Tag Archives: Thoroughbred

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Galloping in Style towards the Cheltenham Festival

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Galloping in Style towards the Cheltenham Festival

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“For me the boys winning at Cheltenham was as big a highlight as winning in Rio” Nick Skelton announced after “Superb Story” gave his sons Dan and Harry, their first Cheltenham Festival win.

“It’s the Olympics of the horseracing world” claims leading trainer Dan Skelton

The Cheltenham Festival is so world-famous, it has become known as simply “The Festival”. This year it runs from Tuesday 13th to Friday 18th March and it should be etched in your social calendar. Tickets start at £40 but because we regard our members so highly, Horse Scout will be giving away two pairs of tickets this year. Stay tuned to our Facebook page  and our Twitter for more information.

This four-day spectacular attracts the finest horses, jockeys and trainers in the world of Jump racing and remains one of Europe’s most prestigious sporting events. In fact it is fourth best attended event in the country and the £4.5 million of prize money makes it one of the biggest prize funds in UK sport.

The racing scene is always a cultural melting pot but The Festival epitomises that more than most, attracting the real racing enthusiasts from all walks of life. When you put 260,000 people together with common ground- a passion for horses, the countryside and great sporting action, it can only result in one thing- a fabulous sense of occasion.

The festival commences with Champions Day on Tuesday 13th. It includes a packed seven-race card including the most important 2 mile hurdle race of the entire jumping season, the Unibet Champion Hurdle.

Wednesday 14th March is Ladies Day and this year the competition is for ladies only and is all about bringing colour and style to The Festival. There is the chance to win a brand new MINI ONE CAR from W.O. Lewis and Sytner Solihull, as well as other splendid prizes. Whether you want to flash your finest fur, parade your best hat or give a nod to your favourite horse’s colours, get ready to #ColourMeMarch.

St Patrick’s Day on Thursday 15th March draws the luck of the Irish to Cheltenham. The whole of The Festival has a strong Irish flavour to it but on Thursday, it is loud and proud and you can enjoy Irish music around the course throughout the day. As well as the ambience, the racing is top class with the JLT Novices’ Chase, the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and the Ryanair Steeple Chase to enjoy.

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The climax of the entire jump racing season is Friday’sTimico Cheltenham Gold Cup. This really is the golden crown of jump racing and never fails to  be the greatest spectacle.  The Timico Gold Cup is a race associated with the elite of the sport and nothing can rival the Cheltenham roar as the horses charge up the famous hill.

The Festival really does offer something for all (erm adult) interests. As a Cheltenham die-hard for a decade or so, I aim to indulge in the whole social landscape. Perhaps what I love best, is weighing up horse flesh in the paddock. Usually I swap notes with one of the many Irish folk, who seem to know more about the nags than their own flesh and blood. We will talk breeding, handicaps and ground conditions, then I’ll head down to the course to throw some bad money after good at the bookmakers. Although rarely the Tote, as a like supporting the little guys who are stationed near the track. There is something quite antiquated and ironically pure about swapping cash for a betting slip with a man in a tweed cap and a cockney accent.

I’ll often try to latch on to someone, to get an invite into to Owners and Trainers for spot of people watching and a great afternoon tea. If I am lucky enough, I’ll be invited to a box for more champagne and the best the views of the course and the race.

You can expect food and drink for every taste. There is a generous scattering of champagne bars and about every ten paces- another Guinness watering hole. So be aware of wobbly drinkers if you’re wearing your best cashmere. That sticky brew could ruin your day as well as your wardrobe.

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The selection of cuisine options, is nothing short of a sensory odyssey. New for this year is The Theatre @Festival, a Pan Asian Theatre restaurant experience situated on the third floor of the course facing suites, giving guests unrivalled views over the final fences of the racecourse and offering a unique culinary and visual feast.  Designed to offer a premium but casual environment, relaxation and attention to detail are the order of the day along with simply exquisite dining influenced from the continents of Asia to the foothills of Cleeve Hill.

