Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sacre confirms dominance of two-mile chase division

SPRINTER SACRE - CHELTENHAM 

As anyone who has followed horse racing for any length of time knows perfectly well that there is no such thing as a certainty in this highly unpredictable and thrilling sport.
But at this stage there will be very few people who bet on racing prepared to go against the majestic Sprinter Sacre after the champion-elect put up another awesome performance at Cheltenham recently to strengthen his stranglehold on the ante-post market for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the March 13 showcase event having appeared to a great degree to have been conceded by many in the sport to him with fully six weeks to go before the big race itself.
Of course there is no certainty that Sprinter Sacre will even make the starting line-up as even the best of athletes are vulnerable to last-minute hitches and unexpected injuries. If he arrives at the Festival though in top order it is hard to see anything getting within shouting distance of the horse that a growing number of seasoned observers suggest could be the best at the distance in more than a generation.
The current top-priced 2/5 ante-post favourite in the Cheltenham betting odds glided around Prestbury Park on January 26 as if he was out for morning exercise, Nicky Henderson’s imposing seven-year-old oozing class as he tracked the leaders before coasting through to take up the running before the seventh fence. From then on it was very much a case of who would be second – for the record, Mad Moose achieved the feat some 14 lengths behind the winner – as Barry Geraghty’s mount drew clear from the third last to win the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase in simply stunning fashion.
Unbeaten in all seven starts over fences and the winner of 11 of his 13 career outings, it can honestly be said that the gelded son of Network has never really had a serious race over the larger obstacles and has never won by less than six lengths. His last defeat came when third to Al Ferof in the 2011 Stan James Supreme Novices Hurdle, but since switching to chasing his only real dangers have been the fences themselves.
His stable companion and current champion chaser Finian’s Rainbow has barely warranted a mention in the build-up to the big race, but the fine performer (currently a 10/1 shot) could easily give Henderson a famous one-two in a race he also won in style some years back with the hugely popular Remittance Man. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

The 2013 Cheltenham Festival: Get Your Bets On

GOLD CUP HERO: DESERT ORCHID (1989)
With every day the 2013 Cheltenham Festival is drawing closer. The anticipation. Excitement of a waiting crowd. Trainers, owners, jockeys at the ready. Focused. Inspired. Dreams nurtured in winter months become a racing certainly. 

Past winners striving to write their names in equine history, battle-hardened campaigners primed to settle old scores, while dark horses tantalize the mind...

Of one thing we can be sure - this sport of kings will find no more loyal a servant than race fans across the country who await the pulsating action of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. 

Let the action begin:


Day 1 (12th March)

Champion Hurdle

The highlight on the opening day. This most prestigious hurdle race in the National Hunt calendar is for horses aged four years and older. It is run on the old course over 2m 110 yard, with eight hurdles to jump. It has been won by a number of exceptional horses: Dawn Run (1984), See You Then (1985 - 87) & Istabraq (1998 - 2000). Who will win this year?

Hurricane Fly? Rock On Ruby? Binocular...


Day 2  (13th March)

Queen Mother Champion Chase 

This Grade  1 National Hunt chase over 2 miles is open to horses aged five years and older and the feature event of the second day of the Festival. Named in the year of the Queen Mother's 80th birthday (1980) it recognised her support to jump racing.

The most successful horse to have won this race is Badsworth Boy (1983 - 1985). 

But what are we to make of this year's contest?

Sprinter Sacre, trained by Nicky Henderson, is presently 2/5f after winning his last seven races. He's a true Cheltenham favourite. Can he beat stablemates Simonsig or last year's winner Finian's Rainbow? Irish raider Sizing Europe proved victorious in 2011 while others take their chance...


Whether hunting for ante-post value or betting on the day visit Betting Online At The 2013 Cheltenham Festival With William Hill . Don't forget to join now and get a £25 Free Bet.  


Day 3 (14th March)

World Hurdle       

This Grade 1 National Hunt race is open for horses aged four years or older and run over 3 miles with twelve hurdles to jump. This is the leading long-distance hurdle event in the calendar & feature of day three at the Cheltenham Festival. It was formerly known as the Stayers' Hurdle. In previous contests this race has been about one horse - Big Bucks who won this contest on no fewer than four occasions (2009 - 2012). Unfortunately, he will not contest this year's event after suffering an injury in December. 

However, in what looks a competitive race we see a great line up. Leading hopes include Oscar Whisky, Quevega, Reve De Sivola, Monksland & Tidal Bay.


Day 4 (15th March)

Cheltenham Gold Cup    

This Grade 1 National Hunt horse race is run over 3 miles 2 1/2f with 22 fences to be jumped. A steeplechase open to horses five years or older it is the most prestigious of all National Hunt races. This Blue Riband event has a roll of honour featuring household names such as Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller, Kauto Star & Mill House. It is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain. 

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run in 1924 by a horse called Red Splash. In the 1930s Golden Miller won five consecutive races and still proves the most successful horse in the race's history. Other multiple winners include Cottage Rake, trained by Vincent O'Brien, from 1948- 1950. In the 1960s Arkle dominated this event over the new course to win three times. He still remains shortest-priced winner at odds of 1/10f.  

The most remarkable feat for any trainer came in 1983 when Michael Dickinson had the first five horses home. 

Dawn Run and legendary grey Desert Orchid are among my all-time favourites. 

Best Mate, trained by Henrieta Knight, was the last horse to win three consecutive races (2002 - 2004). While in recent years Kuato Star captured the heart of a nation being the only horse to regain the Gold Cup in 2009. 

What a race we have in store for this 2013 Gold Cup.

