Indoor British Athletics Championships,Sunday 28th February 2016

The crowds came to Sheffield for day two of the British Indoors which were also serving as trials to make the plane for Team GB at the World Indoors at Portland,USA which began on the final day of Cheltenham.  

An abundance of talent were out to stake their claim for a plush seat and a comfy hotel room by achieving the standard required to ensure that it would be possible and in the Steel City the supporters were treated to some spectacular running,jumping and throwing at the excellent English Institue of Sport. 

With events from 60m to 3000m as well some top quality field events it was an afternoon of intrigue. 


Louise Bloor took the Women’s 200m title and did it in style being the only runner to go under 24 seconds recording a winning time of 23.39s

The Men’s 200m title required three races for victory,Toby Harries from Brighton Phoenix won his heat,semi and final,winning in a final time of 21.13s

Women’s 60m Hurdles looked very competitive with tight times for the winners from the four heats, as expected Tiffany Porter took the final from Serita Solomon and Lucy Hatton in 7.98s


Tiffany Porter

Over the 400m trip of two laps Nigel Levine just hung on in a frantic finish from Cameron Chalmers and Alex Boyce with times of 48.00,48.05 and 48.07 while in the Women’s race Meghan Beesley of Birchfield Harriers fought off the attentions of Montene Speight to claim her title in 53.16s

Middle Distance. 

Some good races over the middle distances with a nice Women’s 1500m that went to Hannah England as she went from third with two laps to go to lead in the last 100m from her training partner Alison Leonard,early pace setter Madeleine Murray was third. 


1500m action

Charlie Grice proved to be the banker of the day in the Men’s 1500m as he won probably a little bit cheekily in 3.46.50 as he held James Brewer by 0.2s but never looked like defeat was possible,Michael Rimmer who ran in this after being DQ in Saturday’s 800m was in contention until pulling up with under 600m left. 

Women’s 800m had plenty of quality in it and it produced an enthralling finish as Adele Tracey took the prize with Leah Barrow behind her in second place,a repeat of their heat from yesterday, Lynsey Sharp took the lead inside the final lap from Jenny Meadows who began to drop back but Tracey and Barrow came over the top and took the spoils. 


W800m presentation

In the Men’s 800m Jamie Webb of Liverpool Harriers got the better of Spencer Thomas in 1.51.25 and 1.51.35,Guy Learmonth came third in 1.52.45, the race did have a bit of a moment in it when Sheffield’s Mukhtar Mohammed got checked into the final lap and dropped out of contention  but their was no stewards into it. 

Long Distance 

Steph Twell beat a useful enough field in the Women’s 3000m race,taking the lead from long time leader Jo Moultrie inside the last 800m she strolled home in 8.54.99 and Moultrie recording 8.56.75, Charlotte Green and Bobby Clay recorded PBs for the session along with Ireland’s Rose-Anne Galligan,in fact nine of the fourteen starters recorded either Personal or Seasonal bests. 

At the top of the card on the track we had the 3000m Walk races, Bethan Davies from Cardiff broke her British record with a real demolition job as she lapped the entire field,a few more than once in 12.44.96 over a minute ahead from Emma Achurch. 

Tom Bosworth continued his dominance in the Men’s 300m Walk as he gave a brutal display to his rivals winnings in 10.59.21 and thus beating his own National Record which he set at the EIS last month, Chris Snook eventually came second in 13.12.24. 

Field Events

In a wide open Shot Putt it was an all the way win for the City Of York’s Scott Lincoln whose first round throw of 17.54m was never going to be passed by the other throwers apart from himslef as he got 18.90 on his last attempt,Scott Rider came second with 17.61m

Chris Baker from Sale Harriers 2.29m in the High Jump was enough to secure the prize,he had a jump off with Robbie Grabarz of Newham and Essex but neither could get over 2.31m. 

The Women’s Triple Jump seemed to have more red flags than at a Vladimir Putin Appreciation Society but like the shot putt it went down to the last athlete as Sineade Gutzmore flew through the air on her last jump to land in the sand on 13.35m nicely ahead of Angela Barrett on 13.03m 

Finally in the Women’s Long Jump in which only four went to post,Stoke’s Jazmin Sawyer saw her fifth round jump of 6.67m enough to hold off Lorraine Ugen’s 6.60m


Shot Putt action

Lots of Portland clues then and a few tricky choices to be made by the selectors before Tuesday’s announcement. 

In a couple of weeks we go AW racing to Wolverhampton for the Lincoln Trial and the next athletics will be the British Olympic Trials in June. 

Atherton LR v St Helens Town,NWCL Div 1.Saturday 27th February 2016

LR may stand for Laburnum Rovers but it could also mean Losing Regularly as the yellow and blue half of the town crashed to their ninth consecutive defeat following a fairly comfortable win from the nomadic St Helens Town on a crisp winter afternoon at Crilly Park. 


