CONTENTS 4.DANNY COOK INTERVIEW 6.USE OF PACEMAKERS 7.NIJINSKY FEATURE 8.BETTING SYSTEMS 9.A DAY AT THE RACES 10.ENABLE WINS THE ARC 11.ONTOAWINNER SYNDICATE 12.DECORATED KNIGHT 13.TIPPING EMPIRE 14.MATRON STAKES REVIEW 15.TOALS BOOKMAKERS CONTACT DETAILS EDITOR: Darren Connolly EMAIL: 3FURLONGSOUT@GMAIL.COM
16.BRENDAN POWELL 18.HANDICAPPERS 20.PRO SYNDICATE 21.BRUCE BETTING 22.HORSES TO FOLLOW 24.TIPPING EMPIRE 25.JP TIPPING SERVICE 26.ALY VANCE 28.ADVERTISE WITH US 29.TOALS BOOKMAKERS 30.BRUCE BETTING
INTERVIEW: JOCKEY DANNY COOK BY RICH WILLIAMS Can you tell us your 1st memory of racing? . My 1st memory was watching Bobby-Jo win the Grand National in 1999. Ultimately the year after I joined the racing school. Did you always want to be a Jockey & how did it come about? . I didn't always want to be a jockey but wanted to do something sporty and when I was 16 I went to the careers office and they showed me how I could get into racing. . Can you tell us your 1st winner & your most memorable winner? My 1st winner was a horse called Debbie for Barry Leavy at Hereford. Most memorable winner would be Great Endeavour at the Cheltenham festival. What does is a normal working day for you compared to a race day? Get up at 5:30, ride out then come home and have a bath then have an afternoon run and try and spend some time with my family. On a race day I get up 5:30, ride out, head to the races hopefully ride a winner get home around 7ish. Have dinner then early night. . What is your favourite track to ride & why? Catterick as it's a great front runners track and suits my style of riding. Did you have any racing hero's when you were growing up? I always followed Norman Williamson and AP McCoy and Red Rum, always loved watching his races of previous Grand national. What has been your favourite horse you have ridden to date? My heart is with Our Vic and my brain is with Definitely Red as he's potentially the best I've ever ridden.
DANNY COOK ON-BOARD DEFINITELY RED
INTERVIEW: JOCKEY DANNY COOK BY RICH WILLIAMS
What motivates Danny Cook & do you set yourself targets? The fear of other people riding my horses and the chance they could win on them. Always try and set targets month by month but ultimately get 50 winners by end of year. Who are the weighing room jokers & who is more likely to put an arm around you? Mattie Bachelor is always the joker. Brian Harding was always the one to put his arm around you. How do you relax away from racing? Spending time with my family. Playing with my children and relaxing in the bath and lazy day into front of the television. If you could ride any horse PAST or Present, who would it be & why? Red Rum because I'd love to win a grand national. Can you give us a couple of horses to follow for the season?
Definitely Red Sams Adventure
THE USE OF PACEMAKERS By George Broughton of Eagles who certainly wasn’t Coolmore’s first choice of runner before the race. In fact he wasn’t even their second choice. But this didn’t stop the 40/1 shot winning in spectacular style. This is a result which wouldn’t have occurred if owners were limited to one runner in a race. Another way in which the use of pacemakers could be monitored would be to adopt the French system whereby horses which run under the same colours have the same odds with the bookies. An example of this could be with Churchill and Lancaster Bomber at Royal Ascot. Aidan certainly used Lancaster Bomber as a front runner to set the pace of the race to suit Churchill. Under the system used in France because Lancaster bomber was owned by the same owners he would have been at the same price as Churchill of ½. This seems to me quite ridiculous as it would fail to recognise Lancaster Bomber has a competitor in his own right. I myself thought before the race that Lancaster Bomber was a great each way prospect at 12/1 and this showed by him finishing second in the race. This would not have been the case had the two Ballydoyle entrants been With Aidan O’Brien saddling four horses for the St Leger given the same price. Furthermore, this method would it was expected that one of these could take the role of be difficult to implement when concerning Coolmore pacemaker. This proved to be the case with the Anvil horses. Due to the nature of the way in which their going clear until they reached the turn with the Michael business works all of the colours are technically different Hussey mount soon beginning to slow even when being owners. As a result it would be possible for a horse pushed along. The rest of the field with plenty of energy running in the purple and white to be a pacemaker for left, soon swept past the Ballydoyle pacemaker. Here their blue and orange colours. Thus with regards to Irish comes the issue. With the large field overtaking the racing the system used in France would be very difficult slowing pacemaker at such a rate there is obvious to implement and probably unsuccessful is so. dangers and increased risk of contact and injuries. Thankfully in the case of the Leger there were no It seems to me that if the issue of pacemakers is to be accidents. But this doesn’t