Aintree Races,Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase Day,Saturday 25th October 2014

The National Hunt season went up a couple of notches this afternoon on a late autumnal afternoon in Merseyside as Aintree hosted the Grade Two Old Roan Chase over 2m4f on it’s underrated and tricky Mildmay course over fences.

This race is always an intriguing and despite this being only the twelfth running of the contest it has a rich illumine of equine steeplechase heroes with it’s most famous winners being Alberta’s Run,Triple victor Monet’s Garden and of course the modern day legend that is Kauto Star.

An afternoon of seven races was in store for those eagle eyed jumping fans who were already salivating at the prospect of top class action and in this city of sporting excellence they were not let down.

They didn’t have any races over the big National fences but in truth this was a card that had no need for one.

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2.00 Betfred TV Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m1f,9 flights,4yo+ (0-140)

A top contest with plenty of potential improvers in it, The pace was a steady one being set by Eagle Rock who was fit from the flat and avoided the fall at the fifth flight from Wadswick Court who hampered a couple of those held up in rear, coming down the straight the leader was overtaken from Cool Macavity and the favourite Garde La Victoire but at the last both of them crashed through the hurdle and up the inside Eagle Rock regained the lead although not for long as Fred Winter winner at the Festival, Hawk High, driven up the inside got the measure of all of them.

Hawk High was very consistent last season although he had a trend of running a good race followed by a bad one, where he goes will be interesting to see,He may fall short of being a Champion Hurdle horse but being owned by Trevor Hemmings one suspects Haydocks Betfair meeting will be the next port of call, Garde La Victoire ran a good race but may do better over further, Katgary like a lot of Paul Nicholls horses will strip fitter after the run.

2.30 Becher Goals Galore Handicap Hurdle.Class 3.2m4f,11 flights,3yo+ (0-140)

Being in Merseyside only one horse mattered and that was the well backed Spirit Of Shankly who earned his Bread as he picked up where he left off with consummate ease, travelling well this horse who had useful novice form from last season,most notably taking the scalp of Urban Hymn over the Fixed Brush at Haydock and thankfully favourite backers didn’t have to Calm Down as went in fairly easily in the end,Going in off 134 this 6yo should find extra improvement as the season goes on, Lyvius who had a battle with Taigan for second spot looks in the grip of the handicapper and of the other beaten horses Gold Chain probably found this company a bit too much.

Regarding Spirit of Shankly there are plenty of options open to him, Haydocks big Fixed Brush race over 3m next month could be a target possibly.

3.00 Betfred Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase (Ltd Hcap) Grade 2,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+

A real high quality renewal here and all eyes on last seasons Manifesto victor Uxizandre making his seasonal run and his first race in with the big boys.

This afternoon was a case of Experience getting one over on Youth as Richard Johnson was very much the King of Wishfull Thinking, This evergreen 11yo a former winner of the Manifesto here at the 2011 National meeting was bouncing all the way to the line, held up off a real good tempo from flag fall he picked them off down the straight coming for home and easily breezed past Rolling Aces on the long drag between the last two fences and recorded a twelve length thrashing to Edgardo Sol who in turn just nudged Rolling Aces into third.

Favourite Uxizandre ran an ok race for his first visit to the top table and will have learnt a lot here,behind him in fifth was Mr Moonshine and he is a lot better in the spring.

As for Wishfull Thinking connections may be thinking about the Amlin Chase at Ascot or the Peterborough at Huntingdon, he was full of beans here and is still thriving in his racing.

The race had two fallers in Lucky William and Rajdhani Express,both horses and riders were up fine.

Below,Wishfull Thinking.

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3.40 Betfred Mobile Veterans Handicap Chase,Class 2,3m1f,19 fences,10yo+ (0-150)

Somebody should show this race to the BHA to make them see that you don’t need big fields for exciting racing.

Only five but a real mix of quality chasers here who showed that age is just a number.

The popular and enigmatic Lie Forrit bowled along at the head of affairs and despite having the others upsides him at various times during the contest he would not let them pass and just hung on by a neck from the fast finishing loveable grey Pigeon Island.

Lie Forrit was actually the only unexposed horse in the field, Having only his ninth start over fences he was well on his Chase rating of 128 compared to his Hurdles mark of 144, last season his best piece of form was when he was sixth of nine at Carlisle in a Pertemps qualifier in which Pineau de Are and Trustan Times where second and third.

