Entries by Tony Stafford

Monday Musings: A Winning Nap

So much happens in a week in racing. Last Monday morning I sat in front of the computer screen anticipating the Melbourne Cup and, a few days further along, the conclusion of the 2019 turf Flat season, writes Tony Stafford. The Cup did indeed stop the nation and I was up at 4 a.m. to […]

Monday Musings: O’Brien’s Everywhere!

As the advance guard of the 67,000 crowd began to gather at Santa Anita Park, Los Angeles, at 9 a.m. Saturday – some might say unseemly early - for phase two of the Breeders’ Cup and the first of three warm-up races, about 5,500 miles, eight time zones further east and at least 25 degrees […]

Monday Musings: Sod’s Law Indeed!

So I got it wrong. It wasn’t Graham Lee and Frankelio who got up to deny Sod’s Law and Danny Tudhope on the line at Pontefract last Monday, hours after the almost-uncannily correct prediction appeared in these pages, but Joe Fanning, that other regular rider for Wilf Storey back in the day. Joe gathered the […]

Monday Musings: A Magical Finale

I think everyone who has racing’s best interests in heart should be thanking Chris Stickels, writes Tony Stafford. His early decision to utilise Ascot’s unwatered inner hurdles track for three of Saturday’s six Champions Day races undoubtedly saved the day. Whoever arranges the on-the-day weather also deserves congratulation. As we drove away in lovely late […]

Monday Musings: Mulling Brother Mullins

I didn’t realise it at the time, watching the finish of the race, but I wish Party Playboy had won Saturday’s Emirates Cesarewitch (sounds funny, EMIRATES Cesarewitch doesn’t it!), writes Tony Stafford. As Stratum came up to the line narrowly in front, the name Mullins reverberated. It was only hours afterwards that I noticed that […]

Monday Musings: Autumnal Themes

So far the 2019 Flat-race season has been a re-affirmation that John Gosden knows how to keep his top horses going season after season, writes Tony Stafford. Stradivarius has proved to be invincible once more among the stayers, collecting a second £1 million bonus for owner-breeder Bjorn Neilsen and now Enable is on the brink […]

Monday Musings: Of a Duke and the Baronet

I’ve always had a soft spot for Brendan Duke, writes Tony Stafford. In the days that he trained in Lambourn he always had quite an entourage at the races, usually but not exclusively of a certain type of middle-aged, hard-punting Irishman who clearly enjoyed his company. In those days I well remember the time at […]

Monday Musings: Makin Good After Career Switch

Two young people, their promising careers as jockeys abruptly ended by injury after near-calamitous race-riding accidents, have joined forces in a bold and visually spectacular training project, writes Tony Stafford. Well Close Farm is on the A19, ten miles north of York racecourse and a couple of miles to the south of the picturesque market […]

Monday Musings: Second Time Lucky for Keightley

A former jockey who according to the meticulous Derek Thompson was the “first man to ride on every racecourse Flat and jumps in England, Wales and Scotland” 20 years on from his final ride during a four-year stint in Australia, is now making waves as a trainer at Exning in Newmarket, writes Tony Stafford. I […]

Monday Musings: Forgotten man Queally still has it…

York last week was great. Yorkshire’s eagerly-awaited four days was again the canvass to the peerless quality of Enable and Stradivarius; the delayed crowning of Battaash as champion sprinter and the emergence of Japan as perhaps the best middle-distance male racehorse in Europe, writes Tony Stafford. It also, on the seventh anniversary of Frankel’s only […]

Monday Musings: York, August’s Saviour

Let me declare an interest. Much as I love it when May comes around, I consciously detest August, writes Tony Stafford. So you have York as a racing oasis in a domestic desert and in reality you need to cast your glance across the Channel to Deauville for any meaningful action leading up to the […]

Monday Musings: Of Missed Opportunity

The portents were not good on Saturday morning for the trip to meet a couple of pals at Ascot for the Shergar Cup, writes Tony Stafford. There are three routes I can take: through town, around the North Circular Road or, if the tank is full, around the northern portion of the M25. The phone […]

Monday Musings: Poet-ic Justice

When the seven-year-old gelding One Cool Poet approached the finish of his second-ever steeplechase at Tipperary on July 21 it is unlikely that his owners, the DRFG Partnership, or trainer Matthew J Smith, who operates from Kilmessan, Co Meath, would have envisaged what the next two weeks might bring, writes Tony Stafford. After the final […]

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