We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Newbury Races

Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) plans to contribute a record £22.9m towards prize money this year, an increase of £2.1m on 2016. A total of £45m is earmarked for JCR’s 15 tracks which have 341 fixtures, with £1.4m of the extra funding going to jump racing. Its seven smaller tracks – Carlisle, Exeter, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Nottingham, Warwick and Wincanton – will see more than £100,000 extra each in prize money and as much as £241,000 in the case of Carlisle. JCR group MD Paul Fisher said: “All levels of British Racing will benefit from the prize money increase, but I hope the clear boost for National Hunt racing and the grassroots of our sport is particularly welcome.”

The announcement of £22.9m in prize-money at Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) this year has been well received. Racehorse Owners Association (ROA) chief executive Charlie Liverton said: “This announcement from Jockey Club Racecourses is excellent news for owners and horsemen, and I am further delighted that grassroots racing has seen particular focus. This extra support for the middle and lower tier of British Racing is clearly needed and is welcome. That is where it can help the majority of racehorse owners and horsemen and where more investment is needed around the country.”

Bristol De Mai.jpg

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai (right), who flopped in the Denman Chase at Newbury having previously been an impressive winner of the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock, is still on course for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Pushed out to 25/1 for the March 17 showpiece by MyClubBetting yesterday, Anthony Bromley, representing owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, was upbeat. He said: “We’re still going to have a go at the Gold Cup,” but added, “it’s a big roll of the dice. Even the distance is still an unknown and there are some very smart horses in there. He’s a lovely horse but he is an outsider, don’t get us wrong”.

Superb Story has been ruled out of the Champion Hurdle after suffering a tendon injury. He won comfortably on his only start of the season at Musselburgh, but trainer Dan Skelton tweeted: “Superb Story will not be running at Cheltenham. He’s got a small lesion in a tendon and will need time off. Possibly back in December.”

ITV has launched new app, ITV Racing, in a tie-up with developer Monterosa. It features a new £100,000 predictor contest ITV7. ITV Digital Studios online editorial director Sheena Peirse said: “Horse racing is a major priority for us and we see the app as a crucial way to reach new and existing fans of the sport and launch the ITV7 competition.”

The Neil King-trained Lil Rockerfeller will bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the National Spirit Hurdle since Lough Derg after being given the green light for Sunday’s feature at Fontwell. Owner Andy Smith said: “Lil Rockerfeller did a fantastic piece of work on Saturday morning, which Neil was delighted with, so we’re confident he’s over his last run and we go to Fontwell with high hopes.” Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge, second in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham and Different Gravey are also among the entries for the Cheltenham Stayers’ Hurdle trial.

Emma Lavelle Getty.jpg

Emma Lavelle (right) is doing a rain dance ahead of Saturday’s Eider Handicap Chase for last year’s runner-up Shotgun Paddy. Lavelle said: “I’ve heard a going report saying ‘lovely drying wind’ – that is no good for him, but there is some rain about so hopefully it hits Newcastle. He’s a solid stayer and he deserves to win one of these big chases because he’s knocked on the door in so many of them.”

When it comes to Forest Bihan’s chances of landing the Racing Post Arkle Trophy, trainer Brian Ellison is a realist. “The favourite looks nailed on – Altior looks like a machine so we’re obviously running for place money, but we’ll see,” he said. Forest Bihan has won three of his four starts over fences and was cut to 20/1 by MyClubBetting after Ellison added: “He’s very well, I actually think he’s a little underrated looking at his price.”

Capitaine is likely to be made favourite Saturday’s Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, a recognised trial for Cheltenham’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old chased home Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time and heads 12 entries, along with Alan King’s Elgin.

Mutakayyef will have to concede upwards of 5lb to his rivals in the Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday. William Haggas’ six-year-old will face a maximum of 10 rivals, all of whom are rated 9lb or more lower, and is likely to be the MyClubBetting favourite. Former stablemate Battalion, now with Jamie Osborne, is also among the leading fancies with the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Convey.

