Lingfield Winter Derby Preview

By Samantha

Convey, last year’s winner.

Autocratic (Richard Kingscote)

Autocratic is a Brigadier Gerard (Group Three) winner and there won’t be any question marks about the distance as he has won over ten furlongs previously. A negative is that he has only ran on the all weather (at Chelmsford) once and he was second on that occasion. A positive is that he has the draw of last year’s winner Convey.

Battle Of Marathon (Josie Gordon)

Battle Of Marathon, an ex-Aidan O’Brien inmate, was a close third in the trial for this race behind Utmost, who won, and stayed on well in the closing stages. He has a very good jockey and could possibly go close but he doesn’t seem to have the class of the other runners.

Convey (Joe Fanning)

Convey won this race last year but he has only ran once since, which was the All-Weather Middle Distance Championship in April, so he won’t have the race fitness of some of the others.

Gabrial (Paul Hanagan)

The nine year old has been a great servant for his connections and this race will be his sixty-fifth start of which he has won seven. The 2015 Lincoln winner hasn’t won since June of 2016 and maybe isn’t as good as his rivals anymore. Also, he hasn’t ever won over ten furlongs.

Khalidi (Adam Kirby)

Khalidi is somewhat an unknown quantity in this as he hasn’t run at all on an artificial surface. He finished second in the Edward VII at Royal Ascot behind ill-fated Permian last season and performs well in the big contests. Recently, he has moved to Clive Cox’s yard from John Gosden and this will be his first run for his new connections. He has the class but there are uncertainties about how he handles the polytrack.

Master The World (Sean Levey)

Master The World won a listed race in November and could be an interesting each-way shot to go close.

Mr Owen (Jamie Spencer)

Mr Owen is a lightly-raced six year old, who is still a maiden. There are question marks about the distance and how he will handle the course.

Petite Jack (Luke Morris)

Petite Jack had Utmost in a third in a Listed race over course and distance two days before Christmas but was beaten far by the latter next time out in the trial of this race. He is from the in form Archie Watson yard and could land this big prize as he is a course and distance winner but it is unlikely as he doesn’t seem to have the class of the rest.

Utmost (Robert Havlin)

Utmost won the trial to this race. It was his first win on artificial surfaces, with Petite Jack in sixth. Course and distance winner who could go close again but is fairly unexposed compared to the rest of the field.

Clear Skies (Ryan Moore)

It’s good to see Aidan O’Brien having a runner over in England at this time of the year. His runner is CLEAR SKIES, a five year old daughter of Sea The Stars. She seems progressive type and has risen 19lbs in the handicap since the start of November. It took her two runs to get used to the surface but after that she hit her stride and has won five times in seven starts since then. The distance shouldn’t be a problem for her as she has won four times over ten furlongs.

Clear Skies is Aidan O’Brien’s only runner.

Chatting With Adrian Heskin

adrianBy Samantha (16/2/18)

Adrian Heskin has been having a good season with around forty winners already this season and his partnerships with the McNeil Family and Tom George seem as strong as ever. I was extremely lucky to get the chance to chat to him at Leicester Races this week. Thank you so much Adrian for taking the time out to talk to Rein It In.

When did you realise you wanted to be a jockey?

Since I was a kid. I’ve been riding horses all my life.

What got you into racing?

We had horses at home, mares and foals, and I was lucky enough to get a pony when I was four years old.

Who is the best horse you’ve ever ridden?

The best horse probably was The Worlds End.

Who’s your best chance of a winner at Cheltenham?

Hopefully, it will be The Worlds End in the World Hurdle.

adrian g1
Adrian says that The Worlds End, who he won a Grade One on at Aintree, is his best chance of a winner at the Cheltenham Festival this year.

If you could ride any horse at Cheltenham, who would it be?


What has been the best day of your career?

Probably my first Cheltenham Festival winner on A New Story [in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase] in 2012. It really set off my career.

What is your biggest aim in racing?

I’d like to be champion.

What is your main piece of advice for someone wanting to be a jockey?

You have to be one hundred percent committed. It’s a lot harder than it looks from the outside.

Finally, is Double Shuffle good enough to win the Gold Cup?


