Mid week racing this week comes from the only All weather track in Ireland, Dundalk. An eight race card gets underway at five o’clock.
My first selection is in Race two, the Dundalk Stadium Claiming Race over one mile. The Ado McGuinness trained Master Speaker makes the most appeal. While he may not be in the best form of late, he has a great chance at the weights. His last win came back in July at Killarney when he bet Yuften comfortably giving him a pound, Master Speaker now receives three pounds when you take the riders claim away from Yuften’s allotted weight. I think he will bounce back to form here with Ronan Whelan in the saddle.
Race four is the Book Your Christmas Party At Dundalk Handicap over one mile. Kafu has been running well of late for trainer Ger Lyons. On his penultimate start, he finished second behind Franklyn who has since franked the form, winning twice at Listowel. That race was in July and he wasn’t seen again until earlier this month when he finished second at Dundalk over seven furlongs. He will have come on for the run and will enjoy the step back up to a mile. I think he will go close with Colin Keane in the saddle.
The penultimate race on the card is the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Stadium Handicap over seven furlongs. Eacharn has returned to a winnable mark after being rated seventy in January. He has previously won off a mark of sixty three when winning over course and distance last December. He was last seen finishing midfield at the Curragh last week after being off the track since May. I think he will be sharper for the run and will will go close with Andrew Slattery in the saddle.
Here is my preview of the card at Cheltenham, with a focus on the first race- a interesting handicap chase full with some old favorites. Also featured is the Vertem Futurity Trophy from Doncaster.
14:00 Cheltenham – Matchbook Betting Exchange
This is a really exciting race!
Older chasers like The Young Master and Cogry take their chances at the ripe old age of ten. The Young Master won on seasonal reappearance at Chepstow last season and then won here in November in an amateur riders race. He pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy; then was third in the Kim Muir and was second in the Bet365 Gold Cup at the end of last season. He ran on the flat and came eleventh twenty four days ago. Cogry has won this before and was a very close second in this last year. He won here in December and then unseated in the Scottish Grand National.
On the other end of the spectrum is Onefortheroadtom. Aibhe O’Connor rides him and he was second to Heron Heights in a Grade B Chase in May. The Conditional also placed last time, behind The Hollow Ginge at Worcester in September, and that was the first run for David Bridgewater. Na Trachtalai Abu was third in the Kerry National so that should put him right and he won’t be fazed by the big field. Possibly the Grand National could be a target. Shantou Village was going well when unseating in the Kerry National. He was sixth in this race last year.
Get On The Yager and Back To The Thatch ran in the Uttoxeter Midlands Grand National. Get On The Yager was third in that race and before that was out of his depth behind Cyrname. He is one of three for Dan Skelton Harry Skelton rides top weight Cobra De Mai, who won three times and was fourth in a grade two last time. Bridget Andrews rides Captain Chaos, who hasn’t won for a while. He was sixth at Chepstow on seasonal debut and was also sixth in the Kim Muir. Back To The Thatch fell in the Midlands National and seems to struggle to stay on his feet.
CROSSPARK was very consistent in three runs this year – he came third in the Warwick Chase, won the Eider and then was second in the Scottish National. He looks like value at 20/1. Minella Rocco pulled up in the English and Irish Grand Nationals but this is easier. Rock The Kasbah fell at the nineteenth at Aintree. Before that, he’d won in here November but then came sixth behind Cogry. Fellow nine year old Royal Vacation was fifth in a handicap at Chepstow when last seen. He often runs in this company very well.
Rocky’s Treasure won four from five in the latter part of 2018 but got beat a long way, including second to CobraDe Mai. Mindsmadeup is two from four this summer and the softer the better for him. West Approach mixes between fences and hurdles but came sixth in the Bet365 Gold Cup behind The Young Master and Rolling Dylan and ahead of Rock The Kasbah. Rolling Dylan won a novice cuase in February 2018 and that was the last time he won. Bob Mahler won at this course and Newbury last season and is a lovely horse. Red Infantry won in November last year and may struggle a little bit.
14:35 Cheltenham – Masterson Holdings Hurdle
QUEL DESTIN was a high-class performer last year and won a grade one at Chepstow. Next time, he beat Torpillo over sixteen lengths and was one place behind NelsonRiver in the Triumph Hurdle. Torpillo ran poorly, after coming fourth to Quel Destin, in the Fred Winter. He won on seasonal reappearance really well but I think QuelDestin needed his reappearance on the flat and Torpillo has a bit to find. Nelson River won here at Cheltenham in December and then followed in Fakir D’Oudairies and then in the Triumph Hurdle when he ran a career best.
15:10 Randox Health Handicap Chase
Saint Calvados lost his way last season and has a hefty weight. Mcgroaty has won his last three so is definitely a danger as he seems to be on good terms with himself. KNOCKNAUSS carries 11st1 and that could be fair as he won easily in novices’ chases at Fakenham and Newbury. He then came second to the smart Master Dino but fell in behind Le Richebourg in February. He was fifth in the Arkle and at Aintree too. He seems to be a cut above these.
