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Monday, 21 June 2021

The Highs & Lows Of Terry Ramsden

A story written by Jason Bennetto, originally published in The Independent on Thursday, 7th May 1998, charting the highs and lows of Terry Ramsden. He was the archetypal Thatcherite success story. The son of a postal worker from Romford, Essex, he rose to become one of the country's richest men and most powerful racehorse owners. His millionaire lifestyle, built in the early 1980s on trading in Japanese bonds, included the obligatory executive jet, Rolls-Royces, homes around the world, and the ownership of a football club. His gambling record was the envy of every trackside punter - a regular winner both on the racecourse and at the bookies.

He was a true Eighties self-made man with his cockney vowels and shoulder-length hair. Yet Terry Ramsden, 46, looked anything but a high-flying, city whizz- kid yesterday as he stood in the dock at the Old Bailey. A bankrupt with debts of more than 100m pounds, he was jailed for 21 months for trying to conceal about £300,000 from his creditors.




Ramsden's roller-coaster career began in the City at the age of 16 as an insurance clerk. He quickly realised he could make more money by working for himself and set up his own business, making £25,000 in the first month. 


But the vehicle for Ramsden's career was a company in Edinburgh called Glen International which he bought in 1984, when it had a turnover of £18,000. By 1987, the figure had risen to 3.5billion and Ramsden was said to be the nation's 57th richest man. The venture was based on his knowledge of the specialised and volatile market in Japanese warrants. These were options to buy shares in Japanese companies. He gambled on a rising market and got it right.


After hitting the jackpot, he was quick to adopt a suitably flamboyant and high-flying lifestyle to go with the new-found wealth. Along with his Porsche, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces, he was interested in racehorses - lots of them. At one stage he owned 75.


One of his biggest successes on the racecourse was when his horse Not So Silly won the Ayr Gold Cup in 1987. Small of stature, but invariably accompanied by minder, he was a regular visitor to the winner's enclosure.


"I'm a stockbroker from Enfield. I've got long hair and I like a bet," he once said. He also owned a Georgian mansion on a luxury estate in Blackheath, south- east London, where he could relax in a swimming pool with hologram shark fins beamed on to the water, before flying by helicopter to Walsall Football Club, of which he was both owner and chairman. He lived with his wife, Lisa, and their son, Jake. They also had homes in Scotland, Bermuda and Portugal. 



But in 1986 the market and Ramsden's luck changed. The 1987 crash knocked hundreds of millions of pounds off the value of his securities. He started to run out of cash to keep the huge and complex portfolio of securities afloat and his marriage was on the rocks. Added to this, he was estimated to have lost 58m at the racetrack - there were even stories of him parting with 2m in a single day. Within a year, Glen International crashed, owing 98m, and he moved to the United States.

In September 1991, a warrant for his arrest was issued on fraud charges and he was detained in a jail in Los Angeles until his return to Britain in February 1992. 


The next month, Ramsden was declared bankrupt - with the Inland Revenue demanding 21.5m and other creditors bringing the total debt to near 100m. Ramsden escaped with a two-year suspended sentence in November 1993 after he pleaded guilty to offences of recklessly inducing fresh investment in his empire. 


As a bankrupt, Ramsden was required to disclose all his assets and income but failed to reveal the existence of a hidden trust and concealed his ownership of three million shares in the Silversword Corporation, a Canadian company in which he had a controlling interest. Thousands of pounds was paid from the trust fund to Ramsden's mother, Florence, a former cleaner, which she passed on to her son. He also failed to mention winnings of £77,000 in 1992, from an accumulator bet involving five horses and a dog.


Last year, the Serious Fraud Office announced that Ramsden was to be prosecuted for failing to disclose assets.


At his trial, Ramsden admitted failing to disclose about £300,000. It was also revealed that the fund had also helped pay for a house worth £323,800 for his wife and son.


Jailing Ramsden for 21 months, Judge Peter Beaumont QC also ordered him to pay £10,000 towards prosecution costs. He told Ramsden: "You broke the law and must now be punished." The judge said he would serve at least half the sentence in prison.


Ramsden, of Fulham, south-west London, pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Insolvency Act by failing to disclose all his assets. Anthony Arlidge QC, for the defence, said: "He was motivated by a desire to win back his wife and restart his family life. He accepts now that is no longer possible." He added: "He is a man of considerable talent, who for a long time was extremely successful. Rightly or wrongly, he felt his failure was not his fault but due to the misguided views of others."