Pigeon Island had to be cajoled along early doors but finished with a wet sail,Hey Big Spender ran another good race in this back in third,he will win races like this again.

Burton Port a former winner of the Mildmay Novices was right down the field,I think he could be retired after this season.

Below,Lie Forrit and Pigeon Island coming back in.

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4.15 totesport Lotto Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,3m110yds,4yo+ (0-125)

A field of sixteen here but this was no lottery as the Emma Lavelle 6yo trained Parish Business made all under Richie O’Dea (8) and never saw another horse until pulling up after the finish.

This really was a case of being heavenly to watch as he ground the opposition into submission here, the placed horses were mainly staying chasers who were using this race as a warm up for those big Satellite Nationals and decent long distance events later on.

Solway Sam was the nine length runner up,this 11yo always runs a solid race and Jaunty Journey just half a length behind will probably go to a small National before to long.

Favourite Kilfinichen Bay was well and truly trounced,he will be better with a smaller field.

Parish Business is going places here,the new front running tactics suit and looked a horse ahead of the handicapper.

4.50 totesport.mobi Novices’ Chase,Class 3,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+

A tight looking contest on paper but some of the jumping here was suspect and all of them made mistakes at some point during the race.

At the business end the Nicky Henderson trained Golden Hoof showed significant improvement here to overpower the highly regarded Horizontal Speed by six lengths, leading over two out he did enough to record the win,his future will lie in handicaps, Horizontal Speed took the lead after the fourth fence to keep out of trouble, he should come on a ton and will be much better next time out.

Their was some sad news as Timesremembered took a fall at the third fence,he kept on galloping on the flat and was caught in the run off area in front of the stands,sadly he broke a leg and had to be euthanized, my condolences to all the connections.

5.25 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Maiden Hurdle,Class 4,2m110yds,9 flights,4yo+

Not a lot of strength and depth here but it produced a real cracker of a finish as Hunters Hoof the Nicky Henderson second string just got the better of Jacks Last Hope in a real driving finish as the gloom began to set over Aintree.

Days Of Heaven who was sent off the 10/11f travelled well but couldn’t pick up when needed,he has ability and is still learning the game, The 7yo Harlestone Times ran an eye catching race for his first start for Jim Best after 812 days off the track,he will be better when sent handicapping and upped in distance.

Hunters Hoof had mixed bumper form but left that behind here,Jacks Last Hope will easily find a maiden win somewhere before too long.

Below,Driving to the line in the last.

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Some top quality jumping action then and plenty to take away as the season cranked up a notch in fine style.

This afternoon was a real mix of seeing old friends like Monet’s Garden looking as well as ever at 16yo and sadness as Timesremembered made his way to the big paddock in the Sky.

Being up close to what happened I have to give special praise to the way in which the vets carried it out, The professionalism and care was second to none and while their will be an empty stable tonight at Emma Lavelle’s, you can sleep well knowing that the horse will have been treated like part of the family and be missed sorely by all of those who had a connection with him.

The next jumping action here will be the two day Betfair Chase meeting at Haydock, as for other sport it’s a bit early to guess

Until the next time, Thank you for reading and keep RT please.

Below,Monet’s Garden

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Cheltenham Races,Saturday 18th October 2014

Showcase Saturday at Cheltenham and another seven race card on a busy day for British Racing, next year this meeting moves forward a week which for me would be a bit wrong as it would mean a week less between now and The Open meeting in a November,having it moved back would be a sensible option surely?

A much bigger crowd turned up at the jewel in the crown of jumping and from the stands it was a river of tweed, Tweed is as common to Cheltenham in the same way that the Egg and Bacon ties are in the Long Room at Lords or the Panama at Goodwood.

Today was more about trials for some of the big upcoming races as the season gets going.

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2.00 The Lewis Badges Novices’ Hurdle,Class 3,3m1f110y,13 flights,4yo+

Anyone who has been an Annual Member at UK courses will have owned a badge by Lewis’ in Birmingham!

A nice looking race with some good staying types for the future here.

The top two in the market dominated the finish here as the Jonjo O’Neill trained In The Rough managed to get up by half a length to just topple Vivaldi Collonges,both horses like a few in this raced wide under the trees going down the back for the fresh ground.

