Tag Archives: Race Horse

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THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL- WHO, HOW AND WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH IT THIS YEAR.

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Tuesday 12th - Friday 15th March 

 

£100,000,000- the economic impact of The Festival on the local community each year.

262,637 people attended over four days last year

£4.59 million in prize money

40,000 hospitality guests

100 helicopter movements per day

45,000 bread rolls eaten

265,000 pints of Guinness served

120,000 bottles of wine consumed

45,000  afternoon teas served

£2.35 million was withdrawn from the cash machines at the Festival last year.

£45 million spent on redeveloping Cheltenham

 

But beyond big bucks, betting, boozing and carb loading, The Cheltenham Festival presented by Magners, is a celebration of everything that is great about horseracing. It never fails to deliver sporting action that makes your heart want to explode. A clash of the best- the world’s greatest horses, jump jockeys and trainers. It will always throw up inspiring and moving tales of triumph and heartbreak. And if that is not enough to lift your heart, it also embodies the sense of occasion that we Brits do so well. The chance to flirt and flaunt and embrace the social scene, the fashion, and style. Who would have guessed twenty years ago, that tweed would become ever become sexy?

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Horse Scout will be there to soak up the entertainment and most importantly the sport. As ever it will be a four day spectacular, this year running from Tuesday 12thto Friday 15th March.

 

Tuesday kicks off with Champions Day and the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30pm. The headline race is the Unibet Champion Hurdle which has been won for the last two years by Buveur D’Air. The Nicky Henderson champ will be returning to defend his title again and if he wins, he will go into the hall of fame with greats like Istabraq who dominated the race from 1988-2000. The crowd will undoubtedly be behind Lalor in the Racing Post Arkle. Trained by the small-stable of Kayleigh Woollacott who has taken over from her husband, after he tragically took his own life last year.

 

Wednesday is Ladies Day. The fashionistas and socialites are out in force but for racing, it’s all about speed and stamina. The Betway Queen Mother Champions Chase is one of the most high-octane races of the entire week as the fastest two-milers in the business, cream it around a demanding Steeplechase course. All eyes will be on Altior who goes for a second win and has not been beaten in 17 starts over jumps. The RSA Novices’ Chase, at over three miles, is the test for true stayers. Whilst the Cross-Country Chase is always enthralling and perhaps commands more respect after last year’s winner, Tiger Roll went on to win at the Grand National soon after. He will be back to stake his claim this year. Perhaps trainer Gordon Elliott sees this as another dress rehearsal for the National next month.

 

The St Patrick’s Day crowd on Thursday is always a hearty one and for racing enthusiasts, it is set to be an awesome equine lineup. The Ryanair Chase, the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle, the JLT Novices’ Chase, and the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle are all Grade One races (the best) which brings out the crème de la crème of the National Hunt fraternity. Paisley Park, trained by Emma Lavelle will be the favourite for the Stayers Hurdle and another moving story if he wins for his owner Andrew Gemmell who was born blind. Plus Love Island’s Chris Hughes joins the ITV team to get involved in the banter and opinion.

 

Friday is Gold Cup Day which rounds off the week with the most coveted prize of all. The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is the race they all want to win- trainers, jockeys, owners and punters alike. Nothing beats the “Cheltenham roar” as the world’s best horses thunder up that grueling hill to the winning post, cheered on by 70,000 onlookers in the stands and many millions around the world. This year sees some legendary horses in the entries list. We will never forget that heroic battle between Native River and Might Bite last year and if all goes to plan, both horses will be running again. Let’s not forget “Presenting Percy”, considered in Ireland as the “People’s Champion”. It will also be a first Gold Cup Challenge for Bryony Frost, whose strong partnership with Frodon has seen the pair win three of her last four races. If it was to be their day, Bryony would be the first female jockey in history to win the Gold Cup.

 

If you can’t be there in body, be there in spirit by tuning into live ITV Racing, on ITV daily from Tuesday to Friday 1pm-4.30 pm. The Opening Show is on ITV4 from 9.30-10.30 am. Delivered by the BAFTA award-winning team of Ed Chamberlain and Francesca Cumani and the fun and knowledgeable crew of Oli Bell, A P McCoy, Mick Fitzgerald, Matt Chapman, Alice Plunkett, Luke Harvery and Brough Scott amongst others

 

Although if you are planning to join the fun and look “Insta ready”, don’t forget our friends at Glow & Dry. The luxury styling concierge and their experienced team will be on hand to travel to your home or hotel, offering hair and make-up to have you looking your very best.

