1. Editor’s Word
13. Dan Muscott
2. Damián English
14. Roger Hawkes
3. Adam McNamara
15. Spash Of Ginge
4. Dennis Coakley
16. Stu Willam
5. Jack Lander
17. Super Sunday
6. Dave Loughnane
18. Horse Tribute
7. Declan Bates
19. December Preview
20. Gold Cup Preview
9. Heather Downey
21. Botanica Ltd
10. Darren Bird
22. Sprinter Sacre
11. Roger Hawkes
23. Justice For Punters
12. Sheila Ahern
24. Our Partner
25. Help Our Charity
EDITORâ€™S WORDS Thank you very much for taking time of your life to read our popular magazine in which I am personally overwhelmed by itâ€™s massive readership that continues to grow on a daily basis. We endeavour each month to have something for everyone and it honestly would not be possible if I didn't have my hardworking team behind me working towards the same goal. My team work unsocial hours and push themselves to the limit to enable the 3 Furlongs Out brand to expand and constantly improve. I hope you enjoy this magazine and please give us feedback and spread the word about us. Yours Thankfully
DAMIAN ENGLISH - HORSE TRAINER November can sometimes be a quiet month with some horses going out on breaks with the winter horses still not being fully ready for the all-weather series but this November, however, has been busy and fruitful for us. We are absolutely thrilled with our two new recruits Dance Alone and Red Avenger, with Dance Alone being a close second and Red Avenger winning on their debuts for the yard. Geological has also being running well lately and I would be fairly confident he’ll find his way to the winner’s encloDance Alone and Red Avenger only arrived into the yard at the start of the month but both seemed to settle in quite quickly. Red Avenger, being a six-year-old, has been around the block and was relatively fit so it was just a case of getting him to the beach and making sure he relaxed into his new routine which he seemingly has.
His next target will be another mile handicap in early December and if he continues on an upward curve he may take in an All-Weather Championship qualifier in March. Dance Alone is only three but like Red Avenger he arrived in good health and was race fit, he’s a sprinter with a forward going attitude which suits us down to the ground. It is of course always disappointing to have victory snatched away in the last fifty yards but as a starting point we were delighted with the run. Donagh (O’Connor) said he absolutely loved battling with Seanie in the final two furlongs and said he’ll be competitive over 5f or 6f so there should be plenty of options for him over the winter
For December are only other runner may be our two-year-old Ebbagenna who has shown ability at home but has been running very green on all three of her starts. She has a very laid-back nature about her which has contributed to her laboured track efforts. But there is no real rush with her so we’re happy
ADAM MCâ€™NAMARA - JOCKEY The last month or so has been very quiet for me , as I finished riding at the end of October and don't plan to ride again until next year in order to protect my claim. I've spent some time riding Mr Faheyâ€™s yearlings, as well as having a few days off to freshen up. I'm already looking forward to next year and I can't wait for the turf season to start up again.
At the moment I've been keeping a keen eye on the all-weather and I've been watching a bit of jump racing. The all weather has been as competitive as ever, and with the added fixtures at Newcastle, it makes great viewing. I have to add how impressed I've been with Callum Shepherds recent form on the all weather. He is red hot at the minute and it wouldn't be a surprise to me if his good form continued over the winter as he has always been a talented rider with a valuable claim. Across the water in Ireland, the Friday night Dundalk fixtures are as competitive as you'd expect them to be, and I don't envy any punters in that sphere as I personally wouldn't have a chance of picking winners on any card. It came as a bit of a surprise to me that Paul Hanangan and Sheikh Hamdan have parted company, although it is probably to be expected in this game that change is inevitable. I'm sure Paul will be as successful as ever wherever he decides to commit himself next year, and I've heard more than once that people consider him as potential to be Champion Jockey again next season. The jump fixtures have thrown up some fantastic contests in the past few weeks, and I was delighted to see Cue Card successful once again in the Betfair Chase recently. He is definitely a favourite of mine to watch and his story has been fantastic, albeit with the major question mark over what could have been if he hadn't fell in the Gold Cup last year.
Hopefully if all things go well he could have a full go of the big one in March. Paul Nicholls Clan des Obeaux made a big impression on me in the novice chase at Newbury against some rivals that are solid benchmarks. He looks classy and could certainly be one for the future.
DENIS COAKLEY- LEADING PUNDIT The hidden jewel of Irish Racing is the much maligned Dundalk. Half the problem is that when seen on At The Races the place always looks empty but what is not realised is that the attendance is concentrated in the area under the stands which is always out of view. What Dundalk offers to race goers is modern facilities including a varied selection of restaurants including fast-food, Carvery and a more formal Restaurant with viewing facilities. The standard of food is good and it is very reasonably priced. On the racing side there is a varied programme including many races of a high standard and the track allows spectators to get really close to the action at the 10 Furlong Start and finish. My only provision which will not be appreciated by those in Dundalk is the All-Weather Floodlit Track would have been better located in Leopardstown where it would have had a large population to draw on and the Friday night racing could have been promoted and built into a major Friday night-out occasion for the capital. For those involved professionally Dundalk has been a game-changer with the large population of horses kept in training over the winter specifically for Dundalk providing both employment and finance. The spread of winners is also very broad with no Owners or Trainers dominating matters to anywhere near the same extent as the current situation over jumps and in fact the “smaller” owners and trainers achieve success on a disproportionately positive level compared to NH or the Flat Turf Season. One initiative I would like to see is the introduction of an All-Weather Finals Day for horses that have competed in Dundalk over the Winter. Unlike the Lingfield Park Finals Day, I would model it on one of the numerous “Grass Roots Racing” series that have emerged in recent years in the UK. In these series, horses in the lower Handicap Grades qualify through a series of qualifier races to get an opportunity to race in a Final for significantly more prize money than Horses would gain their place in the final by accumulating points throughout the winter season based on their finishing position in each race. The opportunity to race for a pot of €25-30K with a realistic chance of success would provide a great incentive and boost for the many smaller Owners and Trainers who are the regulars on a Friday night in Dundalk.
