14 August 2018

 

Pays to Advertise

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

 

Shining Finish

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

 

Shooting Star 

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

13 August 2018

 

Star Performer

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

 

Light Work

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

 

A Million Dollars!

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

 

12 August 2018

 

Well, they did it!

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

 

No Luck

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

 

Another Edition

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

 

11 August 2018

 

Christmas Present

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

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

 

Full Mark's

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

 

A Vin Win

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

 

10 August 2018

 

Gimme Five!

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

 

Gung Ho!

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

 

Too Hot to handle

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

9 August 2018

 

They're the Tops!

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

 

'A little fire in the gorse'

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

 

Alpha Female

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

 

8 August 2018

 

Dazzling Dozen

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

 

Fire Away!

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

 

Lady's Day

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

 

7 August 2018

 

Back Fire

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

 

Girl Power

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

 

The Galway Governor

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

 

6 August 2018

 

Playing it Safe

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

 

Go on, my Sun!

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

 

Win by a Head!

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

 

5 August 2018

 

A Gifted horse

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

 

Rossa the Bossa

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

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

 

Thanks a Million! (or two!)

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

4 August 2018

 

Four out of Five

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

 

Rossa the bossa

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

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

 

Enable and willing

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

 

3 August 2018

 

Victory on a Plate

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

 

Quite a Fellah!

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

 

Glorious Feeling

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

 

2 August 2018

 

Goodwood and Glorious

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

 

Lil Big Win

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

 

Further success

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

 

1 August 2018

 

Another String

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

 

Leading Light

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

 

Fire!

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

 

31 July 2018

 

 

Another String?

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

 

Ruby Monday!

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

 

Benbatl's a win

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

30 July 2018

 

Bookie Bashing!

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

 

Never too old!

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

 

Big Win

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

 

29 July 2018

 

My Word!

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

 

Neck and Neck

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

 

From Place to Place!

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

28 July 2018

 

Coulis keeps cool

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

 

Bath without water!

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

 

He knows his place!

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

 

27 July 2018

 

Disappointing Diva

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

 

Bye, Bye, Justify!

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

 

An offer they couldn't refuse!

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

 

26 July 2018

 

Bye, Bye, Justify!

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

 

Will prayers be answered?

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

 

Hold that Tiger!

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

 

25 July 2018

 

Fastest Fifty

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

 

Stoute-hearted Man

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

 

Not Dead yet!

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

 

24 July 2018

 

Result very much alive.

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

 

Good Choice

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

 

Aiming for the top

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

 

23 July 2018

 

Magic Moments

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

 

Havana a good time!

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

 

Music to her ears

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

 

22 July 2018

 

A Class Act

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

 

Cracked it

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

 

A Likely Lad

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

21 July 2018

 

Haza poor show again

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

 

Pride and Joy

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

 

Galileo versus Galileo

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

20 July 2018

 

The Lady's Goodbye.

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

 

How dya like them apples!

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

 

For the High Jump

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

18 July 2018

 

Fit for a Prince

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

 

Sugar's Sweet

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

 

Rehomed

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

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

17 July 2018
 

Another Mullins!

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

 

A Star!

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

 

A Chip off the old Block

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

16 July 2018

 

Bella, Bella!

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

 

Amateur Record

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

 

In Dad's Hoof Prints

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

 

15 July 2018

 

545 not out!

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

 

A Front Winner

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

 

One to Bank on!

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

 

14 July 2018

 

A Good Thyne for Tara!

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

 

Lucky Lucius.

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

 

Rookie Rooke Rejoices

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

13 July 2018

 

Diva Delight

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

 

The Best Solution

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

 

So Farhh, so Good.

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

12 July 2018

 

Back more for Blackmore

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

 

More Entente Cordiale

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

 

Lucky Thirteen!

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

11 July 2018
 

Hold your Horses!

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

 

Star Performance?

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

 

Fake Racing News

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

 

10 July 2018

 

Wish upon a Star!

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

 

Changing Times

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

 

Fake Racing News

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

9 July 2018

 

In the lap of the Gods

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

 

Unconcerted Effort

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

 

Love Lost

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

8 July 2018

 

Day of Reckoning

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

 

Sheer Horseplay!

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

 

Still Not in Tune

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

 

7 July 2018

 

Day of Reckoning

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

 

Ladies' Derby

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

 

Surprise Winner

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

6 July 2018

 

Joey's all-goey!

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

 

Warrior fighting back

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

 

Roll out the Carpet!

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

5 July 2018

 

Jockeying for the Crown

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

 

Another Kim Wins!

