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Royal Ascot Trials Day: What You Need To Know

Royal Ascot is without a doubt one of the finest occasions held in summer. Each year, the prized event takes place over five days in June and combines spectacular horse racing with a glamorous social atmosphere. Guests can enjoy multiple Grade One races, gorgeous fashion choices and unrivalled dining options. All taking place in the beautiful setting that is Ascot Racecourse. Now, for those of us who can’t wait until the Royal Meeting commences, we now have a dedicated ‘trials’ raceday to look towards!

Everything You Need To Know About The New Trials Day

With the jumps season in full force, flat racing fans are eagerly anticipating the return of flat racing – Royal Ascot being the renowned highlight. Racegoers can now look forward to Royal Ascot Trials Day in preparation for the big meeting! Find out everything you need to know about this raceday below!

What is the Royal Ascot Trials Day?

Royal Ascot Trials Day, previously called Sagaro Stakes Raceday, is the first Flat meeting held at Ascot racecourse. The raceday will function as a preparation for the key races at the Royal Ascot meeting.

When is Royal Ascot Trials Day?

This year, Royal Ascot Trials Day will be held for the first time on Wednesday 1st May 2019. In years to come, it should remain and take place in late April or early May.

What races will be held on Royal Ascot Trials Day?

The raceday will feature a total of seven races which will serve to prepare horses for Royal Ascot, four of which will be specific trials.

The opening race will be specifically for two year olds, named the Royal Ascot Two-Year-Old Trial, it will allow free entry for connections. The winner of this race will be granted complimentary entry to a two-year-old race at Royal Ascot.

There will also be a Merriebelle Stable Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes which will form significant preparation for the Group One Commonwealth Cup at the grand Royal Meeting. Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup is one of the most thrilling races featuring some of the biggest horses such as Quiet Reflection and Sand Of Mali competing.

The Longines Sagaro Stakes will now function as a Royal Ascot Gold Cup Trial race. This race is a key contest early in the season and has been won by the likes of Estimate and Colour Vision who then went on to attain the highly coveted Gold Cup title.

Trials day racegoers will be able to find Royal Ascot clues in the Paradise Stakes, now the Queen Anne Stakes Trial. Last year the Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent finished third in the Paradise Stakes. Thus horse racing fans can keep a keen eye out on this race to see which contenders will provide a strong test for the Queen Anne Stakes.

What are the changes at Royal Ascot?

This year at Royal Ascot, there will be a few minor changes to the racing schedule to be aware of.

The Windsor Castle Stakes will be run as the sixth race on the card on Wednesday 19th June 2019. The Jersey stakes will be run as the second race on the card on Saturday 22nd June 2019. This race will then be followed by the Hardwicke Stakes. The Queen’s Vase has now been reverted to a closing race. The prize money for this race has now been increased by £25,000, making it a total of £225,000.

What can I expect at Royal Ascot?

Expect nothing but the best at this year’s Royal Ascot meeting! Flat racing fans can look forward to some of the greatest Group One races including: the Queen Anne Stakes, the King’s Stand Stakes and the St James’s Palace Stakes on the Tuesday of the meeting. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes takes place on the Wednesday and of course the riveting Gold Cup race on Ladies’ Day. Friday of Royal Ascot sees the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes taking place. And the final day of Royal Ascot boasts The Diamond Jubilee Stakes!

With so many Group One contests held at Royal Ascot each year, racegoers are sure to witness the finest in flat racing.

What other changes are taking place this flat season?

The 2019 flat season at Ascot Racecourse sees a number of new changes this year! May Racing Weekend will see two new races, making each day a seven race card. Friday’s additional race will be a six furlong handicap held in the afternoon and worth a grand £10,000, whilst Saturday’s race will be a 1m2f handicap also worth £10,000.

 

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Cheltenham Festival 2019: Memorable Moments Throughout The Week

Cheltenham Festival in 2019 has been nothing short of extraordinary. Racegoers coming from all over the world have been treated to a thrilling experience at Cheltenham Racecourse. With world class jump racing and exquisite hospitality options making for a great atmosphere at Cheltenham throughout the week. Reminisce on some of the greatest Festival moments with us below!

Willie Mullins Wins His First Cheltenham Gold Cup

The most coveted prize at the Cheltenham Festival is without a doubt the Gold Cup! With the biggest names in horse racing competing for this title, it was an intense and electrifying race to witness!

The Cheltenham Gold Cup race was won by Al Boum Photo for Paul Townend and Willie Mullins! This victory comes as Mullins’ first ever Gold Cup victory after having trained the runner up six times. The seven year old remains unbeaten this season and now adds a Gold Cup to his name! Sure to go down in history for the Mullins camp.

Last year’s winner Native River came in fourth place after Bristol De Mai and Anibale Fly. King George winner Clan Des Obeaux came in fifth for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden. Whilst Elegant Escape came in sixth. Most surprisingly, favourite to win Presenting Percy suffered a few mistakes and managed to come in seventh place with Davy Russell.

Bryony Frost Makes History at Cheltenham Festival

What a day is was on St Patrick’s Thursday at Cheltenham! Jockey Bryony Frost became the first female to secure victory in a top level Grade One race. The win sparked inspiration throughout the racecourse and is sure to go down in history.

23 year old Bryony was greeted by an euphoric crowd cheering her on as she won the Grade One Ryanair Chase whilst riding Frodon – a Paul Nicholls trained horse. This victory securely places her in history books as she leads a rising generation of female jockeys. In a sport where some may claim that women often compete against men unequally, her win paves the path for many other aspiring female jockeys.

Bryony Frost first began riding on a donkey called Nosey at the mere age of two. Now, many years later, she punched the air and grinned widely after she scored a significant and high profile victory at this year’s Cheltenham meeting.

Thrilled following her win, she exclaimed:

“He just made the dream come true, it’s just incredible. He will deserve every single high five, pat and carrot.”

