With the St Leger almost upon us the team here at PicksfromthePaddock.co.uk looked back at the past seventeen winners of the third and final classic of the season and picked their top five winners of the 21st century.
Check out our top 5. Do you agree with our number one vote?
Former jockey Davy Boland looks back at a great weekend of racing in Ireland and gives his thoughts on what we’ve got to look forward to.
We were granted with a huge weekend of racing here in Ireland and it didn’t disappoint. The main talking points were the surprise defeats of Winter and Churchill. Leaving those aside however it was a tremendous weekend of competitive racing at the highest level. There were so many great results but the one that stuck out most to me was the Moyglare Stud Stakes on Sunday at the Curragh. With the favourite Clemmie being withdrawn due to the ground Ballydoyle had to shuffle the pack. Ryan Moore switched from the original favourite to Magical who Donnacha O’Brien was declared to ride originally. Donnacha was then switched to Happily which worked out well for the winning trainers son as he got the daughter of Galileo up on the line to beat Ryan Moore’s mount in a magical performance. Donnacha won this race last year for his older brother Joseph, aboard Intricately for both brothers to celebrate maiden Group 1 success as jockey and trainer respectively. This was the first Group 1 winner Donnacha rode for his father and was great to see the whole family get in on the act.
A big festival week of action has started in the “Kingdom Country” with Listowel taking centre stage here in Ireland. There is a great week of competitive action with Wednesday’s Guinness Kerry National the focal point. Former Gold Cup winner Coneygree headed the weights but sadly with the heavy ground he is now an absentee. If I was having a bet it would be Joseph O’Brien’s Slowmotion. The 5yo mare has a nice weight, ran a cracker in Galway and looks to improve again. Check out the odds for the Kerry National here.
An ante post bet for anyone? The 1000 Guineas in Newmarket is a long time from now and loads will undoubtedly happen in the meantime but at 20/1 I like September. Yes she was beaten in her last two starts but the ground is key to this daughter of Deep Impact who won the Chesham at Royal Ascot. If you’re an ante post fan then have a few bob on her and with a run she won’t be 20/1 come the off in May.
Melbourne Cup 2016 – The best of the European runners
One of the most prestigious races of the Australian horse racing calendar, the Melbourne Cup takes place on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, Victoria.
With a scheduled off-time of 3pm, the top-class contest is one of the world’s richest races to be held on turf, and the richest long-distance handicap contest to be found anywhere globally. As such, it is a race that can stop not only a nation, but also attracts a global audience as some of the best long-distance horses from around the world descend on the Australian racetrack to compete.
A maximum field of twenty-four runners will face the starter for the latest renewal of this classy contest, including current race-favourite, Hartnell and also Prince of Penzance who registered a shock success in the contest in 2015; while a strong European entry can also be expected to line up for the classy two-mile contest.
Aidan O’Brien be represented in the contest by his Bondi Beach who returns for another crack at this race having finished down the field in the 2015 renewal.
The Galileo colt had previously shown excellent form, beating the top-class Order Of St George in the Curragh Cup prior to posting unlucky defeats in both the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, and in the St Leger at Doncaster.
Having failed to fire in this race twelve months ago, he bounced back from a break to register wins at Limerick and Navan, and he has been running well in defeat over a trip arguably short of his best the last twice when finishing third at Leopardstown in both the Ballyroan Stakes and the Enterprise Stakes.
He was beaten six lengths in this race twelve months ago where he possibly failed to see out this trip though, having been forced wide entering the straight. He can give a good account, but stamina for this trip looks suspect based on that run, and Aidan O’Brien keeping him to shorter trips this term in his runs to date.
Willie Mullins meanwhile could send the tough Wicklow Brave across for the contest, having won the Irish St Leger from Order Of St George under an enterprising ride where he made most of the running before digging deep to hold off the Ballydoyle runner.
The Beat Hollow gelding has been a high-class hurdler as well as a smart performer on the level, and his form with Quest For More, who finished ninth in the 2015 renewal, gives him solid claims of taking the prize back to Ireland.
However, BIG ORANGE looks to have the measure of the Mullins runner and Michael Bell’s globe-trotting star could land another big prize having finished fifth in this race twelve months ago.
A dual Group-Two winner last term, scoring at Newmarket and Goodwood prior to a disappointing run in the Lonsdale Cup, Michael Bell’s charge ran a blinder to finish fifth behind Prince of Penzance where he made most of the running and battled on strongly in the closing stages to go down all guns blazing.
The tough Duke Of Marmalade gelding then headed to Dubai and the Gold Cup at Meydan where only Vazirabad was too strong for him, beating him by a half-length.
Looking in need of the run behind Exospheric at Newmarket on his return, he has won both starts since in the Falmouth at Newmarket, and in defence of his Goodwood Cup where he had the likes of Pallasator, Sheikzayedroad, Wicklow Brave and Quest For More all behind.
That form has been franked several times over, and it isn’t hard to envisage him being in the mix once again from only 1lb higher than he raced from twelve months previously.