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

 

Wild about Harry

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

4 July 2018

 

A Lot by Little

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

 

Be an Angel

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

 

Fighting for the Crown

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

 

3 July 2018

 

Chips off the old block

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

 

Never outfox the Fox!

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

 

That's Grand!

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

2 July 2018

 

Fox News

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

 

Chip off the old block

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

 

That's the Spirit!

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

 

1 July 2018

 

Gotcha, Dad!

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

 

A Field Day!

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

 

Shall we Dance?

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

 

30 June 2018

 

Victory on a plate?

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

 

Lord knows how!

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

 

New I-ran

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

29 June 2018

 

Brothers in Arms

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

 

Healthy Supplements

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

 

Powers that be

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

 

27 June 2018

 

Bookies spared a bashing

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

 

All the Classics

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

 

Could Bee the one!

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

26 June 2018

 

Moore needs one more.

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

 

So Farhh so good

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

 

They hate to lose!

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

25 June 2018

 

One more time!

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

 

Ex marks the spot.

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

 

Saved by a neck!

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

 

24 June 2018

 

They're the Tops!

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

 

So near yet so far

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

 

So Long

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

 

23 June 2018

 

Another First!

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

 

Genius prevails

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

 

Water To-do!

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

 

22 June 2018

 

Trainer's First Ascot Win

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

 

Simon says: Win!

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

 

Moore to come

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

 

21 June 2018

 

Royal First

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

 

Stud Second

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

 

My Word!

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

 

20 June 2018

 

Royal Regrets?

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

 

Break a leg?

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

 

Triple Tipple

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

19 June 2018

 

French Connection

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

 

Flattering will get you everywhere!

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

 

A Sea Breeze

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

17 June 2018

 

All-round Victory

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

 

Long-distance Challenge

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

 

East meets West

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

16 June 2018

 

Fourth Best!

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

 

American Challenger

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

 

The Rising Son!

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

 

14 June 2018

 

Not for the Irish!

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

 

Tip for the Top

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

 

Dee for me!

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

13 June 2018

 

The one to Crack it?

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

 

Stayers Only

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

 

Champ to be?

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

 

12 June 2018

 

Here to stay!

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

 

A Likely story

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

 

Champion in the balance

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

 

11 June 2018

 

What's in a Name!!

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

 

Prince Charming

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

 

In Your Face!

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

 

10 June 2018

 

Justify the Champion

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

 

Kept rivals at Baie!

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

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

 

Take it as Red

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

 

9 June 2018

 

Happy Birthday, Ma'am!

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

 

A Star Performance

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

 

Triple Crown?

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

 

8 June 2018

 

Sousa's no loser!

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

 

MMM for Mullins!

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

 

Amirr for the Beer!

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

 

6 June 2018

 

He's Off!

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

 

Champions Duel?

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

 

Racing Ahead.

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

5 June 2018

 

He'll be back!

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

 

Retiring

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

 

Things looking up

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

4 June 2018

 

Man, what a performance!

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

 

Soq-ed it to them!

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

 

Revenge!

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

 

3 June 2018

 

Family Occasion

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

 

Four for the Prix of one!

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

 

Never Say Die

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

 

2 June 2018

 

Deep Impact Derby

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

 

Four for the Prix of one!

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

 

Not Tongue-tied

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

 

1 June 2018

 

Warrior's Worries

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

 

Freedom of Speech!

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

 

Four for France

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

31 May 2018

 

Cool Hand Luke!

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

 

Worth the wait

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

 

Weld Done!

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

 

30 May 2018

 

Wait for it!

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

 

Weld Done!

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

 

Diara Entry

The Bet totetrifecta At totesport.com Handicap at Nottingham this afternoon could provide the Roger Varian-trained Daira Prince with another chance of victory. Three weeks ago this Dubawi gelding hit the number one spot at this Midlands track in the Castle Rock Brewery Elsie Mo Handicap after an eight-month absence. Following a best-forgotten performance at Newmarket last September, the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum-owned four-year-old was subjected to the treatment that most colts go through – he was gelded, which seems to have done the trick. Daira Prince carries a six-pound penalty for his previous win but he's only had eight career runs since October 2016 and looks likely to claim a significant share of the £22,000 prize money today.