remove the fact that in an solved it cannot be with a general rule like those already dangerous sport the usage of pacemakers could mentioned above. But instead with a commitment by lead to not only some serious contenders being obstewards to ensuring that all horses which race are structed but also someone getting seriously injured. So ridden in a way which can be recognized as maximizing what are the alternatives? their chances of finishing to the best of the horses ability. Where, stewards feel that a horse has been used In Australia, the use of pacemakers is forbidden. To only to improve the prospects of a stablemate bans influence this though has it difficulties. Some have must be enforced. Not just for the merit of the race in argued that perhaps owners shouldn’t be able to have question but also for the safety of jockeys and horses. more than one runner in the field. This idea is simply a non-starter, this year’s Epsom Derby was won by Wings
THE ALL TIME GREAT: NIJINSKY BY NIAMH TOWNSEND equivalent where he was ridden by his regular Irish jockey, Liam Ward where he started at odds of 4/11 and won impressively by 3 lengths. In July, Nijinsky took on older horses for the first time in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. He faced five opponents which included Blakeney who had won the previous year’s Derby, but once again Nijinsky won with admirable ease as he was brought down to a canter by Piggott near the finish and won by two lengths. Nijinsky’s preparation for the St Leger hit a setback when the horse contracted ringworm. Vincent O’Brien set him on a strict ‘rich’ diet, which included raw eggs and he soon recovered and was sent to Doncaster for the final leg of his Triple Crown. He started at odds of 2/7 in the St Leger and again won comfortably for Lester Piggott, making him the first horse since Bahram 35 years previously to win the Triple Crown. Born in Ontario, Canada, Nijinsky was a big imposing bay horse who grew to 16.3 hands. His sire was the great Northern Dancer who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes when he was three, Northern Dancer also sired Sadler’s Wells whose progeny include Galileo and Montjeu. Flaming Page, Nijinsky’s dam, won what was then the Canadian Oaks at 3 and the Queen’s Plate before suffering a career-ending injury in the American Oaks. Nijinsky was bought as a yearling for $84,000 by Charles Engelhard at the recommendation of the legendary Vincent O’Brien, with whom the horse was then sent to in order to be trained at the wold famous Ballydoyle Racing Stables in County Tipperary. At the age of two, Nijinsky won all five of his races: a 6 furlong maiden, the Railway Stakes, the Angelsey Stakes and the Beresford Stakes in Ireland. His final start of the season saw him go to England where he was ridden by Lester Piggott for the first time. His connections decided that the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket would be the best place for their superstar to go, and this decision paid off as the big bay colt won easily by 3 lengths. After a winter break, Nijinsky returned to training with O’Brien and was about to embark on a summer campaign that would see him become a piece of racing history. He ran in the Gladness Stakes in Ireland as his prep run for the 2000 Guineas which he won easily. His easy prep race win saw Nijinsky go off the 4/7 favourite in the 2000 Guineas, where he was once again ridden by Lester Piggott. He won unchallenged by 2 ½ lengths from Yellow God. Vincent O’Brien then sent Nijinsky to contest the Derby at Epsom which saw a stronger field than the 2000 Guineas, headed by the French-trained Gyr. However, these stronger rivals proved no problems for Nijinsky as he beat Gyr by 2 ½ lengths at odds of 11/8 in the fastest renewal of the Derby since 1936. He then followed up in the Irish
Nijinsky only had two more starts in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp where he finished second, beaten only by a head, and the Champion Stakes where he was beaten into second by three quarters of a length; Lester Piggott defended the horse’s defeats by arguing that he felt Nijinsky had ‘lost his fire’. The horse was then sent to Kentucky to stand at Claiborne Farm where he sired 155 Stakes/Group race winners, including three Epsom Derby winners and a Kentucky Derby winner (he still remains the only stallion to ever have sired the Kentucky Derby and Epsom Derby in the same year). Sadly, Nijinsky began to suffer from laminitis in 1985 and was put down due to ‘the infirmities of old age’ in 1992, three years before his son Lammtarra won the Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same season. Since Nijinsky won the St Leger, and with it the Triple Crown, in 1970 only four horses have won two of the three Triple Crown races (Reference Point, Nashwan, Sea The Stars and Camelot), and Oh So Sharp won the Fillies Triple Crown in 1985. Camelot was the closest horse to win the Triple Crown since Nijinsky in 2012, when he won the 2000 Guineas and the Derby before being beaten by only three quarters of a length by Encke in the St Leger.
