The 31st of August will always be the last day of the summer however this final day of the season in 2015 will be remembered for the retiring of the greatest hurdler I have ever seen. A son of Montjeu and listed winner as a three year old in France before George Creighton purchased him and sent him to Willie Mullins. The rest, as they say is history, nearly two million pounds in prize money and a world record 22 grade one wins, the racing world has lost a true superstar and while Kauto Star’s retirement came to a sad end hopefully we can see “The Fly” for many years.

As mentioned it began in France but when sent over a hurdle in 2008 it was the beginning of an epic journey right to the very top. A grade one winner in his novice career when beating Donnas Palm in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and the Future Champion Novice Hurdle at his beloved Leopardstown beating Go Native (Supreme Novice Winner) by an easy ten lengths. The 2009 Festival was robbed of Hurricane Fly but he won the Evening Herald Novice at the Punchestown Festival in the May to complete a treble of Grade Ones as a novice.

The 2009/10 season started with a shock defeat against Solwhit at Punchestown in a short second season campaign when a below par run in November would see him miss, for the second season, the Cheltenham Festival. He would finish the season with revenge against Solwhit in an amazing training performance to see him win the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in a high class field at an massive SP of 3/1. This was the start of SEVEN grade one wins in a row including his first of five Irish Champion Hurdles and first of two Cheltenham Champion Hurdles. These superb seven came on varying distances between two miles and two and a half, on proper good ground to deep going.

2011/12 we only saw Hurricane Fly three times as he defended his crown at Leopardstown but couldn’t reproduce the magic at Prestbury Park finishing third to Rock on Ruby. That was too be his last defeat for nearly two years as he became the first horse since Comedy Of Errors to regain his Champion Hurdle crown, pulling Paddy Powers pants down in the process. The Irish Bookie offered money back if Hurricane Fly won the 2013 Champion Hurdle. He duly did costing the controversial bookie upwards of THREE MILLION EURO in payouts.


The following season seen the emergence of Our Conor and 2014 Champion winner Jezki. This was to be the making of his legacy to me. Never before had there been such a challenge to his crown as the best two miler in training. Winning comfortably in the Ryanair Hurdle however in the Irish Champion, jumping the last Our Conor had The Fly in all sorts of trouble, but like a true champion he battled and won going away. Hurricane achieved his highest rating in training of 175.

In what was to be his final season he continued his magnificent winter form winning his world record 22nd grade one.

Personally it was a privilege to witness his final two wins at Leopardstown, his second was jaw droopingly brilliant and showed what a massive heart this warrior possessed. Not travelling at all well and looked more likely to be pulled up.
However as they turned out from the back straight suddenly he started to pick them up and suddenly leading at a last when the then second Jezki made a mess to allow Hurricane Fly saunter home to the delight of the masses. To my amazement as the horse came into a ten man deep parade ring, a piece of a hurdle sat there under his girth. Clearly causing the horse massive discomfort made the achievement even more incredible. Whether you are a fan or a doubter that day we witnessed history.
Legend is thrown around a lot in this day and age but it is really the only suitable word that can be used to describe this horse. Maybe not given the praise for his achievements by the UK media, however his form is undoubted and to achieve this level of form over seven years with a Grade one win every year. Call him a flat track bully all you want but any true racing fan will acknowledge that Hurricane Fly was the horse of a generation.

Have your say on the horse. Leave your comments below and have them read out in our next podcast.



12:30 Huntingdon

Mount Vesuvius is without a win in almost two years but he suggested that he was coming back to form following a short break last time out. He will certainly relish the good to firm conditions on offer and he is becoming dangerously well handicapped on the best of his old form. Tom O’Brien is the regular pilot for this seven year old and is one of only two jockeys to have won on him before.

Anton Dolin has already beaten a few of these reopposing rivals before and he has been keeping his form well of late. He looks to be the biggest danger in a race in which many find it difficult to win. His amateur rider is able to claim seven pounds from him and they ought to provide the sternest of opposition. Tiradia is the only previous course and distance winner in the field and that alone entitles him to plenty of respect. Despite a six month lay off he has run well fresh in the past and can make the frame.