So for those of you who have never been racing at Dundalk I would recommend giving it a go some Friday night over the winter.
JACK LANDER - FUTURE JOCKEY My main ambition is to become a jump jockey, if I am lucky enough to become one, I know I have to work hard and that’s what I am doing. I would also like to be one of the youngest jockeys to have ridden in the Grand National like Bruce Hobbs and Sean Bowen, they were both 17 and with my birthday being in March I would be 17 too, and if I work hard and If I could ride any horse around the Grand National I would choose Red Rum I have a DVD called 12 Greatest Ever Grand Nationals and he looked amazing a real hard working I have been very lucky to have visited many yards over the last two years, I have seen all the hard work all the stable staff and trainers put into the horses to get them fit and ready to run the races. One yard that I have visited many times now is Fergal O’Brien’s yard and when I saw last week on Twitter that they had reached 33 winners so far, which has matched already the amount of winners they had last season. When I visit the yard all the staff are always very nice to me, I think the gallop there is amazing for the horses because of the hill and it works the horses hard, it already looks like they are going to have a great season. The winners that Paddy Brennan has ridden for Fergal also helped him get to his 1000 winner. The cake is always good there too but I cannot wait to see what the cakes are will be like when they get 50 winth
MY BOOK After my walk I wrote a book, I was very lucky that Melissa Jones from the Gloucestershire Echo helped me, and the Racing Post published for me, it’s only £6.99 and the Racing Post agreed that all the money would go to the Injured Jockeys Fund, so please can I ask you to buy a copy to help the IJF and all the jockeys they help every year. http://shop1.racingpost.com/Jockey-Jack-s-Jaunt-p/jockjack.htm
DAVE LOUGHNANE- HORSE TRAINER Another quiet month on the racing front now that weâ€™re into the winter. However the days have been hectic with a lot of work being done at home preparing the horses from the sales to begin their jumping career and the ever exciting breaking in of the yearlings! Numbers are growing rapidly and we
As the spotlight begins to grow on the jumps season it was great to see Paddy Brennan reaching his one thousandth career win and followed up a week later with an emphatic win aboard Cue Card who was claiming his third Betfair Chase at Haydock Park. It was a fantastic training performance from Colin Tizzard and a great ride from a very hard working jockey, although nothing should be taken away from the gallant Coneygree who ran a great race on his first run back from injury. We have two very promising yearlings with just a few shares left available. If you would be interested in getting involved with Ol Stock Racing, A fun and affordable syndicate, please contact me on 07527173197 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
DECLAN BATES - JOCKEY Hi folks, it’s been quite a busy month for me, and I am managing a steady flow of winners which is important. Some highlights of the month were riding a winner at the Dunkeld races, a really picturesque track on the edge I won twice this month on a very progressive mare called Written Era for local trainer Aaron Purcell. Having taken a few runs to get the hang of racing, she has now won four of her last five races impressively, and I think she will be really competitive when she takes on even higher class opposition, hopefully with me on board. Hopefully, the local trainers here in Warrnambool will not be too affected by calls for restrictions on beach access for the racehorses. What separates Warrnambool from other training centres in the state, is the great beaches they use for exercising and wading horses in, and the dunes for hill work. Top trainer Darren Weir, who’s main stables are in Ballarat, has a satellite yard here of about 50 horses, including the now retired Prince of Penzance, who was trained down here to win last year’s Melbourne Cup, along with many more of his Group One horses.
The majority of locals love seeing the horses on the beach each morning, but a noisy minority have led to less horses being allowed on the beach each morning. Hopefully, this doesn’t lead to some trainers scaling down their operations, as racing provides a huge and fundamental boost to the local economy here. It was great to see Tony Martin’s Heartbreak City run a huge race to finish second in the Melbourne Cup. We all know how he can train a horse to peak on the big day, but to bring one to the other side of the world and run the race of its life is a massive training effort.
