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14-09-2021 18:27:03 in General by Peter McNeile
Charlie Longsdon has hit the ground running in September and advertised the well-being of his string today with a double at Fontwell Park. The days are quietly counting down to the opening big weekend of Jumps action at Chepstow over October 8-9, whence Saturday fixtures begin to take higher presence in media and the public eye.  A wet Fontwell Tuesday won't change that exposure overnight, b...

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09-09-2021 18:22:06 in General by Peter McNeile
Watching the success of Fergal O'Brien, who notched his fiftieth winner of the term at Uttoxeter on Thursday, I was reminded of another pioneer of the sport in Martin Pipe, who would regularly close out a half century of winners before most of his contemporaries had barely got their charges to steady cantering! The half century is a credit to a trainer who is one of life's happy-go-lucky personali...

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19-08-2021 08:31:03 in General by Peter McNeile
If you said the word “Metaverse” to the average racing fan, they would probably look up the ABC Guide for today’s entries and wonder why the owner picked such a strange name. But the Metaverse is not running at Cocklebarrow, nor any other racecourse. It is a meeting of virtual and physical reality. In plain English, The Metaverse is an online place where people can meet up and do...

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29-07-2021 13:49:03 in General by Peter McNeile
Horse racing is one of the most popular spectator sports in the UK, attracting over six million people a year among the country’s 60 tracks. There are currently 14,000 horses in training to compete on the Flat or over jumps at renowned events such as Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National, and the Royal Ascot, notwithstanding the 1500 - 2000 horses qualified to go Point-to-Po...

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23-07-2021 12:58:13 in General by Peter McNeile
A sweltering July Thursday afternoon is about as far removed from thr Cocklebarrow experience as you can imagine, but that hasn't stopped Cotswold-based trainers from capitalizing on the infrequent Jump racing fixtures taking place at this time of year, and Worcester, scenicly situated on the banks of the Severn, provided plenty of entertainment and success for our professional handlers yesterday....

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13-07-2021 08:56:42 in General by Peter McNeile
Three Gloucestershire trainers were busy at Newton Abbot yesterday as the popular Devon track reached its halfway point of the summer season. With restrictions on travel in place at least till Monday, racecourses are hoping staycation holidays will allow them to recoup some of the lost spectator revenue of the past 15 months.  Fergal O'Brien's Ravenswell team have seamlessly segued from one ...

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06-07-2021 08:46:15 in General by Peter McNeile
When the Point-to-Point season finishes, and whilst the emerging summer jumps season is yet to define itself, it can be a useful time to delve into the myriad books published on the sport, not least as summer holiday reading, although sitting on a beach may yet be a peculiarly British affair this summer with freedome to travel still compromised. Either way, here are a few selections, some recentl...

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23-06-2021 16:42:15 in General by Peter McNeile
We've not even reached August and yet the silly season has begun already. Reports have been circulating in the Racing Post raising the possibility of a five day Festival. Yes, you heard that right. This is an idea based on a poor reading of the runes.  It was post-war that the Festival moved from 2 to 3 days, and more than 50 years before it could sustain a fourth day, introduced in 2005. On...

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03-06-2021 18:46:28 in General by Peter McNeile
Arnold Palmer once said,"The harder I practice, the luckier I get". It's an adage all too familiar to racehorse trainers, but sometimes when your luck is out, you just have to trade through it. Sometimes, luck is playing against you; sometimes, your horses are performing below their best; sometimes, they're just plain not good enough.  Two of the hardest-working people I know are Martin and ...

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01-06-2021 09:37:23 in General by Peter McNeile
Partisan feeling aside, it was a terrific meeting, made all the sweeter by a capacity crowd of 2,000 to give the best atmosphere since 2019. And in the two feature events, we saw two outstanding horses that will be players in the top hunter chases next year. Law of Gold, a previous winner in 2019 of the point-to-point.co.uk Champion Novice Hunters Chase, returned to outpoint Bob And Co and Monbeg ...

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25-05-2021 19:22:17 in General by Peter McNeile
May is rarely a vintage month for Jumping enthusiasts, as the Flat season accelerates, and the mercury rises. This year, with the change in seasons all topsy turvy, it's been yet harder to focus on a Flat season which demands frilly dresses, the latest fashions and glimmering horses as both humans and horses enjoy the warmth of the sun on their backs.  All that is set to change however, as t...

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05-05-2021 17:53:02 in General by Peter McNeile
This time last year, whilst the Covid crisis was deepening and the future of everything looked uncertain, racing took its longest extended break since the 2001 Foot & Mouth Disease. For nearly 3 1/2 months, the only racing we could enjoy was on the other side of the world. Yet bizarrely, that break, at least for the Jump racing community, despite the loss of the end of season marquee events a...

