Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Dancing Brave

Dancing Brave
Dancing Brave, owned by Prince Khalid Abdulla and trained by Guy Harwood, was officially the second highest rated horse on the Flat since official international figures were first published in 1977. Only Frankel was rated higher and, even then, only after a “historical recalibration” of the rankings in 2013, which downgraded Dancing Brave from 141 to 138.

During his career, Dancing Brave won eight of his 10 races, including the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, and was named European Horse of the Year for 1986.

An unimposing son of Lyphard, Dancing Brave made his racecourse debut in the Dorking Stakes at Sandown in 1985, which he won convincingly. Guy Harwood later recalled, “[Stable jockey] Greville Starkey got off and said, ‘This horse is my Derby ride.’” Dancing Brave followed up, in similar style, in the Soham House Stakes at Newmarket, and went into winter quarters as favourite for the 2,000 Guineas.

On his reappearance, he started favourite for the Craven Stakes at Newmarket, which he won emphatically. On his return to Newmarket for the 2,000 Guineas, he came with a powerful run going down into ‘the Dip’ and quickened clear in the closing stages to beat Green Desert by 3 lengths, with jockey Greville Starkey looking around for non-existent dangers.

His subsequent defeat by Shahrastani in the Derby, in which Starkey gave him far too much to do, has been well chronicled elsewhere, but his finest hour came at Longchamp on October 5, 1986. Sent off favourite, once again, for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, he was switched off at the rear of the field by Pat Eddery before being asked for maximum effort in the final furlong-and-a-half. Delivering his challenge wide, late and fast, Dancing Brave passed a dozen rivals – including Bering, Triptych and Sharastani – in the final furlong to win by 1½ lengths. Commentator Graham Goode said afterwards, “Pat Eddery has never ridden a better race.”

Thursday, 12 November 2020


These days, Yeats, who was retired from racing in October, 2009, stands at Castlehyde Stud, Co. Cork, where he commands a stud fee of €5,000. Granted his exceptional sire, Sadler’s Wells, and his own exceptional ability, it’s no real surprise that he’s garnering a reputation as a sire of top-class jumpers.

Owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Mrs. David Nagle and trained by Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle, Co. Tipperary, Yeats is best remembered for winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot an unprecedented four times in a row, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He was also, unsurprisingly, named Cartier Stayer in each of those years but, in a lengthy career spanning six seasons, he won 15 of his 26 races, including seven Group 1 races, and earned over £1.3 million in prize money.

Although he ultimately made his name as an out-and-out stayer, it is, perhaps worth remembering that Yeats won his maiden over a mile at the Curragh on his sole start as a juvenile and the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, both over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Leopardstown as a three-year-old. Indeed, he was a leading fancy for Derby proper in 2004, before injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.

When he returned, after nearly a year off, he was beaten, at odds-on, in the High Chapparal EBF Moorsbridge Stakes at the Curragh, but clearly detested the heavy going and wasn’t beaten up by Kieron Fallon once it was clear he was making no impression in the closing stages. Indeed, Yeats showed the benefit of that tender handling in the Coronation Cup at Epsom the following month, making all to win unchallenged a record his first win at the highest level. Aidan O’Brien admitted afterwards, “I might have over-trained him for the Derby last year, which could have brought on his problems, and we learned a lot from that.”

Yeats didn’t win again until stepped up to 2 miles 4 furlongs for the first time in the Gold Cup at Ascot the following June, but the rest, as they say, is history. Following his fourth, and final, win in the Gold Cup three years later, winning jockey Johnny Murtagh said, tearfully, “It's one of the greatest days of my life in racing. Yeats is everything positive about racing.”

Friday, 30 October 2020

The Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is arguably Australia's most important horse racing event, and of course emanating from that is the rich history developed since the first ever race took place, in 1861. The Melbourne Cup field is exclusively composed of thoroughbred racehorses, with only those with the finest ancestral lineage able to compete. This years’ Cup is just round the corner, on its customary first weekend of November date, this year falling on 3rd November. As such, we thought it is appropriate to reminisce some of the most memorable moments from throughout the years.

The 11-Year-Old that Changed History Forever 

In 1876, an 11-year-old jockey named Peter St Albans rode the winner in the Melbourne Cup. This race was the largest Melbourne Cup field of all time, with 33 runners, a practise which has since been made impossible since the restriction of entries to a maximum of 22. Scandalously, it’s reported that St Albans had to lie about his age to be granted the opportunity to ride in the race. Reports from the time suggest different ages for him for this reason, it’s difficult to know his exact age to the day. Regardless, this is one hell of a record, and one which won’t be beaten any time soon.


The reason as to why St Albans had a really lucky escape and was allowed to ride, is due to having the perfect weight of 39 kilograms. The filly he rode, named Briseis, had a previous owner named Tom Hales, who could not make the requirement of weight for the Melbourne Cup. For that reason, Hales gave permission for Peter Albans to ride the filly, due to Peter’s affinity with the horse in training. He was said to have rode an impressive session of work on the filly, and was subsequently given the nod to ride her in the big race!


With Hales’ blessing, Peter went on to beat Sybil and Timothy, the more favoured runners in the race, clocking a race time of 3.36.25 in the process. This win was hugely celebrated at the time and day of the race, and many had celebrated and cheered for Peter Albans miraculous win-especially the punters who actually had taken a bet and leap of faith in him.

Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup Double Winners 

The Melbourne Cup is of course one of the most desired wins for any jockey out there. In addition to the Melbourne Cup, there are other events that share such high status in both the context of Australian racing and the wider horse racing world such as The Cox Plate and The Caulfield Cup. Not many horses have managed to win both the prestigious Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, with only 11 wins in historical records to date. The last double win was in 2001 by Ethereal, and the very first to win a double, was by the horse Poseidon.


For punters that want to bet on the Melbourne Cup, The Caulfield Cup can be a decent yardstick in terms of performance, as the event occurs in the month of October-only a few weeks away from the Melbourne Cup and is largely comparable in terms of conditions.


Widest Winning Margins of Melbourne Cup History 

The widest winning margin that was ever to be recorded within Melbourne Cup history, was by 8 lengths. This has only occurred twice: in 1862 when legendary Melbourne Cup horse Archer hosed up and once again in an effort by Rain Lover in 1968. Occurring at almost a century apart, nobody has managed to beat this record to date-yet.

Bay Coloured Horses Have Brought Success

History would tell us that bay coloured horses in fact, have the most successful record within the history of the Melbourne Cup. Over the last 158 years during the Melbourne Cup tournament, the majority of winning horses have all been bay colour, winning a total of 69 times in total. Of course, this colour is one of the most common in horse breeds. If any superstition was as popular in the context of the Melbourne Cup, it would definitely have to be this one!

Example bay coloured horses of today include: Constantinople, Mirage Dancer, Huntington Horn, Mer De Glace, The Chosen One and Raymond Tusk.


Melbourne Cup Barriers 

Since the beginning of Melbourne Cup history, there have been barriers that have yielded more wins than others. The top barriers to date that have given a total of 8 wins, are barriers 5 and 8. Barriers 1,4,6,11,14,17,19 and 22 have all given 7 wins in total, and are not far behind the best barriers 5 and 8. One barrier however, that has had no luck in being the Melbourne Cup winning barrier, is number 18. For 84 years, not one win was made from number 18, which has very much created a superstition within the horse racing community for this barrier. Number 13 is also considered another unlucky draw, even though Ethereal, Baghdad Note and Phar Lap, have all won from that barrier!

Saddlecloth Numbers: The Best in the Business 

The saddle cloth that is used to identify the horse within the race, has often got a number with varying different colours to represent the horse and its jockey. Within the history of the Melbourne Cup, numbers 4 and 12 have produced the most wins, in all the years this tournament has been running for, with a total of 11 wins each. The saddle cloth representing number 10, is very close behind with 10 wins in total and in third position, is the saddle cloth number 8, with 8 wins in total.

Melbourne Cup Jockey Weights: Facts and Figures

There are many stories to tell when it comes to discussing the weight of jockeys. The largest weight ever to be recorded and supported by a horse, was at 68 kilograms, from the Phar Lap horse in 1931. As can be expected, the horse unfortunately could not carry the jockey across to win at the finishing line. However, the heaviest recorded weight that actually did secure a win, was at 66 kilograms, by the Carbine in 1890. This still holds record today as the heaviest weight to date, to manage a win and victory within the Melbourne Cup.


The lightest weight recorded that also brought a victory on the other hand, was at a small 33.5 kilograms, by the horse Banker in 1863. Weight is definitely a significant factor to consider when it comes to making a win at the Melbourne Cup, however there is one weight that has shown to be the most popular and comfortable for a victory, and that is at 54.5 kilograms. Many riders nowadays tend to go for this option as the average weight as history supports this mass to be quite popular within all of the Melbourne Cup winning trends. In total 54.5 kilograms has brought 8 champions the spoils of victory for Melbourne. 

Who Was the Most Successful Trainer?

Within Melbourne Cup history, there are many legendary riders that have gotten their names recorded within the history books. However, there is one trainer in particular that stands above the rest, with the most success. Bart Cummings managed to win 12 cups within his entire career. This puts him at an elite position, as he has 7 more cups then the closest rival within that list. His last victory and twelfth win, was in 2008 by the horse Viewed, a famous Australian Thoroughbred. 

This information was brought to you by  

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore
Born on the 18th September 1983, Ryan Moore is an active flat racing jockey from Brighton that to date, has won the champion jockey title three times, as well claiming many other British classics. They include two Epsom Derby triumphs, two Epsom Oaks wins, two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes and the St Leger Stakes in 2017.

Right now, he is the primary jockey for the stable of Aidan O’Brien and Ballydoyle, which means that the majority of his rides are on horses from the Coolmore Stud.

In the Blood

Ryan Moore’s involvement with horse racing comes as no surprise, as many of his family have been connected to the sport over the years in a number of different capacities. His father, Gary L Moore is a successful trainer and he has two jockey brothers, Jamie and Joshua, as well as his sister Hayley Moore who is a leading light in amateur racing.

He even has an Aunty Candy who plies her trade as a professional jockey, so you could say that he belongs to a racing mad family.

Early Start

Having showed an interest in racing as four year old, Ryan joined a local pony club and after finding the experience a bit too ‘tame’ for his liking, he progressed to competitive racing at the age of 12. He joined the big time at the age of 20, becoming part of the Richard Hannon stable, for who he was still riding as late as 2013.

The first major race won by Ryan Moore was the 2002 Cesarewitch Handicap, which he claimed in the saddle of Miss Fara and whilst he wasn’t exactly lighting the flat racing world on fire, he would still become a Champion Apprentice in 2003.

In the years since, the jockey has ridden winners for St Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien and at the age of just 34, he still has many years ahead of him and no one would bet against him becoming flat racing champion again soon.

Time will tell just how iconic this jockey can be and where it places him in the pantheon of the sport’s greats.