Preview of Day One of the Dublin Racing Festival

By Luke (@lukekeena1)


Day one of the Dublin Racing Festival gets underway with the Nathaniel Lacy & Ptnrs  Solicitors Novice Hurdle over two miles and six furlongs. Eights runners head to post for this intriguing event. Latest Exhibition is the favourite for trainer Paul Nolan. He won his maiden hurdle at Galway over two miles at Galway back in October. He then finished second behind the talented Abacadabras at Navan in a Grade two at Navan. He then stepped up in trip last time out and bet the highly touted Andy Dufresne at Navan, who has since franked the form. The step up in trip will play to his strengths and I think he is the one to beat.

Longhouse Poet

Longhouse Poet and Elixir D’ainay come into this race after finishing behind Envoi Allen at Naas. Elixir D’ainay finished ahead of Longhouse Poet on that occasion but I think the form will be reversed here. They step up two furlongs which I think will suit Longhouse Poet better. He won his point tot point over three miles in January last year over Boulta. He will relish the step up in trip and I think it could be the opposite for Elixir D’ainay.

Elixir D’ainay

Fury Road puts his unbeaten record over hurdles on the line as he steps into this Grade for the first. He was last seen winning a Grade two at Limerick impressively. The winning margin was only a lenght but he was cruising when making a bad mistake at the last which he was lucky to stay upright.

Selection: I think Latest Exhibition will be hard to beat and Fury Road could be the one to follow him home.

Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (1:25) over two miles and one furlong. 

This race will see the eagerly anticipated rematch between Chacun Pour Soi and A Plus Tard. A Plus Tard got the better of Chacun Pour Soi last time out but I think he will reverse the form this time. This lightly raced eight year old was an impressive winner at Punchestown at the tail end of last season when beating Defi Du Seuil. He seemed to lack fitness last time out when beaten. He will come on plenty for the run and I think he will win with Paul Townend in the saddle.

ERSG Arkle Novice  Chase (2:00) over two miles ans one furlong.

The good races just keep coming on this fantastic weekend of racing and this one is no different. This is another rematch from Christmas as Notebook(main picture) takes on Fakir D’oudairies again. Notebook won on that occasion and I think he will do so again. He was given a positive ride and his jumping was electric. I think he will be hard to beat for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore.

Fakir D’oudairies comes into this race after finishing second to Notebook over course and distance at Christmas. He was riden with more restraint which didn’t work last time out. He was receiving seven pounds then but only receives five now. I think he will struggle to reverse the form.

Fakir D'oudairies
Fakir D’oudairies (white cap)

Willie Mullins runs four in the race. The best of those would seem to be former top hurdler Melon. Twice runner up in Champion hurdles at the festival. He won nicely last time out over course and distance at Christmas. He made a mistake at the last but ran on well to win snugly at the line. He could be the one the Chase home Notebook.

Matheson handicap Chase (2:35) over two miles and one furlong. 

Charlie Stout was a winner last time out, winning the Dan & Joan Moore Memorial at Fairyhouse. He won by two lengths and the third was a long way back. He only got a five pound rise which I thought was lenient and I think he will go close for Shane Nolan and Conor McNamara in the saddle.

PCI Irish Champion Hurdle (3:10) over two miles. 

This again is a cracking race with ten runners going to post. Honeysuckle puts her unbeaten record on the line over two miles. She is very versatile when it comes to distance, winning over three miles in her point to point and two miles in a Novice Hurdle at Thurles. She was very impressive last time out when winning the Hattons Grace at Fairyhouse. She won impressively beating Bacardys by nine lengths. I don’t think the step down in trip is a negative and she will be hard to beat.


Ladbrokes Hurdle (3:45) over two miles

Buildmeupbuttercup takes her chance here instead of the opening race on Sunday. She was last seen finishing second to Janidil at Fairyhouse. She is also a good horse on the flat, on her penultimate start she finished second in the November Handicap. If she jumps better, I think she will go very close with Paul Townend in the saddle.


Cheltenham Trials Day 2020 Preview

Warthog (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

The Cheltenham Trials Day sets the scene for the Cheltenham Festival in March and the card is full of interesting clues to the big races in March.

We have covered some of the races in our latest podcast too-


Gerolamo Cardano (JTW Equine Images)

12:40 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2)

Rowland Ward ran seven times, winning once, for Ralph Beckett. He was making headway when falling on hurdles debut. Next time, he quickened impressively up the run-in to win at Kempton on the 27th December. That looked like a decent contest. Nicky Henderson won this with Apples Shakira in 2015 and his representative MONTE CRISTO is making her debut for the yard after four runs in France. He won on the last of those outings in a handicap Hurdle and is out of a three times winning mare. Harry Cobden is an interesting booking on Galahad Quest for Nick Williams. On debut, he came fourth to subsequent grade one winner Allmankind and then he was only beaten a neck by an older rival at Taunton. Gerolamo Cardano came fourth in a NH Flat Race at Aintree. At the start of the month, he won by eleven lengths and any race would aid his cause. Night Edition was fourth on hurdles bow behind a subsequent smart winner so the form is good. Gold Standard ran seven times on the flat and was well-beaten on all of those. His dam is a five time winner but this is a tough race to start over hurdles in.

Jarveys Plate (JTW Equine Images)

13:15 Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase

Last year’s winner went on to win a big handicap at Aintree. My selection is CHAMPAGNE COURT for Jeremy Scott. This gelding has won his last two, at Sandown and Newbury. On the latter occasion, this horse beat Mercy Mercy Me by over three lengths, carrying 13lbs more. That horse followed it up with an easy win at Sandown three weeks ago. 9lbs splits them and I think my selection can confirm the form. Imperial Aura is well thought of and unexposed too. He was 1/25 for Chase debut when he won and just ran into Pym last time. Others to mention are Court Master, who’s looking for a three timer, Simply The Betts, who’s consistent, and Cloudy Glen, who had a confidence booster last time. Jarveys Plate has top weight and that makes it a bit tough for him.

Lalor (JTW Equine Images)

13:50 Paddy Power 45 Sleeps To Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

I’m going to begin with Cepage. This horse is in my 20 To Watch and he kicked off the season coming second to Riders Onthe Storm. Next he came fourth to Warthog, Spiritofthegames And Robin Des Foret in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Last time, he was sixth in a grade three behind Lalor who was in third. He may still be too high in the handicap. Warthog in on a career high mark and achieved his second win in December. He ran prominently and nearly got headed by Spiritofthegames but he ran on bravely. He’s gone up 4lbs. Spiritofthegames put in a really improved run to be second to Warthog as before that he’d pulled up and been well-beaten in similar races. He’s not won since a novice chase but his mark may be a bit high. LALOR won a grade one hurdle in 2018 and then a grade two novice chase. He didn’t won after that in his novice campaign and he was fourth in the Haldon Gold Cup on reappearance this term. He put in a most improved run to be beaten a head into third last time out and he showed a lot more sparkle.

Highway One O One hasn’t won since 2018 and he came second on seasonal debut. He unseated in the Bet Victor and was fourth at Newbury. Last time, he wasn’t beaten far and only just lost second. Count Meribel was sixth in the Bet Victor after running a blinder in a listed to not be beaten far by Lostintranslation. He’s not been seen for 70 days and is the shortest price for the Stable Plate at 25/1. My Way was beaten ten lengths by the smart Espoir De Guye at Ascot last time out but he’s never won. Cool Mix won a novice chase round Newcastle but was well-beaten on all his starts subsequently, except when he came third in the ‘Auld Reekie’ at Musselburgh. Militarian ran here on New Years Day, coming fourth, and, before that, he was eighth behind Espoir De Guye and My Way. Garde Le Victoire came sixth and he’d followed in some incredibly smart horses in his day.

Slate House (JTW Equine Images)

14:25 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase

This won’t be the strongest of the Gold Cup trials in England, that title possibly sits with the Denman Chase. I’m going to begin with Santini, who’s the shortest for the Gold Cup at 9/1. He looks too short for me. He’s a very consistent sort and came second in the RSA but Now McGinty got very close to him on seasonal reappearance. He may well won today but I’m not convinced as of yet. SLATE HOUSE is an interesting runner in this race as he is still a novice. On seasonal debut, he won a novice chase round here and then should’ve been four from four this term but he fell in the Bet Victor Gold Cup when cruising. They used Huntingdon as a confidence boost before winning a grade on at Kempton last time. He’s in excellent form with himself and I don’t think we know how good he could be.

