RIP Presenting Percy: What Makes a People’s Horse?

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! After hearing the upsetting news recently that Presenting Percy has passed away, I thought it would nice to have a look back at his career.


Presenting Percy’s career started at Punchestown on January 31st 2016 when he trainer Patrick G Kelly sent him to a 2 mile INH Flat Race (bumper) under Mr S D Bohan who claimed 7. He was a huge 50/1 and shocked almost everybody when he finished 2nd by just 2 and 1/4 lengths to Battleford who was the 4/6 favourite for Willie Mullins and Patrick Mullins.

Presenting Percy then took a 75 day break before heading to Ballinrobe on April 15th 2016 for a Ladies Pro/AM Flat Race over 2 miles 1 furlong, this time Ms Katie Walsh took the ride on the 1/2 favourite and at 5 years old, carrying 12 stone, he had his first win by 6 lengths to his eventual new trainer Gordon Elliott’s horse Carrig Cathal (5/1).

Just a couple of weeks later Presenting Percy headed back to Punchestown for his first Grade 1, this proved to be a little bit too much too soon for him when he could only manage a 7th place at 10/1 under Miss J M Mangan.

After a 167 day break, on October 11th Presenting Percy went to Galway for his Maiden Hurdle and his first ride under his eventual long term partner Davy Russell, he was 2/1 but could only manage a 4th place, finishing 19 lengths behind the 4/5 favourite Le Martalin for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan.

Just a few weeks later on October 30th Presenting Percy went back to Galway for his second Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles, this time Sean Flanagan took the ride and at 9/4 he beat the odds on 8/11 favourite Canelie for Gordon Elliott and Mark Walsh by 2 lengths.

On November 19th 2016, Presenting Percy headed to Punchestown for a Novice Handicap Hurdle, again under Davy Russell and this time as the 4/5 odds on favourite. He won by 3 lengths to Llancillo Lord (7/1) for Thomas Mullins and Paul Townend.

Just over a month later, on December 28th, Presenting Percy was declared for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Qualifier at Leopardstown over 3 miles, he was the 5/1 joint favourite however could only manage a 5th place under Davy Russell.

It would be February 5th 2017 when we next seen Presenting Percy again, this time back at Punchestown for his second Pertemps Network Group Handicap Hurdle Qualifier again over 3 miles, this time under David Mullins at 8/1 he managed a 4th place finishing 4 and 1/2 lengths behind the 11/2 winner Isleofhopeandreams for Willie Mullins and Danny Mullins.

On February 25th, Presenting Percy appeared at Fairyhouse for the first time for a Handicap Hurdle over 2 mile 4 furlongs, with Davy Russell back on board and as the 2/1 favourite he won by 3 and 1/4 lengths.

On the 16th of March 2017, Presenting Percy made his way over the Irish sea to the British mainland to appear at his first ever Cheltenham Festival. As an 11/1 shot in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle – a listed race over 3 miles. Impressively, Presenting Percy at 6 years old won with Davy Russell riding, carrying 11 stone 11 pounds, by 3 and 3/4 lengths.

Just over a month later on April 26th, Presenting Percy went back to Punchestown for a Grade 1 Novice Hurdle and at 5/2 could only manage a 6th place under Davy Russell. Interestingly, he finished behind horses such as dual Cheltenham Festival winner Penhill, Martin Pipe winner Champagne Classic, Gold Cup 4th place Monalee and back to back Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.

Presenting Percy then took a 187 day break before returning to Galway on October 30th 2017 for a Beginners Chase over 2 miles, 6 and 1/2 furlongs. He was 11/4 and Davy Russell took the ride again, this time beating the 2/1 favourite De Plotting Shed for Gordon Elliott and Keith Donoghue by 3 lengths.

A few weeks later on November 19th, Presenting Percy headed to Punchestown for a Grade 2 Novice Chase and as the Evens favourite under Davy Russell, he finished 3rd behind winner Jury Duty (6/1) for Gordon Elliott and Robbie Power and 2nd placed Shattered Love (11/4) for Gordon Elliott and Sean Flanagan.

On December 3rd at Fairyhouse, Presenting Percy ran in a Grade B Handicap Chase, and as the 7/2 joint favourite, under Davy Russell he won impressively by 11 lengths to Forever Gold (10/1) for Edward Cawley and Chris Timmons.

Presenting Percy then took a 53 day break before returning to the track, this time Gowran Park on January 25th 2018 for a Grade 2 Hurdle race, as the 9/4 joint favourite, this time under Davy Russell once again, he won by 5 and 1/2 lengths beating Augusta Kate (8/1) for Willie Mullins and David Mullins.

On February 17th, Presenting Percy headed back to Gowran Park for the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase, this time as the Evens favourite, under Davy Russell he finished second by 1 length to Our Duke (5/2) for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power.

Next up for Presenting Percy was his second visit to the Cheltenham Festival, this time the Grade 1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase. And in impressive style as the 5/2 favourite under Davy Russell, he won by 7 lengths to Monalee (100/30) for Henry De Bromhead and Noel Fehily.

Presenting Percy was then off the track for 316 days before returning to Gowran Park on January 24th 2019 for another Grade 2 Hurdle race, again under Davy Russell and as the 9/4 favourite, he won the race by 1 and 1/4 lengths to Bapaume (11/2) for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.

It was then time for a 3rd trip to the Cheltenham Festival for Presenting Percy, this time being the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup, he was the 100/30 favourite, however under Davy Russell, they could only manage an 8th in the race, behind horses such as Clan Des Obeaux (5/1), Native River (6/1), Bristol De Mai (18/1) and of course, the winner Al Boum Photo (12/1) for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.

After a 268 day break, on December 8th at Punchestown, Presenting Percy returned to Punchestown for a Grade 1 Chase, this time at 10/1 under J J Slevin he finished 3rd behind odds on winner Min (8/11) for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend and 2nd placed Hardline (25/1) for Gordon Elliott and Keith Donoghue.

On December 28th 2019, Presenting Percy headed to Leopardstown under Davy Russell, finishing 5th at 7/2 in the Grade 1 Savills Chase, finishing behind winner Delta Work (11/2) for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy, Monalee (8/1) in 2nd, Road to Respect (7/2) in 3rd and 7/4 favourite Kemboy in 4th.

We then move into 2020 and on February 2nd Presenting Percy ran in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, at 100/30 he finished 3rd under Davy Russell behind winner Delta Work (5/2) for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy and 2nd placed 5/4 favourite Kemboy for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.

It was then the 4th journey to the Cheltenham Festival for Presenting Percy and a 2nd attempt at the Grade 1 Gold Cup. At 10/1, under Davy Russell he unfortunately fell 2 out.

On October 8th 2020, Presenting Percy then changed trainer from Patrick G Kelly to Gordon Elliott and his first race under his new trainer quickly approached and on October 31st 2020, he headed to Down Royal for the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase, he was 3/1 and Denis O’Regan took the ride, this time finishing 4th behind the winner, The Storyteller (9/2) for Gordon Elliott and Keith Donoghue, the 5/2 favourite Chris’s Dream in 2nd and Tout Est Permis (8/1) in 3rd.

On November 19th 2020, Presenting Percy returned to his winning way, to the joy of so many racing fans, when he headed to Thurles and under Jack Kennedy, he won at 3/1 in the boomerang.ie Chase (Listed Race), beating 11/10 favourite Kemboy for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.

The last time we would see Presenting Percy would be on December 28th at Leopardstown when he ran in the Grade 1 Savills Chase and at 8/1 under Denis O’Regan however he could only manage an 8th, 76 lengths behind eventual winner A Plus Tard (15/2) for Henry De Bromhead and Darragh O’Keeffe.


Sadly on April 16th 2021, owner Philip Reynolds announced that Presenting Percy at 10 years old had passed away after suffering from a blood infection. He told Racing TV that there had been a three month battle against the blood infection with Fethard Equine Hospital working to save his life and allow him to retire but sadly that wasn’t to be. He could not be saved and he had to be put to sleep. He also said the following:

The sudden sadness of his passing is hard to contemplate, and the wonders of ‘what if’ will remain. To everyone who shared our love for Percy, we are so sorry. The horse of my lifetime – and my honour to have been called his owner.”

https://www.racingtv.com/news/dual-cheltenham-festival-winner-presenting-percy-dies

For me, the words of Philip Reynolds says everything, he was a special horse and so many people fell in love with him, including his long term partner Davy Russell. It makes me sad that he couldn’t have the retirement he truly deserved. It’s sad when any horse passes away and this was no different, the day it was announced everybody on social media was speaking about him and his talent. I think he was a very talented horse and maybe we didn’t get to see him show his full potential. After his win in November 2020, I think we all held out hope that the old Presenting Percy was back and we’d go on to see him continue winning and coming back stronger than ever, it breaks my heart that we will never get that opportunity now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look back at this legends career, like I did whilst writing. Rest in peace Presenting Percy.

I will see you all in my next post Wednesday evening at 6pm.

Russell Baze: The Man Behind 12,844 Career Wins

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today’s post is one I have found so interesting to research and I had to share it! It is quite unbelievable and I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of it before now. It isn’t the longest post, but it definitely one of the more interesting stories I have seen!

When AP McCoy rode over 4000 winners when retiring, we all thought that was an incredible achievement – which of course it was! But would you believe me if I told you there is someone in the world who had 3 times the amount of winners that AP did? Let’s get right into the story of Russell Baze.


Russell Avery Baze was born on August 7th 1958 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His father Joe Baze is a former jockey and trainer who was competing at Exhibition Park in Vancouver at the time, so therefore Russell was given dual Canadian/American citizenship.

In 1974 at 16 years old, Russell started his career as a jockey, debuting in Walla Walla, Washington and that year he recorded his first victory at the Yakima Meadows racetrack on October 28th on board Oregon Warrior. Russell’s first big win came in 1975 when he won the Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs race track.