Both previous wins by Mount Vesuvius have come at around this time of the year and given that he is set to receive up to a stone and a half from some of his rivals he has to command respect. A bold effort can be expected given his free falling handicap mark.

Mount Vesuvius (WIN)


14:50 Cartmel

Our Kylie was an eyecatching runner up on what was her first career start over hurdles at Market Rasen last time. She bumped into a more experienced rival in Retro Valley on that most recent outing and she is fully entitled to have improved for that. She was only a moderate sort on the flat but she seems to have taken well to the obstacles and with Denis O’Regan back on board she has to be high on any shortlist.

Secrets Safe also made his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot a few weeks ago. He found the John Ferguson trained Leoncavello far too strong and he too will have learned plenty. Richard Johnson is back on board for “Shark” Hanlon and the duo look to be the biggest threat to Tony Colye’s filly. Azyaan has been a big disappointment on the flat for Kevin Ryan. It is of little surprise to see him try something a bit different with the grey filly and she is likely to have been well schooled at home. With her mind now switched to jumping her enthusiasm for the game may be reignited and she has place prospects.

Our Kylie is looks as thought this sphere of the sport could well be the making of her. With natural progression expected, she looks fully capable of playing a leading role here and can go close to losing her maiden tag.

Our Kylie (WIN)


16:40 Newcastle

Kenny The Captain returns to his favourite track where he has proved twice successful in the past. Despite being burdened with  top weight in this finale, he is still a few pounds below his highest ever winning mark. He was a decent second over the minimum trip at Carlisle last month but this return to six furlongs should see him at his most effective. Duran Fentiman is the only jockey to have won on this four year old son of Captain Rio and he replaces the talented Rachel Richardson this time around.

David O’Meara took this race last season with Bop It and he sends a couple into battle here this afternoon. Second Cut is an improving three year old who won well at this track earlier in the month. That was over a furlong further though so his stamina is guaranteed. He is set to receive weight from older and more exposed types and that makes him the likelier of the pair. Ruth Carr has her horses firing on all cylinders at present and Exotic Guest has won two of his last four races. He too is a pervious course and distance winner and he looks destined to be involved at the finish yet again.

Tim Easterby has applied cheek-pieces to Kenny The Captain for the first time this afternoon and they are likely to make him concentrate a little bit harder. With conditions in his favour he should be capable of going close yet again.

Kenny The Captain (E/W if 9/2+)



13.50 Beverley
The Tim Easterby yard know how to win these type of handicaps and their three-year-old ON A PAR looks to be another likely type for the yard in a tricky looking opener at Beverley. The gelding has already been placed in two similar handicaps at Musselburgh and Carlisle and the step back in trip today looks to be in his favour. This represents a slight drop in class and I think he can take advantage with the penny looking to have dropped last time out.
A big danger to the selection is the Gay Kelleway trained Captain Felix who looks the type to flourish now in handicap company for the first time and provided a glimpse of his ability when sixth in a decent Newmarket maiden. Gamesters Lad should give his running too, but has been put up 5lb for back to back runners up efforts and may have to fill the minor placings.
On A Par (E/W)

16:15 Goodwood
The highlight of an exciting domestic raceday across five tracks in Britain and Ireland has to be the return of a superstar to Goodwood on Sunday afternoon.
The Richard Hannon three-year-old hit the heights in its first year of racing, but has bumped into a few wonder horses this season in the form of Ballydoyle juggernaut, Gleneagles as well as Charlie Hills’ flying machine Muhaarer.
The speedy colt has been campaigned in high class company all year and his placed efforts to the aforementioned pair are by far the best form in this field, so for me he is the best bet of the afternoon to end his losing streak that stretches back to July 31st last year.
The main danger comes from the John Gosden yard and their entry Wannabe Loved. The Group three winner was fourth behind the horse of the moment, Kodi Bear, in his last outing and is proven in this company so may be the one for the forecast.
Another to watch comes from the boys in blue of Godolphin who run Hawkesbury in the race. The Charlie Appleby trained horse has progressed well this term with some nice showings in conditions races as well as a decent run behind the impressive Limato when last at this level and I think he could fill the minor places.
Ivawood (WIN)

