Cheltenham… triumph and tragedy

THE majestic view of Cleeve Hill bathed in sunshine. Guinness. The sight of Vautour clearing the last like Ed Moses in his pomp. The constant smell of pulled pork baps. More Guinness. The optimistic chatter and bar-room philosophy of punters. Some clued–up, others clueless. Another Guinness. This was the Cheltenham Festival, the greatest show on …[Read More]

2014 Cheltenham Festival: Latest movers and shakers

THE tapes go up for the 2014 Cheltenham Festival four weeks tomorrow. And after a magnificent weekend of racing in both the UK and Ireland, the ante-post market has seen a raft of changes. LAST INSTALMENT was the biggest mover of the weekend after his scintillating victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown. (His …[Read More]

Cheltenham Festival: D-day for Alan King

I’M a huge fan of the Alan King yard. I’ve followed his fortunes closely this season, when a golden autumn quickly changed into a grey, grim winter of discontent. The yard sensibly shut up shop in January to contain and eradicate a bug that affected most of the Barbury Castle inmates. Happily, the tide is …[Read More]

Dark Horses: Centasia, Carraig Mor and Ainsi Fideles

I’M off to Wetherby on Friday where the highly promising Oscar Rock makes his hurdling debut in the opening race. But I’ll be casting a beady eye towards Uttoxeter where two young horses really catch the eye. CENTASIA is a big strong mare who won a couple of bumpers impressively last season before running well …[Read More]

Is Raya Star the joker in Champion Hurdle pack?

ALAN King must have walked under a few ladders this season. It is fair to say his luck has been out and his vets must be among the busiest in racing. Consider some of the King big guns who will be absent from the Cheltenham Festival: Medermit, Montbazon, Invictus and Batonnier to name a few. …[Read More]

Ante Post Focus: the Stan James Champion Hurdle

THE weather is awful and the picture is decidedly foggy surrounding the Champion Hurdle. Looking for ante-post value has been made more difficult by the interrupted preparations of so many of the main contenders. But with the last four winners among the 34 entered, it could be the toughest race to win at the Cheltenham …[Read More]

Ante-Post Focus: Ladbroke Hurdle

The £150,000 Ladbroke Hurdle is growing in stature and prestige. Now Europe’s richest handicap hurdle, it has attracted a quality field of 48 entries with a strong challenge from Ireland. And while the Long Walk Hurdle will provide a small but select field on the same Ascot card on December 22, the Ladbroke promises to …[Read More]

National Hunt Horses To Follow

NO OFFENCE flat racing, but the proper stuff is here. Silviniaco Conti, Raya Star, Roberto Goldback and Kauto Stone did the business last weekend and today sees the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. Jump racing proper is here. Woop! So anyway, I’ve dug out a few more promising national hunt horses to put into your …[Read More]