Definitly Red wins incident-packed Charlie Hall Chase
Definitly Red ran out a game winner of an incident-packed Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Just four horses lined up for this three mile race with a rich history, but four quickly became three, as Double Shuffle crashed out, thankfully none the worse.
Black Corton went into the lead, but made a calamitous blunder down the back, with Bryony Frost performing wonders to keep the partnership in place.
Definitly Red went on with a circuit to race and continued to lead into the home straight.
Two out and Definitly Red’s fluent jumping maintained his advantage over Black Corton.
The latter had one last try on the run-in, but Definitly Red and Danny Cook kept up the gallop to see it out by a couple of lengths, with Virgilio third home.
The Brian Ellison trained Definitly Red, a nine year old, was becoming the first Yorkshire trained winner of the race in over 30 years.
Nautical Nitwit battles to West Yorkshire Hurdle win
Nautical Nitwit showed tremendous resolution to see off Old Guard in the Grade Two West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.
A field of five contested this three mile race.
Monbeg Theatre and Nautical Nitwit took the field along through the early stages.
There was little change in the order as the five raced down the home straight, with Monbeg Theatre leading Nautical Nitwit, with Keeper Hill and Old Guard ahead of High Secret. That was the order, as the field set out with a circuit to run.
Leaving the back straight, Old Guard and High Secret came under pressure.
Up front, Monbeg Theatre and Nautical Nitwit lead, but the latter and Keeper Hill came under pressure, as Old Guard started to stay on.
Racing to the second last, Monbeg Theatre led from the battling Nautical Nitwit, with Old Guard coming between runners.
In a thrilling finish, Monbeg Theatre ceded and it was Nautical Nitwit who got up from Old Guard, with Monbeg Theatre third.
The nine year old Nautical Nitwit, was giving jockey Thomas Dowson a huge winner, and a big race double for trainer Philip Kirby, who had early won the Listed mares’ race with Lady Buttons.
Traffic Fluide fights back for Sodexo Gold Cup win
Traffic Fluide showed great spirit to fight back when headed and win the Grade Three Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot.
Nine took part in a race over just short of three miles.
As the tapes went up, last year’s winner Go Conquer, went straight to the front with King’s Lad and Play The Ace close for company.
Go Conquer continued to lead from Play The Ace, as the field cleared the fifth, with a gap to Traffic Fluide in third.
Into the home straight for the first time, Go Conquer continued to lead Play The Ace, with the field bunching in behind, with a circuit to go.
With the back straight negotiated, it was still Go Conquer who bowled along in front of Play The Ace, with Geordie Des Champ and Traffic Fluide next, followed by Art Mauresque.
The leader pressed on at the fourth last with Traffic Fluide chasing.
Go Conquer turned for home with Traffic Fluide pressing and then Too Many Diamonds on the inside.
Go Conquer took the second last in front but it was Traffic Fluide who went approaching the last, with Art Mauresque to his outside.
Art Mauresque went on over the last, but Josh Moore and Traffic Fluide fought back tenaciously to inside rail to get back up on the line.
Go Conquer kept on in third and then came Adrien Du Pont.
God’s Own wins another Haldon Gold Cup
It was a long time between drinks, but four years on from his first victory, the Tom George trained God’s Own won his second Grade Two Bwin Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
As the race got underway, Ozzie The Oscar led from Diego Du Charmil and God’s Own, with Theo and San Benedeto in arrears.
Ozzie The Oscar and Richard Johnson continued to set the pace and moved three lengths clear of Diego Du Charmil, with God’s Own and San Benedeto matching strides and Theo relegated to last.
With six to jump, Ozzie The Oscar’s lead was cut to a length by Diego Du Charmil, with God’s Own travelling well in behind them.
Five out and all five were in contention, with Ozzie The Oscar still clinging to his lead.
Turning for home, Ozzie The Oscar led Diego Du Charmil and God’s Own, at the fourth last.
Two from home and the whips were out, with Ozzie The Oscar flanked by San Benedeto and God’s Own.
At the last, Ozzie The Oscar and God’s Own drew clear of San Benedeto and the pair touched down together, fighting out a terrific scrap all the way to the line.
It was Paddy Brennan, aboard the ten year old God’s Own, who got the best response to deny the gallant Ozzie The Oscar by about half a length, with San Benedeto third.
Wholestone on top at Aintree
Wholestone made a pleasing comeback to win the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre Hurdle at Aintree.
A small but select field of five contested this 2 ½ mile race.
As the tapes went up, it was Agrapart who led from Wholestone, with Vision Des Flos pulling hard, racing between Un Temps Pour Tout and Unowhatimeanharry.
Settling down, Agrapart and Lizzie Kelly continued to set the pace, with the five well bunched.
Agrapart took the field into the home straight for the first time, with a two-length lead over Wholestone, with the quintet buffeted by the wind.
Racing away from the stands, Agrapart led Wholestone and Vision Des Flos, with Unowhatimeanharry next and then Un Temps Pour Tout.
With a circuit covered, Un Temps Pour Tout became detached from the other four runners.
Four out, Agrapart was passed by Vision Des Flos and Wholestone, while Unowhatimeanharry was being urged for more by Barry Geraghty.
Up front, Vision Des Flos turned for home ahead of Wholestone, with Unowhatimeanharry under pressure and still four lengths back.
Two from home and Wholestone came to challenge Vision Des Flos, powering into the lead at the last.
Wholestone did not jump fluently, but moved further clear and while Vision Des Flos closed a little, he was always held off by the leader and Sam Twiston-Davies.
At the line, the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Wholestone was still three lengths ahead of Vision Des Flow, with Unowhatimeanharry and Agrapart closing somewhat in third and fourth.
Bags Groove too good in the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase
Bags Groove stormed to an impressive victory in the Grade Two Jockey Club Ownership Syndicate “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chase at Wincanton.
Five went to post for this 2 ½ mile contest with a rich history.
As the race got underway, it was the grey Theligny, who set off in front with Bags Groove.
Settling down and over the second, Bags Groove jumped well and moved into the two-length lead over Theligny and Secret Investor, who raced wide.
At the fourth, Majestic Moll jumped deliberately at the back and was pulled up, while Full quickly tailed off.
Racing down the home straight on the first circuit, Bags Groove continued to race exuberantly in front, with a two-length lead over Secret Investor, while Theligny was dropping off the pace.
With a circuit to race, the front pair were four lengths clear of Theligny, with another five lengths back to Full, who had closed a little.
Bags Groove took the tenth in front of Secret Investor and the pair were still clear of Theligny, as they took five from home, with the former jumping more slickly than his rival.
At the fourth last, Bags Groove was again slicker and turned for home in front and travelling better than his rival.
Heading to the second last, Bags Groove edged further clear and out-jumped his rival.
Bags Groove and Noel Fehily stormed clear heading to the last and whilst he met it wrong, he kept his feet and powered home impressive, to beat Secret Investor by about ten lengths, with a yawning gap back to Theligny and another one to Full.
The Harry Fry trained Bags Groove, was having his third start over fences and looks to be progressive.
Verdana Blue lands the Elite Hurdle
Verdana Blue ran out a convincing winner of the Grade Two Unibet Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
Seven horses took park in this two-mile race.
We Have A Dream went into the early lead, with If The Cap Fits in second and then Smaoineamh Alainn.
With a circuit to run, We Have A Dream continued to lead If The Cap Fits.
Racing down the back straight, Air Horse One lost touch and John Constable was also outpaced.
We Have A Dream took the field out of the back, with If The Cap Fits and Smaoineamh Alainn, while Verdana Blue was biding her time.
Into the home straight, We Have A Dream kept up the gallop over the second last, but coming to the last, If The Cap Fits and Verdanna Blue challenged and went on.
It was Verdana Blue who had the greater momentum under Jerry McGrath and went clear on the flat, beating If The Cap Fits by about two lengths, with We Have A Dream third.
Royal Line wins the November Handicap
Royal Line proved a class above his rivals as he ran out a ready winner of the Marathonbet November Handicap at Doncaster.
The final big race on the last day of the 2018 Turf Flat Season, attracted a field of 23 horses for this 1 ½ mile contest.
At the break, it was Wolf Country who raced prominently with Grey Britain and Not So Sleepy.
Hochfeld and Wolf Country took the field along from Grey Britain, with the field well strung out.
As they reached the home turn, Hochfeld was a length to the good over Wolf Country, with Grey Britain tracking these and then Baydar.
At the three-furlong pole, Hochfeld was swallowed up by a wall of horses, including Grey Britain, Birds Of Prey, Lorelina and Eddystone Rock.
But Royal Line and Rab Havlin stormed through with two furlongs to race, in those famous Sheikh Mohamed colours, quickly drawing clear.
Birds Of Prey tried in vain to close the gap, but Royal Line had flown, comfortably winning, to give trainer John Gosden a sixth victory in the November Handicap.
Not So Sleepy stayed on late for second, ahead of Reshoun and Birds Of Prey.
Present Man and Bryony Frost land the Badger Ales again
Present Man and Bryony Frost showed great resolve from the front to record successive wins in the Listed Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton.
A field of sixteen took part in this three-mile, one furlong race.
Belmount and Kings Lad were prominent at the first, but last year’s winner, Present man, soon went on from On Demand and Auntie Ann.
Heading down the back and over the fifth fence, On Demand went on from Present Man, Aunty Ann and Bestwork.
With a circuit to race, Present Man had moved back in front of On Demand, who made a bad blunder at the fence in front of the stands. Further back, Kings Lad was pulled up.
Present Man and On Demand continued to duel up front and moved a couple of lengths clear of Aunty Ann and Bestwork, with Ramses De Teillee next.
The field began to bunch as On Demand went back into the lead at the last in the back straight.
Turning to the fourth last, On Demand led Present Man and the improving Captain Bucks, while Belmount and Big Bad John pulled up.
On Demand led turning for home with Present Man still there and to the outside Sumkindofking challenging.
Three out, Present Man jumped into the lead from Sumkindofking and this two had the race between them heading to the last.
Present Man and Bryony Frost jumped the last well and had plenty of momentum to make it back to back wins in the Badger Ales Chase.
Sumkindofking ran well for second, with Fingerontheswitch third and then Aunty Ann just claiming fourth from Ramses De Teillee.
Trainer Paul Nicholls was completing a four-timer on the card.
Elegant Escape denies Thomas Patrick at Sandown
Thomas Patrick led for all but the final few yards, as Elegant Escape denied him in the Listed 188Bet Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown Park.
Just four went to post, but there was plenty of quality on show in this three-mile contest.
Thomas Patrick was the early leader from Elegant Escape, with Terrefort in third and then Coo Star Sivola.
The Aintree Festival winner Thomas Patrick, continued to lead, as they reached the Railway Fences, with Elegant Escape to his inner and then Coo Star Sivola and Terrefort.
With a circuit to race, Thomas Patrick led a bunched quartet, with perhaps three lengths covering the four.
Racing down the back for the final time, Thomas Patrick continued to lead and moved a couple of lengths clear, but made an error, allowing his rivals to close. At the next ditch, Terrefort blundered and dropped a couple of lengths off the back.
At the Railway Fences, Thomas Patrick led with Elegant Escape and Coo Star Sivola in striking distance, while Terrefort was coaxed back into contention, as they left the back and headed to the Pond fence.
Thomas Patrick was nudged along for the first time, with Coo Star Sivola looking a threat, but all four had their chances.
Turning for home, Thomas Patrick led two out, with his rivals almost all landing in unison, barely a length behind.
Terrefort backed out of it from that point, while Coo Star Sivola could not go on.
Heading to the last it was Thomas Patrick who led from Elegant Escape to his inside and the race appeared between the two. The leader jumped the better, but as so often happens on the Sandown hill, the complexion began to change.
Elegant Escape and Tom O’Brien began to rally and close and Thomas Patrick’s gallant effort, agonisingly fell short by half a length.
