Blog Archives

Cheltenham’s Old Course, the New Course and the effects of the going

spyglassDuring the coming week you’ll hear much talk of the Old Course and the New Course at Cheltenham.  In October and November the Old Course is used, in December and January, the New Course. That’s the regular schedule. Only the spur was not used in January due to waterlogging.

Frost covers are already down. There’s been enough rain for the course to be declared officially soft everywhere and overnight temperatures in the coming 48 hours are set to plunge well below freezing, The upside of frost covers is that we almost always get to race. The downside is that they can trap moisture in ground that’s already very wet; this can leave sticky, cloying going for horses, although Andy Clifton, Cheltenham’s PR boss tells me the covers are breathable so let’s hope they breathe enough to prevent pudding-type ground but not enough to let frost through.

Frost covers

Sandown on Saturday looked sploshy and very wet, but horses and riders invariably prefer this as horses run through it, finding it easier to splash through than sticky ‘waterless’ mud. They’ll still be tired but  not Tough Mudder tired.

Cheltenham’s a stamina-sapper as it is, and while it’s almost always better to race than not to, we could see some very tired animals slogging up that hill. Let’s hope for minimal use of the stick: the public will not be aware how well-padded whips are, and hitting exhausted horses climbing a muddy hill could bring us the kind of publicity we’d don’t need with the Grand National looming (April 6th).

Anyway, I am blethering away here, let me get to the point. The Racing Post carries just one course graphic for Cheltenham – that of the Old Course. The blessed Timeform display two. I’ve used them below. You can get them, along with course maps for every other track as a free download.

Although it’s a taxing track, whichever course you’re on, I’m never afraid to back front-runners at Cheltenham; I have no stats but from my many years watching racing here, I’ve formed the impression front-runners can do better than they would on tracks which appear to be easier.

Cheltenham's New Course

Cheltenham’s New Course

Something you’ll hear at least once before the Champion Hurdle is that Zarkandar won his Triumph Hurdle in 2011 on the New Course whereas the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday will be on the Old Course, considered by many less of a stamina test because it is a slightly shorter run-in (In Tuesday’s field, Zarkandar should be much better suited than most of his rivals to a stamina test).

A peculiarity of the New Course is that only 2 hurdles are jumped in the last seven furlongs – 42% of the race gets  just 25% of the jumps.

The Old Course

The Old Course

The only other course at Cheltenham is the cross-country, a race you love or hate. I love it. I enjoy the spectacle of watching the jocks figuring out the twists and turns (many don’t manage it!). I like to see the horses scale the banks and face all different sorts of obstacles. Racing should have more of them – I’d be amazed if newcomers to the sport, especially youngsters, don’t enjoy them.

You’ll see by the map why the jocks need a GPS (some senior jockeys refuse to ride in these races for fear of ‘taking the wrong course’ bans).

The map and the fence illustration are courtesy of the talented folk at Chestnut Creative

XCountry

XCfences

Let’s hope the Cheltenham exec has updated the signage for jockeys on this maze of a course. We don’t want to see something like this happening this week . . .

XChorses

Finally, an aerial pic of the track to give you a truer perspective on how the courses wind through those famous undulations in our modern-day Colosseum, where you can gaze in horror while live humans are devoured by bookmakers.

Cheltenham racecourse

Cheltenham racecourse

If your brain needs a break from form study, try the Kindle version of Warned Off, a snip at £2.50. It’s a Dick Francis-type mystery which has garnered 95 reviews on Amazon (UK &.com), most 4 & 5 star.

Good Luck for Cheltenham

Joe

WarnedOff

Festival race times, TV coverage, max field sizes, declarations info

THE FESTIVAL 2012 

NB Races in bold have 48 hours declaration stage – remainder, 24 hours.

Champion Day – Tuesday, March 13, 2012 (Old Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £100,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
2.05 Racing Post Arkle Chase (Grade One) 2m £130,000 C4/RUK

20

24 hr
2.40 JLT Specialty Chase (Handicap) Grade Three) 3m 110y £75,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 110y £370,000 C4/RUK

28

48 hr
4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase (Handicap) 3m 7f £40,000 C4/RUK

16

24 hr
4.40 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) (Grade Two) 2m 4f £70,000 RUK

24

24 hr
5.15 Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 110y

Total

£50,000

£835,000

RUK

20

24 hr

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 14, 2012 (Old Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase (Amateurs) 4m £75,000 C4/RUK

20

24 hr
2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 5f £100,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
2.40 RSA Chase (Grade One) 3m 110y £130,000 C4/RUK

