How Horse Racing Fans Can Plan for a Trip to New Zealand

We all needed a break from 2020 and thankfully, the calendar has turned. Of course, concerns about the current state of global health affairs are still in the back of our minds. The good news is that a light seems to be at the end of a very long tunnel thanks to the introduction of several vaccines. This is why many horse racing enthusiasts are looking forward to attending live events in the coming year. However, what if you plan on visiting New Zealand in order to simply “get away from it all’? There are several ways in which you can truly enjoy all that this country has to offer while still keeping up to date with your hobby. Let’s take a look at some useful suggestions to keep in mind.

Address Logistics from the Beginning

New Zealand is home to some of the most famous racetracks in existence. Thanks to rather agreeable weather throughout the year, the chances are high that you can plan on visiting at least one competition during your stay…

More Horse Races This Year at Royal Ascot

royal ascot paddockAscot racecourse said that it will permanently expand the schedule at its showpiece Royal meeting in June to seven races per day from this year, after what was described as a “temporary” revision to the traditional six-race daily card in 2020 proved popular with both participants and punters.

Last year’s change was made to allow for extra runners at the Royal meeting, which was staged just over a fortnight after racing returned after a two-and-a-half month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new program required the creation of three new handicaps – the Copper Horse Stakes, the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes and the Golden Gates Stakes – as well as the return of the Buckingham Palace Stakes, also a handicap, which had been discontinued in 2015.

These races will be retained and another new race – the Kensington Palace Stakes handicap for fillies and mares over a mile – has been added to the schedule.

December 9th is International Jockeys’ Championship from Hong Kong

Source: HKJC

Joao Moreira expects the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship to be highly competitive as a wave of class internationals head to Happy Valley

 

By Leo Schlink

 Joao Moreira predicts a galaxy of international star jockeys will swiftly adapt to Happy Valley’s unique contours as 12 of the world’s best riders vie for LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship glory on Wednesday 9 December.

As one of four previous winners of the four-race format in this year’s contest, the 2020/21 championship-leading jockey believes Wednesday’s competition looms as one of the most even in the event’s history – a sentiment echoed by the Brazilian’s great championship rival Zac Purton.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a very interesting jockeys’ challenge,” Moreira said.

“It looks like the club has done a good job to share the rides to everyone else in a fair way.

“I’m actually happy with the rides I’ve got. There’s no doubt we can have some fun.

“These races are going to be very even races. From the first to the fifth horse, there won’t be much difference.

“Luck is going to play a lot of luck in this game.”

Sha Tin Hong KongAllocated Gouten Of Garo, Royal Racer, Smiling City and Cue The Music, Moreira is impressed by the depth of talent among the visiting riders as Hollie Doyle, Tom Marquand, Ryan Moore, Mickael Barzalona, Pierre-Charles Boudot and William Buick attempt to land the top prize – racing’s richest for such a competition – of HK$500,000.

 “I have no doubt local jockeys have the advantage of riding every day on the city track but don’t forget these jockeys are coming over here, they are high quality jockeys and they are able to adapt very quickly, understand and pick up from everybody, even watching replays,” Moreira said.

“I would describe Happy Valley as one of the most difficult places to adapt and get used to but I also don’t underestimate these guys that are coming because if they’ve been selected, there are no doubts they are good jockeys and they are going to get used to it quick and do the best they can on this track straight away.”

Moreira, winner of the LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship in 2012, believes Royal Racer will acquit himself well in the Second Leg of the series, a Class 4 contest over 1650m.

“He actually won very impressively with me on last time. If he’s able to able produce what he did last time, I think he’s going to be a very hard horse to beat and I would have him as my best ride of the jockeys’ challenge,” he said.

“Most of the races on the card, particularly of the jockeys’ challenge, seem to be even and if you’re lucky enough to get a good run through, you might win with a horse that might not be one of top favorites.

“It seems like Ryan Moore, as usual, gets good rides. Boudot, also, has decent rides.”

Purton, seeking his second victory in the series after the Australian’s 2017 triumph, will partner Hey Pal, Fearless Fire, Gift Of Lifeline and Flying Bonus.

“It looks a lot more even this year,” he said.

“I don’t have the strongest rides. I have rides that can run some sort of race.

“Hopefully I can have a bit of luck there somewhere and you never know what can happen.”

