Tag Archives: horse racing

Royal Ascot Horse Racing, 20-24 June

The Royal carriages depart after The Queen’s arrival at the races.

Ascot Racecourse is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting nine of Britain’s 32 annual Group 1 horse races.

The course, owned by Ascot Racecourse Ltd, enjoys close associations with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.

Ascot today stages twenty-six days of racing over the course of the year, comprising eighteen flat meetings held between the months of May and October inclusive. It also stages important jump racing throughout the winter months. The Royal Meeting held each June remains a major draw, its highlight being The Gold Cup.

The Gold Cup stands proudly as the showpiece event of Royal Ascot week and is the world’s premier race for horses that are specialists over long distances. Modern tradition has scheduled the race for the middle day (Thursday) of the meeting, when fashion and glamour that is so synonymous with the Royal Meeting reaches its zenith.

The Gold Cup is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged four years or older. It is run at Ascot over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs (4,023 meters), and it is scheduled to take place each year in June.

It is Britain’s most prestigious event for “stayers” – horses which specialize in racing over long distances. It is traditionally held on day three of the Royal Ascot meeting, which is known colloquially (but not officially) as Ladies’ Day. Contrary to popular belief the actual title of the race does not include the word “Ascot”. In 2016 it was run as “the Gold Cup in Honor of The Queen’s 90th Birthday.”

The Gold Cup is the first leg of Britain’s Stayers’ Triple Crown, followed by the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup. The last horse to win all three races in the same year was Double Trigger in 1995.

The Ascot Gold Cup 1834, James Pollard (1792-1867)

The Gold Cup is one of three perpetual trophies at the Royal Ascot meeting, along with the Royal Hunt Cup and the Queen’s Vase, which can be kept permanently by the winning owners. A number of horses have won it more than once, and the most successful is Yeats, who recorded his fourth victory in 2009. The winner of the 2016 Ascot Gold Cup was Order of St. George.

Top Owner Trophy to Be Awarded at Royal Ascot

Ascot Racecourse is delighted to announce that a Royal Ascot Leading Owner Trophy will be awarded next week.

The competition will run alongside the established equivalents for jockeys and trainers. Those two awards are both kindly sponsored by QIPCO.

Like the established jockeys and trainers’ awards, the champion owner over the week will be decided on straight wins, with seconds, thirds (etc.) only coming into play in the event of a tie for wins.

With the agreement of Coolmore, the operation will be regarded as one entity regardless of the precise ownership make up of any given horse or the colors they run in.

Charlie Liverton, Chief Executive of the ROA, welcomed the new initiative:

“Royal Ascot is one of the most eagerly anticipated meetings of the flat racing calendar and captures the imagination of horsemen both in the UK and overseas. The recognition of the part that owners play in the week long spectacle through the award of a leading owner trophy is very much welcome and it will be keenly contested.”

The eight Group One races at Royal Ascot are all QIPCO British Champions Series races and this year, the stable staff leading up the horses for those events will be provided with QIPCO British Champions Series gilets, all of which will carry the owners’ colors on the front.

“We’re very much looking forward to the Royal Meeting next week, with fields shaping well including a record turnout from the United States,” said Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Communications at Ascot.

Lady Aurelia Set for Royal Ascot Trip

Ascot Racecourse via Twitter.

Leading American sprinter Lady Aurelia is set for a return to Royal Ascot this year 12 months on from her impressive victory in the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes on what was only the second run of her career. Wesley Ward’s runner is the bookmakers’ favourite for the King’s Stand Stakes which is one of the leading races on the opening day of the meeting.

Frankie Dettori opted to ride his filly front of the field in the two-year-old-contest in 2016 and the pair made all, stretching away from their rivals inside the final 200m of the race. Ward’s filly returned to Europe last August for the Group One Darley Prix Morny at Deauville in France. She was made to work hard on that occasion as the margin of the victory was less than a length ahead of Alrahma, with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Peace Envoy a further head back in third.

Lady Aurelia made her seasonal reappearance back in April at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes which is a Listed contest over 1000m on turf. She proved too strong for her fellow American sprinters as she recorded her opening win as a three-year-old. That run was scheduled to ensure she had an outing under her belt before her return trip to Europe. She can be backed at +500 with the bookmakers to score in the King’s Stand Stakes, however, if you are having bet at Royal Ascot or any other sporting event this summer, take a look at the best sign-up offers before you do so. If you want to bet with bitcoins, visit sportsbet.io as you will able to transfer funds from a number of different currencies into your digital wallet.

