Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Sir Mark Prescott Elated As Pivotal Wins Nunthorpe Stakes For Cheveley Park Stud

Foaled on January 19, 1993, Pivotal was a lightly-raced, but nonetheless high-class, sprinter, sired by Polar Falcon, a top-level colt over distances between 6 furlongs and a mile and winner of the Ladbroke Sprint Cup in 1991. Bred and owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Sir Mark Prescott at Heath House Stables in Newmarket, Suffolk, unusually for such an early colt, Pivotal did not make his racecourse debut until October, 1995, late in his second year. 

On that occasion, ridden by Colin Nutter, second jockey to Prescott, he was sent off at 16/1 for a maiden stakes races, over 6 furlongs at Newbury; he missed the break and was never really involved, eventually finishing ninth of 20, beaten 6 lengths, behind Fly Tip, trained by Barry Hills. Eleven days later, when ridden by stable jockey George Duffield, he won a similar race at Newcastle and, six days after that, won a minor conditions stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Folkestone in taking fashion. 

After a 228-day break, he reappeared in the King’s Stand Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Royal Ascot – at the time, demoted to a Group Two contest – for his first attempt at earning some ‘black type’. He was successful, catching Temple Stakes winner Mind Games, who had attempted to make all, in the shadow of the post to win by a half a length, with the two of them separated by the width of the course. 

On the strength of his first Group win at the first attempt, Pivotal was sent off 9/4 favourite for the July Cup, over 6 furlongs, despite tackling Group One company for the first time. Ridden with more restraint over the extra furlong, he made headway at halfway and held every chance with two furlongs to run, but could only keep on at one pace to finish sixth of ten, beaten 5¼ lengths, behind French raider Anabaa. 

The following month, Pivotal met his old rival Mind Games over 5 furlongs again, but this time on 4lb worse terms compared with Royal Ascot and in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, worth over £72,000 to the winner. Mind Games was sent off favourite at 7/4, with Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp winner Hever Golf Rose second favourite at 11/4 and Pivotal marginally third favourite at 100/30. Despite being pushed along in the early stages, Pivotal once again made headway at halfway and, under maximum pressure, led in the last stride to beat Eveningperformance, trained by Henry Candy, by a head.

All told, between October, 1995, and August, 1996, Pivotal ran in just half a dozen races, but won four of them, including two which were, and still are, prime targets for specialist 5-furlong sprinters. In his brief racing career, he may have been awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of ‘just’ 124, more than 10lb behind the best winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes, but could only beat what was out in front of him and, in so doing, established himself as one of the leading sprinters in Europe. Interestingly, from a Nunthorpe Stakes perspective, Pivotal was the sire of Kyllachy, who won the race, ironically, for Henry Candy in 2002 and the grandsire of Sole Power, who won the race twice for Edward Lynam, in 2010 and 2014.


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Habibti Wins Nunthorpe Stakes For John Dunlop 1983

Habibti Wins Nunthorpe Stakes For John Dunlop 1983
Foaled in Ireland on March 29, 1980, Habibti was a daughter of Habitat, a sire renowned for speed and precocity, out of Klairessa, a full-sister to D’Urberville, who won the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1968. As a yearling, she was bought for 141,011 guineas by Kuwaiti Mohammed Mutawa – ‘Habibti’ is, in fact, an Arabic term of endearment, which translates as “my darling” – and subsequently put into training with the late John Dunlop at Castle Stables in Arundel, West Sussex. She would be ridden for most of her career by Willie Carson. 

Unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile, including the Lowther Stakes at York and the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, both over 6 furlongs, Habibti started her three-year-old campaign in the Fred Darling Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury. Despite starting favourite, she weakened in the closing stages to finish fifth of nine, beaten 5 lengths, behind Goodbye Shelley. Stepped up to a mile, Habibti was fourth past the post – subsequently promoted to third – in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and only ninth, on soft ground, in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh just over three weeks later. 

However, John Dunlop took the – what, in hindsight, proved to be inspirational – decision to switch her back to sprinting and Habibti next lined up, against the older horses, in the July Cup, over 6 furlongs, at Newmarket. In that race, she met the prolific four-year-old filly, Soba, trained in Yorkshire by David Chapman and dubbed ‘Queen of the North’ after winning 11 races, including the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, in her three-year-old season, for the first time. Ridden by regular partner, David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls, Soba forced the pace on the far side rail at Newmarket, but was overwhelmed in the closing stages by Habibti, who produced a strong finishing burst to win comfortably by 2½ lengths. 

