Category Archives: Racing

Hats Off to the Horses: Bint Marscay

Honoring the life of our sweet BINT MARSCAY. Another gorgeous couture creation from Sally at MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®. All proceeds benefit Old Friends. Special thanks to jockey Chris Landeros, his wife Shelby, and son Beckham for modeling. As always, thanks to chief photographer for Daily Racing Form and 6-time Eclipse Award winner, Barbara D. Livingston, for her stunning images. Auction ends Feb 11 at 8pm EST. These hats have raised over $35k for Old Friends!  Click to bid.

Click for more about this hat.

Click to learn about Bint Marscay.

Click to learn about the annual hat program.

For more information: (502) 863-1775; www.oldfriendsequine.org

Next Staying Star? 3 Candidates for National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham Festival

Nicky Henderson has the National Hunt Chase ante post favourite in his stable this season” (CC BY 2.0) by danheap77.

While the RSA Chase has considerable claims for being the classiest race for up-and-coming stayers over fences, its supremacy at the Cheltenham Festival has come under threat in recent years.

This is because horses that have won or placed in the National Hunt Chase – also for novices – during the last three years went on to land some of the most valuable stayers’ races in 2018.

What’s the difference between the two Festival events? The RSA is over three miles and holds Grade 1 status, but the National Hunt Chase is a four-mile Grade 2 contest for amateur riders only.

Despite that, the likes of Native River (Cheltenham Gold Cup), Sizing Tennessee (Ladbokes Trophy), and Tiger Roll (Grand National) have all run well in the inferior race, but then gone on to even greater things.

Who could be the next staying star of jumps racing? Here are three candidates for the 2019 National Hunt Chase.

OK Corral

One of the few races reigning British champion trainer Nicky Henderson hasn’t won is this one. In OK Corral, he has a hugely talented Mahler gelding who is lightly-raced for a nine-year-old and unbeaten in two starts over fences.

As OK Corral represents leading Irish owner J. P. McManus, who since 1995 has had more winners of the National Hunt Chase than anybody, he’s a serious prospect. Crack amateur jockey Derek O’Connor partnered the horse to his second chase victory over the stiff fences of Warwick at Listed level – strongly suggesting this race is the plan.

Bookmakers were quick to make OK Corral ante post favourite off the back of that victory, and he is now 100/30 with Betfair in the latest Cheltenham betting. If getting the trip, and he has a stamina laden pedigree being out of a Flemensfirth mare, then the Henderson hoodoo in the National Hunt Chase could well end.

Ballyward

Willie Mullins holds the rare feat of riding and training two winners of this race. The Closutton master handler saddled Rathvinden to the spoils 12 months ago and impressive Naas Grade 3 winner Ballyward is the sole representative from his yard in the early closing entries.

Mullins’ son Patrick is one of the top amateur riders in Ireland and Emerald Isle raiders have won four of the last eight renewals of the National Hunt Chase. Ballyward was sired by Flemensfirth and placed fourth in both staying novice hurdles at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals last season.

Connections didn’t mess about over the smaller obstacles, giving the seven-year-old just four starts, but he’s taken his form to a new level now sent chasing. While Ballyward may seem young to be taking on a four-mile marathon, he fits the age profile of most winners since 2005; so, at a general 6/1 with bookies, he is respected for an Irish stable that targets the Cheltenham Festival.

Impulsive Star

As the National Hunt Chase is over an extreme distance, there are very few obvious trials for it. One horse who has acquitted himself admirably in a real stamina test is last year’s fourth Impulsive Star, who retained novice status for this season.

Although the Neil Mulholland trained nine-year-old was beaten 24 lengths by Rathvinden and also finished behind gutsy mare Ms Parfois and Sizing Tennessee 12 months ago, and has something to find on Plumpton form with OK Corral, he took a big step forward last time out. Impulsive Star is now rated a 7lb better horse because he’s won a race over fences in the Grade 3 Classic Chase over 3m 5f at Warwick.

Given his victory in a competitive staying handicap like that under the owner’s son and former Cheltenham Gold Cup winning rider Sam Waley-Cohen, an each-way punt looks great value at 14/1 with William Hill and others.

Will Paisley Park Prove to Be the Real Deal?

The 2019 Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and the trainers and jockeys are busy preparing their horses for what could be the biggest race of their season. For Paisley Park and everyone involved with him, there is a real feeling that he could be the next big horse.

With four wins from four races this season, he is already proving that he has what it takes to go all the way in the sport. Although Paisley Park isn’t running in the main event at the festival, the Gold Cup, he is the current favourite to win the Stayers’ Hurdle on St Patrick’s Thursday, according to Paddy Power.

