An Inside Look at Dubai World Cup night at Meydan

On Saturday March 30, I was lucky enough to attend the Dubai World Cup at Meydan – the richest race meeting on the planet.

Here is my review of the experience…

Location/course – 9/10

The Meydan racecourse is a 15-20 minute drive from the main hub. It takes slightly longer though if you have the Dubai version of Mr Bean driving your bus, as we did on Saturday. The course itself is an absolute behemoth, with the Meydan Hotel directly adjacent to the grandstand. Punters staying in the hotel can watch the action from their rooms if they don’t fancy wandering 200m down the road.

We were based in the press room on level 5, in line with the winning post, which provided a decent view of the track. The general public area down on the ground stretches for about 200m from the 400m to the furlong marker. Part of that area is what was formerly known as the ‘international village’ – a section with various bars, heavily-populated by foreigners. The grandstand wasn’t much to look at during the day but once the sun went down, it took on a much more visually appealing state.

Record-breaking Superstar Winx goes out on 33rd consecutive victory

She Did It Again!

(CNN)The Australian wonder-horse, Winx, racked up a 33rd straight win and a third consecutive Queen Elizabeth stakes in the final race of a remarkable career on Saturday.

In doing so, the seven-year-old mare extended its already record haul of coveted Group One victories to 25.

Dubbed the “Usain Bolt of horse racing” by some, Winx has earned its owners more than $16 million in recent years as well winning international recognition through awards such as the 2018 Longines Horse of the Year alongside Cracksman.

Long time jockey, Hugh Bowman, who piloted Winx to one final victory Saturday, said he was “proud to be a part” of the horse’s story, in comments carried by the AFP news agency. “(Winx) has captured the hearts of people all around the world.”

A crowd of over 50,000 whooped and cheered as Winx passed the winning post at the Royal Randwick racecourse in Sydney, Australia, one final time.

Despite starting the race cautiously, she started moving through the field as the finish approached.

Chris Waller, the trainer of Winx, later fought back tears as he spoke to Australia’s Channel 7.

2019 Dubai World Cup: Will This Be the Pace Setup?

The ensuing proverbial chess match meets the absolute apex of horseracing excitement. While multiple storylines exist—as they often do in a complex renewal of any world-class race—one that shines in this year’s edition is that of the luckless and much-loved North America, a truly local product and hero trained at Zabeel Stables by Satish Seemar.

Big in size and style, the front-running 7-year-old bay son of Dubawi who failed to break in last year’s event—losing all chance as one of the favourites—has returned with a vengeance in 2019, winning both his starts on the local dirt in emphatic style. On Wednesday, in the official post position draw, he landed in barrier three among the 13 set to contest the 2000m affair. Jockey Richard Mullen will team up with Ramzan Kadyrov’s imposing gelding for a 12th time, hoping for an eighth victory.

“Given we both break on terms, it looks the pace will be between my horse North America and Capezzano,” Mullen said. “I think North America has more natural speed than Capezzano, so I hope that will leave us in front to dictate and use the huge stride pattern he has once we get into the back straight. I am happier with him being drawn outside Capezzano. If it was the other way around, he would be able pressure us, but we might have that advantage now. Thunder Snow will probably be up close, as he has shown in the past from wide draws. I think Axelrod is another that could be racing prominently.”

Salem bin Ghadayer makes a splash back in action with a trio of entries in the world’s richest race, topped by Sultan Ali’s aforementioned Capezzano, a progressive type who has manhandled his foes by a combined 25¾ lengths in his last three tries, all wins, including a 9½-length drubbing of defending Dubai World Cup champion Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3. The mount of Mickael Barzalona upped the intrigue when landing in barrier two, as he very much has the same forwardly inclined modus operandi as market favourite North America.

Bin Ghadayer’s other two are Grade 1-placed American imports bearing the banner of Phoenix Thoroughbreds and partners, Gronkowski and Axelrod. The pair landed adjacently in posts seven and eight, with Oisin Murphy and Royston Ffrench set to take the respective reins of two horses who failed to factor in their Super Saturday preps.

Godolphin’s popular Thunder Snow is certainly the standard in the race as he bids to become the first two-time winner one year after becoming the first UAE Derby (G2) victor to pull off the double. Without a win since his tour-de-force last year, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee has accounted well for himself, including a second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)—both over 2000m on dirt. Christophe Soumillon will once again have to work out a trip from a wide post, as he did when breaking from 10-of-10 in 2018 and 13-of-16 in the 2017 UAE Derby, when he jumps from barrier 12.