The following month, the pair met again in the Nunthorpe Stakes, or the William Hill Sprint Championship, as the race was known at the time, over 5 furlongs, at York. Soba was, in fact, 2lb better off at the weights and strongly fancied to beat Habibti, who was tackling the minimum trip for the first time. The fillies dominated once again; Soba led by two lengths or so approaching the final furlong, but in the closing stages was soon joined, and passed, by Habibti, who was eased down close home to win, comfortably, by 1½ lengths, with a yawning 6-length gap to the third horse, Fine Edge. In fact, not only was Soba beaten, but also later suffered the ignominy of being disqualified and placed last, after causing interference early in the race. 
Habibti emphasised her dominance of the European sprinting scene by beating Soba twice more in 1983, by 7 lengths in the Vernons Sprint Cup, back over 6 furlongs, at Haydock in September, and by a length in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, over 5 furlongs, in October, breaking the course record in the process.

At the end of her three-year-old campaign, Habibti was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 136, which was, at the time, the highest awarded to any filly or mare aged three years or above since Timeform ratings were first published in 1948. In fact, Habibti remains the joint highest-rated filly or mare, alongside Allez France and Black Caviar, of the Timeform era. She was, unsurprisingly, named Timeform Horse of the Year in 1983.

Related stories: John Dunlop's Most Notable Horses

Related stories: Kyllachy Win Nunthorpe Stakes For Henry Candy 2002

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Lochsong Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) In 1993

Lochsong Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) In 1993
Bred and owned by Jeffrey C. Smith, in whose familiar purple and light blue colours she raced, Lochsong was one of the top sprinters in Europe in the early Nineties. Foaled on 26 April 1988, Lochsong was a daughter of Song, a noted sire of sprinters, and between August 1991, and November 1994, won 15 of her 27 races, including the Nunthorpe Stakes and two consecutive renewals of the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. Her trademark fast-starting, front-running style earned her the nickname of ‘Queen of Speed’ and huge public acclaim. 

Lochsong arrived at Park House Stables in Kingsclere, near Newbury, Berkshire as a big, backward youngster, but was sent home by trainer Ian Balding, as a three-year-old, before she had even set foot on a racecourse. Thankfully, she thrived sufficiently to return to training and made her racecourse debut in a maiden stakes race, over 7 furlongs, at Salisbury, in August 1991. She finished second on that occasion, but she won her maiden, over 6 furlongs, at Redcar in October and followed up in an apprentices’ handicap, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury.

In April 1992, on her four-year-old debut, Lochsong was beaten 1¼ lengths in a lowly 0-80 handicap, over 6 furlongs, at Pontefract, off a handicap mark of 72. However, as she reached physical and mental maturity, later that year she won the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, the Portland Handicap at Doncaster and the Ayr Gold Cup – the first time all three had been won by the same horse in the same season – before earning her first ‘black type’ by finishing second in the Diamed Stakes at Ascot on her final start of the season. 

On her five-year-old debut, in May 1993, she was beaten half a length by Paris House, trained by Jack Berry, in the Palace House Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Newmarket and finished 3 lengths behind the same horse, when the favourite, in the Temple Stakes at Sandown two starts later. However, on 4lb better terms, Lochsong reversed the earlier form when the pair met again in the King George Stakes at Goodwood in July, beating Paris House by a head. 

Lochsong subsequently stepped up to Group One level for the first time in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, a race in which she met Paris House for the fourth time that year, but on 8lb worse terms compared with Goodwood. Favourite for the Nunthorpe Stakes, despite never having run, never mind won, over 5 furlongs, was College Chapel, trained by Vincent O’Brien and Lester Piggott, at 9/4, with Paris House sent off at 4/1 second favourite and Lochsong 10/1 sixth choice of the 11 runners. 

Ridden for the fourth time in her career by Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, who’d won on her on her two previous starts, Lochsong made all the running, was always going well and quickened away in the closing stages to readily beat Paris House by 1½ lengths, with College Chapel a never-nearer third, a further three-quarters of a length away. On her final start of the season, in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, Lochsong confirmed her status as virtually unbeatable over 5 furlongs, when on song, by again making all to win unchallenged by 6 lengths. In fact, that year she was named Cartier Horse of the Year, making her the only sprinter of the Nineties to receive that accolade.



Monday, 10 December 2018

Dayjur Wins The Nunthorpe Stakes For Major Dick Hern 1990

Dayjur Wins The Nunthorpe Stakes For Major Dick Hern
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum and trained by the late Major W.R. ‘Dick’ Hern, Dayjur was one of two extraordinary sprinters ridden by Willie Carson. The other was, of course, the filly Habibti, trained by the late John Dunlop, who also won the Nunthorpe Stakes, the Ladbroke Sprint Cup and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp in her three-year-old campaign. 