 Doyle will attempt to crown a supreme 2020 with victory aboard last start Sha Tin winner Harmony N Blessed for David Hayes.

The LONGINES International Jockeys’ Championship meeting starts at Happy Valley on Wednesday 9 December with the running of the Class 5 Australia Handicap (1650m) at 6.30pm.

Allocated jockey rides
Alexis Badel (Hong Kong) – Farm Bumper, Gallant Crown, Hang’s Decision, Lucky Quality.

Mickael Barzalona (France) – Young Victory, Thunder Stomp, Savaquin, Mehboob.

Pierre-Charles Boudot (France) – Jazz Steed, Maldives, Reel Bizzy, Storm Warnings.

William Buick (Great Britain) – Happy Good Guys, Regency Master, Noble Steed, Beauty Spark.

Neil Callan (Hong Kong) – Winner’s Heart, Lady First, Lightning Steed, Meridian Genius.

Hollie Doyle (Great Britain) – Happily Friends, Universal Go Go, Sunny Lad, Harmony N Blessed.

Vincent Ho (Hong Kong) – Travel Datuk, Anonyma, Hall of Champ, What A Legend.

Tom Marquand (Great Britain) – Very Sweet Orange, Nunchuks, Surrealism, Wind N Grass.

Ryan Moore (Great Britain) – Packing Champion, Play Wise, Jolly Honour, Grateful Heart.

Joao Moreira (Hong Kong) – Gouten Of Garo, Royal Racer, Smiling City, Cue The Music.

Zac Purton (Hong Kong) – Hey Pal, Fearless Fire, Gift Of Lifeline, Flying Bonus.

Karis Teetan (Hong Kong) – Oversubscribed, Right Honourable, Helene Wisdom Star, Winston’s Lad.

Full replay: LONGINES IJC jockeys’ allocation draw ceremony

Know These European Contenders for the Breeders’ Cup

Source: BreedersCup.com and America’s Best Racing

In a year that has been anything but normal, one thing we can count on is a strong international presence at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Race Course. Two hundred and one horses were pre-entered for this year’s event with 39 making the trip from outside North America.

While the Breeders’ Cup is closed to fans this year, NBC will be airing the races across its channels on both Friday and Saturday. To prepare you for this year’s international invasion, we’ll introduce you to a few of the 39 headed to Lexington, Ky. and a few from the U.S. who have run abroad below.

FRIDAY’S ACTION AT KEENELAND

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint

The first of a potential 10 runners for trainer Aidan O’Brien, Lipizzaner will be making his third start in four weeks after finishing second in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Anglesey Stakes and then winning the Vertem.co.uk Doncaster Stakes last out. In all, Lipizzaner enters the race with five top two finishes in seven starts this season, mostly on rain-affected ground. If he wins, he’ll be the 13th Breeders’ Cup winner for O’Brien and second for the stallion Uncle Mo, who himself was a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner.

For the third year running, trainer Archie Watson will have a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint contender with Mighty Gurkha. The colt earned his first stakes victory two starts ago in the Group 3 Unibet Sirenia Stakes and will be contesting his first 5 ½-furlong race here. Running over six furlongs in five of his six starts, the only time Mighty Gurkha raced shorter than that was when he finished fifth in the Windsor Castle Stakes going five furlongs at Royal Ascot.

A last out Group 2 winner in England, Ubettabelieveit is coming into this race with a record of three wins in five starts. Also a winner of the National Stakes, Ubettabelieveit has won at five furlongs multiple times, though in his only start over six furlongs (half a furlong longer than the Juvenile Sprint), he was ninth.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Presented by Coolmore America

Battleground will likely be one of the race favorites, and his history with Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup goes all the way back to 2015. That was the year his dam, Found, won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf against males before ending her career with a third the following year at Santa Anita Park. Battleground has had a bit of an unscheduled preparation for this race, not running since late July after rain caused him to scratch in a few races after that start. The colt is two-for-three, last winning the Group 2 Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes a little over a month after winning the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. If he wins, he’ll be the second Juvenile Turf winner for his sire War Front since Hit It A Bomb won at this track in 2015.

Trainer Jessica Harrington is making only her second trip to the Breeders’ Cup from Ireland after Albinga finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, this time with Cadillac as one of her three runners. Cadillac started his career off with a nine length romp in a maiden race, and in his next start ran future Group 1 winner Mac Swiney to within half a length in a Group 2 stakes before beating another future Group 1 winner in Van Gogh in the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes next out over a mile. If his last start turns you off, feel free to cross it out. He finished fifth in a Group 1 stakes on Oct. 10, but the ground that day was more like a bog and many horses didn’t handle it well.