16.20 Curragh
A fascinating Group 3 encounter in Ireland and the reappearance of a horse that I feel has carried very little luck this season. The Jessica Harrington trained BOCCA BACIATA is the horse in question and she is closely matched on form with current race favourite Brooch. The two fillies finished two lengths behind the impressive Wedding Ring in their last outing over today’s course and distance. But while Brooch actually crossed the line first that day, and the two meet back here on the exact same terms, I do not believe that tells the whole story. Bocca Baciata was caught in traffic problems and had to be switch out wide late on for racing room and was staying on all the time once in the clear. Therefore, I fully expect her to reverse the placing on the exact same terms today.
Godolphin runner Devonshire has been out of form in its last few runs, but a return to the form that saw it finish third in the Irish 1000 Guineas at this track would make her a big player also.
Bocca Baciata (WIN)

Listen to our latest podcast where we give our best bet in todays Irish Cambridgeshire.
Podcast – Episode 20



14:00 Goodwood 

We start today’s Channel Four racing with a Group 3 fillies Stakes over seven furlongs.

Mick Channon has won this race twice in the last three years and has every opportunity to make it three from four with Epsom Icon today; she comes here seeking a hat-trick after two good wins this year and if she continues to progress she has every opportunity to go in again.

Favourites have a tendency to win this race and the Mark Johnston’s horse Fireglow will probably give another good account today after she impressed when finishing second in a Group 3 at Newmarket three weeks ago and she may be still fairly treated.

Belvoir Bay takes to this trip for the first time but she was impressive over six furlongs last month where she came from the back of the pack to win well and could be another on the up.

Dutch Heiress failed to complete a hat-trick last time out but she could be a diamond in the ruff and could be a nice side bet for some each way money.

Epsom Icon (WIN) 

Dutch Heiress (E/W)


14:20 Beverley 

We head to Beverley for our second race of the day a five furlong listed Stakes.

One favourite has won this race in the last six years but Maarek could be the next favourite to do so if he is the favourite today; he’s been impressive  over in Ireland for the last ten months and has competed  in better company than this and could be the one to beat.

Northgate Lad won over course and distance back in June but faded badly last time out at Ascot there may of been something amiss that day and with the return of De Sousa  he looks very overpriced and looks good value.

Alben Star has a long absence to deal with but he seems to do all his winning these days on the all-weather but looks fairly treated back on turf.

Ridge Ranger and Red Pike  both have solid claims as well, the former won over this distance at Goodwood last time out and could still be on the upgrade, the latter also won last time out but may now be in the handicappers grip.

Line Of Reason is a hard one to predict and could be anything on the day so it’s a surprise to see him so favoured in the market.

Ridge Ranger  (E/W) 

Northgate Lad (E/W)


14:35 Goodwood 

We return to Goodwood for our third race of the day with a huge field of twenty going to post for a seven furlong handicap but with ground being as soft as it is I’m sure the field will deplete before the race starts.

Enlace beat Fox Trotter over course and distance when they met at the beginning of the month but that was the latter’s first race after a long absence but I don’t see the latter getting  the better here today.

Magic City gas done well in this race in the last two years having won this in 2013 and finishing third last year; he should make his presence felt again today and has possible each way claims again today.

Czech It Out won over course and distance back in May and was second here over course and distance last time, he seems to love it around here and could be a real player.

Tatlisu can never be ignored in these type  of races and could be a possibility with a good draw.

With two good results this month Farlow looks a real danger of the four Fahey horses entered into this and is another who has strong each way claims.

Enlace  (E/W) 

Czech It Out  (E/W) 

Farlow  (E/W)


14:50 Newmarket 

Our first visit to Newmarket is a thirteen furlong handicap.