Foaled in Kentucky on February 6, 1987, Dayjur was bred to be exceptionally smart. He was, in fact, descended from two of best stallions ever produced in America. His sire, Danzig, was a son of Northern Dancer, the most influential sire of the twentieth century, and an outstanding stallion in his own right, while his dam, Gold Beauty, was a daughter of Mr. Prospector, another superb stallion, and was named Champion Sprinter of 1982.

Dayjur raced just twice as a juvenile, easily winning the EBF Kennett Maiden Stakes, over 6 furlongs, on his racecourse debut at Newbury in June, 1989 at odds of 8/15, before being beaten half a length by Rushmore, trained by Clive Brittain, in the Manton Rose Bowl Stakes, over the same course and distance the following month, at odds of 8/13. His defeat in the latter contest was blamed on a wind ailment and, after remedial ‘Hobday’ surgery, he reappeared in the European Free Handicap – regarded as a Classic Trial at the time – over 7 furlongs at Newmarket the following April. Despite starting 4/1 favourite, Dayjur was never able to challenge and eventually finished seventh of ten, beaten 6¼ lengths, behind Anshan, who subsequently finished third in the 2,000 Guineas 17 days later. 

Dayjur subsequently ran in two minor conditions races, the Headingley Stakes at Nottingham and the HueWilliams Stakes at Newbury, both over 6 furlongs. In the former, he only had to be pushed out in the final furlong to win by 2 lengths, but in the latter, despite running on well in the closing stages, was beaten a head by 20/1 outsider Tod, trained by Jack Berry. 

Nevertheless, ten days later, Dayjur tackled the minimum trip, older horses and Pattern company for the first time in the Sears Temple Stakes at Sandown Park. He was, in fact, the only three-year-old in the field, but made all and ran on well to beat the four-year-olds Tigani and Statoblest – who’d finished fourth and third, respectively, in the William Hill Sprint Championship at York the previous August – by 2 lengths and half a length. 

Dayjur would go on to win four more Pattern races that season, the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, the Ladbroke Sprint Cup at Haydock and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, all with plenty in hand, and was unlucky not to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont Park on the final start of his career. In the latter contest, having seemingly taken the measure of the reigning U.S. Champion Sprinter, Safely Held, Dayjur inexplicably fly-jumped shadows twice in the closing stages and was beaten a neck.

Dubbed ‘the fastest horse in the world’ by the Racing Post, Dayjur produced his most memorable performance on British soil in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 23, 1990. Sent off favourite, at 8/11, despite tackling Group One company for the first time, he once again made all the running, as he had at Sandown and Ascot, and stayed on strongly in the final quarter of a mile for a very impressive 4-length win over his old rival Statoblest. In so doing, Dayjur not only set a course record, of 56.16 seconds, which still stands, but also recorded a time figure equivalent to a Timeform Annual Rating of 142. At the end of his career, he had won seven of his 11 races, finished second three times and earned just over £327,000 in prize money.



Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Borderlescott The Fastest Nunthorpe Stakes Winner

Borderlescott The Fastest Nunthorpe Stakes Winner
Owned by James Edgar and William Donaldson and trained by Robin Bastiman at Goosemore Farm in Cowthorpe, near Wetherby, North Yorkshire, Borderlescott was one of the most popular horses in training in his prime. Sired by top-class sprinter Compton Place out of Jeewan, a minor race winner, but from the family of Roberto, Bordlerlescott enjoyed a long and fruitful career; when he was finally retired, for the second time, as a 13-year-old, in 2015, he had won 14 of his 85 starts and earned just shy of £800,000 in win and place prize money. 

Borderlescott recorded his first major success in the Coral Sprint Trophy, over 6 furlongs, at York on the final start of his three-year-old campaign, in October, 2015. In 2006, he carried 9st 5lb to a neck victory in the prestigious Stewards’ Cup, again over 6 furlongs, at Goodwood and, in 2007, was only headed in the final stride when beaten a short-head by Zidane, under 9st 8lb in the same race. For most of 2007, though, Borderlescott struggled to make the transition from handicaps to Listed and Pattern company and, although he finished second on half a dozen occasions, failed to win a race of any kind during that campaign.

Nevetheless, in 2008 – his six-year-old season – with Pat Cosgrave replacing his hitherto regular partner, Royston French, Borderlescott proved a model of consistency. He was narrowly beaten, once again, in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, this time by a head and half a length, under 9st 10lb, but was then aimed at the Nunthorpe Stakes, run that year on the July Course at Newmarket after the Ebor Meeting at York was abandoned due to waterlogging. Although sent off only sixth choice of the fourteen runners at 12/1, Borderlescott had the race run to suit him, as first Captain Gerrard and then National Colour provided the fast pace that he typically liked to chase. In fact, National Colour looked, at one point, as if she might hold on, but Borderlescott stayed on gamely to lead inside the last 75 yards or so and win by half a length. His winning time, of 59.06 seconds, was a new course record. 

