Ladbrokes Trophy 2018 Preview


Native River, Smad Place, Many Clouds, Bobs Worth, Denman, One Man, Arkle…..

The Ladbrokes Trophy is one of my favourite races of the year. In recent years, it has had an illustrious role of honor- Native River went on to win the Gold Cup after winning this in 2016, Many Clouds was the first horse to do the double with this race and the Grand National in 2014 and 2015 respectively and who can forget Denman who won this twice, separated by a win in the 2008 Gold Cup. My favourite renewal of them all, though, was when my most favourite racehorse ever Smad Place won the 2015 renewal by twelve lengths going away. Let’s hope for another electric performance like that this year….


The field is made up of just thirteen runners after Kemboy got taken out due to issues about traveling him from Ireland. It is a bit of a shame that the field size is so small but there are some really nice horses taking part; just probably not of the class of recent winners.

Elegant Escape fought out a few finishes with Black Corton last year including in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase when the latter won in very good style. The last time that horse won in a handicap he went off a mark of 135 over hurdles and later got beaten on his only other start in handicap company off top weight. I think he is a bit too high as he will have to carry top weight, 2lbs higher than Elegant Escape. The placings reversed between the two of them in the RSA at Cheltenham when Elegant Escape was third, three lengths ahead of fifth placed Black Corton. They then finished in that order again behind Terrefort and Ms Parfois at Aintree.

Elegant Escape is the preferred in the betting. He won an intermediate chase in decent style, beating Thomas Patrick, who’s yard is in excellent form. Tom Lacey’s gelding won his first chase at Chepstow in February and then ran in the Devon National when he was a credible fourth against seasoned opponents. He won a three mile one chase after that and then a grade three in April. He is 5lbs better off with Elegant Escape and was only beaten a half length when they last met so it wouldn’t be surprising if he reversed the placings.

MS PARFOIS is one of my favourite horses in training. She was so consistent last season winning three novice chases including ones in listed company. She was then second behind Black Corton in a grade two, second in the four miler at Cheltenham and second in the Grade One Mildmay ahead of Elegant Escape and Black Corton. She stays all day and has won a chase round here before. The only downside to her chances is that she hasn’t had the benefit of a recent run but her jockey is in good form and gets weight from her main challengers.

American is another horse who was campaigned quite highly last season. After being pulled up in this twelve months ago, he was second in the Cotswold Chase and then ninth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He would like soft ground and also hasn’t had a recent run so that could be an issue.

Dingo Dollar is following a similar preparation into this race to what Smad Place did and Alan King seemed optimistic for the gelded son of Golden Lariat’s chances. He is only six and has ran eleven times. He won two novice chases last season beating Scottish National winner Joe Farrell. He was fourth in his comeback run over hurdles and will be primed for this.

Sizing Tennessee and West Approach represent Colin Tizzard who won this two years ago with Native River. Neither of these seem at his standard. The former won nicely over two miles five on his reappearance. Last season, he was third in the four miler behind Ms Parfois so has a bit to find but has won at this trip before. West Approach is a half brother to Thistlecrack but is no where near as classy. We have seen him twice this season and he wasn’t brilliant on either. He has very little weight to carry but will struggle.

The Young Master is my each way selection. He has a bit to find on official ratings as he is only rated 135 but, because of this, he has a perfect weight. (The same as last year’s winner Total Recall) He has won twice already this season at Chepstow and Cheltenham. He goes off anow unchanged mark despite an eight length win and he stays well.

Go Conquer and Flying Angel have already been out this season. The former was a good third in the Sodexo Gold Cup over two miles seven. His only try at this trip was at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017, when he finished ahead of The Young Master, finishing fifth. Flying Angel was sixth in the Old Roan on his reappearance then stayed on well to be second at Ascot last time. This grey Arcadio gelding won a grade one in his novice chasing days so isn’t short of ability.

Allysson Monterg won well on his most recent start and goes well fresh. For an eight year old, he is quite lightly raced. Beware The Bear won a Listed race at Newcastle this weekend last year but struggled since and will need to step up.  He goes well fresh and has had a wind-op since.