His trainer Emma Lavelle is confident of victory in the race at Cheltenham and is fearful of just one horse. She said, “How could he not be made favourite?

“I don’t think there is anyone this side of the water who wasn’t in the Cleeve on Saturday, and with last year’s winner Penhill not having run this season he would have to come over in tip-top shape. Then Paisley Park would have a fight on his hands.”

It’s hard to blame her for being so confident given Paisley Park’s incredible start to the season. His first race this season, the Racing UK Handicap Hurdle at Aintree, saw him set off as the joint favourite with Lygon Rock and Byron Flyer. In the final 100 yards of the race he pulled away from Lygon Rock and won the race by 2 ½ lengths.

Race two of the season for the Irish thoroughbred was the Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock. In the Grade 3 race he was the third favourite behind the favourite First Assignment and second favourite Captain Cattistock. He finished the race strong, defeating 20/1 longshot Shades of Midnight by just ½ a length.

In the Grade 1 JLT Hurdle at Ascot, he had pre-race odds of 8/1, making him the fifth favourite to win the race. Despite starting slowly, Paisley Park steadily gained ground on the leaders and after the last, he drove ahead and maintained pace to finish two lengths clear of second place West Approach.

For the first time this season Paisley Park ran as the favourite. The Grade 2 galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle saw the 100/30 favourite obliterate the rest of the field, taking the lead before the last. Finished impressively and finished ahead of West Approach for the second time in a row, but this time finished an incredible 12 lengths clear.

He is currently the 9/4 favourite to win the Stayers’ Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, ahead of Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy. Last year’s winner Penhill is the fourth favourite at 5/1, but having not run so far this season, it is likely to take a monumental effort to defeat the in-form Paisley Park. Jockey Aidan Coleman has ridden him to four victories in four races and if he were to go on to win the Stayers’ Hurdle, then perhaps people will start to see the potential in this horse.

Cheltenham Festival: Most Memorable Gold Cup Wins

The highlight of Cheltenham Festival and by far the world’s most prestigious jump race, the Gold Cup has provided some of the most iconic and memorable moments that racing has ever seen.

The gruelling 3 miles and 2 ½ furlong track is not for the faint-hearted, and only those who have the stamina and willpower will be in with a chance of success.

Here, we take a look back at the most famous Gold Cup wins ahead of the 2019 event – where you’ll find all the latest ante-post prices right here: https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plus/horse-racing.

Desert Orchid 1989

Desert Orchid was undoubtedly one of the finest jumpers racing has witnessed, and his success throughout the 1980s was incomparable. ‘Dessie’ won the King George VI Chase at Kempton four times, but the Gold Cup was considered beyond him due to the harder course and longer distance.

In 1989, ‘Dessie’ proved all his doubters wrong when he clinched the Gold Cup in his first ever run, pipping Yahoo by one and a half lengths. Although he was losing ground on Yahoo with the post in sight, ‘Dessie’ called up all of his strength and determination to start gaining on his rival and clinch the coveted prize at the post.

Best Mate 2002-2004

Best Mate wrote himself into Gold Cup folklore when he completed a hat-trick of successive victories, the last being in 2004. It was the first time a trio of consecutive victories was achieved since the legendary Arkle in the 1960s, which further highlights just how good Best Mate was in his prime.

Perhaps it was Best Mate’s second win at Prestbury Park which was the finest win, romping home by ten lengths from Truckers Tavern and Harbour Pilot who filled the places. Although his victories in 2002 and 2004 were much closer, Best Mate’s record in the Gold Cup is imperious.

Long Run 2011

The youthful legs of Long Run proved to be the deciding factor in the 2011 Gold Cup, after he burst past Kauto Star and Denman to take top spot. The race itself was billed to be a classic, with a really strong field present.

Midnight Chase was leading for the majority, but after fading away, it gave Kauto Star, Denman, Imperial Commander, and Long Run the incentive to clinch glory, whereby the last showed his worth to charge through and take first place.

Denman 2008

The 2008 Gold Cup was arguably one of the most entertaining races in the modern era, which saw two of the finest jumpers in the business go head to head. Kauto Star and Denman had built up quite the rivalry prior to the Gold Cup in 2008, with the latter coming out on top.

Kauto Star was having something of an off day, which enabled Denman to win by seven lengths and clinch his one and only Gold Cup. It was unfortunate that Denman couldn’t increase his tally of wins at Prestbury Park but “The Tank” enjoyed a stellar career before retiring in 2011.

