Sunday, 19 January 2014


The clues are here but can you spot them?


                             3:35 Sodexo Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m1f CH4
                  2:40 Champion Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) Cl1 2m CH4

 Equus Zone
Did you notice in yesterday's Racing Post ... 
"OPENING SHOW" Lee Mottershead  page 2 on a great day's action headed by a chase of special significance. A race awash with all kinds of emotion".
 (Ascot Feature Chase 3.35)  SOMERSBY partner DOMINIC ELSWORTH (Ch4 Guest on the Morning Line)  trainer TEAM (Mick) CHANNON taking on 6 challengers for this £59,083.50 prize. One of them SIRE  DE GRUGY  partner JAMIE MOORE trainer TEAM (Gary) MOORE who won with ease, as, SOMERSBY'S luck ran out as he stumbling on landing at the fifth fence, unseating  DOMENIC ELSWORTH stopping all hope of an exciting finish in an instant. SOMERSBY looking fabulous most beautifully prepared.  Confidence intact, tripped on landed in tricky heavy ground. A brave, brave  looser.

IT is as well  to make a note if you are interested in jump turf racing that the ground on the take off side, and the landing side of each chase fence can get very cut-up, poached, divots of turf on the landing side, potted holes are left on the landing side especially in the later races as an afternoon's racing draws to a close like 3.35pm. If you think of the weight of a racehorse with rider landing from a considerable height at speed, the divots made as the horses land first, all their weight on their two front legs and hooves - a considerable weight. Hitting the ground  impacting every time,  sure to go into the ground deeply when going is heavy or soft.


 This week the passing of true living legend horseman Terry Biddlecombe, Henrietta Knight his wife, carefully by his side, hoping that SOMERSBY could  win this chase and raise the roof at Ascot.
Rodney Masters brings us news of Terry's funeral  in yesterday  Racing Post page 11 


 David Ashforth at the Derby Awards 6.12.10 
David Ashforth:
(writer media zone)

Twice voted journalist of the year
PICTURE: Dan Abraham

Racing Post Saturday January 18th 2014 Page 15.
"Amazing record- breaker shows the true value of perseverance in this game "
Pic: "La Estrella: has defied troublesome legs to win 26 times. "


"IT'S tempting to apply for the vacant managership of Leicester racecourse and then, when I don't get it, accuse them of ageism. Say what you like about ageism, at least it's something you can get involved with when your older...
Ageism in context as John McCrirrik was treated by the CH4 producers following 29 years of loyal service was disgusting. That the British Legal  Tribunal Justice System failed to pick up on John's claim I found equally as disgusting. Rip Off Britain illegal justice. British lawyers are ripping off the British people right left and centre. Charging huge hourly fees. And taking years and years to sort out anything at all earning further huge fees through delay, delay  after delay using cruel dishonest tactics from way back in the dark ages.

"A few years ago I went on a tour of every track in Britain and Ireland, which was a daunting privilege and highly educational.  Leicester  was where I started in 2005. Although I have been there several times since I'd have to check whether or not  customers are still greeted by a fence topped with barbed wire, black and white racecards and the absence of a big screen. Actually I don't need to check the big screen. They rarely have one.

"It's not good enough and I strongly recommend that the new Mr and Mrs Big does something about it. Either that or issues every racegoer with a pair of powerful binoculars,  because the far end at Leicester is far, far away' I know it's sometimes best not to know, but even so. And how about creating a Flockton  Grey Bar, decorated  with photographs and text telling the infamous story of the ringer who won the Knighton Auction Stakes at Leicester on March 29, 1982?

"Several racecourses could make more of  the celebrities and scandals of their past.

"At the time of my tour, Leicester advertised itself as "The Midlands' Premier Racecourse",  despite a race programme with no Pattern events.  Nine years later that is still the situation.

"Nowadays Leicester proclaims itself to be the playground for adults" ' which makes it sound like a dogging venue . When I've been nothing much has been happening. Too cold I suppose.  It's a track where there needs to be  an injection of ambition . Good luck to whoever gets the job.

"Incidentally did you know (no you didn't) that Leicester was the first racecourse visited by La Estrella?  that was in 2006.  Two years earlier, as a yearling  La Estrella had been sold by Robert B Rogoff  for $100,000. Rogoff, among other things, played in the Bobby Band. No I've never heard of them either.

