Stratford Races,Saturday 21st March 2015

The sun came out as Spring was in the air here at Stratford for a six race card which despite not being the classiest days jumping of the season was still one that had winners be found. 

It was Bookmakers Day here and all of the card was supported by the on course bookmakers who regularly stand here in Shakespeare county. 


2.05 Bet With Course Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle,Class 4,2m3f,9 flights,4yo+

A race that was about one horse,Gold Present from Nicky Henderson who had nothing more than a gentle hack under David Bass, taking over from halfway he soon put the race to bed and handed Summer Sounds a 22 length beating,second favourite Eco Warrior was third. 

Gold Present is a big imposing sort and was entitled to win this,previously a runner up to the Fred Winter winner Qualando at Ascot,he will be even better when going chasing,Eco Warrior was never a factor but will be improved when sent handicapping. 

Below,Gold Present in the pre parade and having a well earned drink 



2.40 Support Your On Course Bookmkaer Selling Handicap Hurdle,Class 5,2m110yds,8 flights,4-7yo (0-100)

A really poor race with the whole field having won one race from fifty six races between them. 

Some good riding here by Gemma Gracey-Davison (5) on Jumeirah Liberty trained by her mother Zoe, held up early doors he overtook a few down the back and turning for home was gathering up Symphony Of Pearls under Miss Jodie Hughes (7) before taking up the lead at the last hurdle to record a 4.5 length win and a 1-2 for the lady riders in this contest. 

This was a deserved win,he was gambled on at Wincanton on his last run but didn’t show,The easier Good ground helped and although he wasn’t sold he should find another race somewhere, Runner up Symphony Of Pears ran a PB for the season. 

Below,The shadowy figure of Jumeriah Liberty and Gemma Gracey-Davison coming back in 



3.15 Stratford Bookmakers Day Handicap Chase,Class 4,3m4f,20 fences,5yo+ (0-120)

A one-two for the elder horses in this  five runner contest as Qulinton under Richie McLernon jumped out and made all the running to scoop up the £4812 first prize, formerly trained by David Pipe when he won the 2011 Summer Plate he is happy with his advancing years by a longer trip and being allowed to dominate, hard to know what will be next for this Johnny Farrelly trained horse,possibly a crack at the Tim Molony at Haydock or the Highland National at Perth could be feasible. 

Runner up was Musical Wedge,despite being 5lb out of the handicap he ran well being seven lengths behind the winner,all his four wins have been on right handed courses. 

Below,Over the water and Qulinton having a cool down 



3.50 Get Value On Course At Stratford Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m6f110yds,4yo+ (0-120)

Not a bad race for the grade which had a fair few improving sorts in it.  

It was a case of bottom weight beat top weight here, Mawaqeet has had a disappointing winter but the spring looks to have made him happy and under Killian Moore (3) he got the lead at the second last which was over half a mile from home and never looked back recording a 4.5 length win from Atlantic a Gold in second place,He’s A Bully was third. 

Mawaqeet was rated 86 on the flat he took this off a mark of 105 so it’s possible that Micahel Appleby may try him on the level again,Atlantic Gold ran well on his first handicap run,he has a bit more to offer. 

4.25 Bet With Rails Bookmakers Novices’ Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m5f110yds,15 fences,5yo+ (0-105)

All eyes were on top weight Jay Are from Gary Moore’s yard,coming here to try for a third win on the bounce and bidding to follow up a win at Exeter on Tursday meant she had to carry 12-8 but conditional George Gorman was put on with his 10lb claim. 

Jay Are could only finish third here, the win went to the Ian Williams trained and Tom O’Brien ridden mare Etania as she recorded her first win over fences at the sixth attempt, In all fairness this was a good ride by Tom O’Brien has he kept her wide down the back on the second circuit due to the loose horse The Pier who fell at the third fence, coming into the straight she took dead aim at Thoresby and led over the last to go on and win by 1.25 lengths. 

Jay Are looks like he needs a break now,he made an erro at the third open ditch which all but cost him any chance of victory 

Below,Etania coming back in


5.00 Bet With Tattersalls Bookmakers Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle,Class 5,2m3f,9 flights,4yo+ (0-100)

Jamie Bagary has a good season for Nigel Twiston-Davies and that continued as he made all on the favourite I Am Colin, dropped into this much easier company did his confidence a world of good,he was always in command and despite easing up in the last furlong he held runner up Hi Bronco in second by four lengths although it could easily have been more.

Native Explorer who was well supported on her handicap debut was over twenty lengths back on third but has got improvement in her and maybe a drop back to 2m will help 

As for I Am Colin it’s hard to assess him,possibly a race at the Perth Festival may be in the pipeline plus a Conditionals race at Ayr on Scottish National Day. 