Presently, Bobs Worth heads the betting, trained by Nicky Henderson. Sir Des Champs is on a recovery mission for Willie Mullins after recently losing his unbeaten record. While Long Run tries to make this a memorable day after tasting victory in 2011. 

A truly spectacular event.

For the latest prices visit Betting Online At The 2013 Cheltenham Festival With William Hill.           

   

    

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Horse Racing With Dr Marwan Koukash

Dr Marwan Koukash at York
Dr Marwan Koukash has become a familiar face of British horse racing. A man known for his approachable style he is a favourite with TV pundits and viewers alike. With many horses named after his children, this family man enjoys nothing better than a day at his beloved Chester where he has seen winners including a Heritage Handicap. With what seems to be an unending string of horses, he has proven a hit with the working class race fan and  a financial godsend to trainers across the country. With an equal measure of success & charm, this enigmatic businessman has built a racing empire from humble beginnings.  

Without question he has made an impact within the racing industry since dipping his toe into ownership in 2007. In those early days, he had just three horses in training with Ian Williams. His first winner was a 0-60 handicapper called Terminate. 

In 2008 his string increased to 20 horses. The majority trained by Williams. Bilwark proved most notable winning the Chester Cup Heritage Handicap. However, Dr Marwan Koukash clearly had his sights set on other talented trainers with Patrick Haslam, David Simcock, Charlie Longsdon and David Nicholls fielding horses. 

By 2009 he had over 50 horses in training. Layla's Hero proved his most talented two-year-old with David Nicholls winning twice at Listed class. Along with his increased string came more significant trainers including Bryan Smart, Kevin Ryan, Richard Fahey, Jane Chapple-Hyam & the late Terry Mills.

2010 saw around 70 horses with new training establishments of Mark Johnston, Michael Quinlan & David Wachman joining the ranks. Redford won the Ayr Gold Cup, then the Ascot Heritage Handicap. His total prize earning where nearly £200,000. 

Unsurprisingly, the following year saw horse numbers rise to about 85. Never Can Tell (Jamie Osborne), Masamah & Our Jonathan (Kevnin Ryan) heralded a successful season with 74 winner from 500 runners. New trainers included Mick Channon, John Quinn, Michael Bell, Ralph Beckett, Tom Dascombe, Gay Keleway & Paul Cole. He narrowly missed total win prize money of 1 million pounds. 

Last year Dr Marwan Koukash had a record breaking season on many fronts. He owns more than 100 horses which are shared between almost 20 trainers. He achieved 101 winner from 714 runners with a win rate of 14%. Although backing all of his runners would have returned an £80 loss to a £1 stake. For the first time he topped the million pound mark for total prize winnings in a single year. 

  

Barney Curley: Pro Gambler

Barney Curley
Who is Barney Curley? Why is he so feared by bookmakers and one of the most is celebrated and respected punters in his field? The reason Barney Curley has been the annoyance of bookmakers and one of the most renowned punters of modern times can be traced back to a night at a Belfast race track over forty years ago.

Barney's father, a grocer by trade, decided to take a gamble. He bet and bet big on one of his own dogs. During the race, the dog fell and broke his neck at the first bend. The sight of his dad walking back up the track, cradling the dead dog, has haunted Barney ever since. The consequences were devastating, yet would be the backbone of the driving force in Curley becoming in a league of his own where punters are concerned.


Curley's father, Curley senior, took Barney, the oldest of six siblings, out of school and sentenced him to 15 months of working double shifts at the plastics factory in Manchester. The two Curley's stayed in Manchester working until enough was saved to pay off all his debts from the gamble.

Curley's father taught him what honour and pride was the best way he knew how. "My father wouldn't come back to Ireland until everyone was paid" Barney recalled. This fact was a good lesson even though it really left him scarred. Each and every winning bet he makes is a bit more retribution for the ways that the bookies made him feel that night and suffer for the next 15 months. Barney has secured betting accounts with bookies all over the world. His most wicked pleasure came in the late 1980's. William Hill decided that he no longer wanted to conduct business with Curley. Over the previous two years Barney had taken them for £200,000.

Barney did not get his start in the business world as a punter. At the tender age of 24 he began by managing bands. Eventually, he added to his plate the ownership of a few pubs and betting shops. Later he decided it was not enough and packed up, closing shop, and moved south of the border to start his punting career into overdrive.

"I wanted to prove myself, " he says. "You have to be out of the ordinary to make money." "I fancied myself as a race reader and I thought I could crack the system. My first big win was about £80,000 and within 6 weeks it had all vanished. I was drinking. I soon discovered that drinking and gambling don't go together!"

The largest venture Curley orchestrated in Ireland was the ever famous 'Yellow Sam' coup. In this one endeavour he netted almost £300,000. The race was a race that took place at the Mount Hanover Amateur Riders Handicap Hurdle at Bellewstown on the 25th of June 1975. Bellewstown, a small country Track, just north of Dublin, at the time had just one phone line. Curley and his team got work backing the horse off-course in stakes up to £50, while the others involved made sure the phone was occupied. This was pre-modern technology days so it was impossible for the bookmakers to notify their representatives at the track that a coup was underway. Yellow Sam, who had shown little to no form in his nine previous runs, started the complete outsider at 20/1. At the end of the race, Yellow Sam won with a full 2 ½ lengths ahead of the rest

Like all the other professional punters, Barney Curley made a very comfortable living from racing. His house is a seven bedroom mansion near Newmarket, complete with an indoor swimming pool there's a Mercedes in the driveway. Its number plate simply puts it "I BET".