"Anyway, now an 11 -year -old, La Estrella turned up at Lingfield on Wednesday and won for the 26th time, with 24 of his wins on the all-weather. He's an equine celebrity, without ever having won a race worth more than £7,000, and most considerably less

"La Estrella boasts several records, mostly at Southwell (AW) , but also including the unique achievement (probably) of having won at both Great Leighs and Fakenham.
"There's another record he (La Estrella? She?) holds.  La Estrella's legs have   received more attention than Betty Grable's, and hers were insured for  $1 million. If you're about 80, you might remember. 

" La Estrella has fascinating but fragile legs. After he? (she?)  won a claiming race at Wolverhampton in 2008, trainer Don Cantillon reported that the five-year-old has a troublesome off -fore and retirement could be imminent.

IT is very distressing  and painful for a racehorse to breakdown on the racecourse whilst competing.  Or at home whilst training to compete.

 A racehorse's  front two legs (nearside left:)  (offside right:)

 A racehorse is lead on the nearside (left) and mounted from the nearside. Whilst a racehorse is prepared to ride out, the tack is put on from the nearside left as well.

Sounds like La Estrella has had many leg problems.  Painful tendon injuries. Sometimes termed:  "That horse has got a leg"  Means that horse is lame, has a strained injured tendon or tendons . Depending on how serious the damage is any and all leg problems need to be careful dressed and healed. That means on a trainers easy  list. Not ridden out at exercise. Some trainers swim their horses to aid this healing process, whilst managing to keep them on the move.


Stubbs anatomy of the horse

"HAVING broken down on both forelegs, La Estrella missed the whole of 2010 but returned to win 8 times the following year. After winning for the tenth time at Southwell  in November 2011, Cantillon reflected on La Estrella's tendons. "They don't look very pretty, " he said,  "and it is a matter of time before those legs do deteriorate. "

"Thanks to Cantillon's care, La Estrella's legs were still carrying him to victory in January 2012, for his 18th success, after which it was noted that  "he is said to have leg problems and it seems no one will dare claim him" . No one ever has.

"The following month, Cantillon observed: "It's only a matter of time before his legs go. I'm on tenterhooks every time he runs. We've had him scanned and it seems no worse. "


"Later that month, after La Estrella registered his  (her?) 19th win from 51 appearances, Cantillon said: "While he is sound he will keep racing. " He has, with a remarkable enduring handicap rating which has never fallen below 79 nor risen above 89 in his long career on the Flat.

"Early this year, after La Estrella's 25th win in a selling race at Southwell, someone finally bid for him. A change of stable wouldn't have been popular and Cantillon went to £5,250gns to buy his stable star in. There was no such scare after Wednesday's triumph, in a claiming race, after which Cantillon said: "The next two days will be tense and he'll be scanned 48 hours after the race, which is the usual procedure. "

"It can't be long before La Estrella asks someone to pick him up and carry him - "My legs are killing me. " I don't suppose the veteran warrior will ever visit Leicester again but I'm pretty sure he'll be back at Southwell for the seller in ten day's time. "

YES, YES, YES. WOW, WOW, WOW what a truly great and wonderful achievement. Magic .

On the bit

Pacafi Club Membership

 Horse Paintings

"In the 1750s Stubbs made exhaustive studies of animals, in particular the anatomy of horses. He rented a farmhouse in Lincolnshire and over a period of a year and a half he painstaking dissected animals and made countless sketches of his results. Apparently Stubbs was so convinced in the power of observation as a learning technique that he travelled to Italy in 1754 to look at the Renaissance masters. Studying Michelangelo, Titian and Da Vinci, he only reaffirmed his belief in the superiority of nature to art. In 1760 he moved permanently to London and began etchings for Anatomy of the Horse (1766), a book which became an important reference for artists and naturalists alike. He travelled regularly, making many topographical watercolour studies. He created a series of masterpieces at this time, depicting horses and foals. Some were commissions, horses owned by his patrons (Racehorses Belonging to the Duke of Richmond Exercising at Goodwood, 1760-1, Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate, UK; and John and Sophia Musters Out Riding at Colwick Hall, 1777). Others were horses Stubbs imagined in his head (eg. Wooded Landscape, 1760-2; Mares and Foals in a Landscape, c.1768, Tate Gallery, London). In about 1762 Stubbs painted one of his most famous paintings, Whistlejacket (National Gallery, London) - a famous racehorse belonging to the Marquis of Rockingham. Stubbs attracted the attention of many aristocratic patrons, who recognised his work as great as former historical horse painters like John Wootton, James Seymour and Peter Tillemans. By 1759 Stubbs was successful enough to buy a house in fashionable Marylebone, London, where he spent the rest of his life."

