DAILY RACING DIGEST – THURSDAY

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 Thursday, March 2, 2017.

blacklion


Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has doubts that son Willy will be able to gain the required number of chase wins by April 6 to ride Blaklion (right) in the Grand National. Willy, who has spent the last five years concentrating on the Flat, has 12 career wins over jumps. His father said: “Willy still needs thee winners over fences. It might quite hard work. I have not got that many young chasers coming up and most of them have gone up the handicap. It is more difficult to find winners at this time of year.”
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4271910/Nigel-Twiston-Davies-doubts-son-s-Blaklion-National-ride.html


Michael O’Leary has removed Don Poli, Empire Of Dirt and Outlander from the Grand National, as he said he would, following his displeasure at the weights meted out by official BHA handicapper Phil Smith. Champagne West, Dromnea and Otago Trail have also been scratched, along with several other Gigginstown runners including Clarcam, Tiger Roll and A Toi Phil. A total of 95 entries remain with the weights now headed by Carlingford Lough.
Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2983756/2017-grand-national-field-cut-to-95-entries-as-don-poli-outlander-empire-of-dirt-were-among-the-horses-taken-out-at-the-latest-scratchings-deadlines/


cheltenhamBHA senior handicapper Phil Smith his back at critics after unveiling the weights for the 10 handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival, insisting “there is no semblance of any anti-Irish bias”. In statement he said the BHA’s handicapping approach with Irish horses has provided “greater equality and fairness” after years of what he felt was a “disproportionately high success rate of Irish runners in British handicaps” – most significantly at the Cheltenham Festival.
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49463/phil-smith-insists-no-anti-irish-bias-in-handicap-ratings


Alan King is in the dark over who will ride JP McManus-owned stable star Yanworth in the Champion Hurdle. The Kingwell Hurdle winner is as short as 10/3 for the 2m feature on March 14, but regular pilot Barry Geraghty is nursing six broken ribs and will miss the Cheltenham Festival. King said: “I don’t know who is going to ride him and we need to speak at the weekend, as we do need to find out. Obviously I would like them to come and have a sit on him. No one has ridden him over a hurdle bar Barry Geraghty, so whoever rides him we want to come and school him and possibly ride a bit of work.”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49471/alan-king-eager-to-pencil-in-champion-hurdle-jockey-for-yanworth


Nicky HendersonWith Barry Geraghty ruled out through injury, Noel Fehily is likely to come in for the plum Champion Hurdle ride on the JP McManus-owned Buveur D’Air, who made a successful transition back to hurdles in a Listed event at Sandown. Trainer Nicky Henderson (right) said: “I suspect he will. I saw JP on Monday and I don’t think anybody has really discussed it as there are so many horses involved in the conundrum.”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49471/alan-king-eager-to-pencil-in-champion-hurdle-jockey-for-yanworth


Cheltenham Festival - St Patrick's Day

Though unseating Mark Walsh at the last in the Irish Gold Cup, former Stayers’ Hurdle winner More Of That (right) has trainer Jonjo O’Neill growing in confidence ahead of his Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup run. “We never saw a spark this season until his last run in the Irish Gold Cup,” said O’Neill. “He’d have to be at his best, of course, but the race is open and he loves the track.” More Of That is currently 16/1 (from 20/1) with Bet4Causes.
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/03/01/jonjo-oneill-expecting-go-close-gold-cup/


A federal judge has rejected leading Irish horseracing owner JP McManus’s bid to recover the $5.22m he claimed the US government withheld as tax from a backgammon win. McManus claimed that paying a relatively small “domicile levy” in Ireland should leave him exempt from tax taken by authorities, but judge Nancy Firestone denied his request to order the IRS to hand over the money.
Source: http://calvinayre.com/2017/03/01/business/jp-mcmanus-loses-battle-to-claim-5-2m-tax-refund-from-us/


Despite falling at Kempton on Saturday, Nicky Henderson says he intends to run Charli Parcs in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, rather than the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. “I think we were always leaning towards the Triumph and that’s still the case. If he’s in good form, I think he will come here. Divin Bere could also end up going in the same race. We’ll have to see how the weights work out for the Fred Winter.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/March/01/triumph-hurdle-on-the-agenda-for-charli-parcs-after-pleasing-home-spin
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49464/triumph-hurdle-on-the-agenda-for-charli-parcs-after-pleasing-home-spin