Sporting Life via Twitter

One of the leading threats to Lady Aurelia’s chances of a repeat Royal Ascot victory later this month is Marsha from the Sir Mark Prescott yard in the UK. The four-year-old won the Group One Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp at Chantilly last season. That is the leading sprint race in Europe and is staged on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day. The British sprinter has also started this season strongly with success in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket where he got up by a neck ahead of Washington DC.

Lady Aurelia is also scheduled to take on her former stablemate Acapulco in the 1000m contest. The four-year-old switched to Ireland to join O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard back in April.  The American-bred filly also won the Queen Mary Stakes when she was with Ward, while she also finished second in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York. She made her debut for her new trainer last month where she won at the Curragh in what was her first run in six months. She is expected to be partnered by Ryan Moore once again at Royal Ascot.

Ward is expected to return to the UK later this year with Lady Aurelia and a number of his leading sprinters for some of the other big meetings on the calendar including Glorious Goodwood and York’s Ebor Meeting in August.

Horseracing Integrity Act

American Quarter Horse Association, June 8, 2017 – On May 25, Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 to the House of Representatives. In summary, the bill requires “a uniform anti-doping and medication control program to be developed and enforced by an independent Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.”

While the American Quarter Horse Association strongly supports uniformity in the horse racing industry, it is unable to support the latest version of the newly introduced legislation.

“Of particular concern regarding this proposal is the elimination of all race-day medications, including Lasix, the use of which has been endorsed by several equine groups and the American Association of Equine Practitioners to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage in racehorses,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “American Quarter Horse representation on the Authority and funding sources for the program are also among other areas of concern that we have regarding the legislation as currently proposed.”

AQHA is committed to the welfare of the racehorse and continues to work with international, national and state racing organizations and commissions to evaluate protocols to allow for uniform medication rules and deterrents of performance-enhancing drugs. In addition, the use of Lasix in AQHA shows is currently under review by the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission by request of the Executive Committee.

In recent months, AQHA worked with the Association of Racing Commissioners International to separate American Quarter Horse flat racing in its medication violation model rules to help eliminate the use of illegal performance-enhancing medications. The Association has also supported recent industry movements that include out-of-competition testing and hair testing.

For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

AQHA Statement on Hialeah Races

American Quarter Horse Association, May 26, 2017 – The race meet at Hialeah Park near Miami, scheduled to begin May 31, will not be recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association.

According to Hialeah Park’s website, the track is scheduled to run races twice a day Wednesday through Sunday beginning on May 31 and closing on June 25.

AQHA has sanctioned previous meets at Hialeah, beginning in 2009 and running through 2016. These meets met AQHA’s guidelines, set forth in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, to approve official American Quarter Horse races.

“AQHA’s mission statement holds the welfare of the American Quarter Horse at the top of our priorities,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “Consequently, the racing rules and regulations of our Association, and that of our affiliates, exist to protect the safety of the animals and the integrity of the sport. We have no evidence that these rules and regulations will be followed or promoted by Hialeah Park or by the South Florida Quarter Horse Association, a newly formed group that is not affiliated with AQHA. As such, we are concerned for those who are participating in the races and for the wagering public.”

Given these concerns, AQHA will not recognize these races unless the guidelines are clearly satisfied. AQHA will continue to work with officials, including AQHA affiliate the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, to facilitate the return of official Quarter Horse racing in Florida.

For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Aidan O’Brien Aiming for Epsom Double

Racing Post via Twitter.

Leading Irish Trainer Aidan O’Brien has already made a fantastic start to the 2017 campaign as he has claimed the opening two Classics of the season with the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas which were won by Churchill and Winter respectively.

O’Brien is now eying Epsom success as he bids to win the Oaks and Derby which take place 24 hours apart on the Downs in Surrey. The last time the Ballydoyle trainer claimed both races in the same year was in 2012 when Was came out on top in the fillies contest and then Camelot went on to claim the most prestigious Classic of the campaign.

In the latest Oaks betting, O’Brien has the +200 in the form of Rhododendron who was very unlucky in the 1000 Guineas where she had to settle for second place behind her stablemate Winter. Just as the three-year-old filly was starting to reach top speed, she found trouble in running and was forced to check her run. That cost the Ryan Moore’s mount a couple of lengths at the very least, while the winner had a clear passage on the outside of runners.