There was a gap back to Coo Star Sivola, who lacked the finishing speed between the final two fences, while Terrefort, who had made mistakes on the way round, petered out on the home bend.
Trainer Colin Tizzard will have been delighted by this performance from Elegant Escape, which brought up a double for the day.
Quel Destin Triumphs at Cheltenham
Quel Destin became Paul Nicholls’ fifth winner of the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, taking the two-mile contest from Cracker Factory by a length and a quarter.
The Muhtathir three-year-old, who was ridden by Harry Cobden, was bought from France in late summer and was having his third start for Nicholls.
The trainer said: “He’s improving rapidly – he had done so at home after his first run and then again since Kempton. I’d have been disappointed if we hadn’t beaten Jane Williams’ horse [Montestrel, who finished last of the six runners] but I don’t think he ran his race today.
“Quel Destin is tough and he gallops, and I can’t wait to run him on some slower ground where stamina will come into it a little bit more. He’s a real nice horse who’s improving.
“In time he will need a longer trip, especially when he jumps fences next year, but for now we will run him in these type of races. We’ll probably head off to Doncaster with him next month – there’s quite a nice race for him there – and then see where we go afterwards. He’s tough and he stays, and it was a really good ride from Harry.”
Harry Cobden, newly-promoted to the position of no.1 jockey at Paul Nicholls’ Ditcheat yard in Somerset, is on a winning streak.
He made it three wins from his last four rides when Quel Destin, who is trained by Cobden’s boss, won the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle.
Cobden, who rode in the colours of Martin Broughton & Friends, said: “He was very good there, although the favourite underperformed by running a bit keen. My horse was very straightforward, he travelled, battled and jumped very well and so it was a very good performance.
“Barry set off on Never Adapt and I did wonder if she might keep going, because we didn’t know how good she might be, but she was just too keen. I thought she was beaten coming down the hill and my horse was very tough and genuine and stayed on.
“I thought he was beat coming down the hill so I wanted to keep hold of him a little bit, but he is very tough and very genuine – a lovely horse to ride.
“Coming down to the last, Quel Destin came up out of my hands, and I realised he had a bit left. He’s one of our nicer juveniles so hopefully he can win a bit of prize money this season and come back here is March. Softer ground wouldn’t hurt – he has quite a very high knee action.”
Paddy Brennan rode a treble at the track yesterday, showing a preference to race away from the rail, and when asked if he had spotted a particular line, Cobden said: “I didn’t ride here yesterday, but I think we will all be going a bit wider now – Paddy knows best!”
Alan King’s Cracker Factory finished a length and a quarter second to Quel Destin.
King said: “Cracker Factory ran well. He had to carry a penalty today, but we’re happy with the performance and he seems to be improving with every run.
“There’s plenty more to come from him and he does seem to enjoy this ground.”
The Nicky Henderson-trained Never Adapt pulled hard over the first few hurdles of the extended two-mile contest but was headed, but after the last to finish a further two and a half-lengths back in third.
Britain’s champion Jump trainer added: “She was obviously too keen, but that was her first start in Britain and she would have learnt a lot from that. She has ability.”
Rock The Kasbah victorious, Coneygree meritorious
Trainer Philip Hobbs will plot a route to the Grand National at Aintree on April 16th for Rock The Kasbah following the eight-year-old’s victory in the Grade Three £60,000 three-mile, three-furlong BetVictor.com Handicap Chase.
Ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, Rock The Kasbah swept past long-time leader and top-weight Coneygree to win by a length and a quarter from Royal Vacation, with former Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree five lengths further back in third.
Hobbs and Johnson won this race in 2015 with Sausalito Sunrise who, like Rock The Kasbah, was owned by Diana Whateley.
Hobbs said: “His jumping was fantastic which is always a great plus, especially around here, and he kept on really well.
“He always seems to run well at Chepstow and it was disappointing [he was sixth behind The Young Master on October 13th], although the race has worked out really well since. Maybe, as he has got older, he has needed the run but he was alright today.
“If you keep on asking him at his fences, he will keep coming up. Sometimes, he hits a flat spot in his races and loses ground at the wrong time but he didn’t do that today.
“The main thing, which we have talked about for some time, is that we have the Grand National in mind. What we do before then I really don’t know – maybe ideally the Becher Chase, but he wouldn’t want to go there if the ground was very, very soft. He is in the Ladbrokes Trophy [at Newbury] with a small penalty, which is tempting, but I don’t suppose we will be doing that.
“He’s better on better ground and he wants a long trip.”
Britain’s champion Jump jockey Richard Johnson steered the Philip Hobbs-trained Rock The Kasbah to success in the £60,000 BetVictor.com Handicap Chase.
He travelled well throughout the extended three mile and three furlong event and after a fine leap at the last, ran on strongly to score by a length and a quarter from Colin Tizzard’s Royal Vacation, with top-weight Coneygree five lengths back in third.
Johnson said: “Rock The Kasbah has been a fantastic horse and, to be fair, he only had three runs last year. He won, was second at Sandown and the one run on very soft ground at Haydock, when he disappointed.
“He has done very little wrong in his life and it was a good run at Chepstow. He probably came on a bit for that and it’s nice for him to come here today and win like he did.
“I knew that he stays but you don’t really want to be on your own for too long. I thought that we would be upsides Coneygree until at least the last but, when I was on my going to the last, you hope that they don’t get too lonely on their own.
“Rock The Kasbah has responded every time and deserved that. His run at Sandown last season was fantastic and you felt a bit sorry that he had such a quiet year. Philip’s horses are in great order again now and, fingers crossed, we have lots to look forward too.
“If we could have good or good to soft ground, the National would be the ideal race for him. Obviously, the Becher Chase is an option – there is Newbury as well – but, if we could guarantee that the ground is not too soft, Aintree next month might be somewhere to go.”
Rock The Kasbah runs in the colours of Mrs Diana Whateley, who also won this event in 2015 courtesy of Sausalito Sunrise, who was also trained by Hobbs and ridden by Johnson.
Whateley commented: “It’s a long time since we have had a winner in a big race like this over this distance and it’s very, very, very exciting. It’s been a while since we retired some of our good old horses.
“We thought that Rock The Kasbah had something to offer at Sandown Park at the end of the last season and we were very excited with him then, but his Chepstow run wasn’t great, when the ground maybe didn’t suit.”
After Tiger Roll’s comeback it was the turn of Coneygree today to serve up a treat to racegoers at The November Meeting.
The Mark and Sarah Bradstock-trained 2015 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has been plagued with injuries, and is now an 11-year-old, but he set out to make all in the £60,000 BetVictor.com Handicap Chase under top-weight, and gave his fans a thrill when running a gallant race to finish third.
He finished one and a quarter lengths and five lengths behind winner Rock The Kasbah and Royal Vacation, who was making a welcome return to form for Colin Tizzard’s stable.
Sean Bowen, who stood in for injured Nico De Boinville and rode Coneygree, said: “He ran a brilliant race, and just proved that despite all the criticism they [the Bradstocks] have had, with people saying he should be retired, he still loves the game. He just got tired from the back of two out, but when one came to beat him for third he battled back. I’m delighted.
“Last season I was asked to ride the horse if Nico couldn’t, and while it’s sad that Nico is out injured, but it was lovely for me to get a ride on the horse.”
Sarah Bradstock was hoarse with shouting for her horse. She said: “He’s incredible – he makes me cry. He has pins in both hocks and suffered a horrible overreach at Wetherby last year which slit half of his foot and really stopped him for the season.
“To begin with [today] I was worried, because he was being hassled by another horse and the ground is plenty quick enough for him, but he got into a rhythm and got better and better. He just loves it. He’s a real proper competitor and wants to be out there beating horses.
“He had every right to get tired because he’s fragile and you wouldn’t want him totally spot on for today, but we’re looking at the King George VI Chase. That was a wonderful place to start.
“That was as emotional as when he came back in after winning the Gold Cup, because we have been down and out with him. Well done to Cheltenham for putting the race on early in the afternoon, because it was the low sun at Wetherby which caused him to make a mistake and suffer the overreach.”
Baron Alco soars to BetVictor Gold Cup glory
Gary Moore grabbed his first victory in the feature Grade Three £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup with Baron Alco, ridden by Moore’s son Jamie.
The seven-year-old was an impressive winner, making all to beat top-weight Frodon (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost) by two lengths in the 18-runner field.
Baron Alco spent the 2017/18 season on the sidelines after injuring a suspensory ligament when finishing second in the Brown Advisory and Merribelle Stable Plate Handicap at The Festival supported by Magners in 2017. He was runner-up by a head to the Kim Bailey-trained Charbel on his reappearance at Chepstow in October.
Sussex-based Gary Moore said: “It’s testament to the horse, really, and everyone involved, as the horse is all heart to come back. I’ll be quite honest, I wanted to take him out because I thought the ground was quick enough for him and thank God the owner talked me into running him. Thank God he knows more about it than me!
“He and Jamie are made for each other. I couldn’t be more pleased. He picked up a suspensory injury here in 2017, but the form stacked up – it was a brilliant run that day and on that form you had to give him a chance today.”
Gary’s son Josh was originally supposed to ride the horse, but Jamie came in for the ride after Moore withdrew his other runner, Benatar. “I feel sorry for Josh,” said Moore. “He would have ridden Baron Alco if both horses had run, but he has already had a good winner this season [Traffic Fluide in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot recently].”
Owner John Stone said: “I’ve owned horses for 30 years and this is a real highlight. It really is fantastic. I kept thinking something was going to happen, because horse races aren’t won like this, are they?”
Richard Patrick, brought down on Happy Diva four out, and Tom Scudamore, unseated from King’s Socks three out, were both taken to hospital to be further assessed for injuries.
Baron Alco put up a thrilling front-running performance to land The November Meeting’s feature race, the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old gelding’s win was a credit to Sussex trainer Gary Moore, and also to his jockey son Jamie, who nailed the pace he was setting and had enough in reserve to hold off a sustained challenge from top-weight Frodon under Bryony Frost.
Baron Alco won by two lengths from Frodon, with Guitar Pete another eight lengths back in third. Mister Whitaker, was a further three-quarters of a length behind, fourth of the 18 runners in an incident-packed race.
The winning jockey, who took the ride on Baron Alco from his brother Josh after his original mount, Benatar, was withdrawn, said: “He’s a very genuine horse, only tiny but he jumps from fence to fence. It is hard to make the running here, but watching the races yesterday and today it is clear that it suits front-runners.
“He had a lot in his favour by making the running, and I notice that Frodon, who was up there with him all the way, finished second, so it was obviously the right place to be. I could hear Frodon coming at me on the run-in, and that is how we were beaten at Chepstow last time out – a horse came late there and beat me, whereas if the challenge comes earlier my horse will battle back again.
“Dad is a master trainer – Traffic Fluide won a decent race for us recently over three miles and yet Dad will have winners on the Flat at Kempton and Lingfield all winter. He has winners at Royal Ascot. He gave this horse time off last year and got him back to run at Chepstow.
“He ran well there, but it just shows how tough he is because horses can often ‘bounce’ after a run off a long break, yet this horse has gone and won this race. That’s a credit to Dad and to Josh [Jamie’s brother, and like him a jockey] who is a big part of this victory, too.”
Moore received a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level on the winner.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon (is one of the most consistent horses in training and he proved that once again this afternoon.
Frodon, carrying top-weight of 11st 12lb and ridden by Bryony Frost who no claims, kept on gamely after the last to finish two lengths behind the Gary Moore-trained winner.
Frost commented: “Frodon is a super horse. He has run his heart out for me again this afternoon. “He jumped and travelled really well and to run like that off a big-weight shows what a quality horse he is.
“Frodon is a pleasure to ride and I’m pleased he’s run another big race this afternoon. He is a young horse but very wise in between those ears.
“Sometimes, they can’t get in front but he has given me everything and you can be so proud of him. He is young horse but very wise between the ears in the way that he jumps and travels.