Bookending Thunder Snow in second and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic were Salomon del Valle’s Gunnevera and WinStar Farm, China Horse Club et al.’s Yoshida, who bring ample class into a deep field. Five-time Grade 1-placed Gunnevera hopes to finally break through at the top level when he is ridden by Emisael Jaramillo from the rail. The deep closer was last seen disappointing in sixth in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) on Jan. 26—a race in which fellow entrants, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul and WinStar Farm, China Horse Club et al.’s Audible, finished second and fifth. The Pegasus, in its current and previous form as the Donn Handicap (G1), has produced no less than five Dubai World Cup winners, including Bill Mott-trained inaugural victor Cigar.

Mott seeks a second win when he returns with his first runner in the big race since Lea (third in 2015) when he saddles multi-surface Grade 1 winner Yoshida. A decisive winner of the Woodward (G1) last September in his dirt bow over Seeking the Soul and Gunnevera, he exits the worst effort of his life when finishing sixth in the turf equivalent of the Pegasus over soft ground. A five-time winner from 13 starts, he and Todd Pletcher-trained Grade 1 winner Audible are owned in part by WinStar, whose Well Armed brought the curtain down on Nad Al Sheba in a 2009 Dubai World Cup romp. Jose Ortiz rides Yoshida from post 10, while Audible, who must improve to factor, landed in the four for jockey Flavien Prat.

Seeking the Soul is Fipke and trainer Dallas Stewart’s second runner in the race after Forever Unbridled’s fifth last year after a wide trip. The dark bay homebred has been impressive in morning track work, but must prove his effectiveness over the 2000m trip, as well as at this level of competition, when Mike Smith takes the reins from a plum draw in five. Finishing a short head in front of Forever Unbridled in 2018 and returning again is Reddam Racing’s Pavel, who breaks from post six under Joel Rosario for trainer Doug O’Neill. Interestingly, he adds blinkers after having breezed in them earlier in the week.

Japan’s K T Brave, a flashy chestnut with a big blaze, appears to have shipped well and was a good third two back in the Tokyo Daishoten (G1), finishing 1½ lengths behind Dubai World Cup alumnus Gold Dream. He must improve to factor here for trainer Haruki Sugiyama and owner Kazuyoshi Takimoto. The same can be said for another Asia-based chestnut, South Korea’s Dolkong, who was a romping winner of the Curlin Handicap on Feb. 28, but could only manage third last out in Round 3, nearly pipping Thunder Snow. The Simon Foster trainee is owned by Lee Tae In and breaks from the outside post 13 under Olivier Doleuze.

Rounding out the field is a horse many, including trainer Ahmad bin Harmash, believe is one to watch for the 2020 Dubai World Cup—as well as a serious factor in 2019—Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi’s New Trails. The regally bred son of Medaglia d’Oro has raced five times this season and risen from the handicap ranks to Group 2-placed when second to North America in Round 2. Fourth in Round 3, he was 1¼ lengths shy of becoming the 13th horse in this field to have won or placed in G1 company. Connor Beasley rides from barrier nine.

2019 Dubai World Cup Night: Almond Eye all the Rage in Dubai Turf

The super filly has been followed to Meydan by a huge team of Japanese media, who have been eagerly watching her morning workouts on the Meydan track. Trainer Sakae Kunieda admits that there could still be better to come from the four-year-old, who seems to have settled into Dubai well.

“Even I don’t know where her limit is yet,” Kunieda said. “She means a lot to me, giving us this opportunity to travel with her. She is a really special filly. She has relaxed into her Dubai surroundings very well.”

Connections have opted for the 1800m Dubai Turf, having considered a tilt at the 2410m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)—also worth $6 million—and it is a race in which her compatriots have fared well, winning three of the last five runnings.

Vivlos, the 2017 winner and last year’s runner-up, lines up once again. The 6-year-old mare finished a good second to Beauty Generation in the Longines Hong Kong Mile (G1) at Sha Tin in December. Group 1 winner Deirdre is a third member of Japan’s female team in Saturday’s race. The 4-year-old finished third in last year’s Dubai Turf (G1) and second in the Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December.