Ms Parfois and The Young Master  (EW)

Betfair Chase Preview 2018

2E633F58-E7BD-4B7F-A105-2341F575CDC0.jpegBy Samantha

One million pounds. That is what one lucky set of connections have the chance of winning if their horse can get their head in front at the line this race. It is the first leg of the ‘Jump Racing Triple Crown’. The ‘triple’ part is comprised of this race, the King George, on Boxing Day, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in March. In the line up this year, we have the last two winners of the King George, this year’s Gold Cup winner and the 2017 winner of this race.

Bristol De Mai (Saddler Maker x Le Bole Night) was one of the best winners of any race I’ve ever seen when landing this contest last year. He won by a whopping fifty seven lengths beating multiple winner of this race Cue Card, Grade One winners Outlander and Tea For Two and graded winner Traffic Fluide. That was his second run of the season as he had won the Charlie Hall before that. After his Haydock run, he disappointed in the King George VI behind Might Bite and was then third in the Cotswold Chase. He bypassed the Gold Cup and was beaten seven lengths in the Betway Bowl, once again by Might Bite. He is the likely pace maker. It is arguable that he would prefer softer going as the ground was bottomless this time last year but he has won on good to soft twice before so he can’t be underestimated. The yard is in good form too.

All bar one of the five runners’ trainers have won this race before and that is Nicky Henderson. He runs 2017 King George VI winner Might Bite (Scorpion x Knotted Midge). Nico De Boinville made a winning return to race riding on an exciting novice chaser called Wenyerreadyfreddie on Friday after an injury and I would guess that he would be excited to ride this horse. He was unbeaten over fences for five runs, four in Class One company including a Cheltenham Festival victory, before being beaten by Native River in the Gold Cup. Previous to this, he won the King George with Thistlecrack and Bristol De Mai behind him. He subsequently won the Betway Bowl beating the latter again on his most recent start, beating Clan Des Obeaux.


Trainer Paul Nicholls has one horse in the line up this year and he is the outsider. Clan Des Obeaux (Kapgarde x Nausicaa Des Obeaux) is the lowest rated and he has a bit to find with these. He was third in the Betway Bowl, ten lengths behind Might Bite and three and three quarter lengths behind Bristol De Mai. He won a Grade Two Novice Chase but this is likely to be stretching his stamina as the longest race he has won is two miles and five furlongs. His jockey, Harry Cobden, is in flying form of late.


Thistlecrack (Kayf Tara x Ardstown) went unbeaten for over a year over the course of nine runs. Three of which were in Grade One company. He won the King George as a novice after landing the Long Walk and World Hurdle as a hurdler the year before. He finished second to the ill-fated Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase in 2017 and he missed the rest of the season. He finished fifth on his reappearance in the 2017 Long Distance Hurdle before trying to regain his crown in the King George. Colin Tizzard’s gelding could only manage fourth beaten five and three quarter lengths by Might Bite. We haven’t seen him since but if he can return to his King George form, he’ll be bang there.


NATIVE RIVER (Indian River x Native Mo) is the aforementioned horse’s stable mate and, based on the form, he is,in my opinion, the obvious pick for the winner. This horse was only seen twice last season when winning the Denman Chase at Newbury and going on to land the coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup. He beat Might Bite four and a half lengths that day and, considering that horse has beaten the rest of the field multiple times, the son of Native Mo looks the one to beat. He is rated 176- 4lbs higher than Might Bite. I don’t think he will have an issue with ground conditions and can make a winning seasonal debut.


I believe this race is one to watch, treasure and enjoy because it isn’t often you get to see such true champions facing off this early in the season. It’s as if Christmas is coming early!!!



Picture: Kayley Woollacott with stable star Lalor (Sourced from


I interviewed Kayley Woollacott, a national hunt racehorse trainer based in North Devon, to ask her a few questions about her job. Kayley’s biggest win to date is Lalor’s Grade 1 at Aintree, in the Betway Top Novices Hurdle. Unfortunately, her triumphs on the track have not come without heartbreak. In January, Kayley’s husband, Richard Woollacott, sadly took his own life. Richard’s biggest success came in the shape of his 40-1 winner in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, Beer Goggles. He was also an extremely talented point to point rider. Richard was crowned National Champion point to point rider in 2010, as well as winning the regional title for Devon and Cornwall seven consecutive times (2005-2011). The new season ushers in a new start for Kayley and her team, however. Their stable star, Lalor, runs tomorrow at Cheltenham for his first start over fences. Kayley is keen to continue the work of her late husband and we wish her the best of luck for this season ahead.