Thistlecrack’s younger half-brother West Approach is likely to run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle rather than taking on his elders in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Trainer Colin Tizzard’s son and assistant Joe said: “We purposely protected his novice status last year and however brave John and Heather Snook (owners) are, throwing a novice in the deep end is tough. I think with this one he has one chance as a novice and he has got a great chance in the Albert Bartlett.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/March/01/west-approach-likely-to-stick-to-novice-company-at-cheltenham
http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49468/west-approach-likely-to-stick-to-novice-company-at-cheltenham

Willie Mullins 1


Willie Mullins (right) has won the Cheltenham Champion Bumper nine times and feels Carter McKay could be his brightest chance of landing the March 15 finale again. His is one of five Mullins entries of the 36 remaining and the trainer said: “Carter McKay could look the one on his form of the last day. He’d been doing nice work at home before Naas and his performance was better than I hoped, but you don’t go expecting performances like that. That performance would compare to anything. A horse that can win around Naas doing that is a fair machine.”
Source: http://www.racinguk.com/news/article/49465/exciting-carter-mckay-leads-champion-bumper-squad-for-willie-mullins


An experiment to monitor the heart rates of some leading figures at the Cheltenham Festival has been organised. Commentator Richard Hoiles, ITV colleague Ed Chamberlin, trainer Ben Pauling and broadcaster Rupert Bell will be tested. Hoiles said: “I would be interested in the results as I did think I was relatively laid-back, but then someone posted a video of me commentating next to John Hunt during the Champion Stakes – I was shocked by just how animated I was getting!”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/pauling-in-the-spotlight-as-high-bridge-aims-to-be-supreme-player/276523


Brian Proctor, former jockey and work-rider for trainer Dick Hern, has died at the age of 75. Legendary jockey Willie Carson said: “He was Dick Hern’s right-hand man and I had some good times with him. He was involved with everything that happened at West Ilsley. If there was a problem Dick and Brian sorted it out. Nothing fazed him, he knew what to do with horses. He was a great man to have in the yard and a great man to deal with a difficult horse.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/herns-right-hand-man-spent-half-a-century-working-with-the-stars/276646

Today’s MCB British Racing selections – Thursday, March 2, 2017

TAUNTON: 2.00 Ice Konig, 2.30  Saint Breiz, 3.00 Spiritofthegames, 3.35 Sir Ivan, 4.10 The Unit, 4.45 Jonagold, 5.15 Lost In Lecce

NEWCASTLE: 2.10 Free Code, 2.40 Stoneham, 3.10 Be Perfect, 3.45 Magistral, 4.20 Ms Gillard, 4.55 Bargain Buy, 5.25 Aprovado

LUDLOW: 2.20 MANSION (NAP), 2.50 Some Are Lucky, 3.25 Mixchivous (nb), 4.00 Dusky Lark, 4.35 Miss Spent, 5.05 Invisible Man, 5.35 Centurious

CHELMSFORD CITY: 5.20 Justice Rock, 5.55 National Service, 6.25 Atalante, 6.55 Clement, 7.25 Winning Story, 7.55 Kenstone, 8.25 No Not Again, 8.55 Par Three

Wednesday’s NAP was a winner!

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DAILY RACING DIGEST – WEDNESDAY

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 Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

Kempton Races


Champion jockey Jim Crowley (right) may have a new retained role with Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, but insists “I don’t want anyone thinking I won’t be going for the title again”.
Former jump jockey Crowley won his first Flat title after a titanic battle with Silvestre De Sousa last year and the former champ gained his first winner with his first ride at Lingfield yesterday. Crowley said: “If I am still in with a shot when Glorious Goodwood comes round, I am definitely going to give it a go. I don’t want people to think I won’t be going for the title again. You simply can’t have that attitude.”
Source: Press Association


Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle favourite Death Duty has been tabbed by trainer Gordon Elliott as his top gun for the Cheltenham Festival. Unbeaten over hurdles, he will spearhead a strong challenge on March 17, with Lexus Chase winner Outlander and Don Poli both heading to the Timico Gold Cup. Speaking at yesterday’s media day Elliott said: “We’ll have several horses travelling over with decent chances but there’s no getting away from it – Death Duty appears to be our big hope. He’s a very good horse and I’d say the best novice hurdler we’ve had.” Death Duty is currently Bet4Causes’ 11/4 favourite for the 3m event.
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/albert-bartlett-favourite-death-duty-leads-charge-for-rampant-yard/276604

gordon-elliott


Gordon Elliott (right) will send a team of “about 30 horses across” to the Cheltenham Festival in two weeks’ time. While Don Cossack’s Timico Gold Cup victory was the highlight of three winners at the Festival last season, his star has subsequently been retired through injury. Elliott admitted: “On numbers I’d say we have a lot more fancied ones this year, but we had three winners last year and it will be hard to beat that.”
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4269496/Gordon-Elliott-send-30-horses-Cheltenham.html


Tombstone will have to come through a satisfactory piece of work at the weekend to book his place in the  Champion Hurdle. Trained by Gordon Elliott, the recent conqueror of former 2m king Jezki needs to be supplemented for the March 14 feature. Elliott said: “If everything goes all right and he works all right at the weekend, the plan is we’ll probably run him in the Champion Hurdle. It’s a very good race, but it’s probably an open enough race. We’ve never had a runner in the Champion Hurdle, so I don’t know what it takes to win one, but why not have a go?”
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-4269496/Gordon-Elliott-send-30-horses-Cheltenham.html


Mutakayyef, who missed the  Winter Derby at Lingfield with a foot abscess, is still on course for the Dubai Turf. Trainer William Haggas said: “His foot is fine, it was just very unfortunate timing. He’ll be back ridden tomorrow and there’s no question of it ruling him out of Dubai. We’ll take him away for a gallop somewhere first, that will put him right.”
Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2976927/william-haggas-confirms-mutakayyef-still-on-dubai-mission-despite-lingfield-setback/

thistlecrack


Colin Tizzard has ruled King George VI Chase hero Thistlecrack out until Christmas following a second scan on his torn tendon. “Thistlecrack’s second scan came back exactly the same as the first, as we expected it would,” said Tizzard. “As communicated previously, Thistlecrack will not run again this season and all being well we’d expect him to be back at Christmas.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/28/colin-tizzard-confirms-thistlecrack-expected-to-be-back-for-christmas
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/hes-out-and-thats-it-thistlecrack-will-definitely-not-run/276589


Camping Ground is set to miss the Cheltenham Festival in favour of the Aintree Hurdle, following his demolition job in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. Trainer Gary Moore said: “It was nice for the horse, he did it well and has come out of it pretty good. We just need to work out where to go with him now. I think two miles is too sharp and three miles is too far, so we need to go somewhere in between and we’re better off waiting for Liverpool.”
Source: http://www.attheraces.com/news/2017/February/28/gary-moore-eager-to-pitch-camping-ground-into-aintree-hurdle


The new 2kg (4.4lb) allowance for female jockeys in France starts today at Deauville. Apprentice Alison Massin has seven booked rides. In all, 13 of the 96 runners at Deauville will be ridden by women. France Galop vice president Jean-Pierre Colombu said he was surprised by the level of controversy the new measure has caused. “Debate is always a good thing and perhaps we will be proved wrong, although I don’t think so,” said Colombu. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/international/new-era-starts-at-deauville-as-2kg-allowance-for-women-kicks-in/276559


Racing will be broadcast on ITV1 on Saturday for the first time since its launch on New Year’s Day. Seven races will be broadcast from Newbury and Doncaster. “It was just an opportunity that came up enabling us to do it, so that’s good. We’ve now got 42 days on the main channel,” said Grant Cunningham, ITV’s head of publicity, factual and sport.
Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2975217/terrestrial-coverage-boost-for-horse-racing-as-itv-increases-itv1-racedays-to-42/

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

MUSSELBURGH: 2.00 Major Ridge, 2.30 Dear Sire, 3.00 Improved, 3.30 Pekanheim, 4.00 Superior Command, 4.30 Darwins Fox, 5.00 Miss Barbossa

WINCANTON: 2.10 Fountains Windfall, 2.40 Driftwood Haze, 3.10 Orbasa, 3.40 Apple’s Queen, 4.10 Ruby Russet, 4.40 Chivers

FFOS LAS: 2.20 Bob Mahler, 2.50 DUELING BANJOS (NAP), 3.20 Fille Des Champs, 3.50 Alf  ’N’ Dor, 4.20 Batavir, 4.50 Well Smitten

NEWCASTLE: 5.30 Out Of Order, 6.00 Foie Gras, 6.30 Sandstream, 7.00 Spititofhayton (nb), 7.30 Art Obsession, 8.00 Fiery Spice

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 http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

 

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.