“It’s a massive honour for the owners to have the loyalty and for Paul to have the confidence to keep me on him. It honestly means the world to go out there and gallop a horse like him.
“He is braver than me. When you have a horse that wants to win as much as he does, it’s what racehorses are there for.”
Ditcheat handler Nicholls said: “Frodon has run a really good race. Baron Alco got a run on him, but he was closing all the way to the line.
“He had to carry a lot of weight, but it is another great run. We’ll step him up in grade now.
“The Peterborough Chase could be something for him. We’ll make a plan and he will want a month off as he had a hard race today.”
Nicky Richards saddled Guitar Pete to finish a further eight lengths behind in third. “Guitar Pete’s run very well”, said Cumbrian-based Richards. “It was an eventful race but we’re very pleased with him.”
Jack Channon, assistant trainer to his father Mick, was pleased with the run of Mister Whitaker, who finished a further three-quarters of a length back in fourth.
He commented: “Mister Whitaker ran a great race. I think he would prefer softer ground, but it was a belting run in such a tough and competitive handicap event.”
Lalor an emotional winner at Cheltenham
Lalor pulled off a truly emotional victory in the Grade Two Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase for his trainer Kayley Woollacott, whose popular husband Richard took his own life in January.
Ridden by the champion jockey Richard Johnson, Lalor – winner of a Grade One over hurdles at Aintree in April – was making his debut over fences, and scored by an impressive seven lengths from Dynamite Dollars.
Woollacott said: “It’s so amazing. We have worked so hard for this, and we are on ‘plan F’ probably – we’ve tried so hard to get him out before now. We’ve really learnt that sometimes it pays to be brave, and it’s come off. The perfect start.
“He took to fences like a duck to water – he’s always been a mega jumper. Dickie said he was a little bit brave over the first and a bit novicey at a couple of fences, but he took to it really quickly and his jumping was ace. I wasn’t watching by the second-last – I saw he had got to the front and that was it!
“It’s a massive day. At Aintree it was very overwhelmning and got sucked in by everything else. We had a proper break over the summer and this is in our own right. As a team we’ve done him ourselves and that’s really important. Lalor was Richard’s favourite horse and he always said, ‘this is the best thing we’ll get our hands on’. It’s amazing that David and Bunty Staddon [Lalor’s owners] still have him with me and allow me to do it.
“We’ll go home, reassess and have a think about what’s next – we’re not going to be in any rush. It was very much see how today went before we made a plan, but obviously we have the spring races in mind, particularly Aintree because he loves it there, but we’ll have to think about the Arkle now after today. He’s done it probably better than I thought he would, so we’ll enjoy it. I have a little girl at home [daughter Bella] who will be very pleased with us, so I’ll go home in the good books!
“I think Lalor will come on for the race – he has done plenty at home, but he is a big burly chap. That would be exciting.”
The six-year-old son of It’s Gino travelled menacingly into contention on the approach to the home straight in the two-mile contest and sealed victory with two exquisite leaps, before bounding up the hill to register a clinical seven-length win.
The victory was poignant for winning rider Johnson, who was a close friend of Richard Woollacott, Kayley’s husband, who trained the horse before he took his own life in January.
Britain’s champion Jump jockey, said: “Lalor is a lovely horse. This is the third time I have sat on him and my third win on him.
“He has been a star and won a Grade One at the end of last season. You started to think he was a spring horse because all of his best form is in the spring, but he has come here today and Kayley has done a wonderful job of preparing him.
“Lalor has been to Mr Hobbs’ a couple of times and schooled nicely. Kayley has done everything right with him and today was a very taking performance. He learnt as he went along.
“It looked a very warm novices’ chase beforehand, with five very smart horses, and Lalor has come here on his first start over fences. He is definitely a horse who has grown since last year, so hopefully he is still going the right way.
“Lalor was a bit novicey early on, but from the back straight onwards, I was pretty confident that he was going to go close. He jumped the last two fences really well and from there, it was quite nice work for me! He learnt very quickly and to win round here, you need to be able to think on your feet with all the twists and turns.
“Lalor is a big horse and I’m sure in terms of fitness, he is sure to improve from today. To come here and beat those horses first time out is very pleasing.”
“This is the first horse I rode for Richard Woollacott and my first winner for him. His passing last year was very sad for everybody and this horse has been real boost for them in remembering Richard and keeping it all going. I imagine it’s a very emotional time for them, but it is great to ride such a nice horse for nice people.”
The connections of the second and third-placed horses in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase, Dynamite Dollars and Claimantakinforgan, were delighted with their horses’ performances. Both applauded the winning horse and next time out will be looking to run their horses over further than the two miles of today’s race.
Harry Coben, rider of the second-placed Dynamite Dollars, said: “He travelled and jumped and probably was beaten by a machine on the day – Lalor is a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, he was obviously the best horse in the race. The winner pricked his ears up the straight and was obviously going really well.
“Dynamite Dollars wants two and a half miles as well, he ran his race.”
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Dynamite Dollars, added: “We wouldn’t have dreamt of taking on the winner over hurdles so this horse has taken a big step forwards. He travelled well and jumped well, probably wants further. I do think the winner is very good.
“He did get out-paced a fraction and then stayed on, it’s a good run – he’s a really progressive horse. We’ll just keep going forward.
Jockey Jeremiah McGrath, rider of Claimantakinforgan, said of the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old: “I think we’ve found out exactly what we needed to know, he is a two and a half mile horse. I was flat out coming down the hill, if I was on a two-miler I would have had another gear and I didn’t.
“We’ve learnt a lot today and this will have sharpened up his jumping as well, I think over two and a half he’ll be a force to be reckoned with. He is very versatile ground wise.”
Sceau Royal impresses in the Shloer Chase
The Alan King-trained Sceau Royal made a classy return to action with a smooth success in the Grade Two Shloer Chase over two miles at Cheltenham.
Ridden by Daryl Jacob, the six-year-old son of Doctor Dino travelled stealthily into contention approaching the home straight and two good leaps in the closing stages secured victory over the gallant Simply Ned by two and a quarter-lengths.
A “tiny tweak on a suspensory” curtailed Sceau Royal’s season in January last term, forcing him to miss all of the major spring festivals. However, King’s charge showed no ill-effects from that setback in shrugging off a ten-month absence.
Barbury Castle handler King is now targeting the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park on December 8th, where he is set to take on the mighty Altior.
King said: “Sceau Royal did it very nicely today and we’re pleased with the performance.
“He had a very slight tweak to a suspensory, it was not the end of the world and he came through it fine.
“He hasn’t missed a day’s work since he came back into work this autumn. This race was always the plan and he came through it well.
“Sceau Royal’s big forte is that he is a very good jumper and very quick over his fences which always helps in races like this.
“I would like to think in the long-term that the Champion Chase is something we would think about.
“In the short-term, I think the Tingle Creek is the plan. We would have to take on Altior who scares the life out of me, but someone has to run against them.
“He is a very slow horse at home and I have to be careful who I run him with at home, but it’s about what they do on the track which is more important.”
Jockey Daryl Jacob was delighted with the performance put in by Sceau Royal, the horse returning to winning form after a minor injury that had kept him off the track since January.
“We are very happy, it is great to have the horse back,” said Jacob of the Alan King-trained six-year-old son of Doctor Dino. “What he did when winning at Sandown last winter [when winning the Henry VII Novices Chase] meant that I really missed him come The Festival last March.
“I thought in the Arkle he would have put it up to the likes of Footpad.”
Of today’s race, Jacob added: “This was a great race for the team to pick and all credit goes down to Anthony [Bromley] and Alan [King] and the team back at Alan’s, they have done a fantastic job getting him back.
“I schooled him last Sunday morning and it was some buzz to get back on him again then.
“Today I had an idea of what I wanted to do and that was to go down the middle. Even though we went a good gallop all the way, I was catching them the whole way down the back straight and, in the end, I had to come in behind the other horses to get him covered up again.
“It was a good performance for a horse who has had a long time off, he jumped supreme, he is very quick from A to B.
“He will come on a bit for the run, but fair play to Alan and all at Barbury Castle they had him nearly ready to rock and roll, there is a little improvement to come out of him – we’ll have to see if we can get that out of him.”
Simply Ned ran another very good race in defeat when finishing second in the Shloer Chase for the third time, having also done so in 2014 and 2016.
The 11-year-old, ridden by Brian Hughes and owned by David and Nicky Robinson, went down by two and a quarter lengths to Sceau Royal.
Simply Ned’s trainer Nicky Richards said: “I’d say that’s probably booked his ticket back to Ireland at Christmas [he won a Grade One at Leopardstown on December 27th last year] and he won’t look out of place, for sure. He’s an owner’s delight. We didn’t give a lot of money for him the day we bought him and he’s taken us to every party going. He’s been absolutely brilliant.
“He’ll go on any ground but I wouldn’t think about running him on firm.”
Third was Forest Bihan, trained by Brian Ellison and ridden by Danny Cook. The seven-year-old, finished 12 lengths behind Simply Ned.
Ellison said: “I’m over the moon. He just needed the run, that’s all, and was cantering coming down the hill. The trouble with these horses is finding races for them. He’s grown up a lot – he used to be too keen. He travelled and jumped out of this world and I think there’s a big race in him this year.”
Nietzsche lands the Greatwood Hurdle
7lb claimer Danny McMenamin steered Nietzsche to victory in the feature £100,000 Grade Three Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle.
Trained by Brian Ellison in Yorkshire, the five-year-old son of Poet’s Voice showed smart speed to fend off the gallant Silver Streak, trained by Evan Williams, to score by a neck in the 18-runner field.
Only five hurdles were jumped in the two-mile contest with the rest of the hurdles omitted due to concerns surrounding low sun.
18-year-old McMenamin, who is based with Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards, paid tribute to Nietzsche’s battling qualities.
McMenamin said: “It was a great run from Nietzsche.
“The omission of some of the hurdles made it more of a sprint for home. I was travelling really well throughout.
“I had to kick on after the final hurdle and he kept on strongly throughout the home straight.
“Turning in, Nietzsche was full of running. Up the home straight he was idling in front and then when the other lad came to him he picked up again. He is a game little horse and gives you everything he has.
“He travelled a bit too well early on and I thought he might pull himself into a hole. Luckily, he got a nice breather in coming down the hill.
“Brian said to go out and give him the best chance he has. Nietzsche had a low weight and did it well.
“Back home my local track was Downpatrick and I used to go there as a kid. I just fell in love with the sport
“I’ve been attached to Nicky Richards for over a year. He has been good to me and hopefully the success will continue for me.”
There was just a neck in it on the line, with Nietzsche (9st 7lb) holding on from the fast-finishing Silver Streak (11st 5lb). Five hurdles were jumped in the two-mile race due to the low sun, with the final two omitted.
Silver Streak’s jockey Adam Wedge said: “He’s run a blinder, he’s run his heart out. We were galloping down the winner all the way to the line, we just didn’t quite get there.”
Trainer Evan Williams added of the five-year-old grey: “I thought we had it. The horse has run a great race, he’s run well, but to be fair to the winner he has a bit of form from the Fred Winter Hurdle, and is from a great trainer in Brian Ellison.
“The handicapper will put us up and that stop us winning handicaps – even though it was essentially a Flat race, the handicapper will say it’s a hurdle race!
“I imagine we’ll have to dip our toe into a conditions race somewhere – we might keep coming back here. The Bula Hurdle at the December meeting here, we could look at a race like that.
“As regards the hurdles coming out – I don’t agree with it, but it’s the same for them all. The winner won on merit; there’s no excuses for us but mine is a good horse.”
5lb-claimer Lorcan Williams, rider of Old Guard (11st 7lb ), the Paul Nicholls-trained runner who won the race in 2015 and finished third last year and filled the same position today, said: “He is brilliant, just a bit older and a bit slower now, he needs a bit further.
“He has run an absolutely phenomenal race – we are giving the winner two stone. It was a brilliant.