Terry Doherty, stud manager for Watership Down Stud, has been named as Employee of the Year 2017 at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards in a ceremony at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge. The perpetual Godolphin Trophy was presented by Freddy Tylicki, along with a cheque for £40,000, of which £20,000 will be shared amongst the staff at the Stud. It was part of £120,000 in prize money awarded by sponsors Godolphin. Chairman of the Judging Panel Brough Scott said: “The finalists were of a quite exceptional standard and it was really inspiring for the judges to hear their stories. However, in the end, Terry emerged as a clear and very fine winner and I am sure he will be a great ambassador for the sport.” Source:

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SOUTHWELL: 2.10 Log Off, 2.40 Elegantly Bound, 3.10 Vroom, 3.40 Lady Nayef, 4.10 Bounty Pursuit, 4.40 Horseguardsparade

TAUNTON: 2.20 Viking Mistress, 2.50 Lake Shore Drive, 3.20 Verdana Blue, 3.50 Heroes Or Ghosts, 4.20 Top Tug, 4.50 Monsieur Gibraltar, 5.20 My Story

WETHERBY: 2.00 Café Au Lait, 2.30 Money Maid, 3.00 Jerrysback, 3.30 Groomed, 4.00 Modulus, 4.30 Scarlet Fire, 5.00 Our Belle Aime

Today’s Lucky 15 Selections: Monsieur Gibraltar (Taunton 4.50), Bounty Pursuit (Southwell 4.10), Jerrysback (Wetherby 3.00), Elegantly Bound (Southwell 2.40)

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

Horse racing Lucky 15 – Friday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Our NAP selection won again on Thursday, so take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Friday, December 2, 2016.



TRISHULI ROCK (Wolverhampton 7.45) has been placed in all four starts after last week’s third over 1m½f here and can get off the mark at the fifth attempt in the 1m1½f maiden for trainer Marco Botti. Back in trip last time, she held a good position turning in but hung a little in the closing stages. While she does not appear to be progressing, she will not have to find much improvement to win what looks a weak maiden over the same trip.

DINO VELVET (Sandown Park 1.15) won a conditions race in the French provinces in May and was gelded before running fourth to Pleasure Dome in a 0-85 Flat handicap at Chester in September on his first start for Alan King. The three-year-old then made a pleasing start to his hurdling career, with a fairly slick round of jumping in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham last month. He looked no match for the winner, Defi Di Seuil, who had his measure before the selection came to grief at the last. Still, if none the worse for wear, he should get off the mark in the 2m juvenile hurdle.

ANDY KELLY (Exeter 12.55) won his only completed start over fences, beating subsequent Group 1 winner Ar Mad in a novices’ limited handicap at Plumpton last October. He had run just three times the previous season and suffered with leg trouble after his win, so would have needed the run when he appeared at Kempton Park a couple of weeks ago after 399 days on the sidelines. However, Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old got in tight at the fifth fence and unseated Daryl Jacob. He looks very well handicapped, though, and is expected to go well in the extended 2m3f handicap chase.

THE CHARACTER (Sedgefield 1.40) bids for a hat-trick, having won two novice hurdles at Bangor (2m½f) and Musselburgh (1m7½f). The Donald McCain-trained five-year-old made all, defying a 7lb penalty and showing guts aplenty in fending off Golden Town last month, and now makes his handicap debut off a mark of 115. He looks to have been found a decent opportunity, as a few of his seven opponents in this extended 2m½f event will be either lacking match practice or are out of form.

Sandown Jumps generic.jpg


SANDOWN PARK: 12.40 Azure Fly, 1.15 Dino Velvet (nb), 1.50 Pilgrims Bay, 2.25 Ballyandy, 3.00 Red Devil Star, 3.35 Utility

EXETER (inspection 8am): 12.20 Bring Back Charlie, 12.55 Andy Kelly, 1.30 Cyclop, 2.05 Touch Kick, 2.40 Annie Alainn, 3.15 Rock The Kasbah, 3.50 Sensible Friend

SEDGEFIELD: 12.00 Gunner Lindley, 12.30 Shanroe In Milan, 1.05 On The Road, 1.40 The Character, 2.15 Distant Rain, 2.50 Derintoher Yank, 3.25 Cousin Oscar

WOLVERHAMPTON: 4.10 Unnoticed, 4.40 Espresso Freddo, 5.10 Italian Beauty, 5.45 Beautiful Stranger, 6.15 Gentlemen, 6.45 Limonata, 7.15 Rubis, 7.45 TRISHULI ROCK (NAP)


Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly

Horse racing Lucky 15 – Wednesday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will mark your card, providing a preview of the day’s racing and offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British meetings on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.



