Category Archives: Racing

Her Majesty The Queen Triumphant on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

The action on day three of Royal Windsor Horse Show came thick and fast, opening with the Land Rover Services Team Jumping in the Castle Arena. Traditionally split into Military Working Horses and Non-Military Riding Horses, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery D, with a team made up of SSgt Shaun Kershaw, LBdr Tara Kelly, and Sgt Hiliary Oldfield, took the Challenge Cup for the former. In the latter, Army Blenheim, comprising Capt Mary Pearson, Lt Fiona Denton, and Capt Zoe Andrew, claimed The Queen’s Plate. Both teams and the individual winner, FAC Amy Pritchard from Royal Air Force 1, had the honour of receiving their prizes from Her Majesty The Queen.

Her Majesty The Queen also presented the award for The Household Cavalry Best Turned Out Trooper supported by RBO Gold, with Trooper Gemma Dickinson from the Blues and Royals Squadron receiving The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

Over in the Frogmore Arena, the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition supported by Martin Collins Enterprises was won by Hurstpierpoint College. Overjoyed with the win, team member Harry Wilkins said: “The competition was a lot of fun, and in the end it felt quite easy! It’s my first time competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show – the atmosphere and the experience has been amazing, and I love competing near the Castle. My favourite memory from today was winning the Inter Schools with my teammates, Harry Wilkins, Antonia Wade, and Scarlett Chatterton-Sim, and also watching the 5* show jumping.”

Holly Smith’s striking chestnut gelding Fruselli made it two from two taking the CSI5* Falcon Stakes in style, on the back of an impressive win in the Pearl Stakes. The 1.50m class was run over two rounds, with the top 10 riders from round one going through to a jump-off against the clock. As second to go in the jump-off, Jack Whitaker set the standard, jumping clear in a time of 38.99 seconds; however, it was Jessica Springsteen who was the first to pull out all the stops to take the lead in an impressive 36.09 seconds.

Springsteen’s lead was short-lived as following her into the famous Castle Arena was Britain’s Holly Smith – full of confidence following her Olympic selection – who shaved off valuable seconds, leaving out strides in the distances and making the tightest of turns to come home in an unbeatable time of 34.10. Israel’s Daniel Bluman put in a great effort to finish second aboard the 11-year-old gelding Colestina H, just 0.02 seconds faster than Springsteen in eventual third.

Speaking after her victory, Smith was full of praise for her horse: “Fruselli is very willing, very genuine and very forward going – he’s just a great type of guy. Once I’d done [jumps] one to two in seven strides instead of eight, I knew I was going to be able to keep galloping at the fences and keep turning and he’d be fine.” Holly continued, “It’s great to be back here at Windsor; you can tell everyone is so pleased to be here and really enjoying it; it’s such a great atmosphere.”

A top-class field contested the day’s feature class, The Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Six combinations went through to the jump-off, with World No. 5 Kent Farrington first to go to set the target. Riding the brilliant chestnut gelding Creedance, Farrington posted a fantastic round, making all the moves to finish in a time of 34.72. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle followed, also riding a superb round, but his time was no match to that set by Farrington. Several riders incurred penalties trying to catch the time required, including two of Britain’s upcoming Olympic team members, Ben Maher and Harry Charles. With just Laura Kraut left to go, the title was guaranteed to go to America; however, despite her best efforts, she posted a time of 37.83, finishing in third place, behind Daniel Coyle in second.

Following his win, Farrington said: “I’m thrilled with Creedance; he’s one of my favourite horses – so much blood; he’s naturally fast, he’s a real winner, and he has been his whole career. It’s one of my favourite shows so I’m happy to win here today.”

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix, Farrington continued: “It’s a world class field; tomorrow’s going to be the same; it’s always a great competition here and you’ve got the best of the best. It’s big money, with the best riders, with their best horses; it’s going to be tough competition and I think the course builder will set the course accordingly, so I think it’s going to be difficult and big and fast and not so easy to win.”

All is to play for going into the final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show following the Marathon phase of the CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. Five-time Four-in-Hand Driving World Champion, the ever-consistent Boyd Exell, finished in second place, matching his result in the Dressage phase, meaning the Australian becomes the overall leader with 130.68 points. Dressage winner Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon had a disappointing Marathon phase, finishing fifth, and drops one position on the overall leader board (133.21 points), slotting into second place behind Exell. Chardon’s fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, triumphed and moves from fifth place overall to third, meaning he’s still in with a slim chance of being crowned champion. However, it looks as though Exell and Chardon will be battling it out for supremacy, with the 10-time Royal Windsor Horse Show title-holder knowing he can’t afford to knock down any balls if he is to guarantee an extraordinary 11th title.