Sammy Jo Bell Retires From the Saddle

By Niamh Townsend

Sammy Jo Bell and Arctic Feeling, who won a total of 7 races together

Very few apprentice jockeys are able to boast the kind of record that Sammy Jo Bell held during her time in the saddle. 82 winners, 51 of which were for her boss Richard Fahey, she had a very special talent which was evident on many occasions between March 2011 and October 2017 between her first and final wins on the racecourse. On the day that she announced her retirement, here’s a short tribute to a very talented jockey.

Think back to Shergar Cup Day, 8th of August 2015. An event that sets the very best jockeys in the world against each other in an afternoon of competition to see who is the very best. In the 13 years that the Shergar Cup had been running for, the ‘Girls’ team had never won once – and no apprentice jockey had ever been asked to take part.

That all changed in 2015 when Sammy Jo Bell, an apprentice based with Richard Fahey, was called up to replace the injured Cathy Gannon at the last minute. Despite many believing that she faced the possibility of being out of her depth against the very best jockeys the world had to offer, Bell well and truly held her own at Ascot to win two races, play an integral part in the first ever victory for the Girls’ team, and on top of all that be crowned the best jockey on the day and win the Silver Saddle.

It seemed as if nothing could stop Sammy Jo Bell from becoming the next big name in the racing world after her success in the Shergar Cup, and yet there was a cruel turn of fate on its way.

In May 2016 when riding the six year old Royal Duchess down to the start at Carlisle, Sammy Jo suffered a broken pelvis when the horse reared up and fell on top of her. Whilst initial scans seemed to suggest that she’d escaped serious injury, the Malton based jockey would find herself on the sidelines until March of 2017. Her determined attitude deemed that it would not be long until she was riding winners again, and it was at Musselburgh on the 15th of April last year that she was able to ride that winner in the shape of Cullingworth who bravely held on by a head to win the Royal Mile Handicap over Grey Britain under a masterful ride from Bell.

Again, it looked as if things were going to just keep getting better for the young jockey from Northern Ireland, but after only winning 16 races last season she has decided to call time on her career.

Riding her first winner very early on in her career on the 27th of March 2011 aboard Celtic Dane, who was trained by her first boss Kevin Prendergast, at Leopardstown, Sammy Jo Bell was able to make her final ride a winner aboard All My Love, trained by Pam Sly, at Catterick on the 10th of October.

Overall, she won 82 races (7 of which came on the Richard Fahey trained Arctic Feeling) and won over £700,000 in prize money. So finally, from everyone here at Rein It In, we wish the very best of luck to Sammy Jo Bell in wherever life takes her next and would like to congratulate her on all that she achieved during her career.

Malcolm Jeferson: A Brilliant Trainer

Malcolm Jefferson RIP

By Samantha (9/2/18)

RIP Malcolm Jefferson

Last week, the racing world was shook by the tragic news that top northern jumps trainer Malcolm Jefferson passed away after a long illness aged 71. He was a successful dual-purpose trainer but is mainly associated with the National Hunt circle.

Tributes were paid on twitter after the news emerged. Recently retired flat jockey George Challoner described him as ‘the greatest man I’ve ever met’ and Fergal O’Brien Racing and Paul Nicholls expressed their sadness by saying he was a ‘first class trainer’ and ‘a true gentleman’.


Born in Penrith, Cumbria, on December 1st 1946, his full name is Joseph Malcolm Jefferson and his first job in racing when he worked at Gordon Richards’ yard alongside Jonjo O’Neil. That was where he learnt to ride. He worked as assistant trainer there from 1968 to 1981. After that, he went out on his own and started training at Newstead Cottage Stables, Norton. His first winner came in the September of 1981 in the form of Mark Edelson in a bumper at Perth. Almost a year later, he sent out his first flat winner, Dick ‘E’ Bear, at Haydock Park. His best season training was in the 2016/17 season, winning forty races.

