard Skaters Waltz and set the new record in the very next race on Fankairos Ranger.

 

Intent on Winning

Until yesterday's triumph in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham this ten-year-old Desert Prince gelding hadn't won a race for nearly four years. The Nicky Henderson-trained My Tent Or Yours, who was runner-up last year and in 2014 and 2016 in this two-mile-plus contest, not only provided Barry Geraghty with his first success in this event but also put the kibosh on The New One's bid to notch up a fourth victory.

 

Well, doggone!

A smaller four-legged friend decided to join in the last race at Cheltenham yesterday. A black dog, who had apparently escaped from its owner on a neighbouring footpath, got onto the track and joined the eleven runners as they approached the last-but-one flight in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle. After accompanying Champers On Ice, ridden by Tom Scudamore, for a spell, the canine competitor decided he wouldn't stay with his newly-found friend any longer and made off and was eventually re-united with his distraught owner. Fortunately the incident did not have any serious consequences for all involved.

 

https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/watch-unexpected-drama-as-dog-joins-in-hurdle-race-at-cheltenham-36412207.html

 

16 December 2017

 

Well, doggone!

A smaller four-legged friend decided to join in the last race at Cheltenham yesterday. A black dog, who had apparently escaped from its owner on a neighbouring footpath, got onto the track and joined the eleven runners as they approached the last-but-one flight in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle. After accompanying Champers On Ice, ridden by Tom Scudamore, for a spell, the canine competitor decided he wouldn't stay with his newly-found friend any longer and made off and was eventually re-united with his distraught owner. Fortunately the incident did not have any serious consequences for all involved.

 

https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/watch-unexpected-drama-as-dog-joins-in-hurdle-race-at-cheltenham-36412207.html

 

Another Win Notched Up!

The re-scheduled Peterborough Chase at Taunton didn't pose any problems for this Poliglote gelding. The Nicky Henderson-trained Top Notch was lucky that this Grade Two contest was rescued from Huntingdon's abandoned card on Sunday because it seems it was destined to be his race. Disappointingly, there were only four runners and the Seven Barrows trainer saddled two of them, the other one being Josses Hill, last year's winner, who took the field along for some of the time. There was a not-too-convincing challenge from the Paul Nicholls-trained Ptit Zig around four out, but Daryl Jacob was well in control and steered the tiny Top Notch into a narrow lead at the second-last from home and, although his jumping over the last fence wasn't up to much cop, it didn't take much of an effort to beat his stable companion by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Why the 'L' not!

A 100/1 outsider winner, saddled by a rookie trainer who only got his licence two weeks ago, saw off the likes of entries by Henderson, Nicholls, King and Fry to win the Ivor Brimblecombe Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Taunton yesterday. Samuel Jackson, trained by Richard Mitford-Slade, was kept in mid-division by jockey, Michael Nolan, until about four out and then set about chasing the leaders and asserting dominance after the last obstacle to win the two-yards short of three-mile contest by three-and-three-quarter lengths. It was revealed afterwards that the five-year-old Alflora gelding is named after film actor Samuel L. Jackson, of whom the trainer's wife is a fan, but the BHA wouldn't allow the 'L' to be included in the registration.

 

15 December 2017

 

Why the 'L' not!

A 100/1 outsider winner, saddled by a rookie trainer who only got his licence two weeks ago, saw off the likes of entries by Henderson, Nicholls, King and Fry to win the Ivor Brimblecombe Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Taunton yesterday. Samuel Jackson, trained by Richard Mitford-Slade, was kept in mid-division by jockey, Michael Nolan, until about four out and then set about chasing the leaders and asserting dominance after the last obstacle to win the two-yards short of three-mile contest by three-and-three-quarter lengths. It turns out that the five-year-old Alflora gelding is named after film actor Samuel L. Jackson, of whom the trainer's wife is a fan, but the BHA wouldn't allow the 'L' to be included in the registration.

 

First Rate Winner!

Yesterday's re-scheduled Peterborough Chase at Taunton didn't pose any problems for this Poliglote gelding. The Nicky Henderson-trained Top Notch was lucky that this Grade Two contest was rescued from Huntingdon's abandoned card on Sunday because it seems it was destined to be his race. Disappointingly, there were only four runners and the Seven Barrows trainer saddled two of them, the other one being Josses Hill, last year's winner, who took the field along for some of the time. There was a not-too-convincing challenge from the Paul Nicholls-trained Ptit Zig around four out, but Daryl Jacob was well in control and steered the tiny Top Notch into a narrow lead at the second-last from home and, although his jumping over the last fence wasn't up to much cop, it didn't take much of an effort to beat his stable companion by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Enigma Variation?

It's the International Meeting at Cheltenham – again. The day presents an exciting seven-card fixture. One runner that catches the eye is the Michael Scudamore-trained Mysteree, who lines up in the Unicoin Group Handicap Chase. This Gold West gelding, originally handled by Lucinda Russell, got off to a good start for his new trainer at Haydock in November 2016 when he won the Cash Out In Running With Betfair Handicap Chase and in February when he added the Eider Chase at Newcastle to his list of credits. The nine-year-old's ability to adapt to a variety of trips is certainly no mystery so this could be one more success for the Ross-On-Wye yard.

 

14 December 2017

 

A Star by far

Twelve-year-old Flemenstar, trained by Anthony Curran, enjoyed quadruple glory when winning the Irish Arkle, the Powers Gold Cup and the John Durkan Memorial Chase in 2012. Indeed, The Flemensfirth gelding made a promising start to this year's campaign when coming second in the Prior Park Service Station Clonmel Hurdle in the middle of last month but, sadly, was pulled up at Navan last Saturday. So owner, Stephen Curran, feels his pride and joy has now earned a pleasant retirement.

 

Might is Right?

It's probably been on the cards for some time that the Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite was a probable candidate for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton. In fact this Scorpion gelding showed surprising ability and resilience when fighting back and getting the better of his his stable companion, Whisper, in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. This three-time British Jump Racing champion trainer has won the King George twice before with Long Run in 2010 and 2012 and it's a fair enough assumption that Might Bite might just make it a third win.

 

A Christmas Box

Colin Tizzard is planning a three-pronged assault on the 32Red King George VI Chase feature race at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Thistlecrack last year's winner, is returning in a bid to repeat the exercise, despite his disappointing performance in last month's Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. It appears that connections feel, on that occasion, they may have miscalculated the nine-year-old's readiness to race on his first start after being beaten by Many Clouds at Cheltenham in January but the Kayf Tara gelding is expected to be back on form. Just in case, the Milborne Port-based trainer also intends to saddle stable companions, Cue Card and Fox Norton.

 

13 December 2017

 

Triple Aim

Only twelve days to go for the renewal of the 32Red King George VI Chase and Colin Tizzard is planning a three-pronged assault on this feature race at Kempton Park. Thistlecrack carried off the prize last year and will return in attempt to repeat the exercise, despite his disappointing performance in last month's Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. It appears that connections feel, on that occasion, they may have miscalculated the nine-year-old's readiness to race on his first start after being beaten by Many Clouds at Cheltenham in January but the Kayf Tara gelding is expected to be back on form on Boxing Day. Just in case, the Milborne Port-based trainer also intends to saddle stable companions, Cue Card and Fox Norton.

 

Goodbye to a Star

It has been decided that it's time call it a day for this multiple Grade One-winning chaser. Twelve-year-old Flemenstar, trained by Anthony Curran, enjoyed quadruple glory when winning the Irish Arkle, the Powers Gold Cup and the John Durkan Memorial Chase in 2012. Indeed, The Flemensfirth gelding made a promising start to this year's campaign when coming second in the Prior Park Service Station Clonmel Hurdle in the middle of last month but, sadly, was pulled up at Navan last Saturday. So owner, Stephen Curran, feels his pride and joy has now earned a pleasant retirement.

 

A Sting in the Tale?

Another trainer has his eye on the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton. It's probably been on the cards that the Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite was a probable candidate for this prestigious contest. In fact the Scorpion gelding showed surprising ability and resilience when fighting back and getting the better of his his stable companion, Whisper, in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The three-time British Jump Racing champion trainer has won the King George twice before with Long Run in 2010 and 2012 and is obviously hoping Might Bite will make it a treble. 

 

12 December 2017

 

Sceau Sceau!

The exhausting conditions at Cork didn't stop this Denham Red gelding, returning from a 229-day absence, from running his four rivals ragged and winning the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase by twenty-five lengths. The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux, with the trainer's nephew, David Mullins, aboard, showed he was a class apart in this two-mile-plus contest. The only runner to get within striking distance of the Edward O'Connell-owned nine-year-old was Top Gamble, handled by Kerry Lee but Un De Sceaux just treated that challenge with the contempt it deserved and went onto the easy victory.

 

Just for the Record

Legendary trainer Bobby Frankel's 2003 single-season world record of twenty-five Group One victories has finally been topped by three. Aidan O'Brien equalled this total in October when Hydrangea scored in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot and moved ahead a week later with Saxon Warrior's triumph in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Mendelssohn's winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf the first week in November brought further music to the forty-eight-year-old trainer's ears and the crowning glory came two days ago when Highland Reel claimed the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin, making it an incredible twenty-eight Group One victories.

 

John Won.

Another returning hero was the Jessica Harrington-trained Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Sizing John, who hasn't raced since claiming the Punchestown Gold Cup in April. Ths Midnight Legend gelding was, nevertheless, sent off the 2/1 second-favourite alongside the market leader, Willie Mullins' Djakadam in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. Sizing John simply outclassed his main rival, despite a jumping mistake early on in the contest, which jockey, Robbie Power, took in his stride and soon the Commonstown Stud star recovered his jumping rhythm and, after a couple of good leaps over the final few fences, sealed his seven-length victory ahead of the tiring Djakadam.

 

10 December 2017

 

A Reel farewell!

The icing on the cake to mark the termination of an illustrious racing career for this Gallileo offspring was winning the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Highland Reel, having his last start before heading to stud was sent quickly away by Ryan Moore, taking up a handy position behind front runner, Helene Charisma. The five-year-old was still holding that position as the field approached the turn for home in this mile-and-half contest until he made a move at the top of the straight. The Andre Fabre-trained Talismanic, who had beaten Highland Reel in the Breeders' Cup Turf six days ago looked as he had it in he bag again as he made his bid for home. Highland Reel was not finished yet, however, and he was not going to denied his seventh Group One victory so he dug deep and beat his old rioval by a length.

 

Made it!

It's been almost a year since this 10-times champion trainer had a winner at Sandown so it was a day to remember. Paul Nicholls' 335-day drought finally came to an end when Touch Kick, ridden by Harry Cobden, succeeded in claiming the MS Amlin Insurance Novices' Limited Handicap Chase by half a length, despite his annoying tendency to jump to the left.

 

Gamble, no shamble!

The Zoffany gelding hadn't got his nose in front after ten attempts but there was huge betting on him at Chelmsford, encouraged by Jamie Maynard, the all-weather tipster. The George Peckham-trained Zoffany Bay was generally available at around 20/1 earlier on in the day but by the time the starter initiated the Bet totewin At betfred.com Handicap he was a clear second-favourite at just 5/2. The three-year-old, with Kieran O'Neill aboard, chased the leaders doggedly for a good part of the race, kicking clear when the ten-strong field reached the final two furlongs. Zoffany Bay then made his challenge one furlong from home and, seemingly still full of energy, took the one-and-a-quarter-mile contest by one-and-a-half lengths, making it his first victory in eleven career outings.

 

8 December 2017

 

A Manic Manoeuvre

Yesterday at Clonmel a young jockey demonstrated incredible acrobatic skills, not only managing to stay aboard his mount but winning the race to boot. Jack Kennedy was partnering the Gordon Elliott-trained Robin Des Mana in the Clonmel Racecourse Supporters Club Only 90 Euros Beginners Chase. All was going presumably as planned as the Robin Des Pres gelding was urged to make all the running in this two-mile contest. The six-year-old got over the first three fences without a problem but then stumbled when landing after the fourth. At that point all seemed lost as Jack Kennedy slid out of the saddle and was left desperately clinging onto the left side of the horse. Then, amazingly, the jockey managed to haul himself back into the saddle and get back into the race which he eventually won by three-quarters of a length, thanks, in part, to his considerate fellow competitors, particularly the one behind, who, concerned for their colleague's welfare, made room for the remarkable manoeuvre.

 

See for yourself: https://twitter.com/SportingLife/status/938788246418526208

 

All's Well that ends Well!

It has just been confirmed that the Judy and John Murray-owned Kings Theatre gelding is to run at Cheltenham on December 15. The Michael Scudamore-trained Kingswell Theatre was in top form nine days ago when he made all in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase to eventually win by three-quarters of a length. The eight-year-old got the better of Vicomte Du Seuil and Cantlow on that occasion and the Ross-On-Wye handler is keen to enter him in the renewal of this contest and is confident that Kingswell Theatre can win again, even though he has gone up by six pounds in the ratings for his latest triumph.

 

Sky's the Limit!

One punter's lucky day on Skybet yesterday. He placed a £2.30 each-way five-fold accumulator on four races at Leicester and one at Wincanton and landed up with £23,631.36. The interesting thing is that none of his selections were favourites but four of them won by two lengths or more. There were plenty of hair-raising moments, however, before the lucky punter collected his winnings. In the Lubenham Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Leicester, for example, there was a photo-finish between Lagavara and the 11/4 favourite Daytime Ahead, the former subsequently being awarded the victory by a nose.

 

7 December 2017

 

Cheers!

Jamie Osborne-trained Thewayyouare stallion rode back to glory at Lingfield yesterday after more than three years' absence. Toast Of New York, initially retired following a tendon injury, when being prepared for the Dubai World Cup of 2015, was nevertheless sent off the second favourite in the four-strong Betway Conditions Stakes. The six-year-old went into the lead before the turn into the straight and had no problems holding off the Archie Watson-trained Petite Jack in the final furlong.

 

Scu for More?

This Goldwell gelding was last seen when finishing runner-up in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter in March. The Eccles Wall Court team is no doubt hoping the Michael Scudamore-trained Mysteree will earn a place in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on 27 December. This Grade Three contest will be the nine-year-old's first sortie of the season and the Ross-On-Wye trainer is clearly keeping his fingers crossed that Mysteree can repeat his 2102 success when Monbeg Dude claimed this prestigious prize.

 

Beg to Differ?

Today's first race at Clonmel could be the chance for another Monbeg - the Gordon Elliott-trained Monbeg Worldwide to make amends for the five-length humiliation he suffered at Fairyhouse at the beginning of November. The Michael O'Leary-owned five-year-old had previously rattled off three bumper wins in a row before disappointing favourite backers on that occasion. It is generally thought that Monbeg Worldwide has improved since then and will have no difficulty transporting his jockey, Jack Kennedy, to victory in this two-mile maiden hurdle.

 

6 December 2017

 

Not going yet!

Champions such as Desert OrchidRhyme 'n ReasonPersian Punch and Barnbrook are just a few of the legendary names associated with this veteran trainer who will be 78 next week. David Elsworth, who began training in 1978, won the HWPA President's Award at the 51st annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association Derby Awards Lunch yesterday. The Newmarket-based trainer who is particularly remembered for his two Goodwood Cups victories with Persian Punch has said that he doesn't plan to retire yet.

 

Goodbye Willy!

A young jockey, who has been out of action since breaking two vertebrae and two ribs in a fall from Foxtail Hill on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March has decided to hang up his boots at the tender age of 23. Willy Twiston-Davies, who has just been cleared by his doctor to return to race riding, affirms that this difficult decision has nothing to do with his injuries. The Gloucestershire-born rider burst onto the racing scene as a 16-year-old amateur when he triumphed in the Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences aboard Baby Run at Aintree and then when riding the Alan King-trained Primitivo in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2016. Willy Twiston-Davies has announced that he intends first of all to pursue a career in the bloodstock world and then maybe become a trainer.

 

Jet Set

This Overbury mare notched up another win in the Tysers Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Plumpton, making it four wins and two places since switching to Cottage Field stables earlier in the year. Jester Jet, now trained by Tom Lacey in Herefordshire, tracked the leaders in the earlier stages of this three-mile-plus contest until urged by jockey, Robert Dunne, to assume the lead just before two from home. Thereafter the seven-year-old romped home to win by by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

5 December 2017

 

Jet Set

This Overbury mare notched up another win in the Tysers Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Plumpton yesterday, making it four wins and two places since switching to Cottage Field stables earlier in the year. Jester Jet, now trained by Tom Lacey in Herefordshire, tracked the leaders in the earlier stages of this three-mile-plus contest until urged by jockey, Robert Dunne, to assume the lead just before two from home. Thereafter the seven-year-old romped home to win by by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Champion's Champion

Champions such as Desert Orchid, Rhyme 'n Reason, Persian Punch and Barnbrook are just a few of the legendary names associated with this veteran trainer who will be 78 next week. David Elsworth, who began training in 1978, won the HWPA President's Award at the 51st annual Horserace Writers & Photographers Association Derby Awards Lunch yesterday. The Newmarket-based trainer is particularly remembered for his two Goodwood Cups victories with Persian Punch.

 

Willy, Won't he?

A young jockey, who has been out of action since breaking two vertebrae and two ribs in a fall from Foxtail Hill on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March, has decided to hang up his boots at the tender age of 23. Willy Twiston-Davies, who has just been cleared by his doctor to return to race riding, affirms that this difficult decision has nothing to do with his injuries. The Gloucestershire-born rider burst onto the racing scene as a 16-year-old amateur when he triumphed in the Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree aboard Baby Run and then when riding the Alan King-trained Primitivo in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2016. Willy Twiston-Davies has announced that he intends first of all to pursue a career in the bloodstock world and then maybe become a trainer.

 

4 December 2017

 

No Comment?

The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase, established in memory of the legendary commentator, produced a a thrilling three-way finale that the Newcastle-born broadcaster, who died two years ago, would have relished. The Nicky Henderson-trained Gold Present seemed none the worse for wear after being absent from racing more than half a year. The Presenting gelding had a tendency to jump right but, nevertheless, dominated the field until the twelfth obstacle when he was challenged four from home and eventually lost the lead after the second. It was never say die for this seven-year-old, however, as he rallied and joined Warriors Tale and Gentleman Jon in a thrilling battle at the finish. A this stage Gold Present looked as though it wasn't his day until Nico de Boinville, undoubtedly one of the great big race riders of today managed to persuade his mount to make another rally and the result was victory by a neck.

 

History in the Making

Another memorable occasion at Fairyhouse yesterday when this County Meath-based trainer landed all three Grade One races for Gigginstown stud owners. Gordon Elliott, who has already completed the amazing feat of saddling six winners on the same card this season, became the first trainer in the history of the prestigious meeting to claim all three top-level races. The thirty-nine-year-old had the pleasure of watching his crack novice, Mengli Khan, run his rivals ragged in the in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle. Then his five-year-old Apple's Jade knocked the spots of Cheltenham Stayers' Hurdle winner, Nichols Canyon, in the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle. His day was made complete when Davy Russell partnered Death Duty to an impressive victory in the Drinmore Novice Chase.

 

Where there's Hope!

One of the races not bagged at Fairyhouse by the County Meath trainer was won by the Gavin Cromwell-trained Espoir D'Allen, building on his two earlier successes at Punchestown and Down Royal. The Voix Du Nord gelding, sent off the 8/13 favourite, was stepping up to Grade Three level so Barry Geraghty was quite content at first to keep him calmly at the rear of the five-strong field, only deciding to let him take closer order down the back straight until he was in the lead round the home turn. The Gordon Elliott-trained Mitchouka valiantly tried to hold this move in check and seemed to be succeeding. When the duo approached the second hurdle from home, however, it was Espoir D'Allen's jumping that decided the matter, after which he galloped of to win by a comfortable four-and-a-half lengths.

 

3 December 2017

 

Revenge

An aptly named Westerner gelding won the Ladbrokes Trophy (for decades known as the Hennessy Gold Cup) and inevitably cast his trainer's memory back to 2002 when his Be My Royal was first past the post but was subsequently disqualified due to traces of morphine in his system, proven to be the result of contaminated feed. An outraged Willie Mullins spent four years disputing the finding but the High Court judges refused to overturn the Jockey Club’s ruling. Yesterday, Total Recall's victory would have been a kind of revenge for the County Carlow king and he must have relished the prospect of returning home with £54,000 in English prize money. This was also another win for the history books as Total Recall is now the first Irish winner of this three-mile-plus handicap since 1980.

 

Air Go on!

This Nicky Henderson-trained Crillon gelding opened his new season account with an easy victory in the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle yesterday. Buveur D'Air, last year's Champion Hurdler was the short-odds favourite and promptly outclassed his four rivals. Katgary and Mirsaale vied with each other for dominance in the early stages of the race until Barry Geraghty decided it was time for his six-year-old mount to take the lead, which he did after the third-last flight, and thereafter romped home to a three-and-a-half length victory.

 

Bear Behind

Some jockeys never give up if there is even the slightest chance of a win. The Nicky Henderson-trained Beware The Bear's saddle had slipped over his quarters and in such a situation most jockeys would have put safety first and pulled the horse up. Not Sean Bowen, however. He decided to kbo, as Winston Churchill used to say. Even so, the Shantou gelding seemed way out of it seven fences from home with Yala Enki and Boric vying for leadership in he straight, closely pursued by the Kerry Lee-trained Bishops Road, confidently ridden by Jamie Moor, who looked set to claim the prize. Despite all the odds, Beware The Bear came from behind and fairly flew over the last two fences and surged clear to triumph by two-and-a-quarter lengths in the At The Races Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle yesterday.

 

2 December 2017

 

Alcoholic View

A 40/1 outsider put paid to any dreams of a successful comeback for the Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack or a repeat win by Harry Fry's Unowhatimeanharry. The Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury yesterday had been billed as a contest between the latter two stars but two Richards had other ideas. The strangely-named Beer Goggles, trained by Richard Woollacott and ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, hadn't even been rated as a contender when he was sent straight to the front, pursued by a strong-travelling Thistlecrack, who was making his first appearance since being denied victory by Many Clouds at Cheltenham in January. The just over three-mile contest hotted up when the six-strong field entered the home turn. It soon became apparent that 11-10 favourite, Thistlecrack, was weakening fast and this wouldn't be his triumphant return. It was now up to Unowhatimeanharry to go with the punters and he did make a desperate effort to reel in the leader but the Oscar gelding wasn't to be caught and clinched the deal by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Fencing Duel

This Ben Pauling-trained Court Cave gelding, winner of last season's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, added another top honour to his credit yesterday, the Ladbrokes Novices' Chase at Newbury. This was another so-called two-horse contest with the Alan King-trained Grade One-winning hurdler, Yanworth, the big rival. The champion jockey, Richard Johnson was aboard Western Miller, trained by Charlie Longsden, and he was in the lead until the eighth fence, then weakening at about two out. By this time Nico de Boinville decided to send Willoughby Court to the front as they raced down the back straight. The latter's jumping seemed to be the more confident on this occasion. By contrast Yanworth looked decidedly non-fluent and things didn't look good for the JP McManus-owned chestnut, although, give him his due, he did rally when Barry Geraghty's urged him to try and close the gap. Willoughby Court, however, never looked like being caught and won by three lengths.

 

Still in the Spirit

For sixty years this three-mile-plus contest was known as the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup but from this year when it acquired new sponsors and is now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase. But, by whatever name, this is the exciting feature race at Newbury today. Twenty-one runners compete for the £142,000 prize. Mark Bradstock is one of the trainers and he is hoping that things will come good for his 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Unfortunately, ten-year-old Coneygree has had more than his fair share of injuries since that momentous occasion and things didn't appear to be on the mend when he was pulled up in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November. Nevertheless the Wantage-based handler is confident that his Karinga Bay gelding will be up with the best of them.

 

1 December 2017

 

Berkshire Bonanza.

Today heralds the beginning of two great days of racing at Newbury and racing fans can hardly wait for 3pm when the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle takes place. A dynamic duo dominates the headlines, although in horse racing nothing's for sure. Last year's King George winner, Thistlecrack, trained by Colin Tizzard, on paper seems to have the upper hand, particularly as he has the advantage of six pounds over his main contender, Unowhatimeanharry. The downside is that the Kayf Tara nine-year-old has been off the track for the best part of a year for one reason and another which would seem to favour the Harry Fry-trained Sir Harry Lewis gelding who seems to be in the peak of health.

 

Fencing Duel

Another Newbury treat today is the Ladbrokes Novices' Chase when Willoughby Court and Yanworth are set to battle it out in this five-runner contest. These two proved themselves to be top-class hurdlers and now they have to prove that they can rise to the heights over fences. The Ben Pauling-trained Willoughby Court, who triumphed in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March, opened his account over the larger obstacles in the Premier League Betting At 188Bet Novices' Chase at Huntingdon three weeks ago and his Bourton Hill-based handler says the six-year-old benefited greatly from that experience. The Alan King-trained Norse Dancer gelding, however, has some amends to make. After easily winning his debut appearance over fences at Exeter in October he went and blew it at the same Devon track a month later, coming a cropper at the fifth.

 

Lovely Job!

The Fergal O'Brien-trained Touch Of Land gelding defied top weight to claim the Bet totequadpot At betfred.com Limited Handicap Chase at Taunton yesterday. Lovely Job, with Noel Fehily aboard, made all the running and, despite jumping left throughout the nigh-on three-mile contest, kept going persistently and when asked to finish the job, the seven-year-old obliged with a one-and-a-half- length victory.

 

30 November 2017

 

Victory Trail

This Kerry Lee-trained Perugino gelding kicked off his season by coming third in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter three weeks ago and was the red-hot 5/4 favourite for yesterday's Bet At racinguk.com Handicap Chase at Wetherby. Gino Trail, ridden by Jamie Moore, had no problems at all this time around as he only had three rivals to contend with and they were quickly dealt with. The ten-year-old's jumping was pretty flawless apart from a mistake two fences from the finish. This error didn't affect the final outcome, however, as Gino Trail claimed victory by seven lengths ahead of the Rebecca Menzies-trained Pain Au Chocolat.

 

Not Sleeping on the Job!

The John Magnier's Yeats offspring was a positive winner in the Betdaq Rated Novice Chase at Punchestown yesterday. The West's Awake, trained by trained by Edward O'Grady, had won two of his previous three starts over fences and was the 16-1 shot in this two-and-a-half-mile contest. The six-year-old looked a little flat as he came around the home turn but he perked up after the final fence and carried Andrew Lynch to a three-and-three-quarter-length victory and was warmly fêted afterwards in the winner's enclosure.

 

Drink to that!

Racegoers can look forward to the pleasure of seeing the 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up back in action at Lingfield next Wednesday. The Jamie Osborne-trained Toast Of New York has not raced since that outstanding performance at Santa Anita three years ago due to a tendon injury which necessitated his premature retirement. The six-year-old was subsequently bought by Al Shaqab Racing and had been standing at stud in the Middle East. Earlier in the year, however, Toast Of New York came back to England and, surprisingly, has now been passed fit enough to race again.

 

29 November 2017

 

Hit or Myth!

This Moulton Paddocks' trainer is apparently somewhat taken aback that her Midnight Legend gelding has even got a place in the Ladbrokes Trophy. It has been confirmed, however, that Lucy Wadham will saddle Potters Legend in this valuable handicap chase at Newbury on Saturday, in which even sixth place pays out £3350. The seven-year-old, one of the lightest in the field (perhaps the missing apostrophe makes a difference!), will face, among others, the Mark Bradstock-trained Coneygree who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2015 winner, after only two runs this season at Chepstow and Bangor where he came seventh and fourth, respectively.

 

What's in a Name!

It's hard to believe but it's ten years since the legendary Denman won his first Hennessy Gold Cup. It's a far cry from such exploits but, yesterday at Lingfield, a four-year-old, out of an unraced half-sister to this mighty chaser, successfully opened up his account in the Stonegate Supporting Dorking Wanderers bumper on the all-weather track, winning by ten lengths. The Nick Gifford-trained chestnut gelding, owned by JP McManus, may well have inherited at least some of the champion's ability but certainly not his dignity, because, unfortunately, he is saddled with the name, Didtheyleaveuoutto!

 

Not Making Allowances

After notching up her 56th winner of the year at Lingfield on Saturday and the 95th of her career, this twenty-one-year-old jockey cannot now claim any weight advantage. So today at Wolverhampton, where Holly Doyle, attached to the Richard Hannon stable, has two rides, things will not be quite as they used to be when she weighs out, although she insists that she will face it like any other day.  

28 November 2017

 

Brain Games

The Nicky Henderson-trained Kalanisi gelding got off to a good start on his debut over fences at Kempton Park yesterday. Brain Power, with David Mullins aboard, had been a favourite for the Champion Hurdle in March but somehow couldn't quite cut the mustard. This time around things seemed to be easier, however. Although there were only three rivals in this two-mile-two-furlong racinguk.com Novices' Chase, two of them, Winter Escape, trained by Alan King and Philip Hobbs' War Sound had shown some good form in handicap hurdles but they had their work cut out when taking on this 1/2 favourite six-year-old who coasted home some twenty-eight lengths clear of War Sound.

 

Coming up for Air

Saturday's Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle should be the setting for the seasonal reappearance of reigning Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air. The Nicky Henderson-trained Crillon offspring won't necessarily have it all his own way as he will be up against the likes of Gordon Elliott's impressive mare, Apple's Jade. This JP McManus-owned six-year-old won the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and got off to a good start earlier this month when winning the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan

 

A Royal Ring!

The Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi put on a doughty display in yesterday's OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Kempton. The Doctor Dino mare had won a similar race at Wetherby in November but this time she had to handle a step-up in in trip of over a mile and carry an additional four pounds in weight. Richard Johnson didn't push the six-year-old too hard in the early stages at the front but, even so, she only had the Gavin Cromwell-trained Jer's Girl to deal with when approaching the last. Even though the five-year-old Jeremy mare, ridden by Barry Geraghty, got away faster and took over the lead, La Bague Au Roi still had enough left to fight back and prevail by half a length.

 

27 November 2017

 

Life's A Beach!

It was this Cullentra-based trainer's day at Navan with a fourth straight victory in the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase. Gordon Elliott had already claimed the last three renewals of this prestigious three-mile handicap and it was obvious that he wanted more of the same as he saddled five runners in a 21-strong field. It was clearly a wide-open contest as the shortest odds were 6/1 and that was for Gordon Elliott's General Principle who finished way down the field. The eventual honours went, however, to the 12/1 shot, Mala Beach, ridden by Davy Russell. This nine-year-old, runner-up in the Ryans Cleaning Chase at Galway last month, looked impressive as the runners moved into the home turn. The Noel Meade-trained Bonny Kate was a good bit ahead, negotiating the second fence from the finish, but the Beneficial gelding had no problem overhauling the Beneficial filly to triumph by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Thonic So far!

It looks like this Colin Tizzard-trained Maresco Sorento gelding should appreciate the drop in grade when he competes in the totequadpot Handicap Chase at Ludlow this afternoon. Mick Thonic, partnered by Robbie Power, tackled Class 2 events at Cheltenham on his last couple of outings and didn't do too badly, jumping well out in front before weakening up the notorious Prestbury Park incline. Also the handicapper has been unusually beneficent by dropping the grey four pounds to a mark of 128. That looks quite favourable if the seven-year-old is on his best form.

 

Sam played it again!

Trainer Gordon Elliott scored twice at Navan yesterday. Not only did he carry off the £59, 000 feature race , the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase, but an hour-and-a-half earlier one of his two runners in the Grade 3 'Monksfield' Novice Hurdle added another £25,000 to the County Meath-based trainer's coffers. Samcro, favourite again, made it five wins from five with an impressive display in this two-and-a-half-mile contest. It is generally known that Gordon Elliott thinks very highly of this five-year-old Germany gelding who was bought by Gigginstown House Stud for £335,000 after only winning a point-to-point.

26 November 2017

 

He's the Top!

The Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot yesterday was money for jam for this Polyglote gelding. The aptly named Top Notch, trained by Nicky Henderson, went into the lead before the second-last flight and romped home by eight lengths. Alan King's Smad Place dominated until the ninth fence but weakened thereafter, allowing Royal Regatta to have a few moments of glory before being pulled up before the last. Nico de Boinville had kept Top Notch handy for most of the trip and when the moment was right the duo left the rest of the field standing.

 

Wrong Name!

The top juvenile hurdler and winner of his seven starts last season could only manage fourth in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot yesterday, some seventeen lengths adrift of the winner, Lil Rockerfeller, trained by Neil King. The Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil didn't start well, lingering near the back of the field and even hitting a hurdle in the straight on the first circuit. The Voix Du Nord gelding just didn't seem to be able to get his act together and get into the position of making any kind of 'Défi' (challenge!), despite the efforts of top jockey Barry Geraghty.

 

Win for Min

Favourite backers didn't make much profit on the 1/9 odds-on winner of the Ladbrokes Bet 10 & Get 40 On The Grid Chase at Gowran Park yesterday. They did have the pleasure, however, of watching the Willie Mullins-trained Min, on his first run since last Christmas, make mincemeat of his two rivals and claim the two-and-a-half-mile contest by an incredible thirty-six lengths. As expected, Paul Townend allowed the six-year-old Walk In The Park gelding, stepping up in trip, to make all the running and they both came home victorious with no trouble at all.

 

25 November 2017

 

Just a Min.

Provided he stays on his feet and doesn't discard his rider, this Willie Mullins-trained Walk In The Park gelding can't fail to gain a place and pick up a minimum of £1800 in the Ladbrokes Bet 10 & Get 40 On The Grid Chase at Gowran Park today. That's because Min only has to face two rivals on his long-awaited return to action in this two-and-a-half-mile feature event. The six-year-old has been absent due to injury after his easy victory in the Grade One event at Leopardstown last Christmas but is expected to make up for lost time today and beat Flaxen Flare and Uncle Danny to the winning post.

 

Nip Off to Nippon

This thirty-four-year-old Brighton-born jockey notched up an incredible six wins from eight rides at the Tokyo track yesterday. Ryan Moore's remarkable equestrian skills will stand him in good stead again tomorrow when he rides the Aidan O'Brien-trained Idaho in the Japan Cup. Ever since his first successful venture in Japan when he partnered the Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy to victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup in Kyoto in 2011, Ryan Moore has has made Japan a vital part of his racing activities and yesterday's triumph on Rapier Wit marked his 100th win in Land of the Rising Sun.

 

Scored Second !

Ten amateur riders participated in a seven-furlong race in aid of the Prince's Countryside Trust and a former England striker, making his debut in the saddle, came second. Michael Owen, who hung up his boots four years ago, rode with confidence aboard the the Tom Dascombe-trained Calder Prince and went briefly into the lead as the field came round the home turn. His efforts, however, weren't enough to fight off the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Golden Wedding, who, ridden by Tom Chatfield-Roberts, pulled comfortably clear in the final furlong.

24 November 2017

 

Former Pro turns Amateur

A one-time England and International striker has a shot a horse racing in a charity event at Ascot today. Michael Owen, making his debut in the saddle, takes on other keen amateurs in a seven-furlong contest in aid of the Prince's Countryside Trust. It's four years since the thirty-seven-year-old put away his boots and started to devote most of his time to his Manor House Stables in Cheshire where Tom Dascombe is the trainer. Michael Owen will be aboard four-year-old Calder Prince, who has won four of his twenty-seven starts, the last being the Betfred Super League Handicap at Haydock at the beginning of July.

 

Bach to Win!

The Willie Mullins-trained Bachasson dominated the Boomerang Animal Bedding And Boomerang Horse & Country Store Chase at Thurles yesterday. Although there were only four contestants the two-mile-six-furlong contest proved to be an interesting affair. Andrew McNamara's Val De Ferbet made the running for the first half of the race until Paul Townend decided it was time to give the Voix Du Nord gelding his head. The six-year-old quickly established a significant lead, rounding the home turn with his rivals struggling twenty-four lengths in his slipstream.

 

Gold Standard

This South Lanarkshire race course has won Small Racecourse Gold Standard status for twelve months and has been named as one of the UK’s best venues for racehorse owners. Hamilton Park received this award from the Racehorse Owners Association, an organisation with more than eight thousand members that has represented racehorse owners for over seventy years.

 

23 November 2017

 

And Another Thing!

This William Haggas-trained Kodiac colt scored for the fifth time at Kempton Park yesterday when he claimed the Listed one-mile £40,000 British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes. Second Thought, owned by Liam Sheridan, is proving to be a real all-weather star, having notched up four victories on Polytrack and one on Tapeta, the most notable being his six-furlong triumph in the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships Final at Lingfield on Good Friday. This time Second Thought was tackling two furlongs extra which was probably why he was sent of at 5/1. James Doyle kept the three-year-old handy mid-field and urged him forward from about two furlongs out and he eventually got the better of the Jeremy Noseda-trained Keystroke by half a length.