When asked what advice he would give to the average punter, his answer was not entirely positive. "It's very difficult to make racing pay in the bookmakers' shops with their computerised tracking systems and expert analysts. Always go to the course if you can. You will invariably get better prices by shopping around. The important thing is to control your emotions and don't chase your losses. There's always another day. I know my judgement of form is sound enough to pay off in the end." This statement helps separate Curley from a number of his peers. He knows that no matter how seasoned, there is no such thing as a sure bet and knows everyone can lose.

In conclusion, it is clear Curley is a man of skill. He was brought up to know the value of hard work and the importance of the value of ones word. Curley took a hard life and made it successful.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Meet The Girl Who Touched The Sky


This could be of interest to you. Discover how you could put a tenner in your pocket. I can't say I usually pay much attention to bookmaker offers as I use exchanges but Sky Bet are pulling out all the stops to get you involved. To learn how to get your free bet without even making a deposit click here. It is available to new account holders so it could be of interest to you. Yep, a completely free bet - that must be a 1st. In a matter of minutes I'd joined. Money for nothing. It doesn't get any easier than that. If you are not sure, just click the link and see for yourself. Remember. Nothing to lose.  

Who will write their name into racing history in 2013?

LONG RUN - ENTRANT FOR 2013 GOLD CUP
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a rare opportunity for a racehorse to go down in history as one of the greatest, with many incredible stories over the years. Best Mate, Kauto Star, Denman and Arkle are just some of the iconic winners of this great race, with a number of contenders expected to challenge for a place on the roll of honour.

The full list of entries for the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup are as follows:


  • Bobs Worth
  • Bog Warrior
  • Bold Sir Brian
  • Calgary Bay Cape Tribulation 
  • Captain Chris
  • Champion Court
  • China Rock
  • Finian's Rainbow
  • First Lieutenant
  • Flemenstar
  • Grands Crus
  • Hey Big Spender
  • Hunt Ball
  • Imperial Commander
  • Jessies Dream
  • Joncol
  • Junior
  • Katenko
  • Kauto Stone
  • Knockara Beau
  • Long Run
  • Mail De Bievre
  • Monbeg Dude
  • Prince De Beauchene
  • Quel Esprit
  • Quito De La Roque
  • Riverside Theatre
  • Roberto Goldback
  • Silviniaco Conti
  • Sir Des Champs
  • Sizing Europe
  • Sunnyhillboy
  • Teaforthree
  • The Giant Bolster
  • Tidal Bay
  • Wayward Prince
  • Weapon's Amnesty
  • What A Friend
  • Wyck Hill

While the final field has still to be decided, the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner will be one of the horses on the above list. The early favourites to triumph are Bobs Worth (10/3), Sir Des Champs (5/1), Long Run (7/1) and Silviniaco Conti (15/2). These horses are gathering significant early support, boosted by the unfortunate injury to Al Ferof who had previously been one of the favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup race.

While these are the horses thought to be most likely to succeed, Cheltenham Festival history has many examples where the underdog has triumphed and punters lucky enough to be on a long shot have had cause to celebrate long into the night. With this in mind, former Gold Cup Winner Imperial Commander is available at 66/1 with a number of bookmakers and could be worth a small wager in the hope of something special.


Cheltenham Gold Cup Day


The Gold Cup is the feature race of Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, the final day of the festival and always an extremely special occasion. The iconic race is the highlight of the day, but there are also six other races for fans to enjoy and place their wagers on.

The full schedule for Cheltenham Gold Cup Day is as follows:

Scheduled timeRace name
13:30Triumph Hurdle
14:05County Hurdle
14:40Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
15:20Cheltenham Gold Cup
16:00Foxhunter Challenge Cup
16:40Conditional Jockey's Hurdle
17:15Grand Annual Chase

The atmosphere on Gold Cup day is unlike anything else in the sport, and there is sure to be plenty of support for the contenders in all of the races on offer. There is always a huge contingent of Irish betting fans present throughout the festival, and especially on Gold Cup Day itself. Special bets are available on the winner of the Gold Cup to be Irish trained, currently available at a best price of 2/1, although there will certainly be more racing specials revealed once the race itself draws closer and the festival gets underway.
The countdown to Cheltenham 2013 is well and truly underway, with just a few short months between punters and the most exciting week of the year. Whoever comes out on top in the Gold Cup, whether it be one of the favourites or an underdog writing their name into the annals of racing history, you can be sure their legacy within the racing world will be secured forever.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Norfolk Stakes Stars

Bill O'Gorman: Trained Superpower 
Royal Ascot: The Norfolk Stakes Group 2. This 2yo contest open to colts & fillies over 5f is a featured on the third day of this supreme meeting of quality racing.

Established in 1843, it was originally called the New Stakes with Rattan winning the inaugural event. 

The race was renamed in 1973 in honour of the 16th Duke of Norfolk & promoted from Group 3 status in 2006. 

Lester Piggott is the leading jockey for this race (Abermade 1961 - Niche 1992) with 9 victories. Surprisingly, no trainer has achieved more than four winners to date.





Superpower 

This bay colt was trained by two-year-old supremo Bill O'Gorman. Racing in the silks of Mrs P L Young he was bred by D A And Mrs Hicks. This son of Superlative made his debut in 1988 and become known as a prolific-winning juvenile. 

He made his debut in April, a Windsor maiden over the flying five furlongs. This 6/5f won by a length, making all under the tender handling of Tony Ives. This talent was kept busy winning his next four races at stakes class. Pundits noted this juvenile as one of the most promising two-year-olds in training. 

Connections had bigger plans. Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes Group 3 looked to be a test. Priced at even money favourite, he made virtually all to win comfortably by two and half lengths. 

