Monday, 24 September 2018

Does Stratum Deserve Another Chance in Fascinating Cesarewitch Handicap?


Willie Mullins and his team are putting the finishing touches to their preparation to run star five-year-old Stratum in the Cesarewitch Handicap on Saturday 13th October and bookmakers have high hopes, placing him at the head of a talent-laden ante-post pack.

The bay gelding impressed when winning the JLT Cup at Newbury in July, beating runner-up Kloud Gate by a convincing three lengths to land the prize money. That was a handicap race run over two miles, is there enough in the tank to improve again and battle over a further two furlongs against a better class of opposition?

 
Source: My Racing Tips via Twitter

 

Traders certainly aren’t in a rush to oppose and eagle-eyed punters taking a look through the early prices and bookmaker offers at Oddschecker will find Stratum is currently in pole position with no bigger than Paddy Power’s 8/1 on the line. That has him four points better than nearest rival Low Sun but there is a degree of indecisiveness with most eager to keep the jolly onside, as short as 6/1 in places.

That’ll catch the attention of value hunters who know all too well backing a 6/1 favorite at odds of 8/1 is a sure-fire way to make a profit in the big meetings. Stratum is far from a convincing market leader though as he followed that win in the JLT Cup with a bitterly disappointing 12th when challenging for the Ebor Handicap at York next time out.

In a race eventually won by Muntahaa, Stratum was never in the contest as a threat to the major places, jockey Robert Winston holding his ride up at the back but finding racing room difficult to come by at the business end. Badly hampered on the rail inside the final couple of furlongs, it was obvious to those who had invested their money on him that it wasn’t going to be their day.
 

 

Source: Sporting Life via Twitter

 
 

Will punters give Stratum the benefit of the doubt and have another pop or go for a runner with a more attractive price tag attached? There’s certainly a few further down the list that make plenty of appeal, including Limini at 14/1.

Another from the Mullins yard, the seven-year-old mare won at Leopardstown on her most recent appearance and was made famous when clinching the Mares Hurdle at Punchestown in February 2017, bashing odds-on favourite Apple’s Jade by two lengths.

Further down the pecking order, you’ll find Chelkar at 20/1, Whiskey Sour 20/1, Cypress Creek 25/1, Family Tree 25/1 and Here And Now 25/1. All have chances.

 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Jamie Osborne

Jamie Osbourne
One of the UK’s greatest national hunt Jockeys, Jamie Anthony Osborne is now hunting glory as a celebrated flat trainer. 
 
Brought up near Wetherby, Yorkshire in a hunting and farming family, Osborne had his first race-ride in a point-to-point while studying for his A-levels. His first win as an amateur came in 1986, after which he became conditional jockey for Nicky Henderson. His career was given a huge boost in 1989, when he was picked as Oliver Sherwood’s stable jockey. 
 
His career peaked in the 1996/97 season when he rode 131 winners and came second in the jockey’s Championship. Osborne’s biggest successes came at the Cheltenham Festival, riding 11 winners between 1991 and 1997. He was the lead rider for the 1992 festival, with five victories including three in one day. His most memorable wins came in the 1992 Champion Chase on Remittance Man and in two World Hurdles on Nomadic Way and Karshi. 
 
He ended his 15-year riding career in 1999 to become a trainer and after obtaining his licence opened his yard at Kingsdown in Upper Lambourn, Berkshire in 2000. 
 
One of Osborne’s most successful horses as a trainer was Milk it Mate who in the 2003 season won the Somerville Tattersall Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes. In January 2018 he attempted to win the $16million Pegasus World Cup in Florida with seven-year-old Toast of New York. 
 
A favourite of the late Queen Mother, Osborne’s career hasn’t been without scandal and was “acquitted” of race fixing in 1998.

Lester Piggott

Lester Piggott
If AP McCoy is the best jump jockey that ever lived, then Lester Keith Piggott is arguably the best flat jockey that ever graced the sport. Born on the 5th November 1935, Pigott’s style was the inspiration for many jockeys that have come since.

He was known affectionately as “The Long Fellow” and in a long career that spanned an incredible 47 years, the jockey achieved an incredible 4,493 wins on the flat. So dedicated was he that for decades, he kept himself a full 30 pounds underneath his natural weight to maintain his competitive edge.