So the question now stands, when will we next see a horse win the Triple Crown? It requires a horse with the speed to win over a mile and the stamina to win over a mile and three quarters as well as the heart and durability to win three Classics between May and September. Nijinsky had all of that. He had the qualities required to be a true champion, and he will never be forgotten.
BETTING SYSTEMS MADE EASY BY ROGER HAWKES Three more systems to get the National Hunt season off to a profitable start! Course/distance/jockey combinations 1. Identify all previous course/distance winners running today 2. Select only those course winners that have been partnered by at least one previous course success by today's jockey. 3. Ignore any race in which there is more than one qualifier. Logic: When a horse/rider partnership is familiar with a particular track, they already know what is required and how it should be achieved. This applies even more so when the partnership has already scored over today's course and distance. These potent combinations are often underestimated in the betting markets, going off at bigger prices than they should be on many occasions. Fully focused rides • • •
Check your chosen newspaper/web site for the Top Jockey at each meeting on the day. .Using the Racing Post Signposts column – either on line or in the actual newspaper check out the One Trick Jockeys column. Make a note of any of the top jockeys at the course with just one ride at that course that day. Logic: Top jockeys usually have multiple engagements on a card, which means they have to make tactical preparations for each in a fairly short time. When a top jockey has just one engagement at a particular venue, he/she can concentrate solely on the tactics for that one ride. They are fully focused on a particular race, and their visit to the track has just one specific purpose. By using the ‘Top Jockeys’ listing for each individual track, rather than an overall ‘Top Jockeys’ list, we are ensuring that each bet will be ridden by a jockey who is proven at that particular venue.
Stamina specialists Look for the race to be run over the longest distance of the day. If more than one are joint-longest, consider all qualifying races together. Using newspaper or your on line bookmakers betting prices, bet the shortest-priced horse that is a distance winner. If more than one qualifier, there is no bet. If there are no distance winners in the longest or joint-longest races, there is no bet. Logic: With extra emphasis on stamina, the ability of a horse to get the trip is more important than at shorter distances. Distance scorers have already proved their stamina, and their advantage is magnified at longer trips. They are often able to outstay classier opponents who are being upped in distance.
A DAY AT THE RACES By Breandán Ó hUallacháin This month, 3 furlongs out looks ahead to The TJ McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick on Sunday 8th October 2017. Where is Limerick Racecourse? The racecourse, at Greenmount Park, opened in 2001 and is located 6 miles south of Limerick City on the M20 (exit 4). It is a right-handed course of 1 mile 3 furlongs with 8 fences and 2 ditches on the circuit. The racetrack hosts both flat and National Hunt racing with the TJ McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National the season’s highlight. How much does a ticket cost? Adult admission is €15, with seniors and students gaining entry for €10 (on production of a valid ID card). Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Limerick has a special offer for €59 per person which includes admission to the racecourse, a seat at a reserved table, a three-course meal, waiter service and Tote betting service. What is on that day? TJ McNamara Ladbrokes National is the highlight of a 7 race National Hunt card. Gates open at 12.30pm, with the first race going to post at 1.45pm. There will be the Keane’s Most Stylish Lady competition for ladies with the opportunity to win a diamond necklace valued at €4,000. A shopping experience worth €1,000 from Carraig Donn is the second prize and the third prize is a luxury hamper sponsored by Inis. Two Carraig Down fashion shows will take place in the ladies day marquee. Tell me a little about the feature race. The feature €100,000 race is named in memory of John Thomas McNamara, a former top-class Limerick-born amateur rider. In an illustrious career in the saddle JT won 602 races on the point-to-point circuit. He also had many notable winners at the Cheltenham and Punchestown National Hunt Festivals, mainly in the colour of JP McManus. John Thomas sustained a serious back injury and a broken neck in a fall at Cheltenham in 2013. He died at the age of 41 on 26th July 2016. Last year’s winner of the race was Tiger Roll, while other previous winners include Sadliers Risk, Shanpallas and Double Seven. How do I get to Limerick racecourse? If travelling by road, take exit 4 off the M20, as the racecourse is 6 miles south of Limerick city. Colbert train Station at Parnell Street, Limerick, is 15 minutes from the racecourse, with Bus Éireann providing a service from there to the racecourse each race day. Where do I get more information? You will find further information on Limerick Racecourse’s official website: www.limerickraces.ie.