 

Sceau Good!

The Highflyer/Million In Mind 4-Y-O & 5-Y-O Novices' Chase at Warwick yesterday provided this Doctor Dino gelding with the chance to show he can still cut the mustard. The Alan King-trained Sceau Royal won the Bet At racinguk.com Novices' Chase by four-and-a-half lengths at this West Midlands track at the beginning of October but then, at Cheltenham next time out, he was denied victory by just a neck by Dan Skelton's North Hill Harvey in the quareintheair.com Novices' Chase. Daryl Jacob gave Sceau Royal a positive ride from the outset and the duo was well clear when they turned home, negotiating the last two fences with ease and cruising to a twenty-one length victory.

 

Remember, Remember!

It seems that Ruby Walsh feels that this Westerner gelding has got what it takes to make his mark in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on December 2. The Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall, one of the horses who was switched from the Sandra Hughes' stable over the Summer, immediately went on to score in last month's Munster National at Limerick. That victory looks all the more significant as the runner-up, Alpha Des Obeaux, subsequently went on to win the Clonmel Oil Chase. Unfortunately the County Kildare jockey will not be aboard a week on Saturday as he is sidelined with a broken leg.

 

22 November 2017

 

A Waste of a Morning!”

After the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal on November 4, stewards found this trainer and his jockey in breach of Rule 212A (ii), which relates to "non-triers", when Suitor finished third, eighteen-and-a-half lengths adrift. Gordon Elliott was fined 2,000 euro (about £1700), Jack Kennedy received a five-day suspension and the poor Dutch Art five-year-old was banned from racing for forty-two days. The good news is that, at an appeal hearing, all penalties were quashed. Afterwards the County Meath-based handler didn't mince his words when he lashed out at the Turf Club for "a waste of a morning".

 

Moore and Moore

The Gary Moore-trained Beneficial gelding gained his second successive victory in the Jill's 80th Birthday Novices' Chase at Plumpton. Initially Benatar was up against just two others in this nigh-on two-and-a-half-mile contest and one of them was his stable companion, Britanio Bello. When the latter, unfortunately, unseated his rider at the first, the five-year-old had no option but to make all the running. The trainer's son, Jamie Moore, had to give his charge quite a forceful ride, though, and help him recover from a bad mistake at the eighth with a circuit to go. All's well that ends well, however. Benatar still had enough in reserve to beat off an eager challenge from Keeper Hill , leaving him nine lengths in his wake.

 

Another Century

Destrier's decisive denouement in the Burton Overy Novices' Hurdle at Leicester provided his trainer, Dan Skelton, with his hundredth win for the third season in a row. The victory came as a bit of a surprise, though, as the Voix Du Nord gelding didn't even register on the Richter scale when making his debut in a bumper at Kempton in March. This time the four-year-old got his act together, however, for his first time over hurdles and transported the trainer's brother, Harry, to a decisive length-and-a-half success.

 

21 November 2017

 

Ton Up!

Destrier's decisive denouement in the Burton Overy Novices' Hurdle at Leicester provided his trainer, Dan Skelton, with his hundredth win for the third season in a row. Yesterday's victory came as a bit of a surprise, though, as the Voix Du Nord gelding didn't even register on the Richter scale when making his debut in a bumper at Kempton in March. This time the four-year-old got his act together, however, for his first time over hurdles and transported the trainer's brother, Harry, to a decisive length-and-a-half success.

 

Moore and Moore

The Gary Moore-trained Beneficial gelding gained his second successive victory in the Jill's 80th Birthday Novices' Chase at Plumpton yesterday. Initially Benatar was up against just two others in this nigh-on two-and-a-half-mile contest and one of them was his stable companion, Britanio Bello. When the latter, unfortunately, unseated his rider at the first, the five-year-old had no option but to make all the running. The trainer's son, Jamie Moore, had to give his charge quite a forceful ride, though, and help him recover from a bad mistake at the eighth with a circuit to go. All's well that ends well, however. Benatar still had enough in reserve to beat off an eager challenge from Keeper Hill , leaving him nine lengths in his wake.

 

A Waste of a Morning!”

After the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal on November 4, stewards found this trainer and his jockey in breach of Rule 212A (ii), which relates to "non-triers", when Suitor finished third, eighteen-and-a-half lengths adrift. Gordon Elliott was fined 2,000 euro (about £1700), Jack Kennedy received a five-day suspension and the poor Dutch Art five-year-old was banned from racing for forty-two days. The good news is that yesterday, at an appeal hearing, all penalties were quashed. Afterwards the County Meath-based handler didn't mince his words when he lashed out at the Turf Club for "a waste of a morning".

 

20 November 2017

 

Germany Calling!

The 2015 Champion Hurdle winner returned to the track yesterday after 665 days on the sidelines with various injuries and it was as though he had never been away. The Willie Mullins-trained Faugheen won the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown by an impressive sixteen lengths. Unfortunately his regular rider couldn't share in the glory as he, too, is sidelined due to injury. Paul Townend, deputising for Ruby Walsh, was happy to allow the nine-year-old Germany gelding to make all well before two out and then, when he thought the time was right, urged him to go for home. Another former Champion Hurdle hero, Jezki, trained by Jessica Harrington, was the very distant runner-up.

 

Second Time Around.

Last year's easy winner of the Cheltenham Shloer Chase returned to Prestbury Park yesterday and did it again. The Colin Tizzard-trained Fox Norton was kept handy by his jockey, Bryan Cooper, close behind an old rival, Henry De bromhead's Special Tiara, until the second-last fence when he pulled away effortlessly in a matter of strides to claim the nigh-on one-mile-eight-furlong contest by eight lengths. Not as good as last time, though, when the Lando gelding put nine lengths between him and his nearest rival,

 

Kept His Marbles!

It was never-say-die for this Duke Of Marmalade gelding in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham yesterday. The Alan King-trained Elgin battled on to the end to reel in the long-time leader, Misterton, in the final strides. All tribute was due to the great patience and tactical skills of his jockey, Wayne Hutchinson, who kept the five-year-old Elite Racing Club-owned star wide, delivering him in the perfect position on the rail to challenge at the second-last. The Harry Fry-trained Sagamix gelding, however, was prepared to go down fighting and ultimately had to cede victory by a neck.

 

19 November 2017

 

Howdya like them Apples!

The JP McManus-owned Saddler Maker filly won the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle on her debut at Cheltenham yesterday. Apple's Shakira, trained by Nicky Henderson, is the classy sister to the multiple Grade One-winning mare Apple's Jade. The Philip Hobb-trained Gumball was looking to make this two-mile-plus Class 1 event three-in-a-row but he didn't stand a chance up against this flying three-year-old with Barry Geraghty aboard, as she put seventeen lengths between her and her closest rival. As a result Apple's Shakira is now favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March

 

A Touch of Frost

Another big winner in the mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase at Cheltenham yesterday for the recently turned professional lady rider. Just a week after claiming the Badger Ales Chase on the Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man, Bryony Frost made it five wins from five over fences when she scored aboard another Ditheat resident, Black Corton. It was originally supposed that Ballyoptic or West Approach would dominate the event but not so. The six-year-old Laverock gelding put on a fair display of jumping and was also assisted by the mistakes of his two rivals.

 

All's Well at Font

Today is Southern National day at Fontwell and it's looks like being a great event, with seven races and sixty-five runners declared. The totepool-sponsored £20,000 National is one the West Sussex track's two biggest races of the season and has attracted a strong field of ten runners this year. The Dan Skelton-trained Shelford is tipped to be one of the favourites, having been placed in five of his past six runs. Colin Tizzard's Fergal Mael Duin and David Pipe's Rathlin Rose are also ones to keep an eye on.

 

18 November 2017

 

Luck of the Irish

This Vinnie Roe mare had no problem progressing to hurdle races as was evident when she made easy work of victories at Southwell and Cartmel in May and July, respectively. Peter Atkinson, is, therefore, keeping his fingers crossed that what he describes as his “ horse-of-a-lifetime”, Irish Roe, can keep up the good work in the totescoop6 Three Ways To Win Handicap Hurdle at Wetherby today. After the last success, the Northallerton-based trainer, who has just a couple of horses in training, announced that his six-year-old would have a good rest before resuming his campaign. So three months have elapsed and today's the day for Irish Roe to tackle this competitive two-mile handicap hurdle which will require nothing less than a career-best performance and, once more, Middleham jockey Henry Brooke will be aboard to try to make it happen.

 

A Bridge too far?

Last month at Punchestown, the John Ryan-trained Balakheri gelding, a 25/1 shot, almost upset the apple cart by winning the Irish Daily Star Chase. In that Grade Two contest Danny Mullins decided that Kilcarry Bridge should try to take the race by the scruff of the neck from the front and he almost made it. The ten-year-old was denied victory by the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect only in the closing seconds of the race. Connections are, therefore, expecting some kind of compensation at Cork tomorrow afternoon and hoping that Kilcarry Bridge can reproduce something of that winning expertise in the J.P. McManus Handicap Hurdle.

 

A Poignant Result

The Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase on the first day of Cheltenham's November meeting turned out, as expected, to be a real sizzler. The Colin Tizzard-trained Finian's Oscar proved the one to beat when he stormed up the Prestbury Park hill and denied victory to the Paul Nicholls-trained Movewiththetimes by two-and-a-quarter lengths. The result was even more poignant as the five-year-old Oscar gelding was sporting the colours of owners, Ann and Alan Potts, just days after the latter's death.

 

17 November 2017

 

Prestbury Park on Parade

It's Day One of the November meeting at Cheltenham. The opening session has something for everyone: three chases, two hurdle races, one race on the cross-country course and a Grade 2 contest adding icing to the cake. The Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase over two-and-a-half miles is, by all accounts, the feature event of the day and, although there are only four runners, it looks like being a real humdinger. The impressive Colin Tizzard-trained Finian’s Oscar will face a tough challenge from Movewiththetimes, handled by Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson's William Henry.

 

Westward Ho!

The Racecourse Association Showcase and Awards Ceremony was held this year at Newbury racecourse. The annual event is an opportunity to reward those racecourses who are deemed to have put the most effort and resources into improving the different aspects of racing for the benefit of race-goers. Two West Sussex courses have had a good record in recent years and both celebrated again with presentations at this 2017 prize giving. Fontwell Park collected the much coveted Racing Post Readers' Award whilst Goodwood was recognised for digital and social media work in promoting their race meetings and other events. The latter's team was also highly commended in the food and beverage category.

 

Back in Tune

The Clonmel Oil Chase was won for third time by the Hon. Michael Morris or better known as trainer 'Mouse' Morris. Alpha Des Obeaux, who hasn't scored for almost a year, was back in winning form and claimed the two-and-a-half-mile contest by five-and-a-half lengths. The early leaders, Tiger Roll and Champagne West eventually gave up the ghost and the race was now dominated by three Gigginstown House Stud runners and it was ultimately Alpha Des Obeaux, ridden buy Sean Flanagan, who went well clear of A Toi Phil.

15 November 2017

 

And the winner is …

Last night at the Cartier Racing Awards ceremony in the Dorchester Hotel the John Gosden-trained Nathaniel filly, who crowned a stunning year by winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, was herself crowned the Cartier Horse of the Year in London. Three-year-old Enable easily brushed aside competition from the likes of Cracksman, Ribchester, and Ulysses to claim this prestigious prize. Enable was also awarded the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award, in tough competition from Winter, Lady Aurelia, and Roly Poly.

 

Bang On!

This Tom George-trained Getaway gelding made a promising start over fences in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Online Chase at Huntingdon last month. Agamemmon was well backed for his seasonal return and he jumped and travelled very well for most of the race. Perhaps the fact that it was his first outing for five months counted against him as he tailed off in the final stages and had to be content with second slot, seven lengths adrift of the winner, Officer Hoolihan. Today his entry at Bangor-on-Dee marks a quicker return to the track for the five-year-old. Bearing in mind that the Slad-based trainer has notched up three out of three at this Welsh course, the result could be bang on!

 

Worth his Weight?

Today at Exeter, this Alan King-trained Norse Dancer gelding lines up for his second outing over fences. Yanworth made his perfect debut over the larger obstacles when he won the 188Bet Best Mate Beginners' Chase at this track last month, beating a tough rival, Sternrubin, by two lengths at this Devon track. Yanworth bears the heaviest weight of all his three rivals and he is even fifteen pounds heavier than the Paul Nicholls-trained four-year-old, Chameron, formerly trained by Guy Cherel, who won both of his races in France when four pounds lighter than Yanworth.

 

14 November 2017

 

Lord Knows!

This Slickly gelding won two of his three career starts in France when he was trained by Mickael Seror and carried on his winning streak at Sandown at the end of April after he was moved to the Nicky Henderson yard. Today Call Me Lord, partnered again by Daryl Jacob, will line up in the Molson Coors Michaelmas Handicap Hurdle and another winn seems to be on the cards. His UK debut wasn't exactly an example of how to win a race as the four-year-old generally didn't jump all that well at all but he did manage to make his way through the field and hit the line running which suggests that he had a lot more in reserve. His five rivals will certainly not make it an easy contest but Call Me Lord looks like a horse who has a lot more to offer this this season and today's small-field handicap hurdle could well be the one to kickstart his further success.

 

Present's Present

A female Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, who only had her first ride as a professional in July, claimed the biggest victory of her professional riding career at Wincanton. Bryony Frost who made the news when, as am amateur, she rode the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder to victory in the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase in March, did it again for her Ditcheat boss. This time she steered Present Man to a narrow victory in the Badger Ales Trophy. It turned out to be gruelling three-mile-one-furlong test and, two fences out, there were only two contestants in the picture – Bryony Frost on the seven-year-old Presenting gelding and Leighton Aspell aboard the David Dennis-trained Final Nudge. After the last, the latter looked as though he had the race in the bag but was not counting on Present Man finding that little bit more on the run-in to win the race by a head.

 

Might Lights the Way

So, as hinted yesterday, this Scorpion gelding had no problem winning the 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown. The unpredictable but talented chaser, Might Bite, trained by Nicky Henderson, was, as expected, sent off the 4/9 favourite, based on his previous two Grade One victories, in particular, in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Under the expert guidance of Nico de Boinville, there was no messing about this time with the eight-year-old producing a professional round of jumping on his way to an easy eight-length triumph.

 

13 November 2017

 

Best of Three

Top Notch, Value at Risk or Unowhatimeanharry? No, this wasn't a discussion between two punters as to the possible result of the Read Noel Fehily At 188Bet Hurdle at Aintree. These were the only three runners in this two-and-a-half-mile contest with over £28,000 for the winner and even £4,000 for the loser. Unowhatimeanharry was the odds-on favourite, having won nine of his 10 starts since joining Harry Fry, his only defeat being in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March when he came third. The Sir Harry Lewis gelding, owned by JP McManus, tracked the leader, Top Notch, a leading novice chaser last season and now reverting to the smaller obstacles, until about three out when he was urged into a narrow lead by his jockey, Barry Geraghty. The pace noticeably hotted up and by the final hurdle there wasn't much to choose between the three rivals. The first to crack, however, was Nicky Henderson's Top Notch as Unowhatimeanharry demonstrated his superior stamina in the final furlong to claim the prize by a length and a half ahead of Value At Risk.

 

All Present and Correct

A female Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, who only had her first ride as a professional in July, claimed the biggest victory of her professional riding career at Wincanton on Saturday. Bryony Frost who made the news when, as am amateur, she rode the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder to victory in the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase in March, did it again for her Ditcheat boss. This time she steered Present Man to a narrow victory in the Badger Ales Trophy. It turned out to be gruelling three-mile-one-furlong test and, two fences out, there were only two contestants in the picture – Bryony Frost on the seven-year-old Presenting gelding and Leighton Aspell aboard the David Dennis-trained Final Nudge. After the last, the latter looked as though he had the race in the bag but was not counting on Present Man finding that little bit more on the run-in to win the race by a head.

 

When it came to the Crunch!

So, as hinted yesterday, this Scorpion gelding had no problem winning the 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown. The unpredictable but talented chaser, Might Bite, trained by Nicky Henderson, was, as expected, sent off the 4/9 favourite, based on his previous two Grade One victories, in particular, in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Under the expert guidance of Nico de Boinville, there was no messing about this time with the eight-year-old producing a professional round of jumping on his way to an easy eight-length triumph.

12 November 2017

 

Zayf Place

This Zafeen gelding returned to Warwick yesterday much to the delight of owners, Aramis Racing, who assembled at the West Midlands track to enjoy the afternoon's racing. The object of their attention, the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis, hasn't tasted victory since his ten-length triumph in the Grand Central Handicap Chase at Worcester at the end of June 2016 but that hasn't in any way decreased this Happy Band of Brothers' enthusiasm. This is mainly due to the fact that the eight-year-old has produced a handful of worthy placings in his not-over-busy seventeen-race career and always gives the impression of being a winner-in-waiting. This time, in the racinguk.com/freetrial Handicap Chase, Zayfire Aramis looked a strong contender and, once again partnered by the talented Liam Treadwell, raced keenly from the outset and was kept fairly handy mid-field for a good part of the race until he started to track the leaders when in around fourth or fifth position. About three fences from home, however, the Kayf Aramis 'nephew' seemed to run a little flat but, give him his due, he rallied before the next obstacle, staying on to persistently chase the leading pair on the inside. Viewed from the owners' stand some way from the finish, he certainly seemed to have victory in his grasp but then found himself short of room which seemed to hinder any further progress. So, again; so near and yet so far. This time he came third.

 

A Double. And that's Flat!

Ian Williams marked the traditional conclusion of the Flat season at Doncaster with an impressive across-the-card double. The Worcestershire-based trainer had barely become aware that London Prize had won the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton when Saunter, despite his name, was persuaded by champion jockey, Jim Crowley to mount a strong late challenge and claimed the Flat prize of the day, the Betfred November Handicap. The result didn't look that way from the outset, however, as the David Griffiths-trained Storm King, with Steve Drowne aboard, seemed intent on winning from the front and was still ahead at the top of the straight. The leading contenders of the rest of the field were already lining up to throw down the gauntlet, though, with the favourite Royal Line, in particular, determined to go for it a quarter of a mile from home. This plan started to falter, however, as the Dubawi colt seemed to be running out of steam. That was precisely the moment when the Myboycharlie four-year-old was getting into his stride and from there he just sprinted away down the middle of the track to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Might is Right

The Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown today might just be the event to mark the successful, eagerly-awaited return of this Scorpion gelding. The Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite certainly proved himself as a doughty stayer in novice races over fences last season, even recovering from a heavy fall at Kempton on Boxing Day and going on to win the Soar Enterprises Online Ltd Novices' Chase at Doncaster two months later, the Grade 1 RSA Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in March and the Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree at the beginning of April. Partnered once more by Nico de Boinville, Might Bite, currently the odds-on favourite, only takes on three rivals in this three-mile-plus contest.

 

11 November 2017

 

Fire Works

This Zafeen gelding returned to Warwick yesterday much to the delight of owners, Aramis Racing, who assembled at the West Midlands track to enjoy the afternoon's racing. The object of their attention, the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis, hasn't tasted victory since his ten-length triumph in the Grand Central Handicap Chase at Worcester at the end of June 2016 but that hasn't in any way decreased this Happy Band of Brothers' enthusiasm. This is mainly due to the fact that the eight-year-old has produced a handful of worthy placings in his not-over-busy seventeen-race career and always gives the impression of being a winner-in-waiting. This time, in the racinguk.com/freetrial Handicap Chase, Zayfire Aramis looked a strong contender and, once again partnered by the talented Liam Treadwell, raced keenly from the outset and was kept fairly handy mid-field for a good part of the race until he started to track the leaders when in around fourth or fifth position. About three fences from home, however, the Kayf Aramis 'nephew' seemed to run a little flat but, give him his due, he rallied before the next obstacle, staying on to persistently chase the leading pair on the inside. Viewed from the owners' stand some way from the finish, he certainly seemed to have victory in his grasp but then found himself short of room which hindered any further progress. Again, so near yet so far - he came third. Here's to the next time!

 

Heave-ho!

This Alan King-trained Halling gelding could be a strong contender in today's Betfred November Handicap at Doncaster. Top Tug, formerly handled by Sir Michael Stoute, has had another successful season, winning the Gentleman's Measure In Memory Of Phil Wiggins at Goodwood in May and two weeks ago, the top weight in the race, finishing an impressive second in the Sir Gordon Richards Handicap. This feature event traditionally marks the end of the Flat turf season on Town Moor. Royal Line is likely to be the favourite to provide his trainer, John Gosden, with a record sixth victory. A mile and a half on the forecast soft ground, however, might just prove too testing for the Dubawi colt and could just be what the doctor ordered for the consistent Top Tug.

 

Fangs for the Memory!

The Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown tomorrow might just be the event to mark the successful, eagerly-awaited return of this Scorpion gelding. The Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite certainly proved himself as a doughty stayer in novice races over fences last season, even recovering from a heavy fall at Kempton on Boxing Day and going on to win the Soar Enterprises Online Ltd Novices' Chase at Doncaster two months later, the Grade 1 RSA Novices' Chase at Cheltenham in March and the Betway Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree at the beginning of April. Partnered once more by Nico de Boinville, Might Bite, currently the odds-on favourite, only takes on three rivals in this three-mile-plus contest.

 

10 November 2017

 

Result could be a Pauling!

Apparently this Bourton in the Water-based trainer can't wait for his Kayf Tara mare's debut over fences at Fontwell Park today. The Ben Pauling-trained Two Swallows will face four rivals in the EBF Mares’ Beginners’ Chase. The Burton Hill Farm team were well pleased with the seven-year-old's performance last season when she notched up three wins and two runner-up slots from her five ventures over hurdles and, not only that, she signed off her campaign with a half-length victory over the peter Bowen-handled Rolling Maul in the Kingston Stud Supporting The IJF Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in April. Being a half-sister to Cheltenham Festival giants such as Thistlecrack and Special Tiara must really boost Two Swallows's chance of success.

 

The Cap Fits!

F and P claimed the CSP Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Newbury yesterday. The Naunton-based trainer, Fergal O'Brien, who seems not to do anything wrong at the moment, saddled Cap Soleil, ridden by Paddy Brennan. in this two-mile-plus novices jump race. The Richard Hobson-trained Dame Rose, winner of a Grade Two mares' bumper at Aintree, was allowed to set the hectic pace with jockey, Danny Cook. The problem was that this Network filly was carrying extra weight as a result of her victory in the intu Eldon Square Shop,Eat,Repeat Novices' Hurdle at Hexham in the middle of October and that soon started to tell. On reaching the second from home it was Countister and the Kapgarde filly who had taken over and battling it out. Then all praise to the latter's jockey, Paddy Brennan, apparently unfazed by the recent news about his losing the Cue Card ride, remained virtually motionless in the saddle to steer the four-year-old, Mrs S A Noott-owned heroine, to a seven-length tvictory.

 

Here for the Beer!

It's Badger Chase Day at Wincanton on Saturday, one of the South Somerset track's biggest meetings of the season. The feature event of the day is the Badger Ales Trophy, which trainer Paul Nicholls has won seven times already and hoping to claim again. With this in mind the Ditcheat handler is saddling Present Man, the likely favourite. This Presenting gelding, ridden by promising five-pound claimer, Bryony Frost, triumphed on his reappearance at Kempton over hurdles last month and this three-mile-one-furlong-plus Listed event is an obvious target, as the seven-year-old's owners are the race's sponsors.

 

09 November 2017

 

Thine is the Kingdom

This John Gosden-trained War Front colt is riding high this season and seeks to keep his unbeaten record intact at Chelmsford tonight. Middle Kingdom, who was bought for an eye-watering 775,000 guineas, has already shown he knows how to handle an artificial surface, having broken his duck in the 32Red.com Maiden Stakes at Newcastle last year. He then went on to score in the bet365 Handicap at Newmarket in April, Today he lines up against eleven rivals in the Bet toteexacta At betfred.com Handicap where he's the 6/5 favourite.

 

All Change!

It has just been announced that a nineteen-year-old is to replace a thirty-six-year-old aboard an eleven-year-old. Harry Cobden, who mainly rides for Colin Tizzard and Paul Nicholls, is to replace Paddy Brennan when Cue Card lines up for the Betfair Chase later this month. The King's Theatre gelding came a cropper for the second time in his last three races when competing in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday. The County Galway jockey has ridden Cue Card thirteen times since October 2015 when he won the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase for the first time and went on to notch up five more victories before his recent run of bad luck.

 

More Powys to the elbow!

A surprise victory after a last-minute entry in the Le Beau Bai & Mountainous Chase at Chepstow yesterday brought back this Powys-based trainer's lovely smile. Kerry Lee stepped in at the eleventh hour to sponsor this two-mile race which is named in honour of her yard's two former Welsh Grand National heroes and saddled Itshard To No. This Helissio gelding duly obliged by transporting Richard Johnson to a narrow victory.

 

08 November 2017

 

Now You're Talking!

Yesterday's result at Exeter was a far cry from this Polyglote gelding's falling at the last fence in the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree in April, when the race seemed in the bag, leaving his jockey disconsolately on the ground, so near yet so far. Though his face could hardly be seen, as it was so splattered with mud, Sam Twiston-Davies’s relief was palpably visible when the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue cleared the last obstacle and, thereby, won the 88Bet Haldon Gold Cup. The future certainly looks brighter now for the six-year-old grey in top two-mile chases. He will have a chance to prove himself again next month in the Tingle Creek at Sandown and then, next March, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

 

Major Tom

This Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs gelding has every chance of finishing his season on a high when he lines up in the Lady Cecil Handicap at Nottingham today. Tomily defied the handicapper last time out by winning the Sun Bets Responsible Betting Handicap at Doncaster in fine style. The three-year-old was partnered by Hollie Doyle for the first time and obviously to enjoy her style of riding. The handicapper has hit him again for that success and today he's up another four pounds but Tomily has been there before and survived. And he's got his favourite jockey on board again.!

 

Bally Good!

The BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 18 appears to be in the sights of Worcestershire trainer Ian Williams for his Pierre gelding, who, for various reasons missed last season. Ballyalton made up for lost time, however, when putting on an impressive, albeit non-winning, performance in the Free Spins At 188Bet Casino Handicap Hurdle at Aintree in October. In fact, the ten-year-old has proved he's got what it takes to win a valuable handicap, having defied top-weight in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at The Cheltenham Festival in March, 2016.

 

07 November 2017

 

The Rising Son

The 157th renewal of the Melbourne Cup, known as the "race that stops a nation", was won by the youngest-ever trainer who also relegated his celebrated father into second place. All eyes were originally on Johannes Vermeer who was expected to produce yet another big triumph for record-breaking trainer, Aidan O'Brien. It was his twenty-four-year-old son Joseph, however, who won the world's richest two-mile handicap at his first attempt with the 14/1 shot Rekindling, ridden by Corey Brown, clinching the deal in the closing stages.

 

Mad and Moore to come!

Today both horse and jockey are making a return to the track after injury. Joshua Moore, who suffered a broken ankle in early August, will be aboard Ar Mad, trained by his father Gary, in today's 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. Joshua Moore has already partnered the Tiger Groom gelding to four victories over fences and, almost a year ago at Sandown, he was in the saddle when the seven-year-old came a very creditable fourth in the Tingle Creek. Ar Mad has been sidelined with an injury since that memorable occasion.

 

Brothers in Arms

A Group Three hero in Germany two years ago, when trained by Mario Hofer, proved at Plumpton yesterday that he has not lost any of his class. Parthenius, now in the hands of Dan Skelton, was partnered by the trainer's brother, Harry, in the Your Jumps Season Guide At attheraces.com/Jumps Maiden Hurdle. The Soldier Hollow gelding was kept in mid-field for the first part of the contest but started to make headway after about three out. Despite a mistake at the next, the four-year-old looked like he could take the race from the the last and, after being hard ridden, that's what he did - by a shoulder.

06 November 2017

 

On Song

This King's Theatre gelding had only notched up three wins in fifteen runs over two years but yesterday he made amends with what was probably his career-best performance. The Mags Mullins-trained Logical Song was given a patient ride by the trainer's son, Danny, and claimed the Paddy Power Cork Grand National Handicap Chase yesterday. To be fair, the eight-year-old is still an inexperienced chaser, having only broken his duck over fences towards the end of September so this was, nevertheless, quite an achievement. The Jessica Harrington-trained A Sizing Network lead the proceedings from the off until Arkwrisht took over the lead at about two out. Danny Mullins only had to call the tune, however, and Logical Song galloped clear and crossed the line twelve 12 lengths ahead of his nearest rival, Raz De Maree.

 

Courting Victory

Another novice succeeded on his debut over the larger obstacles at Huntingdon yesterday. The Ben Pauling-trained Willoughby Court may not have put on a pretty jumping display but, at least, he go there in the end. The Court Cave gelding raised a lot of hopes for the future after claiming victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. However the six-year-old's performance in the two-and-a-half-mile Premier League Betting At 188Bet Novices' Chase must have caused a few missed heartbeats among connections. In addition, his far from faultless jumping wasn't helped by his annoying tendency to jump to his left. In fact, there were a few anxious moments when the Paul and Clare Rooney-owned Willoughby Court looked as though his time was up as the field approached the last-but-one fence when the eventual runner-up, Nicky Henderson's Casablanca Mix, threw down the gauntlet. Nico de Boinville, however, was clearly not going to be denied the prize that easily and urged his mount on to win by a length and a quarter.

 

To crown it all!

Congratulations all round at Naas yesterday at the close of the season for Colin Keane who claimed his first Irish Champion Flat jockey crown. The twenty-three-year-old was champion apprentice in 2014 and runner-up to Pat Smullen in the title race the following year and again in 2016. The Trim-born jockey finally made it this year, finishing the season with a hundred winners – twelve ahead of the nine-time champion.

 

05 November 2017

 

Horse of a different colour

It was widely assumed that the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar yesterday would be a contest between Lady Aurelia and Sir Mark Prescott's Marsha who beat the the Wesley Ward-trained Scat Daddy filly by a nose in the Nunthorpe Stakes this Summer. But this is horse racing and nothing is written. Victory was claimed by Stormy Liberal, the 40/1 outsider, handled by local trainer, Peter Miller. Lady Aurelia, who has won twice at Royal Ascot was odds-on favourite to regain her honour and, although she got into action without delay, tracking the pace-making Pure Sensation, when push came to shove, she had nothing left in the straight and ended up tenth from twelve runners, four places behind her Acclamation rival.

 

Just William

This Norwegian-born jockey finally got revenge for his narrow defeat four years ago in the Breeders Cup. In 2013 William Buick, riding the Lloyd Webber-owned The Fugue, could hardly hold back his tears when he was denied victory in the closing stages of this one-mile prestigious contest by the Ryan Moore-ridden Magician. There was no doubt about the outcome this time, however, when Godolphin's Wuheida gave him the much desired and deserved triumph.

 

Down and Out.

The Gigginstown House Stud claimed a one-two in yesterday's JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal. The shock of the day was that the hot favourite, Our Duke, trailed home last and well beaten. This was clearly a disappointment for trainer, Jessica Harrington, whose Irish Grand National hero neither jumped nor travelled well and never looked like winning. The hero of the day was the Gordon Elliott-trained Outlander , with Jack Kennedy aboard, who eventually won the race by half a length, after a dynamic ding-dong with the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect in the final stages.

 

04 November 2017

 

Music to His Ears

Yesterday at Del Mar the Ballydoyle king added another top-level win to make it a record twenty-seven so far for 2017. Aidan O'Brien saddled Mendelssohn in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, the trainer's fourth victory in this one-mile contest. The Scat Daddy colt, ridden Ryan Moore, put on an impressive display, easily dismissing the challenges by Untamed Domain and Voting Control.

 

Fruits of Success

On the first day of the Down Royal Festival this Medicean gelding , the odds on favourite, claimed the Grade Two feature race, the WKD Hurdle by five lengths. The Willie Mullins-trained Melon and his stable mate, Coquin Mans, dominated most of the race until Ruby Walsh decided it was finally time for the favourite to go into the lead at the last, and despite a minor stumble on landing, the five-year-old held on gamely and triumphed.

 

Two-timing Duo

It was trainer Nicky Richards and conditional jockey Ryan Day's day at Wetherby. The dynamic duo claimed the first race of the day, Watch Racing UK On BT TV Conditional Jockeys' Novices' Handicap Hurdle with On A Promise and struck again with Guitar Pete who finally ended a frustrating run of four runner-up slots to win the bet365 Handicap Chase by seven lengths ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Sametegal.

 

03 November 2017

 

Time for Tea?

After a disappointing Aintree performance last weekend connections will surely be hoping that their Nick Williams-trained Kayf Tara progeny will get back to winning ways when he lines up in the in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in three weeks' time. Tea For Two ended his last season winning the Grade One Betway Bowl at Aintree, denying Cue card victory by a neck. Then last Sunday on his re-appearance in the Old Roan Chase at the Merseyside track the eight-year-old blew it, trailing home a well-beaten ninth.

 

Oscar Wild!

The JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday marks the start of the Jessica Harrington-trained Oscar offspring's seasonal debut. Our Duke won three of his four starts as a novice over fences last season and capped it all with with an incredible fourteen-length victory in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in April. His regular rider, Robbie Power, is confident that the seven-year-old can produce more of the same at the week-end.

 

Cup Runneth Over

The Melbourne Cup, coming up next week, was first staged in 1861 and over all these 156 years not one British horse has managed to claim the prize. The Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux came nearest in 2011, losing out by just a nose to French-trained Dunaden, which was the closest-ever finish in the world's richest handicap. This Cadeaux Genereux progeny kept on trying and was also runner-up in 2013 and 2014. But the harsh truth is that not one British challenger has succeeded at Flemington so far. That's despite the fact that over the last seven years forty British-trained horses have tried. Before Red Cadeaux the closest any of them has got this decade were Jakkalberry, and Mount Athos, both trained by Marco Botti, who finished third in 2012 and 2013 respectively. None of the others even got a look in. So, to put it bluntly. Over the past ten years it means that ninety percent of British-trained runners have failed to even get into the frame.

 

01 November 2017

 

Modus Vivendi

This Motivator gelding started his career over fences with a bang at the Wrexham track yesterday. The Paul Nicholls-trained Modus, winner of last season's Lanzarote Hurdle, was making his debut over the larger obstacles in the Equine Lens Novices' Chase at Bangor. Admittedly the seven-year-old only had to take on two rivals, one of which was a 25/1 shot, in this extended two-and-a-half-mile contest and in the early part of the race he only started to make some headway after the tenth obstacle. Once he got his act together, however, he was persuaded to challenge for superiority at about two fences out.Eventually Barry Geraghty needed to shake up the JP McManus-owned Modus to urge him to go clear after the last. After that it was plain sailing and victory was secured by five lengths.

 

Somerset to go!

Today's the day for Taunton to get its new season on the road and there's a seven-race-card fixture for racegoers' delight. The Great and the Good will be converging on this Somerset venue, including top trainers, Paul Nicholls, David Pipe, Nicky Henderson and Colin Tizzard and leading jockeys, Tom Scudamore, Paddy Brennan, Tom O’Brien and Nico de Boinville. Sixty-three horses are scheduled to run on this exciting first day. The feature event on the card is the Class 3 two-and-half-mile-plus 'Confined' Handicap Hurdle offering more than £8,000 to the winner. On the face of it, this contest looks like it will be a face-off between the Sophie Leech-trained Man of Plenty and Barman, the only runner representing Nicky Henderson’s yard.

 

Jolly Good Fellowes!

This Newmarket-based trainer has been riding high recently and he could well build on his impressive strike-rate at Kempton this evening. Charlie Fellowes saddles Captain Navarre in the 32Red.com Handicap. After fifteen attempts, the Excellent Art gelding finally got off the mark at this Sunbury-on-Thames track last March, when he was trained by Lydia Pearce and has been fair to middling on his last two outings for his new handler. To his advantage, the five-year-old returns to Kempton Park off a mark two pounds lower than when he won here the last time. Fitted with a first-time visor and steered by the capable Adam Kirby, this could be the time strike again.

 

31 October 2017

 

That's the Spirit!

