Monday, Leading Arkle Trophy contender Dynamite Dollars has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a setback. The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old was a best priced 7/1 for the two-mile Grade One contest on the opening day of next month’s Cheltenham Festival, having won four of his first five starts over fences.
The ban on British-trained horses running in Ireland during the outbreak of equine influenza has been lifted with immediate effect, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has confirmed. Dr Lynn Hillyer, chief veterinary officer at the IHRB, added: “They are fine (to run in Ireland), provided they can fill the requirements that we set out in our release on Friday night, which said that horses need to have received a vaccine for equine influenza which contains Clade 1 virus within eight weeks of their race. “As long as they can fulfill that requirement, they are fine. Obviously, by definition, they will only be coming from yards which aren’t under restriction from the BHA.“Having had the opportunity to consider things over the weekend, the board have made the decision that we are able to support that movement — which is obviously good news for everybody.“There was a discussion whether to wait until after the BHA’s announcement tonight — but we decided at this time the two things are independent.“The critical thing is they have to have had the correct vaccination within the eight weeks preceding the run.”
Tuesday, we start with the news. Racing will resume in Britain on Wednesday, following a six-day shutdown because of the outbreak of equine influenza, the British Horseracing Authority has announced. The ruling body had placed over 170 yards into lockdown in an attempt to halt the spread of the highly-contagious virus, with all meetings last Thursday canceled the previous night. However, following a period of extensive testing and after seeking the advice of a series of veterinary experts, the BHA gave the go-ahead for a resumption late on Monday — but with strict biosecurity controls in place. The BHA’s chief regulatory officer, Brant Dunshea, said: “Our approach since hearing about the first positive results last Wednesday has been based on accumulating as much information as we could as quickly as possible so we could properly understand the risks of this virulent strain of flu spreading to more horses.“That would be harmful to them and damaging to any trainers’ yards that became infected.“It has also been our intention to ensure that we avoid an issue that could result in a long-term disruption to racing with the risk of many of our major events being unduly impacted. Nicky Henderson has been forced to rule several stable stars out of intended engagements this weekend as they do not meet the vaccination criteria set out by the British Horseracing Authority in its decision to resume racing following the equine influenza outbreak.
Wednesday, Gorgeous General became the first winner when racing resumed after the six-day shutdown due to the equine flu outbreak when he struck at Southwell. It may be a quiz question in a few years. At Plumpton, there has been little for trainer Anthony Honeyball to smile about this season – but that could soon change after talented performer Acey Milan opened his account over hurdles. At Musselburgh, the feature race went to Field Exhibition for trainer Grace Harris. At Kempton, the feature race went to Samphire Coast. At Fairyhouse, Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell were at the double with Black Tears and Missy Tata. The feature race went to Snugsborough Benny who bolted up. It was good news for our members Snugsborough Benny advised to our members (2.5pts win ) 5/2 won (rule 4 deduction 30%).
Thursday, we start at Kelso. Grand National hope Captain Redbeard inflicted a shock defeat on Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Definitly Red in the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase. There was a double for Nicky Henderson with Dream Du Grand Val and We Have a dream. At Leicester, the feature race went to Got Away for Oliver Sherwood. At Fontwell, Christopher Wood was an impressive winner for Paul Nicholls. At Chelmsford, Executive Force completed a hat trick of wins for Michael Wigham. At Meydan, Blue Point cemented his place in the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night next month with a facile success at Meydan to spark a terrific treble for Charlie Appleby and William Buick. At Clonmel, Allaho appears to have earned himself a place in Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham Festival squad after running out a decisive winner of the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle. Liam Cusack had a second win in 24 hours as Snugsborough Hall took the beginners chase. It was good news for our members. Snugsborough Hall advised to our members (2.5pts win ) 15/8 won (rule 4 deduction 10%).
Friday, we start at Sandown. The rescheduled Kingmaker went in emphatic style to Glen Forsa who slaughtered Kalashnikov. There was a double for Colin Tizzard with Copperhead and Reserve Tank. At Fakenham, Kayf Blanco took the feature race by eight for Graeme McPherson. At Lingfield, there was a win for 12-year-old Loyalty. At Newcastle, there was a double for Charlie Appleby with Lion Hearted and Orchid Star. At Dundalk, Stanhope was a non-runner which was a shame it is a minor issue, Stanhope will be back in a few days hail and hearty. In the race, Stanhope was supposed to participate in Togoville became the first horse to win ten races at Dundalk. Congratulations to all the connections.
