Jockeying for Position  The life of a jockey can have many ups and downs and especially in the early days of establishing yourself, it can be a real slog. There are many stories of the determination, effort and endless hours involved in getting to the standard required to take on the cream of the crop, and impress horse trainers and owners with no shortage of options to choose from.

It’s always interesting to hear the stories of where someones career started and the path that led them to success. Sure some in racing have family connections or a ‘leg up’ in some regard, but others have no family background in the sport at all and forged a path through their love of the sport. Nowadays programs like Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club offer disadvantaged inner city kids a chance to get into the sport, so there are definitely opportunities where you wouldn’t always expect to find them.

Fast forwarding to the point of success, one sure fire way to go to the next level and truly make a name for yourself in horse racing is by breaking records or achieving a ‘one off’ of some form or another. Just look at Frankie Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’, it was front page news at the time and is still clearly remembered, due the nature of the achievement (winning all seven races on the Ascot racecard in September 1996) , the fact that some punters were richly rewarded for following Frankie on the day (to the handsome tune of £500,000 in one case – at cumulative odds of 25,051-1) and the aspect of ‘sticking it to the bookies’.

Perhaps the primary way of immortalising yourself in racing though is by winning one of the big races. The liked of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the cherry on the cake without a doubt, the Grand National. It’s nothing short of a one way ticket into the history books if you win the National. A combination of right horse, time, training, the going and a healthy dollop of luck on the day can dictate how it all pans out, but winning the Grand National is certainly the dream of most jockeys, trainers and owners. I’m busily keeping an eye on the latest Grand National news to see who is likely to make a name for themself this year in the 2019 Grand National!

As with many aspects of life, success breeds success. As a jockey for instance, once you’ve proved yourself and shown a battling spirit, with a few grinding big wins under your belt, you’ll get more opportunities to prove your credentials at the highest level.

Ludlow racecourse  Ludlow racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing track located in Ludlow, Shropshire, England. It is owned and operated by Ludlow Race Club Ltd, and is well known for hosting National Hunt races. The racecourse is just 2 miles away from Ludlow, and is famously known as “Lovely Ludlow.” Its location is strategic, being crossed by the B4365 and other minor roads. Whenever there is a race meeting, traffic on these roads has to be put on halt so as not to interfere with the races. The course offers a calm and relaxed environment for the racegoers to enjoy watching the races from.

Racing at Ludlow is said to have taken place first in1729. The racecourse was used by Ludlow Castle soldiers who went there occasionally to match their horses against each other. The race meetings were held at Bromfield, and it was until 1750 when the meetings were recorded. However, the races did not attract a wide audience since they were less popular at the time. Cock fighting was what most people enjoyed watching. The first flat race to be staged at Ludlow took place in mid-19th century, but ceased happening in 1868. The course built a new grandstand in 1904. Today, Ludlow racecourse shares its facilities with Ludlow Golf Club. It has thrived over the years and stood the test of time unlike it’s neighboring Shrewsbury which closed its gates in 1887.

Each year, racing at Ludlow takes place in the winter, with Forbra Gold Cup being the most notable race. It is run every late February, and was named after Forbra, a winner of the 1932 Grand National race. This year, the racecourse is set to host a good number of fixtures, with gates opening two hours before the first race begins. Admission prices start from 16 Euros depending on the package that one chooses.

Ayr Racecourse  Racecourse is a grade 1 track located in Scotland. It is located at Whitletts Road, and was opened way back in 1907. It is the largest racecourse in Scotland, with a carrying capacity of 18,000. The racecourse specifically hosts flat and National Hunt races. The track has been used for racing since 1576. In 1824, Ayr racecourse established an important meeting called the Western Meeting. The meeting featured the Ayr Gold Cup race, which was later changed into a handicap race in 1855. Up to date, the Ayr Gold Cup is a well-known race for the handicap in Europe. In 1907, the racecourse changed its site to the current location, due to the
limiting size of tracks and paddocks. A jumps track was introduced in 1950, enabling it to host the Scottish Grand
National from 1966.

 

Today, the racecourse is well-known for hosting the Scottish Grand National. Ticket prices are extremely fair. For all the races including the Scottish Grand Nationals, tickets cost between 15 Euros to 22 Euros. This is one of the major reasons as to why Ayr has been voted the best racecourse in Scotland 19 times in a row. Club tickets are however more expensive, starting from 42 Euros. In the company of an adult, those aged under 18 are allowed into the racecourse free of charge. Disabled persons are given an offer of 2-for-1 ticket when their carrier is accompanying them.

 

The racecourse will stage a total of 37 events this year. The Coral Scottish Grand National Ladies Day is scheduled for Friday the 20th of April, while The Coral Scottish Grand National is scheduled for Saturday, 21st April. This day marks the biggest day for the jumps season, thus the most anticipated sporting occasion. Opening Flat Race day is scheduled for 30th April. Within the racecourse are two restaurants, The Warrior restaurant and The Chancellor Carvery restaurant. They offer different packages, making your stay in Ayr enjoyable.

The jumps season is back in the UK and that means all roads lead to the Cheltenham Festival in March in what is the highlight of the National Hunt campaign. Over the next few weeks, the leading horses will make their seasonal reappearances where connections will be hoping they can shake off the cobwebs and make a winning start.

Here are three horses that could have a big season and are worth watching in their respective divisions at the Festival.

 

Buveur d’Air

Three Horses to Look Out for in 2018/19 National Hunt Season

Credit: At The Races via Twitter

 

Nicky Henderson’s Buveur d’Air will be chasing his third straight Champion Hurdle success this season, something which has not been done since the great Istabraq managed the feat in 2000. Victory in the premier hurdle contest on day one in March will certainly help the seven-year-old elevate himself into that category as one of the best in the modern era. Buveur d’Air could return to action in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, the race he won last year. Henderson’s runner has now prevailed in his last ten races so it will be exciting to see how far he can stretch that winning run.

 

Altior

Altior has been a winner at the last three Cheltenham Festivals and on ratings alone, he is one the leading horses still in training today. Unfortunately, we only saw Altior for the last three months of last season as he had wind surgery in the early stages of the campaign which put him out of action until February. Despite his setback, it did not stop Henderson’s chaser from claiming the Queen Mother Champion Chase where he was fantastic in the 2m contest. Altior is the evens favourite, as mrgreen sportsbook shows, to retain his crown in the Champion Chase next year and that looks a very fair price. At evens, the odds would suggest Altior has a 50% chance of winning the race which, as anybody has seen the horse run knows, that percentage should be much higher.

 

Might Bite

Three Horses to Look Out for in 2018/19 National Hunt Season

Credit: BHA Press Office via Twitter

 

Might Bite suffered just one defeat last season in what, up until that point, was a fantastic campaign for the chaser. Unfortunately for connections, his sole loss came in the Blue Riband event in the sport, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where he finished second behind Native River. After a victory in his opening run of the campaign at Sandown, Might Bite then went on to score the biggest success of his career in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day where he defeated Thistlecrack, Whisper, Bristol De Mai and Fox Norton. In what will be just his third season over fences, fans of the horse can expect Might Bite to peak in the 2018/19 campaign. The Triple Chase Crown is likely to be the target for the nine-year-old this season, therefore his first run could come at Haydock next month before he returns to Kempton to defend his crown in the King George.