15:45 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle
This race is a qualifier for the Festival and Tobefair was second in the final last year so has to have a good chance in this is replicating that. Since then, he’s won here easily so is a player but the Rebecca Curtis team is flying and they have SUNSET SHOWDOWN. He’s three from four this summer and looks like he’ll be suited to this race.
16:20 Randox Health Novices Hurdle
THE BUTCHER SAID has won his last four ridiculously easily and that could be down to some genius placing by Olly Murphy and the McNeills. Adrian Heskin is riding out of his skin and Olly Murphy is flying as well. Good luck to them.
16:55 Matchbook Best Value Betting Exchange Novices Chase
This is a good little contest! SECRET INVESTOR was an excellent chaser last season and has smartly been put in to this to exploit the fact that he is still a ‘novice’. Go Another One and Topofthecotswolds are also penalized as they’ve already won. Whamore won well in an easy assignment on chase debut and Dead Right has been second in novice chases on the past two occasions. FirstAssignment ran well in Pertemps races last year and should make a decent chaser. Pym was a useful novice hurdler, winning twice, but needs good ground. SlateHouse ran over fences last season without any success but he’s more experienced than a lot of these. Garo De Juilley looks out of his depth.
17:30 Cheltenham- Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Standard Open NH Flat Race
Lots of good horses will come out of this race. One of those will be THE NEWEST ONE if he can follow in his big brother The New One’s hooves. He won the Champion Bumper so hopefully this horse can make a successful debut.
15:25 Vertem Futurity Trophy
There’s group one action at Doncaster as well but it’s very much the Aidan O’Brien show due to no fault of his. Magna Grecia won this last year and he went on to win the 2000 Guineas. The most fancied to win this is MOGUL. Donnacha rides the Galileo Colt, who won a group two last time, beating Royal County Down. That was the second of his victories after winning at the Curragh. He’s 8/15 and it would be good to see him win this as his form is completely separate to that of Pinatubo. Royal County Down is the outsider but Ben Curtis wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to ride for Mr O’Brien so he must be doing something right. After Mogul in the pecking order is Innisfree. He won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on heavy ground so he’ll be happy it is heavy ground. I have a tiny suspicion he may handle things better than Mogul. It took Louisiana four attempts to win and did so very well sixteen days ago. Andrea Atzeni rides Iberia, who was second to Stela Star in a group three on heavy last time out. The only British horse is Kameko who comes from Andrew Balding’s yard. He’s no mug and has followed in Positive and Royal Dornoch this season. He was only beaten a quarter of a length on both occasions but the ground could be problematic.
Cheltenham holds their first meeting of the season on Friday 25th and it has attracted a really good card of horses. The ground is good to soft.
14:00 Cheltenham – Ballymore Novices Hurdle
The Irish have a strong hand in this opening contest with Braid Blue and Doctor Duffy.Braid Blue is from the Gordon Elliot yard. This horse is six from nine and has won his last three hurdle races very easily over further than this. Doctor Duffy has been running all through the summer and won his first hurdle in May. He’s won twice in seven races since. He beat Lethal Steps and Black Tears last time but, out of the horses with official ratings, he is rated 1lbs less than No Hidden Charges. Neil Mullholland’s gelding won twice in May and then obliged over this trip at 1/8 in July. Those were only average opposition. Bialco has won twice – a handicap hurdle and a novice hurdle. Last time, he was beaten 33lengths by Borrice so has a bit to find. MegaudaisSpeed has only ran twice in the UK and been beaten convincingly. CHAMPAGNE WELL won a NH Flat Race at Sedgefield in soft ground last year and he’s going into his second season as a novice hurdler. He was sixth in the grade one Sefton Novices Hurdle at Aintree and looks to have a big chance getting weight. Guy has ran just once when second in a NH Flat Race at Perth. He’ll be making his hurdles debut but his dam is a listed winning hurdler in France. L’Air DuVent won easily on rules debut and I was impressed with that run. He fell in his sole Point To Point and makes his first outing over obstacles.
This is a mouth-watering clash. We have top class hurdle winners Getaway Trump and Al Dancer tackling fences for the first time! Al Dancer progress through the levels from about this time last year and one for races. The last of those was in the grade three Betfair Hurdle when Getaway Trump was about 7 lengths back in fourth. Next time the grey was 10th in the supreme novices’ hurdle. He should like fences. The same comment goes for GetawayTrump. He got over his keenness to win at Plumpton and Exeter, before coming second Champ in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle. Then he was fourth to Al Dancer and then Rouge Vif. He had a good confidence boost in a class three at Ayr, which left him perfect for the Novice Hurdle Final on the last day of the season at Sandown when he won by two and three quarter lengths. My selection is GETAWAY TRUMP as I’ve always thought he’d be a chaser and was part of last year’s 20 to watch. Caius Marcius carries extra weights because he is already a three time chase winner. The weight could ruin his chances but he’ll win again soon. Not That Fuisse was second on chase debut to Erick Le Rouge. He was beaten by Al Dancer in December so has quite a bit to find.
