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2 Jul 2020

Kameko to Emulate Mill Reef in Epsom Derby

There is a buzz in the air and I can understand why. With Coronavirus being a thorn in the side of sports fans across the United Kingdom, many horse racing fans questioned whether they would see the greatest race of them all... 

The Epsom Derby, which is set to be run at 4:55 Epsom, Saturday 4th July. 

Not only is it a race to savour with a 17-stong field but it's a chance to make history for the Balding family as Andrew tries to emulate the success of his father Ian who won the Epsom Derby in 1971 with Mill Reef, ridden by Geoff Lewis, in the ownership of Paul Mellon. 

Their two-length success proved a reference point for Kingclere Stables as this bay colt in the familiar black, gold cross and stripe on cap made a name for himself winning top-class races including the Coventry, Gimcrack, Dewhurst, Derby, Eclipse, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Prix Ganay and Coronation Cup. 

In fact, he won 12 of his 14 races and second on two other occasions, beaten three lengths by Brigadier Gerard in the 2000 Guineas to arguably the greatest miler ever saw. 

Andrew Balding has seen Kameko make into a potential Derby winner in his five starts to date. This son of Kitten's Joy out of the mare Sweeter Still races in the familiar silks of Qatar Racing Ltd. 

This comfortable winner of the Futurity Trophy Stakes (Group 1) came out all guns blazing with a neck victory at odds of 10/1 in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on the 6th June. 

This year's Epson Derby looks a cracking race with Ed Walker's English King heading the betting while Kamako is price 4/1 with leading bookmakers. In opposition is a host of Aidan O'Brien runners. 

Good luck to connections and Kamako who could well put a smile on the faces of all at Kingsclere Stables.       

1 Jul 2020

Lucky Seven Epsom Derby Entries for Aidan O'Brien

The 241st Investec Epsom Derby takes place this coming Saturday and will be held behind closed doors for the first time in its history. Not even the famous Downs will be open this year although up to two Owners will be able to attend in a "safe and risk-managed way", under plans agreed by the Racecourse Association, the Racehorse Owners Association and the British Horseracing Authority. 

Irish Trainer Aidan O’Brien has seven of the seventeen entries at the five-day stage for the Epsom feature as the Ballydoyle legend attempts to follow on from the amazing feat of saddling the first four in the Irish Derby at the Curragh last weekend. Santiago backed up his Royal Ascot win in scintillating fashion by winning the Irish Derby, but will not be running at Epsom. 

The seven entries for O’Brien are headed by Mogul, Russian Emperor and Vatican City who are all currently at odds of around 7/1 in the ante-post betting market according to WhichBookie. Stable jockey Ryan Moore will choose his preferred horse later in the week and that will have a big effect on the odds of all the O’Brien horses. 

The Ballydoyle elite Derby hit squad is completed by Amhran Na Bhfiann, Armory, Mythical and Serpentine, although Armory and Mythical also have an entry for Sunday's French Derby at Chantilly. 

Frankie Dettori’s mount English King is favourite for the race and the one they all have to beat after the Ed Walker trained colt cruised home in the Lingfield Derby Trial. For Walker, it would be a childhood dream come true as he confessed “"I've been thinking about it since I discovered horseracing when I was 13 years old, so of course you think about it in this position. It would be a great day if it happened.” It promises to be some quite some race and not many would bet against O’Brien celebrating his eighth Epsom Derby success come Saturday night!

Photo: Galileo winner of 2001 Epsom Derby

25 Jun 2020

Brian Meehan on Fire this Early Two-Year-Old Season

The two-year-old season is underway and I'm pleased to say that everything seems pretty normal. And that's good news horse trainers big and small and the racing industry at large. 

In truth, we have a lot to be thankful for.  

Early season is always a time to be extra careful but for all those who love to wager at you could still fill your wallet with a bundle of lovely cash. 

Well, that's the idea and there is a winner in every race so don't complain to me if your selection falls short of the mark. 

That brings me to horse trainers and why it pays to follow a stable in form. One such proponent is Brian Meehan whose two-year-old colts, geldings and fillies have been in flying form - a number have won.

Manton House Estate, Marlborough, Wiltshire has been the starting point for many a class thoroughbred who achieved greatness. 

For instance, major two-year-old wins in the United Kingdon include: 

The Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1) with Magical Romance (2004) & Donna Blini (2005).

In addition, the Racing Post Trophy (Group 1) in 2008 with Crowded House, ridden by Jamie Spencer. 

This season has seen the two-year-olds set a sparkling pace from a handful of runners.

These include three debut wins (which is unusual for the stable):

Talbot made a fine debut for Meehan when winning well at Lingfield. This son of Gleneagles disappointed when heading to Royal Ascot's Coventry Stakes (Group 2) but clearly a horse with ample ability.

There was much to like about the performance of Frankel filly Ghaaliya who held on well at odds of 14/1 when looking an easy winner at Kempton on debut. Looking green and inexperienced, she is likely to improve a good deal from this racecourse bow and is sure to be racing at pattern class soon. 

