Author: Gary Middleton

A Grand, National Event

  Photo by Stacey MacNaught, CC BY2.0 With an estimated TV audience of between 500 and 600 million people around the globe, The Grand National is one of the top horse races in the world. In the U.K., more people have a bet than with any other race, making it a national institution. But just what is it about this iconic steeplechase that makes it stand out from the rest of the racing calendar? It is not the oldest race in Britain — all the so-called Classics, including the St Ledger, The Derby, The Oaks and the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, are all older. Nor is it the richest, with the Derby’s £1.5 million ($2.1 million) dwarfing the National’s £1-million ($1.4 million) prize pot.  Painting by William Tasker in public domain For many people, it is the sheer scale and spectacle of The Grand National that attracts their interest. At 4 miles 514 yards, it is a real test of stamina, and just getting around is an achievement. Add in a cavalry charge of 40 horses tackling 30 towering fences, including the 5’2” Chair, the 5’5” Valentines and the 5’8” Beecher’s Brook, and it’s easy to see why the highest number of finishers on record is as low as 23. Of all the British horseraces, the history of The Grand National has the most excitement and romance attached to...

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Five Horses To Follow Ahead Of The 2018 Cheltenham Festival

The UK’s Cheltenham Festival is the biggest national hunt meeting anywhere in the world, drawing huge media attention as the leading jumps horses battle it out in their respective divisions. From now until April, all roads will lead to the Gloucestershire-based track as the leading runners look to improve their fitness, pick up some tidy prize money and gain experience ahead of the Festival. With the jumps season now up and running, there will be plenty of ante-post betting and interest in all of the leading races over the next few months as the entries are already open for the big meetings. It’s a crowded field with a handful of competitive options, so here are five horses which could grab the headlines at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival meeting in March. Fayonagh – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Last season’s Champion Bumper winner Fayonagh has already made a winning start to his hurdles career as he broke his maiden at Fairyhouse earlier this month. The six year old was impressive at the Festival in the only flat race of the week where he finished strongly in the 22 runner field. Gordon Elliott’s runner proved his victory at Cheltenham was no fluke when he landed the Grade One national hunt flat contest at the Punchestown Festival just a few weeks later. A peek at Racing UK’s form guidereveals huge potential. Elliott will be hoping Fayonagh can follow...

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Gun Runner Odds-On To Continue Dominance In Pegasus World Cup

Gun Runner is expected to reappear again early in the New Year when he should line up in the richest race in the world, the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Florida. The purse for the second running of the 1800m contest will be $16 million in 2018 where a small field of the world’s leading thoroughbreds will be racing to follow in the footsteps of Arrogate who was victorious in the inaugural race earlier this year. Steven Asmussen’s runner won his fourth consecutive race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic just a few weeks ago when he prevailed by just over two lengths in a dominant display at the World Championship meeting. TRCommentary via Twitter It has been an incredible 12 months for Gun Runner as he has won five of his six outings. His only defeat on the calendar year came in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan where he had to settle for second place behind Arrogate. If everything goes well at Gulfstream Park in a couple of months, he is likely to return to the UAE for another shot at the feature race of the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The bookmakers make Gun Runner the odds-on favourite at -125 to start 2018 in the best possible way by winning the Grade One race in January. If you are having a bet on the race or on any or...

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Who Are The Best Jockeys Worldwide Today?

Life as a jockey can be tough. Not only do they work incredibly long hours, they need to watch their weight on a daily basis, travel thousands of miles around the world each year, and they have decisions to make during a race where they have less than a second to think about their move. The best in the world make the latter look easy and it is why they are trusted with the jobs from the big stables and owners. Here is a look at who are the best three riders in the world at the moment. Ryan Moore (ENG) Racing Post via Twitter English jockey Ryan Moore has been Champion Jockey three times in the UK and won an incredible 10 British Classics already, despite only being 34. He is now the retained jockey for Aidan O’Brien who is in charge of the Ballydoyle operation in Ireland. Moore travels all over the world for the leading Group One races and has been successful in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Breeders’ Cup Turf and Japan Cup. One of Moore’s biggest attributes is his strength in a close finish. He can often find a little bit more from his horse, which can be the difference in a tight finish to a contest. Moore is set to partner Highland Reel in the Breeders’ Cup Turf this year in...

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An Ante Post Look At The 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Source: Cheltenham Racecourse via Facebook The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be here before we know it. Racing fans from all over the UK will travel to Gloucestershire for one of the true highlights of the National Hunt season. This year, the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John romped home to secure a famous Gold Cup triumph and we could be set for another exciting battle next year. Plenty of punters expected Thistlecrack, a former Festival winner over the smaller obstacles, to romp to Gold Cup victory but injury hindered his opportunity to prevail. In 2018, he will be back and fighting fit; Colin Tizzard will be quietly confident of success. We took an early glance at the main event ahead of the Cheltenham Festival; ante post bettors, take note. Enigmatic Yorkhill Stands A Good Chance Willie Mullins has a terrible record in this famous race but Yorkhill could end his barren run without a Gold Cup triumph. Winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase this year, Yorkhill is one of the most talented horses in training but he does have a tendency to play up. Ruby Walsh, arguably the greatest jockey in the industry, will get the ride if Mullins decides to aim the 7-year-old at this particular race. In his most recent outing, Yorkhill was a beaten odds-on favourite at Fairyhouse. It is a no-brainer though, targeting him at the Gold Cup is...

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