Saturday 7th December Racing Review & Opinions

07.12.19 Racing Recap (2)

Hi Guys!

So today’s post is all about tomorrow’s racing, a few very big races, big horses and I wanted to share a few opinions including the revival of Native River vs Might Bite, the Becher Handicap Chase and the Tingle Creek Chase!

First up the 11:30 at Aintree, the Play Casion At Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle. If you follow the betting it currently looks like a two horse race. Harry Senior vs Edwardstone. I met the lovely Harry Senior when I visited the Tizzard’s yard a few weeks back. (Cheeky self promo check out that post right here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2019/11/22/vip-stable-visit-to-colin-tizzards-venn-farm/ and I was lucky enough to watch him out on the gallops. He’s a lovely horse, his form has been okay as of late with a 4th back in October and a 2nd on November 5th and with the Champ booked for the ride he has got to be one to watch. Edwardstone looks an incredible horse, with a win in his first race of the season back on 9th November at Wincanton he is definitely a contender. Harry Senior is currently around 6/5 with Edwardstone at a slightly better price of around 6/4, 5/1+ the rest. Personally I am swaying towards Harry Senior, I think he’s open to improvement and with Richard Johnson booked to ride in his Gold Cup winning silks and only carrying 10st 12lbs against Edwardstone’s 11st 4lbs it could play a massive part.

Next to discuss is the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase featuring some very familiar horses everybody knows. My pick of the bunch is One For Arthur, he obviously hasn’t had the greatest couple of years with a few unseated throughout the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 then a 6th in April and a 4th in his season debut. However if he can come back to his best then he is a top class horse. He hasn’t won since winning the Grand National back in April 2017, which is frustrating to say the least. His last race at Kelso back in October was improved however still not as fluent as he used to be. My heart just swings towards him, in hopes he can have a better race this time out around a track he clearly loves. Right now he is around the 8/1 mark, coming in from 12/1, so clearly being heavily backed somewhere. Some good horses in the race including Vintage Clouds, trained by the currently in form Sue Smith at around 8/1, again heavily backed in from 14/1, Definitly Red at 10/1 in from 16/1, Vieux Lion Rouge who was second in this race last year who is currently around the 10/1 mark, the very well known Ballyoptic with Sam Twiston-Davies riding for his dad currently around 14/1. Then the two current favourites, Mulcahys Hill who has been heavily backed from 14/1 into 6/1 favourite and Kimberlite Candy who has been backed from 16/1 into 15/2. Again, a tough race to call, but my heart is with One For Arthur.

Next, the big one, the 2:40, Virgin Bet Price Boosts Many Clouds Chase. The return of Native River vs Might Bite. Now if you know me and you read my last post about my Tizzard’s yard visit, you will know that Native River is my favourite horse ever, so of course my heart is with him all day long. I watched him on the gallops whilst at the Tizzard’s and he looked in great form, me being completely unbiased, I think Native River will win tomorrow, he’s very familiar with Richard Johnson, won over course and distance and should have a decent race. Currently very short at around the 10/11 mark and not really moving away from around that mark. Of course you cannot rule out Might Bite or Black Corton, two very talented horses, currently 5/2 and 10/3 respectively. Might Bite again has won over course and distance, Black Corton has won over the distance, so cannot be ruled out. However my heart and head are saying Native River will win.