 

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WEG FOCUS: ARCTIC SOUL

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10 things you may not know about Gemma Tattersall’s  eventer, Arctic Soul aka “Spike”

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  1. Born in Ireland he was bred by Michael Whitty.
  2. He started life as a racehorse but he didn’t win a thing. “He was rubbish” says Gemma.
  3. He was rescued off the meat truck in Ireland by Marti Rudd, a Performance horse dealer who bought him for 500 euros. Nicki Roncoroni purchased him for Philip Kerr who rode him for a number of years.  Nikki produced him to 1* level and then Gemma was given the ride in 2012 when he was eight years old.
  4. His first event with Gemma was a novice at Tweseldown in 2012 which he won.  He went from novice to 3* in a year.
  5. His favourite things are going cross-country and rolling. He absolutely loves water and will paw the ground to make a splash. He loves puddles and will find the muddiest wet puddle to roll in.
  6. He eats Gain horse feeds: freedom mix and freedom nuts, hay and haylage, plenty of grass.
  7. The last person who fell off him was Sarah (one of Team Tatts grooms) when he bucked her off.
  8. What he wished he knew at six years old- eg bucking in the dressage warm up is a waste of energy.
  9. His favourite event is Burghley according to Gemma.
  10. What he could not live without: Gemma, his best friend and his field mate Pamero 4

 

Gemma Tattersall and “Spike” are Ambassadors of Equine Charity,  The Brooke and support their “EVERY HORSE REMEMBERED” campaign. www.thebrooke.org

Horsey? You should know this!

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Paddock Side… National Hunt Racing, by Horse Scout racing  specialist Penny!

National Hunt is divided into two sections, hurdles and steeplechases. There are also races called ‘bumpers’ which are flat races for jumpers. However, for the purpose of our paddock observations I am ignoring these.

Quite often horses that have not shown any promise on the flat will be schooled and sent out to try their luck over hurdles. Many also start their career as hurdlers and remain so, or go on to steeplechase. A good example of this was Desert Orchid, a very famous thoroughbred that most of us will have heard of whether we are into racing or not.

Dessie (as he was affectionately known) began his career in 1983 over hurdles and had enough success to warrant being rated top class although he was not setting the world alight.  In 1985 he was switched to steeplechasing and it was then that a star emerged.  This discipline suited him so well that he became and remains one of the greatest chasers of all time.

He was a natural front runner, it was not in his nature to be a follower, a spectacular jumper, fast, accurate and immensely scopy – and had a will of iron. Giving up or giving in was not in his remit. What did we see as he walked around the paddock?

A big upstanding grey with a beautiful head, kind honest eye, good length of rein, deep chest (heart room) and very powerful quarters (big engine). His gait was active, straight and balanced with well engaged hocks, generating an ease of movement that belied his size.

In short, exactly what we are looking for in a horse that has the potential to outshine the rest.

So is that it then – well no. The good jumper comes in many guises and it is by no means a given that s/he will so obviously fit Dessie’s description. We can’t discount the compact or rangy, workmanlike or flashy, if the overall confirmation and attitude is good. When it comes down to it only one thing is going to make a good national hunt horse; it’s jumping ability. No matter how fast between fences, how balanced on the flat or how good it’s staying power, if the horse makes jumping errors ground will be lost and at worse, mistakes may result in a fall.

A little anecdote:

The Duke of Wellington’s famous horse Copenhagen, who was a grandson of the great racehorse Eclipse (and himself successfully raced), survived countless battles as a war horse. The most well known of which was the battle of Waterloo, where he carried the Duke for 17 hours without respite. After Copenhagen died, the Duke was quoted as saying, “There may have been faster horses, no doubt many handsomer, but for bottom and endurance I never saw his fellow”.

By bottom, he refers to Copenhagen’s courage – something our top class jumper must possess. Remember Desert Orchid’s ‘will of iron’.