Nov 16

Mal Boyle stats – Wednesday 16th

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Nov 16

Harry Fry


HARRY FRY has quite rightly been recognised as one of the up and coming young trainers in the National Hunt division and, now in his fifth season with a license, the flood of winners have increased every year since he started in October 2012.

The 2015-2016 season saw Harry send out 54 winners and £718,943 in prize money and with the added bonus of a Cheltenham Festival winner when Unowhatimeanharry made it five out five for his trainer when landing the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.

The stable star had to forego an engagement at Wetherby at the weekend due to ground conditions and plans for a trip to France or Aintree this week had to be put on hold too but he will soon be in action when the heavens open just a little.

There is plenty of raw talent in the Manor Farm team itching to get under way and with 12 winners already and £125,686 on the clock it looks like another personal best season will be achieved come next Spring.

Harry kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about some of his major hopes for the exciting months ahead.

6 b g Alberto Giacometti – Flower Des Champs

113 rated hurdler. Off the mark over hurdles when scoring by a length from Bells of Ailsworth at Taunton (3m) in March off a mark of 108.
“He won over hurdles at Taunton last season and actually ran a better race in defeat on his final start at Exeter when third in handicap to Valhalla. He is set to go novice chasing this year which is what he was bought for and he should be very competitive in novice handicap chases when he starts of possibly at Taunton on November 10.”

5 b g Mountain High – Whisky Rose

122 rated hurdler. Placed in two of his four hurdles last season.
“He is a second season hurdler who didn’t really jump with any confidence last season and we have done a lot of work with him this Autumn. He is jumping well now and he is entered up this week. He has a rating of 122 and that’s about right for what he’s achieved. Two miles is his trip for the time being but he will get further in time.”

7 b g Milan – Rilmount

Runner-up, beaten three and a quarter lengths, to Vieux Lille in a novice hurdle at Exeter (2m 7f) on his only start for the stable.
“He was meant to run by now but had a slight hold up. He only had the one run for us and ran very well and hopefully it won’t be long before he’s got his head in front in a staying novice hurdle.”

6 b g Malinas – Grande Sultane

139 rated hurdler. Scored by three quarters of a length from Label Des Obeaux in a novices hurdle at Ascot (2m 5 1/2f) in November.
“He is a fragile horse but talented and he’s been entered up for the last ten days and we are dying to run him as he’s in great form at home but he needs the rain to get started. He will start in a novice chase over three miles plus.”

5 b g Milan – Shatani

Winner of his only point-to-point in Ireland in April.
“He is a lovely stamp of a horse having won his only point-to-point in Ireland. He will start in a two and half mile novices hurdle in about a month or so.”

5 b g Gamut – Oak Lodge

Winning Irish bumper at Thurles in January and sixth in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree on his debut for the stable.
“He joined us in the Spring having won his bumper in testing ground at Thurles. He ran very well to finish sixth in the Aintree bumper and he is crying out for a step up in trip. He is entered up in a two and a half mile hurdle at Newbury on Thursday.”

5 b g Oscar – Golden Moment

Winner of a bumper at Huntingdon in January and beaten only a nose by Sam’s Adventure in a valuable Sales bumper at Newbury in March.
“He was a smart bumper performer last year and he could run once more in a bumper at the Cheltenham November meeting before going hurdling. He’s a nice horse to go novice hurdling with this season and two miles is ideal for him at the moment.”

4 b g Black Sam Bellamy – Miss Match

Third in his only bumper at Uttoxeter in March.
“He is another who has been entered up and is waiting to run. He finished a promising third in his bumper at Uttoxeter in the Spring and will have learnt plenty from that run. Hopefully he will take a bit beating when we do run him – possibly at Chepstow on Wednesday.”