We know how good Bristol De Mai is by now. Last season, he won the Betfair Chase and fell in the King George VI Chase. He ran very well to be third in last year’s Gold Cup and then came fourth at Aintree. When last seen, he was second in this season’s Betfair Chase and he goes well fresh. His form at this course is questionable but this is his best chance of winning round here. He’s the one with the assured class. He’s likely to be taken on for the lead by Top Ville Ben. The bold jumping gelding is one of Phillip Kirby’s stable stars and is actually the second highest rated. He idled in front at Newcastle and got beaten but he won incredibly easily in the Rowland Meyrick.

De Rasher Counter is my each way selection. He’s won five of his sixteen outings, including the Ladbrokes Trophy. He stayed very well over three miles one in that race and he hasn’t scaled the heights of the other horses as of yet but the Ladbrokes Trophy is a good stepping stone to bigger things. Mister Whitaker won the Close Brothers in 2018 and a listed chase on his first start of the next season. He lost his way for the next three starts but won in April in a grade two. He ran in a grade three last time out and has a bit to find with these.

Harry Senior (JTW Equine Images)

15:00 Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)

There are three five year olds in this race – Protektorat, Time Flies By and French Kiss. Time Flies By has ran three times. He won a NH Flat Race here in October. Next time, he came second to a subsequent listed winner and then made his hurdles bow in a strong grade two. He blundered at two out and stayed on on one pace after that. He can only build on this. Protektorat was part of the controversial race on New Years Day and he’s penalised for that. In the end of a long enquiry process, he was given the race despite being demoted before that. Previous to this, he had been second to a subsequent winner. This will show whether he deserved to win that. HOUSE ISLAND also has a penalty but is rated 2lbs superior. He ran in the Champion Flat Race at Punchestown before coming second on hurdles debut. He won well at Ludlow and then out ran his odds in a grade two to only be beaten less than a length. French Kiss has ran eight times and his best finish was coming third on hurdles debut, last time out, nearly 40 lengths behind the winner. 100/1 shows his chances.

At the other end of the market is King Roland. Harry Fry’s gelding won a bumper by 22 lengths last December and again in February. On hurdles debut, he was second to Son Of Camas. On New Years Day, he won a maiden hurdle by nineteen lengths. Upped in grade. Harry Senior proved himself to be a quirky individual after trying to jump through a rail and injuring himself, two weeks ago, at Warwick. He seems to be a well-regarded horse but it took him a while to win. On his penultimate start, he followed in the smart Edwardstone and won by five lengths next time out. He goes for the powerful combination of Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power. Highest rated is Rocket Lad. He’s ran seven times and won for the first time in May. He won twice over the summer and finished last in a listed race last time out. He finished lame that day and he’s better than that run. Ruthless Article comes here off a 127 day absence. He completed a double in August and September by a combined 16 lengths. He’s not completely out of it on official ratings.

15:35 Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2)

The choice is obvious here. I’m going for PAISLEY PARK. He’s won his last six outings, including the Stayers Hurdle and multiple other graded races. He’s everything you’d want in a racehorse – he jumps, travels and puts the race to bed very easily. He’s as short as 5/4 for the Stayers in March. Interestingly, he came thirteenth to Kilbricken Storm in the 2018 Albert Bartlett. Since, this horse has won a novice chase but didn’t take to fences. He was eleventh in the Stayers and then thirteenth to If The Cap Fits. He put in an improved run last time out and a place isn’t off the table. If The Cap Fits has only been out of the top three once in twelve starts (when fourth to Lalor in a grade one). Last season, he won the Aintree Stayers Hurdle, with William Henry fourth, and, on seasonal reappearance, he battled well to win the Coral Hurdle. He’s Paisley Park’s biggest threat.

William Henry won the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and then was fourth to If The Cap Fits. We didn’t see him again until New Years Day when he was beaten by Summerville Boy in the Relkeel Hurdle. Summerville Boy won the Supreme a few years ago and got off the mark over fences in a beginners chase, beating First Flow, at Uttoxeter. He fell in a grade one next time then returned to hurdles with a victory in the Relkeel Hurdle. Stamina is the issue. L’Ami Serge is William Henry’s stablemate and he won the Aintree Hurdle, Tolworth and Intermediate Hurdle in his career before a 580 day break due to injury. He ran last time in the Long Walk Hurdle. It didn’t help him that he was keen and he messed about in front a bit so he ended up second. He’ll have got over the buzz of being back on a racecourse.

Tobefair and Lisnagar Oscar are handicappers stepping up in grade. The latter took a nasty fall at Warwick a fortnight ago but he’s got some really good form to his name. Tobefair completed a double here in April and October and carried a big weight to third place in a listed race, giving over a stone to the first two. He’s earned his place in the line-up.

16:10 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle

SOFIA’S ROCK was a multiple winner on the flat for Mark Johnston and even ran in one of the premier handicaps at Royal Ascot. He’s won twice and placed three times for Dan Skelton. His yard had a treble at Huntingdon on Friday. We Run The Night is unbeaten in France so could be anything. Lust For Glory and Northern Beau have chances.

Chatting With… John McConnell

John McConnell (📸The Owner Breeder website/George Selwyn)

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

Recently, I spoke to Irish dual purpose trainer John McConnell about life in the Irish training ranks and some of his lovely horses.

John McConnell began training in 2001 but his first win came at Bellewstown, courtesy of Grand Lili and jockey Brian Byrnes, in June 2005.

Based in Stamullen, County Meath, McConnell is also a qualified vet. He says that his background in this “definitely helps with the early detection of problems, knowing when to call a vet and also when a horse is fully recovered from any problems they may pick up.”

He was surrounded by horses as a child, “My father bred thoroughbreds when I was growing up and we always had some ponies at home. Michael O’Brien, who trained the winners of a Triumph Hurdle, Irish National, along with many more, moved into a yard down the road from our home. I rode out for him most weekends and during the summer.” Michael O’Brien won the Champion National Hunt Jockey title in the US but, in 1974, he was confined to a wheelchair after a fall. However, that didn’t stop him coming home to Ireland to pursue racehorse training. His most well-known horse was Bright Highway, who completed the Makeson-Hennessy double in late 1980. He trained two Cheltenham Festival winners – Shawiya in the 1993 Triumph Hurdle and Kadoun to win the 2006 Pertemps Final. Sadly, O’Brien passed away in 2011 but he achieved remarkable things. McConnell said of his time there, “It was a great learning experience being in the company of such nice horses.”

McConnell, himself, has around sixty horses in and ten members of staff. Staff is something, he believes, is one of the biggest issues facing the industry, “I don’t think there are many yards in the country who wouldn’t immediately take on another skilled rider or grounds person if it was offered to them tomorrow morning.”

In his yard, McConnell has a mixture of flat and jumps horses, some of whom dabble in both codes. Obviously, these horses have to tackle different tests and that means they are trained differently, “You have to be much harder on jump horses at home, sometimes this can lead to them being injured more often. From time to time you can get away with not being 100% fit when it comes to running on the flat.”

Like a few Irish trainers, McConnell isn’t afraid of sending his horses to the UK to seek victories, “It’s slightly easier to win races in the UK. As there are more race meetings daily and the races themselves are less competitive when compared to these in Ireland. As a trainer, groom or owner, the racecourses do a top job class job of looking after visitors.” A good report for the English tracks. I think this says a lot about the way Irish racing is dominated by Mullins, Elliott, Gigginstown, the O’Briens and Coolmore. There seems to be very little room for other yards to break into the top level on a small budget. McConnell touched on this when I asked him about the biggest issues facing the industry, “It’s very much a case of the elite few against the remainder. A lot of small yards are being forced to give up as a result.”