Finally, the big Grade One at Sandown, the 3 o’clock Betfair Tingle Creek Chase. Firstly, can I just say,  we have truly been treated with this one, what a line up we have! Defi Du Seuil, Politologue, Un De Sceaux, Sceau Royal, Janika, Waiting Patiently, Dolos and Ornua. Just an unreal line up for the race. Firstly, let’s talk about one of my favourite horses I have always followed Politologue who is currently around the 9/2 mark, he has won over course and distance and with a 2nd in his season debut, he has every chance of going one better this time out. The current favourite is another course and distance winner, Defi Du Seuil around the 6/4 mark. 2019 has been a very good year for this boy, only a 6 year old and during 2019 he has had 3 wins and 2 seconds, so definitely the one to watch. On to Un De Sceaux, again, cannot be ruled out, a very talented horse who, again, has won over course and distance. First run of the season which could be a good thing or a bad thing, does he need the run or will he come out better than ever after his win in April and a long summer break, he is currently around 9/2. Next in the line up Sceau Royal, another horse I have had the pleasure of meeting, a gorgeous horse with a great attitude to racing. Another course and distance winning horse, currently around the 6/1 mark. Always been there or there about, with a few seconds and a third during last season, but it has been over 12 months since he last won back at Cheltenham in November 2018. Next, the very talented Janika who is coming into this race on the back of a win on his season debut on November 5th at Exeter, again cannot be ruled out at 8/1, drifting from 4/1 which is an interesting thing to note. Onto Waiting Patiently, a very disappointing horse for me, hasn’t won since February 2018, first time out this season so may come back to his best, currently around 14/1, again drifting a lot from 7/1. Now onto Dolos, another horse that has won over course and distance, made a season debut 2nd back on November 5th, finishing behind Janika, Harry Skelton booked to ride, again drifting from 14/1 out to 33/1. Lastly Ornua, trained by Henry De Bromhead with Aidan Coleman booked to ride, came 2nd back on November 9th, but would need a career best here to come close, currently around 33/1 drifting from 25/1. With a race like this you can’t rule any horse out, all of the horses declared are talented and have great jockey’s booked to ride, anything is possible. My heart would sway toward Politologue, as personally he is a horse I have always followed and it would be nice to see him win and be back at his best again, Harry Cobden taking the ride from Paul Nicholls.

There are just a few of my opinions on a couple of tomorrow’s races, let me know your opinions over on my twitter page, who are you betting on? Any E/W chances? Any accumulators you fancy? I would love to hear everybody else’s opinions! 

Thank you for reading, I really hope you have enjoyed my opinions and I cannot wait to see you all in my next post.

sign

VIP Stable Visit to Colin Tizzard’s Venn Farm

Colin Tizzard

Hi guys!

So if you follow me on social media, you will know just how excited I was about my day yesterday. Being able to visit Colin Tizzard’s yard and seeing my favourite ever horse Native River! We had the best experience and the team were all incredible. If you know me you will know how much I love horse racing and how much I love Native River, so yesterday was honestly just an incredible day that I will never forget.

When we arrived, we were met by Joe Tizzard, Colin’s son and assistant trainer, he briefly showed us around the stable, including meeting Native River for the first time, which was a dream. 

IMG_4601  IMG_4602

We then went out onto the gallops to watch some of the horses work. Again, seeing Joe at work with the team was an honour to watch, he knew every horse by name, every member of staff by name, it was a lovely thing to see.

IMG_4608IMG_4637

We then was lucky enough to go into Joe’s office and watch him enter and declare horses for the next few days/weeks, including him declaring Lostintranslation for tomorrow Betfair Chase. Joe was very open with us and answered every question we had and showed us the behind the scenes that we don’t ever get to see. The hard, tedious work of finding races, putting horses into races and making sure all of the deadlines are met to enter and declare the horses. 

We then went back out to the gallops, where I had the absolute pleasure of watching my favourite every horse Native River working! He looked in great shape and Joe was very happy with him, it was truly an honour to watch a horse I have followed for years actually at work. We also seen Thistlecrack, who again, was in great shape and looked incredible.

IMG_4646

We spoke to so many members of staff, one in particular who was riding out on Native River, said he sometimes takes it for granted being able to work with such incredible athletes because he does it every single day and it isn’t until he sees people visit and sees how excited they get to meet these incredible stable stars that they really appreciate the job that they get to do every single day. Again, the staff were all lovely, everybody spoke and made us feel welcome and answered any questions we had.

Once back to the yard, Joe took us to meet an incredible horse who won on Wednesday The Big Breakaway, he took us into his stable and showed us just how soft a horse can be, cuddling up to everyone and just being really relaxed and chilled out. Which was so lovely to see.

