YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST – TUESDAY

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 28, 2017.

Fontwell Races

Racing’s leaders have revealed new plans for boosting field sizes by effectively offering appearance money down to eighth place once the new funding mechanism yields dividends. British Horseracing Authority COO Richard Wayman said: “As funding increases, we must target that money at grassroots and make the experience of owning an average horse far better than it is now,” he said. “One of the things that we are working on is a significant and substantial appearance money scheme that will see payments made to connections of owners down to eighth place. That, in itself, will help reduce the number of owners whose return from the sport is zero.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/new-plan-to-boost-lower-tier/39004
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/appearance-money-scheme-among-bha-s-possible-innovations/276447


Classic-winning jockey George Baker, who suffered a horror fall on the ice of St Moritz on Sunday, is likely to be moved out of intensive care today after his condition improved. Baker was brought down when two horses fell in front of him at and suffered heavy concussion. His wife Nicola said: “He doesn’t need any surgery and he had a bit of food at lunch. He’s just very sleepy and he’s back to bed. He had a very severe concussion, but his CT scan came back okay and the best thing for him is sleep and time.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24236524&category=0
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4265220/George-Baker-remains-stable-condition-Swiss-hospital.html

Thistlecrack


News that Thistlecrack (right) will have a scan today on his partially-torn tendon prompted a gamble on the exchanges, with his price dropping to 10/1 for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, trainer Colin Tizzard all but ruled out the King George VI Chase winner out for a second time, insisting that the scan as to assess the extent of the damage, as opposed to checking for any misdiagnosis. “As far as I am concerned he’s still out,” said Tizzard. “The horse is fine but recuperating.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd?event_id=24236524&category=0


Cue Card could be retired should he win the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and make up for a fall at the third last fence when going strongly last year. Now 11, Cue Card won a Grade 1 chase at Haydock and landed the Ascot Chase by 15 lengths last time. Owner Jean Bishop said: “I wouldn’t want to carry on racing him and see him struggle or anything like that. He couldn’t do anything else if he won the Gold Cup and there would be nothing to aim for. It would be a nice way to end his career. He has been on the go for seven years and it would probably be the best thing for him. We will have to see.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/cue-team-eye-dream-swansong/38844
http://www.skysports.com/racing/news/12426/10784140/gold-cup-glory-a-nice-way-to-end-cue-card-career-says-jean-bishop

arrogate-small


Arrogate (right) will contest the $10m Dubai World Cup on March 25 after being given the green light by Juddmonte Farms owner Prince Khalid Abdulla. The Santa Anita Handicap was under consideration for the world’s best Flat horse, but trainer Bob Baffert confirmed: “I just got the word. As long as he keeps working well, he’s going.” Arrogate clocked 1:38.4 in his 1m work on Monday. Baffert added: “He hasn’t regressed or anything, he looked fantastic. He’s enjoying himself, and he did it the right way. I’m really happy with the way he’s going. He’s just holding his form very well,” Baffert said.
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/220100/arrogate-headed-to-dubai-world-cup


The Last SamuraiThe 2016 Grand National runner-up The Last Samurai (right) is set to carry top weight in Saturday’s Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster as he bids to land the 3m2f race for a second successive year off a 12lb higher mark. He could face as many as 12 rivals and trainer Kim Bailey said: “Basically, he needs to run. This has been the plan for some time and we’d just like some nice goo-to-soft ground, but he’ll run whatever.”
Source: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/bailey:-samuri-‘needs-to-run’/38904
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/the-last-samuri-needs-to-run-says-kim-bailey-1-8412860


Willie Mullins says Douvan “could be the best I have had” ahead of his tilt at the  Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in two weeks’ time. Douvan is currently the 2/7 favourite for the March 15 feature with Bet4Causes. Mullins said: “When you are going to Cheltenham with a favourite like Douvan, it is relief rather than joy when they win. When you have a 25-1 winner, that isn’t expected, that is joy. There is fair bit of expectation with Douvan so you just want to keep him right and get there.”
Source: http://www.hri.ie/News/?news=P-1b15e154-be66-4ba5-b723-40189336e217
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/horse-racing/willie-mullins-claims-douvan-could-9930895