2020 got off to an excellent start for the team with a double on New Years Day. He sent over two runners to Musselburgh with talented conditional jockey Donal McInerney there to do the steering. In race one, the exciting Never Do Nothing made virtually all of the running to win by over five lengths. That was just his first outing over jumps and for the yard, after they purchased him for £135,000 from Andrew Balding. On the flat, the Casamento gelding was never out of the top three and the horse was well-wanted at the sales for a possible international campaign. They have big hopes and he’s entered in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade One) at the Dublin Racing Festival or he could go to Musselburgh around the same time if the ground is too bad. His principal target will be the JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade One) and he’s currently 25/1. In the next race, Fred The Foot kept on well to land a handicap hurdle by one and a quarter lengths. In my opinion, McConnell is very good at placing his horses and they took advantage of the ground being to his liking and it paid off.

Pearl Of The West

It’s not just those two good quality horses that McConnell has in his yard; he is the trainer of my favourite racemare Pearl Of The West. As you can see from the photo, she’s absolutely beautiful. She first ran for the yard in February 2018 and, like Never Do Nothing, she started out aged four in hurdles. She won on her second attempt by four and a half lengths at Carlisle. I twigged on to her when she won at Bellewstown in the August. Two starts later, she won a good quality conditions race at a Cheltenham. She was also tried in the Scottish Champion Hurdle but finished tenth. Her next win was the one that, out of everyone he’s trained, meant the most to the trainer, “Pearl Of The West winning a graded Hurdle in Punchestown was brilliant. It was at my home track, to get a winner at their festival was just great and the coverage afterwards was unbelievable. She won incredibly well and was partnered by Robbie Power, who McConnell thinks a lot of, “In my view it [the best jockey riding] has to be Robbie Power. He’s riding at his absolute best at the minute. He is everything you need in a jockey.” Pearl suffered a tendon injury at the Galway Festival and she’s been out ever since, however the yard aim to get her back running by the end of the year.

However, McConnell favourite horse he’s ever trained is Go Another One. “Last year he won both a grade three and a listed Hurdle. He’s never finished further back than fifth in any of his twenty two starts for us. He’s a superstar and also not the easiest horse to train. This makes his success even more satisfying. He started chasing last year and went on a small break over the winter as he doesn’t like winter ground.” This September, the horse made an emphatic 31 length debut chase victory and then came second to a horse carrying over a stone less at Uttoxeter. When last seen, he was third to the smart Slate House at Cheltenham. He has an entry in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham but I doubt they’ll run him if the ground isn’t appropriate.

The whip is always a well debated topic, particularly, it seems, in England, and I posed the question of his opinion on it, “The modern whip is harmless, I think the laws are about right now. Those with an agenda shouldn’t be pandered too in my view. The press need to stop drawing attention to it.”

Finally, the customary ‘Do you have any horses for us to watch out for?’ question. His answer… “Hand In My Pocket. She’s a lovely five year old mare by Mahler that we got in a Cheltenham Sale late last year. She should turn into a lovely jump horse.” They bought this mare for £50,000 and she’s nicely related. Her half brother Winter Getaway has won twice for Phillip Hobbs. Already, she has ran in one point to point and finished a good second for Mary Doyle at Dromahane. The winner has since moved to Gordon Elliott. I think this filly could definitely be a nice type and I look forward to seeing her run under rules.

I would like to thank John for taking time out to answer my questions and I wish his yard lots and lots of luck in the coming seasons.

Saturday 18th January Racing Preview

Defi Du Seuil (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

There is some really good action on show this Saturday on ITV Racing from Ascot and Haydock, with multiple graded races and the grade one Clarence House Chase over two miles.

A new addition to Rein It In Racing is our Podcast! It is unlike any other as it is ran by young people under eighteen and voices the opinions of the people who are the future of the racing. Listen to it here-

Ground conditions:
Ascot – Heavy
Haydock – Heavy

Read Samantha’s Preview Of The Races Here…

Sensulano (JTW Equine Images)

13:50 Ascot- bet365 Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

The mare who catches the eye for me is MAGIC OF LIGHT. Jessica Harrington runner concluded the 2018/19 season by coming second to Tiger Roll in the Aintree Grand National. She only got beat two and three quarter lengths and, on reappearance, she came third to Barcardys and Apple’s Jade in a grade two. Last time, she absolutely hacked up by a very long way in a listed mares chase. She’s equally as good over hurdles and has a great chance. Her main rival is Papagana. This Martaline mare is four from ten. She won a listed mares novice hurdle in March and then wasn’t seen until she won another listed race by nine lengths, beating Culture De Sivola, in November. Last time out, she was third to The Worlds End in a grade one. Culture De Sivola hasn’t won since December 2018 and, last time, she was beaten over twenty three lengths by Coded Message. Ben Case’s mare is really consistent and stayed on really strongly over this trip at Kempton. Sensulano went novice chasing earlier in the season and has won her last two by twenty one lengths. The drop back to hurdles is an interesting move. Last to mention is Liberty Bella. She won at the start of 2019 and she looks like she’s up against it.

14:05 Haydock- Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)

This is a really nice little contest and EDWARDSTONE is the favourite because he has some great form to his name. On hurdle debut, he beat subsequent grade one winner Fiddlerontheroof, beating him by three quarter lengths, and two other winners. Last time, he beat Harry Senior, who won next time out. The form is all there and he’s the highest rated of these. Thebannerkingrebel won his first hurdle in May and then in June. He fell when in the lead in November and, later on in that month, he won a listed race over course and distance, for which he’s penalized. Stolen Silver unseated on hurdles debut, when not making much of an impression. He got off the mark in emphatic style at Ffos Las in November. Last time out, he was second to the smart Chantry House, who is two from two. Snookered won four races over the summer by a combined forty lengths. He ran on New Years Day but got beaten well over a hundred lengths so is the outsider.

Ballymoy (Green Colours) (JTW Equine Images)

14:25 Ascot- Matchbook Holloways’s Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

Thomas Darby is a well-regarded horse as he came second in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Connections expected him to run well over fences but he didn’t take to it after two runs, finishing second and third. He’s being dropped down to hurdles. Another horse who has performed well at the top level is PIC D’ORHY. This horse came second to Beaumac De Houelle (who stands at Hara De Montaigu Stud) in a grade one but has moved to Paul Nicholls. He ran in the Triumph Hurdle on his first start for them and came tenth. He fell at Auteuil last time and may be well treated. Ballymoy won this last year. Since, he was seventh in graded hurdles and then second in three chases. He returns to hurdles off a 2lbs higher mark then last year. Bold Plan was well-fancied the last day and he stayed on well in the closing stages. He’s gone up 10lns for that. Song For Someone won by twelve lengths at Fontwell and then came third in a listed race behind a subsequent winner. He’s only five. Soul Emotion won twice in 2018. He’s ran in two decent class twos so far this season. Jolly’s Cracked It last won in November 2018 and has been well beaten since but has had a wind op. The Knot Is Tied pulled up on both starts this campaign despite running well for the previous seasons.

14:40 Haydock—Peter Marsh Chase (Grade 2 Limited Handicap)

Two old favourites run in this – Vintage Clouds and Definitely Red. The former hasn’t won since a class two handicap in November 2018. He was second in the Ultima; fell at the first in the Grand National and then came sixth in the Scottish National. On his first start of this season, he was fifth in a handicap at Kelso and then he pulled up in the Becher after making some horrific mistakes. The National dreams are pretty much dashed with him. He was third in the Tommy Whittle last time out. Definitely Red was brought down in the Gold Cup and fifth in the Punchestown Gold Cup. On reappearance, he was fourth in the Charlie Hall and then fourth in the Becher. This is probably a prep for the Aintree showpiece.

Another interesting runner is Champers On Ice. He’s not been seen over fences since March 2017 but has been in excellent form this season, winning two and coming third. Acting Lass has run just eleven times and he ran ever so well last time to only be beaten three quarters of a length by Regal Encore. He won in December but is stepping up in trip. I think it may suit him. Flying Angel was last seen in the Grand Sefton earlier in the season and he didn’t run badly at all. He’d won at Ascot before that. Stamina could be an issue. The same could be said for Red Indian, who’s ran fifteen times and not been seen for 287 days. November 2017 is the last time Prime Venture won but he ran an excellent race in the Welsh National. That could be a hint at him returning to better form.