Her Majesty The Queen had a great start to the third day of the Show when her home-bred former racehorse, First Receiver – a bay gelding by New Approach, and out of Her Majesty’s dam Touchline – headed a hotly contested Retraining of Racehorses class in her own back garden. The four-year-old, formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute and now produced by the Jerram-Hunnable team, won four times – netting almost £20,000 – in his two-season Flat career, running his final race in June last year under Frankie Dettori, when finishing second to Russian Emperor at Royal Ascot. Here, he was beautifully shown in-hand by Chris Hunnable who, with wife Katie, is producing him in preparation for a new career in the showring, following in the footsteps of the great Barbers Shop, a former Royal Windsor ridden Supreme.

India Till claimed the prestigious Novice Show Pony title with her new ride, the delightful four-year-old Rotherwood Fancy That. This victory went some way to making up for the sudden recent loss of her reigning Horse of the Year Show and previous Royal Windsor Champion Show Pony, Drakemyre Puttin On The Ritz.

The Open equivalent fell to an overjoyed stand-in jockey and an equally overcome breeder. Lisha Leeman’s aptly named 128cm Kellythorpes Tiny Dancer glided to the top spot and the coveted trophy, partnered by 11-year-old Macie Donaldson, who was deputising for England team junior show jumper Cate Kerr. Although the Leeman family has had many wins at this Show, this was their first with a home-bred pony.

For full results from Royal Windsor Horse Show, CLICK HERE.

To find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Niki McEwen / rEvolution / nmcewen@revolutionworld.com

Where Next for Saudi Cup Winner Mishriff?

Source: Unsplash.

Mishriff produced the performance of his career to claim the 2021 Saudi Cup earlier this year at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. John Gosden’s runner got the better of the American horse Charlatan in the closing stages of the prestigious dirt contest.

His win in Riyadh opens a lot of doors for the British-based horse, including some of the major races on the surface which are set to take place in the United States over the course of the rest of the year. Here is a look at some of those targets.

Royal Ascot Likely to Be Next

The Royal Meeting at Ascot is one of the biggest weeks of the year in Europe and given Mishriff is based in the UK, it would be a surprise if he did not line up in one of the races across the five days.

If he runs at Ascot in June, it will be his first appearance at the track since coming home at the back end of the field in the Champion Stakes last October. It will be interesting to see how Gosden’s runner fares in the horse racing predictions for the meeting.  As the community speculates on who will win, tools such as this will consider all elements when deciding odds. He has yet to win at the track but his latest form is excellent, two factors that will be worked into the tools used to predict the winners. These systems can offer greater insight which may even change your betting patterns.

Options at Royal Ascot include the Queen Anne Stakes (1m), Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m2f), and Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f). The middle of those three races looks the most likely. Gosden has been successful on four occasions in that contest, including last year with Lord North.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Must Be a Target

Consideration is surely going to be given to the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year for Mishriff. The feature race of the world championship meeting is one of the most prestigious events in world racing. Success in the race would help elevate the horse into one of the best of his generation.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup meeting takes place at Del Mark Racecourse in California. A rematch with Charlatan could take place in that race in what would be a fascinating dual. It is Bob Baffert’s runner who currently tops the betting for the 1m2f contest on day two of the meeting.

Gosden became the first European trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup when he was successful with Raven’s Pass in 2008. If he can land the prize again 13 years later, it will be a huge achievement for the man who was once based in California.

Arc Hard to Refuse

Another race the British horse is likely to be campaigned for in 2021 is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. That race takes place on turf, something which should not be a problem for him as he recently scored in the Sheema Classic.

The Arc attracts the best middle-distance horses from Europe, Japan, and other places around the world. It is a difficult race to win as it is often a large field, leaving the runners short for room on the course at Longchamp.

Gosden has won the Arc three times. He did so with the Derby winner Golden Horn in 2015, while the super mare, Enable, was victorious in 2017 and 2018.

This could be the final year we see Mishriff on the track before a career at stud. The more valuable races he sweeps up before then, the higher his value will become once he retires from the track.

Two-Time Graded Stakes Winner Slim Shadey Dies

Photo: Slim Shadey at Old Friends by Laura Battles.

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 11, 2021 – Two-time graded-stakes winner Slim Shadey has died. The 13-year-old gelding had been a pensioner at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm based in Georgetown, KY, since 2019.

