Kalendar Magazine | 2021-22 Season | The Jockey Club

THE MAGAZINE FOR THE WEST REGION OF THE JOCKEY CLUB Kalendar / SEASON

HI STORY MAKER Rachael Blackmore, the rst female to be Leading Jockey at The Festival™ and win the Randox Grand National

WELCOME

partnership with WellChild at this year’s Festival™. For the rst time this year, The Jockey Club will be

Welcome to The Jockey ClubWest Region’s Kalendar magazine. This is always an exciting time of year as it marks the beginning of another exhilarating season of Jump racing, and we hope you enjoy this year’s magazine as we reect on our favourite moments from last year and look ahead to the great racing coming ourway.

organising Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, and within this year’s Kalendar magazine we oer an insight into what the four-day event has in store, as well as the fantastic eventing

roll of honour it has. Including newly crowned team Olympic Champions, Laura Collett and London52. We hope to see many of you with us at this fantastic venue. Finally, I would like to pass on my thanks to you all. Your continued support and patience as we navigated through the past 18 months has been remarkable and for that, we are extremely grateful. We very much look forward to being able to open our gates to you all for this season. It has not been the same without you, and we cannot wait for this season at our racecourses to be bigger and better than ever. Take care, and best wishes.

Last season was not the year we were hoping for with the majority of it needing to take place behind closed doors, however we were treated to historic, record-breaking moments. This year’s Kalendar looks at how Rachael Blackmore found her way to becoming the rst female to win the Randox Grand National in its 182nd running. We reect on the incredible career of Champion Jockey Richard Johnson who hung up his boots for the nal time in April 2021, and discover what it meant to Harry Skelton to nally claim his rst Champion Jockey title. Plus, we shine a light on our local communities and the work we love to do with our local people, including Park Palace Ponies at Aintree Racecourse, and our more recent

Ian Renton Regional Managing Director, The Jockey Club

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CONTENTS

 SEASON DATES All you need to plan the year  KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY Spotlight on jump racing dynasties  SO MUCH TO GET EXCITED ABOUT Joshua Stacey reveals what he’s most looking forward to  THE WAIT IS OVER Jump racing is back at Cheltenham  THE MAGIC STARTS HERE Nick Seddon considers what we can expect from The November meeting  AFTER HOURS WITH CHRIS HUGHES Presenter Chris reveals what’s in store when After Hours returns to our screens

 TEN TO WATCH IN  Trainers Paul Nicholls and Henry de Bromhead reveal the ones to watch  THE BETFAIR CHASE The UK’s rst Grade One race of the season at Haydock Park  NEW YEAR’S DAY Ben Cox reveals what’s in store for the start of 2022 at Cheltenham  FOCUS ON CHARITY Discover more about the charity work of The Jockey Club in the West region  RICHARD JOHNSON OBE Reviewing his rise to stardom  HISTORY MAKER Rachael Blackmore looks back on her incredible achievements in 2021

 HARRY SKELTON

Harry explains why a great season is all about the teamwork – and family  POINTING TO THE FUTURE Understanding the importance of point-to-point racing  THE CHELTENHAM CLUB Enjoy spectacular racing access and world-class hospitality  THE FESTIVAL TM Four extraordinary days that represent a highlight in the racing calendar  THE ORCHARD Find out more about an opportunity to enjoy a unique Festival experience  VISIT CHELTENHAM Making the most of your stay

 BLENHEIM PALACE INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRIALS A new era for The Jockey Club running this iconic four-day event  RACING TO THE FINALE Nick Seddon looks at the April meeting  THE THRILL OF RACE NIGHT Spotlight on amateur point-to-point  WHERE CHAMPIONS MEET Versatile spaces for exceptional events  LOCAL HEROES: FIVE TO FOLLOW The Cotswold Gent reveals the ones to watch locally  AAMILAH IS RIDING A DREAM Jockey Club support for The Riding a Dream Academy

 NEW LEASE OF LIFE The retired racehorses enjoying a dierent life after racing is over  THE SYNDICATE Reviewing the Syndicate racehorses’ performances in 2020-2021  READER COMPETITION Your chance to win two Club tickets to Gold Cup Day

 MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME Find out more about The Jockey Club’s hospitality packages  THE ICONIC EXPERIENCE Escape from it all with a Room with a View Package at Chewton Glen  ‘CLAISSE CLOSED’: THE END OF AN ERA A look back at the tenure of Simon Claisse as Clerk of the Course  THE RANDOX GRAND NATIONAL Reviewing the history and highlights of the most famous Aintree festival  DISCOVER LIVERPOOL Making the most of your stay  WINNING IN THE WEST Take a look at the ve other great jump venues across the West

DESIGNED AND PRODUCED FOR THE JOCKEY CLUB BY: NEWHALL PUBLISHING LTD New Hall Lane, Hoylake, Wirral CH47 4BQ newhallpublishing.com

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All details in the magazine were correct at the time of going to press. The contents of this magazine are owned by the publisher and may not be reproduced without permission. © Newhall Publishing Ltd 2021.