Sam Twiston-Davies has a strong book of rides at the Cheltenham Festival but has tabbed the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue in the JLT Novices’ Chase as his best chance of a winner. Politologue is currently a 7/1 chance with Bet4Causes, with the market headed by Yorkhill at 2/1. “I think Politologue has a strong chance. He’s done a lot of things right,” said Twiston-Davies. “It was disappointing to get beaten at Haydock, but I don’t think he lost much in defeat as he gave the winner 3lb. He’ll have a hood and ear plugs and that should help him switch off better. He’s becoming the finished article.”
Source: http://www.racingpost.com/news/live.sd

Willie Mullins 1


Willie Mullins (right) is aiming to get last season’s Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power, currently sidelined through injury, back in time for the Punchestown Festival. He said: “She seems good and we’re very pleased with how she’s responding. I would say we’ll aim for Punchestown with her. We could go to France, but let’s get her back first before we make plans for her.” Faugheen, his 2015 Champion Hurdler, also misses Cheltenham through injury. Mullins added: “I’m sure we’ll see Faugheen again, whether it’s this season or next season. I wouldn’t have any reason to retire him. The problem he has now should be a maximum of 12 weeks (to recover).”
Source: http://www.hri.ie/News/?news=P-32a40018-c975-4622-a726-c44a0749a0cb
http://www.skysports.com/racing/news/12040/10784379/punchestown-comeback-on-cards-for-annie-power


Willie Mullins says it is “50-50” as to whether Limini will be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle on March 14. The six-year-old was impressive on her seasonal return at Punchestown last week and Mullins admitted: “A lot depends on how Vroum Vroum Mag goes between now and then (the supplementary stage), she’s obviously in the Mares’ Hurdle. I think if she’s fine and sparking, we probably might take a punt with Limini. I think Vroum Vroum will go for the Mares’ Hurdle. On her last performance, that’s all I can see her doing.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/27/willie-mullins-indicates-limini-could-be-added-to-champion-hurdle-field
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49429/willie-mullins-indicates-limini-could-be-added-to-champion-hurdle-field


Simon Williams will join Royal Windsor Racecourse as executive director, having previously been employed by Arena Racing Company in a similar capacity at Fontwell Park. Williams said: “Despite the difference in codes, moving from jump racing to flat, many of the initiatives we have implemented at Fontwell Park will translate across to Royal Windsor, and I can’t wait to get started.” Jonathan Acott will replace him in the same role at Fontwell, having joined Arc from Surrey Sports Park in Guildford, where he was head of operations. He added: “I am thrilled to be joining Arena Racing Company. Fontwell Park is a fantastic racecourse in a wonderful part of the world and I am excited to start working with the team and helping them build on their significant recent successes.”
Source: http://www.arenaracingcompany.co.uk/news/story/296


Jockey Alex Birzer became the 174th jockey in the US to win 3,000 races when he guided Numancia to victory at Oaklawn Park on Sunday. The Kansas native Birzer, 43, rode his first winner in 1992. He said: “This is wonderful. I had it in my mind that it would be great to reach this here. I just love Oaklawn. I love the people here. The patrons are just unreal with the way they treat us. It’s a great racing atmosphere.”
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/220091/jockey-alex-birzer-reaches-3-000-wins

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CATTERICK: 2.20 Café Au Lait, 2.50 Life Knowledge, 3.20 Halcyon Days, 3.50 Red Rising, 4.20 Delusionsfgrandeur, 4.50 Turtle Cask

LEICESTER: 2.10 Three Of A Kind, 2.40 Zeroshadsofgrey (nb), 3.10 Rebel Rebellion, 3.40 Paddy The Oscar, 4.10 Miss Oscarose, 4.40 The Highlander

LINGFIELD: 2.00 ANNIE SALTS (NAP), 2.30 Never Folding, 3.00 Dutch Uncle, 3.30 Mise En Rose, 4.00 Pinwood, 4.30 Hold Firm

Monday’s NAP was a winner.

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

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YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST –MONDAY

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 Monday, February 27, 2017.