Old Friends’ attending veterinary, Dr. Bryan Waldridge, released this statement: “Slim Shadey showed signs of colic and was referred for further diagnostics and treatment. Exploratory surgery revealed a twisted large intestine that was corrected. Unfortunately, he fractured a hind leg recovering from anesthesia. Bone fractures during recovery from anesthesia are uncommon, but an inherent risk of equine anesthesia.”

Slim Shadey was bred in Great Britain by Phil Cunningham and spent two seasons racing throughout England and Ireland. He made his U.S. debut for Cunningham and trainer Simon Callaghan in 2012 at Santa Anita, kicking off what was to become his banner season.

In February of 2012, Slim Shadey captured his first graded-stakes, the GR2 San Marco at Santa Anita (a race he would win again in 2013). Then, in September of that year, Slim Shadey took the top spot in the GR2 John Henry Turf Championship, which served as a steppingstone to a run in the GR1 Breeders’ Cup Turf where he finished 8th.

By 2014 Slim began a series of claims to trainers David Jacobson and John Servis (for owner Michael Dubb), before ending with owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker in June of 2018 at Belmont Park.

Retired in 2019, Slim Shadey ended his career with 83 starts, 14 wins, and earnings of $1,278,855.

“Slim Shadey was on Old Friends’ radar for nearly two years,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “Between Michael Dubb and Michael Hui, I knew he was in great hands. When Hui called to say he was ready, I was overjoyed. Today I was equally devastated,” Blowen continued. “You try to do what’s best and, even then, it doesn’t always work out.”

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

Grand National 2021

The 2021 Grand National is scheduled to be the 173rd annual running of the Grand National horse race on April 10th, for three days at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool, England, giving it the name Aintree Grand National. The event will once again be sponsored by Randox Health, also giving it the name Randox Health Grand National.

One of the biggest horse racing events in the world presents you with lucrative free bets for the Grand National. To separate the fine grain from the chaff, we thoroughly scrutinize the deals before endorsing any of them.

On February 3rd, 106 entries were announced for the Grand National, of which a maximum of 40 will start. The early favorite in ante-post betting was the 2018 and 2019 winner Tiger Roll, with weights due to be announced on 16 February 16th. Being a proven winner of the race, we can expect the horse to have to carry much more weight. The two-time Grand National winner didn’t get the chance to defend his crown in April 2020, but he should be back for another shot in 2021.

Tiger Roll has time on his side being the age of 11 in 2021. This Gordon Elliott-trained runner become the first back-to-back winner of the Grand National since Red Rum (1973 & 1974). Will we see him become trainer Gordon Elliott’s fourth winner in the race as he also won the 2017 National version with Silver Birch?

Pleasant Company is another potential Willie Mullins runner. This horse does, however, have plenty of Grand National experience as many will remember him running a head second in 2018. He also finished ninth in the 2017 renewal. In the 2019 Grand National, he was in fourth at the time when he threw his jockey four fences from home, so at 13 years old, he could be well to place in 2021.

Anibale Fly is a horse Aintree Grand National fans will remember from 2019 as he had an outstanding run to be fifth. He was beaten by 11 lengths twelve months ago but with now that he has that experience and has another year on his back, he can be expected to be a big player in 2021. He’ll be 11 years old in 2021 and also is considered in top form after running a fair third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 and following that up with a second in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup a year later.

Talkischeap is an improving long-range chaser in the making. He rounded off the 2018-19 season by winning the Gold Cup in great style. He’ll only be 9 years old when the 2021 Grand National comes around. His strength will be better after he has run another summer and certainly looks a horse to have in your sights for the 2021 Grand National.

Burrows Saint is a Willie Mullins runner who won the 2019 Irish Grand National.  We use that race often as being a good guide for the Aintree Grand National showing then he’s another horse to note. He will only be 8 years old by the time of the 2021 Grand National comes around and the last horse of that age to win the race was back in 1940! He loves extreme distances so he might be a National horse in 2 or 3 more seasons time as it is hard to ignore that 8-year-old age stat.

The mare Magic of Light is a Jessie Harrington-trained stayer with a gallant second in the 2019 Grand National, and with age on her side she can go well in the 2021 running. She’s likely to have more weight in 2021 after having 11 lbs. in 2019. With that proven experience of the fences, she could be in for a big season ahead in the top staying races.