“He is a brilliant jumper, so I don’t know if more hurdles would have helped him, but I would definitely say two mile and four furlongs as he has absolutely fired up the hill.”
Elixir De Nutz states his case in Sky Bet Supreme Trial
Colin Tizzard won the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle for the second year in a row and the third time in total, wiuth Elixir De Nutz. He took the two-mile contest last year with Slate House and in 2010 with Cue Card.
Harry Cobden rode the Terry Warner-owned four-year-old, who made all to beat Itchy Feet by a length and a quarter. The five runners jumped only five flights of hurdles because the final two hurdles were removed due to concerns about low sun.
Tizzard said: “We had quite a few winners at the beginning of the week, but you come to Cheltenham and it is different gravy altogether. I am just chuffed Elixir De Nutz has done the job. You find out how good they are up here, don’t you? We were just looking for excuses if he’d got beat. When the hurdles came up he was taking a length out of the others. He powered away. He’s a beautiful young horse with size, everything about him.
“Harry’s quite confident that he will end up in the championship races as a stayer. I’m not quite sure when the ground gets heavy that two miles won’t be enough – he’s not slow, is he? But we can work all that out as we go. Harry says there will be faster horses than him in the two-mile section, but we think he is championship class. But you’re bound to think that if you win at Cheltenham, aren’t you? This was a good race and he stuck it out well.
“He made the running last time because he was real keen, and we gave Harry the option today – if there was a fast pace, to sit in, and if they went slow, to go in front: use a bit of initiative, and that’s what he’s done.
“We schooled Native River this morning and Thistlecrack a couple of times recently – they’ve done all their work [before potentially running at Haydock next weekend]. They are our big guns and I shall be even more nervous this coming week than I was before today. We took them to Exeter for a day away to tick all the boxes, just at half-pace all the way round – they’ve had a day away just to get them back in the rhythm of racing. Let them take each other on – there are one or two others in the race as well – but we don’t mind taking each other on.”
It was a first win over hurdles for the four-year-old Elixir De Nutz and jockey Harry Cobden reported: “Elixir De Nutz is a lovely horse. He has improved a lot from the last day – he is more professional and not as rushy.
“He’s proved today he can settle, he was always quite keen, and last time he was very keen, but he’s grown up a little bit now.
“Fair play to Mr Tizzard – he has done a brilliant job with him at home, settling him down.”
Of the future, Hobden added of the French-bred grey: “I think he is going to be a nice horse for the future, he’s turning into a lovely horse.
“He was very slick over his hurdles, he felt very good today. I don’t think two miles is his trip, I think he outstayed them today, I think he could be a two and a half miler really. Hopefully, as he settles it will help him get that trip, he’s a nice horse to look forward to.
“Any one of those four rivals could have passed him up the straight, but he kept battling hard and I was not that hard on him in the end.
“He loved today’s ground, but he won’t mind the soft either – he’s by Al Namix and they act on the soft.”
Itchy Feet finished a creditable second to the front-running Elixir De Nutz.
Ridden by Gavin Sheehan, the four-year-old son of Cima De Triomphe kept on well in the closing stages but could not master Colin Tizzard’s charge, who scored by a length and a quarter.
Sheehan said: “It was a good run from Itchy Feet. He liked the ground and jumped well, but the winner did it well.”
Adrian Heskin, rider of third-placed Seddon, who finished a further three lengths behind in third, commented: “It was a good run.”
David Bass, jockey of the Kim Bailey-trained Two For Gold, who finished a short-head behind in fourth, added: “I think Two for Gold may appreciate a step-up in trip, but it was a good effort.”
Politologue returns with Ascot victory
Politologue did enough to make a winning return in the Grade Two Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot.
A field of six lined up for this two-mile, 5-furlong contest.
As the race got underway, Gold Present took the field along from Hammersly Lake and Politologue, with Charbel settled in fourth.
As the field headed into the home straight for the first time, Gold Present continued to take the field along with Hammersly Lake to his inside and then Politologue, as the sextet jumped the seventh fence and headed out, with a circuit to run.
At the tenth, Hammerly Lake made an error, but by the twelfth, had closed up again with Politologue and Charbel, with Gold Present still leading a bunched field and all six in contention.
At the final ditch, four from home, Gold Present put in a big jump, but Politologue travelled well and on the home bend, came to join the leader, tracked by Charbel, who was under pressure.
At the second last, Sam Twiston-Davies and Politologue touched down in front, with Charbel challenging.
At the last, Politologue was not fluent and Charbel began to close on the flat. But Politologue found more and held on by about half a length from Charbel, with the pair clear of Gold Present in third, while Benatar stayed on for fourth.
Politologue, a Grade One winner last season, could be heading to the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day. He was confirming the excellent current form of trainer Paul Nicholls.
If The Cap Fits wins the Ascot Hurdle
If The Cap Fits confirmed himself a progressive young hurdler with a workmanlike victory in the Grade Two Coral Hurdle (better known as the Ascot Hurdle), that promised more to come.
Six horses contested this two-mile, 3-furlong race.
Rayvin Black was soon in front under Tom Garner and passed the winning post with a commanding advantage over Old Guard, with We Have a Dream next.
The popular campaigner headed into the back straight and appeared to take a breather, as the field closed up to within a couple of lengths, but Rayvin Black stretched his lead out again to maybe four lengths.
Heading to the fourth last, Rayvin Black again pushed on into a 10-length lead, with Garner looking around for rivals after the third last.
Rayvin Black turned for home still 10-lengths clear and took the second last well clear of Old Guard and We Have A Dream.
But the cavalry closed as Rayvin Black took the last, with Old Guard edging on.
However, If the Cap Fits and Noel Fehily made stealthy progress towards the stands side and gradually overhauled Old Guard to win by about a length, with three lengths back to a heroic run from Rayvin Black, with We Have A Dream fourth.
The Harry Fry trained If The Cap Fits, a six year-old, had looked smart last season as a novice, before injury had curtailed his campaign.
Paisley Park gets up late at Haydock
Paisley Park got the best of a thrilling finish to the Grade Two Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park.
Seven horses took part in this three-mile contest.
Captain Cattistock and Shades Of Midnight took the field along on the long run to the first flight, with Theo’s Charm racing wider.
With a circuit to race, the field were bunched, with Captain Cattistock a narrow leader but four lengths covering the entire field.
Heading out down the back straight, Shades Of Midnight moved alongside Captain Cattistock, with Theo’s Charm to the outside and First Assignment close-up.
Shades Of Midnight kicked for home on the final bend and held a two length lead racing to the last, with Captain Cattistock unable to produce any more, but First Assignment closing.
At the last, First Assignment went on from Shades Of Midnight, while Captain Cattistock took a heavy fall.
First Assignment lead on the flat, but Shades Of Midnight fought back tenaciously on the rails. However, Paisley Park and Aidan Coleman, having been several lengths down at the last, and still five-lengths down at the furlong pole, began to sprout wings.
Momentum saw the Emma Lavelle trained top weight power down the outside and get up on the line by inches from Shades Of Midnight, as First Assignment finished about a length back in third.
Bristol De Mai masters his rivals for a second Betfair Chase
Bristol De Mai may not have been as emphatic twelve months on, but dominated the later proceedings to record successive victories in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.
A small but select field of five went to post for a fascinating clash over three-miles and a furlong.
As the flag fell, last year’s winner, Bristol De Mai, bound into the lead, with Native River for company, while Might Bite was not fluent on landing, followed by Clan Des Obeaux and Thistlecrack.
The quintet headed out with two circuits in front of them, starting with the back straight.
The grey, Bristol De Mai, jumped the second with a length advantage over Native River, with Might Bite almost on terms and the other two close-up.
Native River jumped better at the third and went into the lead from Bristol De Mai, but the pair matched strides as they took the last down the back for the first time, an open ditch.
Bristol De Mai and Daryl Jacob, once more moved to the front, as the five entered the home straight.
At the ninth, Bristol De Mai was flanked by the Cheltenham Gold Cup first two, Native River and Might Bite.
Maybe 1 ½ lengths separated the front three, with a circuit to run, with Clan Des Obeaux and Thistlecrack, close-up.
At the eleventh, the first down the back, barely three-lengths covered the whole field.
Native River and Richard Johnson came to lead at the thirteenth, where Thistlecrack was not fluent and he made another error at the next.
Bristol De Mai and Native River swung out of the back, with a length lead over Might Bit, with another length to Thistlecrack and Clan Des Obeaux.
Turning for home, Native River was niggled by Johnson, with Bristol De Mai going well four out. Might Bite was also under pressure.
Three out, Bristol De Mai jumped big, with Might Bite and Native River under pressure, as Clan Des Obeaux stayed on.
But Bristol De Mai, unbeaten at Haydock, jumped the second last with a wider margin and took the last five lengths clear.
On the flat, Bristol De Mai kept up his remorseless gallop impressively to pass the post five lengths clear of Native River, with Thistlecrack staying on in third and then Clan Des Obeaux, as Might Bite blew up when the going got tough, on his return.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained seven year-old, is now four from four at Haydock Park.
Unowhatimeanharry back to form
The Harry Fry-trained Unowhatimeanharry regained his Grade Two Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle crown with a pulsating victory under Barry Geraghty in the feature race on day one of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
Successful in the 2016 renewal and second last year, the 10-year-old son of Sir Harry Lewis, who runs in the colours of J P McManus, took the lead approaching the final flight and responded willingly to Geraghty’s urgings in the closing stages to score by two and a half-lengths from Clyne (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge) and the gallant The Mighty Don (Nick Gifford/Leighton Aspell), who was a further two lengths behind in third.
Unowhatimeanharry, registering his seventh Graded victory also became the first horse since Big Buck’s (2009-2012) to win multiple renewals of the three-mile contest.
Winning trainer Fry admitted watching the finish of the race was “slightly strange” as he also saddled Momella (Noel Fehily), who fell at the second last, bringing down Sam Spinner (Jedd O’Keeffe/Joe Colliver). Wholestone (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob) came home last of the five finishers.
Fry said: “Unowhatimeanharry did it well. It was a slightly strange finish to watch as I was trying to keep an eye on Noel and Momella to check they were OK, as well as watching the actual finish. Thankfully, Noel and Momella are fine.
“Unowhatimeanharry has just been an incredible horse for us. He hasn’t won for over a year and it looked last year as if things were on the wane.”
Enable to remain in training in 2019
Dual Arc heroine Enable is to remain in training and seek an unprecedented third success in Europe’s greatest flat race.
The four year-old daughter of Nathaniel had a truncated campaign in 2018, not making her debut until winning the Group Three September Stakes at Kempton Park.
She later became the first British-trained horse to go back to back in the Arc – and then became the first Arc winner to win at the Breeders’ Cup in the same season.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, commented: “I think Prince Khalid wanted to sit back and reflect and enjoy what she has done before coming to any decision. He didn’t want to rush into anything.
“She only ran once as a two-year-old, had a full three-year-old season and only ran three times this year, so she doesn’t have loads of miles on the clock.”
It’s clearly one of the great races of the world and obviously Prince Khalid is now joint-leading owner in terms of number of wins [six, with Marcel Boussac].
“If he were to take the record outright with the first three-time winner of the race, that would be something.”
Monet’s Garden dies at 20
The hugely popular grey Monet’s Garden has sadly passed away aged 20.
Trained by Nicky Richards, Monet’s Garden was a triple Grade 1 winner who made his name in Aintree’s Old Roan Chase – now named after the gallant grey – with three wins between 2007 and 2010.
In 2011, Monet’s Garden came into public affection when he fighting back from the brink of death, having suffered a hoof infection.
Speaking from his Cumbria base on Wednesday, Richards said: “It’s a sad day but he had a good life and, as everybody knows, he was very ill there for a while and he bounced back from that to have seven more good years.