At Newmarket he suffered a shock 4/11f defeat in the Chesterfield Stakes Listed. Many considered the weight penalty of six straight wins a factor. A narrow defeat in third was seen when heading across the channel to race at Maissons-laffitte, France, contesting the Prix Robert Papin Group 2 over 51/2f on soft ground. Losing by just over two lengths gave encouragement more victories would come. 

Travelling to Ireland for the Heinze ''57'' Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) saw a truly memorable display. Stepping up to 6f on much faster ground, Superpower, ridden for the first time by Walter Swinburn, broke fast, made all, and won by an easy three lengths to take the £120,000 prize.   

Dropping back to stakes class for his next start over 5f at York looked a straightforward task. He suffered an odds-on defeat against Ron Boss' filly, Madam Millie.

The Flying Childers Stakes Group 2 would see his final juvenile contest. Finishing fifth was a fair effort if not a little disappointing.

Bill O'Gorman's charge ran four times at three at pattern grade before being retired in September of that year. 

Superpower is still remembered for his precocious two-year-old racing achievements. 


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Norfolk Stakes Stars


Star 2yo trainer: Jack Berry

Royal Ascot: The Norfolk Stakes Group 2. This 2yo contest open to colts & fillies over 5f is a featured on the third day of this supreme meeting of quality racing.

Established in 1843, it was originally called the New Stakes with Rattan winning the inaugural event. 

The race was renamed in 1973 in honour of the 16th Duke of Norfolk & promoted from Group 3 status in 2006. 

Lester Piggott is the leading jockey for this race (Abermade 1961 - Niche 1992) with 9 victories. Surprisingly, no trainer has achieved more than four winners to date.



Mind Games

Puissance (6.4f) — Aryaf (CAN) (Vice Regent (CAN) (8.8f)
Trainer J Berry
OWNER: Robert Hughes (shropshire)


Mind Games was a second foal, half-brother to Able Fun, 1m winner at 2, Prince Ary, 10f winner at 3, & Quiz Show, 1m winner at 3, later dam of smart sprint 2yo Right Answer; dam unplaced at 2-3, half-sister to quite useful miler Peartree House

On the 24th March 1994 Mind Games won the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes by a neck from Jobran, trained by Gay Kelleway, at 4/1 joint favourite. Jack Berry - the renowned trainer often noted for his red shirts - had unveiled one of the most talented horses from the vast string of horses. Berry was well known for his early-season dominance of two-year-old races. This son of Puissance ran seven times at two, winning his first three races with a ready success taking the Norfolk Stakes (Group 3) at Royal Ascot over 5f. He suffered his first loss (5th) when competing at Leopardstown (IRE) in the Heinze 57 Phoenix Stakes (Group 1). Mind Games continued to mark himself as a top-class two-year-old racing at Group level and narrowly losing by a short head in the Flying Childers (Group 2).

A successful career at 3 & 4 saw him race from Listed to Group 1 level, winning a further four races, with the Temple Stakes (Group 2) at Sandown being a notable success. Mind Games raced at Group 1 level on nine occasions but never won at this level albeit finishing 4th in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York, beaten by two length behind Pivotal. 

Berry's star raced once as a five-year-old before being retired to stud.

In his career, Mind Games raced 20 time, winning 7 races and won total prize money of over a quarter of a million pounds and an official rating of 112.

Norfolk Stakes Stars

Norfolk Stakes Group 2 Winner - Reckless Abandon
Royal Ascot: The Norfolk Stakes Group 2. This 2yo contest open to colts & fillies over 5f is a featured on the third day of this supreme meeting of quality racing.

Established in 1843, it was originally called the New Stakes with Rattan winning the inaugural event. 

The race was renamed in 1973 in honour of the 16th Duke of Norfolk & promoted from Group 3 status in 2006. 

Lester Piggott is the leading jockey for this race (Abermade 1961 - Niche 1992) with 9 victories. Surprisingly, no trainer has achieved more than four winners to date.

A number of outstanding juveniles have won this race including Niche, trained by Richard Hannon. She went on to win the classic trial Nell Gwyn before finishing  second in the 1,000 Guineas. Sadly this wonderful filly was tragically killed in a freak road accident after unseating her rider on the gallops. Hannon said: ''She was one of the best I ever trained. I still can't believe it happened.''

In 2001, Johannesburg trained by Aidan O'Brien and owned by Michael Tabor & Sue Magnier won the Norfolk Stakes before notable successes. This exceptional horse remained unbeaten in seven starts at two including the Phoenix Stakes, Prix Morny, Middle Park Stakes & Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Group 1. He was named Cartier Award for Two-Year-Old European Champion Colt & United States Champion Two-Year-Old Champion Colt 2001.

More recently, Reckless Abandon won the Norfolk Stakes Group 2 for Clive Cox in 2012. He is unbeaten in five races at two including the Prix Morny, Prix Robert Papin & Middle Park Stakes. He is a leading tip for the 2013 classics.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Cheltenham Free Bets Offers Released by bookmakers for Festival


GOT YOUR FREE BETS?
With the Cheltenham Festival on the horizon, online betting firms are preparing for four days of fantastic action by announcing what Cheltenham free bets they will be offering.

This is a fantastic time for punters. 

At no other time of the year do the bookmakers drop their guard to such an extent that the customer have the edge. Never have online punters had it so good.

The array of free bets on-line has rose to such a competitive level that bookmakers are actually willing to lose a significant amount of money in order just to out-do their rivals in attracting new custom to their website.

It can prove a bit of a minefield though for punters to find the best offers and deals as there are now over 20/30 offers being publicised by various bookies.

That’s where we come in. Our team have searched the internet high and low to find the best offers available for Cheltenham Festival Betting and have brought the best of them to you here.

The £25 free bet provided by William Hill, restricted to new customers, is especially fruitful to use at the Cheltenham Festival.