 

29 May 2018

 

Waugh's War

In a race in which a three-time Champion Jockey takes on an amateur with only two wins from fifty career rides, there's little doubt in whose favour the odds would be. But this is horse racing where anything can happen and the Tony Connell Memorial Handicap Hurdle at Cartmel yesterday proved the point. Amie Waugh, riding My Escapade, trained by her father, Simon, beat the Richard Johnson-ridden favourite, Dothraki Raider, on the run-in. The latter seemed to have timed his run perfectly as he went into the lead two furlongs out but he hadn't counted on the last-minute charge by the Amie Waugh-ridden Tamayuz mare who surged to the front and was unstoppable, winning the two-and-a-half-mile contest by eight lengths.

 

Bomber Command

Without a win since August 2016 but without many good placings, it seemed that this War Front colt was destined to be second best. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Lancaster Bomber, re-appearing after coming third in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newmarket just over a week ago, surprisingly made nearly all the running. Just over a furlong out, however, his stable companion, Cliffs Of Moher and Roger Varian's Defoe closed to within a length and it looked like the four-year-old was once more going to be 'the bridesmaid and not the bride'! Somehow, however, Seamie Heffernan’s four-year-old mount kept finding more and more under pressure and eventually claimed the ten-furlong Group One prize by two lengths.

 

Alpha Female!

This Moone Co Kildare-based trainer has notched up an impressive list of winners over jumps and on the Flat but one major Classic had eluded her – the Irish 1,000 Guineas. This glaring gap in her CV was, however, rectified at the Curragh when Alpha Centauri, ridden by Colm O'Donoghue, took on Aidan O'Brien's 25/1 outsider, Could It Be Love, who was well in the lead with about two furlongs to run. The Mastercraftsman filly made a determined last-minute effort and surged down the middle of the track to win by a length and three-quarters.

28 May 2018

 

Bombs away!

Without a win since August 2016 but without many good placings, it seemed that this War Front colt was destined to be second best. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Lancaster Bomber, re-appearing after coming third in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newmarket just a week ago, surprisingly made nearly all the running. Just over a furlong out, however, his stable companion, Cliffs Of Moher and Roger Varian's Defoe closed to within a length and it looked like the four-year-old was once more going to be 'the bridesmaid and not the bride'! Somehow, however, Seamie Heffernan’s four-year-old mount kept finding more and more under pressure and eventually claimed the ten-furlong Group One prize by two lengths.

 

Alpha Female

This Moone Co Kildare-based trainer has notched up an impressive list of winners over jumps and on the Flat but one major Classic had eluded her until yesterday – the Irish 1,000 Guineas. This glaring gap in her CV was, however, rectified at the Curragh when Alpha Centauri, ridden by Colm O'Donoghue, took on Aidan O'Brien's 25/1 outsider, Could It Be Love, who was well in the lead with about two furlongs to run. The Mastercraftsman filly made a determined last-minute effort and surged down the middle of the track to win by a length and three-quarters.

 

A Second Chance

At Fontwell yesterday, Arena Racing Company, joined by Retraining of Racehorses, staged a parade before the day's racing, the aim of which was to raise public awareness of the excellent work being done by these organisations to provide retired racehorses with a second career in some other equine discipline. The line-up consisted of horses who have been retrained after their racing career was over for whatever reason. There will be a similar event at Windsor tomorrow and each parade features horses who are stabled somewhere near the relevant tracks. For example, ten-year-old GrumetiCesarewitch and Grade 1 hurdle winner, who used to be trained by Alan King, will be on parade at the Berkshire track.

 

27 May 2018

 

Shock Result

Holy Roman Emperor colt upset the proverbial apple cart at the Curragh yesterday when beating three top Aidan O'Brien-trained horses in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 GuineasRomanised, provided his trainer, Ken Condon, with not only his first-ever Classic victory but his first win of the year into the bargain. Shane Foley produced a significant challenge by the 25/1 outsider in the final furlong, leaving the Ryan Moore-ridden US Navy Flag, who had desperately endeavoured to make all the running, trailing in his wake by two-and-a-quarter lengths, with Gustav Klimt following a length-and-a-quarter behind. The 2/1 favourite, Elarqam, trained by Mark Johnston, came a disappointing sixth.

 

Getting Ahead

It was an exciting close finish in yesterday's Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock. The 10/11 favourite, Battaash, trained by Charlie Hills, was slow off the mark for his first race since last October but quickly made up ground on the stands rail with his sights firmly fixed on Tom Dascombe's Kachy, who had established a blistering pace on the other side of the track. Dane O'Neill urged the Dark Angel gelding into the lead in the final furlong and was offered a late challenge from Aidan O'Brien's Washington DC but managed to squeeze home by a head.

