Goodwood’s new bonus scheme with Stockholm

Goodwood Racecourse and Bro Park Racecourse, Stockholm, are delighted to announce a new bonus scheme to encourage horses to compete at both racecourses.

This exciting partnership will allow owners with horses competing in either country the opportunity to experience the unique atmosphere of running their horse at either the Qatar Goodwood Festival or The Stockholm Cup Day at Bro Park, two of Europe’s premier race meetings.

Any horse which wins a qualifying race at Bro Park on Stockholm Stora Day, Sunday June16 will be entitled to free travel and entry to a reciprocal race at The Qatar Goodwood Festival July 30 to  August 3.

In a reciprocal arrangement, any horse winning certain races during the Qatar Goodwood Festival will gain free travel and entry to selected races at the Stockholm Cup meeting,  September  22 2019.

Glorious Goodwood

Dennis Madsen, Head of Racing, Svensk Galopp, commented; ‘It’s a huge honour for Swedish horse racing to be associated with Goodwood Racecourse. However, we would not have accepted the relationship unless we thought we had something to offer towards it. It’s a great opportunity for Swedish owners to travel aboard and get a unique experience and, obviously, we believe we can give something back to British owners who want to run their horses at the valuable Stockholm Cup meeting.’

Ed Arkell, Goodwood Clerk of the Course said; ‘We’re delighted to be working with Bro Park and Svensk Galopp. This is a wonderful opportunity for Swedish owners to experience the unique charm of The Qatar Goodwood Festival and, equally, for British owners to run at Sweden’s most prestigious and valuable meeting.’

David Menuisier, trainer of last years’ Stockholm Cup winner, Thundering Blue, said; ‘This is a great initiative by Goodwood and Bro Park. We were looked after brilliantly at Bro Park last year and it’s a really well run racecourse. We will certainly look to support this initiative and would encourage others to do so and experience racing in Sweden.’

Pulborough trainer David Menuisier

Roy Arne Kvisla, top trainer at Bro Park and in Scandinavia in 2018 said: ‘This can be a great opportunity for us to broaden our views. It is normally costly to go on a long journey with the horses, but this is a golden opportunity to do so. Goodwood is a great racecourse and the track is very fair. If I have the right horse, I will be happy to go.’


Cheltenham likely to go ahead despite forecast

ALTHOUGH winds of up to 50mph are forecast for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, organisers of the event say they are confident the meeting will go ahead.

Wednesday, was the day racing was cancelled due to high winds 11 years ago and the current forecast is for winds of 40 miles per hour this Wednesday, but forecasters say that the predicted 50 mph or more from midday this year has time to change in the next few days.

They are hopeful it may change for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Meanwhile there are hopes that Nicky Henderson’s horse Santini, will be able to take part in the RSA Chase. Santini is second favourite for the race – but he has been suffering from a foot problem.

Trainer Nicky Henderson
Photo: John Simpson

A decision will be  made tomorrow morning about whether he will be fit to take part- although he has been reported to be doing well and has been out cantering.

Other news is that Philip Kirby Racing has decided that  Lady Buttons runs in the OLBG Mares Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, ridden by Tommy Dowson.

Meanwhile runners in the Racing Post Arkle Chase include Articulum, Clondaw Castle, Duc Des Gebievres, Glen Forsa, Hardline, Kalashnikov, Knocknanuss, Lalor, Ornua, Paloma Blue, Slate House, Us and Them.








Setback to plans to transform Chester Racecourse

Plans for a £100 million revamp of Chester racecourse were rejected on Tuesday over fears the project would harm views of the historic city.

The proposals for a new grandstand, conference centre, boutique hotel and administration office, multi-storey car park and expansion to the nearby Holiday Inn as well as two new green spaces were turned down.

Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) officers had supported approval for the development, but the planning committee itself turned down the plans saying the scheme would have an adverse impact on views and the historic skyline.

“The planning committee decided there were elements they didn’t like. We need to take advice before deciding whether to resubmit the plans or appeal the decision.

“They spoke about not particularly wanting us to expand into the city centre, yet they deferred our plans to build an events building, which is a main part of the proposed expansion.”

He added: “It’s not all doom and gloom. Our determination is still there. We’re ambitious and want to secure the best possible racing here.”