The Gigginstown House Stud claimed four of the seven-race card fixture at Wexford yesterday but one of their most gratifying results must have been in the Listed M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase. The Noel Meade-trained A Genie In Abottle produced a doughty front-running performance in this nigh-on three-mile event. It's only three weeks since the Beneficial progeny scored at Galway and he certainly seemed ready for more of the same. Sean Flanagan gave the six-year-old a confident ride up front and from two out the duo forged ahead, shrugging off any challenge, to win by a length and a half.

 

Yes Sir!

The Beginners' Chase at Galway yesterday marked this Sir Percy offspring's successful start over fences. The Patrick Kelly-trained Presenting Percy, winner of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, ridden by Davy Russell, travelled smoothly and jumped fluently throughout the two-mile-six-furlong event. The 2/1 favourite, De Plotting Shed, trained by Gordon Elliott, tried his best to make a race of it as they went into the home turn but Presenting Percy was having none of it and easily brushed aside the challenge to win by three lengths.

 

On Cue?

There are thirteen high-quality contenders in Saturday's bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Two names stand out at the head of this list - Cue Card and Coneygree. The latter's trainer, Mark Bradstock, it seems, has had this race in mind for his 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero to kick off the season, provided the ground is suitable. The 10-year-old Karinga Bay gelding has been restricted to just three races since that time, one, interestingly enough, being the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November 2016 when he was runner-up to Cue Card. This Colin Tizzard 11-year-old won this race in 2015 and was third last year so it should be a fascinating contest.

 

30 October 20

 

Aidan and Abetting he'd make it

The Ballydoyle trainer scored his twenty-sixth Group One win of 2017 at Doncaster and, thereby, surpassed the 2003 record established by the legendary American trainer, Bobby Frankel. The market was already firmly on the side of Saxon Warrior to win the Racing Post Trophy and also provide another unique slice of racing history for Aidan O'Brien. The latter, of course, is very lucky to have the powerful Coolmore team to back him up and many wealthy owners to send talented horses his way. He does, however, seem to have the knack of recognising and developing potential in nearly all of his horses.

 

Picked the right Colour!

Andrea Atzeni failed to make it four in a row for the Racing Post Trophy but he did gain some consolation by striking in the first race of the day, the Listed Bet Through The Racing Post App Doncaster Stakes, aboard the Marco Botti-trained Speak In Colours. The Excelebration colt revealed a remarkable turn of foot when he burst clear of his eight rivals in this six-furlong Listed contest. Owen Burrows' Mutaaqeb stayed on well and closed rapidly as the line approached but the twenty-six-year-old Sardinian jockey managed to hold on and win by half a length

 

Hill Tops!

This Kayf Tara progeny made a successful start to his career over fences in the squareintheair.com Novices' Chase at Cheltenham. The Dan Skelton-trained North Hill Harvey won the Greatwood Hurdle last November but was a disappointment on his next two outings, the County Hurdle at the Festival in March and again in the Alder Hey Children's Charity Handicap Hurdle at Aintree. He was rated a 100/30 chance for his debut over the larger obstacles and, ridden by the trainer's brother, Harry, put on a fluent display of jumping at the head of the field. There was a scary moment when the six-year-old was seriously challenged by the 11/8 favourite Sceau Royal, who surged up in the home straight. Indeed there was very little to choose between the duo as they jumped the final fence. The Alan King-trained Sceau Royal bdid manage to briefly get his head in front on the run-in but North Hill Harvey fought back tenaciously to score by a neck.

 

28 October 2017

 

Three Winx

It's over thirty years since Australian-bred Kingston Town made history with three successive Cox Plate wins (1980, 1981 and 1982). At Moonee Valley yesterday, Winx joined her illustrious compatriot as one of only two horses in history to have achieved this feat. Not only that, but the Chris Waller-trained mare also notched up her twenty-second victory in a row, nineteen of them in partnership with jockey, Hugh Bowman. Despite being a bit nervous in the starting gates just before the race, the six-year-old soon settled her down in the mid-field and as the eight-strong field headed towards the final bend, Winx made her move and it all looked done and dusted. In the past connections had got used to the fact that once their star went into to the lead then that was it. But yesterday's contest wasn’t like previous races. Humidor, ridden by Blake Shinn, came flying home and challenged the champion as the winning post approached. Ultimately Winx managed to produce enough to hold off this fast-finishing challenger and the rest is history.

 

Bets on Saxon?

Today Doncaster stages the last Group One of the season in Great Britain, the Racing Post Trophy and there is speculation whether, here too, history could be made. Aidan O'Brien is bidding for his record-breaking 26th Group One victory of the year and, one of the contestants who could make this happen is Saxon Warrior. This Deep Impact colt easily triumphed in his first two career starts and is already the early favourite for next year's Derby. The two-year-old broke his duck at the Curragh in August and that three-and-a quarter length victory persuaded connections to run their protégé in the Beresford Stakes at Naas last month and Saxon Warrior duly obliged with another impressive performance, this time winning by two and a half lengths. Add to this that the colt is partnered by Ryan Moore who's on a 20% better than expected win rate then the Ballydoyle trainer could well finish the day with his record.

 

Dream On!

This Dream Ahead colt could well conclude his juvenile campaign on a high at Newbury today when he lines up in a highly competitive renewal of the Group 3 Bathwick Tyres Stakes (registered as the Horris Hill Stakes.) The Mark Johnston-trained Dream Today already proved his Group Three credentials when he was runner-up to Charlie Appleby's Ghaiyyath in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket two weeks ago. This latter impressive result certainly made up for his disappointing display in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in the middle of last month. So, naturally, connections are expecting a good performance this afternoon.

 

27 October 2017

 

Moment to Shine

The Flat racing season is not quite over and Cheltenham's jumps to the fore again. One trainer who is particularly looking forward to today is Martin Keighley. He saddles Brillare Momento in the first trace of the day, the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and the Moreton in Marsh-based trainer is keeping his fingers crossed that the six-year-old will conclude her novice days with a victory. The Milan mare only has a couple of days left before she will have to mix it with more experienced company. Brillare Momento scored twice at at Southwell and Cheltenham in the Spring but missed her hat-trick at Newton Abbot in May when she had to play second fiddle to Dan Skelton's Momella.

 

Rush Hour.

This Frankel filly makes a drop in trip in tonight's Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cooley Fillies Stakes at Dundalk but her trainer thinks she can take it in her stride. The Jim Bolger-trained Goldrush, who was bought as a yearling for 1.7 million euros (just over £1.5 million) didn't race until a three-year-old but she made up for lost time by winning her debut by three lengths at Navan at the beginning of September and the Al Basti Equiworld Carlingford Stakes at this County Louth track last time out two weeks ago.

 

A High Five?

An Italian jockey is hoping that some South American input will provide him with his fifth successive win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster tomorrow. Andrea Atzeni, whose remarkable winning run began with Kingston Hill in 2013, is booked to ride the Martyn Meade-trained Chilean in this one-mile, Group One contest. This Iffraaj colt has scored twice from his three career starts, with a win at Chelmsford City in August and a three-and-a-half length victory in the 32Red Casino Ascendant Stakes at Haydock at the beginning of last month.

 

26 October 2017

 

Age just a number

A ten-year-old Pivotal gelding showed horses half his age how to win a race at Navan yesterday. Maarek, trained by Evanna McCutcheon, registered his fourteenth career success in the six-furlong Like Navan On Facebook Handicap. The former hero of the Prix de l'Abbaye in 2013, partnered by Killian Hennessy, may not be the young colt he used to be but he certainly gave a glimpse of his former talents when he surged down the centre of the track to win by half a length, thus bringing to an end a losing streak that stretches back to August 2015.

 

Sofa So Good!

This Well Made gelding hasn't been seen since running in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival in which, unfortunately, he sustained and injury. It seems that, after a 587-day absence, the Rose Dobbin-trained Jonniesofa is now ready to get back to business and marks his return by making his debut over fences when he lines up against just four rivals in today's Visit The All New racinguk.com Beginners' Chase at Carlisle. It seems the Northumberland-based handler has assured connections, who are, naturally, excited about his return, that the seven-year-old is well prepared for the switch to the bigger obstacles at the Cumbrian course.

 

A High Five?

An Italian jockey is hoping that some South American input will provide him with his fifth successive win in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday. Andrea Atzeni, whose remarkable winning run began with Kingston Hill in 2013, is booked to ride the Martyn Meade-trained Chilean in this one-mile, Group One contest. This Iffraaj colt has scored twice from his three career starts, with a win at Chelmsford City in August and a three-and-a-half length victory in the 32Red Casino Ascendant Stakes at Haydock at the beginning of last month.

 

25 October 2017

 

Worth Winning

This Norse Dancer gelding made a successful debut in his new chasing career at Exeter yesterday even though he did it a bit late to claim victory. The Alan King-trained Yanworth eventually beat his biggest rival, Sternrubin, by two lengths in the 188Bet Best Mate Beginners' Chase and his jockey, Barry Geraghty, didn't even have to use his whip.

 

A Crack at Cartier?

It's time for the Cartier Horse of the Year for which public voting opens today. One serious contender for the nomination after his stunning victory at Ascot on Saturday has got to be the John Gosden-trained Cracksman. The three-year-old proved he was a chip off the old block by winning the Qipco Champion Stakes by seven lengths, emulating Frankel's triumph in 2012. The Anthony Oppenheimer-owned colt, now with 108 points and placed ninth on the list of leading scorers for the overall award, is also rated third among the season's best three-year-old colts. Cracksman's second half to the season has been staggering, notching up excellent Group 2 victories in both the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes and the Qatar Prix Niel as well as his most recent success four days ago.

 

One More Time?

This Iffraaj progeny has notched up stellar performances this season, winning the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot as well as the Prix du Moulin at Chantilly. The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester was also the hot favourite to claim his fifth Group One success in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday but the rain-softened ground went against him and, unusually, he had to make do with second place. The big question now is whether the Godolphin-owned colt should have one final outing in the Breeders' Cup Mile at the beginning of next month or be retired to Kildangan Stud in Ireland. A decision is awaited.

 

24 October 2017

 

Royalty Receipts

The Queen has had a prolific run for her money in her favourite sport and her 451 victories, at a 15.9 percent win ratio, gain her eleventh place amongst flat racing owners, averaging fifteen wins per year. In more than thirty year's of Her majesty's involvement in horse racing she has accrued £6.7 million in prize money, the most successful year being 2016, when she scooped £557,650. Unfortunately such records have only been kept since 1988 so the sum would be even higher as the royal household has been heavily invested in the sport since the 1950s.

 

Got it together

The totepool ebfstallions.com Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract yesterday provided this Lambourn-based trainer with a rare winner and, more important, hailed the emergence of a potential future champion, who returned at last to winning ways. Clive Cox saddled Connect in this one-mile Listed feature and the Roderic O'Connor colt, ridden by Adam Kirby, obliged by romping home from over a furlong out to claim the prize by two-and-three-quarter-lengths.

 

Worth a Punt

Today's 188Bet Best Mate Beginners Chase at Exeter marks the eagerly-awaited debut over fences for this Alan King-trained Norse Dancer gelding. Yanworth, with Barry Geraghty aboard, lines up with five rivals in this extended two-mile-one-furlong contest. The seven-year-old, owned by JP McManus, has won eight out of his 10 starts over hurdles, including two at Grade One level, the most recent being his victory in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree on his final outing last season. Yanworth is the short odds-on favourite for today's race and is already as short as 8/1 for the Cheltenham Festival.

 

23 October 2017

 

Quite Frankely!

Another Frankel filly started out as, hopefully, she means to carry on by winning her debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden at Leopardstown yesterday. The Dermot Weld-trained Contingent, with Pat Smullen aboard, was sent off the 9/4 favourite. This Khalid bin Abdullah-owned two-year-old revealed a remarkable turn of speed inside the final quarter of a mile and just kept on going right for the line, leaving the Kevin Prendergast-trained Alghabrah trailing a length and three-quarters in her wake.

 

He's Cool!

The odds-on favourite was denied a third victory in the Prix Royal-Oak at Saint Cloud yesterday. Initially all seemed to be going according to plan as jockey, Christophe Soumillon, adopted his usual patient tactics aboard Alain de Royer-Dupre's Vazirabad. The Archie Watson-trained Brandon Castle set the early pace but he was soon outclassed and half a mile from home his race was clearly over. It was then Holdthasigreen and Ice Breeze who took up the challenge but it was the latter, trained by Pascal Bary and ridden by Vincent Cheminaud, who dominated. Vazirabad was clearly not able to reel the eventual winner in, despite the concentrated efforts of his rider. In the final furlong the battling duo almost drew level but with fifty yards to go it was Ice Breeze who pulled clear.

 

All Change

A change of rider for Red Cardinal in the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November. Originally Ryan Moore was scheduled to be aboard the Andreas Wohler-trained Montjeu gelding but it seems there is a logistics problem, as Ryan Moore will be at Del Mar riding in the Breeders' Cup the previous weekend. Owners, Australian Bloodstock, were very keen to have the Brighton-born jockey again as he partnered Protectionist to victory in the 2014 Melbourne Cup but reluctantly they have had to settle for Kerrin McEvoy who happens to be free on that occasion.

 

22 October 2017

Order! Order!

This 2016 Gold Cup winner only managed fourth in last year's Long Distance Cup and as the thirteen-strong field turned into the straight it looked as though history would repeat itself. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Order of St. George certainly seemed outpaced by both Torcedor and Mount Moriah but suddenly, somewhat uncharacteristically, just as Torcedor seemed to have it in the bag, the five-year-old Galileo progeny dug deep into his reserves and surged to the front 75 yards from home and landed the £263, 000 prize by half a length.

 

On a Par

The Ballydoyle king is now on a par with the legendary American trainer Bobby Frankel, after whom the equally famous stallion, Frankel, was named. The record was set in 2003 with Aidan O'Brien twice getting close, trainung 23 winners in 2001 and 2008. Yesterday he notched up twenty-five Grade 1 victories in a season, when Ryan Moore partnered Hydrangea to a two-length victory in the Fillies and Mares Stakes. The forty-eight-year-old trainer was denied the record for the time being, however, as the the other three Group Ones eluded him: Caravaggio could only manage third in the British Champions Sprint Stakes; Churchill the same in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and, would you believe it, Highland Reel was also third in the Champion Stakes. The County Wexford-born handler had a chance earlier on in the day to equal the record but his Johannes Vermeer finished (again!) third in Australia's Group One Caulfield Cup. Aidan O'Brien still has a chance to claim the record next weekend when he has Group One contenders at Doncaster and Saint-Cloud.

 

All he's Cracked up to be!

One trainer who denied Aidan O'Brien a Group One victory at Ascot yesterday was John Gosden when Cracksman claimed the QIPCO Champion Stakes by seven lengths in a display of sheer brilliance. The Newmarket handler had already, perhaps surprisingly, decided that the Frankel colt would not compete against his stable companion, Enable, in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe the other week. As it happened the decision was a good one. The three-year-old routed a high-class field to vie with his sire, who won the race in 2012. There were a few who doubted whether Cracksman had the necessary speed when switching back to a mile and a quarter as his last four starts had been two furlongs further. The 13/8 favourite, however, proved he had the stamina and easily went clear when asked as the field entered the the home straight.

 

21 October 2017

 

Time for Thought

It's Qipco British Champions day at Ascot, in which the year’s top horses, trainers and jockeys compete for £4.3 million on the country’s richest ever race day. Everyone's talking about the Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel as the one to beat in the British Champions Sprint. This Yorkshire-based trainer, however, is hoping his Showcasing filly will make it a day and a season to remember. The Spigot Lodge team has certainly been a class apart this year winning Group One races with Unfortunately and Laurens. Now it falls to the Karl Burke-trained Quiet Reflection, last year's dual Group One heroine, reigning Yorkshire horse of the year and winner of last month’s Renaissance Stakes at Naas after a long lay-off, to get the better of the ten males and one female in this six-furlong contest.

 

Champ again!

This Brazilian-born jockey has claimed the Stobart Flat Jockeys championship for a second time. Silvestre De Sousa stated that it was his good results in the early months of the campaign that were the key to his success. At the end of May, the thirty-six-year-old jockey was level with William Buick on 19 wins but by the end of June, he was already 19 wins clear of his nearest rival, Ryan Moore, and from that point he never looked back, ending up 44 wins clear of the current, now outgoing, champion, Jim Crowley. Silvestre De Sousa repeatedly played down his chances of winning the prestigious crown, whilst, at the same time, enjoying the most prolific year of his career in the saddle, riding more than 200 winners for the first time. Ironically, he has not yet succeeded in adding a Group 1 race to his credit.

 

Can he Bank on it?

The outgoing Flat racing champion has no intention of ending his reign with a whimper. Jim Crowley aims to complete the season on a high by claiming more top-race glory on today's QIPCO British Champions Day. The 39-year-old Ascot-born jockey has notched up quite a few Pattern-race victories at home and abroad since he became champion for the first time a year ago and he has a number of rides at Ascot which could give him a good send off. The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, in particular, has been talked about as a contest between multiple Group One winner Ribchester and Churchill, the English and Irish 2000 Guineas star. There is a possibility, however, that Jim Crowley could upset the apple cart when he partners the Andrew Balding-trained Beat The Bank in this one-mile, Group 1, race.

 

20 October 2017

 

Knocked 'em for Six!

Top County Meath trainer claimed six of the eight races at Punchestown yesterday. Technically, Gordon Elliott's half-a-dozen didn't compare with his six-timer at Navan last November, because one of the winners, Pallasator, was running in a charity race. The highlight of his six victories was when the Davy Russell-ridden Death Duty made it his second win over fences in the Grade 3 Buck House Novices Chase.

 

Showing Respect

Two of the races a Gordon Elliott runner failed to win at Punchestown yesterday were claimed by another County Meath-based rival. One of them was won by the Noel Meade-trained Gamut gelding who scored in the Irish Daily Star Star Chase for which a quality field of seven runners lined up, with Jonjo O'Neill's Minella Rocco sent off the 7/4 favourite on his first start since finishing second in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 25/1 outsider, Kilcarry Bridge, surged away at a powerful gallop, steered by Danny Mullins. Only Noel Meade's Cheltenham Festival and Ryanair Gold Cup winner, Road To Respect, and the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Sub Lieutenant were within striking distance of the leader as the field went round the home turn, with Minella Rocco on their tail. But it wasn't over yet. Sean Flanagan urged Road To Respect into the lead after the final fence and victory was secured by a length and a half.

 

He is Legend!

The charity contest mentioned earlier was the John Shortt Legends Challenge Race supported by a start-studded field of sixteen former jockeys, including Mick Kinane, Charlie Swan and Norman Williamson, racing in memory of former National Hunt jockey, John Shortt. The impressive Pallasator, a Doncaster Cup winner, when trained by Sir Mark Prescott, went to Gordon Elliott's yard this summer to begin a new career over hurdles. The Motivator gelding was understandably the 13/8 favourite for this one-mile-six-furlong contest and travelled powerfully throughout under the 1995 Cheltenham Festival top jockey, Norman Williamson and, leaving his rivals trailing behind, passed the post with eight-and-a-half lengths in hand.

 

19 October 2017

 

Be an Angel!

John Gosden's team is hoping for a revival in the fortunes of their three-year-old Dark Angel gelding in tonight's Bowburn Hotel Handicap at Newcastle. Eldritch scored on his first two career outings at Haydock Park and Doncaster but then disappointed in his next race at Goodwood in May. He was subsequently absent from the track for a while when he lost his 'colthood'. Eldritch re-appeared at Kempton last week in a fairly competitive race where he made a decent effort but was robbed of third place by a short head.

 

Rocco's Return

Today's Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown marks the first showing of the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella Rocco since finishing runner-up in Cheltenham Gold Cup in March when he got the better of most of the current star performers except Sizing John. The Shirocco gelding

also won the National Hunt Chase at last year's Festival at this County Kildare track. Two unfortunateincidents followed, however, when he fell at Aintree and unseated his rider at Leopardstown. He redeemed himself subsequently by coming second in the Grade 1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase back at Prestbury Park in March. Minella Rocco today makes his return to Grade Three level in Ireland and will be partnered by Barry Geraghty.

 

Grand Aspirations

Rookie trainer, former amateur jockey, Jack Barber, has his sights fixed on the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December for his outstanding point-to-point winner, Ask The Weatherman. Formerly attached to Paul Nicholls' team, James Barber has been training in the point-to-point sphere since 2013 where he saddled more than a hundred winners and was three times crowned champion in that activity. He has now turned his full-time attention to National Hunt training.

 

18 October 2017

 

That's the Spirit!

After more than a year's absence from the track this son of Invincible Spirit put up an impressive performance for a horse with so little experience. The Roger Varian-trained Emmaus made a successful re-start of his career in the Wreake Handicap at Leicester yesterday. The three-year-old had plenty to contend with, but the 10/1 shot, with Andrea Atzeni aboard, got down to business with a purpose and eventually got the better of 2/1 favourite, Sir Dancealot, partnered by Ryan Moore.

 

No Hanky Panky!

The Henry de Bromhead-trained son of Al Namix always looked like he had the makings of a good chaser and today he gets the chance to prove it at Punchestown. Certainly Petit Mouchoir has excellent credentials over hurdles, recording his first victory in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of December when confidently ridden by Bryan Cooper, the six-year-old grey left Nichols Canyon trailing seven lengths in his wake and following that up with a win in the Irish Champion Hurdle. With the County Waterford trainer's current winning performance, connections are hopeful of a successful debut over fences for Petit Mouchoir.

 

And the winner is ...

Last night witnessed the annual Tipperary Crystal-sponsored award to the top performing rider and trainer at the Curragh during the 2017 season. The two who came out on top this time from five nominees in their respective categories were Seamie Heffernan and Denis Hogan. The former was honoured for his ride on Capri in the Irish Derby in July, the jockey's third win in this Classic, and the latter was recognised for his achievements with Tithonus, who scored in two major sprint handicaps, the Rockingham and the Scurry.

17 October 2017

 

Gunning for Victory

The 2017/2018 National Hunt season is here which also means that it's time for the third renewal of the Challenger Series which supports middle-tier jump racing during the main National Hunt season between October and April. Hosted at 34 racecourses across the country, the Challenger Series consists of six separate Series that allow horses rated up to 135 (130 for mares) to qualify for a Finals Day at Haydock Park Racecourse on Easter Saturday. The 2018 Finals Day on March 31 will carry prize money of more than £300,000. The first of the Series is at Worcester Racecourse today with the Class 3 Mares' Handicap Chase. A field of eight has been declared for this two-and-a-half-mile contest. One of last year's finalists, the Michael Scudamore-trained Twenty Eight Guns is in the line-up and connections will be hoping for her to qualify as soon as possible. The Ross-on-Wye-based trainer commented: "The Challenger Series is a great initiative with really good prize money that you can aim for towards the end of the season. It provides a real incentive for trainers with that kind of mid-tier level horse and you’d be crazy not to look at it and aim horses for it.”

 

Shall We Dance?

This son of Sir Prancealot hasn't scored since winning the Rockingham Stakes at York just over a year ago so connections will be hoping he will get back into winning ways this afternoon. David Elsworth saddles Sir Dancealot in the seven-furlong Wreake Handicap at Leicester, which represents a sizeable drop in class. Although, due to his runner-up slot in the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket in July, the three-year-old carries a fair bit of weight, this contest is clearly not as competitive as a Group race and he does have the benefit of being once again ridden by Ryan Moore.

 

Good News

As expected of a talented Galileo filly, the British Stallion Studs Beckford Stakes at Yarmouth yesterday proved to be a piece of cake. The Luca Cumani-trained Aljezeera, who was runner-up in the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster the last time out in September, was too good for her nine rivals and claimed this one-mile-six-furlong-plus contest by a length and three quarters.

 

16 October 2017

 

On the Ascent

Victory in the valuable Foran Equine Auction Race Final at Naas yesterday raises Dermot Weld's hopes that this Mount Nelson filly is due for even greater success next season. Yulong Gold Fairy, partnered by Pat Smullen, confidently followed up her success in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Maiden with this six-length victory to claim the £62,000 prize.

 

Good Trip

Andrew Balding shipped this Tamayuz mare all the way to Woodbine in Canada to race in the Grade One E. P. Taylor Stakes. Blond Me, winner of the Middleton Stakes at York in May, was partnered by Oisin Murphy, seeking a second top-level victory of his career after triumphing on Aclaim in the Prix de la Foret last month, who steered the five-year-old powerfully into the straight. There was a brief challenge from the Michael maker-trained Kitten's Roar but it didn't last long before Blond Me was in a dominant position to claim a one-length victory.

 

Very Keane.

Colin Keane's bid for the 2017 flat jockeys' crown moved a notch nearer at Naas yesterday when he rode a treble for his boss, trainer Ger Lyons - Moonlight Bay, Elegant Pose and Mustajeer. The twenty-four-year-old now leads in the race for the championship by seven (90-83) ahead of the defending champion, Pat Smullen. The County Meath rider scored eight times this week – a double at Gowran Park on Wednesday, one at Dundalk on Friday night, two at Cork on Saturday plus yesterday's trio.

 

15 October 2017

 

Flying Home!

The Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket yesterday was a multi-triumph for Aidan O'Brien who not only saddled the first four home in this Group One but he also notched up his 24th top-flight victory, leaving him just one short of the record set by American trainer Bobby Frankel fouteen years ago. The equine hero of the day was undoubtedly U S Navy Flag who beat his nearest stable companion, Mendelssohn, by two-and-a-half-length lengths. Ridden by Ryan Moore, this War Front colt broke well, crossed to race on stands' rail, made all and went clear over one furlong from home. The other Ballydoyle inmates, Seahenge and Threeandfourpence, finished third and fourth respectively.

 

King for the Day

Trainer and jockey teamed up yesterday to land the Darley Nursery at Newmarket. Mark Johnston saddled 16/1 shot, Rufus King, ridden by PJ McDonald, in this Class2, seven-furlong contest. After making most of the running, the Iffraaj colt, who had disappointed in four starts since winning at Ascot in July, was finally challenged by the Charlie Hills-trained Porth Swtan but Rufus King had enough in reserve to hold off the Invincible Spirit progeny.

 

Down to Eartha

The Tom Dascombe-trained Pivotal filly proved the best of the twelve ladies when she came home with three-quarters of a length to spare in the Darley EBF Stallions Boadicea Stakes. Eartha Kitt has been in fine voice this season, winning the EBF Breeders Series Fillies' Handicap at York in the middle of June and with previous good placed efforts in Listed and Group Three company. The three-year-old was sent off at 5/1 on her latest outing and, although having a little bit of a ding-dong with Pixeleen, last week's course and distance, Eartha Kitt, with Richard Kingscote aboard, rallied late to secure victory.

14 October 2017

 

Old Rowley!

Yesterday was the first day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket and the highlight of the fixture, the Bet365 Old Rowley Cup Handicap, is named after a king, well his nickname. Charles 11 was known as Rowley or Old Rowley; apparently he didn't mind that, as it was the name of his favourite stallion. Over the years, however, this £120,000 handicap has proved more profitable for bookies than punters as the favourites usually get beaten by huge-priced outsiders. The Andrew Balding-trained Torcello was  the favourite after notching up a third win in six starts when winning over this course and distance two weeks ago but he was just one of four runners who scored last time. In th event it was the Charlie Appleby-trained First Nation, steered by Wwilliam Buick, who claimed the prize. 

 

Out on a Lim

Also at Newmarket this Tagula gelding had something to prove as he has been looking decidedly below par this season, particularly when coming fourth in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood at the beginning of August when the race looked his for the taking from over a furlong out. It will also depend on the ground staying 'good', as currently described, as to whether the Henry Candy-trained Limato will have another opportunity to show what he's made of in the Group Two Godolphin Stud And Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes this afternoon. It is no secret that the five-year-old prefers a fast surface and will, more than likely, be withdrawn if the going eases. But all's well that ends well. Harry Bentley partnered Limato to a three-and-a-half-length victory.

 

To Cap it All!

The Harry Fry-trained Milan gelding made a pretty good start to his new career over fences in the Download The App At 188Bet Novices' Hurdle at Exeter. If The Cap Fits came a close fourth in the championship bumper at the Grand National meeting so, naturally, connections were excited about this impending contest. Noel Fehily didn't beat about the bush but urged the odds-on favourite straight into the lead from early on, a position the duo maintained all the way to the line. If The Cap Fits put on a pretty good display of jumping so it looks like it won't be long before he'll be hobnobbing with graded company.

12 October 2017

 

Happily she'll be there!

Happily the Ballydoyle trainer will be saddling a winner at Newmarket tomorrow. Sorry, I'll read that again! Aidan O'Brien, on the brink of breaking Bobby Frankel's record of twenty-five Group-Grade One victories, runs Happily in the bet365 Fillies' Mile on his quest for his twenty-fourth top-level success this season. This Galileo filly will also be seeking to add to her recent victories in the Moyglare Stud Stakes and in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and joins Magical and September in a three-pronged attack on this one-mile contest.

 

One Door Closes and ...

A leading Irish jockey has been compensated for losing his top job earlier this year as number one rider for the Gigginstown House Stud, for whom he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Don Cossack. The Tralee-born Bryan Cooper has been confirmed as the new first-choice rider for leading owner Alan Potts' British-based horses. There had already been speculation that, due to the lack of opportunities in Ireland, the twenty-five-year-old jockey was considering moving to ride full-time in Britain. So, apart from fleeting trips across the Irish Sea, we should be seeing more of Bryan Cooper on British tracks in the coming weeks and months after gaining this well-earned appointment. Unfortunately the partnershipd didn't get off to a good start at Ludlow yesterday when the Colin Tizzard-trained duo, Exxaro and Mick Thonic, finished last and unseated rider, respectively, but it's early days..

 

Back for More

The lingering memory of this Nathaniel filly is of her finishing last of nine runners in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June. The Roger Charlton-trained Natavia, who had previously impressed by winning the Haras De Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes at Newbury, returns today to try to make amends in the the Join Club Godolphin Pride Stakes at Newmarket where she will have to deal with the likes of Hugo Palmer's Architecture and Henry Candy's Chain Of Daisies.

 

11 October 2017

 

Get the Point?

Leicester Race Course yesterday presented an unusual feral fixture, with the eight races on the card celebrating the red deer, badger, stoat, dormouse, leveret and even squirrel. The Roger Charlton-trained Blakeney Point won the £15,000 Squirrel Handicap. The Sir Percy gelding, who got the better of the subsequent Cumberland Lodge winner, Danehill Kodiac last time out, was the clear favourite but he still had his work cut out. The likes of My Reward and Dance The Dream looked set to carve up the spoils between them from some way out but the Kieran Shoemark-ridden Blakeney Point was resilient enough to find more when required and went on to claim the enviable prize.

 

One Door Closes and ...

A leading Irish jockey has been compensated for losing his top job earlier this year as number one rider for the Gigginstown House Stud, for whom he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup aboard Don Cossack. The Tralee-born Bryan Cooper has been confirmed as the new first-choice rider for leading owner Alan Potts' British-based horses. There had already been speculation that, due to the lack of opportunities in Ireland, the twenty-five-year-old jockey was considering moving to ride full-time in Britain. So, apart from fleeting trips across the Irish Sea, we should be seeing more of Bryan Cooper on British tracks in the coming weeks and months after gaining this well-earned appointment. In fact, this new relationship kicks off at Ludlow this afternoon when he is booked to ride the Colin Tizzard-trained duo, Exxaro and Mick Thonic.

 

Eye on Success

With victory in Saturday's Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in mind, the ten-time champion trainer has admitted that this unbeaten Acclamation colt is the best two-year-old he has handled for quite some time. Sir Michael Stoute is, no doubt, also musing that if Expert Eye succeeds in lifting the first prize of about £300,000, then this would raise his career-best domestic prize money to more than the £3.7 million he achieved in 2003.

 

10 October 2017

 

Willing and Enable

It's hard to believe that this John Gosden-trained Nathaniel filly is still only a three-year-old as she already has the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks to her credit, as well as beating the boys in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and, last week claiming the French Crown, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly. Immediately following this Triomphe triumph it was clear that the Newmarket handler was keen for his stable star should stay in training for at least another year. Apparently after a week of deliberations, owner Khalid Abdullah, has finally confirmed that Enable will continue racing next season and that, high on the agenda, is a bid for a second Arc success.

 

Watson at Del Mar?

After a four-year stint as assistant to William Haggas, Archie Watson launched his own career last year at Saxon Gate Stables in Upper Lambourn, once the base of both Mick Channon and Fulke Walwyn. It has now just been announced that the 27-year-old trainer intends to saddle his first-ever runner at the Breeders' Cup, after deciding to enter Corinthia Knight in the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar on November 4. Following his third victory on the all-weather track at Wolverhampton on August 11, this Society Rock colt seemed to find the step-up to six furlongs a bit much in the Group 3 totepool Sirenia Stakes at Kempton last time out so he will revert to five furlongs for his transatlantic trip.

 

The Hunt is on!

Traditionalists tend to consider Chepstow's two-day meeting this weekend as the real beginning of the National Hunt season proper. Owner Alan Potts and trainer, Colin Tizzard, are certainly taking the event seriously. They plan to run Finian's Oscar in the Listed totequadpot Novices' Chase. The Oscar gelding who had his first, narrow, defeat in five runs on his last outing at the Punchestown Festival, will be making his debut over fences at the same track, where Thistlecrack, Cue Card and Native River began their illustrious chasing careers.

 

9 October 2017

 

Wheel See!

This Acclamation filly is seeking an important notch up in her career today when she lines up in her first Listed contest, the EBF Musselburgh Fillies' Sprint Stakes at you-know-where. Richard Fahey-trained The Wagon Wheel ran at bit flat on her last outing at Beverley and seemed to have problems, at one stage, keeping up with her nine rivals until suddenly, getting second wind, she ran on strongly on the rails inside the final furlong to finish third, just a head behind the winner, Take Cover, ridden by Tom Queally.

 

Last-minute Denial

Velká Pardubická, the famous 6.9-kilometre cross-country steeplechase, run in the Czech Republic since 1874, proved to be an agonising result for jockey, Felix de Giles, who was aboard Urgent De Gregaine, trained in France by Emmanuel Clayeux. With just two of the thirty-one obstacles to jump, the Truth Or Dare gelding was so far ahead that it looked like he just had to stay on his feet to win the 127th renewal of this unique contest. However a race isn't over until the sat fady lings, or something like that! Well inside the final furlong the Arnaud Rasquier-owned nine-year-old suddenly seemed to be floundering, not surprisingly, as heavy rain had drenched the Prague track in previous days. Suddenly an opportunity had opened up and the appropriately named No Time To Lose, ridden by Jan Kratochvil and trained by the legend of the race, Josef Vana, mounted a last-minute challenge and claimed victory by one length.

 

Total Victory

An impressive winner in yesterday's JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick. Being saddled for the first time by Willie Mullins on the retirement of Sandra Hughes, Total Recall, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was the 2/1 favourite in this sixteen-strong field and was soon settled, perhaps too comfortably, at the rear as he appeared to be cantering nonchalantly along. The 'Mouse' Morris-trained Alpha Des Obeaux, running a fine race at top weight, seemed to have the whole thing cut and dried as the field turned home. It wasn't over yet, however. The Westerner gelding suddenly got a good wake-up call after the last fence and sprinted clear to win in fine style, scoring by seven lengths. The nine-year-old's major problem was staying clear of the fallers, four out of the sixteen runners.

 

8 October 2017

 

Buick's Back!

The Norwegian-born jockey came back to the track in style yesterday when he claimed the John Guest Bengough Stakes by half a length. William Buick, who had been sidelined with a fractured vertebra since August, was hoping and praying that the Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point would win and, thereby, book his place on Qipco Champions Day later this month. The even-money favourite Shamardal colt, despite a little wandering around when out on his own in the final furlong, duly obliged and held off the last-minute challenging Projection, urged on by Kieran Shoemark.

 

Calling it a Day

This County Wexford-born jockey has finally decided to bring to an end his nearly thirty-year-old career. Jimmy Fortune, originally apprenticed with Jim Bolger in Ireland and first licensed in 1987, announced the news after coming a creditable third on 20-1 shot, Nathra, for his old boss, John Gosden, in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. During a successful career, the forty-five-year-old rider has notched up more than 1,800 winners, including 16 at top level. Jimmy Fortune hit the headlines back in 1989 when he won the Ayr Gold Cup aboard the 50/1 outsider, Joveworth, and in 1998 gained his first Group 1 win, when partnering Commander Collins in the 1998 Racing Post Trophy in his first season as retained jockey to Robert Sangster.

 

Absolutely Fabulous!