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I NFORMAT I ON 2021-22 SEASON DATES

Don’t miss out on the key dates in the 2021-2022 Jump Racing Season S EA SON DAT E S

A I NT RE E  OCTOBER  Afternoon Racing  NOVEMBER  Autumn Raceday  DECEMBER  Becher Chase  APRI L  Grand National

CAR L I S L E  SEPTEMBER  Afternoon Racing  OCTOBER  Welcome to the Jumps  OCTOBER  Afternoon Racing  OCTOBER  Colin Parker Memorial Day  NOVEMBER  Afternoon Racing  NOVEMBER  Afternoon Racing  DECEMBER  Christmas Jumper Day

CHE LT ENHAM  OCTOBER  The Showcase  NOVEMBER  The November Meeting  DECEMBER  The International  JANUARY  New Year’s Day  JANUARY  Festival Trials Day  MARCH  The Festival™

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I NFORMAT I ON 2021-22 SEASON DATES

E X E T ER  OCTOBER  Season Opener  OCTOBER  Best Mate Beginners’ Chase Day  NOVEMBER  Haldon Gold Cup Day  NOVEMBER  Midweek Racing  NOVEMBER  Mansion Bet Devon Air Ambulance Raceday  DECEMBER  Festive Raceday  DECEMBER  Christmas Raceday  JANUARY  New Year’s Day

HAYDOCK PARK  SEPTEMBER  Afternoon Racing  SEPTEMBER  Summer Season Finale  OCTOBER  Flat Finale  NOVEMBER  Betfair Chase Day  DECEMBER  Christmastime Raceday  DECEMBER  Tommy Whittle Chase Day  DECEMBER  The Last Fling

WARWI CK  SEPTEMBER  The Mansionbet Grand Season Opener  SEPTEMBER  Poundland Grand Season Opener  SEPTEMBER  The Great Autumn Meeting  NOVEMBER  Stan Mellor Raceday  NOVEMBER  Winter Warmer  DECEMBER  Eventmasters Christmas at the Races  DECEMBER  New Year’s Eve Raceday

WI NCANTON  OCTOBER  Mansion Bet Season Opener  OCTOBER  Fitzdares Racing Welfare Charity Day  NOVEMBER  Badger Beers Chase Day  NOVEMBER  Afternoon Racing  DECEMBER  Afternoon Racing  DECEMBER  MansionBet Afternoon Racing  DECEMBER  Boxing Day Racing

For our full season dates please visit thejockeyclub.co.uk and our individual racecourses For ticket and hospitality pricing and to book, head online now thejockeyclub.co.uk

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F EATURE JUMP RACING DYNASTIES

Only 20 minutes or so of the 2020-21 Jump season remained when Nick Gifford celebrated victory in a near-empty winner’s enclosure at Sandown Park on April 24 Keeping it in the family

A nd while the handicap chase he had just won was far from the most significant race on the bet365 Jump Finale card, let alone the season, there can hardly have been a more poignant moment in the sport all year. With tears in his eyes the trainer celebrated Belargus’s success in the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices’ Handicap Chase as if it were a Grade One prize. To him, the race named in honour of his father was just as important. Some 18 years earlier Josh Gifford, who famously saddled Aldaniti to an emotional victory in the 1981 Grand National under Bob Champion, had sent out the final winner of his career on the final day of the season at Sandown Park with Skycab.

Following his death in 2012, it was decided to name a race in his honour at the bet365 Jump Finale and here was Belargus, a six-year-old owned by JP McManus, winning it for his son. An emotional Nick Gifford said afterwards: “It does mean the world to us. We’ve got a lot of fond memories here and it’s a race that we’ve been trying to win for a while but you need a nice horse to do it. “We nearly won it four or five years ago with Christopher Wren, who got mugged on the line. That was for JP McManus as well, so I’m sure he’ll have a smile on his face too, as I’m sure he wanted to win this as much as I did.” It may have been a fleeting moment in the grand

Josh Gifford (second right) with Bob Champion (left), Aldaniti and the horse’s owner, Nick Embiricos, after the 1981 Grand National win

Nick Gifford winning the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices’ Chase on Belargus at Sandown earlier this year, the event named after his father

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F EATURE JUMP RACING DYNASTIES

Keith Piggott, here with his son Lester, followed his own father, Ernest, into Jump racing, having success as both rider and trainer over the years

Lester Piggott is best known for Flat racing, especially his nine Derby wins, but even he had victory in Jump racing, winning the 1954 Triumph Hurdle

in 1981, when he was looking for a replacement for the injured Jonjo O’Neill. Eventually the trainer settled on using John Francome as a very able substitute. Easterby himself heads the greatest family dynasty in the north of England. During his career he sent out 13 Cheltenham Festival winners including Alverton (1979) and Little Owl (1981) in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, plus Saucy Kit (1967), Night Nurse (1976 and 1977) and Sea Pigeon (1980 and 1981) in the Champion Hurdle. Following his retirement in 1996, he handed over the reins to his son Tim, who although now more focused on Flat racing, has enjoyed Festival success with Barton in the 1999 renewal of what is now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and with Hawk High in the 2014 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. For good measure, Peter’s brother Mick, currently Britain’s oldest licensed trainer at the age of 90, has also sent out a winner at Jump racing’s most prestigious event with Peterhof in the 1976 Triumph Hurdle. Ginger McCain (1930-2011) saddled the great Red Rum to success in the Grand National on a record three occasions (1973, 1974 and 1977), and by the time of his fourth Grand National victory with Amberleigh House in 2004, son Donald was already