SOVEREIGN DEBT (Kempton Park 6.40) has been a model of consistency in Pattern company and has been somewhat unfortunate to have finished runner-up 12 times in 31 stakes races. He has won five times in such company, though, and is on a hat-trick after taking a 7f conditions race at Doncaster, followed a week later by cosy two-length win a 7f Listed race at Leopardstown – his tenth career success. The tough and reliable Dandy Nicholls-trained seven-year-old is having his 13th start of the year in tonight’s 1m Listed event and with guaranteed pace at which to aim, would appear to have a better chance of landing this decent prize than last year when he was a fast-finishing fourth from an impossible position turning in.

BINDON MILL (Chepstow 1.55) goes handicapping for the first time, having been narrowly beaten in a novices’ hurdle at Exeter in February. Victor Dartnall’s seven-year-old is still looking for his first win in six starts but has been runner-up in a well-contested bumper and when nosed out by the well-regarded Captain Chaos over 2m2½f last time. Admittedly, he may be happier on a sounder surface than the Good to Soft ground he is expected to get today and while fitness must be taken on trust after a 264-day break, there should not be much between him and last week’s Ffos Las scorer Verygoodverygood, who carries a penalty.

WATER WAGTAIL (Warwick 3.15) has been given a chance by the handicapper and should go well in the 3m1½f handicap chase. Having been dropped 11lb in two runs following a lengthy absence, the nine-year-old was well backed before finishing third to Mad Money (who subsequently followed up) over 2m7f at Worcester in mid-September. Emma Lavelle has been picking her spots carefully with great success this summer and the April move to Ogbourne Maizey, while tough, could not have reaped better results. Water Wagtail remains on a mark of 96 and this event for horses rated 0-100 does not have a great deal of strength in depth.

TOP AND DROP (Chepstow 3.00) represents the Venetia Williams yard that has endured an unusually quiet summer, with just two winners on the board. The Kings Caple yard may have been under a cloud but there have been signs that it is sparking to life in recent days, underlined by Aso’s decent fourth in the Grade 3 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday. Top And Drop has had four previous starts, the latest when third to Verni in a 2m2½f maiden hurdle at Newton Abbot in April. The five-year-old mare has a tendency to sweat up before her races and looks every inch a chaser in the making. She is bred for further than today’s 2m trip but she gets into this 0-100 mares’ handicap hurdle off a reasonable mark of 96.

Warwick 3.jpg


CHEPSTOW: 12.50 Mister Big, 1.20 The Two Amigos, 1.55 Bindon Mill (nb), 2.25 Barton Gift, 3.00 Top And Drop, 3.35 Keep Moving, 4.05 Somerset Lias

WARWICK: 12.30 Midnight Maestro, 1.00 Aces Over Eights, 1.35 Lady Markby, 2.05 Top Notch, 2.40 Billy My Boy, 3.15 Water Wagtail, 3.45 True Self

KEMPTON PARK: 4.10 Top Diktat, 4.40 Imperial City, 5.10 Daschas, 5.40 Hadeeqa, 6.10 Qatar Man, 6.40 SOVEREIGN DEBT (NAP), 7.10 Steve Rogers, 7.40 Timekeeping


Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood and World Horse Welfare.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly

Horse racing Lucky 15 – Sunday’s top selections

Each day Bet4Causes will provide you with a preview of the day’s racing, offering what the experts feel will be the value bets of the day.

Take a look at our Lucky 15 selections (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold) for the British and Irish meetings on Sunday, May 15, 2016…

Doncaster Racing X


RAINBOW MIST (Ripon 2.00) looked a nice prospect when winning on his Thirsk debut by four lengths, powering down the stands’ rail – which is always the place to be over the minimum trip at the Yorkshire track. He was friendless in the market that day but it did not stop him and, in a race with very little form to go on, may well be able to follow up despite having to give away 4lb to likely favourite Top Score.

