We take a look at some of the top racing stories of the day in our new feature and provide our experts’ racing selections…
Politologue faces just one rival in the Graduation Chase at Kempton this afternoon in the shape of the Dan Skelton-trained Pain Au Chocolat. The Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue is as shot as 6/1 for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. His rider Sam Twiston-Davies said: “Kempton is a good test for a novice but to be fair he’s excelled in the jumping department in his three runs this season. Pain Au Chocolat is no mug, he should keep him honest. It’s a bit more experience for both horses, so we’ll have to see how he gets on.”
Bristol De Mai will be out to enhance his Cheltenham Gold Cup claims when he runs in the Denman Chase at Newbury tomorrow. Bought by agent Anthony Bromley to race in Britain, he came of age in winning the Peter Marsh Chase for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. Bromley said: “He was a big ugly duckling when we bought him but he’s turned into a bit of a swan. He still does have an entry in the Ryanair but the hope is he’ll run well enough on Saturday to warrant running in the Gold Cup.” The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai is 11/8 with the sponsors for the Grade 2 event, with Hennessy Gold Cup hero Native River heading the market for five-runner field at 11/10.
Concerns over the future freedom to move horses across after Brexit will be discussed at the National Equine Forum in London next month. Lucy Greayer, a shipping agent, said the racing industry was in the dark over the future. “The current agreement between Ireland, the UK and France means that horses can move around freely without health documentation or anything like that. We just don’t know what is going to happen when Brexit comes into effect,” said Greayer.
Dail Eireann agriculture minister Michael Creed has warned the UK’s exit from the EU has significant implications for Ireland’s thoroughbred industry. Trainers in Northern Ireland are licensed by the Irish Turf Club, and races there are run under the Turf Club’s rules of racing. Creed said: “Ninety per cent of runners at these fixtures are trained in the Republic with horses moving on a daily basis, so the return to a hard border would seriously disrupt this movement.”
Walter Swinburn, rider of Shergar, suffered a fatal head injury after falling approximately 12 feet from his bathroom window in Belgravia, central London. Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe found that Swinburn, 55, died as the result of an accident on December 12 last year. A coroner’s officer said: “She confirmed that he had fallen from his bathroom window. The drop was estimated at about 12 feet, and it was into a courtyard. It was confirmed that Mr Swinburn suffered from epilepsy, but whether or not he had an epileptic fit which caused him to fall, was not possible to determine.”
High Bridge will duck a clash with the smart Finian’s Oscar at Exeter on Sunday and will instead run at Newbury tomorrow. Sixth in the Champion Bumper last season, he is unbeaten in two starts for Ben Pauling. “He’s going to go to Newbury,” said Pauling. “He’ll have a double penalty there, which isn’t ideal, but if he’s a Supreme horse he should be able to do it. I think the Supreme and not the Neptune is the way we are thinking at the moment.”
Jockey Harry Skelton believes that Superb Story make the frame in the Champion Hurdle next month. Trained by his brother, Dan, Superb Story landed the County Hurdle at Cheltenham last season. “The Champion Hurdle is cutting up at the moment with Faugheen and Annie Power both out,” said Skelton. “I think Superb Story has a solid each-way chance and the current prices [around 16/1] are a fair reflection of his chance. People will point to his rating (149) but he has never contested a Grade 2 or Grade 1 hurdle. He is a bit of unknown in that respect.”
Nicky Henderson has ruled Consul de Thaix from tomorrow’s 2m Hurdle at Newbury after the JP McManus-owned gelding suffered a setback. Henderson, seeking a sixth win the race, will rely on Hargam. The Seven Barrows trainer tweeted: “Consul De Thaix has some inflammation that requires medication so will not run (at Newbury).” Nigel Twiston-Davies is responsible for ante-post favourite Ballyandy and Ballyhill, with 16 expected to line up for the Grade 3 extended 2m event.