Competitive racing at Fontwell Park

Bredon Hill Lad ridden by Lucy Gardner won the opening race at Fontwell Park yesterday by 15 lengths on heavy ground. Trained by Sue Gardner, and sent off at 5-2, the 12-year-old appeared to relish the going and was a well-justified favourite.

Bredon Hill Lad (right) on the way to winning the opening race at Fontwell
Photo: Fontwell Racecourse

In second place was 13-2 shot Yourholidayisover , trained by Lady Susan Brooke and ridden by Lucy Brooke, with third place going to Edgar (11-4) ridden by Mitchell Bastyan.
Captain Tommy, a five-year-old trained by Harry Whittington justified evens favourite spot when winning the Maiden Hurdle over two miles one furlong in good style under jockey Gavin Sheehan.
The winning margin was 16 lengths from Uncle O, trained by Clare Hobson at Royston, and ridden by Jeremiah McGrath. Sprincombe Joe, trainer by Bill Turner and ridden by was 64 lengths further back in third place, ridden by  7lb claimer Mr Ryan Withey. Five ran.
Conditional jockey Stan Sheppard impressed when bringing home 5-2 shot Acaro, trained by Robert Walford, to win the two mile three furlong handicap hurdle.  Marmont, trained and owned by Jo Davis, who is based in Berkshire by 12 lengths.  The Lucy Wadham trained  8-13 favourite could only finish third.

Acaro and Stan Sheppard on the way to victory in the two mile three furlong handicap hurdle. Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park.

The novice hurdle over two miles five furlongs turned out to be a match, with only two runners.   Even so it was a good contest with 4/11 favourite Urca De Lima ridden  by Aidan Coleman for trainer Anthony Honeyball  beating David Bridgwater’s Little Rich, sent off at 9-4 by just over a length.

Wiltshire trainer Milton Harris won the two mile three furlongs handicap chase with 7-5 favourite Away For Slates, ridden by Kevin Jones, and the final race,  a national hunt flat race was won  by 7-2 shot Eglantier, trained  by Mark Bradstock and ridden by Nico De Boinville.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Sunday March 16 with a St Patrick’s Raceday.


Good day’s racing at Plumpton

Plumpton Racecourse had the largest turnout at a February meeting since 2003, with 1,900 attending yesterday’s meeting. They were rewarded with some competitive racing at this popular jumps track.

Brandon Castle impressed when scoring his third victory on the trot over hurdles at the meeting.

Brandon Castle. with Bryony Frost up, on the way to victory
Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

Trained by Neil King and ridden by Bryony Frost, the 5-6 favourite won the RABI/Joan Collinson Memorial Handicap Hurdle over two miles.

Trainer Neil King
Photo: Jeannie Knight

The victory came at the expense of Arthington, trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by 3lb claimer Kevin Jones, nine lengths further back in runner-up spot. Royal Hall, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by Jamie Moore filled third place.

There was compensation for Seamus Mullins later in the card when he sent out 5-2 favourite Plantagenet ridden by Mr Matthew Fielding to win the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong and a half furlongs by five lengths. The seven-year-old was scoring his second victory over fences and there should be more to come.

Trainer Seamus Mullins

Plantagenet beat French bred Tzar De L’Elfe, a nine -year-old gelding trained at Sullington  by Richard Rowe and owned by Lord Clinton and Captain Adrian Pratt, ridden by Miss Gina Andrews. Tzar De L’Elfe seems suited to fences and has been runner-up twice, but is capable of a decent win.

The opening race of the meeting, a Mares’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles four furlongs, attracted 14 runners- but none of them could compete with course specialist Ding Ding, an eight-year-old chestnut mare trained at Lewes by Sheena West.

Ding Ding, Marc Goldstein up- a winner for trainer Sheena West Photo: Jeannie Knight

Ding Ding seems to love Plumpton and won comfortably by six lengths under a good ride from Marc Goldstein.

Dorset-based trainer Keiran Burke sent out the 5-1 winner of the Peter Earl Memorial Novices’ Chase, run over 2m3½ furlongs. His runner, Mine’s A Pint, ridden by Tom Bellamy, won by four lengths from 1-8 favourite Grassten, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by Josh Moore.

Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico De Boinville teamed up to win the Maiden Hurdle with four-year-old gelding Pentland Hills, which beat 8-13 favourite The Flying Sofa ( trained  by Gary Moore ) in impressive style by 14 lengths.

