Horse Racing News 27th February 2017

Best Shines Bright At Kempton and No Mysteree About Eider Winner

There were many fancied runners headed into Saturday’s Betbright Chase, but Neil Mulholland’s Pilgrims Bay wasn’t one of them. To say this son of Turtle Island has his own ideas about the game is something of an understatement, he is however undoubtedly a talented performer on his day.

There is nothing wrong with the way he travels through his races, it is when he has been asked to hit the front that his troubles have begun. Just as likely to attempt to pull himself up or wander all over the track, as he is to get on with the task at hand, this one certainly falls into the tricky ride category. On Saturday in the first Graded contest of his career, he was the beneficiary of a masterclass in patient riding by James Best.

Allowed to tank into the race with minimal assistance from his jockey, Best only gave him the office inside the final 100 yards, just in time for Pilgrims Bay to hit the front come the line, but too late for him to unleash any of his wandering tendencies. A fine ride and a richly deserved big race success.

Eider Chase Success for Mysteree

Up at Newcastle we had one of the major jumps contests of the year at the track, with the 2017 edition of the Eider Chase. At a shade over four miles in distance and often run in extremely testing ground, this offers something of a unique challenge. In Milborough and Portrait King we had two previous winners in the field, along with Shotgun Paddy who ran a fine race to finish second 12 months ago.

Shotgun Paddy clattered a few as ever but ran well again in third with the prize going to the fourth placed finisher from 2016, Michael Scudamore’s, Mysteree. Higher in the handicap than last year and pulled up last time out, he wasn’t the most obvious winner on the book, but the fact that he was sent off at just 10/1 was perhaps telling.

This must go down as a career best effort and he will no doubt be a live threat in future stamina sapping events, although he doesn’t hold a National entry.

Jockeys Injured

This weekend also shone a light on the risks those brave men and women in the saddle take for their love of the sport. First up, multiple Cheltenham Festival winner, Barry Geraghty, who came to grief aboard the highly touted Charli Parcs in Saturday’s Adonis Hurdle.

Charl Parcs thankfully escaped the incident unscathed, but JP McManus’s retained rider wasn’t so fortunate. We imagine a blow of six broken ribs and a punctured lung would be bad at the best of times, but the timing could not be worse for the Irishman, who will now miss the whole of the Cheltenham Festival.

From the green grass of Kempton to the snow-covered terrain of St Moritz and another nasty fall. This time for Classic winning jockey, George Baker. A fall – which was sadly fatal for his mount Boomerang Bob – resulted in a spell in intensive care in a Swiss Hospital for Baker as he was airlifted from the track. Thankfully the early signs seem encouraging and he will have the best wishes of the racing world in what will hopefully be a speedy recovery.