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Horses That Probably Win in the Upcoming Preakness Stakes 2021

Preakness Stakes 2021 is one of the most exciting events you don’t want to miss out on. You might be preparing your horse race betting skills as the 146th running of Preakness Stakes will commence sooner on May 15, 2021. If you were still unsure which horse to bet on and were in a hurry to prepare for the event, then you are reading this right. Hence, let’s take a glimpse at horses that will probably win in the upcoming Preakness Stakes 2021.

About Preakness Stakes Horse Racing Preakness Stakes Horse Racing is one of the enormous events in America. It was attended by a vast population of the audience, making it popular across the world. The event usually takes place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, on every third Saturday of May, about two weeks after the Kentucky derby. 

Thus, this year, the Preakness Stakes will open on May 15, 2021. It is a Grade I race run over 9.5 furlongs or 1,900 meters long. Hence, it is considered the shortest race among the three triple crown races. Preakness Stakes is, in fact, a festive event. It has InField Fest, where audiences and bettors can bring their drinks and have fun while watching and betting in the horse race. Bookmakers such as Royal Panda Sport can help you bet in this remarkable event with impressive bonuses. 

Get Her Number 

Get her number made its career upon winning in a maiden special weight at Del Mar with 3-1 odds and followed by an ungraded stakes race in Juvenile Del Mar Turf. This time, Get her number finished a close fourth, a mile away from the winner. 

In making his dirt debut, the two-year-old colt knocked over other horses in the race and became the winner of American Pharoah (Grade I) at Santa Anita, where he obtained a place in TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Also, he made another reputable move when he placed fourth in the Arkansas Derby (Grade I). In the upcoming Preakness Stakes 2021, Get her number has a winning odds of 25-1. 

Rombauer 

This three-year-old colt bagged many winnings throughout his career. He made a neck victory in El Camino Real Derby, followed by the 2021 Kentucky Derby Challenge series earning 10 points in the race. Rombauer debuted in Del Mar Turf, where he made a rebound to win at first asking. Then, he placed sixth in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. 

Moreover, he finished in a runner-up position in the American Pharoah at Santa Anita and won fifth place in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland. Rombauer never ceased to improve his performance with his protean attitude on any surfaces. Thus, Rombauer is expected to have a 20-1 winning odds in the Preakness Stakes 2021.

Medina Spirit 

This dark bay colt took a competitive performance as a two-year-old colt in leading the race in maiden special weight race over five and a half furlongs at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was at that time where he made his debut. In 2021, Medina Spirit took his first race as a three-year-old in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He made a late run to close to the third finisher in the race. However, he continued to improve in Robert B. Lewis Stakes and went to an early lead where he became the even-money favorite in a field of six. After that, he raced again in the San Felipe Stakes and was followed by Santa Anita Derby, where he retook second place. His experiences in the race only show that he had enough preparation for this upcoming Preakness Stakes 2021. Thus, Medina Spirit is expected to have the winning odds of 7-2. 

Final Thoughts 

The most exciting event for horse racing enthusiasts is coming near. Thus, expectations about who will win this upcoming Preakness Stakes event are always there. Others may just bet on their favorite horses. However, those who want to win with high probability keep on looking for the best odds. 

Winning your bet in this horse race event would be memorable to you, so keep on digging facts and take a deep look at the winning odds of every horse. Paying attention to the slightest details would even give you a more rewarding experience.

Monday, 3 May 2021

US Racing Bets – Top Tips

With races coming thick and fast this season, punters know they have unlimited chances to place winning bets. At different venues across the US, some of the nation’s top horses compete for honours. Just because you cannot be physically present at the horseracing venues, doesn't mean you cannot partake in the thrill of picking the winning horses. Below we share the daily picks of US races based on stats and current form so that you can place your bets confidently without having to watch how the horses perform at a land-based venue.

Louisiana Downs

At the Louisiana Downs, there will be seven races throughout the day. The first race features a couple of horses that dropped in grade that are also tipped as the favourites. One of these horses is Chick Lips who finished in a respectable eighth position. Going into this race, Chick Lips is the preferred choice, but he faces stiff competition from RootnandToon. The second race is a bit of a rivalry between Fast Dashing Candy and Karoles Patriot. The winner of the race is expected to be between these two, but Fast Dashing Candy has a bit of an advantage as he won his last race at Evangeline in November.

