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?
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
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
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