In 2009, the Nunthorpe Stakes returned to York and, with Neil Callan replacing Pat Cosgrave, at the behest of Bastiman, Borderlescott won the race for the second consecutive year. Fourth choice of the 16 runners, at 9/1, Borderlescott raced in touch in the centre of the course as Benbaun took the field along and, when switched right and asked to quicken by Callan, came with a strong run to lead close home and win by a neck. At the age of seven, Borderslescott was one of the old recent winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes and, although the race was criticised, in some quarters, for lacking strength in depth, back-to-back victories are a rare achievement. 

Indeed, in 2010, Borderlescott tried, and failed, to become just the third horse, after Tag End in 1930 and Sharpo in 1982, to win the Nunthorpe Stakes in three consecutive years, staying on at one pace to finish sixth of 12, beaten 3¾ lengths, behind shock 100/1 winner Sole Power. Nevertheless, Borderlescott was a tough, genuine and – having achieved a Timeform Annual Rating of 135 – highly talented performer.

Related stories: Scot Cops The Lot For Bastiman In Thriller

Monday, 3 December 2018

What Happened To John Fretwell? (Horse Owner)

John Fretwell Racehorse Owner
Horse racing. 

Which horse racing silks stick in your mind? The royal blue of Godolphin. I'm sure everyone has their favourites. It may be due to a horse you love, a trainer with a small string you follow, or just that crazy quilt which somehow stands out from the crowd. 

One horse owner silks that many of you will know is the lime green of John Fretwell. 

He had a number of talented two-year-olds with a number of trainers. He didn't lack an opinion and all too often these once buoyant relationships parted company. The loss of Eoghan O'Neill hit the headlines in 2008, which saw the ambitious Irishman head to France and make this racing pay across the channel. It was good to see him return to Royal Ascot with Suits You, who was later sold to Hong Kong. Fretwell had a few Group winners when the partnership was flying high. They struck with Champagne Stakes (Group 2) winner Silent Times (2005) and Richmond Stakes (Group 2) winner Always Hopefull (2005). 

Fretwell was known to like a gamble but often complained that he struggled to get more than a grand on with bookmakers. Read this interesting thread to learn more. He was also a keen seller of two-year-olds to Hong Kong and America. For that reason, he liked to have his juveniles primed to win on debut, realising that an easy winner would fetch a lot more money on the open market. 

In recent years, he has had horses in training with David Brown. 

In 2017 he had 83 runners, varying slightly with the previous year of 93. However, 2018, at the time of writing, he had just 38 runners with four winners. The helicopter-flying businessman appearing at racecourses fewer times than ever before and not interviewed by Racing UK, who loved the softly spoken but opinionated man. It is interesting to note that his best ever season was when he partnered Eoghan O'Neill back on 2005 with 28 winners from 161 runners. Total earnings over £300,000. 

Related stories: Shock Split As Fretwell Withdraws Horses From O'Neill Yard

Related stories: Whatever Happened To Eoghan O'Neill 

Relates stories: John Fretwell: ''I Started With Nothing...''

Watch the 2018 Champagne Stakes (Group 2) WINNER Too Darn Hot

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Man Vs Horse (No Contest)

Horses run fast.  

Man Vs horse...we don't even need a bookmaker to chalk up the odds, hey? Any odds. Even a three-legged horse would beat the fastest man on earth.

Can you remember when Olympic Medalist Jamie Baulch went to Kempton Park (2010) and took on Brendan Powell's Peopleton Brook? You'll never guess who won! 

A Shetland pony would have given Usain Bolt a run for his money. People are thrilled by speed. The fastest of their breed. A horse can run about 40 miles per hour. What about homosapien?   About 30 miles per hour. I think Donovan Bailey, rather than Usain Bolt, achieved the fastest speed at about 31 miles per hour (this may be wrong). However, Bolt's world record of 9.58 seconds reveals an average speed of 23.35 mph. The standing start lowing the top speed. 

Greyhounds are fast. But are they faster than thoroughbred horses? Well, in the United Kingdom a top greyhound raced a top racehorse over two furlongs on a turf course. The greyhound won by seven horse lengths. 

The fastest land animal is the cheetah. Once proclaimed to be able to run a top speed on 70 miles per hour. In fact, this turned out to be wrong. There has never been a cheetah that recorded a time over 60 mph. Most run in the mid to high 50s. 

Related stories: Baulch Not Long Faced Despite Horse Defeat 

YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS...