By the early 1980’s Russell was becoming a well known name within racing after winning recording some big wins across California including the 1981 California Derby. On October 14th 1989, Russell was riding Hawkster when he set the Santa Anita Park track record for 1 and 1/2 miles on turf.

In 1995, Russell was honoured with a special Eclipse Award after winning 400 or more races in a year for four consecutive years. From then on he won 400 or more races in a year 7 more times – No other jockey has accomplished this more than 3 times.

In 1995, the Isaac Murphy Award was created to be presented annually by the National Turf Writers Association to the jockey with the highest winning percentage in North America. Russell ended up winning this 13 out of 14 years – finishing second in 2004.

In 1999, Russell was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and in 2002 he was voted the winner of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by his fellow jockeys.

On December 1st 2006, Russell set the world’s all-time record for the most career victories, which was previously held by Laffit Pincay Jr with 9530 wins. Russell won on board Butterfly Belle – his 9531 career victory.

On February 1st 2008, Russell rode Two Step Cat to victory in a photo finish at Golden Gate Fields to become the first North American rider to win 10,000 races. Then just 2 years later on August 14th 2010 at Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, Russell rode Separate Forest to victory to win his 11,000 race. On July 7th 2013, Russell won on Handful of Pearls in Pleasanton, California, this being his 12,000th win.

On June 12th 2016, Russell Baze guided Wahine Warrior into second place at Golden Gate Fields and after doing so told his long-time agent and friend Ray Harris “That’s it. I’m going to retire.”

At the time of retiring, Russell Baze was the jockey with the most career victories in the world with a huge 12,844 wins, 9,600 seconds and 7,855 thirds. He rode a total of 53,578 times and earned $199,334,219 in his career.

Two years after his retirement he lost the title of the jockey with the most career victories in the world, when Brazillian Jorge Ricardo bypassed him, with 13,069 career wins as of March 15th 2021. However Russell keeps the record of the North American jockey with the most career victories.

Russell Baze won 12,844 races including some of the biggest races in America including the California Derby in 1981, El Camino Real Derby in 1984, 1998, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, Oklahoma Derby in 1996, Bay Meadows Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2002, Churchill Downs Handicap in 2006, Aristides Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2006, Azalea Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2008, California Oaks in 2009, San Francisco Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2010 and Berkeley Handicap in 2013 and 2015.

He also won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2002, the Isaac Murphy Award in 1995-2003 and 2005-2007, Eclipse Special Award in 1995 as well as the United States Champion Jockey by wins in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008.


Maybe I’m naïve and I haven’t paid attention to what was happening around the world, but I can’t believe I had genuinely never heard of Russell before now. Reading his story and learning about his career has been really eye opening for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you have all enjoyed this slightly shorter post!

I will see you all Saturday morning at 11am with a brand new post!

The History of the Flat Jockey Championship

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Before I get started I want to say sorry for not posting on Wednesday evening as I normally do, I have set out my schedule of 2 posts a week and stuck to it every week, however the past few weeks I had a lot going on so I was unable to get a post wrote up that I was happy to put out there, so I chose not to post and instead get a post up today and hopefully stick to the schedule here on out for the rest of 2021.

As many of you will know, the Flat Jockey Championship started last week, so I decided for today’s post to have a little look at the history of Championship and a look at who is up there in the betting for this years title, which looks like it could be a very good renewal! So without further ado, let’s just get into it!


The Flat Jockey Championship runs between May and October each year, with this years falling between the Guineas Festival on May 1st and the British Champions Day on October 16th. Originally the Championship was decided between the Lincoln Handicap Day and November Handicap Day, however it was in 2015 it was announced it would be reduced. So instead of the 32 weeks, it is now only around 24 weeks. In 2015, it was also announced that the Champion Jockey would receive a prize of £25,000 and the runner up would receive £10,000.

The first recognised Champion was in 1840 when Nat Flatman had 50 wins. Nat Flatman then went on to win the Championship consecutively up until 1852, with 104 being his biggest tally in 1848. It was 1853 when a new person won the Championship when John Wells had 86 winners, then winning again in 1854 with 82 winners.

In 1855 a new Champion took over when George Fordham won with 70 victories, then keeping the title all the way up to 1863, with 166 victories in 1862 being his highest winning season. In 1864 Jemmy Grimshaw won the title with 164 wins, before George Fordham won it back in 1865 with 142. In 1866 Sam Kenyon won with 123 wins, before George Fordham winning it back again in 1867 with 143 wins and keeping it in 1868 with 110 wins and in 1869 with 95 wins.

In 1870 there was the first join title when William Gray and Charlie Maidment both had 76 winners, followed up by another joint win in 1871 when George Fordham and Charlie Maidment had 86 wins.

The next mentionable name is Fred Archer who started his rein of Championship victories in 1874 when he has 147 wins, he then kept the title all the way up to 1886 when he won it with 170 wins. Throughout that time he recorded some of the biggest number of winners ever seen totalling 2609, including a 210, 218, 220, 229, 232, 241 and 246.

In 1900 the first winner from outside of Britain won the title when American born Lester Reiff won with 143 victories, followed by another American born jockey Danny Maher in 1908 with 139 victories. From 1909 to 1912 Australian jockey Frank Wootton won the title with a highest winning season of 187 in 1911. Danny Maher then won the title back in 1913 with 115 victories.

Between 1914 and 1922 Steve Donoghue won the title with a highest winning season of 143 in 1920. In 1923 Steve Donoghue jointly won the title with Charlie Elliott both with 89 wins.

Between 1925 and 1953, Gordon Richards won the title a record breaking 26 times with 1947 being a record breaking season – still to be broken – with 269 wins.

In 1960, the very famous Lester Piggott won the title for the first time with 170 wins, then winning it again in 1964 and all the way up to 1971 with his highest winning season being 1966 with 191 wins. In 1972 and 1973 Willie Carson won the title with 132 wins followed by 164.

Between 1974 and 1977 Irish born Pat Eddery won the title, with 148 wins followed by 164, 162 and 176. In 1978, Willie Carson won the title back with 182 victories, before winning it again in 1980 with 166 wins. Followed by Lester Piggott regaining the title in 1981 and 1982 with 179 and 188 wins. Before Willie Carson won the title back again in 1983 with 159 wins.

In 1992 the first South African born jockey won the title, this being Michael Roberts with 206 wins. In 1994 and 1995, Italian born Frankie Dettori won the title with 233 victories followed by 211 victories. In 1997, 1998 and 1999 Irish born Kieren Fallon won the title with 202, 204 and 200 wins. Before regaining the title back in 2001 and keeping it until 2003 with 166, 136 and 207 wins, before Frankie Dettori retained the title in 2004 with 192 wins.

In 2005, another Irish born jockey win, this time being Jamie Spencer with 163 wins, followed by Ryan Moore in 2006 with 180 wins. In 2007 we seen another joint win when Seb Sanders and Jamie Spencer both had 190 wins. In 2008 and 2009, Ryan Moore regained the title with 186 and 174 wins. In 2010 and 2011 Paul Hanagan won the title with 191 and 165 wins. Between 2012 and 2014 Irish born Richard Hughes won the title with 172, 208 and 161 wins.

In 2015, we see Brazilian born Silvestre de Sousa win the title for the first time with 132 wins. Jim Crowley won in 2016 with 148 wins, before Silvestre de Sousa won the title back in 2017 with 155 wins and keeping it in 2018 with 148 wins. For 2019 and 2020 we seen current Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy crowned with 168 victories in 2019 and 142 in 2020.


The person with the most titles is Gordon Richards who won it a massive 26 times, he also holds the record for the most wins in one season when he recorded 269 wins in 1947.

The most consecutive titles is 13, which is held by Nat Flatman who won between 1840 and 1852 and then done again by Fred Archer between 1874 and 1886.


On to this years Championship. (I have got all odds from the Sky Bet website and they were correct at time of editing on 07/05/2021.)

The favourite for this years title race is currently William Buick who is 7/4, followed very closely by Oisin Murphy at 2/1. Third up is the person currently at the top of the table, Ben Curtis with 7 wins out of 25 rides (Strike rate of 28%) who is 11/4. We then have the best couple in sport in the next two spots Tom Marquand at 5/1 and Hollie Doyle at 11/2. It then opens up with Daniel Tudhope, James Doyle, Ryan Moore and Silvestre de Sousa at 33/1 with Andrea Atzeni at 50/1. There is then Ben Robinson, David Egan, David Probert, Jim Crowley, Kevin Stott and Luke Morris all at 66/1 with Cieren Fallon and Paul Hanagan at 100/1.

So overall, it looks a pretty open race, with the top 5 all with a very good chance of winning the title, but as we all know, anything can happen in racing!


Who do you think will win the title this year? Let me know over on Twitter. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into the Flat Jockey Championship and I will see you all in my next post!

The History of the 2000 Guineas

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of today’s renewal of the 2000 Guineas I have decided to have a quick look at the history of the race including some past winners and some interesting records, facts and figures. So without further ado, lets just jump right in!


The 2000 Guineas Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race which first took place in 1809. It is open to 3 year old thoroughbred colts and fillies, which is ran over 1 mile (1,609 metres) on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket. It is one of the Britain’s five ‘Classic’ races and currently it is the first one of the year, being ran in late April/early May each year. It is also the first leg of the Triple Crown, you can read more about that right here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2021/04/28/the-history-of-the-english-triple-crown/.

The first running of the 2000 Guineas Stakes took place on April 18th 1809, established by the Jockey Club under the direction of Sir Charles Bunbury, who interestingly had previously co-founded the Espom Derby. The race was named after its original prize, a guinea amounted to roughly £1.05, so 2000 guineas roughly equalled £2,100.


Now, lets have a look at some previous winners, starting with the first winner back in 1809, Wizard who was rode by Bill Clift, trained by Tom Perren and owned by Christopher Wilson. I then want to skip forward a few years to 1814, this was the first of three wins in a row for jockey Bill Arnull and trainer Dixon Boyce when Olive won, in 1815 the pair won again with Tigris, then winning again for a thirs time in 1816 with Nectar.

