From The Horse’s Mouth: Neigh 1

Updated: March 20, 2014

My Seabiscuit FTHM

Welcome horse lovers to the inaugural posting of my newsletter blog, where I’ll take a look back at some of the stories that have caught my eye. It’s been a big week for horse racing with the Cheltenham Festival and the Midlands Grand National taking place.

5-4-3-2 to 1


As Quevega took to the start of the OLBG Mares Hurdles on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival she already had 5 successive wins of the race under her saddle. Could it be 6 by the end of the afternoon? The answer was an emphatic YES as the mare powered over the last 200 yards to win and thus better Golden Miller’s record set in the 1930’s.

Jim Culloty became one of only 5 men to have had both a win as a rider and a win as a trainer in Cheltenham’s Gold Cup. He won three races as a jockey with mount Best Mate (2002-2004), and his first trained winner was Lord Windermere in this year’s photo finish. There is a distinct parallel with jockey Pat Taffee who won the Cup with Arkle three times, and then went on to train Captain Christy to victory.


When Goulanes crossed the line as winner of the Midlands Grand National (on Saturday 15th) trainer David Pipe had a 4th win, with his 4th horse. In previous years Minella Four Star, Master Overseer and Big Occasion have taken the honour for Pipe.

Sadly there were 4 horse fatalities during Cheltenham: Our Conor, Akdam, Stack the Deck and Raya Star.

There were 4 Irish bred horses in the top 4 positions in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper. Silver Concorde, Shaneshill, Joshua Lane and Black Hercules.


What a difference a day makes and on the last day at Cheltenham, jockey Daryl Jacob had 3 races with vastly different outcomes. In the first he lost his stirrups aboard Calipto, in the second he won on Lac Fontana. With the imminent start of his third race aboard Port Melon he suffered 3 broken bones (arm, knee and leg), when his mount got spooked on the cantor toward the starting line. Horse and rider ploughed into the railings and plunged together toward the ground, where Jacob came off worst. Daryl was one of six riders to be injured during the festival, the others being Ruby Walsh, Bryan Cooper, Josh Hamer, Mark Walsh and Paul Townend. Many, if not all of them, will be out of action for months. Jason Maguire had been prevented from riding at Cheltenham, due to an awful injury he sustained on the Monday of festival week.

In contrast to Daryl Jacob’s day, jockey Davy Russell enjoyed yet endured 3 great wins himself. On mount Tiger Roll in the first race he won by a clear 3 ¾ lengths. Then he endured a steward’s enquiry to ensure victory for Lord Windermere in the Gold Cup, winning by a short head. Finally in the last race of the festival, Russell rode Savello to a 1 ¼ length victory. His success in the saddle returned a 3926-1 treble. Not bad for a day’s work.

3 Cheltenham Photo Finishes: Arkle ChaseWestern Warhorse over Champagne Fever. Coral CupWhisper over Get Me Out Of Here, and Glenfarclas ChaseBalthazar King over Any Currency.

On Saturday 15th jockey Noel Fehily had 3 simultaneous victories in his races prior to the Midlands Grand National. But he couldn’t make it four in a row.

3 horses were retired at Cheltenham-Dunguib, Big Buck’s and Last Instalment.

Owner Ronan Lambe had 3 separate horses win for him at Cheltenham this year, with Lord Windermere’s Gold Cup accolade being the most controversial.


There were 2 stewards’ enquiries at either end of the festival. In the last race of day one, Present View kept its victory over AtAGlance in the Novices Handicap Chase. And in the premier Gold Cup race on the final day, Lord Windermere retained his first past the post status over On His Own but I have a feeling this story may yet have a twist in its tale.

2 Fathers and 2 Sons– Peter/Tom Scudamore and Martin/David Pipe. The legacy of Peter and Martin is clearly in safe hands with Tom and David. I had immediately fancied Western Warhorse on hearing the names Scudamore and Pipe, knowing what a cracking combination these two were. But having literally resurrected my interest in racing just this week, my mind had thought of the elder statesmen I knew from my younger years.


Western Warhorse had victory in the Arkle having had only 1 other win over hurdles previously. Only 1 other time had

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an untried horse achieved this feat, and the jockey/trainer combination back then was Scudamore and Pipe as well. It was with great interest I read an article which suggested David Pipe had tried to persuade the owners NOT to run Western Warhorse!!

I read in a newspaper The Giant Bolster was the ONLY British bred horse in the line up for the Gold Cup. This came as a surprise to me.

Without a doubt there is 1 undisputed legend of Cheltenham racing-ARKLE. Channel 4 broadcast a superb documentary (Thursday 13th) about the horse. It was a masterpiece of sporting visual journalism, with past jockeys, trainers & veteran commentator insights and archive footage, bringing a bygone era back to life for today’s fans. This was lovely to see, and as I watched I was reminded of a book I read last year, about an almost forgotten little horse from America

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called Seabiscuit. I will blog about the Arkle/Seabiscuit parallels soon, and this will be found on my blog angiesallsorts.

Horse Whispers

Some of the chatter gleaned from the stable that is called Twitter.

The Military Wives Choir will sing the national anthem before the Grand National (April 5th).

Aintree will have a floral display in the Red Rum garden for the three day festival, and a minute applause will take place on National day. Both are to show support for the Hillsborough 96 families, as this year sees the 25th anniversary of this tragedy.

The trailer for the @CrabbiesUK #GrandNational will premier on Friday 21st March at 9pm. Presumably this will be on Channel 4 as the BBC don’t normally feature adverts (except their own program ones).

Lord Windermere will not be run again this season, his trainer Jim Culloty confirmed on March 20th.

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