 

A Second Career

Beginning at Fontwell today, Arena Racing Company together with Retraining of Racehorses will be staging a series of race-day parades, the aim of which is to raise public awareness of the excellent work being done to provide retired racehorses with a second career in another equine discipline. The line-up will consist of horses who have been retrained after their racing career. There will be a similar event at Windsor on Monday and each parade will feature horses who are stabled somewhere near the relevant tracks. For example, ten-year-old GrumetiCesarewitch and Grade 1 hurdle winner, who used to be trained by Alan King, will be at the Windsor show.

 

26 May 2018

 

George came to Order! 

This Galileo colt completed a hat-trick by winning the Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes at Leopardstown yesterday which is traditionally considered as a warm-up for the Gold Cup. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Order Of St George bagged this fourteen-furlong feature at very short odds of 4/11 and 2/7 in the previous two years and it was, therefore, no surprise that he was even shorter – 1/10 this time around. The many punters who took the short odds had nothing to worry about, however, as the six-year-old was urged to track the pace by his jockey, Ryan Moore, until gliding into the lead as he approached the straight and easily keeping Twilight Payment at bay by three-quarters of a length. With this latest victory Order Of St George notched up his thirteenth win from twenty-four career rides and took his earnings to almost £2,000,000.

 

Better for Verse

Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore scored yesterday at Sandown in the Matchbook Brigadier Gerard Stakes, giving the trainer his tenth victory in this race and the jockey his fifth. Poet's Word, last seen finishing runner-up in the Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, was well placed behind the leader, Laraaib, from the outset and, as the five runners came up the centre of the track, this Group Three event quickly turned into a duel between these two. The Saeed Suhail-owned five-year-old, responding enthusiastically to Ryan Moore's encouragement, gained the advantage about two furlongs from home and extended his lead in the closing stages and won by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Springs to victory

This Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Shamardal filly came from last to triumph in the netbet.co.uk Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood yesterday. Magnolia Springs, partnered by Charlie Bishop, had failed to build on her impressive debut success at Newbury last season but clearly made up for last time when stepping up in trip to a mile and a quarter. Herecomesthesun cheered up the rainy conditions by making all the running. Magnolia Springs systematically weaved her way through the field, hitting the front inside the final two-hundred yards, from where she easily pulled away to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory.

 

25 May 2018

 

Well Versed

Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore scored yesterday at Sandown in the Matchbook Brigadier Gerard Stakes, giving the trainer his tenth victory in this race and the jockey his fifth. Poet's Word, last seen finishing runner-up in the Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, was well placed behind the leader, Laraaib, from the outset and, as the five runners came up the centre of the track, this Group Three event quickly turned into a duel between these two. The Saeed Suhail-owned five-year-old, responding enthusiastically to Ryan Moore's encouragement, gained the advantage about two furlongs from home and extended his lead in the closing stages and won by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

 

Springs to victory

This Eve Johnson Houghton-trained Shamardal filly came from last to triumph in the netbet.co.uk Height Of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood yesterday. Magnolia Springs, partnered by Charlie Bishop, had failed to build on her impressive debut success at Newbury last season but clearly made up for last time when stepping up in trip to a mile and a quarter. Herecomesthesuncheered up the rainy conditions by making all the running. Magnolia Springssystematically weaved her way through the field, hitting the front inside the final two-hundred yards, from where she easily pulled away to a two-and-three-quarter-length victory.

 

Magic!

Success in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes for his Makfi gelding may cause trainer Ian Williams to have a rethink about future plans. Magic Circle, winner of the Chester Cup just two weeks agao, ran his rivals ragged in this Group Three feature race. Fran Berry manoeuvred the six-year-old smoothly into contention about three furlongs out and galloped clear in the final furlong, leaving Ed Dunlop's Red Verdon trailing six lengths in his wake.

 

24 May 2018

 

Future Legend?

Qatar Racing Limited, who forked out £945,000 for this Scat Daddy colt, started to see some return, albeit small, on their huge investment yesterday. By his performance, the John Gosden-trained Legends of War showed why he was so expensive in the sales ring when he lined up in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes at Yarmouth. A number of runners in this six-furlong prize contest seemed to be in with a chance at the two-furlong pole but it was the Oisin Murphy-ridden two-year-old who galloped to a four-length victory ahead of the favourite, Roger Varian's San Donato.

 

Down but not out!

