Entries & Recent Form

The new Timeform Hurdlers and Chasers Annual is out now.  It comprises 1172 pages of horse biographies, ratings and statistics.  I have spent half of my life looking up horses in these annuals and researching ratings, and while the price tag of £70 may sound steep, once you have it you will look at it every day.  It is a must for all serious punters, and an excellent Christmas present.

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Legendary Australian trainer Bart Cummings has this morning landed Australia's premier weight for age race, The Cox Plate at Moonee Valley with odds-on favourite So You Think.  Ridden by Steven Arnold, who tasted Royal Ascot success aboard Scenic Blast, the result was never really in doubt as So You Think coasted to his second consecutive success in the race.  Full result: 1st So You Think, 2nd Zipping, 3rd Whobegotyou.

Over on these shores, the National Hunt season is really getting into full swing now with meetings at Aintree, Chepstow and Stratford this afternoon.  There has been a fair bit of overnight rain in the West country, so the going at Chepstow could turn out to be quite testing (especially as they had already been watering the track).  I don't advocate horses running on track's that are as hard as a road, but I do think that sometimes the groundsmen should just leave the ground alone and let nature take it's course.

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I thought that Armenian Boy ran a sound enough race at Ludlow yesterday afternoon to finish second to National Trust.  The winner was well treated at the ratings and if it were a handicap we would have received 16lbs, so in fact it wasn't a bad run by any means to be beaten only 6 lengths.  He has now finished runner-up on his last three outings, and should be capable of winning a similar race.  The winner was sold for £6,250 and new connections could find him quite difficult to place from a handicap mark of 130.

Congratulations to A P McCoy on reaching one hundred winners for the season at Ludlow yesterday.  The fifteen times champion jockey has said that he wants to reach 200 winners again this season (a feat he hasn't achieved since the 2004/5 season), and provided he remains injury free, that looks to be a foregone conclusion.

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Hats off to Jamie Goldstein for agreeing to be interviewed by motor mouth Matt Chapman on Attheraces yesterday.  Matt was not at all happy with the ride that Jamie gave Moonwolf  in the 2.20pm race at Fontwell yesterday.  During a close finish, it would seem that unless the jockey is belting seven bells out of the horse with a shillelagh, then Matt is convinced he is not trying!  Chapman is like a dog with a bone when he goes on one, so credit to Jamie for trying to explain to him that the horse is a bleeder (not unlike Matt!), and has to do everything on the bridle as he will not find anything for a good hiding.

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Chester_flu_jab
   Pain?  What pain?  Chester prepares for his flu jab

We had a nurse in the yard yesterday to administer complimentary flu jabs to any of the staff that wanted one.  Now, as you regular readers will testify, I have never been one to be frightened of a little pain(!) and so I was right at the front of the queue to have my injection.  As you can see from the picture, I toughed it out and was by far the bravest of those jabbed, although for some reason the person directly following me did looks a little apprehensive!

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It is a very exciting day for Mr K Edgar who is having his first ever ride under rules this afternoon at Exeter.  Kieron is a young Scottish lad who has been competing in pony races back home and he makes his debut in the Devon track's first race aboard MCP's own Sarah's Boy...I wonder how many times he had to clean his car to get the ride?!  Anyway, I am sure that the whole yard will be watching closely and cheering for Kieron, and I am sure that you will join me in wishing the young Scot luck.

When I came past Exeter racecourse on the way to the yard this morning it was absolutely pouring with rain so at least the going should be perfect jumping ground.  With the exception of the beginners chases, it looks to be a very competitive card and I am looking forward to seeing the action.

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I thought that it was a good, game performance from Woodlark Island to score at Kempton yesterday.  Our four year old made most of the running and stayed on gallantly to see off Cortinas by 3/4length in the handicap chase.  I was watching the racing on television yesterday when I fell asleep in my armchair, I awoke just as Woodlark Island reached the start - it was like some kind of good omen, so I had to have a little flutter.  It reminds me a bit of a story about Michael Dickinson and the Newmarket Sales.  He had an owner who would fall asleep and then buy whatever was in the ring when he woke up - he finished up buying Captain John...who needs form books?!

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