By France’s leading freshman sire Goken, Go Athletico comes here after a close second in a Group 2 in France.  The juvenile gelding has never finished worse than second and though he hasn’t raced over a mile, he has won at seven furlongs, beating fellow Juvenile Turf hopeful Sealiway while doing it.

New Mandate comes here off a Group 2 victory in late September, his third win in a row after finishing third in his first two starts. The gelding trained by Ralph Beckett proved in his last race that he can handle a mile with a three quarter length victory over the distance and looks to give Beckett his first Breeders’ Cup win since Muhannak’s win in the Marathon in 2008.   New Mandate will also be that trainer’s first Breeders’ Cup runner in five years.

In the Oct. 4 “Win and You’re In” Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, Sealiway easily conquered his first try at a Group 1 with an eight-length victory. Racing exclusively at six and seven furlongs, the France-based colt has won four of his six starts, with one of his only two losses coming to fellow Juvenile Turf hopeful Go Athletico.

The Breeders' Cup horse racingBreeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf

Campanelle is based at Keeneland with trainer Wesley Ward for Stonestreet Stables, but if you don’t follow international racing, you’d be forgiven for not being familiar with the filly. After breaking her maiden at Gulfstream Park, as is the tradition with most good Ward 2-year-olds Campanelle then headed to Europe. The filly was a three-quarter length winner of the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in her second start before winning a French Group 1 when taking on males in the Prix Morny. The filly has followed the same stakes schedule as another Ward and Stonestreet star in Lady Aurelia, though she’ll be deviating from that one’s path by making a start in the Breeders’ Cup as a 2-year-old – Lady Aurelia made her only appearance at the Breeders’ Cup the following year. Campanelle also has second preference in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint earlier in the day.

After finishing second by just half a length in the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes in September, Miss Amulet will attempt to stretch out to one mile for the first time in this race. The filly is a Group 2 winner at six furlongs and was second in the Cheveley Park at the same distance. If she runs in this race, she’ll also be only the second Breeders’ Cup starter for her trainer Ken Condon after he started Trais Fluors in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year.

Mother Earth has been a consistent in the European stakes scene this year. She broke her maiden in a Group 3 stakes back in July and ran perhaps the best race of her career when stretching to a mile in early October, finishing third by just two lengths in the Group 1 Bet365 Fillies Mile. Other than an 11th in the race before that, Mother Earth has hit the board in each of her seven starts at distances from five furlongs to a mile and if she was to win here, she’d be the first Juvenile Fillies Turf winner for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

SATURDAY’S ACTION AT KEENELAND

Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint

The first Breeders’ Cup race of Saturday’s card has attracted two international runners, including Glass Slippers.

That filly was a close second last out in a Group 1 on ground labeled heavy (basically extremely soft in American terms) on a huge weekend in France. In the race before that, Glass Slippers won the Group 1 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, and two starts back she finished second to Battaash, one of the world’s top sprinters, in a Group 2 stakes. While her record looks good any time of year, something to keep in mind with Glass Slippers is that she always comes into form in the fall. The last two autumns, she has won Group 1 races, and overall she’s four-for-six during the season.

Equilateral is second on the also eligible list for the Turf Sprint, with one of those in the main body has first preference in another race. The 5-year-old gelding is a racing veteran with 22 starts under his belt, including 10 on the board finishes though he has had a bit of an up and down season this year with a win and a second in Dubai over the winter and then two on-the-board finishes in England from five starts. This race is at a distance Equilateral hasn’t faced before, but he’s won at both five furlongs and six furlongs so 5 ½ should be no problem. If he gets in the race, it’s not hard to imagine him finishing in the top three.

Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Pingxiang is on the also eligible list, but if he gets in, keep in mind that the Japanese-based colt made easy work of his Breeders’ Cup prep in his home country. By Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown, Pingxiang was a 17 ½ length winner in an allowance in late September. That race was his first going further than six furlongs, so that’s something to keep in mind though he may be getting thrown to the wolves a bit here. If he were to run and finish in the top three, it will be the second consecutive year an international horse accomplished the feat, with South Korea-trained Blue Chipper finishing third in the race last year. Pingxiang also has an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint so it’s possible we could see him there.

Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf

The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf has been kind to the Europeans, with their horses winning three of the last four editions and the other winner during this span, Sistercharlie, starting her career in Europe. European-based horses have a strong presence in this year’s renewal, with five guaranteed a spot in the main body of the field (though one of them, Tarnawa, has already committed to going to the Breeders’ Cup Turf) and three of the four in the also-eligible list.

Audarya was only a length from winning a second straight Group 1 last out when third in the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera Longines, which came after she won the Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet in August. Those races were the first two times she’s stepped up to group stakes level and both were on rain-affected ground, so that may be something to keep in mind with her if she races on firm turf at Keeneland, although she’s handled that condition before.

Keeneland clock racingOne of three runners in the World Championships for trainer Jessica Harrington, Cayenne Pepper is a four-time winner. In her most recent start, she won the Group 2 Moyglare Jewels Blandford Stakes on Sept. 13 by four lengths. This filly has kept good company this year. She was second in back-to-back Group 1s over the summer, one to Breeders’ Cup Turf hopeful Magical and also in the Irish Oaks. She also finished second to Breeders’ Cup Turf contender Tarnawa in a Group 3 in August. Cayenne Pepper hasn’t run at this 1 3/16-mile distance before but she has wins at seven furlongs to 1 ¼ miles so it shouldn’t be an issue.

This year’s Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Peaceful is looking to get a first win at further than a mile after losing the Group 1 Prix de Diane Longines by only a neck in a three-way photo finish over 1 5/16 miles (a furlong longer than the distance of this race). The filly is coming into this race off a 12th place finish in early October, though trainer Aidan O’Brien blamed that on the ground and said that her connections always thought the Filly and Mare Turf was a good race for her.

Terebellum is set to make her final start in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf as she searches for her first Group 1 victory. The filly has been close in three of her four Group 1 starts, losing by a head to Breeders’ Cup Mile hopeful Circus Maximus at Royal Ascot this year and then finishing third by only a half a length in another top-level race. Last year, the filly made her Group 1 debut in the 2019 Longines Prix de l’Opera where she finished fifth, but by only 1 ½ lengths.
Breeders’ Cup Sprint

Japan has sent Jasper Prince for this race, though he also holds an entry in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (his second preference). He is in the main body of this field, however, and is an interesting horse with five wins from 19 starts. He didn’t run well last out on a muddy track though he did win his prior start in September by 1 ¾ lengths and has only made three starts in 2020. A U.S.-bred horse, he will be the third Breeders’ Cup runner in the last two years and fourth overall for trainer Hideyuki Mori, whose Full Flat gave him his best career Breeders’ Cup finish with a fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF

One of the best milers in Europe based on accomplishment, Circus Maximus is one of seven internationals pre-entered for this race. He finished fourth to Uni last year in the Mile, and he looks to better that finish here after finishing second or third in three of his last four starts. Circus Maximus has raced five times so far this year, posting a head victory over Terebellum in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes to start his season. That was his third career Group 1 win. He’s only been campaigned at a mile this year, and Circus Maximus has been primed for this race – one of only a select few top-level turf races trainer Aidan O’Brien has not yet won.

The Mile will be a bit of a homecoming for Kameko. The colt was born next door to Keeneland at Calumet Farm before selling as a yearling in the pavilion just a few hundred feet from the turf course he’ll race on in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He’s been on quite the journey since selling at Keeneland in 2018 for $80,000, winning the first synthetic Group 1 as a 2-year-old last November before adding to his Group 1 haul in the Group 1 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas back in June – England’s first classic of the year. After running fourth in three consecutive races, Kameko returned to the winner’s enclosure in the Group 2 Shadwell Joel Stakes in late September. Expect the son of Kitten’s Joy to be primed for this start, he’s set to retire after this race to Tweenhills Stud in England.