If that wasn't good enough, Meehan sent out another debutante to taste victory at Windsor. Tanfantic finished the race with zeal to win at odds of 12/1. This good-looking gelding, a son of Gutaifan, is a real bargain yearling buy at just £25,000. 

In total, at the time of writing, Meehan has had five two-year-olds racing this season and achieved four winners and two second places. 

If you follow the maxim of betting on a stable in form, then Brian Meehan is likely to add to your riches.

20 May 2020

A look back at the last three winners of the Irish Guineas

Over the last week or so, it has been announced by Horse Racing Ireland that racing will resume after its indefinite postponement, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. With the news that Naas will host the first racecard on June 8th, it’s also been revealed that the Irish Classics will be taking place, with the Curragh hosting the famous 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas on June 12-13th. While you check out yesterday's racing results on Betfair's Blog, we go back through the archives and look back at the past three winners of these two very famous races.


1,000 Guineas winner: Hermosa 

A dominant display from Hermosa saw the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly complete a Classic double, winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, having already won the English equivalent at Newmarket. The 5/2 favourite always held the pace and kicked on in the final furlong to beat Pretty Pollyanna by four lengths, and provide O’Brien with his eighth win in the Classic. 

2,000 Guineas winner: Phoenix of Spain

Phoenix of Spain upstaged his rival Too Darn Hot (and joint-favourite Magna Grecia, who had won the Newmarket race) to take the 2,000 Guineas title – despite not having raced all season. The Charles Hills-trained colt missed the English namesake race, but certainly rose to the challenge at the Curragh, going on to win by three lengths, with Too Darn Hot finishing in second and Magna Grecia in fourth. It was a first win for both trainer Hills and jockey, Jamie Spencer. 


1,000 Guineas winner: Alpha Centauri 

Jessica Harrington’s Alpha Centauri upset the odds and took the crown, as favourite Happily flopped. It was a first win in the Classics for Harrington, who’d had podium finishes in the past. The filly beat massive outsider Could It Be Love by a length and a quarter, consigning the O’Brien duo (father and trainer, Aidan and son, jockey Donnacha) to second place. 

2,000 Guineas winner: Romanised 

There was a shock in the 2,000 Guineas, when Aidan O’Brien was ousted by Ken Condon’s Romanised. The highly-decorated trainer had to make do with a trio of second, third and fourth-place finishes, but at 25/1, Romanised was good value for his win. It was a debut win for Condon in the Classics and a first win on the track for 10 months – with the three-year-old, and Shane Foley in the saddle, winning his first major race.



1,000 Guineas winner: Winter 

There were no surprises this time around, with favourite and winner of the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas, Winter taking the crown at the Curragh. With Wayne Lordan in the saddle for the race three weeks previous, it marked another win for the dream duo of jockey Moore and trainer O’Brien. It was a good day for the highly successful trainer, who secured a one-two-three with Roly Poly and Hydrangea completing the top three – and he wasn’t done there… 

2,000 Guineas winner: Churchill 

O’Brien made it a double-double as he secured victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. He’d previously won the Newmarket namesake with Churchill and the colt came good with Moore in the saddle once more to complete a clean-sweep of Classics. He was the 4/9 favourite ahead of the race at the Curragh and held off the challenges of Thunder Snow to win the race by two and a half lengths – and become the ninth horse to complete the Curragh/Newmarket 2,000 Guineas double.

12 May 2020

Three Significantly Underrated UK Trainers

Roger Fell Horse Trainer (UK)
There are a number of trainers who have gained notoriety for regularly producing winners at high-profile events such as Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival. Whilst the likes of Nicky Henderson and Charlie Appleby are superbly astute operators, who deserve enormous credit for their assiduous attention to detail, there are also a whole host of handlers who are rarely courted by the media yet continue to thrive at a lower level. We take a look at a trio of trainers who go about their business in a hugely efficient manner, yet rarely find themselves in the spotlight.

Roger Fell 

Roger Fell has been involved in the sport since purchasing Arthington Barn Stables back in 2008 and although he only took out his license four years ago, his partnership with fellow trainer David O'Meara gave him the perfect grounding and experience required to make a success of going solo. One of his most notable successes in recent years is Burnt Sugar, who had seemingly lost his way for Richard Hannon. The eight-year-old enjoyed a hugely profitable 2018, taking the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket before following up in the Gigaset International Stakes. Although his class 2 competitors are few and far between, the trainer has been worth following in all-weather events over the last twelve months. 