6 b/br g Laveron – Open Up

145 rated hurdler. Winner of novice hurdles at Wetherby (2m) in October and Newbury (2m 3f) in December last season beating Big Chief Benny 17 lengths when gaining second success.
“He made his chase debut the other day at Fontwell and was a bit novicey to begin with then got into a rhythm before making a bad mistake at the first in the backstraight. That finished his race but he needs more give in the ground and the experience won’t be lost on him. He is doing plenty of schooling at home and we will just wait for the slower ground. He will be out sooner rather than later weather depending.”

8 b m Desert King – Priscilla

142 rated hurdler. Impressive 12 length victor from Altesse De Guye in a handicap hurdle at Ascot (2m 5 1/2f) in November of last year off a mark of 130.
“She is entered up this week in a couple of mares’ chases at Market Rasen on Thursday and the plan has always been to go for the Mares beginners chase at Fontwell on Friday. She is a winning English point-to-pointer and has won three races over hurdles for us. She jumps very well and can go and make her mark in those Mares Novices’ Chases.”

5 b g Presenting – Dusty Too

Winner of a bumper at Taunton on his debut last December.
“He is a lovely horse who won on his debut for us at Taunton and he had one run over hurdles in the Spring and the experience would have done him the world of good. He is another one entered up waiting for a run on some decent ground.”

8 b g Winged Love – Crystal Chord

146 rated chaser. Scored by two and a half lengths from Forever Gold in a handicap chase at Punchestown (3m 6f) in April off a mark of 138.
“He is a dual Punchestown Festival winner now and there is no urgency with him as his campaign in being geared around the four mile NH Chase at Cheltenham and five weeks later the Irish Grand National. We are working backward from that and he is obviously a novice for the season and will probably be out at the end of November in a Novice Chase.”

5 b g Poliglote – Gold Or Silver

Winner of one of his four bumpers getting off the mark at Wincanton in May.
“He won his first bumper in May at Wincanton and he is due out in the next fortnight. He has done lots of schooling and he was keen in his bumpers and, hopefully, hurdles will help him to settle. If he does then he will be even more improved again.”

5 b g Robin Des Champs – Mille Et Une

139 rated hurdler. Off the mark over hurdles when beating Walking In The Air two lengths at Newbury (2m 4 1/2f) in March and beaten nine lengths by Bigbadjohn when heavily odds-on for a similar event over that course and distance the following month.
“He is a great big horse and a lovely imposing individual who won nicely on his second start over hurdles at Newbury. He wasn’t quite right on his third outing and he’s about to start over fences. He is such a big horse he needs soft in the going description and we are just waiting for the ground and then he will make his chasing debut.”

8 b g Generous – Aquavita

141 rated chaser. Finished a respectable fourth, beaten five and a half lengths, to Potters Cross at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) at Chepstow in October and pulled up subsequent start at Cheltenham (3m 1f) later that month.
“He is a talented horse but a frustrating horse at the same time. He didn’t turn up the other day at Cheltenham having run so well at Chepstow a fortnight before. He can be his own worst enemy as he can get lit up and do too much too early although the opposite could have been said of him at Cheltenham. We will make another plan for him but he is potentially getting well treated over hurdles.”

7 b g Astarabad – Jolly Harbour

141 rated hurdler when dead heating with Sternrubin in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot (2m) in December 2015.
“He is back in training after missing the rest of the season after dead heating in the Ladbroke Hurdle. The plan is to go back there again in December and we are working towards that and he will almost certainly stay in handicap hurdle company this season. Hopefully, he can resume where he left off.”

5 b g Oscar – Montys Miss

Runner-up, beaten only three quarters of a length, to Champers On Ice on his hurdling bow at Newbury (2m 4 1/2f) in November of last year and unplaced to Ma Du Fou on his only other outing in the Listed Sidney Banks Hurdle at Huntingdon (2m 3 1/2f) in February.
“He is new to the yard and came to us in the Summer. He is a lovely novice hurdle prospect for the season over two and a half miles and he will be out before the end of November.”

5 gr g Sagamix – Missy O’Brien

Winner of his only point-to-point in Ireland in March.
“He is an Irish point-to-point winner who is an out and out galloper and another who definitely wants soft in the going description. He will be out when the weather changes and probably straight in a novice hurdle over two miles plus.”