Big Winners

Malcolm’s first Cheltenham Festival winner came in the form of Tindari, who won the 1994 Gold Card Hurdle Final. The following year, Dato Star, arguably his best horse, won the Wetherby’s Champion Bumper at the Festival earning Malcolm his first Grade One victory. That horse developed into one of the best hurdlers at that time, winning the Christmas Hurdle, Fighting Fifth twice and the Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial twice. In 2012, Malcolm achieved an incredible feat of winning two races at the Cheltenham Festival with Attaglance in the Martin Pipe and Cape Tribulation in the Pertemps Hurdle Final. Those two then went on to do the Cheltenham-Aintree double by winning races at the Aintree Grand National meeting. Malcolm didn’t just find his niche in training jumpers but flat horses too. In 1983, High Debate won the Zetland Stakes and, four years later, Tancred Sand won the Bogside Cup and followed that up the next year.

MJ Dato Star
Dato Star was a superb hurdler and the best Malcolm ever trained.


The future

Malcolm’s daughter Ruth has taken over the licence and has some nice horses for the future in the stable, specifically Waiting Patiently. The gelding by Flemensfirth is currently unbeaten over chase fences and beat a classy field last time out containing Smad Place and Josses Hill. The target now seems to be the Cheltenham Festival and he has an entry in the Ryanair and Champion Chase. Another Cheltenham contender from Newstead is Black Ivory. He won the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Haydock well and looks to have a good shot in the final.

So Malcolm Jefferson has gone but his talent and love for the game lives on in the form of Waiting Patiently, whose name sums up his trainer’s career.

MJ Reading
Malcolm Jefferson (in the flat cap) studies the racecard at Redcar in 1982.

The Saturday Showdown

Image result for altior vs politologueImage result for politologue horse










The Cheltenham Festival ‘trial race season’ has begun with Supasundae beating Faugheen in Ireland and Buveur D’Air sauntering home in the Listed Race, Contenders Hurdle on February 3rd. This Saturday brings a whole new feeling of excitement with the mouth-watering clash between Nicky Henderson’s star, Altior and Paul Nicholls’ lovable grey, Politologue. Both horses are key contenders in the market for the Champion Chase in March. Altior is currently 5/4F (William Hill) for the show stopping spectacle and Politologue is the 7/2 (William Hill) 2nd favourite.

At Newbury, on Saturday, a very new task is being proposed to both horses. The 2 mile, pure speed based, race will be run on ground a lot softer than good. Henderson’s 8 year old is 11 from 11 in all his hurdles and chase races but has not run this season so far due to a wind operation. Altior is expected to once again win the Betfair Exchange Chase but Nicky was truthful and open about his chances this weekend.

He said: “They are as good as they are going to be in March, but I’ve got to be realistic about this- I’d like to get a race into him and if he gets beaten, he gets beaten.”

Henderson admitted that he would have liked another week to get some of the freshness that Altior had so fantastically expressed at home, out of him but he was also keen to express that “He’s in excellent shape”. Realistically, if Altior brings his best to Newbury on Saturday, he’ll be hard to beat but that doesn’t mean Team Paul Nicholls with Politologue won’t try.

Politologue, the beautiful grey 7 year old, is 3 from 3 this season already, his wins including the imperious Tingle Creek at Sandown. His owner, John Hales, is very keen to oppose Altior as he believes “It will be a good contest and that’s what it’s all about.” Despite being rated 5 lbs inferior to Altior, Politologue is reported as being “very well in himself” by his regular jockey Sam Twiston-Davies. The Nicholls camp are bullish about their horse’s chances on Saturday and are sure he will put up a fight and Altior will not get it all his own way, like Nicky Henderson predicted.

Another horse that won’t make it an easy race for either of the two horses previously mentioned is Fox Norton. His last run in the King George at Christmas time is easily forgotten as this horse’s best distance is 2 miles- 2m 4f. Fox Norton was ½ a length 2nd to Politologue in the Tingle Creek and before that had been an 8 length winner of the Shloer Chase in November. He is a very talented horse in his own right and actually came very close to being the Champion Chase winner last season, a head away to be exact. His trainer, Colin Tizzard is keen to get this run into him before March where he goes for the big money once again.

Saturday’s clash will provide some serious pointers towards the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Altior and Politologue will both be pushed, arguably, harder than they’ve gone before.

By Lois.