At the finish line, to ITV Racing she said of the remarkable horse:

“He’s Pegasus! He’s got wings, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said, ‘don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare not send me into the last – I want this more than you, now come on, where are you?’ Just look at what he’s done there – deny that he just loves racing. He’s unbelievable. I love you.”

Frodon’s triumph kick started an exciting hour of racing as Andrew Gemmell’s Paisley Park and Lizzie Kelly succeeded in attaining another victory for female jockeys!

Tiger Roll Lands a Phenomenal Win

Last year’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll added a fourth victory to his Cheltenham Festival successes. The champion horse went on to win Wednesday’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase by a staggering twenty two lengths. This ignited a thunderous roar from the crowds at Cheltenham who saw the horse put up a phenomenal display of jumps. Keith Donoghue guided the horse perfectly over 32 obstacles, making it seem effortless!

Tiger Roll strode into the lead before the last hurdle and went for a clear twenty two lengths ahead of Josies Orders. On entrance to the winners enclosure, he enjoyed loud cheers of admiration from Cheltenham crowds.

Shortly after, Michael O’Leary noted:

“He’s a legend around here. Triumph Hurdle winners tend not to come back, but they certainly don’t come back and win four-mile races for amateurs and then cross-countries.”

He commended Tiger Roll’s trainer saying:

“It’s a phenomenal training performance by Gordon Elliot. He wasn’t great as a novice chaser but he’s transformed him by changing his routine and sending him cross-country.”

Altior Clings to His Record at Cheltenham

Favourite to win Altior went on to achieve his 18th consecutive jumps success. He won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival.

Despite lacking dominance throughout the race, the Nicky Henderson trained horse clung to victory winning by nearly two lengths. He made a small mistake at the seventh fence however he was able to recover afterwards and climb to victory.

The superstar horse came to Cheltenham having an undefeated run since October 2015. Since then, he has attained victory in twelve steeple chases, five hurdle races and now a further Cheltenham Festival triumph.

Following the success, Altior’s record is now neck and neck with Big Buck who had a winning record spanning two years from the start of 2009.

 Jockey Noel Fehily Retiring Following Win at Cheltenham

Noel Fehily is set to retire following his victory on Eglantine Du Seuil at Cheltenham’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. He described his win as “the perfect ending” to a rich and fruitful career of horse racing. To date, Fehily has ridden well over 1,350 winners over jumps in Britain and Ireland since his very first win in 1998.

Indeed, many of Fehily’s greatest successes came at the Cheltenham Festival. He has won the Champion Hurdle twice – once in 2012 with Rock On Ruby and again in 2017 with Buveur d’Air.

Following a surgery he had earlier this year, the jockey feared he would miss out on Cheltenham Festival. He told the BBC:

“I could go on but I was very ill in January and February and it didn’t look like I would make the Festival for a while. So to come here and ride a winner seems like the perfect ending. I will carry on for the next couple of weeks and then I’ll decide when to stop. I’m lucky and had some great days. I’ve ridden some lovely horses and had great support.”

What a great way to end a career at the world renowned Cheltenham Festival.

 

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Cheltenham Ladies Day Recap

The second day of Cheltenham Festival was given the go ahead despite concerns of bad weather, and it was certainly a day full of excitement! Ladies Day is a highlight of both the social and sporting calendar. 59,209 avid racing enthusiasts flocked to Cheltenham Racecourse for the stylish event. Despite the bad weather the glamour of the day still shone brightly. Fashion conscious attendees donned vibrant colours, feathered hats and huge fascinators. Famous faces too made an appearance, including royalty. It wasn’t all about style and who was best dressed. On day two we witnessed incredible racing. Much of which was to be expected from Cheltenham. History was made and we can’t wait to relive it all again over the next two days.

Let’s recap on yesterday’s incredible races and see what made day two of The Festival such a highlight.

Cheltenham Ladies Day Races

The first race got the day off to a flying start. The Ballymore Novices chase was a spectacle worthy of your bets. The final length came down to the two favourites Champ and City Island as they battled it out to be the first winners of the day. However, it was City Island ridden by jockey Mark Walsh who came out on top winning the race at odds 8/1. The two length victory secured walsh his second Cheltenham Festival win this season.

Grand national winning trainer Martin Brassil was delighted with the win and spoke of how great it is to have a Festival winner on his CV.

Just after 14:00 pm the second race of the day kicked off and it was another thriller. A strong performance was shown by three of the lineups top novices. Santini and Delta Work all put up a fierce race, however it was Topofthegame who took the victory. Trainer Paul Nicholls spoke of plans for the Gold Cup race next year. Topofthegame is certainly one to watch and showcased pure talent on the field. We are looking forward to seeing what he does next.

As we got further into the afternoon the races got more and more exciting. The Coral Cup was no different and certainly matched the level of excitement and thrill felt around Cheltenham. William Henry stunned fans as he outperformed favourite Wicklow Brave. Many doubted the Nicky Henderson trained horses abilities and his season thus far didn’t allude to what was to come. Despite his 28/1 odds the Henderson trained horse was cheered on by echoing crowds when his number was called. This highlights how popular a Henderson trained horse is and it comes as no surprise that Henderson and the team pulled this surprise win out of the bag. A narrow but well deserved win that stunned the crowds.

Following that race it only got better. The impressive racing was on top form. The Champion Chase was a highlight of the entire day if not The Festival. Champion horse Altior did not disappoint his backers and lead to victory. Despite it not being his strongest performance it was still more than enough to make his victory tally up to an impressive 18 races since 2015. A world record he now shares. History was certainly made and the atmosphere around Cheltenham was truly electric. The fears of backing the wrong horse soon went away and everyone felt confident in backing the champ. Truly an extraordinary horse, can Altior ever be beaten?

Grand National royalty came through in the Cross Country Chase. 2018 National winner Tiger Roll dominated the field and appeared to be “the best he’s ever been”. The well raced cross country saw Tiger Roll storm to victory miles ahead of the other runners trailing behind. Josies Orders and Urgent De Gregaine came in at second and third place. The race was electric and of course, geared everyone up for a thrilling Grand National next month. With many having high hopes that Tiger Roll is more than capable of repeating his 2018 victory.

