JUST WILLIAM: All About Racing

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.

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:

Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22) had a whole bunch of highlights:

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:

I’m pleased that Joe Porter (@Joeporter1990) mentioned Clan Des Obeaux’s gutsy win in the Punchestown Gold Cup:

Matthew Rodenby (@MatthewRodenby) was the only person to mention Bob Olinger’s brilliance at Cheltenham (which surprised me!)

Steve Mullington (@mulldog) had a couple of highlights from Aintree and the Scottish National:

Belfast Banter got two votes from Jon Franklin (@JonFranklin63) & Kevin O’Malley (@kom_racing):

And last but never least, Tom Livermore (@tomsbfc) got his suggestions spot on:

Thanks for reading and have a great week!


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.