Only one of this field of fifteen has a previous win under their belt and he comes here seeking a hat-trick, Royal Signaller kept on well on both his last starts to be in with a shout of a hat-trick but could now be slightly high in the weights.

Something was definitely amiss when Wadi Al Hattawi  was pulled up at York last time out and the fact he is here today must mean it wasn’t anything to bad if producing the race he did before that he could be a real player.

Farquhar hasn’t won since October last year but showed great improvement when finishing second at Newmarket last time out and could still be on the upgrade and is another who could be a real player.

Magic Dancer has been very inconsistent after his win at Windsor back in October but isn’t out of this yet.

Farquhar (WIN) 

Wadi Al Hattawi (E/W)


15:10 Goodwood 

We head back to Goodwood for our fifth race on Channel Four with a fourteen furlong listed Stakes.

Fun Mac is upped in class after a good second at Ascot last time out but with the penalty he has to negotiate with today he may just struggle for now at this level.

John Gosden won this card last year but has entry today Mazocco has looked all out of sorts since his win at Chelmsford back in March and with both his wins to date coming on the all-weather he has too many questions marks to give a real possibility for this.

Rawaki looks the safest bet as he’s won over this distance in the past and looked like he needed the extra furlongs he had today to catch the winner of that race and should be the one to beat.

Rawaki (WIN)


15:25 Newmarket 

We head back to Newmarket for our punatilmate race of the day a six furlong listed Stakes.

Wet Sail and Portamento went head to head last time out with the former just getting the better but the latter didn’t seem to get a good run on that occasion and could easily reverse that form today.

I think a lot of people look at Lucky Kristsle’s second last time out as a come back in a Group 3  race that she’s back to the level she was when winning two group 2’s two years ago but I personally don’t see it.

Cape Factor looks very highly priced especially if the rain comes in overnight as she enjoys a bit of cut in the ground and if the rain does comes she’ll be worth every penny of each way money.

Portamento  (WIN)


15:45 Goodwood 

Our final race on Channel Four sees a small field of six linen up for a Group 2 race over a mile.

Kodi Bear look to go off as the odds on favourite after he destroyed the field in a Group 3  at Salisbury just over two weeks ago; he has a five pound penalty to deal with on this occasion. On that form he has the beating of most of these when you look back in recent head to head with the others in the field.

Gabrial is probably the expection to this as he’s been there abouts in this company and can probably be forgiven for his last run at York last time out in Group 3 company as he was all over the place that day and didn’t look like he was interested at all but if he’s back to his best he could give this odds on favourite a run for his money.

Gabrial  (E/W)



16:55 Cartmel
We begin this weeks’ Saturday Weekender over hurdles at Cartmel where we take in a Class 3 handicap. With three last time out winners all vying for favouritism it promises to be a competitive affair and of the three preference is for Honey Pound. He has been raised 7lbs for a two length win earlier this month but the runner-up Welcometothejungle had won previously and was a ready winner again on Thursday so the form holds up well. Furthermore, jockey Richard Johnson boasts a 100% win rate when partnered with Honey Pound and returns to the saddle for todays’ race.
Chebsey Beau has only finished outside the first three in one out of eight runs over hurdles so cannot be discounted but both career wins have come over twenty furlongs and has attempted todays’ shorter distance four times without success and has been raised 10lbs for his latest win.
Miss Macnamara broke her duck over hurdles at the eighth attempt in July but, as with Chebsey Beau, this win came over two and a half miles and she has failed in four attempts over todays’ trip. A 7lbs rise takes her to a career high mark and she looks more likely to be fighting it out for minor honours today.
Honey Pound (E/W if 9/2+)