Geronimo, Midnight Tune and Claud And Goldie all won last time out. Ladies first and MIDNIGHT TUNE won a mares novice chase by thirty two lengths and was unchallenged next time. She’s a very versatile mare, she stays and ground wont be an issue. She has 10st4 like Claud And Goldie. He won a Veterans race at Kelso 41 days ago and he got put up 4lbs for that. He’s only ran seven times under rules. Geronimo pulled up in the Scottish National but won last time out at Newcastle, under today’s pilot Ryan Mania. He’ll stay.

Happy Diva (right) (JTW Equine Images)

15:00 Ascot- bet365 Handicap Chase

This is an excellent contest. Three of these jumped out of the page at me. HAPPY DIVA won the grade three Bet Victor Gold Cup at Cheltenham really well. She deserved that and only found Lady Buttons a head too good in a listed. She’s won here before but is on a career high mark. She’s so tenacious though. Espoir De Guye kept on well to win at Exeter. Next time, he won here over two miles two by ten lengths. He’s only five and seems an exciting individual. Tough ground conditions won’t be an issue. It has been reported that Domaine De L’Isle will hopefully inevitably be a Welsh National horse. This gelding has ran four times in England, winning his last two in really nice style. He stays further but has won over shorter.

Kildisart won a grade three at Aintree in the spring. On reappearance, he was third to Lostintranslation at Carlisle and then came sixth in a listed race last time. Benny’s King won at Newbury in November and then followed in Top Ville Ben last time out. The pair of Sam’s Adventure and Kayf Adventure are down the bottom of the handicap. Neither have got their heads in front in a while. Allysson Monterg was last seen coming fourth to Frodon in the Cotswold Chase, nearly a year ago. Aintree My Dream has been third on his last three outings and has slipped to bottom weight.

Pentland Hills (Right) and Ballyandy (Red Colours) (JTW Equine Images)

15:15- The New One Unibet Hurdle (Grade 2)

This is a Champion Hurdle Trial and CORNERSTONE LAD bet previous Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air last time. He’s remarkably consistent (1st, 2nd or 3rd on all thirteen jumps outings). He won his last three, one flat and two jumps, including the grade one Fighting Fifth. Admittedly, Buveur D’Air got injured in the race but I still think my selection would go close regardless. Henry Brooke popped him out in the lead last time and they should do the same again. Pentland Hills won the Triumph Hurdle and the Aintree equivalent on his second and third National Hunt start. Last time, he ran keen in the International Hurdle and his run petered out in the end. He’s well-fancied for the Champion Hurdle. Ballyandy finished ahead of him that day and last time out he was third in the Christmas Hurdle. He won the Champion Bumper in 2016 so is no mug. Rein It In Racing’s Luke thinks a lot of Darasso. He won a grade three by eleven lengths and then a grade two when last seen over 300 days ago. He’s a seven year old and one for the future.

15:35 Ascot- Clarence House Chase (Grade One)

This race has been billed as a clash between DEFI DU SEUIL and Un De Sceaux. The former is my selection because I’ve been so impressed with what he’s achieved since he went novice chasing. His first chase success came on the second time of asking at Exeter and after that he was second to Lostintranslation in the Dipper, then he won the Scilly Isles and also the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham. That was over two miles four but he dropped back to two miles to take on Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown but he came second to the Willie Mullins horse. This season, he’s won the Shloer Chase and the Tingle Creek, beating Un De Sceaux. He only won by a neck but he has youth as an advantage over Un De Sceaux. The latter is twelve and has won twice in this race and eighteen times overall. He’s a proper legend of the sport and he won at the Punchestown meeting in the Champion Chase. He loves it round here and the ground shouldn’t be a problem at all. Janika also runs and he finished fourth in the Tingle Creek after winning the Haldon Gold Cup. He finished fourth in the Relkeel Hurdle last time. Capeland finished fourth in the Desert Orchid Chase last time and I think he’s definitely running round here for place money and a drop in the handicap. Marracudja completes the field.

Warwick Classic Chase Day Review 2020

Spectacular Shots As The Runners In The Grade Two Hurdle Clear The Last (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the Classic Chase Raceday at Warwick.

I visited with my family and fellow Rein It In writer Niamh. It was great to see Niamh – just shows the power of racing bringing two racehorse-mad girls, who wouldn’t have met otherwise, together! It was also great to meet Tom and Jack Williams who kindly supply us with all our photos for our articles. They got some excellent shots of the wonderful equine athletes in all of their glory!

Warwick is about forty five minutes from where I live. There was a bit of a wind blowing across the course and the sky was overcast with a few droplets of rain falling through the day. That couldn’t dull our spirits though. There was a good sized, passionate crowd to see the seven race card.

Megalodon and Paddy Brennan (JTW Equine Images)

The first race was the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. This class four event had two previous NH winners in the line up and Megalodon was driven out by Paddy Brennan to score for Paul Henderson. The horse was a 14/1 shot and his best previous run was a five length second to Emitom. My younger brother was delighted that this horse won as he’s a big fan of megalodon sharks and had selected him before the race. Over the loudspeaker, one of the connections were saying how this horse had struggled with injuries and they seemed over the moon that he had finally got his head in front.

Good Jump From Joke Dancer As The Favourite, Rough Night, Gets Too Low (JTW Equine Images)

Next was the Project Management Services Oxford Ltd Edward Courage Cup. This was a handicap steeple chase over two miles. The 5/4 favourite was Rough Night under Kielan Woods. He led for most of the way but an awful blunder at the last (shown in the picture above) caused him to give the advantage to Joke Dancer, who was coming with a strong challenge. In the end, Joke Dancer won by eight lengths, going away, for Sue Smith and owner Mrs Aafake Clarke. This gelding was successful over hurdles and he could shape to be a good chaser. I wouldn’t give up on Rough Night though either.

The Early Stages Of The Garde Two Novices Chase. The Eventual Winner Two For Gold Has The Noseband. (JTW Equine Images)

The ITV cameras kicked up at one thirty and the first race they showed was the McCoy Contractors 2020 Construction News-Awards Finalist Hampton Novices Chase. Recently, this race has been upped in grade from a listed to a grade two and viewers were treated to a wonderful battle up the straight. Two For Gold put in a bold bid from the front and ended up getting threatened by Hold The Note at two out. Both horses jumped the last two well and, when they passed us about three quarters of a furlong to go, Hold The Note was just edging ahead. But Two For Gold wouldn’t go down without a fight! He was so brave and proved his staying ability and ended up nudging a half length clear at the line. Every brave horse needs a brave jockey and David Bass gave him an absolute peach of a ride. One of the owners with a share in him sadly passed away recently so it was an emotional win for all.

Next was the grade two Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle and there was drama from the get-go as Harry Senior decided to jump one of the railings as if he was a showjumper at Olympia. Sadly, he didn’t pick his feet up sufficiently and he unshipped Robbie Power. Seemingly fine, he gallivanted down to the start where he was eventually caught and Robbie got back on. We moved to the busier area near the winning post to watch this race and we had no idea what was going on. We could only see footage of him running loose then the announcement that he had been withdrawn on vets advice. There was a 25p Rule 4 in every pound. Shan Blue, the favourite, led for most of the way, a tactic Harry Skelton deployed on a few horses that day. He got headed by Décor Irlandais and Mossy Fen after the turn for home. Both were a bit novice but they battled strongly and I think there was a significant amount of money for Décor Irlandais as many people around us were cheering him home. Sam Twiston-Davies managed partner Mossy Fen to a three quarter length victory. Owners Carl Hinchy and Mark Scott are having a really exciting time of it lately, especially as they own Riders Onthe Storm who has a very good chance in the Ryanair. I’d say the first two in this race are smart and have big futures. They might not be up to the caliber to feature at the Festival though.