  1. Images for Beatrix Potter art

     - Report images
    1. Category:Images by Beatrix Potter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Wikimedia Commons has media related to Images by Beatrix Potter. ... Beatrix Potter, Benjamin Bunny, Mrs Rabbits shop.jpg · Beatrix Potter, Benjam... 197 KB.

Beatrix Potter used a similar way as Stubbs herself.

J. Margaret Clarke Turfcall Comment (JMC)

Fairyhouse: Turban scoops another big pot for Mullins

By Andrew Dietz
TURBAN turned on the turbos between the second-last and the last to collect another big prize in Ireland for the all-conquering Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh partnership. 18 hours agoMore

Big chance for Hoof It at Kempton

Jockey James Sullivan said: "If he showed the form he has shown in the past he would be hard to beat. It is not a walk in the park but I hope he will go well." 22 hours ago

 didn't like to go into the stalls so did not run
The present Sarting Stall procedures followed
by political and horseracing government
like picking little flowers with a combine harvester.
Far, far more care needs to be taken with horses in and around the starting stalls. 

Gitane cut for Triumph

By Betting
BetVictor make Fairyhouse Grade 3 winner Gitane Du Berlais 14-1 (from 25) for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Paddy Power go 16-1 first show. 19 hours ago 

Willie Mullins says Gitane Du Berlais unlikely for Cheltenham

We might look at more of those all-aged races as she'll enjoy a longer trip than she'll get in 4yo races. The likely ground at Cheltenham would be too fast. I'll be looking at bringing her back to France rather than go to Cheltenham. 19 hours ago 


      Don't miss our Monet's Garden video

      The great greys series ends today with Monet's Garden - RPTV recently caught up with the veteran at home to see how he was getting on in retirement. Check it out in the media centre. 21 hours ago






    The Smiling Pioneer

     Robin Oakley

    Taking a closer look at Clive Brittain's timeline:

    "Owners, jockeys and journalists, who have always found the master of Carlburg amongst the most approachable of people, have always been encouraged to
    'Call me Clive' and throughout this book I have stuck to this habit. It is 'Clive' , not 'Brittain' , you will meet in these pages. "
    "Are you there, baby?' 'Hello big girl, are you waiting for me?'  'Good boy ... oh yes'  'There's nothing to be frightened of''  ...  'Hello young lady, are you there for me?'

    "Want to see a man doing what he was destined to do, doing what he is totally absorbed and happy doing? Watch Clive Brittain with his horses at Carlburg Stables, Bury Road, Newmarket. "

    Racehorses respond directly to a person's voice and gestures. The tone of the voice especially. Opening communication and understanding channels on all levels. Magic.


    A Horseman's beginning

    "Some of the other kids on the estate would try it and then chicken out but I was determined ... "

    Clive started work as an apprentice with Sir Noel Murless. pages 17 - 21

    "Some of the other  kids on the estate would try it and then chicken out but I was determined ... "
    "Calne, Wiltshire. The little scrap who arrived on December 15 1933 and who lived his early years at 9, Priestley Grove, Calne, enjoyed a family life typical of the countryside at the time: busy, companionably and shorn of luxury, although the big family usually managed, somehow or other, to make ends meet. "

    How Clive communicated with a bunch of wild ponies, and  took a few jobs to bring in some pocket money.

    At the end of 1948 Clive went to see Herbert Blagrave for a job. He was a private trainer and he already had an apprentice. This was about the end of 1948 and he was full up. He said, "Try Noel Murless down the road" .

    I saw the stable secretary first, a Mr Cotterill, a great old character. He looked at me and said, "You'll be too big" , and more or less turned me away. But I was never one for being turned away and so I waited until Sir Noel came out. I said that Mr  Blagrave  had sent me and that I wanted a job as an apprentice jockey and he took me on for a month's trial. "

    "It was a moment that determined the shape of Clive's life. The month's trial developed into a relationship of mutual respect that was to last, apart from Clive's two years of National Service in the Army, for the next 23 years. Until Sir Noel Murless began thinking of retirement and Clive set up on his own, he spent those 23 years handling some of the best animals in the country, horses like Petite Etoile, and Crepello, Aurelius and St Paddy, Royal Palace and Busted. And if that was why Clive later knew how to get the best out of the best when he handled Classic contenders at Carlburg, he made his own contribution too in the Murless yard, dealing with the awkward squad.  