17:20 Redcar
Scrutiny arrives here looking to complete a hat-trick after two wins in two days at the back end of July. He’s had a few weeks off to recover from those exertions and although has a 4lbs rise to contend with the runner-up of the latest race has won since and jockey Rebecca Heptonstall offsets the rise thanks to her 5lbs claim.
Cornborough won on his racecourse debut but has gone eight runs since without managing to get his nose in front again. Two placed efforts this month suggest he is in decent form but has gone back up 1lbs and lost his 3lbs claimer for a half-length second so may find himself up against it today.
Felix De Vega is worthy of consideration having placed over ten furlongs previously and, although is yet to win in ten runs he teams up with jockey Joanna Mason who has a 50% win rate when riding for Mick Easterby so cannot be discounted.
Of the remainder, Almuhalab is another who placed last time out and could benefit from the experience of Serena Brotherton.
Scrutiny (E/W if 9/2+)

18:50 Redcar
Zaeem immediately catches the eye on current form, looking to make it four wins in a row. However his record over a mile is less than impressive (just two wins from twelve) and with a further 7lbs rise to contend with coupled with a step up in class for todays’ race he could be vulnerable today.
Our Boy Jack has a 5lbs rise for a win last time out over todays’ trip but has been competitive off a mark of 85 previously while Simply Shining is effectively below her last winning mark if taking in to account Hayley Irvine’s 7lbs claim but preference is for last years’ winner Karaka Jack.
Our selection won twice last year over course and distance, off marks of 75 and 78 respectively, and races today off 72. Graham Lee was in the saddle for both these wins and he returns to the rekindle the partnership today. With a respectable fourth placed finish here at the beginning of the month he looks to be coming back to form and could be in prime position to take advantage today.
Karaka Jack (E/W if 9/2+)



18:25 Hamilton

This is likely to be competitive despite the modest look and the ground could well set it up for an upset. Pearl Earing has been most disappointing since joining this yard and her last of five effort last time takes some forgiving, despite it being on unsuitable ground. Connections have placed the cheek-pieces on her today however and as she showed some pretty decent form on soft ground in Ireland, she could prove to be a totally different proposition on ground she likes. Guishan ran better than her finishing position suggests the last day and her trainer is firing in the winners, if last season is anything to go on she will likely find her feet before long and is well worth monitoring in the market. Jamesbo’s Girl and Pull The Plug are capable of winning despite being exposed and Blue Sonic is chasing a hat-trick but a chance will be taken on Pearl Earing showing more now she’s got her ground.

Pearl Earing (E/W)

19:20 Newcastle

The selection in this may be one of the older horses in the race but now residing off a mark of 63 is nine pounds lower than its last winning handicap level.

Ted’s Brother has course and distance form and finished second in the race last year. Despite it’s most recent form not looking too good a sixth placed finish last time out wasn’t as bad as it looks. Experienced jockey Robert Winston is booked for the ride which will be a boost and trainer Edwin Tuer has his yard hitting good form with five of its last six runners finishing in the top three.

Away from the selection top weight and current favourite has to get a mention, with course and distance winning form and from a yard that are grabbing winners at the moment it has to have a chance but top weight in a race like this and at a price that doesn’t give each-way value doesn’t make the five year old an all that attractive betting prospect.

The two I fear the most are lightly raced four year old Ahoy There who, after its last winning effort, has only been given a three pound rise which may look generous and the ultra consistent course and distance winner I’m Dapper Too.

Ted’s Brother (E/W)

19:30 Hamilton

Gworn will be looking to make it three wins from his last three runs and has a most pleasing attitude, a lot will depend on whether he gets the trip today however and despite being an obvious challenger whom merits plenty of respect, there is enough to take him on. Polarisation arrives here having won at York last week, that looked a pretty hard race but he is another with solid chances despite the trip looking questionable. Oskar Denarius is another in great heart and is another chasing a hat-trick, impressive at Windsor last time it would be folly to write him off here but the 10lbs penalty for that win looks harsh and this is much tougher. Dark Ruler is an outsider who needs seriously watching in the market, disappointing for the most part he likes it around here and could be a springer in the market. Esteaming is lumbered with top weight and usually runs his race, connections will be keen to find a race for him before the year is out, conditions will be no problem either so despite the obvious worries, he is handed the vote.

Esteaming (E/W)



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