NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sun May 27
Fontwell, Kelso, Uttoxeter
Mon May 28
Cartmel, Huntingdon
Wed May 30
Cartmel, Warwick

Entries & Recent Form

I see that A P McCoy was due to receive his OBE at Buckingham Palace yesterday, but owing to his commitments the champion jockey was unable to attend.  The Spring is now being pencilled in as an alternative date - however, with all of the coverage surrounding Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton I don't suppose the Palace were too worried!  There is a great picture of A P at Folkestone yesterday on Space Hopper - no not the horse, but one of those retro toys that bounces up and down!  You can see that the champ hasn't lost any of his style...even on a toy!

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I see that Aintree have taken the unusual step of making some of their fences on the Mildmay course easier to jump by making them smaller and narrower at the top.  I bet that some of the old jockeys would be saying that they have been turned into dandy brushes!  I can still remember Tom Scudamore's grandfather Michael (who won the 1959 Grand National aboard Oxo) telling me years ago that the fences were much bigger in his day...I wonder what he would say now?!  It seems to me that years ago everything was bigger and better than it is today, yet I suppose in twenty or thirty years Tom will be telling his children or grandchildren how the fences were bigger in his day!

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Grands_Crus_Cheltenham

It was a very good weekend for the stable runners with an across the card double at Cheltenham and Fontwell courtesy of Grands Crus and Peut Etre Sivola.  Grands Crus was impressive in winning the intermediate handicap hurdle and this lightly raced five year old gelding looks most progressive, while Peut Etre Sivola put up another dour performance in recording his second success in the Southern National over three and a half miles.  There was a great quote from Peut Etre Sivola's winning jockey Johnny Farrelly, "He loves the twists and turns of Fontwell, this track brings the best out of him, he's partially blind in one eye and is slow as a boat but he jumped brilliantly".  Anyway, well done to "The Hat" on a good ride!

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I was looking through the list of cold trainers and I couldn't help but notice that one of the handler's listed had gone 4040 days without training a winner...that's over eleven years!  I wonder if any of his owners ever ask him if he fancies one of his runners?  You certainly wouldn't be able to back them with any confidence!

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sam_waley_cohen_cheltenham_121110

What a great first day of the Open Meeting!  It was very much a case of so near, so far yesterday at Cheltenham as all of our runners ran well without coming home in front.  Swing Bill ran a cracker to finish second in the amateur riders' handicap chase behind a back to form Rustarix.  I thought he might win two out, but nonetheless it was a good effort trying to concede 12lbs to the winner under Sam Waley-Cohen who is aboard big race favourite Long Run in today's Paddy Power Gold Cup.

 

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Proper racing returns this afternoon with the beginning of the three day Open meeting at Cheltenham.  It is racing at the highest level, and I am sure that a number of these will be going to the Festival meeting in March.  If you have never been to one of these high class jump meetings, just try going, even if it is only once - the atmosphere is fantastic, completely different to any flat meeting.  It seems to me that real racing people go jump racing.

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I was watching the racing from Bangor yesterday afternoon and was horrified to see Christopher Timmons stop riding aboard 4/1 second favourite Jeanry in the closing stages of the handicap hurdle with the race at his mercy.  Predictably enough, Monsieur came from the clouds under Matt Griffiths to get up close home - it was one of the worst cases I have ever seen, and while I know the lad is only a 7lbs conditional, there can be little excuse for such offences.  He is now facing a 28 day suspension (the maximum penalty for the offence), and to be honest I don't think that is long enough.  It has happened before and is sure to happen again, but why do the jockeys do it?...the handicapper isn't stupid and will penalise a heavily eased winner every bit as much as a horse that is ridden out to the line.

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