With a string of near misses during the whole of 2017, Pool Party Girl will want to start 2018 on a high by winning this race. It will be a tough task however as she has to finish in front of Reachingforthemoon. Reachningforthemoon herself had an indifferent 2017, but has the added advantage of experience. The other highlight event is race 5 with two favourites, FH Tochin and Hez Our Valentine. FH Tochin won her maiden over the C&D, though Hez Our Valentine drops into the race from an upper-grade race where he managed to compete.

Mahoning Valley

The first race at Mahoning Valley features a horse that was widely expected to dominate the headlines at the start of 2017, El Gordo Navas. However he failed to do so as a result of a number of injuries that limited his experiences. El Gordo Navas will face competition from Battle Crossing and Three Pillars for pole position. In race 4, Don’tbothermenow who struggled at this venue a few weeks back will be seeking a change in fortunes. Odds are in favour of Dontbothermenow more so as his main competitor, Magic Apple, who lost dismally.

In race 6 is an emerging horse causing waves in US racing known as Cindor Bolt. Cindor Bolt’s previous race is a testament to his ability and performance where he went on to win without any effort. Cindor Bolt’s is the clear favourite to win, while Game of Dreams and Enta the Circle are predicted to be close contenders.

Turf Paradise

The first race at Turf Paradise features two horses that dropped a grade, and they are both favourites to finish in the ‘Place’ positions. This will be the third race in a row for Miss N Wildcat in this race group and as such is expected to be more accustomed to the surroundings and the turf. Another fellow dropper is West Princess who will race for the first time in the race group. Miss N Wildcat is probably the best nap of this race based on experience on the turf, but a surprise from a fellow dropper, West Princess cannot be ruled out.


Race 5 is another highlight race to look out for with two favourites having contrasting fortunes. Son of a Royal is simply unbeatable while Trevor’s Call, on the other hand, is not exactly a world-beater but has shown consistency over the past year finishing among the top three places in all of his races. Based on consistency, Trevor’s Call may just be the top pick for this race.  

Monday, 19 April 2021

The Concept of Value Betting

It is one of the oldest arguments in betting: are you better off looking for value or looking for winners?

To me, it is a no-brainer. Value is king. I am amazed anyone considers it a matter of debate, yet many do. Their thinking goes like this: what is the point of backing something because you think it is a big price if it has little or no chance of winning?

They will hold up as an example a football team that is playing away to the opposition that is generally accepted to be superior. Fulham against Manchester United at Old Trafford, for example. Fulham may be 12-1 but if you dare suggest that is too big a price, you are liable to be shot down in flames by those who believe that because the Cottagers are such big outsiders there is no point even contemplating whether or not they actually represent a value wager.

There is no point backing a string of big-value losers, they will reason. Refrain from getting embroiled in a debate with people who think this way. They are irrational and cannot possibly be winning punters in the long run. In betting, and in football, in particular, the value lies more often than not in the bigger-priced contenders. This is largely because of the average punter's fixation with the very shortest prices on the weekend football coupon.

Bookmakers can usually tell whether they will have a winning weekend simply by looking at the results of the top teams in the English Premiership and Scottish Premier League.

In the autumn of 2003, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic and Rangers all won on the same weekend eight times out of 11.

This caused a drop in bookmakers' profits as punters landed some significant accumulators. By the start of December, a blind £10 weekly five-timer on the quintet was showing a profit of £310. With their profits being dented, the layers reacted by strangling the match odds of the five teams that were hurting them.

Predictably, it did not prevent punters steaming into the so-called Big Five, even when they stopped winning so regularly. And with the hotpots shortening, their opponents were offered at even longer odds, leading to some decent paydays for those punters who took the rational view that the value lay with the long-shots.

The bottom line is that everything becomes good value if the price is right. You may head out of the house one day armed with £20,000 with the intention of buying a Mercedes. On the way to the showroom, you pass the Toyota dealership where the comparable car in their range is on offer at £14,000.