The penultimate race of the day saw a top of class performance from bookies favourites. The Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle was a true showcase of resilience and stamina. Band of Outlaws came out on top with a two length finish. Outperforming the Gordon Elliot trained Coko Beach who came in second place at odds of 14/1. The victory awarded Joseph O’Brien his first Cheltenham win and the Irish their third.

The final race of Ladies Day certainly didn’t disappoint. The Champion Bumper is run over flat ground and it was a spectacle worth remembering. Favourite Envoi Allen did not disappoint the Cheltenham crowd and put on a strong performance throughout. This awarded Gordon Elliot with another Cheltenham win to add to his tally and it was thoroughly deserved. The horse showed strength and stamina throughout as he managed to stay ahead of a fiercely competitive Blue Sari and come out on top.

What’s Up Next at Cheltenham Festival

Next up is St Patrick’s Thursday and we can’t wait. A real highlight of The Festival. Thursday’s racing will too offer showstopping performances from some of the best. Many are hoping for much of the same luck from Ladies Day and hoping favourites can come out on top. The day features some of The Festivals most popular races including the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle. Who will you be betting on? We can’t wait to see the action unfold over the next two days.

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Cheltenham Festival Day One Review

Cheltenham Festival day one kicked off with flying colours on Tuesday 12th March. The first day of The Festival attracted a record breaking crowd of 67,934 spectators all wanting a taste of the Cheltenham action. Despite the rainy weather and high winds thousands of racing enthusiasts enjoyed a day at the races worth savouring. All seven races certainly provided a nail biting few minutes for those with bets on. It’s safe to say that day one was a bad day for punters! There were shocking falls and defeats that no one could have predicted. Surprise wins came from the likes of Beware The Bear, Roksana and Espoir D’Allen. Which was the biggest shock for you?

Champion Day 2019 Recap

With three more days of The Festival remaining let’s recap on all that went down at Cheltenham Racecourse on the opening day.

Race One: Skybet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Although delayed by a false start the highly anticipated Cheltenham roar rippled through the racecourse as the first race got underway. Legendary Cheltenham trainer Willie Mullins started the day off well with a first race win. The Supreme Novices Hurdle saw Klassical Dream ran by jockey Ruby Walsh win at odds of 6-1. The four and a half length triumph showcased star quality that closely matched his previous winnings in Ireland.

The Festival’s most esteemed jockey Ruby Walsh led the horse to victory in a prominent position throughout. First race in, Walsh extended his winning tally to 59 wins at Cheltenham and following the race he said Klassical Dream ran like a true stag.

In second and third came Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet. The bookies favourites however didn’t have such a successful race. Al Dancer originally headed the 18 strong field and was expected by many to come out victorious. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained horse however came in at tenth place. Therefore crushing the chance of extending his unbeaten season. Fakir D’oudairies was another favourite set to be victorious that fell short of a top three finish.

The first race was just a preview of the surprise wins that followed throughout the day. Overall, despite the fact bets may have been lost the first race certainly set the stage for an exhilarating race day.

Race Two: Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase

Willie Mullins celebrated another win in the second race of the Cheltenham opener. Duc Des Genievres stormed ahead and went on to win the Racing Post Arkle by a massive 13 lengths. The victorious horse spotted an opportunity to take the lead after front runner Ornua brought down Kalashnikov at the sixth fence. The race certainly was an intense watch.

Mullins spoke proudly after the race of the pairing with jockey Paul Townend. He said Duc Des Genievres showed excellent form and the ground changed him completely. He also stated how lucky he was to have two winners so early into The Festival, but knowing Cheltenham anything can happen.

Second and third place runners Us and Them and Articulum struggled to keep up with the dominant front runner. Hardline was bookies favourite and was expected to at least be in the top three. However, he came in seventh. This was the second race to highlight that unexpected wins were happening at Cheltenham.

Race Three: Ultima Handicap Chase

The third race of the day came just before 3pm and was certainly one of the most surprising of the day. The victory was awarded to Beware The Bear who manged to beat off the fiercely competitive lineup and finished first at odds of 10-1. Jerry Mcgrath led the Nicky Henderson trained horse to a sublime victory.

The race was an intense watch and for much of the race it looked as though Willie Mullins could bag his third consecutive win. Up For Review put on a strong performance that showed promise, right up until the third fence from the finish. A mistake which ultimately cost him the win and resulted in a seventh place finishing.

Beware the Bear was able to beat off strong competition from Sue Smith’s Vintage Clouds who finished in second place. A last minute change in tactics is said to be what lead jockey Jerry Mcgrath to put on such an impressive performance. Just before the race Nicky Henderson is said to have influenced Mcgrath to drop in, keep away and stay wide.

The last minute change of plan played massively in their favour and the win was thoroughly deserved.

Race Four: Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Espoir D’Allen caused a seismic shock in the third race of champion day at Cheltenham Festival. The race many couldn’t believe as none of the three favourites came close to a victory. Despite the strong profile Espoir D’Allen came with, he was not expected to out perform the likes of Buveur D’Air, Laurina and Apple’s Jade. Buveur D’Air dominated the betting market and was set to make history by becoming the sixth horse to win two-mile blue riband three times. However, he fell at the halfway stage resulting in a shocking turn of events for punters.

Espoir D’Allen’s performance was quite extraordinary and he stormed to victory with a record breaking 15 length win. Trainer Gavin Cromwell struggled to put into words what the victory meant and couldn’t believe it.

An unbelievable win for this incredible horse and his connections. One that will stay as a highlight of The Festival for 2019.

Race Five: OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

Race five was another dramatic one. Favourite Benie Des Dieux fell at the final flight which sealed a difficult start for owner Rich Ricci. This fall was something else that sent shock waves throughout Cheltenham. The last minute fall opened the path for Roksana to take the lead and become victorious. This awarded Dan and Harry Skelton with their first Grade One success, an amazing achievement!

