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

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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.

Magic Wand Heading to Dubai World Cup card

2019 Dubai World Cup updates

 

Dubai World Cup 2019: Magic Wand headed to Dubai Turf or Sheema Classic

A daughter of Galileo, she was last seen running a fine race to be second in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitationalat Gulfrstream Park in January.

O’Brien said: “Magic Wand did a bit of work with a lead horse and we are thinking of going to Dubai with her.

“She will either go over nine furlongs (Turf) or a mile and a half (Sheema Classic).”

Dubai World Cup 2019: Viddora accepts Al Quoz challenge

Viddora is off overseas in search of an international Group 1 to compliment her two local Group 1 victories with confirmation on Friday that connections have accepted an invitation to race in Dubai on World Cup night.

Very excited to announce that Viddora will be heading to Dubai for the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on March 30th. Thankyou to the Dubai Racing Club for the invitation and it is an honor to represent 🇦🇺 on the world stage! pic.twitter.com/7qD2g7Pbw4

— Kennewell Racing (@KennewellRacing) February 28, 2019

The winner of last spring’s Moir Stakes at The Valley against many of the best sprinters in the land, Viddora will tackle the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1200-metres at Meydan on …

Australian race horse Winx wins 30 straight races

15/2/2019 Horse Racing Tips and Best Bets – CanterburyAustralian race horse Winx capped off a tremendous run of form at the 2019 Apollo Stakes on Saturday. Winx cantered to victory at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney as she blew away the eight-horse field. Horse racing fans can bet online on Grand National now as the April event approaches. Ridden by jockey Hugh Bowman, Winx won the race by two lengths after blasting past rivals Tom Melbourne and Happy Clapper. Winx has now won an unbelievable 30 straight races, but she still has a way to go to break the all-time record.

Can Winx break the all-time record of consecutive wins?

Winx’s 30 wins is incredible, but she is still behind Puerto Rico’s Camarero. The stallion posted a 73-2-0 record during his brief lifetime. Camarero only lived from 1951 to 1956, racing for just three years. The Puerto Rican stallion won 56 consecutive races between April 1953 and August 1955. Unfortunately, Camarero died in 1956 of an intestinal blockage. His 56 straight wins is still the world record for most back to back victories.

Winx’s winning streak started just under four years ago at Sunshine Coast. Now seven-years old, Winx may not have many more opportunities to chase Camarero’s record. As her jockey said post-race, Winx has nothing left to prove to the horse racing world.

Randwick was Winx’s first race of the 2019 season and her win backed up her 2018 Longines Horse of the Year award. Called the Usain Bolt of horse racing, Winx can certainly come close to Camarero’s record, if she is kept racing. Unfortunately, it looks as though trainer Chris Waller is preparing to retire Winx. She may only have one or two more races left to run.

How does Winx’s record stack up to others in the sports world?

There are some sports records that will never be broken, at least, that is what experts and fans believe. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in a single NBA game, cricketer Rohit Sharma’s 264 for an inning in a one-day international, and Michael Phelps Olympic record gold medals are all seen as unbreakable. Camarero’s record of wins has long been in the same unbreakable category. Winning consecutive horse races is incredibly difficult and Winx’s current winning streak is a phenomenal accomplishment. Add in Winx’s opponents may have been far tougher competition than Camarero’s.

During her near four-year run of wins, Winx has been victorious in four consecutive Cox Plate events. Thanks to Winx’s continued streak, she has become a sports celebrity in Australia. Winx has crossed over into main stream pop culture down under. Horse racing fans have come out in droves to see the Usain Bolt of the horse world. It has also influenced scores of Aussies to wager on Winx to win the races she runs.

Since her first race in 2014, she ran 10 races before the streak started, Winx has earned $16 million in winnings. Like other top athletes, Winx is said to rise to the occasion of big race days. Hopefully, she will have a few more races left in her to continue the streak.

A Beauty Winner for Prestigious Hong Kong Stakes?

Beauty Generation and Glorious Forever, still basking in the afterglow of Group 1 victories at last month’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races, rolled with commanding ease through their respective barrier trials at Sha Tin last Tuesday.

Jockey Zac Purton had ominous words for Beauty Generation’s rivals ahead of the upcoming G1 Stewards’ Cup, and those who might face him beyond that 20 January feature.

“He just seems to be getting better,” he said. “It’s getting into scary territory now, how good he’s starting to become.”

That assessment was delivered after the horse – rated the world’s best specialist turf miler – had cruised through a 1000m grass trial, the first of the morning at a floodlit Sha Tin. John Moore’s stable titan moved powerfully within his capabilities, closing on the talented pace-setter Singapore Sling to finish upsides at the finish, and then drawing away at his leisure until eased to a stop.

The Impact of the Hong Kong International Races“He strode out really well and worked up to the line under his own steam,” Purton said. “He had a nice little blow out and pulled up really well. He’s a happy horse at the moment.