15:10 Cheltenham – Two Farmers Crisps Handicap Hurdle
Nineteen horses go to post in this and I’ve picked out a few to talk about. Treasure Dillon and The Big Galloper are only 5. The latter won on heavy at Roscommon recently in a maiden hurdle by neck. He could struggle. Treasure Dillon finished the season with a really easy win and has very little weight. Boreham Bill won eighteen days ago at Stratford on similar ground, however Adam Wedge the winning pilot, rides TreasureDillon instead. Duke Street has won his last two. He has only ran twice in the past two years and is rising in the weights. Top weight is Golan Fortune, who raced in very good company when last racing but he has a 559 day break to overcome. The mare Printing Dollars won twice earlier in the year over further and was second at Ayr in April when last seen. LIGSDUIN BHEARNA completed a double in late February early March and both were very good rooms. He’s not exposed but is so consistent. I’m expecting a big run as he should stay the trip. SmartyWild has won his last three and steps up in trip. It comes from Philip Hobbs yard and they’re in decent form so is my second choice. Tedham won at Wincanton in January and then came seventh in a grade three at Aintree. Breaking Waves likes Huntingdon and came fourth at Newbury when last seen in March. Back On The Lash won at Exeter on the 10th October, by a small margin.
15:45 Cheltenham – Matchbook Most Trusted Betting Exchange Novices Chase
My selection in this race is obviously MULCAHYS HILL. I adore this horse and he’s one of my 20 To Watch 2019/20. He ran over fences, after coming second in the Challow Novices Hurdle during the previous season. His best run of the campaign was when second to the subsequent National Hunt Chase third Jerrysback at Bangor. After that, he ran in the Scilly Isles and fell in the National Hunt Chase, which was a horrific race. He’s one of the more exposed and has contested some tough races over fences. Hopefully, this can play to his strengths! Dinons has a brilliant wins-to-runs ratio and began in novice chases in May and is now a three times winner. He’s only six, like Present Ranger and Rockpoint. Present Ranger has won his last three and makes his chase debut in this race. He’s stepping up in trip . I saw Rockpoint when he was fourth at Warwick behind Beakstown at the beginning of 2019 but he’s been well beaten on all starts since. He’s a course and distance winner but tries fences for the first time. AyeAye Charlie was beaten by Rockpoint so the former has a bit to find. Boyhood and Wholestone both went over fences once already this season. Boyhood did so in May and was a game winner. Wholestone was a good hurdler and won on heavy in September. It wasn’t really a race as his sole opponent pulled up before four out. MinellaWarrior won last time over hurdles and it’s quite an exposed type so he could be anything, from the Kim Bailey yard.
16:20 Cheltenham – Foundation Developments LTD Maiden Hurdle
GETARIVER is an interesting mare. Bridget Andrews rode her for her two bumper wins, which were both were very impressive, and her husband Harry Skelton takes over the reins for her hurdles debut. The horse is well-related and was a relatively cheap purchase at £30,000. Fred has been second on his last three starts in France and now runs for Nicky Henderson so is a threat but carries 11st in comparison to her 10st7.
16:55 Cheltenham – Ryman Stationary Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase
Seamus Mullins recruits top point to point rider Gina Andrews for the ride on PLANTAGENET. The horse runs off the same mark as when a good second to Doing Fine at Fontwell three weeks ago. Doing Fine has to carry 4lbs more than my selection so a reverse is on the cards.
Connor Brace rides Benny’s Bridge, who won a handicap here in January. The form of that has worked out well. Whoshotthesheriff has won his last two starts rather easily and steps into handicap company. OAKLEY gets my vote. Philip Hobbs’ charge won easily in two starts around the turn of the year and hasn’t been seen since. He has a long absence to overcome but should run well.
17 runners go to post for this opener over six furlongs and the ground is heavy. That will be good for DonjuanTriumphant, who prefers softer ground. He’s been second twice in his six starts this term and the most recent was behind Cape Byron over course and distance. Cape Byron won two class two handicaps at the beginning of the season but was out of his depth in the July Cup. He ran well on his penultimate start and then won a group three here earlier in the month, with Keystroke in third. I don’t think Cape Byron is up to group one class. Keystroke surprised a lot of people when landing the Abernant at 66/1, beating Brando. He’s under performed since and there is questions about the ground.
Advertise came second in the July Cup and was ahead of So Perfect, Brando, Dream Of Dreams and Cape Byron. Since then, he won a group one in Deauville by a neck to Brando. On form, he’s a likely winner but the ground is an issue. So Perfect is the sole representative of the Aidan O’Brien camp. Since the July Cup, she’s been eighth to Advertise, third to Battaash, ninth to Hello Youmzain and second to Fairyland, all in group ones. Her best run could arguably have been last time out in the Abbaye. She finished second and ahead of Mabs Cross. That was on ‘very soft’ ground so she’s an interesting runner. Brando is a grand seven year old and was last seen coming fourth to Hello Youmzain at Haydock in September. He’s ran in this for the past three years coming 3rd (2016), 6th (2017) and 4th (2018). Dream Of Dreams won twice at the start of the year and then got incredibly close to Blue Point at Royal Ascot. Since then, it has all gone a bit down hill.