ENABLE WINS THE ARC BY DARREN CONNOLLY After reigning supreme in England and Ireland throughout 2017 campaign , Enable has now conquered Europe after winning Sunday's Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The John Gosden-trained filly headed to Chantilly as the warm order odds-on favourite to win over one-and-a-half miles, having previously triumphed in this year’s four Oaks and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
she lived up to that billing under her usual companion Frankie Dettori, seemingly finding another gear 300m from home to win by two-and-a-half lengths from Cloth Of Stars in second though never in serious contention, with Sir Michael Stoute’s Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International hero Ulysses finishing third. Talking to ITV Racing, after the race Gosden said: “She is very special and has amazing ability. “It was a very clever ride by Frankie — he went forward and then saw the horse coming from the outside.“She has shown us at home she is right in the zone ,she is eating well and looking well.“We do not ask anything of her at home, we just let her enjoy herself.Asked what would be next for the daughter of Nathaniel, Gosden admitted the prospect of winning back-to-back Arcs was something that excited him, though the decision wold ultimately lay with her owner. “It is Prince Khalid’s decision, but she has only raced for 10 months of her life , she has only had one season of racing,” he added.“ There would be every reason to keep her in training next year as a four-year-old, particularly with the new Lonchamps opening. "That would be exciting to try to win the Arc on two different tracks. "On a personal level, the victory has installed Dettori as the race’s most successful ever jockey with five victories to his name. He won his first back in 1995 aboard the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Lammtarra and unquestionable he will be endeavouring to win more
ONTOAWINNER SYNDICATE MONTHLY UPDATE BY RONAN Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;BRIEN We had another very good month in September, notching 5 winners in the month; the highlight of which was undoubtedly Quiet Reflections return at Naas. The star daughter of Showcasing had only run once this year at Haydock on quick ground, she then had an injury heading into Royal Ascot and we were delighted to see her line up at Naas in a Group 3 contest over 6 furlongs. She looked absolutely fantastic on the day and Martin Harley rode her in what was a typical win for the mare. She travelled supremely well on the soft ground and waited for a gap to appear, she then showed her excellent turn of foot to go on to score a shade cosily much to the delight of the attending punters. This was a fantastic training performance from Karl Burke to get her back to her best, what a season Karl is having! She is such a wonderful horse to be involved with, she will now head to Champions Day at Ascot where she should line up against Harry Angel, Caravaggio and many more in what should be a mouth-watering clash of sprinting superstars to round off the season. Elsewhere we had Quiet Company win at Dundalk at a big price in what was a greatly deserved first success for his owners. He showed tremendous attitude under a fantastic ride by Wayne Lordan to score over a mile at the County Louth track. We had a very good team of horses head to Ayr for the Gold Cup festival. It was a massive disappointment that the event was abandoned. Ayr is always a target for some of our horses and to see it cancelled due to waterlogging was heartbreaking, not only for owners, trainers and jockeys but for the track, the town and the huge loss of revenue felt by all involved. September is always the time of year that we start to recruit the yearlings for next year. We have been incredibly busy at the sales and have added some real quality to the team for the 2018 season. We have horses based in the U.K. and in Ireland for anyone wanting to dip their toe into ownership for next season. Have we unearthed the next Quiet Reflection? You just never know!
Check out www.ontoawinner.net/available-shares for all new additions
DECORATED KNIGHT FEATURE By Breandán Ó hUallacháin
Decorated Knight, trained in England by Roger Charlton, pounced late to claim an unexpected second Group One win in Ireland this season when claiming the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, the highlight of the two-day QIPCO Irish Champions Weekend. The five-year-old, beaten on three occasions since winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh last May, claimed a sensational win under jockey Andrea Atzeni in the mile-and-a-quarter race. Settled towards the back of the field early on, the Frankie Dettori mount, Eminent, made the running, followed by Success Days, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained hot favourite Churchill (8-11f) close on their heels. On entering the final furlong Eminent was challenged by Moonlight Magic who looked a possible winner for a while as Churchill found himself short of room on the rail. In the meantime, Decorated Knight came late and wide to race past and hold off the challenge of Poet’s Word by half a length. Eminent found the reserve to hold on to third place, a further length and three-quarters behind, ensuring a clean sweep for the visitors. Winning trainer Roger Charlton seemed the most surprised man at Leopardstown, stating: “He’s tough, consistent and very sound. He produced an amazing turn of foot and ran right to the line. There was nothing flukey about it. He’s been a bit unlucky in his last couple of races. He hated the ground at York, got bashed about at Sandown in the Eclipse and ran a great race at Royal Ascot. He’s been on the go since March and he's improved and improved. To keep going all season is a tribute to the horse.”