20

24 hr
3.20 sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade One) 2m £320,000 C4/RUK

24

48 hr
4.00 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £70,000 C4/RUK

28

24 hr
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 110y £60,000 RUK

24

24 hr
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade One) 2m 110yTotal £55,000£810,000 RUK

24

24 hr

St Patrick’s Thursday – Thursday, March 15, 2012 (New Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 Jewson Novices’ Chase (Grade Two) 2m 4f £90,000 C4/RUK

20

24 hr
2.05 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) 3m £70,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
2.40 Ryanair Chase (Grade One) 2m 5f £260,000 C4/RUK

24

48 hr
3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £260,000 C4/RUK

24

48 hr
4.00 Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade Three) 2m 5f £75,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateurs) 3m 1f 110y £50,000 RUK

24

24 hr
5.15 St Patrick’s Derby (Charity Race) 1m 5fTotal £805,000 RUK

Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 16, 2012 (New Course)

Distance Prize Money TV Max Decs
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade One) 2m 1f £100,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three) 2m 1f £70,000 C4/RUK

28

24 hr
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 3m £100,000 C4/RUK

20

24 hr
3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110y £500,000 C4/RUK

24

48 hr
4.00 Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Amateurs) 3m 2f 110y £35,000 C4/RUK

24

24 hr
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 110y £45,000 RUK

24

24 hr
5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110yTotal £75,000£925,000 RUK

24

24 hr

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY 2012 – £3,375,000 (average of £125,000 per race)

Twitter racecourses directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for many UK  racecourses.

With new people joining twitter all the time, it’s unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Jockeys Directory

Trainers Directory

Racing ‘general’ Directory

Racing Media

Betting Folk

Racecourses

Name Twitter ID
Aintree aintreeraces
Ascot Ascotinsider
Bangor on Dee BangoronDeeRace
Bath Bath_Racecourse
Beverley Beverley_Races
Cheltenham CheltenhamNews
Cheltenham- Ladies Day CheltLadiesDay
Chepstow Chepstow_Racing
Chester ChesterRaces
Doncaster DoncasterRaces
Down Royal Downroyal
Epsom Downs EpsomRacecourse
Exeter ExeterRaces
Fontwell fontwellracing
Goodwood Goodwood_Races
Haydock HAYDOCKRACES
Hereford Hereford_racing
Huntingdon Huntingdonraces
Kelso KelsoRacecourse
Kempton Park kemptonparkrace
Limerick LimerickRace
Lingfield LingfieldPark
Market Rasen MarketRasenRace
Musselburgh MusselburghRace
Naas NaasRacecourse
Newbury NewburyRaces
Newcastle NewcastleRaces
Newton Abbot NewtonAbbotRace
Newton Abbot NtonAbbotRacing
Perth PerthRacecourse
Plumpton plumptonraces
Ripon RiponRaces
Salisbury salisburyraces
Sandown Park Sandownpark
Southwell Southwell_Races
Taunton TauntonRacing
Towcester towcesterraces
Uttoxeter UttoxeterRaces
Warwick WarwickRaces
Wincanton wincantonraces
Windsor WindsorRaces
York yorkracecourse

Twitter betting-folk directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for some bookmakers, betting analysts, tipsters etc. One who doesn’t appear in the directory is Robert Gibbs @bechersbrook. I’ve been following Robert for some time and am very impressed with his tipping (he doesn’t pay me anything – nor does any sponsor or company or person mentioned anywhere on my blog).

With new people joining twitter all the time, the list is unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Jockeys Directory

Trainers Directory

Racecourses

Racing Media

Racing ‘general’ Directory

Betting/Analysis

Name Twitter ID
Betfair Betfair
Bettrends.co.uk bettrends
Coral coral
Coral Politics coral_politics
Dale Tempest Skybet_Dale
Dave Nevison bodugi_dave
David Johnson davidjohnson82
Gavin Dobson gav_dobson
GeoffBanksRacecourse geoffbanksbet
George Primarolo GeorgePrimarolo
Iain Turner IainWBXdotcom
James Knight jamesaknight
Jamie Hart jamieh7
Jayne Clarke JayneVClarke
Ladbrokes Politics ladpolitics
Matt Doyle Matt_Doyle_Sky
Michael Wilson bodugi_Mike
Nick Goff nickgoff79
Oddschecker oddschecker
Paul Jones sportspunter01
Simon Clare siclare
Simon Rowlands Rowleyfile
Spreadex spreadexsports
Stan James stanjames
The Racing Forum theracingforum
Victor Chandler VictorChandler
William Hill willhillracing
Paddy Power AskPaddyPower
Bet365 Bet365
Andy Richmond Bickley14


Twitter racing ‘general’ directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for some of the folk in racing who don’t fit into the other directory categories.