Saeed bin Suroor is the most-successful trainer in the Dubai Turf’s history, boasting six previous winners, including Benbatl in 2018. He will be looking to add more with the highly exciting Dream Castle, who has always been well-regarded. The son of Frankel has been better than ever this season, winning each of his three starts at Meydan, culminating in a 1¼-lengths success from Wootton in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday, March 9. The 5-year-old emulated Benbatl by winning both the Singspiel (G3) and Al Rashidiya (G2) before going one better than his illustrious stable companion in the Jebel Hatta. All three races are over this course and distance. Bin Suroor has a useful second string in the field in the shape of progressive 5-year-old Mountain Hunter, who has win his last two starts well in handicap company at Meydan.

“Dream Castle worked very nicely on Saturday and has had a brilliant year already,” Bin Suroor said. “Obviously, this is going to be a stronger race, but he has risen to every challenge we have given him this year.”

Wootton, like Dream Castle and Mountain Hunter, is owned by Godolphin. He re-opposes, having joined Charlie Appleby from French trainer Alex Pantall this season. His best performance last year came at Royal Ascot in June when finishing third to Without Parole in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes (G1), a rival who lines up, as well. Representing iconic conditioner John Gosden and U.S. owner-breeders John and Tanya Gunther, the 4-year-old son of Frankel has looked in good shape in his morning spins around the Meydan training track.

The Dubai Turf is one of the few big races to evade Ireland’s record-breaking champion trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has saddled six previous runners, none of whom made the frame. His representative this year could scarcely be in better form as she heads to Meydan. I Can Fly, winner of last season’s Group 2 Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown, warmed up in a conditions event at Dundalk on March 8 with an eight-length victory in which she was nothing short of dominant.

Irishman David O’Meara, based in North Yorkshire in Great Britain, has enjoyed top-level success when sending runners to the US and Canada and he bids to do the same in Dubai on Saturday with Lord Glitters. The 6-year-old won York’s Group 3 Strensall Stakes in August and rounded off his year when a close sixth to Roaring Lion in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on British Champions Day, October 20.

Third that day was the Simon Crisford-trained Century Dream, who boasts two solid performances at Meydan in 2019. On Feb. 21, he finished three lengths second to Mythical Magic in the Zabeel Mile (G2) and went on to be fourth, behind Dream Castle and Wootton, in the Jebel Hatta.

For the first time since 2014, Hong Kong is represented in the Dubai Turf with trainer Caspar Fownes’ charge Southern Legend aiming to upset the apple cart in Saturday’s 1800m feature. The consistent 6-year-old was most recently closing at the finish when runner-up in he local Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin in February.

“It’s going to be a tough ask behind Almond Eye. I think the only view we might get of her is from behind,” said Fownes. “But our boy is doing nicely, he looks as good as he ever does and he’s walking around with a bounce in his step. We’ve been here a few times before but this is probably the best horse I’ve had here since Lucky Nine.”

Mike de Kock won consecutive runnings of the Dubai Turf in 2003 (Ipi Tombe) and 2004 (Right Approach) and he has two chances of getting win number three this year. Yulong Prince won the Grade 1 Daily News at Greyville in June when named Surcharge. He has changed names and joined De Kock after being bought privately in August by Chinese owner Zhang Yuesheng.

Mary Slack’s colours will be carried by stablemate Majestic Mambo, who had a pipe-opener for Saturday when sixth behind Dream Castel in the Jebel Hatta Sponsored By Emirates Airline on March 9.

U Carrot Farm’s multiple Group 1-winner Rey de Oro will face off against familiar foes Cheval Grand and Suave Richard in Saturday night’s Group 1 $ 6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse. Trained by Kazuo Fujisawa, the 5-year-old son of King Kamehameha has won seven of 12 career starts, while banking $7,952,951. He will make his seasonal debut with the services of jockey Christophe Lemaire from post six as he looks to avenge last year’s fourth-place effort in the 2410m test on the Meydan turf.

Rey de Oro is the richest of the three talented Japanese contenders, all bred at Northern Racing, in the eight-horse field. He captured his first Group 1, the prestigious Tokyo Yushun, in 2017 when three-quarter lengths the best of Suave Richard. At his best when tracking the leaders, Rey de Oro added a second Group 1 win in Tokyo last autumn with a 1¼-length win in the Tenno Sho over 2000m. The trio have kept close company in recent years, with Cheval Grand, trained by Yasuo Tomomichi for Kazuhiro Sasaki, notching his first Group 1 with a 1¼-length win over Rey de Oro in the 2017 renewal of the Japan Cup.