At Limerick this afternoon a Saint Des Saints gelding will be bidding to make it three in a row. After 20-length victories at both Ballinrobe and Listowel, the Willie Mullins-trained Fabulous Saga, again steered by Ruby Walsh, lines up in the seven-strong Listed Dunraven Arms Hotel Novice Hurdles. The five-year-old steps up in class for this two-and-a-half-plus event and takes on five previous hurdle winners, including his stable companion, Robin Des Foret, ridden by Paul Townend, who won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle at the end of August.

 

7 October 2017

 

Where there's a Will …

The Group 3 John Guest Bengough Stakes at Ascot today is what William Buick has been waiting for to make his return race riding. The Norwegian-born jockey with British and Danish citizenship, has been out of action since the middle of August, after sustaining a serious fracture when falling from the Mark Johnston-trained Permian in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington. William Buick has recently been riding out in Newmarket desperately trying to return to total fitness in time for Qipco British Champions Day on October 21. On Wednesday a specialist finally gave him the all-clear and he re-appears at the Berkshire track this afternoon riding the Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point in this Group 3, six-furlong contest. A good result will certainly be a confidence-booster for the bigger challenges to come.

 

21 Today!

Twenty-one consecutive victories is certainly something to write home about and Australian supermare, Winx, did it in style as she galloped home to win, racing for the first time at this Melbourne track. The six-year-old seemed perfectly at ease throughout the ten-furlong contest under the steady guidance of her regular rider, Hugh Bowman. Ex-British runner, Ventura Storm was ahead at the top of the straight but, the moment the Street Cry mare was asked the question, she pushed on to an effortless victory.

 

Offaly good!

Pat Smullen made his bid to be crowned this season's champion Flat jockey in Ireland with a a 193-1 four-timer at Dundalk last night. This means he at the start of an eight-race card in County Louth. There was nothing to choose between the pair for a while but then the County Offaly jockey produced his quadruple piece de resistance, the highlight of which was, probably, victory aboard the Mick Halford-trained Riyazan in the Listed Irish Stallion Farms EBF Star Appeal Stakes.

6 October 2017

 

Sceau he did it!

The Alan King-trained Doctor Dino gelding was successful in his debut over fences at Warwick yesterday. Sceau Royal, sixth in the Champion Hurdle last season, demonstrated, by far, the best hurdling form of of his four rookie rivals in the Bet At Racinguk.com Novices' Chase. Such a performance was obviously anticipated by bookies and punters as the five-year-old was the 1/3 favourite and, with the talented Daryl Jacob aboard, their faith was justified. Sam Twiston-Davies had obviously already decided that Ballyhill was going to have a piece of the action took him along at a fair lick until about two out. At that point he was still in the lead but Sceau Royal was already on the move and easily surged past second-favourite, Forth Bridge, down the back straight. As the small field turned in, there was no doubt that the odds-on favourite still had plenty left to finish the job when he went into the lead between the final two flights, from where he galloped clear, easing to a four-and-a-half-length victory.

 

Brave Challenge

It's the World's richest turf race Down Under next week and a former Irish and British champion jockey has been invited to make the twenty-two-hour flight to The Royal Randwick Racecourse in New South Wales. County Tipperary-born Jamie Spencer has accepted the invitation from trainer, Darren Weir, and the Australian Turf Club, to ride former Japanese sprinter, Brave Smash, in the TAB Everest on October 14. This Tosen Phantom colt came second in a six-furlong Stakes contest at the end of September and his only victory from nine career outings was in the Strathmore Community Bendigo Bank earlier that month.

 

What am I bid?

The horse racing organisation that paid the highest fee for a yearling so far in the world this year was …(tension as the result is awaited) … was Godolphin who pipped Coolmore at the post by forking out four million guineas for a Galileo filly on the final day of the Book One sale at Tattersalls. The record highest figure was offered some four years ago when Al Naamah was bought for five million guineas. Yesterday's price was forced up and up as Coolmore's MV Magnier and Sheikh Mohammed's representative and trainer, John Gosden, vied with each other to gain possession of this filly, whose Dam is Dank, winner of the Beverly D. Stakes and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in 2013.

 

5 October 2017

 

And Sceau Forth

The Bet At racinguk.com Novices' Chase at Warwick today presents an intriguing clash of runners making their first foray over fences. Two horses, in particular, catch the eye. There's the Alan King-trained Sceau Royal, winner of the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last November and who is the favourite in this two-mile-plus contest. This Doctor Dino gelding will probably ultimately have to do battle with the second favourite, Forth Bridge, trained by Charlie Longsdon, who claimed the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Musselburgh at the beginning of February.

 

A Champion Day.

Its the seventh renewal of the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 21 and, at the the latest forfeit, stage it certainly looks like a day to look forward to, especially as champions on the Flat, such as Ribchester, Cracksman and Harry Angel, are due to compete. On Britain’s richest race day there will be a total of £4.3 million in prize-money on offer. There is an exciting list of thirty-five individual Group One winners entered across the day's fixture, consisting of four Group Ones, a Group Two and the Balmoral Handicap Stakes, the richest one-mile handicap in Europe –

 

On a Lighter Note!

In last night's 32Red Casino EBF Novice Stakes at Kempton the Hugo Palmer-trained Dragon Mountain passed the post in third place but was subsequently disqualified. The problem was that jockey, Josephine Gordon, weighed in at 8st 9lb instead of 9st 2lb. The clerk of the scales lodged an objection and a stewards' inquiry was held, where it was decided it wasn't the rider's fault that her horse had been saddled without the weight cloth. It was also decided that the Newmarket-based trainer, who was not present at the track, should be fined because a member of his stable staff was responsible for the error.

 

4 October 2017

 

Doing his Duty

This Gordon Elliott-trained Shantou progeny seemed, at the start, to be a little lifeless on his debut over fences in the www.tipperaryraces.ie Beginners Chase at Tipperary yesterday. The highly-regarded Death Duty had certainly had no problems with his hurdling career, scoring four in a row. It proved to be only a temporary blip, however, for as soon as his jockey, Davy Russell, opted to send the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding into a clear lead, there was a significant improvement in his jumping, apart from the last when he was a bit slow again. This tardiness didn't affect the outcome, however - an easy win by three-quarters of a length.

 

She fell for it!

There was more than £50,000 bet on this Gold Well gelding in the 188Bet Novices' Hurdle at Southwell yesterday. Imagine the thousands of punters' dismay and anger when their horse, the Dan Skelton-trained Stick To The Plan, did just that and won the race but his jockey didn't! Unfortunately Bridget Andrews fell off twenty yards from the finish line. A replay of the race reveals that the former Champion Lady Amateur Rider, in fact, lost her right iron when jumping the last hurdle but she did manage to retrieve it, before dramatically parting company with her mount so near but yet so far.

 

Ring a Bell?

On the face of it, 100/1 for a Fruits Of Love gelding, who hasn't had a win since November 2015, didn't appear especially generous for his belated debut on the Flat in the 100% Profit Boost At 32Redsport.com Maiden Stakes at Kempton last night. But the Alex Hales-trained Isaac Bell, who has had continued niggling leg problems over his extended career, produced the shock result of the evening, when Luke Morris steered him to a neck victory. Any punters, who had remained loyal to this nine-year-old hurdler, were duly rewarded but one person, who is reported not to have backed him, was his trainer!

3 October 2017

 

Willing Enable

The trainer of dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner has led the tributes to Enable after her amazing display at Chantilly on Sunday. Criquette Head-Maarek handled Treve, the first horse since Alleged in the 1970s to win back-to-back wins in Europe's premier middle-distance contest in 2013 and 2014. The Motivator filly was retired in 2015 after finishing fourth behind Golden Horn in her bid to become the first three-time Arc winner. The John Gosden-trained Enable has now added her name to the illustrious list of honour.

 

Lunar Success

Clemmie can aim for the moon, says Ryan Moore, after victory in the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. The Galileo filly previously won at the Curragh and Newmarket before opening this Group One account. The full sister to dual Guineas hero, Churchill, had originally won Group Three and Group Two contests and certainly proved that she was able to mix it with the very best, when delivering a one-and-three-quarter-length victory in this six-furlong contest.

 

Here Come the Judge!

The next person to join the panel of twelve for next year’s Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards is, none other than Alice Plunkett. The former eventer and National Hunt jockey has just been named as one of three new judges. The latter will have as her fellow judges, Josh Apiafi, founder and director of Rewards4Racing.com, and Terry Doherty, manager of Watership Down Stud, who won the stud staff employee of the year award last year. These awards, run by the BHA in association with the Racing Post, are also judged by Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Northern Racing College, former jump jockey Mark Bradburne and Perth Chief Executive, Hazel Peplinski.

 

2 October 2017

 

Flower Power

At Chantilly yesterday it was the turn for a new diva to take the curtain call in the Prix de l'Opera. For once Ryan Moore got it wrong when he plumped to ride Hydrangea after her decisive victory in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in September. It was the time for another stablemate to blossom, however, in the guise of Rhododendron, partnered by Seamie Heffernan. This three-year-old Galileo filly was runner-up in the Investec Oaks in June, although some five lengths adrift of the winner, the indomitable, yesterday's Arc winner, Enable and then flopped, finishing seventh out of ten, in the Matron Stakes, mentioned above. The Ballydoyle duo were never much off the pace set by the John Gosden-trained The Black Princess and after battling their way into the lead in the final two-hundred yards ultimately it was Rhododendron's triumph by a head.

 

Jez for Old Time's Sake.

This Milan offspring was the oldest runner in the race at Tipperary yesterday by at least two years but that didn't stop him winning. The nine-year-old, Jessica Harrington-trained Jezki showed his younger rivals how to win a race when he claimed the Istabraq Hurdle by four lengths. Five-year-old Coquin Mans, trained by Willie Mullins did his best to stay in front but when push came to shove, the Fragrant Mix gelding had no response when Mark Walsh decided to urge the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner to the front between the last two flights and maintained this momentum to claim the two-mile contest.

 

Luck Strike

Whilst the most of the racing world was focussing on the events at the Chantilly racetrack yesterday, one Sky Bet racing punter's minces were only on Musselburgh. Why? Because this lucky son of a b... bettor turned £3.15 into £20,920.85 from a 5p win Lucky 63. The now prosperous punter had an  inauspicious inception, though, when the first of his selections lost but, thereafter, the other five duly obliged. In fact most of his winners were tight finishes with Aimez La Vie winning by a head, Economic Crisis by a short head, Jonny Delta by a neck and Lady Joanna Vassa again by a short head.

 

1 October 2017

 

You've got Male!

Everyone seems to think that today's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly is a foregone conclusion ( because Frankie's hoping for his fifth win!) and that the John Gosden-trained Enable, ridden by Frankie Dettori, is the one to beat. Certainly all the signs are, including a lucky draw in stall 2, seem to be in the Nathaniel filly's favour. In addition, six of the last nine winners of Europe's most prestigious race have been fillies. There is one male, however, who could 'bouleverser le panier de pommes', as they say over there, The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses, also with a lucky draw (stall 1), could be the fastest improving horse in the field. The way this Galileo colt travelled and had enough in reserve to outclass a couple of the smartest three-year-olds in the business, Churchill and Barney Roy, in the Juddmonte Interational at York last month, means it's not beyond the bounds of reason that it will be a double male victory this year – Ulysses and Jim Crowley!

 

Going for the Record

The Ballydoyle maestro saddles five horses in today's Arc de Triomphe but that didn't distract him from the job at hand at Newmarket yesterday. Aidan O’Brien was on top form when he claimed both Group One two-year-old races. There was already strong speculation that his 15/8 favourite, Clemmie, partnered by Ryan Moore, would win the Cheveley Park Stakes and the Galileo filly did not disappoint. The big surprise of the day, however, came in the very next race. The 10/1 shot, US Navy Flag, steered by Seamie Heffernan, won the Middle Park Stakes, half a length ahead of his stable companion, Fleet Review. This special double victory means that Aidan O’Brien's total of Group One wins for the year now stands at 20. Once more he is knocking on the door of the record of 25 in a calendar year, established by American trainer, Bobby Frankel.

 

Phil's Skill!

Five runners competed in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park yesterday and the Gordon Elliott-trained A Toi Phil denied victory to the 11/8 favourite, Balko Des Flos, Henry De Bromhead's hero of the Galway Plate at the beginning of August. Kylecrue dominated for the first half of the two-and-half-mile contest until Davy Russell, aboard Balko Des Flos, decided to go for home in the back straight. This move was well covered by the Day Flight gelding who competed for supremacy with last year's winner, Ballycasey, until the latter eventually faded, offering the race to either of the Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners and it was A Toi Phil who triumphed by six-and-a-half lengths.

30 September 2017

 

Blue's Due

Today Newmarket stages what is generally considered to be one of the most fiercely competitive handicaps of the entire Flat racing season – the Betfred Cambridgeshire Handicap for three-year-olds. This nine-furlong contest on the Rowley Mile has attracted no fewer than thirty-five runners. As often is the case with such a large field it usually divides up into three separate groups. One horse that has become a hot favourite, at least among the punters if not with all the bookies, is the David Menuisier-trained Thundering Blue who has become a strong market contender since notching up a hat-trick at Sandown in the BetBright Recall Handicap at the beginning of this month. On that occasion the four-year-old Exchange Rate gelding produced an amazing turn of foot for champion jockey, Jim Crowley, who will, no doubt, be hoping for a similar performance today.

 

Move Over Bro'

This Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo filly is being given the chance to prove that she deserves a crack at the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket next spring and, thereby, emulate her big brother, Churchill. Clemmie, lines up today on the Rowley Mile in the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes. The two-year-old, who didn't get off to a good start on her first two career outings at the Curragh and Royal Ascot, finishing seventh and third, respectively, made up for those disappointments by winning a Group 3 contest at the Curragh and then triumphing in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at the Suffolk track in the middle of July. Clemmie hasn't run since that race because the Ballydoyle trainer didn't want to subject her to the testing ground she would have encountered in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes. Today's conditions won't be as testing but there could still be a problem if more rain falls.

 

Bank to Thank

The Andrew Balding-trained Paco Boy gelding, with Oisin Murphy aboard, continued his run of success yesterday with an impressive performance in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket. Formerly trained in Ireland by Darren Bunyan, Beat The Bank made his first start for the Park House Stables' trainer last April when he had a narrow victory in the EBF Stallions bet365 Conditions Stakes. The three-year-old failed to build on that success subsequently in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot when he finished way down the field of twenty. Since then, however, Beat The Bank has cashed in on wins on the July Course and at Goodwood. In yesterday' contest, Whitecliffsofdover lead the field for a good part of the way but ran out of steam two furlongs out, giving the eventual winner the chance to take over and claim victory by five lengths.

 

29 September 2017

 

Zayf and Sound

This was the day the Aramis Racing syndicate had been waiting for. Their Zafeen gelding was due to run in the Happy 60th Macca Handicap Chase at Warwick. Everything seemed to bode well for the two-and-half-mile event: it was a gloriously sunny day; the ground was right; the distance ideal and, a most important factor, Liam Treadwell, who has ridden him four times before and knows him well, would be aboard. The rest was up to the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis who was last seen performing at Southwell at the beginning of June when he came fourth in the Tony Martin Ltd Handicap Chase. There was a distinct air of optimism among the syndicate members and the owner/breeder's family and friends. If willpower alone could win races then there was nothing to worry about. At the off, Zayfire Aramis seemed keen to get going but his rider wisely held him back in the rear until he settled down. The eight-year-old then started to make headway on the outside from after the eleventh fence and even went on to challenge for the lead at two out. It looked as if he had every chance of winning at this stage but then, surprisingly, the chestnut gelding hung to the right in the final hundred yards, thereby losing momentum and valuable ground and landed up fourth, but only one-and-a-quarter lengths behind the winner. Amid the noise and commotion of the final stages of the race, to the syndicate members and friends gathered on an owner's and trainer's observation stand, strangely positioned some hundred yards from the finishing line, it even looked from a distance as though Zayfire Aramis was about to win. Although a little surprise and disappointment ensued on hearing the official result, that soon passed, as everyone, including trainer and jockey, agreed, that this was an impressive performance after a nearly three months' absence from the track and keenly looked forward to his next outing.

 

Here he come, Elarqam!

This elegant Frankel colt, trained by Mark Johnston, made only his third career start yet another victory, when claiming the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. As on his debut at York in September, the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Elarqam took a while to get going but when he finally did the performance was impressive. As the the nine-strong field headed into the dip, champion jockey, Jim Crowley decided it was time to show what he was made of, particularly as the Richard Hannon-trained Tangled was giving signs that he meant business. As soon as Elarqam reached the rising ground, however, the outcome was never in doubt as the winning distance of two-and-a-quarter lengths proved.

 

Marsha Concern.

The forecast testing conditions at Chantilly on Sunday are causing alarm among a number of owners and trainers and certainly the Elite Racing Club is voicing its apprehension for their entry in the Prix de l'Abbaye. The Sir Mark Prescott-trained Marsha, resumed her winning ways by memorably beating Lady Aurelia in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York and also won this prestigious race last year. Connections' main concern is that, although this Acclamation filly has performed well on soft ground, she seems to prefer a sounder surface. Also there is an additional worry as her two main rivals, Battaash and Signs Of Blessing have already notched up big-race wins on very soft ground.

 

28 September 2017

 

Fire Away!

This was the day the Aramis Racing syndicate had been waiting for. Their Zafeen gelding was due to run in the Happy 60th Macca Handicap Chase at Warwick. Everything seemed to bode well for the two-and-half-mile event: it was a gloriously sunny day; the ground was right; the distance ideal and, a most important factor, Liam Treadwell, who has ridden him four times before and knows him well, would be aboard. The rest was up to the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis who was last seen performing at Southwell at the beginning of June when he came fourth in the Tony Martin Ltd Handicap Chase. There was a distinct air of optimism among the syndicate members and the breeder's family and friends. If willpower alone could win races then there was nothing to worry about. At the off, Zayfire Aramis seemed keen to get going but his rider wisely held him back in the rear until he settled down. The eight-year-old then started to make headway on the outside from after the eleventh fence and even went on to challenge for the lead at two out. It looked as if he had every chance of winning at this stage but then, surprisingly, the chestnut gelding hung to the right in the final hundred yards, thereby losing momentum and valuable ground and landed up fourth, just one-and-a-quarter lengths behind the winner. Amid the noise and commotion of the final stages of the race, to the syndicate members and friends gathered on an owner's and trainer's observation stand, strangely positioned some hundred yards from the finishing line, it even looked from a distance as though Zayfire Aramis was about to win. Although a little surprise and disappointment ensued on hearing the official result, that soon passed, as everyone, including trainer and jockey, agreed, that this was an impressive performance after a nearly three months' absence from the track and keenly looked forward to his next outing.

 

Homer's Hero

Hard to believe but it will be the Champion jockey's first Prix de L'Arc De Triomphe on Sunday. Jim Crowley, who scored his first Group One win on Lord Shanakill in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in 2009, will be aboard the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses, who triumphed in both the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July and the Juddmonte International Stakes at York just five days ago. The four-year-old Galileo offspring was also an impressive runner-up to the John Gosden-trained Enable in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot so the Great Farm Barns' team are expecting great things at Chantilly on Sunday.

 

A Regal Array

The EBF Stallions Foundation Stakes at Goodwood yesterday demonstrated what the John Gosden-trained Frankel gelding can do when he gets his act together. Monarchs Glen had already hinted last time out at Sandown that there were better days to come when he was a strong runner-up to David Menuisier's Thundering Blue in the BetBright Recall Handicap, his first race since being gelded. The three-year-old was certainly a cut above his efforts earlier on in the season, settling well for the task at hand and subsequently claiming the mile-and-a-quarter contest by a short head.

 

27 September 2017

 

Is it Zayf?

This was the day the Aramis Racing syndicate had been waiting for. Their Zafeen gelding was due to run in the Happy 60th Macca Handicap Chase at Warwick yesterday. Everything seemed to bode well for the two-and-half-mile event: it was a gloriously sunny day; the ground was good (good to soft in places); the distance ideal and, a most important factor, Liam Treadwell, who has ridden him four times before and knows him well, would be aboard. The rest was up to the Michael Scudamore-trained Zayfire Aramis who was last seen performing at Southwell at the beginning of June when he came fourth in the Tony Martin Ltd Handicap Chase. There was a distinct air of optimism among the syndicate members and the breeder's family and friends. If willpower alone could win races then there was nothing to worry about. At the off, Zayfire Aramis seemed keen to get going but his rider wisely held him back in the rear until he settled down. The eight-year-old then started to make headway on the outside from after the eleventh fence and even went on to challenge for the lead at two out. It looked as if he had every chance of winning at this stage but then, surprisingly, the chestnut gelding hung to the right in the final hundred yards, thereby losing momentum and valuable ground and landed up fourth, just one-and-a-quarter lengths behind the winner. Amid the noise and commotion of the final stages of the race, to the syndicate members and friends gathered on an owner's and trainer's observation stand, strangely positioned some hundred yards from the finishing line, it even looked from a distance as though Zayfire Aramis was about to win. Although a little surprise and disappointment ensued on hearing the official result, that soon passed, as everyone, including trainer and jockey, agreed, that this was a valiant performance after a nearly three months' absence from the track.

 

Hark – the Arc!

Ahead of Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly it seems that the winner of the French Guineas and Derby is reported by connections to be shaping up well for the occasion. The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Brametot seems to have put behind him the first disappointing run of his career when he lost out to Eminent in last month's Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville. Al Shaqab Racing & Gerard Augustin-Normand-owned Rajsaman colt

also won the Prix du Jockey Club at the beginning of June so impeccable credentials for tackling, with confidence, next week's ninety-six renewal of France's prestigious event.

 

A Thundering Success?

The Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on Saturday is in of trainer David Menuisier's sights when he is hoping that the ante-post favourite, Thundering Blue, will transport Champion jockey, Jim Crowley, to victory and, thereby, make it four in a row for the Exchange Rate gelding. Following on from victories at Epsom and on the July Course, the four-year-old notched up his hat-trick in fine style at Sandown when claiming the BetBright Recall Handicap. Each of his recent races were over a mile and a quarter but at the weekend he drops back a furlong on the Rowley Mile but the Pulborough-based handler doesn't appear to have any qualms about that.

 

26 September 2017

 

Sadly It's So!

Unfortunately the current champion jockey will be riding in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday. Sorry I'll re-write that! Jim Crowley is scheduled to ride the Karl Burke-trained, pessimistically named, Unfortunately, in the six-furlong contest. The Society Rock colt not only rocked the boat by claiming the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte in July but went on to rub it in by also winning the Prix Morny at Deauville last month. The two-year-old, previously partnered by French-based jockey Tony Piccone, will be steeered this time on the Rowley Mile by the Ascot-born rider.

 

Glory Be!

The Joseph O'Brien-trained High Chaparral colt headed up a one-two result in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon yesterday. The JP McManus-owned Landofhopeandglory, one of the top juvenile hurdlers in Ireland last season, won his first three starts and then went on to finish fifth in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and second in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown. The four-year-old, the 2/1 favourite ridden by Mark Walsh, confronted just five rivals at this re-visit of Grade Three level. Admittedly his jumping was at times not that fluent and his jockey had his work cut out at various stages of the extended two-mile contest but the gelding picked up well after the final fence and claimed victory by half a length.

 

Another Crack

This John Gosden-trained Frankel colt is snubbing a chance to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly next Sunday and will probably go for the Champion Stakes at Ascot on October 14. The impressive Great Voltigeur winner, Cracksman, is now the 7/2 favourite for the Berkshire track's prestigious fixture, although it does involve a drop back in trip to ten furlongs. Connections had already intimated that a return to France for Europe's premier middle-distance prize was not probably on the cards and with the race just a week away, Cracksman has now been confirmed as a non-runner.

 

25 September 2017

 

Naas Work!

Seventh win in a row and the seventeenth since 1996 for the Ballydoyle king. Aidan O’Brien achieved this impressive statistic when he saddled Saxon Warrior in the Group 2 Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the County Kildare track yesterday. The one-mile event was held at Naas this year, whilst its usual location, the Curragh, is being redeveloped. It is interesting to note, however, that from all these seventeen winners only two went on to Classic glory - Septimus who triumphed in 2005 and Capri last year.

 

Thinking out loud!

Not only Irish trainers were in the limelight yesterday at Naas. The Rugby-born, North Yorkshire-based Karl Burke claimed two of the eight races on the card. Colm O'Donoghue did the honours in the second race of the day, the C.L. & M.F. Weld Park Stakes, when he partnered Ellthea to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory. All eyes, though, were on his other filly, Quiet Reflection, who scored twice at Group One level last season, winning both the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the Sprint Cup at Haydock. The Showcasing filly, however, was a disappointment in the following race but, nevertheless, was the 5/2 favourite for yesterday's Group 3 Renaissance Stakes and travelled well under Martin Harley. There were a few anxious moments when it looked like quiet reflection was all that this filly was going to enjoy as she was hemmed in. Fortunately a gap appeared and she surged through and won by two and three-quarter lengths.

 

Got it Covered!

Despite his name, this David Griffiths-trained 10-year-old threw caution to the wind in the Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stakes at Newbury. Take Cover, with David Allan aboard, went for it from the off and made all, being virtually unchallenged in this five-furlong sprint, coming home with an advantage of three-quarters of a length. The Nigel Tinkler-trained Caspian Prince, also known for his front-running prowess, never managed to get on terms with the Singspiel gelding, not the least, due to the fact that he slightly missed the break.

 

24 September 2017

 

Ayr We Go!

As a result of the cancellation of the three-day fixture at Ayr due a waterlogged track, the British Horseracing Association has decided to re-schedule the feature race, the Ayr Gold Cup, and hold it at Haydock Park on Saturday, September 30. This prestigious event will have a new promoter, 32Red, instead of the original sponsor, William Hill. The BHA has also announced that be no special draw for the race just the standard automated draw allocation and also that ther will be a maximum safety factor of 17 runners.

 

Doing Battle

Willie Mullins has established a tremendous record with his horses on the Flat, currently on a strike rate of a 27% as compared with his great rival, Aidan O'Brien's 22% but in today's Beresford Stakes it is the latter who holds all the good cards, saddling three out of the five runners. The favourite is Saxon Warrior is, however, the one to beat. The Deep Impact colt is fresh from his impressive three-and-a-quarter-length victory on his maiden outing in the Irish Times Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden at the Curragh at the end of last month. Added to that the two-year-old will be partnered by Ryan Moore, who won this race last year aboard Capri.

 

Presidential Prowess

Trainer, George Scott, notched up the first Group win of his career when James Garfield scored in yesterday's Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. The Exceed And Excel colt, beaten by a nose in the Acomb Sably aided and abetted in this aim by Frankie Dettori. The two-year-old, owned by Bill Gredley, the trainer's new father-in-law, made headway from the rear from two furlongs out, before taking over the lead inside the final furlong and eventually surging three-quarters of a length ahead of his nearest rival, Invincible Army.

 

23 September 2017

 

Anyone for Tennis?

This Richard Hannon-trained Acclamation gelding yesterday put on a tenacious performance for what could well be his final appearance in this country. Tabarrak, whose last victory was in the Listed Rundle's Paradise Stakes at Ascot in May, although he was a close runner-up in the Group 3 totepool Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury in August, was clearly determined to stamp his mark on the seven-strong, one-mile Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Cup Stakes at Newbury. The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned four-year-old hit the front inside the final furlong and successfully held off a late challenge by the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Accidental Agent to win by a neck.

 

Any Cesarewitch Way!

Three of the runners in today's Betfred Cesarewitch Trial at Newmarket are trained by Mark Johnston. Heading up his trio is the Dual Royal Ascot winner, Oriental Fox, although, surprisingly, a 20/1 shot with many bookies which is, maybe, partly due to the fact that he is the oldest in the race. The nine-year-old, however, proved he was not yet ready for his pension in June when he showed the young'uns how to run a race when winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes. He failed to live up to this success in the subsequent Coral Marathon at Sandown, the Goodwood Cup or even the Ebor at York. This afternoon's contest looks like not being too challenging for him, however, and connections are optimistic that their ageing star can earn another crack at the Cesarewitch on October 14 and that he can avenge himself of the short-head defeat by Grumeti in 2015.

 

To Crown it All!

This Scottish race course unfortunately had to abandon all of its three-day fixture because of an unsafe patch of ground caused by torrential rain. This means that the Jewel in the Crown, the Ayr Gold Cup, scheduled for today, the last day, is one of the victims. It has been reported that the BHA is seeking to reschedule the race at another track in the near future, if possible, as the Ayr officials still have to deal with the problem that lost them their three days of racing.

22 September 2017

 

Mother of all Victories

Top amateur rider back again in the winner's enclosure at Ballinrobe. Nina Carberry, returning to the saddle after becoming a mum, was aboard the Noel Meade-trained Cask Mate in the Connacht Tribune Flat Race over an extended two miles, her first ride since last November. It was just as if the the thirty-three-year-old County Meath-born jockey had never been away. She kept the Kalanisi gelding always handy. When asked to eventually kick clear of his six rivals in the straight he responded immediately and won the race by twelve lengths.

 

Taxing Times

After a successful day at Fairyhouse and Yarmouth on Wednesday, when Jessica Harrington notched up three winners, she will now be sending five runners to Dundalk today, including the lightly raced World Tax War. This son of Acclamation performed well to gain a third place in a mile maiden at Navan earlier this month after a longish absence. The London-born trainer stated that World Tax War was in good form and that he was running at Dundalk, Ireland's only all-weather track, because the ground at the turf tracks is too soft and unsuitable.

 

A Close Shave

It is noticeable that racetrack weighing rooms do not present the typical hirsute image of any busy street, company office or, indeed, of racegoers. This would, perhaps, lead to the erroneous conclusion that beards for jockeys are a no-no. Over the years there have even been speculations that this was due to the desire to avoid extra weight or wanting to be more aerodynamic. There may even have been conjectures that some arcane racing rule, handed down from the old days, forbids jockeys to have beards. In fact, there is no truth whatsoever that there is a stipulation in the rules of racing that jockeys may not have a growth of hair on the chin and lower cheeks. Former Godolphin jockey, Ahmed Atjebi and Martin Lane, were the most recent British-based jockeys to sport a beard.

 

21 September 2017

 

Penny for your Thoughts.

The American racing community and, indeed, anyone interested in racing history, is saddened by the news that the owner of the legendary winner of the 1973 Triple Crown has passed away at the age of 95. Renowned as the 'first lady' of US racing, Helen 'Penny' Chenery went into the history books following her role in the story of Secretariat. The huge chestnut horse known as 'Big Red', trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden by Ron Turcotte, set a track record in the Kentucky Derby and a Stakes record in the Preakness before going on to an unforgettable 31-length victory in the Belmont Stakes in world-record time. After becoming a celebrity during Secretariat's Triple Crown campaign, Penny Chenery left her indelible stamp on horse racing, particularly as her "influence on the sport spanned decades and her standing inspired generations of women in racing".

 

Johnny Be Good!

A double at Carlisle for the former top jockey who is now establishing an equally successful training career. Johnny Murtagh saddled the first winner of the day at Carlisle when Passionatta, following up her win at Chepstow last time out, triumphed in the Watch Racing UK ON BTTV Handicap. Rowan Scott rode the Intense Focus filly to a two-and-a-half-length victory despite the fact that he was ignominiously unshipped on the way down to the start. Half-an-hour later her stable companion, Les Arceaux, owned by JP Murtagh Racing, showed he also had what it takes to claim the Watch Racing UK On YouView Now Handicap. Making his first start since June, this son of Arcano appeared to relish the step-up to one mile and three furlongs and triumphed by two lengths.

 

A Rising Star?

There's a new teenage riding sensation on the block and it has been announced that he is soon to join champion trainer Nicky Henderson's team as a conditional jockey. James Bowen, just turned sixteen, has, it appears, the makings of as a future champion jockey. The Pembrokeshire-born rider, who has already notched up ten winners this season, clocks on at the Highclere yard on October 1.

 

18 September 2017

 

Another Crack?

A week on Sunday the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International winner could have another chance to take on the the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses was runner-up to John Gosden's Enable in that prestigious contest at Ascot in July. It seems the Galileo colt so impressed trainer and connections at a Warren Hill gallops event at Newmarket yesterday morning that it is now mooted that the four-year-old colt is bound for the North Paris track next month.

 

Good Evans!

David Evans enjoyed four-fold glory at Ffos Las yesterday afternoon. The Welsh trainer began how he obviously intended to carry on by claiming the first race on the card, the Bet With Peter Sutton Bookmakers On Course Nursery, when his 9/4 favourite Give Em A Clump, with Kieran Shoemark aboard, made every yard of the running and won by two lengths, followed by stable companion, Kheleyf's Girl, making it a one and two for the Abergavenny stables. Then half-an-hour later Fran Berry did the honours when he partnered Yorbelucky to a two-and-three-quarter length victory in the EBF Novice Stakes, denying victory to the odds-on favourite, Christopher Wood. Then Francis Martin did it again in the next race when he won the Peterson Family Supporting The NSPCC Cymru/Wales Handicap. The County Kildare jockey was clearly on a roll as he clinched the fourth race of the day with a win in the BBI Group Supporting Childline Wales Fillies' Handicap, making it a treble for him and a four-timer for David Evans

 

Life of Bryan!

It was reported last week that this County Tralee jockey was about to start a new riding career in this country. It looks like Bryan Cooper is taking the first steps in this plan as he has one ride at Worcester today. The twenty-five-year-old rider is booked to ride the Harry Whittington-trained Guiding Stars in the Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race. This four-year-old Bonbon Rose gelding is making the second start of his career, after not making too much of an impression at Huntingdon last November when he finished well down the field in the Hog Roast Catering Company 'Junior' Standard Open NH Flat Race.

 

17 September 2017

 

One Moore Try

Hard to believe but this jockey, arguably one of the best in the world, has never won the world’s oldest Classic. Ryan Moore, on his eighth attempt, however, partnered the Irish Derby winner Capri to a thrilling victory in the St Leger at Doncaster yesterday and, thereby, complete his full set of victories in the British Classics. In the eleven-strong field, four of the runners were trained by Aidan O’Brien, but this Galileo son was the favourite in, what was considered to be, one of the best renewals in recent years. Ryan Moore was aided and abetted in his ultimate bid for glory by his mount's stable companion and the 66/1 outsider, The Anvil, who set a useful early pace in the one-mile-six-furlong contests. About four furlongs out, James Doyle, aboard Stradivarius, trained by John Gosden who has won this Classic four times before, went into the lead with Sir Michael Stoute's Crystal Ocean vying for supremacy. However the three-year-old grey still had enough left to see off his rivals in the straight and pass the line half a length ahead.

 

Rustle of Spring

This five-year-old Zebedee progeny showed the rest of the field a clean pair of heels in yesterday's William Hill Portland Handicap at Doncaster and caused quite a stir among his connections. Spring Loaded, with Joey Haynes aboard, pursued the leaders on the stand side for quite a while and didn't seem to be going anywhere fast but, just over one furlong from home, he started to make headway and went into the lead, keeping on strongly to win by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

Wrong One!

Unfortunately Ryan Moore made the wrong choice of Aidan O'Brien-trainer runner in the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster yesterday. The thirty-three-year-old Brighton-born jockey (34 tomorrow! ) hoped to get the right tune out of the shorter-priced Mendelssohn who, unfortunately, weakened a furlong out and came last. The hero of the day was Seahenge, ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, who claimed the Group Two honours. This Scat Daddy colt produced a surprising a strong last-minute challenge to pip the James Tate-trained Hey Gaman at the post by a neck.

 

16 September 2017

 

Never Reins but it …...

Day Three of Doncaster's St Leger Festival witnessed the continuation of jockey PJ McDonald’s top run of form when he partnered the Mark Johnston-trained Time To Study in the Mallard Handicap. In a heart-stopping conclusion, requiring a photo-finish to separate the two protagonists, the Motivator colt, who had led the field from over two furlongs out, had to really dig deep to beat off the threatening challenge by Byron Flyer, ridden by Ryan Moore. This was clearly no time for study but for action and the Mr Abdulla Al Mansoori-owned three-year-old passed the test by a head. The victory had extra relish for the winning jockey. He dropped a rein as he battled against someone who is generally considered to be the world’s best rider. As he commented afterwards: “It’s hard enough to beat Ryan Moore with two reins, never mind one!”