“Decorated Knight is now likely to run in the QIPCO British Champion Stakes at Ascot on 21st October”.
BALLYDOYLE TAKE THE MATRON By Breandán Ó hUallacháin Multiple Group 1 winning filly Winter was stopped in her tracks by her stable companion Hydrangea in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. Hydrangea had played second fiddle to her more illustrious fellow Ballydoyle inmate four times in Group One company since beating her in the Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial at the South Co. Dublin venue last April. Roly Poly made the running in the Group 1 contest with both Winter and Hydrangea close behind. Just when it seemed as though Winter was heading for yet another success at the highest level, the Wayne Lordan-ridden 20-1 shot got up by a head, with the English runner Persuasive three-quarters of a length further away in third.
Praising his filly, winning jockey Wayne Lordan said: “This filly has been running well all year and has only been beaten three or four lengths by the likes of Winter. She was freshened up after a break and I thought she’d be there or thereabouts. They joined me early enough and mine loves a battle as you seen in the last 50 yards. Winter went a length clear but in the last 50 yards I felt she was coming back and mine was going forward. As everyone knows in horseracing they all have their day and today was her day.” On Sunday last, both Hydrangea and Winter made the trip to Chantilly for Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day. The former coming second to another of her stable mate’s, Rhododendron, in the Longines Prix de l’Opera, while Winter failed to show in the day’s feature race, ‘The Arc’, won in great style by John Gosden’s Enable.
INTERVIEW: BRENDAN POWELL BY RICHARD WILLIAMS
How did your interest in horses & racing begin? .My father was a jockey and managed stud farms all his life, so I was born into it. I was on ponies from the time I could walk so it was always in the blood. Did you always want to be a Jockey at School or did you have other idea's? did, but there was a time when, for some reason, I wanted to be a bus conductor. God knows why. Can you remember your 1st winner as a Jockey & as a Trainer? .As a jockey it was Button Boy at Windsor and My Galliano as a trainer at Kempton. Was winning the Grand National the pinnacle of your career as a Jockey? Without a doubt. It was always my ambition to ride in it, let alone win it. Was it a natural progression to become a Trainer? always wanted to train. Sometimes I wish I had stayed at school. As a Grand National winning Jockey does that make life tougher as a Trainer? .Not really. That was 29 years ago and training is another chapter in my life. Can you tell us how many horse you have in the yard at anyone time & what the splits are (Hurdlers/Chasers/Bumpers/Flat) ? . I have 35 stables and I would say 2/3 flat and 1/3 jumpers. Some flat horses will go jumping.
INTERVIEW: BRENDAN POWELL BY RICHARD WILLIAMS Racing has changed a lot in the last 30 years, how have you had to adapt? It gets so commercial. I'm afraid you have to be a big name to get the big owners. Big owners and syndicates won't use small trainers. Who has influenced your career? David Elsworth is probably the one trainer I look up to. He has trained 5f Group winners to Gold Cup and Grand National winners. Mad but a genius. Do you set targets for the yard each season & what represents a good season for Team Powell? This has probably been my worst season so far as the horses have been wrong most of the summer. Any winner is a target at the moment. . If you could OWN or TRAIN any horse Past or Present, who would that be & why? Frankel. He had everything and was trained by a genius. Can you give our readers a couple of horses to follow for the season? Mere Ironmonger and Finula jumping. Kirkland Forever and Despacito on the flat.
BRENDAN AND HIS JOCKEY DAUGHTER JENNY.