Lord Windermere 2014

The longest-priced winner since Cool Dawn in 1998, Lord Windermere wasn’t enjoying his finest form as Cheltenham Festival approached. Defeats in the Hennessy Gold Cup, Lexus Chase, and Irish Gold Cup saw the five-year-old’s price drop to 20/1.

However, on the day of the race, Lord Windermere tore up the form book and beat 16/1 shot On His Own by a short-head. meaning a steward’s enquiry ensued but the Willie Mullins-trained thoroughbred was victorious after a thrilling encounter.

Australian Champion Bint Marscay Euthanized

Bint Marscay at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 29, 2019 – 1993 Golden Slipper winner Bint Marscay has died. The 28-year-old mare, who resided at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, KY, was euthanized Monday evening due to complications of chronic arthritis.

Bred and campaigned in Australia, the daughter of Marscay (AUS) out of the Sir Tristram mare Eau D’etoile (NZ), had 10 starts Down Under, winning four of them.

A champion 2-year-old, the outstanding filly won the Kindergarten Stakes at Warwick Farm and the Magic Night Stakes (GR2) at Rosehill before capping her champion status with a win in the Tooheys Golden Slipper Stakes (GR1).

Bint Marscay retired from racing in 1994 with career earnings of $1,034,821.

As a broodmare Bint Marscay foaled three stakes winners, including Bollinger, who won the Coolmore Classic (GR1) and later foaled Kentucky Derby contender Friesan Fire.

Relocated to the U.S. at Vinery, Kentucky, Bint Marscay was plagued by reproductive issues and did not produce a foal after 1999. She was retired to Old Friends in 2013.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Bint Marscay,” said longtime trainer Richard Freedman via email. “She was one of the greatest 2-year-olds to race in Australia, and she remains a yardstick by which Australian 2-year-olds are still measured today. She gave me, my family, and her racing connections so much joy.

“I thank Old Friends for taking such loving care of her in her retirement; she deserved no less,” Freedman added. “Her final years were happy, and her passing was peaceful. RIP old girl; you will be remembered.”

“She was a wonderful race mare, a wonderful broodmare, and a wonderful retiree,” said Old Friends’ Michael Blowen. “We’re so thankful to Vinery for donating her to Old Friends and allowing us to care for her in her final years.

“She was deeply loved by everyone here,” Blowen continued, “but especially by our dear friend and resident photographer Laura Battles. She was Binty’s ‘special person,’ who doted on her every single day. They had a very special relationship.”

“Bint Marscay just stole my heart three years ago,” said Battles, “and she took a big chunk of it with her when she left us yesterday.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Who Are the Irish Bankers at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival?

Cheltenham Racecourse” (CC BY 2.0) by UAV Filming

Irish raiders were especially dominant at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, with warm favourites Footpad, Samcro, and Tiger Roll among those scoring big victories.

There are certain races at the four-day meeting in mid-March that runners hailing from the Emerald Isle do particularly well in, but where do the banker bets lie this year? Here, we take a look at the main horses from Ireland with the best chances.

Apple’s Jade

Powerful owners Gigginstown House Stud have the world at their feet with tough mare Apple’s Jade, who has taken her form against the geldings to dizzying new heights on her side of the Irish Sea this season. The Gordon Elliott trained seven-year-old has won her three starts this season by increasingly wide margins and holds Cheltenham Festival entries in the Champion Hurdle over 2m, against her own sex in the Mares’ race and the 3m Stayers’ Hurdle.

If the ante-post markets are any indicator, then Cheltenham betting odds 2019 of 11/8 with William Hill suggests a third run in the Mares’ Hurdle is the route Apple’s Jade will take. The Champion Hurdle looks a muddle, however, and she’s running in the Irish equivalent at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Betfair are as big as 16/1 Apple’s Jade is redirected to the 2m championship race at Cheltenham before contesting the Irish Champion Hurdle. As for the Stayers’, she is two from two over three miles and a best-price 10/1 with the same bookmaker about that event.

Davy Russell in the Presenting Percy colours” (CC BY 2.0) by Florian Christoph

Presenting Percy

It’s bold to suggest any horse winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a banker, but Presenting Percy has sat and watched all his rivals throw up more questions than answers en route to the blue riband event of steeplechasing. Pat Kelly’s stable star has done nothing wrong in contrast, and finally made his anticipated return to action when successfully defending the Galmoy Hurdle over 3m at Gowran Park.

That may seem like an unusual preparation for the elite staying chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but Presenting Percy took that en route to landing the RSA at the meeting 12 months ago. The bookies have shortened him up for Gold Cup glory as a result, with betway going a standout 100/30.