ONTOAWINNER SYNDICATE November saw Quiet Reflection land another huge prize when she won the prestigious Cartier Sprinter award for 2016. She won the award after a superb season that saw her win 4 races from 6 starts. She started her season with a Group 3 win at Chantilly, she followed that up when scoring in the Group 2 Sandy Lane at Haydock. She then went on to the Royal meeting at Ascot where
We celebrated a landmark season with our owners by visiting Karl Burkes yard to see a parade of the horses and then went on to have a fantastic evening with all of our owners. Visiting a racing yard and being up close with the horses and staff is a very enjoyable experience. For me, personally, it’s one of the highlights of being involved in racehorses. Karl, Elaine and their team are so welcoming and it’s always a pleasure visiting Spigot Lodge.. Things are starting to slow down on the track as the flat season ends. Our thoughts turn to next season and the exciting prospects that we purchased at the recent sales. We have purchased 17 yearlings at the sales and do have shares available. We have also added 3 new trainers to the team in the shape of Michael Bell, Archie Watson and George Scott. Epsom Derby winning trainer, Michael, trains a cracking, very reasonably priced Red Jazz filly that is sure to sell well. A personal favourite of mine is the Helmet Colt that is in training with the very exciting George Scott at his Newmarket base. Helmet is a sire that we were particularly interested in this year at the sales. George Reports: ‘’He has now completed the breaking process with the minimum of fuss. He has shown a fantastic attitude throughout. Along with this, he has found life very easy in the early stages and I’m looking forward to increasing his work load in the coming weeks’’. Since the purchase Helmet has produced his 1st Group 1 winner, a bonus for this
All of us at Ontoawinner would like to extend our best wishes to Freddy Tylicki on his road ahead. Freddy finished off a famous five timer in the Ontoawinner silks when getting Mr Mo Jo up to land the spoils at Newcastle in 2012, a very memorable day for Freddy and Ontoawinner. Things like this put racing into perspective and highlight the risks that jockeys face on a day to day basis and remind us how much their work should be appreciated. It also shows how close the racing family is as they rallied around to show fantastic support for Freddy in the weeks after and will no doubt continue to do so in the months ahead.
HEATHER DOWNEY - MEDIA It's been a busy month, juggling leaving cert work & horses!! But I'm managing to do both!!! I've been quite busy with Navan Racecourse the past month. The launch night in association with Fairyhouse & Navan Racecourses was a great success in The Knighstbrook Hotel in Trim a few weeks back. There was a great turnout and the panel were fantastic on the night, of course giving a few tips along the way to those in attendance!!
Next was the Fortia Chase Day (13th Novemeber) where there was some top class racing action. There was four graded races, with the feature (The Tote.com Fortria Chase) going to Artic Skipper for Vincent Halley and ridden by Sean Flanagan who recorded an impressive double on the card! I was in charge of the trophy presentation and winning connections room on the day, it's lovely to meet & greet winning owners and trainers and bring them in for a celebratory drink & viewing of the race, to make their winning experience as enjoyable as possible which is very important! I was also updating the social media sites with pictures/videos/racing updates throughout the day which I really enjoy doing as I also manage all my dad's social media sites (Pat Downey Racing). Make sure to follow Navan Racecourse & Of course then Navan Racecourse had it's biggest race meeting of the year, The Troytown Chase & Ladies Day (Nov 27th). The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic, a great crowd turned up to what was a top class days racing, which is a testament to the fantastic track that Navan Racecourse is, as time and time again the good horses keep on coming to the track and it's great to see the the big crowds turning up to witness the action live. As they say, "nothing beats being there!" On the day I was pretty busy again, working in the office answering phones/distributing tickets/etc and also later on in the day, along with Operations Manager Amy Harding assisting our celebrity judge Marietta Doran with Ladies Day activities! An enjoyable task and the prizes on offer for both the best dressed lady & gentleman were fantastic! Great to see such great style at the races! I was also updating social media sites in between other tasks during the day when I got the chance. The feature (The Troytown Chase) went to the Gordon Elliot trained Empire of Dirt ridden by Bryan Cooper in another thrilling and competitive renewal of the â‚Ź100,000 Chase. We move on to December now where Navan Racecourse have two meetings coming up before the Xmas period on the 10th & 18th of December so make sure to pencil them into the diaries, you can't beat the National Hunt racing in Navan during the winter, you really can't! I'll also be working in Fairyouse this weekend as they have their big Winter Festival Of Racing on Saturday & Sunday. There's great graded action & you're sure to see a sky full of equine stars compete over the two days. So be sure to head to the Fairyhouse venue over the weekend.
INTERVIEW WITH DARREN BIRD Have you always been artistic? ‘As a child I always had a pen or pencil in my hand so yes I've been creating images of some sort or another for as long as I know.’ What is your 1st racing memory? ‘Probably watching
the Grand National on the T.V. with Peter O’ Sullivan doing the commentary’ Where did the inspiration to combine Racing & Art come from? I've followed racing and for many years and painted the odd horse image here and there for my own enjoyment. It's only in the last 3 years or so that I've had the courage to put my work out there on display as I originally never thought the work was good enough.
Your Pudsey drawing captured the nation when Sir Terry passed, It recently sold for a lot of money, has that led to a lot of work & have you dealt with the reaction? It was a very sad day back in January this year when we lost Sir Terry and I never dreamt my little bear image would reach such a wide audience. I have to say it hasn't lead to a massive influx of request but I do think that it's a image that most people will of see somewhere, at some point. I don't think I'll ever produce another image that touches so many peoples hearts. Of all the Horse's you have drawn, what is your Favourite & Why?I've drawn so many it's hard to pic a favourite but I would have to give a special mention to the simple cartoon that I created of 'Red Cadeaux' walking through an airport terminal having arrived again in Australia for another brave attempt to win the Melbourne Cup. He was such a legend... I miss creating pictures of him.
