Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Jenny Pitman Interview

 
An old yet fascinating interview offering numerous insights into the life of a horse trainer

Sunday, 13 March 2022

Cheltenham Festival's Most Memorable Winners

 In the years since Cheltenham Festival became a globally recognised horse racing spectacle in the early 1900s, it has produced several worthy winners. It is, after all, the culmination of horse racing and having been held in one of the world’s most celebrated racecourses for over 100 years, it has attracted some of the world’s most renowned horses and jockeys to its 350-acre raceway. To familiarise yourself with Cheltenham Festival’s most memorable winners from over the years, continue reading.




Golden Miller


In a true testament to his name, Golden Miller, owned by Dorothy Paget, is one of the most memorable winners to have ever graced the famous racecourse at Cheltenham Festival. In the years between 1932 and 1936, for example, the gelding won the Gold Cup every single year and, to this day, remains the only competitor to have achieved such a feat. It was in 1934, however, that Golden Miller truly showcased his horse racing skills by winning both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National within the same year and setting yet another record in the process. In 1939, at the age of eleven, he retired with a total of 29 wins from 52 races under his belt.


Arkle


It may be Golden Miller that remains on the top of everyone’s tongue when it comes to Cheltenham Festival’s most memorable winners but if we are talking about the Gold Cup, in particular, Arkle undoubtedly takes the lead. If it wasn’t his somewhat unconventional style of running that stole the headlines, for example, it was his ability to remain consistently brilliant by winning the Champion Hurdles three years in a row and, in doing so, eventually becoming the first equine millionaire. The most memorable winners simply can’t be celebrated without also celebrating some of the most memorable Cheltenham Festival trainers, however, with Tom Dreaper responsible for leading Arkle to victory time and time again. It may have been an injury that cut his award-winning career short but with the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Arkle Novice Chase named in his honour, his legacy continues to live on.


Best Mate


It may not necessarily sound like the most menacing of names but in 2002, 2003, and 2004, Best Mate, trained by Henrietta Catherine Knight, cemented himself as a true Cheltenham Festival legend by winning the Gold Cup three consecutive times with a triple threat that remains difficult to beat to this day. The gelding may not have had the opportunity to race for a fourth consecutive title as a result of his untimely death at the Exeter Racecourse in 2005 but with one of the most impressive racing resumes under his belt, he will always be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the horse racing industry throughout the world.


It may still feel like the beginning of the year but with the 2022 Cheltenham Festival fast approaching, there is no time like the present to familiarise yourself with some of the event’s most memorable winners. This includes Golden Miller, Arkle, and Best Mate.


Thursday, 10 March 2022

Rose Dobbin

 

Rose Dobbin, née Davidson, is married to former Grand National-winning jockey Tony Dobbin, whom she met while working as an amateur jockey and 'unofficial' assistant trainer to Nicky Richards in Greystoke, Cumbria. She enjoyed a successful riding career, with 56 winners to her name, by always harboured ambitions to become a trainer and, to that end, also spent her summers in Newmarket with James Fanshawe.


In 2009, Dobbin moved to her current base, Hazelriggs Stables in Chatton, near Alnwick, Northumberland which, together with her husband, she has substantially renovated and improved over the years. She saddled her first winner, Mirage Dore, in a beginners' chase at Market Rasen in January, 2010; Dobbin had ridden the same horse into second place in the Coral Cup at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival for previous trainer Lucinda Russell.


Dobbin enjoyed her first big race victories in February, 2016, when Jonniesofa won the Grade 2 Prestige Novices' Hurdle at Haydock and Rocking Blues won the Eider at Newcastle within the space of seven days. She achieved her most successful season so far in 2017/18, with 25 winners and over £203,000 in prize money. However, in 2018/19, her seasonal tally dropped to just seven winners and, in the summer of 2019, she was forced to close down her training operation completely after the yard was struck by a respiratory virus. Nevertheless, she saddled another big race winner, Bigirononhiship, in the Scottish Borders National in 2019 and increased her seasonal tally to 10 in 2019/20 and 21 in 2020/21.