 

Sky's the Limit

The champion jockey elect rode this Tamayuz colt to a one-and-a-half length victory in the Doncaster Cup yesterday. The David Elsworth-trained Desert Skyline was the youngest of this nine-runner event and clearly showed his elders that they were not his betters. Silvestre de Sousa patiently held back the 2/1 favourite at the rear of the field on and his patience was ultimately rewarded when he left Willie Mullins' Thomas Hobson and last year's winner Sheikhzayedroad in his wake. Sadly Desert Skyline is a gelding and so is not eligible for Classic races so we'll never know how well he might have fared in, for instance, today's St Leger or even the Derby.

 

Good Grief!

Seventy-five members of the Hot to Trot syndicate who lease this Kyllachy filly for £1,995 a year, enjoyed another great day's racing. The Clive Cox-trained Heartache had already given them a day in the sun (literally!) at Royal Ascot in June when she carried off the prize in the Queen Mary Stakes. Now she got the better of the opposite sex, Havana Grey, in an excitingly close finish. For most winners, victory in this Doncaster sprint would be perhaps the pinnacle of success in their careers but there is definitely a lot more to come from this very talented filly.

 

15 September 2017

 

Leger Demain!

This Sardinian jockey claimed the St. Leger Stakes in 2014 and 2015 but he couldn't do the same again last year because, unfortunately, he wasn't booked to ride. So, understandably, Andrea Atzeni is all the more determined to go for his third triumph at Doncaster tomorrow and he is confident that the Roger Varian-trained Defoe has what it takes to gain a place in the winner's enclosure. This Dalakhani colt, who has won his last four races, began his campaign by winning the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap off a mark of 88 at Newbury in May but this time he will go to post rated 113, after his latest victory when he made easy work of the Group 3 Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes back at this Berkshire venue last month.

 

Laurens at the Post

The Karl Burke-trained Suyouni filly claimed the William Hill May Hill Stakes at Doncaster with a last-minute dash for the line. Laurens narrowly won on her racecourse debut at this track in July and then went on to be runner-up in the Group Three Prix du Calvados at Deauville last month. Joining Group Two company for the first time, the two-year-old, ridden by PJ McDonald, was sent of the 11/4 favourite but she seemed a bit flat-footed when James Doyle urged Nyaleti into the lead inside the final three furlongs and, indeed, she seemed destined for only a place. However, John Dance's filly eventually found a little speed and came in a head ahead of the course and distance winner Dark Rose Angel.

 

'Ell' of a Ride!

Karl Burke also had success in the EBF British Stallion Studs "Carrie Red" Fillies' Nursery when his Kodiac filly was back in top form. After outclassing her rivals in the Carleton Fillies' Novice Stakes at Carlisle in June she then seemed out of her depth in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Stallions Star Stakes at Sandown when she only managed sixth. This time the 8/1 shot, Ellthea, joined handicap company and had no problems under the guidance of apprentice jockey, Clifford Lee, drawing away in the last two-hundred yards to claim victory by three-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

14 September 2017

 

Happy Birthday!

A recently-retired National Hunt jockey who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase on One Man back in 1998, scored in the Clipper Logistics Leger Legends Classified Stakes at Doncaster yesterday aboard a horse who hasn't won since June 2013. The Tim Easterby-trained Off Art who looked like he was returning to to previous top form when coming third at Redcar at the end of August, was brought in late by Brian Harding to take the one-mile contest by half a length – a fitting fifty-sixth birthday present for the North Yorkshire-base trainer.

 

Yes, Sir. That's Shabaaby!

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Conditions Stakes at Doncaster was another occasion for this Kyllachy colt to prove that he's one to watch. The Owen Burrows-trained Shabaaby, third behind Nyaleti on his racecourse debut at Salisbury in June and then going on to a resounding win at Newmarket last month, was deemed second best by the market but the result soon made a mockery of that conclusion. Champion jockey Jim Crowley kept his mount in third place, tracking the leaders until going into the lead one furlong from home. Once given his head, the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Shabaaby didn't need asking twice and went clear to score by seven lengths.

 

Get the Point?

Gordon Elliott had already indicated that this jockey was aboard the best of his three runners in the Guinness Kerry National and so it turned out. Lisa O'Neill provided the County Meath-based trainer with back-to-back victories when she steered Potters Point to a half-a-length victory, relegating Arkwrisht and Bay Of Freedom to second and third, respectively.

 

13 September 2017

 

Dream On?

Saturday's Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster holds out the possibility, at the five-day confirmation, that the Mark Johnston-trained Dream Ahead colt could step straight into Group Two company. This decision came about after Dream Today's impressive victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes, Britain's richest feature for first-time runners, at York last month. The North Yorkshire-based trainer has claimed this prestigious race on two previous occasions, with Lucky Story in 2003 and McCartney in 2007. So 2017 could see a Dream come true on that day!

 

Shoulda been a Contender!

It appears that the Kevin Ryan-trained Pivotal gelding is in good shape after his disappointing ninth showing in the Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday. Brando was the favourite for that Group One feature, particularly following his impressive result in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville but the Tom Eaves-ridden five-year-old fared no better than his namesake in the Classic film, On the Waterfront, who just wanted to be a contender. The Thirsk-based trainer had no specific explanation why his charge didn't cut the mustard. He did recall, however, that Brando had had a bad experience at the Merseyside track a few years ago when he burst a blood vessel when winning a handicap. Whether the memory of that event affected his performance, we'll never know.

 

Another Crack

After their Teofilo colt's creditable performance when coming third behind Ribchester in the Prix du Moulin on Sunday, connections are eager for him to take on the Richard Fahey star again in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Qipco Champions Day at Ascot next month. Massaat caught the eye when winning the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last month, his first start for over a year. So his trainer Owen Burrows thinks a rematch at the Berkshire track is well merited.

11 September 2017

 

Run of the Mill

At Chantilly yesterday this Iffraaj colt once more asserted his position as Europe’s top miler by winning the Group One Prix du Moulin. It was the Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester's fourth victory at the highest level and also establishes him as Yorkshire’s best horse on the Flat after topping the three Group Ones in a row notched up Alan Swinbank’s star, Collier Hill in 2006 and 2007. It was good to see that Ribchester's last-month shock defeat in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood was purely down to the heavy ground.

 

Good with Words!

The second day of Irish Champions Weekend was a bit of an anti-climax after Leopardstown on Saturday due to erratic weather, a string of important non-runners and also, unfortunately, because the Curragh is still undergoing important re-building works. These factors were probably responsible for the low number of racegoers who bothered to turn up. Considering the high standard of racing and the fact that it was the biggest attraction around the area, 5,370 visitors was a poor show, compared to the 13,689 who attended Leopardstown the day before. But, despite all that, it was business as usual for trainers and jockeys and particularly Jim Bolger. Shrewdly the 75-year-old trainer probably speculated that the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes didn't have the high calibre of runners of previous renewals and took advantage of that to claim his first Group One win in more than two years. Verbal Dexterity, (who his wife, Jackie, claims was named after her husband!), did most of the talking in this seven-furlong contest, however, soundly beating the Gordon Elliot-trained favourite, Beckford, by three-and-a-half lengths.

 

Order! Order!

The Irish St Leger on the final day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend held no surprises. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Order of St George easily claimed the prize by nine lengths. Winner of this prestigious event by eleven lengths in 2015 when the trainer's son, Joseph, was in the saddle, it was no wonder that the five-year-old Galileo progeny was the race favourite. This victory means Order of St George becomes only the fourth dual winner of this race, joining the likes of Vintage Crop (93 & 94), Oscar Schindler (96 & (7) and Kayf Tara (98 & 99), although he has some way to go before beating the record set by the four-time race winner, Vinnie Roe (2001 - 2004). 

 

10 September 2017

 

Knight's Day

A 25/1 chance Galileo horse notched up his third Group 1 victory when winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday. The Roger Charlton-trained Decorated Knight, also winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May, was still in last position half-way round this ten-furlong contest but, under Andreas Atzeni 's persistent stewardship, the five-year-old closed this gap by one furlong out, narrowly in the lead in the final hundred yards, and stormed home with a half-length advantage from Sir Michael Stoute's Poet’s Word. The disappointment of the day was that the odds-on favourite, Churchill, could only manage seventh out of the field of ten.

 

Blooming Good!

There was a surprise blossoming in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown when the Aidan O'Brien-trained Hydrangea got the better of her stable companion, Winter, who was, thereby, denied a fifth successive Group One triumph. The Ballydoyle trainer had hinted that Winter's preparation had been interrupted for one reason and another and that might make a difference if it came to a tight finish. Never a truer word spoken as the eventual winner, ridden by Wayne Lordan, persisted right to the end and prevailed by a head.

 

Wild About Harry

Trainer Clive Cox acknowledged that he had had a few sleepless nights prior to yesterday's 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock yesterday. The reason was that the dire weather forecast and the resultant heavy ground were, as he knew from experience, not ideal for his stable star, Harry Angel. So much so that the Lambourn-based trainer only confirmed the Dark Angel colt as a runner just half an hour before the event. Now he must be wondering why he bothered his head so much because Harry Angel added his name to the list of sprinting superstars when winning the six-furlong contest by four lengths.

 

9 September 2017

 

Reining Hero

The Murwillumbah racecourse in New South Wales, Australia, was the scene of an amazing example of top horsemanship by a Sydney-born female jockey. Laura Cheshire was aboard Secret Blend in a competitive handicap race. Just after the runners jumped out of the starting stalls, the mare's bridle fell apart, causing the bit to fall out of her mouth, taking the bridle with it. The other jockey’s seemed to realize that their colleague was racing without a bridle and did their best to stay well clear of her. That wasn't the end of it, however, because when the race was over, this Pivotal offspring carried on running and, in fact, raced around the track three times. At one stage the loose rein caught around the horse's hind leg, which only made the fourteen-year-old take off even faster and start bucking in an effort to kick the rein off. Luckily she didn’t step on it or both horse and rider could have flipped over. When the rein eventually came loose, Laura Cheshire, as cool as a cucumber, leaned over to retrieve it, and continued trying to calm her mount down, finally managing to get her to stop at one of the fences. The plucky rider was then able to slide off and fashion the broken bridle into a kind of head collar to lead her safely back to the parade ring. It was certainly an eventful incident, heroically handled.

 

Royal versus St George

It could be testing ground for the renewal of the Irish Leger at the Curragh tomorrow but connections of five-year-old Dartmouth, owned by the Queen, do not seem unduly perturbed. The royal runner heads the British challenge aiming to take on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Order Of St George who is now the hot favourite, after Michael Bell’s Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange was withdrawn. This Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dubawi offspring won the Group Two Yorkshire Cup in May and was just nosed out of victory by Andrew Balding's Montaly on the Knavesmire in last month’s Lonsdale Cup. Racing advisor to the Queen, John Warren, admitted that with a top-class horse there were always concerns about extreme conditions but, provided the going wasn't too onerous, there was no reason Dartmouth shouldn't do well as he was exceptionally versatile.

 

Anna Surprise at Salisbury

This Richard Hannon-trained Dubawi filly pulled off the surprise of the day when winning the Group Three Bathwick Tyres Dick Poole Fillies' Stakes at Salisbury. The 40/1 shot, Anna Nerium, was the first of the thirteen runners to come off the bridle and, three furlongs from home, things looked dire. Never-say-die jockey, Tom Marquand, however, wasn't going to give up that easily and managed to persuade his two-year-old mount that all was not lost and goaded her into a last-minute race for the line to score by a neck, ahead of the Dean Ivory-trained Eirene who looked to have the race in the bag a furlong out.

8 September 2017

 

Magical Result?

The Mowbray House Farm team will shortly be setting off from Stillington, York, to make the three-and-a-half-hour trip to Musselburgh for this evening's racing. Trainer, Ruth Carr will be saddling two contenders, eight-year-old Ellal, who came second a week ago at this East Lothian track and five-year-old Magical Effect who is appearing here for the first time. Of the two it appears that great things are expected from the latter who is favourite and top-weight in the St Andrews Timber Handicap. This son of New Approach, who was with Charlie Appleby until the Summer of 2015, has produced some solid results lately for his current trainer, with two wins and four places from eight starts. Clearly he is about due for another success.

 

Cudda. Shudda. Wudda

With a seventy percent chance of rain at Haydock Park tomorrow the 32Red Sprint Cup is the subject of serious speculation, even though it has been allocated an earlier third-race slot in an attempt to avoid the worst of the bad weather. The long-time favourite, Harry Angel, is now being seriously challenged in the betting market by the Kevin Ryan-trained Brando who beat Aclaim and Tupi in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month. Admittedly the going was good on that occasion but he did score in last year's Ayr Gold Cup on good to soft and on soft in the Coral Charge at Sandown. The five-year-old Pivotal offspring is named after American stage and screen star Marlon Brando, whose famous quote in the film On the Waterfront was; “ I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody!” Well, tomorrow his namesake could finally put Terry Malloy's spirit to rest.

 

Better than you think!

It may be one of the most prestigious meetings attended by the stars and celebrities of the racing world but the Irish Champions Weekend welcomes everyone. It is certainly not unknown for a few gifted smaller trainers to leave Leopardstown on Sunday evening with a few wins to their credit. One handler with such aspirations is Madeleine Tylicki, sister of jockey, Freddy, with just ten horses in her Newbridge yard in County Kildare. One of these is Sirjack Thomas who broke his duck in heavy ground at Roscommon ten days ago and will be lining up in this year's Group 3 Willis Towers Watson Champions Juvenile Stakes. This Fast Company colt is currently a 20/1 shot which, his trainer thinks, seriously underestimates his chances.

 

7 September 2017

 

Lille Appeal

The 2005 joint champion apprentice in 2005 and the first female jockey to ride 100 winners in a year has now had her first win in France since announcing she will ride there full-time this Winter to take advantage of the new 4.4-pound advantage for horses with a woman aboard. Hayley Turner rode the Henri Devin-trained Prime Time to victory at Le Croise-Laroche race track near Lille. Since retiring from racing two years ago the Nottingham-born rider has been working for At The Races and ITV Racing and has made the odd comeback in the saddle, including the Shergar Cup at Ascot at the beginning of August.

 

Remember November !

In case the general public can't tell a riding whip from a golf club the popular Cheltenham Open, which for the past seventeen years, as its name suggests, has traditionally heralded the start of the jumps season, has been obliged to change its name. It seems that the organisers of The Open, the 157-year-old golf tournament, feel they have a superior claim to this nomenclature and the dual use of the name couold be confusing to the public. So Prestbury Park's most important meeting outside the Festival will henceforth be known as – wait for it! – the November Meeting. It doesn't have the same ring about it, though!

 

Race against Time

The 32Red Sprint Cup, originally scheduled as the last-but-one race of the day at Haydock on Saturday, has now been moved to the third race on the card. The organisers, quite naturally, are anxious that the six-furlong contest should be run on the best possible ground. The re-adjustment was prompted by the week of wet weather that the North-West has experienced, resulting in the going becoming good to soft. The threat of further rain means that trainer, Henry Candy, has already indicated that his stable star, Limato is a doubtful starter. Others could follow if conditions deteriorate any further.

 

6 September 2017

 

Flat Return

It is rumoured that this John P McManus-owned Montjeu offspring could switch back to the Flat for the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket. Galway Hurdle winner, Tigris River, trained by Joseph O'Brien, claimed his third successive victory in the riveting renewal of this Ballybrit prestigious race last month, making it his fifth victory over hurdles to-date. The six-year-old has run just five times on the Flat before, most most recently when winning the Brady Burns Insurance Brokers Supporting Junefest Handicap at the Curragh in June. Connections are loath to commit themselves at this stage but it looks as though a trip across the Irish Sea could be on the cards.

 

Days Numbered

The Ken Condon-trained Jeremy five-year-old probably only has a couple more chances to win a Group One before calling it a day at the end of the season. The County Kildare handler is pondering the Champion Stakes on both sides of the Irish Sea for Success Days; the first takes place at Leopardstown on Saturday where the Robert Ng-owned five-year-old is scheduled to compete in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, provided that the ground is suitable. The grey appears to relish soft ground, however, and is said to be in fine form after his impressive victory in the Group Two Sky Bet York Stakes on the Knavesmire.

 

A Royal Line

It seems this Sheikh Mohammed Dubawi progeny is another future star to carry the well-known maroon and white silks to glory. At Windsor in the Call Star Spreads On 0808 234 9709 Maiden Stakes Royal Line raced at the rear of the field for most of the nearly one-and-a-half-mile contest. But, when passing the two furlong pole, however, the three-year-old colt suddenly seemed to realise what the job on hand was and went from last to first to win by three-quarter of a length.

 

4 September 2017

 

Magic Moment

The Charlie Appleby-trained Dark Angel colt won the Des Chenes Group 3 Stakes at Chantilly yesterday. Stage Magic, owned by Godolphin, put on an impressive performance in the five-strong, seven-furlong contest. Cambridge-born James Doyle quickly manoeuvred the two-year-old into the lead and stayed there in a dominating position for the rest of the race, narrowly holding off the hot favourite, Olmedo, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. Another English raider, Zyzzyvam, from Robyn Brisland's Newmarket yard, came an admirable third.

 

Turkish Delight

Meanwhile another Godolphin runner provided the treats in Turkey. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Secret Number stormed to victory in the International Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi. This son of Raven's Pass, despite a 295-day absence from the track, produced a professional performance in this Group Two contest. Gerald Mosse brought the seven-year-old with a powerful gallop down the centre of the track, denying victory to the Andrew Balding-trained mare, Elbereth, who finished third in this race last year.

 

Well-earned Win

Tim Easterby's My Reward dominated from the front to cash in on the corbettsports.com Chester Stakes. This Listed contest, with a total £37,000 prize money up for grabs, was the main event of the day on the Roodee and, naturally, attracted a strong eleven-runner field. The son of Rail Link, ridden by David Allan, got an advantageous draw in stall two and used it well to get out in front. For much of the one-mile-five-furlong trip the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Shraaoh endeavoured to keep him but, from the home bend, the writing was on the wall. The 3/1 favourite, Cape Coast, duly laboured hard at the finish and, indeed, slowly started to reel the leader in. My Reward managed to hold on, however, to win by three-quarters of a length.

 

3 September 2017

 

Now you're Talking!

A very quiet day for racing with only two English tracks in action, one on the Flat and the other National Hunt. It may be worth looking at the Brighton card, though, where there could still be a chance to make some cash. The Michael Bell-trained Zoffany filly has, it's true, only won one of her eight career outings but she has never been far away from the winning outcome and it looks as if today could be the day. Jive Talking put on a good show against better Class Two rivals at Salisbury last time out and, although she found the mile-and-a-half trip a bit tough she only dropped off the pace in the final stages. Today's Class 4 British Stallions Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap is two furlongs shorter so the three-year-old filly is in with a chance.

 

Pure Gold

Owners, the China Horse Club, forked out over £1.5 million for this Frankel filly but had to wait until her three-year-old season before they could see her in action. The Jim Bolger-trained Goldrush made up for lost time, however, by winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Navan yesterday. Kevin Manning always kept the 6/1 chance close on the pace and when, two furlongs out, he asked her to go for home she easily combatted any efforts from the odds-on favourite, Frima, and galloped three lengths clear of the chasing Wooster.

 

Masar for Masar!

As expected, the Charlie Appleby-trained New Approach colt, after winning his racecourse debut at Goodwood in May and coming an impressive third behind high-class fillies September and Nyaleti in the Chesham Stakes a month later, was the 11-8 favourite to get back on the winning trail in yesterday's BetBright Solario Stakes at Sandown. The course and distance winner, Connect, lead the field for much of this Group Three seven-furlong contest with Richard Hannon's De Bruyne Horse next and Masar, with James Doyle aboard, following closely in third slot. Masar quickly went into the lead inside the final two furlongs, shadowed closely by the Ken Condon-trained Irish challenger Romanised. It looked as though it would be a close-run thing but the Godolphin-owned Masar was made of sterner stuff and claimed a two-length victory.

2 September 2017

 

Just the Type

Yesterday's All New Fiesta At Trust Ford Handicap at Sandown gave the Simon Crisford-trained son of Le Havre, un-raced as a two-year-old, the chance to show how well he can perform under top weight, producing his third win from six starts. Oisin Murphy kept Archetype handy just off the pace set by the Richard Hannon-trained Pillar Of Society. Then about a furlong out the three-year-old colt galloped away strongly to claim this Class 3 one-mile contest by two-and-a-half lengths.

 

High Five?

The big question on everyone's lips (“chapped lips”!) is whether John Gosden can win his fifth Solario Stakes of the decade at Sandown today. This prestigious contest, first run 70 years ago, with Group Three status since 1986, has established itself as a key late-season two-year-old race. The Clarehaven Stables' trainer saddled his first winner, Foss Way, in this seven-furlong contest fifteen years ago. Then came Windsor Knot in 2004, Raven's Pass in 2007 and Kingman, more recently, in 2013. Today the pressure is on Purser, the well-backed winner of a Newbury maiden two weeks ago, to claim another victory for the Newmarket yard.

 

A lot at Stakes

This Brian Meehan-trained son of Zebedee is aiming for glory in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket later this month. Impressively Barraquero came third behind 2000 Guineas favourite Expert eye on his racecourse debut on 15 June, following that up with an impressive six-length victory in the Daily Racing Specials At 188Bet/EBF Stallions Novice Stakes at Chepstow on July 4. At the beginning of last month the bay colt obviously had no problems with a step up in grade for the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood which he won comfortably. All this is valuable experience for his bid for glory in the Group One feature race on September 30.

 

1 September 2017

 

A Win and that's on the level!

This County Waterford National Hunt trainer has finally notched up his first Listed victory on the Flat. Henry de Bromhead saddled Gorane in the Kilfrush Stud Abergwaun Stakes at Tipperary yesterday. Ridden by Declan McDonogh the 14/1 shot Dream Ahead filly made a hasty exit from the stalls and was soon narrowly in the lead ahead of Alphabet and Green Door. The Favourite, Son Of Rest, did his best to to challenge this young upstart but in vain. Ultimately Gorane denied another young contender, Snowstorm, victory by half a length.

 

First Win in Two Years.

It's been some 553 days since this Newmarket-based trainer saddled a winner at Chelmsford City. Last night, however, it was time for celebration when Roger Varian's Aljuljalah, with Andreas Atzeni aboard, triumphed in the Greene King IPA Charlotte Fillies' Conditions Stakes, her first win since September 2015, although she had gained some reasonable placings in her eleven outings. The four-year-old Exchange Rate filly came late from right back in the field to claim the seven-furlong prize by three quarters of a length.

 

Mademoiselle Hayley!

This thirty-four-year-old Nottingham-born jockey decided to come out of retirement, tempted by the two-kilogram claim on offer to women riders in France and experienced her first full day of riding across the Channel. Unfortunately from her three rides yesterday Hayley Turner only managed a runner-up slot on the Francis Graffard-trained Mr Maximum but she'll be back there again next Tuesday and Wednesday to try her luck. Bonne chance!

 

31 August 2017

 

Up the City!

Prize-money's up again this week at the former Great Leighs Racecourse. Chelmsford city's firm commitment to increase the financial rewards is in evidence this afternoon with the first two races on the card offering six-figure rewards totalling £110,500, To cap that Saturday's fixture has £200,000 spread over the seven races. These sums are the highest since the Essex course reopened in April 2008. James Fanshawe is clearly one trainer who would like to get his hands on some of this money and will be saddling runners today and on Saturday. His Zest has a good chance in today's £45,000 Greene King IPA Charlotte Fillies' Conditions Stakes.

 

Back on Song?

On Saturday the David Griffith-trained son of Singspiel will bid to get his season back on song in the Listed totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes. Take Cover may be ten years old already and some would think ready to call it a day but the way he handled himself when winning the City Walls Stakes at York in July indicates there's more to come before retirement.

 

The Real McCoy?

Competing in this Concours Complet International four-star event is worlds away, you would think, from the hustle and bustle of the National Hunt racetrack but is not, it seems, a bridge too far for the former twenty-time champion jockey. In a shock announcement, Tony McCoy has revealed he is now bidding to add CCI to his long list of achievements, which include three Guinness World Records and an assortment of major racing successes such as the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. The forty-three-year-old Moneyglass-born jockey aims to 'ride' Pamela, a rescued Shetland pony, who has rather rocked the equestrian world recently with exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of her success in training. The decision to employ the services of Sir AP McCoy as jockey is clearly a dramatic final touch in the bid for Pamela to become the first Shetland pony ever to 'compete' in the Burghley Horse Trials.

30 August 2017

 

Emotional Win

It was a a doubly emotional occasion at Epsom yesterday; firstly because of the name of the race and secondly because of the horse that won it. The race was the Charlotte Lajoie Forever in Our Hearts Handicap, named after the former stable girl who sadly died in a car crash in 2015 and the horse was the Jim Boyle-trained Cordite who hasn't won a race since October 2013. The six-year-old son of Footstepsinthesand duly made amends and produced a length-and-a-half success in this mile-and-a-half contest. The trainer who is based about two miles from the Surrey track was obviously delighted with the result because his head girl, Louisa Allen, who looks after Cordite, was a very close friend of Charlotte.

 

Exchange no Robbery!

A horse that hasn't won for almost twelve months is the Simon Crisford-trained Rodaini. The son of Exchange Rate was last year in fine form when clinching a four-timer with his victory last September in the Weatherbys Stallion Book Flying Scotsman Stakes. Since then the three-year-old seems to have lost his way. So yesterday's Follow attheraces On Twitter Conditions Race at Ripon was probably a much-needed confidence-booster. With the added advantage of a drop in class, Franny Norton successfully steered his charge to a three-quarter length win ahead of the favourite, Hugin.

 

Star Attraction

This six-year-old sprinter also joins the infamous absentee list, having not scored since August 2013. The Kevin Ryan-trained Bogart did start to show signs of improvement on his last two appearances at Thirsk, however. The only problem was that he was unlucky to come up against better-handicapped horses such as The Armed Man and, most recently, Memories Galore. In his favour also is that the son of Bahamian Bounty has been ignore by the handicapper and is on an attractive 81 mark in what, by any standards, is not a challenging contest.

 

29 August 2017

 

Upsom Downs!

On and off it was an interesting day's racing at this Surrey track. Two separate but similar incidents provided racegoers with an eventful afternoon at Epsom. In the All New Fiesta At Trust Ford Handicap the favourite, Chica De La Noche, trained by Simon Dow, stumbled at the start and unseated her jockey, Harry Bentley. Tough luck for the punters but stuff happens. That wasn't the end of it, however. The very next race, the Caspian Prince Handicap, mirrored the previous event when the favourite, Boom The Groom, 'stumbled at the start and unseated' his jockey, Robert Winston. There was a happy ending for punters, though. Sky Bet generously refunded all its customers who had bet on these two unfortunate 'non-runners'.

 

Awesome Foursome

The nine-time Irish Champion jockey ehanced his chances to win this year's title by pulling off an amazing four-timer at Roscommon. Pat Smullen kicked off his eventful day in the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction Race when the Tracy Collins-trained Sollertia followed up her encouraging debut at the Curragh last month by with a one-and-three-quarter length victory in this seven-furlong-plus event. The next race, the Murray Ambulance Maiden, wasn't so straightforward as the Dermot Weld-trained Knowing You left it very late to challenge the favourite, Invincible Ryker, but surprisingly made it with three-quarters of a length to spare. The Peggy Guerin Memorial Handicap looked as though it would be Pat Smullen's first defeat of the day when Ontheiflist, trained by Harry Rogers, dallied at the back for quite a while. This Iffraaj son wasn't beaten yet, however, and soon dominated in the final furlong to snatch victory by four-and-three-quarter lengths. To prove that not all things come in threes the Irish Champion steered Lord Erskine, again for Harry Rogers, to his fourth success of the day.

 

By Acclamation!

The Owen Burrows-trained Enjazaat benefited from a drop in class to triumph in the Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy. This Acclamation son won the Injured Jockeys Fund Novice Stakes at Yarmouth in June and, although he only made sixth in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket the next time out it was by no means a disappointing effort. The Mr Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned colt clearly found this six-furlong Listed heat an easier proposition. The 5/4 favourite, Lake Volta, was obvious determined to take the race from the front and was still in the lead at the beginning of the final furlong. Champion jockey, Jim Crowley, however, succeeded in urging his mount to fend off the the fast-finishing Tip Two Win and the result was a comfortable two-length victory.

 

28 August 2017

 

Flash Drive

A second horse has now gone down in history after claiming back-to-back wins in the fiftieth renewal of the prestigious Celebration Mile at Goodwood. The David Simcock-trained Lightning Spear had already hinted at better things to come when finishing third in the Sussex Stakes at this track three weeks ago. All credit to jockey Oisin Murphy who timed his final challenge to perfection when the six-year-old son of Pivotal got his nose in front, thus denying victory to last year's runner-up, Zonderland.

 

With Flying Colours

This son of War Front took full advantage from a drop in class at the Curragh yesterday when he claimed the Group Three Plusvital Round Tower Stakes by six lengths. The Aidan O'Brien-trained US Navy Flag, having, in no way, disgraced himself when coming fourth to Sioux Nation in the Group One Phoenix Stakes last time out, made the most of what was clearly not such a big task this time. Ryan Moore kept his mount in front on the stands rail until asking the 5/4 favourite to go for home, a request that was easily complied with.

 

Going Dutch

Another piece of good news at Goodwood. The Charlie Hills-trained Dutch Connection, who hasn't had a victory for over a year, notched up his fifth career win when scoring in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Supreme Stakes. The five-year-old took full advantage of a drop to Group Three company and, partnered by Champion jockey, Jim Crowley, doggedly tracked the leader, Salateen, until about a furlong and a half from home and then drew away in the final hundred yards.

27 August 2017

 

Where there's Hope, there's Danny!

Last night at Redcar it was Ladies’ and Gents’ Evening . (I guess there are some of each of those at all race meetings!) This was something special, however, as the visitors to this seaside track were treated to an exciting treble by an Ayrshire-born jockey. Danny Tudhope made his first strike in the fourth race of the fixture, the Class 4 Racing UK Straight Mile Series Handicap when the David O'Meara-trained Mon Beau Visage claimed the prize by a short-head from Jim Goldie’s Scottish raider Testa Rossa. Having denied the Scottish trainer victory in that race, Danny Tudhope made amends by riding the Jim Goldie-trained Insurplus to a half-a-length victory in the All New racinguk.com Handicap. The treble came in the last race of the day when he was back riding for David O’Meara whose State Residence was a clear winner from about a furlong from home.

 

Right royal Win

Fabricate, owned by Her Majesty the Queen easily dealt with the step up in class when winning the Bet & Watch At sunbets.co.uk Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor last night. The Michael Bell-trained son of Makfi, fresh from winning the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap at Goodwood after a stewards' enquiry, left no doubts about the result of this contest as he was virtually all done and dusted over three furlongs from home.

 

Gamble Pre-amble!

Apparently there was a bit of a gamble with a Cartmel runner yesterday. The David Loughnane-trained Tornado Watch was available at 33/1 in the morning but was very soon half that price. Even an hour before the running of the totepool Cartmel Cup Handicap Hurdle the son of Selkirk could still be had at between 12/1 and 18/1. Then things started to move. After opening at 10/1 on the course, the eight-year-old chestnut gelding suddenly moved up to 2/1 joint-favouritism, even making 15/8 for a brief while. In the end, however, the mysterious manoeuvrings failed as Tornado Watch was denied victory by seven lengths but, nevertheless, ran better than his morning odds suggested.

26 August 2017

 

The Wrong Jump!

The man from Milan jumped the gun (not his customary leap!) at yesterday's conclusion of the Nunthorpe Stakes at York. Frankie Dettori, aboard the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia, punched the air and waved his whip in his usual exuberant winning style. The only problem was that the 10/11 favourite hadn't won, as the photo-finish camera revealed a few moments later. The lady in the spotlight this time was the Sir Mark Prescott-trained Acclamation filly, Marsha, ridden by Luke Morris, who had got her nose in front in the final stride of this five-furlong contest.

 

Two much to hope for?

This Highclere Throughbred Racing trainer hasn’t won the Ebor Handicap since Clerkenwell

did the honours back in 1996. Sir Michael Stoute, who scored on Wednesday with Ulysses in the Juddmonte International, is now daring to hope that he could pull off the ultimate Ebor Festival double when his Dubka lines up in Europe’s most illustrious mile-and-six-furlong contest. This Dubawi filly has made her mark lately in higher graded races and distinguished herself by coming a very close second to Charlie Appleby's Endless Time in the Markel Insurance Fillies' Stakes at Glorious Goodwood at the beginning of the month.

 

A Chip off the Old Block

Killarney proved the place to be for trainer Joseph O'Brien. Aidan O'Brien's son excelled himself by notching up a double at this County Kerry track. He kicked off his successful evening with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden when his brother, Donnacha, partnered High Language to a half-length victory. Then two races later he did the old one-two with Grey Waters and Pronounced taking first and second place in the two-mile-plus Seamus Mulvany Bookmakers 3-Y-O Hurdle.

 

 

25 August 2017

 

Can do!

This daughter of Nathaniel, with the English and Irish Oaks and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes already to her credit, added the Darley Yorkshire Oaks to that impressive list yesterday. The John Gosden-trained Enable performed well in the testing conditions to win her fourth Group One prize of the season. Racing down the centre of the track in the straight about three furlongs from home the three-year-old filly responded willingly when asked to go for home and ran her rivals ragged with a five-length victory.

 

Great Day for Some!

It cost a £15,000 supplementary fee to get this Exceed And Excel filly into the race but the gamble paid off nearly ten-fold. The Mark Johnston-trained Threading, fresh from her stunning debut win at Goodwood, claimed the Group Two Sky Bet Lowther Stakes by one-and-three-quarter lengths and rewarded her owners with the £142,000 prize money. Certain supporters of the Wesley Ward-trained Happy Like A Fool didn't have the great day that Steve had wished, however. This daughter of Distorted Humor certainly lived up to her Sire's name. She was well in the lead when the saddle slipped up her neck and was then an easy target for the eventual winner.

 

Luck still with the Lady?

This Scat Daddy daughter really looked a world-beater when winning the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot in June as she did last year in the Queen Mary Stakes. The question is whether the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia can today add the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes to her imposing list of conquests. In this eight-male-versus-three female contest perhaps one rival has what it takes to thwart the Lady's advances. The Charlie Hills-trained Battaash will be bidding for four wins in a row and one thing in his favour is that he has proved that he can deal with pretty well any ground the weather can produce, whereas Lady Aurelia looks like she is more comfortable on a sound surface. The son of Dark Angel enters the fray with confidence as he easily bagged the King George Stakes at Goodwood at the beginning of this month on particularly testing ground.

 

24 August 2017

 

Yes Sir!

It's forty-five years since this Barbadian knight saddled his very first winner. Four months later York staged what, until 1985, was called the the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup. Yesterday Sir Michael Stoute claimed the Knavesmire's most treasured prize, now known as the Juddmonte International Stakes, when Ulysses, with the current champion jockey, Jim Crowley, aboard, outclassed both Churchill and Barney Roy in this £1 million contest. The ten-time Champion trainer has now won this Juddmonte Farms-sponsored event six times, more than any other handler.

 

He'll go Farhh!

Yesterday's Acomb Stakes at York proved a continuation of a memorable season for Ryedale-based trainer Tim Easterby and jockey David Allan. Wells Farhh Go took the seven-furlong group Three race by a nose in one of the most thrilling events of the day. Right up to the line it looked as though the George Scott-trained James Garfield had it in the bag but the son of Farhh wasn't giving up so easily and a photo-finish result declared him the winner.

 

He Cracked it.

Not so exciting but a win just the same was the John Gosden-trained Cracksman's six-length victory in the Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes. This Frankel colt, third and second in the English and Irish Derbies, respectively, was deservedly sent off the 4/6 favour and had no problems with that decision. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Venice Beach tried to stay with him but in vain. 

23 August 2017

 

Eboracum

York is considered to be one this country’s most successful independent racecourses and another of its highly popular Festivals runs for the next three days – The Ebor, a name abbreviated from Eboracum, the the Roman name for the city now known as York, the largest town in northern Britain at that time. The feature race of the day is the £1m. Juddmonte International Stakes in which the season’s top three-year-old colts compete with each other over a mile. The likes of Barney Roy, Churchill, Ulysses and Cliffs Of Moher will be seeking to assert their dominance in a contest which, in its forty-five-year history, has produced some big surprises. Today should be no exception.

 

It's Magic!

For my money perhaps the most interesting race of this first day of the Ebor is the Fine equinITy Handicap which could well be one of the most fiercely competed contests. There are a few old favourites bidding for glory in this seventeen-strong two-mile handicap. One, in particular, that catches the eye is dual Royal Ascot winner Oriental Fox, trained by Mark Johnston. Another that could well be in the frame is the Ralph Beckett-trained Magic Circle. Although Kimpton Down Stables has not been up to the mark in recent months, this Makfi son could be the one to do the business. Heavy rain is forecast for today and this could further strengthen this five-year-old gelding's claim.