Ascot Races

Barry Geraghty (above) will miss the Cheltenham Festival following injuries sustained in a fall from Charli Parcs at Kempton on Saturday. Geraghty said: “I’ve a collapsed lung and six broken ribs on my right side. I’m obviously devastated to miss the Festival – there were so many good horses to look forward to as JP’s (McManus) team all look in particularly good shape this year. Last night was pretty rough. I’ve broken ribs individually before but never had six go all at the same time. I’ll be in hospital for a few more days but once the lung improves my recovery should be straightforward and I expect to be back for Aintree.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/barry-geraghty-to-miss-cheltenham-after-kempton-spill
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/geraghty-out-of-cheltenham/38566


Jockey George Baker woke from an induced coma in intensive care last night after suffering a first-race horror fall in the famous St Moritz snow track in Switzerland. He was riding Boomerang Bob for Jamie Osborne when they fell on a patch of ice and Baker was knocked unconscious. He was flown to a trauma hospital in Chur. Baker’s agent Guy Jewell said: “George has woken up, and with the hospital releasing that news I can only imagine they are pleased with his progress. He’d already had a CT scan and that has come back clear. They will obviously need to check that everything is working properly and his wife is on her way out there.” The rest of the meeting was abandoned.
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/george-baker-awake-in-hospital-after-horror-fall-in-switzerland
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49400/george-baker-airlifted-to-hospital-after-fall-at-st-moritz
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/baker-‘awake-in-hospital’/38559


Gary Moore has concerns about the  Stayers Hurdle trip for runaway National Spirit Hurdle winner Camping Ground, who led is rivals a merry dance on his stable debut at Fontwell yesterday. Moore said: “We’ve treated him like a good horse. A lot of effort has gone into him, believe me, from the staff at home. I know the owner is pretty keen to go for the Stayers’ Hurdle. I think two and a half (miles) is his trip. He has got a very high cruising speed and he galloped them into the ground. I think three miles would be pushing it in my opinion.” Camping Ground was cut to 20/1 (from 50/1) by Bet4Causes for the Grade 1 feature at Cheltenham on March 16.
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49408/camping-ground-leads-national-spirit-field-a-merry-dance-at-fontwell
https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/camping-pitches-up-in-style/38520

Ascot Races


Cue Card (right) has displaced stablemate Native River at the head of the market for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Bet4Causes going 11/4 (from 7/2), after reporting a string of bets on the Colin Tizzard-trained 11-year-old over the weekend. Native River was weak in the market, forcing Tizzard to issue a report on his wellbeing. He said: “He’s lovely and did a proper bit of work today (Saturday). I couldn’t be any more pleased with him. It’s the same with Cue Card.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/market-turning-in-favour-of-cue-card-as-he-displaces-river/276221


Giggingstown House Stud, owners of the Gordon Elliott-trained Tombstone, have decided to supplement the Gowran Park Red Mills Hurdle winner for the  Champion Hurdle. Elliott said: “It looks an open race this year so we have decided to supplement Tombstone for the Champion Hurdle. He has come out of the Red Mills race in great shape so we are happy to take our chances. Obviously he needs to improve but he hasn’t got many miles on the clock and the turnaround in form with Jezki was very encouraging.” Tombstone is currently 12/1 with Bet4Causes, with Buveur D’Air favourite at 11/4. Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle/276313
http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/26/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49406/tombstone-to-be-supplemented-for-champion-hurdle

Michael Scudamore Stable Visit


Trainer Michael Scudamore (right) gained two big staying prizes in two days after Mysteree took the Eider Chase at Newcastle on Saturday, following up success with Kingswell Theatre in the Devon National at Exeter on Friday. Scudamore is eying a third National and explained: “The Midlands National will be too soon for Mysteree, he is a horse who is best when fresh, but we will give him an entry in the Scottish National at Ayr in case it is soft there.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/mysteree-stays-on-strongest-for-in-form-scudamore/276172