Other than So Perfect, the Irish have three representatives. Make A Challenge has the best form figures in the race. He’s six from eight since May 30th and the four year old won very well in a listed and deserves to try his hand in this. Will love the ground. Joseph O’Brien has Speak In Colours. He’s won twice this year and won a group three on his penultimate start. Last time, he came third in the Prix Foret behind the winner One Master on this type of ground. The latter was getting 3lbs from him but she’s a better horse at this level. Before that victory, she’s been fifth to Advertise in a French group one. She’s partnered by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who made Arc weekend his own, and will like conditions. The last Irish filly is Forever In Dreams for Andy Fogarty. She’s lightly raced and has just won just once in a fillies listed at Haydock. She was second in the Commonwealth Cup and then behind Hello Youmzain and One Master. The last made to mention is Mabs Cross. She’s an unbelievably talented filly and shouldn’t really be 33/1 but hasn’t had a very good year.
Old boys Librisa Breeze and The Tin Man have both won this before. The Tin Man has ran four times this season and was second to Hello Youmzain in the Haydock Sprint Cup , when Brando, Dream Of Dreams, So Perfect, Forever In Dreams and Khaadem. Before that, Hello Youmzain had won the Sandy Lane and come third in the Commonwealth Cup behind Advertise and Forever In Dreams. He’s a really smart horse and a sprinter on the up. Khaadem is also a three year old. He won a listed at the start of the year and then won the Stewards Cup by just under three lengths. He was last in the Sprint Cup and needs to improve. Librisa Breeze has only won once this year and finished so quickly in the group two Hungerford. That was on soft and should run extremely well.
Sands Of Mali won this last year, beating Donjuan Triumphan, Brando, The Tin Man, Labrisa Breeze, Speak In Colours and Dream Of Dreams. That capped a good season after winning the Sandy Lane at the start of the year and running creditably in between. He’sran poorly in three starts in 2019 and sadly probably isn’t up to this.
I am with LIBRISA BREEZE for this race. He’s a good performed on soft and should be primed for this after a really encouraging run last time out. Make A Challenge, So Perfect and Hello Youmzain will all run well as well.
14:10 Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup
STRADIVARIUS won this last year and I’d be surprised if he got beat by any of these. He won the Million Bonus for the second year running and he’s the most dominant horse racing at the mimute.
Kew Gardens and Capri won their respective St Legers but neither have won since. Kew Gardens has been second on his last three. Jason Watson is riding out of his skin of late and rides Withhold, who stays well and won a listed last time. He could be one of Stradivarius‘ biggest threats. Royal Line and Mekong are stepping up in trip so are unknows. Bin Battuta is also stepping up and Hector Crouch has a big ride. Cleonte beat Max Dynamite all the way back at Royal Ascot in the final race. That was over a lot further.
14:45 Qipco British Champions Fillies And Mares
John Gosden has three – Star Catcher, Sparkle Roll and Anapurna. The latter won the Oaks, beating Pink Dogwood, Fleeting, Delphinia and Tarnawa. She was then seventh to Star Catcher and Fleeting at Parislongchamp. She won the one mile six race on Arc Day easily, beating Delphinia and South Sea Pearl. In my opinion, she was left looking a bit slow against her stablmate- STAR CATCHER. That was the last leg of a treble made up of the Ribblesdale and Irish Oaks. She sets the standard. Sparkle Roll was seventh to Nausha at York, third to Star Catcher and then third in the Aphrodite so has a bit to find.
Tarnawa broke her maiden at Leopardstown in April. She was eleventh in the Oaks and had a break before hosingul in a group three then won the Blandford Stakes at the Curragh. She’s a filly who has improved consistently through the year and comes from a master in Dermot Weld. Antonia De Vega has only one blemish on her runs and that was when she was eighth in the Fillies Mile. She’s ran once this year and won a Fillies Listed. She has lots of untapped potential.
15:20 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Magna Grecia won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and then ran in the Irish Equivalent and came fifth. King Of Change was 66/1 for the classic and finished very quickly to grab second. Since then, he won a listed in September and he’s still got lots more to come. The Irish 2000 was won by Phoenix Of Spain. Despite wining the Acomb at two, he hasn’t won since.
King Of Comedy, Happy Power and Mohaather are the other three year olds. Frankie Dettori rides the former, who won twice at the beginning of the year and was beaten by Benbatl last time. Saheed Bin Suroor’s Dubawi won the Dubai Turf (group one) in 2018 and we have only seen him once this year in the Joel Stakes. Mohaather has ran just four times and won two group threes in his last two starts. The most recent of which was in April.
Lord Glitters won the Queen Anne and Accidental Agent refused to race, which was uncharacteristic. Lord Glitters deserved that win and he has been beaten by good three year olds since. Accidental Agent had won that race the previous year and, after the non-start at Ascot, he hasn’t showed much goods form. He did nearly beat youngster Kick On on his penultimate run. Raising Sand, an Ascot specialist, gives Nicola Currie an exciting opportunity. This is the toughest race he’s tackled but we’ll done to connections for giving it a go. He’s won on similar going.
THE REVENANT is my selection because he’s eight from ten and won really well at the Arc meeting in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein. He will handle the soft ground and is ridden by a top jockey.