Last year’s one-two Native River and Might Bite have doubts hanging over them. Will the former get the soft ground he needs to be shown to best effect? The latter, meanwhile, has flopped in two starts this season and failed to defend his King George VI Chase crown at Kempton over Christmas.

While young improvers like Clan Des Obeaux and Kemboy have staked their claims, they simply don’t have the Festival pedigree of Presenting Percy. He won the ultra-competitive Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle two years ago before tasting RSA Chase success as a novice last season.

Tiger Roll

Grand National hero Tiger Roll is also Gigginstown owned and trained by Elliott, and already boasts three victories at the Cheltenham Festival. This nine-year-old landed the Triumph Hurdle as a juvenile, then proved his stamina with a win in the 4m National Hunt Novices’ Chase two years ago before delivering again in the 3m 6f Cross Country Chase.

Tiger Roll relishes running in the spring and clearly loves Cheltenham. Winning another Grand National is a big ask for him, because only Red Rum in modern times has done it, but the Cross Country is a conditions race and he goes there fresh as a general 5/2 chance with bookmakers to defend his crown.

Winx and Cracksman Named 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorses

Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Crowned Longines World’s Best Horse Race for Third Consecutive Year

London (Great Britain) / Saint-Imier (Switzerland), January 23, 2019 – Swiss watchmaking brand Longines and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) were proud to honor the top Thoroughbred racehorses and horse race during the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorse and Longines World’s Best Race ceremony, held at the iconic Landmark hotel in London on Wednesday, January 23. The Australian mare Winx and the British horse Cracksman were both crowned the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorses. Accelerate, from America, was ranked third. The 2018 Longines World’s Best Horse Race award was given to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the third time.

With an equal rating of 130, Winx and Cracksman were together declared the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorses. Winx has ranked in the Top 10 of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings since 2015 and has been the highest rated filly/mare in the world since 2016. In 2018, she claimed overall top honors during a season that culminated in her becoming the only horse in history to win the Ladbrokes Cox Plate four times.

As co-winner, Cracksman impressed as well, with his trademark victory coming in the QIPCO Champion Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot, where Longines is a Main Partner and the Official Timekeeper. The British runner was campaigned by the same connections as Golden Horn, the 2015 highest rated turf horse in the world. Cracksman’s jockey in 2018 was Frankie Dettori, who was named Longines World’s Best Jockey in 2018 as well as in 2015.

Accelerate, with a rating of 128, was honored as the third-highest rated horse in the world during the ceremony, which for the first time was held at the iconic Landmark hotel in London. Accelerate was the dominant older horse in America in 2018, and Longines was proud to time his great victory in the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

This classification is established by international handicappers according to the performance of the horses in top international races. Last year, Arrogate from the United States was named the 2017 Longines World’s Best Racehorse following his epic victories in the Pegasus World Cup in Florida and the Dubai World Cup.

The representatives of the three winning horses were presented with elegant Longines watches. The connections of Winx and Cracksman also received a replica of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse vase from IFHA representatives.

One Ceremony, Two Awards

On this occasion, Longines and the IFHA were also proud to award the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as the 2018 Longines World’s Best Horse Race. Longines is proud to be the Official Partner and Official Timekeeper of this mythic race that takes in Paris and attracts the best horses, breeders, trainers, and owners from all over the world.

France Galop President Edouard de Rothschild was in London this Wednesday to accept the award. He was presented with an elegant Longines timepiece, a commemorative plate and a replica trophy representing a proud horse head. The first four finishers of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2018 were Enable, Sea of Class, Cloth Of Stars, and Waldgeist. The Arc also won the award in 2017 and was the inaugural winner of the Longines World’s Best Horse Race Award in 2015.

The Longines World’s Best Horse Race award recognizes the best-rated race of the highest-rated Group 1 international races as established by a panel of international handicappers. The ratings of the top four finishers in each race serve as basis for the assessment.

Ana Martins Communications
info@anamartinspr.com
www.anamartinspr.com

Could There Be a 2019 Grand National with No Irish Runners?

Our lives have been consumed with Brexit for more than two years and with things getting down to the wire, there are no signs of it stopping any time soon.

The number of industries likely to be affected by the current situation is far too many to count. But one that will definitely be affected is British Horseracing. With Prime Minister Teresa May’s Brexit deal getting the big thumbs down last week, those at the BHA are bracing themselves for its impact on the rest of the racing season, particularly the Grand National at Aintree on April 6th 2019.

A race known for its notoriously difficult fences, a huge portion of the entries come from Ireland. The likes of Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins and last year’s winning trainer, Gordon Elliott, enter a significant amount of potential runners.