The average odds of a winning Grand National horse are around 20/1 – while 23 of the last 29 Grand National winners returned a double-figure price. Seven winners had minimum of four runs before going on to win the Aintree Grand National. The only three who had fewer in recent years were Ballabriggs in 2011, One for Arthur in 2017, and Tiger Roll in 2019 with only 3 runs each.

Do note that the best each-way bet usually combines the most likely winner and good odds. Having said that, they may also look into things like outsiders and handicappers and how the first could make a great pick, especially if the market underestimates them.

Florida Horse Racing Fans Face First Year without Calder Track

Horse race at Fonner Park, Grand Island, Nebraska. Grand Island Tourism.

For horse and racing fans in Florida, 2021 will mark the end of an era. The 40-day run at Calder Race Track (which has been rebranded as Gulfstream Park West), which took place last October, was the last that is ever hosted at Calder race course. The track has been an integral part of the Florida racing calendar since it first started operating in 1971. With that in mind, we take a look back at the long and illustrious past of the Calder Race Track.

First Opened in 1971

Horse racing has long been in the blood of many Florida residents, and that was shown no more than on the day that Calder opened: 6th May 1971. There were officially 16,263 race fans in the park that day, but reports showed that so many people were trying to get into the track to ensure the racing on its opening day that people were being turned away, and the gates were closed to new arrivals. Fifty years later, and it looks like those days of Calder Park being a bustling hive of activity will be a thing of the past.

It was thanks to Calder that the concept of year-round horse racing in Florida was introduced. At that point, there was a gap between the winter and early spring meets in the State, and the meets at Calder served to bridge this gap. It may not have been one of the most glamorous tracks on the racing schedule, but it has made its mark on racing history, thanks to the huge number of world class horses, trainers and jockeys who all got their start there. Calder is perhaps best known for the initiative it introduced in 2000, the ‘Summit of Speed’: this was a series of sprints which were all high stake races, ensuring that the meet attracted plenty of attention, and for all the right reasons.

In 2014 the racing operation on the site was leased to Gulfstream Park’s current owners, The Stronach Group. It was the Stronach Group who renamed the race track Gulfstream Park West. This has been the status of the track site until the end of 2020, when the lease between Churchill Downs Inc and the Stronach Group expired and, for the first time in fifty years, the TSG created a 2021 racing schedule that didn’t have any racing at Gulfstream Park West (or Calder) included on it.

A Working Man’s Racetrack

At its heart, Calder was a no-nonsense, working man’s racetrack. But when it was taken over by Churchill Downs Inc in 1999 (at a cost of $87 million), the focus of the track began to change. In 2010, Churchill opened a casino at Calder, and this became the main focus of the site: in order to maintain a casino license for Calder, Churchill had to run a race on the site at least once every 40 days but found a loophole in the law and argued that any form of pari-mutuel wagering would satisfy the requirements for a casino. Sadly, this didn’t fly with Florida State’s Department of Business, and the courts determined that the track was not fulfilling its obligations. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Whilst there will be horses continuing to be stabled at Calder, the agreement to keep the horses there expires on April 1st. Whilst many people will continue to remember the heydays of this glorious race track, those days are gone and the many great horses and jockeys that raced at Calder will be a thing of the past.

American Equus Chosen Riders Dominate at Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Colonel Liam.

Hallandale Beach, Fla. – Jan. 26, 2021 – American Equus sponsored jockeys took to the track once again at Gulfstream Park for the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday. Race day at the track in Hallandale Beach, Florida saw some of the world’s top jockeys on promising thoroughbred talent, and AE Chosen Riders claimed their place in the winner’s circle in six of the races. Irad Ortiz, Jr., winner of last year’s $3 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, earned top placings on numerous horses throughout the day, and went out on a high note to take home the $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational aboard Colonel Liam.

Trained by Todd A. Pletcher and owned by Robert and Lawana Low, Colonel Liam held 7/2 odds in the field of 12 talented contenders, including horses piloted by fellow AE riders Jose Ortiz, Tyler Gaffalione, Luis Saez, Joe Bravo, and Drayden van Dyke. Ortiz Jr. and Colonel Liam tackled the 1 3/16-mile Grade 1 race to be named the victors in the highest stakes turf race of the day. He ended the day with a second-place finish in the $3 Million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jesus’ Team trained by Jose Francisco D’Angelo.

