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Entries posted by IanS
Bagpipes and the Italian jockey

Bagpipes and the Italian jockey

Bagpipe music is something of an acquired taste, one which despite my Scottish ancestry, has never appealed to me. It is, though, one of Frankie Dettori’s pleasures. That might at first glance appear a really odd thought, but variants of bagpipes are to be found in most countries across Europe. At his request the strains […]

Fifty years ago today saw a major change to flat racing in Britain, with the introduction of starting stalls to our racecourses. At the time, stalls were under trial, but by the end of the 1965 season, the authorities had decided that they would be employed to start all races, and over the following year […]

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I wonder whether the Romans ever staged chariot racing during their occupation of Britain? If they did, one likely place would have been Moreton-in-Marsh, a significant mid point staging post on the Fosse Way linking Exeter and Lincoln. There was a Roman fort a mile or so outside the town, so it would have been […]

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Any Questions?

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Any Questions?

“There are more questions than answers,” sang Johnny Nash back in 1972. The song went on, “And the more I find out the less I know.” Words that resound in many different fields, not least that of training racehorses. Well, we’re nothing if not ambitious at Geegeez, and over the next year, we’ll be setting […]

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David Dennis – racehorse trainer

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David Dennis – racehorse trainer

I was lucky enough to meet Worcestershire trainer David Dennis recently after he had a winner on the opening day of Cheltenham’s racing season. David very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his time in racing, ending by highlighting the horse in his stable he’s most looking forward to this season. That horse, […]

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Walking the course: Cheltenham

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Walking the course: Cheltenham

Fair weather welcomed racing back to Cheltenham for its opening fixture of the 2014/15 season. I always enjoy the Showcase meeting; although it’s too early for the established top quality horses to be strutting their stuff, the racing remains competitive, and with two of the races on Friday won by a distance of a head, […]

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Racing People 3: Julian Wilson

Racing has lost one of its great commentators with the death of Julian Wilson yesterday at the age of 73. He had battled with cancer for several years. Wilson was involved with racing in many different ways over his life, starting by betting when a schoolboy at Harrow, and concluding with writing his autobiography “Some […]

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Trainers set out plans at British Champions Series launch

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Trainers set out plans at British Champions Series launch

The Grand National really does mark the turning point in the racing year. If anyone doubted that, the launch yesterday of the 2014 QIPCO sponsored British Champions Series would have put them right. Many leading trainers set out their hopes for their top horses for the new flat season, reminding us of the delights we […]

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Racing People 2: Rod Street

Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing, and I have a couple of things in common. You hardly need me to tell you that we both have a passion for racing. You might be surprised to learn that in our younger days, we each wore the brightly coloured jacket of a holiday camp entertainer. […]

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Christmas highs and lows for Henderson

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Christmas highs and lows for Henderson

There are times when racing has a remarkable resemblance to the Budget, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives with one hand and then takes away with the other. It probably feels a bit like that at the moment at the seven Barrows stable where Nicky Henderson trains.

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Great Leighs rejoins the all weather race

Racing at Great Leighs was a short-lived affair, a matter of barely nine months. Any hopes of a resumption there faded still further when owner John Holmes was named to be at the heart of a VAT fraud a couple of weeks ago. How quickly things can change.

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What next for QIPCO Champions Day?

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What next for QIPCO Champions Day?

While we focus our attention on a season of jumps racing, there are plenty of folk in the background thinking about flat racing. In particular, further changes have been put forward to the end of season spectacular at Ascot that is QIPCO Champions Day.

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Who will take on Sprinter Sacre?

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Who will take on Sprinter Sacre?

Who dares wins. The problem is, when it comes to Sprinter Sacre, few seem to dare. In some ways that isn’t too surprising. British Horseracing Authority classifications rate Sprinter Sacre on 188, 18 lbs ahead of the next best 2-mile chasers, Flemenstar and Sire de Grugy (169).

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Post Christmas blues? Not with racing like this.

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Post Christmas blues? Not with racing like this.

There’s no racing for the first three days of next week, allowing the jockeys the opportunity of a proper Christmas dinner two days ahead of you and me, and giving them time to sweat out any weight gain they get from it. That break allows us a few days to savour what promises to be […]

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On second thoughts… Newbury relents on dress code

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On second thoughts… Newbury relents on dress code

The re-branding earlier this year of Newbury racecourse as The Racecourse, Newbury, brought with it a revised dress code. It wasn’t as severe as the one at Ascot, but it was enforced, with the result that plenty of racegoers at the Hennessy meeting were either turned away or obliged to nip into town and buy […]

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