You must be 18+ in order to bet. Please gamble responsibly http://www.gambleaware.co.uk

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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YOUR DAILY RACING DIGEST – WEDNESDAY

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 Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

thistlecrack

Add Thistlecrack (above) to the lengthening list of equine superstars who will not be appearing at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. The King George VI Chase hero has a “small tear” in a tendon and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite has been ruled out for the season by Colin Tizzard. He joins a list of talent that includes Faugheen, Annie Power, Min, Don Cossack, Coneygree and Sprinter Sacre on the sidelines. Tizzard said: “He had a bit of heat and swelling in his tendon on Monday night and as the vet was in on Tuesday I asked him to scan it. It showed a small tear. We’ve seen it in every yard and it happens every year. It’s not a breakdown and hopefully we’ve caught it before it became any proper damage was done. But it means he’s out for the season. All being well he will be fine for next season.”
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/02/21/thistlecrack-gold-cup-favourite-ruled-season-tendon-injury/
https://beta.racingpost.com/news/gold-cup-shock/gold-cup-favourite-thistlecrack-ruled-out-of-festival-with-injury/275685


Following Thistlecrack’s injury, Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner Native River is new 3/1 favourite (from 6/1) with MyClubBetting for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Stablemate Cue Card is clipped to 7/2 next best.
Source: https://bet4causes.myclubbetting.co.uk/


tom-scudamore-smallTom Scudamore (right), who rode Thistlecrack to victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day said it was “very disappointing for everybody” that Britain’s leading chaser would miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the rest of the season with a tendon injury. He said: “Every time you ride these good horses you hope they can be in a position to show just how good they are. He is not going to be able to do that this year and, while hopefully he will be able to bounce back, it is a real sickener for everyone.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/gold-cup-shock/thistlecrack-jockey-devastated-after-injury-rules-out-favourite/275719


France Galop has suspended jockey Robert Havlin for six months after he tested positive for prohibited substances. The ruling body said the Newmarket-based jockey had returned a positive sample when riding at Saint-Cloud on October 30 and that it would “request the reciprocation” of the imposed sanction by the British Horseracing Authority. “Given the positive result to a narcotic and its metabolites present in the biological sample of the jockey, this is a serious breach of the rules of racing of France Galop,” said a statement.
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10776835/jockey-robert-havlin-shocked-by-six-month-ban-from-france-galop


Robert Havlin will appeal his six-month ban handed down by France Galop. In a statement issued by his French solicitor Florence Gaudilliere, Havlin said: “I am the victim of an outrageous miscarriage of justice and defamation of my character. I have never tested positive for any prohibited substance in my 26-year riding career. I am appealing this verdict and suspension on a number of grounds and the counter analysis proves my innocence. It goes without saying that I am deeply upset and shocked.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/article/465/10776835/jockey-robert-havlin-shocked-by-six-month-ban-from-france-galop


Limini.jpgToday’s clash between Apple’s Jade and Limini (right) in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown will offer more Cheltenham Festival clues. Apple’s Jade won the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, while Limini will make her seasonal reappearance in the Listed contest. Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, trainer Willie Mullins, said: “Limini is in good form, but I’m sure she’ll come on a lot for the run. She’s wrong at the weights with Apple’s Jade and it will be very difficult to beat her, but we’ve got to start somewhere and we’ll see how she goes.”
Source: http://www.sportinglife.com/racing/preview/762628/top-mares-to-clash-at-punchestown


Paul Nicholls will have a Cheltenham Festival team of “around 18 to 20”, which represents his smallest in years, but hopes are high that Politologue can land the JLT Novices’ Chase. Nicholls said: “He’s one of our leading chances. He’s really progressive and has won three from four over fences. His rating of 152 is very good mark for a novice over fences.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/fred-winter-hope-dreamcatching-leads-nicholls-assault-on-festival-handicaps/275743


paul-nichollsThe progressive Dreamcatching  has been earmarked by Paul Nicholls (right) as one of his leading lights for the Cheltenham Festival. Nicholls said: “Dreamcatching won’t be far away in the Fred Winter. He bolted in at Wincanton on Saturday and has a mark of 131. It’s a race we’ve done really well in, with the first and second the last two years. Qualando, who won it in 2015, was off 131, and Diego Du Charmil won it last year off 133. So he’s around about the right mark.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/cheltenham-festival/fred-winter-hope-dreamcatching-leads-nicholls-assault-on-festival-handicaps/275743