Tony Martin could also have a runner with his Heartbreak City likely to take his chance following a win at York when impressively landing the Ebor Handicap, beating Shrewd by four lengths.
The Lando gelding was registering a hat-trick of successes having also scored back-to-back wins over hurdles earlier in the summer, and still unexposed as a stayer on the flat he can’t be underestimated if lining up.
Godolphin could have multiple runners in the race, headed by the classy duo of Scottish from the Charlie Appleby yard; and Beautiful Romance from the Saeed bin Suroor camp.
Scottish has been in great heart throughout this term, winning twice with successes in a Listed contest at Newbury, and adding to his tally at York when beating Yorker to land the Strensall Stakes either side of a good third to Royal Artillery in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.
Charlie Appleby’s Teofilo gelding won a shade cosily last time out, taking up the running two furlongs out and keeping on well to the line; however, he has yet to race over a trip anywhere near as far as this distance, having yet to go beyond twelve furlongs in his career.
Beaten on all three starts at that distance, he hasn’t looked to be crying out for a stiffer test, while on breeding he isn’t sure to appreciate such a searching examination of his stamina, so his ability to see out this longer trip very much has to be taken on trust.
Beautiful Romance hasn’t quite gone on since posting a win over Koora at York back in May when landing the Group Two Middleton Stakes over an extended ten furlongs. Fifth to Dartmouth at Ascot in the Hardwicke, the New Approach filly failed to beat a rival home behind Minding in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in July; and she ran a shade below her best back from a short break behind Journey at Newmarket last time.
Having locked horns in the past with the likes of Treve and Simple Verse, it is still a relatively lightly-raced and unexposed sort, and it is possible she may have more to offer, and she could improve for this marked step up in trip.
She is an interesting contender for the race where Saeed bin Suroor could also be represented by recent Doonside Cup winner Secret Number who went close in the Queen’s Cup here last November, beaten just under two lengths behind Dandino.
The Raven’s Pass gelding has shown following an absence that he is as good as ever, and the 2013 Cumberland Lodge winner has been lightly raced since that success. Sixth to Leading Light in the 2013 St Leger, he is another who is worth keeping an eye on and he could go well at a big price.
History of York’s Ebor Meeting
With 4 days of top class racing from Yorkshire’s premier racecourse just days away you know that can only mean one thing. York’s Ebor meeting is upon us. With six group races across all four days with the culmination of the festival showpiece on Saturday in the form of the fourteen furlong Ebor Handicap.
The big race itself now sits at an incredible 173 years old after the first running happened on the Knavesmire back in 1843.
Some fantastic memories and brilliant racing moments have arisen from these four days of action.
Golden Horn Loses Unbeaten Record
In recent times the shock defeat of the unbeaten Epsom Derby winner Golden Horn to big time 50/1 outsider Arabian Queen when many thought the John Gosden colt was unbeatable.
Kingsgate Native Wins The Nunthorpe As A Maiden
Looking further back through the history books and the 2007 Nunthorpe Stakes was won by a two year old maiden in the form of Kingsgate Native. Trainer John Best was seen as taking a farcical shot in the dark with the colt who’d never finished with his head in front let alone in a big race like this. All the stats said he had no chance but Best clearly saw something in the horse and against all the odds pulled off a cracking victory.
Punters Help (The Course, Expected Weather and Trainers To Follow)
. The Course:
A course with a long run-in, sweeping turns and little to no undulations makes this venue a galloping horses dream. Despite preconceived ideas that the course suits front runners this myth was dispelled after a study ranked York as 36th out of 37 for favouring front runners. The straight five and six furlong course is perfectly flat and there isn’t a major draw bias. However that being said when the ground is soft there’s a slight preference for a higher numbered stall in big runner fields of 15 or more in both five and six furlong races.
. Expected Weather:
As the ground stands at the moment (Saturday 13th) it’s registered as Good-Firm after a few weeks of sunny weather, however the next couple of days looks to be quite cloudy with rain expected to hit York on both the Wednesday and Thursday of the festival which may have adverse effects on the going and between now and then the ground isn’t expected to dry out any more than it already is.
. Trainers To Follow:
Despite local trainer Richard Fahey saddling 40 winners and sitting at the top of “Yorks Top Trainers” leaderboard the fact that he has saddled 647 runners there speaks volumes with just a 6% strike rate not looking all that impressive in reality.
When looking at the winning percentages however the likes of William Haggas, John Gosden and Luca Cumani come out on top. Trainers that aren’t based locally to the course obviously don’t send as many runners so the ones they do fire up to York have to be respected. Both Haggas and Gosden have strike rates of over 20%. If you then take place and wins into consideration then William Haggas has an amazing record on the Knavesmire with a staggering 97 horses either winning or placing from just 157 runners. That’s an almighty 62% of all his runners at York.
With Haggas and Gosden currently holding 19 entries across all four days between them then any that line up you have to take note of.