10 b g Morozov – Jolly Signal

139 rated chaser. Finished third, beaten 11 lengths, to Bob Tucker on his latest outing at Kempton (3m) in May off a mark of 140.
“He is one of the older statesmen of the yard and he has a love affair with Kempton having finished second in the Betbright Chase last season have won the race two years previously. We are working backards from then and we are looking at a couple of veterans chases – possibly at Sandown on Sunday and there is an ideal one over two miles and six at Leicester early on in November which is really his trip. He gets a flat three miles around Kempton and he has retained all his enthusiasm so hopefully we have another successful season.”

5 b g Black Sam Bellamy – Lady Brig

Winner of his only point-to-point.
“He is a nice five-year-old by Black Sam Bellamy who won in the Spring in the Scottish Highlands in a point-to-point. He is taking a bit of time to come to hand as he has done nothing but grow since we got him. He will be a lovely prospect in time and will be in staying novice hurdles this season.”

8 br g Overbury – Black Secret

132 rated hurdler. Winner of novice hurdles at Exeter (2m 2 1/2f) in February and Lingfield in March.
“He is a real mudlark and he will be seen to best effect when it is virtually unraceable and he will go novice chasing this year. He won twice in novice hurdle company last season and needs the heavens to open.”

5 b m King’s Theatre – Ma Furie

Winner of her second bumper at Doncaster in January best Kayf Grace a head.
“She is a nice filly by King’s Theatre who won her second start at Doncaster and beat a good bumper performer of Nicky Henderson’s Kayf Grace. She didn’t run again but has the option of running in the listed mares bumper at Cheltenham November meeting and then go hurdling.”

5 b g Tobougg – Running For Annie

Winner of his second bumper at Ludlow in March.
“He is another who won his bumper and he improved all of last year and improved nicely on his first run to win at Ludlow in the Spring. He is probably three weeks off a run and could go for another bumper under a penalty but his future lies over hurdles for the rest of the season in novice company. He has plenty of speed so we will start him off over two miles but he could get two and a half by the end of the season.”

11 b g King’s Theatre – Shuil Na Lee

147 rated chaser who score by five lengths from Your Busy off his current mark at Aintree (3m 1f) in October.
“He won a Veterans Chase at Aintree very nicely recently and he is due to go up 6lb which keeps him in Veterans Chases. He has come out of the race in good form and good ground is perfect for him.

4 b f Black Sam Bellamy – All Rise

Winner of her only point-to-point in May.
“She is a nice filly who joined us in the Spring after winning her point-to-point. She could go to Warwick on Friday for a mares bumper and is only a four-year-old so there would be no rush with her. We don’t know whether we will stick to bumpers for this season or go into mares hurdles.”

7 b g Sir Harry Lewis – Tentsmuir

137 rated chaser. Winner of a beginners chase at Ascot (2m 3f) last November and a novices’ chase at Doncaster (3m) in January.
“He was due to run at Ascot last Saturday in the Sodexo Chase but we couldn’t run him on quick ground. He is in really good form with himself and won on his last two seasonal reappearances. He is going to be entered in the Badger Ales on Saturday at Wincanton and just needs the rain. Genuine good ground would be fine for him and we are looking forward to running him. He could be very competitive off his mark in a valuable handicap chase.”

8 b g Sir Harry Lewis – Red Nose Lady

149 rated hurdler. Unbeaten in five outing since joining stable and season culminated in a length and a quarter victory from Fagan in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m) in March.
“He was the star of last year and did nothing but improve all season. He could have gone to Wetherby for the West Yorkshire Hurdle but the ground was too fast. He was going to be entered up at Auteuil on Saturday and at Aintree but we are waiting for the rain to arrive before we get him started. It is going to be tough for him this season starting at a much higher level but he deserves chance in better company and we are sticking to hurdles for the time being.”