 

Oaks. OK?

Arguably the best mile-and-a-half horse in training, winner of the Epsom and Curragh Oaks as well as the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, will put her reputation on the line again tomorrow. The John Gosden-trained Enable lines up with five rivals in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire. As a back-up the Clarehaven Stables handler is also saddling Coronet, winner of the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot but this Dubawi daughter is rated eighteen pounds inferior to her stable companion.

 

22 August 2017

 

In the Nick of Time

The logistics of accepting bookings to ride at two race courses on the same day is not something that racegoers ever give much though to. It seems that most such arrangements work out smoothly, with jockeys even hiring helicopters to make sure they arrive at their destinations in good time. Yesterday car-driving Eddy Greatrex was not so lucky, however. though. He was in action at Lingfield Park in the afternoon where he had three rides but, sadly, didn't score. Then he had to make the fifty-five-mile trip to Windsor at a busy tine on the M25, where he was scheduled to ride in the Sky Bet British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes. Unfortunately this motorway can be a pain and he got held up in traffic and missed that first race. He'll be thanking his lucky stars, however, that he was in time for the 18.50 when he partnered the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Ice Age to a one-length victory in the £75,000 Sky Bet Windsor Sprint Series Finale Handicap

 

On a High Note

This jockey may be generally recognised as one of the best in the world but he rarely rides winners for his trainer Dad. Therefore Lingfield was a special occasion when Ryan Moore was aboard his father Gary's Sing Out Loud in the Read Silvestre De Sousa At 188Bet Novice Auction Stakes. The thirty-three-year-old Brighton-born jockey was perhaps taking a bit of a risk when he opted to partner this son of Vocalised, as the two-year-old gelding had only managed ninth out of eleven on his debut in the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes at Goodwood seventeen days ago. Last night was a different story, however, as Sing Out Loud made amends by winning this six-furlong contest by an easy two-and-a-half lengths.

 

Lightning could strike twice!

On Saturday it's the renewal of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood. Only one horse has ever notched up back-to-back victories in this prestigious Group 2 contest and that was the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Chic in 2004 and 2005. David Simcock is clearly hoping there will be a second horse in history to achieve this accolade when he saddles Lightning Spear in the sixteen-strong field.

21 August 2017

 

Taking to it Kindly

This Richard Fahey-trained Frankel filly hadn't had a win since scoring in the the Group Two Lowther Stakes at York over a year ago although finishing in the frame a couple of times. Queen Kindly didn't disappoint at Pontefract yesterday, however, when she added the EBF Stallions Highfield Farm Flying Fillies' Stakes to her previous three victories. Jockey Tom Eaves took his mount into the lead after the first furlong and decided to go for home early in the straight. This proved to be one of his better decisions as the rest of the field closed in menacingly towards the close of this six-furlong feature but Queen Kindly ultimately won by a head.

 

Unfortunately - A Win!

Few British trainers have had greater success in France over the years than Spigot Lodge boss, Karl Burke, and yesterday was no exception. His Society Rock filly, having won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte a month ago, went on to triumph in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville and thus became the first horse to accomplish this double since the Clive Cox-trained Reckless Abandon in 2012. Unfortunately, ridden by Tony Piccone, eventually hauled in his front-running stable companion, Havana Grey, to claim the five-furlong contest.

 

A Magical Victory

The Ballydoyle king won the Group 2 Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes for the 12th time at the Curragh yesterday but not with the two fillies most tipped to do so. The ones expected to do the business were the Aidan O'Brien-trained September and Happily but it didn't turn out like that. The former, the daughter of Deep Impact, only managed fourth and the latter, a Galileo offspring, was denied victory by a length and a quarter. Unexpectedly, the one that upset the apple cart was their stable companion, the 11/1 shot, Magical, with the trainer's son, Donnacha O'Brien, aboard. 

 

20 August 2017

 

Beaten but Unbowed

The world's highest-rated racehorse may not have won but he didn't disgrace himself, either. The Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate was denied victory in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic by just half a length when his aptly-named stable companion, Collected, claimed the $1 million prize at Del Mar. It certainly wasn't one of this son of Unbridled's Song's better performances such as his Dubai World Cup triumph in March but neither did it compare with the colt's listless performance four weeks ago at the same track when he could only manage fourth in the Grade 2 Tvg San Diego Handicap.

 

Winner of the Month?

Today at the Curragh this Deep Impact daughter will risk her unbeaten record and huge reputation when she lines up in the Breast Cancer Research Debutante Stakes. The Aidan O'Brien-trained September made her mark in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden on her racecourse debut at Leopardstown in June and followed that up with a dominating win in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. There are eight runners today so, at least, September cannot adopt the proper monthly sequence!

 

He's Back!

What's a year's absence from racing for a four-year-old son of Teofilo! Trainer Owen Burrows had indicated in the build-up to the Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury that last season's 2000 Guineas runner-up might not be quite ready. He needn't have been so cautious because five-year-old Massaat, partnered by the current Champion jockey, Jim Crowley, showed his seven rivals a clean pair of heels and won the seven-furlong Group Two contest by a length and three-quarters.

 

19 August 2017

 

It's War!

The Dean Ivory-trained daughter of Declaration Of War, although a 10/1 shot, was the decisive winner of the Bathwick Tyres St Hugh's Stakes at Newbury yesterday. Eirene followed up her third place in her debut race at Yarmouth in the middle of June with a victory on her next outing a week later in the 188Bet Supports Voice Of Racing Day EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes. In August she just failed to score at Nottingham and had to be satisfied with second place. This time, however, she stepped up to Listed class and jockey Robert Winston was content to settle her at the rear of the fifteen-strong field until throwing down the gauntlet inside the final two furlongs to win by a length and three-quarters.

 

Matter of Choice

This three-year-old son of Choisir opened his season with a length-and-a-half victory in the Group Three Invesco Pension Consultants Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown. The Fozzy Stack-trained Alexios Komnenos showed his credentials last year when finishing just a neck behind the eventual Classic winner, Churchill, in the Tyros Stakes last July. Something was obviously amiss after that run because he was sidelined for a while until re-appearing last month at the Curragh when he came third in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Celebration Stakes and that run seems to have been just what the doctor ordered.

 

Round the Bend?

In general, the feedback from the racing community, after Fontwell's newly installed all-weather bend was officially used for the first time on Thursday, seems to have been positive. The West Sussex track finally decided to replace a two-hundred-yard section of the course with Fibresand after a number of incidents in 2016 when horses slipped on the bottom bend. A couple of trainers did comment that they thought the ripping up of turf might have been unnecessary and the modification might take some getting used to. A few others raised the issue of the the severity of the kickback but the general consensus was that this was a minor issue and things would settle down in time.

18 August 2017

 

Bally Good Win!

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained son of Dansili followed up his recent John Smith's Cup triumph with a narrow victory in the totepool Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury yesterday. Ballet Concerto dropped back in trip to a mile but joined Group Three company for this contest. Andrew Balding's Isomer took the lead for about a furlong with Ryan Moore keeping the eventual winner well-placed but had to force a way through close to the rail. It looked as though the 2/1 favourite Tabarrak, trained by Richard Hannon, had it all signed and sealed but he was denied victory by a neck.

 

Leger on the Cards?

In the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury tomorrow the Roger Varian-trained son of Dalakhani is going for four in a row. The three-year-old Defoe's victories at Newbury, York and Hamilton should stand him in good stead when he takes on three girls and three boys in this one-and-a-half-mile-plus contest. The outcome will probably decide whether the next appearance will be a run in the William Hill St Leger next month.

 

Fit for a Queen?

It is on the cards that last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf heroine will be throwing down the gauntlet to the John Gosden-trained multiple Group One winner, Enable, in next week's Darley Yorkshire Oaks. This means that the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Queen's Trust will be stepping back up to twelve furlongs for the first time since last October for this Group One contest on the Knavesmire. There's all to play for as this Dansili daughter hasn't had a win since last November, having finished fourth in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and sixth and last on her last start in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

17 August 2017

 

Hollie Triumphs

Less than a week after replacing Michelle Payne at the last minute in the Shergar Cup at Ascot, this twenty-year-old apprentice claimed her first victory at Listed level. Hollie Doyle rode the Richard Hannon-trained Billesdon Bess to victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Upavon Stakes at Salisbury yesterday, marking the biggest triumph of her career to date. Hollie Doyle kept the Dick Turpin filly handy as they tracked the leading pair, biding their time until a gap opened about a furlong out when they went into the lead inside final furlong and won by a comfortable length.

 

Luca Gooda!

This Luca Cumani-trained four-year-old has been in in top form this summer and looks set to make it three in a row at Salisbury today. Pacharana demolished a strong field in the Rainbow Casinos Cardiff Fillies' Handicap at Bath in July so it must have been tempting to up the ante and promote this daughter of Oasis Dream to Listed class but the four-year-old filly stays with handicap company for today's Class 2 EBF Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap. Thes £30,000 prize money was clearly too much to resist and it is interesting to note that the newmarket trainer has made a special effort to recruit the services of Ryan Moore. As one might expect, the good money on offer has lured a number of other up-and-coming other fillies but Pacharana could be the one to come up trumps.

 

New Rules. A Non-Runner?

Yesterday the BHA published ten recommendations aimed at tackling the three categories that account for 90 per cent of non-runners after declaration time :– self-certificates, vets' certificates and going alterations. These new measures, following on last Wednesday's modern-day record of more than 100 non-runners on the day, are designed to even punish what the BHA considers to be a small number of repeat offenders, who, according to CEO, Richard Wayman do not “operate within the spirit of the rules”. These recommendations have received varying degrees of support from bookmakers, punters, trainers and jockeys. The Racehorse Owners Association, however, has criticised both the review process and at least one of the proposals that jockeys should be fully compensated for the loss of income incurred for a late non-runner.

 

15 August 2017

 

Just William!

Today's Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville could be the one for the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Brametot. This son of Rajsaman returns to the track after a two-month break to take on this ten-furlong Group Two contest. The three-year-old colt's joint owners are Al Shaqab Racing and Gerard Augustin-Normand and, it seems, they are presuming their charge will succeed will do well today and are considering sending him straight to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.

 

Gimme Gimcrack!

Despite the disappointment of being sent off the favourite for the the Group 3 Bombay Sapphire Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood recently and being beaten into second place by Karl Burke's faster Havana Grey, the James Tate-trained Invincible Army will probably go for the Gimcrack Stakes at York a week on Saturday. This will mean returning to six furlongs but the Newmarket-based handler considers a sounder surface to be of greater importance than an increase in trip.

 

The least you can do!

A minimum official rating for horses to run at top level is to be introduced by the British Horseracing Authority to stop obvious no-hopers from running in Group One races. From next year no horse rated less than 80 will be able to run in Group Ones, although, for some reason, this ruling does not apply to If a horse falls below this official rating, the BHA handicapper will have the discretion to permit the horse to run if he is satisfied that his or her performances merit a rating of 80 or above. This innovation was probably considered after the controversy over the John Jenkins-trained Diore Lia's intended running in the Derby. This Yeats daughter was a 500-1 shot for the Epsom Classic but was allowed to enter, although the BHA prevented apprentice Gina Mangan from taking the ride. In the end it was a storm in a teacup as Diore Lia was eventually withdrawn from the contest due to injury. National Hujnt racing will be affected by similar changes to Grade One races over jumps. All non-novice Again, as with the two-year-old races on the Flat, the rule does not apply to Grade One novice hurdles. 

 

14 August 2017

 

More and Moore

Ryan Moore returned, seemingly not jetlagged, from his six-thousand-mile round trip to the States to more success at the Curragh yesterday. His victory in the Phoenix Stakes was particularly gratifying for Aidan O'Brien as as it marked his sixteenth triumph in this six-furlong contest. Incredibly, the Ballydoyle trainer first won this feature event in 1998 when it used to be staged at Leopardstown. The 2/1 second favourite, Sioux Nation, following on from his victory in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot, was given a confident ride by Ryan Moore, hitting the front as the nine runners entered the final furlong and beating off a strong challenge by the Gordon Elliott-trained Beckford to win by half a length. There was no stopping the incomparable Brighton-born jockey who then went on to ride Washington DC to a half-length victory in the very next race, the At The Races Phoenix Sprint Stakes, having earlier in the day got a sweet tune out of Mendelssohn in the Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital Irish European Breeders Fund Maiden.

 

Ta Very Much!

The Richard Hannon-trained Tajaanus beat eight rivals to the post when winning the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. This daughter of Arcano, after winning the Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Stallions Star Stakes at Sandown at the end of last month, appeared to have no problem stepping up to Group 3 company. Dane O'Neill gave the two-year-old filly a no-nonsense ride on the stands side rail to win comfortably by a length ahead of the John Gosden-trained Juliet Capulet.

 

Oh Brother!

This Malton-based trainer's team is currently in excellent form and could well have continued success at Ripon today. Tim Easterby saddles Brother McGonagall in the Class 3 Ripon Annual Badgeholders Handicap. This Equiano three-year-old has a long way to go if he is to match his half-brother, Hamish McGonagall, who won ten races for this trainer and was placed in the Nunthorpe twice and the Prix de l'Abbaye once. Brother McGonagall has, however, won three times this season and certainly has what it takes to handle the easy ground he is likely to get at the Yorkshire track.

 

13 August 2017

 

One to Watch

There are only seven runners in today's seven-furlong British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes but the presence of a son of War Front makes it is a race to watch. Comrade In Armstrained by Sir Michael Stoute, who, like all his siblings sports the colours of the Coolmore partnership, was bred by Barnett Enterprises out of the Sadler's Wells mare, Maryinsky.

 

Life's A Beach

The thirty-fifth renewal of the Arlington Million turned out to be a home victory but it wasn't without striking moments by the European raiders. The ultimate accolade went to the Joel Rosario-trained Beach Patrol, ridden by Chad Brown, who claimed the prize by half-a-length ahead of Fanciful Angel, who turned in an unexpected impressive performance for trainer Marco Botti. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Deauville, one of the horses Ryan Moore flew 3,000 miles to ride, had a smooth passage along the far rail but was ultimately unable to benefit from his dominant position and finished third in the race for a second year running.

 

Fran's the Man!

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup was won by Great Britain and Ireland and captain, Fran Berry maintained his unbeaten record in the competition for the third time. To put the icing on the cake, the County Clare jockey also finished the day as leading rider and was awarded the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle as the day's leading points scorer. Fran Berry won his first Shergar Cup in 2010 and with it the Silver Saddle for a first time when part of an Ireland-only team.

The final results:

 

1. Great Britain and Ireland 86

2. Rest of the World 67

3. Europe 64

4. The Girls 23

 

12 August 2017

 

Sheer Shergar.

Today's unique event is undoubedly the Shergar Cup at Ascot when four teams with three jockeys each compete against each other in the six race card. The teams are: Great Britain & Ireland represented by Jamie Spencer, Neil Callan and Fran Berry; Europe by Adrie De Vries, Umberto Rispoli and Alexander Pietsch; The Girls by Emma-Jayne Wilson, Michelle Payne and Hayley Turner and Rest Of The World by Kerrin McEvoy, Keita Tosaki and Anthony Delpech. Hayley Turner is making her eleventh appearance in this event and is the record points scorer with 215. She has already won five Shergar Cups and ridden more winners than any other jockey taking part today.

 

High Flier

The jockey generally regarded as the best in the world has a hectic weekend ahead of him. Ryan Moore has jet-setted over to Chicago where he hopes to secure his first victory in the 35th running of the Arlington Million. Inaugurated in 1981 the latter was the first thoroughbred race to offer $1 million in prize-money and quite naturally attracts competitors from Europe as well as from the United States. The thirty-three-year-old Brighton born jockey partners the Aidan O'Brien-trained Deauville, who was third in last year's ten-furlong event, and after completing three other rides on an Arlington card, he will be back in the air again early on Sunday morning to fly the 3,657 miles back to Ireland, where he is booked to ride four more of the Ballydoyle trainer's horses at the Curragh.

 

Mamba Mia!

Today's German-Thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket is the scene where an Irish raider is expected to put on a strong display. The Ken Condon-trained Mamba Noire certainly has the best form among a high class field of nine runners for this Group Three contest over seven furlongs. This Wootton Bassett daughter caughtthe eye when coming third to Clemmie in the Grangecon Stud Stakes at The Curragh at the beginning of July.

 

11 August 2017

 

Right on, Brighton!

This North Yorkshire trainer has made a habit of sucessfully raiding this East Sussex track and yesterday was no exception. Mark Johnston saddled Curlew River in the Marathonbet Sportsbook Brighton Challenge Cup Handicap and was not disappointed. The daughter of Casamento demonstrated the same front-running skills as on her last winning outing at Leicester nine days ago, dominating from the start in this mile-and-a-half contest and claiming her third win in a row by four-and-a-half lengths.

 

Saucy Success

It was also a good day for this Newmarket trainer who transported three horses the hundred-and-fifty-mile round trip to Yarmouth and returned with three winners. The third race of the day, the Premier League Football At 188Bet Handicap, opened Chris Wall's account when Silvestre de Sousa rode Entangling, the 4/5 favourite, to a half-a-length victory in this ten-furlong event. The Induna Stables boss was back on the score card again half-an-hour later with the unusually named Oh It's Saucepot, partnered this time by Ted Durcan, in the Best Odds Guaranteed At 188Bet Handicap. The daughter of Sir Percy was the heroine of the Fly London Southend Airport To Budapest Fillies' Handicap a couple of weeks ago and was not to be denied another triumph. They say that all good things come in threes and so it was. In the next race it was George Wood's turn to ride a winner which he duly did aboard Deciding Vote who lived up to her name by claiming the 1/4 Odds At 188Bet Maiden Handicap by half-a-length.

 

Sainted not Tainted

At Haydock yesterday this William Haggas-trained Dutch Art filly made a surprising swift return to action when winning the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap. Sainted didn't exactly cover herself with glory at Goodwood last week when all she could manage was sixth place out of ten runners. The four-year-old filly maybe can be forgiven that performance, however, for she had scored with a minimum of effort in a York handicap at the beginning of July and she promptly made amends by taking this six-furlong contest by a length-and-a-half.

10 August 2017

 

Ton Up!

The current flat racing champion jockey notched up his hundredth win for the season at Brighton yesterday and did it in style. Silvestre De Sousa kicked off the day aboard the Simon Crisford-trained Al Ozzdi in the Bombardier EBF Novice Stakes. Then he scored again in the Shipyard Brewery Handicap when he rode the 14/1 shot, Overhaugh Street, trained by Ed De Giles, to a one-and-a-quarter length victory. The Brazilian-born jockey then made it a treble riding Mick Channon's Whiteley in the Razorback Handicap. The thirty-six-year-old Silvestre De Sousa wasn't finished yet, however, as he still had two more rides sixty-five miles away at Kempton Park where he bagged one more win, partnering the William Knight-trained Arab Moon in the 32Red Handicap.

 

Eye Eye!

The best juvenile performance of the season was, according a consensus of bookmakers, that by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Expert Eye in the Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. The four-and-a-half- length defeat of Zaman in this seven-furlong contest put the Acclamation colt at the head of his fellow colts. Graham Smith, the BHA's official handicapper for juveniles, completely agrees with with assessment.

 

Back-To-Back Victory?

This Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Galileo takes on six rivals when he goes for a back-to-back wins in the Group 3 GRENKE Finance Ballyroan Stakes at the Curragh tonight. Johannes Vermeer won the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud when he was a two-year-old. Unfortynately, ue to minor problems, the four-year-old only had one outing last season and it took him four runs to get back in the winner's enclosure which he did when he scored in the Finlay Volvo International Stakes at the Curragh at the beginning of last month.

9 August 2017

 

Thanks for that!

The Rosewell House team has had an exasperating campaign due, primarily, to a virus infection but they finally came through with a triumph at Cork last night. Dermot Weld saddled Eziyra in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork yesterday and she won by two-and-a-half lengths, making it her second Group 3 victory. The sixty-nine-year-old trainer's bid to add to the twenty-nine previous leading trainer awards at the Galway Festival last week didn't materialise. Something of a consolation prize, however, was the win by this Teofilo filly, last year's CL & MF Weld Park Stakes heroine.

 

Not this time, Josephine!

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup feature race at Ascot on Saturday will now not include last year's British flat racing Champion Apprentice. Josephine Gordon it has been announced, is required to ride on the same day at Newmarket for trainer, Hugo Palmer, in the Sweet Solera Stakes. Britain's most successful female Flat jockey, Hayley Turner will replace Josephine Gordon in the Girls team.

 

A Corker!

After two previous disappointments racing in England this season the Aidan O'Brien-trained Sir John Lavery produced an impressive performance to win the Platinum Stakes at Cork by three lengths. The Galileo colt dominated the one-mile Listed race throughout, easily beating his stable companion, Whitecliffsofdover. It looks now as if three-year-old is headed for the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster on September 16.

 

8 August 2017

 

Long Odds

Flabbergasted may not be too strong a word for the reaction of trainer and jockey when their 80/1 runner scored in her maiden race. The Simon Crisford-trained Lawless Secret won the Sportnation Take Advantage Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Windsor last night. This Lawman filly, an incredible 250/1 on Betfair, seemed comfortable on the ground that had turned distinctly soft as she tracked the leading pair, staying alone near side of centre in the straight, and kept on strongly through the closing stages to win by half-a-length. The Berkshire-based trainer hadn't had a long-priced winner like that in the three seasons he's been training.

 

Got it off Pat

The nine-time Irish flat racing Champion Jockey demonstrated once again why he is at the top of his game by notching up a quick double at the Curragh yesterday. First off, In the first race of the day there was an unexpected victory for the Michael Halford-trained Riyazan in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. The punters were all rooting for the odds-on favourite, Nelson, trained by Aidan O'Brien but the Iffraaj colt had other ideas as he streaked ahead to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory on his maiden appearance. Pat Smullen's double came in the very next race, the Curragh 'Where Champions Are Made' Fillies Maiden which was a close-run event with a whole host of contenders in with a shout as they passed the furlong pole but the result went to the Bill Farrell-trained Kailee by a head.

 

Impossible Dream?

Most competent jockeys probably dream of becoming champion jockey one day and Harry Skelton is certainly no exception. Despite starting the nine-day break for jump racing just two winners behind current champ Richard Johnson, the youngest jockey to ever win the Irish Grand National modestly maintains that winning the title this season is "nigh-on impossible". At this time last year Harry Skelton had eighteen winners to his credit but with his older brother and trainer, Dan, showing such great form, the current winning number is 47 and, into the bargain, he has an impressive 33 per cent strike-rate. So maybe not so impossible! 

 

7 August 2017

 

Brushed Aside

The L'ARC Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville yesterday proved even more of a disappointment for this Scat Daddy son than coming fourth in the Darley July Cup Stakes at Newmarket in the middle of last month. Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O'Brien seemed lost for an explanation when his Commonwealth Cup winner failed to sparkle. The three-year-old Caravaggio made his customary slowish exit from the stalls but, unlike at Newmarket, never looked like assuming any important role in the six-and-a-half-furlong contest and was eventually beaten beaten by four-and-a-half lengths into sixth position.

 

Rulers of the World

It has been announced that the former first jockey to the late and great Sir Henry Cecil, Tom Queally will join a team of five international riders to compete in the World All-Star Jockeys competition in Japan later this month. This feature event, inaugurate in 1987, used to be called the World Super Jockeys Series and used to be staged over two days in late November or early December at either Tokyo or Hanshin Racecourse. In 2015 it was given its current name and now takes place the last weekend of August at Sapporo Racecourse in northern Japan. This year six top riders from France, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and Japan Racing Association jockeys will compete for the title.

 

Fighting Fit

There's no keeping this County Meath jockey down for long. Barry Geraghty has had a raw deal lately, suffering lung and rib injuries, breaking his arm in a fall in the Irish Grand National which ruled him out of the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festival. The thirty-seven-year-old was determined not to be excluded from the Galway Festival, however, and his tenacity was rewarded in the week-long fixture at the Ballybrit track. In the end he claimed four winners overall, even scoring on Monday on his first ride back in action. Thursday proved the highlight, though, when he won on the Joseph O'Brien-trained Le Richebourg owned by his boss, JP McManus.

 

6 August 2017

 

A Win at last!

The O'Leary Insurances Maiden Hurdle finally gave this Curragh-based trainer a win on the last day of the Galway Festival. Dermot Weld usually notches up a batch of winners at the Ballybrit track but this year he was out of luck for the first five days. Thanks to Aydoun in the very first race of the day, however, one of Ireland's most successful racehorse trainers didn't go away empty-handed. The son of Mastercraftsman transported Bryan Cooper to a six-length win in this two-mile-plus contest. For a moment it looked as though the favourite, Big Ben, could strike lucky when he challenging at the last hurdle but the four-year-old Rosewell House resident had other ideas.

 

French Connection

Arguably this country's most successful female Flat jockey is planning to resume her riding career on the the other side of the Channel. Hayley Turner has just announced that she has been tempted to ride in France this winter to benefit from the the controversial four-pound weight advantage that the French racing authorities introduced for female jockeys this year. The thirty-four-year-old Nottingham-born rider has already appointed a French-based agent to get her rides mid-week, when she is not so busy with her current broadcasting commitments.

 

Some Like It Hot!

After a week of exceedingly damp conditions there was suddenly Scorching Heat at Goodwood yesterday. This wasn't a welcome unexpected change in the weather, however. The rise in temperature was brought about by the runner of that name who continued trainer, Andrew Balding's glorious week at the Sussex track by winning the Qatar Stewards' Sprint Handicap. Oisin Murphy, rode a confident race aboard this son of Acclamation, catching the pace-setting The Wagon Wheel inside the final furlong to score by three-quarters of a length and claim the the £46,687.50 first prize.

 

5 August 2017

 

A Roaring Success?

The highlight of the last day of Glorious Goodwood has to be the Stewards Cup and this Malton trainer must be hoping for some kind of consolation for the surprise setback for his stable star, Ribchester on Wednesday. Richard Fahey is pulling out all the stops by saddling three runners in the six-furlong Heritage Handicap - Brian The Snail, Eastern Impact and Growl. The latter will probably be his best chance for glory. This son of Oasis Dream produced his best performance last October when he was runner-up to James Fanshawe's The Tin Man in the Group One sprint on Champions Day at Ascot before closing his season with a victory in the not so high-powered Betfred Mobile Wentworth Stakes at Doncaster. Unfortunately the five-year-old is perhaps more readily remembered for his unceremonious unseating of Paul Hanagan in the starting stalls before the start of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

 

That's the Spirit!

The son of Jeremy savoured a big race double just four days after claiming the Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap. The Willie Mullins-trained Whiskey Sour, with Declan McDonogh aboard, had no problem with the so-called 'dip' in the ground, which had worried his supporters, to take the Guinness Handicap by three-quarters of a length, obviously profiting from the drop back in trip from two miles.

 

Three Moore!

The first three races of the day at Goodwood were clocked up to the three-time Champion jockey. Ryan Moore began with a victory aboard the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet's Word in the Betfred Glorious Stakes. Half-an-hour later he was back in the winner's enclosure again with the Andrew balding-trained Beat The Bank in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes. The next race was probably the most appreciated by the thirty-three-year-old Brighton-born jockey, though. Not only was his treble for the day but he managed to steer the Aidan O'Brien-trained Master Of The World to victory by three-quarters of a length in the £150,000 Betfred Mile Handicap. That was one place better than last year's result for this six-year-old son of Mastercraftsman.

4 August 2017

 

The Wrong Season

It was warm and wet Summer's day at Goodwood yesterday but for Aidan O’Brien it was decidedly Winter. This Galileo filly, previously trained by the now retired David Wachman, made it four Group One wins on the trot (or rather gallop!) when she won the Qatar Nassau Stakes. The three-year-old grey had to work hard to reel in Charlie Appleby's's front-running Sobetsu but she finally got there and passed the post one-and-half-lengths ahead of Blond Me, who, in turn, snatched second position in the closing stages. This victory was a welcome bit of sunshine for favourite backers who all week have seen their betting aspirations thwarted again and again by, among other things, the inclement weather.

 

Class Act

The final curtain call of the Lillie Langtry (presumably named after the renowned early 20th. Century actress) certainly belonged to this Sea The Stars daughter who in the very last stages of the contest denied victory to Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dubka by a neck. Endless Time, wearing cheekpieces for the first time, clearly found the ground too quick when bidding for the Ascot Gold Cup in June but Goodwood's unusually softer ground was obviously more to her liking. Trainer Charlie Appleby was so impressed with the performance that he is now hoping this will lead to a first Group 1 success for the five-year-old mare.

 

Happy Returns

Back in action after an absence due to injury, Barry Geraghty soon got back into winning ways at the Galway Festival. On Monday he partnered the Joseph O'Brien-trained Le Richebourg to a five-length victory. On Tuesday he was back in the winner's enclosure again with Housesofparliament also from the Joseph O'Brien yard. Wednesday the County Meath rider had to be content with just a third but yesterday was the day he had been waiting for. Barry Geraghty won the race that had always eluded him, the Galway Hurdle, aboard Tigris River owned by his boss, JP McManus.

 

3 August 2017

 

When is Now!

All seven runners in the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood yesterday were winners. That is to say they all went home with prize money as the million-pound feature event offered cash down the eighth position. This unusual situation had been brought about by the last-minute withdrawals of Churchill and Zonderland because of deteriorating conditions due to the heavy persistent rain. Apparently trainer Andrew Balding's parting words to Champion jockey, Jim Crowley, before he set off to partner the 20/1 chance, Here Comes When in the prestigious contest, were to the effect that £12,000 were to be had just by finishing last-but-one. Jesting apart, it was obvious that this trainer/jockey partnership both believed there was a good chance of coming in the frame even if their son of Danehill Dancer couldn't deny the odds-on favourite, Ribchester, the victory everyone expected. In the event, the seven-year-old gelding, the oldest horse to win the race, produced, what is bound to be considered, one of the shock results of Glorious Goodwood when he came home a neck in front of the Richard Fahey-trained Iffraj four-year-old.

 

Cool Win

The 2016 British flat racing Champion apprentice seemed unfazed by the meteorological conditions when she went on to claim her first-ever win at Glorious Goodwood yesterday. Josephine Gordon, aboard the Ian Williams-trained Cool Sky, seemed to thrive in the adverse weather as she steered the four-time hurdle winner on the fast-softening terrain, taking the lead inside final furlong and staying on well to beat the Hughie Morrison-trained Aurora Grey by a length and a quarter.

 

Victory on a Plate

For the third time in four years the Ryanair boss was flying high after winning the Tote Galway Plate. For top jockey Davy Russell, riding the Michael O’Leary-owned Balko Des Flos, it was also a moment to savour as it was his first success in this National Hunt's major summer prize. Surprisingly the reception for the winner was somewhat muted, compared with past rowdy festival scenes. Perhaps it was because Michael O'Leary wasn't present as he was reported to be “on Ryanair duty” or the racegoers are getting used to frequently seeing the Gigginstown Stud colours in the Plate winners enclosure.

2 August 2017

 

Young at Heart.

This afternoon's feature race at Goodwood, the Qatar Sussex Stakes, will be the scene of another contest between old and young. The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester, arguably one of the best older milers this season, after winning the Lockinge and the Queen Anne Stakes, makes his challenge as one of the older brigade, though still only four years old. The Iffraaj colt may just have his work cut out this time, though, as he will be up against Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old, the dual 2000 Guineas winner, Churchill, who will have the advantage of a seven-pound age allowance which might just be the deciding factor.

 

Weight for it!

Age and weight certainly played their part in the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes yesterday. The six-year-old Michael Bell-trained Big Orange, bidding to make history by becoming the first horse to win the Goodwood Cup three years in a row, was thirteen pounds heavier than the three-year-old John Gosden-trained Stradivarius and it showed in the result. All credit to the Duke Of Marmalade son, though, as he showed he could accept defeat with honour by giving his multitude of fans his usual enthusiastic front-running performance right to the bitter end.

 

A Bet in a Million

A quarter of a million pounds for a £4.52 bet certainly made Goodwood glorious for one lucky lady from Cheshire, who immediately announced that she was going to buy a house with her winnings. All-in-all the majority of the bookies had a good day with winners coming in at 100/1, 50-1, 33/1 and 20/1. Only William Hill, it seems, had to sweat it out until the very last race, in anticipation of possibly having to make £1 million payout. The thirty-something-year-old single mum had her final bet on Darkroom Angel as the last part of her ace accumulator. A furlong from home it looked as though the Joe Fanning-ridden Dark Angel filly would make the lady's dreams come true but it wasn't to be. Her consolation prize, however, was £246,238.73. In fact, if the last part of this accumulator had been a success, winnings would have added up to many millions but, strange as it may seem, most bookies cover themselves by capping payouts at a maximum of £1 million. 

 

1 August 2017

 

Go on, my Son!

Day one of the Galway Festival undoubtedly belonged to Willie Mullins who saddled a stunning winner and three placed horses and the amateur jockey who helped to make it possible. The feature event of the evening, one of the great races in the calendar for amateurs, was the Connacht Hotel (Q.R.) Handicap in which the 16/1 outsider, Whiskey Sour, ridden by a little-known Aubrey McMahon, stole the show with a two-and-three-quarter length victory. Ironically the County Carlow king won this prestigious contest as a jockey but never as a trainer. His son, Patrick, worked hard to uphold the family honour but he battled against a poor draw draw and could only make third aboard Lagostovegas, ahead of stable companion, Digeanta. The winning owners, the McMahon family, were quite naturally over the moon as their son had never notched up a victory as significant as this.

 

Historic Bid

Today the six-year-old son of Duke Of Marmalade returns to the track where he raced for the very first time back in October 2015. The Michael Bell-trained Big Orange this time, however, is bidding for a slice of Glorious Goodwood history in a race that dates back to 1812. Some great horses have won the Goodwood Cup twice, including Le Moss (79, 80), Further Flight (91, 92), Persian Punch (2001, 2003) and Yeats (2006, 2008). Big Orange (2015, 2016), however, aims to go one better and join Double Trigger (95, 97, 98) as a three-time winner.

 

A Golden Oldie!

A 53-year-old New Zealander has won the champion jockeys' title for a second time more than twenty years after he won his first crown. Chris Johnson, as fate would have it, is based in the South Island whereas all the most important racing yards are in the North but that didn't stop him getting to the top. The veteran rider, retired in 1999 but back to riding in 2006, was champion in 1995-96 when he accumulated 139 winners and succeeded this time with a mere 112. He has ridden more than 2,200 winners during his long career and is, one of only seven New Zealand jockeys to notch up more than 2,000.

31 July 2017

 

Flying Home

The £50,000 Sky Bet Dash at York was won by a 12/1 son of Pastoral Pursuits, doing full justice to his name. The Tim Easterby-trained Flying Pursuit, after a disappointing performance at Hamilton last week, dominated the race from the off. Apprentice Rachel Richardson just let the four-year-old dictate the terms from the start as he he pursued a solitary track along the Knavesmire. The nearest rival, Al Qahwa, trained by David O'Meara, battled to catch up in the last six furlongs but, by three out, it was virtually all done and dusted, with the ultimate official winning distance given as an academic two lengths. There was happy group of owners on hand to savour the victory with the appropriate name of the Ontoawinner syndicate.

 

Holy Moly, Roly Poly!

The Aidan O'Brien-trained daughter of War Front added to her first Group One victory at Newmarket last week by claiming the Prix Rothschild at Deauville yesterday. Roly Poly, with Ryan Moore aboard, was in a good position from the start, close on the heels of Godolphin's Usherette who was just ahead of a tightly-bunched field. When the opportunity came Roly Poly didn't have to be asked twice as she kicked on about a furlong from home. The Andre Favre-trained Via Ravenna made valiant efforts to reel in the eventual winner but it was not to be.

 

That's Champion!

At the fifth annual session the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association 'Stars of Tomorow' National Hunt Foal Show at Bangor yesterday this twenty-three-year-old son of Sadler's Wells, who made his name as a two-mile champion stayer, once again demonstrated his supremacy as a National Hunt Sire by being elected overall champion for the second year in a row when a Kayf Tara colt, born on March 13 and bred by David Ford out of the winning Karinga Bay mare Lifestyle, was exhibited by Goldford Stud.

 

30 July 2017

 

Sure Can Do!