  1. Do you have a young horse in your yard we should be looking out for this season?

Clondaw’s Answer

  • 5 year old bay gelding
  • Owned by D G Staddon
  • Entered at Chepstow on November 21
  • Ask X Monabricka Lady (IRE) (Moscow Society (USA))

He will be a nice horse in time! He was an impressive winner of an Irish Point to Point and he will be sent hurdling this season.


2. How is Lalor and what is the plan for him?

Lalor is very well and due to run tomorrow in the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham. It’s a big ask for his first time over fences, but the quick ground and dry weather everywhere has prevented us from getting him out sooner. So long as he has a good learning experience and he comes home safe and sound, we will all be pleased with him!


3. How did Bella and Lalor’s beautiful bond come about? (A question we were all dying to know the answer to)

Lalor has always been a big topic in out household. He was purchased around the time that Bella was born and so we soon realised he was exciting. He was her Dad’s favourite and she loved being at Wincanton when he won his first race. He’s a big softie at home and so quickly became ‘her’ Lalor! We have lots of pictures of him at home and she knows he’s a star. He is so good with her, that he’s always first in line for a kiss!


4. What’s your opinion on the representation of women in the racing industry currently?

It’s a unique industry that was male dominated for quite a while. However, now, women are on a level playing field with the men, both in training and in riding and that’s a really good thing!



I am very grateful to Kayley for giving me her time for this article. The link can be found below for Kayley’s fundraiser in memory of Richard for; the mental health support charity, Mind, The Injured Jockeys Fund and the Devon Air Ambulance Service. Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 18-45 and I think we are all in agreeance, here at Rein It In Racing, that more needs to be done. So, if you can, please donate! Thank you.


– By Lois x

BetVictor Gold Cup Chase Preview

mr whitaker
Mister Whitaker

By Samantha

This weekend in November is always on to treasure and enjoy. Three days worth of top-class jump racing at the home of the jumps- Cheltenham, giving clues for the big four days in March.

On the first day of the meeting, we were treated to a thrilling finish in the novices’ chase, the fourth race on the card, with four of the five finishers crossing the line within a length of each other. Court Meribel survived a horrific blunder at the second last to prevail by a head, in a race full of clues for the future. The Cross Country Chase is always a spectacle and eleven year old Jossies Orders obliged to land the spoils as the 2/1 favourite. Grand National winner Tiger Roll finished a creditable fourth and it was a good run to get him ready for the rest of the season. Another race for the future was the Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Grade Two) which was won very impressively by Coolanly. He is likely to go to the Ballymore in March and has to be one to watch.

The BetVictor Gold Cup is the big race of the Saturday of the Open Meeting. It is raced over two miles four furlongs and the maximum field of twenty runners are set to go to post.

Splash Of Ginge won this last year and comes here off the back of a run like last year. He was a good fifth in a hurdle race earlier in the month. He won this off 134 last year and is 7lbs higher than then after a really good second in a grade three at the Cheltenham Festival. He has won off higher (145) before and carries the same in-running weigh as last year. He is getting on a bit now and it may be worth looking for a younger horse.

Mister Whitaker is a six year old and has won his last three races in good style, two in Listed company, and goes off a career high mark of 152. He won at the Festival last year with Rather Be and Ballyhill behind him. He looks the one with the biggest futures and is a very progressive type. Frodon has won ten times despite being a six year old and it looks like his weight will unravel his chances as he has to carry 11st12lbs. On bare form, he is one of the best horses in the line-up. He is penalised for a good grade two win last time out when he beat Javert into second by just over a length. That horse was only having his second start since May 2016 having won at Uttoxeter a month earlier. He could spring a surprise and has to be respected for the in-form Emma Lavelle yard, especially as he gets 11lbs from him.