Roksana managed to beat Stormy Ireland and Good Thyne Tara by two and a quarter lengths in the dramatic finish. An injury in the Autumn meant that Roksana only had one race before the big event at Cheltenham. Skelton spoke of how this move had been inspired by Native River’s Gold Cup win. Victories could be done!

Race Six: Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

A Plus Tard cantered home in true style in the penultimate race of the day awarding Rachael Blackmore with her first Cheltenham win. The pairing were an enviable duo on the field. Blackmore’s patient approach lead them to a victory 16 lengths ahead of second place runner Tower Bridge.

Despite Blackmore falling off Ornua in the Racing Post Arkle in the day the jockey brushed herself off and put on an impressive performance.

Ben Dundee and The Russian Doyen came in at third place in the exciting race. Overall it was a thrilling way to begin the conclusions for Champion Day.

Race Seven: National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase

The final race of Champion Day begun at 17:30pm and it was a race that shocked many fans. Unfortunately, it was a bitter sweet race that was tainted by the falling of favourite Ballyward at the 17th fence. The gruelling race certainly had its toll on many of the runners with only four of the 18 lineup finishing. Unfortunately, Ballyward had to be euthanized following the fatal fall and died. This was a devastating end to such a fantastic day at the Cheltenham Festival.

The bitter sweet victory was awarded to Le Breuil resulting in Jamie Codd’s eight success at the meeting.

The first day of Cheltenham Festival was full of shocks and surprises. Many couldn’t have predicted the events that occurred. Yesterday just highlights that anything can happen at Cheltenham Festival. The most exhilarating race meeting of the season continues this week with Ladies Day, St Patrick’s Thursday and the prestigious Gold Cup Day still to come.

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The Next Big Race: Grand National 2019 Runners

Grand National at Aintree Racecourse is the next big race on the cards following Cheltenham Festival! The world renowned steeplechase will gather horse racing enthusiasts from all over the globe for three days of exhilarating National Hunt Racing action in April.

Ahead of the highly anticipated Grand National race which takes place on Grand National Day, find out more about these top ten prominent runners.

Key Runners at Grand National

Tiger Roll

Weight: 11-1  | Age: 9 | Trainer: Gordon Elliott | Odds: 10/1

Could last year’s Grand National Winner become the next horse to win the prestigious race twice in a row? This success has not been achieved since 1974 when Red Rum won in both 1973 and 1974. Last year he won with a large weight of 10st 13lbs, however this year he will be carrying more. The leading contender is sure to give fans a thrilling race in the contest to victory. Only time will tell how he will fare at year’s meeting.

Elegant Escape

Weight: 11-4 | Age: 7 | Trainer: Colin Tizzard | Odds: 14/1

Elegant Escape gained victory in this season’s Welsh National. The Colin Tizzard runner could potentially be the first Grand National winner for the leading trainer. Trends tell us that seven year olds have a negative racing record however this contender could certainly defy the odds.

Vintage Clouds

Weight: 10-0 | Age: 9 | Trainer: Sue Smith | Odds: 25/1

Vintage Clouds is another strong contender in the Grand National contest. The horse has won the race a total of three times in previous years. He has experience of the track, having won at Aintree Racecourse back in 2017 and 2018 saw him finish third in the Scottish National carrying a much higher handicap.

Anibale Fly

Weight: 11-6 | Age: 9 | Trainer: Tim Martin | Odds: 16/1

Anibale Fly came in third for the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2017. His owner JP McManus won the Grand National back in 2010 and is certainly seeking a further victory. The rising horse came fourth in the 2018 Grand National renewal and was rated 159. Last year, a mere eleven lengths stood between him and the winner thus it’ll be interesting to see what improvements have been made in the past year.

Rathvinden

Weight: 10-10 | Age: 11 | Trainer: Willie Mullins | Odds: 12/1

Rathvinden has experience to his name and has won the 4m race at Cheltenham Festival. If successful in this Grand National bid, the horse will become one of the few eleven year olds to win the race since 2012. In addition to that, he could also also be Willie Mullins’ second Grand National winner!

General Principle

Weight: 10-0 | Age: 10 | Trainer: Gordon Elliott | Odds: 25/1

Another prominent horse trained by Gordon Elliott is General Principle. The horse has great experience having won the Irish Grand National in 2018. He has superb form in gruelling staying races however it will be his first time running on the track at Aintree Racecourse. Provided the ground in soft, General Principle is sure to put in a tough challenge for this race.

Mall Dini

Weight: 10-4 | Age: 9 | Trainer: Patrick Kelly | Odds: 20/1

Though the horse has yet to win over fences, he’s got a solid form and has seen steady improvements. After coming in a close second at Cheltenham Festival’s Kim Muir, he must build on that success in the run up to the grand race!

Rock The Kasbah

Weight: 10-9 | Age: 9 | Trainer: Philip Hobbs | Odds: 20/1

Though best suited to good surfaces, Rock The Kasbah has still been able to achieve victory on soft surfaces. He has a proven record of finishing within the top two over fences so we’ll be looking forward to seeing if he can finish in first and make it a first Grand National win for trainer Philip Hobbs.

Walk In The Mill

Weight: 10-0 | Age: 9 | Trainer: Robert Walford | Odds: 33/1

This season, Walk In The Mill showed great signs of improvement having won the Becher Chase! Last year he was a 2018 Grand National Reserve. Having experience over these fences in particular, we’re excited to see how he will fare this year.

Up For Review

Weight: 10-12 | Age: 10 | Trainer: Willie Mullins | Odds: 25/1

Up For Review is another Willie Mullins trained horse that should not be underestimated. The horse has been kept fresh this season and has been improving over the past years. Nonetheless he lacks experience jumping over fences and running long distances.

With £1,000,000 up for grabs as the total prize fund, we’re sure that this year’s Grand National race is going to be a memorable one! The intensity of the racing on track and the atmosphere on the stands will certainly make for a thrilling day at the races.