This repeated itself a few years later, starting in 1820 when jockey Frank Buckle, trainer Robert Robson and owner 4th Duke of Grafton won with Pindarrie, the trio then won again in 1821 with Reginald and again in 1822 with Pastille – who interestingly was the first filly to win the race.

Let’s jump forward quite a few years now to 1900 where Diamond Jubilee won the race (who also went on to win the Triple Crown) who was trained by Richard Marsh, with Herbert Jones riding for the owner the Prince of Wales at the time Edward VII who went on to be the King the following year in 1901. He then won again when he was King in 1909 just a year before his death in 1910. This time he won the race with Minoru who was rode by Herbert Jones and trained by Richard Marsh again.

The next one I want to look at is in 1942 when Big Game won for jockey Gordon Richards and trainer Fred Darling and the King at the time King George VI who is Queen Elizabeth II (the current Queen)’s father.

In here I want to quickly mention the 1956 winner Gilles de Retz who won for jockey Frank Barlow and owner Anthony Samuel. This is very interesting as the trainer was a lady called Helen Johnson Houghton who was the first female trainer to train a Classic winner, however her name does not appear in the official records, instead it is replaced by the name Charles Jerdein because at the time the Jockey Club would not allow women to hold a trainers’ license.

We then jump forward to 1968 when Lester Piggott won on Sir Ivor for Vincent O’Brien and owner Raymond Guest, he then went on to win again in 1970, this time on Nijinsky, again for Vincent O’Brien and owner Charles Engelhard. Nijinsky went on to be the last ever Triple Crown winner to date. A few years later in 1976 Frankie Dettori’s father Gianfranco Dettori won on Bolkonski for Henry Cecil and owner Carlo d’Alessio, before winning again the next year in 1977 for the same trainer and owner, this time on Wollow. 20 years later in 1996 Frankie then won the race on Mark of Esteem for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin.

In 1997 Michael Kinane won the race on Entrepreneur for Michael Stoute and owners Tabor / Magnier then winning again in 1998 this time on board King of Kings for Aidan O’Brien and the same owners.

The following year in 1999, Frankie Dettori would win again this time on Island Sands for Saeed bin Suroor and owners Godolphin, however this renewal of the race took place on Newmarket’s July course.

Other notable winners we have is Rock of Gibraltar winning in 2002 for jockey Johnny Murtagh, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Ferguson / Magnier, Pat Smullen winning the race in 2003 on board Refuse to Bend for trainer Dermot Weld and owners Moyglare Stud Farm.

We then have Footstepsinthesand winning in 2005 for jockey Kieran Fallon, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Tabor / Magnier with them following it up in 2006 with George Washington this time for Magnier / Tabor / Smith.

We also have Frankel who won in 2011 for jockey Tom Queally, trainer Henry Cecil and owner Khalid Abdullah, followed up by Camelot in 2012 for jockey Joseph O’Brien, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Smith / Magnier / Tabor. There’s also Gleneagles in 2015 for jockey Ryan Moore, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Smith / Magnier / Tabor. With Galileo Gold winning in 2016 for Frankie Dettori, Hugo Palmer and Al Shaqab Racing.

In 2017, 2018 and 2019 trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Smith / Magnier / Tabor were successful, firstly with Churchill in 2017 rode by Ryan Moore, then Saxon Warrior in 2018 rode by Donnacha O’Brien followed up by Magna Grecia in 2019 also rode by Donnacha O’Brien.

The latest winner was Kameko who won the race in 2020 when it was actually ran slightly later into the year in June due to the Coronavirus pandemic. He was rode by Oisin Murphy for Andrew Balding and Qatar Racing.


Now let’s have a look at some records over the years.

Starting with the leading jockey with a massive 9 victories in this race, we have Jem Robinson. His first victory came in 1825 with Enamel, with Cadland in 1828, Riddlesworth in 1831, Clearwell in 1833, Glencoe in 1834, Ibrahim in 1835, Bay Middleton in 1836, Conyngham in 1847 and finally Flatcatcher in 1848.

In more recent times with 5 wins we have Kieren Fallon who won with King’s Best in 2000, Golan in 2001, Footstepsinthesand in 2005, George Washington in 2006 and Night Of Thunder in 2014.

Let’s now have a look at the leading trainer, the name I think all racing fans know very very well within the flat racing world and that is of course Aidan O’Brien who has a huge 10 wins in this race. King of Kings in 1998 starting his run of winners, followed up by Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Footstepsinthesand in 2005, George Washington in 2006, Henrythenavigator in 2008, Camelot in 2012, Gleneagles in 2015, Churchill in 2017, Saxon Warrior in 2018 and finally Magna Grecia in 2019.

So now, the leading owner, (this includes part ownership) and that goes to an 11 time winner Sue Magnier who has won with Entrepreneur in 1997, King of Kings in 1998, Rock of Gibraltar in 2002, Footstepsinthesand in 2005, George Washington in 2006, Henrythenavigator in 2008, Camelot in 2012, Gleneagles in 2015, Churchill in 2017, Saxon Warrior in 2018 and finally Magna Grecia in 2019.


Now onto some interesting facts to note:

The fastest winning time was 1 minute 34.72 seconds achieved by the latest winner Kameko in 2020.

The widest winning margin (since 1900) is Tudor Minstrel in 1947 who won by 8 lengths.

The biggest priced winner was Rockavon in 1961 at 66/1.

The shortest priced winner was St Frusquin in 1896 at 12/100

The biggest field was in 1930 when 28 horses ran.

The smallest field was in 1829 and 1830 when each time only 2 horses ran.

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So there we have it, some interesting facts, figures and records in the race. Today’s renewal should be exciting as it always is and I, for one, am quite looking forward to it. I hope you enjoyed this post and I will hopefully see you all tomorrow for an extra post where I look at the history of the 1000 Guineas ahead of tomorrow’s renewal!

Thank you for reading!

The History of the English Triple Crown

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com, today’s post is all about the history of the English Triple Crown which will soon be up on us. Let’s jump right into it!


The English Triple Crown is a three race competition which consists of the 2000 Guineas Stakes (1 mile), The Epsom Derby (1 & 1/2 miles) and the St Leger Stakes (1 mile, 6 furlongs & 127 yards.)

The term originated in 1853, before the American version, when West Australian won all three races in the same season. Since then, only 15 horses have completed the English Triple Crown, so let’s have a little look through the years!

In 1862, The Marquis came close when winning the 1st and 3rd legs, the 2000 Guineas and St Leger Stakes. The next year in 1863, Macaroni then came close when winning the first two legs, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby. The following year in 1864, Blair Athol won the 2nd and 3rd legs, the Epsom Derby and the St Leger Stakes. But it was in 1865 when the next successful Triple Crown winner would emerge, that being Gladiateur who successfully won all 3 races, followed swiftly in 1866 by Lord Lyon who also won all 3.

Ten years later in 1876, we seen Petrarch win the 1st and 3rd legs, the 2000 Guineas and St Leger Stakes, the following year in 1877, Silvio won the 2nd and 3rd legs, the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. It was then 1881 until another horse came close when Iroquois won legs 2 and 3, the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1882, Shotover won the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby but could not complete the Triple Crown. In 1885 Melton won the Epsom Derby and the St Leger Stakes but it was the following year of 1886 when we would see a new Triple Crown winner when Ormonde won the three big races.

In 1889, another horse called Donovan won 2 of the 3 races, those being leg 2 – The Epsom Derby and leg 3 – the St Leger Stakes. However it would be 1891 when another horse became a Triple Crown winner and that horse would be a horse called Common who successfully won all 3 races, followed very quickly by Isinglass in 1893 who also managed to win all three races.

Ladas would be the next horse to come close when winning the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby in 1894. With Sir Visto in 1895 and Persimmon in 1896 both winning the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1897, Galtee More became the 7th horse to complete the Triple Crown, followed very quickly by an 8th winner in Flying Fox in 1899, and a 9th being Diamond Jubilee in 1900.

In 1902, Sceptre won the 1st leg – the 2000 Guineas and the 3rd leg – the St Leger Stakes, but the following year in 1903 we would see the 10th Triple Crown winner crowned when Rock Sand completed the treble. In 1904, St Amant won the first two legs, the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby however not the third, followed by Minoru in 1909 and Sunstar in 1911 who both also won legs 1 and 2 but not the third.

We then seen the 11th, 12th and 13th Triple Crown winners come very quickly, with Pommern in 1915, Gay Crusader in 1917 and Gainsborough in 1918.

In 1925, Manna then won the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby but not the St Leger Stakes, followed by Coronach in 1926 and Trigo in 1929 who both won the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. In 1931, Cameronian won the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, with Hyperion in 1933 and Windsor Lad in 1934 both winning the Epsom Derby and St Leger Stakes. The following year in 1935, the 14th Triple Crown winner was crowned when Bahram completed the treble successfully.

In 1939, potentially another horse could have won the Triple Crown when Blue Peter won the 2000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby, however the St Leger Stakes was cancelled due to World War II beginning, so I guess we’ll never know if he could have gone on to be in the history books.

It would then be 1949 before another horse came close when Nimbus won the first two legs, however could not complete the treble. This was followed by Tulyar in 1952 and Never Say Die in 1954 who both won leg 2 and leg 3. In 1957, Crepello then also won the first two legs, but not the third. 3 years later in 1960, St. Paddy then won legs 2 and 3. In 1968, Sir Ivor came close when winning the first two races but not the third. But it would be 1970 when the 15th and final Triple Crown winner was crowned and that was, of course, Nijinsky.

Since the final winning being crowned in 1970, there has been Reference Point who won legs 2 and 3 in 1987, Nashwan who won legs 1 and 2 in 1989, Sea the Stars who won legs 1 and 2 in 2009 and Camelot who also won legs 1 and 2 in 2012.