Colin Tizzard will have Thistlecrack’s tendon injury scanned tomorrow “not to make sure we got it right, but to please ourselves”. The ante-post Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite and King George VI Chase hero has been ruled out for the rest of the season. After saddling his 50th winner of the season at Fontwell yesterday, Tizzard said: “There was a little tear there but there’s no heat and no swelling. It’s not like he’s walking around with his leg in a bandage. It’s not very much.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/tizzard-to-scan-thistlecrack-tendon-again-to-assess-damage/276319

Chelmsford Races


Sir Michael Stoute (right) gained his first winner of the year when Convey swooped late to land the Group 3  Winter Derby at Lingfield on Saturday, booking his place for All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday. Ante-post favourite Mutakayyef missed the 1m2f contest due to a foot abscess. Winning jockey Andrea Atzeni said: “Convey did it quite well. Obviously, it was his first time over this trip – I wasn’t sure that he would get it but Sir Michael was pretty positive and thought he would stay. It worked out perfectly from a bad draw. He was always doing enough to win his race and saw the trip out really well.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/saturday-reports/atzeni-strikes-late-on-coney-to-land-lingfield-thriller/276171


Following her win over Apple’s Jade at Punchestown, Limini could be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, according to her owner Rich Ricci. He said: “The Champion Hurdle has to be discussed. We were successful last year with it (with Annie Power). It’s a wide open Champion Hurdle. If you fancy Buveur D’Air you probably have to really think about running. She is much bigger and stronger. It will be a last minute thing. We’ll have to see how she works and what she is working against. We’ll make that call after that work.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/ricci-champion-hurdle-option-has-to-be-discussed-for-mare-limini/276176


The BHA has rescheduled the Listed Lady Protectress Chase at Huntingdon for Sunday, following the abandonment of the card last Thursday because of high winds. There will now be an eight-race card and entries for the £30,000 event close at noon today.
Source: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/news-media/press-releases/

Aintree Races


Paul Nicholls has snapped up Katie Walsh (right) for the plum ride on Wonderful Charm for the Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase. Nicholls said: “With Will [Biddick] unavailable for Wonderful Charm we were keen to secure a top amateur and Katie Walsh certainly fits the bill. We enjoyed no end of success at Cheltenham with Ruby Walsh and I am hoping his sister Katie can provide a bit more on Wonderful Charm.” Wonderful Charm is the current 4/1 second favourite to On The Fringe with BetVictor.
Source: https://betting.betfair.com/horse-racing/paul-nicholls/paul-nicholls-cheltenham-festival-news-wonderful-charm-fri-17-march-2017-240217-9.html


The planned semi-finals of the greyhounds Gold Cup, which were to be transferred from Shelbourne Park to Towcester were called off after a row over the distance of the races, with trainer Paul Hennessy allegedly refusing to run his dogs unless the trip was 500m. Organiser Dolores Ruth said: “The Gold Cup was a 480m/525 yard event and everyone was committed to run over 480 metres. We were already down to 11 runners (Burgess Popeye broke a hock in a trial) and it simply wasn’t feasible for the sponsors for only nine dogs to take part.”
Source: http://greyhoundstar.co.uk/trainers-sign-gold-cup-semis-towcester/

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Monday, February 27, 2017

PLUMPTON: 2.00 Cigarisi, 2.35 Bagging Turf (nb), 3.05 Premier Rose, 3.35 Dragoon Guard, 4.05 Coolking, 4.35 Simply Blessed

WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.20 King Oswald, 2.55 Archie Stevens, 3.25 Jashma, 3.55 Fast Track, 4.25 Ravens Quest, 4.55 Atkinson Grimshaw, 5.25 Celerity

AYR: 2.10 Well Joey, 2.45 Antiopia, 3.15 Las Tunas, 3.45 Nakadam, 4.15 Chidswell, 4.45 Ryedale Racer, 5.15 GOLDEN JEFFREY (NAP)

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

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Emma Lavelle: Cue Card is one in a million

Top trainer Emma Lavelle is Jumps Racing Ambassador for Bet4Causes and columnist for the Racing Plus newspaper. In her brand new column, she takes a look at the final day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival – and will likely provide even more winners!

Cue Card
Going for the million: Cue Card

LIKE most trainers, it is never nice to hear a race described as ‘sub-standard’, or an ‘average renewal’.