With new people joining twitter all the time, it’s unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Jockeys Directory

Trainers Directory

Racecourses

Racing Media

Betting Folk

Racing General

Name Twitter ID
Adrian Beaumont AdrianBeaumont
Amy Fair redcarracing
BBM BBM_UK
Bloodstock Al bloodstock_al
British Horseracing BritishRacing
British Racing School BRSNewmarket
Burghley Horse burghley_horse
Careers in Racing careersinracing
Caroline Davies TwinkleDavies
Clive Webb-Carter CWC_Bloodstock
David MacDonald UttoxeterGM
Dominique Hamblin LadyNanBullen
Ed Gretton EdGretton
Eliza Cook VoiceoftheRaces
Emma Owen AintreeEmma
Gemma Waterhouse GemmaBRS
Go Racing in Ireland GoRacing
Harriet Rochester HatRochesterPR
Horseracing UK HorseracingUK
James Armstrong JRFArmstrong
Johnno Spence JSCSport
Jonjo Sanderson jonjosanderson
Josh Apiafi joshapiafi
Kate Pittam katepittam
Kevin Dean deany75
Lambourn Stables LambournStables
Lorraine Ellison LorrEllison
Lucinda Gould CindaGould
Mark Spincer DoncasterRaceMD
National Horseracing Museum nhrm_newmarket
Paul Struthers paulmstruthers
Peter Scudamore petescu
Phil Taylor ptaylor217
Pointtopoint.co.uk pointtopoint
Pony Racing gbponyracing
Racehorse Rescue centre Horse_Rescue
Racing Diary racingdiary
Racing Home HorseRacingHome
Racing Welfare Racingwelfare
Richard Dunwoody richarddunwoody
RP Bloodstock rpbloodstock
Sally Iggulden SallyIggulden
Sam Stronge SamStronge82
Sammy Martin sammymartin36
Scottish Racing scottishracing
Stephen Higgins SHiggins1717
Student Racing studentracing
Sulekha Varna Lekha85
The Aintree Insider AintreeInsider
The Horse Bit Trader thebitgirl
The Jockey Club The_Jockey_Club
The Racing Forum theracingforum

Twitter racehorse trainers directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for some UK racehorse trainers.

With new people joining twitter all the time, it’s unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Jockeys Directory

Racecourses

Racing Media

Betting Folk

Racing ‘general’ Directory

Trainers

Name Twitter ID
Alan Jarvis Racing millracestables
Amy Weaver amyweaverracing
Bill Ratcliffe RatcliffeRacing
Charlie Hills cbhills
Charlie Mann WhitcoombeHouse
Chris Bealby nhtrainer
Dan Skelton dannskelton
David Pipe DavidPipeRacing
Di Grissell Grissell_Racing
Donald McCain Jnr DonaldMcCainJnr
Ed Dunlop EdDunlopRacing
Ed Walker edwalkerracing
George Peckham georgejpeckham
Ger Lyons Racing gerlyonsracing
Gerard Butler GAButler
Henry Cecil’s Stable warrenplace
Hugo Palmer hugopalmeracing
James Evans HJamesEvans
Jamie Osborne osbornejamie
Jeremy Gask jeremygask
Jeremy Noseda JeremyNoseda
Jeremy R M Scott holworthyfarm
Jonathan Portman jportmanracing
Kim Bailey kimbaileyracing
Tom Dascombe Manor Farm Stables
Lawney Hill LawneyHill
Michael Bell MikeBellRacing
Mick Channon Mick_Channon_TV
Mike Prince MilddlehamPark
Milton Harris MFHarrisRacing
Paul Nicholls PFNicholls
Peter Chapple-Hyam ChappleHyam
R Pritchard Gordon RPGRacing
Richard Fahey RichardFahey
Robert Cowell cowellracing
Roger Charlton RogerCharlton
Stef Higgins stefracing
Tim Pitt Tim_Pitt
Tom George TomGeorgeRacing
Willie Mullins WillieMullinsNH

Twitter jockeys directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for some of the jockeys on twitter (Those seeking Ruby Walsh will find he is the JD Salinger of twitter – even AP can’t get him to join)

With new people joining twitter all the time, it’s unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Trainers Directory

