Betfair Chase Review

By Samantha

Who ran?

Top weight was Nigel Twiston-Davies’ flashy grey Bristol De Mai. The Charlie Hall winner was favourite at post time. Last year’s winner Cue Card lined up once again in the race. An air of curiosity and anticipation surrounded the gutsy bay about whether the nine times Grade 1 winner could return to his former glory. Last time out, he fell in the Charlie Hall that Bristol De Mai won. As a result, usual partner Paddy Brennan was switched off and young, up and coming jockey Harry Cobden was put on. Betfred Bowl winner Tea For Two lined up for the first time and Lexus Chase winner Outlander contested first leg of the Jump Racing Triple Crown. The two outsiders Shantou Flyer and Traffic Fluide completed the field.

What happened in the race?

Bristol De Mai led from the beginning and jumped out of the heavy ground with ease. Outlander and Cue Card sat at the leader’s heals in second and third for the majority of the race. At the thirteenth fence, Shantou Flyer made a mistake and was soon pulled up. Traffic Fluide began to struggle in the bottomless ground and detached at the back of the field. At five out, Cue Card and Outlander both weren’t fluent and Tea For Two began to make ground on them. On the front end, Bristol De Mai began to extend his lead and drew clear at this point. He ran on completely unchallenged whilst the rest floundered in the mud. There was a scary moment at the 2nd last when he made a mistake but he galloped on strongly and crossed the finish line before the others had even jumped the last. Exhausted, Tea For Two almost unseated Lizzie Kelly when he crashed through the top of the last fence and lost his place when Cue Card and Outlander passed him to finish 57 lengths back in second and third.

Was the race as good as last year?

Combined, last year’s runners had 18 Grade 1s between them. This year’s runners had 16. The winner, Bristol De Mai, won the Charlie Hall Chase last time out so he had wining form coming into the race. Cue Card was third in that race last year before coming and winning this race. People could argue that the ground beat the rest of the field but they all had heavy ground winning form so their wasn’t really an excuse. In my opinion, Bristol De Mai is something really special because you don’t win a Grade One unless you are something very special. Looking forward to seeing what’s to come from this brilliant grey!

How do we get a new generation interested in horse racing?

By Evie

As a 15 year old girl, I think I would have some experience on how to get a new generation interested in horse racing. I’m not from a horse racing background, some of my first experiences coming from watching the Grand National on the TV with my Granddad, who was mildly interested in racing. Over the years my love of racing has blossomed, and hopefully has turned into something I can make a career through. So how did I first get interested in horse racing?

The first horse I remember watching about was Black Caviar.

I was channel skimming, when I reached At The Races, who were streaming a documentary about Black Caviar’s attempt to win at Royal Ascot. Automatically I was hooked. I kept my Grandparents updated, and my eyes were opened to a whole new experience of racing-flat racing.

Now, I’m not suggesting we need another Black Caviar type (although Winx and Enable are on the prowl). I don’t think another type like Black Caviar would amass the same interest as she did in me. So what options are there to get younger children into racing?

The first thing I would suggest is to avoid controversy as best as it can be. Avoiding drugs scandals, avoiding betting scandals. All of this can only help but push people away from the sport, with people assuming this is what every aspect of horse racing is like. I do understand that it is not always avoidable, but we should try our best to keep horse racing in the limelight in a positive way- not for jockeys being in the midst of drug scandals.

Secondly, I would try to turn the public’s idea of racing around. I know that when I was first getting into racing I had to convince all of my friends that how they viewed the sport was wrong. Why don’t we try something like using a retired horse like they do in Australia, with Subzero. Bring the racing to schools. This is mildly being used in the UK but not to the extent it should be. I also feel like some people are turned away by the idea that racing is all about gambling, which I think should at least be partly turned around.

As a racing fan, something I usually enjoy is feeling like I’m part of the experience. Wether that’s through an account that’s interactive with fans (much like the Fergal O’Brien Twitter page) or through giveaways and competitions (like the Winstar Farm Twitter page). This gives more people a chance to feel as though they are a part of something bigger, a part of racing as a whole.

My final point is using social media to our advantage. Maybe by creating a kids version of websites, which can be accessible through school, (I find most racing websites are filtered because of their inclusion of ‘gambling’) or through a Youtube channel with vlogs or visits to racecourses on days out from the view of young people (we are up for making this happen). I must applaud the work of Great British Racing throughout their Stirrup Summer campaign, as I found it was a great way to get younger people into the sport.

This website was made for a similar purpose. So a younger audience can have access to their own version of a racing magazine/blog, without the negativity or need for gambling talk. Hopefully somewhere this is noticed and our points are taken into account, because I feel like some schemes like the mentioned above would drastically help the sport out.