IMG_5239

After we had our bacon rolls and a cuppa, we were then able to go around and meet more of the stable stars, which of course we took full advantage of!

IMG_4689IMG_4716IMG_4700IMG_4697IMG_4701

We then met the lovely Lostintranslation, who may I add, is the most calm, loving, gentle horse I have ever met. He was also the biggest poser you could ever imagine. But with a big race coming up, I loved being able to meet him before he becomes one of the most famous horses in the country.

IMG_5256IMG_5254

I then got the biggest honour ever, I got to walk Native River home to his stable and put his blanket and coat on. Which may seem like such a small gesture from the team, but to me it was an absolute dream. 

IMG_4726IMG_4732IMG_5261IMG_5242

IMG_5251

Colin Tizzard is an incredible trainer along with his whole team, they all work so hard, they are literally non-stop all morning and they deserve every piece of credit they get. I want to say a massive thank you to Joe for his incredible hospitality and being so lovely and welcoming and giving us one of the most incredible days. 

One thing I can say, is if you get the opportunity to go to a stable visit, to any of the yards, then 100% take it, each stable visit I go to is completely different, but one thing that is the exact same in each yard is the love they have for these animals and how much they care and look after them. It’s an incredible setting and everybody involved in the sport are all lovely.

I hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes of Venn Farm!

sign

An Updated Interview With Champion Jockey Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson

Hi guys!

So yesterday, whilst at Wincanton, I was lucky enough to do an updated interview with the Champion Jockey Richard Johnson. So without further ado, we will get straight into it!

—-

Me: Last time I interviewed you, you tipped Native River as your best chance at Cheltenham and you went on to win the Gold Cup with him, what is your top tip for 2020’s Cheltenham Festival?

Richard: Oh my gosh, erm, I suppose Thyme Hill I won on at Cheltenham the other day, you know, he’s just a really nice horse, he’s won two hurdle races already, they have both been grade 2’s so he’s already shown a very good level of form. And I don’t really know which race he will run in at Cheltenham yet but I know the plan will be to try and go there in March. So fingers crossed.

Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Richard: Look, I think, obviously the whip has been spoken about since I started riding, I think personally, the whip is in a really really good place at the moment. Obviously I think the rules we have over here are very fair for jockeys and the jockeys over here use the whip in a very good way. And I think that horse welfare is very important but I don’t feel like the horses are under threat at all and at the moment, again the whip rules are in a very good place and obviously it’s worth reviewing it all the time but I think in the world of horse racing we are at the front of the whip management. 

Me: How did you get involved in riding for Gordon Elliott over here?

Richard: I have ridden for Gordon for a long time, but I actually rode his first ever winner he trained and that was at Perth, I think that’s why he loves Perth so much, that was an awful long time ago, But he’s a great connection and when he brings horses over, particularly in the summer, I tend to ride a lot of them. So he’s a great man to ride for and a great trainer.

Me: As you are one of the leading jockey’s at Chepstow, what is the secret? Because when we visited there, we couldn’t pick a winner.

Richard: I think Chepstow is a track where you need the right horse, that’s the main thing. It’s always good competitive racing there, but it is a stiff track and you need a horse that stays. This year especially we have had all the rain, so you do need a horse that handles all of that, a proper winter national hunt horse rather than an ex flat horse who needs decent ground. It’s just having the right horses that’s the important thing and I am lucky that quite a lot of Mr Hobbs’ horses suit the track, again, he’s a great trainer, you know, he knows the right horses to ride there and that’s why he has a great strike rate there as well.

Me: Are you keeping AP’s record in sight? Do you see yourself equalling it or beating it?

Richard: Erm, well it is definitely in sight, I know where it is. But I think it’s a long long way away at the moment, my next ambition I suppose is to try and get to 4000 winners which you know, I have to ride a lot more to get to there, so it is one step at a time. But it’s always something people talk about, but for me I take every season as it comes.

Me: We are visiting Philip Hobbs’ stable soon, what is the secret behind the long running relationship you have with him and his team?