The offer itself is a very generous one, which punters are advised to take full advantage of. Punters signing up to William Hill are entitled to a healthy welcome offer up to £25.

All punters need to do is sign up via Hills’ official sign-up process, which only takes minutes, and deposit £25 into their account. Remember the key to accessing this type of bonus is to enter the bonus code, which for British and Irish customers is F25.

Once signed up the free bet is ready to be used. All you need to do is place just one bet of anything up to £25 and your account will then be credited with a free bet of the same value.
The bet placed has to be placed at odds greater than 1/5 and William Hill only return profit and not the stake if the bet is successful. Once receiving the winnings, punters are able to withdraw the money back into their account if they wish.

Coral, big rivals of William Hill, are also famous for offering horse racing punters some brilliant free bets around the Cheltenham Festival.

The welcome bonus that they provide is one of the best in the business, and can be used as a decisive weapon for punters who are looking to beat the bookies at Festival.

New customers are entitled to a brilliant sign up bonus of £30. This offer is available online to punters who sign up and deposit up to £30 on their first visit to be used on any of the markets for the Festival.

Ladbrokes arguably offer one of the best free bets offers in the business, with £50 being made available to punters who sign up to their website especially for the Cheltenham Festival.

All any potential new punters need to do is sign up via Ladbrokes offical sign-up process, which takes minutes, and deposit £50 into their account.

Remember, the key to accessing this type of bonus is to enter the bonus code, which for British and Irish customers is FB50.

For punters that are looking to bet regularly during the four-day extravaganza, taking advantage of the offer from 888Sport.com looks a good move.

The way in which the £88 free bet functions is in form of a match-bet scenario, repeated over a certain period of time.

After initially depositing your first £10 into your 888Sport account, you will instantly receive a match-bet of £10 to use on the Cheltenham Festival, amongst other sports book options.

The remaining money allocated to new customers will be activated and arrive at your account on the 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 19th time you deposit another £10.

The final free bet will be available to use on your 22nd deposit of £10, where £18 will be credited to your account – giving you a total of £88 of free bets to play with for the Festival.


Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)


The excitement of Royal Ascot's second day sees the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 (19th June, 2013). This 5f race for two-year-old fillies is named after Queen Mary the consort of King George V. The race was first run in 1921 with Wild Mint proving victorious.

In 2004, the Queen Mary was upgraded from Group 3 status. 

From a historical perspective, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 5 wins (Supervisor 1932 - Apparition 1946). While Fred Darling has trained 7 winners. 

Since the 1990s Richard Hannon & Mick Channon have achieved great success with a number of talented fillies. This race has been a tip for future juvenile successes. Lyric Fantasy, Gay Gallanta, Blue Duster, Attraction & Queens Logic where all awarded the title of European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Many others have been made favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, including the ill-fated Bint Allayl, who was trained by Mick Channon. One of the most successful winner was seen in 2003. Attraction, a small filly with terrible conformation,  trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Kevin Darley, won by three lengths. This exceptionally gifted filly went on to win both English & Irish 1,000 Guineas.    

Famous past winner:


Ceiling Kitty winning the Marygate Listed Stakes at York
Ceiling Kitty

This bay filly, a daughter of Red Clubs, is trained by Tom Dascombe. Andrew Black - one of the founders of Betfair - and The Master Bettors owned this tough juvenile. She was bred at Black's stud in Cobham, Surrey. 

Ceiling Kitty was sent to the Tattersall October Yearling Sales where she was bought by the vendor for 16,000gns.

This February foal started her career in a fillies' maiden at Kempton. Starting 11/4f she finished a creditable second after a terribly slow start. In April she made her second start at Beverley over 5f on testing ground. By all account this was a disappointing performance. The joint favourite could only finish fourth of ten, beaten a number of lengths.

Clearly connection held this filly in some regard but so far all had not gone to plan. 

However, a return to Kempton saw a professional third start to win by half a length. 

Dascombe's charge was one of the outsiders for the Marygate Fillies' Stakes Listed contest at York over 5f. Early season hot shot, Bailey's Jubilee, was an odds-on favourite but ran poorly. Ceiling Kitty ran on strongly to win by two lengths at 20/1. Many considered this a surprise victory. 

Her next target was the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 at Royal Ascot, 2012. Although priced at 20/1, seemingly second string to the stable's debut winner Upward Spiral, she made the most of her experience winning by a length from Michael Bell's Hoyam who finished with great gusto. Once again, Ceiling Kitty defied the odds beating twenty six rivals bagging a prize of over £42,000.

After a month on the sidelines she contested the Flying Childers Stakes Group 2, which featured some of the fastest two-year-olds in training. Finishing 4th, beaten less than two lengths, was a bold effort over this 5f dash. Hoyam finished a place behind.

Her penultimate race saw her competing at the highest grade: the Jaguar Cheveley Park Stakes Group 1 at Newmarket. Here she would attempt 6f for the first time. Finishing 7th behind Rosdhu Queen was no disgrace.

The finale to a sparkling two-year-old season saw her fly to the Unites States being the only European runner at Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint over 6f. Tom Dascombe commented: ''She's tough and has experience. If she gets 6f on dirt she has some sort of chance and she probably doesn't need to be to top class to win this race.'' However, this bonny filly never looked happy and was bustled to the front only to finish last.


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Queen Mary Stakes Stars


The excitement of Royal Ascot's second day sees the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 (19th June, 2013). This 5f race for two-year-old fillies is named after Queen Mary the consort of King George V. The race was first run in 1921 with Wild Mint proving victorious.

In 2004, the Queen Mary was upgraded from Group 3 status. 