HANDICAPPERS TO FOLLOW BY STUART WILLIAMS BRAVE EAGLE 5-y-o b g Yeats (IRE) - Sinful Pleasure (IRE) Trainer: Nicky Henderson Official Hurdle Rating: 133 Optimum Conditions: 2m - 2m4f
It's fair to say not many of Champion Trainer Nicky Henderson's inmates go under the radar nowadays, however I feel it's possible this son of Yeats could well fit into that category. Brave Eagle arrived at Seven Barrows following a brace of third place efforts in Irish PTP's. The most notable being his debut effort at Belclare, where the unfurnished then 4-year-old chased home Paul Nicholls' exciting chasing prospect Topofthegame (139) and Dan Skelton's smart performer No Hassle Hoff (134) over 3 miles. Despite some less than fluent leaps Brave Eagle recorded a debut success at Ludlow in January, before doubling up at Fontwell at the end of March where again his hurdling wasn't always pleasing on the eye. However hurdling technique is something that can be worked on, especially with age on his side, and it was the high performance racing engine he displayed, particularly at Fontwell, that caught my eye. When sent about his business Brave Eagle set about his task with enthusiasm and gusto, running out a 9 length winner at the line, but certainly value for more. And with that in mind, and given another summer to mature both mentally and physically, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Nicky Henderson already has a race in mind for the progressive 5-year-old this winter. CALIPTO 7-y-o b g Califet (FR) - Peutiot (FR) Trainer: Venetia Williams Official Chase Rating: 138 Optimum Conditions: 2m4f Gd - Hy This former Ditcheat inmate is interesting for a number of reasons, the fact that he now turns out for Venetia Williams being just one. A fair looking handicap mark and a smart performance in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off the back of a lengthy spell off the track are further interesting things to note. And the son of Califet could well land a decent prize for his relatively new connections this term. With just six starts over fences to his name in 2 seasons, clearly the French bred isn't the easiest horse to train. He has, however, shown a fair level of form when he has graced the racecourse, with the pick of his novice form being a close up Grade 2 third place finish behind the talented pair Garde La Victoire (156) and Fox Norton (169) at Cheltenham in November 2015.Having not been seen since being sent off a relatively well supported 9/2 shot on the final day of the 2015/16 season at Sandown, his final start for Paul Nicholls, it's of great interest that Venetia Williams elected give Calipto his stable debut in such a competitive race as the Grand Annual. Signifying, perhaps, that she considers the 7-year-old to be on an exploitable looking handicap mark. A sixth place finish rates a hugely respectable effort given his time off the track, with his only subsequent effort again showing signs of promise before a heavy fall at the twelfth fence at Ayr in April. Formerly a smart juvenile hurdler for Paul Nicholls, Calipto has always promised to land a big race at some stage in his career. Hopefully he can achieve that success for Venetia Williams this winter.
HANDICAPPERS TO FOLLOW BY STUART WILLIAMS DINO VELVET 4-y-o b g Trainer: Alan King Official Hurdle Rating: 125 Optimum Conditions: 2m - 2m4f GS - Sft Keeping with form, Alan King once again enjoyed a successful campaign with his Juvenile hurdlers last term, particularly with Grade 2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle winner Master Blueyes among others. However if you asked him about the prospects of his squad for the 2016/17 campaign, Dino Velvet would have certainly been near the top of the pack. Pitched into Grade 2 company at Prestbury Park for his debut over timber, the son of Naaqoos looked booked for a fair third place finish before clipping the top bar of the last and crashing out, the race won by the unbeaten subsequent Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil. Off the mark at the second Attempt, Alan King's charge finished fourth, again behind Phillip Hobbs' 3 time Grade 1 winner, in the Grade 1 Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow over Christmas, before a brace of second placed efforts behind the smart Don Bersy (133) at Warwick and another Hobbs trained horse I'm A Game Changer (133) at Ludlow in January and February respectively. A staying on sixth place effort in the hugely competitive Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle offered further food for thought, and it could be that a step up in trip to 2-and-a-half-miles may eke out some improvement in the Barbury Castle trained 4-year-old this winter. If so, Dino Velvet could easily surpass his current mark of 125. KIMBERLITE CANDY 5-y-o b g Flemensfirth (USA) - Mandys Native (IRE) Trainer: Tom Lacey Official Hurdle Rating: 134 Optimum Conditions: 2m4f+ GS - Sft Perhaps one of the darker horses on this list, Kimberlite Candy has only been seen on the racetrack 3 times to date, winning a maiden hurdle at Ascot on debut before following up in a novice hurdle at Newcastle in mid December. Pitched into Grade 2 company at Cheltenham in January, the scopey 5-year-old weakened quickly at the fifth and was soon pulled up by Barry Geraghty. Presumably something had gone amiss. I'd been pretty keen on the well put together son of Flemensfirth that day, having been mightily impressed by the way he cruised through the mud at Newcastle before readily quickening clear on the bridle, conceding a 7lb penalty with the minimum of fuss. Although he undoubtedly has the stature to make a fine chaser down the line, given his connections it wouldn't be a surprise to see Kimberlite Candy attempt to exploit what looks to be a lenient handicap mark when the mud starts to fly this winter. And if they could get some more experience into the youngster early doors, something like the fixed brush handicap hurdle at Haydock could prove an ideal target, with the likely soft ground and fixed brush Hurdles potentially a match made in heaven for the JP McManus owned gelding.