This was the fourth win on the bounce for In The Rough after getting a hat trick at Worcester during the summe,he could be put away now but will make a good chaser in time,Vivaldi Collonges is a smart horse and is a lot better over three miles,Plenty of options await him but he could go chasing at some point this season and staying races will be his forte.

Man Of Plenty was 27 lengths behind the front two,This was a respectable run although he will be better dropped back to 2m4f.

2.35 The Marie Curie Cancer Care Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m4f,14 fences,4yo+

A very competitive Chase with many having this as a prep before next months Paddy Power and just like last year it went to the Jonjo trained Johns Spirit who was given a real peach of a ride by Richie McLernon as he sat off the pace and made smooth headway coming into the straight and led very cozily without the persuader being drawn on him.

The early pace was set by Champion Court who was reluctant to go out for another lap and needed some persuasion by Tom Scudamore, turning for home plenty held chances and Persian Snow was the only one who could give Johns Spirit a race but he could not pass him when overtaken.

Both should take their chances in next months Paddy Power and should both be involved in the finish.

Of the beaten ones Claret Cloak came back tenth of the eleven but hit the open ditch at the top of the hill which cost him any chance,this can be ignored. Ericht came third but ran a much better race in this than he has in any handicap so far over fences, wether he can maintain this is a question to be asked.

3.10 The Masterson Holdings Hurdle,Class 2,2m110yds,8 flights,4yo

A small field of four here but it involved the first and fourth in the Triumph hurdle at the Festival, Tiger Roll and Calipto.

Tiger Roll duly obliged again as he made up plenty of ground off the pace set by Calipto as he made the running when the runners eventually started a good few seconds after the tapes were released.

Turning for home Calipto was still in front but Sam Twiston Davies began to urge him along at which point Tiger Roll was eating up the lead and despite making a mistake at the last dug deep to get the measure of him by half a length.

Tiger Roll will probably go to Down Royal for a big hurdle race or maybe even Haydocks new hurdle on Lancashire Chase Day, Calipto had a bit of a breathing problem according to trainer Paul Nicholls, He has plenty more big days ahead of him but he won’t be a Champion Hurdle contender unlike Tiger Roll I think.

3.45 The Showcase Trophy (Hcap Chase) Class 2,3m1f,20 fences,4yo+

The sort of race that jumps fans love to see here, plenty of top quality chasers doing what they do best around the ups and downs of the place where it really matters.

Your Busy and Standing Ovation both set a real good gallop from the outset with Alfie Spinner in their slipstream and were really excelling themselves over the fences as the reached the top of the hill,coming down the hill plenty of them were queuing up ready to play their hands but turning for home Roalco Des Farges came through to lead and kept up to his work held Standing Ovation to a 4.5 length lead as they passed the line, Alfie Spinner came third and former festival winner Chicago Grey was fourth.

The Badger Ales at Wincanton has been touted as has the 3m3f race here next month but maybe the Becher could come under consideration for the Hobbs stayer, Standing Ovation who won the Badger race last year will probably go to defend his crown again and should take part in the big three mile handicaps, Chicago Grey the fourth will no doubt go for the big cross-country events after this.

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4.25 The Vanilla Photobooks Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m5f,11 flights,3yo+ (0-140)

Plenty of improvers in this contest and a good few held every chance off the final turn and it went the way of top weight Ulzana’s Raid who just had half a length over Dragons Den as the crossed the line and the well touted Forthefunofit back in third place.

Ulzana’s Raid had some useful form coming into this race,notably behind Deputy Dan when they were second and third at Warwick who subsequently took the Grade Two Leamington Novices at the same course in January, Going in off 136 he should offer more progression but mainly his future will be over fences next season, Dragons Den ran a cracking race but will be better back in easier company than this, Forthefunofit was in need of the run and will be better over a bit further in time, Ardkilly Witness more known as a chaser came fourth and had a good blow out here.

5.00 The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Chase,Class 2,2m4f,14 fences,4yo+

Just the three in this but it was effectively a match between favourite Ainsi Fideles and Splash Of Ginge who both met at Perth just over three weeks ago and were separated by over 47 lengths that day.

Today though was revenge for the Nigel Twiston Davies trained Splash Of Ginge as he learnt a lot from his Perth run and tracking the leader throughout led over the last fence and handed Ainsi Fideles a seven length defeat, Outsider Gentleman Jon was always in last place and held but he got round in his own time,he will fare better when he goes handicapping.