Dublin Racing Festival

BY SamanthaDublinRacingFestivalWebMain

Dublin Racing Festival

The Dublin Racing Festival is new and it combines the best that the Irish city has to offer, from music and fashion to jump racing at Leopardstown, over two days (Saturday 3rd February to Sunday 4th February). Day one houses the Irish Champion Hurdle. Hurricane fly was arguably the best winner of the race winning it five times. Willie Mullins does well in the race, winning it with Faugheen in 2016. Attention turns to chasing on the Sunday with the Unibet Irish Gold Cup, which was won last year by Jessica Harrington’s Sizing John. He went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Punchestown Gold Cup in the same season. There is over €1.5 Million in prize money on offer and seven Grade One races for the racing public to feast their eyes on.

Saturday’s Big Races

Nathaniel Lacy And Partnership Solicitors Novice Hurdle (Grade One)

Willie Mullins has won the past six renewals of this race. This time around he is two-handed with Carter McKay and Fabulous Saga. The former won his first two starts under rules in National Hunt flat races before being unplaced in the big festivals. He won his maiden hurdle at Gowran Park by fifteen lengths, from a horse that has won twice since. He found top novices Getabird and Mengli Khan too much last time out. The trip has a question mark about it as he hasn’t been this far yet. A horse that has is his stable companion Fabulous Saga. He has ran during every month of 2017 from April onwards, winning five times, and hasn’t been out of the top three in all of his starts. He is proven over further unlike Gordon Elliott’s Dortmund Park. His dam was a flat horse who won once over one mile three furlongs and his sire went to two miles two furlongs at his furthest. The gelding was beaten first time out and but won his next two by a combined sixteen and three quarter lengths. Diley O’reilly was forth first time out and won a maiden hurdle. The distance might not be a problem for him.

Coral Dublin Chase (Grade 2)

Min lost a Grade One in the Stewards’ Room because he impeded Simply Ned down the run in. Held in quite high regard, Min looks to have a really good chance as Simply Ned seemed lucky to get that race as he hadn’t shown winning form since 2015. Special Tiara has form over Nicky Richards’ charge but the fan-favourite fell last time out in the Desert Orchid Chase. He was the winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival 2017. Yorkill is a very versatile sort and he ran an extremely odd run behind Road To Respect in the Grade One Christmas Chase here; he was a tailed off last after losing his place turning into the straight. If he comes there on top form, he will go close.

Footpad has been extremely impressive all season


Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novices Chase (Grade One)

Last year’s winning trainer of this race has Petit Mouchoir in this. The talented grey won first time out this season in a Beginners Chase by seven lengths. If he brings his hurdle form to the table, he would definitely be in contention down the home straight. Footpad seems extremely exciting and got lots of people talking about him after his easy success over Any Second Now. A negative for his chances is that he was regularly beaten by Petit Mouchoir over hurdles but experience over the larger obstacles could be the difference between them. Demi Sang is interesting as he was unbeaten over three chase starts and though it is a huge step up in class, he could go close. Similarly, Tycoon Prince beat highly regarded Bunk Off Early easily but this is extremely tougher.

Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade One)

Faugheen, affectionately known as ‘The Machine’, won this in 2016. After his win, he got injured but came back at the start of this season and won the Morgiana Hurdle but was pulled up here at Leopardstown over Christmas. No one know what was up with him so he could go close or flop again. Mick Jazz won that race over Christmas and won a listed hurdle this time last year. Melon comes from Willie Mullins’ yard, like Faugheen, and won a Grade Two first time out this season before coming over to England and finishing behind My Tent Or Yours and The New One in the International Hurdle. The only English challenger is Defi Du Seuil from Philip Hobbs’ yard. He disappointed in his return to action but is back now and Hobbs wouldn’t send him over if he wasn’t. Jezki can’t be ruled out as he won the Istabraq Hurdle well in the early part of the season.

Sunday’s Big Races


Tatterstalls Ireland Juvenile Hurdle (Grade One)

Gavin Cromwell’s Espoir D’Allen has won all of his four starts (two graded). He has beaten Mitchouka twice and the latter has won three times over hurdles and never out of the top three spaces. Mr Adjudicator comes from Willie Mullins’ yard and has ran once over hurdles, quite impressively by seven and a half lengths.