PAWN STAR (Stratford 2.50) was made favourite for a 2m4½f novices’ handicap hurdle at Southwell last month, but kept on well from off the pace and looked as though a bit further would suit, so Emma Lavelle steps the lightly-raced six-year-old up to 2m6f today. He looks on a favourable mark of 104. The yard has been hitting the post with a few recently and should soon be in full stride.

FLAMING GORGE (Market Rasen 4.55) has been running well in decent hunter chases and Lawney Hill’s 11-year-old may well take some catching in the 2m5f handicap chase off what looks a fair mark of 117. He was not beaten far by Grandioso at Kempton last time and the winner has scored twice since, so that form stands up.

WASHINGTON DC (Navan 1.45) won the Windsor Castle stakes at Royal Ascot last year and then finished runner-up to Air Force Blue in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh. Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old opened this season with a victory in a Listed 7f contest at Dundalk, but was a well-beaten favourite a couple of weeks ago in a Group 3 at Ascot. However, the ground appeared to be too soft for good-actioned colt and with conditions more to his liking now, he can get back to winning ways over a trip 38 yards sort of 6f.


RIPON: 2.00 RAINBOW MIST (NAP), 2.30 Vaux, 3.00 Springforth, 3.35 Avon Breeze, 4.10 Edgar Balthazar, 4.45 Lilly Vega, 5.15 Hit The Lights, 5.45 Amazement

MARKET RASEN: 2.10 For Goodness Sake, 2.40 Lady Clitico, 3.15 Baku Bay, 3.50 Midnight Shot, 4.25 Dineur, 4.55 Flaming Gorge, 5.25 Cougar’s Gold

STRATFORD: 1.50 Miss Williams, 2.20 The Barbury Queen, 2.50 Pawn Star (nb), 3.25 Lakeshore Lady, 4.00 Horsted Valley, 4.35 Sleep Easy, 5.05 Devil To Pay

KILLARNEY: 2.05 Sound Money, 2.35 Missy Tata, 3.05 Oighear Dubh, 3.40 Plinth, 4.15 Sizing Tennessee, 4.50 Sandymount Duke, 5.20 Hard Bought, 5.50 Cesar Et Rosalie

NAVAN: 1.45 Washington Dc, 2.15 Edgar Allan Poe, 2.45 In Salutem, 3.20 Bondi Beach, 3.55 Elm Grove, 4.30 Tasty Ginger, 5.00 Kid Malibu, 5.30 Twilight Payment

Get your club, however large or small, its own tailor-made betting service – FREE – and start benefiting now! See for details.

Feeling-Lucky_B4C_1024x512 (2)

If you are not affiliated to a club, you can bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly

Jim Crowley: Classic conundrum

We are delighted to announce that top jockey Jim Crowley has become Flat racing Brand Ambassador for Bet4Causes. Top Trainer Emma Lavelle is our Jumps Ambassador.

You can read Jim’s columns in the Racing Plus newspaper every Saturday, plus get his exclusive run-down on his rides.

Jim Crowley 1.jpg

By Jim Crowley

IT IS not often that the York Classic trials muddy the Epsom waters, but in some ways the Musidora and the Dante have crystallized one thought: The Oaks is looking a potentially much better race than the Derby.

Previously unbeaten ante-post Derby favourite Midterm did not ran his race in the Dante.

In the paddock he was very coltish and was whinnying down at the start. It was over before it started and I’m not sure he will run in the Derby now.

Connections may wait for Royal Ascot, but it is very difficult for a horse to bounce back from something like that and run in the Blue Riband, even if he is trained by a legend in Sir Michael Stoute.

Dante winner Wings Of Desire is still raw and reminds me, looks-wise, of Lammtarra, in that he is a long, lean type. He may not be the next Lammtarra, who came with an irresistible surge under Walter Swinburn to get up in the dying strides and land the 1995 Derby, but he looks certain to improve.

