The Night Before Kempton ‘Twas the night before Kempton and out on the course, Not a creature was stirring, not even a horse. The stands were in darkness, the weighing room bare, A warm breath of thunder lay thick in the air. The debris of Christmas spilled over from bins, While pine … More The Night Before Kempton
After the thrill of seeing a Grand National winner being roared home from the elbow to the finish line, there is always the undercurrent of anxiety in the minutes that follow while we wait to hear news of the other runners. Celebrations of One for Arthur’s outstanding performance this year were already well underway when … More Horse Welfare – Who Cares?
It takes just a matter of hours for cream to rise to the top of freshly drawn milk, a process which requires nothing more strenuous than to just sit back and wait. Such minimal effort would achieve little success in most walks of life, but none more so than in the annual quest to achieve jump … More Colin Tizzard – Milk Bottle to Gold Cup
Boxing Day. The nation wakes to a barren patch of floor beneath the boughs of the Christmas tree, recycling bags heaving with wrapping paper and bottles, and the potent repercussions of an excess of sprouts. But jump racing fans greet the day with the anticipation and excitement of young children on Christmas morn. With the … More Kauto Star – Racing Royalty
As the runners for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last year made their way to the starting gate, I had a sneaky suspicion the Australian favourite Brazen Beau could be narrowly defeated. But which of the other runners would have the audacity to spoil the party? Patiently awaiting the stall handler sat the … More Frankie Dettori and Wesley Ward
In jump racing, there’s a single name which stands as the ultimate benchmark of excellence. Arkle. Born in 1957, bred by Mary Baker in County Dublin, a bay colt was bought by Anne, Duchess of Westminster. She named him after a Scottish mountain. Arkle spent a quiet year maturing on her Cheshire estate before heading for Tom Dreaper’s yard back in Ireland to begin … More Arkle
The story of Red Rum is the fairy tale which transcended the boundary of sport. The horse who outshone Black Beauty to become a national treasure and an A-list celebrity. But it was an unpromising set of circumstances which resulted in the happiest of endings. A chance encounter between a second-hand car salesman and an octogenarian would lead to … More Red Rum and Ginger McCain
If the value of a race could be measured in smiles, the 2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase would be the richest race in history. When the legendary Kauto Star began his well-earned retirement in 2012, the void he left behind seemed impossible to fill. But the racing Gods were ahead of us. They’d anticipated and answered our prayers with 16.3 hands of devilishly handsome gelding. The name? Sacre. Sprinter Sacre. He was unbeatable, effortlessly … More Sprinter Sacre
A. P. McCoy, now Sir Anthony McCoy, isn’t a legend of horse racing – he’s The legend of horse racing. After 19 consecutive years as Champion Jockey, Being A. P. follows him in his quest for his 20th championship amidst speculation this could be his final year. When the season gets off to an incredible start with his fastest ever 50 winners, a record … More A. P. McCoy – Being A. P.
Champions Day at Ascot, 20 October 2012. Many of racing’s characters are liked and respected, but everyone in racing loves Sir Henry Cecil. Today at Ascot the evidence for this statement is clear, and a sell-out crowd bears witness to this adulation on a national and international scale. The vast sweep of the grandstand looms over a thin grey figure in a trilby … More Sir Henry Cecil and Frankel