The Grand National Hospitality

The Grand National is on the of the highlights of the Jump Season and takes place only a few weeks after the incredible Cheltenham Festival. But that is no excuse not to attend both as they are both amazing experiences for different reasons. This festival of racing takes place over three days...yes that’s right, three days jam packed full of exciting racing action over some of the most famous fences in world. Not only do you have racing to enjoy and look forward to but, Liverpool is an incredible city with so much to offer for a few nights away.

The Grand National Festival is unique for a number of reasons, asides from the great racing there is much more including the addition of some fantastic hospitality areas and spaces. As there is so much on offer we thought you might need a little guidance on where the best places are to be. Unlike many other race meetings with the Grand National you definitely get your money's worth and even some of the pricer experiences are really worth that little bit extra. Like getting your money’s worth? Then this is the place to be.

The Jockey Club 1750

This is Aintree’s best hospitality experience and is beautifully done, you really feel like you are having a VIP experience with amazing service and delicious food, oh and not to mention amazing views of the racing.

There will be a champagne reception followed by a four-course lunch, premium wines and finishing off the afternoon with a fabulous afternoon tea.

Being their best experience this is now only available on the Thursday of the Festival at  £499pp

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Sunloch (Thursday Only) £199

Exclusive to the Thursday only this is a great way to get set up for the days ahead, perfect for couples and smaller groups. There will be a three-course buffet lunch followed by afternoon tea. Again great views of the course you won’t need to move all day with betting facilities and everything you need on hand.

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Silver Birch (Friday and Saturday)

This brand new hospitality experience is not to be missed, located right near the start and looking down the home straight you will see every aspect of the races. This premium informal experience is complete with cocktails, appetizers and an incredible four-course lunch. This is perfect for larger and smaller groups who are looking to get the most fun out of their day, the complementary bar will ensure your glass is never empty while you cheer in your horses. The fun won’t stop after racing either, with a DJ keeping the party going.

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Friday will be £369 and Saturday £529

Sunloch (Friday and Saturday)

This is the best place to be to socialise and eat your way through the day. This vibrant atmosphere is the perfect location, with not only views of the track but also the pre-parade ring. There will be a delicious three-course lunch, wine and afternoon tea.

Friday £369 and Saturday £499.

McCoys

Situated in the heart of the racecourse this is the perfect base for the day, with everything you need on hand. With access to the Red Rum garden and Earl Of Derby Terrace, where you are guaranteed magnificent views of the course. They have a large cash bar with informal seating and TVs inside and out. There is a chef inside who will prepare food right in front of you on the grill so you can dine al fresco.

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Thursday £125 Friday £179 Saturday £239

 

A week in the life of Mick 19th February

Here we are again for our weekly catch up with Mick Fitzgerald and what an interesting and exciting week it’s been…I catch up with Mick before he heads off to the Studio in Milton Keynes.

The week started with a night of celebrations and appreciation for the Stud and Stable Staff of the Racing industry. This was an evening close to Mick’s heart as he mentions that it is the team of staff in every racing yard that put in so much hard work behind the scenes which makes him appreciate the sport much more. He goes onto say how lucky we are as an industry that everyone involved in the sport loves their job. It’s not a particularly well paid sport so awards like this are so important to show them gratitude. It means so much to them to be recognised and rewarded for all their hard work and dedication.

Last week Mick visited the Ebony Horse Club, which he described as an oasis in a concrete jungle as it is surrounded by high rise flats in the heart of London. For those who don’t know, Ebony Horse Club is a charity based just south of the river in  Brixton, London. They use horses to raise the education, life skills and well-being of local young people living in some of the most disadvantaged communities in south London. Mick said it was an incredible experience and was very uplifting to see so many happy people smiling and the place is full of real characters. He hopes to work with them more and was so pleased to have had the opportunity to go and visit them.

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It was quite a special week for Mick really, after an amazing day at Ascot on Saturday his week was on a huge high. He said the atmosphere was simply amazing and a real treat to enjoy with so many stories throughout the day. Firstly, he mentioned the upcoming star of the season, Bryony Frost who Mick coaches, this was a first for Bryony who was on favourite BLACK CORTON and to make a change, something was expected of the horse. He said he could tell she was a little more nervous than usual, you would have never known it once she was on the horse. She was so in control, calm and just a total natural, this is why; he explains, she has such an advantage and thinks she will be so successful. She gave the horse a really good ride in a big race on a big day so all credit to her.

Next we discuss the emotional race of CUE CARD and WAITING PATIENTLY, both are huge crowd favourites. He said both were applauded equally coming back in after the race and it was very emotional, this is what Mick explains, sets national hunt racing apart from the flat. It’s those crowd favourites that we all get attached to, get to know them, the people involved and follow their stories.

This weekend he will be at Kempton for the very last of the trials as we head onto the home straight for the Festival!

A week in the life of Mick 12th February

Mick is feeling much better and is walking Serge as we speak, he said he hates to see a racecourse abandoned but was pleased not to miss Fakenham as it’s one of his favourite courses.

We catch up about the fantastic racing from Newbury at the weekend, where we saw ALTIOR triumph again and in Micks words, ALTIOR is the real deal. He thought it was like he had never been away. ALTIOR of course wasn’t the only star of the week NATIVE RIVER made his come back too and Mick said he looked as fit as a flea and is now a real player for the Gold Cup.

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This week for Mick is a little different he will of course be at Ascot on Saturday, where CUE CARD, TOP NOTCH and CONEY ISLAND will go head to head. It’s getting closer to the festival and the last of the trials are wrapping up so everyone is getting a little nervous and will be very careful what they run and when.

Before that though Mick and Oli Bell are going the the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton. If you haven’t heard of them, take two minutes of your time and watch this video.

Mick and Oli are going to help out at the club and see what they can do to help, it is an amazing charity and has touched many hearts in the racing industry. We are really looking forward to hearing more about it next week.