From a historical perspective, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 5 wins (Supervisor 1932 - Apparition 1946). While Fred Darling has trained 7 winners. 

Since the 1990s Richard Hannon & Mick Channon have achieved great success with a number of talented fillies. This race has been a tip for future juvenile successes. Lyric Fantasy, Gay Gallanta, Blue Duster, Attraction & Queens Logic where all awarded the title of European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Many others have been made favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, including the ill-fated Bint Allayl, who was trained by Mick Channon. One of the most successful winner was seen in 2003. Attraction, a small filly with terrible conformation,  trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Kevin Darley, won by three lengths. This exceptionally gifted filly went on to win both English & Irish 1,000 Guineas.    

Famous past winner:

Lyric Fantasy


Lord Carnarvon, who passed away in 2001
This Irish bred filly, owned by Lord Carnarvon & Susan Magnier, was trained by elite two-year-old handler Richard Hannon. She was bred by County Cork-based Minch Bloodstock.

Although an early, January, foal, this bay daughter of Tate Gallery was often quoted as being ''small or tiny'' and fondly named ''The Pocket Rocket'' which illustrated her ample pace to diminutive size. 

Interestingly, Lyric Fantasy never raced at maiden class, starting her career at Windsor winning in the Lady Caroline Stakes in April, 1992. Clearly held in some regard by connections, she went to Sandown for the National Stakes Listed race. An impressive six length victory gave hope this was a juvenile of pure class. 

Royal Ascot beckoned and she was priced 11/8f for the Queen Mary Stakes. Michael Roberts led all the way for an ''impressive'' five length victory. She excelled with an all-age course record. 

Her blistering early pace left her opposition struggling and that was emphasized when taking a huge prize in the Super Sprint Trophy at Newbury. After a furlong this 2/5f hit the front, sprinting clear to win easily by six lengths. Richard Hannon commented: ''Her speed is breathtaking.'' 

In a bold move Hannon opted to go for the Nunthorpe Stakes Group 1 at York over 5f. Although two-year-olds have a handy weight advantage against their older counterparts, few took this route and winning a tough task. However, expectation was high for this tiny horse with an abundance of pace. Hold-up tactics were employed and Roberts' mount ran on strongly to win by half a length.

Bookmakers quoted prices as short as 14/1 for the 1,000 Guineas although there were concerns she would never get the trip of one mile. 

Her final race of the two-year-old season saw her attempt six furlongs for the first time in the Cheveley Park Stakes Group 1 at Newmarket. In a small field of class performers she could never catch leader Seyyadati who had previously won the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Some questioned her race tactics of being held up.

Lyric Fantasy was sent to the 1,000 Guineas for her first race at three. Her only attempt at one mile saw her finish sixth of twelve. She wasn't disgraced being beaten by less than four lengths behind Cheveley Park Stakes victor Seyyadati, trained by Clive Brittain.

Dropping back for her next start over 6f saw a comfortable success. 

However, her last two performance back at 5f proved disappointing. She finished unplaced in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot & then last behind Lochsong in the Nunthorpe. 

She was retired with total prize earnings of over £320,000. Not bad for a yearling who was sold for 12,500gns. At the end of her two-year-old season she was sold for 340,000gns. In 1992 she was named European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly and highest rated by the International Classification.       

Queen Mary Stakes

ATTRACTION QUEEN MARY WINNER  
The Queen Mary Stakes Group 2 is run on the second day of Royal Ascot, 19th June, 2013. This race is for two-year-old fillies competing over 5f. It is named after Queen Mary the consort of King George V. First raced in 1921 it was won by Wild Mint.

In 2004, the Queen Mary was upgraded to Group 2 status. 

From a historical perspective, Sir Gordon Richards won the most races with 5 victories (Supervisor 1932 - Apparition 1946). While leading trainer Fred Darling trained 7 winners (Margeritta 1924 - Apparition 1946). 

Since the 1990s Richard Hannon & Mick Channon have achieved great success with a number of talented fillies. This race has been a tip for future juvenile successes. Lyric Fantasy (known as the ''pocket rocket''), Gay Gallanta, Blue Duster, Attraction & Queens Logic where awarded the title of European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. Many others have been made favourite for the 1,000 Guineas, including the ill-fated Bint Allayl, who was trained by Mick Channon. Probably the most successful winner was seen in 2003 with Attraction, a small filly with terrible conformation.  Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Kevin Darley, she won by a stylish three lengths. She was an exceptional talent going on to win English & Irish 1,000 Guineas.       

Lily Agnes Stakes

Lily Agnes
Chester's Boodles May Festival - Stan James Cup Day will see a bumper crowd for the Manor House Stables Lily Agnes Stakes (Class 4). This opening race of the meeting (8th May) starts at 1:35 - a 5f sprint for 2 year olds. It is sponsored by leading 2yo horse trainer, Tom Dascombe. This race has seen many a talented winner & tip for future success. In recent year it has been won by All Fur Coat, Lily's Angel & Julius Geezer. Talented juveniles, such as The Lord, trained by Bill Turner, and Star Rover, trained by David Evans, won this race before making names for themselves. 

But who was Lily Agnes? 

In fact, Lily Agnes (1871 - 1899) was a thoroughbred racehorse. This daughter of 2,000 Guineas & Derby winner, Macaroni, was a talented two year old who won all of her six starts. At three, she won six of her ten races including the Northumberland Plate & Doncaster Cup. In total she won 21 races. She is probably best known for being the dam of a racing great, Ormonde, who won the Triple Crown in 1886.Other notable foals included Farewell who went on to win the 1,000 Guineas. 

Lily Agnes died in June 1899 aged 28 at Eaton Stud.      