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Cheltenham Festival 2019: What Everyone Is Talking About

The eve of Cheltenham Festival is finally here. Many, including us have waited the entire season for this prestigious meeting. With famous jockeys and trainers all in last minute preparations, the next four days are certain to be show stopping. The echoing Cheltenham Roar can almost be heard.

With four days of none stop racing ahead there is plenty to look forward to. Let’s take a look at the ones to watch and who everyone is talking about ahead of the great Festival.

High Hopes For Altior

When talking about Cheltenham Festival discussions have to start with Altior. The great horse trained by champion trainer Nicky Henderson is a true Cheltenham champion. There are high expectations for the thoroughbred racehorse. The strong pairing with jockey Nico De Boinville makes for an exciting duo.

Altior’s impressive past performances put him just one win behind reigning jumps champion Big Buck. His tripple win at Cheltenham Festival in 2018 sets him up nicely for a 2019 victory worth witnessing.

Although Altior is set to shine in the Champions Chase on Ladies Day his biggest threat comes from Mullins trained Min. The Willie Mullins camp are no doubt hoping for a win this year after coming in at second place behind Altior twice last year.

Nicky Henderson has previously spoke on how the high expectations for Altior have led to sleepless nights in the past. However, there is no doubt that Henderson has the expertise to lead a leading lineup at Cheltenham. With 60 Festival wins over the years expectations are high for the Henderson camp. Buveur D’Air is too highly expected to achieve a hat-trick win making the Henderson entries formidable.

Grand National Winner On Cheltenham Ground

The other big horse race meeting of the season that everyone looks forward to is the Grand National. With that to look forward to next month let’s quickly recap on last years unforgettable steeplechase. Tiger Roll won the 2018 Grand National ridden by jockey ridden by Davy Russell. But this week Tiger Roll is on Cheltenham ground.

Trainer Gordon Elliot is hoping to be crowned the Festival’s leading trainer for a third time in a row. Tiger Roll leads a strong line up for the Irish trainer and his connections are hoping for a successful win in the Cross Country Chase. The 16 runner lineup is made of other runners including the likes of Ultragold and Fact Of The Matter. However many are betting their money on the Grand National champion who is said to be on his best form. His Grade 2 win at Navan last month has certainly set him up for a success that will be hard to beat.

Will Presenting Percy be Presented With The The Gold Cup Trophy?

Presenting Percy currently tops betting odds to win the prestigious Gold Cup race on Friday. The Patrick Kelly trained horse definitely deserves it places amongst the favourites. In both 2017 and 2018 Presenting Percy has been victorious in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle and the RSA Chase. However, this year its the big victory in sight. The victory will certainly be well deserved as the horse has no practice over the jumps so far this season.

The toughest competition Presenting Percy is set to face in the Gold Cup race comes from Clan De Obeaux and reigning champion Native River. Collin Tizzard trained Native River’s return to racing is exciting for all racing enthusiasts and his impressive form in previous races this season but him too at a good chance of winning. The Tizzard team will also be represented by Thistlecrack and Elegant Escape in the Gold Cup race guaranteeing a thrilling race.

Cheltenham 2019 Short Preview

Overall, there is so much to look forward to this year at Cheltenham. The return of champions, underdogs rising through the ranks and the fierce battle between the champion Festival trainers. We can’t wait to see the impressive form from the Elliot, Mullins and Tizzard camp. All four days of The Festival will guarantee excitement. Have you made your bets yet? Anything can happen at Cheltenham which is what makes The Festival so exciting.

Cheltenham 2020 Hospitality & VIP Tickets

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Cheltenham Festival 2019 Preview

The event we have all been waiting for will soon be upon us. Cheltenham Festival 2019 is a real highlight of the racing season. Set across four spectacular days it is the biggest meeting of the National Hunt Season. Each of the four days is certain to provide an unforgettable experience for all those in attendance. The racecourse is prepped and the Guinness is in abundance. With proceedings kicking off on Tuesday 12th March 2019 we are ready, are you?

What To Expect From The Festival

The popularity of Cheltenham Festival continues to grow and grow each year and over 65,000 people are said to attend the four day event. 2019 is a special year at the racecourse as we see the return of the original Gold Cup. This piece of history will make a memorable addition to the prestigious Gold Cup race on Friday 15th March 2019.

Champion Day

Despite Gold Cup day being the most anticipated, each day provides those in attendance with an experience worth savouring. The Festival kicks off with the illustrious Champion Day. The day will host four impressive Grade One races perfect for the racing enthusiasts amongst you. With the highlight race of the day being the Unibet Champion Hurdle. With Buveur D’Air topping the 14 entries many believe he could be on his way to achieving his third win. The atmosphere at Cheltenham Racecourse is beyond electric. As the tape rises for the first race of The Festival the Cheltenham Roar can be heard for miles. An experience truly worth remembering.

Ladies Day

With a hard act to follow the second day of The Festival does too offer a first class experience. Think style and glamour as Cheltenham Ladies Day attracts crowds from far and wide. This standout event is a real highlight of the social calendar. Despite fashion being the staple point of the day the racing on offer is first class too. The day is renowned for hosting the best two mile chase of the season; The Queen Mother Champion Chase. Previous champion Altior headlines the 12 strong line up for this race and is on tracks for another win. Cheltenham Ladies Day is a real highlight of both The Festival and the entire season so we can’t wait to see what happens.

St Patricks Day

The luck of the Irish will certainly be in full swing on Cheltenham St Patricks Day. As thousands of racing enthusiasts head to Cheltenham for an experience like no other. The Guinness will undoubtedly be in full swing and the atmosphere electric. The day famously hosts some of the biggest races of the season. Look out for the highlight race of the day the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle. With the absence of Penhill many are placing their bets on a win from Paisley Park but knowing Cheltenham anything can happen.