Kimberlite Candy Puts In A Big Leap (JTW Equine Images)

Now it was time for the feature contest of the day – the McCoy Contractors Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase. The race wouldn’t have at all been as good as it was if it wasn’t for Captain Chaos and Harry Skelton. They were clear for a lot of the race and set a good gallop in pretty sticky conditions. At the turn for home, Kimberlite Candy and The Conditional loomed up behind him but only Kimberlite Candy got past. Kimberlite Candy surged forward away from the last to win by ten lengths. It was excellent to see this horse win for Tom Lacey and Richie McLernon. McLernon is an extremely talented jockey and deserves to be in the spotlight. Last time out, this horse had only got beaten two and a half lengths in the Becher Chase by Walk In The Mill. He handled the step up to three miles five really smartly and I’d say he’s a live chance for the Grand National. He’s been hiked up 10lbs to a mark of 150. That would put him middle of the field based on last season’s weights. He’s a 25/1 shot for the Aintree showpiece.

Of the rest, The Conditional never looked comfortable after a nasty blunder at the sixteenth and he faded after the last when Kimberlite Candy and Captain Chaos kicked on. I overheard his jockey Brenda Powell explaining that the horse found the ground a bit to holding. Eleven year old Petite Power thoroughly stayed the trip when he stayed on to grab third from The Conditional under promising amateur jockey Liam Harrison. Connections of Le Breuil have had Grand National aspirations for this horse since when he won the 2019 National Hunt Chase. He’s been dropped 3lbs from 148 to 145 for his fifth place finish. That mark could definitely get him in to the race at the lower end of the handicap.

Doc Penfro Before He Threw Away His Chance To Silver Sheen (Green Colours) (JTW Equine Images)

Another race where one eye was on the handicap was the penultimate race on the card, the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle. In the line up, there was three Irish runners – Gordon Elliot had last year’s Cheltenham Final winner Sire De Berlais and Its All Guesswork and Jessie Harrington was represented by Silver Sheen. The latter was prominent for a lot of the way and he lead from the fourth. He put in a chancey jump at the last and handed the advantage to Doc Penfro. This horse hung badly left under Ben Jones down from the last which allowed Silver Sheen to grab the win by a head under Robbie Power. This was a good end to the day for the jockey who’d been unshipped twice, by Harry Senior and then Darlac in the feature race. He praised Jessica Harrington for her training of this horse as he had only raced over hurdles three times, all of which he has now won.

The six qualifiers were as follows – 1st Silver Sheen (raised 9lbs to 133 (Irish Handicap Mark) ), 2nd Doc Penfro (raised 5lbs to 134), 3rd One For The Team (raised 2lbs to 130), 4th Sire Du Berlais (Unchanged) , 5th Stoney Mountain (unchanged) and 6th Igor (dropped 1lbs to 131). Bottom weight went off 134 last season and top weight was 148. As a guess, this means that Silver Sheen will be one of the bottom weight and may have to run again to bump his mark up enough to qualify. Sire Du Berlais’ official British rating before the race was 152 so I’d assume he’s likely to be off the top weight in the 2020 renewal. An interesting thing to note was that Sire Du Berlais raced very lazily. He took a lot of stoking up to canter down to post and Aidan Coleman earned his fee.

Here Comes McCoy In The Noseband Made Easy Work Of His Debut. (JTW Equine Images)

The final race of the day was an eighteen runner NH Flat Race named the Cheltenham And South West Syndicate ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race. As the name suggests, none of these horses had ever seen the racetrack before. So, as a result of this and the rising wind speeds, the prelims were utter carnage. Midnight Jewel got loose at one point and went cantering to the other side of the parade ring – right where we were stood – and crashed into a few other runners. The stable staff and jockeys did an excellent job to get all the horses out onto the track in one piece. On the way back, there was one horse who was dominant. That was Here Comes McCoy. This son of Dylan Thomas went round the inside under Aidan Coleman but got short of room at four furlongs out. However, Coleman negotiated a clear passage and by two furlongs out he kicked clear in a really attractive style. He definitely has a huge future and is one to keep on the right side of. It was also excellent for the owners, who sponsored a lot of the card (McCoy Contractors), to have a winner on the day.

Overall, despite lacking in the winners department, we all had an excellent day. The facilities at Warwick are always very good and I like it because you can see everything! We will definitely be back soon!

Preview of racing at Fairyhouse

By Luke and Killian (@lukekeena1 and @KillianBroderi1)

Racing on Saturday in Ireland comes from Fairyhouse with the feature Dan & Joan Moore Handicap chase off at 2:10

Book Easter Festival Tickets Online Mares Maiden Hurdle(1:00)

Strange Notions made a nice return to racing after several months off the track to finish second behind the talented Drury. It was a further half a length back to another nice mare, Mount Ida. She has an official rating of 114 which could be good enough to win this. She will come on for the run and I think she will go close with Sean Flanagan in the saddle.

Fairyhouse Members 2020 Handicap Hurdle (1:35)

Thunder Down Under steps up to three miles for the first time and I think he will relish the test. He ran on well last time out to finish third over two miles and a half. This son of Fame And Glory runs off a nice rating of 113. I think he is well handicapped and if he stays the three mikes I think he is the one to beat.

Killian’s Selection: 

Dromore Lad is unbeaten at Fairyhouse – 3/3. Hopefully the return to his favourite course can spark a revival in form. His last two runs have been uninspiring, but I’m willing to put a line through them efforts. Dromore Lad won the 2018 renewal of this race. 20/1 is a big price. There’s only 10 runners and I think that will also aid his task. Mikey Fogarty, who is enjoying a renaissance of his career, is riding very well also.

Dan & Joan Moore Handicap Chase (2:10)

Ornua is a former Grade 1 winner. He won his Grade 1 at Aintree over just short of two miles. He hasn’t been in the same form since. He didn’t run a bad race first time out when finishing nine lengths a drift of the talented Cilaos Emery. He was then a distance last in the Tingle Creek at Sandown. He runs off a rating if 152 which is high but if he gets into a rhythm in front he can run a good race at a double figure price.

Killian’s selection:

Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead enjoyed considerable success at Christmas, and they may also plunder the valuable Dan Moore with Arvico Bleu. Arvico Bleu has not run since Feb 2019, so the market may be a good indicator of his chances. On his last run he took a tumble at the last, when holding a good chance of winning. Ex Patriot has franked the form of that run. On New Years Day he ran a gallant race to take 4th in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase (Grade 3) at Cheltenham. That was off a mark of 147. In contrast, Arvico Bleu is rated 133 and appears to have plenty scope for improvement. Rachael is likely to be prominent and should be able to hold a nice position, as he’s not short of pace. He’s best priced 11/2 at the moment, with 5 places on offer. I think Arvico Bleu has a cracking chance, if he’s fit and ready.
Killian’s Selection:
At The Acorn
As some of you may know, I put this horse up as one to follow at the start of the season. I thought he might be a bit below graded class in staying novice chases. Obviously that has not transpired and ultimately he has been disappointing thus far. It’s still early days though. Tony Martin is super shrewd and has manufactured a mark of 116 for At The Acorn. He will appreciate the step up to 2m 5f for this Rated Novice Chase. I’m hopeful of a good run, rather than confident. Given the connections, market support would be significant. Perhaps the handbrake will be released. 8/1 is a fair each way price.

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Auction Flat Race (3:50) 

Killian’s Selection:

Arthur Moore may well have another classy horse in his car and who could begrudge him. His last big success was with Organisedconfusion in the 2011 Irish Grand National. The Priests Lap was backed from 33/1 into 13/2 for his debut at Navan. He ran with plenty of promise, but was a bit lost when asked to quicken. I think he’ll have improved both mentally and physically for that run. Derek O’Connor is booked to ride again. This bumper could develop into a battle between the top three male amateurs. Patrick and Willie Mullins combine with Five Bar Brian, who has been off the track since December 2017. Barry O’Neill rides I A Connect for Gordon Elliott. I A Connect is a well bred sort. He’s by Jeremy and is a half-brother to the 140 rated Bold Plan. Jeremy is such a loss to the NH stallion ranks. Recently his progeny have been flying. It would be no surprise if I A Connect is smart, but hopefully The Priests Leap can take this contest.

Warwick Classic Chase Preview 2020

Joeur Bresilien puts in a big leap and is set to run in the feature race of the day. (Copyright JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

This is the feature raceday at Warwick in the season and the ITV cameras are there to catch all the action. I’m lucky enough to be attending with my family so keep an eye out on mine and Rein It In Racing’s twitter pages for photos!