“Everybody wants a horse like him. He was good, he was honest and he was bold. He was game, he could jump, he was a dream of a horse for anybody who had anything to do with him. Even the punter in the betting shops, they knew they were going to get a good run for their money. He was a fantastic horse.”
Richards added: “He was very lucky to be owned by David Wesley Yates, who insisted on the very best of treatment for him and went on with the care long after many owners would have stopped. I think he got nearly as much pleasure out of Monet’s Garden after his recovery as he did while he was racing.”
Having been retired, Monet’s Garden was looked after by Richards’ daughter Jo and became a regular at Retraining of Racehorses parades.
He won 17 races in a 32-race career.
Road To Respect powers to Down Royal Champion Chase victory
Road To Respect scored an authoritative victory in the Grade One JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal.
Six went to post for this three mile contest, with Gigginstown responsible for four of the field, even after Don Poli had been taken out.
At flag fall it was Woodland Opera who jumped off into the lead from Sub Lieutenant and Outlander, with Sandymount Duke next.
Woodland Opera continued to lead by about a length from Sub Lieutenant, then came Outlander, Balko Des Flos, Sandymount Duke and Road To Respect, last of the sextet.
There was little change in the order, as the field raced down the straight, with a circuit left to race.
Leaving the stands, Woodland Opera and Sub Lieutenant continued to lead, with Balko Des Flos taking closer order, followed by Outlander.
The field became bunched as they headed down the back, with Woodland Opera still setting the pace.
Sandymount Duke took a crashing fall as his stable mate Woodland Opera continued to lead, with Road To Respect quietly moving into second and looking a huge threat.
Three out it was Woodland Opera who led the easily travelling Road To Respect.
Sean Flanagan did not move a muscle, as Road To Respect cruised into a clear lead.
Heading to the last, he powered miles clear and jumped well, sauntering to a wide margin win from Woodland Opera, with Outlander third and Balko Des Flos next.
The Noel Meade trained Road To Respect placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season and looks a major player again here.
Snow Falcon impresses at Down Royal
Snow Falcon put up a fine performance to land the Grade Two MyCarNeedsA.com Chase at Down Royal.
Six horses went to post for this two miles, 3 ½ furlongs contest.
Monalee took the field to the first fence from the mare Shattered Love and then Snow Falcon.
There was little change in the order, as the field jumped the fence in front of the stands, with a circuit to race.
Monalee and Noel Fehily, set out on the final lap with a two length lead over Shattered Love, with Snow Falcon third and then The Storyteller and Peregrine Run, with Blue Empyrean sixth.
Coming to the end of the back straight, the front trio bunched and went clear of The Storyteller.
Monalee still just held the call, but Shattered Love landed upsides at the ninth, with Snow Falcon just a length back.
Shattered Love inched into the lead approaching the third last as the race developed into a three-horse affair.
The three almost landed in unison and began to sprint to the second last, with Snow Falcon gaining a narrow advantage from Shattered Love.
Snow Falcon sprinted away heading to the last and jumped it well. On the flat, Shattered Love gamely tried to claw her way back, but the Kerry National winner Snow Falcon, had enough in hand to complete a big race double for trainer Noel Meade. Monalee came home third.
Winter Escape impresses at Cork
Winter Escape was a solid winner of the Grade Three Paddy Power Celebrating 30 Years Irish EBF Novice Chase at Cork.
Eight went to post for this 2 ½ mile contest.
High Nellie and Dawn In The Park took the field along through the early stages and continued to lead as they raced down the home straight for the first time.
With a circuit to race, High Nellie held a narrow lead from Dawn In The Park, with Clara Sorrento and Creation next.
Over the eighth, the order remained the same, with High Nellie still setting the tempo.
High Nellie led into the straight, but Winter Escape came upsides at the third last, where Robin Des Foret and Moonlight Escape both fell.
Winter Escape went on and was chased by the grey Clara Sorrento.
A good jump at the last sealed victory for Winter Escape and Mark Walsh, with Clara Sorrento second and High Nellie coming home third.
Winter Escape, a seven year old, had been a smart novice hurdler two seasons ago, but lost his way last term. He has moved from Alan King to Aidan Howard and looks a smart chasing recruit.
Out Sam lands a first Cork National for Gordon Elliott
Out Sam won an incident-packed race for the Paddy Power Cork Grand National.
Twenty horses lined up for this 3 ½ mile chase.
As the tapes went up, it was Juustmemyselfandi who led, with Val De Ferbet and Rogue Angel also up with the pace, along with the grey Oighear Dubh.
Heading down the back, Justmemyselfandi continued to set the tempo.
Nobody Home pressed on down the back, with Rogue Angel and Memyselfandi still close up and then Oighear Dubh and the improving Out Sam.
Five out, Nobody Home led what looked an open field. At the back of the field, Val De Ferbet took a heavy fall.
Nobody Home headed to the third last with Rogue Angel on his coattails and then Out Sam. Minella Beau, still in contention, came down at the third last.
Rogue Angel touched down in front at the third last with Nobody Home and Velocity Boy, but the latter fell two out.
At the last, Out Sam hit the front, with Rogue Angel under pressure.
A good jump kept up the momentum and Out Sam and Davy Russell went on to record a comfortable victory from Gordon Elliott stable mate Rogue Angel, with The Gatechecker third and then Sizing Rome.
Saint Calvados back with a bang as Footpad falls
Saint Calvados came back to his best with an exhilarating run, to land the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase at Naas, as Footpad lost his unbeaten record over fences.
Five went to post for this two-mile contest, but this race saw the return to action of two of last season’s leading novice chasers, Footpad and Saint Calvados.
At flag fall, Saint Calvados went straight into the lead, tracked by Footpad, with Tycoon Prince third.
By the second fence, Saint Calvados had moved three lengths clear, with Footpad settled in second and a gap already forming back to Tycoon Prince and Arkwrisht, with Blue Empyrean last of the quintet.
Racing into the back straight, Saint Calvados continued to bowl along with a four length advantage at the third, where Footpad made a bad error.
With five to jump, Saint Calvados still held a healthy lead over Footpad, who in turn was clear of the remainder. Again Footpad was not fluent at his fence.
Racing to the third last, Saint Calvados was still clear of Footpad, but as they rounded the home turn, Ruby Walsh had yet to make his move on Footpad.
Saint Calvados took the second last two lengths clear and Walsh then began to squeeze on Footpad.
However, he was struggling to get on terms with Saint Calvados, as Footpad, under pressure, clumsily over-jumped and sprawled on landing, hitting the deck.
That left the enterprisingly-ridden Saint Calvados, clear of toiling rivals – and whilst Tycoon Prince plugged on gamely, Gavin Sheehan’s mount never faced a serious challenge.
The Harry Whittington trained Saint Calvados, a five year-old, had looked a smart prospect when landing his first three novice chases last season. However, he maybe cut his own throat by duelling with Petit Mouchoir in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.
He won impressively here and had Footpad in trouble before that rival fell. Tycoon Prince came home third, with Arkwrisht the only other finisher.
Espoir D’Allen back to winning ways at Naas
Espoir D’Allen romped to victory in the Grade Three Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas, as rival Saldier, took a heavy fall, when upsides, at the last flight.
Six horses lined-up for this two-mile contest for four year-olds.
Mastermind and Davy Russell pressed on into a clear lead over Saldier.
With a circuit to race, Mastermind was six lengths in front.
Three out, Mastermind was still clear of Saldier and Espoir D’Allen.
The long-time leader turned for home still travelling well, but Espoir DE’Allen and Saldier quickly closed at the second last.
The pair sprinted away from Mastermind approaching the last, with Saldier narrowly in front. However, Saldier took a crashing fall at the last, leaving Espoir D’Allen clear to get back to winning ways under Mark Walsh.
Mr Adjudicator came home a distant second, with Mastermind third.
Saldier got up OK but had to be attended to, having received a kick in the face.
Aramon strikes in the For Auction
Aramon looked a smart hurdling recruit as he ran away with the Grade Three For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan.
Seven lined-up for this two-mile contest.
Daybreak Boy and Choungaya were the early leaders, as the field ambled to the first flight.
Settling down, Magnium pulled his way to the front with Choungaya and this pair headed out with a circuit to run, with the lead over Felix Desjy and Daybreak Boy.
Magnium went into a clear lead, as the septet raced down the back straight.
Leaving the back straight, Magnium led Choungaya and Felix Desjy, with Daybreak Boy to the inner and then Aramon, with Make My Heart Fly and the patiently ridden Quick Grabim.
Into the straight, Choungaya pressed Magnium at the second last, where Quick Grabim made an error.
Approaching the last, Magnium had seen off most of his rivals, but Aramon came to challenge under Paul Townend, travelling powerfully.
At the last, a superb leap from Aramon saw him land running and the ex-German trained horse stormed clear impressively to give Willie Mullins some compensation for disappointing Saturday.
Magnium ran a belter in second, with Choungaya third and Quick Grabim, doing his best work at the finish.
Apple’s Jade sparkles in the Lusmullen Hurdle
Apple’s Jade looked back to her brilliant best, in a race marred by a terrible injury to Identity Thief, in the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.
Six went to post for a fascinating renewal of this 2 ½ mile race.
The mare Apple’s Jade set off in front from Dortmund Park and the former Champion Hurdle winner Jezki.
The two Gordon Elliott runners continued to set the tempo from Jezki, with Coney Island next and then Arctic Fire and Identity Thief.
Last year’s winner, Apple’s Jade, continued to lead and moved three lengths ahead of Dortmund Park and Jezki, as they reached the third flight.
Heading out on their final circuit, Apple’s Jade was still bowling along in front by a few lengths from Dortmund Park, who in turn, had a break on the rest.
Five out and the field closed and bunched in behind Apple’s Jade, who was still travelling well.
They left the back straight and Apple’s Jade moved three lengths up on Jezki and Dortmund park, with Identity Thief moving closer in fourth.
Apple’s Jade turned into the home straight with Dortmund park and Identity Thief forming a Gigginstown leading trio, with Jezki and Arctic Fire under pressure.
Apple’s Jade found more at the second last, but there was disaster as Identity Thief suffered a serious injury on landing and was immediately out of the race.
The leader jumped the last well and scooted clear for an impressive victory over Jezki in second, with Coney Island running an eye catching race in third.
Gordon Elliott’s mare Apple’s Jade, looks to be back to her best, but this race will have given Gigginstown very mixed feelings given what happened to Identity Thief.
Ballyoisin storms to Fortria Chase success
Ballyoisin took apart his three rivals with a dominant display in the Grade Two TheTote.com Fortria Chase at Navan.
With Doctor Phoenix a non-runner, just four horses took part in this two-mile race.
Listen Dear and Ballyoisin took the first fence ahead of Ordinary World and Rock The World.
Ballyoisin soon took command though and at the second fence, had pulled six lengths clear, maintaining that advantage passing the post with a circuit to run.
Ballyoisin and Barry Geraghty settled and held a three-length lead by the fourth, with Listen Dear and Ordinary World, well clear of Rock The World.
Ballyoisin headed out of the back with an increased lead again and raced to the fourth last with a ten-length advantage, with his three rivals showing no signs of clsing.
Into the straight, Ballyoisin took the third last a long way clear of Ordinary World, who had moved second and was still trying to breach the gap.
But Ballyoisin reached the last fence still ten lengths clear – and whilst a little erratic, he powered away for a facile win.
Ordinary World came home a remote second, with a gap to Listen Dear in third and another yawning gap to Rock The World.
Enda Bolger’s seven year old was something of a runaway winner here and looks sure to step up to Grade One competition soon, perhaps with Leopardstown at Christmas, in his sights.
Kemboy lands Clonmel Oil Chase
Kemboy defied his freshness to land the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase.
Five went to post for this 2 ½ mile chase.
Alpha Des Obeaux went straight to the front from Rashaan and Kemboy.
Racing down the back, there was little change, but the field tightened up, with Kemboy pulling hard.