Richard: Look they’re a fantastic team to ride for, very professional. Philip is an absolute gentleman as well, he takes the rough with the smooth. Obviously everybody is a great winner but he is very level headed and takes the good and the bad all the same. We have been together and had a very good partnership and we understand each other quite well.

Me: With AP and Ruby now retired, we are seeing a generation of jockey’s slowly phasing out, what younger, upcoming jockey’s do you see becoming a future Champion Jockey?

Richard: Gosh, there’s an awful lot. Obviously there are the likes of Sam Twiston-Davies, Aidan Coleman, Harry Skelton, you know that sort of brigade coming through sort of after me I suppose. And then you’ve got your James and Sean Bowen, Richard Patrick and a whole heap of, young Jonjo O’Neill now is doing really well as well and I’ve only named a few there and there is a awful lot of talent about out there and I’m just trying to stay one step ahead of them and hopefully they don’t push me out of the door too soon.

Me: There are some incredible women jockey’s at the minute, do you ever see a woman becoming Champion Jockey?

Richard: I can’t see why not. Like you say, I think Lizzie Kelly and obviously Bridget Andrews, they’re probably the two and obviously Rachael Blackmore in Ireland, obviously she came very close to being Champion Jockey in Ireland last year. Looks, it’s all, whether you’re male or female riding a horse, it’s the same for us all and the most important thing is riding the right horses. I am very lucky to consistently get lovely horses to ride and again, it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, so I can’t see any reason why at some point that wouldn’t happen.

Me: With the Betfair Chase on Saturday, who do you tip to win and do you see a horse winning the Million Pound Triple?

Richard: Well look, obviously Kauto Star did it and you need to be a fantastic horse to win the Gold Cup and the King George, you know, in their own rights, those two races are very hard and different tests of a horse’s speed at Kempton and the stamina at Cheltenham. So you need a very very talented horse, there’s no reason why another horse can’t do it again. There’s only four there on Saturday now, Lostintranslation looks to have the world ahead of him and he’s the horse for me, that if he went on and won on Saturday, he’s the one, not saying he is definitely going to do it, but he’s the one looking open to the improvement to go in that direction.

Me: Finally, what do you think of Altior in the King George?

Richard: Again, a lot of good two milers have won a King George and stepped up in trip to do that. So there’s no reason that he shouldn’t. But again, we shall see him run on Saturday and I assume if he wins the King George will be his next run. But for me he’s one of the best horses I’ve seen, you aren’t unbeaten over fences for no reason, so he’s a fantastic horse and it’s always lovely to see him running.

—-

So there we have it! Some very interesting answers there from Richard. It was a pleasure interviewing him, as always he was a gentleman! So we have a top tip looking forward to Cheltenham and Richard’s pick for the Betfair Chase tomorrow! 

Thank you so much for reading.

sign

Visiting Jackdaws Castle – Home of Jonjo O’Neill Racing

Jackdaws Castle

Hi Guys!

Welcome back to my channel, as you can see from the title today’s post is all about our incredible trip to Jackdaws Castle.

Today my family and I were lucky enough to be invited down to Jackdaws Castle, the home of Jonjo O’Neill Racing and I honestly was just in awe the whole time. 

If you know me, you know how obsessed with horse racing I am, I have loved the sport from a very young age so being able to visit one of the, arguably, most state of the art facilities within racing was just an incredible experience.

Firstly I would like to thank the whole team at Jackdaws for making us feel so welcome, feeding us, giving us lots of tea and champagne. It was incredible from the moment we turned up at the gate and got buzzed in. Everybody we met was lovely and welcoming and literally everybody spoke to us whether they were busy or not.

When we went into Jackdaws we had a good look around their stables, 120 of them to be precise. We got to meet some of their incredible stable stars and some of their staff who were getting some of the horses ready to get to work.

IMG_4741    IMG_4777

We were also taken into their schooling area, their walkers and their pool and spa area, which was all just something I had never seen before. These animals are literally treated like royalty, everything they could ever wish for is right there next to their stables. I couldn’t fault any member of staff I came across, they all had their horses as their top priority. Once a horse was out of the pool you could see the staff rushing around to make sure the horse was washed with warm water, dried off and settled with a blanket on before they took them back to their stables, they honestly couldn’t do enough for the horse and it was incredible to watch them at work. 

