Fourteen times Champion jockey Tony McCoy won the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, the world’s most famous steeplechase. After fourteen attempts dating back to 1995, an emotional McCoy couldn’t hide his joy when winning the race which had eluded him for so long. Victory prevailed riding the Jonjo O’Neill trained 10/1 joint favourite ‘Don’t Push It’, a 10 year old bay gelding by ‘Old Vic’. For millionaire owner J P McManus, this win was also long overdue after 33 attempts since his first as an owner in 1982.
A maximum field of forty runners lined up to tackle the awesome Aintree course. The four and a half mile race with 30 fences has a total prize fund of 925,000 pounds and is arguably the toughest test of horse and jockey in the world. An estimated 100 million pounds is wagered on the race each year with this year’s outcome costing the bookmakers an estimated 50 million pounds.
Runner up Black Apalachi was prominent throughout but McCoy was always stalking him on the second circuit before jumping the last together and pulling clear to win by five lengths.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup produced more drama to end a week in which only 3 clear favourites won, producing a succession of unexpected results. Crowds reached an all time high but Britain’s bookies were last night celebrating their 45-million-pound windfall after the odds-on favourite, Kauto Star and his stable companion rival, Denman, failed to win this coveted prize.
Kauto Star was bidding for a third Gold Cup victory and a second in a row but the Paul Nicholls trained 10-year-old had a crashing fall four fences from home after making a blunder early on. Denman, who won in 2008, took up the running and a battle ensued but even with champion jockey Tony McCoy on board, they couldn’t hold off an impressive challenge by younger rival, Imperial Commander (7/1). Locally trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, this handsome son of Flemensfirth (USA) surged clear to win by seven lengths, giving trainer and jockey Paddy Brennan their first Gold Cup victories. Mon Mome who won the 2009 Grand National finished third.
A cheer of relief erupted from the crowd as Kauto Star returned unscathed. He will now have a well earned rest until next season. Mon Mome will now head to Aintree to attempt to become the first dual Grand national winner since Red Rum and Denman will likely have the Grand National as his principal target next season.
Despite his disappointment on Kauto Star, Ruby Walsh was leading jockey at the festival for the fifth time. Nicky Henderson won the top trainer award.
Mild sunny weather welcomed the return of enthusiastic crowds to Prestbury Park with the promise of 4 days of top quality National Hunt racing and the pinnacle of the racing year – the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
The first day of the Cheltenham festival hit punters pockets hard with surprise results when 5 favourites failed to win. Champion jockey Tony McCoy’s joy was evident when winning the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, on Binocular. Up until last week it was unclear if the Nicky Henderson trained gelding would run because of recent injury. This French bred six year old, who finished 3rd in 2009, was always travelling sweetly and took command between the last two hurdles to win comfortably giving his popular Irish owner, J. P. McManus, his 22nd festival success.
But much of the festival focus remains on Friday’s eagerly anticipated Gold Cup which will see a clash for the 3rd time of super equine heroes, Kauto Star and Denman. The Paul Nicholls trained duo have captured the hearts of the nation and Kauto Star’s bid to win this three and a quarter mile chase would secure a place in the history books with former champions Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller and Cottage Rake.
“America’s Horse” to be remembered at Kentucky Horse Park
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2010). One year after the death of Kentucky Derby Winner Alysheba, the Kentucky Horse Park will unveil a memorial statue at his grave.
The famous son of Alydar had resided at the park for only five months when he was euthanized as a result of an accidental fall in March 2009. The 25-year-old stallion was buried at the Hall of Champions.
The public is invited to the Alysheba Memorial Statue Unveiling, Friday, April 16, 2:00 pm.
16th November, 2009 – Fierce winds and testing going challenged entries at Cheltenham’s Open meeting, reputedly the most important venue in the first half the National Hunt season in England. Each of the 3 days presented a feature race, the highlight being the highly competitive ‘Paddy Power Gold Cup’ which has been a high point in the racing calendar since 1960.
SURPRISINGLY, the Irish, with their impressive winning record at the Cheltenham Festival in March, had not won the Paddy Power Gold Cup or its equivalent for almost three decades but this year the Edward O’Grady trained ‘Tranquil Sea’ cast adrift his 15 rivals before the home straight to the sheer delight of the crowd. Jubilant jockey Andrew McNamara couldn’t hide his joy when the well backed 11-2 favourite came home four and a half lengths in front of ‘Poquelin’, with ‘Hold Em’ third and ‘Ballyfitz’ fourth. The seven year old bay travelled comfortably throughout the two and a half mile race to scoop the lion’s share of the £150,000 prize fund. More reasons to celebrate followed when two hundred people in the Club Enclosure took advantage of a full £30 ticket refund, promised to them if the Irish won the big race.
Friday’s hugely popular Countryside Raceday with its traditional country fair atmosphere featured the unique Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeplechase – a course combining hedges, banks and timber rails over a distance just short of four miles. Irish horses have dominated this race in recent times, this running being no exception. Favourite ‘Garde Champetre’ powered home to an outstanding success when given a confident ride by jockey Nina Carberry, beating stablemate ‘Headsontheground’. Sporting the well known green and gold colours of legendary gambler JP McManus and trained by Enda Bolger, ‘Garde Champetre’ follows in the footsteps of four times winner (2004 – 07) ‘Spotthedifference’, owned and trained by the same duo. Although ‘Garde Champetre’ may now return to Cheltenham for the cross-country race next month, he is not expected to run in the Grand National in April. Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8878