Fell is a regular at Newcastle and Southwell and occasionally makes the trip south to Kempton and Lingfield. If today's racing results page features any of the UK all-weather tracks, it's highly likely that the Yorkshire-based trainer will feature prominently. He's operating at 12% in 3-year old events on artificial tracks, returning a profit of £64.38 to a £1 stake. Roger Fell is undoubtedly worth keeping a close eye on throughout the course of the season.
Nicky Richards

Nicky Richards is synonymous with horse racing in the north of England, and is arguably one of the most underrated trainers in the UK. Based at Greystoke in Cumbria, the 64-year old rarely goes a week without firing in several winners. Over the last five years, he's been operating at 20% over larger obstacles, and if you'd bet £1 on each of his chasers during that period, you'd currently have a profit of around £40. The cunning handler has a fairly pragmatic approach to his runners, and his knack of finding the perfect race for his performers is admirable. Monet's Garden may be his most successful horse to date; however, punters who enjoy betting on class 3 and class 4 events will undoubtedly be familiar with some of his more recent representatives such as Caius Marcius and Takingrisks.

Olly Murphy 

Based in the beautiful countryside of Stratford-upon-Avon, Olly Murphy has quickly become one of the brightest training talents in the UK; although he may not quite be a household name just yet, he is surely destined for bigger and better things. He managed just six winners in 2019, but he has made a superb start to 2020 with Itchy Feet's victory in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase undoubtedly the highlight. Although the six-year-old wasn't able to land a blow at Cheltenham next time out, he is likely to come back stronger when the National Hunt season recommences later this year. Murphy also has a small clutch of flat performers with Krazy Paving recently proving a hit at Chelmsford City. At just 25 years old, the Warwickshire-based operator is one of the youngest handlers in the country, and he appears to be improving with every passing season.
Dedicated fans of the sport may already be familiar with the likes of Nicky Richards, Olly Murphy and Roger Fell, but they rarely get the column inches that they deserve. This trio of savvy operators continue to go about their business surreptitiously, and their runners should always be taken extremely seriously. 

13 Apr 2020

Best Horse Riding Boots: Tips on Finding the Perfect Pair

Horses have always been considered as one of the most useful animals around. They might not be as popular as dogs or cats, but they do tend to be meant for physical labor. There was a time when it was needed for most households to own at least one. 

Horses were the primary way of transportation if you ignore our own two feet. Attachments like carriages and carts have also been developed to take advantage of their speed, strength, and diligence. When it comes to their use in the battle or farm, nothing would ever beat these steeds. 

Here in Australia, there has been a resurgence in horse riding. There are a lot of factors that have led to this like racing, movies, and literature. More specifically, the Victorian government annually hosts the Melbourne Cup. This is a world-famous horse race that is being visited by millions of people from all over Australia and around the world. 

Although according to this article there have been some issues regarding caring for the thoroughbreds, this has not stopped these games. This is also one of the factors that had led to many people trying to ride horses. 

Riding or Get Ridden 

You might think that it is easy to ride a horse. After all, you just need to go astride its back and it would follow you, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. It can be potentially dangerous to even go near one especially if he or she is not familiar to you. 

You might be familiar with the term “horsepower”, a measurement of power and electric currents. There is a reason for that: a horse kick can be quite fatal. There have been many cases of unfortunate would-be riders getting trampled or kicked by an unruly and untrusting horse. 

With the right guidance and training, you can surely be the equestrian that you want to be. There are rules and regulations that you need to follow through before you can become a full-fledged one. While you are just starting, it is important to have the best riding shoes or boots. You can use your sneaks and running shoes for this one, but it can be quite risky. 

For one, these riding shoes are specifically made for horse riding. It is equipped with a lot of functions that keep you safe and secure while you are above the animal. 

The Shoe that Fits

Choosing the best shoe can be a bit of a challenge. There are so many options to choose from, and the best horse riding boots Australia can offer might be different from what you want. Let us start with the material. The best boots are always made with pure leather. It might be expensive, but it will last longer than the synthetic ones out there. There are also a lot of challenges involved when it comes to cleaning it, so make sure that you know the proper ways. This ensures that it will still look good and fashionable even after a few years.

Another part of the boot that you need to check is the heels. It should be at least 2.5 to 4 cm high so that you can secure yourself on the stirrup. Anything that is lower than this can cause you to slip through and get stuck. If it is higher though, then you might get stuck on the stirrup itself. 

It should also fit your feet perfectly. This is to avoid any kind of injury while you are practicing your equestrian skills. Leather boots will shrink to your size just fine, but some of the synthetic materials can become quite tight after just a few hours of riding. They can end up being difficult to remove. Here are other ways that you can avoid accidents while riding:  

If you are going to work in a sheep station, you will need to have a pair of boots that can withstand both the heat and the rain. The Australian climate in the outback is as unforgiving as a scorned jillaroo. You must be ready for all of it, and having a good pair will be useful for many years to come. 

On the other hand, riding boots should also be of high quality. As mentioned before, there are a lot of dangers when riding a horse. You need to stay on top of that animal as long as possible while not being stuck as well. It can save your life if your boots fit you and its purpose. 

Being an equestrian, whether full or part-time, will always involve two main tasks. One is keeping yourself safe and the other is dealing with the horse. There are a lot of factors in taming or breaking a steed, and some of them are out of your control. The animal might not even like you, as horses are smarter than you think. However, keeping yourself relatively safe will be 90% on your hands. Preparing and having the right gear is always going to save your life.