6 b g Voix Du Nord – Eau De Chesne

149 rated chaser. Last success at Cheltenham (2m 5f) in April when beating Art Mauresque a length and a half off a mark of 145. Has run well in handicap chase this Autumn and only beaten nine and quarter length by the winner Antony when unplaced in the Sodexo Handicap Chase at Ascot (3m) on Saturday.
“He was stepping up in trip in the Sodexo Chase at Ascot on Saturday and saw the three miles out well but we will ride him closer to the pace next time as we got our tactics wrong in a slowly run race.

7 b g Midnight Legend – What A Mover

144 rated hurdler. Gained his last success over hurdles in a Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle at Haydock (2m 7f) in May when beating Minella Daddy five lengths off a mark of 138. Had an easy task when scoring in a beginners chase at Hereford (3m 1f) on Sunday.
“He made his chasing debut at Ffos Las a fortnight ago and he is a good ground horse and it did nothing but rain at Ffos Las that day. That is not what he wanted but he was better for the experience and hacked up at Hereford on Sunday. Hopefully, he can go and progress over fences this season but he wants top of the ground and is likely to be out sooner rather than later.”

6 b g Fruits of Love – Native Beau

140 rated hurdler. Winner of novice hurdles at Exeter (2m 7f) in April and Uttoxeter (2m 7 1/2f) in May.
“He is a lovely horse who joined us late last season and won his only two starts for us – both of them impressively. I was keen to run him in another three mile hurdle as he is still unexposed but ground conditions forced our hand. He is more likely to go chasing – he has entries this week and we will go somewhere where the ground is safe.”

Nov 16

Malcolm Jefferson


Based in Malton, North Yorkshire, the softly-spoken Jefferson learned his trade with the late Gordon Richards before buying Newstead Cottage Stables in 1981 and remains there to this day.

He broke his Cheltenham Festival duck in 1994 when Tindari won the Pertemps Final, and 12 months later notched a notable feather in his cap in becoming the first trainer based in Britain to win the Champion Bumper with Dato Star, who remains the horse to which most people link Jefferson.

A Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and two Fighting Fifths at Newcastle proved his class, but he never got enough give in the ground to show his absolute best at Cheltenham again.

In 2012 Jefferson pulled off a marvellous double when both Cape Tribulation and Attaglance won handicaps at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, and in the shape of the returning Cyrus Darius, the classy Urban Hymn, Scottish Champion Hurdle runner-up Cloudy Dream and Double W’s he has a strong team with which to go to war with.

There is also an unbeaten youngster in his care who has won both his bumpers and Jefferson has high hopes for: “If he’s as good as I hope he is we’ll be all right. He looks like a Saturday horse.”

As is the case in this game, though, Jefferson has already been sourcing what he hopes are the stars of the future.

“We’ve got some nice three- and four-year-olds in, which you always need as new blood,” he said.

“We’ve a nice Presenting owned by Trevor (Hemmings), a half-brother to Mountain Hawk and another for Trevor by Robin Des Champs. We have some nice youngsters, a lovely three-year-old by Doyen. They are nice, but they won’t run until the turn of the year, when they are ready.”

But without a doubt the big hope for the yard is Cyrus Darius. Last seen scrambling home on his chasing debut at Perth in September last year, it later transpired he had picked up an injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season.

A big chasing type, the fact he won a Grade Two over hurdles at the 2015 Grand National meeting by 10 lengths beating horses from the powerhouse yards of Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Harry Fry has got a lot of people excited.

The recent dry spell had delayed him somewhat but ground permitting he should reappear at Haydock next month in a graduation chase and he is just the type of horse those races were made for.

“He might start at Haydock on November 18,” said Jefferson.

“I’ve always said he was going to be a chaser. We desperately need some rain though, we haven’t been able to school on the grass or anything but he’s been working away.

“He’s been in since mid-September and he’s on the walker quite a bit, but he hasn’t done any fast work yet. He’s coming on great and I couldn’t be happier with him.

“The year off has given him time to properly fill out. If I could have made him I’d have given him the same engine but made him a hand less, but that’s being picky!