Racecourses

Racing Media

Betting Folk

Racing ‘general’ Directory

Jockeys

Name Twitter ID
Aidan Colman AidanColeman
Alice Haynes finefillie752
Andrew Tinkler Andrew_Tinks
AP McMcoy AP_McCoy
Barry Geraghty BarryJGeraghty
Charlie Huxley charliehux
Dan Collins DAN89COLLINS
David Crosse DavidCrosse
Gerard Tumelty Gertumelty
Harry Derham harryderham
Harry Skelton Harry89skelton
Hayley Turner hayleyturner123
Jack Doyle jackjd0yle
James Cowley jamescowley
James Millman jrmillman
James O Farrell JPOFarrell
Joe Tizzard JoeTizzard
Johnny Murtagh JohnnyMurtagh
Kelly Harrison Kelpumpkin
Kerrin McEvoy KPMcEvoy
Kevin Tobin KevTobin
Laura Pike lollypike
Leonna Mayor LeonnaMayor
Luke Morris Luke_Morris88
Mark Bradburne mbradburne
Martin Lane martinjlane
Natasha Anne Eaton NatashEaton
Nick Scholfield Nick_Schofield
Nicky Mackay nickymackay
Oliver Greenall olivergreenall
Olly Williams ollywill
P J Racing Pj1racingjockey
Paddy Brennan PaddyBrennan22
Paul Carberry paulcarberry
Phil Kinsella phil_kinsella1
Rachel King RachelK11
Richie Killoran richiekilloran
Robert Thornton Choc_Thornton
Sam Thomas S4MMY1984
Sam Twiston-Davies samtwiston
Thomas Bellamy tommy_bells
Thomas Messenger thmessenger
Thomas Molloy tommymolloy
Thomas O Brien tjobrien12
Tom Queally tpqueally
Wayne Hutchinson waynehutch
William Kennedy WTKJockey
Willy Twiston-Davies willy_twiston
Wilson Renwick WilsonRenwick

Twitter racing journalists directory

Courtesy of lovetheraces.com, here are the twitter names for some of the media folk in racing.

With new people joining twitter all the time, it’s unlikely to be up to date. If you want to add to it or comment on it, please use the ‘leave a comment’ section at the foot of the page rather than sending me a tweet (that way, you do the work!)

Jockeys Directory

Trainers Directory

Racecourses

Betting Folk

Racing ‘general’ Directory

The Media

Name Twitter ID
Alan Byrne alanjbyrne
Alex Hammond skysportsAlexH
Alice Plunkett aliceplunkett
Amy Mathieson AimsMathieson
Brett Williams BrettPresents
Bruce Millington brucemillington
Channel 4 Racing Channel4Racing
Chris Dixon cdixon82
Clare Balding clarebalding1
Cornelius Lysaght CorneliusRacing
Dave Ord DaveOrd
David Baxter Dbaxterpost
Derek Thompson tommoracing
Eamonn Wilmott ewilmott
Eclipse Magazine eclipse_tweets
Ed Chamberlin skysports_ed
Eddie Freemantle eddietheshoe
Emma Spencer EMMA_SPENCER
Frank Keogh HonestFrank
Gavin Beech Gavineasyodds
Graham Cunningham gcunning12
Greg Wood Greg_Wood_
Harry Tregoning htregoning
Horse & Hound horseandhound
HorseRacingUK HorseracingUK
Ian Prior ianprior
James Emmett JamesEmmett
James willoughby Prof_Hindsight
Jessica Lamb Thestonefox
John Hanley Hanleyontheball
John Maxse jmaxse
John McCririck RealMcCririck
Lydia Hislop LydiaHislop
Marcus Townsend captheath
Mark Popham mediaboy99
Mark Pougatch markpougatch
Martin Kelly Kello_MK
Mick Fitzgerald mickfitzg
Mike Vince halo_straight
Nick Luck nickluck
Oli Bell olibellracing
Paul Hayward PaulHayward_gnm
Paul Ostermeyer orsracing
Paul Smith Quito113
Paul Struthers paulmstruthers
Rachel Wyse RACHEL_WYSE
Racing Post racing_post
Racing UK Racing_UK
Richard Hoiles RichardHoiles
Richard Preen RichardPreen
Rory Delargy helynsar
Sally Anne Grassick spoons00
Scott Bowers ScottBowers
Sean Boyce boyciesbetting
Shane Anderson Globalgallop
Sid Fernando + observer sidfernando
Sporting Life SportingLife
Steve Freeth stevefreeth65
Stuart Riley StuartRileyRP
Thomas Kerr ThomasKerrRP
Thoroughbred Times TTimes
Timeform Radio TimeformRadio
Tom O’Ryan Ballyhurst
Tony Paley tonypaley
Tony Smurthwaite surfinsmurf
Victoria Spicer VickySpicer