Your heart was set on the Merc but here is a car every bit as good for £6,000 less. You don't know why it is being offered so cheaply, but it is. You buy it and, whether you bank the six grand or use it to take the family to the Caribbean, you have made a value investment. So it is with betting. You intended to back Manchester United, but when you saw the prices and realised Fulham were so big, you backed them.

Many punters would, quite rightly, not dream of having a bet without searching for the best possible value, yet there are plenty who have no grasp of the concept of price-sensitivity and just back their fancies with the same bookmaker, be it on the phone, the net, or, more commonly, in the shop (internet punters tend to be more sophisticated and more aware of the basic premise that if you take the trouble to root out the best possible price you have a far greater chance of being successful over a long period).

Monday, 5 April 2021

Who is the First Female Jockey to Complete the Grand National?

If you love the Grand National you may know the answer to this question. 

The Grand National is one of those races which unites the populous. The housewives favourite. That's what they say. Horse racing has been very much a man's world. However, it is no longer the domain of the few. 

As the saying goes: ''The female of the species is more deadly than the male.'' 

When it comes to riding skills you have only to look at the success of leading female jockeys from across the word to see not only are they equal they often surpass. 

Charlotte Brew paved the way in 1977 when she was the first female rider to compete in the Grand National on her own horse Barony Fort. In 1982, Geraldine Rees took up the baton and rode a horse named Cheers who finished in 8th place behind Grittar. Rees competed the following year when riding Midday Welcome who fell. 

The opportunity for female jockeys to compete in the Grand National has seen a steady stream of runners including Rachael Blackmore and Lizzie Kelly who competed in 2019. 

The 2020  Grand National didn't take place because of the Coronavirus but we can be sure that the ultimate prize of this year's race will be in the sights of those female riders who wish to tell a story which equals that of the legend Red Rum. 

Of all the female jockeys to take part, Katie Walsh has gone the closest to winning when finishing third on Seabass in 2012. 

Watch this video to learn more about the history of female jockeys who have changed the Grand National. 

Betway horse racing

 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Exciting Month of Racing: Cheltenham, Brocklesby & Grand National

So the Cheltenham Festival has come and gone. I looked at the results rather than watch the races but took an interest. I read the latest blog post written by Graham on pgstipsracing.com as he knows a lot about the National Hunt and detailing that Irish-trained horses won 23 of the 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival. A pretty dire result for the English-trained (not forgetting Scotland and Wales). 

It looks like the English trainers and racing calendar have some work to do. It seems that it's too easy for the better English National Hunt horses to keep out of the way of each other and pick up price money but this leads to less competitive races and horses with some limitation compared to their opposition from the Emerald Isle. 

It's not a subject I have much idea about.

It is great to see the start of the Flat turf season take place at Doncaster's Lincoln meeting on the 27th March. 

My focus was on the first two-year-old race which saw Eve Johnson Houghton's Chipotle win well for owners The Wood 20, who have a number of horses with the stable. 

It was a relatively small field with just 9 runners, from an original 18 declarations. It is difficult to assess the merit of any race because you need the form to settle to appreciate the quality of the individuals or lack of it. In general, the bigger the field the higher the standard. We will have to see how those placed go next time out. 

The Grand National is on the horizon. It takes place on the 10th April, Aintree, Liverpool. Perhaps the biggest story is that Tiger Roll will not be contesting in an effort to equal the legendary Red Rum and his three wins. It is unfortunate that Coronavirus denied this talented horse his chance. As an alternative he is heading for the Irish Grand National which takes place on the 5th April. It would be a great performance for Tiger Roll to win over this reduced distance. It was a brilliant performance to win at Cheltenham but you have to have slight concerns that this may be a stiff challenge. 

It's interesting to consider the Randox Grand National handicap. Jonjo O'Neill's Cloth Cap is a very interesting horse simply by his starting odds which are 4/1. If Trevor Hemmings nine-year-old starts at odds of 7/2 and less sp, it would be one of the shortest priced in over 100 years. 

Whatever happens, it will be an exciting return of the Grand National after last year's which saw the Virtual Grand National take centre stage. It was an opportunity for virtual racing to gain promotion but, personally, it is was a real letdown and was meaningless. It really is a poor relation to the real thing which is hardly surprising. 

Monday, 15 March 2021

Cheltenham Festival 2021: England Vs Ireland

It's a rivalry which has lasted generations. 