“I was so happy to win this,” Ortiz said. “This is very special to me because I live my life once a day. We don’t know tomorrow and just enjoy the moment. I was so happy for all the connections and for Todd Pletcher too. I feel great. I was thinking about my grandfather who just passed away last year, and I just know he’s looking [down] at me. My whole family’s at home watching the race, I just miss him being around on the track. He’s my number one fan. I just imagine everything in seconds, like they are looking at me. I just feel like I have to celebrate.”

“He showed us a lot of ability in his couple of starts on the grass,” Pletcher said of Colonel Liam. “We felt like he was getting better and better. We loved the way he handled the turf in the Tropical (Park) Derby and he had trained great. We were very optimistic. He’s a little less experienced than some of the other horses but I think this proves his quality.”

Earlier in the day, Ortiz Jr. also won the 1 1/2-mile La Prevoyante Stake Grade 2 Turf race for Fillies and Mares 4 years old and up aboard Always Shopping trained by Todd Pletcher. Chosen Rider Tyler Gaffalione also had a standout day on the track, claiming the 1 1/2-mile Turf W. L. McKnight Open Stakes for 4-year-olds and up on Tide of the Sea trained by Michael J. Maker, as well as 1 Mile Turf Marshua’s River S. Fillies and Mares 4 years old and up on Zofelle.

Gaffalione also clinched the 7 Furlong Dirt Maiden race for 3-year-olds to kick off the day. Luis Saez crossed the finish first in the 1 1/16-mile Turf Claiming Race for 4-year-olds and up aboard Microsecond.

Emma Miller
em@phelpsmediagroup.com

GR1 Winner Bellamy Road to Old Friends

Photo by Antonio Marin.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 16, 2021 – Grade 1 winner and Grade 1 sire Bellamy Road has been pensioned to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility based in Georgetown, KY.

A Florida-bred son of Concerto out of Hurry Home Hillary, Bellamy Road, now 19, retired from racing in 2007 following an illustrious career.

Owned by the late George Steinbrenner’s Kinsman Stable and trained by Nick Zito, Bellamy Road broke his maiden in his first start at Delaware Park in 2004. He earned his first stakes next time out, capturing the GR3 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs.

In 2005, he roared back as a 3-year-old setting a stakes record in the GR1 Wood Memorial, a race he won by a record 17 ½ lengths. The victory made him the odds-on favorite for that year’s Kentucky Derby, where he finished 7th behind winner Giacomo.

His last start was the 2005 Travers at Saratoga, where he finished second to Flower Alley. Plagued by injuries, Bellamy Road retired that year with four wins from seven starts and earnings of $811,400.

Since 2016 Bellamy Road has stood at Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains, N.Y. He had previously stood at Kentucky’s WinStar Farm and Hurricane Hall.

At stud Bellamy Road sired numerous stakes winners, including 2011 Wood Memorial winner Toby’s Corner and the GR1 winning filly, Constellation.

His son, Diversify, GR1 Whitney Handicap winner and 2018 New York-bred Horse of the Year, also currently resides at Old Friends.

“Bellamy Road has always had a special place in my heart,” said Kinsman President Jessica Steinbrenner, daughter of George. “His Wood Memorial is the most exciting race that I have ever been to. I remember going back to the hotel afterward and being escorted through the kitchen because of all the people gathered outside. To this day, I still watch his Wood Memorial on YouTube, and to hear the announcer say ‘a dazzling performance by a dazzling 3-year-old’ brings me to tears every time.

“Bellamy is a rock star,” Steinbrenner continued. “He deserves a retirement where his fans can visit and reminisce. It’s exciting to think he will be amongst the other great retired racehorses residing at Old Friends.”

“Jessica is following in her father’s footsteps,” added trainer Nick Zito. “George would have done the same thing. They’re very special people.”

“We were privileged that Kinsman, WinStar, and the other syndicate members sent Bellamy to us, and have allowed us to stand him in New York for so long,” said Dutchess Views Farm’s Michael Lischin, on behalf of the Syndicate Manager, Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions LLC. “He is sound and could continue as a stallion but the consensus was that, at his age, it would be in his best interest to retire him to a magnificent facility like Old Friends while he is still healthy and happy. We thank the Syndicate and Old Friends for doing what was right for Bellamy Road.”

“We want to thank Jessica Steinbrenner for trusting us to care for her great horse,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “I know she went out of her way to make sure he’d get to us. Thanks also to Elliot Walden at WinStar who expedited everything, and to everyone at Dutchess Views for taking such great care of him.”

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

The 2021 Grand National

2011 Grand National. RacingKel.

0As a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England, The Grand National was first run in 1839. It is a handicap steeplechase over an official distance of about 4 miles and 2½ furlongs (4 miles 514 yards), with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. The 2020 Grand National was cancelled for the first time since WW2 due to Covid-19.