Gold Cup Day

The Festival is concluded in palpable style on Gold Cup Day. The whole season has been building up to this day and it is by far one of sport’s most popular showpieces. The greatest jockeys, trainers and runners will all compete for the coveted Gold Cup Trophy. The Magners Gold Cup race provides the ultimate test of stamina, endurance and ability for those lucky enough to be entered. There is certainly strong competition amongst the Gold Cup line up. Presenting Percy is currently favourite and his connections are hoping for a win this year after three consecutive years. Will he be third time lucky? Other strong contenders include Clan Des Obeaux and Native River. There are six other races to look forward to on Friday ensuring Cheltenham Festival ends in remarkable style.

There’s plenty to look forward to at the Festival next week. Whatever day you are attending you will certainly enjoy a race day experience like no other. The excitement builds more and more each day but who are the latest ones to watch?

Ones To Watch At Cheltenham Festival 2019

The entire season builds up to staple races like The Festival and the Grand National. The season so far has presented many surprises which is to be expected in the world of horse racing. With only a few days to go, it is the perfect time to look into predictions and who everyone is talking about. Now we get closer to the big event much of the focus switches onto the jockeys.

Despite being away from racing since February 2019 Cheltenham legend Ruby Walsh has just announced he is fit and well to be back in action. The jockey is hoping to add to his 58 Cheltenham wins and has high hopes for the likes of Paisley Park and Faugheen. Other standout jockeys are too hoping for a win and there are certainly some pairings we should all look out for.

One worth mentioning is the pairing of Davy Russell and Presenting Percy. The two have been partnered together for a previous 13 races and there are certainly high hopes for what the two of them can do together at Cheltenham. A win with Presenting Percy will make Russell a third time champion at Cheltenham cementing his place in Cheltenham history.

Let’s not forget last year’s record breaking wins for female jockeys at The Festival. Highlights from 2018 saw the likes of Lizzie Kennedy, Katie Walsh, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker all take home impressive wins from The Festival. Bryony Frost is hoping this will be the year she becomes the first female jockey to win a Grade One jumps race. We are hoping for much of the same from the star female jockeys at Cheltenham this year.

As the event draws closer there is so much to look forward to. Which jockeys will come out on top? We can’t wait to see.

Cheltenham Festival 2020

Before we know it the race we have all been counting down to will be over. But fear not. We are now selling Cheltenham 2020 tickets & hospitality packages. Booking in advance ensures your place at this prestigious race meeting is secured well ahead of time. We are thrilled to once again provide VIP hospitality at Cheltenham again next year. Our hospitality experiences are the perfect way to enjoy The Festival in true style.

The same venues will be on offer meaning you can book for The Venue. This exclusive facility is the perfect place to host your race day experience. You and your guests will feel like VIP’s from beginning to end.

Other standout facilities include the Silks Restaurant facility. The Silks is very popular at Cheltenham and guarantees a day of luxury worth savouring.

For those of you wanting an extra special Cheltenham experience, our Private Grandstand Boxes are perfect. Experience the Cheltenham Roar and see all the first class racing within your very own private box. The panoramic views are enviable.

Enquire about Cheltenham Festival 2020 Hospitality today!

Colin Tizzard’s Cheltenham Festival Runners

Champion horse trainer Colin Tizzard is set to lead a winning team of runners at this year’s highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival! In last year’s meeting, Tizzard had a very successful run having trained the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River as well as the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle winner Kilbriken Storm. With around fifty Cheltenham Festival entries already in, we’re eager to see how this renowned trainer will fare at The Festival.

Found out more about the most prominent horses in his team who we think are sure to make some big wins!

The Cheltenham Gold Cup Trio

This year, Colin Tizzard has three entries for Cheltenham’s Gold Cup race. His runners in this highly esteemed race include last year’s winner Native River, Thistlecrack and Elegant Escape.

Native River

At the top of the list and favourite to win is reigning champion Native River. Out of the three, many argue that his experience in the race gives him a better chance of victory. Currently, Native River is the third-favourite to win the Gold Cup in the latest ante-post betting. He stands behind big names such as Presenting Percy and Clan Des Obeaux. Nonetheless, could this entry lead to a second Gold Cup victory for the horse?

During a recent stable tour, Tizzard said:

“He looks fit to me now and I don’t think he’ll go away again… Hopefully Cheltenham gets some rain as nobody wants it fast ground for the Festival and there’s no doubt softer conditions play to Native River’s strengths as it slows the others down a little bit… I think it’s quite an open year and there’s no absolute standout and it always comes down to stamina – Native River has plenty of it.”

Elegant Escape

Elegant Escape is a younger horse who is showing clear signs of rising improvement. Despite suffering a range of defeats in his racing career, the seven year old has shown great skill in his most recent runs. His last run was the highest rated performance which shows great signs ahead of Cheltenham. At the end of last year, he rose to victory winning the Welsh National and also came in at a satisfactory second in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

When asked about the horse, Colin noted:

“He’s done everything right, he’s a young improving horse and we’ve seen horses lower than his rating (162) go very close and even win Gold Cups… He’s the younger horse and the one who might just step up again. His last run was his highest-rated run and there should be more to come.”

Thistlecrack

Having been unraced until he was five years old, Thistlecrack gained his first National Hunt win in 2014. His recent King George race saw him run superbly, keeping close distance with winner Clan Des Obeaux. As with an older horse, Colin has been keen not to put too much pressure on him in recent seasons.

Speaking on Thistlecrack, he said:

“Thistlecrack is a very good horse and he always walks around looking the part. He’s won a King George and he was quite close to Clan Des Obeaux at Kempton this year. He looks to have as good a chance as anything and he’s proven at Cheltenham going left-handed. He was magnificent when he won the Stayers’ Hurdle, he’s 11 years old now and you can’t get away from that but he’s hardly raced until he was six or seven.”

Other Cheltenham Entries To Watch

Alongside this dazzling trio, Colin Tizzard has a number of other horses to keep a keen eye on including rising star Elixir Du Nutz. Read what the trainer had to say about his Cheltenham Festival candidates below:

Fox Norton

“I thought he ran a lovely race at Ascot, he just jumped a little bit flat. Sometimes he has a bit of back trouble but we’ve addressed that and he seems well. It all hinges around Altior really but we have the option and Fox Norton nearly won the Champion Chase a few years ago.”