Jim Bolger is among a number of Irish trainers who feel the Irish Derby should be moved after it was revealed development work at the Curragh would limit the crowd to 6,000 from 18,000 last year. Bolger said: “My preference would have been to move it to Leopardstown or Naas. Leopardstown would probably hold a crowd better and have been ideal for the Derby as opposed to limiting the number of people coming to the Curragh.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/trainers-believe-irish-derby-should-be-temporarily-rehomed/27563


arrogate-smallBreeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner Arrogate (right) seems likely to run in the $10m Dubai World Cup (March 25) after working well at Santa Anita yesterday. The Santa Anita Handicap (March 11) is also under consideration, but Garrett O’Rourke, manager of Juddmonte Farms, says a trip to Dubai is the front-runner. He said: “If there was any doubt about that, we wouldn’t even consider going. But the horse seems to be in an exceptionally good state physically and mentally. We’ll discuss the case and if Prince Khalid agrees, I think we’ll roll the dice.”
Source: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/219975/arrogate-his-usual-self-in-five-furlong-move


Former Gala Coral COO Neil Goulden has been appointed as chairman designate for a racecourse-run pool betting operation. Betfred’s £265m deal for the Tote gave it an exclusive right over race pool betting, but that deal expires next year. Major racing stakeholders including the Jockey Club and Arena Racing Company wish to take control in future “to ensure participating racecourses will have full control of their on-course pool betting operation”. The project, led by the British Horseracing Association’s Nigel Roddis, saw a “steering board” plump for Goulden, who said: “I hope my experience can assist British racing in developing its thinking on pool betting so it can grow to the benefit of British racing and all its customers.”
Source: https://beta.racingpost.com/news/news/goulden-brought-in-to-aid-racecourse-run-pool-betting-plan/275682


The Gambling Business Group (GBG) is behind a new industry-wide body whose core objective is to improve the regulatory environment for all parties in the UK gambling sector. Entitled The Gambling Expert Group, the affiliation of trade and regulatory bodies, will meet on at least a quarterly basis. Invitations have been extended to a total of 15 regulatory bodies. GBG Chief Executive Peter Hannibal said: “The Gambling Expert Group is the outcome of a programme of close collaboration with the Regulatory Delivery Office, part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Membership is made up of stakeholder representatives including Licensing Authorities, regulators and policy makers. One of the objectives is to provide an opportunity for members to raise regulatory issues and identify and address areas where regulation can be improved.”
Source: http://www.g3newswire.com/uk-gambling-expert-group-formed-enhance-regulatory-environment/


GambleAware launches its first trial advertising campaign to promote awareness of problem gambling. The online pilot of two adverts, targeted at people aged 16-24, is released in the North West and North East of England on YouTube.

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

DONCASTER: 2.10 Mister Whitaker, 2.45 Soldier In Action, 3.15 The Tailgater, 3.45 SAINT ARE (NAP), 4.20 Ardea, 4.55 Monty’s Award

LINGFIELD PARK: 2.20 Hipz, 2.55 Tempuran, 3.25 Wedding Breakfast, 3.55 Arctic Sea, 4.30 Dangerous Ends, 5.05 Steady Major

LUDLOW: 2.00 Ridgeway Flyer, 2.35 Mercian King, 3.05 Woodfort (nb), 3.35 William Money, 4.10 I’m A Game Changer, 4.45 Mr Mercurial, 5.20 Gulshanigans

KEMPTON PARK: 5.45 Cuban Queen, 6.15 Albaster, 6.45 Askari, 7.15 Steelriver, 7.45 Winterlude, 8.15 Delagoa Bay

Lucky 15 selections: Saint Are (Doncaster 3.45), Woodfort (Ludlow 3.05), Delagoa Bay (Kempton Park 8.15), The Tailgater (Doncaster 3.15)

Both the NAP and Next Best selections won yesterday. Three from four in the lucky 15 went in with the other selection finishing second. Bah and humbug.