Bristol De Mai: A Triple Crown Champion?

Think back to ten years ago, March 2007, when Kauto Star stormed up the Cheltenham hill to win the Gold Cup and become the first and only horse to win the Stayers’ Chase Triple Crown. Since then, no horse has accomplished that great feat, although a few have come close. Since then it has been decided that the victor of the Betfair Chase, the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season will be the recipient of the Kauto Star Trophy, named after the great horse himself.

Since Kauto’s victory, only four other horses have won more than one of the three Triple Crown races: Long Run, Silviniaco Conti, Cue Card and Kauto Star (who came close to winning the title four more times after his achievement in 2006/07). Could we see the ten year drought finally come to an end this year, though?

The Betfair Chase was run yesterday and the winner could not have been more impressive. Bristol De Mai faced a high class field in his attempt to gain a first grade 1 prize which included Cue Card, Tea For Two and Outlander; but he made this ‘high class’ opposition seem like a normal quality as he demolished them in fantastic style to win by 57 lengths.

He is still a six year old, meaning that the best is most likely still to come from this gorgeous grey, and if that is the case then the future appears to be a very bright one. However, with the return of Thistlecrack on the horizon and the Gold Cup champion Sizing John yet to be unleashed, the Kauto Star Trophy is definitely not in the hands of Bristol De Mai’s connections just yet. You could argue that he performs better on a flat track, in which case Kempton may be tailor made for him, but you can imagine that the monstrous Thistlecrack might be able to pose more of a challenge to the young star than his older counterpart, Cue Card.

If yesterday was anything to go by, then Bristol De Mai definitely has the potential to become one of the best staying chasers we have seen in recent years, but he has to continue to improve if he is to beat Thistlecrack or Sizing John. Could he win the Stayers’ Triple Crown? Maybe one day. Time is on his side, and let’s not forget that Kauto was the same age as this young pretender when he won the title ten years ago.

Whatever happens between now and March, Bristol De Mai’s performance in yesterday’s Betfair Chase will stick in the memory for a long time to come.bristol de mai

A True Champion: Sprinter Sacre

By Samantha

It was a sunny day and I was grazing peacefully when a young bay gelding walked up to me. I recognised him as Jenkins. He looks like he’s going to be a good horse. He has won three of his five starts. “Hello there.” I said.

“H…hello,” he stammered. I find that all the young ones seem in awe of me. Horses’ who were born when I was at my best’s dams tell them about me and how I made the ‘impossible dream’ come true for Nicky Henderson. When Jenkins was born, I was at my prime. “My mum told me that you were unbeaten over ten starts. Is that true?” he was bouncing a little bit. That made me chuckle. “Yes, yes it is.” I answered, bending my head to take a nibble of grass.

“Wow! I want to be just like you!”

“That’s a very nice thing to say. You need to work hard and run to the best of your ability in every run.” I didn’t doubt for a second that if he tried his hardest he could be just like me.

“Could you tell me how you became a champion? Please, please, please.” he begged.

“Of course but I’ve got to start at the start.” Jenkins bobbed his head eagerly and stared up at me.

“Okay…. well… I was bred by a man called Christophe Masle. My earliest memory is of me and my dam, Fatima III, in a meadow. When I was three, I was taken to Nicky Henderson’s yard with nineteen other horses. As you know he is a lovely man and he has always been kind to me. I was put into Sawar Mohammed’s care and Nico de Boinville rode me out in a morning. I like to think I learned quickly but I don’t know. On 20th February 2010, I ran my first race. It was a National Hunt Flat Race over two miles. There were thirteen other runners and I won. It was a great experience with all the cameras and people. Barry Geraghty rode me that day. He’s an amazing jockey isn’t he? He’s ridden you, right?”

“Yes I won then. He’s nice!” babbled Jenkins.

“The next time I ran I won as well. That was a flat race as well. On my hurdling debut, I was beaten by a snobby bay of Nigel Twiston-Davies’. I much preferred jumping running around in a circle was so boring!” Jenkins nodded in agreement. “I ran two more races and then I ran in the Supreme novices’ hurdle. I came third because I stumbled at the last and the other two overtook me. I enjoyed the race even if I didn’t win. I knew I needed to work on my jumping because I would’ve won otherwise. Then my season was finished. I came back on the 19th December. It was my chasing debut. The obstacles were big but not a problem because Nico had ridden me over them at home. I won by 24 lengths and Nicky was thrilled. It was brilliant! The best thing about winning was making him happy.”

I must’ve stopped and reminisced then because Jenkins coughed uncomfortably. “Oh right sorry. Where was I? Oh yes, I won my next two starts and then it was the  Cheltenham Festival. The best jumps meeting in the world. I ran in the Arkle and won! It was fantastic jumping over the fences and flying up to the finish. After that, I won the Maghull Novices’ chase at Aintree at the grand National Meeting.”