As those entries get whittled down through the declaration stages, more than a third end up taking part in the race. In 2018, last minute withdrawals from Regal Encore and Walk In The Mill saw the number of starters reduced from 40 to 38 and 15 of them were brought from Ireland.

So why would Brexit impact the Grand National? The answer is simple. The UK, Ireland, and France are signatories on the Tripartite Agreement. This is an amendment to an existing European directive that allows the free movement of horses within those three countries. If Britain leaves the EU with no deal, then the Tripartite Agreement ceases to exist. And if it doesn’t exist then there is no free movement of horses from Ireland to the UK.

Bookmakers have cut the odds of no Irish runners in the Grand National to 16/1, which may seem quite drastic. However, that’s due to an unusual increase on Brexit bets. It’s also highly unlikely.

The British Horseracing Authority are keeping a close eye on the political developments and are determined to ensure that the Grand National still takes place with the best horses taking part.

“We are watching the political discussions around Brexit very closely and talk frequently to government,” a BHA spokesperson said.

Furthermore, a statement on the BHA’s website states clarifies the situation even more.

It reads: “In a No deal scenario the same rules and laws will apply the day before and after exit, with further changes agreed over time by the UK Parliament.

“Therefore, in broad terms, the starting point for the UK Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry is that rules and regulations relating to imports and activities from the EU to the UK will remain the same, in the short term.”

The BHA have put in place plenty of measures to ensure that racing continues as usual and thankfully, for fans of the Grand National, it means the odds of no Irish runners lining up is slim to none.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Races into New Year with Timed and Championship Events

No Bull Grand Slam competitor showing her speed at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. (Photo courtesy of SD Photography)

Jacksonville, FL (January 11, 2019) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center rang in the New Year with a dash for cash that attracted the country’s top barrel racers. The No Bull Grand Slam barrel race was held January 4-6, 2019 and paid out more than $100,000. Entries totaled 1,000 for the weekend-long event.

Teenager Michael Duffie was crowned the Open 1D Champion riding Reclaim Fame. The 13-year-old rider also finished fourth with a second horse, JJ Three Famous Bars. The young rider, who has also won a youth world championship through the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA), outran a field of tough competitors.

“Some of the top barrel racers in country were there,” said Kyle Rictor, who maintained the footing during the show. “Anita Randle won the Grand Slam’s short-go and she is a NBHA World Champion. Brett Monroe finished third. He’s won over $1million in barrel racing.”

This was the third year the No Bull Grand Slam returned to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

“This is a full-service facility with the best staff that we see throughout the year,” said Jamie Cagle, the event secretary.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff quickly stowed the barrels and reset the arenas to welcome the Florida Feathered Horse Classic January 11-12, 2019. The show is the longest-running Gypsy Vanner breed show series and has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian center for eight consecutive years.

“It is a great location, with a nice facility that continues to evolve as the needs of its exhibitors grow,” said Gail Shrine, owner of the Feathered Horse competition series.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center wraps up the first month of the 2019 with another action-packed, timed event — the National Team Roping League Finals scheduled for January 24-27, 2019. More than $500,000 is paid out each year at the finals, which has been held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 14 straight years.

“We really love having our finals here,” said Katie Smith, No Bull Barrel Race competitor. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us.”

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to Derby 2019 Begins

“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to Derby” 2019 kicks off with a new chapeau honoring an Old Friends retiree.

For the 10th consecutive year, Maggie Mae Designs® and Old Friends are teaming up for an unparalleled online shopping experience. “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” is a unique Derby-hat fundraiser featuring one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit Old Friends.

This new hat pays tribute to King Congie, a stakes winner who resides at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center, N.Y., and it uses the yellow and black racing-silk colors of former owners West Point Thoroughbreds.

King Congie’s career ended following an injury in 2012. In 2016 he was rescued from a livestock auction by the Rosemary Farm Sanctuary, and with the help of West Point Thoroughbreds was retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek.

This lovely hat was created out of black dupioni silk with layers and layers of organza. It’s highlighted by a bold yellow under brim, which adds a vibrant, colorful effect when the wearer’s face is upturned, and it is adorned with a delicate rose sculpted out of alternating layers of yellow silk and chocolate organza.

The “King Congie” chapeau is up for bid from January 2nd through January 12th. All proceeds from the sale go to Old Friends.

To Bid: CLICK HERE.

Special thanks to the Stronach Group’s Acacia Courtney for graciously modeling this month’s selection, and to Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography for her stunning images of Acacia and King Congie.

To read more about King Congie, the horse, please CLICK HERE.

For more information: (502) 863-1775; www.oldfriendsequine.org; michael@oldfriendsequine.org