16:00 Qipco British Champions Stakes
When the ground came up heavy, there was a vibe of “Lump on Addeybb”. A well-known mud-lover, he’s won at Haydock on heavy and also over course and distance this season at the royal meeting. He’s a classy performer. So is Coronet. She’s won two group ones this season over in France and races on home soil for the first time since early May. The fillies make up the majority of the field and a filly, who would have had lots more days in the sun if it wasn’t for Enable, is MAGICAL. This will be the ninth run of her campaign. She’s won four, been second in three and was fifth last time out in the Arc. She’s my idea of the winner. Her stablemate I Can Fly also runs. Mehdaayih comes from the Gosden yard and Rab Havlin rides the filly who gave him Cheshire Oaks success at the beginning of the year. She was second to Deidre at Goodwood on her penultimate start. Deidre has spent the summer in the UK but she’s Japanese bred/trained/owned. She had a horrible passage in the Irish equivalent but ended up fourth. She’ll rival Magical in this. Regal Reality has ground worries and Fox Tal and Pondus are out of their depth.
16:40 Balmoral Handicap
LORD NORTH won the Cambridgshire so has an incredible chance. He has top weight though but is the proverbial group horse in a handicap, like Kick On.Coolagh Forest won last week at York and has a good chance. Dark Vision may run ok too.
I’m hoping this list of horses is full of future winners and if it can work out as well as last year, I’ll be very pleased! We’ve got lots to look forward to over the next six months and hopefully some of these will prove themselves as superstars but, most importantly, they all come home safe after every run.
Please take some time to check over my list and feel free to share what you think on the @ReinItInRacing twitter page! 🙂
7yo Bay Gelding (Primary x Clonroche Wells)
Trainer – Kim Bailey
Owner – Mr A N Solomons
This horse was on last year’s list and I have been waiting for so long to see this horse go chasing so hopefully he’ll actually jump a fence this season! In November 2017, he won by four lengths on hurdling debut and then by twenty lengths in late December. He won the Supreme Trial (Grade Two) in January but pulled up in the big race after making a few little mistakes. He wasn’t seen for over a year but then made his sole run of the campaign when fifth in the Imperial Cup. He’s a big strong horse and was entered at Uttoxeter in a chase in May but was pulled out because he needs soft ground. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he can do!
Target – Red Rum Handicap Chase, Aintree National Meeting
10yo Brown Gelding (Kayf Tara x Full Of Elegance)
Trainer – Rebecca Curtis
Owner – Nigel Morris
Relentless Dreamer is the oldest runner in my list. He made his chase debut all the way back in October 2015 but it took him until the next June to win over the big obstacles. He’s won four times since then, including last time out. That was a brilliant victory in a handicap chase at the Cheltenham October meeting. That was on officially good but probably softer ground and he beat gallant handicapper Cogry, who won a grade three chase subsequently. An injury has put him off the track since then but I like his will to win and is from a yard in incredibly good form. The Rebecca Curtis team sadly lost promising chaser Drovers Lane recently and he was meant to be on this list.
Target – Betway Handicap Chase, Aintree National Meeting
5yo Bay Gelding (Doyen x Daytona Lady)
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Owner – John P McManus
Andy Dufresne caught my eye after an easy as pie win in a NH flat race, in which the second has won twice since but the rest haven’t done as well. He’s a point to point winner and changed hands for £330,000 after that victory. He runs in the green and gold colours of JP McManus and was a non runner due to unsuitable ground in April. He beat the winner of that race in his only race under rules so probably wouldve won that too. He’s out of a mare, who won over hurdles, and I think he’ll be really well suited.
Target- Ballymore Novices Hurdle
4.Farouk De Cheneau
4yo Bay Gelding (Day Flight x Kardamone)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Owner – Owners Group 049
I am beyond excited to say that I am a proud part owner within Owners Group 049 as I got him as an early birthday present! He’s by Day Flight, who is the sire of A Toi Phil. His dam has produced three winners over jumps from three runners and she’s a daughter of Network, who’s is the sire of Sprinter Sacre, Le Richebourg and Saint Are. Farouk has already won one race, which was in France at Vittel, so is an exciting recruit to hurdles. I can’t wait!
Target- (To be determined when I know more)
5yo Bay Gelding (Yeats x Moscow Madame)
Trainer – Martin Brassil
Owner – Sean and Bernadine Mulryan
This horse is from the same trainer/owner combination of City Island, who won the Ballymore at the Cheltenham Festival and featured in last year’s list. They are similar types. Longhouse Poet won a point to point in January by four lengths, under Derek O’connor. He was prominent on rules debut and extended clear so easily under O’connor again. He should enjoy obstacles and a similar campaign to City Island is expected, providing he’s good enough.
Target- Albert Bartlett
5yo Bay Gelding
Trainer – Colin Tizzard
Owner – The Reserve Tankers
This guy burst onto the scene quite late last season. It took him three tries to finally win over hurdles but there has been no stopping him since then. They stepped him into grade one company at the Aintree National meeting after his second novice hurdle victory. He won by three and a quarter lengths at 20/1 over two miles four and stayed on quite impressively. To conclude the season, he went over to Ireland and won the Champion Novices Hurdle at Punchestown. He’s a really lovely big horse and looks absolutely tailor-made for fences. He’s in great hands with Colin Tizzard and could be a Gold Cup prospect one day.