If you too would like to donate please go HERE.

Betfair Super Saturday

The Betfair Super Saturday is a highlight of any jump racing fans calendar. So what is all the fuss about? To give you a roundup of the weekend we have made a list of five reasons of why you should head to Newbury this weekend.

1. Top Class Runners and Races

The race card this Saturday has a fantastic lineup of runners and races. This meeting attracts competitive horses from all over the country including Seven Barrows' up and coming star chaser, ALTIOR.  This will be an interesting race as this is the first run of the season after undergoing a wind-op to aid his breathing. Another exciting entry is Gold Cup hopeful NATIVE RIVER. There are a mixture of Grade 2 and Grade 3 races on the agenda and punters are hoping to see some good runs to gain a better insight into what could happen in the upcoming Cheltenham Festival.

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2. The Course

Newbury is one of our favourite tracks for a number of reasons. Having recently undergone renovations, there are plenty of new facilities to use and make your day more enjoyable. With the classic English weather putting most people off being outdoors, there are more indoor spaces for you to keep warm and dry whilst watching the racing, as well as numerous food stands and bars to enjoy a beverage or two. The parade ring has raised standing viewpoints so that you can see all the runners with ease before and after each race. 

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3. Location

The course is easy to get to by train or car as the train station is a stones throw away and the racecourse is only approximately 6 miles from the M4. By train it will only take 50 minutes from London and driving doesn't take much longer however, we all like a good time so perhaps be safe and get rid of the worry of having to get home by opting for a train ticket.

4. Accommodation

If you would rather not go home; as many people seldom do, there are several options for hotels and accommodation in the area. Better yet, there is a hotel on the racecourse, The Lodge is located by the back of the stables and provides a cosy and comfortable stay so you can make a weekend of it.

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5. It’s Just a great day!

Newbury is very local to a number of race yards as it is only a few miles from the Valley of the Racehorse and training town of Lambourn. This is where all of the racing teams let down their hair and have a great time so there is always brilliant support for the runners. It has a similar feel to Cheltenham for them being a home track, so if you can’t make it to Cheltenham this is a great compromise. All the big names will be there and the atmosphere is amazing especially with ALTIOR running the track will be full of excitement and you are guaranteed a great day, and let’s be honest it’s miserable and cold so brighten up your February!

To book your tickets CLICK HERE, tickets start at just £26.

A week in the life of Mick

After a very busy week at the Dublin racing festival it was great to catch up with Mick, he was sad not to see WESTEND STORY run on Saturday but you have to do what is right for the horse.

On reflection of the Dublin Racing Festival, Mick thinks it’s the best idea they have ever had. We agreed it was great to see so many good horses running with some top quality races, hopefully after the huge success of this year we can hope to see more English horses head over in future. He said that whatever anyone thinks, jumps racing is so dependent on results at the Cheltenham Festival, so it will take a lot for English trainers to head over with the risk of travelling badly and sickness, and then only having a five week turn around for the festival, it’s a big ask and not to mention they will be on the home turf of the Irish. The likes of Mullins and Elliot run here week in week out, but hopefully after such a successful weekend it will be an even bigger event next year. He did mention that although the trainers hadn’t made the trip, many UK based spectators had, I also saw many of my friends heading over and why not. The course is perfectly located close to Dublin and makes for a fantastic weekend, so it was great to see the UK support for their first year.

Buveur D'air

Buveur D'air

Dublin Racing Festival

Dublin Racing Festival

Mick had spent Saturday at Sandown and was so delighted for Paul Nicholls winning the Betfred Hurdle, he said TOPOFTHEGAME is a progressive horse and is only just a baby so thinks he has even more to show us.

As for this week Mick has the lurgy (man flu) so is resting up. He had planned to attend Fakenham which he was telling me is one of his favourite tracks. He described the track as just having a feel good factor about it, and is similar to a point-to-point. For any first time racegoer this is where Mick would recommend going,  

Newbury

Newbury

Mick is hoping to get better for the weekend as it’s a massive weekend for him, this weekend is of course the Newbury Betfair Super Saturday, this is his home track and a personal highlight of the season. Mick has won the Betfair hurdle a few times and his old boss, Nicky Henderson, will be throwing a few darts at the board for the race, with JENKINS and CHARLIE PARCS, and these are just two of his potential runners. Nicky will of course also be running ALTIOR and all eyes will be on him, Mick seemed very confident in his chances and I think we would all like to see him win.

We hope Mick feels better and look forward to watching him on Saturday at Newbury.

Funniest Racing Videos

Beat those Monday blues and have a look at the funniest horse racing videos we found!

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Dubai Racing and More!

The Dubai World Cup Carnival, not to be confused with the World Cup night itself, but the build up to the big night. The Carnival is made up of 10 global race meetings, where hopefuls for the World Cup night will compete against each other to gauge how they will fair on the big day. Trainers will be taking their horses out there is the coming weeks to see if they make the cut for the big night, what most trainers do is take the horses out, race them and then if they perform well they leave them there to race again and get use to the heat etc. The trainers then fly back and forth until the big night or if they don’t perform well, they all go home and the dream is over!

Meydan Racecourse

Meydan Racecourse

The Carnival is so important because the stakes are so high, there is a total of $10 million prize money over the coming weeks. With huge prize money like this comes great horses, making for a fantastic competition, so the racing is world class with horses coming from all corners of the globe. Any horse that will run World Cup night will probably run at some point during the Carnival, so it is a great opportunity to see high class racing.