Guess what? It's not going to stop until the dust has settled at the Cheltenham Festival.

This year, not only have we got to consider which horse may win the Gold Cup but learn a little bit about the Sport of Kings from the West Ham football team. Sounds different, well wait until you watch the video. Egged on by commentator Richard Hoiles, it's both informative and very humourous. Betway Horse Racing have asked the opinions of the English and Irish players in a racing-themed game show. 

It's time to get your teeth into the Betway Bumper. 

If you want to have a laugh and learn what famous footballers have to say then you've come to the right place. They've got some hidden talents!

Take a gander.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

5:45 Chelmsford City Racing Info (12th February)


A 1m 2f Novice Stakes on standard going. 

This looks a tricky race. 

If considering betting, I would wait until the betting settles because it is likely to help. 

Sometimes, as proverb says: ''Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, always in a [fill in the blank] never in a man.

We know no man, apart from me, uttered those words. 

For a seven-runner race, we have a lot going on here and it may well be the case a few trainers fancy their chances. 

That's why it may pay to let the betting settle as it could weed out a few weak links and help clarify the situation. 

Gooner Boy is a well-bred colt, a son of Sea The Stars, out of a winning mare who raced at Group class. In the familiar silks of Amo Racing Limited, this March foal cost 260,000 gns at the yearling sales. John Gosden's debutantes can go well if starting favourite or short odds. Conversely, if weak in the betting it could indicate a few others hold claims. 

David Simcock does well with his horses on their second start and Shenu is interesting. This son of American Pharaoh is well bred and the four-time-winning mare raced at the highest level. Shenu was purchased as a 2yo Breeze-up for £175,000.  The owners, Never Say Die & Star Bloodstock, do well and Jamie Spencer is a decent jockey booking. He made his debut at Newcastle, over 1m, in a four-horse race, against a big odds-on. Shenu was impeded at the start on debut, which didn't help, going well enough at the back of the field, always in contention, rousted along at the 2-pole, then slightly outpaced and given a couple of decent back-handers, he was run off his feet, before making headway in the closing stages, doing his best work in the final half furlong. He was ridden by Callum Sheppard that day and things just didn't go quite right, mainly, I assume, because the trip was on the short side. I get the feeling a little more was expected, and this step up to 1m 2 could well see a marked improvement. From a statistical point of view, this colt has strong claims, although unless drifting a good deal in the betting may be price to chance. 

Mark Johnston is no stranger to sending out debut winners. Sea The Shells is a well-bred colt sired by Sea The Stars out of a four-time-winning mare who had a couple of attempts at Listed class although failed to shine at a higher level. It's surprising to see this colt fetched just 40,000gns at the yearling sales [considering the stallion fee is 150,000 Euros]. The betting is the best guide to this colt's chances. If weak in the market, it would be a negative. 

To add to the mix Charlie Fellowes fields the twice-raced Justicialism, who hasn't been seen for over 50 days. However, this colt has raced over this distance and showed some ability on both starts to date. This son of Vadamos was half fancied last time out at Lingfield and wasn't beaten far although finishing in fourth place. He led that day but was readily outpaced in the closing stages and may be better over a slightly lesser trip. Unless that was a decent race, he looked beaten far and square. The type of horse to run a professional race but may well be found out by one or two here if they have a bit of sparkle. 

The Guvnor is a son of Frankel who is out of a seven-time-winning mare [Eva's Request, trained by Mick Channon] who was a very talented individual winning at the highest grade and enjoying a test. She won over half a million in total earnings. Considering his breeding, The Guvnor was a pretty cheap yearling purchase at £75,000. I'm a fan of the owners The Rogues Gallery who have some decent horses and do well with Tom Clover. This colt was well backed on debut and I think connections fancied their chances. However, he faced a hard task over 1m at Kempton against a 2/7f. A slow start didn't help and an equal measure of inexperience on a turning course saw him on the back foot. Many times in that race I thought The Guvnor was getting himself organised to make a challenge but just couldn't get to the pack when the pace quickened in the closing three furlongs. I can imagine connections were a little disappointed as things just didn't quite fall into place. I think much of the problem was inexperience and insufficient trip. With a couple of weeks on the sidelines, and stepping up to ten furlongs, he should go much better. It would be encouraging if he was backed. Not without an each-way chance. 