scheme of the season but it remains a fine example of how racing families strive to keep the sport in their blood. Take Lester Piggott, who history will remember as the most famous jockey of all time. And although it was in Flat racing that Lester is best remembered, notably for his record nine Derby winners, his family traditions were firmly in the ‘winter game’. His grandfather Ernest (1878–1967) was champion Jump jockey on three occasions and rode three Grand National winners on Jerry M (1912) and Poethlyn (1918, substitute race at Gatwick and 1919 at Aintree). And his father Keith (1904-1993) followed in his footsteps, riding the 1939 Champion Hurdle heroine African Sister and training Ayala to success in the 1963 Grand National. Even Lester himself made a small impact on Jump racing, winning the Triumph Hurdle (then run at the now defunct Hurst Park) on Prince Charlemagne in 1954. While Lester only mixed Flat and Jump racing in the very early stages of his career, trainer Peter Easterby has revealed that he came close to getting the legendary jockey in the saddle for the second of the great Sea Pigeon’s Champion Hurdle victories

We’ve got fond memories here and it’s a race we’ve been trying to win for a while

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F EATURE JONJO O’NEILL SR. & JONJO O’NEILL JR.

heavily involved with the operation. Ginger lived just long enough to see his successor saddle Ballabriggs to an emotional success in the 2011 running of the world’s greatest steeplechase. The Randox Grand National is a race with strong connections to another of racing’s great families – the Scudamores. Michael (1932-2014) partnered the 1959 Aintree hero Oxo and his son Peter went on to be crowned champion jockey on eight occasions. Today his grandsons Tom and Michael are currently a successful Jump jockey and trainer respectively. Aintree success eluded Peter, with his best finish when third on Corbiere in 1985, and Tom is yet to better his sixth place on Vieux Lion Rouge in 2017. However, Michael Scudamore Senior’s Aintree victory is cherished by the family. Tom explained: “My grandfather won the race in 1959 and while I obviously have no recollection of that, it is something the whole family is very proud of. When Oxo won there was a big dinner in Hereford to celebrate a couple of weeks’ later and we have still got the menus and cards from that. “It is something that will always be associated with Grandad, and for all that Dad and I have achieved, there was always the fact that Michael Scudamore had won the Grand National, so he always put us in the shade a bit. “Growing up, we would talk at Sunday lunches for hours about the Grand National. Grandad rode in, I think, 16 consecutive Nationals, which I think is still a record, and dad rode in it 13 or 14 times. I think

Peter and Mick Easterby, the elder statesmen of the greatest family dynasty of trainers in the north of England

My grandfatherwon the Grand National in 1959 – something the family is very proud of

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F EATURE JUMP RACING DYNASTIES

I could talk about every single ride they had and how they got on. It was an enormous part of my childhood

Michael Scudamore winning the Grand National in 1959

Willie Mullins, the most successful trainer of all-time at The Festival™

trainers. Willie has rewritten the record books and is currently the most successful trainer of all-time at The Festival with 78 victories, including two Cheltenham Gold Cups with Al Boum Photo and outstanding Champion Hurdle winners Hurricane Fly, Annie Power and Faugheen. Willie’s brothers Tom and Tony and his sister-in-law Margaret have also tasted training success at the ‘Olympics’ of Jump Racing, bringing the total number of Mullins family-trained winners at the four-day spectacular to an incredible 88. With Willie’s son Patrick a leading amateur rider and a key player in his training set-up, and his nephews Emmet, Danny and David all making their mark on the sport, the Mullins dynasty looks a strong favourite to endure for many decades to come.

I could talk about every single ride they had and how they got on. It was an enormous part of my childhood.” Ireland can also lay claim to several Jump racing dynasties with the Walsh, Carberry and O’Brien families among the most notable. However, one stands above all in Jump racing – the Mullins family. Family patriarch Paddy Mullins was a longstanding trainer and sent out six winners at The Festival™ before his retirement in 2005. Those half-dozen successes were headed by the all-time Queen of Cheltenham – Dawn Run. Successful in the 1984 Champion Hurdle, she created history two years later when becoming the first (and so far, only) horse to go on to success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Three of Paddy’s sons have gone on to become

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F EATURE OPINION

SO MUCH TO GET EXCITED ABOUT

Racing aficionado Joshua Stacey (@TheRacingJosh) looks back on unprecedented times and forward to the coming season

I t’s a sunny summer morning in London, and all I can think about is Harry Cobden’s cosy but victorious ride on Greanteen nine months ago at Exeter. I’ve got just 70 more days to cross off on the calendar until the 2021 renewal of the Haldon Gold Cup fills my life with happiness. Think I’m obsessed? You’ve not met my friends. The past 18 months have been a real challenge off the racecourse, but in unprecedented times I’m extremely thankful to those on it for providing such entertainment, joy and positivity when we really needed it. After hitting the replay button on the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for the 89th time, I’ve just about stomached the demolition job from Appreciate It – what a joy to watch. “You’d have to think that was a Vautour-like performance, wouldn’t you?” Stop it Willie Mullins. You’ve been living in my head rent free all summer. Rachael Blackmore, history maker. Sounds great doesn’t it? Seizing the opportunity with an impeccable Randox Grand National ride on Minella Times to become the first female jockey to taste victory in the famous steeplechase. That reminds me, I’m only another 1-2 finish in the Gold Cup and Grand National