After yesterday's stunning performance the Clarehaven Stables boss hailed his dual Oaks winning filly as the best he has ever trained. John Gosden's Enable made the most of being fourteen pounds lighter than her three main male Galileo rivals, Highland Reel, Ulysses and Idaho to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and, thereby join an illustrious group of fillies to win this prestigious contest. The fact that this Qipco-sponsored feature event was run in pouring rain didn't seem to bother this daughter of Nathaniel as she surged into the lead about two furlongs from home to win by four-and-a-half lengths. Last year's winner, Highland Reel, was clearly not happy in the downpour and could only finish fourth, nine lengths adrift.

 

Galway Girl

Jessica Harrington has had nothing short of a spectacular year so far, carrying home the big prizes with the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John and Irish Grand National winner Our Duke. The Moone-based trainer also had impressive successes on the Flat with leading two-year-olds Alpha Centauri, Brother Bear, who will join their stable companion, the Galway Plate contender, Sandymount Duke, in their bid for glory at the coming week's Galway Festival at the Ballybrit track.

 

Days to Remember

The Ken Condon-trained son of Jeremy hasn't had a win since Leopardstown last September but made amends yesterday with an impressive front-running display in the Sky Bet York Stakes. Success Days looked a serious Classic contender after winning both the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial a couple of years ago, but unfortunately sustained a serious injury in the 2015 Epsom Derby. His eventual return to racing didn't actually get off to a great start but the Curragh-based trainer's patience was finally rewarded when the grey beat Champion Stakes winner, Fascinating Rock, in the Kilfrush Stud Royal Whip Stakes in August 2016. Yesterday's victory on rain-softened ground gave the five-year-old another opportunity to live up to his name.

 

29 July 2017

 

The Reel Thing

The Ballydoyle king is hoping to claim the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes for a fifth time at Ascot this afternoon with a two-barrelled approach. Aidan O'Brien will saddle Galileo brothers, Highland Reel and Idaho in his bid for further glory. For the equine siblings defending the family honour means beating the impressive John Gosden-trained Enable, who already has the English and Irish Oaks to his credit. The forty-seven-year-old Wexford-born handler's first triumph in this mile-and-a-half feature race came as long ago as 2001 when the master himself, Galileo, claimed the coveted prize. Now the latter's son, Highland Reel, last year's winner, is also seeking to become only the third horse to win this contest two years in a row, following in the illustrious hoof prints of Dahlia (1973-74) and Swain (1997-98). If the five-year-old wins today it will bring his total prize money so far to £6.5million and his Group One successes to seven.

 

Home from Home

A Kilkenny-trained horse finally made his first appearance on an Irish race track last night. The Tartan Spartan, handled by Pat Shanahan, duly made the homecoming the sweetest possible by winning the one-mile-six-furlong Her Majesty's Plate by one-and-a-half lengths. This historic race was run at Listed level for only the second time since its inauguration and had attracted a decent batch of runners, with the four-year-old eventual winner being the least known of all. The son of The Carbon Unit certainly made his presence felt as he battled on strongly under Ronan Whelan to to deny victory to the favourite, Twilight Payment and the game front-running Grandee inside the last two hundred yards. It is no secret that the Thistle farm handler likes to race his horses mostly in Britain and especially in Scotland, where his patron Jimmy Long lives but it seems he will not be averse to transporting The Tartan Spartan the shorter distance to the Curragh next month.

 

Bay for the Moon

The Longines Handicap (Lady Amateur Riders) at Ascot has become a popular target for amateur riders, especially since it inherited some of its previous glory when stage as a conditions race, in which many budding Group-class riders often took part. Katie Walsh joined the distinguished company of the likes of Princess Anne, winner aboard Ten No Trumps for Sir Michael Stoute some thirty years ago, when she triumphed in this prestigious event aboard Golden Desert in 2008. The thirty-three-year-old sister of Ruby Walsh clearly would love to do it again this afternoon when she takes the reins of the Keiran Burke-trained Georgian Bay in the seven-furlong contest.

 

28 July 2017

 

Three for Two

Unusual goings-on at Yarmouth yesterday! The 50/1 winner of the first race of the day, a six-furlong contest for two-year-olds, was revealed as a three-year-old, after routine post-race urine sample testing. It turned out that the filly listed as Mandarin Princess was, in fact, her stable companion, Millie’s Kiss, who was due to run in a later in the 15.15 188bet.co.uk Handicap and was subsequently declared a non-runner. Both horses are trained by the highly respected Charlie McBride who maintains that it was a genuine mistake in a last-minute dash to saddle his runner in the opening event. The problem is that the horse's identity only came to light after the official ‘weighed in’, so the bookmakers had already paid out on the original result. Even this morning, Mandarin Princess, ridden by John Egan, is still listed as the winner when, in fact she didn't run in the race. This error will presumably be corrected in due course.

 

Stars Back

Last Thursday's Rentokil Initial (Q.R.) Race at Killarney was declared void twenty minutes after its conclusion as the stewards deemed that Henry De Bromhead-trained Stars Over The Sea had gained an unfair advantage at the start. Roger Brookhouse, however, the owner of this son of Sea The Stars, was not happy with this and appealed against the decision on the basis that Rule 209 states very clearly that the starter's decision as to the fairness of a start is final. Interestingly the Turf Club did not contest the appeal and so Judge Tony Hunt, Chairman of the Appeals Committee, had no option but to reinstate Stars Over The Sea as the veritable winner.

 

In Good Shape!

An easy win in the JRA Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday means that this Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo colt has earned his ticket to next year's Investec Derby. The Pentagon, following up his eight-and-a-half-length maiden success at the Curragh, was rightly sent off the 4/11 favourite for in this Group Three seven-furlong event and, although he seemed to need plenty of encouragement on the dash to the line, when push came to shove, he won convincingly under the canny stewardship of Ryan Moore.

 

 

27 July 2017

 

Kodiac Signs Good

This Karl Burke-trained filly was supposed to have run at Newmarket a couple of few weeks ago but she had other ideas and tried to escape under the stalls and so had to be withdrawn. It's just as well, really, as Ellthea would have had her work cut out racing against Richard Fahey's impressive Dance Diva, who at Ascot last weekend made it three wins from three after a step-up in class. This means now the Kodiac daughter has the chance to make amends starring in the Longines Irish Champion Weekend EBF Stallions Star Stakes at Sandown today.

 

Bombs Away!

The Yeomanstown Stud Dark Angel EBF Stakes at Naas yesterday gave this Pour Moi filly, carrying a three-pound penalty for winning the Curragh at the beginning of the month, the chance to show the handicapper and her ten rivals what she is capable of. The Joe Murphy-trained Only Mine, with Gary Carroll aboard, defied her high draw and shot across the track to dominate the field. For a brief moment it looked as though the Athasi Stakes heroine, Rehana, trained by Michael Halford, had a chance as she valiantly tried to catch up but ultimately it was it was a one-length victory for Only Mine.

 

Luca Gooda

The Luca Cumani-trained Pacharana didn't mess about in yesterday's Rainbow Casinos Cardiff Fillies' Handicap at Bath, winning by eight lengths. The Oasis Dream filly, who finally started to show her true colours in July, was thereby notching up her seventh victory and clearly is in line for a step-up in Class. Kieran Shoemark partnered this filly for the first time and the result made a bit of a mockery of the imposed handicap.

 

26 July 2017

 

Homer Hero

It's some twenty-five years since a horse won the the Coral-Eclipse and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same season, a feat last accomplished by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Opera House in 1993. On Saturday the same Newmarket trainer will saddle Ulysses in an historic bid to enter the history books by claiming this illustrious double, after winning the first part at Sandown three weeks ago. Fingers are crossed that the Ascot ground will not deteriorate before the off. Alan Cooper, Racing Manager for owners, the Niarchos family, has already hinted that the Galileo son would not run if there were a lot of rain in the next few days.

 

On Song?

A former Argentinian petrol pump attendant who, reportedly, was advised to become a jockey because he had the right build for it, readily admits that he never was much cop in the saddle but a roaring success when he switched to training. Proof of this is that, in his very first season, Alfredo Gaitan saddled the winner of the Group 1 Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina's equivalent of the King George, and went on to win it four more times thereafter, the most recent success being last December with Sixties Song. This son of Sixties Icon then scored in Chile's Gran Premio Latinoamericano at Valparaiso, which led to his being entered in Ascot's feature race where he will take on the likes of Highland Reel and Coral Eclipse winner, and Ulysses (mentioned above). Connections are being realistic about the chances of success for their four-year-old but, as he has already established himself as the best middle-distance horse in South America, the odds of 66/1 might just underestimate what he is capable of.

 

A Brave Win

Trainer Rebecca Bastiman clearly has a lot of regard for her Acclamation gelding, as just one day after coming third in the Finest Collection Of Racing On Racing UK Handicap at Ayr she saddled him again at Musselburgh yesterday. And Royal Brave, partnered by apprentice Rowan Scott, didn't disappoint his Wetherby-based handler in the five-furlong Arthur Mckay Servest Handicap. The David Griffiths-trained Pearl Acclaim endeavoured to win the race from the front but Royal Brave overhauled him inside the final furlong and claimed the prize by a neck.

 

25 July 2017

 

All that glitters is Goldie

It looked like it was not going to be this Renfrewshire-based trainer's lucky day at Ayr yesterday when,  in the first race, the racinguk.com Novice Stakes, Oriental Power, came last of eight. Then, in the next contest, Jim Goldie was spoilt for choice as he saddled four of the nine runners in the Coastal Getaway Offer At Western House Hotel Handicap and, surprise, surprise, they came in one, two, three and four! The star of the day was the nine-year-old Cheeni who enjoyed her first-ever win by denying victory by a neck to her stable companion, Goninodaethat, who was enjoying his fifty-third run at Ayr. The third slot was bagged by Insurplus who crossed the line one-and-a-quarter lenghts ahead of the Sean Mooney-ridden Sea Of Green. For the rest of the fixture, however, the Libohill Farm stables' team had to be content with a couple of places.

 

Bollin' Along

The Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival's third day at Beverley yesterday had its fair share of inclement conditions and drama. The bad weather wasn't expected and neither was the dramatic outcome of the last race of the day, Racing Again Next Tuesday Handicap. The Mark Walford-trained Druid's Diamond won the nigh-on ten-furlong contest by a neck ahead of Tim Easterby's Bollin Ted. The problem was, however, that the son of Piccolo hung persistently to the left and caused considerable interference. So much so that the stewards decided to deny him the victory and relegate him to second place. Many of the racegoers expected the result to stand but all credit is due to Bollin Ted's jockey, Duran Fentiman, who probably had a sneaking feeling that things might go his way if later there were an enquiry and so battled on to reduce his three-quarters of a length deficit to the eventual result.

 

Better Days to come

After the creditable performance by this son of Azamour at Newbury on Saturday his trainer has decided that he has earned a crack at the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster. The Hugo Palmer-trained Best Of Days got off to an impressive career start after winning two of his three races as a juvenile, in particular, the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last September but then went on to blot his copybook by coming last in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. So the Godolphin-owned colt was dropped in trip and class for the Listed Steventon Stakes at the Berkshire track and, although he obviously wasn't too much at home in the rain-sodden ground, connections were generally pleased with his finishing third.

 

 

24 July 2017

 

Golly Olly!

A rookie trainer continued the fairy-tale start to his career yesterday with a quartet of winners. Twenty-five-year-old Olly Murphy, former assistant to top trainer, Gordon Elliott, only had his very first runner and winner at Brighton at the beginning of this month and went on to score again at Stratford and Newton Abbot. On Stratford’s Ladies Day the Wilmcote-based trainer saddled Cliffside Park who duly obliged with a twenty-two length victory in the Touch FM Selling Hurdle and three races later Ian Popham was aboard the five-year-old Skilled who claimed the Ardencote Novices' Handicap Chase. The Warwickshire handler notched up his treble half-an-hour later with Mizen Master who triumphed in the Debenhams Novices' Handicap Hurdle. Meanwhile over at Newton Abbot Richard Johnson partnered Knight Commander to a sixteen-length win in the Racing Partnership TRP Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

 

Lucky Horse

Fortunately Unfortunately, the Karl Burke-trained son of Society Rock, won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte yesterday. Fortunately because a stewards' inquiry was called after the Pierre-Charles Boudot-ridden High Dream Milena seemed to have been Unfortunately hindered as jockey, Tony Piccone, staged his late challenge to beat another British raider, Tom Dascombe's Frozen Angel, to the post. Fortunately for Unfortunately the result remained unchanged as the stewards seemed satisfied that the interference had not made any difference to the placings, although the winning jockey was given a two-day suspension.

 

Shock Result

The world’s highest-rated horse and the all-time leading prize money winner in North America failed to cut the mustard at Del Mar yesterday. It had been taken for granted among racegoers that all the Bob Baffert-trained Arrogate would have to do was show up to win the Grade 2 $300,000 TVG San Diego Handicap. The race, however, produced one of the biggest shocks in racing history as the 1/20 odds-on favourite only managed to come in fourth, trailing fifteen lengths behind. Both jockey and trainer were at a loss to explain the the son of Unbridled's Song's poor performance as he appeared not to have been troubled by any kind of injury.

 

23 July 2017

 

So Fahey, so good

Five of the twenty-three runners in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury yesterday came from the Malton-based stables but from two furlongs out it was clear that one particular one would claim the prize. Although the Richard Fahey-trained Maggies Angel was the well-backed favourite, it was his 12/1 Bengali Boys that did the business. From the moment that Barry McHugh urged the Clodovil colt into a clear advantage, the gap grew greater and greater until the race was in the bag by six lengths. The Paul Hanagan-ridden Maggies Angel, some six lengths behind, obliged by also claiming third place for Richard Fahey, who won this valuable prize in 2012.

 

Day to Remember

A conditional jockey won the £27,000 totesport Cumbria Crystal Cup at Cartmel yesterday. Charlotte Jones added this fairy-tale victory to her already flourishing career when she rode the James Moffatt-trained Altruism to an eight-length win in this two-mile-six-furlong contest. The twenty-two-year-old was notching up her third success in only eleven outings, having, half an hour earlier, failed to score in the previous race in the Banks Lyon Jewellers Lady Riders' Handicap and having to settle for second.

 

Wanna Bet?

After the first day of the Sky Bet Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival at Ripon, trainer David O'Meara leads the Tom O'Ryan Memorial Tipping Challenge. Instead of saddling, the Willow Farm handler was tipping and he was spot on with his selection in the Ripon Bell-Ringer Handicap when Dave Allen made all aboard the Tom Easterby-trained Mukhayyam and, thereby, at a starting price of 4/1 made £400 for the chosen charities. The hits didn't stop coming, either, as there was also a 3/1 victory in the Sky Bet Go-Racing-In-Yorkshire Summer Festival Handicap, courtesy Tom Hamilton riding Mulligatawny. That means that there is £700 in the charity kitty so far and hopefully records will be broken in this fundraising pursuit over the next week or so.

22 July 2017

 

Ticket to Ride

The Roger Varian-trained Kodiac filly put on such an impressive display in yesterday's Bathwick Tyres Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury that she has probably booked her ticket for next month's Lowther Stakes at York. Madeline, after her maiden victory in the Basketmakers Company Celebration EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes at Goodwood in May, was justifiably sent off the 13-8 favourite. Andrea Atzeni kept the Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned two-year-old at the back of the field until about two furlongs out when she started to make good headway chasing the leaders, assuming dominance inside the final furlong, running on to win by two-and-quarter lengths.

 

That'll be the Day!

Hugo Palmer will no doubt be holding his breath that today the son of Azamour, who didn't exactly cover himself with glory in the King Edward VII Stakes at last month's Royal Ascot meeting, will live up to his name. The Godolphin-owned Best Of Days faces seven rivals in the ten-furlong Listed bet365 Stakes at Newbury and, particularly has to get the better of the Brian Meehan-trained Spark Plug, winner of the Ambant Gala Stakes at Sandown at the beginning of the month but, apart from his recent performance, this three-year-old stands out as an exciting prospect.

 

Thanks for the Memory?

This Charlie Hills-trained grey triumphed in both the Abernant and the Duke of York Stakes last season before finishing way down the field in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot at the end of June. Magical Memory didn't distinguish himself in the July Cup nor in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, either. Last time out connections decided to try to boost their mount's confidence by stepping him down in Class. The five-year-old son of Zebedee ran in the Class 2 bet365 Conditions Stakes at Haydock two weeks and won by a short head. Today's Class 1 contest will indicate whether Magical Memory is on the up-and-up.

 

21 July 2017

 

Stewards have Last Void

Twenty minutes after a race had concluded, it was declared void - a decision that is said to have cost Paddy Power "well into six figures", as they had already paid out on the winner. The one-mile-six-furlong Rentokil Initial (Q.R.) Race at Killarney yesterday was 'won' by the Henry De Bromhead-trained Stars Over The Sea who finshed five lengths ahead of Ancient Sands. It was later decided that the six-year-old, after being led into the tapes by amateur jockey, David Roche, thereafter, had the advantage of a significant head start and was never caught. Acting steward at the course, Peter Matthews, declared that he agreed wholeheartedly with the decision.

 

Magic Moment

The Jim Bolger-trained Moonlight Magic, struggling to get back to form after finishing last in the Derby, narrowly beat the odds-on favourite, Deauville, trained by Aidan O'Brien, in the ICON Meld Stakes at Leopardstown last night. There were already positive signs that this son of Cape Cross was improving when he was runner-up to Minding at Naas in May but taking on this Galileo colt was a different kettle of fish. Indeed, the 4-5 favourite, ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, was determined to win the race from the front but Kevin Manning timed his challenge to perfection when overhauling the leader in the final hundred yards.

 

A Grand Tor

This Dumfries-based trainer stole the limelight at Hamilton yesterday when his only two runners won. First off the mark for Iain Jardine was his three-year-old filly, Yes You, who claimed the Racing UK Club Day Here Today Handicap. Then in the very next race, the Class 4 Racing UK Handicap the confident apprentice jockey, Jamie Gormley, made all the running aboard an improving Tor, determined to get the better of the odds-on favourite, Hochfeld, which he did in great style, leaving this other son of Cape Cross trailing a length and a quarter in his wake. So Steve got it wrong. Cheers!

 

20 July 2017

 

A Good Turner Round

The Group One-winning jockey, after officially retiring two years ago, set racegoers' pulses racing again yesterday when winning the Silk Series Lady Riders' Handicap at Yarmouth. Hayley Turner was aboard the Michael Bell-trained Hart Stopper in this six-furlong Class 4 contest and made clear headway approaching the final furlong, claiming the prize by half-a-length. The Nottingham-born rider has made a few re-appearances during her 'retirement' including last Summer's Shergar Cup at Ascot and the Lady Jockeys' Thoroughbred World Championships in Sweden earlier this month.

 

Young'uns versus Oldies

The feature race at Doncaster this even is the seven-furlong Frenchgate Fashion Handicap. The interesting thing about this contest is that it sets three and four-year-olds against eight and nine-year-olds. One youngster, in particular, the Ruth Carr-trained Explain will, in addition, have to cope with an eight-pound penalty after his impressive victory in the Close Brothers Asset Finance Handicap at Chester last month but all is looking good for this Kyllachy son.

 

Life's not a Beach!

This daughter of Shantou, making her Flat debut on her first appearance since her disappointing performance at Punchestown in April, adopted the front-running tactics that had been so successful over obstacles but things didn't pan out as expected in the final fifty yards, however. This time the Willie Mullins-trained Airlie Beach, with Declan McDonogh aboard, had to cede victory to her stable companion, She's So Flawless, and was even denied the second slot by Aidan O'Brien's Abyssinian.

 

19 July 2017

 

Field of Dreams

Despite being beaten by twenty and forty lengths, respectively, on his previous two starts this season the Noel Wilson-trained son of Cape Blanco produced a shock result in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Handicap at Thirsk yesterday. Why shock? He was 80/1! The four-year-old Hayward Field, formerly trained by Roger Varian, tried his best in a couple of handicaps from five runs last season but it was ultimately decided to offer him for sale last October and he was bought by owners Marwood Racing for 18,000 guineas. Not surprisingly with his previous dire form he was sent off at long odds in this one-and-a-half-mile contest and, miraculously, he came from off the pace and won by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Open and Shut Case

The Amanda Perrett-trained son of Invincible Spirit came from last to first to score in the Dribuild Ltd Handicap at Bath yesterday. The Martin Dwyer-ridden Open Wide seemed to enjoy the ferocious pace and, finally found his feet after being slowly away in this five-furlong sprint. It was, however, only in the last fifty yards that the three-year-old gelding slowly edged his way into the lead and scored by a neck.

 

Champing at the bit!

Bookmakers generally think that the Stobart Championship on the Flat is a foregone conclusion and that this year's runaway leader, Silvestre De Sousa, leaves the rest of the contenders vying for second place. Danny Tudhope looks like the one to be runner-up as he is ahead of other bigger names such as reigning champion, Jim Crowley, and former three-time winner Ryan Moore. The champion will be crowned on October 21 at the end of British Champions Day at Ascot and and Silvestre who is twenty-nine winners ahead of his nearest rivals is tipped at 1/10 to secure the coveted title.

 

18 July 2017

 

Dream On!

The Simon Crisford-trained son of Cape Cross had the benefit of of six late withdrawals in yesterday's Parkdean Resorts Glasgow Fair Handicap at Ayr and certainly made the most of this opportunity. The Graham Lee-ridden Century Dream got smartly away and was kept handily placed behind the leaders in the early stages. Then about a furlong out, the three-year-old colt was urged to go for home and won quite easily by by three-quarters of a length, thereby making it three wins from seven career starts.

 

A Pauling Choice!

It looks like Grand National-winning jockey, Daryl Jacob, is due for busier National Hunt season than usual. The County Wexford-born rider will still be retained by owners, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede but whenever he has a free slot in his schedule he will also be available to ride for Nicky Henderson’s former assistant, Ben Pauling. The Bourton-on-the-Water-based trainer began his new career in 2013 and had his best season last year, winning thirty-two races and amassing nearly £300,000 in prize-money. The highlight was undoubtedly winning the Grade One Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Willoughby Court.

 

A Fair Cop!

A Gloucester policeman was caught on camera, celebrating on Channel 4 Racing at Royal Ascot. Nothing wrong with that on the face of it. The only thing is that PC Jonathan Adams admits he called in sick so that he could attend racing at the Berkshire track and also to go to two other meetings at Nottingham. In his defence the thirty-two-year-old copper maintained that 'pulling a sickie' was the only way to cope with the stresses and strains of his "awful" job, as working at Barton Street Police Station in Gloucester was "absolute hell". 

17 July 2017

 

A Double for his Trouble!

A Cambridge-born jockey was able to forget temporarily his pending nine-day suspension and claim a double at York. James Doyle, who will be sidelined from July 22-31 under the totting-up procedure, started off the day with a two-and-three-quarter length victory aboard the Charlie Appleby-trained Rare Rhythm in the Listed John Smith's Silver Cup Stakes. The twenty-nine-year-old jockey was clearly determined to make the most of his last Saturday in action for a while by winning the very next race. This time he was riding the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ballet Concerto in the 58th John Smith's Cup Handicap which he must have appreciated as it was one of the few successful occasions he has ridden for the Berkshire-based handler since his widely publicised split with owner, Khalid Abdullah.

 

Chapter and Verse

This victory at the Curragh yesterday may have provided a modicum of cheer for the Ballydoyle trainer after his big disappointment on Saturday when his star, Caravaggio, failed to shine in the July Cup. The Kilboy Estate Stakes could have been a Pocketfullofdreams or an Absolute Blast but for the fact that 12/1 outsider, Aidan O'Brien-trained Elizabeth Browning penned her own unexpected last verse for this nine-furlong contest. Seamus Heffernan had kept the Galileo filly waiting patiently at the rear, beginning to put on the pressure from about two out, and then quickened smartly into the to lead inside the final furlong, eventually recording a length-and-three-quarter success.

 

Up in Lights

Not content with just providing a traditional Sunday afternoon 'family fun day' jumps meeting, this dual-purpose Nottinghamshire racetrack has published plans to erect floodlights and thereby become Britain's fifth floodlit track, alongside Chelmsford, Kempton, Newcastle and Wolverhampton. Southwell management envisages staging evening all-weather Flat meetings under lights from 2019. Progress will depend on getting the go-ahead from Newark and Sherwood District Council and being allocated fixtures by the BHA.

 

 

16 July 2017

 

Wild about Harry!

The son of Dark Angel upset the apple cart at Newmarket yesterday when winning the Darley July Cup by a decisive one-and-a-quarter lengths. The Clive Cox-trained Harry Angel thereby got his revenge on one of his rivals, Caravaggio, who denied him victory by three-quarters of a length in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last month. Jockey Adam Kirby very much followed the plan of the previous encounter, getting off smartly and tracking Caravaggio's pacemaker, Intelligence Cross, for most of this six-furlong contest before hitting the front inside the final furlong. The Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Scat Daddy, the 10-11 favourite, seeking to make it seven victories out of seven, was obviously already under a certain amount of pressure and it never really looked like he would get back into the picture and was even narrowly beaten io third place by Kevin Ryan's Brando.

 

Family Fortunes

A legendary racehorse trainer was fleetingly remembered at Carlisle racetrack when his sixteen-year-old granddaughter rode her first-ever winner just days after sitting her GCSEs. Ella McCain, whose grandfather, 'Ginger', trained the legendary Red Rum, only finished Secondary School last month but she earned her spot in the winners' enclosure after riding Dark Confidant, trained by her father, Donald Jnr., to a three-quarter-length victory in the seven-furlong Racing UK Now On Talk Talk TV Handicap

 

Winning Performance

The Ballydoyle maestro notched up his eleventh triumph in the Jebel Ali Silver Jubilee Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh yesterday, courtesy of the daughter of Declaration Of War. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Actress had a lot to prove following a poor performance in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and a narrow defeat in the Coolmore Pride Of Dubai Tipperary Stakes at the beginning of this month. The two-year-old filly disputed the early running with Jessica Harrington's Brown Bear but when the 9/10 favourite son of Kodiac veered left towards the rail, Actress assumed her true winning role, keeping centre stage on a true line for the target and winning by a length and three-quarters.

 

15 July 2017

 

What a Day!

It was close but it looked as though the Mark Johnston-trained son of Teofilo had notched up another Group One success by winning the the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud yesterday. The camera doesn't lie, however, and the result of the the photo-finish gave victory to the 10/1 shot, Shakeel, trained by Alain De Royer Dupre and not the joint-favourite, Permian, ridden by William Buick. The latter had urged his mount to make a challenge early on in the race but, well inside the final furlong, Christophe Soumillon decided to go for it and the two rivals flashed past the post together. It was perhaps appropriate that a French horse should win on such an auspicious occasion. This mile-and-a-half event, the perennial racing highlight of Bastille Day, was once more run this year at Saint-Cloud as its traditional venue, Longchamp, is undergoing extensive redevelopment.

 

Frost to-morrow

Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey will have her first professional ride for her father at Southwell tomorrow. Bryony Frost will be aboard the Jimmy Frost-trained Grissom in the Compare Racing Odds At bookies.com Selling Hurdle. It will be remembered that the Devon-born rider was in the limelight at Prestbury Park when, as an amateur, she rode the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder to victory in the Foxhunter Chase in March.

 

Just Perfect!

The John Gosden-trained son of Invincible Spirit certainly lived up to his sire's name when decisively winning the bet365-sponsored Silver Bunbury Cup at Newmarket yesterday. The William Buick-ridden Parfait had been a little disappointing on his last outing when coming fourth in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. This time there were no mistakes, however, as the Godolphin-owned three-year-old, leading the stands rail grou for most of the way, claimed the seven-furlong contest by two lengths.

 

14 July 2017

 

Winning Intent

The 348th renewal of the Newmarket Town Plate, an historic race, instigated by King Charles II and run on the Round Course since 1666, was celebrated in style by a former international show-jumper. Tim Gredley employed his varied equestrian skills to goad the James Owen-trained Bivouac on to to what turned out to be a race-winning advantage just over a mile-and-a-quarter from home out and this three-mile-six-furlong contest was in the bag by a comfortable twelve lengths. Whilst all this was going on there was also drama further back in the field. Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, riding last year's winner Almagest, came off and fell over the rails two furlongs from the winning post. Fortunately it was reported later that he was not seriously injured.

 

Playing Cards right

Another leading two-year-old made his mark for the season by winning the Arqana July Stakes at Newmarket yesterday. The Mark Johnston-trained Cardsharp, who came an impressive third in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, was a bit unruly before the start, but eventually settled down, dominating the six-furlong race in the final hundred-and-fifty yards to score by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

 

Off the Mark

The first three races at Epsom last night were claimed by a three-pound claiming apprentice. It's been a memorable few weeks for Kieran Shoemark. He had already notched up a double at Lingfield on Wednesday and now he added to that the successes aboard Fair Power, Chess Move and Pealer, making trainers, Sylvester Kirk, George Baker and John Gosden, respectfully, happy men. These results meant that Kieran Shoemark had ridden five winners in his last six rides, reached a career total of ninety-five winners, thereby becoming a fully-fledged jockey.

 

13 July 2017

 

Bro's a no go!

Ryan Moore has won this world-famous event twice (2010 and 2013) but this is one race he has never won and never will. His sister, Hayley Moore, is hoping to ride Whinging Willie, trained by her father, Gary, to victory in the Ladies' Derby Handicap at Epsom this afternoon. It's true that Newbury also features a Ladies' Derby next month but the Epsom version has a certain cache as it is staged over the same course and distance as the real McCoy (not the jockey!). Apart from being an amateur rider, Hayley Moore has also carved out a career for herself as a successful broadcaster and this year did some commentating at Epsom's Investec Derby Festival.

 

Front to Back!

At Newmarket today, on the first day of the Moet & Chandon July Festival, the feature race is the Princess Of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes and it is generally agreed that the Charlie Appleby-trained Frontiersman is the one to beat. This Group Two event represents a slight drop in class for this Godolphin-owned four-year-old who gave Highland Reel a run for his money when coming an impressive second to him in the Group One Coronation Cup at Epsom at the beginning of last month. The fact that this Dubawi son was supplemented at considerable expense is a clear indication that connections are pleased with his progress following his two-and-a-half length victory in the Qatar Racing Handicap on the Rowley Mile course in May.

 

Going for record Double.

The Richard Spencer-trained Rajasinghe will try to add today's Newmarket July Stakes to his recent triumph in the Royal Ascot’s Coventry Stakes and thereby become the first horse to achieve this double since Richard Hannon Snr.'s Rock City in 1989. There were two other horses who achieved this honour in the same decade - Horage (1982) and Primo Dominie (1984). If this son of Choisir can pull off this feat it will be something special for trainer, Richard Spencer as Rajasinghe previous win was only this Newmarket handler's ninth career success. 

 

12 July 2017

 

That's Life!

After a ten-length victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Flat Race connections may be forgiven for getting a little excited about what lies in store for their grey mare. Already there are murmurs that the Willie Mullins-trained Ainsi Va La Vie could be a future Cheltenham Festival champion. Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners, Supreme Racing Club, certainly believes that there is a bright future for the seven-year-old but would prefer to avoid over-enthusiasm at this stage.

 

Rock Solid

There was obviously a sigh of relief from connections that the David O'Meara-trained daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar was able to forget her five-and-a-half-length defeat at Haydock four days earlier. Lincoln Rocks, ridden by Danny Tudhope, won the Listed Weatherbys General Stud Book Online Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract yesterday. The four-year-old, given an enterprising ride by the North Yorkshire rider, made all the running in this one-mile contest and was able to dominate the race, unlike on her previous start, when she had to settle for fourth place. Boldly urged to switch to the near-side rail in the straight, the 14/1 shot stuck to her task and got home by a neck.

 

Automated Jockey

At Kingswood Stud in Lambourn fledgling racehorses are being put through their paces – that, in itself, is not news. The way they are being exercised, however, is. They are not being trained by jockeys but by a special machinem called the Kurtsystem, which looks as though it belongs in in a theme park but, at a cost of £20 million, it is certainly more serious than a fair-ground ride. The apparatus is designed to eliminate any possible human error when horses are being pre-trained. It's a fact that many young racehorses do not get to race, for one reason and another, and this new device is intended to increase the number that make it. The Kurtsystem can take up to 10 horses at a 30mph gallop around the one-mile covered track and is particularly designed to improve the joint, bone and muscle strength of young horses, paramount factors for a future career.

 

11 July 2017

 

Hope to win?

Two-and-a-quarter lengths separated the sixth and seventh slots in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. The Roger Varian-trained Dawn Of Hope and Pirouette from the Hughie Morrison yard face each other again at Pontefract today in the Weatherbys General Stud Book Online Pipalong Stakes. Clearly a decision was made in both yards to drop to Listed company for a chance of success. Certainly they will not be up against such tough competition in this one-mile affair. Of the pair probably Dawn Of Hope could well triumph, even though her Ascot run was on good to firm ground. It seems, however, that rain would not bother her too much as she came a good third in the Betway Doncaster Mile Stakes at Doncaster in April when the going was good to soft.

 

A Re-match

This son of Golan has won two of his three starts over hurdles since joining Gordon Elliott's yard. Dorans River (no apostrophe!) easily beat the Willie Mullins-trained Robin Des Foret and Joseph O'Brien's Cook Islands last month at this track over the same distance and the seven-year-old takes them on again in this evening's Connolly's Red Mills Rated Novice Hurdle. Will history repeat itself?

 

Beginner's Luck?

Mick Easterby's former head lad joins the training fraternity at Uttoxeter this evening. Gary Sanderson, who, until now, has been running a small stud from his Lilling Hall Farm base near York, saddles his first runner this evening in the Betfred TV Maiden Hurdle. Charlie Poste takes the ride on Keen's Token. It looks like the rookie trainer is going to need a lot of luck in this event as this eleven-year-old son of Keen, who officially switched trainers only six days ago, was pulled up on his last two outings and has yet to notch up a win.

 

10 July 2017

 

Jam for T

It was certainly a big day for this trainer but the jockey had plenty to celebrate as well. John Gosden won his seventh Lancashire Oaks at Haydock on Saturday and the jockey who helped him bring about this landmark attainment was Robert Tart. This 24-year-old rider, whose previous big success was on Cunco in the Classic Trial at Sandown in April, claimed his first win at Group Two level when he, with perfect timing, partnered The Black Princess to a half-a-length victory in the one-mile-plus contest. In fact there was a double celebration in order because the young jockey had already scored in the previous race on Zenon.

 

A Winning Name

The Thomas And Young Handicap Hurdle at Worcester today marks the hundredth outing for this Richard Mitchell-trained son of Storming Home. Ten-year-old Thundering Home, equally at home over jumps and on the Flat, proved he could still mix it with the best of them when he won the Boxing Betting At 188Bet Handicap Hurdle at Exeter in April, attaining his fourteenth career victory. The Katy Boughey-owned gelding has done the rounds of trainers, starting with Ed Dunlop in 2009, subsequently moving on for varying periods with Michael Attwater, Brian Ellison and George Baker before joining the current handler's Dorset yard in 2012.

 

Bin there!

The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow, with Christophe Soumillon was encouraged to take the lead in yesterday's Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly as no-one else seemed inclined to assume the roll. This three-year-old son of Helmet had already made his presence felt in both the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when he came third and second, respectively, and this contest proved to be a well merited top-level success for the Godolphin team.

9 July 2017

 

Oscar-winning Performance!

The highlight of yesterday's Stars & Stripes Festival at the New York track was undoubtedly the Belmont Derby Invitational. The winner, the Brian Lynch-trained Oscar Performance made all to record his second Grade 1 triumph after winning last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Although he had a bit of a problem at the start, once in the clear the son of Kitten's Joy was never seriously under threat for the rest of the race, scoring by two lengths in this one-and-a-quarter-mile contest. French raider, the Mme Pia Brandt-trained Called To the Bar, was handy in fourth position and kicked home best of the rest to finish second. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Homesman certainly didn't disgrace himself by finishing third.

 

Snow way to go!