“I’ve no idea where he might end up, we’ll just take it a race at a time.”

While Cyrus Darius is the big hope for the year given what he has already achieved, one who could go on to match those achievements is the Hemmings-owned Mount Mews.

Not known for talking up his horses, it is clear the regard with which Jefferson holds this five-year-old, winner of both his bumpers.

“He’s going to be a very nice horse,” said Jefferson.

“He won his two bumpers easily, the second with his penalty was even more impressive, which bodes well.

“He’s about three weeks away from a run, I think. We won’t aim too high, too soon, just steady away, but he’s going to be a nice horse.

“If he’s as good as I hope he is we’ll be all right. He looks like a Saturday horse. He still has to prove that he is, but he looks it at this stage. He jumps well which is a good start.

“He’s a bigger and stronger horse than Cloudy Dream was at the same stage, but they are two different types.”


Malcolm Jefferson with an insight on the rest of his big hopes for the season:

Cloudy Dream

“He’s going novice chasing. Trevor (Hemmings) likes his chasers and so do I, in truth. He was unlucky up at Ayr but you can’t go back and do it again, can you? It was the Scottish Champion Hurdle but that is some way removed from the Champion Hurdle, he was still beaten off 133 so there’s no point in messing about. Touch wood, he jumps very well.”

Double W’s

“He didn’t put a foot wrong on his chasing debut at Carlisle the other week. On October 30 there’s a novice handicap at Wetherby or there’s a similar race at Carlisle for him. It depends what the handicapper does with him, I suppose. It’s very hard to find races for these novices now, but the novice handicaps are quite handy, especially the limited ones, it gives these horses a bit of a chance. So that’s the idea with him at the moment. He’ll go on good to soft, what I’d like to do is get enough experience into him before the ground goes very soft.”

Gully’s Edge

“He’s ready to run, but he needs rain. He’s an improver and he could improve a bit more. He won well at the Scottish National meeting. He’ll be a nice handicapper if he’s given the chance to be. I’m not saying he’s a Grade One horse, but if the handicapper doesn’t kill him he could run in some nice races. He’s a nice horse and we like him a lot, he’s a big horse who will keep improving, I won’t overdo him this year. One day he could be a type for all the nice staying handicap chases.”

Firth Of Clyde

“He could be very hard to place this year. He won two races last year that weren’t very good in my opinion and he got good two big hikes. He went up five for winning at Sedgefield and six for Carlisle. He’s rising 12 and starts on 147. Thank god he can run in the veteran races. I think he’s the highest-rated horse in the yard, which is silly. He’ll either go to Wetherby or Liverpool. I know he’s won over three miles, but I think he’s better over shorter. He’s a grand horse.”

Master Of Finance

“He came from Mark Johnston and he was pretty smart on the Flat. He jumped well at Hexham on his hurdling debut apart from a mistake at the last which cost him, Brian (Hughes) thought he probably should have waited until he jumped the last to hit the front. He’s come out of it well which is the main thing as he’d gone a bit sour on the Flat. He’s only a five-year-old and it might not be the worst thing in the world he got beat as he can go for a similar race without a penalty now, but their not that easy to find as he isn’t a National Hunt-bred.”

Only Orvieto

“She is a nice filly, she won first time out but then ours weren’t running right when we sent her to Perth, whether they were short of work or what I don’t know, but she was beaten too far (54 lengths) for it to be her true running. We’ll go down the mares’ novice hurdle route with her and I’ll be very disappointed if she doesn’t make up into a decent mare. I’m looking for a race for her.”

Oscar Rock

“He might start off in the West Yorkshire Hurdle. I find it hard to run him as he must have nice ground and I know he won that good race at Market Rasen last year but he came back jarred up, it was touch and go whether he’d run again last season. He’s a good horse but he’s in a bad spot, he’s very high over fences (148) and he could be one of those that it’s hard to find a race for. He’s not not up to Grade Ones, yet he’ll struggle to win off that mark.