Gary Moore, trainer of Benatar and Baron Alco, has been quoted saying he would prefer softer going for his pair and that is something they are unlikely to get. The former won a group two last season and then was third in the JLT. He was very disappointing fourth last time out but will come on for the run and can’t be ignored. Baron Alco was second in a race at the Festival in 2017 and hadn’t been seen for five hundred and seventy seven days when a very close second in October. He’ll come on for that and is a leading contender.

Happy Diva has been so consistent for the past two years and made a good reappearance run to be a two and a quarter length second behind Mister Whittaker. She looks progressive as well but will have to step up in order to get past Mister Whitaker, who she is getting 13lbs, including her jockey’s claim, from. Movewiththetimes showed lots of potential over fences last season but never managed to shed his novice tag. That could be a good thing though and open some more doors for him this season now he is more mature. He was a very short favourite last time out but unseated his rider but will be primed for this and I know lots of people who fancy him. He had previously been behind Kalondra in a novice chase over course and distance last year and Neil Mulholland was then upgraded to grade one company and beaten over fifty lengths with West Approach just behind him. Then, he was third over course and distance in April. He ran in a chase and fell, in August, and would probably have won if he hadn’t fallen.

Rather Be won a grade three hurdle at Aintree in 2017 beating some nice horses. He won two novice chases last season and then only lost out a head at Cheltenham to Mister Whitaker. The other horse has the benefit of a run already this season so he’ll probably struggle to reverse the form but gets 3lbs from him. West Approach‘s yard has been in fabulous form of late and he ran well on his reappearance.

David Pipe has two representatives- Eamon An Croic and King’s Socks. The former was highly tried in this grade, after landing a Plumpton Chase, in the Ultima and he was then pulled up in a grade three hurdle at Aintree. He was eighth on his reappearance so will be primed for this but will struggle. Based on this, jockey bookings suggest that King’s Socks is the favoured of the yard’s runners as Tom Scudamore takes the ride. He was quite successful over in France but hasn’t had as much luck over here. He was beaten about eight lengths in two of his three starts last season. One was in an intermediate chase and in a grade three over course and distance over course and distance at the festival. Splash Of Ginge was ahead of him that day and he was ahead of Guitar Pete, Romain De Senam and Movewiththetimes who was pulled up. Willie Boy fell in behind him too.

Willie Boy won twice last season and was a decent second on his reappearance finishing ahead of Ballyandy. The Nigel Twiston-Davies horse’s last win came in September 2017 and has only had three runs since. he was fourth in a grade two over course and distance in January and then was pulled up later on in the month behind Mister Whitaker. He was three lengths behind Willie Boy over two miles three on his reappearance and will need to step up.

Guitar Pete gave a very encouraging return in November in a Listed race and will have come on for that. He won nicely in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup last December beating Romain De Senam and Splash Of Ginge. Romain De Senam ran a decent race last time out to finish third beaten twenty five lengths. He has won off this mark before and will appreciate conditions.

Shantou Village won nicely in August off 139 and then ran well to finish fifth in the Kerry National beaten about five lengths and was then sixth in a three mile one furlong race at this course at the end of October. He goes off a reasonable mark and will like the going.

Geordie Des Champs put in a very poor performance on his reappearance and will need to really improve. Whoshotwho has won his last two at Market Rasen and has a huge rise in grade to get over so, similarly, will need to step up.


Mister Whitaker and Happy Diva (EW)

Footpad Set To Light Up Naas


By Killian

12:30 Poplar Square Chase Grade 3

The Poplar Square Chase sees the return of the brilliant Footpad, last season’s Arkle winner.

Footpad was a high quality hurdler and finished 3rd in the Triumph Hurdle and fourth in the Champion Hurdle, but has taken to fences like a duck to water.

His performances at Cheltenham and Punchestown were absolutely superb and he jumped, as the saying goes, like a stag.

He is currently second favourite, behind Altior, in the betting for the Champion Chase and you would have to say that it would be a massive disappointment if he was to lose today.