Meydan race every Thursday and five Saturdays in January- March but what many people don’t know is that Dubai has two racecourses, Jebel Ali is Dubai’s second track. Jebel Ali is much smaller and currently seats 2000 people, they race there on a Friday, which is Dubai’s Saturday. The track is often compared to a Garden Party and has a lovely feel about it. Set next to the palm with great views of Dubai. It is very green and has a feel of your local track and makes a great afternoon, it’s nice to go racing in the afternoon too and feels more like racing at home, the first race is at 2.30pm, so gives you plenty of time for a morning by the pool! Oh and did we mention the best bit, it’s FREE! So you have nothing to lose.

Best Time to go...

If you wanted to get the most out of a racing trip you can get 3 days with Thursday at Meydan, Fridays at Jebel Ali and every other Saturday back at Meydan!

This maybe a little much for you, especially when there is so much to do in Dubai! A lot of people would think you were crazy going for a long weekend, but with great night flight times, a central airport and so much to do I think it’s one of the best ways to do Dubai.

We recommend Flying on the Wednesday night and landing in Dubai Thursday morning. You can use this as your ‘lay by the pool’ day, get over travelling and enjoy a day of rest before racing Thursday night. Grab an early dinner in the Meydan hotel at either SHIBA or my personal recommendation Prime Steakhouse, which is the best steak I have ever had. I would book a 6pm dinner then you can watch the first race at 6.30pm from the restaurant before grabbing a buggy down to the track. If you fancy a night out WHITE is one of Dubai's best night clubs and is right at the track so if you want to keep the party going...you know where to head.

Friday racing is held at Jebel Ali, but the first race is not until 2.30pm so why not spend a morning on the Palm, exploring the Atlantis Hotel. There are numerous activities on the Palm including an incredible skydive experience. This is one of the best skydives in the world, and is very famous with amazing views of the palm tree shaped island in the background of your decent a once in a lifetime experience! Now after a busy day you have worked up an appetite so keeping at this end of the city, I would have to recommend Il Borro, located in the Al Naseem hotel. Hands down the best italian in Dubai, to top it of they also have a turtle sanctuary outside the restaurant which is magical at night. Now for the perfect nightcap you must head to the Flamingo Room, which is also in the hotel and does the best cocktails!

Flamingo Room

Flamingo Room

If you didn’t fancy racing on the Friday there is of course the world famous Dubai Brunch, an all you can eat and drink lunch, they pretty much have them in every hotel but we recommend- the Westin Bubbalicious, Candy Pants and Vida Downtown!

Vida Downtown

Vida Downtown

Saturday is Dubai’s Sunday and the perfect day to go to the beach, if your hotel hasn’t got a beach which many don’t there are loads to try. There is the public beach which is free and easy, just take a trip to the shops for some refreshments and away you go. For the party lover there is Nikki Beach which is amazing, super fun but very pricey so be warned. A happy medium would be cove beach which is lovely and has an amazing sushi and fish menu! Most hotels also let you pay for a bed for the day if any take your fancy, if you have children we highly recommend Le Royal Meridien Beach and spa has a great play area and facilities.

Dubai is also famous for its shopping and so you don’t have to miss any of that great sun, all the malls are open late at night. There are so many malls in Dubai but the two best ones are the Mall of the Emirates, which is famous for its ski slope, yes that’s right you can ski in Dubai. The other mall is the Dubai Mall, this one is famous for it’s huge aquarium and fountain display in front of the Burj Khalifa...oh and also being the biggest mall in the world with 1,200 shops. Both have the same shops but unless you want to go skiing the Dubai Mall is much more worthwhile for entertainment. The aquarium is amazing, you can see the penguins and even go scuba diving, and the fountain display at night is a must on the tourist list. If you wanted to head over in the afternoon, a trip up the Burj Khalifa is best at sunset, this is the most expensive time but is worth the amazing view of the city at dusk.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Depending if you want to fly home Sunday night or Monday morning, if you can wait till Monday you can’t really come to dubai without getting out to the desert. Head out to the real life miraj in the desert, Bab Al Shams. This is a  fabulous hotel with a spa which is the perfect treat for anyone after a busy week sightseeing. I would plan to arrive early morning, have a treatment then a few hours by the pool before heading out on one of the wild desert safaris. You will head into the dunes for some dune bashing, stopping off for some sand dune sliding and sunset photos opportunities before arriving at the bedouin style majalis tent. It is here you will enjoy getting stuck into an Arabian style buffet with shisha, music, camel rides, henna tattoos and a belly dancing show.

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Dubai Safari

Dubai Safari

Party into the evening before heading back to the city, a great way to finish off your trip!

To find out more and book your trip CLICK HERE.

A Week in the Life of Mick 29th January

A better start to the week for Mick with all dogs accounted for in the Fitzgerald household!

We start by chatting about the weekend just gone, which he was very impressed by APPLE’S SHAKIRA showing that J P McManus will once again have a very strong hand for the festival. We also discuss the new kid on the block Bryony Frost who I learn Mick is a Jockey Coach for. He was very impressed with her ride on FRODON, who he thinks they could have a squeak for in the Ryanair and would be a good each way bet! He said what a natural talent Bryony is and a pleasure to be coaching. Mick meets with Bryony most weeks and will be seeing her on Tuesday night. He will then be heading over to the At The Races studios Wednesday in Milton Keynes for the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival.

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This week is the first Dublin Racing festival which he is very excited for as are we! This is a new concept and has some fantastic racing on offer and is perfect timing for the English and Irish horses. He was telling me what he is most looking forward to starting with FAUGHEEN and a very competitive Irish Arkle with FOOTPAD and PETIT MOUCHOIR who were 4th and 3rd in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last year. Mick himself will be covering this from the studio and heading to Leopardstown on Sunday where there are four massive Grade 1 Races!

Before that though he will be at Sandown on Saturday for ITV and has a runner of his own! Mick has his own syndicate the Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club, this is a big runner for them and the race is worth £100,00. The horse won last time out at Wetherby and they are very hopeful of his chances, he’s called WESTEND STORY and runs in the 15.00 at Sandown. You can read more about Micks syndicate here.