One of those horses who has spent most of the season coming agonizingly close to a win without getting it, Lope Y Fernandez has run with some of the best throughout the year and has three Group 1 placings. He’ll need defections to get in, but if he runs in the Mile, we’ll see both the first- and third-place finishers of this year’s Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas in the race, as Lope Y Fernandez finished third to Siskin back in June. That’s the only time this colt has raced at a mile distance; he’s preferred shorter races throughout his career.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stables is known for racing in North America, but the operation also races in Europe. The Jacksons are bringing back One Master, who was fifth in the 2018 Mile, for another try. One Master is an incredibly accomplished runner as she’s a three-time winner of the Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret – one of the most prestigious sprint races in Europe. While most of her starts have come in sprints, One Master has also held her own over a mile with four top-four finishes at the distance in five starts. Those include a close neck loss in a Group 1 stakes and a third-place finish by a neck in the Queen Anne Stakes against males, both occurring in 2019.

Having trained for over 25 years, John Quinn is marking plenty of milestones in 2020. In July in registered his 1,000th career winner with Safe Voyage, who now becomes his first Breeders’ Cup starter. Safe Voyage was third by only a neck to One Master last out in the Prix de la Foret, but beat her two starts back in a Group 2 stakes at York Racecourse in August. He then won another Group 2 in September before his very good third in the Prix de la Foret. An extremely consistent horse, Safe Voyage has won 12 of 29 starts with six other top three finishes and is bringing perhaps the best form of his racing career into this race, as he’s hit the board in five of six 2020 starts. Mainly a seven-furlong horse, Safe Voyage has stepped up to a mile with success throughout his career. His Group 2 win over One Master came at that distance, and he also finished third in a Group 1 to close out 2019 .

Siskin is looking to get back on a winning track in the Mile, as he’s Heading to Japan for stud duty afterward. He won the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas to start his season and then was third against older horses in the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes next out with just a half-length separating him and runner-up Circus Maximus. He struggled in September’s Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, finishing fourth, but trainer Ger Lyons expects Siskin to put that behind him in Kentucky on a course many think will suit him well.
Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf

The final race with international representation this year, the Breeders’ Cup Turf sees five of the 11 horses in the race managed by European-based trainers. This race has proven to be a successful one for the Europeans over the past 10 years with only three American-based horses winning in that time.

Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has won four of the last 10 runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and sends one of the best turf horses in the world to Keeneland in Magical. If you’ve heard her name before when it comes to American racing, it’s because Magical was second in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf to Enable. In an extremely memorable duel, she finished second by just three-quarters of a length, one of the smallest margins of victory for Enable in a storied career. This time, Magical doesn’t have an Enable to contend with and is coming into this race with three Group 1 victories in 2020. She did finish third last out on soft turf but seems to be coming into this race in the form of her life, a scary proposition for the other runners.

It isn’t often you see a German-trained horse in a Breeders’ Cup race, with only 12 Germans running in the Breeders’ Cup through the years, and only one German-bred winner – Shirocco in the 2005 Turf. That changes this year with Henk Grewe sending Donjah to Keeneland after winning a Group 1 stakes two starts ago. She’s raced exclusively in Germany outside of one win in Italy, and Donjah was fourth by 1 ¾ lengths in the Group 1 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden last out. Overall, the filly has four wins in 10 starts with two of those victories coming at the mile-and-a-half distance she’ll race in the Turf.

John Gosden, trainer of Enable, looks for his second Turf victory in three years with two horses this year, led by Lord North. A six-time winner who has only been off the board twice in his career, Lord North easily won the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes earlier this year. He then finished a good third behind Magical in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes before finishing 10th in the Group 1 Qipco Champion Stakes, his most recent start. You can easily draw a line through the race with the bog at Ascot not suiting many of the horses who ran that day.

Always a good filly, Tarnawa has stepped up to another level this year with three victories in three starts for Dermot Weld. The Shamardal filly won a Group 3 stakes by 1 ¾ lengths in August and then won by three lengths in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille in September, both at 1 ½ miles. Most recently, she won the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera Longines by a neck going 1 ¼ miles in October. If Tarnawa can run to her 2020 form, she has a good chance to hit the board in the Longines Turf.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup; A Look at The Meeting’s Most Prestigious Offering

Sponsorship changes, a comparison it may never win, yet the Paddy Power Gold Cup continues to be a cornerstone event on the horse racing calendar and at the Cheltenham racecourse.

 

Formerly the BetVictor Gold Cup after Paddy Power pulled its sponsorship in 2015, before returning, the Paddy Power Gold Cup stands atop the features of The November Meeting held at Cheltenham. A foretaste of the bigger and more acclaimed Gold Cup run in March, at The Festival, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is the perfect opportunity for young riders to put the world and the rest of the pack on notice, as veterans look to hit their stride as the jump race season kicks off. For those of us looking for some flutter and action, the betting halls of Cheltenham may not be open due to the health pandemic, but finding the best offers for online horse betting has never been easier. Now, back to that Paddy Power Gold Cup.