What if it’s just a one off? Do they have the temperament to match the talent? We’ve really got so much to get excited about. My beloved two-mile chase division is set to provide fireworks. Superstars in waiting, Shishkin and Energumene, stepping up into the big time with Chacun Pour Soi, Nube Negra and magic-mare Put The Kettle On ready to batten down the hatches. From the time of my introduction to racing ten years ago, I don’t remember the depth and quality

away from starting a petition to ban all Irish festival runners. I’m now ready to do it all again. No beautiful, sunny day in August gets close to a brisk Badger Beers Chase day at Wincanton. Frost covers off, thick coat on, pastie in hand and Paul Nicholls firing in winners left-right-and-centre – the stuff of dreams. I can’t wait. Leading heavyweights, popular veterans and outstanding novices all ready to deliver their blow. I’ve got a copious amount of questions. How good are they?

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F EATURE OPINION

Monkfish, Envoi Allen and Chantry House, who are champing at the bit for a slice of Cheltenham Gold Cup glory. Although I think age may have caught up with him, you couldn’t definitely rule out Al Boum Photo either. Goodness knows what Mr. Henderson will decide for Champ, the Matt Chapman of the racecourse – I’d send him back over hurdles. Ant and Dec, fish and chips,

choose to take with him: chasing, hurdling, two-miles, three. It’s a nice problem to have. I suspect with his size plus agility already shown over hurdles, he’ll go chasing and could just be a cut above anything in training. “It’s easy winning a Gold Cup,” said no-one ever, and this season is no exception. Minella Indo will have a tough time defending his crown against the likes of

ever being this high. Saying this, in Bob Olinger I think we’re in the presence of a real generational superstar. Few performances have taken my breath away as much as his in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, running rings around Gaillard du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, two first-rate prospects in their own right. What’s most appealing is the variety of routes connections can

“IN UNPRECEDENTED TIMES I’M EXTREMELY THANKFUL TO THOSE ON THE RACECOURSE FOR PROVIDING SUCH ENTERTAINMENT, JOY AND POSITIVITY WHEN WE REALLY NEEDED IT”

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F EATURE OPINION

could undoubtedly cause a stir in the hurdling division. Less than two months until we’re back in the full swing of things and I can’t wait to be standing in front of the rail with a warm, euphoric buzz. My parents often told me not to wish my life away but if you offered me that opportunity tomorrow, I’d snap your hand off. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

emerging from the shadows in a bid to take the two-mile hurdling crown off the rightful Queen. 2020 Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow started off his campaign conquering the mighty Bob Olinger in a high-class maiden hurdle at Gowran Park before picking up a pelvic injury, which ruled him out for the season. If retaining his ability, Ferny Hollow

Warwick Racecourse and New Years’ Eve, Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore – all pairings that were born to be together. Going into the last campaign, sharp jumping was the last piece of the puzzle for Honeysuckle and, blimey, she found it. Four runs, four wins, four Grade 1s. In a league of her own. But despite her dominance, candidates are

“FROM THE TIME OF MY INTRODUCTION TO RACING TEN YEARS AGO, I DON’T REMEMBER THE DEPTH AND QUALITY EVER BEING THIS HIGH”

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F EATURE 22-23 OCTOBER 2021

THE WA I T I S OVE R

With winter just round the corner it can mean only one thing – Jump racing at Cheltenham is back. The Showcase is renowned not only for getting us in the mood for the months ahead, but also throwing up some clues with the rest of the season in mind. Nick Seddon takes a look at what we can expect…

I f ever we needed a reminder as to the huge part racegoers play at any course then the 2020-21 Jump season was it. Not since 13 March 2020 has Cheltenham welcomed spectators in unrestricted numbers. And while the action on the track last season was some of the most thrilling in memory, the pandemic deprived fans the chance of witnessing it for themselves.

superstars of previous and future seasons, the fixture pairs two days of top quality action with fabulous food and entertainment between races. Top jockeys and trainers from both sides of the Irish Sea head to the Cotswolds with some of their smarter recruits for the year ahead and many of the contenders will likely return in March for The Festival™. But while the runners

You can be forgiven then if, like all those involved in the sport, excitement levels are further heightened at the prospect of spectators returning in their many thousands when the action returns to Jump Racing HQ on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd October for The Showcase meeting. Identified by many as the first opportunity to see some of the equine

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F EATURE 22-23 OCTOBER 2021

Just imagine howwarm the welcome will be as crowds return to this meeting

at The Festival after running at The Showcase in the last 12 years. Galvin was the latest to add his name to that list when striking in both the Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices’ Chase for Cullentra House Stables in October and again in March in the Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase. Another winner at last year’s Showcase meeting who has made waves in the sport since is Captain Tom Cat. Trainer Dr Richard Newland was so taken by the five year old’s victory in the squareintheair. com Handicap Hurdle he sent him over the larger obstacles, where he had three victories on the bounce at Aintree in May and Worcester twice in June this year. While last year’s Showcase was like no other for different reasons, this year’s curtain-raiser to the season at Cheltenham promises to deliver both on and off the track.

