03/03/2022. Mondo Ippico Internazionale: Racing Post, Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview – Dubai Breeze Up Sale Catalogue by Goffs – Arqana Bryant Online Sale – TDN, Un Ojo’s Trainer Ricky Courville – Beholder Among 11 Hall of Fame Finalists for 2022



Keith Melrose on whether the Brits can stop the Irish dominance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup


Even if the score at the end of the week shows 20-odd races going back to Ireland again, if British trainers can keep the Gold Cup at home then there will be a feeling of pride salvaged.

A look through the field shows a pretty gaping hole in this contingency plan. The home team has only ten of the 25 runners left in the Gold Cup and only one at shorter than 16-1. Basically, unless it rains for Royale Pagaille or Chantry House becomes the horse of his connections’ dreams all of a sudden, then we are relying on Protektorat.

A year or three runs ago, whichever seems least frightening, that prospect would have seemed remote. ‘He needs a break and his head sorting out’ was the gist of a conversation I had with Paul Kealy after Empire Steel duffed up Protektorat at Kelso last February. He won the Manifesto at Aintree a few weeks later, then shaped like the best horse in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and last time won the Many Clouds by a huge margin. Him taking the next step requires a bit of trust but, notwithstanding the black eye his revival has given me, I am far more willing to walk with him than I was.

The Irish challenge is formidable, so much so that Galvin really should not be as short as 4-1. He is put up as the ‘old school Gold Cup type’, which was also the argument Don Poli’s supporters used. The reality is that those sorts only win when the ground is soft (Native River, Coneygree) or it is a weak renewal. Connections say he is a good-ground horse, but I would be praying for rain if I had backed him.

Both A Plus Tard and Minella Indo have form that is in the same realm as anything Allaho, Energumene or even Shishkin can boast, yet neither is being talked up as a superstar on the same scale. It was not stamina that split them last year, it was jumping, and remember too that A Plus Tard was seven and only recently minted as a stayer. He could not have won the Betfair Chase more easily and shaped like the best horse in the Savills, when Rachael Blackmore played a rare bum note by moving forward just as the pace increased.

The market has the right favourite, then, and it does look overwhelmingly likely that this will be a seventh Gold Cup out of eight for Ireland. But the safety in numbers the market purports is arguably a bit misleading, and the only truly plausible Brit should not by any means be taken lightly.



Latest Cheltenham news





Horses in training from Magalen Bryant dispersal to be offered on ARQANA Online on March 29

On Tuesday, March 29, ARQANA Online will offer a sale of horses in training as part of a dispersal from the late Magalen Bryant, an owner, breeder and a leading figure in National Hunt world whose colours were carried to victory at the highest level.
The auction will start at 2.30 pm for all the lots. It will end at 4.30 pm for lot 1, then with a 4-minute delay (excluding extra time) for each following lot, i.e. 4.34 pm for lot 2, 4.38 pm for lot 3 etc.
A total of 28 horses in training will be offered in the sale, including:
  • IAMASTAR (lot 12), a four-year-old AQPS gelding by Balko out of Listed Auteuil winner VICTORIA’S STAR, that was placed in the Prix Congress (Gr.2) and Prix Vatelys (L.) last year;
  • IN LOVE (lot 13), a four-year-old AQPS gelding by Great Pretender, a winner on his debut in the Prix Alfred Torrance at Pau at the beginning of the year;

Lot 19 HETRE ROUGE © Scoopdyga

Among the 10 unraced lots are the four-year-old IMAGINARY DRAGON (lot 9) and three-year-old JUST A DRAGONESS (lot 7), both by Kapgarde from the family of the excellent performers BLUE DRAGON and FABULOUS DRAGONESS.
The catalogue can already be viewed online at www.arqanaonline.com and will be supplemented by photos and videos of each lot in the coming days.
Commenting on the sale, Freddy PowellARQANA’s Executive Director, said: ”For administrative reasons, the late Mrs Bryant’s estate must be auctioned off, however, some of her family members are determined to keep her silks on French racecourses once the legal issues are resolved. Please do not hesitate to contact the ARQANA team, Richard Powell or the trainers for further information.



Bryant Online Sale

29 March from 2.30pm on arqanaonline.com

Un Ojo’s Trainer Ricky Courville
Talks Rebel Win on the TDN Writers’ Room
Un Ojo has captured the racing world’s attention due to his self-descriptive name, which means `one eye’ in Spanish. This week, he was in the headlines for a different reason, beating all the big names in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn and stamping himself as one to watch on the road to the Derby. His trainer Ricky Courville sat down with Joe Bianca, Bill Finley and Jon Green–the hosts of the TDN Writers’ Room, presented by Keeneland–as the Green Group Guest of the Week.
“Running, he’s fine, you know?” said Courville of the horse’s disability. “Handling him around the barn is different. You know, you just got to watch it because it’s on the side you handle him from, on the left side. Actually, when he first came in, he was really, really timid and he would brush up on you. Anything you did, he put himself against you where he could feel you, because he couldn’t see you. He wouldn’t walk on the side, he’d walk behind you and nudge you with his nose all the way around the barn and stuff like that. On the track at first, it took him a long time to really get comfortable. But once he started running, I don’t see any problem. He’ll go inside, outside. You know it don’t matter to him.”
Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by CoolmoreXBTVLane’s EndWest Point Thoroughbreds and Legacy Bloodstock, and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, the hosts discussed this week’s round of lawsuits in the Bob Baffert/Medina Spirit case, the updated three-year-old picture, and Bill Finley revealed new details in the Mychel Sanchez case.

Beholder Among 11 Hall of Fame Finalists for 2022

Four-time Eclipse winner Beholder (Henny Hughes) is among six racehorses, four trainers and one jockey that make up the 11 finalists for the National Museum of Racing’s 2022 Hall of Fame ballot, as chosen by… [To read this entire TDN News Story, click here.]

by TDN