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

Kingsgate Native Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Kingsgate Native Wins Nunthorpe Stakes
Foaled in Ireland on February 20, 2005, Kingsgate Native was sired by Mujadil, a prolific source of precocious, speedy types, out of Native Force, by high-class sprinter Indian Ridge. Owned by former bookmaker John Mayne and trained, initially, by John Best at Scragged Oak Farm in Hucking, near Maidstone, Kent, Kingsgate Native missed his intended racecourse debut twice, at Goodwood because of a passport irregularity and at York because of a waterlogged track, before connections decided to send him straight to the Windsor Castle Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Royal Ascot. 

Ridden by George Baker, Kingsgate Native belied odds of 66/1 by finishing second of 20, beaten just a head, by Drawnfromthepast, trained by Jamie Osborne. Consequently, on his next start, in the Molecomb Stakes, also over 5 furlongs, at Goodwood the following month, he lined up as 4/1 second favourite behind 5/2 favourite, Starlit Sands, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who’d been beaten just half a length in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot on her previous start. 

The field split and jockey George Baker, having initially headed for the far side, realised his mistake and belatedly switched to the stands’ side at halfway. Kingsgate Native disputed the lead inside the final furlong but, despite running on well in the closing stages, was held in the last 50 yards or so and beaten a neck by subsequent Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Fleeting Spirit, trained by Jeremy Noseda. 

Despite still officially being a maiden, in August, Kingsgate Native was stepped up to Group One level in the Nunthorpe Stakes, again over 5 furlongs, at York. He was described by Timeform as a ‘strong, lengthy’ colt and was clearly precocious, so lacked nothing in terms of the size or maturity required to take on older horses at the early stage of his career. His connections were also, no doubt, tempted by the generous 24lb weight allowance offered to two-year-olds in the Nunthorpe Stakes. 

Carrying just 8st 1lb, and ridden for the first time by lightweight jockey Jimmy Quinn, Kingsgate Native was sent off 12/1 seventh choice of the 16 runners in the Nunthorpe Stakes behind 9/4 favourite Dandy Man. He took a keen hold in the early stages but, having chased the leaders, led in the centre of the course approaching the final furlong and, despite edging left in the closing stages, kept on strongly to beat Desert Lord by 1¾ lengths. In so doing, Kingsgate Native caused a considerable upset and became the first two-year-old to win the Nunthorpe Stakes since Lyric Fantasy in 1992. 

Having beaten the older sprinters, at the highest level, on just his third start, Kingsgate Native proved his Nunthorpe Stakes win was no fluke by finishing second, after missing the break, to Benbaun in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp on the final start of his two-year-old season in October and by winning the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot the following June. He subsequently ran in the Nunthorpe Stakes another five times, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, but never won the race again. 

His best subsequent finish came in 2008, when he finished third, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Borderlescott in a rescheduled race run on the July Course at Newmarket. Indeed, in 2009, Kingsgate Native was bought by Cheveley Park Stud and retired from racing, but returned to training with Sir Michael Stoute after proving infertile. That year, he finished sixth, when favourite, behind Borderslescott again, in 2010 he finished sixth behind shock 100/1 winner Sole Power, in 2011 he finished fourth behind Margot Did and, in 2013, on his final attempt, when trained by Robert Cowell, he finished fifth behind lesser-fancied stable companion Jwala.

Related stories: Man Vs Horse (No contest) 

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 




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). 


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."

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Dayjur: The Horse Who Jumped Shadows

The Mighty Dayjur
Think of a sprinter...

 A horse so fast it captured the attention of fans across the globe. A class act crowned a champion but still, to this day, assessed with a measure of hard luck for an act that saw him lose a race he should have won.

For those who love their sprinters, there is only one horse who comes to mind. 


He was born on the 6th February 1987. This American-bred son of Danzig out of a dam called Gold Beauty. Bred in Kentucky. Dayjur raced under the ownership of Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum. An expensive yearling purchase for that decade costing $1.65M. Considering such an outstanding horse had total earnings of £327,280 it details his incredible price tag. 

The association of Dayjur went hand-in-hand with his trainer Major Dick Hern, who had been seriously injured in a hunting accident in 1984 which left him wheelchair bound. Both man and horse had a will of steel. 

This brown horse made his two-year-old debut at Newbury on the 15th June 1989. His reputation was tall - he started 8/15f. He won ''easily'' by a length. However, his second race at Listed class didn't go to plan when he was beaten by half a length at odds of 8/13f by Rushmoore, trained by Clive Brittain. 

At the end of the two-year-old season, he had a wind operation (to improve his breathing).

In a relatively short career of eleven races, his three-year-old season would be his last. 

However, this season would give him credit as one of the greatest sprinters of all time but, in the process, break the heart of his trainer and race fans around the world. 

Once again, Dayjur suffered disappointment on his return to racing in 1990. Major Dick Hern had him earmarked for 2000 Guineas (which proved to be a mistake). Racing over 7f in the European Free Handicap saw him disappointing to finish seventh of ten runners. 

Plans were quickly changing. 

Dayjur was dropped back to 6f and given a confidence-boosting run at Nottingham. However, he was beaten a head by Tod, at Newbury. 

At this stage, he looked far from a supreme talent. 

The Major hadn't lost faith. In fact, he entered Dayjur for the Temple Stakes at Sandown over the minimum trip of 5f. 

His jockey, Willie Carson, led from start to finish - winning by two lengths in good style. 

Now connections knew they had a serious horse on their hands and all illusions of him racing beyond sprint distances were forgotten.

In June, he won the King's Stand at Royal Ascot by two-and-a-half lengths although Major Hern was concerned about soft ground. The runner-up, Ron's Victory, was many lengths clear of the third and then went on to frank the form by winning the Diadem Stakes by ten lengths. 

Dayjur was made 8/11f to win the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) racing over 5f at York. He won by an easy four lengths and achieved a course record of 56:16. The Racing Post comment stated: ''very impressive''. (The only horse to beat his time is Borderleescott  (56:09) in 2008.) 

The latter part of Dayjur's career was coming to a conclusion. A few races to add to his credentials as being a true sprinting legend. 

In September, connections decided to attempt six furlongs in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup at Haydock. It was a stiff race with highly-rated Dead Certain a major opponent. Could Dayjur last the extra furlong? 

He led from start to finish. Going clear at the two-furlong pole, he held the late challenge of Royal Academy to win by one and a half lengths. 

To boost the form, Royal Academy went on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile in the United States. 

Dayjur won his final race in Europe when beating four rivals in the Prix de l'abbaye at Longchamp, France. 

Winning, and being eased at the line, Dayjur appeared to jump a shadow cast across the course!

By this time Dayjur had been heralded a sprinting sensation. He would represent Europe by travelling to the United States of America to contest the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint, at Belmont Park. A wide draw made life difficult. However, a gutsy Dayjur contested the lead and then headed Safely Kept and looked to have the race sealed. In the closing strides of the race (heartbreaking) Dayjur saw a shadow cast across the track and jumped losing momentum. Then, unbelievably, jumped another shadow at the finishing line. He lost by a neck as the filly took advantage of his ill fate. 

Dayjur Bio: (6th February 1987 - 25 September 2013)

Race record: 

11 runs, 7 wins, 3 seconds and unplaced on one occasion


British Horse of the Year 1990
European Champion Sprinter 1990 

What are your memories of this great sprinter?