Entries by Tony Stafford

Monday Musings: Gredley’s Derby Prospect

Thirty-three years ago this week, James Fanshawe, age 30 and only a year into his career as a trainer having previously been assistant to (Sir) Michael Stoute, was preparing for the Dante Stakes at York, writes Tony Stafford. His charge, a late-developing colt running in the colours of Bill Gredley, was 20/1 shot Environment Friend. […]

Monday Musings: Of Bubbles Burst

When they get beat, the Coolmore Classic hotpots, especially in the 2000 Guineas, they make a proper job of it, writes Tony Stafford. Auguste Rodin’s capitulation a year ago, preceding as it did two Derby victories, had a variety of explanations to soften the apparent finality of it. City Of Troy’s tame drift away from […]

Monday Musings: A Cakewalk for Willie

We knew when he won the Grand National it would be tight, writes Tony Stafford. The differential between Willie Mullins, devouring his first (of many, no doubt) UK trainers’ titles and runner-up Dan Skelton, was in the end just the £344,717, more than enough to see off Kerry Lee, whose 18 winners at a fine […]

Monday Musings: Willie’s Big Nose(s)

I was going to try to demean a little Willie Mullins’ amazing Saturday at Ayr, his four-timer surely guaranteeing him a first and unique UK NH trainers title for an overseas stable, writes Tony Stafford. My line was: where were the Gordon Elliott hordes, seven in the previous week’s Grand National and, who can forget, […]

Monday Musings: Fences

We wait all year for the Grand National, anticipating the sternest examination in jump racing anywhere in the world, writes Tony Stafford. Such is the conditioned attitude that the great race has engendered over so many years, owners who have been around for a while, when lucky enough to own a top steeplechaser, are more often […]

Monday Musings: My Idea of the National Winner is…

It’s a horrible thought, but if all the horses eligible to run before today’s five-day stage for the Randox Grand National stood their ground and then took up the engagement on Thursday morning, only six of the drastically reduced field this year, from 40 to 34, will be trained in the UK, writes Tony Stafford. […]

Monday Musings: Emollient

At any time over the past 20-odd years you would never have believed it possible, writes Tony Stafford. But when Tower Of London came with a breathtaking run from the back under Ryan Moore to win the Dubai Gold Cup, there was a beaming Michael Tabor on hand to welcome the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt into […]

Monday Musings: Waiting…

W H Smith said the 2024 version of Horses In Training would be available for dispatching from March 20th, writes Tony Stafford. Normally, I would buy my copy a few days earlier than that, at Cheltenham, but this time I wasn’t there, and rather inconveniently forgot to ask the Editor, who was, to collect one […]

Monday Musings: Some Absurde Numbers

There was plenty of talk last week about what a numbers game racing has become, writes Tony Stafford. Cheltenham became hostage once more to Irish stables, Willie Mullins leading the way of course. I have come to enjoy his successes if only that it gives me another chance to show that in his constant interviews, […]

Monday Musings: Mr Vango and a Wincanton Fandango

So we’ve seen the first day declarations for Cheltenham, writes Tony Stafford. Ballyburn was duly taken out of the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle leaving Willie Mullins with only six of the 12 declared runners. At time of writing, he has 13 of the 24 in Ballyburn’s race, the 2m5f opener on Wednesday. As four of […]

Monday Musings: Darkest Before the Dawn

As a recent Racing Post article by their feature writer Julian Muscat outlined, Charlie Appleby, Godolphin and, usually, William Buick have been utterly dominant throughout the first two months of the Dubai Carnival at Meydan, seemingly knocking off the Group races at will, writes Tony Stafford. It was becoming almost as boring, and routine, he […]

Monday Musings: Bradstocks Aiming High Once More

There is one trainer who has held a licence for 36 seasons and who, in only one of them has he failed to train a winner, yet equally, has never reached double figures of wins in any of them, writes Tony Stafford. Any ideas? In that time, he has won a Hennessy Gold Cup and […]

Monday Musings: Pauling’s Triple Salvo

It’s tough to sneak into the leading trainers’ groupings pretty much anywhere in the world, writes Tony Stafford.  In the UK and Ireland, the same few names finish atop both the flat and jumps tables year on year, and on the flat, certainly, it takes an upstart, such as George Boughey, and a massive intake […]

Monday Musings: The Sound of Music?

I realise that most people nowadays might not have more than a passing acquaintance with the 1960’s musical, The Sound of Music – although it’s part of the TV schedules every Christmas – but over this weekend I’ve had two of its best-known songs going constantly through my head, writes Tony Stafford. Firstly, with the […]

Monday Musings: Leech Mad For It

We’ve just had the two days of the Dublin Racing Festival, and the excitement of the course commentator when he announced that Willie Mullins had just completed a clean sweep of the eight Grade 1 races over the two days, finally sent me to sleep, writes Tony Stafford. More of that later… Instead, I will […]

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