Incidentally, when I watched him win his maiden at Wolverhampton, I immediately phoned my agent to try and get me the ride on the third horse, Pumblechook. The latter is a full brother to Chinese White who won the 1m2f Irish Pretty Polly Stakes (Group One) in 2010 and I’m sure he will be out again soon.

You can be forgiven for thinking that, of the Classic generation, the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Aidan O’Brien’s 1,000 Guineas trio of Minding, Ballydoyle and Alice Springs all appear capable of winning an above-average renewal of the Oaks, and it was hard not to be impressed by Musidora winner So Mi Dar (below).

So Mi Dar.jpg

By Dubawi out of the top-class Dar Re Mi, John Gosden’s representative was a little bit keen, but quickened up nicely and looked the part.

With Humphrey Bogart, who was just behind her at Epsom, subsequently winning the (admittedly weak) Lingfield Trial, the form stacks up nicely.

While it would be surprising if 1,000 Guineas heroine Minding took on the colts – Coolmore have enough darts to throw in the Derby in their quest to make another valuable stallion – wouldn’t it be interesting if So Mi Dar took on the boys? After all, she has course form and that’s vital.

With the disparity in prize money (£1.325million for the Derby dwarfs the £450,000 for the Oaks), you can understand the temptation. There is no standout performer in the line-up and it looks a very mediocre Derby, but it appears that So Mi Dar will take on the fillies.

Midterm’s defeat takes the sheen off the Sandown Classic Trial, where the David Simcock-trained Algometer was runner-up.

While connections have their eye on the Irish Derby, should Algometer come out and win the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood next week, then he may possibly be re-routed to Epsom.

Naturally, it would be great to see Algometer to run at Epsom. He is a well-balanced horse and I don’t see the track being a problem.

There is only one Derby, after all.

While it is up to the trainer and the owner, my view is that you will probably only end up meeting the same horses in the Irish version anyway, and also you are not guaranteed to get soft ground in Ireland.

Dutch Connection - Jim Crowley.jpgDutch to master Newbury rivals

SADLY, I don’t have a big book of rides today at Newbury.

Dutch Connection (3.55) being sold to Godolphin was a bit of a blow, as I was looking forward to riding him again this season. It is tough when you lose one of your leading players (above), but he will hold a leading chance in the Group One Lockinge Stakes.

Although Dutch Connection was receiving 3lb from Toormore at Sandown and we were beaten a neck last month, that was his first run in nearly seven months, so it is possible Will Buick’s mount will reverse the form today.

Hugo Palmer.jpg

I ride We Are Ninety (5.05) for Hugo Palmer (above), who steps up in class to run in a Listed race over 1m2f. We thought she was way ahead of her mark before she won at Chelmsford off an official rating of 70 and she backed up quite quickly three days later over course and distance.

It looked a good opportunity, but she bounced. Sometimes, with colts and geldings, you can get away with it but fillies don’t always take to it. She clearly didn’t.

Hugo is a good trainer. His horses are fit and hard – and he really likes her.

Now rated 81, she is obviously up against it today, but I’m pretty sure he has a plan for the rest of the season, so we are probably going to find out where we are with her.

I haven’t ridden the Paul Cole-trained Complicit (5.35) since he ran off a mark of 109 at Windsor last May. He has a tongue tie now and is running off a 6lb lower mark than when last winning.

While they tell me he is working well, it will be a case of whether he goes on the ground or not.

While I’m sadly not aboard them, my best bets today are both Ed Dunlop horses. His string is in fine form and Global Applause (2.10 Newbury) can land the 6f conditions stakes and follow up his win at Newmarket (below).

Global applause.jpg

While the London Gold Cup is a hugely competitive race, Vivre Pour Vivre (4.30) is a useful horse who won’t mind a bit of cut in the ground.

On Sunday I fly out with Ryan Moore to Deauville for the Group One Poule D’Essai Des Poulains. Ryan rides The Gurkha for Aidan O’Brien, while I partner the Simon Crisford-trained First Selection (3.20), who led until 2f out in the 2000 Guineas.

In truth, my lad will be trying to punch above his weight, but he should act on the track and the ground will be ideal.