    The Murless Years
    1950 - 1972
    "If you didn't say 'Good morning' you would get a boot up your arse. And if it wasn't a good morning you'd get a boot up the arse for saying so. " Mick Leaman, fellow Murless apprentice "
    Clive moved from Beckhampton to Newmarket with Sir Noel Murless and all his horses, the lot in one massive move, pages 23 - 38.
    Key Fact
    "Clive served his  7 year apprenticeship with Sir Noel Murless  plus a further 16 years. 
    Clive was in the right place with the right man for 23 years.
     "They were different times. In 23 years with Sir Noel Murless, as the great trainer was to become (he acquired his knighthood after Clive had left to set up on his own)  Clive Brittain was never addressed as 'Clive' or even by his surname.   When he spoke to him, Murless called him Calne because Calne in Wiltshire was was where Clive came from. It was ' Calne, take this one back to the yard' or 'Calne, drop in behind and move upsides at the two -furlong marker . It was not a lack of civility on Murless's part - theirs was a relationship built on mutual respect. It was just the way things were in a more forelock-tugging age. And it could have been worse ... there was another lad in the yard who was only ever addressed  as 'Skin the Goat'

    "Sir Noel Murless had just taken over at Beckhampton from Fred Darling and when I first went to Beckhampton  there were seven horses there who were savages. Red-carded. You weren't allowed  to go in with them unless there was someone with you. Within  three years Sir Noel had changed the system and brought in a more feeling regime. The savage horses disappeared. It was a great lesson. At evening stables they were held with three rack chains. One from the hay net to the head collar and one each side, otherwise they would have ripped you to pieces. There only defence was to bite you or kick you. Sir Noel got rid of those ideas. Seeing the way horses were treated I realised, just as I had with the ponies, that you don't beat them. A lot of the things he did I had already worked out for myself.
    "NOEL MURLESS was a great boss to work for and to be absolutely honest we had a very good lifestyle. Maureen was his secretary. I worked in the yards looking after the difficult horses. We has a (rent and rates free) bungalow at Warren Place and we were very happy. It wasn't until Lady Murless started talking about Sir Noel retiring that the idea of training came up at all. After 23 years it was a question of who else could I work for? I knew his mind inside out. I knew him and trusted him and he obviously had great trust in me, although I was never head man. He was a very loyal man and the head men he had did their job. My job was dealing with the awkward horses, riding the awkward ones, breaking the yearlings. We all had our place in the system. '
    Sir Noel was a tremendous thinker about the animal's condition and wellbeing and noticed everything. I can remember he would say at evening stables, "That  horse was very nervous with you this morning" . "We never had a big conversation. He called me "Calne" because that was where I came from. It was an "Evening Calne". "Evening sir" , "yes, sir" kind of relationship. I would say something like "This horse doesn't like going through the trees on the way to the gallop" and it was about getting the horses to the bottom of the gallop with as little stress as possible.
     "For lads in those days it was pretty spartan. We lived in big rooms like barracks. In the winter they were running with condensation. There was no heating but you had a bed and clean sheets for the bed once a week.. We were always pretty well fed in the canteen run by Mrs  Barclay, she was a very kind woman and we  got good wholesome food. "
    "Clives's friend and long time feed man Mick Learman, whom he tempted back into racing after 16 years in Clark's shoe factory when he started up, was a good boxer. We tend to forget thev physical stature of many of the lads in stables in those days. Mick won several boxing titles and was beaten in the final one year in the stable lads' championship - an event that was once a mainstay  of the racing year but finally petered out at the end of the 1990's, reflecting perhaps not just the growing number of lasses working in yards but an altogether less macho approach in racing yards.
    "Mind you , says Mick, it was worse when Fred Darling was still at Beckhampton. He may have six Derby winners "but he was tough with the horses and could be a mean little man, there was a ten o'clock curfew for the lads and if they were in after that he'd be there the other side of the gate waiting for them with a bullwhip. "
    "Clive says: " Mick's been my mainstay. The best in Newmarket. I don't have to worry about it. His feedhouse is always absolutely immaculate. He's head and shoulders above anyone else in Newmarket for feeding horses. Nobody could look after a horse better than Mick does. Mind you, he's cost me a fortune. He always wants the best for his horses. "
    "Two of the trickier stars  Clive had to deal with were AURELIUS  and
    ST PADDY, later the sire of one of Clive's outstanding international winners. As his protege was later to do with PEBBLES, Murless used geldings as companions and lead horses. The 1960 Derby winner ST PADDY, for example was a tearaway but there was
    a secret to dealing with him: "You could hold ST PADDY in a canter if you kept his
    head on the quarters of a big old mate of his called Sunny Way.  ST PADDY's forelegs would go between Sunny Way's back ones. It looked dreadful but they never touched each other. After 100 yards or so of that St Paddy would settle pretty well. But he even ran away with Lester, which took a bit of doing. "
    "As for AURELIUS, the 1961 St Leger winner, he was a savage with a capital S. There was no point hitting him. That was how he turned savage in the first place. As was CREPELLO who in his only two outings as a three-year-old in 1957, won the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby "CREPELLO was a tremendous  colt, really powerful behind the saddle, which was the reason he eventually broke down. He had an unbelievable blend if speed and stamina, which meant he was never extended at home. I couldn't name a horse today that might have beaten him. Among the fillies Petite Etoile was a tough mare, more like a colt in many ways. She had a strong personality with a bit of a  temperament  - she broke her lead rein on more than one occasion. I rode a lot of Sir Noel's good horses, most of them probably, and learned a lot about the character of horses. Even now you see a lot of the characteristics from the family lines. For instance, if a CREPELLO  throws a wobbly you are forewarned. "