Friday, 18 January 2013

Coventry Stakes Stars

Ladas went on to with 1894 Derby
The Coventry Stakes Group 2 is the first juvenile contest at Royal Ascot. This race for colts & fillies is run over 6f & noted as a source of many champions. Named after the 9th Earl of Coventry, it has a long history. It was first run in 1890 won by a horse called The Deemster. Historically, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 9 wins (Manitoba 1933 - King's Bench 1951). While the leading trainers are Frank Butters (Fairway 1927 - Palestine 1949) & Fred Darling (Lemnarchus 1930 - The Cobbler 1947) respectively. Both trained 7 winners. Since 1980, Aidan O'Brien has proven the most successful trainer winning 6 races, a number being outstanding thoroughbreds. Other notable trainers in this modern era include Richard Hannon.
     
The Coventry Stakes Group 2 is run on Tuesday, 18th June, 2013.

Whether past or present, the Coventry Stakes Group 2 has seen an number of incredibly talented horses.  In truth, the Coventry Stakes is often a tip for future stardom. 

High Class Equine details our Top 10 Coventry Stakes Group 2 Winners.

Ladas (1893)

This son of  champion sire Hampton was a bay, trained at Newmarket at Melton House Stables by Matthew Dawson, owned and bred by Lord Rosebery from Crafton Stud.

In 1894 Lord Rosebery became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.   

Interestingly, this colt was unnamed when he won his debut in easy fashion in the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom Downs. Up until 1946 racehorses in England were allowed to race without an official name.  At that time he was simply known as '' The Illuminata colt'' after his dam. His second start saw him compete at Royal Ascot in the Coventry Stakes, where he started 6/4f. He led from the start and won by one and a half lengths.

After a three month break he returned to win the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster easily from his sole rival Sempronius. After this victory, he was officially named Ladas. His final contest at two saw him race in the Middle Park Plate (Stakes) at Newmarket. Starting 1/2f he was never in danger and won by two lengths. 

After a successful season he was made 5/2f for the Derby.

Ladas headed straight for the 2,000 Guineas when making his three-year-old debut. In an eight-strong field, ridden by Jack Watts, it turned into a dual with Dewhurst Stakes winner, Matchbox. After matching strides, Ladas ran on to win by to one and a half lengths. Bookmakers made him 8/13f to win the Derby, which looked to be his next engagement. However, connections decided to take an easy option in the Newmarket Stakes priced 1/12f. He won ''unextented'' from St Florian against four opponents. Such was his popularity that not only was his price cut to 4/9f he was protected by a group of police detectives.

By the time of the Derby, Lord Rosebery's colt was priced 2/9f, with old adversary Matchbox a worthy second favourite. Ladas traveled in ''grand style'' looking an easy winner but Matchbox responded well and for the first time in the bay's career he was pressed and ''forged ahead'' to win by just than two lengths, the remainder six lengths  further back in third.

As a student Rosebery predicted he would marry an heiress, become Prime Minister and win the Derby. At Westminster, Ladas' win was cheered in by the House of Commons. However, some churchmen criticised him for being involved with the ''dishonesty and degradation'' of the racing world.  Rosebery replied that he had ''no vestige of shame'' in owning a good horse and presented one of Ladas' winning horseshoes as a gift to United States Ambassador Thomas F Bayard. 

Ladas was then matched against Isinglass who won the Triple Crown in 1893, for a £10,000 price contesting the Princess of Wales' Stakes over one mile at Newmarket. The early pace was slow, but Watts moved to the front at the furlong pole but immediately challenged and overtaken by Isinglass and Bullingdon. The former won by a head with Ladas finishing third, who was eased when beaten. Some considered the slow pace a reason for his defeat. 

The Eclipse Stakes at Sandown met again over ten furlongs and after Isinglass looked to go a stride too fast chasing the outsider of the field who went full throttle. However, Ladas was unable to overhaul the favourite who won by a one length. Watts admitted he had been beaten by a better horse.

Ladas was sent to Doncaster for the St Leger with hopes high of winning the Triple Crown. The fractional odds-on favourite went clear. However, the outsider of the field, Throstle priced 50/1, pulled ahead in the closing stages to win by three quarters of a length. 

He raced once at four after many training problems to finish fourth. 

He was retired to stud where he sired Classic winner Gorgos (2,000 Guineas) and Troutbeck (St Leger). He was retired from stud in 1912 & died in 1914 at his owner's stud at Mentmore.     

    

Coventry Stakes Stars

STEVE CAUTHEN RIDING ANOTHER CLASS 2YO  DEAD CERTAIN
The Coventry Stakes Group 2 is the first juvenile contest at Royal Ascot. This race for colts & fillies is run over 6f & noted as a source of many champions. Named after the 9th Earl of Coventry, it has a long history. It was first run in 1890 won by a horse called The Deemster. Historically, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 9 wins (Manitoba 1933 - King's Bench 1951). While the leading trainers are Frank Butters (Fairway 1927 - Palestine 1949) & Fred Darling (Lemnarchus 1930 - The Cobbler 1947) respectively. Both trained 7 winners. Since 1980, Aidan O'Brien has proven the most successful trainer winning 6 races, a number being outstanding thoroughbreds. Other notable trainers in this modern era include Richard Hannon.
     
The Coventry Stakes Group 2 is run on Tuesday, 17th June, 2014. See today's analysis here.

Whether past or present, the Coventry Stakes Group 2 has seen an number of incredibly talented horses.  In truth, the Coventry Stakes is often a tip for future stardom. 

High Class Equine details our Top 10 Coventry Stakes Group 2 Winners.

High Estate 

This American bred son of Shirley Heights was trained by Henry Cecil (pre knighthood), owned by Robert Sangster and bred by H J Joel. 

High Estate was an early January foal and a precious, talented two-year-old. In fact, he was unbeaten in his juvenile career, winning five consecutive starts. This precocious brown colt made a early start to racing when competing in a Doncaster maiden on May, 1988. He was a hot 4/9f. Steve Cauthen rode this youngster to an impressive 6 length victory.  

Just over two weeks later he would be raised substantially in class to contend the Coventry Stakes Group 3 (Group 2 status in 2004) over 6f. Surprisingly, by today's standards, this saw a small field of just 9 runners. The betting suggested this was a two-horse race and High Estate was made odds-on favourite. Sir Michael Stoute's Dancing Dissident (who won in similarly impressive style on debut) was fancied to go well. It was a close match but High Estate led well over one furlong out to hold a constant threat of the runner-up ridden by ''choir boy'' Walter Swinburn.

It was no surprise to see Cecil's leading juvenile hope step up in distance when heading for Goodwood's Lanson Champagne Vintage Stakes Group 3. This time the 6/5f was ridden off the pace by Cauthen. Although winning by just half a length, it was a comfortable performance. Spitfire I, Stone Flake & Sharp N' Early filled the places in a blanket finish.

In mid August Cecil's charge won the Imry Solario Stakes Group 3 at Sandown over 7f. Polar Run, trained by Guy Harwood, finished 2nd, two lengths behind. 

High Estate completed an unbeaten two-year-old campaign with a comfortable win at Ascot taking the Royal Lodge Stakes Group 2 by 4 lengths. Racing over 1m for the first time, he was ridden by Michael Roberts. The stable fielded the runner-up, Samoan. 

His three-year-old career looked full of promise but with connections clearly feeling the 2,000 Guineas trip insufficient he had a rather indifferent if not disappointing season.

Returning for a Listed class event at Goodwood - over 1m 2f on firm ground - this even money favourite held every chance at the two pole only to tire in the final furlong, not disgraced, but finishing 5th. 

A victory came his way when dropping to Stakes class at Newcastle in a three-runner race. 

In less than a month's time he would make a return to pattern class. The William Hill Class Group 3 over 1m 2f. A saw small field of just three runners so him finish third.

High Estate concluded his career at the highest level when competing at Newmarket in the Group 1 Dubai Champion Stakes. He was well held in 9th place. 



  

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Coventry Stakes Stars

HENRYTHENAVIGATOR
The first 2yo race of Royal Ascot - The Coventry Stakes Group 2. This contest for colts & fillies is run over 6f. Named after the 9th Earl of Coventry, it has a long history first run in 1890 won by The Deemster. Historically, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 9 wins (Manitoba 1933 - King's Bench 1951). Leading  trainers with most winners are Frank Butters (Fairway 1927 - Palestine 1949) & Fred Darling (Lemnarchus 1930 - The Cobbler 1947) respectively. Both trained 7 winners. Since 1980, Aidan O'Brien has proven most successful winning 6 races, training some of the most talented thoroughbred race horses. Other notable trainers of this modern era include Richard Hannon.
     
The 2013 Coventry Stakes Group 2 is run on Tuesday, 18th June.

Whether past or present the Coventry Stakes Group 2 has seen an number of incredibly talented horses and fascinating betting. 

High Class Equine details our Top 10 Coventry Stakes Group 2 Winners starting with: 

Henrythenavigator (USA)

This brown son of Kingmambo was trained by Aidan O'Brien, in the ownership of Mrs John Magnier, bred by Western Bloodstock. His 11 race career saw an impressive 7-length debut victory when priced odds-on at Gowran Park.

Travelling across the Irish Sea for his second start, this colt was driven out to win the Coventry Stakes Group 2 by just under 1 length from the David Elsworth-trained Swiss Franc.

He was to race twice more in his juvenile campaigned in Ireland, probably hampered to some extent by testing ground conditions. Finishing 2nd in the Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) & 3rd in the Futurity Stakes (Group 2) could hardly be considered disappointing by anything other than an exceptional horse. 

His 3yo campaign saw him running at Group 1 class on all but one occasion. A string of blue ribbon events came his way.

In May, 2008, he won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket by a nose. In the same month he challenged his old adversary, New Approach, taking the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Next came a return to Royal Ascot and the St James' Palace Stakes Group 1, holding classic-race rival Raven's Pass by less than a length. At Goodwood's Sussex Stakes Group 1 he once again held the late charge of John Gosden's equine star, taking another huge purse with a narrow victory.  These four successes saw connections travel to Longchamp for the Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp Group 1. In what turned out to be a messy raced, on softer than ideal conditions, Henrythenavigator finished fourth behind the exceptional Goldikova.   

This defeat would lead to another loss at Ascot when finishing 2nd in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Group 1. This time Raven's Pass would have his day, always holding the Irish challenger by 1 length, after being held up in the last trio, tracking the eventual winner, who always held his ground. 

His last race saw him travel to the United States when competing at the very highest level in Santa Anita's Breeder's Cup Classic. This was the first time he had raced over 1 mile, attempting 1m 2f on the pro-ride surface. With prize money topping the million pound mark, it was no surprise to see a strong field of 12 runners. With the likes of Steve Asmussen's prolific winner Curlin & Raven's Pass as leading opposition ''Henry'' was sent off a 11/1 shot.

Raven Pass prevailed by just under two lengths in a race which saw the retirement of those named horses. 

Henrythenavigator was retired to Ashford Stud, Kentucky. In 2010 he was shuttled between  Ashford Stud & Coolmore's Australian farm. He is now shuttled between Coolmore's Ireland and Australian farms.

He retired with an official rating of 125 with total prize earning of £1,384,598