How do you relax away from your Art? It's not often that I do escape my drawing board but when I do I like to spend it with my family or taking the dog for a walk Your book is on sale now, how is that going & what gave you the idea for it??The Birdie Book was published last Christmas and sales have been good. I'm hoping to promote it again this year as a perfect stocking filler for any racing fan. So if you are stuck for a present for someone this year please feel free to pick up a copy from The Racing Post website or Amazon Books! Brough Scott and The Racing Post approached me out of the blue last year and said that they would like to work with me on a book. It rates as my biggest achievement to date, I feel very proud and honour to be a published artist. I have a lot to thank them for. Do you have a few horse to follow? On the flat I've loved watching Quiet Reflection and Found this year. Over jumps Thistlecrack has been simply breath taking but, I'd like to give a little mention to Poetic Rhythm for Fergal O'Brien. I think he has bags of potential and I'll be following his progress very closely. Other than that I'm really looking forward to seeing Churchill again next year, I think he's very, very special.
SHEILA AHERN - JOCKEY Time is flying by thanks to the abnormally dry weather but it was absolutely brilliant to finally get back point to pointing. Dromahane was the first of the Cork/Waterford meets for the new season. The crowd was huge and the atmosphere was even better. A big well done to those involved in the running of the point to points
We were treated to some superb finishes with the very first race, a race for 4 year old mares ending in a dead heat. One horse to keep an eye on in the future is Legal ok. He's performance was simply superb jumping precisely as galloping relentlessly. It will be interesting to see if this performance an be repeated again. . I had two mounts on my first day back and Aughnacurraveel could not have been a nicer spin. He may be a veteran but he jumped and traveled with such enthusiasm. Sydney pageant came home in front under Jamie Codd two and half lengths in to the good of myself and Aughnacurraveel. Shauna Larkin and Kerry national winning jockey, Lisa O Neill, have both got off the mark in the lady rider side of things. Shauna has really hit the ground running with two wins under her belt with her family horse Rosc Catha. He seems to have really hit form and looks like he could be a big help to Shauna in making her mark on the lady rider scene. The second running of the Today FM ladies steeplechase took place on November 16 . Rachael Blackmore was a very convincing winner on board Smadynium for John “Shark” Hanlon. It was a well supported race with 12 runners going to post and more importantly all partnerships remained in tact. All lady riders were treated to a goody bag and we were grateful for this kind gesture th
Hopefully this race remains for the foreseeable future. On a less fortunate note, Stella McGrath took a nasty fall in a novice riders race in Glenbane. We wish Stella a speedy recovery and we’re all thinking of her and her family during this tough time. It's a risky game which makes up a very close knit community.
DAN MUSCOTT- JOCKEY Well this month brought up the official end of the grass season for 2016 (although the championships concluded a few weeks earlier). It wasn't a disappointing end at all with some exciting action and decent performances right up until the last meeting at Doncaster. Mr Botti's 2 year olds really hit top form this autumn especially in the last fortnight or so, I was fortunate to make a long trip to Redcar pay of with an exciting prospect for next year in pirate look He's got a middle distance pedigree so it was pleasing he was able to take a 7 furlong contest on debut. On the curtain closing day at Doncaster I rode another nice 2 year old on debut called Omran . I've had quite a high opinion of him for a while , I loved his attitude at the races he went about his business like a pro and found only a more experienced rival to strong for him on this occasion . I then booted it down to Chelmsford for the evening meeting there where I kicked in another winner for Mr Botti's team. That was on the lightly raced Burcan. He put the race to bed very quickly and showed a nice turn of foot, hopefully he will be able to give us and his owners plenty of fun over the all weather championship season . The thought of riding him will keep me warm during the bleak winter months at least . It was great to finish off with a winner on the last day and I'm currently on a fortnight break to recharge after what has been a hectic year . I've enjoyed the workload immensely as the busier you are the more your riding which is the more the merrier for me ! I've been away to Australia to catch up with my father who lives down there and then have had a week in Bali Indonesia. I've only been away a short time but I'm keen to get back in the saddle ASAP and start hopefully where I signed off. .