to date – the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Tasked with giving over a stone to the field last October, Frodon was scintillating from the front under regular partner Bryony Frost and it was clear afterwards how much the victory meant to trainer Paul Nicholls. He said: “That was an amazing performance. I thought he would probably need the run a little bit. He loves Cheltenham, but I thought he had it all to do with that weight.” Victory then and his subsequent Christmas heroics were enough for Nicholls to hand him his chance in the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Ultimately the horse affectionately known as ‘Frodes’ was not able to repeat his success on the biggest stage of them all, but his exploits at The Showcase prove just how important ‘Cheltenham form’ can be. In fact, no fewer than 16 horses have won

and riders might have travelled from far and wide to take their places at the most prestigious jumps track of all, there is a distinctive ‘local’ feel to the fixture. Old friends and acquaintances look forward to The Showcase as a kind of reunion in normal times, so just imagine how warm the welcome will be as crowds return to this meeting for the first time in two years this autumn. And it is not just the spectators who will be glad to be back. The unique nature of Cheltenham’s Old and New Courses gives horses with a real love of the place the opportunity to return to strut their stuff. That rings especially true for the ever-popular Frodon, who seems to come alive at Cheltenham. One of the best chasers in training, his victory at The Showcase last year in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase was the springboard to his greatest triumph

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THE NOVEMBER MEET I NG 12-14 NOVEMBER 2021

Cheltenham’s November Meeting is the first blockbuster event of the new season where the action comes thick and fast. Nick Seddon takes a look at what we can expect THE MAG I C S TAR T S HE R E

For ticket and hospitality pricing and to book, head online now thejockeyclub.co.uk

THE NOVEMBER MEET I NG 12-14 NOVEMBER 2021

FAMILY FUN DAY – Under 18s Go Free! Join us on Sunday of The November Meeting as Children’s TV Character Bing will be making personal appearances throughout the day as well as the chance to enjoy a whole host of free children’s activities including inflatable fun, face painting and meeting the animals.

T here’s an age-old adage that you can’t please everyone all the time. And while that might be true in other walks of life, The November Meeting might just be the exception to the rule. Firstly, the Jump season is well and truly underway by the time the gates open for these three days of unmissable racing from 12 to 14 November and that means top-class horses lining up in top-class races. And with the best track action comes an array of food and entertainment options off it, with free family fun in the Club and Tattersalls enclosures, to live music in the ever-popular Guinness Village and Centaur, to fine dining restaurants and world-class hospitality. It all begins with Countryside Day on the Friday, which, as the name suggests, is a race day with a local feel to it. There’s a real sense of community on course, and a favourite feature for many will be the iconic parade of the Cotswold Hunt horses and hounds in front of the

Jump racing fixture this side of Christmas. Some of the sport’s biggest names have graced this card at different stages of their careers, and once the novices have strutted their stuff in the respective early-season trials for the Arkle Trophy and the Triumph Hurdle, the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup takes centre stage. Run over two-and-a-half miles and offering £130,000 in prize money, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is ferociously competitive and has, over the years, become one of the most popular Saturday handicaps of the entire season. Although a handicap in name, it generally takes a high-class performer to win the race and it has built up a reputation for producing champions as a consequence – demonstrated by a recent roll of honour that included graded performers, Al Ferof (2012) and Exotic Dancer (2006), as well as a subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase winner, Imperial Commander (2008). Last year’s

grandstand. In terms of the racing, the opening day of The November Meeting provides the first of just three opportunities all year to see horses take on the Cross Country Course at Cheltenham – unique across the UK’s 60 professional racecourses. The jewel in the crown of the Cross Country scene is the big race at the Cheltenham Festival, a spectacle that has been dominated by the ever- popular Tiger Roll in recent years. However, the first two Cross Country races of the season tend to offer the limelight to others. Take the veteran Kingswell Theatre, for instance, who at last year’s meeting defeated a field that included the two kings of the division, Tiger Roll and Easysland, and recorded a second victory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase. Day two on the Saturday is Paddy Power Day and just a glance at the stellar seven-race card will tell you why many people regard it as the most significant

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THE NOVEMBER MEET I NG 12-14 NOVEMBER 2021

The Grade Two Shloer Chase was won by the Henry de Bromhead-trained Put The Kettle On, who went on to become the first mare ever to win the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the March showpiece event. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Shloer Chase has quickly endeared itself to racing fans, perhaps the result of Sprinter Sacre’s emotional victory in the race in 2015. For racegoers with one eye on The Festival at Jump Racing HQ in March, it is worth noting that form at The November Meeting often proves strong four months later. Whatever the weather, thrills, spills and entertainment galore is assured at The November Meeting. And who knows, you may just see the next superstar.

winner was the novice, Coole Cody, who belied his inexperience by picking up a deserved big-race success for trainer Evan Williams, who was delighted to strike after several near misses. He says: “They are very hard races to win and we are usually second, third and fourth in all these big races – we have been second, third and fourth in them all! But if you keep trying, you’ll get there in the end. “He is a funny character at times. If he could go to the pub at night and have a fight he would prefer to do that than sit in front of the fire in his slippers! And when he gets the bit between his teeth and starts rolling, he is very tough.” Family Fun Day brings the curtain down on the three days and its feature race –

the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle – is as competitive a contest as you will find. A puzzle that even seasoned punters struggle to solve, its recent winners have included a subsequent Champion Hurdle winner in Rooster Booster (2002), a Champion Chase winner in Sizing Europe (2008) and the popular Menorah (2011). The Greatwood lived up to its reputation once again last season, and was won in fine style by The Shunter, a subsequent winner of the Paddy Power Plate over fences at The Festival™. Trained by the ever-shrewd Emmet Mullins, The Shunter was placed to perfection throughout the season and would actually be one of two Festival winners to triumph on Family Fun Day.