Rhododendron will have to reverse the form with Winter as the pair will meet at Epsom, giving their trainer a strong hand in the race. It is the Newmarket second which has been heavily tipped up to improve for the step up to 2400m.

In the Derby it is unclear at this stage whether connections will take their chance with Churchill. The vibes from the yard are that his optimum trip is over 1600m where he excelled in the 2000 Guineas. The other option O’Brien has is to hold the horse back for Royal Ascot and run him in the St James’s Palace Stake over the distance he has been so successful at so far in his career.

RTE Racing via Twitter

Churchill’s absence could therefore lead the way for Cliffs of Moher to be O’Brien’s leading chance in the Derby this year. The Irish horse was successful in the Dee Stakes at Chester earlier this month in one of the leading trials for Epsom. He was able to handle the undulations at the Cheshire-track which is a positive sign ahead of the Classic on the Downs.

If you enjoy backing horses in a double, as pointed out from odds at the Winners Enclosure, who provide a daily double tip and the accumulated odds, it is a great chance to turn a small stake into a big return. With Rhododendron and Cliffs of Moher, the double works out at +2100 and it would be no surprise to see both horses prevail for a trainer who has had so much success at the meeting.

In terms of the dangers to O’Brien’s dominance in the Oaks, the leading threat, according to the betting, is Enable who can be backed at +500. John Gosden’s filly scored In the Cheshire Oaks at Chester’s May Meeting where she quickened up nicely inside the final 400m. Frankie Dettori is expected to be on board again at Epsom where he is bidding for his fourth victory in the Classic.

In the colts’ race, Cracksman is currently vying for Derby favouritism with the O’Brien pair of Churchill and Cliffs of Moher. The Frankel colt has been prominent in the market for this race ever since his success in the Derby Trial at Epsom last month. He’s set to feature in the Dante Stakes before his shot at the 2400m contest.

This year’s Oaks takes place on Friday, June 2, with the Derby scheduled a day later on Saturday, June 3 along with the Coronation Stakes, which is one of the leading middle distance races of the season for the older horses.

Early Season Form Crucial for Churchill in 2017

Source: Yorkshire Post via Twitter.

Churchill and trainer Aidan O’Brien will be aiming for a strong start to their quest to dominate the flat season in 2017. The Bay Colt has boasted a formidable record in the early stages of his career, but now must deliver on his promise with victories in the biggest races on the calendar. Churchill will have to find his form around the track before the crucial meets of the campaign, having not raced since October last year.

He will have no shortage of challengers, who have used races across the country to build up a rhythm ahead of the hectic part of the season. The three-year-old will return to the track at the 2000 Guineas as one of the leading contenders to secure the win, being backed in the latest horse racing betting odds at 15/8 to claim victory at Newmarket.

He will be eager to begin his 2017 season on the highest of notes, with the Dante Stakes next on the agenda after the Guineas – where Churchill will be looking to join former greats by winning at York. Momentum will be key for the Bay Colt and O’Brien over the course of the season with bigger meets on the horizon in June at the Epsom Downs and Ascot. As a result, extending his winning streak will be imperative in pursuit of greater glory.

Churchill began his career at the European Breeders Fund Maiden, but just missed on a debut win as he was edged out on the final furlong by Van Der Decken and Magnification. To this day it’s the only race where the Bay Colt has failed to claim victory.

Source: Ascot Racecourse via Twitter

His first appearance at Ascot was a success, as although he entered the meet as the favourite, the Irish horse was able to stride to a comfortable win down the stretch ahead of Isomer. The Bay Colt delivered in his next out at Leopardstown with his second victory at the Tyros Stakes, producing a strong run to the finish to beat out Alexios Komnenos by a neck.

Churchill’s form was going from strength to strength signalled by his best outing at Curragh where he blew away the rest of the field with an excellent run to win the Futurity Stakes. The National Stakes was a statement win for the Bay Colt, highlighting his dominance at the top of the field. Jockeyed by Ryan Moore the Irish horse cruised to victory by 4¼ lengths ahead of Mehmas and Frankie Dettori.

He secured his fifth straight win at Newmarket in the Dewhurst Stakes in October, with another flawless performance, defeating Lancaster Bomber – who will be one of his challengers over the course of the season.

Churchill has the talent to enjoy an extremely successful season, with the possibility of matching Golden Horn’s achievements in 2015 of winning the Dante Stakes, Epsom Derby, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His early season form will be crucial to beginning on the right note and his performances must be of a high standard at the Guineas and the Dante Stakes.