ROGER HAWKE - PUNTER Right Handers! Kempton Park stages the big Christmas Festival and it’s highlight the King George on Boxing Day one of the very best race meetings of the jumps season. When it comes to gaining an edge on finding winners keep your eyes peeled for previous winners on a RIGHT HANDED TRACK – Ascot, Leicester, Ballinrobe, Carlisle, Clonmel, Down Royal, Exeter, Galway, Gowran Park, Limerick, Sandown Park – winners or a good run at these tracks often point to horses with the class and ability to race right handed. Top Jockeys in Handicaps Carrying under 11 stone During December most of the top jockeys are riding at their optimum weight so my focus handicap races is on any of the top course jockeys riding under 11 stone. This benchmark is an indication that you will be getting a top pilot on board and the amount of dead weight in the saddle is reduced to a minimum. Look especially at the smaller meetings for the not so obvious course specialist jockeys – a particularly successful system at the Bank Holiday Meetings where the number of jockeys required means we often get many unfamiliar names riding against the specialists! Distance Winners Have a Distinct Advantage Over the jumps it is essential if you want to show a profit in my opinion to make sure your selection can last the distance. When the ground is soft getting every yard is arguably the most important single factor to finding winners. I like to know that my money is going on a horse that has at least shown previously that it has the necessary stamina for the task ahead! This can be a useful way of reducing a large runner race to a few serious contenders on which to concentrate. Front Runners I do love a front runner over the jumps! I am still I awe of seeing Desert Orchid that marvellous grey steaming out in front at Ascot and Kempton Park. Other tracks including Aintree and Warwick are tracks where a prominent racer can often slip the field. I love to see my selection racing handily and preferably leading – I know some horses have to be held up and covered up but nothing encourages me more to place a bet than a bold front runner – especially as there is less chance of the dreaded brought down or being stopped in when making progress by a fall in front of your selection. Hopefully you will all enjoy a peaceful and profitable Christmas and may 2017 be a good new year for us all. @roge1409
John Neild & Splash of Ginge This is the story of one mans dream, John Neild, tells us his journey from the Streets of Liverpool to the Winners Enclosure at Cheltenham and Beyond Growing up as boy on the streets of Norris Green, a truly working class suburb of Liverpool, we had two passions, football and racing Quickly realising I was not going to be the next Kenny Dalglish, I only had eyes on one thing, being a jockey. Ever since I first saw Red Rum coming round that elbow ‘like a fresh horse’, it was all I could think of. I was the right size, weight (yes really!) and I promised my Mum that one day I would walk down our road a GRAND NATIONAL winner. I did make it as far as working at a racing yard, albeit briefly, when the then John Oaksey, got me a place with Henry Candy. Mr Candy was very decent and noble but soon made it clear that he felt he had more chance of riding a National winner than I did.. I cried all the way home…by the time I saw my Mum at Lime Street Station I must have looked like a 7 stone red eyed baby panda.
So back in the ‘Pool’ I was, tail stuck firmly between my skinny legs…I did get out of Liverpool, in fact quite a lot, but the dream never left me, I would just have to try and find a different way of achieving it. The next 20 years saw me in the USA, London, China…in fact just about the 4 corners of this planet. I had been successful (not skint), a failure (very skint)…more than once. First in the music business and then the renewable energy field, not exactly a conventional route through life and business but I was still alive and kicking… and still dreaming. So, once there was enough money in the pot, that we could afford to throw down a pit, I had to try get that dream back on track… Off I went with my ‘racing manager’(great job considering I owned no horses) Pistol Pete, to Nigel Twiston Davies yard on a freezing cold February morning in 2012. The duffle coat in the distance was frostier than the ground beneath my feet (more of him later) but Carl Llewellyn showed us around, I fell in love with the place. Continued On Next Page
John Neild & Splash of Ginge “Right Carl, I’ve got 20 grand, I’m going to buy a horse and all I want to do is win the National…” Carl, quite rightly, didn’t say a word but did send us down to The Hollow Bottom for some breakfast. Here, my friends, is where the deal was well and truly closed. Basically, it’s the pub I had been dreaming of all my life. Beer, Food and Racing…I was in love!!! So come May of that year, the horse was bought and we named him SPLASH OF GINGE…off to Nigels he went, he was broken in and I just sat and waited to get the phone call that he was scorching up the gallops. The call came, and there was bad and good news…Bad news, he was the slowest horse they think they had ever had on their gallops BUT the good news, the only other horse they had which could compare ‘snail pace’ wise was Earth Summit (1998 Grand National Winner). Well, he wasn’t quite as slow as everyone thought. GINGE made slow progress in bumpers before really showing ability in a maiden hurdle at Chepstow splitting a couple of horses rated in the 130 bracket. A disappointing run at Carlisle followed before we achieved one part of my dream, yes, MY horse was entered to run at Aintree. Okay, not the National but I didn’t care. I was mob handed, I was ready and all the horse had to do was deliver. He did, by 20 beautiful Aintree lengths As I watched him easing down close to the line with Sam Twiston Davies tapping him playfully down the neck, I felt in total dreamland and honestly thought that day could never be beaten. I sat and watched the DVD on repeat all that night with bottle of wine in hand.. THANK YOU GINGE!
What’s followed since has been well documented. The ‘slowest’ horse went on to win the Betfair Hurdle that season and came 2nd in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices Hurdle on Grand National day,.
The next season he went novice chasing and won twice at Cheltenham (yes THE Cheltenham) including the prestigious New Years Day big handicap. He hasn’t won since but he’s still racing and loving life, I have every faith he will do it again. He has given us everything and owes me This journey has been made all the more special by the people who have joined the ‘Ginge Army’ along the way.