By the sixth fence, Kemboy had pulled to the front from Alpha Des Obeaux, with this pair well clear of Rashaan, Doctor Phoenix and A Toi Phil.
Two out, the pace increased, with Alpha Des Obeaux ahead of Kemboy and the other three poised to pounce in a wide-open race.
At the second last, Kemboy ranged alongside the leader and this pair moved three lengths clear, with their rivals unable to close.
Alpha Des Obeaux was more fluent, but Kemboy quickened again on the flat and a good jump at the last sealed victory over Alpha Des Obeaux, by about three lengths, with a wide gap back to A Toi Phil.
Trainer Willie Mullins commented: “I hadn’t him declared at 10am yesterday and with the new HRI initiative of reopening races with a small amount of runners, he was the first one I’ve ever declared after 10am. I said we’d chance it and it worked out for us.
“I was delighted with him because I didn’t think he could be that straight and I wondered was I running him too quick before the Ladbrokes (Trophy, at Newbury). He was very fresh and very free and that was smart to do that today.
“I imagine he goes to the Ladbrokes now and I’m told he has a mandatory 4lbs penalty for winning this.”
Voix Du Reve impresses in the Craddockstown
Willie Mullins’ good run of form continued as Voix Du Reve made all to land the Grade Two Betway Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Five went to post for this two mile chase.
As the tapes went up, Voix Du Reve went on from Hardline and Cadmium.
That was the order with a circuit to race.
Voix Du Reve moved five lengths clear, but clouted the third fence. However, he maintained his momentum and advantage, racing clear of Hardline and Cadmiuum, with Well Tom and Killdorrery in arrears.
Five out, the final ditch, and Voix Du Reve still travelled well, with a five length advantage, with Cadmium moving second and then the improving Killdorrery and Hardline.
At the third last, it was still Voix Du Reve in front, with Hardline reclaiming second as Cadmium came under pressure. Further back, Well Tom parted company with his jockey.
Voix Du Reve took the second last in front, but came under pressure as Hardline tried to close. Cadmium was unable to make any further impression.
But Voix Du Reve took the last well and powered clear on the flat for an impressive victory over Hardline, with Cadmium a disappointing third.
Some Neck gets up in the Florida Pearl
Some Neck got up in a thrilling finish, to land the Grade Two Liam & Valerie Brennan Memorial Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Six lined-up for this 2 ¾ mile contest, remembering one of the great Irish chasers of the last quarter of a century.
As the race got underway, it was the Gigginstown pair of Nick Lost and Blow By Blow who set off in front, with Cubomania close-up.
The white face of Nick Lost moved into a clear lead from Cheltenham Festival winner Blow By Blow, with Some Neck and Cubomania not far behind, as they passed the post, with a circuit to race.
Nick Lost continued to lead and at the sixth fence, Blow By Blow jumped deliberately, losing ground.
Making the long run to the fourth from home, Nick Lost led Some Neck, with Blow By Blow third and then Cubomania, Orion D’Aubrelle and Cap D’Aubois.
Approaching the fence, Blow By Blow regained second and came to join Nick Lost. At the back of the field, Orion D’Anbrelle jumped awkwardly and pulled up.
Turning for home, Blow By Blow pressed on and took two out ahead of Some Neck who made an error.
But Blow By Blow hadn’t put the race to bed and Some Neck gained momentum on the flat for David Mullins.
Blow By Blow fought back and it got tight at the line, but Some Neck just held on, with the pair clear of Nick Lost, to give Willie Mullins, trainer of Florida Pearl, a good start to the afternoon.
Sharjah turns over Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle
Sharjah stalked his rivals before delivering a resounding blow to win the Grade One Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
The withdrawals (due to the ground) of Samcro and Supasundae), left a depleted field of four, with former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen, bidding to land back to back renewals of this two-mile race.
As the tapes went up, Faugheen jumped off in the lead from Tombstone, the only non-Willie Mullins trained runner.
Faugheen and Tombstone took the first flight a few lengths to the good over Sharjah, with another break to Wicklow Brave.
At the third, Faugheen continued to lead Tombstone by just ½ a length, with the pair clear of Sharjah and Wicklow Brave.
Tombstone continued to take Faugheen on, with Sharjah moving closer, as they approached the third from home.
The two jumped awkwardly and Sharjah moved into striking distance, as Tombstone began to feel the heat.
Turning for home, Faugheen led but was passed by Sharjah, who went clear and took the last well, scampering away for a shock victory by a wide margin.
Sharjah and Paul Townend beat Faugheen by about 7 lengths, with Tombstone a well beaten third and Wicklow Brave a disappointing last of the four.
Easy Game gets up to land the Monksfield Hurdle
Easy Game was delivered late, very late, to win the Grade Three Monksfield Hurdle at Navan.
A field of eight went to post for this 2 ½ mile contest, won last year by Samcro.
Choungaya and First Approach set off disputing the lead, followed by Magnium, as they took the first flight.
Settling down, Choungaya went into a length lead from First Approach, as they headed into the straight for the first time.
Passing the stands, five lengths covered the entire field, with First Approach again joining Choungaya, as they set off on their final circuit.
Racing down the back, First Approach went on from Choungaya, with the field still bunched.
Turning for home, First Approach and Choungaya led Sometime Soon by ½ a length, with Felix Desjy close-up.
Three out Sometime Soon took an horrific fall and all but brought down Dinons.
Two out First Approach handed the impetus to Choungaya.
Choungaya went clear at the last, but on the flat, Magnium began to close while Easy Game came flying home from miles back.
Choungaya was gradually reeled in by Magnium, but both were mown down in dramatic fashion, by Ruby Walsh and Easy Game and the only four year-old in the field.
At the line, the three passed together, with First Approach barely a length down in fourth.
But the Willie Mullins-trained Easy Game got up in time, with Magnium second and then Choungaya.
Under Surveillance sustained an horrific injury and fell on the flat, after the winning post.
Success for local trainer Meade as Tout Est Permis lands the Troytown
Noel Meade enjoyed a big victory at his local track, as Tout Est Permis stormed home in the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan.
A field of 24 lined-up for this three-mile chase.
Mr Diablo and Raz De Maree took the field over the first with Kylecrue and Swing Bridge coming to help set the pace over the first three fences, with Rogue Angel and General Principle and Young Turk also prominent.
At the fourth, Kylecrue held a narrow lead from Swing Bridge and Arkwrisht, while Squouateur was already tailing off.
Kylecrue and Rogue Angel took the field into the home straight for the first time, with Arkwrisht with these.
With a circuit to race, Mr Diablo went back to the front from Rogue Angel and General Principle, with Kylecrue taking a breather to the inside and then Arkwrisht, Swing Bridge and Young Turk.
Down the back, Mr Diablo and Rogue Angel led, while Arkwrisht made a jolting error and lost all chance.
Rogue Angel went on five from home from Mr Diablo, while Arkwrisht was pulled up.
Four out, Rogue Angel and Mr Diablo still vied for the lead and the latter moved on, with General Principle making ground as they swung for home.
Three from home, Mr Diablo touched down in front of Tout Est Permis, with Kylecrue and Grand Partner next.
Mr Diablo led at the second last but Tout Est Permis came to lead at the last, drawing away.
A good jump sealed victory for Sean Flanagan, winning on Tout Est Permis by about five lengths from Mr Diablo, with Magic Of Light third and then Grand Partner and Out Sam.
Local trainer Noel Meade had last won the Troytown in 1997 with Heist.
Derby and Arc hero Sinndar dies
Sinndar, brilliant winner of the 2000 Derby, Irish Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, has died at the age of 21.
The Millennium arrived with some truly great horses: Giant’s Causeway, Kalanisi, Montjeu and Dubai Millennium to name a few, but Sinndar arguably etched his name as the outstanding performer in a vintage year.
Bred and raced by the Aga Khan, Sinndar won seven times from eight career starts, with Johnny Murtagh establishing a potent partnership.
As a juvenile, Sinndar won the Group 1 National Stakes, but suffered the only defeat of his career the following spring, when conceding 7lb to Grand Finale in the Ballysax Stakes. Victory and revenge followed in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes and all roads led to Epsom.
Sinndar captured the Derby by a length from future Arc winner Sakhee.
He followed-up in the Irish Derby and after a break, warmed up for the Arc with victory in the Group 2 Prix Niel.
In the Arc, Sinndar faced the formidable Montjeu, but it was Egyptband who gave him the biggest test on the day.
But Sinndar was equal to it, rounding off his career in magnificent style.
Sinndar retired to the Aga Khan’s Irish breeding arm at Gilltown Stud and eventually moved to his owner’s French farm, Haras de Bonneval, where he spent a further ten seasons.
Sinndar sired the Aga Khan with three homebred Group 1 winners, namely Rosanara, Shareta, Shawanda, but Youmzain, a three-time runner-up in the Arc, was probably his highest profile progeny.
2018 Breeders’ Cup Review
Bulletin makes big news in the Juvenile Turf Sprint
Bulletin made every yard of the running for a smart victory in the Listed Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships got underway with this new race, over 5 ½ furlongs.
Thirteen two year-olds lined up for this contest, including six from Europe.
At the break it was Bulletin who stormed into the early lead from Chelsea Cloisters.
Bulletin continued to blaze a trail with Chelsea Cloisters to the outside and joining issue at the top of the stretch.
Straightening for home, the front two continued to dominate, with Soldier’s Call unable to respond.
Bulletin saw them all off though and went three lengths clear late on for a decisive victory under Javier Castellano, with Chelsea Cloisters fading late on but holding on for second. So Perfect finished fast and late for third, best of the Europeans.
Newspaperofrecord annihilates rivals in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf
Newspaperofrecord won as she liked with a faultless performance in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf.
A field of fourteen two year-old fillies lined up for this one mile contest.
From the gates it was Newspaperofrecord and La Pelosa who cut out the running.
Heading into the first turn, Newspaperofrecord was clear of La Pelosa, with Concrete Rose next and then Pakhet.
The leader took the runners off the inside as she headed down the back, chased by La Pelosa and Concrete Rose.
Heading into the home stretch, the field moved wide, with Newspaperofrecord storming further clear of flailing rivals.
Newspaperofrecord and Irad Ortiz won by seven lengths, easing down, with East second and then came Stellar Agent and Just Wonderful.
Jaywalk dominates in the Juvenile Fillies
Once again, it paid to make the pace, as Jaywalk made all the running before drawing clear for an impressive victory in the Grade One Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Ten two year old fillies went to post for this race on the dirt, over one mile and ½ a furlong.
Jaywalk and Serengetti Empress were well away, with Bellefina coming to join in at the first turn.
Settling down and heading into the back stretch, Jaywalk went 1 ½ lengths up on Serengetti Empress, with Bellefina next.
Jaywalk still led into the top of the stretch, with Bellefina poised and Restless Rider to the inside.
Straightening up, Jaywalk still led and found more as Restless Rider and Vibrance struggled to close.
Jaywalk and Joel Rosario powered on to win by six lengths from Restless Rider, Vibrance and the disappointing Bellefina.
Glory for Godolphin with Line Of Duty
Line Of Duty came with a late run to put Europe on the board with victory in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Fourteen contested this one mile race, including four Europeans.
At the start it was Forty Under who went on but was soon passed by Somelikeithotbrown, heading into the first turn.
Racing into the back stretch, it was Somelikeithotbrown who led by a length from Forty Under and Opry, with Arthur Kitt racing handily.
Heading to the top of the stretch, Somelikeithotbrown still led Forty Under, with Arthur Kitt close up.
Straightening up, Somelikeithotbrown still led, but Line Of Duty came flying down the outside under William Buick, with Uncle Benny.
Line Of Duty gradually overhauled the long-time leader and at the line got up narrowly from Uncle Benny and Somelikeithotbrown, with Arthur Kitt fourth.
The Charlie Appleby trained Line Of Duty, a son of Coolmore stalliojn Galileo, was yet another Godolphin Group One winning juvenile colt, after Quorto, Royal Marine and Royal Meeting.