The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow only takes on four rivals when he seeks a second Group 1 victory in today's Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. The son of Helmet won the Criterum International Stakes by five lengths at Saint-Cloud last autumn before owners, Godolphin, decided to send him off for a stint in Dubai where he scored twice at Meydan. The three-year-old colt was then dispatched to the United States for the Kentucky Derby but there he didn't exactly cover himself with glory when treating the crowd to an extraordinary bucking bronco act when the stalls opened. Thunder Snow made amends, however, when he was an impressive runner-up to Churchill in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

 

Homer's Hero

The current champion jockey made up for his disappointing fourth slot aboard Eminent in the Epsom Derby six days ago by edging out Barney Roy in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park yesterday. Jim Crowley, however, for some reason, wasn't given the chance to make amends on Eminent in this Group One clash, as Silvestre de Sousa was given that task. The thirty-one-year-old Ascot-born rider, this time, was selected by Sir Michael Stoute to partner Ulysses who, as it turned out, proved more than equal to the task. This Galileo son was held at the back of the field for some time but was soon making smooth headway on the outside just over a furlong from home. It became apparent, however, that the Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy, with James Doyle aboard, wasn't prepared to let the contest develop into a one-horse affair, making a strong challenge in the final yards but failing by just a nose.

 

8 July 2017

 

Sound of Music

Just three days after finishing sixth (last-but-one!) in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse, this daughter of Invincible Spirit is back again chasing an elusive second win. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Music Box tunes up today for a crack at the six-furlong Parliament Premium Finance Irish EBF Filllies Handicap at Naas. Connections are of the opinion that the Ballydoyle filly was also rather unlucky when she made her handicap debut at the Curragh at the beginning of the month and today could be the chance to set the record straight.

 

Havana Good Time

The Karl Burke-trained son of Havana Gold finished disappointingly way down the field in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot two weeks ago and clearly connections were looking forward to an improved performance from their two-year-old grey colt in the Allied World Dragon Stakes at Sandown yesterday. Jockey, PJ McDonald, was obviously keen to get his mount into the action from early on and the duo fairly bounced out of the stalls. Charlie Appleby's Roussel also had winning thoughts in mind as he made his move two furlongs from home. It looked for a moment like the 5/4 favourite would get the better of Havana Grey but the latter had more than enough in reserve to kick on again and claim the five-furlong contest by a length-and-quarter.

 

The Roundabout Way

Charlie Hills obviously has some qualms about the current form of this son of Zebedee. The Hungerford-based trainer has, therefore, decided to run Magical Memory in the Class 2 bet365 Conditions Stakes at Haydock. Now this is the first time in nearly two years that the five-year-old has not competed in Pattern company so clearly this six-furlong contest is supposed to provide some answers to outstanding questions. The Wetherdown House handler, it seems, still has the Group One July Cup at Newmarket in mind but nothing's certain as of now.

 

7 July 2017

 

Stormy Weather

The James Tate-trained Hey Gaman certainly wasn't put off by the thundery conditions at Yarmouth yesterday when he opened his account in the first race of the day. The son of New Approach just didn't get his act together in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June but was clearly determined to benefit from the step-down in class and trip when transporting Martin Harley to an impressive four-length victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

 

First and Third

The first nursery contest of the season took place at Haydock Park yesterday and was dominated by a Cheshire-based trainer. Tom Dascombe saddled two runners in the Aluminium Doors And Windows Contact AluFoldDirect.co.uk Nursery. Our Man In Havana had failed to score in four previous starts so a lot was hanging on this race. The son of Havana Gold didn't disappoint on this occasion, however, and and gave jockey Richard Kingscote a trouble-free ride to win this Class 5 six-furlong contest by a neck. As an added bonus, Magnus, the stable companion, came in just half-a-length behind, making it a first and third for the Manor House Stables,

 

Upstaged

The public had already decided that yesterday's performance of the Coolmore Pride of Dubai Tipperary Stakes was the stage for the Aidan O'Brien-trained Actress to out-perform her five rivals and and steal the show. The final scene, however, didn't follow the script, as the Fozzy (James) Stack-trained Sirici made an unexpected last-minute entrance from the wings and took the curtain call by a neck, making it her fourth success from six appearances.

 

6 July 2017

 

2,000 and that's flat!

Kempton Park last night was the stage for this three-time champion jockey to attain a new milestone in his outstanding career. Ryan Moore partnered the Richard Hannon-trained Billesdon Brook to victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes and, thereby, notched up his 2000th winner on the Flat, in a career that started in the year 2000 with six winners from thirteen rides. This means that the thirty-three-year-old Brighton-born jockey joins an elite band of riders who have reached this landmark total. Only two, still active, jockeys have more than this; Frankie Dettori is on 3,068 winners and Joe Fanning on 2,198. The all-time record is held by the legendary Sir Gordon Richards, the 26-time champion, who had 4,870; next comes Pat Eddery with a score of 4,633 and then Lester Piggott on 4,493.

 

Popularity Stakes

On Saturday it's the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and it looks like the currently very busy jockey, James Doyle, is set to continue his increasing popularity. The 29-year-old rider, after a rather unpleasant split with Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, went on to reclaim his career in a big way by riding in Australia for the Dubai-based operation. Since then he hasn't looked back and has become the jockey trainers turn to when they have problems. For instance, James Doyle replaced the injured Frankie Dettori and thereby enjoyed impressive victories aboard horses such as Elas Ruby and, particularly, Big Orange on whom he triumphed in the Ascot Gold Cup two weeks ago.

 

A Winner! – Roger!

This Newmarket-based trainer continued his high-flying form in Ireland yesterday. Roger Varian saddled Realtra in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse. The daughter of Dark Angel scored in the Fillies' And Mares' on All-Weather Championships Final day at Lingfield in April but, somehow, failed to follow up this success in her two subsequent starts. Under the faultless stewardship of Colin Keane, however, the five-year-old mare made amends for past disappointments in this Group Three contest and, once a gap came on the rail, she didn't need asking twice and stayed on gallantly to deny victory to her fellow British raider, Golden Stunner, by a length and a quarter.

 

5 July 2017

 

Another O'Brien!

Today's £15,000 Lodge At Perth Racecourse Handicap Chase (for The Kilmany Cup) is obviously such a coveted target for this Cotswolds' trainer that he is prepared send three horses on the 800-mile round trip to Scone Palace Park. Fergal O’Brien saddles Pantxoa in this particular Class 3 feature rac, in which Paddy Brennan takes the reins. As the Cheltenham trainer has a course strike-rate of about one win in every three races, clearly connections are hoping that this is the one.

 

No Offence taken!

The Kevin Ryan-trained son of Lope De Vega lost his race before it had even begun at Hamiltion yesterday. Weekend Offender, with Tom Eaves aboard, the 4/1 joint-favourite for the Almada Mile Handicap, was blindfolded to enter the stalls. When the gates were opened, however, the four-year-old appeared to lose his balance in the opening strides. It was revealed afterwards that the Wigan-born jockey had been unable to take the blindfold off as the other ten runners raced away. Tom Eaves tried to alert the starter but he didn't hear and so there was no other option but to pull his mount up.

 

French Queen

The inaugural Lady Jockeys' Thoroughbred World Championships in Sweden last night was won by French rider, Maryline Eon. Hayley Turner, who specifically made a temporary return to the saddle so that she could represent Britain in this five-race competition. Sammy Jo Bell was riding for Northern Ireland and Ana O'Brien for Ireland. The trio's best result of the night, however, was when the Northern Ireland rider came second in the first event of the day. 

 

4 July 2017

 

Ticket to Ride

The current champion jockey has been dropped in favour of the runaway jockeys' title leader. It has been announced that Silvestre de Sousa will replace Jim Crowley aboard the Martyn Meade-trained Eminent in Saturday's Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and thereby have a chance of notching up his first Group 1 winner for nearly two years. The Brazilian jockey's last top-ranking victory was in 2015 when partnered the 50/1 shot, Arabian Queen, in the Juddmonte International Stakes. Silvestre de Sousa's five rides recently at Royal Ascot were all outsiders but this Frankel four-year-old is a 4/1 third favourite for the Eclipse.

 

Back but for how for long?

Britain's most successful female jockey rode a winner yesterday at Windsor, marking her, purportedly, brief comeback from retirement. Hayley Turner partnered the Michael Bell-trained Flying Sparkle in the first race of the evening, the EBF Stallions Fillies' Novice Median Auction Stakes. The thirty-four-year-old rider withdrew from race-riding in 2015 but returned to be part of the female team at last year's Shergar Cup event at Ascot. The purpose of yesterday's ride was to prepare to compete in the new Lady Jockeys' Thoroughbred World Championship which takes place in Sweden on Tuesday but Hayley Turner insists that she has no plans to resume her career as a jockey.

 

Zaman for all Reasons!

The Charlie Appleby-trained Zaman squeezed home by a neck to win the British Stallion Studs EBF Spindrifter Conditions Stakes at Pontefract yesterday and that could be enough, it seems, to merit another crack at Ascot. In May he came home with a length to spare in the Yorkshire Regiment British EBF Novice Median Auction Stakes. As a result he was stepped up in class for the Coventry Stakes at last month's Royal Ascot meeting but disappointed connections by coming thirteenth from eighteen runners. The Godolphin-owned colt made amends yesterday, however, when he galloped to victory steered by William Buick.

 

3 July 2017

 

One Good Turner ...

Since hanging up her saddle two years ago this former joint-champion apprentice became a more familiar face in front of TV cameras commenting on racing. Hayley Turner, however, is due to be back in the saddle at Windsor tonight as she prepares for her competing in the Lady Jockeys’ Thoroughbred World Championship in Stockholm on Tuesday. The thirty-four-year-old Nottingham-born rider plans to be aboard the Michael Bell-trained Flying Sparkle in the first race of the evening, the five-furlong EBF Stallions Fillies' Novice Median Auction Stakes. Hayley Turner actually made a fleeting return to the track last year when she rode Early Morning to victory on Shergar Cup day at Ascot in August.

 

Third Time Lucky!

Churchill's sister (although historically his wife!) made her mark at the Curragh yesterday when she won the Group 3 Grangecon Stud Stakes. As befits a daughter of Meow, the Aidan O'brien-trained Clemmie fair purred along in this six-furlong contest, taking up the running about a furlong from home and denying victory to another Galileo daughter, Butterscotch, by two and three quarter lengths. The two-year-old filly was making it third time lucky after having having previously been trounced in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

 

The Brush Off

An Austrian painter sketched out an easy victory yesterday in the Barronstown Stud Irish EBF Maiden at the Curragh. Aidan O'Brien who has claimed this seven-furlong contest three times in recent years with Duke Of Marmalade (2006), Rip Van Winkle (2008) and Gleneagles (2014), added another name to the roll of honour, Gustav Klimt. This Galileo son was the 11/8 favourite despite only making fifth slot in the Tally Ho Stud Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden on his debut at the County Kildare track at the end of May.

 

2 July 2017

 

Derby Dozen

As it turned out, the Epsom Derby winner didn't make it a dozen for the Ballydoyle king at the Curragh yesterday. No, it was the Aidan O'Brien-trained Capri, ridden by Seamie Heffernan, notching up his third win of this Irish Classic, who presented his trainer with his twelfth Irish Derby. It was a close-run affair, though, as only a neck and a short head separated the first three home. The John Gosden-trained Cracksman, third at Epsom, this time had to be happy with the the runner-up slot, with the 2/1 favourite, Wings Of Eagles taking minor honours. After his victories in 2007 and 2008 aboard Soldier Of Fortune and Frozen Fire, the winning rider commented that being second jockey at Ballydoyle was one of the best jobs in the world and yesterday's result will have, no doubt, confirmed his view.

 

Breath-taking!

This County Meath-based trainer has made his name in the National Hunt world with horses such as Don Cossack and Silver Birch but yesterday's success at the Curragh will go down in the record books for another reason. Gordon Elliott saddled Beckford who won the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes and, thereby, made his mark with his very first success on the Flat. This son of Bated Breath, who earlier this year became the jump trainer's first two-year-old winner showed a pre-delection for this shorter form of racing and went on to prove it.

 

Prize Vase

Although the Betfred Northumberland Vase Handicap was originally inaugurated as some form of consolation race for horses who didn't make it into the Northumberland Plate, it is certainly not a contest to be sniffed at, as a very tempting £70,000 prize is up for grabs. Even so, there were only twelve runners in yesterday's two-mile contest. The Ian Williams-trained London Prize, with Fran Berry aboard, was always prominent and, although he never seemed to be totally at ease, always looked a winner, and so it proved as he pulled away from the Michael bell-trained Graceland in the closing stages to win by a neck.

1 July 2017

 

And the hits O'Keefe on coming!

More Mischief is hardly the description of this Middleham-based trainer's reaction to the result of the Betfred Mobile/EBF Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle yesterday; rather more delight as this son of Azamour thereby presented Jedd O'Keeffe with his first Listed race success. The five-year-old, ridden by Graham Lee, beat Chain Of Daisies by a neck who in turn was a neck ahead of Very Dashing. The Highbeck Lodge yard, in fact, scored half-an-hour earlier when 16/1 shot stable companion, Montanna, claimed the Betfred 'Supports Jack Berry House' Classified Stakes by half-a-length. Meanwhile over at Doncaster, Injam and Metisian made it a four-timer for the man of the day, Jedd O'Keefe.

 

No Jumps. And that's flat!

No national Hunt racing today but that doesn't mean all the jump jockeys have a day off. Some of them are making their way to York to test their skills on the flat in the five-furlong Follow Sun Bets On Twitter Jump Jockeys Nunthorpe Handicap this afternoon. This marks the inaugural running of this £20,000 sprint handicap and eighteen riders will line up, including Tom Scudamore, Joshua Moore, Sam Twiston-Davies, Jamie Moore, Nico de Boinville and Aidan Coleman.

 

Doing his Duty

Another day another Derby. This time its the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Aidan O'Brien, who has won eleven of the renewals of this Curragh Classic in the last twenty years, dearly wants to make it twenty-one. With this in mind the Ballydoyle king will be saddling a a five-strong team, including Epsom winner, Wings Of Eagles aiming for the famous double. To keep him company there will also be Capri, Douglas Macarthur, The Anvil and Taj Mahal, who was fourth in the French Derby. 

30 June 2017

 

Strings to his Bow.

This Malton-based trainer is sending three of his horses on the two-hour drive to Newcastle this afternoon with the hope of claiming a back-to-back renewal of the Betfred Gosforth Park Cup. Of the three, though Tim Easterby, is clearly banking on Orion's Bow doing the business. Formerly handled by Dandy Nicholls, this son of Pivotal won the five-furlong Class 2 handicap last year off a mark of 91, so the six-year-old chestnut will find life a bit tougher off the top weight of 104. Connections, however, are still expecting a doughty display from Orion's Bow and will have stable mates Hoofalong and Rasheeq to keep him company.

 

Everything's Grandee!

Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer will be hoping to bag another big prize on Saturday, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Jessica Harrington has had quite a year so far and she obviously hasn't finished yet. The County Kildare handler also had several victories at Punchestown, as well as landing the Irish Grand National with Our Duke. Tomorrow her Grandee faces a major step-up in class for this weekend's Classic but connections obviously feel the three-year-old son of Lope De Vega deserves his moment in the limelight.

 

The Mighty Quinn!

A different kind of target from the old days for this Newmarket trainer but a goal is a goal. After eight attempts at scoring the Micky Quinn-trained Stanhope finally hit the back of the net. After being so near but so far on his previous outings this son of Equiano well deserved this victory when he beat his rivals to the line by three lengths in the 188Bet Handicap. As a former professional footballer, usually occupying the centre forward slot, the winning trainer also, no doubt, re-lived some of his moments of glory as he led Stanhope into the winner's enclosure.

 

29 June 2017

 

Key to Success

This Galileo daughter went some way to earning her £1.3 million guineas purchase fee as a yearling at Naas yesterday. The Aidan-O'Brien-trained Key To My Heart was on her tenth outing and made the Listed Queally Group Naas Irish EBF Naas Oaks Trial the scene of her second victory. Ridden by the trainer's son, Donnacha, the three-year-old filly obviously learnt a lot from from her previous races, including a win at Dundalk, to literally gallop her rivals into the ground to win by two-and-three-quarter-length.

 

No John Lewis Sprint, then!

Going to the races in Oxford Street seems now not to be on the cards. It has just been revealed that the Jockey Club and the SEL UK ( a company that supports sports activities, a director of which is the Queen's grandson, Peter Phillips), are keen to initiate a global feature of street horse racing events, in which a number of the world's top riders will compete over sprint distances. The City Racing plan, as it is called, suffered a serious set-back this week, however, when Westminster Council reversed its earlier approval for a series of thoroughbred contests along Oxford Street.

 

That rings a bell!

This highly successful trainer/jockey partnerships claimed the feature race at Carlisle yesterday. The Richard Fahey-trained Carnageo, with Paul Hanagan aboard, won the £30,000 bookies.com Carlisle Bell Handicap for the first time. This Pivotal gelding, sporting blinkers on this occasion, was of the leading contender in the sixteen-strong main attraction of the Cumbrian circuit. The four-year-old was kept well towards the back of the field for a lot of the one-mile contest. Then in the home straight, the thirty-six-year old Warrington-born rider urged his his mount wide of his rivals and, fortunately, Carnageo was in agreement with the strategy and rapidly overhauled the leaders to win by half a length.

28 June 2017

 

Century Lady

According to the British Horseracing Authority this year's King's Stand Stakes winner put on the best performance this century. The object of their adulation is the Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia, who at Royal Ascot last Tuesday, clearly benefiting from a weight advantage over her rivals, galloped to a three-length victory, ably aided and abetted by her jockey, John Velazquez. Chris Nash, the BHA's handicapper, said he thought this Scat Daddy daughter could have won by an even greater distance.

 

A Win to Boot!

Trainer John Ryan found consolation at Brighton yesterday for his lack of success at Royal Ascot last week. His two-year-old colt with the unlikely name of Pranceabootthetoon made his winning debut in a race with a name to outdo his in length, the Trailwalker 100km Challenge 29-30 July Novice Auction Stakes. This son of Sir Prancealot, despite being the only novice in the contest, showed his rivals a speedy turn of foot as he quickened away smartly in this six-furlong event.

 

Pete Repeats!

This Oasis Dream gelding revealed his liking for this East Yorkshire track when he repeated last year's success in the Racing UK Android App racinguk.com/mobile Handicap. The Ollie Pears-trained Lean On Pete sealed his third victory at Beverley when Andrew Mullen kicked for home two furlongs out, denying victory to the Jason Hart-ridden Tred Softly (as registered!) by a head.

 

 

27 June 2017

 

Hill Tops

The St Leger, the feature race of the four-day festival at Doncaster, first run in 1776, will have a new Leeds-based bookmaker as a sponsor for the next three years. William Hill has taken over the reins from Ladbrokes in securing the naming rights for the world’s oldest Classic, worth £700,000 and regularly attended by over 60,000 racegoers. Grand Metropolitan, the owners of William Hill, already sponsor a number of Flat races, including the Ayr Gold Cup and Great St Wilfrid at Ripon.

 

Water to-do!

The decision to water the Ascot course, has been criticised by two trainers, who both had the agonising experience of watching their horses win the race on their side of the track but still lose out to the other side. North Yorkshire-based Declan Carroll believes the decision to water denied his star juvenile Santry the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday, whilst Newmarket handler, Jeremy Noseda, firmly believes that Take Me With You suffered similarly on Friday in the Albany Stakes. Both horses finished the best of those on the stands' side so the trainers maintain that the watering created a huge bias towards the far side of the track.

 

Where Eagles dare!

Saturday’s Irish Derby at the Curragh could well see a five-strong contingent running for Aidan O’Brien who is determined to continue his domination of the Flat season after his crowning as top national Hunt trainer at Royal Ascot last week. The Investec Derby winner, Wings Of Eagles, is likely to spearhead the Ballydoyle king's bid to win his second Classic of the season. It looks like Ryan Moore will be aboard the son of Pour Moi on this occasion rather than Padraig Beggy, who helped to produce the shock victory at Epsom.

 

26 June 2017

 

Music Maestro

A two-year-old Aidan O'Brien-trained colt brought memories of the greatest twentieth-century cellist to Gowran Park yesterday. After a disastrous debut at Leopardstown in May Rostropovich got back in tune and claimed the first race of the day, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden. This son of Frankel, partnered by Seamie Heffernan, kept much closer to the pace this time around and although it took him a while to overhaul the strong front-running Medal Of Honour, he eventually dominated in the final furlong, scoring by half-a-length.

 

Peace of the Action

Another successful debut at Hexham yesterday when the Nicky Henderson-trained Peace And Co soon showed who was boss on his first attempt over fences in the Bet toteplacepot Novices' Chase. This son of Falco ended his unbeaten juvenile season in top form when he won the 2015 Triumph Hurdle but has failed to make his mark since, due to a variety of problems which kept him off the track for more than a year. The six-year-old had just to deal with four rivals in this two-mile contest and was sent off the 1/5 favourite under Daryl Jacob. Peace And Co put on a fair display of jumping and pulled away on the run-in to put eight lengths between him and the Claire Louise-trained Mount Beckham.

 

Close Run Contest

The first day of Royal Ascot didn't bode well for the hither-too seemingly invincible partnership of trainer, Aidan O'Brien and jockey, Ryan Moore, as they failed to score. Wednesday provided a more favourable sign, however, as the ever dependable Highland Reel got things moving by claiming the Prince of Wales's Stakes by one-and-a-quarter lengths. What was strongly tipped as a double on Thursday failed to materialise, however. Sioux Nation certainly did the business in the Norfolk Stakes but Order Of St George was shouldered out of back-to-back victories in the Gold Cup by surprise winner, Big Orange. Friday looked like the dynamic duo was back in business when Caravaggio put his name on the Commonwealth Cup and Winter claimed the Coronation Stakes. The last day of the Berkshire bonanza, therefore, started with Coolmore trailing Godolphin by two winners. September in the Chesham Stakes and Idaho in the Hardwicke Stakes soon made up that deficit. As Godolphin failed to score, Coolmore was declared the winner on the basis of better placed performances and Aidan O'Brien notched up the Qipco-sponsored trainers' award for the eighth time and for the third year in a row.

 

25 June 2017

 

Luck was a Lady

It was Ladies’ Day at Redcar yesterday and remarkably a female jockey who was in a wheelchair just over a year ago after a horse fell on her and broke her pelvis in the paddock at Carlisle struck gold. The highly-rated three-pound claimer, Sammy Jo Bell, was aboard Adrakhan, trained and owned by Wilf Storey, in the line up for The Betty Leigh Boutique Fashion Show Handicap Stakes. The son of Martaline was held up towards the rear of the field for a good part of the race but then started to make good headway about two furlongs from home. The six-year-old was then urged into the lead two-hundred yards from the line and held on well to beat the Tracy Waggott-trained Percy Verence by one-and-quarter lengths.

 

All you need is heart!

This son of Equiano's result in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday was subjected to a nerve-wracking stewards’ inquiry about possible interference before victory was confirmed. The James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man had already scored over this course and distance after winning the British Champions Sprint at the Berkshire track last October. The five-year-old didn't so well on his next outing at York in May when he could only manage fifth the Duke of York Stakes so he owed connections one. Jockey Tom Queally bided his time before launching his challenge on the far rail in the final furlong to win by a neck.

 

A Run for her money.

Today this West Yorkshire track features one of its most prestigious meetings of the year, the £45,000 Listed totepool Pontefract Castle Fillies' Stakes. Of the eight runners one, in particular, catches the eye – the Sir Michael stoute-trained Abingdon. This Street Cry daughter has already notched up two wins from six starts at this level. The Ballymacoll Stud owners are being a little cautious about their filly's chances, however, as they think she needs the run having not raced since the DFS Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster in September.

 

24 June 2017

 

A Derby Comeback

This son of Teofilo had a lot to make amends for at Royal Ascot yesterday when he lined up in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes. The Mark Johnston-trained Permian was a bitter disappointment to the Middleham yard when he finished way down the field in the Epsom Derby. Pressure was also mounting because it was the penultimate day of the Berkshire bonanza and it looked like the North Yorkshire trainer might wind up without getting off the mark as happened at last year's meeting. This was Permian’s sixth run of the season. After coming third on his re-appearance at Bath in April, he covered himself with glory when winning York’s Dante Stakes. Yet just under three weeks after that unexplained ‘off-day’ at Epsom, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's colt provided his handler with a landmark 40th victory at Royal Ascot in a race that is widely regarded as Royal Ascot’s ‘Derby’

 

I got Rhythm!

The Charlie Appleby-trained Rare Rhythm hadn't been seen on the track since finishing mid-way down the field in last year's renewal of this mile-and-a-half handicap but absence seems to have made the heart grow stronger. The 20/1 chance Dubawi gelding was kept well up with the pace by his jockey, William Buick, and dug deep in the final yards to win the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes by two-and-a-quarter lengths, notching up a sixth win of the meeting for owners, Godolphin, and a second success of the day and the fourth of the week for the Norwegian-born rider.

 

Fighting for the Crown

One trainer has made his indelible mark in the Hardwicke Stakes, winning it on ten occasions, including a remarkable seven times since 2006. The Queen will be hoping very much that Sir Michael Stoute has not lost his magic touch this afternoon when her Dartmouth, the most memorable winner of last year's meeting, will bid to retain his crown for the Crown on the last day of Royal Ascot. 

23 June 2017

 

Shock - Day Three!

Every day of Royal Ascot so far has brought a surprise or shock result. On Tuesday, against all odds, Churchill failed to win the St James's Palace Stakes. On Wednesday French raider, Le Brevido, claimed the Jersey Stakes and yesterday the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange (in the favourite pun of the day!) 'pipped' last year's winner, Order Of St George, at the post by a short head to carry off the Gold Cup. What is also impressive is that this son of Duke of Marmalade was attempting the two-and-a- half-mile trip for the first time after winning back-to-back doubles in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes and the Goodwood Cup. There were a few moments when it looked as though the odds-on Aidan O'Brien-trained favourite was going to make it when Ryan Moore brought his mount on with a long powerful run on the outside but the eventual winner bravely held off the challenge for his well-earned shock victory.

 

An Artist at Work

It's only the third renewal of The Commonwealth Cup today but already the six-furlong Group 1 contest has established itself as a firm favourite among racegoers. Today's race is set to maintain this popularity. As expected, the focus of attention falls naturally on the Aidan O'Brien-trained Caravaggio. As his juvenile performance at Dundalk in April last year revealed, this son of Scat Daddy seems to be able to do no wrong. He was an impressive winner of the Coventry Stakes at this meeting last year, following that up with a cracking four-length victory in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August. Connections have obviously taken the wise decision to send their protégé down the sprinting route rather than stepping him up to a mile. Caravaggio's only outing this season was at Naas where he notched up another four-length-plus win. As the latter success was on soft ground, it is anticipated that he should run even better on the quick surface he'll be on at the Berkshire track today.

 

Crystal Clear?

Today's King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot was lined up for the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Crystal Ocean as a result of his coming an impressive third in last month's Dante Stakes at York. Well fancied before that race, following a maiden victory at Nottingham, this son of Sea The Stars seemed destined to step up to a mile-and-a-half trip. Also of advantage is the fact that the Sir Evelyn De Rothschild-owned colt gave the Derby a miss so it will be up to those runners today who did compete unsuccessfully in the 'Greatest Flat Race in the World' to prove that they have fully recovered from their exertions.

22 June 2017

 

A tall Order?

There are four other racing fixtures in the UK today but you'd never know it! All the racing news is about one event – the Berkshire Bonanza. Today is the third day of Royal Ascot and it's Gold Cup afternoon. After Churchill's disappointing performance in the James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday, short-odds punters can't be blamed for having second thoughts about another Aidan O’Brien-trained star. Last season the 1/7 odds-on favourite, Order of St George was denied victory in the Irish Leger by the 11/1 Willie Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave. A few reasons could be raised why this Galileo son won't successfully defend his crown in this prestigious event today. One, in particular, is the fact that the going was much softer this time last year. Apart from that, however, it's difficult to see, comparing the competition, why a back-to-back triumph will not be forthcoming at around four-thirty this afternoon.

 

Well. Blow me down!

This two-year-old filly safely made the the long trip all the way from the States to race at Ascot, only to be knocked over by a two-wheeled vehicle! The Wesley Ward-trained Princess Peggy, due to line up in the Albany Stakes tomorrow, was returning from a morning work-out yesterday when she was hit by a cyclist on her way back to the stable yard, lost her footing and fell to the ground. This daughter of Scat Daddy was immediately checked out by a vet. It was discovered that she had suffered superficial scratches and will need to re-examined by the vet on Friday morning before she can take part in the opening fixture of the day.

 

The French have a word for it – gagner!

The Andre Fabre-trained Le Brivido, partnered by Pierre-Charles Boudot, claimed the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday, denying Aidan O'Brien's Spirit of Valor (American spelling!) victory by a neck. The well-backed French raider was heavily supported by many local racegoers who were treated to a stirring last-minute battle before going off to collect their winnings.

 

21 June 2017

 

Winnie's Defeat

The British and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, Churchill, bidding for his eighth straight victory, was forced to taste the bitterness of defeat yesterday, only managing to come fourth in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes and the reason was not immediately obvious. It's on recruns and not spectacular performances, always doing just enough to get home in triumph. Yesterday, however, he seemed unable to apply his usual tactics with rivals such as Barney Roy and Thunder Snow, both of whom had never got the better of him before. Even his stable companion, Lancaster Bomber, rubbed it in by claiming second spot. One of the first reasons for the poor performance put forward was the quick ground but his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, didn't think that was the problem, suggesting that the big occasion and even the heat had just been too much for the young colt.

 

High Stakes

The John Gosden-trained Daban drops back in trip to seven furlongs in today's Jersey Stakes after last month's battle in the 1000 Guineas when she could only make third, beaten inside the final furlong by two classy Aidan O'Brien-trained fillies, Winter and Rhododendron. Before that defeat, however, the three-year-old daughter of Acclamation won the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket's Craven meeting, displaying an excellent turn of foot to win by seven furlongs. Given that the John Gosden team is in top form with a 54% better-than-expected win rate in the past fortnight, then Daban could be the one to go for.

 

One for the Record

The Richard Fahey-trained Ribchester, with William Buick aboard, produced a record-breaking run in the Queen Anne Stakes yesterday, confirming his status as the No 1 miler in the country. Not only was it a great day for Ascot, Berkshire but also for Malton, Yorkshire where the son of Iffraaj's handler is based. It was obviously a much appreciated win for owner, Sheikh Mohammed, exactly forty years after his first race in Britain. This victory also took Ribchester's career earnings to just under £2 million and will certainly enhance his value for the day when he’s retired to stud to begin a second career as a top-class stallion.

 

20 June 2017

 

A Right Royal Occasion

Today until Saturday we shall have the pleasure of enjoying this country's most valuable race meeting. Royal Ascot will feature a host of world top-class horses competing for around £6,665,000 in prize money, in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Each day presents six races, comprising a total of eight Group Ones. One highlight takes place on Thursday when the Aidan O'Brien- trained Order of St George will bid to claim the Gold Cup for a second successive year. Other famous equestrian names will dominate the five-day extravaganza, including Ribchester, Lady Aurelia, Churchill, Jack Hobbs, Caravaggio, Highland Reel and, of course, the Queen's Dartmouth.

 

Mum's the Word!

A dozen or so horses changed hands at the Goffs London Sale in Kensington last night which has become the unofficial curtain-raiser for the five-day Ascot fiesta to follow. One of the acquisitions is the half-sister to last year's Windsor Castle Stakes winner, Ardad, amusingly named Armum. Originally owned and trained by Jamie Osborne, the Society Rock filly is now handled by Ed Dunlop who says that the aim is still for this Chester maiden winner to run in the Albany Stakes on Friday, having recently signed the ticket on behalf of an unnamed owner in his yard.

 

Where there's Hope ...

The David O'Meara-trained Consequences is scheduled to line up in the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday. This son of Dandy Man produced a pleasing second on in his debut in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes at York in the middle of last month and went on to victory at Catterick two weeks later in the EBF Novice Stakes. The jockey booked for the ride is Danny Tudhope, who is riding high this season and is clearly hoping that the consequences will be his first Royal Ascot triumph.

 

19 June 2017

 

The Price of Defeat

Yesterday's French equivalent of the Oaks, the Prix De Diane Group 1, turned out to be a local affair with the first three home trained and ridden by French Nationals. The result proved to be a disappointment for both the John Gosden-trained Shutter Speed who lost her unbeaten record, coming fourth to the winner, the Pascal Bary-handled Senga and Aidan O'Brien's 1,000 Guineas heroine, Rhododendron, who was pulled up halfway through the race with a reportedly broken blood vessel.

 

Hugo's First!

Hugo Palmer and James Doyle had better luck on the Düsseldorf track yesterday when Unforgetable Filly (registered with one t!) provided this trainer/jockey partnership with back-to-back renewals of the German 1000 Guineas. The Newmarket handler, who triumphed in the race last year when James Doyle rode Hawksmoor to a half-length victory in this one-mile Group Two event.

 

Six out of Ten!

Meanwhile back on home soil, Richard Hannon and Jim Crowley did the business at Salisbury yesterday when Eqtiraan claimed the narrowest of victories in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cathedral Stakes. This son of Helmet went all out to reel in the leader, Mythmaker, in the final furlong and ended up a triumphant nose ahead. This is the sixth time in the last ten years that the Herridge Racing Stables' team have won this six-furlong Class 1 contest.

 

18 June 2017

 

Where there's Hope there's Jo!

It's all happening for last year's champion apprentice. Ahead of a big week at Royal Ascot Josephine Gordon landed the Listed Best Western Hotels Ganton Stakes at York yesterday. The lightly-raced Saaed bin Suroor-trained Arabian Hope handled the step up in grade well and notched up a hat-trick after winning at Kempton and Chelmsford in April, both times partnered by Josephine Gordon. The Godolphin-owned daughter of Distorted Humor wasn't joking when she challenged the long-time leader, Golden Stunner, inside the final furlong and claimed the prize by a head.

 

A Family Affair

The prize for lady amateur riders in the Queen Mother's Cup Handicap at York yesterday was won by two granddaughters of veteran Yorkshire, trainer Mick Easterby – trainer, Jacqueline Coward and jockey Joanna Mason. The latter was continuing her impressive partnership with Tapis Libre whom she steered to a seventh victory. Joanna Mason kept the nine-year-old son of Librettist in a handy position, allowing the Richard Fahey-trained Imshivalla to lead the field as far as the long straight before going for home and winning by a length-and-a-quarter. Mukhayyam came from a long way back to claim second place thus keeping it in the family as he is handled by Tim Easterby, nephew of the training legend, and ridden by his daughter, Emily.

 

B an Angel!

The Charlie Hills-trained Battaash took no prisoners as he came fast and late to claim the Randox Health Scurry Stakes at Sandown yesterday. Ridden by Dane O'Neill, the son of Dark Angel hdn't been seen since last October when he came third in the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes and ran, it seemed, a little disconcerted on the outside of the pack in the early stages. By the halfway mark, however, he was making eye-catching progress and went on to pull a length-and-a-quarter clear at the line.

17 June 2017

 

She aint heavy!

At Royal Ascot next Wednesday the 2016 British flat racing Champion Apprentice will be aboard the John Gosden-trained Gymnaste competing in the Listed Sandringham Stakes Handicap at Royal Ascot. Josephine Gordon has landed this enviable ride on the TMT Group Maiden Fillies' Stakes winner because the filly is set to carry 8st 6lb, which is too light for stable jockey, Frankie Dettori. Gay Kelleway, now a successful trainer, is the only female rider to have ever ridden a winner at the Royal meeting, achieving this honour on Sprowston Boy in the 1987 Queen Alexandra Stakes.

 

All you need is Love …

Richard Fahey has had considerable success with his two-year-olds just lately and tomorrow could see one more victory added to his credit. Paramount Love returns to Doncaster to line up in the Project Polar EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes, after an impressive debut at this South Yorkshire track at the beginning of the month when she lined up in the Betfred TV EBF Fillies' Novice Stakes which she was seriously expected to win but ended up in third place.

 

Chop Sticks!

Silvestre de Sousa notched up a remarkable five-timer at Sandown yesterday, further establishing his challenge for this year's Stobart jockeys' title. The Brazilian-born rider won his first British jockeys' crown in 2015 and is in top form to claim the prestigious prize again. He almost made it six triumphs but was deprived of victory when his mount, Tirania, was beaten by a neck by Time Chaser in the Supporting British Stallions EBF Fillies' Handicap. Silvestre de Sousa was not to be denied his six wins in a day, however, as later on in the evening at Goodwood, he partnered the Brian Meehan-trained I'Vegotthepower to a narrow victory in the one-mile Lady's Newspaper Handicap.

 

16 June 2017

 

No Payne, no Gain!

Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot will include the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in 2015. Michelle Payne has come over to ride for fellow Australian, trainer, Jane Chapple-Hyam. The mount chosen for the occasion is Kaspersky, already a Group Two winner in Germany and runner-up in the totepool Racecour