Ruby ready to Rock for Cheltenham Festival round five


by MICHAEL SUTTON There will be few more popular winners at the Cheltenham Festival than if Rock On Ruby wins the World Hurdle. The Festival at Cheltenham in 2015 is already shaping up to be an illustrious roll call of former winners. There may be no Quevega this year but Willie Mullins will still be sending Hurricane Fly and Champagne Fever over in search of their respective third Festival successes. Read More

Five 12-year-olds who won the Grand National


BY JAMES HARRISON The Grand National has been something of a preserve for horses heading towards the veteran stage of their careers in recent years. The last three winners of the Aintree showpiece – Neptune Collonges, Auroras Encore and Pineau De Re – have all been aged 11. And the two winners before that were the 10-year-olds, Don’t Push It and Ballabriggs. Read More

2015 Cheltenham Festival clues


I’VE always been slightly suspicious of Trials Day at Cheltenham as a reliable guide to the Festival itself. The meeting is usually run on deep ground, conditions that you rarely see in March, and it can throw up a few red herrings when looking for 2015 Cheltenham Festival clues. But I would be very surprised if last Saturday’s meeting fails to produce a Festival winner. It was a quality card, albeit run on soft but not bottomless ground and there were some taking performances… Read More

Be thankful for Sprinter Sacre

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A WORD about Sprinter Sacre…. Racing needs its superstars. They don’t come along too often but there was a glorious period in 2012 when both Frankel and Sprinter Sacre were at the top of their game. Two equine superstars in their pomp at the same time. We were truly blessed and racing even gatecrashed the news and features pages of the national press. While Frankel has been sowing his wild oats at stud, Sprinter Sacre has been battling a fibrillating heart problem, which surfaced after he was pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton at the end of 2013. Tomorrow he makes his eagerly-awaited reappearance at Ascot after 13 months of tests and a mountain of TLC from the Nicky Henderson team. Read More

Cheltenham Gold Cup: Ante-post focus

silviniaco conti

IT happens nine weeks on Tuesday. You know, that familiar roar, when the tape goes up for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The roar kick-starts four days of heaven for National Hunt purists. Yup, the Cheltenham Festival is well within punting distance. After the plethora of festive Jump racing, the fog has cleared a little from the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture and we now have a solid favourite. Read More

Champagne West to make it a Happy New Year


RARELY has there been a better New Year’s Day Cheltenham meeting. The Dipper Novices’ Chase is probably the best race of its kind so far this season and would not be out of place at the Festival itself. CHAMPAGNE WEST is a horse I adore and is unbeaten in his two chases. He will need 3m in time but for now a stiff 2m 5f looks ideal. I fancy him to outstay Ptit Zig. The latter has won over 2m 3f in France but he didn’t look to get home in the Aintree Hurdle over 2m 4f. Read More

Is Champagne Fever the new Dessie?

champagne fever

CHRISTMAS during my late teens involved lots of eating, drinking… and feverish speculation about the King George VI Chase. It has always been one of the highlights of my festive fare and watching Desert Orchid dismantle the opposition in the 1980s became a much-loved part of the yuletide routine. Read More

Mendip Express can take Becher Chase


I LOVE Mendip Express. He made a huge impression last season with victories at Wetherby, Bangor and Cheltenham before disappointing in his final two runs. His third to Smad Place at Newbury was not a total disgrace but then he bombed out in the Scottish National. However, he bounced back to form by strolling to victory in a novice hurdle at Warwick last month on his reappearance. Read More

Hennessy Gold Cup: Sky the limit for Many Clouds


IF YOU were to design the perfect National Hunt specimen then you would probably come up with something akin to MANY CLOUDS. The leading Hennessy Gold Cup contender has been a favourite of this blog since he hosed up in a Wetherby bumper on a bitterly cold February day in 2012. Read More

Ante-post focus: Menorah the King George VI Chase value


PHILIP Hobbs and Richard Johnson can do very little wrong at present. Everything they run has to be respected as the Minehead yard is in stellar form. On Saturday MENORAH came close to providing another big weekend winner when just being outstayed by Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase. This is a race that provides clues aplenty for the rest of the National Hunt season, especially the King George VI Chase at Boxing Day. Read More