He thought that after this weekend Cheltenham would become much clearer or even muddier!  

Racecourse Hidden Gems

Now, we all have our favourite racecourses like Ascot, Goodwood and for me Newmarket but what about the smaller courses...the hidden gems of the racing world? Ones that may even be closer to you than the bigger courses or a little further a field but are worth the journey!

Chester

The home of the footballer and the Real Housewives of Cheshire! Probably one of the most glamourous courses in the country. Ladies, you will love the people watching and the excuse to dress up, and gentlemen... I think it’s pretty obvious what you’ll enjoy! Now on top of all that the course is beautiful and steeped in history with the grandstand full of character.

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Not forgetting the main reason you would attend Chester races….there is also lots of great racing to enjoy, with plenty of meetings from May to September meaning there are ample opportunities to make a weekend or overnight stay of it. Chester itself is full of great restaurants and lovely boutiques and is surrounded by the ancient chester city walls.

To find out more and book tickets Click Here

Newcastle

Staying up north but heading a little higher this time we head to the angel of the north, well just beyond her, Newcastle.

Newcastle has a fantastic jump and all weather flat course, so has plenty to offer all year round. This makes a planning a visit even easier, depending on your preference. The course has great facilities with lots of great bars and events throughout the year! For me personally it would make a fun weekend away with a group of friends for a birthday, hen or stag party. You could go racing in the day and the head to the vibrant city centre in the evening where this is some taste tingling restaurants and buzzing bars, for whatever suits your fancy.

To find out more and book tickets Click Here

Ripon

As we head back down the A1 we stop in at Ripon, dubbed the garden racecourse you can imagine how beautiful it is. This is the perfect course for a family day out, with lawns across the course, a play area and great catering on offer it couldn’t be easier. The course has a great feel about it and set in the heart of yorkshire makes it a superb destination racecourse to.

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I love yorkshire with a historic city, stunning walks and plenty for family of all ages to find things to do. Ripon is a credit to the area and just tops off what a great place it is to visit.

To find out more and book tickets Click Here

Bath

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As we head down to the other end of the country we stop off at Bath, a classic old British town with stunning architecture and Roman Baths. The racecourse has fixtures throughout the spring and summer, with cider festivals, beer festivals, ladies days and great tribute acts plus fantastic family fun days; there is something for everyone. There is so much to offer in the town too, it makes a great day out or weekend away.

To find out more and book tickets Click Here

Lingfield

We then head right down to the bottom and just south of London is Lingfield. Conveniently just a short train journey out of London. Again with jumps and flat meetings, there is plenty of racing throughout the year. The course also has a golf course if you fancy a few rounds before racing! Or if a spa is your style, relax and indulge in the Breathe spa.

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The course has so many great events over the course of the year including some brilliant live music nights. The course also has some high grade racing holding the winter Derby trial and much more!

To find out more and book tickets Click Here

A Week in the Life of Mick Fitzgerald

Welcome to our new feature on the Racing Breaks blog, where we will be having a weekly catch up with Mick to see what a week in the Life of Mick involves. Here we will get a real insight into the racing world from a man who knows it so well and maybe steal a few tips along the way!

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It isn’t often that a busy man like Mick Fitzgerald gets to sit down for a quiet cup of tea, but I had the rare chance to chat with the racing legend about what his busy schedule had in store this week. Lets just say, poor Mick didn’t have the best start to his week... after a freezing morning filming, he returned home to find that his son’s dog, Serge, was missing. After a worrying day of an effortful search party running circles around the village, Serge was found safe and sound. Let’s hope it can only get better from here…!

Mick has a busy week of filming ahead and as previously mentioned, his week started with filming at Wetherby for At The Races. He was there to speak with Richard Guest who has a horse heading to Santa Anita in February, Richard of course was a successful jump jockey Mick was telling me, and has done very well training sprinters on the flat since his retirement as a jockey, so Mick hopes he will have a great deal of success in his second career.

Mick will then fly to Ireland Tuesday night to continue his duties filming for At The Races, this time focussing on the Dublin Racing Festival. He will be meeting some of the Irish point-to-point trainers who buy unbroken 3yr olds and turn them into pointers. Among them will be Sean Doyle who is an old friend of Micks, so he is looking forward to seeing him. Sean is fast becoming a very successful producer of young horses, so I look forward to seeing this. Mick will then stay on in Ireland for racing at Gowran Park, this is the Goff Thyestes day, one of their biggest race meetings in the calendar. Racing will be covered by At The Races so let’s hope it’s not too cold for the presenters!

After a busy week in Ireland, Mick then heads back to the UK in prep for the Cheltenham Trials day, where he will be working for ITV. Mick has his eyes on BRISTOL DE MAI and hopes to see great things from him following a disappointing run in the King George due to a stomach ulcer. The team will be hoping he performs well enough to come out as a contender for the Gold Cup. He will have his optimum race conditions on Saturday so hopefully he runs well. He also mentioned that his usual mount Daryl Jacobs won’t be riding him as he has to be elsewhere for a retained ride, so Sam Twiston-Davies will be on board.

All in all a busy week for Mick and we look forward to hearing how it all panned out after this busy weekend of Cheltenham trials!!

Ladies Day and Girly Getawats at the Races

January is not merely about detox and early nights, it’s also about enjoying the start of a New Year and planning things to look forward to.  So what better than a girly weekend away at the races?

Racing Breaks offer the best racing experiences around and with several ladies days coming up in the calendar, as well as a collection of feature days renowned for selling out a long time in advance, its a pick-me-up with a twist, and an opportunity to plan time with your girlfriends.

1) Grand National, Aintree

Coming up first is the world famous Aintree Grand National. This is a real spectacle as not only are the horses something to look at, but the incredible mixture of ladies fashion and outfit choices are always worth talking about. Grand National Ladies Day takes place this year on Friday 13th April, the day before the historic Grand National race takes place, but there is still plenty of racing action to get stuck into.