12:40 Join Racing TV Now Novices Handicap Hurdle

Milanstorm and Twycross Warrior are the only horses to have won under national hunt rules. The former won over course and distance in a bumper in March and that is his sole victory. Since then, he’s been beaten a long way every time. Twycross Warrior won by fourteen lengths in May and has ran twice since, placing third and fourth. He’s risen in the handicap quite a bit. Elton Des Mottes and Made For You haven’t been seen for more than 200 days. The former has ran five times and he’s been well-beaten on all occasions. His closest finish was on debut. Made For You has ran four times. Last seen in June, he was third but he’s had a breathing operation since. Bathiva has been running consistently without winning and is making his handicap debut but the mark looks high. Bard Of Brittany ran a very good race at 40/1 last time to be second behind a decent rival.

The two likely winners are Motashakel and Manor Park. The former won over seven furlongs on the flat for Kevin Prendergast and Hamdan Al Maktoum before moving to the Evan Williams Yard. He was beaten eighteen lengths on his hurdles bow and then four lengths by subsequent grade one winner Allmankind. This is an easier task and I think MANOR PARK can take advantage of that. The owners had a winner on this card last year with Keeper Hill in the Pertemps Qualifier. He’s ran fourteen times in his life and won once on the flat. He was running well last time out until getting tired and can go better here. Magalodon pulled up in two of his last three races and Bonjour Steve was ninth on the flat four days ago. Easkey Lad and Secret Bari are outsiders.

13:15 Project Management Services Oxford Ltd Edward Courage Cup (Handicap Chase)

There are an impressive three course and distance winners in the line-up – that’s half the field. Master Work was second to Hatcher on his penultimate start and then second last time out to Caid Du Lin. His win here came over hurdles and on good ground so connections will be hoping the ground dries out a bit. Ashoka completed a double in the summer but got well-beaten at Newbury at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting and pulled up last time out behind subsequent winner Locker Room Talk. He will need to improve. ROUGH NIGHT won over course and distance thirty days ago by eleven lengths and he got put up 7lbs for that. He’d ran a good race on chase debut, coming fourth with Locker Room Talk in third (twenty three lengths ahead). He’s got a good chance. Joke Dancer fell at the last on chasing debut but that didn’t seem to sent his confidence because he went out and won in lovely style next time. Luckofthedraw won well in September but was well beaten on his next two outings. The winner of his last start has subsequently won very nicely. Geneva Barracks was 100/1 on Chase debut and made some errors.

Two For Gold (JTW Equine Images)

13:50 McCoy Contractors 2020 Construction News-Awards Finalist Hampton Novices Chase (Grade 2)

This has been won by Ms Parfois and OK Corral in the past two years and they went on to run in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. Some of these may follow that route too. Hold The Note won over hurdles at Doncaster in December 2018 and he’s had two starts over hurdles over fences, coming third and then pulling up behind Commanche Red. Roll Again fell that day and he used to be with Willie Mullins and could be up near the pace. Whatmore has won over this course before (over one mile shorter). He’s ran twice – third to Deyrann de Carjac and fourth to Dashel Drasher. Two For Gold and Zara Hope have won their last two races. The former won at Carlisle, running prominently, and then he made all when going all out over this trip. He’s lightly-raced from a masterful trainer. Zara Hope won a handicap chase by six lengths on her first of two starts in December. Next time, she absolutely hacked up in a mares chase at Cheltenham, making all. That was by eighteen lengths and she won over this trip before. Likely to be up with the pace, she gets 3lbs from the boys but is rated a long way inferior.

Highest Sun has Robbie Power on board. He followed in Champ and Pym before winning on heavy ground at Plumpton. That was a two runner affair and he seems a quirky sort. This is a step up in class. ARDLETHEN followed in Champ in a grade one last season and made a good start to chasing when winning at Chepstow. He came second to Sam Spinner, who is sadly out injured, and then, last time out, he ran in a three runner grade two and was last of the three. However, that was behind Danny Whizzbang and Reserve Tank. This is quite a weak renewal but he gets my vote.

Harry Senior (JTW Equine Images)

14:25 Ballymore Leamington Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)

We have a royal runner in this grade two event. Roll On runs for Her Majesty, Nicky Henderson and James Bowen. This six year old has had a good start to his career. He came second on debut and then he won beating Protektorat, who was involved in a controversial stewards enquiry, by a head. Next time, he won by over three lengths and is stepping up in grade. The oldest runner is Decor Irlandais. He’s rated 10lbs higher than any other rival and won at Catterick last time and that was his third win under jumps rules. Mossy Fen is only five and won on his first two starts over two miles seven and two miles four. He was left on one pace in a similar grade two over three miles. This is a drop back to a more appropriate trip. SHAN BLUE ran in a very good bumper at this track when Chantry House won and Edwardstone came second. He followed in Redford Road before a fall when going well. The local horse got off the mark last time and he’s the joint second highest rated. He was a really cheap buy at €13,000 but had won a point previously. Harry Senior seems to be a well-regarded horse but it took him a while to win. On his penultimate start, he followed in the smart Edwardstone and won by five lengths last time out. He goes for the powerful combination of Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power. Whatsupwithyou ran well in points before getting off the mark at the first attempt at Ascot in good fashion. He’s the unknown quantity.

Le Breuil at home (JTW Equine Images)

15:00 McCoy Contractor Civil Engineering Classic Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

This is the feature contest of the day. This race is over three miles and five furlongs and it is a grade three.
There are two previous winners in the lineup. Impulsive Star put in a really gutsy performance to win this in 2019. He got headed at one point but manged to win by three and a quarter lengths off a mark of 133. He pulled up in the NH Chase behind Le Breuil, Scottish Grand National, behind Crosspark, and, on reappearance, he pulled up in a grade three around Cheltenham. Despite this poor run of form, he’s still 4lbs higher than last year. Blinkered for the first time.

Milansbar won this by eleven lengths, making the running, in 2018, and he pulled up the year before. Since the win, he’s not won but he was second in the Midlands National and fifth in the Grand National in the same year. He’s not shown much since and he pulled up on Thursday at Catterick over this trip. He’s 4lbs lower than his last winning mark and Sam Twiston-Davies rides.

Crosspark was behind both of these horses in the past two renewals. Since last year, he’s won the Eider, beating Mysteree a neck, and come second in the Scottish National. It was a bit disappointing when he pulled up in behind The Conditional in October and was eighth last time. He prefers better ground but thoroughly stats this trip and he always has a good chance in these kinds of races.

Le Breuil won the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. It was a really tough race and he proved that he stayed four miles plus. He’s currently 33/1 for the Grand National and ran over hurdles on seasonal debut in a grade two but he pulled up very early into the contest. Next time, he came seventh in the Becher Chase and that was an improved run but he got beat twenty lengths, following in Kimberlite Candy and finishing ahead of Mysteree, who pulled up. Kimberlite Candy only went down two lengths to the smart Walk In The Mill. This horse has a good record, with five wins, but was fifth to Crosspark and Mysteree in the Eider. After that, he pulled up in the Irish National over this trip. Regardless, I think he stays this trip. Before the Becher, I said Mysteree could have long term Grand National aspirations but he disappointingly pulled up. He won over three miles two on seasonal reappearance. That was his first win in a while and he stays well.

Captain Chaos (JTW Equine Images)

Rocky’s Treasure ran on this card last year, getting beaten fourteen lengths by OK Corral in the Hampton Novices Chase. After that, he was fifth and second in class twos. On reappearance, he pulled up behind The Conditional at Cheltenham and again over two miles six at Newbury. This trip is a worry as he’s only won over three miles. Captain Chaos also pulled up behind The Conditional. He ran in the Rehearsal Chase next time and was fast finishing to get beaten less than a length. Last time, he pulled up in the Welsh National but the ground could’ve gone against him.