Hopefully Footpad can put in an impressive display today and build the excitement towards the possible mouthwatering clash with Altior at Prestbury Park in March.

However a lot of things can go right or wrong in the interim so let’s keep our fingers crossed that both make it to Cheltenham.

Saint Calvados looks the only horse in the field capable of giving Footpad some kind of race.

Saint Calvados was well behind Footpad in the Arkle and I doubt he is capable of beating Footpad.

This is a race to savour and looks the perfect starting point for Footpad’s season.

1:05 Fishery Lane Hurdle Grade 3

The Willie Mullins trained Saldier is my NAP of the day. I was very impressed with him at Punchestown where he be Mr Adjudicator by 3 lengths.

In recent stable tours Willie Mullins has spoken very highly of the horse and even mentioned the possibility of him being a Champion Hurdle contender.

I think Mr Adjudicator is going to suffer the ‘curse of the Triumph hurdle horse’ as I like to call it.

He is a son of Comancho and I doubt he will improve too much this season. We may have seen the best of him last year due to his flat breeding.

Espoir D’allen was a horse I really liked and he beat Mr adjudicator at Christmas, unfortunately he’s had his setbacks. It would be nice to see a return to form by him.

It looks to be between the first three in the market and I’m with Saldier on the basis that he has the most scope for improvement.

2:50 Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle

This is a predictably tricky contest and JP McManus runs five, I think it might be best to focus on his runners in order to find the winner.

Air supremacy is the one I most like the look of in JP’s contingent. By putting a line through his last run he remains interesting on an opening mark of 128.

This son of Galileo beat a nice horse of Willie Mullins’ called Easy Game at Listowel on heavy ground over the  today’s trip.

I think a reproduction of that form would see him going very close today and he looks a good each way prospect.

Plinth ran very good race behind Bedrock at Tipperary and as we know that form has been bolstered since. The trip is a worry for him and he’s not getting any younger. All his best form is over 2 miles.

De Name Escapes Me is a quality horse but has been disappointing more than once. I expect him to come forward for the run.

3:25 Beginners Chase

Discorama is a horse I really like and I followed him throughout last season.

I couldn’t believe the price he was for the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham. Despite beating Blow By Blow in his maiden hurdle he was three times his price. Discorama ran a great race to be second to Blow By Blow in the Martin Pipe and rewarded my confidence in him.

I think he could be overpriced again today at around 7 or 8/1. It’s easy to poke holes in the form of Bacardys and Any Second Now.

Bacardys is a woeful jumper and it’s interesting that Ruby Walsh doesn’t take the ride.

Any Second Now was well fancied for the Close Brothers Novices Chase at Cheltenham but was bitterly disappointing.
I’m expecting him to run to a mark of around 135 today and Discorama could be a bit better than that.
Discorama is a son of Saddler Maker and should improve for the switch to fences. I really think he could be a horse to follow for this season.


1:05 Saldier (Nap)

2:50 Air Supremacy (e/w)

3:25 Discorama (e/w)

Badger Ales Chase Preview

5EE510DF-67A3-450B-B36D-D554C920BAC9.jpegBy Samantha

Listed, 3m1f, 1st Place- £34,170

Present Man won this Listed contest last year but conditions were a lot different as the ground was soft but this year it is likely to be on the quicker side of good due to the lack of rain in recent weeks. The Paul Nicholls runner will be partnered by Bryony Frost again but will have to carry top weight this year and is 2lbs higher than that victory. He has been well beaten on all starts since but will go on the ground and is one of the likely favourites.

El Bandit goes for the same trainer. He has won seven times from twelve runs, one over further than this so stamina won’t be an issue. He was last seen in May 2017 when making his chase debut so whether his jumping will be good enough in a field of experienced chasers is an unknown. He will go on the ground and has a good record coming off a break. Stablemate Captain Buck’s hasn’t won since landing a novice hurdle in April 2017. He was behind Aunty Ann last time out and in April was sixteen lengths behind Sam Red in a novice chase and will probably struggle the most of the three.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has two in the line up- Bigbadjohn and Belmount. The former moved to Nigel at the beginning of 2018 from Rebecca Curtis and won quite nicely first time for them. The form of that race has worked out quite well. He unseated next time out with Present Man ahead and then won nicely last time out over further beating Sumkindofking on firm going. Belmount won twice over the summer, beating Forever Field in one of those runs. He was beaten a head last time out on Tuesday and consequently is a good each way shot but this may come too soon. Forever Field has been very consistent lately and his last win came in June 2014 when he beat Black Corton in a novice chase. He didn’t seem to stay two miles seven last time out so there are queries about stamina.