    

Brilliant. 

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Red Impression Sets Track Record At Lingfield For Roger Charlton (24th November)

Red Impression (stablemate of Fair Eva, pictured)
Blistering speed. You don't hear those words ''Track Record'' bandied around too often. Rightly so. Perhaps even more uncommon hearing a two-year-old broke the course record on her second start. 

Well, Roger Charlton has a lot to smile about with his super-impressive filly Red Impression, who is making the headlines. This grey daughter of Dark Angel, out of a debut-winning mare, was held in high regard before making her racecourse bow. She was backed like defeat was out of the question (13/8f) and ''scooted clear final furlong'' to win by over three lengths. The form of that race has been franked with the second and fourth winning since. 

This homebred, in the ownership of K. Abdullah, made her return over the same distance at Lingfield, when starting 8/15f. The 10-strong field didn't look the strongest of affairs with two major opponents if the betting was to be believed. Considering Red Impression was taking on colts and shouldering a win penalty this was going to be a fair challenge. 

However, nothing could have been further from the truth. The fill was held up behind Journey Of Life, waiting to pounce, and literally flew past Charlie Appleby's colt without taking a breath. 

She waltzed clear to win by six lengths capturing race comments: 


''Chased leaders, went 2nd and closing on clear leader over 2f out, led 1f out, soon shaken and readily went clear, not extended (op 2/5 tchd 4/7)''

The impressive part is a track record time: 1m 9.76s


Saturday, 17 November 2018

Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) Archive (Just Like Wikipedia)

Alpha Delphini Nunthorpe Stakes (Group one) Winner for Bryan Smart
Sprinterstogo has been chomping at the bit since the revamp. However, it needs a focus. 

Sure, we will be detailing lots of sprint race action but we need something that sets us apart from the general blogs which say a bit about this and that...

We need a niche. 

And so we have it. What better sprint to focus our attention than the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) at York. It has a rich history- some exceptional thoroughbreds. 

The likes of Dayjur (1990) just for starters.

I'm sure all readers have their favourites. If you want to leave a comment feel free to detail your memory. 

So what are we going to detail about the Nunthorpe Stakes? Winner, of course. And, perhaps, one or two runner-ups as they are often as deserving as those who get sunburnt from the flash of cameras. 

We are paying a top writer to make us an archive of some of the biggest winners. 

Just for those who don't know much about this great race, here are the basics.

Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) 

Inaugurated: 1922
Distance: 5f 
Race type: Flat/turf
Qualification: 2yo and up 


Bio: Did you know that the Nunthorpe Stakes was first run in 1903. It was a low-grade affair being at Selling class. 

Since 2011 the Nunthorpe Stakes has been part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge with the winner gaining the automatic right to compete in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. 

Two horses have won the race 3 times: Tag End (1928 - 1930), Sharpo (1980 - 1981)

Lester Piggott has won the most times from Right Boy (1958) - Solinus (1978) 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Chelmsford Void Race Fiasco Leads to Meeting Abandoned

Looks like someone forgot to put a 50p in the electric meter.

Well, that's what happened to punters as Chelmsford fell into darkness. 

The 5:15 Extra Places At Sprinterstogo.co.uk Handicap over 7f.

Unlucky punters were left fuming when a power cut meant the race was void as Florencio, trained by Jamie Osborne, won the race. However, it was void. 

The remainder of the meeting abandoned.

However, ''winning'' trainer Jamie Osborne insisted Florenico, owned by globetrotting Melbourne 10 should have taken the prize. In fact, Osborne recorded the win on his phone, ridden by Nicole Currie.

The trainers said: ''I am annoyed. It's blatantly obvious to me and the racegoers watching just who finished first, second, third and fourth.'' 

"They probably could have limited the damage of this by allowing the result to stand but the stewards had no interest in seeing my film, and apparently the rule is that if the judge can't determine the first four home, then the race has to be void."

However, there were reports that some riders eased their mounts. While Luke Morris and P J McDonald reported their horses were spooked. 

The official inquiry into voiding the race stated: "The judge was interviewed. The judge explained that due to insufficient light he was not able to verify the full result. The stewards were unable to view the last two furlongs of the race and, taking into consideration the judge’s evidence, the stewards declared the race void."


There was some good fortune to connections if not punters when Osborne Tweeted that the racecourse had honoured the win prize money. 

"Just when you think you have seen it all in racing! It's lucky that Florencio, the winner, is owned by the Melbourne Ten, me and nine of my mates. "I am sure the boys will probably have another drink and celebrate like they've had a winner."

Asked about how Currie had seen things, Osborne added: "It would take more than a little darkness to frighten her."