Making their presence felt

The visitors got off to a perfect start when hitting the back of the net in their first attack on goal before the big hand reached 60 as a cross from the left by Edward Peglar fell to captain Andy Gillespie whose shot hit an LR player to go 1-0 up, the second followed on eight minutes after another LR defender headed the ball into his own net following a cross into the six yard box. 

After this and much bewilderment from the home team,Town quickly popped a third goal when striker George Lomax who joined from Barnton netted on 13 minutes to effectively get the points into the bag. 

LR did begin to dust themselves down and began to play some ok football after a couple of substitutions from the shock of  the early goals and finished the first half with some purpose going down the slope to the railway end,sadly only more trains were spotted going to Wigan and Manchester than goals from the home side. 


Choo Choo!


The second half was much better for LR although St Helens were unlucky not to add a fourth with Gillespie missing a couple of golden chances some 60 minutes in, with the job done by this stage it could be forgivable. 

LR finally hit the scoresheet though when Nial Callaghan struck a real beauty of a shot on 65 minutes when around 35 yards out he shot high and dipped the ball under Matthew Hodge to bring it back to 3-1 in the away aides favour. 

It took just ten minutes for St Helens to restore the three goal lead when Sam Sheen scored from a direct free kick after Andy Gillespie was fouled and from here it was happy sailing for St Helens Town as the quest for the play offs for them began to pick up momentum. 

For LR this is a tough time of things and managers Adam & Craig Jones do have a rough ride with eleven games to be rescheduled into the current run in after the abandonments due to the poor weather. 

St Helens Town  move into 9th spot and are nine points off the play offs,they are good value at the moment and have a more than useful side. 


Atherton LR

Whittle,Sopel,Hatton (C),Carty,Halligan,Davies,Gallaghan,Fitton,Evans,Crossley,Owens

Subs, Johnson,Smith,Atkinson,Cocking,Green

St Helens Town

Hodge,Morris,Presho,Lawrence,Whelan,Blayney,Greene,Sheen,Andy Gillespie (C),Lomax,Preglar

Subs, Alex Gillespie,Rigby,Smith,Davidson


Haydock Park,Saturday 20th February 2016,Betfred Grand National Trial Day

Very gruelling conditions face the runners this afternoon on very heavy ground at a very wet and sometimes gloomy Haydock as horses with Cheltenham and Aintree aspirations faced their mock exam before the big ones in the spring. 

It proved to be a very emotional kind of day for various reasons here with racing run in very testing conditions. 

The big race was the Grand National trial with a very competitive supporting card and in the week which saw the weights get unveiled,a few were putting their credentials to the test. 

1.30 Ray Gilpin Victor Ludorum Juvenile Hurdle,Class 2,2m,9 flights,4yo+

Named after the much highly respected journalist and always resplendent in his red scarf no matter which course or whatever the time of year,this race was named in memory of Ray Gilpin who listed Haydock as one of his favourite courses. 

A tight finish here in a tactical race which saw 1-4f Fixe Le Kap get overturned by 4-1 second favourite Frodon. 

Both of these were up at the front with the favourite making all until they came into the straight, Frodon made his move slowly under Sean Bowen and led over the last flight and began to find plenty on the run in, Fixe Le Kap had to fight off Messire Des Obeaux for second place and did that but just couldn’t bridge the gap back to the winner. 

These two may head to the Triumph in what will be a typical wide open affair,Messire Des Obeaux  was making his first start in Britain and should improve for this run. 


Frodon having a well earned drink

2.05 Betfred “Home Of Goals Galore” Hurdle,Grade 2,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+

A fair quality renewal of the Rendlesham with horses rated in between 142 and 160. 

Reve De Sivola bounced back from a poor showing in last months Peter Marsh as he reverted to his old self here by making all under Richard Johnson he gamely four off the attentions of young whippersnapper One Track Mind by 0.75 lengths. 

Despite having to be cajoled along from four out with Deputy Dan putting it up to him around the turn he found extra and began to pull away, One Track Mind went with him after two out which Deputy Dan clattered and he began to fade, on the run in Reve De Sivola had to really work for this and One Track Mind was closing but the line came in time, the pair finished well clear of Silsol and At Fishers Cross. 

Much better here from Reve De Sivola,hurdles has always suited him and been a fine servant over the years,He will probably have a go at Cheltenham but this was probably his day today, One Track Mind is a horse with a future in this division who could go to Aintree or Punchestown. 

Silsol ran much better than at Warwick last time out,Aintree would suit him more than Cheltenham while At Fishers Cross still finds life hard. 

Sadly Deputy Dan collapsed past the line and died,Condolences to all involved. 