Kilbricken Storm

“He’s a bit of a forgotten horse. But he was very good against Elixir De Nutz, Master Debonair and Native River, for a three miler, he was right upside them. We were going to go novice chasing with him, first time up he was alright, then not so good second time and so we were sort of split. He’s had six weeks off and since then he’s been straightforward… He’s in good form.”

Elixir Du Nutz

“He was absolutely brilliant in a gallop at Wincanton last week. We could have another little away day, but we might leave him be as he looks very fit. His form stands up to anybody else’s in the Supreme. He’s won his last three races and we took him to Wincanton last Monday where he did a brilliant piece of work – he pulled five lengths clear.”

With that said, we’re excited to see what winners will come forth out of Tizzard’s well trained, champion team! We’re sure to be in for some thrilling National Hunt action in March!

 

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Frankie Dettori: A Royal Ascot Icon

Frankie Dettori is without a doubt one of the most prolific and successful jockeys to ride at Royal Ascot. Throughout his career which spans over thirty years, Dettori has ridden well over five hundred winners and has managed to attain the much coveted Champion Jockey title on three separate occasions. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys riding, with many of his notable wins occurring at the renowned Ascot Racecourse.

Frankie Dettori’s Road to Success

It all started at the age of thirteen, when a young Dettori left school to pursue a career as an apprentice jockey and stable boy. After spending a year working at this, the young Italian went on to Great Britain which allowed him to apprentice with well known trainer Luca Cumani at Newmarket in 1985. Shortly after this, he became a stable jockey.

As a mere teenager, he quickly established himself as a notable and upcoming jockey. His first win came at the age of 16 in Turin in November 1986, while his first victory in Britain was the next June. In 1990, the young Frankie Dettori became the first teenager since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in one season. Dettori was on a sure road to greatness. Indeed, by the end of the 2017 season, he had ridden more than 3,000 winners in Great Britain, over 750 more than the next currently active jockey.

Further success continued to follow, with numerous winners in Group 1 races. To date, he is well known for his distinctive “flying dismounts.”

Dettori’s Magnificent Seven at Ascot

On 28 September 1996 Frankie Dettori achieved the immense success of winning all seven races on a single day at Ascot Racecourse’s British Champions’ Day. This is widely regarded as his most celebrated achievement to date.

Winning all seven races on the card was a near-impossible feat that Frankie managed to attain. This included the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The collective odds of these wins was 25,051-1, which earned one lucky racegoer an incredible £500,000 when Dettori completed his ‘Magnificent Seven’.

This was certainly a landmark day for British horseracing, and made a hero of Dettori. Though he was already a well-known jockey prior to this, the achievement made him a household name. Below are the prominent and Magnificent Seven.

Wall Street at 2/1 Odds

Frankie Dettori’s first winning horse was called Wall Street, an incredibly fitting name since he single-handedly cost the betting industry more than £30 million. Frankie guided the three-year-old colt home over the mile and a half course to claim his first victory of the afternoon in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes.

At 2/1 odds, this was not the most surprising of Dettori’s winners of the day, but it set him up for a day of victory.

Diffident at 12/1 Odds

Diffident had a history of disappointing results, and it was thought that Frankie Dettori had little chance of victory on the 12/1 shot. Nonetheless, the Diadem Stakes was run fairly slowly, and this went in Diffident’s favour to result in win number two of the day for Frankie.

This was also the standout run of Diffident’s seven career wins.

Mark of Esteem at 100/30 Odds

This intense race came down to a two-way battle between Mark of Esteem and Henry Cecil’s competitive filly Bosra Sham. Dettori asked the horse for maximum effort and went on to claim his third victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. This win rendered him the best in Europe that year.

Decorated Hero at 7/1 Odds

Another rightly named horse allowed Dettori his fourth win in the Tote Festival Handicap. The race had 26 runners, and Decorated Hero carried the top weight of 9st13lb. With this in mind, Dettori’s chances of winning looked slim, however, his luck continued to increase as he pulled off a three-and-a-half length victory.

Fatefully at 7/4 Odds

Although narrow, this was still a great victory for Dettori in the Rosemary Stakes. Rival Ray Cochrane aboard Abeyr recalls the moment saying:

“As we pulled up, the horses were very close. I said, ‘Is anyone else getting a chance today?’”

Lochangel at 5/4 Odds

Triumph on Lochangel in the Blue Seal Stakes continued an astounding run for Dettori as he returned to the winners’ enclosure for the sixth time.

Fujiyama Crest at 2/1 Odds

This race attracted much media attention with the BBC interrupting its traditional Grandstand coverage to broadcast the live action from Ascot. The bookies slashed the odds for Dettori’s final mount, Fujiyama Crest. Initially set off as 12/1 favourite for the Gordon Carter Handicap, the odds were then 2/1. Many didn’t think the horse would win, however, he defeated Northern Fleet to seal Dettori’s place in the history books. A satisfying and magnificent finish.

Dettori’s Notable Ascot Wins

Frankie Dettori’s success story didn’t end there, since 1996 he has and continues to win a number of notable races at Ascot racecourse.

A few of his many wins include the Ascot Gold Cup in 1992, 1993, 1998, 2004, 2012 and 2018. In 2016 he won the British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes and the Champion Stakes twice in a row in 2017 and 2018.

He triumphed in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 1995, and again twenty years later in 2015.

The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is another race that granted Dettori five victories in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2004 and the famous victory in 2017 with Enable.

The highly coveted Queen Anne Stakes was won by Dettorri an impressive six times in 1990, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2007. Likewise, the champion jockey took victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes six times in 1990, 1996, 1999, 2007, 2010 and 2017.

What’s Next for Frankie?

In 2018’s Royal Ascot meeting Frankie Dettori once again stole the limelight on the opening day with a commendable three wins for John Gosden. He now stands as Royal Ascot’s third most successful jockey of all time, with only Lester Piggott and the late Pat Eddery above him.