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Not only will you enjoy a day at the racecourse, but also a relaxing stay at the fabulous four star, Marriott hotel. This hotel gives you endless options to spoil yourselves with a luxurious spa experience. Meanwhile, for those wanting to spend time out on the town, Liverpool is a wonderful city bursting with energy and endless pubs, clubs, and bars to entertain your party throughout the night.

An ideal event for a hen party, Racing Breaks can organise anything you want with packages starting from just £169 per person and can be tailor made to suit you.

Check out all Grand National packages by clicking here

2) Royal Ascot, Berkshire

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Royal Ascot is the highlight of the summer, and again Ladies Day is not to be missed. Last year was one of the hottest days in the UK, so it’s summer dresses at the ready and a bottle of Champagne or jug of Pimms to choose from.  

Royal Ascot is a prestigious event which dates back to 1711, when high society would gather in top hats and tails to watch some of the finest horses battle it out on the turf. While things have changed a little since then, there is still an element of tradition to keep up with, not least a flurry of rules to follow if you wish to attend.

Hats, for example, are a must for ladies; there is normally fierce competition to wear the best, whether it be designer or homemade. The racecourse is in the middle of Ascot town, which is only a short train journey from London.

The surrounding area has plenty of hotels to ensure you have a good night's rest in between the fun and frolics of Ladies Day. Macdonald Berystede is ideal for a group with its spa to relax in. Packages start from just £189 per person, and once again we can basically tailor the experience to suit your every whim.  So start digging through the the attic to find your smartest headpiece, and begin planning your outfit for one of the hottest days in fashion and racing in 2018.

 

Explore Royal Ascot packages by clicking here

3) Ebor Festival, York

The York Ebor Festival is one of the highlights of the summer, taking place in the fabulous York Racecourse. This is the last chance to wear your summer outfit and soak up any sun before the weather turns colder.

The Ebor is known as the Ascot of the North, and features top class flat racing and eye-catching fashion as its showpiece. There are prizes to be won for the best dressed female and all standside race goers are able to visit the Ebor Fashion Lawn at the heart of the racecourse on the Edwardian Weighing room lawn. Ladies, start planning your #ClassicEbor ensemble.

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We have a selection of hotels to choose from including spa and leisure facilities to ensure a relaxing night sleep after your fun in the sun.  Make a weekend of it with a group of friends or family, and girls, don’t miss your chance to shine on Thursday 23rd August.

Check out the York Ebor festival tickets by clicking here

4) Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, Paris

As the weather takes a turn, it would seem like the perfect time to escape and head overseas. October brings one of the best racing events in the calendar, and this year the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe will take place at the newly renovated ParisLongchamp Racecourse.

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The Arc attracts some of the most respected people in racing, from all corners of the globe, with the creme de la creme of flat horses. For those of you who are racing enthusiasts and have never visited Paris, you really are missing out. The racecourse is only a short drive outside the centre of the city, so when you are not racing there is plenty of time to explore the delights of this fashion capital.

Racing Breaks can organise extra activities for you such as boat tours, dinner in the Eiffel Tower or air balloon tours and last year our customers were given the privilege of meeting Racing Breaks Ambassador and superstar jockey, Frankie Dettori, who then went on to win the Arc on the superstar filly, Enable.

Paris is only two hours away on the Eurostar, and packages offer two to three nights of accommodation in a hotel of your choice, at a starting price of £299. Set off on a thrilling weekend full of racing and adventure, and be back in time to head to work on Monday!

Racing Breaks Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe 2018 packages can be found by clicking here

5) Music Nights

If racing doesn’t wholly fulfill you, then there are also the Jockey Club music nights to look forward to. Last year there was an A-list lineup of artists performing at different racecourses around the nation, including X-Factor stars Little Mix, Jess Glynne, Tom Jones and many more.

This year we have the one and only Craig David touring around the UK. It is a perfect way to finish a fabulous day of racing frivolities, by letting down your hair and singing your heart out to some noughties favourites.

Other musicians and performers for 2018 include The Vamps, and Chase and Status Live DJ Set, other acts are to be released soon so keep any eye on the Racingbreaks.com website as these sell out quickly!

Top 10 International Racing Events 2018

Now halfway through January, here we have our guide to the best racing events for 2018 from around the globe. These are all definitely ones to tick off the bucket list!

1. Sun Met (27th January 2018)

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There’s no better place to escape to from a dreary UK at the end of January than at one of South Africa’s most renowned social, fashion and sporting events, The Sun Met. Since the first official running of The Metropolitan Mile (The Met) in 1883, the event has been a highlight of the South African social calendar.

Every year, on the last Saturday in January, Africa’s richest horse race draws crowds of over 50,000 and South Africa’s best horses to the Kenilworth Racecourse. This year will see the most recognisable athlete in the world, Usain Bolt attend the event in his newly appointed capacity as GH Mumm’s “chief entertainment officer”.

Additionally, situated just outside of Cape Town, there is plenty to see and do, from the busy waterfront and beaches to the mountains, forests and vineyards.

More information on the Sun Met and to view our available packages for 2019, click here.

2. Dubai World Cup (31st March 2018)

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The Dubai World Cup is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and a definite must for any racing aficionado. On offer will be the greatest racehorses on Earth competing for their share of the world’s richest raceday, culminating in the $10 million Dubai World Cup, won in 2017 by Arrogate. What's more, when you book with Racing Breaks, you'll get to meet and greet Racing Breaks ambassadors Jim Crowley and 3 time Dubai World Cup winning jockey, Frankie Dettori!

The World Cup event concludes with a live concert from an international superstar and a spectacular fireworks display, rounding off the ultimate mix of sport and entertainment.