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Can You Remember Klute? (The World's Fastest Horse)

I know what you are thinking... 

That name sounds familiar. If you love your horse racing - it's there, trust me, dancing about the grey matter. Synaptic nerves firing like an old Ford Escort on a frosty morning. The popping sound of the exhaust: Klute, Klute, Klute...

Yes, I have a vivid imagination. 

However, do you remember? I must admit I had to turn right at the traffic lights of the frontal lobe (images of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) to recall this story that hit the headlines about a racehorse called Klute. Something to do with him/her (I can't remember the beasts sex at the time) being, wait for it, the fastest horse to ever set foot on God's earth since Adam & Eve. 

We are going back in time to dig up the remnants of this story. It was 1988. The venue Haydock Park. 

The event was billed - 


The World Speed Challenge 


The background to Klute being the ''fastest horse in the world'' had been sneered at by trainers. It was understandable. Why? Because Klute was raised as a pet and never raced officially except for fun on the beach. However, he had seemingly run a remarkably fast half furlong at Haydock Park clocking a world record of 44.91mph. This beat the former record set by a Mexican quarter horse back in 1945. That Speedy Gonzales went 43.26 (miles to the gallon). 

Whether people liked it or not, Klute had his name in the Guineas Book of Records. Official. His proud owner and trainer, Lesley Bruce, was confident Klute could stand his ground against the best racehorses and she wasn't frightened to take them on. 

So the contest was on!

12th August 1988 - 

5:15 Haydock -  Philip Cornes Match (The World Speed Challenge) 

Distance: 5f 

Going: Good

Klute would race against his sole rival So Careful, trained by Jack Berry, famous for wearing his lucky red shirt (pictured). 

Betting: 

So Careful - 1/9f 
Klute - 9/1 

Jockey: John Carroll
Jockey: Lesley Bruce

Race comments: So Careful: ''made all, soon clear, unchallenged. Klute: speed 2f, soon ridden and outpaced.''

Klute was beaten 25-lengths. 

A tearful Miss Lesley Bruce said: 


There was something wrong with him. He's been ill. 

Whether Klute had run a world record pace for the first half furlong (I'm not sure) but he was humiliated by So Careful who had an official rating of just 71. 

So Careful was a hard-as-nails horse who ran 38 times in her in a four-year career which saw her win 6 times. She achieved total earnings of £42,973. An all-time high official rating of 80 detailed a capable horse. 

The story of Klute made the headlines around the world. 


Whether Klute had been ill rumbled on for the next year. Klute and his reputation were left in tatters. But he wasn't done!

''In 1990, Klute would fight to save the day''


2:15 Catterick - Philip Cornes World Speed Challenge Match 

Venue: Catterick Bridge 
Distance: 5f
Going: Good to Firm 

Once again, Jack Berry would prove a worthy challenger in the shape of Valldemosa. The bookies had given up all hope on a Klute victory with Valldemosa 1/33f. Klute showing no support in the betting at 16/1. 

Race comment: Valldemosa ''Made all, ran on final furlong, easily''

Klute's title ''World Fastest Horse'' made a mockery. 
   
What about these two America speedsters: Secretariate (exceptional)


Did you bet on Klute?

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Racehorses are getting quicker and quicker!

Racehorses are continuing to get quicker, a study of winning times spanning 165 years of racing indicates. This may come as a surprise to many in the racing industry who believe that racehorse speed has reached its limit. 

Researchers say more work is required to determine whether the increased speeds are due to breeding techniques or changes in training and riding. 

The study has been published in The Royal Society Journal Proceedings B. Previous studies had shown that racehorse speeds had not increased since 1950. Many in the race horse industry had concluded that thoroughbreds might have reached the limits of their speed. This raised the question as to whether it was worth horse owners paying large amounts of money to stud farms aiming to breed future winners. 

Patrick Sharman, a PhD student at Exeter University and race enthusiast, decided to take a closer look. He found that previous studies were not comprehensive. They only analysed the winning time of a small number of races. These studies included middle distance (8 to 12 furlongs) and long distance (14 to 20 furlongs) races, but excluded sprints (5 to 7 furlongs). Mr Sharman analysed the times from every single so-called elite race involving the very fastest horses between 1850 and 2012, and also included all race meetings since 1997. He found that there had been little improvement in speeds between 1910 and 1975. But since then there has been a steady improvement in sprint races. The average winning time for a six-furlong race over the past 15 years has been cut by more than a second - which is a huge amount by sprint standards! 

''A modern-day horse would beat a horse from the early 90s by seven horse lengths'' 

However, there was little, if any, improvement at middle and longer distances. Speed over endurance? Mr Sharman says that this could be due to the fact that horses are being bred for speed rather than endurance. If that is the case, then speeds at middle and long distances could also be improved if breeders changed their methods. 