STU WILLIAMS - FORM STUDENT It's fair to say that the Northern jumping scene has been suffering from both a lack quality and money in recent years, with the two going together hand in hand. But shoots of revival have sprung up all over the place recently, both on the equine front, as well as the human. Exciting novice chasers Cloudy Dream and Double W's have looked good for Malcolm Jefferson, while dual bumper winner Ravenhill Road has looked a high class prospect for Brain Ellison. All 3 look capable of mixing it with the big boys of the south, and Bryan Hughes, who has ridden incredible 4 and 5 timers in recent weeks, looks the go too man for any trainer looking for a safe pair of hands. In a game where you're only as good as your owners the majority of the time, it's not easy to attract the big money spinners without already having the ammunition already in the yard to showcase your talents and put your stable firmly on the map. Take Colin Tizzard for example. Like with Brian Ellison, Donald McCain, Lucinda Russell, Malcolm Jefferson, Nicky Richards and many more besides, Colin Tizzard has always been able to train a good But last seasons emergence of the mighty Thistlecrack, allied to the sensational exploits of Cue Card, have really put Tizzard in the spotlight. And, of course, has led to leading Irish owners Ann and Alan Potts sending the trainer some useful sorts to go to war with this winter.
Donald McCain has trained a Grand National winner, 6 Cheltenham Festival winners and 2 Champion Hurdle runners up in his short training career to date. While Jefferson and Russell have also tasted Festival success within the last 4 years, through Attaglance and the sadly ill fated Brindisi Breeze respectable who both returned victorious from the 2012 Cheltenham Festival. We all love a cheap buy or home bred that takes on the chequebooks and wins. But reality dictates that money will come out on top more often than not. That's just the way of the World nowadays. The trainers are capable, and the good horses seem to be finding there way back up north a bit more often. And hopefully that continues. Yes it will takes more that just a few good horses, and indeed there's a long way to go to get back to the glory days of Peter Easterby, Michael Dickinson and Jimmy Fitzgerald. But you have to take the positives where you can. And use them as stepping my stones to bigger and better days. Hopefully the BHA's Northern Lights Series has a positive effect. And with a bit of luck, perhaps some of the up and coming Northern talent will make their presence felt at the spring festivals and really start to put Northern jumping back in the big time. Written by Stuart Williams (@Jimbo_JumpsMan)
SUPER SUNDAY FOR GORDON
On Sunday 27th November 2016 Gordon Elliott sent a total of 27 runners to Troytown Chase day at Navan. The sight of all his horses arriving at the stable yard must have been like watching a well oiled army arriving. It all began in the opening maiden hurdle, where the lesser fancied 11-1 Brelade got up to win under the young hotshot Jack Kennedy. Team Elliott relied on the highly touted Death Duty in the next race which was the G3 Monksfield Hurdle. Always travelling well under Bryan Cooper Death Duty ran out an easy winner, by this time the punters were backing the later Elliott runners in their bucket loads. In what looked a very difficult handicap hurdle the team Elliott juggernaut just kept on rolling with 1-2-4 finish as Gigginstown were the winning owners again. After his close rival Willie Mullins had stopped the winning streak with Min convincingly opening his account over fences, the big race of the day was upon us. The Troytown is a difficult race to win and with 11 runners for Gordon he always had a big chance of landing the big prize. Much to the bemusement of the bookmakers he did so with Cooper again in the saddle on Empire of Dirt who went into many peopleâ€™s book for the Grand National. The bookmakers were taking a hiding! As team Elliott scooped the final two races with 5/1JF and 13/8 chances. A quite remarkable feat from Elliott and his team. I mean to do it on Troytown day at Navan, a big day in the national hunt calendar is beyond his wildest dreams. Gordon is now 39 winners clear of Willie Mullins at the top of the trainerâ€™s championship. I think he has a great chance to take the title this year, do you? Article wrote by Jamie Lindsey
SIMONSIG AND VAUTOUR
In the past few weeks we have lost two horses who had wormed their way into the hearts of the public. There names were Vautour & Simonsig On Sunday 6th November I was stunned to hear the dreadful news about Vautour, a horse that Willie Mullins described as “as good a horse as I’ve ever trained”. I have to say that watching Vautour at his best was just the most beautiful thing you could watch as he pinged every fence. His Cheltenham Festival successes stand out; the favourite one for most people was his stunning 2015 JLT Novices chase win where he and Ruby Walsh dominated from start to finish. His jumping that day was perfection and it was as good a performance as I’ve seen from a jumps horse. l really miss not seeing that this jumps season. Even more saddening for myself, on the Sunday of Cheltenham’s Open meeting the gorgeous grey Simonsig broke a leg and had to be put to sleep. He had his niggles and countless injures since the 2013/14 jumps season but on his day he was quite something to watch. His festival wins also stand out, he won the Arkle Chase in 2013 on his B game but it was still good enough to win because he had so much talent. The reason I said it was more sad was because of the hours of hard work it had taken Nicky Henderson and his team to get him back to the racecourse Even more saddening was his stablemate Triolo D’Arlene had lost a great friend that he spentless countless hours with and had shared many a good laugh. It can be such a cruel sport at times Horse Racing so we have to count ourselves lucky that we get to see great horses such Article wrote by Jamie Lindsey
DECEMBER PREVIW Winter was coming for what seemed like months as we waited for the rain and prayed for Soft ground, well the Winter has come , if the bitter wind felt in Punchestown recently is anything to go by. But with the winter ground .we see the winter horses, every cloud and all that . Two meetings take precedence this side of the Irish Sea this month. Fairyhouse begins Dcemeber with a bang with its Winter Festival which is always a real milestone on the road to Cheltenham. We can expect Willie`s wonders to be out in force that weekend that matched with some of Gordons gems I think it could be a mouthwatering prospect at the meath track. Sunday the 4th of December sees the Royal Bond at 1.10.It will be interesting to see will Bacardys take his place after his fall in Cork.The quirky Labaik is also a possible runner but it will be this week that we will see this race taking shape. The Hattons Grace follows the Royal Bond and again at the time of writing with 26 entries it is very hard to have an opinion until the card takes shape.We hope to see Faugheen ,Annie Power or Vroum Vroum Mag , but Yorkhill is also entered as is Clondaw Warrior. Willie would seem to have the choice of runners for this.The Drinmore Novice Chase is off at 2.40 and I hope A Toi Phil takes his place, very impressive in Punchestown but he could be still underestimated because of the fog that day.Alpha Des Obeaux, Bellshill,Diamond King and the exciting Disko are some of the high calibre entries. It promises to be an intriguing and informative meeting in Fairyhouse one which im looking forward to immnelsey. The following week we are in Punchestown for the John Durkan.We could Black Hercules,Douvan,Gilgamboa,Outlander, Un de Sceauz and Vroum Vroum Mag here.The recent Clonmel winner Champange Fever is entered but Willie said he would not run as he felt it came to fast after his Clonmel run. The week before Christmas is a busy one with racing in Tramore on Thursday the 15th, Dundalk on the 16th , Fairyhouse sees action again on the Saturday while Navan and Thurles each have cards on Sunday the 18th of December. The final race meeting before Santy arrives is on Friday the 23rd in Dundalk .Leopardstown warms my heart at Christmas time as much as any hot whiskey. The huge crowds that gather in south Dublin is a jovial sight. I look forward to my trip on the 27th of December as much as excited as an eight year old waiting for Santa. It can be the first time we see some Racing legends emerge, I remember watching Hurricane Fly many years back, and it changed me forever. The magic of Leopardstown is matched whith the high quality cards. For those based close enough to Leoparstown the St Stephens Day card is an annual event, mixed with excellent racing.The feature is without doubt the Racing Post Novice Chases Grade 1. The 27th is sponsored by Paddy Power and it includes the Paddy Power Dial a Bet Chase, a huge pot and an exciting race.It also features the Future Champion Noivce Hurlde which is a huge indicator for Cheltenham propsects going forward.After the excitement of the King George on St Stephens day the Lexus Chase takes centre stage on the 28th, we could see former Gold Cup winner Coneygree line up which would certainly add to the race. The Leoparstown festival finishes on Thursday the 29th which sees the Ryanair Hurdle ending a faboulous days of racing .Of course during the Chritsmas period we also see excellent cards in Limerick and Tramore.No bother way to spend a crisp winters afternoon.
GOLD CUP 2017 5 days in March I can’t wait for and that is the Monday – Friday of Cheltenham week. I’ve included Monday because this day is the day full of dreams, pockets full of money all in anticipation of the greatest show on earth. All punters haven’t lost a penny yet so everyone is in the same boat, wishing for that big bet to come in. Bars around Cheltenham and beyond are full of punters arguing over who is the bet of the meeting, who the “Irish banker” is, which horse has no chance. (It was here in 2014 where I said I’d give anyone 100/1 on IRVING winning the Supreme Novices because the only way he
would get up that hill was in a wheelbarrow, although someone took this very personally, more about that another time) Over the next few months I will be looking at hopefully decent ante post bets for Cheltenham and I thought I’d begin with the big one. It was always going to be a sight to look forward too; the highest rated hurdler going novice chasing. Who could be blamed for waiting in anticipation for THISTLECRACK to make his debut over fences at Chepstow in late October, especially the way he won the World Hurdle, pretty much at a canter. The horse did little wrong and even on his second outing over fences at Cheltenham you could be picky and say there were a few novice mistakes but that would really only be if you were looking to find fault. However all those two runs told us is that he can handle a fence, nothing else as his opposition those days wasn’t up to much at all, and obviously we can’t expect it to be at this early stage but how in the name of anything that you may hold dear is THISTLECRACK favourite for the Gold Cup in March. Prices floating about now are 7/2. Prices floating about now are 7/2. When there is seasoned horses out there proven for the task at hand. I thought watching his two runs that he was just a tiny bit doubtful going over some fences and as he has such a fast cruising speed, in my opinion slowing down to jump a fence won’t necessarily suit. Also when he has 3 or 4 other horses round him putting him under pressure, I don’t think that will suit either. Connections say its Gold Cup or bust over fences. Right now if I had a few spare shekels id much prefer to back him to win the World Hurdle again at a canter at 8/1 than this. I could go through all the intended runners at this early stage but we all know 5 months in advance that would be futile as the whole landscape can change in an instant. My initial pick for this seasons Gold Cup was VAUTOUR, in fact he would have probably been one of the biggest bets of the festival for me, another year stronger being aimed at the 3m2f at his favourite track and his favourite time if the year but now we can only but dream on what might have been. Thank you for the memories VAUTOUR.