NH SEVEN TO FOLLOW BY NIAMH TOWNSEND The National Hunt season, for many, cannot be matched. The excitement and stories surrounding it just have that special something to them that other forms of racing cannot hold a candle to. If you, like me, have been counting down the days until the National Hunt season really kicks into gear since the Punchestown Festival then this might be exactly what you are looking for to get you really excited for what might be in store in the upcoming months. I have picked out seven horses that I think it would be smart to keep on your side during the upcoming season: Benie des Dieux An interesting lightly raced French recruit for Willie Mullins and the Ricci’s. Has very similar credentials to the wonderful Vroum Vroum Mag and although those are high standards to live up to, Willie Mullins is a genius and will surely get it right with this mare. Benie des Dieux is by Great Pretender, who is also the sire of Ptit Zig and Mr Mole, and has shown all of her best form around two and a half miles and on softer ground. She won her sole chase start in Ireland last December incredibly well by 30 lengths, albeit the form of that race doesn’t look too strong, but even so she was a class apart from her rivals on that day and is capable of going on to do even greater things. I think that she will make a formidable opponent this year in whatever races her connections decide to enter her in and at six years old, this might be the year that we see her reach her peak. No targets yet, but when she does finally turn up at a racecourse she will be one to keep an eye out for. Might be a nice ante-post bet for the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for those of you out there who are willing to take a gamble at this early stage of the season. Blow By Blow Only raced four times and already a grade 1 winner, Blow By Blow is surely a horse you will want to back this season. Previously trained by Willie Mullins before his split with Gigginstown, this six year old by Robin des Champs (whose progeny also includes the mighty Vautour and Quevega) is now trained by Gordon Elliott and although he was not seen last season due to a slight setback, when we do next see this horse he should be ready and raring to go. He beat a smart horse in Moon Racer in the Champion INH Flat Race at the Punchestown Festival in 2016 and with a novice hurdling campaign on the cards this season, you can be sure that Blow By Blow will make an impact. Faugheen Faugheen the machine. The formidable Faugheen. Oh how we have missed seeing him on the racecourse. Unraced since his demolition in the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle due to a number of setbacks, Willie Mullins’ superstar looks back on track to try and regain his crown in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Faugheen was recently seen parading alongside Douvan and Un De Sceaux at the Curragh and he looks incredible, Willie Mullins reports him to be going very nicely at home. The early target for him looks to be the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on November 19th and, all being well, he should then be aimed at the Champion Hurdle at the Festival in March where a showdown with Buveur d’Air looks to be on the cards, a mouth-watering clash that is synonymous with National Hunt racing. Fayonagh Last season’s winner of the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, a race that has thrown up many nice horses including Ballyandy, Champagne Fever, Cue Card and Florida Pearl. Fayonagh is already a two time grade 1 winner after following up her Cheltenham Success in the Champion INH Flat Race at the Punchestown Festival. Winner of four of her five starts, Fayonagh looks to be a very exciting novice hurdling prospect for this season and will surely be a big player in all of the top novice races. Her main aim will most likely be either the Supreme Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival or the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at that same event. Fayonagh looks to be a really exciting prospect for her connections and you can expect to see her playing a big part in high profile races for a few years yet.