Cheval Grand, a 7-year-old Heart’s Cry chestnut, has post a record of 3-4-5 from 18 career starts. Last season, he went winless in five starts, but was narrowly denied victory in the spring edition of the Tenno Sho (G1), coming up a neck short of Rainbow Line. There is little to choose between Rey de Oro and Cheval Grand, who both arrive at the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic from the Group 1 Arima Kinen Grand Prix, where they finished second and third, respectively. Hugh Bowman has the call aboard Cheval Grand, a career earner of $7,930,746, for his Meydan debut from post one.

Suave Richard, with $4,457,211 in earnings, is more lightly raced than his fellow Japanese raiders with a record of 3-1-2 from 10 starts, but is capable of doubling his Group 1-tallies on Saturday night. A 5-year-old son of Heart’s Cry, Suave Richard broke through at the top flight with a three-quarter length score in the Osaka Hai over 2000m at Hanshin on April 1, 2018. Twice defeated by Rey de Oro, the Yasushi Shono charge, owned by NICKS Co., will need a big effort to notch his first win at the 2400m distance.

He arrives at the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic from a strong fourth, defeated less than two lengths, in the Group 2 Nakayama Kinen. Joao Moreira will take over from regular pilot Mirco Demuro as the duo leave from Post seven.

Trainer Aiden O’Brien will saddle Irish-breds Magic Wand and Hunting Horn as he looks for his second Longines Dubai Sheema Classic score, having previously captured the event in 2013 with St Nicholas Abbey. Last time out, Magic Wand, a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo, took on the boys for the first time in the inaugural Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, finishing second behind well-regarded Bricks and Mortar over a soggy Gulfstream Park turf.

With a career record of 2-1-1 from 13 starts, the multiple Group 1-placed bay showed an affinity for a distance of ground when second in the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp in October. Magic Wand also picked up her first graded win at 2400m when four lengths the best in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Ascot. Ryan Moore will pilot Magic Wand from barrier three.

Hunting Horn, a 4-year-old son of Camelot, has won just twice from 14 starts, having made the grade in the 2000m Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes in June at Ascot. He was narrowly denied a Group 2 win over 2400m in September when nosed out by Brundtland in the Qatar Prix Niel (G2). Through two starts in 2019, Hunting Horn has a pair of thirds to his credit. Wayne Lordan will have the call aboard Hunting Horn from post five .

Godolphin homebred Old Persian has a knack for having his picture taken with six wins from nine attempts for trainer Charlie Appleby. The 4-year-old Dubawi colt made a dramatic debut at Meydan in March when a nose the best over Racing History in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold. With three Group 2 wins from four starts at the distance, Old Persian will now be given his third attempt at a Grade 1-breakthrough. William Buick, aboard for the Dubai City of Gold score, retains the mount from two.

Desert Encounter, trained by David Simcock for Abdulla Al Mansoori, earned his Grade 1 stripes with an out-of-the-clouds score in the Canadian International at Woodbine. Last of 11 at the half, the 7-year-old Halling gelding made up considerable ground over the lengthy homestretch to finish a length the best of Thundering Blue in the 2400m classic. Jim Crowley, who guided Desert Encounter to a wide-traveling third last out in the Dubai City of Gold, retains the mount from eight.

Godolphin’s Racing History, a 7-year-old son of Pivotal, completes a compelling Longines Dubai Sheema Classic field. Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, Racing History is Group 1-placed at the distance, with a good second in the Grosser Preis von Bayern over a yielding Munich turf in 2016. However, with two wins from 11 starts, the lightly-raced gelding will require a career-best effort to topple the field. The Longines Dubai Sheema Classic will be the penultimate race on Saturday’s lucrative Dubai World Cup card.

Dubai World Cup Notes – March 26, 2019

MUSIR winning in Dubai. Copyright Andrew Watkins

$6 million Dubai Turf (G1) sponsored by DP World

Almond Eye—The Japanese superstar stretched her legs over the turf course first thing this morning.

“We just wanted her to get acquainted with the track before we breeze her Wednesday,” trainer Sakae Kunieda said. “She has relaxed into her Dubai surroundings very well. The grass here is a bit long, but I think she will like it.”