It certainly doesn’t look as though the champion will be retiring anytime soon. The world’s best jockey (2017) noted on his plans to continue racing stating:

“I’ll carry on as long as I can. If I can get five years out of it, great. […] I’m 48. I get to 50 in 23 months’ time. I’m sure I can get to it. Hopefully I can ride his [Cracksman’s] progeny.”

With that said, we are sure Mr Dettori has many more wins to come and only time will tell what Royal Ascot 2019 and beyond have in store for this renowned victor.

 

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Cheltenham Festival History: A Trip Back in Time

We are now less than six weeks until the fantastic celebration of National Hunt racing at the Cheltenham Festival, and we can’t wait to get our glad rags on and enjoy the Spring sunshine at Cheltenham Racecourse.  To build our excitement up for the event we’re going to be looking back at the history of the Festival.

The First Races at Cheltenham

The first races at Cheltenham date back to 1818, which saw horses from the local area tested on the famous Cleeve Hill which overlooks the current Prestbury Park course.  The winner of the only race on that August day was five-year-old Miss Tidmarsh, owned by a Mr E. Jones.

The meeting was a success and proved popular among the many locals who turned out to see what was to become the Cheltenham Festival.  The following year the single race was amped up to a three-day event, featuring a number of races, including the very first Cheltenham Gold Cup.  A ‘real’ more permanent course was laid down on the ground, instead of the makeshift marking posts used before, and a grandstand was built on site, too.

The races at the Cleeve Hill racecourse proved incredibly popular, and news spread quickly over the following years.  By 1828, the Cheltenham event had greatly outgrown what the organisers could have dreamed of, and was seeing crowds of over 50,000 attend the event.

The races formed part of a larger town carnival at Cheltenham and were a major attraction which brought in visitors to the fashionable spa town.  In the evening in the town centre extravagant parties were held for the who’s who of the day, and during the daylight hours racing was the main focus of festivities with crowds attending to eat, drink, gamble and see sideshows at the course.

The racecourse moved to Prestbury Park in 1830 after a riot instigated by the local rector who was preaching of the evils of horseracing and gambling resulted in the whole Cleeve Hill track and its facilities being burnt beyond repair by arson.

The Prestbury Park location was disliked by racing fans for its limited vantage points over the course and by racing professionals for the poorer quality turf.  The 700-capacity grandstand at the Park was soon abandoned and racing returned to the Hill soon after.  Popularity in flat races, as they were at the time at Cheltenham, started to dwindle, and steeplechases became the fashionable race for many.  The Cleeve Hill location was perfect for them, as it was one of the few steeplechase courses in the country which allowed racegoers to see the whole race from a single position near the winning field.

Prestbury Park wouldn’t see racing again until 1902, when over two decades after the land was sold back to racing enthusiast and Cheltenham Racecourse founder Mr W. A. Baring Bingham.  He first used the ground as a stud farm and trained many great horses at the location.

Cheltenham Festival at Prestbury Park

Cheltenham Festival has its history in a prior event known as the National Hunt Meeting.  The event was most known for its showcase race the National Hunt Chase.  The race was a four-miler for amateur jockeys only and had historically changed venues frequently since its first running at Market Harborough in 1860.

The National Hunt Meeting was held at Prestbury Park in 1904 and again in 1905.  It spent time at other racecourses before returning in 1911 and has stayed there ever since.  The first Cheltenham Festival grandstand was constructed in the same year, and a private box was constructed too, which served ‘press and officials’ for the next 70 years.

By the 1920s, the original Cheltenham Gold Cup race had evolved into a three-mile steeplechase and was a major fixture in the National Hunt racing season.  The first Champion Hurdle was introduced in 1927.

Both flat racing and steeplechases experienced a fairly significant a lull in popularity during this period of time, and horse racing needed a new star to bring back some of the fans it had lost.  Cheltenham Festival was the proving ground of this star horse, Golden Miller, who won the Gold Cup five times during the 1930’s.  These victories are often credited with the revival of the sport at the time, which has seen its popularity maintained until the present day.

In his 1934 season, aged seven years, Golden Miller won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same year – an incredible first which has never been repeated to today.  He won all five Gold Cups from 1932 until 1936, and was likely to take the 1937 title too but the race was rained off.  Golden Miller retired in early 1939 with 28 wins from 52 races.

The history of Ireland’s large presence at the Cheltenham Festival was started in the post-war racing period, when Irish-trained Cottage Rake won the Gold Cup three years on the trot with trainer V. O’Brien.  The horse won in 1948, ’49, and ’50 – the last of these he beat second-place Finnure by ten lengths.

Cheltenham Festival in the Modern Day

Cheltenham Festival has maintained its prominence and favourable place in fans hearts throughout the years.  Throughout its different iterations on Cleeve Hill and Prestbury Park, the town has been a home of both flat and jumps racing for over two centuries.

It’s an integral part of the Gloucestershire economy, with each Festival generating over £100M for the local area.  When you add in the prize funds of over £4.5M and the money from sponsorships, television deals and gambling the money changing hands at the Festival is almost unimaginable.

Despite this, the Festival continues to grow in size.  In 2005, the Festival grew from three days to four, with six races held on each day.  The highlight race of Tuesday, also called Champion Day, is the Champion Hurdle, and on Wednesday (Ladies Day) the main race is Queen Mother Championship Chase.  St Patrick’s Thursday sees huge numbers of Irish horses and fans attend Cheltenham, and the main race of the day is the World Stayers Hurdle.  Friday is the eponymous Gold Cup Day with the main race being held in the afternoon, following on from the Triumph Hurdle and the County Hurdle races earlier in the day.

The build-up to the Cheltenham Festival now dominates much of the entire National Hunt Season, with almost every race being seen as a set-up or trial for the March meeting.  Attendance at the meeting now peaks well over the 250,000 mark, with Gold Cup day alone seeing over 70,000 racegoers delve on Cheltenham and fill it with excitement.


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Speak to our hospitality team today to discuss hospitality options and VIP experiences at Cheltenham by calling 0121 233 6500.  Limited availability, book now.