This event appeals to far more than just racing fans however, with endless activities to keep you occupied when not at the futuristic Meydan Racetrack, ranging from the duty free shopping opportunities to desert safaris and waterparks!

More information on the Dubai World Cup can be found here or to view our available packages, click here.

3. Punchestown Festival (24th April - 28th April 2018)

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The Punchestown Festival in April is considered the grand finale of the National Hunt season with top class horses, trainers and jockeys from both sides of the Irish Sea converging on the Kildare venue to gain bragging rights which can be held until the season resumes in proper in the Autumn. Across the festival, there are 12 Grade 1 contests as well as the historic La Touche Cross Country taking place.

The combination of high quality racing, fashion and live entertainment helps all racegoers to have a excellent time thanks to the unique Punchestown Festival atmosphere.

More information on the Punchestown Festival and our available packages can be found here.

4. Kentucky Derby (May 5th 2018)

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The Kentucky Derby Festival is an annual festival held in Louisville, Kentucky for the two weeks preceding the 1st Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby itself. There are few American sporting events with the history and popularity of the Kentucky Derby and the race itself is frequently coined as ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’ typically drawing crowds of over 150,000 people including Queen Elizabeth II in 2007!

Other notable features of the festival include, amongst others, the largest fireworks display in North America, The Great Balloon Race and The Great Steamboat Race, featuring the Belle of Louisville.

More information on the Kentucky Derby and our available packages can be found here.

5. Palio di Siena (2nd July & 16 August 2018)

Perhaps Italy’s most famous annual sporting event has been held almost without interruption since 1644 drawing crowds of over 40,000 people. Horses and jockeys run three laps around the famous ‘Piazza de Campo’ of Siena, Tuscany on a temporary sand surface with the race normally lasting around 75 seconds. With nail biting corners and high speeds, there is a much greater risk of riders being unseated. However, an unmounted horse is still able to cross the line first and win.

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The Palio di Siena is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of ongoing rivalry and competition between the contrade. The lead-up and the day of the race are invested with passion and pride. Formal and informal rituals take place as the day proceeds, with each contrada navigating a strategy of horsemanship, alliances and animosities.

More information on the Palio di Siena can be found here or to view our available packages, click here.

6. Irish Champions Weekend - Leopardstown (15th September 2018)

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If turf racing is your passion, the Irish Champions weekend is a must, with a particular focus on Day 1 at Leopardstown. The world’s top thoroughbreds will compete across an 8 race card including the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, the highest-rated turf race in the world, won in 2017 by Decorated Knight trained by Roger Charlton.

Alongside top quality racing is a programme of events including the Longines Prize for Elegance and the Moët & Chandon Champion Hat competitions. Enjoy one of the best days racing in the world along with elegant fashion, and off-track entertainment including music, gourmet food and beverages.

Please enquire here for more information on the Irish Champions Weekend and our available packages.

7. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (7th October 2018)

With refurbishment now complete, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe will return to the re-christened ParisLonghamp following a two year break at Chantilly. The new 22,000 capacity, four-storey grandstand will be the highlight of 2 years of works and will offer 360 degree panoramic views of the city of Paris!

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Popularly referred to as the "Arc", it is Europe's most prestigious horse race which anchors the biggest weekend of racing in France. More than 200 horses will compete in 16 races worth 9.4 million euros in prize money on Saturday and Sunday, and attending is more affordable than you might think!

More information on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe can be found here or to view our available packages, click here.

8. Velka Pardubicka

Considered to be the toughest steeplechase in continental Europe, 20 brave horses and riders take on 31 obstacles and four and a quarter miles in what is dubbed the Czech Grand National. It is staged across ploughed fields and huge hedges whilst the Taxis Ditch (the fourth fence) is the most famous of the obstacles as a ditch of four metres in length, which is a metre deep, with a hedge measuring just over a metre and a half.

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The racecourse is located approximately one hour from Prague so is easily accessible for a day trip whilst spending a few days in Czech Republic's capital city.

More information on the Velka Pardubicka and our available packages can be found here.

9. Breeders Cup (2nd - 3rd February 2018)

One of horseracing’s most prestigious international events that has evolved into a two-day, $28 million extravaganza attracting the best horses, trainers and owners from across the globe. Every sport has a definitive year-ending event to crown its champions. In thoroughbred racing,  the Breeders’ Cup World Championships is the culmination of the horse racing season and the $6 million Breeders Cup Classic is considered the defining event of the international racing season. Indeed, winning the Classic is often going the determining factor in the race to be Horse of the Year.

This year, the Breeders Cup will be returning to Churchill Downs in Kentucky, one of the world’s most iconic and recognised tracks following a seven year absence. It was first hosted at Churchill Downs in 1988, and the 2018 event will mark its’ ninth appearance at the track. An event not to be missed!

More information on the Breeders Cup and to view our available packages can be found here.

10. Melbourne Cup (3rd November - 10th November 2018)

The Melbourne Cup held as part of the Melbourne Racing Carnival is Australia’s most prestigious annual thoroughbred horse race. It is the world’s richest ‘two-mile’ handicap and is known in Australia as “The race that stops a nation”.

The Carnival itself is considered the ultimate experience for lovers of world-class racing, glamour and fashion and is spread across four days, with a varying level of formality and differing atmospheres.

More information on the Melbourne Cup and to view our available packages can be found here.

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Top 5 Racing Events for 2018

Here it is...a new year...2018, and what a year it is going to be. This is the list that shouldn’t be kept for another year, the time is now, and we want to send you some of the best racecourses and racing events there are to offer across the UK and Ireland.