Should Churchill continue his winning streak at both meets, then it would be no surprise to see the Bay Colt enjoying further success at the biggest races later in the campaign.

Two Contenders to Challenge Churchill at 2000 Guineas

Al Wukair. Source: Al Shaqab Racing via Twitter.

Churchill is the leading candidate to triumph at the 2000 Guineas to kick start an important run of races in the flat season. The Bay Colt has known nothing other than success in his career to date, winning five of his six meets to date along with a third-place finish on his debut.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge has been touted to make a run at all the major crowns this term, with Dante Stakes, Epsom Stakes and Royal Ascot all on the agenda in the near future.

He has not raced since October and that could allow the rest of the field a chance strike at the three-year-old in the race, catching him cold and out of rhythm.

Here are two of the potential candidates that could snatch the victory away from Churchill and O’Brien.

Al Wukair

The Irish horse has been touted as one of the main challengers for Churchill in the race. He trains under the tutelage of Andre Fabre and reports from France suggest that he could be in line for a very successful season.

He has been limited in his action on the track with only two races to his name thus far. The three-year-old’s first meet came at the Isonomy Listed Stakes in Deauville.

Jockeyed by Gregory Benoist the Bay Colt secured a comfortable victory by one-and-a-half lengths, delivering on expectations having been named the favourite before the race.

After a six-month break, Al Wukair returned to the track at the Djebel Stakes in Maisons-Laffitte. Once he again the three-year-old was heavily backed, with Benoist and the Irish horse securing another victory.

With two wins under his belt, Al Wukair has a decent chance to beat out Churchill, being backed in the latest horse racing betting odds at 4/1 to triumph at Newmarket.


The Bay Colt will come into the major racing fold under the weight of expectations. Eminent is the son of the legendary horse Frankel, who was truly dominant in the flat between 2010 and 2012.

Eminent. Source: Read Sport via Twitter

Success is in the three-year-old’s blood and trainer Martyn Meade will be determined to guide the horse to victory and continue his bright start to his career.

Eminent will be on familiar territory at Newmarket, where his two previous races to date have been situated.

He made his debut in September last year at the Stallions Maiden Stakes, and jockeyed by Jim Crowley, the Irish horse produce an excellent display to triumph by two-and-three-quarter lengths, finishing well ahead of favourite Taj Mahal.

The Bay Colt returned to action at the end of April after seven months off the track. However, he displayed no signs of rust at the Craven Stakes winning the race with a fine run down the stretch, once again finishing ahead of the touted favourite War Decree.

Eminent’s familiarity on Newmarket racecourse will stand him in good stead for the 2000 Guineas and he has already shown a propensity for causing an upset. Churchill will have to be well aware of the threat the Irish horse can pose down the final furlong in the meet.

Kentucky Derby

Image Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4088398.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).

The race is known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate duration, and is also called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes. Unlike the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which took hiatuses in 1891-1893 and 1911-1912, respectively, the Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875. A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown. In the 2015 listing of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the Kentucky Derby tied with the Whitney Handicap as the top Grade 1 race in the United States outside of the Breeders’ Cup races.

The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup.

The 2017 Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd running, and is set for Saturday, May 6, 2017 with a $2 million guaranteed purse.


A Visual Guide to The Kentucky Derby is an interactive infographic dealing with interesting facts and trivia on the history and pageantry of one of sport’s biggest events. From the Derby’s origins to dominating bloodlines and on to ladies fashions and mint juleps… this infographic has a little bit for every one as it unfolds the most exciting two minutes in sports!


Classic Empire Heads Entries for Kentucky Derby

Credit: Paul Miles via Twitter.

Classic Empire is set to begin his Classic campaign this year in the Kentucky Derby, where he is the bookmakers’ favourite to prevail in the 2000m contest at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Mark Casse-trained horse was one of the most impressive two-year-colts last year in the United States where he won on three of his four starts at the racecourse, including the Grade One Clairborne Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita during the World Championship meeting in November.

Classic Empire has already had the benefit of two starts in 2017. He made his seasonal reappearance at Gulfstream Park where he could only come home third in the Grade Two Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes when going off at -200. He did though come on for that outing on his most recent run at Churchill Downs when he won the Grade Three Bashford Manor Stakes.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner is a best price of +700 for victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown; however, if you are looking to back Casse’s talented horse, check out comparison sites like BritishBookmakers.co.uk who collate the best sign-up offers and odds for the meeting at Churchill Downs next month.