PADDY POWER DAY ON THE SATURDAY IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT JUMP RACING FIXTURE THIS SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

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THE

MEETING 2021

FAM I LY F U N DAY

SUN 14

KIDS GO FREE FREE CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT

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F EATURE AFTER HOURS

After Hours with Chris Hughes

Ever wondered what Willie Mullins watches on Netflix? Or if Joseph O’Brien is a Love Island Fan ? After Hours returns with the answers to so many questions

L ive after racing from Cheltenham, Aintree, and Epsom, ITV Racing ’s Chris Hughes will return to host the hit online show: After Hours . With a selection of guest co-hosts from model and TV presenter Rosie Tapner, to fellow ITV star Ed Chamberlin, keep up to date with the action from the day and enjoy a few surprise added extras. “It is such a fun show to do – I look forward to it all day,” Chris explained. “ After Hours highlights the fun side of racing. Obviously we discuss all the action from the day and the biggest racing stories, but where else are you going to see Rachael Blackmore chatting about her favourite TV show? Or Aidan Coleman live from his sofa the evening after winning the Champion Chase? The show brings it into people’s living rooms and I love that we get to do that.” After Hours is half an hour of exclusive behind-the-scenes content, interviews with the biggest names in the sport and (we hope!) the chance for viewers to find a few winners for the next day, too.

isn’t a sport I know a huge amount about, but I’m excited to learn. Hopefully viewers will learn with me.” Chris will be joined by eventing supremo and his fellow ITV Racing presenter Alice Plunkett who will likely take the reins over the four days. “I am in safe pair of hands with Alice beside me. With her own experience and obviously being married to William (five time Olympian), there is very little she doesn’t know about the sport!” As well as Alice on site, Rosie Tapner and Irish event rider Sam Watson will be on hand to help tell the stories of the day and offer Chris an insight into the eventing world. The four evening shows live from the Palace will be shown free-to-air on Horse & Country TV. To find out more, visit bpiht.co.uk. “Being able to do the show back on course next year, and have guests live with us will be fun. It is a light-hearted show, which I think trainers and jockeys enjoy. We aren’t asking the same questions that they’ve been asked all day so they can relax and enjoy it.”

“The idea of the show is to open racing up to a new audience. It gives us chance to let the personalities of the people in our sport shine through. They are all such great people, and we don’t always get the chance to see that when they are interviewed on ITV or before a race as they are so focussed on the job in hand. “I enjoy asking them the questions that I think the people at home will want to know! To try and get inside the mind of these top athletes a little, and hopefully that comes across on the show.” Streaming live on The Jockey Club’s social media platforms, tens of thousands of viewers tuned in each evening of the Cheltenham Festival, the Randox Grand National and the Cazoo Epsom Derby. In the upcoming season After Hours will return to those famous festivals, with the addition of The November Meeting at Cheltenham, and Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials in September. “I am really looking forward to doing the show at Blenheim,” Chris added as he looked to the year ahead. “Eventing

22 KALENDAR

AFTER HOURS WITH CHRIS HUGHES will be streamed live on The Jockey Club’s social media channels after racing. For more information on the racedays and After Hours , head to thejockeyclub.co.uk

THE JOCKEYCLUB . CO . UK 23

F EATURE SPOTLIGHT ON TRAINERS

Training powerhouses Paul Nicholls and Henry de Bromhead share top tips on the new season’s up-and-coming horses Ten toWatch in 2021-22

F or Nicholls, the 2020-21 season ended with a personal best of 176 winners, six Grade One victories and a 12th UK Champion Trainer title. De Bromhead, meanwhile, set new records, becoming the first trainer to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle, the Betway Queen Mother

Champion Chase and the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup at the same Festival. He then saddled Minella Times to glory in the Randox Grand National at Aintree three weeks later. Here, in their own words, they each pick out five horses we should be watching closely when the 2021-22 season gets underway.

PAUL NICHOLLS

Frodon “He had a tough season, although he won the King George, which surprised us a little bit, and then he went and won the Oaksey Chase. I don’t see any point

Clan Des Obeaux “He’s the highest-rated Jump horse in Great Britain now. We’re going to change tack completely with him this season. He won’t go to the Betfair Chase, which he has done for the past two years. He’ll have a little extra time out and then start off by going straight to the King George VI Chase at Kempton – on

Boxing Day – nice and fresh. Then he’ll have little break and go to Newbury for the Denman Chase, then back to Aintree for the Betway Bowl and on to the Punchestown Gold Cup again. He was on the form of his life this year. It didn’t quite happen for him in the King George last season, but I look forward to going back there with him, as he’s won it twice. I’d be very surprised if Harry Cobden gets off him to ride anything else this season.”

in running him in the Cheltenham

Gold Cup this season, as he doesn’t really get the trip there. Where I start him this season, I don’t know. I’d say we’ll have one run

with him and then go for the King George. Then I wouldn’t be afraid to go to the Dublin Festival for the three-mile chase, as I think that would suit him well. The plan in the spring would be to end up at Sandown again for the Oaksey Chase. He’s remarkable and I’m sure there’s another Grade One in him.”