“Wow in your first season chasing?” my young friend asked in awe.

“Yes it was one of the best. So was the next. I kicked of the season winning the Tingle Creek then the Clarence House in January. Once again at Cheltenham and Aintree, I was victorious but this time in the Queen Mother Champion Chase by 19 lengths and the Melling Chase. They took me to Ireland and I won the Champion Chase at Punchestown. It was a great experience. I’d had a busy season so I relaxed in the field for the summer.”

“Definitely!” exclaimed Jenkins.

“The next season didn’t really go well or properly go at all for me.  I began to struggle in my next race and my chest was hurting. Barry sensed that something went wrong and pulled me up. Lots of tests detected that I had an irregular heart beat. I was out for just over a year and it was quite boring not running. Nicky and the team looked after me so well. On my return I was second in the Clarence House Chase which I’d won before. I ran at Cheltenham next time out and I found it too much and was pulled up again. The next month, I was well enough to run at Sandown and newly professional jockey Nico de Boinville rode me. We came second behind Special Tiara but we were satisfied.”

“It’s brilliant that you got better but were you scared you wouldn’t be back to your best ever?” Jenkins asked.

“Truthfully, yes, I was terrified. I rested over the summer and came back fighting in the Shloer Chase. I won by 14 lengths and I felt ecstatic after the line. I knew the season would be awesome. It definitely was. I was unbeaten over my next four races and I rounded of my career, after winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second time, by winning the Celebration Chase at Sandown. I was retired at the start of the 16/17 season. So now I’m going to live here for the rest of my days.”

“Wow Sprinter, you’re a true champion!”

Aidan O’Brien And Family

The O’Brien family have been in the news a lot lately, with Aidan winning 26 Group Ones this season and Joseph winning the Melbourne Cup.


The maestro of Ballydoyle trained 26 Group One winners this season. They include the Derby, 1000 and 2000 guineas. Two of his stars of the season were Winter and Churchill. Winter won four Group Ones and Churchill won the 2000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent.  His two year old winners have sparkled too. He won the Racing Post Trophy with unbeaten colt Saxon Warrior making it his 26th Group One. Over in the US, $3million Scat Daddy colt Mendelsohn won the Breeder’s Cup Juvinile Turf. The colt had won once before but flopped on his starts from then until going to the US.

Aidan is married to Anne-Marie and has four children with her.

Anne-Marie O’Brien

Anne-Marie is Aidan’s wife. Her father Joe Crowley trained in Piltown, County Kilkenny. She took over the licence and was Champion National Hunt trainer for a short while. In 1993, Aidan took over until he moved to Ballydoyle and was private trainer for Coolmore.

She has four children with Aidan.

Joseph O’Brien

Joseph grew up riding horses and won a bronze medal at the European Pony Championships in 2009. In his early career, he dead heated with two other jockeys in the Irish Champion apprentice jockey’s title. His first winner was on Johann Zoffany trained by his father at Leapardstown Races. He gained his first classic victory when Roderic O’Connor won the Irish 2000 Guineas. In 2012, when Joseph was 19, him and Aidan became the first father-son combination to win The Derby with Camelot. Also that year, he won the Irish Champion Jockey title with 87 winners. O’Brien broke a 20-year-old record with a treble at Navan in 2013 to get his 117th win that season beating the previous record set by Mick Kinane. He finished that season with 126 winners and retained his jockey title.

In March 2016, O’Brien announced that he would be stepping down from race riding and focussing on his new career as a trainer. He has won two high profile races as a trainer: the Moyglare Stud Stakes with Intricately and the 2017 Melbourne Cup with Rekindling.

Donnacha O’Brien

Donnacha rode his first winner on Quartz trained by his father Aidan at Dundalk in September 2014. His first Group One victory came in the 2016 Moyglare Stud stakes with Intricately. The horse was bred by his mother and trained by his brother Joseph. The next year, he won it with Happily contributing to his father’s 26 Group One winners in a season.

Ana O’Brien

Ana’s first winner came riding Fairylike for her father on February 13th 2013. Her first Listed and stakes winner came when riding Ayra Tara to win the Stanerra Stakes for brother Joseph. Ana was undoubtedly snatched of her first apprentice title in July 2017 when suffering a horror fall at Killarney. She fractured her C1 vertebrae and T6 in her back as well as damaging her eye socket, jaw and teeth. She had ridden 18 winners that season and her lead was passed in October.

Sarah O’Brien

Sarah is one of the leading claimers in Ireland and often rides for her brother Joseph.

Breeder’s Cup Friday

By Evie

Although some of the more competitive races take place this evening, Breeder’s Cup Friday was just as exciting.