Always Dreaming is unbeaten since moving to Todd Pletcher’s yard and is also set to line up in the Kentucky Derby for his connections. The three-year-old ran only once last season, where he finished third at Belmont Park. He’s already had two outings in 2017 as he scored on his return at Gulfstream Park, where he stepped up to 1800m for the first time in his career.

Credit: Jonatan Meza via Twitter

Pletcher’s colt made a quick return at Gulfstream Park to land the Grade One Florida Derby by an impressive five lengths. He was ridden that day by John Velazquez, who tracked the leaders early on and made a challenge in the home straight where his horse picked up really well.

Always Dreaming is available at +800 in the latest betting, at the time of writing. Pletcher is bidding for his second Kentucky Derby winner as he trained Super Saver to success in 2010.

Another horse who is expected to be in contention at Churchill Downs is Irish War Cry for H. Graham Motion, who last won this race in 2011 with Animal Kingdom. The horse, whose sire is Curlin, has already recorded a couple of Grade Two successes.

After making his a winning debut Laurel Park, Motion’s colt went straight into the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes where he upset the short-price favourite Classic Empire. A month later he ran a below-par performance as he came home down the field at the same course in another Grade Two contest.

Irish War Cry looked right back to his best earlier this month in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct as he finished the strongest of the eight runners to claim success with Rajov Maragh on his back.

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd renewal of the race and will take place on May 6 where there are currently 23 entries remaining with just two weeks to go.

Willie Mullins Looking to Rule the Punchestown Festival Again

Credit: Telegraph Sport via Twitter.

Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins is set to run a strong team at the Punchestown Festival later this month. The Irish meeting is the last major international meeting in national hunt racing, and attracts the best horses from the UK, France and Ireland.

Mullins ended the Cheltenham Festival with six winners, a fine total considering he drew a blank on the opening two days after a slow start to the week. He also had four winners recently at the Irish Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse, including with Thomas Hobson who prevailed in the Grade A Glascarn Handicap Hurdle ahead of the highly regarded Veinard, who was tipped up by Oddschecker, while JP McManus-owned After Rain was in the third.

The feature race next week is the Punchestown Gold Cup, where Mullins is bidding for his fourth success in the three-mile, one-furlong contest. The Irishman is set to saddle Djakadam, who has been second in this Grade One contest in 2015 and 2016. Djakadam finished fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was won by Sizing John last month where he went off as the +300 favourite. He was travelling really well in the race until he made a bad blunder at the second-to-last fence, which really cost him any chance of coming out on top. Mullins will be confident his horse can deliver again at Punchestown as he was successful at the same track earlier in the campaign in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase.

The Punchestown Champion Hurdle could be the race in which Mullins’ star mare Annie Power makes her return to the track in what would be her opening run of the campaign. The 2016 Champion Hurdle winner was unable to defender her crown at Cheltenham due to a leg injury. She currently tops the betting at +200 to win this prestigious hurdle race, which may also feature her stablemate Arctic Fire, who defied top weight in the County Hurdle last month. Vroum Vroum Mag, meanwhile also has an entry, as she will be bidding to go one place better than her second-placed finish in the Mares’ Hurdle behind Apple’s Jade.

Nichols Canyon caused a surprise at Cheltenham in the Stayers’ Hurdle where he prevailed at odds of +1000. The seven-year-old appeared to enjoy the step up to three miles where he got the better of Lil Rockerfeller by just under a length, while the short-price favourite Unowhatimeanharry was third. The first three home at Cheltenham are set to do battle again at Punchestown, where Mullins will be hoping his hurdler can topple his rivals again in which he is +150 to do so.

Credit: Racing Post via Twitter

Mullins also has the favourite for the Punchestown Champion Chase, where the Ryanair Chase winner Un De Sceaux is set to drop back down to two miles. The former Arkle winner went up in distance at Cheltenham to prove he is very versatile; however, the Champion Chase trip is thought to be his optimum trip.  Un De Sceaux is set to meet Cheltenham runner-up Fox Norton in Ireland, while Gods Own and Rock The World both have entries in the leading two-mile race over fences.

In the Trainers’ title at the meeting, Mullins is odds-on to gain compensation for losing his trophy at Cheltenham to Gordon Elliott. His rival also had six winners at the Festival last month but finished the week with more seconds to gain the prize on checkback. Mullins is locked in a battle with Elliott for the Irish Trainers’ Championship where he is second going into the last big meeting of the season.