 

A Grade 3 race, with a distance of 2m4f and heavy going, the Paddy Power Gold Cup lets 18 riders push through the chase for a 160,000 GBP prize money that is the biggest purse of the event and quite the jackpot for a Grade 3 outing. Around, since 1965, the Paddy Power Gold Cup precedes The November Meeting event, which only started in the year 2000. It is run on the second day of the event, known as Paddy Power Day, and is the star attraction of the tournament. Over the years, favourites have not really fared all that well, with horses outside the top three odds winning a majority of the races since 2002. But if you think this means the big names do not stamp their authority, then you thought wrong, as the top trainers flock in and almost always have their hands on the prize. Naunton trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, and his son and rider Sam Twiston-Davies, have both won twice in the last ten years, doing it in 2010 as a father-son trainer-rider duo, with Little Josh. National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls OBE, has also done it twice recently in 2012 and 2014, while David Pipe is still looking to emulate the kind of success his father Martin had.

 

At last year’s race, Happy Diva, jockeyed by Richard Patrick and trained by Kerry Lee, took the race at odds 14/1. While the official participants’ list is yet to be declared, punters can still expect a decent return on the offers and should not be against making bold picks, as this is not really a kind race to favourites. Looking past any return winners should not out of place, as history does not really favour them and is not even a common occurrence. A good look at the trainers is a good gauge of how well a horse will do, however, and of course a fair bit of luck.

THE CHELTENHAM OPEN; THREE DAYS OF HORSE RACING THRILL AND ACTION

For action-packed days, the Cheltenham racecourse will host the prelude to The Festival and the traditional start of the jump race season.

 

The Meeting will run from November 13th to 16th, 2020, albeit behind closed doors for this year’s event due to the coronavirus. The first and official start of the jump racing and National Hunt season after a summer of flat racing, the Meeting may only be 20 years old but does hold a special and significant place in the horse racing calendar. While the official race card for the event is yet to be made public, punters and those looking for some flutter can check out online betting hubs like the Twinspires Iowa for a piece of the action. Let us take a quick look at those three days of horse racing magic

Day one, Countryside Day

This is the first day of the Meeting, and while it is not the most popular, it is the official curtain-raiser and is never short of fun. Holding this year on Friday, 13th November, the Countryside Dya features six races, headlined by The Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase. The races are spread evenly between hurdles and chase events.

 

Day Two, Paddy Power Day

Probably the biggest day of all three, the Paddy Power Day packs up to seven racing events, including the famous Paddy Power Gold cup, previously known as the BetVictor cup. It is the oldest race in the event and has been around longer than the event itself. It is also the one with the biggest prize money and a prelude to the prestigious Gold Cup in The Festival. Other notable raceson the action-packed day are the Arkle Tropy Trial Chase, the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle, the JCB triumph Hurdle Trial, a rare flat race in the Karndean Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt. The November Amateur Riders Handicap Chase, and Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle round up a day of live music and shopping in local and international stalls set up around the racecourse.

 

Day Three, The November Meeting Day

Back to the traditional six races, the last day of The Meeting is headlined by the November Handicap Chase, the Schloer Chase, unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, and the Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. A National Hunt flat race is also featured in the Standard Open, while the ball gets rolling with the mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase. The final day is however, most famous for the myriad of activities around the racecourse, as people are encouraged to come in families, groups, and take advantage of all the fun attractions and side events, from camel racing, horse hoppers, face painting, parades, and much more.

 

This year’s action may be hampered but the action will still be very present and all fans will need to do is join a live stream or follow on social media portals that will be made available by organisers.