The Early Years

First experiencing the saddle at the age of 10 at his father’s stable, Lester Piggott won his first competitive race at the age of 12 at Haydock Park on a horse aptly named ‘The Chase’. The jockey was regarded as something of a sensation in his teenage years when his first senior race saw him win The Derby aged just 18. It was a race he would win 8 more times in his long, largely peerless career and he was followed by legions of fans who marvelled at his skill and bravery.

As a champion jockey an incredible 11 times, he was part of the Sangster/O’Brien stable before he moved to the Henry Cecil camp at Warren Place.

Dispute

Following a dispute in 1983, Cecil replaced Piggott with Steve Cauthen, as a conflict of interest arose with Lester reneging on an agreement with one of the stable’s principle owners, Daniel Wildenstein to ride All Along at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It was a move that was damaging to Piggotts season, as he was banned from riding any more of Wildenstein’s horses.

Retirement & Controversy

After retirement in 1985, Lester Piggott became a trainer, successfully training 34 winners from his Eve Lodge stables. However, this new life was curtailed before it really got going, as the ex jockey was convicted of tax fraud, serving just over a year in jail and losing his OBE title he had received 10 years earlier.

He returned to racing in the early 90s, officially retiring in 1995, riding his last race in 1994. Today, aged 82, Piggott lives near Newmarket and will always be remembered for his incredible skill in the saddle and its contribution to flat racing.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Frankel

Frankel is described by a lot of horse racing enthusiasts as the greatest thoroughbred racehorse of all time. The bay colt was foaled in February 2008 and was then trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil. He won all 14 of his racecourse starts from August 2010 through to October 2012, after which he retired to begin his career in breeding as a stallion.

In 2011, the son of Galileo was the highest rated racecourse in the world. He held that position in 2012 in his final season. When he retired he had earned just short of £3 million in prize money. The World Thoroughbred Racehorse Ratings gave him a rating of 140, the highest since they introduced their system in 1977.

Just like his career on the track, Frankel has made a strong start to breeding as a number of his offspring have been successful in some of the leading flat races in Europe over the last few years. One of those horses is Cracksman who won the Qipco Champion Stakes on British Champions Day last year. He can be backed at horse racing odds 5/1 to prevail the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in his first attempt in October, a race which sadly was just outside of Frankel’s ideal distance.


 
Credit: Champions Series via Twitter

The public saw Frankel on a racecourse for the first in a maiden at Newmarket where he lined up in a field of 12 over one mile. Cecil’s runner got off to a winning start as he scored by half-a-length, beating Nathaniel who went on to be a Group One winning horse himself.

Frankel’s first Group One success came in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He justified going off as the odds-on favourite to crown himself the champion two-year-old for the season. That was his fourth straight victory in his opening campaign on the track.

A lot was expected of Frankel as a three-year-old and when he returned at Newbury for the Greenham Stakes, he looked even bigger. He proved that he had lost none of his speed following his winter break as he scored by four lengths on his return to the track.


Credit: Racing Post via Twitter

It there was one race that sums up how dominant Frankel was as a miler, though, it was the 2000 Guineas in 2011 where he produced arguably the most dominant performance ever seen in a British Classic. Under the hands of his pilot Tom Queally, the pair hit the front very early into the race and soon went clear of their rivals. Instead of slowing down in the latter stages of the 1m contest, he went further and further from them to blow the field away.

Frankel stepped up in distance from 1m to 1m2f in his penultimate start of his career for the Juddmonte International at York in 2012. The extra two furlongs did nothing to slow him down as he won by seven lengths to prove he was durable in trip.

Racing fans saw Frankel for the last time on the track in the 2012 Champion Stakes where he maintained his unbeaten record. There were some concerns on the day for the horse as the ground was Soft, Heavy in places. The conditions did not spoil his farewell party though as he beat a field which included the French superstar Cirrus des Aigles.

Horse racing fans are still waiting for the next superstar to fill Frankel’s shoes, however, he was a once in a lifetime horse, therefore it remains to be seen if we see anything like him again.