Pair Of Jacks

“I thought Brian had done everything right in the Bobby Renton. He’s another who has won over three miles, but I think it stretches him. He’s not well handicapped, he won a few races last summer and they’ve never let up on him. The races he won in the summer weren’t very good and when you try and win races off the higher marks in the winter it is very hard. He won’t run much in the winter, anyway, as he needs nice ground.”

Urban Hymn

“He’s a very nice horse, he won the River Don a couple of years ago but it hasn’t worked over fences for him so far. He’s doing very well, I’m really pleased with him and he’s moving great. I need to have a word with the owners, but we are thinking of the big Fixed Brush race at Haydock if he gets his ground. I wouldn’t mind giving him a run beforehand, whether that was a hurdle or a chase wouldn’t matter.”


Nov 15

Mal Boyle stats – Tuesday 15th

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Nov 14

Mal’s Stats & Facts – Monday 14th

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Nov 13

Mal Boyle stats

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Nov 12

Mal Boyle stats – Saturday 12th

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Nov 11

Mal Boyle stats – Friday 11th

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Nov 10

Mal Boyle stats – Thursday 10th

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Nov 09

Mal Boyle stats – Wednesday 9th

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Nov 08

Rich Ricci

richRich Ricci is looking forward to seeing his exciting new recruits strut their stuff on the track this winter.

With a string of more than 50 horses, all under the care of Willie Mullins, Ricci is looking to some of his recent acquisitions proving their worth.

Ricci owned three-time Cheltenham Festival winner Vautour, who had to be put down yesterday after breaking his leg in a freak accident.

Four-year-old Senewalk heads most ante-post markets for the 2017 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, although he has yet to jump in public.

“As a son of Walk In The Park, just like Douvan and Min, we have high hopes for him,” Ricci said in his blog for BetBright.

“While we don’t want to put anyone off him he hasn’t jumped a hurdle in public yet.

“He looks a two-miler and if we can get a clear run with him hopefully he will be near the top of the pecking order come March.”

French recruit Francin, a three-year-old by Air Chief Marshal, seems to be impressing at Mullins’ yard and is towards the head of the betting for the Triumph Hurdle.

“We like this guy. He won nicely over a mile and a half at Lyon in June this year,” said Ricci.

“Provided he takes to hurdling we would be hopeful he can compete at the top level in the juvenile division.”

Riven Light, a four-year-old gelding by Raven’s Pass, might well be one to follow, according to Ricci.

“He hasn’t got your typical jumping pedigree but he is a strong-looking animal. He will start in a two-mile maiden hurdle and is one to note,” he said.

Looking even further ahead than just this season, Ricci feels Chacun Pour Soi is a four-year-old with a big future over fences.

“This is an absolutely stunning horse who has been bought as a chaser,” said Ricci.

“His hurdles form held up for the majority of the spring at a strong level in Auteuil and he will stay over those for another season.

“He should pay his way this coming season but we are already looking forward to going chasing with him in 12 months’ time where hopefully he will be a leading light.”

Champagne Fever won the Cheltenham Champion Bumper for Mullins and Ricci in 2012, and one for that sphere this season is the recent point-to-point recruit to the yard, Getabird.

“Getabird has Long Run and J’y Vole buried in the pedigree so a good, long-term prospect,” said the owner.

“He is from the first crop of Getaway and Willie seems to like them so far. It could be Christmas before we see him on the track.”

Nov 08

Mal Boyle Stats – Tuesday 8th

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Oct 18

Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow


Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow has become an indispensable guide for the jumps season and is available to order now.
The 10th edition will be produced in full colour for the first time and includes:
• Foreword by top National Hunt trainer, Charlie Longsdon
• In-depth analysis of Paul’s 40 Leading Prospects for the season
• Additional ‘Horses to Follow’ from Ireland
• Stable Round-Up (Horses to Follow from more than 60 stables from around the country)
• Horses to Follow from several leading jockeys – Jamie Codd (Champion Irish Point-to-Point rider), Jane Mangan, Nick Scholfield & Harry Skelton.
• Q&A with industry experts – Graham Cunningham (RUK / C4), Tony Calvin (Betting Journalist), Frank Keogh (BBC) & Gina Harding (At The Races & C4)