 

Latest Top 30 Melbourne Cup contenders

The top 24 horses will make the final cut for the 2020 Melbourne Cup on Nov. 3, but there will be changes over the coming week as several horses race to try and improve their standing and win a berth:

UPDATED ORDER OF ENTRY (horse, trainer, weight)

1. VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ), Chris Waller, 55.5kg

2. SIR DRAGONET (IRE), Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, 55.5kg

3. OCEANEX (NZ), Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr), 51.5kg

4. PERSAN, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, 51kg

5. ANTHONY VAN DYCK (IRE), Aidan O’Brien, 58.5kg

6. VOW AND DECLARE, Danny O’Brien, 57kg

7. AVILIUS (GB), James Cummings, 57kg

8. RUSSIAN CAMELOT (IRE), Danny O’Brien, 53.5kg

9. MASTER OF REALITY (IRE), Joseph O’Brien, 56kg

10. TWILIGHT PAYMENT (IRE), Joseph O’Brien, 55.5kg

11. TIGER MOTH (IRE), Aidan O’Brien, 52.5kg

12. MUSTAJEER (GB), Kris Lees, 55kg

13. STRATUM ALBION (GB), Willie Mullins, 55kg

14. PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB), Charlie Fellowes, 54.5kg

15. WARNING, Anthony & Sam Freedman, 53kg

16. SURPRISE BABY (NZ), Paul Preusker, 54.5kg

17. DASHING WILLOUGHBY (GB), Andrew Balding, 54.5kg

18. FINCHE (GB), Chris Waller, 54.5kg

19. ETAH JAMES (NZ), Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, 52.5kg

20. MIAMI BOUND (NZ), Danny O’Brien, 51kg

21. THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ), Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, 53.5kg

22. STEEL PRINCE (IRE), Anthony & Sam Freedman, 53.5kg

23. KING OF LEOGRANCE (FR), Danny O’Brien, 53.5kg

24. TRUE SELF (IRE), Willie Mullins, 52kg

25. ZEBROWSKI (NZ), Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes, 52kg

26. SAN HUBERTO (IRE), Matt Cumani, 53.5kg

27. NICKAJACK CAVE (IRE), Peter G Moody, 53.5kg

28. PLATINUM INVADOR (NZ), Peter G Moody, 53kg

29. ASHRUN (FR), Andreas Wohler, 53kg

30. HUSH WRITER (JPN), Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, 52.5kg

It’s an intriguing betting race already with Aidan O’Brien-trained Irish import Tiger Moth holding favouritism at $6 despite being yet to race in Australia and Sir Dragonet ($7.50) surging into second favoritism after its Cox Plate win.

Local hope Surprise Baby ($10), Caulfield Cup winner Very Elleegant ($11) and runner-up Anthony Van Dyck ($11) are also prominent in the market along with last year’s second-place getter Prince of Arran ($13) and Russian Camelot ($13).

Here are the leaders in the current betting market, via Bet365

When is the Melbourne Cup in Australia?

The Race That Stops a Nation is typically held on the first Tuesday in November and, despite the craziness of 2020, there is no exception this year.  As of right now, however, here are no fans expected at Flemington racecourse on November 3, 2020 for the Melbourne Cup or the Victoria Racing Carnival.

The classic field will be capped at 24 horses, contested at 3200 meters, and the purse is a whopping $8M.  Thinking about playing the Cup?  Here are 3 handicapping strategies for betting on Australian horse racing.

What is the Breeders’ Cup schedule at Keeneland?

See how the Melbourne Cup will work during this Covid-19 pandemic:

On the cusp of greatness, Mighty Heart didn’t check off many boxes for racing success

Wager on WoodbineMighty Heart has been a mighty good story.

Not just for his connections, but for the entire Canadian thoroughbred industry.

Like every other segment of society during the COVID-19 pandemic, horse racing struggled to gain traction in 2020. The start of the season was delayed, strict health protocols were put in place and, for the most part, racing has been contested without anyone in the stands.

But the exploits of the one-eyed wonder horse Mighty Heart has given racing fans, and sports fans in general, something to cheer for, a feel-good story to rally behind. The Josie Carroll-trained bay colt won the Queen’s Plate and the Prince of Wales Stakes this year and will attempt to become the first horse since Wando in 2003 to win the OLG Canadian Triple Crown on Saturday in the 129th Running of the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack.

All of which is pretty incredible, considering

Gosden and O’Brien vie for supremacy on British Champions Day

The European flat-racing season reaches its climax with British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday after a season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatari sponsors QIPCO have ensured it is a rich payday for the owners and few will begrudge them that as they have been credited with keeping the sport going this year even though prize money has been reduced.

The two pre-eminent trainers, Englishman John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien, from Ireland, look set for a battle royal.

AFP Sport highlights the three races where 69-year-old Gosden and O’Brien, 50, are most likely to battle for supremacy:

Stradivarius aims to …