NH SEVEN TO FOLLOW BY NIAMH TOWNSEND Monbeg Worldwide An interesting looking five year old, Monbeg Worldwide looks like a very exciting young horse for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud. A stylish winner of his point to point last year, Monbeg Worldwide remained unbeaten in three INH Flat Races last season for his connections and looks set for a novice hurdling campaign this term. He looks like he could be a smart horse as his last win saw him give away weight all around to his opponents and hold on bravely to win by a neck. I really think that this horse could be in with a big chance of making a splash this season and is one to put in the notebook. Red Jack After winning a bumper at Naas in January, Red Jack was quickly snatched up by JP McManus, a sign in itself that this horse is destined for bigger and better things. It also helps that the form of that race looks very strong, with Debuchet, who finished second that day, also going on to finish second behind Fayonagh at the Cheltenham Festival and winning two bumpers himself. Red Jack, trained by Noel Meade, was eased down at the finish on his last start at Fairyhouse in April and still won comfortably. Yet another young horse who looks ready to go over the timber this season, you can expect to see Red Jack on the big stages this year and he will make a nice novice hurdler and can still improve due to his young age. Certainly one to keep on your side this term. Samcro This horse cost £335,000 when he was bought by Gigginstown House Stud at the GOFFs Aintree Sale in April 2016, and hacked up on his debut for Gordon Elliott last November before setting out on an unbeaten campaign including a win in the Listed ‘Future Champions’ INH Flat Race and a 17 length win at Fairyhouse in April. Samcro looks like a really exciting prospect and one that we can all look forward to; the path that his career has taken so far is very similar to that of Gold Cup winner Don Cossack. He will likely go novice hurdling this season, but I think he will be the type of horse to improve over fences so although I believe he will be one to back this season, he could be something very special when he does make the step up to the larger obstacles.
INTERVIEW: ALY VANCE BY JAMIE LINDSEY How did you get into horse racing Aly? I grew up in rural Monmouthshire and rode from a young age. My interest in racing came pretty early when I won the sweepstake on the Grand National. £12 was a huge amount of money for an eight-year-old! That was the start of it and Cheltenham’s November meeting and Welsh Grand National day at Chepstow became annual events. What advice would you share with any young and budding racing presenters? It’s a very tough industry to break into. I did a masters in Broadcast Journalism which led to a job as a sports reporter at BBC Wales. From there I managed to persuade them that they needed a racing reporter. I think it’s important to have lots of tools in your locker and to be adaptable. I love racing but I am equally comfortable covering most other sports or even news. You present for At the races and CNN Winning post. What's your favourite part of those jobs? I certainly see a broad range of horse racing! With CNN I cover the top meetings around the world. The likes of the Dubai World Cup, Kentucky Derby, the Arc, Hong Kong International Races etc. However I do love the low-key midweek meetings that I am more likely to cover with ATR. There is such a friendly atmosphere at the smaller tracks. I also enjoy the live presenting in studio for At The Races. Presenting news was how I started journalism and there’s something very exciting about a live studio programme. Your job with CNN has taken you all around the world, do you have a favourite racing country? Too many! Every country has something unique about it’s horse racing scene. I guess Australia is the most similar to Europe so I love the madness of Kentucky Derby day or Japan Cup day in Tokyo (with well over 100k fans at both!), the 24-race marathon in Uruguay, the relaxed laid-back garden party feel to racing in Cape town, the list goes on. I’m incredibly lucky to have experienced racing in so many different countries.
INTERVIEW: ALY VANCE BY JAMIE LINDSEY You were working for CNN at the Irish Champions Weekend. How impressed were you with the meeting? I started the weekend in The Goat pub in Dublin interviewing the syndicate behind Forpaddydeplasterer. It was a great way to kick off the weekend and get into the Irish spirit! Saturday was the first time I’ve been to Leopardstown and I really enjoyed it. There was a good buzz about the place with the select sale of horses before racing and it seemed like the who’s who of the sport were at the racecourse that day. It seems a very fair track and a favourite amongst the jockeys. Flat or Jumps, do you have a preference? Umm…ask me at this time of the year and I can’t wait for the jumps season to start. In April though I look forward to the summer flat meetings! I know that’s sitting on the fence but there are pros and cons to both! If you could change one thing about horse racing, what would it be? I wish the sport could be more adaptable and open to change. Sometimes the sport is very slow to try new things. I admire the work that Great British Racing have done, including the introduction of British Champions Series and British Champions Day. Events like the Shergar Cup at Ascot in August come under much criticism but I think the sport should be embracing new ideas and innovations. Do you have any favourite horses? Loads! Over jumps I love the real triers, like Denman, who give it everything in their races. On the flat I admire the beauty of those real top-class horses. They are simply stunning. English Derby Winner Wings of Eagles was a beauty and I’m also a big fan of Order of St George. Colin Keane or Pat Smullen, who do you think will be crowned Champion jockey? It may well be decided when you read this! I think Colin Keane has had an incredible season and is certainly a future champion but I can’t see him holding off Pat Smullen who will always pick up decent spare rides. 10.What other hobbies do you have outside of racing? Outside of horses, I love running, watching rugby (Wales!) and enjoying a glass or two (preferably at the same time!).