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F EATURE SPOTLIGHT ON TRAINERS

McFabulous “We decided to stick with him over hurdles last season, rather than going chasing. I think he’s slightly better going right-handed. Like Bravemansgame, he’ll start small and get a bit of experience into him. He’s another that could end up at Kempton on Boxing Day, though I’d like to try and keep him and Bravemansgame apart where possible. He’s a lovely horse and I’m sure we haven’t seen the best of him yet. We’ll make sure he does plenty of schooling, but I don’t see jumping a fence being a problem for him this season.”

Bravemansgame “He had a fantastic season. He started off just getting beaten at Chepstow, but he needed that for a little bit of experience. Then he won his next three starts, including the Challow Hurdle at Newbury. He ran very well at Cheltenham and at Aintree, where he got the extended three-mile trip well. For a young horse to be placed at both Cheltenham and Aintree was good. We’ll start him off novice chasing over two-and-a-half miles. We could look at the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.”

Paso Doble “It’s hard just picking five, but I think Paso Doble is worth a mention – he’s a lovely horse. We got him from Jim Bolger, and he ran well on his debut for us. He was as green as grass, but he ran on strongly. We left him until 1 May, so will be a novice all next season, and he bolted in at Kempton. The plan is to aim at the better novice hurdles. He’s big, scopey and has a huge engine. You never know what is in the locker.”

HENRY DE BROMHEAD

Minella Times “Winning the Randox Grand National still hasn’t sunk in. I’ve grown up watching it, and having won it, I have to pinch myself. It was

fantastic to win with a JP McManus horse and for Rachael to become the first female rider to win – she was brilliant. It was Frank Berry – Racing Manager to JP McManus – who said to me after he was second in the Paddy Power Chase that he could be a National horse. He ticked a lot of boxes and although

we hadn’t tried him over that sort of trip, it worked. Winning the National is unique, and when you have a horse that fits the bill it’s great. I’ve not spoken to JP’s team about this year – we’ll talk soon about a plan for this season.”

THE JOCKEYCLUB . CO . UK 25

F EATURE SPOTLIGHT ON TRAINERS

Honeysuckle “She really is a magnificent mare. It’s incredible what she has achieved. She won us our first Champion Hurdle, so we were ecstatic about it. There is always pressure with any of them, but I suppose especially more so with her, as she was unbeaten going into it. After she jumped the last, I thought she would win, but even then, I didn’t dare believe it. She has so much ability and has a will to win and a great attitude, which is what you want in every horse. We’ve not discussed which way we are going yet with her.”

Put The Kettle On “She has such a great attitude and is so tough up the Cheltenham hill. She’s probably overshadowed by Honeysuckle, the poor thing. She seems to be a good few pounds better around Cheltenham than anywhere else. She seems to love it there, but I can’t put my finger on why. I’d say the Shloer Chase – November 14 at Cheltenham – will be high on our agenda again and then we’ll see from there. I’m not sure how much we have to do with her between then and the Champion Chase, which is where I imagine she will end up.”

Minella Indo “He was brilliant in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He is a real galloper and that is what he did. A bit like Put The Kettle On, he is a better horse at Cheltenham and comes alive there. He won the Albert Bartlett as a novice and that’s where he lost his maiden tag. The next season he just scraped home in a beginners’ chase at Navan and then he was just chinned in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. Last season his form was similar, but he steps it up at Cheltenham. On the morning of the Gold Cup, he was watching the racing as there was a TV up near the stable, and he started kicking his door – he was full of himself. I’d say all roads will lead back to the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Ultimately, we’d like to get back there and win it again, but we’ve not firmed up any early-season targets yet.”

Bob Olinger “The plan with him is to go chasing next season. He was brilliant in the Ballymore and looks like a really exciting young horse. I think he is one of the best novice hurdlers we’ve had. I’d say we’ll start off looking at races between two and two-and-a-half miles and then see how we are getting on. He does a lot of loose schooling at home, so hopefully, he should be fine over them.”

26 KALENDAR

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THE BET FA I R CHAS E 20 NOVEMBER 2021

THE B E T FA I R CHA S E AT HAYDOCK PARK

Few races in the Jump calendar boast a roll of honour quite like the Betfair Chase

D espite only being staged for the first time in 2005, not only is the Betfair Chase now one of the most eagerly awaited contests of the season, it also attracts some of the sport’s biggest names. Run over an extended 3m 1f at Haydock Park in November. The UK’s first Grade One race of the

Chases. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ galloping grey went on to win in 2018 and finished second to Lostintranslation 12 months later, before regaining his crown in 2020. However, no horse has enjoyed more success in the race than the late, great Kauto Star, who won the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 renewals. To date, his astonishing four Betfair Chase

season, the list of previous Betfair Chase winners reads like a who’s who of staying chasers. Racing fans will recall Imperial Commander triumphing in 2010 and Silviniaco Conti in 2012 and 2014. Ever-popular Cue Card was a three-time winner in 2013, 2015 and 2016, and finished second in 2017, the year Bristol De Mai landed the first of his three Betfair

For ticket and hospitality pricing and to book, head online now thejockeyclub.co.uk

28 KALENDAR

THE BET FA I R CHAS E 20 NOVEMBER 2021

to equal Kauto Star’s record of four Betfair Chase victories. This year’s Betfair Chase takes place at Haydock Park on Saturday 20 November. As well as being one of the most competitive and high-quality races of the season, it also promises to be a reliable yardstick for the rest of the 2021-22 campaign.