As for the winner he should pick a few more up and he looks at home over this trip so as the season progresses races like the Scilly Isles and the Pendil would be be the realistic targets.

Ainsi Fideles as had a busy old late summer and early autumn and he remains in good heart.

5.30 The Jockey Club Venues Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 4,2m110yds,4-6yo.

Plenty of quality horses in this flat race but in the end it was all about one horse the David Pipe trained Moon Racer who cost £225,000 after winning a Fairyhouse bumper at 50-1, going in here winning like the way a 11-4f should I’d be shocked if he didn’t make his mark over hurdles when he gets sent over timber, he looks a real top quality prospect.

Twelve lengths back in second was twice bumper winner Arabic History who won cozily at Market Rasen last month when I was there, he ran up to his best and was simply outclassed by a better horse and will probably get sent over hurdles after this, Paolozzi came third and ran well considering the opposition.

This is a bumper worth following as it should produce some good winners over the coming months.

So a very good two days of racing comes to a close, Cheltenham did feel a bit different with the girders of the new stand towering over the paddock but it will be all worth it when eventually completed in time.

Plenty of horses to take note of from this meeting as the season slowly begins to get going, one of the joys of all jumps fans is seeing the young horses that could be potential winners in the big Graded events.

Saturday coming I shall be at Aintree for the Grade Two Old Roan Chase.

Till then keep up the reads and RT please.

Cheltenham Races,Friday 17th October 2014.

Day one of The Showcase as Cheltenham flung open the doors for the 2014-15 season and while the builders are currently in it remained business as usual for the home of National Hunt Racing unlike when Ascot and Doncaster shut for when they had their renovations done.

A seven race card where the emphasis was based more on the future with a few novice and maiden events plus some competitive handicaps for Professional,Amateur and Conditional jockeys.

Just like last year all races where on the Old Course and the chute for 2m4f and 2m5f was not in use due to various ground issues.

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2.05 The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle,Class 2,2m5f,11 flights,4yo+

Just before the off the favourite Blaklion was taken out after Jamie Moore dismounted him at the start.

Only a head separated eventual winner Vicente from the Paul Nicholls yard and Jamie Snowdens Present View, it was a steady pace and although Vicente was wound up to challenge coming down the hill he will come on a ton for this, The Persian War at Chepstow has been touted before he loses his novice status but he has plenty of ability, Present View won the Novice Handicap here at the Festival and this run will put him spot on for a crack at next months Paddy Power.

2.40 The squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase,Class 2,2m,13 fences,4yo+

It was two from two for Court Minstrel here,rated 154 over hurdles he jumped very well and put in a polished and professional performance, He could be back here in November or maybe Sandown for the Henry VII Chase but he has set a good standard for Arkle horses so far.

Of the beaten horses Thomas Crapper a course specialist was a bit novicey at some of his fences and he will have learnt from today’s race, a step back up in trip will suit him a lot better and he is one to note for next time.

Un Ace took a tumble early doors but got up safely.

3.15 The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier),Class 2,3m,12 flights,4yo+

Seventeen went to post in the first of many qualifying races for this ever popular series,although the final is here that is one the New Course which is a slightly different three miles than the one here on the Old one.

Lots of potential improvers in the field but of the eight who make the final it was Sybarite from the Nigel Twiston Davies yard that took the spoils, just taking the lead from Henryville who was given a peach of a ride from conditional Conor Brassil (7) but Sybarite kept him firmly in his place on the run in.

Sybarite may be sent for the big Fixed Brush event at Haydock next month before coming but no doubt the final will be the target, Off the beaten horses the bottom weight Chill Factor ran a good race being fourteen lengths back in sixth, Rachael Green took up the lead at halfway and was just in front at two out but still has a bit more to give I think.

3.50 The Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Chase,Class 2,3m110y 19 fences,5yo+

Only five here with eyes on the mare Highland Retreat who took plenty of black type races over this trip last season before being midfield behind the mighty Quevega at the Festival.

However it was one for the Arsenal fans who probably haven’t had much to celebrate so far as The Romford Pele named after Ray Parlour jumped to victory here, Highland Retreat set the early pace and took to fences fairly well and made the odd error but coming down the hill she got overtaken and then began to drop back,she will be better next time.