The Conditional used to be in training with Martin Hassett in Ireland and followed in the likes of Arkle winner Duc De Genivres and Pairofbrowneyes. He moved to the David Bridgewater yard and had his first run for them when finishing third in September. He won impressively at Cheltenham in a class two over three miles and a furlong. In doing so, he blundered at the second last but got back up on the flat. He was put up 6lbs and ran in the Ladbrokes Trophy under Brendan Powell. He hit the last fence, which dented his finishing challenge, and eventually couldn’t handle De Rasher Counter. Both of these horses have gained themselves Gold Cup entries. The Conditional also has Grand National aspirations, despite still being classed a novice. The yard definitely think a lot of him and he’s not yet reached his ceiling. He’s 50/1 for the Grand National and 100/1 for the Gold Cup.

Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power have become a excellent combination and they have the seven year old Darlac. This gelding has won just the once in eleven starts, which was his second lifetime start. He’s ran four times this season, placing twice. At 10/1, I may be missing something but he seems like a short price. The jockey booking is probably what has influenced this. Bobo Mac has ran this season. The first of which was a win over three miles and a furlong and the second was a win over two miles seven. He’s won here before and he’s in good form.

Petite Power (JTW Equine Images)

Petite Power runs for the in-form Fergal O’Brien and amateur Liam Harrison. This eleven year old made a winning reappearance after a 516 day break at Cheltenham in an amateur jockeys’ race. He backed that up next time out over three miles two at Uttoxeter. Last time, he only went down a neck to a horse who was carrying 10lbs less. He’s gone from 115 to 131 and, despite his age, he could run well. Head To The Stars was third on reappearance but fell at the first fence next time in behind Bobo Mac. He was a decent second last time but he has a bit to find with some of these.

Bottom weight is Goodnight Charlie with Page Fuller on board. Three starts ago, he was third in a four runner event behind Petite Power. He was well-beaten next time and then he pulled up behind Copperhead at Newbury. Interestingly, he seems to love this part of the world. He’s a course and distance winner and has won twice more at this track. He also won a couple of times at the recently closed Towcester. As the outsider of the party, he may run a decent race. Last to mention is Joeur Bresilien. He won by twelve lengths over two miles five under his pilot Jack Tudor, who tasted big-race glory in the Scottish National, but stamina is the worry.

In conclusion, I’m going for THE CONDITIONAL. I was very impressed with his last two runs and he’s a horse with a big future. Kimberlite Candy is threatening him for favouritism and Petite Power could go well at a good price. Goodnight Charlie loves it round this track.

Stoney Mountain (By Lois Davis)

15:35 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle

Sire Du Berlais and Its All Guesswork came over from the Gordon Elliot yard. The former won the final of this race in March last year and comes here to qualify. Since then, he’s been well beaten but he’s a good horse and I’m sure he could qualify in this race. Its All Guesswork was last seen pulled up in the Kim Muir and he’s been in the top three in ten of his starts. Silver Sheen comes over from Jessica Harrington stable. He won his maiden at Wexford and then beat some decent horses in a ‘rated’ novices hurdle. He’s quite lightly-raced.

Henry Daly has two – STONEY MOUNTAIN and Flashjack. The latter is 10 and won at Haydock last time, beating an odds-on favourite. Stoney Mountain seems well thought of. He’s won the Two races that Paisley Park did at the beginning of the season on his way to Stayers Glory. One was at Aintree and the other way at Haydock when he showed a great finishing kick. Last time, they tried him over fences and he unshipped Richard Johnson. He’s more comfortable over hurdles at the minute and, if he wins this well, I’d have a go at the stayers with him, instead of the Pertemps race. Tedham came third to him at Haydock. He’s not ran since but is fairly unexposed. He was running on strongly that day. Lisnagar Oscar followed in Stoney Mountain last time after two starts over fences. He was fifth in the Albert Bartlett and third in another grade one so he’s not short of ability. Diomede Des Mottes filled the place behind him. Before that he’d been a decent second and he’s won at this track before.

Colin Tizzard has the stunning White Moon who ran on this card last year in the novices chase. He’s lost his way since and returns to hurdles. Igor won nicely at Ascot on his penultimate start and then he was sixth of eight in a grade two. He got hampered after the last which won’t have helped . One For The Team is a well-fancied runner under Sam Twiston-Davies. He was second on seasonal debut and then just couldn’t get to the winner in the dying strides at Newbury in a class two. The trip won’t be a problem. Doc Penfro is from a top yard and had his first victory last time at Bangor when he won by four lengths. Special Acceptance has a few letters by his name and Connectable is the outsider.

16:00 Cheltenham And South West Syndicate ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

There’s a huge field of eighteen unraced four and five year olds in this race. THE ROSARY FLYER is a horse I first spotted in June 2018 in the Goffs Land Rover Sale catalogue. This gelding is by Robin Des Champs, one of my favourite sires, and out of a three times bumper and Hurdle winning mare Present Gesture. He’s a full brother to Pottsie who was with Jessica Harrington, and I’m confident in his chances. The yard has a 28% strike rate in bumpers. Diamond River is a runner to be feared as he’s related to bumper winners. Harry Fry is also good with his bumper horses and has George Valentine. His dam has produced a few good flat horses and a 148 rated NH horse.

Sandown Unibet Tolworth Hurdle Day Preview 2020

Vieux Lion Rouge (Right) Runs In The Veterans’ Race (JTW Equine Images)

By Samantha

Sandown offers a nice card of seven races made up of small and select fields. The card is sponsored by Unibet and the feature contest is the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle. I have previewed the races below…

12:15- Unibet Casino Juvenile Hurdle
Hereia has top weight of 11st4 as he won in August on his first start over hurdles at Roscommon. He was an average flat horse for Andrew Slattery and moved to Neil Mulholland after coming fourth next time. He’s yet to win for new connections but his sole run was fifth to the smart Triumph hope Botox Has. Brambledown and Mr Chua have both ran three times over obstacles and appear exposed. Brambledown comes from the Gary Moore yard and he’s good with his juveniles so is just preferred. However, PALLADIUM has ran just the once over hurdles after making the switch from Martin Meade to Nicky Henderson. This horse was favourite on debut and was just denied by a 33/1 shot, who was fourth in a grade one last time. Zarafshan came from the Dermot Weld yard to Emma Lavelle and got to within three lengths of Sir Dragonet. His best runs have come on softer ground and he’ll be a player.

Indefatigable (left) (JTW Equine Images)

12:45- Unibet Mares’ Hurdle (Listed)
INDEFATIGABLE has ran well on her last two outings to run into Lady Buttons and Dane De Compagnie. She won a listed race over this sort of trip in April so this should be well within her capabilities. Silver Forever is interesting, stepping up from novice company. She never runs a bad race. Cap Soleil is a good mare but but comes off a long break. Copper Gone West won over a lot further last time and Fleur Irlandais won at 100/1 on her second start in Britain at Kempton, in good style.

13:20- Read Nicky Henderson’s Unibet Blog Handicap Chase
Chef D’Equipe and Mercy Mercy Me have been running well in defeat lately. Dashing Perk was a good winner over course and distance, beating a horse who has subsequently ran well in a grade two, last time. Vinnie The Hoodie got outpaced at Doncaster in December and has only won once – at Gowran when in training with Joseph O’Brien. Mystical Clouds has ran nine times and he will have come on for his Leicester fourth. Cap Du Nord represents the Welsh National winning trainer and jockey. He goes off the same weight as WAKIKI WAVES. He has won his last four, riding from a mark of 98 to 122. He’s not under the grip of the handicapper just yet. Clondaw Westie and Volt Face are bigger prices.

13:50- New Unibet Uniboost Handicap Chase
Darebin was victorious in this race last season and he’s won twice since and placed a few times since. He comes across as a horse who appreciates a firmer surface and connections will be hoping the ground dries out even more to alter the soft, good to soft in places description. Last time out, this horse was a four length third to JOHNBB over course and distance. This six year old is rather unexposed as he’s ran just the six times – but he’s ultra consistent with form figures of 231331. Locker Room Talk is another well-fancied runner. He’s partnered by Jack Savage, who knows the horse well, and he won by seven lengths over two miles two when last seen. He’s a winner over this trip and is Johnbb’s biggest rival. Luca Morgan picks up a nice ride on Delire D’Estruval and this hiRse won here in March over two miles four. He needed the run last time out on bad ground and he won’t lack the speed for this. Finnegan’s Garden was a decent third seven days ago but will need to step up. American Tom hasn’t won since Ruby Walsh rode him to victory in a beginners chase in 2016. He looks up against it for new connections.