Almond Eye will breeze Wednesday morning under regular rider Christophe Lemaire, who flew to Dubai early in order to ride the filly in her last major workout in preparation for the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1).

Deirdre—Deirdre cantered a lap and a half around the Meydan dirt track first thing this morning.

“Everything she has shown us lets us know she is very happy despite the long trip to Dubai,” said her work rider Yuta Komiyama. “I am glad that she is in really good form.”

The Harbinger mare will breeze Wednesday.

Dream Castle—Godolphin’s Dream Castle arrives for the 1800m turf feature on the back of three consecutive course and distance victories, most recently Super Saturday’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta.

His trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, won Saturday’s race with Benbatl last year, like Dream Castle victorious in both the Singspiel and Al Rashidiya, but only second in the Jebel Hatta.

“He worked very nicely on Saturday and has had a brilliant year already,” Bin Suroor said. “Obviously this is going to be a stronger race but he has risen to every challenge we have given him this year. Hopefully, he will be very competitive.”

I Can Fly—Trainer Aidan O’Brien reported I Can Fly arrived safely on Tuesday morning along with four stablemates.

“I Can Fly seems in good form,” O’Brien said. “She has come out of her prep win at Dundalk a few weeks ago quite well. It has been a while since she ran beyond a mile. We think she can run a good race.”

Lord Glitters—David O’Meara’s head lad Colin Bolger was aboard the grey as they turned out on Meydan’s turf course at 7:00 a.m.

“He got over on Thursday and I’m really pleased with how he travelled. He can be quite highly strung, but he has taken the journey over really well,” Bolger said. “We’ve been on the turf for the last two days and he might have a breeze on the grass on Thursday with Danny (Tudhope), who rides the horse on Saturday, in the saddle.”

Southern Legend—Ebullient trainer Caspar Fownes gave his challenger a tick of approval at Meydan on Tuesday morning, five days out from his gelding’s biggest test. Fownes has become something of a fixture at this meeting in recent years with Southern Legend to be the trainer’s 7th runner since his first foray in 2011. However, he has never had an acceptor in the Dubai Turf, with 2016 Dubai World Cup runner Gun Pit—last behind California Chrome—his only charge to tackle a race other than the two sprints before.

“It’s going to be a tough ask behind Almond Eye. I think the only view we might get of her is from behind,” he said trackside at Meydan on Tuesday morning. “But our boy is doing nicely, he looks as good as he ever does and he’s walking around with a bounce in his step. We’ve been here a few times before, but this is probably the best horse I’ve had here since Lucky Nine.”

Hong Kong’s champion jockey Zac Purton will ride at Meydan for just the second time when he is legged aboard Southern Legend.

Vivlos—Vivlos went for a spin on the dirt track early on this morning, hacking for one lap before cantering for another.

“She has been a bit stiff the past couple of days since arriving to Dubai, but today she felt really good and loose,” said assistant trainer and regular exercise rider Shinji Yasuda, “She has become relaxed and we were able to put in a good work today.”

She will breeze Wednesday in preparation for the race.

Without Parole – Royal Ascot winner Without Parole, whose seven-race roster puts him level with Almond Eye as the least experienced runners among the field for the Dubai Turf, has taken his first trip outside Europe in his stride, according to trainer John Gosden’s travelling head groom Tony Procter.

“He’s eating and drinking well, which are the best signs,” Procter said as he prepared to send his boss a video of the 4-year-old’s steady Tuesday canter around one circuit of the Meydan training track under regular work rider Maurizio Varju.

Without Parole arrived at the international quarantine barn on Saturday, and Procter added: “He’s done all his serious work at home, including a racecourse gallop at Chelmsford, which is what we always do when we come to Dubai. Run them off the plane is the usual schedule.”

Wootton—Having spent his 3-year-old career in the care of Alex Pantall in France, Wootton has since joined Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby and has had two starts at Meydan this year. After finishing fourth in the Zabeel Mile, the 4-year-old then took an honourable second behind Dream Castle in the Jebel Hatta (G1). Having raced at the Dubai World Cup Carnival twice, he has fitness on his side and enjoyed light exercise on the dirt track at Appleby’s Marmoom base this morning.