The Grand National is the most valuable jump race in Europe. Get the best Grand National tips, take the best odds and ante post outlook for April 2021. With Grand National odds on offer all-year-round, the modern-day punter has the opportunity to try one’s luck on the world’s greatest steeplechase at all stages through the year.

Top Six Grand National 2021 Favourites are:

  1. Tiger Roll – Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals and became the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since Red Rum in the 1970s.
  2. Burrows Saint – Won the 2019 Irish Grand National so have a pedigree in these races. Still young so has time on his side.
  3. Any Second Now – Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. A faller in the 2019 Irish National but was running well at the time.
  4. Presenting Percy – Joined trainer G. Elliott’s stable earlier this year, and soon after came back on top in style at Thurles in November 2020.
  5. Santini – A classy staying chaser that was a close runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2020. Would probably have that race as a target again this season, but there has been some small talk of a National bid.
  6. Kimberlite Candy – Laid down some claims of Grand National success to come with a fine victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Ground conditions are likely going to be the dictating factor when deciding on an Aintree return.

Previously we have had Rule the World at huge odds of 50-1 in 2016, Pineau De Re at 33-1 in 2014, and Neptune Collonges at 40-1 in 2012.

Experience counts in the Grand National and 20 of the last 26 winners were aged either 9, 10, or 11. In that period there have also been four eight-year-old and two twelve-year-old winners.

The festival always starts with Grand Opening Day renamed to Liverpool’s NHS Day (renamed to honour the work of dedicated NHS staff) on Thursday, Aintree Ladies’ Day on Friday, then Saturday’s Grand National Day. The next Grand National three-day meeting will run between Thursday 8th April to Saturday 10th April 2021, with the Grand National always staged on the final day – in 2021 this will be on 10th April.

Liverpool’s NHS Day, formerly known as Grand Opening Day, traditionally features four Grade One contests, including the Betfred Bowl and Betway Aintree Hurdle.

One of the most glamorous days of the sporting calendar is Aintree Ladies’ Day which has become one of the most revered days of the season, not only for the action on the course but also for its finery and luxury.

Three Grade One races including the JLT Melling Chase and Mildmay Novices’ Chase are the highlight of the day, while the Topham Chase allows fans to see horses take on the Grand National fences over a shorter two-and-a-half miles.

Then comes Grand National Day on Saturday, which is the highlight of the festival.

Randox has agreed to a five-year extension to its current sponsorship of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. The new agreement will run from 2022-2026 and follow on from the initial five-year contract which runs until next year.

As well as being the headline sponsor of the festival, Randox will lend its name to the three races over the Grand National fences at the fixture – the Randox Foxhunters Chase, the Randox Topham Chase, and the big one itself, the Randox Grand National.

Cheltenham Festival Hurdle Horse Races 2021

Cheltenham racecourse in 2010. Carine06 from UK.

The Cheltenham Festival Jump Horse Racing Festival is from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 March 2021, including Gold Cup Day. Cheltenham follows British government’s guidance to allow spectators when it is safe to attend. Until then, when you want a winner, we have the guide and schedule for your favourite horses.

Will there be people in attendance like there was last year when they just missed the Covid-19 quarantines? Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that restrictions would be lifted, if possible, in mid-February which could allow for crowds at Cheltenham.

Last year’s Cheltenham was one of the final major sporting events to go ahead as normal before the UK was sent into its first national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Cheltenham meet is scheduled to get under way on Tuesday, March 16 with The Champion Hurdle being the headline race on Day One.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase and The Stayers’ Hurdle will follow on the next two days, ending with the Gold Cup on Friday, March 19.

The way they run the Cheltenham Festival is by splitting it in two sections, running four days in total. Days one and two will be run on the Old Course, days three and four on the New Course.

The Old Course was used for the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase. The New Course, which hosts the longer Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup, takes a toll on a horse’s stamina. The field can drastically change and morph as the horses gallop up the fabled Cheltenham hill.

There is also a cross-country course which is laid out inside the main racecourse and is used for cross-country steeplechases.

The first race is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which starts the Cheltenham Festival and sees runners sent off with the famous “Cheltenham roar”. The Supreme has an impressive roll of honor, including the likes of Vautour and Douvan, but one of the most notable winners in recent years was Altior.