Leopardstown 3-4th February 2018

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Shake off the January blues, and get back into the swing of things with a trip to Ireland for some scintillating racing action at the Dublin Jumps Festival at Leopardstown. This is a new festival taking place on 3rd and 4th of February 2018. There isn’t much time to ponder and think about it...just do it! The festival comprises of a brilliant showcase of seven Grade One and three Grade Two races. The festival was created as a merge of two standalone fixtures at the end of January and beginning of February so a plethora of great races to get you excited for the new year racing fixtures. New and existing valuable handicaps mean that there will be a minimum race prize value of €75,000 and a total prize money over the 15 races across the weekend amounts to €1.5million. Ireland is only across the water and we have a selection of racing/hotel packages that will make it all the more worthwhile.

Aintree 12th -14th April

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Next on the list is none other than the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree. This is one of the biggest races in the world with a peak of 12 million tuning in around the world to watch live on TV. So why not be there on the day to experience this incredible, testing and nail-biting race from the side of the course? The race has a safety factor of 40 which is one of the largest fields in any race in the UK. The horses take on 30 fences which are like no other measuring up to 5ft 2in in height and they are some width too! Situated in Liverpool, the Grand National Festival is a few days of great fun to be had with a group of friends or family with the racecourse only a short train journey outside the city centre.

Cheltenham 13th-16th March

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As if you didn’t already know, Cheltenham Festival is the ultimate racing experience. Crowds of over 200,000 people flock through the gates over the 4 days of top class racing and there is something for everyone to enjoy whether you are a racing enthusiast or not. The atmosphere is electric and the Cheltenham Roar at the start of the first race on the first day will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. For those who may not enjoy standing out in the cold weather at all times, there are plenty of places to take shelter, places like the shopping village. There are over 50 exhibition stands with some of the best , high profile outfitters and fashion brands in the country. Tickets and hotel rooms are selling out fast so make sure you don’t miss out on this legendary week of racing fun and frolics.

York 22nd- 25th August

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The York Ebor Festival is one of the highlights of the summer, taking place in the fabulous setting of York racecourse. This is the last chance to wear your summer outfit and soak up any sun before the weather turns for a long cold winter. The Ebor is known as the Ascot of the North and features top class flat racing and eye-catching fashion as its showpiece. The feature race and highlight of the festival is the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes. The meeting also features Britain’s richest handicap, over the marathon of a mile and three-quarters. A stunning racecourse and York has so much to offer during your time away from the track. Make a weekend of it with a group of friends or family and ladies...don’t miss your chance to shine on Ladies Day which takes place on Thursday 23rd August.

Ascot 19th - 23rd June

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Ascot racecourse is something to marvel at in its structural design as well as the fabulous setting in which it lies. Just on the outskirts of London, Royal Ascot is the hottest event of the summer and for many, the entire year. This is where class and style amalgamate and create a spectacular sense of occasion. For many, attending Royal Ascot week is the highlight of the social calendar. The royal parade is what makes this event all the more special as Her Majesty the Queen attends every day, arriving in a horse drawn carriage with other royal family members and acquaintances. Royal Ascot is a match between some of the best flat horses in the world and is a real test for which will succeed later in the season. A strict dress code of women in hats and dresses and men in mourning suit, this week is something special to be a part of and definitely one to tick off the list. If you like Pimms, Champagne, Horses and a good social occasion, then it’s a no brainer.

Top 5 Jumps trainers

Top Jump Trainers:

 

Paul Nicholls:

Paul Nicholls is one of the best Jump trainers in the world with 71 wins already in the 2017-18 season. He has shown he is one of the best in the business starting off as a trainer in 1991 with only 8 horses and turning into a yard of over 150 horses in training to go along with 10 times British champion trainer awards. With over 25 years’ worth of experience Nicholls has trained some of the best horses in the world and won some of the biggest races in the racing calendar, he has trained 114 Grade 1 winners. Nicholls best horse and properly the greatest jump horse of all time Kauto star helped Nicholls secure the Tingle Creek Chase (2005, 2006), Old Roan Chase (2006), Betfair Chase (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011) King George VI Chase (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) Aon Chase (2007) Cheltenham Gold Cup (2007, 2009) Ascot Chase (2008) Champion Chase (2008, 2010). Nicholls yard is based at Manor Farm Somerset where all his horses are kept and trained. He will be trying to add to his impressive tally of wins during the rest of the season.

Top Horses: Politologue, Le Prezian, Black Corton, Vicente

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Nicky Henderson:

The English trainer is a veteran in the horse world and well known for being one of the best, with over 30 years as a trainer under his belt Nicky has shown his worth with carrying out some of the biggest wins over the years. The four-time champion trainer who was assistant to Fred Winter for four years before setting up on his own and basing himself in Seven Barrows near the racing town of Lambourn. One of Henderson’s finest horses was See you Then who won the champion hurdle 3 years in a row from 1985-87. He holds the record for the most festival wins by a trainer with 53 and counting, maybe his finest win came in 2015 courtesy of Peace And Co, who won the Triumph Hurdle at the 2015 Festival, and the Simon Munir-owned gelding set up a Henderson 1-2-3 in the race with Top Notch and Hargam filling the places behind the favourite. Henderson is hoping to finish 2017 with a bang with a win in the King George where the trainer has 3 horses capable of winning in the field with his best chance coming from the inform Might Bite.

Top horses: Top Notch, Whisper, Might Bite, Altior

 

Nigel Twiston-Davies:

Twiston-Davies who began training in 1981 and sent out his first winner, Last of the Foxes, at Hereford Racecourse in 1982. The Gloucestershire based trainer has had a good start to the season with 45 already has set his sites on trying to train the winner of 3 Triple Crown races this season by already securing the Betfair Chase with Bristol de Mai who is also one of the favourites to win the Boxing Day race at Kempton. Twiston-Davies has had some Phenomenal wins over the years including 2 Grand national wins one in 1998 with Earth Summit and most recently with Bindaree in 2002. He has also recorded a Triple on the last day of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival where the trainer has bagged himself 17 wins in total at the home of jump racing and is looking to expand on that this season.