“He has some nice European form and we changed the style of his racing in that we stepped him up in trip to 1700m on his last outing, which was one of his career-best starts finishing second to Dream Castle,” Appleby said. “If he reproduces that form it will make him competitive, but what we like about the horse is that he gets into a nice rhythm in his races now so he is a simpler horse to ride compared to when he was a 3-year-old.”

Although beaten just over a length by Dream Castle on Super Saturday, Appleby is not fearful of the rematch.

“It is all about who turns up on the night,” Appleby added. “We went into Super Saturday on our A-Game and Dream Castle beat us, but he needs to turn up in the same form on World Cup night. If they both turn up in the same condition, then we have a length to find, but who knows what is going to happen.”

$6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1)

Cheval Grand—Japan Cup winner of 2017 Cheval Grand was out on the dirt track first thing this morning, trotting down the back stretch, hacking around the far turn and ultimately cantering for half a lap under work rider …

Cheltenham Festival: A day in the life of Paul Nicholls’ racing yard

Ditcheat, England (CNN) — It’s lunchtime at Manor Farm Stables and Clan Des Obeaux, a joint favorite for Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, wants his carrot, and he wants it now.

Tall, dark and handsome, his coat glistening in the unusually warm February sun, the French-bred bay gelding pricks up his ears as Clifford Baker, the head lad, tickles his soft nose and hands him his favorite vegetable.

“He just is special, he’s won some big races,” Baker told CNN Sport at the yard in Ditcheat, a small village in the rolling hills of Somerset, England. “And you’re friendly, aren’t you? And you like carrots.”

Cheltenham Festival 2019 for dummies

Horse racing basics and key terms explained ahead of the Cheltenham Festival

What are the biggest races?

Of the 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival, 14 are classed as grade ones – the highest class of race in the sport.

Each of the four days has a main feature race, known as a championship race. They are:

Tuesday – Champion Hurdle: The most prestigious hurdle race in the sport, run over two miles.

Wednesday – The Queen Mother Champion Chase: The top prize on offer for horses running two miles over fences.

Thursday – The Stayers’ Hurdle: This three-mile hurdle race is considered slightly less prestigious than the other championship races, and the Ryanair Chase, a two-and-a-half mile run over fences on the same day, is sometimes thought of as co-headliner.

Friday – The Cheltenham Gold Cup: The Festival’s blue ribbon event, a gruelling test of stamina run over three-and-a-quarter miles over fences.

How a young Qatari sheikh shook up the ‘Sport of Kings’

(CNN)The young Qatari royal was instantly smitten as he attended his first horse race at the home of British Flat racing in Newmarket.

It was 2010, and Sheikh Fahad bin Abdullah Al Thani was so gripped watching the historic 2,000 Guineas Classic he bought his first race horse soon after.

Together with his brothers, the now 29-year-old – the son of a former prime minister of Qatar – has become a dominant force in the “Sport of Kings.”

Their Qatar Racing is now challenging the world’s biggest racehorse operations, such as Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum’s Godolphin , and Irish billionaire John Magnier’s Coolmore outfit…

58 horse entered to compete in Marston’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National

copyright Pixabay

The Martson’s 61 Deep Midlands Grand National will take place on Saturday, March 16th at Uttoxeter. The 50th anniversary of the race has 58 horses entered. The Midlands Grand National is the top horse race of the year held at Uttoxeter Racecourse. The event is run over four miles and two furlongs as horses race for a piece of the £150,000 prize fund. With 58 competitors entered into the race, there are plenty of options for horse race bettors. Horse race fans can use WV horse betting and wager on the outcome of this year’s exciting Midlands Grand National.

The marquee race held at Uttoxeter attracts top names. Leading trainers from Ireland and Great Britain will descend on the racecourse for the Class 1 chase.

Midlands Grand National – What is it?

The Midlands Grand National is one of the top steeplechase races on the British racing calendar. A number of former winners have gone onto success in the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It ranks as one of the most exciting race days each year due to the top horses, jockeys, and trainers that compete.

The racecourse features 24 jumps and a distance of four miles and two furlongs. Horses five-years old and above can enter the race.

Midlands Grand National – Top Horses

Nineteen of the 58 horses entered into this year’s race carry a BHA rating of 140 or more. Horse racing fans will see some of the most exciting staying steeplechase horses running in the race.