The Arkle Challenge is the second race and is offered for top two-mile horses. The Arkle has been won in the past by Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Sizing Europe, and Sprinter Sacre, to qualify to run r the Champion Chase. Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years, including victories for Un de Sceaux, Douvan, Footpad, and Duc des Genievres.

The third race is the Festival Handicap Chase which has seen one of the best rides in Cheltenham Festival history when Wichita Lineman was carried home by A. P. McCoy in 2009.

The National Hunt Chase is one of three races at the Cheltenham Festival restricted to amateur riders. It is the longest race of the meeting, run over three and three-quarter miles where Irish trainers have had plenty of success in recent times. Gordon Elliott has won two of the last three runnings, including with Ravenhill in 2020.

Then they have the Novices’ Handicap Chase first run in 2005. It often brings the most progressive novices together, and has a history of representing strong form.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the “meetings” (British term for horse races, etc.) in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom. Its race prize money is second only to the Grand National. It takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day and is particularly popular with Irish visitors.

The meeting’s Grade I races include: the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Stayers’ Hurdle. Large amounts of money are gambled, hundreds of millions over the course of the week.

Cheltenham is known for its atmosphere, including the “Cheltenham roar”, referring to the enormous amount of noise that the crowd generates as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations.

After additions and major improvements made at Cheltenham, including a new stand (the fourth one), miles of drain to prevent unsuitable racing ground, tar paving in the enclosures, and the paddock extended to 35 saddling boxes, proved enough to make the National Hunt Committee decide that the 1911 meeting was to return at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham where it remained to the present.

Whistle Stop Cafe Is Named 2020 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse

Whistle Stop Cafe has been named the 2020 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse, joining only Laico Bird before her as a 2-year-old filly who earned the world champion title.

Laico Bird earned her title in 1967. This past year, Whistle Stop Cafe was undefeated in six starts, earning $1,974,986. She was also the champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old filly.

Owners Whitmire Ranch of Sallisaw, Oklahoma bought her for a mere $42,000 as a yearling, and trainer Blane Wood and jockey Ricky Ramirez guided the filly to win her Heritage Place Futurity (G1) trial and the Heritage Place Juvenile. She then travelled to Ruidoso, where she won her trial and the final of the $1 million Rainbow Futurity (G1), and went on to win her trial and the final of the $3 million All American Futurity (G1).

Whistle Stop Cafe was bred by Bobby D. Cox and is by Freighttrain B and out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Sinuous.

The champion 2-year-old colt is Dulce Sin Tacha, who won five of six starts and earned $518,403 for breeders and owners Bob and Jerry Gaston. Dulce Sin Tacha is by Jess Good Candy and out of the Tempting Dash mare Prissy Sin Tacha. Trained by Heath Taylor and ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo, his year was led by a victory in the $1,031,211 Texas Classic Futurity (G1).

Apollitical Gold took his run everywhere he went to earn his champion 2-year-old gelding title. Racing for breeder Grant R. Cox Revocable Trust, the son of Apollitical Jess out of SRC Gold by PYC Paint Your Wagon won four of nine starts, with two seconds and three thirds. He earned $972,659. His key efforts included a victory in the Golden State Million Futurity (G1) and third-place finishes in the All American Futurity (G1) and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). He was trained by Eddie Willis and was ridden by Justine Klaiber, Jimmy Brooks, and Cody Smith.

Supreme Race Horse Danjer was named the champion aged horse and champion aged gelding after a year that saw him win four of six starts and earn $326,061. The 4-year-old gelding, by FDD Dynasty and out of the Take Off Jess mare Shez Jess Toxic, was bred by Dean Frey and is owned by Frey, Downtime Enterprises LLC, and Billy Smith. Danjer’s Grade 1 wins include The Downs at Albuquerque Championship and the Bank of America Challenge Championship. He was trained by Dean Frey and ridden by Cody Smith.

The champion aged stallion is Eagles Fly Higher, a 4-year-old stallion by One Famous Eagle and out of the First Down Dash mare Lone Bet. Bred by V. H. Harman Jr. and Robert Moudy III, he is owned by Darling Farms, and won three of eight starts, with three additional placings and earnings of $209,973. He won the Sooner State Stakes (RG1), Eastex Stakes (G2), and Bank of America Prairie Meadows Championship Challenge (G2), in addition to two additional Grade 1 placings. He was trained by Casey Black and Jaime Gomez, and was ridden by Mario Delgado, Cristian Esqueda, Agustin Silva, and Jesus Ayala.