ALL HAIL TO SPRINTER SACRE People will write stories for years to come which I think the greatest national hunt horse in my life time of Sprinter Sacre. He will be right up there with the other greats of national hunt era like of Arkle, Mill House, Desert Orchid, Kauto Star to name a few. Only a few weeks ago I was in the presence of Sprinter Sacre at the stable of Seven Barrows in a stable visit. Sprinter was getting ready for running in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. I have been so lucky to see him up close and personal of three times looking and watching his walk and also it was a pleasure seeing him at Seven Barrows. But sadly we won’t see him run again anymore and we won’t see a like of for a while or could we?. Looking back from that fantastic win at Cheltenham in March of the Queens Mother chase. Race commentator Mark Johnson said “it was the come backs of all time”. Coming to think of it, I think it’s right up there with Mohammed Ali fight of Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman. Because of the way Ali and Sprinter getting there titles back and also they were called ‘the people’s champion’. Sprinter Sacre made his first appearance in a bumper race at Ascot in February 2010. Since then he’s not looked back winning his races and winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second time in his career. Before he had a serious injury to do with a heart problem which people thought he would never see a racetrack again. But he put people wrong where he made a few comeback races. His 2016 Queen Mother Chase win was such a heart warming and bring a tear to your eye moment performance, where he made rapid progress to take the lead at the second last fence and stayed on up the run in jumping the last fence. It was fantastic to see him winning by three and a half lengths from Un De Sceaux to retain his Queens Mother Champion Chase. All hail The Greatest Sprinter Sacre.
SPRINTER SACRE RECORD SPEAKS FOR IT’S SELF. Wayward Lad Novice Chase 2011 Game Spirit Chase 2012 Arkle Trophy 2012 Tingle Creek 2012 Victor Chandler Chase 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase 2013,2016 Melling Chase 2013 Punchestown Champion Chase 2013 Sholer Chase 2015 Desert Orchid 2015 Celebration Chase 2016 TOTAL PRIZE MONEY EARNINGS £1,136,883
When is an investigation NOT an investigation? When a government department or its appointed organisation is involved? A small number of people trying to help punters have suffered phrases like the following for years: “The Minister has asked me to thank you for your letter.” “The matter is under consideration.” Or even, “Under active consideration.” You wait 14-60 days for a letter, which contains words, but not words as we understand them. Great writers often say a lot in a few words; politicians, civil servants, ‘quango’ Chief Executives have perfected the opposite ‘skill’, i.e. saying nothing in a lot of words.
The frustration is immense, because your freely given time is being wasted. You do your research, you know you have found injustice and the people who are paid handsomely to supposedly help you with injustice, do nothing. Even worse, you know other well paid people with big budgets are gaining access to the same people who write this ‘crap’, lobbying on behalf of the people and companies doing the said injustices. In the case of gambling has the last few months seen a change to this status quo? I think yes, why; because one’s job is in danger, if one continues to ignore the blatant injustices going on for any longer. The gambling industry and its trade organisations are crying; “The media are picking on us;” “Where is the evidence all this is going on?” As a CEO of a regulator (Gambling Commission, Competition & Markets Authority, Information Commissioner’s Office, Advertising Standards Authority) you can answer these questions, because for years you’ve known there is widespread evidence of the gambling industry using unfair terms, conditions, advertising and personal data collection: The media are not picking on the gambling industry, there’re just doing their job. What’s changed to cause the announcement of all the investigations into advertising, terms and conditions, use of personal data and fixed odds betting terminals? You can guess what you like and there are plenty of guesses supported by ethics, but my guess would be the media coverage. The regulators are in danger of being seen to do nothing, which is unacceptable when the general public can now regularly read, listen or watch coverage about the injustices taking place. All the personal stories the media are covering cannot be lies. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that customer identity checks that slow down fund withdrawals for weeks, even months, are more about profit management than social responsibility guidelines when previously a customer has deposited hundreds of pounds, turned over thousands, yet no identity concerns have arisen. Customers, bettors, punters, gamblers, whatever term you prefer must contribute to all these investigations where they are allowed. Don’t leave it to somebody else. ‘Justice for Punters’ has produced a comprehensive free leaflet to help people complain to what we feel is the most important investigation, e.g. the investigation about terms and conditions being conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority. You can read or download the free leaflet from here: http://justiceforpunters.org/competition-markets-authority-investigation-online-gambling-companies/ MAKE SURE you read the leaflet, then submit your evidence and complain! All these investigations referred to are UK based and I recognise many readers are from Ireland; but this is a favour UK punters can do for our Irish friends, because if the UK authorities force change to gambling terms and conditions online you can be 95% sure that everyone else will benefit as well. Returning to the article title, we must hope that the investigations do not turn out to be the classic ‘Yes Prime Minister’ investigations, i.e. simply a way to divert attention away from all the publicity and delay the correct ethical changes for even longer. Jimmy Justice (no it’s not my real name, be sensible) Website: www.justiceforpunters.org Email: email@example.com Twitter: @gondorffhenry