The Romford Pele had a bit of a fight on his hooves with Lamb Or Cod but found plenty on the run in, Trainer Rebecca Curtis did suggest The Hennessy next month and those big staying chases should be ideal for him.

4.25 The Harrison James & Hardie Maiden Hurdle,Class 3,2m110y,8 flights,4yo+

An easy stroll to victory for Commisioned here,trained by John Ferguson who was no doubt watching him on the telly at Newmarket with his main boss Sheikh Mohammed, This was expected as he was last sighted fourth behind Guitar Pete in a Grade One at Aintree, Wether he could be a credible Champion Hurdle horse is another thing.

Ballyboley came second by eight lengths,He should find a race soon,winner of the Aintree bumper I think he could be better up in trip.

5.00 The Cheltenham Monopoly Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase,Class 3,3m1f,20 fences,4yo+ (0-125)

A competitive race with plenty in with a Chance as the tape went up for these Amateurs.

The Young Master made it yet another win and he really is thriving having won over all disciplines of the sport, Travelling well he jumped very well and was produced to lead at the last fence to give perennial underachiever Charingworth a comfortable 4.5 length beating.

Favourite Balbriggan was in contention but the weight possibly told and former Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen probably wished he could have a Get Out Of Jail Free Card should he get asked to ride Benbane Head over fences again as yet again his jumping over the larger obstacles let him down as he fell down the back straight.

The Young Master is clearly on the up and has still got a bit more to give,going in off 121 we may see him back in the Amateur race next month over the same course and distance unless another race can be found soon.

Below,The Young Master.

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5.35 The giftofracing.co.uk Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m110y,8 flights,3yo+,(0-140)

A fair race which is essentially the C/J Champion Hurdle all but in name.

Four in with a chance turning for home as the David Dennis trained Roman Flight who has had a busy old summer showed his fitness under Shane Quinlan (5) to just edge out Nicky Henderson’s Hammersly Lake in a typically thrilling Cheltenham battle up the famous hill,despite making a real hash of the last fence he fought with real tenacity and worked hard for the win.

The runner up in the Michael Buckley colours was having only his second start for Nicky Henderson,he has the talent and Peter Carberry (3) came him a cracking ride,he should win races soon, Third was top weight Vibrato Valtat,he was runner up in the Swinton and maybe unsuited by the course plus the application of head gear will help, Fourth horse home Mountain King ran keenly and needs to settle better,his time will come.

Day one all done with,It was good to be back for what is essentially the Craven Meeting of the jumping game.

Plenty to take away for future reference here without a doubt.

Next up will be Saturdays racing.

Please enjoy reading but most importantly keep retweeting and spreading the word, Thank You.

Red Rose Cross Country League,Leigh Sports Village,Saturday 11th October 2014

Autumnal sunshine greeted the hundreds of competitors who embarked on the first of this four race series which began at New Madely Park the home of Leigh Harriers.

The summer may be all but gone but it was clinging to the wreckage for possibly one last hurrah and despite the heavens having the equivalent of an Everything Must Go sale during the week with the rain being heavier than an Elephant and lasting longer than a Leonard Cohen song it did benefit in that the sting was certainly taken out of the ground on the grass areas of the course which was the same one used when I reviewed the GMCC races here in January.

Ground wise at the start finish area I thought after walking it that it was good with heavy patches down the woodside next to where the runners went out into the country,this would have due to the rain rolling slowly down the side during the week and a few puddles where noticeable but evidently safe and raceable.

It was the usual two laps of field before the racers went their respective routes guided by the Marshall’s and volunteers who as usual did a sterling job keeping the route clear.

It was a six race event with a few races all merged into one with various categories all going on at once.

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Twenty five clubs are eligible for this series although a few guest runners took part but the results did not count for them.

12.15pm was the first race of the day with the U11B event over 2km which became a demolition job for the Horwich RMI Harriers who had six in the first ten home although only the top three were needed for the team event, Nathan Lancaster was the appropriate first one home in 9m36s, lying in third going out into the country he was first turning for home and was seven seconds ahead of Leigh runner Coel Mellor and he in turn was four infront of Jackson McKay from Clayton le Moors H.