The David Pipe trained Alezanna pulled up having lost her action but she was walked back safely. 

A nice afternoon then at the Grassroots level of jumping,Not the classiest days racing but the one to take out has to be Gold Present, he is an embryonic Chaser in the making and will be one to put on your Horses To Follow list for next season. 

The next racing will be Easter Saturday at Haydock before the first two days of the Grand National meeting. 

Till then thank you for reading. 

Haydock Park,Wednesday 18th March 2015

Irish Day came to Haydock and so did the sun after an early foggy morning which thankfully got burnt up and cleared away on this spring afternoon in Merseyside. 

It was a case of the usual post Cheltenham blues for many people with talk of what happened last week but also for the future weeks ahead as Aintree begins to loom on the horizon. 

It was a six race card for the punters to get stuck into with some competitive and tricky handicaps plus a couple of novice events for good measure. 

As is the case Irish Day meant people consuming a well known popular Irish Stoute brewed in Dublin and of course the customary band playing songs by Thin Lizzy and The Pogues, Ten points to those who can guess which ones got sung! 

2.10 Apollobet £50 Free Bets Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m,9 flights,4yo+ (0-140)

A real placepot buster within a furlong here as warm favourite Dark Dune took umbridge and unseated James Reveley at the first hurdle. 

Purple ‘N Gold under Kieron Edgar (5) just got the better in the last half furlong of outsider Handiwork to claim the victory for trainer David Pipe here in a hard fought win. 

From a solid early pace set by Stanic Beat who faded down the straight,the first two had a real battle over the last couple of hurdles and only a head separated the two, The winner brought some good form to the table,notably at Cheltenham in October when sixth in a hurdle race where he finished behind Vibrato Valtat, Handiwork also had good form with his most notable form being ninth in last seasons Fred Winter. 

Handiwork ran much better than his price,he also won on the flat last October over 2m and has a flat mark of 75 which will be exploited a few times and hurdle wise maybe the big summer handicaps will be thought of. 

One eye catcher was Cinders And Ashes in third,he was running on at the end and it could be worth stepping him up in trip as he lacks his old speed. 

2.45 Apollobet Best Odds Guranteed Handicap Chase,Class 4,3m,18 fences,5yo+ (0-120)

A qualifier for next months JC Grassroots Jumps Series, this was a fair looking race which was taken by the Graeme McPherson trained Red Admirable who sailed to victory and docked in victory bay one and he finished plenty clear of the well fancied Itstimeforapint who could not bridge the gap behind the winner, he in turn was ten lengths clear of Bennys Well in third spot. 

The horses finished very tired here,even the winner needed a step ladder to climb over the final fence, Red Admirable ran here in the Tommy Whittle and despite being unsighted that day he was very much the best horse here,he could come back for the final over 2m6f on Easter Saturday. 

Runner up Itstimeforapint has plenty more to offer,it’s more than likely he will turn up at either Ayr or Perth next month. 

3.15 Apollobet Mobile Games Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m4f,10 flights,4yo+ (0-135)

Nexus for trainer Keith Dalgleish and jockey Wilson Renwick scored what was a bloodless success here,always travelling well,he was hard on the steel over two out and took the prize finishing nine lengths clear of Lightentertainment who in turn was 1.5 lengths in front of odds on favourite Masterful Act. 

This was much better from Nexius following a couple of fourth placed efforts which in turn followed a seasonal reappearance win at Musselburgh,Going in off 130 he is still potentially well treated over hurdles, the runner up came here after being outclassed in the Betfair at Newbury,this trip suited him and Masterful Act tried to follow up last weeks Huntingdon win,he maybe better on a faster surface. 

Our Joey was pulled up after the fourth,he walked off lame. 

3.50 Apollbet Free Download App Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f 14 fences,5yo+ (0-135)

An incident packed contest from the outset here,firstly the favorite Roberto Pegasus unseated Wayne Hutchinson who himself had to sprout wings,Hold Court fell at the last when detached,Ambion Wood fell at fence 12

The sad news was that Scotch Warrior unseated at fence four which was bypassed on the last circuit,sadly he was fatally inured,My condolences to all connected with the horse. 

At the business end it was the dashing grey Carrigdhoun for trainer Maurice Barnes and jockey Michael McAllister that took the spoils after they wrestled the lead off long time leader Galway Jack who sadly didn’t become the most appropriate named winner of the day. 

Galway Jack set a good tempo and was jumping well under Andrew Thornton until getting overtaken at two out which would have been the normal three out,after that he did rally but could not bridge the gap. 

Carrigdhoun has much better form over further,Their is a Class 2 race here over three miles which may suit him on Easter Saturday, Galway Jack has been consistent but needs a bit of relenting from the handicapper.  