Target – JLT Novices Chase
7.Enemy Coast Ahead
5yo Brown Gelding (Malins x Penang Princess)
Trainer – Tom George
Owner – McNeill Family
Enemy Coast Ahead is owned by the McNeill Family and has been seen once on a racetrack. He was held up but led over two furlongs out and the trainer’s son Noel George only has to shake him up to go clear by 10 lengths. He showed a good attitude that day and, judging from the pictures on social media, he’s a cheeky chappy. It will be interesting to see if he can take the next step up over hurdles. The yard brought him along steadily and he seems a speedy horse.
Target—Supreme Novices Hurdle
7yo Bay Gelding (Saddler Maker x Sience Fiction)
Trainer – Venetia Williams
Owner – The Bellamy Partnership
This horse has been ultra consistent after coming over from Emmanuel Clayeux to Venetia Williams in December 2016. Since then, he’s never been out of the top four, apart from falling. He ran just once last season in the Caspain Caviar Gold Cup. He ran really well and the winner of that race was Frodon. We all know what he’s been up to since! Venetia is extremely good with her chasers and this horse is likely to be a little bit less exposed than some of the more seasoned chasers hell be tackling this term. I think he’ll run very well this season.
Target – Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate
6yo Bay Gelding (Stowaway x Midnight Reel)
Trainer – Dan Skelton
Owner – Bryan Drew
This horse caught my eye at Warwick Races in January due to the pure size of him. He must be around 17hands and looks like he’s crying out for fences. He’s done pretty well over hurdles, considering this. He won a maiden hurdle, came second to a subsequent grade two placed horse and then won a grade two at Warwick. That was a very impressive victory but he couldn’t back it up at Cheltenham when pulling up before the last. I think he’s better than that and will be a good chaser.
Target – JLT Novices Chase
4yo Bay Gelding (Beat Hollow x Corskeagh Shadow)
Trainer – Colin Bowe
Owner – Gigginstown
I have been watching out for this horse since last June when he was sold at the Goffs Land rover Sale. He’s by Beat Hollow and out of Corskeagh Shadow. He’s a full brother to two NH Flat Race winners and halfs to a listed winner over hurdles so he’s bred to be successful. In his sole point to point, he was fourth and then ran in a race won by the likes of Commander Of Fleet, Vision Des Flos and Petit Muchoir in recent years. He raced in about fourth for most of the way and I thought he’d be well beaten but actually he stayed on to be fourth. There should be a decent prize in him as Gigginstown bought him for €170,000.
Target – Gaskells Handicap Hurdle, Aintree National Meeting
11. Mulcahys Hill
7yo Bay Gelding (Brian Boru x Belsalsa)
Trainer – Warren Greatrex
Owner – McNeill Family and Peodec Networks LTD
I adore Mulcahys Hill. He such a wonderful, gorgeous horse.. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Lambourn Open Day 2019 in March and I fell even more in love with him there. He has had his issues and I’ve been told he can be a bit of a pickle on the gallops by people in Lambourn. For me, he never showed his true potential over fences as a novice last season. He’d been second in the Challow Hurdle in December 2017 so he’s no mug but, other than a second at Bangor behind subsequent multiple grade two placed Jerrysback, he hasn’t gone close. He fell in a horrific race at Cheltenham last time out and I hope he can at least win one race this year. I’ll still love him even if he doesn’t win though.
5yo Grey Gelding (Al Namix x Nutz)
Trainer – Colin Tizzard
Owner – Terry Warner
Elixir De Nutz was a new horse last season after two runs for Phillip Hobbs. He was second on debut for the Tizzard yard to Olly Murphy’s Supreme second Thomas Darby. Next time, he won the grade two Supreme Trial, then a novice hurdle and finally the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle. I was all over him for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Sadly, he missed that race due to an injury. The plan is for him to be a Champion Hurdler this season and he’s still a horse who is improving, so should be successful in the 2019/20 season.
Target – Champion Hurdle
13. O Connell Street
5yo Bay Gelding (Fame And Glory x Victorine)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Owner – Magniers/Mrs P Shanahan/Justin Carth
Me and this horse go back to March 2018 when I met him at the Lambourn Open Day. He was such a sweetie but I didn’t hear a word about him until March 2019 when he ran in a NH Flat Race at Market Rasen. He was second that day and, forty two days later, he ran at Warwick in a similar race. He was very keen and was fourth off top weight. He is out of Victorine, who is the dam of the wonderful City Island and multiple chase winners Fort Worth and Easy Street. I’m really excited to see how he can do this year as hurdles will probably be his thing.
Target – Ballymore
7yo Bay Gelding (King’s Theatre x China Sky)
Owner – John P McManus
This horse was one of the stars of last season. He won his first two races, after three starts, in May 2018 then he won the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle after pulling out Aidan Coleman’s arms. Next time, he returned to Newbury and won the Challow Hurdle by two and a half lengths to Getaway Trump. He had a bit of a break and then ran in the Ballymore. He was second to City Island that day and then stepped up to three miles for the Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle, which he won incredibly convincingly. He is built to chase and looks a very good staying chaser in the long run.