Their was one slight incident during the start when the boys did one lap extra of the field so about 300-400m extra was covered

Team Result, Horwich 10pts,Leigh 2nd with 35 and Bury 3rd with 50

After the Boys came the U11G over 2km which resulted in a quick double in this age range for the Horwich girls as Ella Pendlebury made up significant ground after being fourth when completing the laps of field to overtake early pace setters Faye Bayman,Melissa Ince and Emily Brown as the went into the small lap, coming to the business end Ella Pendlebury had three seconds over Melissa Ince for Leigh in second and eight seconds over Emily a Brown for Rochdale in third in a winning time of 8m.26s

Team Result, Leigh 15pts,Horwich 20pts,Blackburn 43pts.

Below,U11G before the off.

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U13B came up next over 2.5km and an all the way win here for Benjamin Preddy although he runs for Blackpool who aren’t in this series but he had a tight finish in his time of 9m.02s, he was two seconds ahead of Benjamin Forest of Bury,in turn he had a healthy advantage over Lewis Wilkes of Horwich and for the host club Ben McLaughlin who is probably better known for his track exploits came fourth.

Team Result, Leigh 19pts,Bury 28pts,Horwich 30pts.

Below,U13B

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The U13G race followed over 2.5km and Leigh got on the scoresheet after a few near misses under Keely Hodgkinson,she put up a bold display of front running over the two field laps then going out into country, Hacking up in a time of 9m.38s she was never going to be overtaken, her nearest rival was Chantelle Johnson from Moston & District but her time of 9m.50s was never going to be brought down, Alice Tonge ran third for Bolton and she had to work for that seeing as she was fourth after the field laps.

Harriet Vaughan for Bury ran a cracker in fifth, passing me going out into Pennington Flash I didn’t spot her in the top eight so picked a good few off In the end.

Team Result, Moston & District 25pts,Bolton United Harriers 29pts,Bury 37pts

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After these four races it then went on to the mixed race comprising of the U15B and U15G both over 4km which went off at the same time,with fields of 40 and 42 it made sense to do this on the day.

Marcus Dey for Bury who have a really huge stable of talent regarding runners got the better of early leader Joshua Boyle for local Lanky rivals Blackburn,his wining time of 13m19s was enough from Boyle in 13m.38s, Josh Whitehead held his position of third all the way round.

Despite the win Leigh took the team event by getting four in the top ten.

Team Result,Leigh 18pts,Bury 25pts,Oldham & Royton 32pts

In the U15G race we had a finish that epitomised the old saying that it’s not over till it’s over, heading out into the Flash on lap one we had a group of three,athletes Phoebe Small,Maddie Elliot and Ella Moulding were taking them along and coming to the bridge section next to the Atherleigh Way bypass which took them into the LSV area with about 500m to go roughly Small of Rossendale H just lead Moulding who was running for Lytham as a guest but on the run down to the final turn Ella Moulding finally overtook Small and just clung on to victory in a time of 15m26s just one second ahead of Phoebe Small, these two were thirteen seconds ahead from Eve Williams of Leigh

For me this was the race of the day,to see two athletes slug it out wether it be on the track or country is what racing should always be about.

Team Result,Rochdale 19pts,Bolton United Harriers 27pts,Blackburn 29pts

A real mixed event next as we had U17M,U17W,U20W and the Senior and Veterans Women’s race all go at the same time and over the same trip of 5km

U17M went to Nathan Townsend from Horwich,his time of 19m.03s was a huge lead over Jordan McDonald for his club Clayton Le Moors in 19m.41s although he was only three seconds ahead of Sam Wardle for Leigh in third, Only eight took part and as Bolton United Harriers ran two they take the team event with 24pts and were the only team involved.

U17W had twenty two in it and Sophie Whittaker of Bury took this one,21m.41s was her time and had plenty in hand over Sophie Hill of Moston in second place and third went to Amy Howatson of Bolton UH.

Team Result,Bury 16pts,Rossendale 25pts,Bolton UH 27.

U20W race was taken by the Leigh Harrier Leah Peploe in 22m.29s with Hannah Shaw and Sabrina Walley taking second and third respectively.

The team result only had one club involved in Rossendale as they had three in the top ten home.

Senior Women’s race were led home by Joanne Nelson who also took the Veterans race at the same time which meant it was almost Jo Pavey like, Joanne was always leading this and came home in 20m.46s for her club Darwen Dashers, Carly Needham made up plenty of ground to come second in 21m.22s for Rochdale and Leigh’s Sarah Griffiths was a respectable third in 21.28s and she managed to keep at bay Christina Singleton in fourth just two seconds behind her.