Michelin star chef, Albert Roux is back in his popular Chez Roux Restaurant. And there are eleven other top quality restaurants on offer, over The Festival with a range of different packages available to suit all requirements and most budgets.

No sporting event would be the same without the inevitable burgers, pies and chips. Do not knock it when you know it really is the only way to help stave off tomorrow’s hangover.

For many seasoned racegoers, a picnic in the car park is a big part of the day. Cars start to arrive as soon as the gates open at 10.30 and the pop of champagne corks can be heard within minutes. The downside is that you might pull the short straw to become designated driver and the traffic coming into Cheltenham is historically horrendous.

The Cheltenham experience would not be complete without losing your senses- and your savings, in the Shopping Village. There are 70 stands with a unique boutique feel, mainly involving fashion, art and gifts. This is the place to discover exceptional pieces you won’t find on the high street.

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To book tickets visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0344 579 3003.

 

By Ellie Kelly

Thoroughbred Eventing Stallion Power Blade

Thoroughbred Eventing Stallion Power Blade

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Thoroughbred Eventing Stallions are an essential genetic improver bringing quality, stamina and toughness along with a quick thinking will go attitude.

Breed in Power and Influence with the Event Horse Stallion Power Blade standing at Harthill Stud

This years Badminton Horse Trials commentators hot topic of conversation was the stamina of the horses and their ability to keep up their performance towards the end of the course. Thomas Reed Ph.D.has has written many papers on breeding and the influence of the warmblood and has, recently turned his attention to the need to the quality injection needed and provided by the Thoroughbred for the event horse.
Nina Barbour and Oliver Townends Stud, Harthill, offers all this quality and power in their stallion, Power Blade differs from other thoroughbred stallions in that he has a jumping pedigree. His father, Fine Blade, sire of 4* The Wexford Lady, was a top showjumper. Fine Blade also sired The Demon Barber, winner of 10 National Hunt races. His dam’s sire, Forties Field is an influential sire of competition horses. His full sister, Fine Fields, evented internationally in the USA. As a young horse, Power Blade showjumped to 1.30m level before retiring to stud. In 2005 he was crowned Croker Cup Champion, a prestigious class for stallions, at the Royal Dublin Horse Show. Power Blade’s quality and versatility as a thoroughbred stallion are proven by the success of his progeny, he has progeny competing internationally in the disciplines of eventing, show jumping and winning in the show ring.
However its not just jumping that must, according to Tom Reeds paper on the influence of the Thoroughbred in the event field, be chosen as a prerequisite when breeding for the event market. Tom Reed believes we have a problem: showjumping and dressage breeders are not selecting on certain other traits associated with Thoroughbred stallions that are required for medium and upper level eventing horses: great stamina, courage, efficient jumping style, and gaits that are not overly elastic or “round”. These are the very thing that true “blood” breeding will bring to the progeny and a stallions like Power Blade are what are needed to bring theses traits to the top echelon of the eventing field.
This classic bay thoroughbred, Power Blade, stands at 16.2hh and is already has Proven Progeny in Eventing:
“Power Line” 2* event horse coming up the grades in the UK, previously campaigned with Antoinette McKeowen. Already clocked some great results at international level. Now ridden by Martyn Johnson to Advanced level.
“Power Drive” In 2014 he was the champion at the Novice Final, and has been consistent to 1* level under Oliver Townend.
“BGS Juicy Fruit” 2* Event mare, selected in Ireland for the World Championships for young horses at Le Lions d’Angers in 2014.
“Wind Power” Eventing in the USA
Tom Reeds criteria is straight forward “I expect the stallion to possess the same athletic traits and riding horse qualities I demand in warmblood stallions. Success on the race track is of no significance. If the stallion has been used in breeding, I want to see empirical evidence that he is producing promising
progeny; if the stallion is young or has not been used in breeding because he has been in sport, I want to see empirical evidence that he has the riding horse qualities required for an eventing horse. ( Source: A Critical Shortage Of Blood-Tom Reed published in Horse International, 2015 Volume 3, pp 56 – 57.)
In which case Power Blade fulfills this and offers more through his pedigree which you can find on www.horsescout.co.uk on his profile