Entries by Nigel Keeling

Mullins Mare Shows Star Potential

The loss of Thistlecrack from the Gold Cup line-up came as a real bombshell, in a winter that has proved disastrous for ‘Blue Riband’ contenders. The 2016 winner Don Cossack, had to be retired, and then the 2015 winner Coneygree was ‘pulled’ due to ongoing injury concerns. Each-way prospect Many Clouds tragically died after his […]

Cheltenham Festival Pointers – Let Leopardstown Shine A Light

It should come as no surprise to see that Cheltenham Festival winners tend to take-in high profile meetings at elite tracks en-route to glory in March. The better racecourses usually hold the more prestigious events, attracting better prize money and thereby tempting leading trainers to send their yards most talented inmates. The Hennessy meeting at […]

Lions run with pride at Haydock

A pair of lions roared at Haydock in the Grand National trial, but it was Vieux Lion Rouge that proved himself ‘King of the jungle’ on this occasion. Prominent throughout, the winner and his main challenger Blaklion, moved to the head of affairs at the third last. The pair jumped impeccably over the final few […]

Lions to Roar in Haydock Trial

The Grand National weights were announced earlier in the week, and tomorrow Haydock host a Grade 3 trial over a gruelling trip of three and a half miles. Run since 1947, with a short break in the 80s, the race tends to attract quality stayers, though doesn’t necessarily prove the best guide to the main […]

River Romp for Newbury Native

Native River proved far too classy for his rivals in the Denman Chase, and heads to Cheltenham as a leading contender for the Gold Cup. Regular pilot Richard Johnson, was struck down with the flu, but ‘supersub’ Aidan Coleman followed the pre-race plan to perfection, and Tizzard’s young chaser controlled the race from start to […]

Expect a Ballyandy Blitz in the Betfair

With prize money of £155,000, the Betfair Hurdle is the most valuable handicap hurdle in the UK. Nicky Henderson has won more than any other trainer, though My Tent Or Yours was his only winner in the last 10 renewals. Having lost his major hope, Consul De Thaix to injury, his hopes now rest with […]

Festival Markets In Motion

There’s likely to be a fair amount of movement in the Gold Cup and Ryanair markets over the weekend, with top-class action on either side of the Irish Sea. At Newbury on Saturday we have the Grade 2 Denman Chase. Run at a shade under three miles, the race was established in 2000 and won […]

He Who D’Airs – Henderson Switch Pays Off

Nicky Henderson shuffled the pack before playing a pair of aces at Sandown on Saturday. Early in the week, Buveur D’Air looked set to contest the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, before heading for a shot at the JLT at Cheltenham. But after a change of heart, he was switched to the smaller obstacles, and duly […]

Top Notch the type for Sandown Test

Best Mate was the most famous winner of Sandown’s Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase, back in 2001. The three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a short-priced favourite, when cruising to a stylish victory. Foot and mouth put-paid to the Festival that year, and to Best Mate’s hopes of an Arkle Chase success. […]

McManus Launches Champion Hurdle Assault

The JP MCManus decision to switch Buveur D’Air from fences back to hurdles came as quite a surprise, though it shouldn’t have. Nicky Henderson’s talented youngster looked sure to be heading for the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March, but suddenly finds himself a live Champion Hurdle contender. JP clearly believes that the Mullins […]

Dark Clouds Cast Shadow Over Cheltenham

Jubilation turned to despair, as Many Clouds fought like a lion to defeat the mighty Thistlecrack, before collapsing and dying on Cheltenham’s hallowed turf. In a pulsating finish up the famous hill, Oliver Sherwood’s Grand National winner went toe-to-toe with the young pretender, overhauling the Gold Cup favourite in the shadow of the post to […]

Old King Cole To Capture Cleeve

In a weekend of top-class action, I eventually opted to preview the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle from Cheltenham. It’s a race I love, and one that has produced many memorable performances over the years. The roll of honour is a corker, with many of the best staying hurdlers having captured the prestigious prize. The event […]