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Horse Racing News

Wednesday 20th February 2019

Big Orange: Ascot Gold Cup winner retired

Big Orange, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2017, has been retired.

The eight-year-old, trained by Michael Bell in Newmarket, won nine races and more than £1.25m in prize money.

A two-time winner of the Goodwood Cup, Big Orange triumphed in the Gold Cup by a short head after a thrilling duel with runner-up Order Of St George.

The victory sparked emotional scenes, with television presenter Oli Bell - the winning trainer's nephew - running down the track to greet the horse.


Grand National 2019: Ronnie Wood, Sir Alex Ferguson enter horses in race

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood is among a number of celebrity owners with horses entered for this year's Grand National at Aintree on 6 April.

Wood bred and owns Sandymount Duke, stabled with the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Jessica Harrington.

The 10-year-old is one of a record 47 Irish-trained entries - including last year's winner Tiger Roll - among a total of 112 hopefuls at this stage.

A maximum field of 40 runners will take on the 30 fences in Liverpool.

Other leading contenders include Scotland's 2017 victor One For Arthur and the Welsh National winner Elegant Escape.

Manchester United's legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is a joint owner of last month's King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux, is also hoping to have a runner in this year's National, with Give Me A Copper.

He part-owns the nine-year-old with daytime TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, who also has a share in Black Corton. Bryony Frost regularly rides Black Corton for trainer Paul Nicholls and would be bidding to become the first female jockey to win the marathon contest.

Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott - who also won in 2007 with Silver Birch - held on by a head from fast-finishing compatriot Pleasant Company in a 'green sweep' for the Irish, who claimed the first four places last year.

The diminutive gelding, currently 20-1 joint favourite, has the Cross-Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as his main seasonal target, but would be the first horse since triple winner Red Rum in the 1970s to win consecutive stagings of the National.

Elliott, with 22, has the most entries for the 172nd running of the race, which is run over more than four-and-a-quarter miles and features fences such as Becher's Brook, Canal Turn and The Chair.

His contingent also contains last year's third Bless The Wings, recent Thyestes Chase runner-up Alpha Des Obeaux and the 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle.


Cheltenham Gold Cup 2019: Native River, Sizing John and Coneygree among entries

Three previous winners are among a bumper list of 43 entries for the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup on 15 March.

Last year's victor Native River, Sizing John (2017) and Coneygree (2015) could all potentially bid for a second success in the jump racing contest.

It is the largest field for 12 years, with nine trained by champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who is still looking for his first Gold Cup win.

Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack run for Native River's trainer Colin Tizzard.

Elegant Escape won the 2018 Welsh National, while Thistlecrack was the winner of the 2016 King George VI Chase.

Thistlecrack was second in last month's King George at Kempton, which was won by Clan Des Obeaux, one of four possible Gold Cup contenders for 10-times British champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Presenting Percy, winner of the RSA Chase at last year's Cheltenham Festival, heads a record 24 Irish-trained entries for the big race.

Last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup had 15 horses on the start line.


Cross Counter first British-trained horse to win Melbourne Cup

Cross Counter has made history by becoming the first British-trained racehorse to win the Melbourne Cup.

Charlie Appleby saddled the 8-1 winner, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, in the 158th running of Australia's famous race.

Cross Counter led home a 1-2-3 for British-trained runners from Marmelo and A Prince Of Arran.

The Cliffsofmoher, trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, was put down after sustaining a fractured right shoulder early in the race.

Cross Counter is owned by Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team, which also won the Derby at Epsom for the first time this year with the Appleby-trained Masar.


Cheltenham Racecourse reunited with original Gold Cup trophy

Cheltenham Racecourse has been reunited with its original Gold Cup trophy, which dates back almost a century, and will present it to winners from 2019.

The trophy, first awarded 94 years ago, was offered to the course by a private owner who had kept it in a bank vault since the 1970s.

It will replace the current Gold Cup, which has been in use since 1972.

The original will now be mounted on a plinth bearing the names of every horse to have won the famous steeplechase.

It weighs 644 grams of nine carat gold and is plated in 18 carat gold to give it a rich colour.

Cider firm Magners has signed a four-year deal with Jockey Club Racecourses to replace internet service provider Timico as sponsor of the Gold Cup from next year.


Royal Ascot 2018: Stradivarius wins Gold Cup at Ascot for Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori claimed his 60th Royal Ascot winner as Stradivarius took the Gold Cup after a thrilling finish.

Dettori was at his best on the 7-4 joint favourite, trained by John Gosden, to see off runner-up Vazirabad and long-time leader Torcedor in third.

It was the 47-year-old jockey's sixth Gold Cup win and he treated the 70,000 crowd to a trademark flying dismount.

Joint favourite Order Of St George, the 2016 winner and last year's runner-up, could only finish fourth.