143 set off in this and just like the GMCC races special mention must go to someone in four runners from Burnden Road Runners of Louise Geoghegan,Joanne Darby,Diane Morrison and Gillian McGowan who all went at their own pace and had a nice jog round coming home in the same time of 42m.30s, They may not of been the fastest but again it showed the Corinthian spirit to sport and it was good to see them compete for the love and enthusiasm of wanting to do it.

Team Result Senior,Leigh 23pts,Bury 32pts,Darwen 36pts

Team Result Vets,Darwen 31 pts,Clayton le Moors 34,Burnden RR 42pts.

And so the last races with 10km the distance for the Senior and Vet Men’s race with the U20M race too.

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246 took part in this race over 10km, in the Senior Men Thomas Carson for Horwich made all the running here but he didn’t have an easy lead that’s for sure,heading into the country for the final time he had the attentions of guest runner Ben Russell from Liverpool right behind him but he had enough in the tank to record a victory in 35m.55s which was just four seconds ahead from Russell, Third went to Rossendale Harrier Chris Fell,Jonathan Kay of Bolton UH made a few positions up to get fourth as did Gary Shaw of Burnley for fifth place.

Below, Thomas Carson going over the bridge.

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The stragglers head out for another lap.

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Thomas Carson comes down victory lane.

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Gary Shaw who was fifth all together was the first Veteran home so took that division and was well clear from Mat Nutall and John Knowles.

Team Result Senior,Rossendale 85pts,Blackburn 148pts,Leigh 183pts

Team Result Vets,Blackburn 38pts,Burnden RR 64pts,Todmorden 99pts.

Some good racing then here in Leigh as the Red Rose series is underway, the next three meetings are at as follows.

Sat 8th Nov,Chorley
Say 22nd Nov,Bolton (Leverhulme Park)
Sat 6th Dec,Rossendale

More information can be found at http://www.redrosecrosscountry.co.uk/index.htm

I would heartily recommend a day at one of these, Cross Country racing can be very exciting to watch in autumn and winter, It might not have the glamour of the Diamond League but what you will see is sport at it’s rawest and grittiest, Lots of athletes working hard and battling through tough conditions and field sizes of very varying quantities.

Until next weekend at Cheltenham when the NH cranks up a bit thank you reading and please RT the site as much as possible,Thank you.

Warwick Races,Thursday 2nd October 2014

Oktoberfest came to Warwick which was beginning the first meeting of it’s new era of being a National Hunt only course.

A bit sceptical having a meeting with a name like this given as the last time the Germans came to this area of the Midlands was when they tried to destroy Coventry but left with only half the job done!.

As expected the course had Sausages on sale with the corporate area having an Oompah band on which made a change from a generic Irish band playing “Whisky In The Jar” whenever racecourses have an Irish Day.

Due to the weather which led to the drying ground added with meetings on at Bangor and Southwell only forty horses were declared then a non runner made it thirty nine.

Seven races with the feature race being the Class 3 Three mile Chase were on the card for the people who poured in through the gates.

2.10 The RacingUK.com National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle,Class 4,2m,8 flights,4yo+

A 50-1 shocker in the first as 1-6 favourite Vaihau suffered a half length defeat when running on to pace setter Be My Witness who rallied on the run in to keep the favourite at bay.

Second favourite Bjornlucky did lead briefly two out but a mistake at the last cost him any chance of improving and he was comfortably held in third.

Be My Witness had shown nothing in three bumpers and a hurdle prior to this but the new front running tactics worked the oracle today,wether he can follow up is another question.

Vaihau will pick a novice event up soon and he can be forgiven for this.

2.40 The RacingUK.com Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m,8 flights,3yo+,(0-130)

A third win on the bounce for the Alan King trained Lazer Blazer who followed up his Monday win at Newton Abbott with a bloodless victory in this five runner race,Held up off the pace he got into contention going down the back and led over two out before scooting away readily from Surf and Turf who ran his usual respectable race.

Lazer Blazer is in fine fettle at the minute and going in off 124 he should be over 130 after his reassessment, Their is a nice 2m1f hurdle at Aintree in a few weeks so that could be the next plan as he is going great guns at the minute.