The improvement could be explained by a change in riding techniques since the 1970s - with jockeys adopting Lester Piggott's style of riding with shortened stirrups or improved training methods. But Mr Sharman wonders why there has been no improvement in the longer distances.

"My hunch is that we are seeing a genetic change, with breeders focusing on speed rather than endurance," he told BBC News. "I don't believe that over the longer distances horses have reached their limit."

Monday, 12 November 2018

4:15 Chelmsford Racing Tips (13th November)

A ten-runner sprint over 6f on Standard going. A fair selection of two-year-olds, a few been given significant entries. 

Always go to see Mick Easterby have a decent horse. Not particularly known for his two-year-olds, he has hit something of a purple patch this last month or so with two or three juvenile winners. Jack Berry House pulled off a surprise when victory on debut when winning at Newcastle at odds of 80/1 (it wasn't a fluke). A fine judge of horses, Easterby started Brandy Spirit at the deep end when making this gelding's debut in an All-Weather Fast Track Qualifier. To most, it would seem a bold, if not foolish, escapade against quality opposition. However, this son of Charm Spirit - a 50,000 guinea breeze-up buy - was nibbled in the market from 50-1 - 33/1. Taking advantage of a few horses with win penalties may have been a wise move. This February foal dwelt but soon moved up with panache. Trouble in running didn't help his cause, but connections must have been pleased to see him hit the frame. The Racing Post comment ''promising'' detailed an exciting horse in the making. 

It's a rematch with an old adversary Fares Kodiac who was just half a length behind for Marco Botti. This is one of the better two-year-olds in the stable (a lean year). A nose-winner on debut and far from disgraced in this better company since. Has been entered at Listed class. 

Michael Bell has a fair number of juveniles in his stable this year. A few have proven very capable (Pretty Polianna, Lady Aria & James Watt). Regular, in the ownership of The Queen, ran well on debut when finished second at odds of 3-1. It wasn't a bad run next time out at Doncaster when fifth, although I had expected more. He drifted markedly in the betting, before having the corners chipped off near the death. Interesting to note connections are dropping this gelding back to six furlongs. 

Andrew Balding's Grandstand has raced five times to date with an element of success. The best of those efforts came when running at Windsor on his third start when second best, losing by one length. Looked to struggle on his last two starts at nursery class. An official rating of 76 detail a horse with the ability to win a race but susceptible to a horse with a touch of class. 

Legend Island has run twice for Ed Walker in the familiar red/black striped silks of owner P K Siu. 

Robert Cowell fields one of two debutantes. Turquoise Friendly is an Irish-bred son of Holy Roman Emperor. This 40,000 guineas breeze-up purchase is out of an unraced dam. The stable can win on debut although often difficult to pinpoint when. If backed it would add to confidence. 

The other horse making its racecourse bow is Patrick Chammings' Opportune Moment. This gelding is a son of Slade Power is out of an exceptionally good mare named Carry On Katie, who was trained by Jeremy Noseda/Saeed bin Suroor, winning her first three starts, including the Lowther Stakes (Group 2) & Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1). She returned in the ownership of Godolphin to compete at the 1000 Guineas, finishing sixth, although beaten just three lengths. Then retired to stud after a disappointment at Longchamp, France. This horse must have looked a weak link at the yearling sales selling for just 14,000 euros. Interesting to see what he can achieve on this debut. A wide draw is negative. 

Brains, Tunky and Isabel Red are best watched. 

Conclusion: An intriguing race. A couple of potentially decent juveniles in Brandy Spirit and Fares Kodiac. The latter is no slouch and a proven winner. These win penalties make life harder although he wasn't too far behind Mick Easterby's charge last time out. There was a lot to like about Brandy Spirit on that first start. It spoke well that connections plumped for that option because to many it looked illogical. There should be ample improvement although not much meat on the bone at 6/4. May drift in the betting, which could give some value. Regular needs to show more for dropping in trip. Opportune Moment is bred like an expensive horse but cost ''pennies'' at the sales.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Boogie in the Morning!



Musselburgh stages a Class 4 5f Handicap at 2.40 today. The going is currently Good to Firm and a drying day ahead. There are 13 runners and the stalls will be on the stand side as usual.

There are a few in form horses here notably Lydiate Lady and Tanasoq but whether they can live with the pace of Fethiye Boy were he to return to his Class 3 winning Sandown form from last July is debatable. 