Tell Us Your Best Ebor Festival Meeting And Antepost Tips For Next Week
With four days of top class racing from Yorkshire’s premier racecourse just days away you know that can only mean one thing. York’s Ebor meeting is upon us with the jewel in the crown Saturday’s 1m6furlong Ebor Handicap.
The big runner handicap holds a special place in my heart as it’s the scene where I fell in love with one of my all time favourite racehorses.
A horse that didn’t represent big time owners and wasn’t lead up by a big named trainer but the 2005 renewal saw 11/1 outsider Sergeant Cecil triumph. Seeing his big white face weave its way through the pack before swinging into the lead under Alan Munro is a memory that is well and truly etched into my racing heart.
The horse recorded a memorable big handicap treble that season after winning the Northumberland Plate two months earlier and rounding it off with a Cesarewitch success at Newmarket in October. From then on the horse progressed into a top class performer by picking up a Group 1 success in France and a handful of Group 2 race wins all of which came at his beloved York.
Although the horse wasn’t trained in Yorkshire he was a horse that well and truly became a fan favourite of York race goers and found a place nestled into many racing fans hearts by displaying his fantastic battling qualities and willingness to always puts his best foot forward.
An often forgotten legend of the game but a reminder of just how special The Ebor is and what wonderful horses can scoop such a fantastic race. There’s no guarantee that we’ll see a horse just as good win the race this year but the belief that we may do keeps everyone that loves racing coming back to the Knavesmire for more.
Comment and leave your most memorable Ebor moments below.
The career of up and coming jockey Joe Colliver was dealt a severe blow after he was found guilty of perverting the course of justice at Teeside Crown Court.
25 year old conditional jockey was heading for a promising career after being given some great opportunities from trainer Micky Hammond.
Colliver and friend Lewis Purdie crashed their car into a wall in Leyburn on Boxing Day 2015 and the likelihood is Colliver would’ve been fined and given a driving ban if admitting to being drunk behind the wheel. However Colliver decided to take the route of paying his friend Purdie £2,500 to take the blame for the incident in an attempt to avoid any detrimental affect to his promising career.
Unfortunately for Colliver the police found overwhelming evidence to disprove the pairs claims and prove that it was him behind the wheel.
Judge Tony Briggs was quoted as saying “Any attempt to pervert the course of justice by behaving in this way strikes at the very heart of justice and custody is inevitable.”
“In normal circumstances you are honest, reliable and hard-working.” – “That may be so, but you are 25 and you are not a callow teenager.”
Trainer Micky Hammond gave testimony on Colliver’s behalf and described the jockey as “top dollar” and added that “He has been keen to our recent success” Hammond admitted that despite Colliver’s success and promise that “Prison would make it extremely difficult for him to get back to where he is at present, two wins away from being on level footing with the best.”
The judge has given Colliver a 10 month jail sentence, a 17 month driving ban and a £250 fine which will surely be highly detrimental to his career.
Horse Racing is one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated sports, meaning that there are so many amazing moments to choose from when it comes to trying to narrow down the five most memorable. Here are some definite contenders:
5. Arkle vs. Mill House in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
A brilliant showdown between two great steeplechasers at the top of their game, the Cheltenham Gold Cup of 1964 is so famous that a song has been written about it. It was a tense race, with Arkle (ridden by Pat Taaffe) representing Ireland and Mill House (Willie Robinson) representing England.
Arkle won by an outstanding five lengths, meaning that it wasn’t one of the closest matches in racing history, but the build-up and the anticipation of the race made it one of the greatest.
4. Crisp vs. Red Rum in the Grand National
The 1973 Grand National is widely considered one of the most exciting and unpredictable races ever. Crisp performed fantastically under top weight, jumped well and built a massive lead – towards the end of the race he was 20 lengths clear of Red Rum!
But fatigue grabbed a hold of Crisp, and Red Rum won his first of three nationals by three-quarters of a length. A thrilling race right up until the very last moment, it put Red Rum on the map and his iconic status began to transcend racing.
3. Mandarin in the Grand Steeplechase de Paris
Right at the start of this thrilling race, Mandarin’s bit broke, leaving the jockey (Fred Winter) with no steering, brakes or control throughout the dangerous four-mile eight-figure circuit. Proving his talent as a brilliant jockey and athlete, Winter used his legs to control the horse.
Mandarin broke down in one of his forelegs from sheer exhaustion but found the strength to continue, and won the race by a head! A great example of stamina and bravery.
2. Monksfield vs. Sea Pigeon in the Champion Hurdle
Monksfield started out as the favourite and he led all the way but on the last flight, he was joined by Sea Pigeon. The pair spent the final length neck-and-neck in one of the closest horse races in history. Sea Pigeon stole the lead, only for Monksfield to pinch it back and win by three quarters of a length!
1. Grundy vs. Bustino in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes
A clash of two greats at the top of their game, Grundy and Bustino brought us one of the most exciting and tense races in history.
Both horses galloped at a blistering pace from start to finish, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats and creating an intense head-to-head battle from the off. At the end of the race, both horses took turns in taking the lead, but just edging in at the end, Bustino took the lead by just half a length.