We began with a cracker of a race in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies. Won by Rushing Falls, and although nothing should be taken away from the winner, September did not break the best, but finished quickly, marking her name down as one to follow next year. Favourite dual Group 1 winner Happily was dissapointing, being trapped on the rail and not being able to find a gap to squeeze through:

This was then followed by the Dirt Mile, where Sharp Azteca and Battle of Midway drew away from the rest of the field to contest for the win. Eventually Battle of Midway got away from Sharp Azteca, winning by a neck for Winstar Farm and Don Alberto.

Next was the Juvenile Turf, a race which could be seen as the highlight of the day. The Aidan O’Brien runner Mendelssohn showed great maturity when breaking quickly from Stall 1, and being pushed along quickly to get a good postion. He finished well and was easily the most impressive winner of the night. This also provides a form boost for U S Navy Flag in the Juvenile tonight, who looks to win on his first start on dirt. After the win Aidan O’Brien said that he could be targeted at the Kentucky Derby.

The night was finished off by the Distaff, where Stellar Wind was looking to finish her career with the race that had evaded her twice so far. Unfortunately it wasn’t her day and she was dissapointing, finishing well back in the field. It was won by Forever Unbridled, last year’s third with Abel Tasman running gallantly in second.

However, tonight is bound to send some of the racing heroes out with a bang, with Ribchester, Highland Reel and Arrogate all ending their careers this evening.

We hope all horses get back safe and sound! 

Our Breeders Cup Selections

This weekend sees the return of the brilliant Breeders Cup which will be staged at Del Mar in California this weekend. A host of group 1s over two days and with a hoard of European challengers as well as the best America has to offer should see an incredible two days of racing action. We have decided to preview each of the group 1’s by picking which horses each of us think will win and having a mini competition among us.


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

  • Niamh – Happily
  • Evie- September
  • Lois- Happily & Juliet Capulet


Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

  • Niamh – Practical Joke
  • Evie- Cupid
  • Lois- Accelerate & Cupid


Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

  • Niamh – James Garfield
  • Evie- Mendelssohn
  • Lois- James Garfield & Beckford


Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff

  • Niamh – Stellar Wind
  • Evie- Stellar Wind
  • Lois- Abel Tasman & Stellar Wind



14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies

  • Niamh – Alluring Star
  • Evie- Heavenly Love
  • Samantha- Wonder Gadot


Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

  • Niamh – Lady Aurelia
  • Evie- Lady Aurelia
  • Samantha- Marsha


Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

  • Niamh – Unique Bella
  • Evie- Unique Bella
  • Samantha- Unique Bella


Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

  • Niamh – Queen’s Trust
  • Evie- Lady Eli
  • Samantha- Lady Eli


TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint

  • Niamh – Drefong
  • Evie- Whitmore
  • Samantha- Imperial Hint


Breeders’ Cup Mile

  • Niamh – Ribchester
  • Evie- Lancaster Bomber
  • Samantha- Roly Poly


Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

  • Niamh – U S Navy Flag
  • Evie- Bolt D’Oro
  • Samantha- U S Navy Flag


Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf

  • Niamh – Highland Reel
  • Evie- Highland Reel
  • Samantha- Seventh Heaven


Breeders’ Cup Classic

  • Niamh – West Coast
  • Evie- Gun Runner
  • Samantha- Gun Runner

Mary Reveley 1940 – 2017

By Samantha 1/11/17

Pioneering female duel-purpose trainer Mary Reveley passed away aged 77 on Monday after a suspected heart attack on the family’s yard.

“We’re all still in shock, but it’s typical that she was around horses until the end.” her son Keith said.

Reveley’s training base was at Groundhill Farm Stables in Saltburn, North Yorkshire. She came fairly late to training and took out her license in 1982 when she was in her forties. During her incredible career, she trained more than 2000 winners over 22 years. Winning the 1991Cambridgeshire Handicap with Mellottie, the first horse she bred, and two Cesarewitchs with Old Red and Turnpole were three of her most high profile flat wins.

Also she trained jumpers and it came easily to her. Cab On Target gave her some of her biggest winners over obstacles. He won twenty times including a Group One at Ayr, the Spa Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree’s Grand National Meeting. Seven Towers won the Midlands Grand National for her as well.

She was the first women to have 100 winners in a calendar year and she retired from training in 2004 and her son took over. He retired in January of this year.


AUTHOR’S NOTE- It has been very interesting to find out about Mary Reveley. I didn’t know about her as a trainer because she stopped training in the same year I was born. To me, it seems like she was a very shrewd trainer and I read that she never really liked going to the races despite her success. She was the first woman to really stamp her authority on the racing world despite her gender RIP