Nashmiah caused a 40/1 shock to win the UAE 1,000 Guineas under Mikael Barzalona at Meydan yesterday, beating the fast-finishing Nomorerichblondes by a head. The Richard Fahey-trained Rajar was third. The winner, unbeaten in four starts, is trained by Nicholas Bachalard in Saudi Arabia. “I told Mickael before the race that this filly had never been as good. She had been training really well and probably needed her last race. That came after a two-month lay-off,” said Bachalard. “For a Saudi-bred horse to come here is not easy. It was a lot for her to handle and she has been very professional.” Barzalona added: “She proved tonight she is a top-class filly and has a big heart.”
The David O’Meara-trained Salateen (33/1) was part of a 2,209/1 treble at Meydan yesterday for jockey Adrie De Vries. He also scored on Krypton Factor (25-1) and the Godolphin-owned Top Score (6/4) in the Meydan Classic Trial.
Keeper Hill my bypass the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham after grinding out victory at Huntingdon yesterday. The Warren Greatrex-trained winner was receiving 8lb from Messire Des Obeaux. He is no certainty to run, however. Greatrex explained: “He’s got so much talent, I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of him yet. I think Aintree might be better for him. I’m not totally convinced he is a Cheltenham horse this year and if things went wrong at Cheltenham you could ruin him in one fell swoop. He travels well and Aintree could be right up his street, while it would give him a bit longer to get over this.”
Might Bite scored an easy win in the Soar Enterprises Online Ltd Novices’ Chase at Doncaster yesterday, bouncing back after a last-fence fall when clear in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Trainer Nicky Henderson said: “That was just what we wanted to see him do. It didn’t look as if the fall has had a lasting effect, anyway.” Jockey Nico de Boinville added: “He’s got an awful lot of potential and is going the right way. We just need to keep his jumping low and flat.” MyClubBetting cut Mite Bite to 9/2 (from 5/1) for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, with Bellshill the 4/1 favourite.
Ryanair will sponsor the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Aintree after inking a two-year deal. The £150,000 Grade 1 contest, staged on Grand National Day, is run over 3m. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “We are very pleased to partner with Aintree Racecourse to sponsor the Grade 1 Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle, which always attracts a top-class field.” Aintree MD John Barker added: “With so many fantastic winners of this great race, we hope Ryanair will enjoy making even more history at Aintree.”
Jim Mitchell, a construction worker turned successful breeder, has passed away after a short illness, aged 86. Short Commons, whom he bought out of a seller, won the European Free Handicap and finished fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Music Maestro, 1977 winner of the then-Group 1 Flying Childers Stakes, Group 1-placed sprinter The Cheka and Group 3 scorer Rose Blossom were some of the horses he bred. Bloodstock agent Geoffrey Howson said: “He was very astute, particularly when it came to pedigrees, and in his heyday he was a shrewd reader of the market.”
Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Friday, February 10, 2017
BANGOR-ON-DEE: 1.50 Over To Sam, 2.20 Antartica De Thaix (nb), 2.50 Dashing Oscar, 3.20 Wood Yer, 3.55 Ballycash, 4.25 Hands Of Stone, 5.00 Poole Master
KEMPTON PARK: 1.40 North Hill, 2.10 Agamemmon, 2.40 Post War, 3.10 Vyta Du Roc, 3.45 Lee Side Lady, 4.15 Politologue, 4.50 Springtown Lake
SOUTHWELL: 1.30 Stonecoldsoba, 2.00 He’s A Lad, 2.30 Unnoticed, 3.00 Bring On A Spinner, 3.35 Archie Stevens, 4.05 Fern Owl, 4.40 Luv U Always
NEWCASTLE: 5.45 Sandstream, 6.15 Alfonso Manana, 6.45 Atteq, 7.15 SIGNE (NAP), 7.45 Major Cornwallis, 8.15 Pretty Bubbles
Our Lucky 15 selections: Signe (7.15 Newcastle), Antartica De Thaix (2.20 Bangor), Vyta Du Roc (3.10 Kempton), Archie Stevens (3.35 Southwell)
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