2.40. Betfred Grand National Trial,Grade 3,3m4f,22 fences,5yo+

A real slog in the mud here, Eight brave warriors set out on their quest to Aintree but only three completed in what was a real war of attrition. 

Kerry Lee bagged another long distance chase here as Bishops Road who was put up a stone for winning at Sandown last month found the extra weight no problem as he battled through the slop after being left in front off the home turn, the only danger was Broadway Buffalo who was slowly making inroads but flattened out with a couple to jump and could do no more and was clear of the only other finisher Cloudy Too. 

Bishops Road  needs over twenty to come out to get in the Aintree race,only 8 it might be better to go to Fairyhouse or Ayr for now, Broadway Buffalo ran a game race in defeat under Katie Walsh and Cloudy Too found the extra trip too far. 

Welsh National winner Mountainous never got going and the hard race effect that that race  has on a horse showed,Rigadin De Beauchenne faded when he got overtook,


Bishops Road

3.15 Pertmeps Network Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) Class 2,2m7f,12 flights,5yo+

Bookies were dancing in the rain here as 33-1 outsider Mr Moonshine at the ripe old age of 12 thrashed fellow 12yo Quel Elite by 12 lengths. 

Mr Moonshine had been pulled up in his final three starts last season but revelled in the mud here as he led after the last flight down the back and pulled away easily,he probably won’t go for the final,Quel Elite has been consistent and ran well in defeat but still needs dropping to a winnable mark, Isaacstown Lad in third spot gave his all here and is still having a good season. 

Favourite Woodford Island was never gong here but is clearly better than this run. 

3.50 Betfred “Double Delight” Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f,15 fences

Huge plaudits for Jamie Moore as he kept Kylemore Lough on terra firmer although more heavier than firmer to be honest. 

Kylemore Lough made nearly all here and jumped effitinatly,leading nicely from the mare Kayfleur in second he blundered badly at two out but Jamie Moore kept himself in the plate and gathered his mount back together before forging ahead to win by five lengths. 

The winner was upped only two pounds for winning at Exeter in December and will probably bypass the Biritish festivals and head to Ireland,he should get three miles in time,Kayfleur ran an honest race in defeat and should get a win before long. 


Kylemore Lough

4.25 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle,Grade 2,2m7f,12 flights,5yo+

Just the five but a fair running of the race known as the Prestige Novices 

Another one for the ladies here with the Rose Dobbin trained Jonniesofa getting the better of Vintage Clouds by three lengths as the pair finished four ahead of 10/11f Duke Des Champs in third. 

Jonniesofa had picked up a couple of novice hurdles over 2m6f at Newcaslte and Kelso this term,beaten over half a mile further at Catterick on New Years Day he benefitted the drop back in trip and should have a crack at the Albert Bartlett at the festival before going chasing next term, Vintage Clouds back in second has ran all his races here this term from 2m to 2m7f,he will go chasing next season and is a bright prospect. 

Duke Des Champs was taken wide throughout,he ran well in defeat but his error at the last cost him,maybe the Coral Cup or Martin Pipe race will suit. 

5.00 Betfred ‘Hat Trick Heaven’ Walrus Open Hunters’ Chase,Class 3,3m,18 fences,5yo+

The song “The Days Of Pearly Spencer” could be renamed after the evergreen 13yo Pearlysteps as he put in a clear round of jumping under Miss J.C. Williams (3) to comprehensively wallop the only other finisher in this total slogfest Ace High by 85 lengths with the other five horses all pulling up.  

Still a useful type he missed Cheltenham and Aintree but came third behind last seasons Hunter Chase Triple Crown winner On The Fringe, Ace High won over 3m6f at Cocklebarrow last month,a return to easier ground will suit him.  


Hunters in front of the punters

Some tough racing in testing conditions and only the brave got round today. 

It’s doubtful the National trial will bring a winner come April but full plaudits to Kerry Lee who is clearly going places as a trainer. 


Just the one today. 

Messire Des Obeaux,4yo came third in the opener and could be useful when sent handicapping. 
Next weekend is a potential double header,Sunday it’s the second day of The British Indoor Athletics Champs in Sheffield and I hope to complement this with some local football   

Till next time,Goodbye 

Warwick Races,Saturday 13th February 2016

Drying conditions over the past few days meant that Warwick’s other premier meeting of the season went ahead and the ground which was Heavy,Waterlogged in Places at the start of the week became Soft,Heavy in Places on raceday. 

Seven races which had a real mixed bag of field sizes but the small field events did have some good racing with horses of the same quality. 

The feature race of the afternoon was the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase which is a useful trial for next months Arkle at the Festival. 