On Monday, I have a fair book of rides at Leicester. Monks Stand (6.10) is a horse I like and hopefully will make up for the disappointment of being beaten at Brighton last week. He was a bit green to post and, as can happen in races at Brighton, the door slammed on me when one rolled down the hill. If he doesn’t go there – he does not want soft ground – he will likely go to Lingfield on Tuesday.

I ride a couple for Hughie Morrison and Compton Mill (6.40) is not a bad little horse and will be competitive, while Van Dyke (8.10) has hopefully come on for his first run of the season.

Hearty (8.40), trained by Jeremy Noseda, ran well in a slowly-run race at Windsor last time and I think he will run well.

On Tuesday, I head to Nottingham and I’m jocked-up for two of Hughie’s in the two-mile handicap, Atalan and Sweet Selection (3.15). I have won on Atalan before and he stays well, but whichever he runs should go well.

Sunscape (3.50) is having her first run of the season and is up in trip to 1m2f for her handicap debut against her own sex.

Pirouette (4.50) was due to run at Windsor last week but didn’t and she also makes her seasonal return in a race where she would hold a chance.

Good luck – and don’t forget to join me again next week!

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly

Jim Crowley: Blue is not the colour

We are delighted to announce that top jockey Jim Crowley has become Flat racing Brand Ambassador for Bet4Causes. Top Trainer Emma Lavelle is our Jumps Ambassador.

You can read Jim’s columns in the Racing Plus newspaper every Saturday, plus get his exclusive run-down on his rides.

Brighton Races

By Jim Crowley

THE first two Classics of the season left plenty of unanswered questions.

What next for beaten 2000 Guineas odds-on favourite Air Force Blue?

While I couldn’t see him being beaten, it was surprising to see last season’s impressive Dewhurst winner wearing the combination of tongue strap and a crossed noseband, and finish a tame 12th of 13.

Aidan O’Brien insisted afterwards that he may have over-trained him.

While that can happen, perhaps we should give the War Front colt the benefit of the doubt, as he is a May foal and there have been only two winners of the Guineas in the last 25 years foaled after the first week in April.

The feeling is Air Force Blue is likely to come back in trip and go down the July Cup and the Commonwealth Cup route.

One question was answered on Thursday: impressive winner Galileo Gold will head to the Irish Derby. He will surely get 10 furlongs but the son of Paco Boy would probably not get the mile-and-a-half Derby trip. The St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot has also been mooted.

My ride, First Selection, ran well but he’s a soft ground horse who is not up to that level. Still, if dropped into a Group Two or Group Three, he will be very competitive.

The fillies’ Classic was a stronger race and I was very impressed with Minding. Runner-up Ballydoyle was a little bit further back and she finished prominently. She looks more of an Oaks filly than the winner.


While Coolmore are pondering whether to run Minding (above) in the Derby, they are in the business of making stallions, so I can’t see why they’d want to take on the colts.

With Alice Springs third at Newmarket and Somehow winning more impressively than some would have us believe at Chester on Wednesday, Aidan O’Brien is blessed with potential Oaks candidates. Yet Ballydoyle would be the one for me.

Today at Lingfield the Oaks and Derby Trials do not look strong, but Mountain Bell (3.25) might well be good enough to take the former. Ralph Beckett has won this race three times in the last nine years and this filly was very impressive when winning at Windsor.

However, this afternoon I am at Ascot for some nice rides.

I really like Duretto (2.30). He’s a lovely horse by Manduro and he is going to improve. He was progressive last year and won twice at Ascot for Andrew Balding. I think he’ll run a good race in the mile-and-a-half handicap and will be worth following for the rest of the season.

Scotland (3.05) is having his first outing since running in the Gold Cup last year, where he was beaten three-and-a-half lengths. It was his first time over 2m4f and he was a bit keen, but finished really well. Hopefully he will become a Cup horse and he holds a fair chance even though he drops back a mile for the Listed contest.

Havre Du Paix (3.40) is a lovely filly, trained by David Menuisier, who is doing very well at Coombelands in Pulborough. She won at Chelmsford last month and the second horse subsequently won. I really like her and she’ll run a big race in the one-mile fillies’ handicap.