A fact I found rather interesting whilst in this area, is a horse is weighed before leaving for a race and then again after and if he/she has only lost 1kg then they know it didn’t try in the race as they should at least lose a couple KG.

IMG_4772  IMG_4746  IMG_4766

We also had the honour of watching the 2nd out of 4 lots go out onto the gallops, seeing Jonjo at work with his team was truly spectacular, he knows so much about his horses and his style of training is something I have never seen before. It is very bespoke and each horse is trained in a way to suit them. For instance some horses who don’t settle well in a group were out on their own on a separate gallop to the group. It was something very different to what I had seen in other yards. Some of the guys also had walkie talkies so Jonjo could always communicate with them if he wanted certain things to happen.

IMG_4755.jpg

We had a lovely tour from Edward Gillespie, who now works closely with Jonjo, who used to be the Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, so as you can imagine he had some very very interesting stories to tell us about his 30+ years managing one of, if not the biggest racecourse in the UK. It was incredible to get such an insight from somebody who has seen almost everything that can happen in horse racing and had the job of organising, in my opinion, the biggest racing festival in the world. It was also incredible to hear how he witnessed the sport and that course in particular grow. He said there were only 14 people in the office when he started, but when he retired in 2012 there were over 40. Which to me still is quite a small number. So after speaking with him, I have the upmost respect for the workers who do an incredible job of running the racecourses around the world. To us we just see the race days and how incredible it is, but behind the scenes it takes a lot of hard work to organise everything and everyone in the right place at the right time.

We also had an incredible talk with Jacqui O’Neill, Jonjo’s wife who is honestly an incredible woman. She was busy continuously, rushing around making sure everything was okay and we had drinks and food and had seen everything. She is also an extremely knowledgeable woman when it comes to horses, racing and training.

We of course, had the opportunity to talk to Jonjo who filled us in on his plans for a couple of the stable stars. He was lovely and had all the time in the world to talk to us, no question was too far, nothing was too much for him. He is an incredible trainer and a lovely bloke who has deserved all of the success he has had and I am sure will continue to have. Below are some of the successes Jonjo has had as a trainer, which is just incredible.

IMG_4757  IMG_4758

  Also a massive thank you to Joe O’Neill, Jonjo’s nephew, who was lovely and welcoming and always on hand for any questions or help.

Overall, we had a fantastic day, from start to finish I cannot fault any of it. What I can say is if you get the opportunity to visit a stable facility like Jackdaws Castle then 100% take it, it is just an incredible experience. We love horse racing, but a race day is only a very small part of the life of a race horse and being able to go and see a day in the life of these horses, trainers, jockeys and stable staff is something I recommend any horse racing fan sees.

What I also want to touch on is the people who say that horse racing is ‘animal cruelty’ as I hear it day in, day out as a racing fan. It 100% is definitely not. These horses are treated like royalty, they are looked after so well it is honestly ridiculous. They love their job, as soon as their stable girl/lad goes to them to get them ready to go out they are up and ready to go and some that we seen today love it so much they don’t like going back towards their stable as they know their work is done. These horses are 3/4/5 times the size of the people riding them, if they didn’t want to run, jump, swim or do anything like that then they definitely wouldn’t let a 10 stone woman/man force them to.

Thank you for reading today’s post. I have a few more VIP stable tours coming up very soon so I will be posting more about the behind the scenes of horse racing very very soon!

I will see you all in my next post. Don’t forget to subscribe so you get an email when I post!

sign

If any bloggers/writers/companies want to work together on a post on my website or my social media then please head over to the ‘Work With Me’ page in the menu at the top of my site where you can find all of the details you need. 

 

 

2019 Update

BANNER

Hi Guys!

I know, I know, I am the worlds worst blogger. After taking some time away from social media and my blog after going through some really tough things, I am finally back and ready to start posting more consistently. FINALLY being the key word. 