Often it is a matter of opinion. Whether the handicapper values the opinion is what matters.

In general, most people in the game have a fair idea if a race isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

For instance, Shergar was a great horse, but he won a terrible Derby. We remember him because he won by a street.

Wednesday’s Champion Chase was not a strong one. It contained a young pretender and three former champions either past their prime or out of form.

Yet it will always be remembered because Nicky Henderson and his Seven Barrows team overcame all the odds to get Sprinter Sacre over a heart problem, back on track, and then overcome the odds to win a pulsating renewal, three years after his first Queen Mother triumph. What a story! What a horse! I will always be proud to say ‘I was there’.

Today’s Cheltenham Gold Cup looks a strong one, perhaps the strongest in years.

It looks a great race, even though we don’t have Coneygree in the line-up. It was also the sensible decision to re-route Vautor to the Ryanair Chase, whatever the cry from punters. It perhaps looks a year too soon for him.

Irish raiders Djakadam and the two Dons look formidable. Don Poli and Don Cossack have had a mafia-like grip on the major Grade 1 chases this season.

Smad Place and Road To Riches have both won decent races, too.

But then there is dear old Cue Card (3.30). He has won the Charlie Hall, the Lancashire Chase and the King George this season. Does he have another big race left in him? Could he land that million pound bonus, which has brought an added and most welcome narrative to the season?

He has fantastic Festival form and I think he should see out the extra two furlongs well, especially on this better ground. He’s the one sentimentalists like me want to see win.

It hasn’t been a bad week on the tipping front, so fingers crossed.

I have been very impressed by Sceau Royal (1.30) so far this season, he has form around Cheltenham and he has the master juvenile trainer Alan King in charge of him.

Shantou Village (2.50) looks a smart horse for the Albert Bartlett. He is a good traveller and I think will have no problem with the trip.

Having had the privilege of seeing Bright New Dawn (5.30) picking grass at Cheltenham on Wednesday, I thought he looked magnificent and he would be my pick for the lucky last.

Darryll Holland
Back with a bang : Darryll Holland

Dazzling start

THE Cheltenham Festival means many things to many people.

To some, it means the Flat season proper is almost upon us. Almost time for ‘Brocklesby’ Bill Turner to make his annual splash.

It arrives without much fanfare, which is a pity. The Flat turf programme seems to creep back on stage virtually unnoticed, plays out the summer with a few early Classic rifts and a pulsating Royal Ascot chorus, then breaks for cover before anyone notices.

Darryll Holland is a bit like that. Unassuming. Low-key. A poster-boy for geniality. But also a brilliant jockey, who makes the ordinary races interesting.

Like the Flat season, Darryll has slipped back into the spotlight almost unnoticed.

Now 43, he has spent the last two years riding in Dubai and Mauritius, and last rode regularly on the British circuit in 2012. But he returned, largely unannounced, over Christmas.

He is now first jockey to Charlie Hills, son of the legendary trainer Barry Hills, who gave Darryl his first job as a jockey at the age of 15.

Hills has some 180 horses at Lambourn and Holland, who is based in Newmarket, will travel two or three times a week “or whenever he needs me” to ride out.

“It’s great to be back,” said Holland. “Charlie called me before Christmas out of the blue. It is a dream job, really. He’s got some very nice horses.”

Holland has wasted little time in making is mark. He rode his fifth winner at Kempton on Wednesday evening from just 14 rides. That’s a 36% strike-rate to swoon over.

One thing’s certain: however brief, the rhythm of the Flat will have a gorgeously stylish backbeat if Darryl and Charlie are in tune.

We don’t help ourselves

THE BHA are to investigate after runners in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle had to dodge a watering spigot that had been left in the ground after the second-last flight of hurdles.

Frankly, that is astonishing. If amateur Sunday-morning soccer referees are instructed to strictly inspect park pitches and remove any potentially dangerous hazards, how come we don’t inspect Grade 1 tracks before the biggest of race meetings?

I know it was an innocent mistake, but they were very lucky that it did not have some fairly-far reaching consequences.

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 http://www.gambleaware.co.uk