Target – RSA Novices Chase
5yo Bay Mare (Jeremy x Sheer Frustration)
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Owner – Mrs Maura Gittins
Ard Abhainn is one of just two mares. She was last seen on the 4th October when she came fourth of sixteen in a listed mares flat race. She got a bit one-paced but only got denied a neck for third, as she was staying on at the end. That was a fair run as she hadn’t been seen for 135 days, on the day when she won a 20 runner flat race at the Punchestown Festival. She was quite far back but ran on very well as they turned for home. She showed a good attitude to peg back two horses that day and that will stand her in good stead.
Target – Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
16.The Big Breakaway
4yo Chestnut Gelding (Getaway x Princess Mairead)
Trainer – Colin Tizzard
I have a feeling that Colin Tizzard likes this horse after I heard him speak passionately about him in an interview. He’s a half brother to an Aintree Grade Three winner Kildisart and he was purchased for a lot of money. This was after a point to point victory over three miles. I don’t know which ownership he’ll be racing for as of yet but he should be a horse to follow in predominantly bumpers this year.
Target – Champion Bumper
*UPDATE- This horse is running over hurdles this season. New target- Ballymore
17 Bannixtown Glory
5yo Bay Mare (Fame And Glory x Me Auld Segosh)
Trainer – Donald McCain Jr
Owner – Miss Charlotte Mccracken
This mare is one of the more obscure runners on my list. She won a point to point and is currently two from five under rules. Her defeats have come behind good mares Nordican Bleue, Oksana and Sid Hoodie, who beat her last time. Her two victories have been very smart and she still seems a bit novice. She took them along last time and just faded towards the end but I’m looking forward to seeing how she progresses.
4yo Bay Gelding (Kapgarde x Niagaria Du Bois)
Trainer – Joseph O’Brien
Owner – John P McManus
This horse wasn’t particularly successful in France but came over to the Joseph O’Brien yard and won a 22 runner maiden and then a grade two by thirteen lengths. He was a good fourth against older runners in the Supreme and was then second in Aintree and Punchestown 4yo Grade Ones. He’s currently 25/1 for the Arkle and I think he will go chasing. If not, he’ll have a Champion Hurdle campaign.
Target – Arkle Novices Chase
19. Clara Sorrento
8yo Grey Gelding (Maresca Sorrento x Call Me Clara)
Owner – Terry Warner Bloodstock
This horse was recently sold from Gigginstown and Noel Meade to Terry Warner Bloodstock so I am not actually sure where he is. He’s won twice over hurdles and switched to fences. In October 2018, he finally opened his account over the bigger obstacles and then came second in a grade three behind a subsequent winner. He hasn’t been seen since and will be one for Irish Handicap Chases.
Target – An Riocht Chase, Killarney, May
6yo Bay Gelding (Mahler x Womanofthemountain)
Trainer – Emma Lavelle
Owner – Paul G Jacobs
Emma Lavelle had a good season with Paisley Park last year and hopefully this horse cab reach similar heights. He was third in a point to point and was then in training with Jamie Snowden. He ran three times for him but was a new horse with Lavelle. He’s two from two and I really like him. He looks a lovely, traditional chaser and is still quite unexposed.
Champion–a person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition.
I think this is a fair way to describe Enable.
In her career, which has spanned nearly three years, this daughter of Nathaniel has only been beaten once. That was when third in a conditions race at Sandown in April 2017 after a good maiden victory in the previous November.
Her trainer John Gosden has been the key player in the success story of Enable. He knew when to aim high and also when to mind her and let her come into her own. He aimed high after her first two starts and put her into the Cheshire Oaks. The faith was rewarded and she won very well. Eyes were then set on the Oaks. In the driving rain and boggy ground, she was cool, calm and classy when other fillies weren’t and stamped her authority in the Epsom Oaks. She seconded that performance in the Irish equivalent and then took on the older horses and won the King George VI Stakes. She concluded her English campaign in the Yorkshire Oaks and took her winning tally to six.
Next up was her first try at the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. At two furlongs out, she slid into the lead and no one could pass her. It was a dominant performance. It oozed regal class.
By this point, Enable was affectionately known as the Queen Of Racing. Her 2018 campaign was a lot quieter as she sustained an injury at the beginning of the year. Gosden chose a nice and easy start and, as a result, she made a winning return at Kempton. From there, it was all roads pointing to Longchamp. This was a new track for her and some people had their doubts. Those doubters were nearly proved right when Sea Of Class came storming down the outside to just miss out on victory. Enable stuck her neck out and won a second Arc. Sea Of Class sadly passed away recently due to colic and there is a huge void where she would’ve been, in the Arc 2019. The rematch was the main thing talkies about for a while after the 2018 renewal and it is incredibly sad that she won’t be taking her place.
Next stop for Enable was America. At Churchill Downs, she was, well deservedly, an odds on favourite but got into a battle with Magical, an Aidan O’Brien filly, up the straight. Two of the best jockeys – Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore – riding two of the top fillies in the world. It was a race to savour and rewatch over and over again. Dettori and Enable hung on, capping a fabulous few weeks.