A former amateur rider and now successful broadcaster bravely stopped a run-away horse, getting knocked over in the process, and, cool as cucumber, returned to her day job as an on-course reporter. After one furlong of the Bet And Watch At 188bet.co.uk Handicap at Chepstow yesterday, the David Evans-trained Give Em A Clump stumbled and unseated his rider Fran Berry. The Camacho gelding continued galloping down the track, causing several officials to dive out of his path. At The Races presenter, Hayley Moore, daughter of trainer, Gary, and Ryan's sister, didn't think twice but stood in the three-year-old's path and grabbed the reins. Give Em A Clump did slow down a little but lived up to his name and crashed into the reporter and dragged her along the ground. Resolutely Hayley Moore refused to let go of the reins, however, and the horse came to a standstill. She immediately got to her feet and unbuckled the horse’s saddle. Without batting an eyelid, minutes later she conducted an interview with the winning jockey.

 

Watch the incident that had Twitter all of a flutter:

https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/moore-catches-loose-horse-in-style!/147995

 

Second Career

A former Champion Chase winner has recently moved into Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket, where retired heroes are retrained. One of National Hunt Racing's biggest stars, Sire De Grugy, is already attracting a lot of attention. As part of the re-training procedure, the twelve-year-old, once handled by Gary Moore, will be presented with possible alternative careers before a decision on his future is made.

 

23 May 2018

 

Down but not out!

A former amateur rider and now successful broadcaster bravely stopped a run-away horse, getting knocked over in the process, and, cool as cucumber, returned to her day job as an on-course reporter. After one furlong of the Bet And Watch At 188bet.co.uk Handicap at Chepstow yesterday, the David Evans-trained Give Em A Clump stumbled and unseated his rider Fran Berry. The Camacho gelding continued galloping down the track, causing several officials to dive out of his path. At The Races presenter, Hayley Moore, daughter of trainer, Gary, and Ryan's sister, didn't think twice but stood in the three-year-old's path and grabbed the reins. Give Em A Clump did slow down a little but lived up to his name and crashed into the reporter and dragged her along the ground. Resolutely Hayley Moore refused to let go of the reins, however, and the horse came to a standstill. She immediately got to her feet and unbuckled the horse’s saddle. Without batting an eyelid, minutes later she conducted an interview with the winning jockey.

 

Watch the incident that had Twitter all of a flutter:

https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/moore-catches-loose-horse-in-style!/147995

 

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.

 

Going Dutch

The Charlie Hills-trained Dutch Connection put on such an impressive comeback performance, when coming fourth in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakesat Newbury last Saturday that it has been decided that he should drop back in trip to seven furlongs. The plan seems to be for this Dutch Art progeny to tackle the Betway John of Gaunt Stakes at Haydock on June 9 and then go on to have another crack at the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, a race he won two years ago.

 

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’ Mileat 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-trainedGeorge 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 Elltheacould 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 Rostropovichin 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. Justifykicked 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 Maidenat 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 heroFaugheen, 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-oldCreachadoir 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, BellshillNext DestinationTornado 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 DouvanSamcroLaurina 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 StakesGregorian 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 Georgeonly 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 Farrelljust 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 160threnewal 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 GreatwoodGreenham 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 Darhowever, 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 GreatwoodGreenham 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 Fluidestruggling 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 Ilesand 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 Chasewith 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 Virgiliowho 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 Downforcemade 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 Sepoygelding 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' ChaseAl Boum Photo, who will be partnered by David Mullins, didn't fare any better in the RSA Insurance Chasewhen 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 Stakesby 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 Sepoycolt 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 betweenMaster 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 betweenMaster 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 Randwickon 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 Barand 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 Againproduced 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 Arakangelding 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 Izzerhad 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 StakesWinx 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 Allmyownfinally 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 Lonhrogelding had a luckier day yesterday. The Ivan Furtado-trained African Traderlined 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-milePaddy'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 Alkaadhemgelding 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, Baywinggalloped 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 Theatreprogeny 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 CupCue 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 Sisterstarted 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 andCleeve 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 Stakesby 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 theSupreme 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 Arcadiogelding 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. Politologuehad 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 MeGlenfordeBally 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 MeGlenfordeBally Gilbert and Ratify, would set a very fast pace early on. And so it turned out but, at least, the Zafeengelding 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 Oscargelding 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 Rideprogeny, 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 Theatregelding 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' Hurdleearlier 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 Theatregelding 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' Hurdleearlier 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 favouriteLastbutnotleast 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 HandicapMidnight 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 ChaseBonbon 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 Khalkevigelding 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 Redgelding 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 Chaseat 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 Bridgewho 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 Visionat 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' 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.

 

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 GrimesJoe MacYoulneverwalkaloneand 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 Hurdleat 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 Hurdleat 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.