A cool down for winner Pentland Hills, trained by Nicky Henderson, following his Plumpton victory.   Photo courtesy of Plumpton Racecourse

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon rarely go away from a race meeting empty-handed. This meeting was no exception for they took the three miles one furlong handicap hurdle in fine style with 5-1 shot Jimmy,  relegating another Gary Moore runner, 9-4 favourite Ruby Yeats, into second place.

There should be more to come from the winner, which came to the race fresh from a decent break and should continue to progress.

The next Plumpton meeting is on Monday March 11.

Vision Des Flot wins the National Spirit Hurdle

The £80,000 National Spirit Hurdle meeting at Fontwell Park attracted a huge turnout on Sunday and crowds were rewarded with competitive racing.

The feature race proved to be a great success story for trainer Colin Tizzard, for he sent out Vision Des Flos to in the NetBet Casino National Spirit Race in good style.  The six-year-old had been knocking on the door of victory with placings in four of his six races this season. One of these had been as runner-up to Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air at Sandown.

Vision Des Flos, with trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Tom Scudamore following his superb victory in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park yesterday Photo: Jeannie Knight

VisionDes Flos has run well throughout the race and went on in earnest from the second last, going on to beat the favourite for the race, The Cap Fits, by a length and a half.

Trainer Colin Tizzard is in fine form at present and revealed he had run Vision Des Flos three times in February because  his wind was not very good and he felt the fitter the horse was, the better he would be. He has now entered Vision Des Flos for the Champion Hurdle and the Coral Cup

“He stayed on well here. He travelled really well. He is in the Champion Hurdle and the Coral Cup, and on that running I’d say he would go for the handicap. You never know, if there are not many in the Champion Hurdle we may go there yet.”

As for the runner-up, trainer Harry Fry remains keen on stepping The Cap Fits to Grade One level at Aintree, despite being disappointed with his effort.

He said: “Noel (Fehily) said he never really travelled. It was frustrating we couldn’t run in the Kingwell last week. He wasn’t good enough today and Noel did well to finish second the way he was travelling.

“We vaccinated him last week. It was not the plan in such close proximity to a race. Hopefully his run was just down to that.

“He is not entered at Cheltenham and we have six weeks until Aintree and we still plan to go there. He was beaten a length and a half giving the winner 4lb.”

Josh Gifford Memorial Chase winner Whatswrongwithyou,, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville

The Josh Gifford Memorial Novices Steeplechase was won impressively by Whatswrongwithyou trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville. The eight-year-old gelding justified was sent off at evens and came home 17 lengths clear of the remaining two runners in this race. He will now be aimed at the Grand Annual Chase.

Local jockey Leighton Aspell won the Novices Hurdle race by ten lengths on board an up and coming youngster, Tarada, trained by Oliver Sherwood. A Kayf Tara gelding, Tarada was sent off at 9-4 and impressed with a positive run, moving into second and taking the lead in the closing stages of the race.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Wednesday March 6. Gates open at 12 noon and the first race is at 2.10pm and the last at 4.40pm.




National Spirit Hurdle Race at Fontwell Park

The highlight of Fontwell Park’s meeting this Sunday, February 24 is the Netbet Casino National Spirit Hurdle Race, which has attracted seven runners, including past winner of this race, Lil Rockerfeller.
This Grade Two hurdle race is worth £45,560 to the winner, with £17,096 to runner-up and £8,560 for the third placed horse.
Prize money continues down to sixth place.

Past winner of the National Spirit race, Lil Rockerfeller, following his previous , trained by Neil King,. He is aiming to win the race again . Photo: Jeannie Knight

Horses contesting this big race along with likely starting prices are: If The Cap Fits, trained by Harry Fry and ridden  by Noel Fehily  2-1;  Lil Rockerfellow (course and distance winner) , trained  by Neil King and ridden by Bryony Frost 8-1; Old Guard trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Harry Cobden 4-1; Ballymoy, trained by Nigel Twiston Davies and ridden by Daryl Jacob 10-3;  Vision Des Flos, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Tom Scudamore 11-2;  Sussex Ranger trained  by Gary Moore and ridden by Jamie  Moore  40-1; Vive Le Roi, trained by Tony Carroll and ridden by Harry Bannister, 40-1.
Gates open at 12 noon and the first of seven jump races is at 1.50pm and the last at 4.55pm.