So, to sum that up, Nijinsky is the only horse to win the Triple Crown post World War II and one of the main reasons for this is the fact that most owners do not attempt to run their horses in the St Leger Stakes as the race is longer and it may diminish the horses stud value in the future. Interestingly enough, no horses that have won the first two races between 1987 and 2012, those being Nashwan, Sea the Stars and Camelot were actually entered into the St Leger Stakes.


So the real question is… Will there ever be another Triple Crown winner again? From my research, I think it would take a very talented horse but also a gutsy owner and trainer for a horse to win all three races again, but never say never. In racing, we all know that anything is possible.

I really enjoy researching the history of these big races and from my viewing figures my readers enjoy them too, so I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all in my next post on Saturday at 11am!

Richard Johnson – Years at the Top – Happy Retirement!

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. After the news a couple of weeks ago that Richard Johnson was retiring from the saddle I have decided to have a look at some facts and figures of his career so I can compile them all into this post for you all. As many people know by now, Richard was the first person within racing to give up his time and allow me to interview him (twice) and has always supported me and helped me with anything I’ve ever needed, which I appreciate more than anyone realises. The day I first interviewed him, he knew it was the first one I was doing and he knew I was nervous, so he took his time, didn’t rush me and he allowed me to make mistakes, he then spoke to me after the interview and gave me encouragement and support to continue doing what I loved and that’s exactly what I did and I am so glad I did! If you missed my interviews with Richard you can read them here… 2017: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2017/10/20/worcester-races-exclusive-interview-with-richard-johnson/ and 2019: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2019/11/22/an-updated-interview-with-champion-jockey-richard-johnson/ . I hope you enjoy those! However, without further ado, I’m just going to jump right into it.


Richard Johnson OBE was born on July 21st 1977 in Hereford, England into a racing family, especially with his mother being Sue Johnson, a horse racing trainer. At 16 years old Richard left school to work for David Nicholson.

Richard’s first win came in April 1994 when he won on Rusty Bridge at Hereford, which turned out to be his only win of the season. However, the following season the 1995-1996 season, Richard rode 56 winners and became the Champion Conditional Jockey at just 18 years old. And he didn’t stop there, the next season 1996-1997 was the first time Richard rode 100 winners in a season ending up with 102 and from that year Richard rode 100 winners every single season (apart from the 2020-2021 season when Richard has retired on 73 winners).

1996 was a pretty good year for Richard, not only did he ride 100+ winners, but those winners also included some pretty big races. Starting with the Towton Novices’ Chase (Class A Grade 2) at Wetherby on the 11th of January on Mr Mulligan, a 3/1 shot who beat the 11/10 favourite Call It A Day by a massive 15 lengths.

Richard then won again on Mr Mulligan a month later on February 14th in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (Class A Grade 2), this time as the 9/4 favourite, beating 4/1 shot Nahthen Lad by 15 lengths again.

It was then April 11th when Richard had another big win when winning the European Breeders Fund ‘national hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final (Class A Grade 3) at Cheltenham on board Miss Optimist, a 9/1 shot for David Nicholson.

Richard’s first Grade 1 win of many also came in 1996 on April 24th when he won the Heineken Gold Cup on Billygoat Gruff for David Nicholson at 7/1.

Moving swiftly into 1997, we then have another brilliant season for Richard, starting with a win in the Seagram Top Novices’ Hurdle (Class A) on April 3rd on Midnight Legend (11/2) beating the team of Mick Fitzgerald and Nicky Henderson with the 100/30 favourite Sharpical by 2 lengths. The very next day, on April 4th another Class A came along, when Richard won the Belle Epoque Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on board Forest Ivory (11/2) actually beating a rare Aidan O’Brien horse, Private Peace (11/2) in second being rode by Charlie Swan.

Richard then headed over to Ireland and Punchestown where he won the Country Pride Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) on the 7/4 favourite Midnight Legend, beating the Aidan O’Brien and Paul Carberry partnership with Whats The Verdict (9/1) by 2 and 1/2 lengths.

Moving into the 1997-1998 season, Richard started with winning the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup Chase Limited Handicap (Class A Grade 2) at Exeter on board Viking Flagship (9/1) for David Nicholson, beating stable mate Mulligan (2/1) by 5 lengths.

Richard then won the Bonusprint Bula Hurdle (Class A / Class 1) at Cheltenham on December 13th on board Relkeel for David Nicholson, beating the Martin Pipe and AP McCoy team with the 13/8 favourite Pridwell by 1 and 3/4 lengths. Just 2 weeks later on December 27th, Richard headed to Wetherby with 4/9 favourite Viking Flagship, winning the Castleford Chase (Class A / Class 1).

It was 1998 when Richard would win another Grade 1 when heading to Punchestown on April 30th on board the 2/1 favourite Zafarabad winning the I.A.W.S Champion Four Year Old Hurdle by just a neck. It was almost a year before Richard won another big race, this came on March 18th 1999 when he won the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle Grade 1 at the Cheltenham Festival on a 40/1 shot Anzum, beating the 2/1 joint favourite Le Coudray who was owned by JP McManus, trained by Aidan O’Brien and rode by Charlie Swan by just a neck.

The following month on April 9th, Richard headed to the Aintree Festival and won the Grade 2 Mumm Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Class A) on the 100/30 favourite Spendid – Coincidentally beating a horse trained by who would become Richard’s number 1 trainer, Philip Hobbs with Village King (11/2).

Richard travelled back to Ireland on April 29th where he won the Grade 1 Ballymore Properties Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown on Anzum (7/1). Richard had plenty of Grade 2 and 3 success during the year, however his next Grade 1 came on December 18th 1999 at Ascot when he won the Cantor Fitzgerald Long Walk Hurdle (Class A) on again on Anzum (4/1) beating the 4/9 favourite Deano’s Beeno by 17 lengths who was rode by AP McCoy and trained by Martin Pipe.

Moving into the 21st century, Richard won the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Showcase Race Grade 1 in March 2000, on Looks Like Trouble (9/2). He then had many Grade 1, 2 and 3 success over the years including the Tingle Creek Chase and Queen Mother Chase, both with Flagship Uberalles, the County Handicap Hurdle and Victor Chandler Bula Hurdle both on Rooster Booster and many more.

Also want to note that Richard came second on What’s Up Boys in the Grand National in 2002, which turned out to be his best position in the race, also meeting this when coming 2nd again in 2014 on Balthazar King.

The next race I want to mention is the Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) in 2003 when Richard won on 9/2 shot Rooster Booster for Philip Hobbs by 11 lengths. When I interviewed Richard he said this was one of this favourite rides of his career.

I am going to jump ahead a little while now as if I went through every single graded race Richard won I would end up having a post which is about a 3 hour read. So let’s jump to 2012 and on March 13th Richard won the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (Cross Country Chase) at the Cheltenham Festival on Balthazar King (11/2). In 2014, Richard won the same race on the same horse, this time at 4/1 and in the same year he finished 2nd in the Grand National on Balthazar King at 14/1 which was the closest Richard got to winning the big race (for a secon time) and again, when I spoke to him, he said that was also one of his favourite races in his career.

We also have the Midlands Grand National in 2014 when he won on Goulanes (13/2F). The Peterborough Chase in 2014 with Wishfull Thinking (13/2). The Denman Chase in 2015 on Coneygree (15/8F) as well as the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock in 2015 on the recently retired Definitly Red (9/4).

We also have my favourite ever horse, Native River who partnered with Richard when winning the Mildmay Novices’ Chase, Hennessy Gold Cup Chase in 2016 and the Welsh Grand National all in 2016, followed by the Denman Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018, the Many Clouds Chase in 2019 and the Cotswold Chase in 2021.

There was also La Bague Au Roi who won the OLBG Mares Hurdle in 2017, Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase and Kauto Star Novices’ Chase in 2018, Flogas Novice Chase in 2019. As well as Thyme Hill who won the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle, Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Challow Novices’ Hurdle in 2019 as well as the Long Distance Hurdle in 2020.


Now we’ve had a brief overview, I want to look at Richard Johnson vs AP McCoy because their rivalry ruled the sport for a long while so let’s just have a little look. Overall AP McCoy finished with 4204 British career wins and 144 Irish career wins whereas Richard Johnson finished with 3799 British career wins and 19 Irish career wins.

From the 1995-1996 season until the 2014-2015 season AP McCoy won and retained the Jump Jockey Championship, however Richard was always on his tail and in the 2015-2016 season after AP retired, Richard took over as Champion Jockey and ended up winning it 4 times, before Brian Hughes won it in the 2019-2020 season.


Now, I’ve summed up Richard’s career, but now let’s look at the Big Race Wins. Let’s start with the Cheltenham Festival:

Cheltenham Gold Cup x 2 (Looks Like Trouble – 2000 & Native River – 2018)
Champion Hurdle x 1 (Rooster Booster – 2003)
Queen Mother Champion Chase x 1 (Flagship Uberalles – 2002)
Stayers’ Hurdle x 1 (Anzum – 1999)
Triumph Hurdle x 3 (Made in Japan – 2004, Detroit City – 2006 & Defi du Seuil – 2017)
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle x 1 (Menorah – 2010)
Champion Bumper x 1 (Cheltenian – 2011)
Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle x 1 (Massini’s Maguire – 2007)
Arkle Challenge Trophy x 1 (Captain Chris – 2011)
RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase x 1 (One Knight – 2003)
Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase x 1 (Copper Bleu – 2010)
Coral Cup x 1 (Monkerhostin – 2004)
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase x 2 (Balthazar King – 2012 & 2014)
Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle x 1 (Flying Tiger – 2017)
Pertemps Final x 1 (Fingal Bay – 2014)
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase x 2 (Dark Stranger – 2000 & Young Spartacus – 2003)
County Handicap Hurdle x 1 (Rooster Booster – 2002)

Now let’s look at some notable races in Britain:

Tingle Creek Chase x 1 (Flagship Uberalles – 2000)
Long Walk Hurdle x 4 (Anzum – 1999, Mighty Man – 2006 & Reve di Sivola – 2012 & 2013
Henry VIII Novices’ Chase x 1 (Fair Along – 2006)
Kauto Star Novices’ Chase x 1 (La Bague Au Roi – 2018)
Finale Juvenile Hurdle x 3 (Franchoek – 2007, Le Rocher – 2013 & Defi Du Seuil – 2016)
Challow Novices’ Hurdle x 2 (Fingal Bay – 2012 & Thyme Hill – 2020)
Ascot Chase x 1 (Captain Chris – 2014)
Manifesto Novices’ Chase x 2 (Wishfull Thinking – 2011 & Menorah – 2012)
Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle x 2 (Lord Brex – 2000 & Detroit City – 2006)
Betway Bowl x 1 (Escartefigue – 1998)
Top Novices’ Hurdle x 5 (Midnight Legend – 1997, Phardante Flyer – 2000, In Contrast – 2002, Mighty Man – 2005 & Lalor – 2018)
Mildmay Novices’ Chase x 3 (Spendid – 1999, What’s Up Boys – 2001 & Native River – 2016)
Sefton Novices’ Hurdle x 2 (Forest Ivory – 1997 & Saint Are – 2011)
Liverpool Hurdle x 2 (Mighty Man – 2006 & 2007)
Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase x 1 (Sporting John – 2021)

And now a quick look at Irish notable winners:

Irish Gold Cup x 2 (Florida Pearl – 2001 & 2004)
Punchestown Gold Cup x 1 (Planet of Sound – 2010)
Champion Stayers Hurdle x 1 (Anzum – 1999)
Punchestown Champion Chase x 1 (Flagship Uberalles – 2003)
Ladbrokes Champion Chase x 1 (Looks Like Trouble – 2000)
Dr P. J. Moriarty Novice Chase x 1 (La Bague Au Roi – 2019)
Herald Champion Novice Hurdle x 1 (Midnight Legend – 1997)
Ryanair Novice Chase x 1 (Captain Chris – 2011)
Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle x 2 (What’s Up Boys – 2000 & Spirit of Adjisa – 2011)
Champion Four Year Old Hurdle x 1 (Zafarabad – 1998)

Also think it’s so important to note here that Richard Johnson rode in the Grand National 21 times without winning which holds the record for the most rides without a win, the closest he got was 2nd in 2002 on What’s Up Boys and 2014 on Balthazar King. So let’s sim up his 21 rides:

1/21 = Unseated
6/21 = Fell
5/21 = Pulled Up
2/21 = Placed
4/21 = Finished
2/21 = Brought Down
1/21 = Refused


Things to note… Richard Johnson became the eighth National Hunt jockey to ride 1000 winners in April 2003. In December 2009, at Newbury, Richard became the second jockey to hit 2000 winners, only joining AP McCoy. In January 2016, Richard had his 3000th winner and after being runner up 16 times to AP McCoy, he finally became Champion Jockey.

I also want to note, even though everybody knows by now, that Richard Johnson was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Horse Racing. And on April 3rd 2021, Richard Johnson announced his immediate retirement at Newton Abbot.


So there we have it, I know this post was a little bit all over the place, but I hope it all makes sense as it does to me! I hope you all enjoyed.

I will hopefully see you all in my next post on Wednesday at 6pm!

An Interview with Aidan Coleman

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Before we get into today’s post I want to mention Lorna Brooke as this is my first post since hearing about her tragic death. My thoughts are with her family, friends and anyone who knew her personally. It’s a heart-breaking time for the sport and anyone involved in the sport in any capacity. Jockey’s put their lives and bodies on the line every single day and people should appreciate that more than they do.


On to today’s post… I got the chance to speak with the Grand National 100/1 runner up, Aidan Coleman this week and after an incredible effort in the Grand National I am very grateful to get the chance to have a chat with him about all things racing, so let’s just jump right in. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I have!


Me: You’ve rode some incredible horses in some incredible races such as Paisley Park, Put The Kettle On, Epatante and so many more, but what is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Aidan: Erm, I suppose it’s tricky, as I say, you’ve alluded to some great ones there. I suppose any of Paisley’s 3 Grade 1’s were special. Obviously the first one was our first Grade 1 which was brilliant because it took so long to do so that was special. His next one was the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival, he was one of the bankers so that was amazing, then also his last Grade 1 in the Long Walk just before Christmas, that was brilliant for a few different reasons, in the fact he was on a comeback trail after what happened to him in the previous Stayers Hurdle, so it was great and very satisfying to get him back and how he did it as well, he just pulled it out of the fire late on and that was very satisfying and a great thrill to win the race.

Me: The one question I think everyone wants me to ask is how is Paisley Park now after being pulled up at Aintree?

Aidan: Yeah, he’s great. I just looked after him, he ran brilliantly at Cheltenham and although he’d been showing the right signs at home, you never know until you get on the track and he was just feelings the affects of Cheltenham basically, so we looked after him and I have no doubt he’ll come back in great form next year and get back winning again.

Me: And we have to speak about what happened just over a week ago when you came second in the Grand National to Rachael Blackmore, which is brilliant in itself, but how did you really feel knowing you was so close to winning it for the first time?

Aidan: Terrible. Absolutely gutting. I’ve never been so down after a race as I was that. Look, its great to be involved in the race. I rode Henry’s other one and he had the 1-2 so it’s great to be a part of it, delighted for everybody but from a personal point of view to get that close and be doing so well turning in and nearly thinking you’re going to win the National and not, it’s very tough to take.

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never have, past or present, what horse would you choose and why?

Aidan: Kauto Star. He was just brilliant, from 2 miles to 3 miles 2 Gold Cup and longevity as well. Definitely Kauto Star.

Me: One question I like to raise to the jockey’s that I speak with is the discussion surrounding banning the whip, what are your opinions on that?

Aidan: I think it shouldn’t be a discussion. I can see where people are coming from but it’s not really a whip, it’s foam cushioned, it’s foam padded, it does not affect a horse, there’s no element of pain. It’s used very much as a safety measure. You have a lot of people say about the whole horse welfare thing but I think without the whip you’d have a lot more horse welfare accidents to be honest. I think it’s essential and it does not harm the horses.

Me: You’re now Olly Murphy’s number 1 stable jockey, can you tell us a little bit about how that partnership came to be?

Aidan: I suppose, Richard Johnson was his number 1 jockey, he didn’t have a stable jockey then over the years he’s built up a really exciting team and an ever growing team as well and it was getting to a stage where he needed a little bit more continuity. I think it was a hard decision for him because it was nothing to do with Richard – it was the opposite – it was nothing to do with Richard’s riding, he just had too many commitments basically. His team and the quality of horses he was building, he needed some more consistency. And as Richard was so popular and so good, that wasn’t always the case, so he needed someone more available.

Me: Who do you look up to in the weighing room?

Aidan: Erm, well it would always be Richard Johnson to be fair so if we did this a couple of weeks ago it would be easy. But look, I have a lot of respect for everybody who does the game over a long period of time. I think Richard was the ultimate professional and ultimate role model and I think especially with how things are these days with young lads – they don’t really understand it all. They’re very nice kids but it’s just a different generation, they don’t really get what it takes to do the job over a period of time. I think anyone who rides over jumps deserves a lot of respect but the years they ride and the more they ride, the more respect they get because they’ve done the hard graft. The more you do it, the more respect you deserve because it’s not easy.

Me: And on from that a little bit, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by another jockey, trainer or owner?

Aidan: I suppose it’s not really advice for racing, it’s just advice in general… Just work hard and try your best, I think that’s the same in any walk of life and racing is the same. You get out what you put in, if you work hard and conduct yourself in the right way in any walk of life, the rest will fall into place.

Me: What is the one race you haven’t won that you would love to?

Aidan: The Grand National. Very very easy. The Grand National.

Me: If you could choose a horse to watch for the next season or two, what horse would you choose?

Aidan: That’s a good question. But if you’re watching it then you want to be riding it if you get what I mean? So I’m going to have to dodge that question I think Zoe.

Me: You’ve rode for some massive owners within racing including JP McManus in the famous green and gold silks, do you ever feel more pressure when you’re riding in silks like those that are so well known within the sport?

Aidan: No, simple as. Look its great to ride any good horse in any race and every owner is very important and the riding fee is the same so they all deserve for us to go and try our best. But on the other side, when you’re riding for owners like JP that you mentioned and some other big owners, these people have been in the game so long that ultimately, it’s not less pressure because you still have to go out and try your best but if things go wrong, they have been there and it’s happened and they’re very very understanding and you know, it’s almost, they’ve just been in the game so long and understand what can go wrong.

Me: What’s your favourite racecourse to ride at and why?

Aidan: I suppose it has to come to Cheltenham because it’s one of those places where it really matters, the Festival is magic. I suppose if you’re going midweek, I really like Uttoxeter, I do quite well around there. There’s not many tracks I don’t like, I’m quite happy to go to most of them, there’s a few that I won’t name that I’d happily never go to again, but because it’s nothing personal, nothing against the tracks or those that run them I won’t name them, it’s more that I just don’t like riding around them, but most tracks are very well run and as long as you’ve got good rides then you’re happy to go.

Me: And obviously over the past 12 months there hasn’t been any crowds allowed, personally have you found it easier or harder?

Aidan: I suppose at first it was a bit odd and we had to get used to it, but we’d just came back from 3 months without racing so we were just happy to be there and that was fine. I suppose after that you just get used to it like you get used to anything else in life don’t you? But we will welcome them back and we can’t wait for them to come back.

Me: With the end of the season being so close and the Jockey Championship being so competitive this year, who do you think will be crowned this weekend, Harry Skelton or Brian Hughes?

Aidan: Look, it’s very important for Brian to have a good Perth, it’s up north, he’s got 3 days at Perth to hopefully have a few winners. It’s very hard, I get on well with the both lads, they’re both top class. I’m being very diplomatic here, but it is very hard and I’ll be gutted for whoever loses because they don’t deserve to lose, whoever that may be Harry or Brian, there’s gonna be one of them… A draw would be fantastic to be fair, that would be the ultimate. It would be fantastic to be fair but it’s not usually how these things work, so yeah, it’s gonna be hard for whoever doesn’t win. Look, Brian’s been champion before, this will be Harry’s first go, but I don’t think Brian Hughes will only be Champion Jockey once in his career, I think he’ll have a few more championships before he retires and probably the same for Harry as well.

Me: What is your best advice for a young person with a passion they want to follow whether that be in racing or otherwise?

Aidan: I think it goes back to the best advice I’ve been given… Just go for it. Work hard and try your best and conduct yourself in the right way. You need to have a good attitude and try your best and you’ll get something out of it.


As always, I want to thank Aidan for taking time out of his day to speak with me. He was very honest, open and informative during our call and that makes my job as an interviewer so much easier. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Aidan and getting a real insight to all things racing through his eyes and it is always brilliant to hear a horse like Paisley Park is okay and healthy back home. I have the upmost respect for jockeys, they put their bodies on the line every single day for the sport and I think we all take that for granted when we shouldn’t.

I will see you all Saturday morning at 11am for my next post!

The History of the Scottish Grand National

Good Morning!

Welcome to an additional 3rd post of the week here at zoelouisesmithx.com. If I’m doing an extra post then this means something big is happening of course, so today I am looking into today’s Scottish Grand National where I will include the history, some facts, figures and trends, essentially as much as I can possibly research ready for the big race. So let’s just jump into it!


The Scottish Grand National is a Grade 3 National Hunt Steeplechase which is open to horses aged 5 years or older and first took place in 1867. The race is held at Ayr Racecourse over a distance of 3 miles, 7 furlongs and 176 yards (6397 metres) and 27 fences are jumped.

Initially a race known as the West of Scotland Grand National was run in 1858, which consisted of 32 jumps which were mainly stone walls and was ran at a course near Houston, Renfrewshire, however from 1858 to 1866 the races were not classed as the Scottish Grand National and therefore the winners are not classed as Scottish Grand National winners. It was in 1867 that the Free Kirk leader in Houston objected to the race so it was moved to Bogside Racecourse near Irvine. The race was initially around 3 miles and then 13 years after the initial race, in 1880, the race was officially changed to its known title of the Scottish Grand National and was extended to 3 and 7/8 miles.

In 1965 Bogside Racecourse closed so therefore in 1966, the Scottish Grand National was transferred to its new home at Ayr Racecourse and at this point, the race was extended to the 3 miles, 7 furlongs and 176 yards that it is now.


Now looking at some winners in the race, the first winner in 1867 was called The Elk and was owned by the Duke of Hamilton. The first winner after the race being extended in 1880 was Peacock and the first winner when the race moved to Ayr in 1966 was African Pistol.

Some early winners include Couvrefeu II who won in 1911, 1912 and 1913. Southern Hero who won in 1934, 1936 and 1939. And finally Queen’s Taste in 1953, 1954 and 1956.

Some other notable winners to mention was Red Rum who won in 1974 for Brian Fletcher and Donald ‘Ginger” McCain and to this day is the only horse to win the English Grand National and Scottish Grand National in the same year. Barona who won the race in both 1975 and 1976 for Paul Kelleway and Roddy Armytage. It was then 1984 and 1985 when another horse won twice in 2 years and that was Androma for Mark Dwyer and Jim Fitzgerald.

In 1992 Peter Scudamore won on Captain Dibble for Nigel Twiston-Davies who won it again as a trainer 2 years later in 1994 when Earth Summit won for jockey David Bridgwater. Another notable horse to mention was the 1995 winner Willsford who was 12 years old for jockey Rodney Farrant and trainer Jenny Pitman. In 1997 the Champion Jockey AP McCoy won on Belmont King for Paul Nicholls.

Moving into the 21st Century there were winners such as Take Control for Ruby Walsh and Martin Pipe in 2002, Hello Bud for Paddy Brennan and Nigel Twiston-Davies in 2009, Beshabar for Richard Johnson and Tim Vaughan in 2011.

The next I want to mention is duel winner Vicente who won in 2016 and 2017 for Sam Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls. In 2018 we had Joe Farrell for Adam Wedge and Rebecca Curtis and in 2019 Takingrisks for Sean Quinlan and Nicky Richards with no race in 2020.


Some facts, figures and records now. Let’s start with the most successful horses in the race. Three horses have won the race 3 times and those are:

Couvrefeu II – 1911, 1912, 1913
Southern Hero – 1934, 1936, 1939
Queen’s Taste – 1953, 1954, 1956

So who are the leading jockey’s? The all time leading jockey is Charlie Cunningham who won 4 times: Bellman (1881), Wild Meadow (1885), Orcadian (1887), Deloraine (1889). Then the leading jockey since the race being at it’s current home at Ayr is Mark Dwyer who has won 3 times: Androma (1984, 1985), Moorcroft Boy (1996).

We have a couple of leading trainers, these are all time both with 5 wins

Neville Crump – Wot No Sun (1949), Merryman II (1959), Arcturus (1968), Salkeld (1980), Canton (1983)
Ken Oliver – Pappageno’s Cottage (1963), The Spaniard (1970), Young Ash Leaf (1971), Fighting Fit (1979), Cockle Strand (1982)

And since being at Ayr we have Ken Oliver with 4 of his 5 victories being at Ayr: The Spaniard (1970), Young Ash Leaf (1971), Fighting Fit (1979), Cockle Strand (1982)


Now let’s have a look at some winning trends. I have looked at the last 20 winners of the race since 2000 and researched some very interesting trends, so therefore I apologise if anything is incorrect, but I have done all of the research myself using multiple sources so I hope you all find them as interesting as I do.

3/20 have been 7 years old
6/20 have been 8 years old
4/20 have been 9 years old
4/20 have been 10 years old
3/20 have been 11 years old

10/20 have carried less than 10-6
8/20 have carried between 10-6 and 11-6
2/20 have carried more than 11-6

7/20 won last time out before the Scottish Grand National
6/20 finished 2nd or 3rd last time out before the Scottish Grand National
6/20 finished outside the top 3 last time out before the Scottish Grand National
1/20 fell last time out before the Scottish Grand National (This was 2017 winner Vicente who fell in the English Grand National)

5/20 last raced within 20 days before the Scottish Grand National
5/20 last raced between 20 and 30 days before the Scottish Grand National
3/20 last raced between 31 and 40 days before the Scottish Grand National
4/20 last raced between 41 and 50 days before the Scottish Grand National
3/20 last raced over 50 days before the Scottish Grand National (The longest being 2014 winner Al Co who’s last race came 104 days before with the Scottish Grand National also being his first race for a new trainer)

2/20 were favourite or joint favourite

5/20 were priced at less than 10/1
7/20 were priced between 10/1 and 18/1
8/20 were priced at 20/1 or higher (Including 2 x 20/1, 2 x 25/1, 2 x 33/1, 1 x 40/1 and 1 x 66/1)


So there we have it, plenty of facts, figures and trends that may help you pick your winner this afternoon. Good luck with whatever horse you choose to bet on and enjoy today’s racing!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you all Wednesday evening at 6pm for a brand new post!

Harry Skelton vs Brian Hughes

Good Morning!

Welcome to another post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today’s post is a quick look back at one of the most exciting Champion Jockey season’s we have had in a very long time, so with just one week to go, I wanted to briefly have a look at the season so far.

The Jumps Jockey Championship started on July 1st 2020 and ends next Saturday on April 24th 2021 and right now it’s probably the closest it’s been in my lifetime with Harry Skelton and Brian Hughes fighting it out neck and neck for the last few weeks and it’s been a pretty exciting situation to watch, I have no idea who will win but it’s been great for racing fans to see it so close for a change.

I won’t go through every single win that both Harry and Brian have had this season, I think I’d be here all year, so I have had a look at some of the bigger wins they have both had and I think we should just jump right in.

So, first up I’m going to start with Harry Skelton and the bet365 Hurdle Grade 2 (Registered As The West Yorkshire Hurdle) at Wetherby on October 31st 2020 where Harry won on Roksana as the 13/8 favourite by 8 and 1/2 lengths for brother Dan Skelton.

Two weeks later on November 14th 2020 Harry won the Karndean Designflorring Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) (GBB Race) on Elle Est Belle (16/5) at Cheltenham for brother Dan Skelton. The race was (potentially controversially) declared a deadheat with joint winner Ishkhara Lady (11/2) for Sean Bowen and Harry Fry.

One week later on November 21st 2020 Brian Hughes won the Betfair Supports Safer Gambling Week Handicap Chase (Class 2) at Haydock on Snow Leopardess (9/2J) for Charlie Longsdon by 1/2 length to Commodore.

Eight days later on November 29th 2020, Brian then won the Houghton Mares’ Chase (Listed Race) (GBB Race) at Carlisle on My Old Gold (4/1) for Nicky Richards, winning by 1 and 1/2 lengths to Chilli Filli.

We then move forward to December 5th where we had a rather successful day for both jockeys with Brian Hughes heading to Aintree and Harry Skelton heading to Sandown. First of we had Harry Skelton win the 1:50, the Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) on Allmankind (2/1F) beating Hitman (11/4) by 2 and 1/2 lengths for brother Dan Skelton. He then won the 2:25 – Betfair Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) on Politologue (11/8F) for Paul Nicholls beating stable mate Greaneteen (5/2) for Harry Cobden by 7 lengths.

15 minutes later at 2:40, Brian Hughes then wins the William Hill Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) with Lake View Lad (16/1) for Nick Alexander, beating Santini (13/8F) by 1 length.

Moving forward a couple of weeks and on December 18th, Harry Skelton wins the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) at Ascot on My Drogo (9/1) beating 2/1 favourite Llandinabo Lad by 2 and 3/4 lengths, again for Dan Skelton.

The following day on December 19th, Brian Hughes then wins the Betfair Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase (Class 2) on Sam’s Adventure (14/1) for Brian Ellison, beating Sojourn the 11/4 joint favourite by 4 lengths.

One week later on boxing day 2020, Harry then wins the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) at Kempton on Shan Blue (7/4F) for Dan Skelton, beating The Big Breakaway (16/5). Following that up with another win at Kempton the following day December 27th when he won the Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase (Grade 2) on Nube Negra (20/1) for Dan Skelton, beating Evens favourite Altior by 3 and 1/2 lengths.

Moving into 2021, we have Harry Skelton kicking us off on January 23rd when he won the Matchbook Betting Podcast Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) at Ascot on Roksana (8/15F) for Dan Skelton, beating Magic Of Light (9/2) by 8 lengths.

On February 7th Brian Hughes headed to Musselburgh where he won the bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle (Listed Race) on Fiveandtwenty (6/4F) for Donald McCain beating Historic Heart (5/1) by 4 lengths.

Harry Skelton then had a busy two days when he won the Bet At racingtv.com Novices’ Hurdle (Listed Race) at Exeter on Wilde About Oscar (16/5) for Dan Skelton on the 14th of February beating Evens favourite The Glancing Queen by 7 and 1/2 lengths. Followed up by 2 quick wins at Warwick the following day on February 15th when winning the Agetur UK Kingmaker Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) on Allmankind (4/7F) for Dan Skelton, beating eventual Cheltenham Festival winner Sky Pirate (3/1) by 14 lengths. Followed by the next race on the card, the St Marys Land Warwick Mares’ Hurdle (Listed Race) on Molly Ollys Wishes (7/2) for Dan Skelton, actually beating Brian Hughes in second place on the Evens favourite Paul’s Saga by 15 lengths.

On February 20th 2021, Harry then won the “My Oddsboost” on Betfair Swinley Chase (Listed Race) at Ascot on Captain Chaos (10/1) for Dan Skelton, by a head to Regal Encore (12/1).

The following day, Brian Hughes headed to Market Rasen where he won the Ballymore Sidney Banks Novices’ Hurdle (Listed Race) on Minella Drama (13/8F) for Donald McCain, beating Stoner’s Choice (9/4) by 3 lengths.

Swiftly moving into March, on the 6th Harry Skelton won the bet365 Premier Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) at Kelso on My Drogo (2/1F) for Dan Skelton beating Do Your Job (10/1) by 9 and 1/2 lengths. One week later on the 13th of March, Harry then won the Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) at Sandown on Langer Dan (5/1) for Dan Skelton beating Miss Heritage (8/1) by 4 and 1/2 lengths.

We then move into April and the final month for both jockey’s to get the wins on the board ready to be crowned Champion Jockey. We start off on April 8th when Harry Skelton won the SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) at Aintree on Protektorat (17/2) for Dan Skelton, beating The Shunter (7/2) by 3 and 3/4 lengths. Followed up on the 10th of April when winning the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) on 5/4 favourite My Drogo, again beating Brian Hughes on the second placed Minella Drama (12/1) by 9 and 1/2 lengths.

Also want to include here that Harry Skelton finished 6th in the Grand National on Blaklion (50/1) on the 10th of April for brother Dan Skelton, making them the first British trained horse to cross the line.

We then head into the April meeting at Cheltenham where both jockey’s had a pretty successful time. On April 14th, Harry Skelton won the 1:30 Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle (Class 2) on 4/6 favourite Faivoir for Dan Skelton, winning by 2 and 3/4 lengths to Witness Protection (8/1). Harry then won the 2:40 Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) on 7/2 joint favourite Proschema for Dan Skelton, winning by 6 and 1/2 length to Winds of Fire (9/1). Moving on to the 4:25 Weatherite Handicap Chase (Class 2) where Brian Hughes pulled one back when winning on Domaine De L’Isle (6/1) for Sean Curran, beating Coo Star Sivola (5/1) by 1 and 1/2 lengths.

The following day on April 15th, Brian Hughes claws another one back when winning the Citipost Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) on Bannixtown Glory (9/1) for Donald McCain, beating Harry Skelton on the 5/2 favourite Eglantine Du Seuil by 1 and 3/4 lengths.

Yesterday both Brian and Harry headed to Ayr for the Scottish Grand National meeting and in doing so, Harry Skelton has now pulled ahead after winning the first race on Stepney Causeway (4/9F) for Dan Skelton, beating Brian on Mrs Hyde (15/8) by 19 lengths and also the last race on I’d Better Go Now (11/2J), again for Dan Skelton, beating Manetti (33/1) by 3/4 of a length.

So, all in all we start today with Harry Skelton on 143 and Brian Hughes on 139 with just 8 days of racing left. It’s still very very close and either could win so I am very excited to see how this final week goes. Both have been going for it and picking up as many spare rides as possible so I think this last week could be very interesting.


Personally, I would love to see Harry Skelton win the Jockey Championship for a couple of reasons. He is based very close to where I live, so it would be nice to see a local jockey win, but also because the majority of Harry’s rides have came from his brother Dan Skelton and as far as I’m aware (correct me if I’m wrong), the last time a jockey won the Jockey Championship with the majority of their rides coming from one stable was when AP McCoy won it whilst riding for Martin Pipe, so for me that is a huge achievement. I won’t take anything away from Brian Hughes, but I feel like he has the opportunity to ride a lot more horses for a lot more trainers and personally, I think if Harry Skelton had the opportunity to ride as many horses as Brian Hughes has then he would be a mile ahead in the title race. The fact that Brian has had over 200 more rides than Harry and Harry has still been fighting it out at the top shows just how incredible Harry’s season has been. Overall, it’s been a huge season for the Skelton team and I think that Harry winning the Champion Jockey title would just be the best way to end it. Again, I want to reiterate I am not taking anything away from Brian Hughes and if he wins it then he deserves it, but for me, I would just love to see Harry Skelton do it.

I have found looking back over this season actually really interesting and I hope everyone else has found it interesting to read too. If there are any similar posts like this you would like to see me do for particular jockeys, trainers, owners, horses etc then please do let me know over on Twitter (https://twitter.com/zoelouisesmithx) and I will try my best to have a look into it because I find researching these posts so interesting and from my viewing figures for similar posts like this, they have seemed to be pretty popular.

I actually have an extra post coming tomorrow morning at 11am where I look into the history of the Scottish Grand National ahead of tomorrow afternoons renewal, including some winning trends, facts and figures which may help you pick your winner, so keep your eyes out for that one! See you then!

Rachael Blackmore – The Best Female Jockey We Have Ever Seen?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here on zoelouisesmithx.com. After the incredible few days racing at Aintree last week, I thought it was only fitting this evening that I looked into the first female jockey to ever win the Grand National and that is of course Rachael Blackmore. I was lucky enough to interview Rachael at the beginning of the year which you can read in full right here: https://zoelouisesmithx.com/2021/01/23/an-interview-with-rachael-blackmore/. We spoke about all things racing including interestingly how her partnership with Grand National winning trainer Henry De Bromhead materialised. However, today’s post is all about Rachael’s career this far. She has started breaking records within the sport and proving that females can compete in an even field with the men and personally, I think that is so important for young girls who may want to get into the sport. So without further ado, shall we just jump straight in? Before we start, this post was written on April 10th and 11th 2021 therefore does NOT include Rachael’s rides at Fairyhouse on the 13th of April 2021.


Rachael Blackmore was born on the 11th of July 1989 in Killenaule, County Tipperary in Ireland, making her currently 31 years old. Rachael’s first ride came on the 28th of January 2010 where she competed in the DBS/EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Commonly known as a bumper) at Ffos Las on board Pilsudski Rose for trainer A J Kennedy where unfortunately they only managed an 11th place at 66/1. It was actually a whole 13 months before Rachael managed to find her first winner, which came on the 10th of February 2011 when she rode Stowaway Pearl to victory at Thurles at 10/1 for trainer John Hanlon in the Tipperary Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle as an amateur jockey.

Just over 4 years later in March 2015, Rachael turned professional and on September 3rd of the same year, she rode her first winner as a professional when she won on the 11/2 shot Most Honourable in the Woodrooff Handicap Hurdle at Clonmel, again for John Hanlon.

Just 2 years later on March 12 2017, Rachael won her first ‘big’ race when she won the Download The Ladbrokes Exchange App Leinster National Handicap Chase (Grade A) at Naas on Abolitionist, a 12/1 shot for Ellmarie Holden. That same year, Rachael became the first woman to win the Conditional Riders’ Title for the 2016/2017 season.

A fact that may surprise some is that Rachael actually also rode on the flat, with her first winner coming on May 16th 2017 at Killarney in the July Racing Festival 17th-20th 2017 Race for Denise O’Shea on Supreme Vinnie at 14/1.

One month later, on June 21st 2017 Rachael rode her 60th racecourse winner at Wexford in the Oulart Maiden Hurdle, where she rode out her claim. She ended up winning on the 4/1 shot Sweet Home Chicago for trainer Colin Bowe by a massive 16 lengths.

We swiftly move into 2018 and on July 22nd at Tipperary, Rachael rode her first ever treble when she partnered up with Henry De Bromhead to win on Theatre Dreams (10/1) by 8 and 1/2 lengths, Monbeg Chit Chat (9/4F) by 2 and 3/4 lengths and Classic Theatre (5/4F) by a head.

Rachael followed that up on February 16th 2019 with another treble when she won on Star Max (5/2) for Joseph O’Brien by 1/2 length, followed up with her first Grade 2 win of her career when winning on Monalee (EvensF) in the Red Mills Chase for Henry De Bromhead by 2 lengths with her third win of the day coming on Smoking Gun (4/1F) for Joseph O’Brien again. Just the next day on February 17th, Rachael would go on to win her second Grade 2 when winning by just 1/2 length to the 5/4 favourite Champagne Classic in the Ladbrokes Acca Boosty Ten Up Novice Chase on Chris’s Dream (5/2), again for Henry De Bromhead.

Moving ahead just one month, we head into the Cheltenham Festival 2019. This was the year that Rachael rode her first Festival winner when she rode 5/1 favourite A Plus Tard to victory in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase by a massive 16 lengths for Henry De Bromhead. It was also this festival that brought Rachael her first ever Grade 1 when she rode the massive 50/1 outsider Minella Indo to victory by 2 lengths to the 4/1 favourite Commander Of Fleet in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. This victory made Rachael the first female to ride a Grade 1 winner over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival.

Just one month after her very successful Cheltenham Festival, on April 21st, Rachael had her first Grade 1 success in Ireland when she rode 6/4 favourite Honeysuckle to victory by 5 and 1/2 lengths at Fairyhouse in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final.

Proving to be a woman of many talents, on June 17th 2020, Rachael guided Oriental Eagle to victory at Limerick in the Martin Malony Stakes for Emmet Mullins. This being Rachael’s first Listed winner on the flat.

Heading into 2021, Rachael took the Cheltenham Festival by storm, ending up being the first female to be leading jockey with six winners. The six winners including Honeysuckle in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle, Bob Olinger in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Sir Gerhard in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, Allaho in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase, Telmesomethinggirl in the Grade 2 Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and Quilixios in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle. As well as a second place in the Grade 1 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on board A Plus Tard (100/30).

Then onto the day that pushed me into finally producing this post, the Grand National. Rachael had the leg up on the 11/1 shot Minella Times for her regular trainer Henry De Bromhead carrying 10-3. Rachael went clear at the last and stayed on to win by 6 and 1/2 lengths to 100/1 shot Balko Des Flos in second. This victory made her the first female to ever win the Grand National and what a victory it was.

I think the Grand National 2021 will be one that is spoken about for weeks, months, even years because of what Rachael has achieved. Many years ago, we had women cutting their hair to try and get a ride in the Grand National because they looked like a male. But over the years things have changed dramatically with the likes of Nina Carberry, Katie Walsh, Lizzie Kelly, Bryony Frost and now Rachael Blackmore carving the way for females to become jump jockeys at the highest level and I love to see that!


Next, let’s sum all of those up and go through some of Rachael’s major wins in her career, starting with the UK and the Cheltenham Festival:

  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle x 1 ( Minella Indo – 2019)
  • Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase x 1 (A Plus Tard – 2019)
  • David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle x 1 (Honeysuckle – 2020)
  • Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle x 1 (Bob Olinger – 2021)
  • Champion Bumper x 1 (Sir Gerhard – 2021)
  • Champion Hurdle x 1 (Honeysuckle – 2021)
  • Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle x 1 (Telmesomethinggirl – 2021)
  • Ryanair Chase x 1 (Allaho – 2021)
  • Triumph Hurdle x 1 (Quilixios – 2021)

Also in the UK:

  • Grand National x 1 (Minella Times – 2021)

Next, let’s look at some major wins in Ireland:

  • Racing Post Novice Chase x 1 (Notebook – 2019)
  • Paddy’s Reward Club Chase x 1 (A Plus Tard – 2019)
  • Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final x 1 (Honeysuckle – 2019)
  • Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle x 1 (Minella Indo – 2019)
  • Arkle Novice Chase x 1 (Notebook – 2020)
  • Hatton’s Grace Hurdle x 2 (Honeysuckle – 2019 & 2020)
  • Irish Champion Hurdle x 2 (Honeysuckle – 2020 & 2021)
  • Slaney Novice Hurdle x 1 (Bob Olinger – 2021)

What I want to look at now is some interesting facts and figures that I have managed to find. Please bare in mind that this post was wrote on the 10th of April 2021 so a few figures may be a few days behind if Rachael has anyway winners in between the day of writing and the day of posting which is the 14th of April. With that in mind, let’s get right into these.

First things first, the trainers that Rachael has ridden for. Now the first one may not come as a surprise, but they trainer Rachael has ridden the most for is Henry De Bromhead. She has ridden 921 times for him, being victorious in 173 including 15 Grade 1’s and 11 Grade 2’s as well as placing in 218 races. This means that Rachael has won 18.78% and placed in 23.67%. So overall Rachael has won or placed in 42.45% of the rides she has had for Henry. I also found that roughly, she has won $8,350,189 AUD, which at the time of writing this (10th April), converts to £4,643,673.71 for Henry alone.

The next trainer is John Hanlon, Rachael has ridden 390 times for him with 28 victories and 62 places. Meaning Rachael has won 7.18% and placed in 15.9% meaning the overall percentage of wins and places is 23.08%. Winning $518,168 AUD which is the equivalent to £288,161.52 in prize money for John.

Third is Miss D O’Shea who Rachael has ridden for 100 times, winning 14 and placing in 20. Meaning she has won 14%, placed in 20% with an overall win/place percentage of 34%. She has won a total of $299,385 AUD which converts to £166,492.79 in prize money.

We then have Ellmarie Holden who Rachael has ridden for 62 times, winning 13 times and placing 23 times. With a win percentage of 20.97%, a place percentage of 37.1% with an overall win/place percentage of 58.07%. In terms of prize money, Rachael has won $418,210 AUD for Ellmarie, which converts to £232,573.27.

The fifth trainer in the list is Willie Mullins. Rachael has ridden 71 times for Willie, including 12 victories and 15 places, which works out to 16.9% wins, 21.13% places with an over all win/place percentage of 38.02%. She has also won $874,981 AUD for Willie, which equals £486,590.93.

Other notable trainers Rachael has ridden for is Joseph O’Brien who she has ridden for 67 time, winning 11 (16.42%), placing in 17 (25.37%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 41.79%. Mouse Morris who Rachael has rode for 54 times, winning 6 (11.11%), placing in 12 (22.22%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 33.33%. Also Gordon Elliott, who she has rode for 46 times with 6 victories (13.04%) and 12 places (21.74%) so an overall win/place percentage of 34.78%. And finally a mention to Noel Meade, who Rachael has rode for 13 times, winning 4 (30.77%) and placing twice (15.38%) with an overall win/place percentage of 46.15%.

Now I’m going to focus on where those wins came. This list is in order of where the most victories have came and so on. When I interviewed Rachael back in January, she told me her favourite track was Leopardstown, however the figures show that Leopardstown is not even in the top 3 of the Irish tracks that Rachael has achieved great things at. In fact Leopardstown is 13th in the list with Rachael riding 157 times, winning 13 times (8.28%) placing in 30 (19.11%) meaning overall the win/place percentage is 27.39%.

So let’s look at the courses where Rachael has done the best so far in her career. (These are all based on most wins.) First up, let’s look at the Irish courses and the first one which is Punchestown, where Rachael has ridden 235 times, winning 37 times (15.75%) and placing 49 times (20.85%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 36.6%. Secondly is Fairyhouse where Rachael has rode 233 times, winning 25 (10.73%) and placing 46 times (19.74%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 30.47%. The third course on the list is Clonmel where Rachael has rode 131 times, winning 23 times (17.56%) and placing 30 times (22.9%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 40.46%.

Moving on to the UK courses now. First up is Cheltenham, Rachael has had 66 rides, winning 10 (15.15%) and placing in 7 (10.61%) meaning an overall percentage of 25.76%. Secondly, which surprised me actually is Huntingdon where Rachael has had 4 rides, winning 3 (75%) and placing in 1 (25%) meaning she has a win/place percentage of 100% here. Thirdly, another surprise to me is Cartmel, here Rachael has rode 11 times, winning twice (18.18%) and placing 3 times (27.27%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 45.45%. Finally I wanted to look at the fourth course, where Rachael famously broke the record of being the first female to win the Grand National and that is of course Aintree. Rachael has only had 13 rides here, winning twice (15.38%) and placing twice (15.38) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 30.76%.

The next thing I wanted to look at is the horses Rachael has had the most success on. The first horse I want to mention is Honeysuckle who Rachael has ridden 11 times and won 11 times meaning a 100% win record. Another with a 100% win record is Abbey Magic who Rachael has ridden 4 times and won 4 times on. Next is a mention to Bob Olinger, they have partnered together 4 times, winning 3 times (75%) and placing once (25%) meaning a win/place percentage of 100%. Another 100% win/place record is A Plus Tard who Rachael has ridden 10 times, winning 3 times (30%) and placing 7 times (70%). Another couple of noticeable mentions goes to Supreme Vinnie who Rachael has ridden 27 times, winning 7 times (25.93%) and placing 7 times (25.93%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 51.86%. A quick mention also to Minella Indo, they have partnered together 10 times, winning 5 times (50%) and placing 3 times (30%) giving an overall win/place percentage of 80% an finally a mention to Notebook who Rachael has ridden 15 times, winning 6 (40%) and placing in 5 (33.33%) meaning an overall win/place percentage of 73.33%).


Overall, from the research I have done, you can see Rachael is a ridiculously talented jockey and at 31 years old, we potentially have many more years left of her riding at the highest level and she could go on to achieve more and more each year. I have met Rachael multiple times and was lucky enough to interview her earlier this year and each and every time she has been incredible, she is welcoming, she speaks to everyone and some of the stories I have seen on social media this week have shown how classy she is. Not only is she super talented, she’s also an incredible ambassador for the sport in every single way. I, for one, am so grateful I am alive at the same time as Rachael Blackmore and able to witness the greatness she has brought to this sport.

One of the 100’s of reasons I absolutely love racing is because women can compete with men on an even playing field at the highest level and be just as good. Racing is a male dominated sport, we all know that, but seeing so many women come through at the highest level is incredible to see and Rachael is one of those paving the way. I love watching Rachael and I hope we have many more years to come of being able to watch her.

I really hope you have all enjoyed reading this post, as much as I loved researching more into Rachael. I shall see you all in my next post!