Sam Red put in a really nice performance to win an amateur race at Cheltenham last time out over this trip. The horse in front ran through the artificial railings after the last but he probably would’ve won anyway and he has only gone up 4lbs for that. He has very little weight to carry and looks very good value at 16s.

Charlie Longsdon is doubly represented with Bestwork and Aunty Ann. The latter probably has the better chance as she won over course and distance last time out beating the favourite Captain Buck’s into third by one and a half lengths. That was on similar ground and she has gone up 4lbs for that but has a good claimed on board taking 7lbs off. Bestwork was pulled up last time out over this trip and I’m not fully convinced he stays this far.

On Demand and Kings Lad have both won here before. The former is yet to tackle a trip this far and goes off a 3lbs higher mark than when she won a two runner race on her penultimate start and then being second to a nice mare who has come out and ran well in a listed race since. Kings Lad was last seen in a group three on Saturday and ran a very solid race. He won before that over two miles seven and he has won over this trip before. Fingerontheswitch also ran on Saturday and won over three miles at Wetherby. He was third in this in 2016 and goes off a winnable mark.

Ramses De Teillee has ran twice over this trip and has been twice and seventh over it. His form isn’t great on good ground but he is a nice jumper. Dancing Shadow was last winning this time last year in a novices’ hurdle. He won the 2017 Edinburgh National before that over four miles so this trip won’t be an issue and he is likely to go one the ground. His last two runs have been over hurdles and he goes well fresh.

Tom George’s yard is in good form at the minute and his representative is Sumkindofking. He won really nicely on seasonal debut in October but was a two length third to Bigbadjohn and hasn’t won over a trip this far before. Allelu Allelula won very nicely by ten lengths but has had a 10lbs rise to contend with and that might unravel his good run of form.


Sam Red and Aunty Ann (Both EW) 

Cork National Day


By Killian

Paddy’s Rewards Club Irish EBF Novice Hurdle (Listed) 3m
Robin De Carlow deserves to be favourite in this race. I was impressed by her at Limerick, where she beat Awayinthewest and Good Thyne Tara. That’s solid form. The step up to 3 miles should suit her. Percy Veer is likely to set the pace, but Cork is a big galloping track and I can’t see him staying in front. Getareason has been disappointing and will need to improve massively. Madison To Monroe may stay on for a place. It’s all about Robin De Carlow in my opinion.

Paddy Power Celebrating 30 Years Irish EBF Novice Steeplechase (Grade 3) of €40,000.00 5-y-o plus 2m 4f
I would oppose Robin Des Foret in this contest in favour of Winter Escape. Robin Des Foret is ultra consistent and should run to about 140. Winter Escape was fifth in a county hurdle in 2017, but has had issues. He is now in the care of Aidan Howard, who seems to have him in fine order again. I thought his jumping was impeccable at Galway and he progressed nicely from his first chase start. Hopefully with another bit of improvement he can take this. Robin Des Foret must also concede 6 pounds. It looks to be between these two.

Paddy Power Cork Grand National Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) (Rated 0-150) of €50,000.00 4-y-o plus 3m. 4f
It’s a cliché but this really is a wide open race. Rogue Angel is the favourite and the former Irish Grand National winner has obvious claims. He ran well in the Munster National but might just be open to less exposed horse. The majority of national hunt fans want to see the small trainer doing well and I hope we will see this today. I am siding with Velocity Boy trained by William Murphy. I’ve always liked this horse and he’s a strong chaser, who jumps well. Today’s trip of 3m 4f is a step into the unknown. However after he won at Punchestown in February 2017 the trainer mentioned the possibility of the Irish Grand National. Quotes after the race; Making the running probably suits but I’d love to be able to drop him out and go longer, just to see because I think he could be very good if we could do that. The Irish National is also in the back of our heads. The horse also won a point to point which eases stamina fears and the ground will be ok. Velocity Boy looks overpriced at 20/1. Minella Beau is interesting in his first run in a handicap and is Willie Mullins’ only runner. Oighear Dubh was going to win at Cheltenham before running threw the tapes. It would be nice if he gained compensation. I’m sticking with Velocity Boy though.