“It’s like he’s got stronger and got a lot more confidence. He seems to do it with ease and he enjoys doing it.”

And Purton noted there was no hint of any lugging out, either. The two-time G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Mile hero hung markedly across the track when setting a Sha Tin course record earlier this term.

“He went pretty straight this morning, which was good,” Purton said. “We worked him in company last week, he came up on the inside of a horse and he went very straight. It’s the straightest he’s gone, so hopefully that might encourage him to continue to do that.”

Glorious Forever, meanwhile, appears to have come out of his G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) triumph in fine heart. The Frankie Lor-trained chestnut relished the opportunity to bound out ahead of nine others in a 1600m turf trial this morning.

The five-year-old was never headed and jockey Silvestre de Sousa revealed that his mount had gone a little better than anticipated.

“It was meant to be an easy trial but I felt he was going so easily that I had to just sit on him and let him stride. He didn’t do anything over what he was able to do and he felt in good heart, too,” the Brazilian said.

De Sousa also believes the Archipenko gelding has benefitted from a tough run to victory last time.

“I think the horse is now understanding more of what it’s all about. He’d had a few races before, of course, but when a horse wins a big one like that, sometimes they improve again because he put all that effort in and he knows now what he’s capable of doing.

“He’s a classy horse,” Britain’s champion rider continued. “You could see in that trial just now, he bounced out and that was after a very tough race last time. He took that race very well and you could see him out there, he looks even better. He’s in good health and I’m looking forward to his next start.”

Lor confirmed Glorious Forever’s next race will be the G3 Centenary Vase Handicap over 1800m at Sha Tin on 27 January. And he ruled out an overseas venture to Dubai in March.

“We plan for him to go to the (G1) Hong Kong Gold Cup after he races on the 27th. Then there are not many races for him until April when the aim is the (G1) QEII Cup,” he said.

“We could potentially travel him but if you go to Dubai it is too close, it is at the end of March and then you come back and only have three weeks. When we’re going to the QEII Cup, I don’t want to go to Dubai because you don’t know how the horse is going to come back – sometimes they don’t come back well at all.”

Source: Hong Kong Jockey Club

Dubai World Cup horse race to feature $12M purse

The 2019 Dubai World Cup will take place on Saturday, 30th of March. Despite several weeks still to go before the richest race in the world is run, the buildup is growing. On the 3rd of January, the 16th annual Dubai World Cup Carnival kicked off. The event is the lead up to the World Cup which takes place at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Horse racing fans can learn more here about the 2019 Dubai World Cup. While the World Cup winner will take home $12m, the event’s total prize money has been increased to an astronomical $35m. The 2019 running of the Dubai World Cup could make or break a jockey’s, trainer’s, or horse’s career. Preparations are ongoing as the big day is just around the corner.

Dubai World Cup Carnival

The Dubai World Cup Carnival emerged from the gates in early January with over 200 runners from around the world battling it out for a piece of the $12.6m prize money. The carnival will see 10 race days. Nine of the race days will take place on consecutive Thursdays at Meydan Racecourse, while the 10th will be run on Super Saturday, 9th of March.

Super Saturday has become the traditional “dress rehearsal” for the Dubai World Cup. It gives horses, jockeys, trainers one last tune-up before the world’s richest horse race.

This year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival sees 71 trainers from around the globe taking part. The international trainers are up against local trainers and horses with famed Dubai-based horse training team Godolphin overseeing the events.

AGOS Horses to Watch

Dubai World Cup Favourites

The Dubai World Cup odds are already being tabulated by the world’s leading bookies. Whether these horses will make the elite race on the night remains to be seen.

Thunder Snow is the early favourite for the World Cup. Leading sportsbooks have Thunder Snow at odds of 7/2 with weeks still to go until the race’s running. A Godolphin owned horse, Thunder Snow won the 2018 edition of the Dubai World Cup. Thunder Snow is aiming to be the first back to back competition winner.

Dubai World CupFive-year-old Winstar Farm-Chinese Horse Club horse, Yoshida, is 8/1 to win the richest race in the world. Yoshida won two of his five races in 2018 with wins at Churchill Downs and Saratoga. The Japanese-bred horse finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, increasing hopes he can win the Dubai World Cup.

McKinzie was trained by legendary American horse trainer Bob Baffert and has early odds of 10/1 to win the World Cup. Baffert has stated McKinzie has the make-up of a Dubai World Cup winner. The trainer should know about winning the event as he has won it three times. Baffert won the Dubai World Cup in 1998 with Silver Charm and again in 2001 with Captain Steve. After 16 years without a win at Meydan, Baffert reached the winner’s circle a third time in 2017 with Arrogate. McKinzie has won five of his seven career races.

The Dubai World Cup will see the best of the best in horse racing descend on Meydan Racecourse in late March. The richest horse race in the world will see another name etched into history as they take home the largest purse in the sport.

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