Game Winner much the best in the Juvenile
Game Winner kept his unbeaten record with a resounding win in the Grade One Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
A field of thirteen colts took part in this one mile and ½ a furlong race on the dirt.
Tight Ten, Well Defined and Complexity set the early pace into the first turn.
Settling down, Complexity seized command and moved 1 ½ lengths clear of Knicks Go and Well Defined, with Topper T close to the pace.
Complexity appeared to lose his action approaching the home turn and Knicks Go set sail for home, with Game Winner coming to join battle.
The two horses bumped and it was Game Winner who came out of it the better, powering away under Joel Rosario.
The Bob Baffert trained colt passed the post the comfortable winner, making it four from four, with Knicks Go a gallant second, clear of Signalman and Mr. Money.
Shamrock Rose wins a Sprint thriller
Shamrock Rose left it late, very late, as she agonisingly denied Chalon to win the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs.
Fourteen lined up for this seven furlong race on the dirt.
Selcourt went on from the break with Miss Sunset and Happy Like A Fool next.
Up front, Selcourt was joined by Happy Like A Fool, with Chalon moving to the inside, as they turned for home.
Into the home stretch, Chalon burst clear and went away from Golden Mischief.
But the pack closed as the line approached and it all became desperate for Chalon, who had made her run for freedom.
In the shadow of the post, three rivals came to join Chalon and it was Shamrock Rose and Irad Ortiz Jr. who inched their way to a last gasp victory.
Chalon came home third, ahead of Anonymity and Marley’s Freedom, with maybe half a length covering the quartet.
Stormy Liberal doubles up in the Turf Sprint
Stormy Liberal won a compelling home stretch tussle with World Of Trouble, to make it consecutive wins in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Fourteen competed in this 5 ½ furlong dash.
Stormy Liberal and Havana Grey were among the early leaders.
World Of Trouble went on at the top of the stretch, with Stormy Liberal challenging to the outside and this pair drew miles clear, in a gripping duel.
Nether horse would relent but Stormy Liberal and Drayden Van Dycke got up to maker it back to back victories for the Peter Miller trained six year old.
World Of Trouble but just edged out of the victory but it takes two horses to make a great race.
A long, long way back in third came Disco Partner, with Ruby Notion fourth.
City Of Light dominates in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
City Of Light was all class as he dominated from start to finish in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Nine horses went to post for this contest.
At the break it was City Of Light who took the field along from Seven Trumpets and Catalina Cruiser.
City Of Light soon asserted as the field raced down the back, with Catalina Cruiser, Seven Trumpetts and Firenze Fire.
As the field turned for home, City Of Light continued to lead next to the rails and he moved clear straightening up.
In the home stretch, City Of Light powered five lengths clear of toiling rivals.
At the line, City Of Light and Javier Castellano was a comfortable three lengths clear of Seeking The Soul, with Bravazzo claiming third.
Sistercharlie’s class prevails in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Sistercharlie came from way back to land the Grade One Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf with a touch of class.
A field of fourteen contested this 11 furlong race.
Wild Illusion proved troublesome at the gates and took an eternity to go in.
From the break it was A Raving Beauty and Princess Yaiza who set the only pace, as the field careered into the first turn.
A Raving Beauty set a moderate pace from Magic Wand, Princess Yaiza and Wild Illusion, with Thais next and then Smart Choice.
Heading into the back stretch, A Raving Beauty still had the call from Magic Wand and the pace was still sedate.
At the top of the stretch, A Raving Beauty was first to turn in, with Magic Wand and Wild Illusion challenging, while Sistercharlie stormed down the outside.
With every yard, Wild Illusion and Sistercharlie caught A Raving Beauty, and it was a question of whether the line would come in time for the front runner.
Wild Illusion hit the front with yards to spare, but Sistercharlie and John Velazquez had the move covered and had enough in hand to edge into the lead right on the line. A Raving Beauty was a close third, with Magic Wand running well in fourth.
The four year old, Sistercharlie, a daughter of Myboycharlie, ran second to Senga in the Prix de Diane last year, when she was trained in France. She later moved to Chad Brown’s barn and has been a revelation in North America.
Roy H goes back to back in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint
Roy H took apart his rivals with an imposing victory in the Grade One Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Nine of North America’s fastest dirt track specialists contested this six furlong event.
Promises Fulfilled broke well with Distinctive B.
Heading down the back stretch, Promises Fulfilled moved 1 ½ lengths clear of Distinctive B and Roy H.
That was the order turning into the home stretch, with Promises Fulfilled passed down the outside by Roy H, while Imperial Hint began to close.
But Roy H and Paco Lopez were four lengths clear and held an unassailable lead as they romped to back to back wins in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Whitmore tried to chase down the winner but was still three lengths down at the wire, with Imperial Hint third and Promises Fulfilled fourth.
Expert Eye delivers in the Breeders’ Cup Mile
Expert Eye was delivered late by Frankie Dettori, to sensationally snatch victory in the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Fourteen contested this race, with European trained horses making up eight of the line-up.
However, controversy had marred the build-up to this race when the Freddy Head filly Polydream, was scratched by local vets, who believed her odd walking action meant she was lame. They refused Head’s requests to show her striding out on the racetrack and barred her from the race.
At the break it was Analyze It who went on from Lightning Spear, as they headed into the first bend.
Heading down the back, Analyze It and Lightning Spear set the pace with Mustashry moving up on the outside to dispute the lead.
Mustashry and William Buick went on with a bunching group, with Analyze It and Catapult with the leaders.
Turning for home, Analyze It was challenged by Divisidera, Lightning Spear and Catapult.
Analyze It found more with Catapult fighting, but Frankie Dettori produced Expert Eye down the wide outside.
With the post coming ever nearer, Expert Eye overhauled the leaders in exhilarating style to give Sir Michael Stoute another Breeders’ Cup winner.
In a blanket finish, Catapult was second, with Analyze It third and Divisidero fourth.
Dettori, who won this race in 1994 aboard Luca Cumani’s Barathea, said: “The turbo kicked in and he won cosily in the end. Once he found his footing, he was away. Now that he is calm, he is a proper racehorse.”
Prolific Monomoy Girl continues her run in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff
Monomoy Girl broke the hearts of her rivals in the Grade One LONGINES Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Eleven fillies and mares contested this nine furlong race on the dirt.
From the gates it was Wonder Gadot who went on with Monomoy Girl to the outside in third, ahead of Abel Tasman.
Into the first bend, Wonder Gadot led Monomoy Girl and Abel Tasman, with Blue Prize settled in fourth.
Wonder Gadot continued to lead, but Monomoy Girl pressed on on the final bend, chased by Blue Prize, as Abel Tasman back-tracked as if something was amiss.
Monomoy Girl turned it on in the home stretch, and reached the line a comfortable winner from the closer Wild Cat to the inside, with Midnight Bisou just taking third from Blue Prize.
Monomoy Girl and Florent Geroux ran out clear cut winners and the Brad Cox trained filly continues to simply win.
Enable makes history in the Breeders’ Cup Turf
Enable’s legend grew even more as she won the Grade One LONGINES Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Thirteen took part in this 1 ½ mile race with all eyes on the dual Arc heroine Enable.
As the gates opened it was Glorious Empire who went to the lead from Channel Maker, with Enable settled just off the pace, as the field went into the first bend.
Glorious Empire turned into the home stretch for the first time, with a narrow lead from Channel Maker and Hi Happy, with last year’s winner Talismanic next and then Enable.
Heading out into the back stretch, Glorious Empire still held the call from Channel Maker and Hi Happy, with Hunting Horn moving third, to the outside of Enable.
As the leader faded on the top turn, Hi Happy turned for home in front of Hunting Horn, but with Magical and Enable coming wide and challenging.
Enable hit the front down the centre of the track, with Magical fighting hard.
But Enable had enough reserves and held off her persistent rival to become the first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner to win at the Breeders’ Cup in the same year.
Magical ran a fantastic race in second, with the two fillies pulling miles clear of the rest of the field.
Sadler’s Joy took third, ahead of Arklow.
This was a memorable victory for Frankie Dettori, who had won earlier on Expert Eye.
He said: “She conquered America and is the first one to do it!
“Her wheels were spinning around the bend so I took a wide trip. I went for the better ground and she found another gear.
“She conquered America! She done it! She is very special!”
Winning trainer John Gosden said: “It was a big ask for the filly everyone knows she has had a difficult year.
“It was a tough race. Frankie was determined to stay wide looking for better ground.
“It was a wonderful, wonderful stretch run from two great fillies.
“She has been very brave and mentally strong to get herself here.
“Maybe she is getting better. But she did it today with sheer guts and determination.”
This was wonderful fulfilment for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, fully 32 years after Dancing Brave had run a disappointing race in this very contest, when fourth at Santa Anita.
Accelerate holds on for Breeders’ Cup Classic success
Accelerate won a pulsating renewal of the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Classic.
A field of fourteen assembled for the big race on the card, over 1 ¼ miles.
Mendelssohn was quickly bustled up into the lead by Ryan Moore and went on from Mckinzie and set a punishing early pace.
Heading down the back, the tempo slackened a little, but Mendelssohn continued to lead Mckinzie and Thunder Snow, with West Coast and then Accelerate.
Heading to the home turn, the field was strung out and Mendelssohn was still powering on.
But Accelerate cruised up on his outside and went on into the lead with Thunder Snow closing between the pair.
Mendelssohn’s resolve faded and Accelerate and Thunder Snow settled down to a battle.
Accelerate and Joel Rosario saw off the Godolphin runner and the final challenges came outside, with Gunnevera closing, but not able to reach his foe in time.
Third home came Thunder Snow, who just held off Yoshida, and then Mendelssohn in fifth.
Galop Marin lands the Grand Prix d’Automne
Galop Marin ran out an emphatic winner of the Grade One Grand Prix d’Automne at Auteuil.
Up with the pace for much of the contest, the six year old powered clear in the home straight to beat Miss Salsa Blue by 15 lengths, with Dalia Grandchamp back in third.
The Nick Williams pair of Aubusson and Le Rocher, were well held.
Beaumec De Houelle on top at Auteuil
Beaumec De Houelle confirmed himself a smart juvenile hurdler with victory in the The Grade One Prix Cambaceres – Grande Course de Haies des 3 Ans (Hurdle).
As Pat Du Pont took a crashing fall two out, Beaumec De Houelle was beginning to make his move.
Having cleared the last flight he went on to beat Pic D’Orhy by 1 ¼ lengths, with L’Autonomie back in third.
The Grade One Prix la Haye Jousselin (Chase), went the way of Bipolaire, who was given a patient rider before landing in front at the last.
He went on to beat Saint Goustan Blue by three lengths, with Milord Thomas coming home third.
The final Grade One of the weekend, was the Prix Maurice Gillois – Grand Steeple-Chase des 4 Ans.
The Guillaume Macaire trained Cicalina beat Epi Sacre by ¾ of a length, with Eddy De Balme just a length back in third.
God Given delivers Group One joy for Luca Cumani in Rome
Trainer Luca Cumani, soon to retire, will sign off with a 2018 Group One winner after his talented filly God Given, won the Grade One Premio Lydia Tesio Sisal Matchpoint at Cappanelle, Rome.
The Italian, who has trained for 43 years at Newmarket, announced recently that he would be handing in his licence later this year.
He had one last roll of the Group One dice here, as he returned to his homeland.
Eight fillies and mares went to post for this 1 ¼ mile contest.
Beforehand, Cumani had expressed concerns that the trip might be on the short side for his Group Two Park Hill Stakes winner.
Ultimately the race concerned the three British-trained runners, with the four year old God Given, under Jason Watson, getting the better of Mark Johnston’s Nyaleti, by a neck, with the Archie Watson trained Snowy Winter taking third.