Mahican of John Fergusons’ yard ran flat and folded tamely but with a bit of juice in the ground he should be better.

3.10 The Ignite Incentives Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m4f110yds,17 fences,5yo+ (0-110)

Again a five runner event and the bookies made In The Gate of Charlie Longsdon the favourite here,hard to work out why as he has not completed his last four starts although he was in contention at the last obstacle last time out at Stratford before falling.

A race of varying fortunes here,Unknown Legend took them along at a fair gallop then approaching the ditch down the back straight which was six from home the favourite In The Gate who was beginning to get into a good position unseated Aidan Coleman onto the Warwick lawn,thankfully both horse and rider were fine.

Turning for home Unknown Legend had looked to have seen the rest off but top weight Moorlands Jack who picked up a summer win at Worcester had other ideas and easily picked him off to win by 1.5 lengths.

Below,Unknown Legend comes back in

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3.45 The Hague Print Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m5f,11 flights,3yo+,(0-115)

An easy win for AP here as Finding Your Feet in the JP Green and Gold silks came home for an easy win following up from his last success at Fontwell just thirty six days ago.

Leading with three hurdles to go he got the job done and was 1.25 lengths ahead of Bayley’s Dream who was running a PB for the first time in a hurdles race.

I would be doubtful if Finding Your a Feet follows along the lines of stable companion More Of That who got a good name for himself on here before getting World Hurdle glory but it’s possible a Pertemps qualifier would come under consideration at some point?

4.20 The Colliers International Reduces Your Business Rates Handicap Chase,Class 3,3m110y,18 fences,5yo+,(0-140)

Plenty of Ifs and Buts over all these but with this being Oktoberfest day it was only correct that the German bred,Lucy Wadham trained and Leighton Aspell ridden Wiesentraum showed a clean pair of heels to take this valuable race of the day.

Given a peach of a ride he finished fourteen lengths ahead of one of the joint favourites Carrigmorna King,to be fair he made two errors including giving the last a bit of a clout,even then it’s doubtful he would have won as the winner looked to have plenty in hand.

A couple ran poor races,other joint favourite Lost Glory never looked like posing a threat but could be better on softer ground and the Donald McCain trained Bit Of A Jig is one who needs to front run but again and not for the first time he sulked when overtaken so at the moment he could be one to avoid.

Wiesentraum certainly enjoyed himself today,maybe it was the sound of the Oompah band made him think he was back in Germany but he is in good order, It’s possible Cheltenham in a few weeks could be the next target,they have a good 3m Amateur riders event that could suit and one more Important note is that this was a Newmarket trained winner which nobody probably thought would happen after going NH only at Warwick.

Below,Horses coming back in and Wiesentraum has a lovely drink.

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4.50 The Trends Uk Maiden Hurdle,Class 4,2m5f,11 flight,4yo+

Java Rose was sent off the 4-9f here and she broke her duck over hurdles at the third attempt here despite a poor landing at the last which nearly gave Aidan Coleman a second fall of the day, travelling well she had this sown up a long way out and looks set for a step up in grade.

Runner up Mogestic was having only a second ever career start,previously he was second in a Southwell bumper and was quickly switched to timber,although still learning he’s going the right way and should find an opening soon, Dashing Over put in a poor shift and weakened tamely but this run means he is now qualified for handicaps.

Below,Going out in the country.

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5.20 The rewards4racing.com Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 6,2m.4-6yo Fillies and Mares.

An upturn in the fortunes of owner and QPR manager Harry Redknapp here as his mare Always Managing made a winning start for new trainer Warren Greatrex, She shared pace duties with the David Pipe trained Lady Of Longstone but the weight allowance told as the increase in tempo occurred and she did enough to keep away the attentions of Dry Ol’Party from the Philip Hobbs yard who finished second for the second time this season,Lady Longstone was third.

One for the notebook was debutant Atomic Tangerine for the Waley Cohens, she was very green but looked to be learning the game as the race progressed,she has a reasonable future and showed a bit of zest!

A fair afternoon of jumping action then,obviously the ground conditions resulted with small fields but as I’ve always believed you don’t need big fields for exciting racing.

Warwick’s new future will be a huge success for them,the place has always had the feel of a jumps course and it’s onwards and upwards from here.

Until the next event,Enjoy reading and please keep sharing the site across the web.