The Warrior (4.15) has joined Amanda Perrett from Aidan O’Brien’s yard and has had one run this year. He will improve from that run at Lingfield and he’s a lovely type, but the Victoria Cup is a hugely competitive race. Hopefully he’ll run well.

Finally, I’ve won a couple of times on Salvatore Fury (4.45) and he runs off bottom weight in the 6f handicap. He’s a bit of a monkey and needs delivering late, so I will have to sit chilly.

While I will be at Brighton on Monday, my nap of the week runs at Wolverhampton on the same afternoon.

The Lucy Wadham-trained Minstrels Gallery (2.30) looks well handicapped. He was a 129-rated hurdler whom I won on last time over course and distance, but is rated just 68 now. Let’s hope he delivers.

Algometer set for Derby prep

HAVING finished runner-up in two Classics last season, it would be nice to think I can go one better and one horse I am really looking forward to riding is the Kirsten Rausing-owned Algometer.

He ran so well behind Midterm at Sandown two weeks ago (below, right) and that form looks solid. Trainer David Simcock has been really pleased with him since. He has said he has come out of his race really well and I actually think there will be a lot of improvement in the horse.

Midterm and Algometer.jpg

It is not definite, but at the moment I think he will be campaigned towards the Irish Derby and a crack at Galileo Gold. I’m pretty sure he will have a prep and although he was entered in the Dante, he will not go to York.

Not only would he have to take on Midterm again, he’s a horse who wants a bit of juice in the ground and we were not sure to get that on the Knavesmire.

He might run in something like the Cocked Hat at Goodwood but that will be up to David. I’m sure the plan will be mapped out soon.

Brighton racing.jpg

Brighton on Monday…

I ALWAYS enjoy my trips to Brighton. It is not everyone’s favourite course, but it is always a good day out.

On Monday, I have a decent book of rides at the south coast track.

Having been a non-runner last week, Monks Stand (1.50), if he runs, can win the 6f novice Stakes for Jeremy Noseda.

The Chris Wall-trained Song Of Norway (2.50) has won here in the past. She’s a nice little filly and should go close on her seasonal debut in the 7f fillies’ handicap.

I also ride Tainted Love (3.20) for Mr Wall and she is expected to run very well off top weight in the 10-furlong handicap.

Diamond Charlie (4.50) pulled very hard last time, so I’m going to ride him cold and he’ll probably be hard to beat.

Newcastle races.jpg

Newcastle make the right choice

NEWCASTLE may have done away with their turf track, but the trials of their new all-weather surface were apparently as good as hoped this week.

The first meeting on the Michael Dickinson-produced Tapeta surface will be on Tuesday May 17.

Many people feel it is a shame that we have lost another turf track, and it is a pity, but in a year’s time people will be saying it was a good idea.

If the Northumberland Plate is run on the all-weather, rather than on hock-deep ground, then so be it. That can’t be a bad thing.

I have ridden on Tapeta on Dubai and thought it rode well. I did a lot of work on it at Santa Anita before they switched back to dirt and I’ve always quite liked the surface.

A lot of these all-weather tracks are designed for the winter. The warmer the weather, the slower they ride, especially places like Kempton. When it is wet and cold, it is slick and fast.

Either way, it is going to be a boon for the Northern trainers.

What I like about this all-weather move is that Newcastle is a big, galloping track and it is very fair.

Some places like Wolverhampton, Chelmsford and Lingfield, are sharp, tight and on the turn. Sometimes there is a massive draw bias, such as over six furlongs at Lingfield.

There are sweeping bends at Newcastle and you can ride a font-runner’s race.

Overall, I think Newcastle’s all-weather surface will be very good. It is just a pity that it is such a long way away from me!

Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly


Emma Lavelle: Up the Junction!

Top trainer Emma Lavelle is Jumps Racing Ambassador for Bet4Causes and columnist for the Racing Plus newspaper. In her final column of the season, she takes a look at Saturday’s Sandown finale…

Emma Lavelle Fave

By Emma Lavelle

IT IS always better to look forward than to look back and this is especially so for Barry and the rest of our team.