Cross Counter a first British trained winner of the Melbourne Cup
After many near misses, Cross Counter finally became the first British trained winner of the Group One Lexus Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
A field of 24 lined-up for Australia’s greatest race, contested on soft ground, over two miles.
From the gates, Best Solution was slow away and lost three of four lengths.
Settling down, Runaway and Venquer Mask set the pace, with Finche close up and also Aces High.
Passing the post, Thecliffsofmoher broke down and hampered several runners.
Up front, Runaway moved a length clear as the field headed down the back straight, with Aces High second and then Venguer Masque and Finche.
With ¾ of a mile to race, Runaway continued to lead, with the ex-Andre Fabre runner Finche, moving second.
Runaway and Finche led turning for home, with Rostropovich to the outside, while Sir Charles Road made his move to the inside.
With the sprint well and truly on, A Prince Of Arran swept through to lead, but to the inside, Marmelo and Hugh Bowman appeared to make a winning move, striking the front as the post neared.
However, Kerrin McEvoy and Cross Counter, hampered in the earlier incident, began to sprout wings to the outside and got up to win by a length.
Marmelo was a gallant second, with A Prince Of Arran third and Finche keeping on for fourth, as British trained horses filled the first three places. Rostropovich came home fifth.
Charlie Appleby, training for Godolphin, became the first English-base trainer to win the Melbourne Cup.
He said: “I’m delighted, this is a dream. It’s not sinking in. It’s all down to Sheikh Mohammed, he’s given us the chance to go international.”
“We’ve always been competitive and this horse ticked a lot of boxes. It was some ride from Kerrin. I saw he was a long way back but I knew when he angled out and he had the gears to pick up.”
Cross Counter, became the second successive three year old to land the race, following Rekindling’s success in 2017.
The son of Teofilo had landed the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, before finishing second to Old Persian in the Great Voltigeur Stakes.
Sadly, the incident involving The Cliffsofmoher, proved fatal, as the talented four year old suffered a fractured shoulder and couldn’t be saved.
Master Dino all class at Auteuil
Master Dino stamped his class over the Grade One Prix Renaud du Vivier – Grande Course de Haies des 4 Ans (Hurdle) at Auteuil.
Nine went to post for this important four year-old hurdle, over two miles, 3 ½ furlongs.
The two greys Marlonne and Raffles Sun, took the field along through the early stages, with the latter soon taking up a commanding lead.
The unbeaten Boy Royal, moved up from the back of the field to join Raffles Sun, as the field headed down the back, where the field spread across the track.
At the first in the back, Mysterious Boy and Tap Tap Boom crashed out.
Three out, Raffles Sun led on the inside, with Tunis in the centre and Boy Royal out wide.
As they turned for home, Master Dino eased to the lead with Raffles Sun in the centre and Tunis on the inside.
Master Dino pressed on with the stands rail to help and took the last well clear, piling it on for a wide-margin victory under James Reveley. Back in fourth, the Paul Nicholls trained Malaya, took a crashing fall at the final flight, but was reported to be OK afterwards.
Tunis took second, with Raffles Sun in third.
The impressive Master Dino was another big winner for Guillaume Macaire and was winning for the fourth successive time, to stamp himself the leading hurdler in France.
Roaring Lion named Cartier Horse Of The Year for 2018
Roaring Lion is the the 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards, European horseracing’s equivalent of the Oscars.
Owned by Qatar Racing Limited, the outstandingly talented and consistent three-year-old colt becomes the fourth Cartier Horse Of The Year in the last five years to be trained by John Gosden at Newmarket, following on from Kingman (2014), Golden Horn (2015) and Enable (2017).
Purchased as a yearling by Qatar Racing’s racing manager David Redvers at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for US$160,000, the son of Kitten’s Joy enjoyed an outstanding year with victories in three Group One contests over 10 furlongs in the space of just over two months from July to September – the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park, the Juddmonte International at York and the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
Roaring Lion followed up on those superb wins with a fourth straight success when dropped down in distance to a mile for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Roaring Lion also ran a great race on his only attempt at 12 furlongs when a close third behind Masar in Britain’s premier Classic, the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs in June.
Three of the other four nominations for Cartier Horse of the Year, Enable, Stradivarius and Cracksman – the 2017 Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt – are also trained by Gosden. The final nomination for Cartier Horse Of The Year honours was Alpha Centauri.
Enable, the Cartier Horse Of The Year and Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly in 2017, narrowly lost out on becoming the third horse, following on from Frankel (2011 & 2012) and Ouija Board (2004 & 2006), to become Cartier Horse Of The Year twice.
But the brilliant filly takes the award for Cartier Older Horse in 2018. The Khalid Abdullah-owned and bred four-year-old was on the sidelines for much of the year, but she made a stunning winning reappearance in the 188Bet September Stakes on the All-Weather track at Kempton Park.
A month later, the daughter of Nathaniel became the eighth horse to win Europe’s premier all-aged middle-distance contest, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, twice. She created more history as the first horse ever to follow up success in the Longchamp feature with victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, USA.
The other Cartier Older Horse nominees were Cracksman, Poet’s Word and Lightning Spear.
Roaring Lion also gained the Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt Award, seeing off Saxon Warrior, Masar and Sands Of Mali.
There is further success for Gosden with Stradivarius, who takes the Cartier Stayer Award. Owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, the four-year-old Sea The Stars colt went through 2018 unbeaten, with his five victories including the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Qatar Goodwood Cup. He was also successful in the Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup and the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup. Stradivarius’ tremendous season saw him land the inaugural WH Stayers’ Million, handing a £1-million bonus to connections. The other nominees in the Cartier Stayer division were Kew Gardens, Holdthasigreen and Vazirabad.
A record-equalling fifth equine win on the night for Gosden comes courtesy of Too Darn Hot, who bags the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt Award. Lord Lloyd-Webber’s homebred son of Dubawi is unbeaten in four outings, ending the campaign with a decisive success in Britain’s premier juvenile contest, the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October.
He was previously successful in the 188Bet Solario Stakes at Sandown Park and the Howcroft Industrial Supplies Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, and is a hugely-exciting prospect for 2019. The other nominees in the Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt division were Advertise, Quorto and Ten Sovereigns.
The only other trainer to achieve five equine Cartier Racing Awards in a year has been Aidan O’Brien, who had Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt: Churchill, Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly: Minding, Cartier Stayer: Order Of St George, Cartier Older Horse: Found and Cartier Horse of the Year: Minding in 2016.
If one horse lit up the summer of 2018, it was Alpha Centauri who has won the Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly Award. Trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland for the Niarchos Family, the daughter of Mastercraftsman won a total of four races in 2018, beginning with the mile Classic, the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas in May. She was absolutely outstanding at Royal Ascot, taking the Coronation Stakes by six lengths in course-record time. Another easy success followed when she landed Newmarket’s Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes by four and a half lengths.
She lined up against older horses and colts for the first time at Deauville in August and proved she could take on all comers as she won the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois by an easy two and a half-lengths. The other nominees for Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly were Laurens, Sea Of Class and Wild Illusion.
It was a close battle in the Cartier Sprinter division, with the honours going to Mabs Cross. Trained by Michael Dods for owner-breeders David and Emma Armstrong, the four-year-old Dutch Art filly was a model of consistency throughout the year and capped her campaign with a tremendous performance to land the strongest sprint run in 2018, the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines, at Longchamp in October.
The Rogers family is one of Ireland’s great owner-breeders and take the Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly Award with Skitter Scatter. Trained by Patrick Prendergast for Anthony Rogers and his mother Sonia, the daughter of Scat Daddy improved throughout the season and was rewarded with three successes in Pattern company, culminating with a gutsy two-length victory in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in September. The other nominees for Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly were Pretty Pollyanna, Fairyland and Hermosa.
The Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit goes to David Oldrey. One of the greatest talents to have worked in the administration of British horseracing, Oldrey’s impressive CV involved The Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Board as well as numerous other bodies in the racing industry. A successful owner-breeder and racing historian, he is a true polymath.
Harry Herbert, Cartier’s Racing consultant commented: “What another outstanding year it has been for European horseracing.
“Congratulations to John Gosden and his team for securing a joint-record five equine Cartier Racing Awards at the 28th annual Cartier Racing Awards. Roaring Lion truly lived up to his name, with four courageous successes over the course of the season.
“Enable more than made up for missing the summer with her second Arc success followed by the Breeders’ Cup Turf. What an outstanding filly she is. There was nothing to touch Stradivarius in the stayers’ division, while Too Darn Hot looks hugely exciting for the 2019 campaign.
“Alpha Centauri towered over her rivals with several scintillating displays and congratulations to her owner-breeder the Niarchos Family and trainer Jessica Harrington, who has proved herself to be the outstanding dual-purpose handler of our age.
“Mabs Cross was superbly campaigned and earned her just reward at Longchamp. while Anthony and Sonia Rogers, such tremendous owner-breeders, have an outstanding filly in Skitter Scatter.
“Of course, horseracing does not function without great people behind the scenes. David Oldrey, who has dedicated himself to the administration of our great sport, is one such person. He is the deserved winner of the Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit.
“Congratulations to all our winners this year and thanks go to Cartier UK, headed by Laurent Feniou, for supporting the Cartier Racing Awards for the 28th consecutive year.”
Super filly Almond Eye wins the Japan Cup
Superstar filly Almond Eye was the toast of Tokyo, as she impressively won the Group One Japan Cup in association with Longines.
A field of 14 assembled for one of the world’s great flat races, over 1 ½ miles.
From the gates, it was Kiseki who led from Noble Mars, with the super filly Almond Eye to the inside, while Thundering Blue and Fran Berry, were settled in last.
Down the back, Kiseki continued to lead and moved three lengths clear of Almond Eye, with 15 lengths separating first and last.
Kiseki continued to set a furious pace and turned for home clear, with Almond Eye giving chase and Suave Richard closing.
Inside the final furlong, Almond Eye gradually wore down the gallant Kiseki, to record a famous victory for Christophe-Patrice Lemaire
The front pair pulled a couple of lengths clear of Suave Richard, with Grand Cheval staying on for fourth.
Almond Eye, a daughter of Lord Kanaloa, had won the Fillies’ Triply Crown earlier this year, the Japanese 1,000 Guineas and Oaks. She was winning her sixth straight start.
The two European runners were never a factor, Thundering Blue came home tenth, with Capri eleventh.
France Galop announces it will close Maisons-Laffitte site in 2019
At its Central Economic and Social Committee meeting today, France Galop’s management presented a project for the restructuring of its activities at Maisons-Laffitte. The initiative forms part of a transformation project embarked on at the start of 2016 and which seeks to adapt horse racing’s organisation model to structural developments in the gambling market and to prepare the ground for a sustainable relaunch of horse race betting.
The project involves the following:
Rescaling and modernising the Maisons-Laffitte Training Centre thanks to an investment of around €1.5m designed to ensure it continues to operate. Though the Training Centre is designed to allow 1,500 horses to train there at any one time, it is home to fewer than 500 at the moment. The adjustment to its actual level of activity will lead to a significant reduction in operating costs.
Halting “horse racing” activities at the Maisons-Laffitte racecourse at the end of 2019 (some 24 race days remain on the 2019 calendar).
Since 2011, horse racing has had to contend with the profound transformation of the gambling market. In the space of eight years the amount wagered on horse racing in France has fallen 1.9bn.
As a result of the drop in betting revenue, which accounts for more than 90% of its financial resources, France Galop recorded a deficit of €119m between 2014 and 2017.
France Galop drew up a transformation plan, several key phases of which have already been implemented. The transformation plan continues today with a project for the rescaling and modernisation of the Training Centre. This project would lead to the loss of 31 jobs at the Maisons-Laffitte site and would be implemented through an Employment Protection Plan (PSE), following a process of information/consultation with staff representative bodies. Measures for supporting employees affected by the workforce reduction will be discussed with social partners.
France Galop will also make specific resources available in support of a plan for restructuring the Maisons-Laffitte racecourse site, in partnership with the local council and stakeholders.