Deloitte Novice Hurdle (Grade One)

Samcro seems an exciting sort and he has won all five of his starts. He has won them by a combined fifty four lengths. Sharjah fell at the last when leading and has won on both of his previous starts so could be a threat to Samcro. Whiskey Sour won that race after being left in front and is a course and distance winner. He won his previous start like Paloma Blue, who was successful in National Hunt flat races last season and it took him three attempts to get his head in front. In that race, he stayed on well up the run-in to win by twenty one lengths.

Flogas Novices Chase (Grade One)

Sutton Place won his Chase start from subsequent winner Kemboy by three and three quarter lengths. If he replicates his hurdles form, he would be a great chaser. Highest rated in the field, Invitation Only, fell in his first novices chase that Monalee won but won his other two. The latter won a beginners chase by six lengths but fell last time out. Al Boum Photo beat Invitation Only over hurdles but, like Monalee, fell last time out when ahead. Snow Falcon won a flat race in August and ran over fences for the first time in November. On his only win over fences, he won by twenty eight lengths to the only other finisher.

Outlander and Jack Kennedy


Unibet Irish Gold Cup (Grade One)

Last year’s winner Sizing John isn’t here this time around but his connections have Our Duke who didn’t impress behind Outlander on his first start this season. He won the Irish Grand National and he has a 66% strike rate at Leopardstown. Outlander won a Grade One on his second start this season before finding Bristol De Mai’s ability to handle bottomless ground at Haydock too much and followed up with a good third in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase with Djackadam pulled up. Djackadam is a good horse but he’s not really fired this season and was outpaced. Anibale Fly won the Grade B Paddy Power Chase last time by seven lengths. Killiltagh Vic has won his past five including two chases. Last time, he won over hurdles and comes back chasing now.

Happy Retirement Smad Place!

SMADBy Samantha


Every racing fan knows of Smad Place. A flash of white at the fore front of proceedings in a majority of the high class chases ran in the past few years. He ran thirty three times and won nine of them earning himself a strike rate of twenty seven percent.

Born on 24th April 2007, he came over from France in 2010 to Alan King’s yard, after running twice on the flat in France. His first run was at Newbury, a track at which he has ran five times at and won on three of those occasions. He won the race by twenty seven lengths to the short priced favourite. Next time out, he found Grade One company tough and was third by about three lengths. His next win came next time out when he dropped back in class at Wincanton. Next time out, he ran in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and came tenth.

Smad returned back to the track in January of the following year and won the Holloway’s Hurdle at Ascot, a Grade 2 Limited Handicap. Two starts later, he lined up at the Cheltenham Festival for a second time- this time in the World Hurdle- and finished in third behind Big Buck’s. At the Aintree Grand National meeting, Smad fell at the forth last with Big Buck’s once again winning.

During the next season, Smad Place didn’t win at all and he was third in the World Hurdle for a second time at Cheltenham.

On his first chase start, in the November of that year, he was six lengths ahead when he unseated his rider at the last fence. He won two subsequent novice chases before going to the Cheltenham Festival to run in the RSA Chase. Alan King was confident with Smad’s preparation and couldn’t see why he wouldn’t go close. The grey was clear up the run-in but was headed by 12/1 shot O’Faolains Boy in the final fifty yards and Smad was runner up at the Festival once again. His first start for the next season was at Newbury in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He finished fifth with subsequent Grand National winner Many Clouds winning.

The following year, Smad was in the winner’s enclosure after that race. He bolted up by a huge twelve lengths beating Theatre Guide and First Lieutenant. He had kicked off the season in fine style winning the Graduation Chase at Kempton by eight lengths and went on to do well for the rest of the season winning the BetBright Trial Chase at Cheltenham.

Smad Place has seemed to struggle to be in the winners enclosure as new talent emerges. He kicked off the 2017/2018 season with a brilliant win in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October, showing there was still life in his old legs.

But now the old boy’s career is over. Retired safe and with a ligament injury.

Happy Retirement Smad Place!

Thank you for the memories and happiness you have brought to so many people.