He's had a wind op and a change of stable since then and this is his second run since. This will be his 18th career start which leaves room for improvement and he is back on the same mark as that Sandown win where he beat a decent field which had Class 2 horses stepping down a grade rather than Class 5 stepping up. He showed blistering early pace in that and although he tired on the uphill finish he held on to win. He probably then came out to soon when running at Bath just 5 days later and he was last of eight on his next and last start the season.

He returned from a 220 day break at Wolverhampton on 24th March where he was quickly into a lead before understandably feeling the effects of his first run back. The stable have had 2 wins from their last 10 runners and it all looks set for a good show today.

Royal Brave won this race last season and has run well here on other occasions so should be in the mix under Daniel Tudhope. He has the plum draw but he will be dropped in rather than forcing the pace so it wont be of any benefit. Lydiate Lady has been on a steady upward curve since joining Eric Alston-she started her winning run off 48 in Class 6 and is now on a career high of 77 in Class 4 but on this quicker going the assured fast pace could well catch her out on this quick 5f track.

With Rapid Applause being a non runner we look at the second from that Beverley race that he won so convincingly and that is Tanasoq who came home two and a quater lengths in front of the third. Take the rejuvenated winner out of that race and he'd have looked impressive too. He's only up 2lb and is improving for his new trainer and is handily drawn in stall 12.

Fethiye Boy should give a good run for his odds of 12/1 and he is a value ew bet as he could well take higher rank than Class 4 as the season progresses.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Kimberella-ella-ella!



There's a Class 2 sprint at Lingfield in the afternoon but as there's now only 4 runners I'll give that one a miss.
Later on at 7.45 Wolverhampton stage another Class 2 handicap over 5f worth £28,000 to the winner and its a pretty uninspiring field of runners for the decent pot.
Some of these horses have run more times against each other than Coe and Ovett did in the eighties!
You usually need a draw near the rail in the sprints here and although Kimberella is drawn in 5 you would hope that would be good enough given there's not much on his inside. He was only beaten a short head behind Kachy last time out at Lingfield in the Listed Cleeve Stakes and a reproduction of that effort should see him go close.
None of the others jump off the page to make me think they are going to run out of their skin or trouble Kimberella and hopefully this 8yo can have another winning day.
I don't think he needs to be ridden in any particular way and he can usually be relied upon to put in a solid shift and Paul Hanagan firms the selection up a bit more.

1 point win at 4/1 with Paddy Power 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Head for the Tropics!



Another tight knit handicap on the AW at 7.00 on Thursday at Chelmsford.
This one may prove more difficult to find the winner than the other day at Southwell as nothing particularly stands out.

RECKLESS ENDEAVOUR - has not run here before and he's still on the same mark of his last win at Dundalk in September and not sure I can see him winning.
SIGN OF THE KODIAC - His last win was also at Dundalk when beating the admirable Gordon Lord Byron off a mark of 94 by half a length last March. He's still on the same mark now but he's had his chances since and not won.
HAKAM - Was a running on 2nd last time out at Wolverhampton over 5f following 3 runs over 7f - but he's not getting any respite form the handicapper and although he might be thereabouts at the finish I don't think he will win.
ZAC BROWN - This will be his 49th career start but not sure I'm that keen - although he is dropping down the weights.
ASCOT DAY - Has only 9 career starts to his name so is open to improvement. He recently had his first run after a 168 day break finishing last of 9 behind Reflektor. Prior to that he had beaten Boundsy at Newcastle over 6f off a mark of 85 - Boundsy was rated 78 and that rival followed that run up with 2 wins off marks of 82 and 86 at both Chester and Haydock so off 5lb higher there are possibilities for Ascot Day if he comes on for his recent return and he will go close.
FAST TRACK - Has 36 career starts with just the one run here. His last win came just over a year ago off a mark of 85 - he's now on 82. He was beaten 2 lengths by Tropics at Wolverhampton recently but he's 8lb better off with that rival in this so he should be bang there too.
UPAVON - Has 54 career starts and this will be his 15th start here and after winning his first two runs at the track he's never been better than 3rd although he is running at a consistent level. He couldn't win a Class 4 off a mark of 80 when 3rd to Aleef at the track recently and off the same mark he's unlikely to win a Class 3. That race was run in a time 1 min 10.35s.

That leaves us with TROPICS - Although the veteran of the field at 10 years of age he's only had 37 starts to date. He was rated 111 at the start of his 2017 campaign and he's off 92 here having won a Class 3 at Wolverhampton over 6f before finishing 4th at Lingfield when he was swallowed up late as most are. Robert Winston replaces the 3lb claimer here which is a positive move and this former group class performer has another big chance of getting back in the winners circle whilst he's in form.

1 pt win TROPICS @ 4/1 - Bet365, Coral and BetVictor.

Exacta picks - Tropics, Ascot Day, Fast Track.