One of the early favourites is Yala Enki. Trained by Venetia Williams, Yala Enki has seven career wins. The horse’s last victory came in November at Bangor. That victory saw Yala Enki take top prize in a three-mile Handicap Chase. Yala Enki holds the highest BHA rating of the horses running at 155.

Cheltenham Festival – Recent news

Despite holding the highest BHA rating, Yala Enki is not the favourite according to leading sportsbooks. That honour goes to Robinsfirth. The 154-BHA rated horse is trained by Colin Tizzard and goes into Uttoxeter at odds of 8/1, according to top bookmakers.

Midlands Grand National 2018 champion, Regal Flow, finds himself down the odds list of leading bookies. The former winner is 40/1 to win the race for a second straight year. Regal Flow will be joined by 28/1 odds listed horse Milansbar. The Neil King trained horse finished second at last year’s event. It was the second time Milansbar finished as runner-up at the race.

Midlands Grand National – Can Regal Flow repeat as winner?

Regal Flow will attempt to do what no horse has done in the previous 49 editions of the Midlands Grand National. He will try to win it for a second time. No horse has won the race more than once, which may indicate why leading sportsbooks have given Regal Flow such long odds for a former winner.

Trained by Bob Buckler, Regal Flow will be 12-years old when he takes to the Uttoxeter Racecourse. Since winning last year’s edition of the Midlands Grand National, Regal Flow has finished no higher than fifth place in his last six races. Regal Flow last ran in January at Taunton finishing fifth. Buckler will hope his 12-year-old can surprise everyone on race day and take top-prize once more.

Horses to Watch in the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

Everything could be all set up for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival only to be disrupted by the weather. From our experience with the weather as human beings, we know that the situation can even get to a point that no race will be conducted. It is for this reason that the weather forecast for the 4 days the Cheltenham event will take place is gaining popularity across the internet. As of Tuesday, the first day, you can expect a windy day with light showers and an average temperature of 90C. There is also a 50-50 chance that there will be rain. On Wednesday, it is expected that it will be partly cloudy during the day as is the expectation for Thursday and the average temperatures for the two days will be 90C and 100C respectively. The likelihood for rain on the Gold Cup Day is sixty percent and the average temperature is expected to be 110C. As of now, there haven’t been any indications of any weather hazards dangerous enough to disrupt the activities planned across the four competition days.

Steeplechase scene black whiteIf you have been updating yourself in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival this year, you might have heard that Harry Skelton had taken a few days off race-riding. He is expected to participate in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the back of Crucial Role, the Novice’s Hurdle while on Beakstown and the Pertemps Final while on the back of Notwhatiam. Skelton had suffered a series of falls but after that break, he says he feels fine and he intends to go back to riding on Thursday. His last performance was on Saturday at Newbury where he fell off Falcon Sun in a handicap hurdle while at just the third-last flight. He says that given the resources that they channel towards preparation for Cheltenham, he intends on lifting their banner up high one hundred and ten percent. In the jump jockeys’ championship, Skelton is ranked second from Richard Johnson with just 33 wins between them.

If you are on the Internet looking for the best tips to bet on cheltenham festival, you are completely in the right place. To begin with, Apple’s Jade is one of the best bets for the Champion hurdle with an odd of 2/1 on Betfair. For the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday, Altior is leading the market with an odd of 5/2 while Supasundae is the number one favorite in the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday with an odd of 7/1. As for the Gold Cup on Friday, the results are usually highly unpredictable but the horse leading the market is Presenting Percy with an odd of 7/2. To place these bets and many others, you can consider several bookies depending on what kind of offers you are looking for. At Coral, in the first race of every day, all winnings will be doubled if the conditions provided are met. You can also consider Bet365, which is giving new customers bet credit of up to £100 for every £5 deposit. Perhaps the most interesting offer is from RaceBets, which is giving a free bet of £10 if you place a bet any day from the 4th of March to the 11th, which is the week before the festival kicks off.

For those attending the event, you may want to pay attention to what you are going to wear especially given the weather forecast given above. The condition is going to be wintry and thus heavy dressing is recommended. Fancy dressing has always been prohibited in the Club Enclosure throughout the festival and this year will not be any different. Nevertheless, you will be allowed to rock your fancy dress in Tattersalls if Cheltenham does not find it offensive. For the others, you can watch the games via ITV, stream them online or follow the results on the Internet.

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