Oct 18

The Final Flight Jumps Guide


Written by author and horse racing fanatic Grant Copson and assisted by racing analysis Lee Lewis, the 2016 edition of The Final Flight Jumps Guide includes contributions by racecourse commentator and At The Races presenter Mike Cattermole, leading bloodstock agent Tom Malone and Racing Post’s well-known paddock watcher Ken Pitterson.

Richard Johnson, the 2016 Champion jockey, is joined by Lizzie Kelly, Tom Scudamore and leading Irish Point-To-Point rider Derek O’Connor for the Jockey’s Views section, where they will each highlight their own horses to follow for the 2016/2017 season. This publication is sure to prove a MUST read for all National Hunt racing enthusiasts and again priced at £9.99, it represents excellent value for money.


Oct 18

National Hunt Book Reviews

A number of National Hunt Books reviewed by Tony McCormick for the 2016/17 Jumps Season.

Tony writes a weekly column for Johnston Press, called Racing Ahead, previewing racing around the country and the North and East Yorkshire race tracks.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Oct 18

Dan Skelton

logoDan Skelton continued his quick ascent up the training ranks in 2015/16 by winning his largest amount of prize money, training his highest number of winners and saddling his first Cheltenham Festival victor. Here, the Warwickshire trainer discusses his progressive string which could lead him to further glories.

Dan Skelton celebrated a first Cheltenham Festival winner when Superb Story landed the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle last in March and that well-named individual more than reflects the rapid rise through the ranks of his young trainer.

Now his fourth season with a trainer’s licence, Skelton has already 24 winners and over £232,000 in prize money and is within in touching distance of beating his first season score in 2013/2014 when 27 came his way.

That was increased to 73 in 2014/2015 but the walls came tumbling down last season when 104 winners and over £1,255,000 in prize money was netted on the domestic front.

Superb Story is one of an elite team of hurdlers being readied to grace the jumping scene once more and Virgilio set out his stalls as very much a novice chaser to follower when scoring impressively at Newton Abbot last week.

Skelton has plenty of upwardly-mobile ammunition to call on in the coming months and kindly guided Tony Elves of through some of his leading prospects.


5YO Gelding

Runner-up, beaten three quarters of a length, to Clondaw Cracker in a Warwick bumper in April.

“He ran well at Warwick in a bumper and we like him. He is going to start at two miles over hurdles but he will definitely end up being a stayer. He’s a chaser as well and is a lovely, lovely horse.”


5YO Gelding

139-rated hurdler. Winner over hurdles at Uttoxeter and Exeter last season and runner-up in a conditions event at Enghien.

“He ran well in a conditions hurdle at Enghien in the Spring but is very much a chaser and is a great big horse who will go novice chasing. He will run at most trips but I reckon he will eventually end up being a stayer.”


5YO Gelding

Winning Irish point-to-pointer who won his only bumper at Warwick in March.

“He is a real nice horse who won his only start for us at Warwick after winning an Irish point. He will go to Aintree on October 23rd for a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle and then we will go from there.”


7YO Gelding

148-rated chaser. Made a winning debut over fences at Warwick in May when beating Rock On Oscar 13 lengths and followed up with another impressive display in an intermediate chase at Newton Abbot last week when slamming Brother Tedd six lengths.

“He has made an excellent start to his chasing career and followed up his first success with another exhilarating display at Newton Abbot last week. He goes for the Rising Stars at Wincanton on November 5th and if he carries on as he is then the long term target is the Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton.”

For more Dan Skelton horses go to 



Oct 18

Sporting Life – Notebook



Showed ability in three runs in bumpers in Ireland before joining his new yard and made an impressive start when winning a reasonably well contested bumper at Market Rasen (24/09). He doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary but he should continue to progress and showed more than enough here to believe that he can make his mark in minor novice hurdles or handicap company a little further down the line. WON @ 4/1 on his hurdling debut.