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29-04-2021 16:16:43 in General by Peter McNeile
Harry Skelton has been crowned the British Champion Jockey for the first time in his career following a strong battle with defending champion Brian Hughes in the second half of the season. Warwickshire-based Skelton, brother of trainer Dan, has had his best year yet as he had ridden 152 winners of the campaign, enough to get his hands on the prestigious trophy.   Skelton now joins Tony McC...

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22-04-2021 18:11:58 in General by Peter McNeile
In a thoroughly grim week for Jump racing following Lorna Brooke's death, our trainers in Gloucestershire have been busy at opposite ends of the country illustrating why this county leads the way in domestic Jump racing.  The Perth Festival is a grand title for a usually merry occasion largely devised by the late Sam Morshead, who became Clerk of the Course at Perth in 1988 and General Manag...

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06-04-2021 19:40:38 in General by Peter McNeile
This long spell without rain, together with a flurry of fixtures to remark the Point-to-Point season, has brought hunter chase fields down to single figures once again, and smart handlers looking to pick up some ones against their horses' names can run up a sequence quite quickly.  Today's  Totnes & Bridgetown Races Company Hunters' Chase at Exeter is a typical case in point, where ...

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29-03-2021 19:24:41 in General by Peter McNeile
Charlie Longsdon has acquired a new stable sponsor in Meriebelle Stable, owners of Chanteclair Farm in the USA, the owners of which are key drivers behind the involvement in Cheltenham's former RSA Chase, now the Brown Advisory Chase. Scan the US Steeplechasing scene, and you'll soon see signs of them.  As if to seal the partnership, Charlie was in fine form at Stratford's second meeting of ...

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27-03-2021 19:26:59 in General by Peter McNeile
I've always beena big fan or French steeplechasing, especially out in the provinces, where crowds are almost always larger, despite a lower quality of racing than at Auteuil and other France Galop owned metropolitan tracks. It seems now there is a growing tide of British trainers discovering the delights of la belle France too. We've been told for well over 10 years that French-breds are more pre...

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23-03-2021 18:21:02 in General by Admin
There has been much hand-wringing this past few days following the whitewash of British-trained horses at Cheltenham. But beyond the fact that many of the 500 trainers of racehorses around the UK are known faces, and that Gloucestershire in particular is thronged with thoroughbreds, I wonder whether any spectator has strong feelings one way or the other about the origins of a horse or rider. ...

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09-03-2021 17:40:47 in General by Admin
The spoils of National Hunt racing are shared among a diminishing number of mouths, as big stables field huge strings in excess of 150 horses. The times of Fred Winter winning a Trainers' Championship with 70 horses in the yard are now long gone; the finances of racing don't allow it.  Yet in virtually every county of England & Wales, and in the Borders too, there are trainers with small...

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08-03-2021 16:55:09 in General by Admin
Two stories from the weekend made me smile, and neither concerned the principal races of fascinating cards at Doncaster and Newbury. Albeit in the shoulder races of Saturday and Sunday cards, two Davids of this world took on the Goliaths, and won.  On Saturday at Newbury, farrier Andrew Martin, from Chipping Norton, produced 5 year old Charlie's Glance to win the concluding Irish Thoroughbre...

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04-03-2021 22:00:17 in General by Admin
There's a mounting pile of evidence to suggest that Gloucestershire trainers may hold their own at the two big racing festivals hoving into view despite the big money battalions of Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins (and let's not omit Gordon Elliott just for the moment).  Our county's trainers are showing the wellbeing of their yards in a steady stream of winners over the pas...

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26-02-2021 17:07:46 in General by Admin
Slad trainer Tom George hasn't yet enjoyed the greatest of seasons, but today marked a welcome change of luck for a trainer who can always be relied upon to win at least one decent handicap each year. Espoir de Teillee has been campaigned lightly this season, this being only his second run, but he stuck it out resolutely to win Warwick's feature handicap chase this afternoon, to make Tom's 16th wi...

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23-02-2021 17:02:57 in General by Admin
Following the Prime Minister’s Announcement yesterday, the Point-to-Point Authority is planning to restart the sport in week commencing March 29. Peter Wright, CEO, reported, "We are working hard to create a new fixture list which reflects the situation, and hope to have one available by the end of this week – there is no shortage of volunteers.  I realise that this will be disa...

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22-02-2021 09:56:37 in General by Admin
There's no-one in racing that doesn't enjoy a giantslayer story. Small stable sees off big-spending monster yard to win massive prize; you know the sort of thing. Yet time and again, the pricing of horses in races shows that followers of the sport tend to fall in line behind the big names despite excellent form from smaller lesser known trainers.  Saturday's racing was a day for the giantsla...