Michael Pohl and Martin Stacy’s homebred Curls Happy Wagon is the champion aged mare. She won half of her six starts during the year, earning $145,822, and won the Mildred N. Vessels Memorial Handicap (G1), Las Damas Handicap (G2), and Decketta Stakes (G2). The 5-year-old mare is by PYC Paint Your Wagon and out of the Spit Curl Jess mare Eye A Spit Curl Girl. She was trained by Stacy Charette-Hill and Juan Aleman and ridden by Armando Cervantes and Jorge Torres.

Tell Cartel made the most starts of any champion during the year, winning half of his 10 starts, with three additional placings, and earning $717,751 while earning the titles of champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old colt. Racing for breeder and owner Martha Wells, the Favorite Cartel colt out of the Chicks Beduino mare Chicks Tell won the Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1), Los Alamitos Super Derby (G1), and El Primero Del Ano Derby (G3), and he was second in the Champion of Champions (G1). He was trained by Matt Fales, and ridden by Ruben Lozano, Eduardo Nicasio, and Jesus Ayala.

CERs Final Try honors the memory of his late breeder, Charles E. Robinson, as he is named the champion 3-year-old gelding. Racing for Christina Robinson, CERs Final Try won four of seven starts and earned three additional placings, earning $581,182. His achievements include a victory in the Rainbow Derby (G1) and placings in the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and All American Derby (G1). He is by One Dashing Eagle and out of the Corona Cartel mare BP Shes All Corona. He was trained by Tony Sedillo and ridden by Alfredo Sigala and Manuel Gutierrez.

The daughter of Apollitical Jess out of the First Down Dash mare Shesa First Ratify, Ratification is the champion 3-year-old filly. She races for her breeder Bobby D. Cox and won five of seven starts with one second-place finish and earned $327,308. She won the $315,739 Rainbow Oaks and $421,326 All American Oaks. She was trained by John Buchanan and Juan Vazquez, and was ridden by Francisco Calderon, Esgar Ramirez, and Agustin Silva.

The 2014 gelding Madewell is honored as the 2020 champion distance horse. He is a homebred for Ray L. and Davy Madewell, and won four of seven starts, with two additional placings, and earnings of $102,618. He is sired by Jess Jones and out of the A Streak Of Cash mare Streakin Peacock. His wins include the Cox Ranch Distance Challenge Championship (G1) and the AQHA Downs at Albuquerque Distance Challenge (G2). He was trained by Bernard Baca, and ridden by Benito Baca, Jorge Bourdieu, and Stormy Smith.

Freshman Eyesa Timber is the Canadian champion. Bred and raced by Wesley T. Oulton, the Alberta-bred gelding is by First Timber and out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Eyesa Perry. He began his year racing in the United States before returning home, where at Century Mile he won the Alberta-bred Futurity and Canada Cup Futurity (G3). He won four of seven starts, with two second-place finishes, and earned $56,491. The horse was trained by Wesley Oulton and Durk Peery, and ridden by J. Botello, Jose Rocha, and Jose Vega.

Cuadra La Presita saw its homebred Juanito Y Danny win three of four starts, earning $152,310, to be named the Mexican champion. The 2018 gelding by Danny Cartel is out of the Ought To Be First mare Toles. He won the Subasta Selecta Futurity (RG3) and was third in the Garanones Futurity (RG3). The horse was trained by Ismael Ayala and ridden by Yair Daniel Baez, L. Vidana and Jose Angel Ambrosio.

The South American champion is Fantastic Fly Apollo, a 2017 colt racing for breeder Ademir Jose Rorato. The horse won six of eight starts, with two seconds, and earned $66,861. His wins include the Campeao Dos Campeoes, Brasil II Triplice Coroa, and Sorocaba Futurity. He is by Fantastic Corona Jr and out of the Eyesa Special mare Flyapolloeyesa BR. He was trained by Rivail Rosa and ridden by B. Guimaraes and J. Santana.

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame horseman Bobby D. Cox earns his third champion breeder title, as his horses earned more than $2.4 million more than any other breeder. Included among them are world champion Whistle Stop Cafe and champion Ratification. California horsewoman Martha Wells saw her horses, which include champion Tell Cartel, win at a 14% clip, and she is named the champion owner. Trainer Eddie Willis earned his first nod as the Blane Schvaneveldt champion trainer, with earnings of more than $2.7 million in the year, including champion Apollitical Gold. James A. Flores is the champion jockey for the second consecutive year, with earnings of more than $3.5 million.

For more information on AQHA racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.