14:25- Unibet Tolworth Novices Hurdle (Grade One)
This race has been won by good horses recently – Elixir De Nutz, Summerville Boy and Finian’s Oscar. The former and latter were sent out by Colin Tizzard and he has Fiddlerontheroof. This horse was sold to the yard after running three good races in Ireland. On the first outing of this campaign, he was beaten two lengths by subsequent grade one winner Thyme Hill. Next time, he arguably shouldn’t have come second to Edwardstown but that horse has won subsequently so could be smart. The son of Stowaway finally got off the mark over course and distance last time on similar going. He was an easy winner and the record of the yard in this makes him interesting.

However, he is not the highest rated. That title sits with HANG IN THERE. He goes for Emma Lavelle and Aidan Coleman, who teamed up with Paisley Park to win the Stayers Hurdle. Their runner in this is rated 5lbs superior to Fiddlerontheroof. He began his career with Mags Mullins and he followed in Royal Rendezvous and Castletown Quary (who was part of last year’s 20 To Watch but sadly was fatally injured). He was second on his final start for them before unseating on his first outing for Lavelle. He won at Exeter by seven lengths and then in a grade two by three lengths on soft/heavy ground. I like that he has already won a grade two but it will be very close between my selection and Fiddlerontheroof.

Son Of Camas ran in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper on racecourse debut and came last. He won a bumper in early November and made a successful hurdling debut at the end of that month. The second horse has won since. Jeremys Flame comes over from Ireland and she won at Listowel in September. On the last two occasions, she’s followed in good mares in grade three and listed company at Gowran and Newbury respectively. She gets weight form the boys.

One of the other runners is Calva D’Auge for Owners Group and Paul Nicholls. This horse ran in France before making a winning British debut in November. He ran in a listed race at Haydock last time and was beaten five lengths by a smart prospect. He rallied well but a jump let him down at four out. Silver Hallmark ran in one bumper and was a decent third. He reappeared at Chepstow in November and stayed on well to reverse the form with the bumper winner. He could be anything from a yard in form. Logan Rocks has ran seven times and has managed to win once. Outsider.

King’s Odyssey (JTW Equine Images)

15:00- Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase (In Memory Of Houblon Des Obeaux)
This race is in memorial for last year’s winner of this, Houblon Des Obeaux. The loveable twelve year old died of a pulmonary haemorrhage at this course in December. He won ten of his fifty eight starts and will be missed. His yard has Burtons Well. He won after a long absence on reappearance at Aintree and he was then seventh last time. Two of these horses ran in last year’s race behind Houblon Des Obeaux – Theatre Guide came second and On Tour was third. Since then, Theatre Guide has been second to Carole’s Destrier, sixth to Vieux Lion Rouge, third to Burtons Well and fifth to Kings Odyssey. On Tour was second to Vieux Lion Rouge and was fifth to Burtons Well so both have a bit to find.

Carole’s Destrier was part of the voided race after the death of Houblon Des Obeaux and so was Shanroe Santos and Dark Flame. The former pulled up in the Haydock Grand National Trial and Scottish Grand National. These sandwiched a victory in a veterans chase with Theatre Guide, Abolitionist and Shanroe Santos behind. Shanroe Santos ran at Carlisle just after the voided race and was only denied a short head, giving a stone to the winner. He seems on good terms with himself and goes off a very winnable mark. Dark Flame was second to Houblon Des Obeaux on season reappearance after a 736 Day lay off and ran creditably. He finished the voided race but hasn’t won since 2016. Abolitionist was a good horse for Ellmarie Holden, winning the Leinster National, and he won on his first start for Dr Richard Newland. He pulled up at the Cheltenham Festival and has been seen getting well-beaten twice this season.

King’s Odyssey has top weight after winning at Warwick last time with Smooth Stepper, Regal Flow, Wild West Wind and Theatre Guide behind. This horse was held up but galloped through the race well to win by a half length. He’s a very solid horse and placed in the Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. It was an improved run for Smooth Stepper since his last win in 2018 when in training with Sue Smith. Currently with Alex Hales, he’s 3lbs lower than his last winning mark. Regal Flow fell in the Becher and came fifth at Ludlow last time. He won the 2018 Midlands National off 129 and now races at 127. He’s 13. Wild West Wind is a quirky individual and has more letters than numbers by his name. He’s been running well lately and came third at Kelso last time out. Vieux Lion Rouge won a veterans race at the beginning of the season before coming ninth in a Hurdle race and ninth in the Becher. He’s an excellent yard stick and retains lots of ability.

Horatio Hornblower and Jepeck have been in great form. The former is two from two. He won at Ffos Las by eight lengths and then at Doncaster when he was shaken up to win. He’s got a good pilot on board and he’s won off higher before. A big run is expected. Jepeck came second to subsequent Scottish National winner Takingrisks; then he won at Bangor in a hurdle by nineteen lengths; next he came second to The Mulcair and last time out he won well at Chepstow, once again over hurdles.

This is an extremely competitive race and I’m going to go with SHANROE SANTOS. He’s an excellent horse and Lucy Wadham does well with her older horses, particularly Le Reve recently. Horatio Hornblower could go well but as long as all the runners come home safe!

15:35- Read Nico De Boinville Unibet Blog Handicap Hurdle
Remiluc hasn’t been seen for 629 days, when unseating at Plumpton next time out. He’s four from twenty six but he’s 5lbs higher than his last winning mark and will probably need this. Ainchea hasn’t been seen for 700 days either. He came second on debut in 2017, then won over course and distance and was then second in a Listed on New Years Day 2018. He fell last time and hasn’t been seen since. His stablemate Elorado Allen has top weight. He’s making his seasonal debut after just two starts under rules – one was a win over course and distance and the other was an unseat.

Nicky Henderson has two – Gunnery and Mill Green. GUNNERY has Nico De Boinville on board, aiming to win the race named after him. In his last three starts, he won by thirty one lengths; came eleventh at Wincanton and then won by twelve lengths. I’m going to assume that the Wincanton run was a blip. Mill Green is making his reappearance. He’s won twice but will probably need this.
There are two female jockeys riding in this race. Isabel Williams rides her father’s horse John Constable and Page Fuller rides Ruacana for Zoe Davison. John Constable hasn’t won since July 2017 and he was behind Smarty Wild on his penultimate start. Smarty Wild came fourth in a listed race, when last seen, over course and distance. He dislikes heavy. Ruacana completed a double in November but he’s been beaten on both starts since. He was fifth in the lasted race and and Distingo was sixth. Distingo has ran in some good races without success. Blu Cavalier won well at Doncaster last month but he’s been put up 4lbs. Totterdown won over course and distance in November. He’ll probably make the running alongside Gunnery.

Meet The Writer: Jake Russell

ImageGirl Of Dreams (Polly) at Lingfield Park
Good Afternoon Twitter,
My name is Jake Russell (@JakeRuss1000) and I am a huge Horse Racing fan, which I have been for a number of years now. I post daily selections on my Twitter with a lot of discussions on the main topics of horse racing at present. I interact with all my followers and I absolutely love doing this, it makes my day when I get a lot of people interacting with my posts. I also run the odd competition when there is a big meeting that goes on for a few days, with good prizes for the winner.
I have visited various courses around the county and I am making it my aim to visit every single one. Horse racing is just a sport that is like no other, and everyone of all ages can get involved one way or another. The buzz of a race day is like no other, you just can not beat it at all.

I will be writing articles every so often for Rein It In about the horse that I am currently involved with, Girl Of Dreams. I will be talking about her previous runs and how she is getting on at home with Nikki Evans. I will also hopefully write other articles here and there about upcoming big races/meetings and the main talking points in these.

I am really looking forward to getting started with Rein It In and I hope you all enjoy the content I put out. Many thanks to Rein It In as well for giving me the chance to show what I can do, Hopefully I can repay them with good content.