Thursday, August 9, 2012

Snippets from the world of horse racing

Snippets from the world of horse racing

By Stephen Dwyer

Champion Jockey Title Race Heats Up

Richard Hughes, after knocking on the door for so many years is now the odds on favourite to be crowned Champion Jockey in the UK. Available at odds of 7/1 at one point in the season, Hughes is now as short as 1/3 to claim his first ever champion jockey title. The top flat earner last season with over £2.6 million in prize money, Hughes has been in scintillating form recently. A native of Kildare, Hughes recently won a four-timer at Bath and is now currently level with his rival Ryan Moore. Son of National Hunt trainer, Dessie Hughes, Richard rides mainly for Richard Hannon in the UK. Hughes has a strong book of rides to finish out the season, he rode his first winner in 1996 and has since become one of the best jockeys Ireland has ever produced.

Kauto Star Plans Still Undecided

Connections of Kauto Star, the greatest steeplechaser since Arkle, are still undecided on the future of the 12 year old. After Kauto Star was pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, his owner admitted he was almost certainly retiring the horse. Yet a decision has not been made whether to keep him in training for the forthcoming season. Trainer Paul Nicholls noted “Nicholls explained. "He's out in the field at the moment. He'll probably come into the yard in the next week to 10 days and he'll be paraded at the owners' open-day early next month.” Kauto Star is a history maker on so many fronts, he is the first National Hunt horse to win more than £2 million in prize money. Additionally  was the first horse to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup and is the only horse to have won the King George VI Chase five times. Whether he jumps a fence in public again remains to be seen but he is a horse with nothing to prove.

Ruby aims for Listowel return

Following a fall at the fourth hurdle aboard the former Howard Johnson-trained novice hurdler Drive Time at Galway, jockey Ruby Walsh is hoping to return to the saddle in time for the Listowel festival. Trained by Willie Mullins, Drive Time was the 4/1 favourite for the Guinness Galway Hurdle but fell awkwardly in front of the stands at Ballybrit. Walsh was briefly knocked unconscious as he was trampled on by Donald McCain's Lexi's Boy, who was brought down in the incident. Suffering a small break in his ankle, Walsh was ruled out of action for six weeks following the fall.  All is not lost however with Ruby noting: “I've bruised my shoulder and have a cast around my ankle, but I've been enjoying a lot of the Olympics on TV.”. With the first day of the Listowel Festival on September 17th and Walsh feels that date is a realistic target for his comeback, "We're looking at around six weeks, so Listowel would be a good target”. Ruby, who turned 33 in May was also injured at this time last year when he crushed a vertebra in his neck and tore a ligament after falling in a handicap hurdle at Killarney. He returned in time for the Listowel festival, admitting “It was a lot easier to be hurting during the summer than the winter. Being injured is part and parcel of being a jumps jockey. I guess I’ve learned to cope with it”. There is every chance he will make the trip to Kerry and resume his winnings ways.

GAA and Horse Racing Superstars clash at Saint Conleth’s Park

A celebrity hurling match takes place on Tuesday, August 14th in Saint Conleth’s Park Newbridge in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. The event has been organised by trainer Jim Bolger & Champion Jockey Davy Russell. The teams will feature a mixture of GAA and horse racing stars and include; former All Ireland winners Mark Landers, T.J. Ryan , Pat Fox, Joe Deane, Dave Bernie, Kieran Purcell, Damien Fitzhenry and Charlie Carter and  D.J. Carey; Wexford all Ireland winning manager Liam Griffin; Aidan O’Brien; Kilkenny Manager Brian Cody; Derby winning Jockey Kevin Manning; Colm O’Rourke; GrĂ¡inne Seoige; Micheal O’Leary; Ronnie Delaney; Sile Seoige; Irish Sports Woman of the year, top lady jockey Katie Walsh; Niall Quinn; Nicky English; with Cork legend Jimmy Barry Murphy as Referee for the day. Entertainment on the day will include the Artane Band and Internationally renowned tenor Anthony Kearns. Tickets are €10 for adults and €15 for families.

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