    "During my years at Warren Place I never earned more than £17 a week but I set myself an income of £5,000 a year by backing our good horses in top races. We made a decent living - not a fortune but enough always to run a nice car and to have good holidays.
    "I was never a big gambler in the Barry Hills mode. I set out to win £5,000 a year and stop. I've always believed the lad who has a punt has an interest. It wasn't hurting anybody. You wouldn't do anything to harm or stop a horse. It wasn't in those days a matter of what wasn't going to win but what was going to win. It wouldn't do any damage to the price of the horse. Lads were probably then getting £15 to £20 a week as wages.
    "With common sense you couldn't help making money on the post odds.  You couldn't help backing winners when you worked for Sir Noel. I always backed horses to win. If I won £200 I would bank £175 and start again with £25. My first rule was never to stake more than I could afford to lose.
    "Two I particularly  remember Altesse Royal at 33-1 and Caergwrle at 50-1. We had some very good fillies at the time of Altesse Royal but I always felt she would be the best. She had a lot of nervous energy. She was pacemaker to the others but she never dropped away. It always stuck in my mind that she would be the one. She won the £1,000 Guineas  the year Magic Flute would sit behind Altesse Royale and then come with a run and always looked to be her master. But Altesse Royal never dropped her head. I took 33-1 for the Oaks and I won a few quid. It gave me that bit of a nest egg. It wasn't any huge wodge or anything, it was hundreds rather than thousands. 'Murless horses. I concentrated on their home work. I never thought of myself as a gambler when I backed his horses - more of an investor. They were nearly all good-class animals and they were always trying. I made most of the money in Classic races at anti-post odds. You couldn't help backing winners when you worked for Sir Noel.
                                                      THURSDAY JANUARY 23rd 


    On your marks. Get Set for this weekend's Ch4 Morning Line Preview 8.00am to 9.00am every Saturday.  Ch4  Join-up with Cheltenham and Doncaster to bring us the afternoon action tomorrow.

    Check to find the challengers set to compete from Turfcall's two trainer teams to follow. TEAM (Willie) MULLINS (IRE) and TEAM (Nicky) HENDERSON (GB) and list them down in your Jumps Turf reference file, to include the date, track, and time of each race. Find the Feature Races and take a closer look at the opposition.
    Don't forget to read TEAM (Willie) MULLINS feature in your Saturday Racing Post. A sound Equus perspective that brings us info on every challenger Team Mullins has taking their chances over this weekend.
    TEAM (Willie) MULLINS (IRE)

    TEAM (Nicky) HENDESON  A sound Equus perspective that brings us info on every challenger Team Mullins has, taking their chances over this weekend




    GOING: SOFT (GoingStick 5.7). (Light rain)


    GOING: Hurdle - YIELDING TO SOFT (Good to yielding last 2f); Chase - SOFT (Yielding in places) (There will be 2 fresh Hurdle tracks (both on the inner) this weekend. Sunday's racing line will be on the innermost circuit). (Light rain)
    1:00 Mares Maiden Hurdle 2m Card
    1:35 January Jumps Weekend Maiden Hurdle 2m4f Card
    2:10 Killiney Novice Chase (Grade 2) 2m5f Card
    2:45 Leopardstown Handicap Chase (Grade A) 2m5f Card Betting
    3:20 Hurdle (Extended Handicap Hurdle) (Grade B) 2m Card Betting
    3:55 Tote Super Trifecta Handicap Hurdle 2m4f Card
    4:25 (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race 2m Card

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