Blogging has always been what I turn to when I’m feeling really down and low, but for the last few months I haven’t been in a mind set where I have wanted to write or do any work on my blog and unless I am 100% and creating good content I don’t see the point in posting things that I wouldn’t be totally happy with.

But that being said, I now have a new job and I am finally feeling more myself and ready to be writing again. I have 2 posts planned for this week and then I will be posting a lot more over the foreseeable future, including more True Crime cases.

As I write this I have a True Crime Q&A LIVE over on my Instagram, so go over and ask me some questions about any cases, theories and anything you would like me to cover in my upcoming post. Direct Link: https://instagram.com/zoelouisesmithx

Thank you to everybody for the continued support.

sign

The UK Blog Awards

cropped-signedwith-love.png

Hi Guys!

I am honoured to have been nominated for a UK Blog Award 2019. I have been blogging for a few years now and this is the first time my work has been recognised so as you can imagine I am super proud of myself.

Over the years I have wrote about everything and anything. The past few years I have focused a lot on mental health, because that is something I am very passionate about and then the past few months I have ventured into a crime sector which I am loving. 

If you would like to vote for me, I would really appreciate it, you can vote here: https://blogawardsuk.co.uk/dk_vote_post_entries/zoe-smith/

I am so grateful to have been nominated and I can’t wait to continue my blogging journey.

zoelouisesmithx

Mental Health Monday’s #4

Mental Health Monday's #4

Hey guys!

Today is the 4th part of my Mental Health Monday’s series, this was wrote by someone I have known for many years, she is one of the strongest people I know and I am honoured she has allowed me to share her journey with me and my readers. I think it is important to note that everything I post in this series is completely unedited, unchanged and raw from the person who has shared it with me.

“At 19 I was officially diagnosed with anxiety and depression. By this point I was already a mother. My earliest memory of feeling “not right” was when I was around 8, I would sit in class crying, sobbing my heart out, convinced my family were at home dying in a house fire. This was daily, I was riddled with nerves and anxiety. I struggled with school and very often I would fake illness so that I didn’t have to go, not to rebel but just because of the anxiety. Gradually it all got worse and a troubled childhood didn’t help, I witnessed alot of things I shouldn’t have and felt so very alone all the time. By the time I was 14 I was suicidal and took an overdose, I would try to drown my self daily in the bath in hopes I would not have to face this daily war in my head any longer. Unfortunately even though my mom was obviously aware of my suicide attempt and the anxiety I had suffered with over the years.. I was never seen by a doctor. I rebelled and drank my way though the next couple of years. At 16 I met my partner and his beautiful daughter who completely and utterly saved my life. 2 and a half years later she passed away, 9 months before her passing our daughter was born. Once again I was depressed. Lost in the confusion of the love for my daughter but the grief for my step daughter. I plucked up the courage and took myself to the doctors, within minutes I had tears streaming down my face, as though the decade of pain was pouring out of me through words. Straight away the answer of course was medication. It had to work surely? Wrong. It didn’t. Not for me anyway. Since then I have gone on to have another child. My baby boy. Daily I still struggle with the constant battle in my head. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to shower or brush my teeth. But I do. Because now I have reason, purpose. I have completed my level 2 training in counselling and have studied my mind thoroughly, I know myself. My triggers. 
Mental health is a bastard, it’s cruel and selfish. I’m a pure heart with a sad brain and It doesn’t get much more confusing than that.. now that I’m a mom I recognise the importance of recognising a struggle in every single person. Not just adults.. kids are just as important.. If not more. I wish I would of received help as soon as I first started showing signs, but I didn’t.. I’m very nearly 23 and even now life is a constant struggle. But I have reason to fight and I will always always win. And believe it or not, i am so in love with my life and happier than I ever thought possible. I am proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

If you wish to take part in my new Mental Health Monday’s series by contributing your journey or an inspiring piece like I have shared today then do not hesitate to email me, even if you are not the best writer in the world but still want to be involved then please do email me and we can still work something else: zoesmith-x@hotmail.co.uk.

Thank you for reading!

zoelouisesmithx