Trained by Stuart Edmunds, Sired by Mamool
Chestnut gelding, 5yo

Ballymountain Boy

A relatively cheap purchase for a winning pointer but there was more than enough promise in his racecourse debut in a Newton Abbot bumper to believe that it could be money well spent. A scopey individual, he moved into contention smoothly and was only run out of the places in the closing stages in what may turn out to be an above average race of its kind. Staying hurdles are likely to be his game and he should be able to pick up a novice before going handicapping.

Trained by M Keighley  Sired by Mountain High

Bay gelding, 5yo


Often raced too freely in her first season over hurdles but she improved at the backend and there was a lot to like about her seasonal reappearance in a traditionally hot race at Chepstow (08/10). She was held when making a juddering mistake at the last but she had travelled and hurdled well up to that point and it’s easy to see her making further improvement over obstacles now that she’s more tractable with a strongly run two miles possibly ideal.

Trained by D Skelton, Sired by Teofilo
Bay mare, 6yo

Yur Next

A winner between the flags in Ireland but a distinctly moderate performer judged by her performances under Rules so far. However, she is handicapped accordingly and her run at Huntingdon (02/10) offered more encouragement. It was her first start for a new yard and first in a tongue tie and she stayed on stoutly enough in the straight – admittedly from a long way back – to believe that she might be able to pick up a small race granted a stiffer test.

Trained by J Farrelly  Sired by Definite Article

Brown mare, 8yo

For more notebook horses go to


Oct 18

Henry De Bromhead


      It’s all change at Henry de Bromhead’s progressive yard for 2016/17 as while he’s no longer training for owner Alan Potts he has been sent a number of former Willie Mullins inmates from Gigginstown and also has new recruits from other trainers on either side of the Irish Sea.


Henry de Bromhead has steadily built his yard up over the last 15 years into one of the leading operations in the Ireland. The legendary Sizing Europe was a constant presence on the big-race scene for nine of those years, but following the retirement of the great horse, de Bromhead is moving forward in search of his next stable star.

Last season saw de Bromhead finish third in the Trainers’ Championship with 48 winners, which is almost identical to the tally he secured in the previous two seasons. While he had the disappointment of losing the Alan Potts-owned horses during the summer, he recently received a significant boost in firepower from Gigginstown House Stud which will only help in his bid to continue to rise up the ranks.

Henry was good enough to let Kevin Blake of behind the scenes at his Knockeen base to go through the many promising horses he has in his care.


6YO Gelding

A 145-rated chaser, he won two of his four starts in novice chases last season.

“He’s in great form and is schooling well. I’m hoping to run him a second-season chase that’s coming up soon at Naas, as he has a bit of a tendency to jump left and should be better suited to going that way round. He has settled down at home and hopefully that will translate to the track. If it does, we’d like to try him over a bit further, but we’ll start him off over two miles and see from there.”


6YO Gelding

A 127-rated hurdler, he won a maiden hurdle at Galway in October for Eoin Griffin prior to acquitting himself well in stronger company and joining de Bromhead later in the season.

“He’ll start off over fences at Galway on Tuesday. He schooled well the other day and has a good technique over a fence, so we’re hoping for a good run and that he can find some improvement over fences.”


6YO Gelding

A 142-rated hurdler, he won a Grade 3 novice hurdle for Willie Mullins last season.

“He showed plenty in novice hurdles last season and looks a real chasing type. He’s likely to start off over fences in November.”


8YO Gelding

A 152-rated chaser, he won the valuable Munster National at Limerick last season.

“We decided to give the Munster National a miss this year as he had a lot of weight and he’ll run in the Daily Star Chase at Punchestown on Thursday. He’s a real character and is a lovely horse to have around.”

For the full stable tour go to At The Races


Oct 18

Friday Stat Attack – Results

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Oct 18

Mal Boyle’s Friday Stats

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