Hugo Palmer's Countessa is the only filly in the field and at the time of writing is unfancied at 28/1. She didn't show a great deal when an 11/1 shot on debut at Kempton over this trip.There could be much better to come from this daughter of Camelot who cost $360,000 at the yearling sales. She needs to improve on that debut effort but may have needed the run. It would give some hope if backed as the stable do often go well second time out. A difficult horse to assess but may be better than looks and the jockey booking may be a sign of some hope. I would keep an eye on the betting. If seriously backed would be a horse with a chance. 

To add to the potential competitive nature of this race we have another outsider who may be better than seen. Roger Charlton's Rumi has been off course for almost 60 days and was fancied to go well last time out when dropping back to a mile from his debut effort over 1m 2f. He didn't show much at all that day. However, from a statistical perspective he went to Kempton with a live chance. It's possible Rumi disappointed that day and could hold claims if those hopes were true. I'd expect to see some money if he comes here with a fighting chance. 

Summary: I would definitely let the betting settle. This looks a very difficult race to assess without the market's help. Even then it may be a race you wish to watch rather than get too involved. It could be the case that the leading fancies offer little value especially if a few of these outsiders have been made to look worse than they are. I would keep an eye on the market. If there is money for the likes of The Guvnor, Rumi or Countessa it could well be a sign. If all are very weak, I would take it as a negative. On balance I would have to take a watching brief. I may well give an updated nearer the off time because I will have a much better idea.  

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Converter Shows Class on Debut for Mick Channon

What I enjoy about two-year-old horse racing is that it is full of surprises, potential, hope and dreams. 

I'm not saying that other age groups of horses don't have a similar feel because horses will always surprise. The handicapper which goes from a 50-rating to 100. From plating races to listed class. 

However, those who love two-year-old racing know that it is a fleeting time. I, personally, only work within this niche. When then next Flat turf season arrives it is a blank slate for me to write the names of new stars of the future. I follow this subject matter to the highest of standards. I managed to achieve a 2:1 degree in reading Psychology at the Open University. This racing knowledge far exceeds any academic endeavour I have followed. It is a battle of wits: HCE Vs Bookmakers (layers). Sometimes they win - sometimes they lose. Long term I bet myself to beat anyone else who tries to lay horses against me. Why am I confident? Because I work harder than most people, have vast experience and appreciate what it takes to do exactly what I do. 

I run Group Horse Daily, which details the best unraced and lightly raced two-year-old colts & fillies in training. If you have never seen this website before, then take a look by clicking the link. 

Today was very busy. A hell of a lot of juvenile races - 14 to be precise. Far too many. However, there were some very interesting horses. A number well regarded. 

The 1:30 Nottingham (caught my eye). 

Charlie Hills favourite Qutob ran well on debut when narrowly beaten. 

The 8/13f ran a decent race but finished second to Mick Channon's Converter. This son of Swiss Spirit is held in high regard. I detailed this point before the race. With such a short-priced favourite it can slightly skew the betting. Few of Channon's debutants win on debut when priced over 8/1. It's a fact. If you have the software to check these things you will see the strike rate is terribly low. Converter drifted to 16/1. It is intriguing to consider what trainers think. I am sure connections hold this bay colt in very high order. But did they think beating the favourite was too much? Well, Converter was held up out the back. The reason why he touched big odds in-running on the exchanges. Racing up the rail, he coasted to the lead and won by a length or so in ready fashion. 

Interesting that I state that very few of his debutantes win at double-figure prices. There have been a few. What have I learnt about these winners? When they win a big odds on debut it details a very talented horse which is likely to contest pattern class.

This won't be Converter's last win. 

Thursday, 28 January 2021

New Queen Mother Champion Chase Contenders for 2021

New Queen Mother Champion Chase Contenders for 2021
The two-mile steeplechase division in British jumps horse racing has been dominated by Altior and a lesser extent Politologue in recent years, but neither are getting any younger. It may be time for new horses to emerge and grab the spotlight in the Queen Mother Champion Chase come the Cheltenham Festival. With that in mind, here are some of the contenders for this year’s big race. 

Chacun Pour Soi 

But for a last-minute injury that ruled him out of Cheltenham last year, Chacun Pour Soi would have been Champion Chase favourite despite the fact that trainer Willie Mullins hasn’t won the race just yet. If the Irish master handler can keep this horse fit and sound into the spring, then that is the prominent position he should occupy again. 

