Monday, 19 November 2018

Key Contenders For 2018 King George VI Chase

The King George VI Chase is the highlight of the festive programme over Christmas in the UK and this year’s race is set to be another fantastic renewal with a strong field expected to line up at Kempton in the 3m contest. Here is a look at the leading contenders for the Grade One chase.

Might Bite

BHA Press Office via Twitter

Last year’s winner Might Bite is expected to return to Kempton in December to try to defend his crown and become the first horse to prevail in the race in back-to-back years since Silviniaco Conti in 2014. Nicky Henderson’s runner had a fantastic campaign last season as he also won the Aintree Bowl and finished second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The nine-year-old is expected to target all the leading 3m+ chases in this division this season and connections will have the Gold Cup in mind as the priority where they will be hoping he can go one better than he did in March. Might Bite has proven that Kempton is a course he enjoys, therefore, it is no surprise that he tops the early betting for the 2018 King George.

Waiting Patiently

Waiting Patiently is set to return to the racecourse after 10 months off the track when he lines up at Kempton. Ruth Jefferson’s horse was last seen when he won the Ascot Chase, beating Cue Card, Top Notch and Coney Island in a strong field for the Grade One contest. The son of Flemensfirth has won his last seven races, therefore, he has been in great form. Unfortunately for connections, he has had a number of injuries which have prevented him from running in the big meetings, including the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. Despite his long absence, Waiting Patiently is prominent at 6/1 in the horse racing betting for the King George where, if successful, he would scoop the biggest prize of his career so far.

Native River

Racing UK via Twitter

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River will be looking to join a small club of horses who have won the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival and King George in the same year. The eight-year-old already has an impressive CV with victories also coming in the Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh Grand National. Native River missed the King George last year through injury and did not make his seasonal reappearance until February where he made a winning return in the Denman Chase. A month later, Colin Tizzard’s Chaser outstayed all of his rivals in the Gold Cup. Given how the pair locked horns throughout at Cheltenham, many people will be looking forward to seeing Native River take on Might Bite once again in what could prove to be a fascinating rivalry for many years to come in the sport. Native River can be backed at 6/1 in the King George betting and he is sure to have his supporters at that price as he is officially rated as one of the best chasers in training in the UK and Ireland.

Enjoy the action on Boxing Day and good luck if you are having a bet in the King George.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy
Sir Anthony Peter McCoy OBE, is a retired horse racing jockey hailing from Northern Ireland and is widely regarded as one of the most successful ever in the steeplechasing world. In his career, the jockey known simply as ‘AP’ to many has won everything there is to win, including the Grand National , most recently on Don’t Push it in 2010. With a total of 4,358 winners to his name and he boasts the incredible achievement of winning Champion jockey title 20 years in a row, something that may never again be matched by anyone in the sport.

Out of the Ordinary

Other than his freakish talent for winning, Tony McCoy is different to many other jockeys in that he stands at 5ft 10 inches tall, which is tall for a jockey. Once in the saddle though, there truly is no one like him, as he has a virtually unblemished record as a jockey, even winning the title of Conditional Jump Jockey Champion in his first ever season, winning 74 races.

The fact that AP McCoy won the Champion Jockey title every year he competed in it says everything you need to know about the man and his victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, King George VI chase and the Champion Hurdle set him apart from the rest and when you see who he’s up against, you realise just how special that makes him. In his last race, he came third on Box Office at Sandown and despite not bowing out with a win, those attending knew they had witnessed the end of an era.

Tony McCoy retired in 2015 and went on to become Sir AP McCoy a year later. Never has the term champion been more apt and his feats may never be equalled again.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Silvestre De Sousa

Silvestre De Sousa
From the land of the Samba beat, Silvestre De Souza is an ex champion flat race jockey, claiming the title in 2015 and 2017. Born in São Francisco do Maranhão, Brazil on 31st December 1980, De Souza is now based in Britain, having moved to Sao Paulo from his 9 siblings at the tender age of 17 and then moving to England to join trainer, David Nicholls in 2006.

He first sat on a racehorse at the age of 18, after being talent spotted by compatriot Fausto Durso who saw something special in the young man. This potential would eventually become to be realised after a slow start and after a season that De Souza only spent in England on a “What have I got to lose?” basis, he finished with 27 winners and win rate of 14%.


Soon after, De Souza found himself on the periphery at the Nicholls yard, with David preferring his own son, Adrian in the big races. This led to a period as a freelance rider which saw him enjoy an impressive record of 21, 35 and 68 winners over the next three years. This performance caught the eye of trainer Mark Johnston who took on De Souza shortly after. It was to be a wise move, as the jockey went onto an Epsom Derby Win and two winners at Royal Ascot, something De Souza described as “unbelievable”.

In 2011, De Souza almost claimed the title of champion flat jockey, narrowly losing out to Paul Hanagan and winning 161 races in the process. There were near misses in the next two years, with De Souza just losing out to Richard Hughes, which led to a bit of a change in direction.


Success in flat racing’s champion jockey race was finally achieved in 2015 and then again in 2017 with De Souza being employed by Betway as an Ambassador. The season saw the jockey win 155 races and win a staggering £1.7m in prize money.

After a frustrating beginning, the future certainly looks bright for Silvestre De Souza.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Dan Skelton

Dan Skelton
Daniel Skelton is a leading National Hunt Trainer, who has saddled over 465 winners in his career.
With four seasons under his belt, Skelton has had 28 graded/listed winners and scored big wins on the track. This includes his first victory at Cheltenham in 2016 when Superb Story won the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle, ridden by his brother, jockey Harry Skelton. 
By his third season he crossed the 100 winners barrier for the first time and earned over £1 million in prize money. He has continued to build on earlier achievements, with some of his most notable performances coming from Three Musketeers, Blue Heron, Al Ferof, Its’afreebee and Ch’tibello.
Since becoming a trainer, Dan and Harry have struck up a close working partnership. Harry was in the saddle when Willow’s Saviour stormed to victory in the 2013 Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot during Dan’s first season as a trainer.

Dan set up his own training stable at the family farm, Lodge Hill in Warwickshire in 2013 with 12 horses. That number rapidly expanded and he ended the 2013/14 season with 27 wins. 
He began his career with a few amateur races, before landing work at Champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard, Manor Farm Stables. After initially starting as a pupil assistant, he was quickly made assistant trainer a role he stayed in for nine years. Dan credits his early success to Nicholls’ tutelage at the world-renowned racing stable as well as the unique experience of growing up around one of the world’s best show-jumpers.