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08-02-2021 12:52:40 in General by Admin
Rooting for the underdog in sport, especially in horse racing, is something of a time-honoured tradition in the UK. Staking a bet and hoping that what looks like an average runner and rider will beat the odds-on favourite is exciting and potentially lucrative – but is there more to it? The ‘underdog effect’ is actually a concept that has been coined by top researchers. In the US...

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20-01-2021 17:45:00 in General by Admin
Many regular spectators at Cocklebarrow will have a keen interest in the Cheltenham Festival in March. The meeting in Gloucestershire is where we see the leading horses in the sport take each other on in their respective divisions. We’ve taken a look at what the three of the biggest storylines this year are heading into the meeting at Prestbury Park, just 18 miles down the road from Cockleb...

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14-01-2021 18:48:40 in General by Admin
You have to applaud the BHA in their valiant attempts to keep racing going since July 1st last year through 2 subsequent lockdowns. The biosecurity plan put into effect has won fans among other sports administrators who have not enjoyed the same low level of infection.  The latest compliance issue, however, is a cruel blow to owner-riders and amateurs whose opportunity to ride has been compr...

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11-01-2021 19:03:16 in General by Admin
The second week of January, you are as likely to find a clutch of Britain's Jumps trainers on the ski slopes as at the racecourse, but as we all know, this is no normal year. Professional handlers are grinding out their season, making superlative efforts to keep their owners on board. To that end, the recent reconfirmation that elite sport will continue despite the ever-rising tide of infections, ...

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05-01-2021 09:58:59 in General by Admin
In the light of the Prime Minister’s Announcement last night, the Point-to-Point Authority acted immediately to call a pause to the Point to-Point season from today.  Peter Wright, CEO of the governing body, remarked, "Whilst I know that many of you would have liked to press on, and indeed the sport remains inherently safe, we cannot claim that we are acting in a vacuum.  The...

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14-12-2020 20:01:37 in General by Admin
Just 18 miles up the road from Cocklebarrow, Cheltenham Racecourse is the home of British National Hunt action, and 2020 has rounded off there with the two-day International Meeting this past December weekend. Locally trained racehorses were among those who found themselves in the winners' enclosure at the track based at Prestbury Park once again before Christmas. Ahead of the next Cheltenham Fes...

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11-12-2020 17:14:02 in General by Admin
Regular visitors to Cocklebarrow will recognize the dulcet tones of our presenter, Richard Phillips, raconteur and comedian, whose day job is training racehorses from the picturesque surroundings of Adlestrop, near Stow-on-the-Wold. And today, if a little later than many of his peers, Richard got his season off the mark, when Irish Point-to-Point winner Lesser followed up that early promise at Ba...

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10-12-2020 19:12:06 in General by Admin
There's been a lot of navel gazing going on in racing circles this week about the relative importance of the Cheltenham Festival to the other 361 days of racing every year. Some columnists have commented that the season has now become too concentric around those magical four days.  I don't recall anyone saying the same thing about Royal Ascot, which for sustained quality, has to surpass anyt...

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27-11-2020 16:43:51 in General by Admin
Great news this week that limited crowds will be reallowed to racing fixtures, even with some restrictions like face masks and so on; it's been a long time since any of us enjoyed a day at the races, and whatever the quality of the coverage, including additional days, on ITV, nothing beats racing in the raw. It's now just 56 days until Cocklebarrow will hopefully welcome spectators for the 2021 me...

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14-11-2020 18:57:34 in General by Admin
Charlie Longsdon is showing a clean pair of heels to rivals this month with 5 winners in November to date, and whilst the focus was largely on Cheltenham 10 days ago, the Chipping Norton team sent a stronger team to Uttoxeter and were rewarded with a double.  Everyone loves a winner at HQ however, even if it comes in a lowly Handicap Hurdle for Conditionals and Amateur Riders (nothing wrong ...

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11-11-2020 10:07:53 in General by Admin
We're fiercely proud of the trainers in this county who make Gloucestershire such a centre of racing excellence, but in previewing the annual King George VI Chase, nobody has enjoyed more success than Somerset trainer, Paul Nicholls, so allow us some leeway to examine the chances of a trainer outside the county boundary. Not bad for a local lad who took his first steps in point-to-point racing at ...

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09-11-2020 19:40:45 in General by Admin
Bourton-on-the-Water handler Ben Pauling is putting in the miles this month seeking out winners in this new spectator-free season.  Today's Carlisle Maiden Hurdle winner Severance is his fourth this month alone, but success seems to be proportionate to distancxe travelled. His nearest winner in November to date has been the 272 mile round trip to Market Rasen on Guy Fawkes.  The follow...

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04-11-2020 19:29:19 in General by Admin
Graduates from the Point-to-Point sector reinforced their growing reputations at faraway Musselburgh this afternoon as Gloucestershire trainers Graeme McPherson and Fergal O'Brien each won races under Conditional rider Max Kendrick.  The hideously named Ratfacemcdougall is one of 10 horses in training for Carolyn Kendrick, spread between the aforementioned trainers, Jamie Snowden and Neil Ki...