A three-time Grade 1 winner in the Emerald Isle, Chacun Pour Soi could improve on that record by making a successful defence of his Dublin Chase crown at Leopardstown en route to Cheltenham. He is very lightly-raced for a nine-year-old with just 10 career starts and six wins to date. 

The fact that Chacun Pour Soi is unraced in the UK and has no experience of Cheltenham are the only negatives. He looks a serious contender to established British rivals Politologue and Altior, who between them have won the last three renewals of the Champion Chase. 

Nube Negra

This might by a quiz question one day. After Cyrname, Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra became the second horse to beat Altior over obstacles with a sensational win in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park over the festive period. 

A rare Spanish-bred horse running in the National Hunt sphere, Nube Negra has never finished out of the first two in five chase starts. He was sent off favourite for the 2018 Fred Winter as a juvenile and ran third, but has clearly left that behind with massive improvement since switching to the larger obstacles. 

Despite being zero from three at the course over hurdles, Nube Negra is a different proposition as a steeplechaser. His sensational return to form over fences explains why he is among Cheltenham day two tips (ladies day), however, with the stable targeting more Festival runners. 

Put The Kettle On


If Nube Negra’s previous form at the track isn’t encouraging, then Henry De Bromhead mare Put The Kettle On could hardly have done better in that regard. She is three from three in graded races around Cheltenham. 

Those include a memorable triumph in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at last year’s Festival. Either side of that, Put The Kettle On won Grade 2 contests and then placed third at Leopardstown over Christmas. 

While that latest run leaves her with something to find on Chacun Pour Soi, regular jockey Aidan Coleman didn’t take the ride on her in Ireland and she has always put her best foot forward with him in the saddle. Put The Kettle On cannot be discounted on the back of one run which was not the original plan for her over the festive period that De Bromhead hand in mind.

Monday, 25 January 2021

NEW DISTANCES AT FAKENHAM


Exeter will not be the only course getting some of that Tuesday action, as Fakenham is also set for some turf action with seven races on the cards. The crowd should be present for this one, including free tea, coffee, and hot drinks from one of the carts on the course. The weather is predicted to be sunny and clear skies, while new rules have come into force and all distances have been increased by at least 80 yards for all the races, with the fourth race of the day getting the biggest addition at +148 yards. Some qualifiers and GBB races in this one, and should make for an interesting watch with Cheltenham and the Grand National in mind as the early big names of the calendar. As the landscape of sports continues to change due to covid-19 and now the presence of vaccines, the hope is that the Grand National streaming and other big-name events will be only for the international audience. The race day at Fakenham will be a seven-race event, with four class races making the most headlines, followed by two class threes and a single class five at the end of the day. 

Fakenham comes to life with a midday kick-off, as a class 4 GBB race for horses aged 4+ years and rated 0-110 have a go at the 8,000 GBP prizemoney. The Pudding Norton Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Race also known as the Fakenham Double Up Bonus Race, gets us started, as 17 horses make their way through 2m 4ft and 85y. The second class 4 race of the day, the Shereford Novices’ Handicap Steeplechase will run for 2m 5ft and 167y, up 123y from its usual 2m 5ft and 44y. Meant for five-year-olds and above, a 9,000 GBP prize awaits at the finish line. The second-biggest race of the day comes up next as 15 geldings and three mares do battle over 2m 7ft 197y for the grand prize of 11,000 GBP. The race will be for horses four years and above and will be followed by the biggest taking of the day, another class 3 showdown for 12,000 GBP. The Brisley  Novices’ Limited Handicap Steeplechase will be well worth keeping an eye on, with horses going an exciting 3m 186y. Another GBB race, 13 jockeys will push themselves and their geldings to the limit, with two French horses in the mix. The last class 3 race of the day, the Brisley Steeplechase will be followed by two helpings of class 4, first, the Toftrees Mares’ Maiden Hurdle Race at 2m 71y for 8,000GBP, and then the Colkirk Handicap Steeplechase for 9,000 GBP, at 2m 157y. The curtain will be called with a class 5 2m 7ft 197y burner, the Coxford Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race, for 6,000 GB. 16 mares will go the distance, with no foreign horses taking part in this one.