1:35 Robin De Carlow
2:10 Winter Escape
3:15 Velocity Boy (e/w)


American Racing is stuck in the Dark Ages

By Evie

On a day highlighted by one of the most competitive races in the American racing calendar, one moment stood out above all. That moment- the disgraceful use of the whip from Christophe Soumillon aboard Thunder Snow.

As the eventual winner, Accelerate, drew alongside his mount, Soumillon took the decision to hit the Godolphin owned Thunder Snow a massive 20 times along the final straight, the hits coming within quick succession of each other, not leaving Thunder Snow the chance to respond to these hits.

And it was not the only time this had happened that night. Earlier on in the day in the Breeder’s Cup Mile, Catapult received the same treatment from his jockey, Drayden van Dyke. Granted, this time his horse was actually in a competitive position, but this should not excuse whipping a horse over 20 times in a single furlong.

Take example from Frankie Dettori’s ride on Enable. He gave her the customary 7 hits, as is regulatory in European racing, and after that point continued on with a hands and heels ride, even when Magical was still in an actively competitive position against his mount.

Clearly, the rules in America are not created to benefit the horse. As written on the Horse Racing Officials website-

“Prohibited uses of the riding crop include: …hitting a horse excessively or brutally… persistently even though the horse is showing no response under the riding crop…”

However, watching the Breeder’s Cup Classic alone it is clear that these rules are not being stuck to, nor are the current rules sufficient enough to protect the horses. In the UK, flat rules dictate that horses can only be whipped overarm 6/7 times, with shoulder slaps not counting towards that total.

Its clear that these rules need reviewing to ensure the utmost safety of the horses, and to ensure the integrity of the sport.

Charlie Hall Chase Preview

492A752F-4560-4E1D-9E24-27071C73B59E.jpegby Samantha

The turnout for this race this year is a bit disappointing. In recent years, the likes of Cue Card, Menorah, Silviniaco Conti have all won this race. Loveable grey One Man also won it twice in 1996 and 1997. Last year, Bristol De Mai and Blaklion fought out the finish to a thrilling race with Definitely Red back in third. The former went on to win the Betfair Chase by a whopping fifty seven lengths, Blacklion won the Beecher Chase at Aintree and Definitely Red won two grade twos.

In weeks before, this year’s Charlie Hall was tipped as a showdown between Bristol De Mai and King George winner Thistlecrack but both horses will not run due to the good ground. Regal Encore has come out this morning too leaving just four runners to go to post.

Definitely Red is the only runner of the four to not have won on good ground before as he is yet to run on it. Despite this, he has a live chance as he is one of the classiest horses in the line up and he stays all day. In the past, he has been one of the favorites for a Grand National and has won twelve times including over course and distance.

Black Corton gave Bryony Frost a brilliant season last year and the partnership won seven times including at grade one and grade two level. He goes really well on good ground and he often goes well fresh. In my opinion, he still needs to assert himself against more seasoned chasers.

Virgilio is partnered by another female jockey. Bridget Andrews. She won the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Mohaayed for Dan Skelton and she has been riding well all summer for him. Her mount in this is probably the outsider but it is a very tight race. He has won twice in good style over the summer, one being listed race at Uttoxeter, since falling in the Grand National and he seems very progressive despite being nine and could go close.

My selection is DOUBLE SHUFFLE. He put in an amazing performance to run Might Bite to a length in the King George on Boxing Day. Since then, he has been seventh in the Betway Bowl and fourth in the Oaksey Chase. This is his favored time of the year and he goes well fresh. His jockey, Adrian Heskin, has been in good form all week so that is a plus for his chances. The ground is on his side and hopefully he can break his winning drought.