1.00 Caroline Bermingham & Claire Gibbs Birthday Novices’ Hurdle,Class 3,2m5f,11 flights,4yo+

Last months Leamington runner up Open Eagle comfortably scored here as he took this race very easily by 3.75 lengths from Mystical Knight, a mistake at the last didn’t affect him and he won like a 4/7f should do, it’s possible the 3m Albert Bartlett will come up next and he will have a fighting chance in that division   

Mystical Knight came here with a good reputation and ran a cracker on his hurdling debut after winning a bumper here on New Years Eve, he will be even better when sent chasing. 

1.30 Novices’ Chase,Class 3,3m1f 100yds,20 fences,5yo+

Three set out,two came home. 

Vivaldi Collonges last seen when down the field in the Classic Chase last time got a confidence boosting win back here under Sean Bowen, sharing the lead with Dawson City early on he went on with four to jump and gave Dawson City a 62 length beating, the only other runner Racing Pulse was pulled up on the final circuit. 

Only a 7yo trainer Paul Nicholls thinks of him as a real stayer and holds entires at Haydock and Newcastle in the coming weeks,he jumps well and won with ease, Dawson City is a useful sort but was outclassed even with getting 10lb of the winner,a satellite national is his ideal race 

The form of the Classic Chase was given a real boost today with Vivaldi Collonges going in here and Houblon Des Obeaux hacking up in the Denman Chase at Newbury

Vivaldi Collonges

2.05 Mares’ Hurdle,Listed,2m5f,11 flights,4yo+ F&M

Flute Bowl called the pipers tune here as she responded to Jamie Moore when asked for her effort and despite a slight error at three out she came to challenge favourite Jessber’s Dream and even thought the favourite hit and stumbled the last flight she was looking held. 

The winner gained some very good black type here and continued a fine season for Gary Moore,she doesn’t hold an entry in the big mares race at Cheltenham and could go to Aintree or Punchestown instead. 

Jessber’s Dream travelled well but didn’t look to stay the extra trip when making the turn for home and despite Noel Fehily urging her she did keep on but back to 2m will be better for her. 

2.40 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase,Grade 2,2m,12 fences,5yo+

A brave piece of riding by Jamie Moore here as 8-1 outsider of three Violet Dancer kept up the old betting system as he gave 1-5f L’ami Serge an eleven length walloping   

Last years Betfair Hurdle winner has taken a quiet approach to chasing and made it 4-5 over the big fences,he got in close to a few down the back which was pretty scary but he is a very streetwise type, he could certainly give Douvan a race next month. 

L’ami Serge is clearly better than this and never jumped with fluency,a step up in trip might just suit him, Fox Norton the other runner ran well enough and may be better when handicapping 


Violet Dancer

3.15 Guy Salmon Land Rover Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,3m2f,12 flights,4yo+ (0-120)

Ride of the day here by Kielan Woods as he finally got Extreme Impact to do what his name suggests as he just got up on the line to beat the very unlucky Saint John Henry by a neck, the pair finished just over a length ahead of Letbeso who ran his best race of the season so far. 

Extreme Impact certainly gives punters a run for their money and the jockey deserves his praise too,if the BHA brought in 4m hurdles he would be ideally suited by them, Saint John Henry was a lot better back up to this staying trip today,he was on the bridle up the straight but got pipped by a horse who just wanted it more. 

Letbeso looked a lot better back over hurdles and has a race in him somewhere. 

3.50 Warwick Castle Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m4f,17 fences,5yo+

A real top quality chase here that brought the Jonjo O’Neill trained and Leighton Aspell ridden Taquin Du Seuil back to form as he put the race to bed around the final turn,after being held up off the early pace he made good headway down the back and swooped round the bend and breezed past second and third placed horses Niceonefrankie and Cogry. 

Taquin Du Seuil was a lot more at home in this company today,he is entered in the Ascot Chase on Saturday and no doubt the Ryanair will be a target too,it’s also possible that the Melling or Topham Chases at Aintree will be under consideration too

Niceonefrankie ran a good race in defeat,he will go for another good quality race over this trip soon,Cogry did well over an inadequate trip,a step back to marathon trips will suit. 


The first three home

4.25 Whitson Bloodstock Ltd Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m,8 flights,4yo+ (0-120)

Clyne continued his upward climb here as he easily strolled to victory under Leighton Aspell for trainer Evan Williams,twice a winner at Ffos Las he came here after a 4lb rise from winning their in December, clearly on the upgrade he has plenty of scope. 

Runner up was Catchin Time who couldn’t live with the winner going down by 11 lengths,Hollywood All Star back in third ran ok but the handicapper currently has his measure. 

As for Clyne no doubt another race will beckon but he will have to go into Class 3 races now and the sky is the limit with him for the moment. 
A nice afternoons racing then. 

All being well we shall be at Haydock on Saturday for the National Trial then the weekend after we go from equine to human racing as indoor athletics from Sheffield comes up. 


Letbeso,A lot happier back over timber,should win soon. 

Until next time,Goodbye.