Saturday, we start at Ascot. Paul Nicholls dominated proceedings at Ascot, saddling a five-timer on a day when he claimed eight winners nationwide. With stable stars, Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux doing the business in the Ascot and Denman Chases respectively. Brio Conti could make his next appearance at the top table after surviving a stewards’ inquiry to kickstart the winning spree with 25-1 surprise. Worthy Farm (5-1) proved half a length superior to his rivals in the Best Racing On Racing TV Handicap Hurdle, while Silver Forever (2-1 favourite) claimed the closing British EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.Wincanton wins for Grand Sancy and Magic Saint, plus Haydock glory for odds-on Quel Destin made sure of an afternoon to remember for Nicholls.
After racing, Nicholls stated “I knew the horses were really well and I knew they would run really well. It has been an amazing day.” He said: “We’ve had seven in one day before, but we’ve never had eight in a day. We’ve had five here, and it has been a brilliant day.“We are always trying to do what is right for the horses and get the right results. Seeing what Cyrname did today, I would have to say was one of the performances of the season.“If he had run against Altior here at the last meeting, it would have been really interesting. Today proved how good we thought he might be.“The highlight of the day was Clan, who is going for the Gold Cup – and for him to go round and do that is just awesome.”
Colin Tizzard is facing a Cheltenham Festival dilemma with Mister Malarky following his game success in the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase. After brushing aside his opponents at Newbury last time out, the six-year-old made it three from four over fences when holding off the late rally of Now McGinty by a length and a half in the Grade Two prize. Tizzard said of the 7-2 winner: “He is entered at Cheltenham in the RSA and he will be entered in the four-miler.“Without being critical of the horse, he might be one gear short to keep up in the RSA. We had the same discussion with Native River, and he ran in the four-miler – but he was not a bad three-miler after that!
Al Dancer maintained his unbeaten record for the season with a decisive victory in the Betfair Hurdle at Ascot. He moved to the front jumping the second flight from the finish and picked up strongly on the run-in to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths from Magic Dancer, with largely unconsidered 100-1 shot Blu Cavalier back in third. Twiston-Davies senior said: “He was quite free on the first two or three hurdles. He wears a hood, but he is a free horse. Paddy Power cut Al Dancer to 4-1 from 8-1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month, which makes him their joint-favorite – along with Fakir D’Oudairies – for the Festival curtain-raiser. The trainer added: “He will go for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. We were thinking about going two-and-a-half (miles), but Sam said he didn’t settle well enough today and that you would have to go for the two-mile race. The last piece from Ascot was the retirement of Coneygree. Emotional assistant trainer Sara Bradstock described Coneygree as a “miracle” horse after the decision was made to retire the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. I was lucky enough to be in Cheltenham for the that gold cup Coneygree won. It was one of the best races I have ever seen, go well Coneygree for you gave much.
At Haydock, Robinsfirth swooped in the dying strides to win the William Hill Grand National Trial. At Gowran, Smoking Gun blasted home after the last flight in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle to give Joseph O'Brien and Rachael Blackmore trebles on the card. O'Brien also scored with Star Max and Darasso in the Grade Three Red Mills Trial Hurdle while Blackmore was on Star Max and won the Grade Two Red Mills Chase on Monalee who put himself firmly in the picture for Cheltenham with a lovely display of jumping in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase.
Sunday, at Navan. Gordon Elliott completed a four-timer at Navan today as the Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer completed a 1-2 in the concluding Ladbrokes Boost (Pro-Am) INH Bumper, with Thatsy beating stablemate Multifactorial. Grand National winner Tiger Roll successfully returned to hurdling at Navan today as the Gordon Elliott trained, Gigginstown House Stud-owned marvel landed the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at odds of 25/1, under Keith Donoghue. Jockey Jack Kennedy exuded confidence as he steered the Gordon Elliott trained Milan Native (9/2) to win the opener. Ucello Conti bagged another hunters chase en-route to Cheltenham. Rachael Blackmore moved to within three winners of Jockeys' Championship leader Paul Townend as the in-form rider steered the Henry De Bromhead trained Chris's Dream to win the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Acca Boosty Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan today.