Poor prize money protests

Leading trainer Mark Johnston has labelled the prize-money for the novice races on Winter Derby day at Lingfield on Saturday as “ridiculous” after trainers forced one contest to be scrapped and another to be a walkover at the Arena Racing Company-owned track.

The prize-money row in began on Thursday morning when trainers protested en masse with no runners declared for the five furlong novice stakes from an entry of nine, while only the Nick Littmoden-trained Greybychoice was declared from the 18 entries for the mile novice stakes.

Lingfield Park at a previous all-weather finals Photo: ARC

The two races are each worth £4,500, compared to £5,800 last year.The protest comes as a reaction to Arc’s decision to cut prize-money by £3 million in response to the government’s crackdown on FOBT stakes.

Mark Johnston said: “I had two horses in the race and sent one to Chelmsford and the other has been entered at Southwell where the prize-money was £8,000 rather than £4,500.

“It gets to a point where it’s just not viable to take a horse all the way to Lingfield for that sort of money. We’ve done it in the past, but we’re not going back to the bad old days.

“The prize-money is quite ridiculous and the whole situation of Arc cutting prize-money in anticipation of a potential cut in the number of betting shops and funding due to the FOBT reduction, which is hypothetical at the moment, is out of order.

“The race values vary from 46-60 handicaps to maidens and better class races across the courses, but we always note the prize-money when making entries.”

Johnston is the leading trainer at Chelmsford since its reopening in 2015 and praised the prize-money levels at the Essex track owned by Betfred founder Fred Done.

He said: “The prize-money at Chelmsford is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been going there since its rebirth, and it might be a long way away, but we simply have to go as the prize-money is wonderful.

“It’s always been the case that we go to the tracks that offer the best prize-money.”


Clamp down on Aintree ticket touts

Sefton Council is aiming to introduce a Public Space Protection Order, which would make it an offence within a designated area to sell, offer for sale or advertise tickets for the three-day event.

The move has come after a vast increase in the practice in recent years.  The council wants to have the power to make tickets touts leave the area, as well as fine them £75. A public consultation will be held, ending on March 10 .

Grand National crowds
Photo: John Simpson

In a public announcement, Aintree managing director, John Baker said: “We would very much welcome the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order for ticket touting by Sefton Council.”

He added that Aintree prided itself on  first class customer service, and that also related to the perimeter of the racecourse, as well as within. He expressed gratitude to Sefton Council for its support in trying to eradicate the touts and said the racecourse will continue to work closely with the council.

Tickets for this year’s Grand National on April 6 are sold out, in all but one enclosure, but entry for other areas is still being advertised by one company which has faced major criticism in addition to bulk-buying touts.

Don’t miss Fontwell’s National Spirit Hurdle race

One race meeting not to be missed is that which features the £80,000 National Spirit Hurdle race at Fontwell Park, this coming Sunday, February 24.

This race at Fontwell Park always attracts top class horses and is one of the historic races featured on the annual calendar.

This will be the 54th running of the popular race, which is named after the dual Champion Hurdle Winner National Spirit. The horse was a regular runner at Fontwell Park in the 1940’s.

Salmon Spray, a top class horse of his time, won the inaugural running of the race and went on to  win the 1965, 1966 and 1967 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and the 1964,  1967, and 1968 Schweppes Gold Trophy Hurdle.

2016 National Spirit winner Lil Rockerfeller trained by Neil King and ridden by Trevor Whelan
Photo Jeannie Knight

Today the race is widely regarded as a trial for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Fontwell has been a good track for subsequent notable winners of the race, for  Comedy of Errors went on to win the Champion Hurdle twice while in 2001 Baracouda won the race before going on to win two World Hurdle crowns for  French trainer, Francois Doumen.

A similar feat was achieved  by trainer Alan King  in 2006 when he sent out My Way De Solzen to success in The National Spirit before lifting the World Hurdle crown the following month.

Old Guard , trained by Paul Nicholls, with  Harry Cobden up, coming home to win the National Spirit Hurdle Race last year

Lough Derg won back-to-back renewals of The National Spirit Hurdle for David Pipe in 2008 and 2009 while Paul Nicholls has won three of the last five renewals of this top class race with Celestial Halo in 2011, Prospect Wells in 2013 and Old Guard in 2018.

Also Vagador, trained at Coombelands Racing Stables by Guy Harwood won The National Spirit Hurdle twice- in 1988 and  in 1990.

Sunday is a day of racing not to be missed at Fontwell Park.