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

Emma Lavelle: Up the ante with Thistlecrack

Top trainer Emma Lavelle is Jumps Brand Ambassador for Bet4Causes, where 20% of the bookmakers’ profits goes to sporting charities.
In her latest Racing Plus newspaper column, she looks ahead to Cheltenham 2017, providing some ante-post value…

Emma Lavelle Fave

By EMMA LAVELLE

MUCH-LOVED and dearly missed Sir Peter O’Sullevan was once asked: “What is the secret to longevity?”

He mused for a moment, then pulled out of his top pocket a slip of paper, smiled, and offered it to the questioner with the words: “Always have something to look forward to – an ante-post bet. I find it keeps one going.”

That is sage advice. Often the value is to be found in having a long-range sortie.

So having reflected upon Cheltenham, there are a few horses that already tempt me for the 2017 Festival.

World Hurdle hero Thistlecrack was undoubtedly one of the highlights, but what course will Colin Tizzard plot? He is a tall horse and he’s an eight-year-old. Conventional wisdom is to send them jumping sooner rather than later, as the older they are when they see a fence, the less likely they are to take to them.

The Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle is an obvious immediate plan, but you are not going to get rich at current odds of 1/3.

The winner’s prize money for the World Hurdle was over £170,000, so why would he go for the RSA Chase (for which he is priced as short as 3/1), which had prize money of £85,000? Far better to back him at 3/1 to win the World Hurdle again.

Thistlecrack
World Hurdle hero Thistlecrack

Thistlecrack was not really respecting one or two of his hurdles at Cheltenham, so if he does go novice chasing next term – and he has reportedly schooled well – the Gold Cup has got to be the target and the 10/1 currently available looks fair, for what may be a mouth-watering clash with Vautour, Don Cossack, Coneygree and Djakadam.

Faugheen is 2/1 to win the Champion Hurdle and while those odds look skinny now, wait until he wins over Christmas – he is likely to be odds-on come March 14.

The each-way value, however, lies with Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovitch Gorbatov, who adds depth to an already deep-in-talent two-mile division. Initial 20/1 quotes have gone, but 16/1 is still available about the next Istabraq.

Douvan will probably win the Champion Chase, but he is already odds-on in some places to head a division that is lacking in depth.

Our runners will also be thin on the ground this week. Rain is forecast again over the next few days and I’m left tearing my hair out again.

She may be a fancy price, but as long as the ground stays good, Woodland Walk (1.25 Haydock) would have an each-way tinkle. She has not run since early December, but she has worked well and is a consistent mare.

For the Lavelle Lucky 15 today, Ulk Du Lin (3.15 Newton Abbot) has to concede weight all round in the 2m handicap chase and if the ground does not come up soft, he should be able to confirm previous form with Miss Tenacious.

Hermitage Bay (4.00 Kempton) was a long way clear of the rest when beaten at odds-on at Southwell and should make amends in the 7f maiden.

Roger Varian has been exuding confidence over Postponed (4.20 Meydan) and looks the one in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

And since Roger’s string is in fine early-season form, Barsanti (2.50 Kempton) is worth a nibble in the 1m3f Rosebery Handicap.

Finals flourish

THE All-Weather Championship Finals Day at Lingfield is now etched into the racing calendar and it has also started to capture the public’s imagination.

First the major negative. Good Friday racing is not for us. Can we please have one day, other than Christmas Day, where we don’t have any racing? Staff up and down the country need a well-deserved break. Just one day – that’s all we ask.

But there are plenty of positives about the Finals Day, aside from its Good Friday slot. Admittedly the concept received something of a lukewarm response when it was unveiled three years ago. And while the wave of acceptance has been more ripple than rip, it is certainly starting to make a splash.

It works on several levels. There is a narrative for a start. It fills a major void before the turf Flat season and the prize-money – £1.1million of offer across the seven races – was always going to attract high quality horses.

Then there is the familiarity of runners, which is not something always associated with the ‘other’ code. It is also a fine precursor to the Dubai World Cup.

But most of all, ARC have provided a blueprint that works. It would be interesting to see how many courses latch on to the idea of holding their own Finals’ Days, which are open only to horses which have competed at the course in the last 12 months.

I’d like to see more of them. It would encourage loyalty from owners and trainers, and give the marketing men at even the most mundane of tracks something to chew on. You can only go so far with the obligatory Ladies’ Day.

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