4.25 Apollobet In Play Betting “Fixed Brush” Novices’ Hurdle,Class 4,2m4f,10 flights. 

Three on the bounce for the Donald McCain trained Three Faces West under promising young conditional James Cowley (7), with win under his belt at Ayr and Carlisle it’s fair to say he would be vulnerable under his penalties but he travelled well and wasn’t inconvenienced with these hurdles, he will be good to watch next season when he gets sent over fences no doubt. 

Wild Bill from Evan Williams’ stable ran a solid race in defeat,the return back up to 2m4f helped and he is now qualified for handicaps so is one to note down, these two were over thirty two lengths clear of the rest. 

5.00 Apollobet Online Casino Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 5,2m,4-6yo

Only five went to post but this may prove to be a very informative contest. 

The favourite Board Of Trade followed up his December win in a Junior Bumper at Exeter to give race debutant Wade Harper a four length defeat. 

From the tape being relaxed nobody wanted to lead until Wade Harper took it up after 1f,he was leading turning for home and tried to wind it up but the experience of Board Of Trade helped as he took over the lead with a furlong to go and was kept up to his work. 

Board Of Trade will make into a nice hurdler next season at around two miles,He has a lot of scope and it’s possible the Grade Two Aintree Bumper could come under consideration,Wade Harper is brother to last weeks World Hurdle winner Cole Harden so he is one for the notebook,he won over 3m in Points so the trip over hurdles will be just right. 
A pleasant afternoon then,not neceserally a top clas card but competitive stuff indeed. 

This Saturday coming I shall be at Stratford all being well for what is a slightly poor card but with winners to be found never the less. 

Until then,thank you for reading and RT my work. 

Leigh Miners Rangers v West Hull,Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 3rd Round,Saturday 7th March 2015

Ladbrokes may be approaching the one week of the year that will either boost the coffers or make them skint but today it was a chance to forget about all things Cheltenham as Rugby League’s “Road To Wembley” took another step forward. 

Leigh Miners Rangers will not have faced a more tougher match with the  National Conference Premier season only beginning next weekend but they managed to just get a last minute winner after the mother of all comebacks from a spirited second half performance from West Hull to go through to be picked out of the velvet bag with a hard fought 32-28 victory. 

Leigh began the game in the style of a team on a mission,the game had barely started when full back Jonny Youds went into the far corner to go 4-0 up just after two minutes on the clock,this was made 10-0 when Youds converted a Haydn Bud Skinkis  score just thirteen minuets later. 

The home side were fully in command now and Darryl Kay added to the points when going over on the last tackle then Brad Hargreaves got his first Miners try when adding before half an hour had gone with Youds conversion to make it 22-0. 

West Hull finally got their first points of the day with Callum King and then almost immediately Josh Hart added after catching a kick from the opposite side of the try line which Josh Hart duly added the extra two points to. 

After this Leigh responded just before the half time oranges when Doyle picked up the chip to go in just under the posts. 

HT Leigh MR 26-West Hull 10

The second half was all West Hull here as they came out of the traps flying as the race to bring the score down was on and boy did they go for it. 

Just seven minutes in and Dylan Price caught the ball in the corner to score then on 62 minutes Brett Turner went through the posts which Josh Hart added the two extra point to make it 28-20. 

Then just four minutes later as Leigh finally got some good attacking play in the West Hull half a misplaced pass was seized on by  Ben Arbon as he legged it nearly the full length of the field to score a try. 
West Hull were firmly in command here and on 75 minutes the visitors made it 28-28 as Whinn got in over the corner but the conversion was wide. 

Now it was game on for both sides but what was the “Nick Of Time” for Leigh became “Heartbreak” for West Hull as some persistence from Leigh was rewarded with Haydn Bud Skinkis scored the winning try at the car park end to give Leigh Miners the victory after some demolition work through the West Hull pack by the forwards. 

Full Time,Leigh MR 32-West Hull 28

This was a real cup match in every senses,both teams gave it everything from the outset,even when West Hull were 22-0 down the word “defeat” was not an option as they kept composed and refused to go away.  

Leigh Miners Rangers 



West Hull



After the match Leigh MR joint manager Paul Whitworth said “I thought the first half we were really in control of the game,we completed well,had 95% completion,but the second half we just lost control”  and “I’m really proud of the lads and the character they showed at the end to come back ” 

Leigh MR begin their league season next Saturday against Wigan St Pats in what should be a very enthralling game while West Hull find themselves going over the Humber Bridge to Cumbria for the long haul to Wath Brow Hornets where they will be hoping not to get stung!

For any Rugby League followers out there I’d like to recommend the criticly acclaimed podcast The Final Hooter which covers news,views and opinions from Adrian Jackson and Dave Parkinson every week during the rugby league season—episode-3.html