Frankie Dettori has had an incredible season this year. He’s won ten group one races in England and has partnered top horses like Too Darn Hot, Logician, Anapurna, Stradivarius, Crystal Ocean and three came with Enable herself. Those were in the Coral-Eclipse and in a King George VI Stakes that will go down in history. She fought tooth and nail with Crystal Ocean down the Ascot straight and it was only in the dying strides that Enable got past the recently retired colt. Last time, it is believed that she ran her last race in Britain when scoring easily in the Yorkshire Oaks, taking memories back to the day she won the race in her three year old campaign.
Now its time for the Arc and she’s going for three consecutive wins in the race.
This is a feat only attempted by Treve. Let’s go back to the 4th October 2015 and to Longchamp Racecourse. The stage was set. She’d won the 2013 and 2014 renewals. Now was her time to cement herself as one of the greatest there’s ever been. It didn’t work out as the fairytales would’ve told it. After running keen, she came fourth. Frankie Dettori, the showman of racing, finds himself in the same position as Thierry Jarnet. The expectations and anticipations of a nation sat on those Italian shoulders of his.
It won’t be easy for her though. She has a strong challenge from many nations. There has been a lot of talk about her fellow English contender Ghaiyyath of Charlie Appleby’s. He’s not been seen in England since completing a double on his second and third starts, both on the Rowley Mile. On of those was in a group three. He ran just once at 3 in a group three at Longchamp, which he won. Earlier this year, he won a group two and finished third in a group one, behind Waldgeist. The talk of the Arc properly expanded in early September after he absolutely hacked up in a group one in Baden-Baden but that was against horses with a RRP of 105 at the highest. He is lightly raced and open to improvement but he has to carry 3lbs more than Enable.
Waldgeist is a wonderful horse. Five now, he has won three group ones and placed in a whole host of others. He won the Prix Ganay at the start of the season and then was third in the Prince Of Wales, behind Magical. Next time, he followed in Enable and Crystal Ocean in the King George VI. He could definitely place.
The other French runners are the John-Claude Rouget trained pair of Soft Light and French King as well as Sottsass. The aptly named French King has won his last three starts, all group twos, in Germany. He deserves his place in the race but some of these may be more classy. Soft Light won on debut and had kept decent company since. He’s been behind Japan and Al Hilalee recently so he has a lot to find. Sottsass is only three and is a horse with a huge future. It all finally clicked into place at the top level, after four runs, when he won the Prix Du Jockey Club in June. He had a bit of a break after that and came out and won the Prix Niel on the 15th September. He’s a smart colt and a course and distance winner. Draw one may not be ideal.
The market suggests Japan is Enable’s chief rival. The Aidan O’Brien colt was a decent two year old, winning a group two at Naas, but was third in the Derby after a poor performance in the Dante at the beginning of the season. He won at Royal Ascot in the King Edward VII really easily and then took the Grand Prix Du Paris, beating Soft Light, over this course and distance. He was a 5/1 winner of the Juddmonte International, beating Crystal Ocean, in August, so, on collateral form, he’s at a par with Enable but she’s tried and tested at this level.
Magical is the other, seemingly second string, Aidan O’Brien. She’s been a busy girl all season and had already won a full set of group races but the end of May. She ran into Enable and Crystal Ocean for the next three runs but deservedly won the Irish Champion Stakes last time out. I actually prefer her to Japan and I think 11/1 is a good price for her to place.
It is good to see that the country of Japan is represented. They have three – Fierememt, Kiseki and BlastOnepiece. The latter has won over £3Million and won the grade one Arima Kinen at Nakayama. He’s by GB stallion Harbinger and at 40/1, he’s the one with the best chance out of the challengers from the east. Fierememt also has a good chance. He’s a dual group one winner up to two miles and will be staying on Kiseki is also a group one winner over roughly two miles and he’s very consistent without winning. A step up is needed.
Last to talk about is the Czech runner Nagaro Gold. He is a Listed winner in his native land and also over course a d distance here. He ran at Royal Ascot and had the worst run possible. He was closing quickly at the end and I wouldn’t be surprised if he out-ran his odds. He was one place behind Soft Light last time at Deauville and that horse is the outsider.
The supporting races are good too. On Saturday, Enbihaar, who is four from five this year goes in the Prix De Royallieu for John Gosden. Dee Ex Bee is finally running in a race not against Stradivarius and goes in the Prix Du Cadran.
Action hots up on the Sunday with the group one Prix Du Marcell-Bousac and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, in which Amory runs. After the Arc is the Prix L’opera Longines, where Mehdiyaah is a 7/4 shot. Bataash is looking for another win this season in the Prix De L’abbaye but it won’t b straight forward. Concluding the big race action is the Prix De La Foret, which has attracted a good field.
In all this, the star of the show will be Enable.
We all want her to prove how good she is because we know she is a champion. Albeit, the official ratings don’t put her at the top but us racing fans believe in her and her abilities. For me, as a young racing fan, there’s nothing as exciting as equine brilliance. She can do anything, win over whatever trip John asks her to, on any ground or in any country. She is the horse that brings us all together. The racing world can bicker at times. We, a lot of the time, dwell on the issues that face our sport – whether that be the whip or sales practices- and sometimes blow them all out of proportion but it is incredible when a horse can unite us all.