Slow going is perhaps the best way to describe the season we have had, in more ways than one. The incessant rain has meant the going was slow to bottomless at times – not great for a yard with fantastically supportive owners, but not enough soft-ground horses.

Yet we have undertaken a brilliant project. The move to Bonita Stables went as smoothly as we could have hoped this week, although half the machinery is still at our old yard. There have been some teething problems – not least someone cutting through the phone lines!

One of our big priorities this summer will be to show off the wonderful facilities we have now at our disposal.

While Cottage Stables put us on the map, it is a postage stamp of a training centre compared to what we have now.

Frankly, we out-grew the place and are now preparing to kick on to the next level.

A clean, fresh, bug-free environment and a change of scenery can often work wonders for horses, so we are crossing fingers for something of a honeymoon period.

Although we do have big plans, we may not match the levels of success enjoyed by Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls, whose battle for the trainer’s title goes into the final day with big money on offer at Sandown.

Why do they have such big strings? There is an element of success breeding success. Willie Mullins is a very nice guy and it is not his fault that he has become so dominant in Ireland. He has some wealthy owners who saw him having big winners and they wanted some of it, too.

But you can count on one hand the yards in Ireland who have over 100 horses. Over here, it is a bit different: there are several of them and the wealth is distributed more evenly.

While it has been a fascinating duel between the English and Irish superpowers, it hasn’t always been easy for those lower down the food chain, as horses are being balloted out at the expense of their runners, particularly over the last few weeks. Mosspark and Court By Surprise both miss out on the bet365 Gold Cup, for instance.

I am hopeful that we can find a 3m handicap chase between now and the end of May for the latter-named, as he is on tremendous terms with himself.

Junction Fourteen.jpg

Sadly, Fox Appeal doesn’t run in the Grade 2 Oaksey Chase. He will likely go to Newton Abbot for an extended 2m4f chase and I think he would have a good chance, as he is sensibly handicapped.

Junction Fourteen (5.20 Sandown) provided one of the highlights of our team’s season, winning a Grade 2 novices’ chase at Wincanton in November (above), and we have been waiting for good ground all winter. I am expecting him to run well in the Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase, as he has been in great order recently.

Fortunate George, who won an extended 2m5f handicap hurdle at Wincanton earlier this month, was going to run in the finale, but we have decided to wait. He’s mentally still a little immature, but he is certainly one of the yard’s emerging talents and he will be well worth keeping an eye on.

Subordinate (4.30 Bath, Monday) goes in a maiden, having run really well at Wolverhampton last time. He has to give weight away and it looks a competitive race, but I’ve always been open to training Flat horses and I’d be really pleased to have a few to go to war with in the near future.

Since it is the end of the Jumps season, I am signing off for now. Hopefully, it will be onwards and upwards for Barry, myself and the rest of our dedicated, hard-working team.

I do hope you have enjoyed the columns as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Enjoy the summer.

Un De Sceaux


The final Lavelle Lucky 15 of the season needs to make up for a few below-par tipping performances.

So we rely on Henri Parry Morgan (4.10 Sandown) to land the Gold Cup and gain compensation for his Aintree second to Native River.

I cannot believe Un De Sceaux (3.35 Sandown) is odds-against in the Celebration Chase and he’d be my banker (above) to turn the tables on Sprinter Scare.

I’m going to throw Junction Fourteen (5.20 Sandown) in there, and Under Attack (4.55 Ripon) may well break his maiden now that he is upped in trip.

Feeling-Lucky_PRE_745x135 (1)


THE Eurovision Song Contest takes place next month and I thought I’d share a little inside info with you.

Australia are currently 12/1 with Bet4Causes. My not-so-secret admirer, who often assists Danny Baker on his excellent Saturday morning BBC5Live show, tells me I should back the Aussies each-way.

He is a bit shrewd when it comes to Eurovision; something to do with a total lack of musical taste, bless him. He did not say I had to listen, just to back them. So I might.

Frankly, I’m still wondering why Australia should be allowed to torture us in this way.


Bet via Bet4Causes, where 20% of net revenue goes to sporting charities, who include Greatwood, World Horse Welfare and StreetGames.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly