The History of the Irish Oaks

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Quick side note before we get into this post… From next month I will only be posting one post per week. I have loved writing 2 each week, but now with other projects in the works I just don’t have the time to write two posts a week which are high quality and I am happy to publish. I would much rather post once a week and it be the best it can be than to post two low standard pieces of work. So that means I will be posting Wednesday 21st, Saturday 24th, Wednesday 27th and Saturday 31st and then from August my first post will be the 7th followed by a post every Saturday from then until the end of the year. However special posts about the history of races before they are run will still go up so some weeks I will be writing multiple posts. I’m sorry I have had to cut down but I just feel like this is the best option so I can avoid a burn out. Of course if anything changes and I have the time then I will write more posts but I am just cutting down to a guaranteed 1 post a week opposed to 2, anything I can write up and post additional to that will be a bonus. So with all that being said… Today we will be seeing the renewal of the Irish Oaks so let’s have a look at the history of the race as well as a little look at today’s prospects.


The Irish Oaks is a Group 1 flat race which takes place in Ireland at the Curragh Racecourse. It is open to three year old fillies and is ran over 1 mile and 4 furlongs. The race takes place in July each year and is the equivalent of The Oaks which is a famous race in England. The 2020 race was worth €230,000 with the winner receiving €142,500.

The race was established in 1895 however was originally contested over 1 mile. It was in 1915 that it was extended to its present 1 mile and 4 furlongs.

The first winner of the race in 1895 was Sapling with Latharna winning the first race over the current distance in 1915. Other early winners include The Kiwi in 1921, Santaria in 1932, Foxcroft in 1934, Superbe in 1939, Masaka in 1948, Amante in 1958 and Merry Mate in 1966.

In more recent times Godetia won in 1979 for Lester Piggott, Vincent O’Brien and owner Robert Sangster. Give Thanks won in 1983 for Declan Gillespie, Jim Bolger and owner Mrs Ogden White. In 1988 there was a dead heat called when Diminuendo for jockey Steve Cauthen and trainer Henry Cecil crossed the line at the same time as Melodist for jockey Walter Swinburn and trainer (Sir) Michael Stoute both for owner Sheikh Mohammed.

In 1997 and 1998 jockey Johnny Murtagh and trainer John Oxx won the race. In 1997 with Ebadiyla for owner HH Aga Khan IV and in 1998 with Winona for Lady Clague. In 2002 Margarula won under Kevin Manning for trainer Jim Bolger and owner Jackie Bolger.

In 2004 Ouija Board won under Kieren Fallon for Ed Dunlop and owner the 19th Earl of Derby. Kieren then won it again in 2006 on Alexandrova for Aidan O’Brien and owners Magnier / Tabor / Smith. The next two years being won by Aidan O’Brien also. In 2007 with Peeping Fawn ridden by Johnny Murtagh for Tabor / Magnier and in 2008 with Moonstone again ridden by Johnny Murtagh for Magnier / Tabor / Smith.

In 2010, Ryan Moore won the race on board Snow Fairy for Ed Dunlop and Anamoine Ltd. With Frankie Dettori winning it in 2011 on board Blue Bunting for Mahmood Al Zarooni and Godolphin.

In 2015, the late, great Pat Smullen won the race on board Covert Love for Hugo Palmer and the Fomo Syndicate. With the brilliant Enable winning it in 2017 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah.

The last three winners have been Sea of Class in 2018 for James Doyle, William Haggas and Sunderland Holding Inc, Star Catcher in 2019 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Anthony Oppenheimer and Even So in 2020 for Colin Keane, Ger Lyons and Magnier / Paul Shanahan.


Now onto some records.

The leading jockey with 6 wins in the race is Johnny Murtagh who won with Ebadiyla in 1997, Winona in 1998, Petrushka in 2000, Peeping Fawn in 2007, Moonstone in 2008 and Chicquita in 2013.

The leading trainer, also with 6 wins in the race is Sir Michael Stoute who has won with Fair Salinia in 1978, Colorspin in 1986, Unite in 1987, Melodist who won in a dead heat in 1988, Pure Grain in 1995 and Petrushka in 2000.

The leading owner (since 1960 – Including part ownership) is Susan Magnier who has won with Alexandrova in 2006, Peeping Fawn in 2007, Moonstone in 2008, Bracelet in 2014, Seventh Heaven in 2016 and Even So in 2020.


A quick look at this years runners. Please bare in mind I am writing this post at 10pm on 16/07/2021 and all odds are correct at time of writing – via Ladbrokes.

Currently the 2/7 favourite is Snowfall for Aidan O’Brien. Ryan Moore will ride this stable star, opposed to Frankie Dettori who rode her back in June when they won the English Oaks at Epsom.

There is then Nicest at 8/1 for Donnacha O’Brien and Gavin Ryan. Divinely at 10/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordon. Willow at 10/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan. Mariesque at 33/1 for Joseph O’Brien and Shane Crosse. La Joconde at 40/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Emmet McNamara. So a pretty big section of the entries belong to the O’Brien family with only Party House at 40/1 for G M Lyons and Colin Keane and Ahandfulofsummers at 66/1 for J A Stack and Chris Hayes in the declarations away from the O’Brien family.

Personally, I would say you have to go for Snowfall, however you can’t rule any of them out. However I would go for Snowfall to become the latest horse to win both the English and Irish Oaks, the first since Enable in 2017. She was impressive last time out, stable jockey Ryan Moore takes the ride this time and I think they’ll win pretty comfortably. Let me know over on Twitter who you think will win!


I hope you all enjoyed this one, good luck with your bets today and I will see you all in my next post on Wednesday evening at 6pm!

Happy Valley: The Worlds Worst Sporting Disaster

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Before we get started I’d like to apologise for not posting on Saturday. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll have seen I was away in Newmarket over the weekend with the Racing TV’s Raceday team and I had no opportunity in the build up to write a post I was happy with so I would rather not post at all than post a low quality post. However I am back today with a new post. Today I am looking at the Happy Valley Racecourse Fire, which is the worlds worst sporting disaster in history. When I read about the tragedy I knew I wanted to share it as it is not something I knew about before recently. I don’t think it will be a long post but I wanted to share it all the same. So without further ado, let’s get into it.


Happy Valley Racecourse was first built in 1845 to provide horse racing to the British people in Hong Kong. The area in which it was built was previously swampland however it was the only suitable flat ground on the island, so to make way for the course, the Hong Kong government prohibited rice growing in villages surrounding the area. The first race meeting took place in December 1846.

On February 26th 1918, it was the second day of the annual ‘Derby Day’ meeting and it started like any other race day. To accommodate extra spectators for the big meeting, a temporary Grandstand was built.

The horses were coming out for the first race The China Stakes when shouts and screams were heard coming from the temporary Grandstand and people were seen rushing from the stand onto the main racecourse. Suddenly there was an explosive noise followed by a string of crackling noises and then the Grandstand started to lean towards the road before collapsing. The Grandstand was sheltering a small village of food stalls, bars and bookmakers so when it collapsed it resulted in knocking over food stalls and causing a fire when bamboo matting was set alight.

Immediately the district’s fire department was called, however this was such a huge incident that the marine police were also called up to help fight the fire.

By the following day, it was reported by the Hong Kong Telegraph that there had been 576 confirmed deaths. However most of the dead bodies had became so unrecognisable and were unable to be identified and were therefore assumed to be ‘Chinese’. A nearby hospital called Tung Wah Hospital offered their assistance by arranging for labourers to collect the bodies and taking them to a nearby area to be buried.

A Chinese-styled memorial site known as Race Course Fire Memorial was built in the Chinese cemetery which now stands before the East Stand of the Stadium. It was declared a momentum in 2015.

It is now widely believed that 614 people died making it one of the worst sporting disasters in history. The below images are very rare photos of the event that were sold in 2019 in a photo album at auction for £4000.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6725187/Photos-Hong-Kong-horse-racing-fire-killed-600-people-sell-4-000-auction.html


I know this is a short one but I wanted to share it because it’s truly a heart breaking situation. Nobody leaves their house to go anywhere not knowing if they will return home. Over 600 people went to a sporting event which they were all clearly really looking forward to and it ended up with them not returning home which is heart breaking. I couldn’t find it in my research but I would be interested in knowing how much work went into the aftermath by the Jockey Club to find out why and how this happened because the Grandstand should have been safe to hold that many people without collapsing. Also interesting to note, in my research I did find that no Jockey Club member or employee died in the event. Many news articles I read also said that although it was one of the biggest disasters in Hong Kong’s history, the Jockey Club knew it was going to be ‘bad for business’ and tried their best to cover up the small details and not allow a scandal to commence as they did not want to lose the race course. Whatever they chose to do, it clearly worked as they still have the racecourse.

I hope you found this one interesting to read and maybe learned something new. I’ll see you Saturday at 11am for a new post!

Calder Racecourse 2006: The Worlds Fastest Daily Double

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today’s is a very interesting story I wanted to share, it may not be a long post but it’s one I wanted to share so let’s just jump straight into it.

In 2006, extreme ‘daredevil’ sports were all the rage in America. Thousands of people were watching sports where lives were at risk, so the management at Calder Racecoure in Miami Gardens decided they wanted to be a part of the action. So in July 2006, they announced their first ever ‘extreme day’ at the races, promising that this day at the races would be like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Long races, short races, backwards races, foot races – you name it, they included it. They were set at bending every rule they could. The Calder President Ken Dunn told the American press at the time:

We may get some people in the industry laughing at us, thinking it’s silly. But it has generated talk and that’s good.”

When the day arrived, the only extreme event taking place was the weather. The rain had made conditions on the track unsafe as well as keeping fans away, which was their whole point of the event. So they decided to try again later in the year, so they rescheduled their promotion to the 25th of November 2006.

The event included:

The Fast N Furious Stakes – Two furlongs on dirt
The Methusela Starter Stakes – For 5 year olds and older
King George’s Wrong Way Starter Stakes – 1 & 1/4 miles on turf going the opposite direction
The Gray Pride Stakes – Starter stakes restricted to horses that were gray or roan in colour (worth $45,000)
The World’s Fastest Daily Double – Two races run simultaneously on the dirt and turf courses
A 70 yard foot race between jockeys


The day didn’t quite go as planned with only 7,000 people showing up to the event and challenges along the way including jockeys protesting that the King George should be ran on the turf, not the dirt like initially planned.

But the highlight of the entire day was the World’s Fastest Daily Double. One was ran on the turf and another on the dirt, finishing just 36 seconds apart. The hardest job being left to the announcer Bobby Neuman who was given the task of calling both races at the same time. Later telling American press:

I just went back and forth as much as I could. I wanted to have fun with it and be as confusing as possible. I didn’t want to focus on one race more than the other.”

To this day, the record has never been beaten and I highly doubt it ever will. However everybody was talking about the event which meant Calder continued the event in 2007, however cancelling it in 2008 as it didn’t attract any many people as they thought it might, it only gained them more national media attention.


Overall, I thought this was a crazy story and had to share it. I hope you all enjoyed and I’ll see you Saturday for my next post at 11am.

The History of the Eclipse Stakes

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of today’s renewal let’s take a look back at the history of the Eclipse Stakes.


The Eclipse Stakes is a Group 1 flat race which is ran at Sandown Park in Great Britain. It is ran over 1 mile, 1 furlong and 209 yards and is open to horses aged 3 or older. It takes place in July each year. It was first ran in 1886. In 2020 the race was worth £250,000 with the winner receiving £141,775.


The first winner of the race in 1886 was Bendigo who was 6 years old. Tom Cannon Sr was riding for trainer Charles Jousiffe and owner H. T. Barclay.

Both the 1892 and 1893 contests were won by Orme. In 1892 at 3 years old for jockey Georg Barrett and in 1893 at 4 years old for jockey Morny Cannon. Both times the trainer was John Porter and the owner was the 1st Duke of Westminster.

In 1897 and 1900 the Prince of Wales won the race. Firstly in 1897 with Persimmon who was 4 years old with John Watts riding and Richard Marsh training. Then in 1900 with Diamond Jubilee who was 3 years old with Herbert Jones riding and Richard Marsh training again.

In 1910 there was a dead heat called. Here Lemberg who was 3 years old for Bernard Dillon, Alec Taylor Jr and Alfred W. Cox and Neil Gow, also 3 years old, for Danny Maher, Percy Peck and the 5th Earl of Rosebery both claimed the win.

Now skipping forward a few years, in 1951 Lester Piggott won the race on board 3 year old Mystery for Percy Carter and Mme Edward Esmond. He won again in 1955 on board 4 year old Darius for Harry Wragg and Sir Percy Loraine. Again in 1957 on board 3 year old Arctic Explorer for Noel Murless and Giles Loder.

In 1965 Queen Elizabeth II had a winner in the race when her 4 year old horse Canisbay won with Stan Clayton on board for trainer Cecil Boyd-Rochfort.

In 1976 Trepan finished first, however after being disqualified for testing positive for a banned substance, the race was awarded to 3 year old Wollow who was ridden by Gianfranco Dettori for Henry Cecil and Carlo d’Alessio

Skipping forward quite a few years, in 1995 and 1996 Halling won the race. In 1995 at 4 years old for jockey Walter Swinburn and in 1996 at 5 years old for jockey John Reid. Both times for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin.

Moving into the new millennium sees Aidan O’Brien win the race for the first time with 3 year old Giant’s Causeway under George Duffield for owners Magnier / Tabor.

In 2007, Notnowcato at 5 years old won for Ryan Moore, Sir Michael Stoute and A. & D. de Rothschild.

At 4 years old, Nathaniel won the race in 2012 for William Buick, John Gosden and Lady Rothschild. With Golden Horn winning at 3 years old in 2015 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Anthony Oppenheimer.

In 2018 Oisin Murphy won the race on board 3 year old Roaring Lion for John Gosden and Qatar Racing. Followed in 2019 by Enable at 5 years old for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah. With the latest winner in 2020 being 5 year old Ghaiyyath for William Buick, Charlie Appleby and Godolphin. – To note in 2020 due to alterations due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, 3 year olds were excluded from the race.


Onto some records in the race, starting with the most successful horses. These all have 2 wins in the race: Orme in 1892 & 1893, Buchan in 1919 & 1920, Polyphontes in 1924 & 1925, Mtoto in 1987 & 1988 and Halling in 1995 & 1996.

The leading jockey is Lester Piggott who won the race 7 times: Mystery IX in 1951, Darius in 1955, Arctic Explorer in 1957, St Paddy in 1961, Pieces of Eight in 1966, Wolver Hollow in 1969 and Artaius in 1977.

We have two leading trainers, both with 6 wins each. Alec Taylor Jr with: Bayardo in 1909, Lemberg in 1910 (deadheat), Buchan in 1919 & 1920, Craig an Eran in 1921 and Saltash in 1923. And Sir Michael Stoute with: Opera House in 1993, Ezzoud in 1994, Pilsudski in 1996, Medicean in 2001, Notnowcato in 2007 and Ulysses in 2017.

The leading owner with 6 wins is Godolphin: Halling in 1995 & 1996, Daylami in 1998, Refuse to Bend in 2004, Hawkbill in 2016 and Ghaiyyath in 2020.


So onto this years renewal, it is a very small field but a very talented field. (All odds are correct on Ladbrokes at time of writing this post 8:30pm on 02/07/2021).

The current favourite is the 6/4 shot Mishriff for John & Thady Gosden with David Egan riding. Last time out was on the 27th of March when winning by only a neck at Meydan over 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 11 yards. The time out before that was at Riyadh when winning the Saudi Cup by 1 length on February 20th. In both runs he was ridden by David Egan so it’s nice to see David be given the opportunity to take the reins on home soil.

The next horse in the line up is currently 13/8, St Mark’s Basilica for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. Another very talented horse, he’s won the French Guineas and French Derby double. This is only the second time Ryan Moore has been on board, the first time being on September 13th last year at the Curragh over 7 furlongs when they finished 3rd. Also interesting to note that he is the only horse who has never won over this distance, unlike the other 3.

The third in the list is Addeybb who is currently 11/4 for Tom Marquand and William Haggas. He is actually the only horse who has won over both course and distance which may be something to note – he has also won 4 Group 1 races. Another thing to note is that he is 7 years old and no 7 year old has ever won this race before. Since the 21st of March 2020 Tom Marquand is the only jockey to have rode this horse, so clearly they know each other very well, since then they have won 5 out of the 7 races they’ve had, finishing 2nd in the other 2.

The final horse in the line up is a 25/1 shot El Drama for Andrea Atzeni and Roger Varian. He has won over this distance previously, however last time out in the French Derby he was less than impressive when finishing 15th out of 19 horses. He is quite an unexperienced horse with only 5 runs under his belt, winning twice, placing 3rd twice and 15th in the French Derby. However in these colours, we’ve seen Andrea Atzeni enter the winners enclosure many many times so would it really be that much of a surprise?

All in all, I would love to see Mishriff win for David Egan – that is what my heart is saying. However I am going with St Mark’s Basilica for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. He has been pretty impressive the last twice we’ve seen him this year, both times winning by a length and 3 quarters. All in all, I think any of the 4 could win, it wouldn’t surprise me whoever wins. Who do you fancy? Let me know over on Twitter!


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

The History of the British Jump Jockey Championship

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today I am going to take a look at the history of the British jump jockey championship and a little look at this years competition, so without further ado let’s get right into it.


The British Jump Jockey Championship’s inception was in 1900. For the first 25 year, the award was given to the jockey who had ridden the most winners during a calendar year, however beginning in 1926, this changed to the way we see it today, the award would start going to the jockey who had ridden the most winners during a season.

Surprisingly, it was not until the 2015-2016 season that the Champion Jockey won prize money, with the 2015-2016 Champion Richard Johnson receiving £15,000 and smaller prizes going to the next 4 on the leader board. From 2016 any Champion Jockey receives a new trophy designed by Asprey and chosen by the award winning Champion Jockey Sir AP McCoy after the previous one was gifted to Sir AP McCoy upon his retirement.

This years title race will be decided between Saturday 1st May 2021 and Saturday 23rd April 2022.


Now let’s take a look at some winners! Please bare in mind any winner before 1925 was within a calendar year – beyond that is in a season.

The first ever winner in 1900 was H. S Sidney 52 wins, he was also an amateur at the time of winning the title. We then see Frank Mason win for the first time in 1901 with 58 wins, he then won it again in 1902 (67 wins), 1904 (59 wins), 1905 (73 wins), 1906 (58 wins) and 1907 (59 wins).

If we then skip forward a little in 1920 Fred Rees won with 64 wins before winning again multiple times. 1921 (65 wins), 1923 (64 wins), 1924 (108 wins – the first time a jockey hit a century of wins) and again in the 1926-1927 season with 59 wins.

The next 5 seasons were dominated by Billy Stott who firstly won in the 1927-1928 season with 88 wins, 1928-1929 with 76 wins, 1929-1930 with 77 wins, 1930-1931 with 81 wins and in 1931-1932 with 77 wins.

Gerry Wilson was the next jockey to dominate when winning 7 times in 9 seasons starting in 1932-1933 with 61 wins, 1933-1934 with 56 wins, 1934-1935 with 73 wins, 1935-1936 with 57 wins, 1936-1937 with 45 wins, 1937-1938 with 59 wins then again in the 1940-1941 season with 22 wins.

The two seasons in between Gerry Wilson’s victories were won by Fred Rimell, in 1938-1939 with 61 wins and then in 1939-1940 with 22 wins.

Racing was suspended in the 1942-1943 season as well as the 1943-1944 season before returning in the 1944-1945 season where it was actually a draw with Frenchie Nicholson and Fred Rimell both finishing the season on 15 wins. Fred Rimell then won it on his own in the 1945-1946 season with 54 wins.

Skipping forward a few years Tim Molony won 4 years in a row starting with the 1948-1949 season with 50 wins, 1949-1950 with 95 wins, 1950-1951 with 83 wins, 1951-1952 with 99 wins.

Fred Winter then won for the first time in 1952-1953 with 121 wins, before winning again in 1955-1956 with 74 wins, 1956-1957 with 80 wins and 1957-1958 with 82 wins.

If we skip forward a little bit in 1968-1969 Terry Biddlecombe and Bob Davies both finished with 77 wins and sharing the title.

Other winners include John Francome in the 1975-1976 season with 96 wins, 1978-1979 with 95 wins, 1980-1981 with 105 wins, before sharing the title in 1981-1982 with Peter Scudamore after both finishing with 120 wins. He then continued to win the title in 1982-1983 with 106 wins, 1983-1984 with 131 wins and again in 1984-1985 with 101 wins.

In between John Francome’s reign, Jonjo O’Neill won the title twice, firstly in 1977-1978 with 149 wins and again in 1979-1980 with 115 wins.

Starting in the 1985-1986 season we see Peter Scudamore’s reign begin with 91 wins, followed up in 1986-1987 with 123 wins, 1987-1988 with 132 wins, 1988-1989 with 221 wins (setting a new record for most wins and the first time a jockey had 200 or more winners in a season), again in 1989-1990 with 170 wins, 1990-1991 with 141 wins and again in 1991-1992 with 175 wins.

The next 3 seasons were won by Richard Dunwoody with 173 wins in the 1992-1993 season, 197 wins in the 1993-1994 season and finally with 160 wins in the 1994-1995 season.

In the 1995-1996 season the record breaking reign of Sir AP McCoy began:

1995-1996: 175 wins
1996-1997: 190 wins
1997-1998: 253 wins (breaking Peter Scudamore’s record of most wins in a season)
1998-1999: 186 wins
1999-2000: 245 wins
2000-2001: 191 wins
2001-2002: 289 wins (breaking his own record of most wins in a season)
2002-2003: 258 wins
2003-2004: 209 wins
2004-2005: 200 wins
2005-2006: 178 wins
2006-2007: 184 wins
2007-2008: 140 wins
2008-2009: 186 wins
2009-2010: 195 wins
2010-2011: 218 wins
2011-2012: 199 wins
2012-2013: 185 wins
2013-2014: 218 wins
2014-2015: 231 wins

When Sir AP McCoy retired, we then see Richard Johnson win 4 consecutive titles starting in 2015-2016 with 235 wins, in 2016-2017 with 180 wins, 2017-2018 with 176 wins and in 2018-2019 with 200 wins.

The final two winners were Brian Hughes in 2019-2020 with 141 wins and in the 2020-2021 season Harry Skelton with 152 wins.


So some records within the race. The jockey with the most titles and most consecutive titles is Sir AP McCoy who won 20 times consecutively between 1995 and 2015.

The jockey with the most wins in one season is also Sir AP McCoy who won 289 times in the 2001-2002 season.

The jockey who came second the most times is Richard Johnson who finished second behind Sir AP McCoy before finally winning the title after Sir AP McCoy’s retirement.


So onto this years title. (All odds are via PaddyPower and are correct at the time of writing this post and all winner figures so far are also correct at the time of writing this post – 25/05/2021 at 22:15)

The current favourite at Evens is Brian Hughes who has currently had 135 rides with 23 wins. A strike rate of 17%.

The second favourite is Harry Skelton at 11/8 who has had 52 rides with 14 wins. A strike rate of 27%.

The third is Harry Cobden at 4/1 who has had 15 rides with 4 wins. A strike rate of 27%.

The rest are 33/1 or bigger, including Sam Twiston-Davies, Aidan Coleman and Nico de Boinville all at 33/1 and Sean Bowen, David Bass and Tom Scudamore at 66/1 and Bryony Frost at 100/1.

The season has only just began so there is a long way ahead of us and the current standings will of course change once the winter comes around and more jumps horses are running. However I do think it’s going to be another exciting renewal. Last years came down to the wire between Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton and with Harry Cobden in the running and hopefully free this time around it could be a quite exciting one to watch. For me I think Harry Skelton could retain the title, but it’ll be too close to call.


I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all Saturday at 11am for a new post!

The History of the Irish Derby

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! As always, when a big race is upon us, I take a look at the history and today is no different. So let’s get right into today’s post all about the Irish Derby!


The Irish Derby is ran at the Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare in Ireland. It is a Group 1 flat race open to three year old colts and fillies. It is ran over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs and takes place in late June or early July each year, 3 weeks after the English equivalent – the Epsom Derby. The Irish Derby first took place in 1866. In 2020 the race was worth €690,000 with the winner receiving €427,500.

There were earlier versions of this race, the first being the O’Darby Stakes which was established in 1817 however was discontinued after 1824. Another version was established in 1848 called the Curragh Derby, however this was also short-lived.

The modern version we see today was created by the 3rd Earl of Howth, the 3r Marquess of Drogheda and the 3rd Earl of Charlemont and was first run in 1866. It was initially run over 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 3 yards and in 1869 it was extended by 9 yards however in 1872 it was cut to its present distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs.


The first winner of the Irish Derby in 1866 was Selim. Some early winnrs include Billy Pitt in 1870, Ben Battle in 1874, King of the Bees in 1880, Pet Fox in 1887, Orby in 1907, Land of Song in 1914, Rock Star in 1930 and Piccadilly in 1945.

In 1953, Chamier won for jockey Bill Rickaby, trainer Vincent O’Brien and owner Mrs F L Vickerson, however it was actually Premonition who finished first but was later disqualified.

If we skip forward a little bit, in 1970 Nikinsky won for Liam Ward, Vincent O’Brien and Charles Engelhard. With another notable name in Shergar winning in 1981 for Lester Piggott, Michael Stoute and HH Aga Khan IV.

Other winners include Old Vic in 1989 for Steve Cauthen, Henry Cecil and Sheikh Mohammed. Commander in Chief for Pat Eddery, Henry Cecil and Khalid Abdullah. And Desert King in 1997 for Christy Roche, Aidan O’Brien and Michael Tabor.

Moving into the new millennium, we see Galileo win the race in 2001 for Michael Kinane, Aidan O’Brien and Magnier / Tabor, the same trio also won in 2002 this time with High Chaparral.

In 2004 the late Pat Smullen won the race on Grey Swallow for Dermot Weld and Rochelle Quinn. In 2009 Fame and Glory won for Johnny Murtagh, Aidan O’Brien and Smith / Magnier / Tabor. With Camelot winnin in 2012 for Joseph O’Brien, Aidan O’Brien and Derrick Smith.

In 2014 Joseph O’Brien won the race on board Australia for Aidan O’Brien and owners Smith / Magnier / Tabor. In 2016 we seen the late Pat Smullen win the race again, this time on Harzand for Dermot Weld and Aga Khan IV.

The last two winners have been Sovereign in 2019 for Padraig Beggy, Aidan O’Brien and Magnier / Tabor / Smith and in 2020 we seen Santiago win for Seamie Heffernan, Aidan O’Brien and Tabor / Smith / Magnier.


Moving on to some records in the race. Starting with the leading jockey who is Morny Wing who won the race 6 times with Ballyheron (1921), Waygood (1923), Rock Star (1930), Rosewell (1938), Windsor Slipper (1942) and Bright News (1946).

Now on to the leading trainer, Aidan O’Brien who’s won the race 14 times with Desert King (1997), Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Dylan Thomas (2006), Soldier of Fortune (2007), Frozen Fire (2008), Fame and Glory (2009), Cape Blanco (2010), Treasure Beach (2011), Camelot (2012), Australia (2014), Capri (2017), Sovereign (2019) and Santiago (2020).

The leading owner in the Irish Derby is Michael Tabor (including part ownership) who has won with: Desert King (1997), Montjeu (1999), Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Hurricane Run (2005), Dylan Thomas (2006), Soldier of Fortune (2007), Frozen Fire (2008), Fame and Glory (2009), Cape Blanco (2010), Treasure Beach (2011), Australia (2014), Capri (2017), Sovereign (2019) and Santiago (2020).

A unique record in this race is that only one owner has ever completed the Irish Derby and Irish Grand National double. This was William Brophy in 1990 who won the Irish Derby with King of the Bees and the Irish Grand National with Controller. Also interesting to note that both winners were out of the same dam, Winged Bee.


Personally for me, I’m going to be boring and go for the current favourite (13/8 on Ladbrokes at the time of writing this 9pm on 25/06/2021), High Definition. I really like this horse and the Ryan Moore – Aidan O’Brien partnership is always a force to be reckoned with. However it looks to be a good renewal this year so I’m excited to see who does win!

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post and I will see you all Wednesday evening at 6pm for a new post.

Les Boots: The Worst Jockey in the History of Horse Racing?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today’s post is one I really wanted to share because I had never heard of this story until recently and thought if I hadn’t then how many others hadn’t? So without further ado, let’s get right into it!


Les Boots was an Australian jockey who’s professional jockey spanned 18 years. In those 18 years he broke just about every bone in his body which included a broken neck which saw him out of action for two years.

Less started as an apprentice jockey, working at Harry Butler’s stables. He began riding out and mucking out stalls until one day Harry called him into the office and told him he wanted him to go to Cheltenham in England and ride a horse called Umbalir in a jumps race, however he parted ways at the first hurdle with Les ending up in hospital. He rode Umbalir twice more, both rimes resulting in a hospital trip. Three for three – It didn’t look great.

Les Boots then went on to be known as the worst jockey in the history of horse racing due to the fact that he never had a winner, never placed in fact, he never even stayed on a horse for more than half a mile in any of his races. In fact, out of 39 starts, he fell 40 times – 41 if you include a non-horse related incident. He explained this to interviewers:

I rode a horse at Cheltenham one day, fell going out the straight, I caught him, remounted him, fell at the half-mile and I fell out the ambulance coming to hospital.”

https://www.punters.com.au/news/the-worlds-worst-jockey_136520/

Les himself told people that out of his 18 year career, he believes he spent 12 of them in the hospital, also saying that Adelaide Hospital used to get a bed reading in advance whenever they saw he had a ride. Les used to ride out many horses each weak and was totally fine, however when it came to a race he just couldn’t stay on.

It got to a point where his wife, alongside a packed lunch, would pack him some pyjamas and anything he would need for a couple of days in hospital whenever he went to a race. In fact it got so bad that whenever he was the jockey, his horse would be 100/1, regardless of how good the horse was due to him being on board.

However Les Boots became a national hero with his jokes and sense of humour with lines such as:

I went to a picnic one day and they even barred me from the merry-go-round – said it wasn’t safe”

https://www.punters.com.au/news/the-worlds-worst-jockey_136520/

A dream of Les’ was always to take part in the English Grand National, he later explained why this never happened:

I never did realise my life’s ambition to ride in the English Grand National at Aintree. My wife cancelled my passport, she reckoned I’d be the first jockey to drown at the water jump.”

https://eu.thespectrum.com/story/sports/mesquite/2019/09/02/worst-jockey-history-had-great-sense-humor/2187365001/

Les Boots lived to be 80 years old and it’s good to see he never lost his sense of humour. Les will go down as one of the worst jockey’s in the history of horse racing, but also someone who will never be forgotten due to the fact he laughed the whole way through his career and although he ended up spending the majority of his time in hospital it was clear to see how much he loved horses and racing.


I thought this was so interesting to read, I had never heard of Les Boots so I really wanted to share. I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all Saturday morning when I have a look at the history of the Irish Derby ahead of this years renewal.

Eddie Castro: The Unbeatable Record?

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com. Today’s post is a really interesting one and even though it may be a little shorter than some of my posts I really wanted to share!

Eddie Castro was born on April 10th 1985 and is a Panamanian born jockey in America. Eddie attended the Panamanian Jockey School and began riding in races in December 2002 at 17 years old. In just 3 months he had rode 36 winners and decided to move to America where he made his debut on April 16th 2003 at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Even though his American career started 3 months into a season, he still managed to win the U.S. Champion Apprentice Jockey in 2003 so he made quite the impact in his first season.

Eddie Castro currently has over 2,500 career wins, including many major races under his belt, including the Galaxy Stakes in 2004, Spinster Stakes in 2005, Sorority Stakes in 2006, Molly Pitcher Stakes in 2007, Indiana Breeders’ Cup Oaks in 2008, Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup Stakes in 2009, Pennsylvania Derby in 2009, Affirmed Stakes in 2015 and one of the biggest races, the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2006. However, none of that is what I want to share with you…

On June 4th 2005 at Calder Racecourse, Eddie Castro had 11 rides on a 13 race card. Just the day before on June 3rd he won five races at the same track, so he was in pretty good form. But it was this day that he broke the record for the most wins by a jockey in a single day at one racetrack in North America. The record for the most wins in a single day at one racetrack was held by 6 jockeys with the most recent being Ken Shino at Fonner Park on April 2nd 2000 when he won eight races and the record for the most wins in a single day was held by Chris Antley who rode four winners at Aqueduct during the day and five winners at Meadowlands on the evening on October 31st in 1987.

However, Eddie Castro managed to win 9 of his 11 mounts breaking the first record of a single day at one racetrack and matching the second record of most wins in a single day.

His day went as follows:

Race 1: 2nd – Southphilly Barry

Race 2: 1st – Bill’s No Trouble

Race 3: 1st – Snug Harbour

Race 4: 1st – Dakota Max

Race 5: No Mount

Race 6: 1st – Five Star Susan

Race 7: No Mount

Race 8: 4th – Broadway Buck

Race 9: 1st – Kin’s Hurrah

Race 10: 1st – Sebastian Light

Race 11: 1st – Carey’s Gold

Race 12: 1st – Agent Won

Race 13: 1st – Ben’s Advantage

After winning his 9th race, Eddie Castro told local news reporters:

When I’m riding these kind of horses, I just try to take advantage and make the most of it; but it takes some luck to win this many.”

https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/170179/eddie-castros-9-wins-at-calder-sets-record

To put what he did into perspective, the current record in the UK is held by both Frankie Dettori and Richard Hughes who both won seven races in one day at one course. First was Frankie Dettori in September 1996 who won all 7 races on a card at Ascot. Followed by Richard Hughes who won 7 out of 8 races in October 2012 at Windsor. The first woman rider to win five races in a day under rules was set by Hollie Doyle in August 2020 at Windsor.

When Frankie, Richard and Hollie achieved what they did every racing fan thought it was incredible – because it is – but imagine only being 20 years old and winning 9 rides in a day, that is some going.

Will anyone ever beat this record? There has been much discussion and from every article, tweet, blog I have read not many think his record will ever get beaten and it would not surprise me if it didn’t.


Now, I am not up to date with American racing and I won’t claim to be, but more recently I have been finding a lot of interesting stories from American racing and I want to start sharing more of them.

I really enjoyed reading about this one so I hope you all have to. This is my final post for the week so I hope you’ve all had a brilliant Ascot and I hope today goes well also but I will next see you on Wednesday evening at 6pm with a brand new post, which is all about possibly the worst jockey in the history of horse racing… Who could it be? You do not want to miss that one!

The History of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of tomorrow’s renewal, let’s take a look back at the history of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.


The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is a Group 1 flat race which was first ran in 1868 and is open to horses four years or older – three year olds foaled in the Southern Hemisphere are also eligible. The race is run over 6 furlongs at Ascot Racecourse in June each year. In 2020 the race was worth £250,000 with the winner receiving £148,000.


The race was established in 1868 and was originally called the All-Aged Stakes. It was renamed the Cork and Orrery Stakes in 1926 to honour the 9th Earl of Cork.

In 1971, the race was classed as a Group 3 race, before being promoted to Group 2 status in 1998. In 2002, the race was renamed to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and was promoted to Group 1 status. In 2012 the race was given it’s current name to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. In 2015 the race changed from being open to three year olds to only being open to four year olds and older after a new six furlong Group One Race (the Commonwealth Cup) was created for three year olds only.


Now onto some previous winners. The first winner in 1868 was a horse called Laneret. In 1872. 1973 and 1874 a horse called Prince Charlie won the race followed by Lowlander in 1875 and 1876. Whitefriar won the race in 1886 and 1887 with Hornet’s Beauty winning in 1913 and 1914 followed by Hamlet in 1923 and 1924.

Now some winners when it changed names to the Cork and Orrery Stakes. The first being Diomedes in 1926, with Right Boy winning in 1958 and 1959. Committed won in 1984, with Danehill winning in 1989, So Factual in 1995 and the final winner before the next name change was Harmonic Way in 2001.

The first winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes was Malhub for Kevin Darley, John Gosden and Hamdan Al Maktoum. Seven year old Cape of Good Hope won in 2005 for Michael Kinane, David Oughton and Exors of Ron Carstairs. Black Caviar won in 2012 for Luke Nolen, Peter Moody and G. J. Wilkie and K. J. Wilkie. With Slade Power winning the final running in 2014 for Wayne Lordan, Edward Lynam and Sabena Power.

The first winner of the current named race the Diamond Jubilee Stakes was Undrafted in 2015 for Frankie Dettori, Wesley Ward and Wes Welker and Sol Kumin. In 2017 The Tin Man won for Tom Queally, James Fanshawe and Fred Archer Racing – Ormonde. In 2018 Merchant Navy at three years old won for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and the Merchant Navy Syndicate / Tabor / Smith / Magnier. In 2019 Blue Point won for James Doyle, Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and in 2020 Hello Youmzain won for Kevin Stott, Kevin Ryan and Haraas d’Etreham and Cambridge Stud.


Now onto some records. The most successful horse is Prince Charlie who won in 1872, 1873 and 1874.

The leading jockey with 10 victories is Lester Piggott who won with: Right Boy (1958, 1959), Tin Whistle (1960), El Gallo (1963), Mountain Call (1968), Welsh Saint (1970), Saritamer (1974), Swingtime (1975), Thatching (1979) and College Chapel (1993).

The leading trainer with 5 victories is Vincent O’Brien who won with: Welsh Saint (1970), Saritamer (1974), Swingtime (1975), Thatching (1979) and College Chapel (1993).

The leading owners both with 3 victories each are:

Joseph Dawson: Prince Charlie (1872, 1873, 1874)

Jack Joel: Sunflower II (1912) and Hamlet (1923, 1924)


At the time of writing this 11:15pm on June 13th 2021, the official declarations have not been named, however with the list of horses currently still in the race it looks to be a wide open renewal this year so hopefully it’ll be a pretty exciting one to watch. Who do you fancy?

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and I will see you tomorrow at 11am for a brand new post, a very interesting one about a current record within racing that quite possibly will never be broken. You do not want to miss it!

The History of the Coronation Stakes

Good Evening!

Welcome to another post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Ahead of tomorrow’s renewal of the Coronation Stakes, let’s take a look back at the history of the race!


The Coronation Stakes is a Group 1 flat race which was first ran in 1840. It is open to three year old fillies and is ran at Ascot Racecourse in June each year over 7 furlongs and 213 yards. In 2020 the race was worth £250,000 with the winner receiving £148,000.

The race was established in 1840 and is named after the coronation of a new British monarch, Queen Victoria just two years earlier. In 1971, the race held Group 2 status before being promoted to Group 1 level in 1988.


Now onto some previous winners. The first winner in 1840 as a horse called Spangle. In 1867 a very well known horse called Achievement won the race after winning the 1,000 Guineas a few weeks earlier and then went on to win the St Leger and Doncaster Cup in the same year. In 1874, a horse called Apology won the race, she was the third horse to win the Fillies’ Triple Crown when winning the 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks and St Leger all in the same year as her Coronation Stakes win before going on to win the Ascot Gold Cup two years later in 1876.

In 1894 a miracle horse won the race when Throstle won. As a foal she was considered a likely candidate for euthanasia when she was born partially bling, however she went on to be one of the best fillies of her generation in Britain.

In 1900 there was a dead heat called when Sainte Nitouche and Winifreda crossed the line at the same time in an impossible finish to call. In 1904 Pretty Polly won the race, she was the 15th horse to win the Fillies’ Triple Crown when winning the 1,000 Guineas and Epsom Oaks before her Coronation Stakes victory then winning the St Leger a few months later all in 1904.

Skipping forward a little while now and into 1961 when Aiming High won for jockey Lester Piggott, trainer Noel Murless and owner Queen Elizabeth II. Skipping forward a little more to 1998, Exclusive won the race for Walter Swinburn, Sir Michael Stoute and Cheveley Park Stud. In 2013 Sky Lantern won for Richard Highes, Richard Hannon Sr and B Keswick. In 2017 Winter won for Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien and Tabor / Smith / Magnier. In 2020 Alpine Star won for Frankie Dettori, Jessica Harrington and Niarchos Family.


On to some records in the race! Firstly the leading jockey, here we have two who both have 5 wins each:

Nat Flatman: The Princess (1844), Stitch (1845), Distaffina (1848), Lady Evelyn (1849) and Barcelona (1851)

Morny Cannon: Lady Hermit (1892), Silene (1893), Throstle (1894), Helm (1896) and Lowood (1898)

Now the leading trainer who has 6 victories in the race John Porter who won with: Lovely (1883), Sandiway (1884), Cereza (1891), Throstle (1894), Helm (1896) and Lowood (1898).

With the leading owner with 7 victories being Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor who won with: Winkipop (1910), Pogrom (1922), Saucy Sue (1925), Book Law (1927), Sunny Devon (1931), Betty (1933) and Traffic Light (1936).


At the time of writing this post (11pm on June 13th 2021) the final declarations have not been made for the race, however the horses still in the current line-up look to make a very interesting renewal this year. Who do you like the look of?

I hope you enjoyed this post and I will see you tomorrow evening at 6pm for ‘The History of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes’.