Hello, Happy Thursday, and Happy Punchestown/Guineas week!
We’re currently in the middle of a racing bonanza with fine racing to end the jumping season in Ireland, and the opening classics of the British season to come this weekend.
So, this week’s edition is all racing – looking back at the highlights of the jumps season.
1. Rachel ‘Superhuman’ Blackmore wins Grand National, Aintree, 10th April
Who else could this have started with? This entire list could have been based around the marvel who’s made jump racing her own during an incredible spring, but her national win on Minella Times is going to sit in the history books for years to come.
The significance of that moment for racing can’t be understated – for the sport’s biggest race to be on all the back pages and broadcast media after the events that put a cloud over Cheltenham – but perhaps the best moment came in the aftermath of the race, when she gave Matt Chapman the sporting quote of the year:
“I don’t feel male or female — I don’t feel human.”
2. Fergal O’Brien enjoys first career century, Kempton, 19th April
Racing is a sport made great not only by horses, but also the incredible people who work in the sport and there are few better teams than those at Ravenswell Farm, home to Fergal O’Brien and his wonderful team.
The sweetest stable in the land – I’d recommend not eating for a day or two before one of their tremendous visits – their charm, good tweeting, excellent targeting and fine attitude were just a few of the reasons that Oscar Rose’s victory in a 2m5f handicap hurdle (their 100th success of the season) was greeted with such joy, and hopefully this time next year they’ll have done the same again.
3. The Dublin Racing Festival, Leopardstown, 6 & 7th April
This is a sly addition – I’m aware that two days is hardly a moment in time, although the Dublin Racing Festival did last longer than the European Super League – but the two-day festival was an absolute feast of top-class racing.
Chcaun Pour Soi, Energuemene, Honeysuckle, Kilcruit, Quilixios, Appreciate It, and Monkfish were all outstanding over the two days, with proper clashes from start to finish and some thrilling finishes in handicaps to boot. Here’s hoping that next year the wonderful atmosphere will be back.
4. Chatham Street Lad takes the December Gold Cup, Cheltenham, 12th December
In December we did have some meetings with an audience – Indeed, yours truly went to Sandown for the Tingle Creek meeting – and it’s fitting that Cheltenham members were there to see Chatham Street Lad destroy his field in the December Gold Cup. Whilst it was great to see a real character of the game win, the real highlight may be his interview – look below and enjoy.
What now for Chatham Street Lad?
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 12, 2020
5. The Liverpool Hurdle, 10th April
There’s nothing like a rip-roaring finish to a top-class race (disclaimer: especially when you’ve backed the winner) and whilst the blowout of Paisley Park, the Liverpool Hurdle this year probably wasn’t a vintage renewal.
What was vintage however, was the ferocious duel between Thyme Hill and Roksana, with Thyme Hill making amends for the slight injury that’d forced him to miss the Cheltenham Festival by clawing Roksana before the line. The victory was a big one for Tom O’Brien, who was taking over from the recently retired Richard Johnson and got a perfect tune out of his partner in the nick of time, and in a season full of wide margin wins, it was a thrilling finish.
Yesterday, I asked the great and good of Twitter for their memories, and they didn’t disappoint:
Jack Glossop (@glossop_jack) was straight in with the obvious answer:
Anyone not saying ‘Blackmore winning the National’ needs to show their full workings on separate ruled paper.
— Jack Glossop (@glossop_jack) April 28, 2021
Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) had a whole bunch of highlights:
Monkfish’s first Chase win, when he won at the Dublin Racing Festival, when Domaine De L’Isle won at Kempton in March, when Flooring Porter won the Stayers, the list goes on…..
— Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) April 28, 2021
Vintage Clouds was rightly a popular moment, with Alex (@AlexJamesPerko), Neil Watson (@WattyRacing) and Sacred Ground (@_sacredground) putting his well-deserved Ultima Handicap Chase success on the list:
Vintage Clouds in Ultima… If at first you don't succeed
— FunkyAOL2 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (@FunkyAOL) April 28, 2021
Plenty, Frodon winning the King George, Bristol De Mai joining the Betfair Chase three times winner club and on a personal level @olivergreenall getting into the top thirty on the trainers list, a good showcase for North West trainers in this part of the world
— Neil Watson (@WattyRacing) April 28, 2021
Vintage Clouds winning the Ultima 👍
— Sacred Ground (@_sacredground) April 29, 2021
I’m pleased that Joe Porter (@Joeporter1990) mentioned Clan Des Obeaux’s gutsy win in the Punchestown Gold Cup:
Today with Clan William to show the Brits can beat the Irish if they have a go
— Joe Porter (@JoePorter1990) April 28, 2021
Matthew Rodenby (@MatthewRodenby) was the only person to mention Bob Olinger’s brilliance at Cheltenham (which surprised me!)
Bob Olinger at the festival
— Matthew Rodenby (@MatthewRodenby) April 28, 2021
Steve Mullington (@mulldog) had a couple of highlights from Aintree and the Scottish National:
Ahoy Senor and Cousin Pascal's wins at Aintree plus Mighty Thunder's Scottish National victory.
— Steve Mullington (@mulldog) April 28, 2021
Belfast Banter got two votes from Jon Franklin (@JonFranklin63) & Kevin O’Malley (@kom_racing):
From a betting perspective it would have to be backing Belfast Banter at 50/1 and Vanilliee at 20/1 in a small ew double after three days of consistently backing losers at this years Cheltenham Festival. From a sporting POV, Rachel Blackmore’s achievements… pic.twitter.com/plrLVZxEEi
— Jon Franklin (@JonFranklin63) April 29, 2021
The rise and rise of Belfast Banter
— Kevin O'Malley (@kom_racing) April 28, 2021
And last but never least, Tom Livermore (@tomsbfc) got his suggestions spot on:
@FOBRacing reaching 100. Favourite individual race probably Rachael Blackmore’s ride on Sir Gerhard at the festival.
— Tom Livermore (@tomsbfc) April 28, 2021
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.