came close to winning it for a seventh time last year when Clan Des Obeaux finished second behind Bristol De Mai. And with plenty of strength in depth in the staying chasers’ division at his Ditcheat yard, few would back against him mounting a strong challenge again this year, especially if it means denying Bristol De Mai the opportunity

victories remain a record and, along with his two Cheltenham Gold Cup and five King George VI Chase wins, contribute to a CV that makes the Paul Nicholls-trained superstar one of the greatest equine athletes to ever grace a racecourse. Nicholls last lifted the trophy seven years ago with Silviniaco Conti, but

NO HORSE HAS ENJOYED MORE SUCCESS IN THE BETFAIR CHASE THAN THE LATE, GREAT KAUTO STAR, WHO WON THE 2006, 2007, 2009 AND 2011 RENEWALS

THE JOCKEYCLUB . CO . UK 29

F EATURE JANUARY 2022

NEW Y EAR ’ S DAY AND F E S T I VAL T R I AL S DAY

Every New Year gets off to a flying start at Cheltenham with two fixtures at the Home of Jump Racing in the month of January. Ben Cox reveals what’s in store for the start of 2022…

T here are few more satisfying ways of blowing away the cobwebs and any over-exuberant Hogmanay celebrations than heading to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. This year will be no different, with the day landing on a Saturday and the world’s Premier Beatles band, The Bootleg Beatles, performing live in The Centaur after racing. The 1 January card often provides clues for The Festival™ just over two months later and features a pair of Grade Two contests, plus competitive handicap action. The Grade Two Paddy Power Dipper

Day – the final fixture at Cheltenham before The Festival and taking place this season on Saturday 29 January 2022. The feature on Festival Trials Day is the Grade Two Paddy Power Cotswold Chase, a leading trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It was inaugurated in 1980, and three horses have won the Cotswold Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season – Little Owl in 1981, Master Oats in 1995 and Looks Like Trouble in 2000. Other legends of the track to have won include See More Business, who sandwiched his 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup success between victories in the Cotswold Chase in 1998 and 2001, while 1997 hero One Man went on to take the

illustrious roll of honour since it was first staged in 2005 at Cheltenham, with future Grade One winners The Listener, My Way de Solzen and Lostintranslation all having succeeded. Meanwhile, the Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle also takes place, having been transferred to the slot in 2016 from The International meeting in December. Staged over a distance of an extended two-and-a-half miles, its 2019 winner Midnight Shadow has gone on to prove himself something of a New Year’s Day specialist, following up by winning the Dipper Novices’ Chase exactly a year later. Later the same month is Festival Trials

Novices’ Chase over an extended two-and-a-half miles features an

For ticket and hospitality pricing and to book, head online now thejockeyclub.co.uk

30 KALENDAR

F EATURE JANUARY 2022

in 2010 and subsequent Grand National hero Neptune Collonges in 2012. In the 2019-2020 season, Santini came close to becoming the fourth horse to follow up victory in the Cotswold Chase by landing the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season. Ultimately, the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding missed out by just a neck as Al Boum Photo won the sport’s most prestigious prize for a second year running. The principal hurdle race on Festival Trials Day is the Grade Two galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle. Staged under its present conditions and over three miles since 2005, it has developed into a leading trial for the Grade One Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle over the same distance at The Festival. Some of the great hurdlers have been victorious, with Inglis Drever scoring in 2008, before going on to take his third Stayers’ Hurdle in 2008, and Big Buck’s using the Cleeve Hurdle to warm

Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1998. The 1986 renewal famously saw Dawn Run part ways with her jockey Tony Mullins on what was her first chase start in Britain, only to be remounted and finish the course. The great mare would return to Cheltenham in March for a memorable Cheltenham Gold Cup victory under Jonjo O’Neill, creating history by becoming the first – and, to date, only – horse to win both the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup. In more recent times, Frodon’s success in 2019 was followed up by victory in the Grade One Ryanair Chase at The Festival just under two months later, with Bryony Frost in the saddle on both occasions. One of the most popular horses still in training, Frodon’s trainer Paul Nicholls is the most successful handler in the history of the Cotswold Chase, with five winners so far. In addition to his two victories with See More Business and Frodon, the 12-times champion Jump trainer was also successful with Taranis

up for his victories in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2009 and 2012 – the first and last of his record four successes in the contest at The Festival. Thistlecrack won both contests impressively in 2016, while Paisley Park is the most recent horse to complete the Cleeve Hurdle/Stayers’ Hurdle double. Owned by Andrew Gemmell, trained by Emma Lavelle and ridden by Aidan Coleman, the son of Oscar was hugely impressive taking the Cleeve Hurdle by 12 lengths in 2019 and followed up just under two months later at The Festival. Festival Trials Day also features informative Grade Two trials for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival, plus competitive handicap action. As its name suggests, a visit to Cheltenham in late January is the perfect way to prepare for Jump racing’s ‘Olympics’ a few weeks later, not to mention the fact that it’s a hugely popular day, with entertainment on and off the track.

“A VISIT TO CHELTENHAM IN LATE JANUARY IS THE PERFECT WAY TO PREPARE FOR JUMP RACING’S ‘OLYMPICS’ ”

THE JOCKEYCLUB . CO . UK 31

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