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29-10-2020 19:38:24 in General by Admin
Richard Hobson rode over 50 winners in a Jumps career spanning 12 years until 2009, but that expertise has really come into its own in a subsequent role as bloodstock agent and now trainer.  Based in his own premises at Bobble Barn Farm, Little Rissington, Hobson, has developed a training operation in support of a growing reputation as an agent, sourcing horses in France of the calibre of Pe...

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22-10-2020 18:18:50 in General by Admin
When it comes to Jumps fixtures at Carlisle, the Pennine course is normally considered the private domain of Nicky Richards, whose Greystoke yard is just 15 miles distant. Nicky has enjoyed 19 winners from 74 runners in the past five seasons at the Cumbrian course, bettered only by the same number of winners from over twice the volume from Donald McCain.  So whilst Richards and McCain k...

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10-10-2020 19:22:34 in General by Admin
It was business as usual as Chepstow opened the autumn season proper for the Jumps season yesterday and today, as Paul Nicholls set out his stall to regain his Champion Trainer status. Four winners each day from among the 8 races on each of the two days signalled an intent to set the pace in the Championship, and to accelerate the modest rate of winners by his standards to date since the resumptio...

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30-09-2020 18:02:13 in General by Admin
The Bridgwater name has been synonymous with Jump racing since the late eighties, when the late Ken Bridgwater rose to prominence with a charismatic mare called Winnie the Witch, winner of 9 of her 42 races including a memorable 33-1 shock in the 1991 County Hurdle.  That same mare was responsible for the development of now trainer David Bridgwater into one of the leading jockeys of his gene...

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23-09-2020 20:00:00 in General by Admin
Saturday's winner in the Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at Newton Abbot by Stow trainer Graeme McPherson won't rank among the most remembered victories of a season bursting into life, with autumn here, but it reinforces two things.  First, the lawyer turned trainer is making a mark on the scene, this being his seventh winner of the present campaign, with an impressive 36% strike rate a...

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08-09-2020 19:57:05 in General by Admin
Cotswold trainers emphasized their current well-being at this early stage of the National Hunt season at Newton Abbot this afternoon with winners of five of the seven races. And whilst early September is hardly mid winter fare at Grade I tracks, handlers from the county are placing their charges to best effect and dominating the top of the Trainers Championship.  Opening the batting, Graeme ...

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03-09-2020 18:39:49 in General by Admin
Any racehorse trainer will tell you that the modern Thoroughbred is frailer than ever before, and feet are a constant problem. Bruising of soft soles, wear and tear and low heels are just some of the issues facing trainers wishing to keep their horses sound. Many of these problems arise from the need to apply shoes for roadwork and so on. No modern Thoroughbred races without shoes, even if light s...

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24-08-2020 09:08:40 in General by Admin
Cocklebarrow doesn't have much in common with Churchill Downs, Louisiana, which stages the Kentucky Derby next month, deferred since May as a result of the Coronavirus, other than the obvious. But just as with Cocklebarrow's large fields, which encourage strong betting heats, betting on the Kentucky Derby is awesomely large. The $165.5m wagered on the race last year knocks our own Derby into ...

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21-08-2020 20:36:12 in General by Admin
Nigel Twiston-Davies is one of the most renowned jumps trainers on the National Hunt circuit and a market leader among the myriad trainers in the Cotswolds. The 63-year-old has won the Grand National twice – the most recent of which came in 2002 when Bindaree won the famous race at Aintree.     Nigel's forays to Point-to-Points are few and far between, although first wife Cathy ...

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17-08-2020 17:59:17 in General by Admin
Young chasers are spoilt for choice in venues to launch their careers around the Three Counties. Each of the licensed racecourses has a programme of Maiden or Novice chases to cater for every quality of horse, whilst at Point-to-Point level, our own Lord Ashton of Hyde Open has produced some top performers of its own over the past few seasons.  The traditions of National Hunt racing were fou...

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24-07-2020 18:24:19 in General by Admin
Early confirmation of the fixture list this week will allow strong fields for the mid-winter fixtures that include Cocklebarrow next January 24.  A total of 164 fixtures are planned for the 20-21 season, which will start at the end of October to recompense for the loss of fixtures from March - May. Six fixtures are scheduled from October 24 to November 15 stretching from Devon to the South-E...

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07-07-2020 18:06:23 in General by Admin
Gloucestershire trainers have not let the grass grow under their feet since Jump racing began last week. Winners have been flowing across the piece for those that have kept horses ready for summer campaigns, and Point-to-Point graduates have been earning their corn for their new handlers. Jump racing began again last week after a 100 day absence that had old-timers harking back to the old season ...

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