Top Horses: Bristol De Mai, Blaklion, Ballyoptic, The New One



 

Colin Tizzard:

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Colin Tizzard is well known for being one of the top 5 Jump trainers in the country, Tizzard has been training world class horses since 1994 and has a wealth of experience in the field. He has had some of the finest horses in the last few years. One of his most popular and well know horse is Cue Card who Tizzard trained to victory in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper in 2010 then 4 years later in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.  Some of his bigger wins in recent times include back to back wins of the King George Chase and is hoping to make it 3 out of 3 with Thistlecrack going to try and retain his title.

Top Horses: Fox Norton, Cue Card, Finian’s Oscar, West Approach, Thistlecrack

 

Willie Mullins:

There is always a big debate about who is the best Jumps trainer and Willie Mullins is one of those who is in that category. Mullins has had a very successful campaign as a trainer after being an assistant to his father Paddy and then for Jim Bolger. He has proved himself on the highest stage with by setting up by himself in 1988 and going out and training winners in almost every big race in England, Ireland and France. Mullins biggest success in England would have been his Grand National win in 2005 with Hedgehunter. Mullins will be hoping to bring his Big Guns such as Douvan over from Ireland to rain on the brits parade both at the festival and the Grand national.

Top horses: Total Recall, Faugheen, Un De Sceaux, Douvan

Bloodstock Review

 

Bloodstock is the term for horses specially bred for racing. Bloodstock is a big part of horse racing with people wanting to have the best horse, and by doing that you have to get the breeding right between the Sire which is the male or and the Mare which is the female to produce high quality horses. When it comes to buying a Thoroughbred racehorse, they don’t come cheap.

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 Marsha became the highest-priced horse sold at a European auction when making six million guineas at Tattersalls December Mare Sale. She was by Acclamation x Marlinka, and was bought by the most famous stud farm Coolmore Stud for breeding. Coolmore Stud which was set up in 1975 by John Magnier and Robert Sangster with the aim to produce a state of the art thoroughbred operation and now is home to some of the most expensive Stallions such as  Australia, Camelot, Caravaggio and the most famous in the coolmore yard who is privately owned by Coolmore themselves is Galileo.

The buying and selling of thoroughbred racehorses is an important part of the culture with the main bloodstock auctioneers being Tattersalls and Goffs. Based in Newmarket Tattersalls is the largest Bloodstock auctioneers and have been part of selling some of the most expensive horses in the ever.

Marsha (6,000,000), Zhukova (3,700,000), Quiet Reflection (2,100,000). The buying of horses is done in Guineas which was the standard currency for buying and selling horses hundreds of years ago. However, it is still used today when a horse is purchased it will say what is cost in guineas, but a guinea is the equivalent to £1.05p.

Bloodstock agents are equine professionals who buy and sell Thoroughbreds on behalf of their clients in exchange for a commission. It can be a risky business as you might have to buy without having a buyer ready. During the sales agents are very busy as they constantly have to be networking and building relationships with clients.

Cheltenham International Tips

Cheltenham International Racing Tips:

 

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It’s the last Meeting at Cheltenham until the New Year, and what better way to go into Christmas after a great day at the races. To make it’s even better for you we will be sharing our tips which we think could serve you well over the coming days. We go into tomorrow with a lot of good racing and our first tip comes in the 12:45- Sizing Tennesse who has showed signs of running well with a couple of good finishes of last year. 1:55- Song Saa is my next pick who has finished 2nd in its last two races over 2m4f.

After Fridays tips serve you well you can have a Punt on the Big races this Saturday with the 1:20 Sire De Grugy who has been upped in distance to try and get back that winning form. Our final tip for this spectacular two days racing is the 1:55- Le prezian who has showed a lot of promise running at Cheltenham in the past with 3 top 3 finishes.

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Tingle Creek Saturday Sandown Review

This past Saturday Sandown Park played host to its most prestigious jumps event, Tingle Creek. This is one of the biggest jumps events before Christmas and after attending already has me excited for Cheltenham Festival. Although the weather was bitterly cold I feel lucky that we managed to avoid any rain, sleet or snow unlike the punters up in Aintree that day. With 7 races on the card I was certain I would have a couple of winners, however, I am a favourite backer and unfortunately for me not one favourite came in that day! Although I didn’t have a winner the day was still great and Sandown is one of my favourite racecourses in the country because of its great viewing areas and ample bar space, it’s also within walking distance of home which is a real touch.  

The first race of the day was a novices Hurdle and saw favourite Just A Sting take on 5 rivals. However it was not his day and second favourite Ainchea, trained by Colin Tizzard, won by a length to Whatswrongwithyou. The third race of the day saw Monbeg Oscar, a 2/1 favourite come in 6th, as you can probably guess this was another race for me to forget. However, it was a competitive race with Holly Bush Henry and Connectable battling it out until the end with Holly Bush Henry winning by a neck.  

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The fourth race of the day was the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase, which would see Finians Oscar take on Brain Power. The two had both been favourites at different points in the day and it seemed as though it was between either of those. However, after some poor jumping from Finians Oscar which left him last he was out of the race before the final 4 furlongs. Brain Power was doing well  throughout the race until the final couple of fences where he slightly slowed his pace, and on the final jump he unseated jockey David Mullins leaving Sceau Royal to run on gamely and win the race by 11 lengths.  

The penultimate race of the day was the Grade 1 The Tingle Creek Chase, which has been won by past greats Kauto Star, Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre. This year would see odds on favourite Fox Norton attempt to place his name amongst those past greats as Douvan had been pulled out of the race just 3 days prior. Going off at 8/13 in a 6 horse field I though Fox Norton was destined to win this, but Politologue had other ideas. In what was a great race Politologue lead over the final jump but saw Fox Norton chase him down on the final flat, however the last dash wasn’t enough as politologue won by half a length. In doing so he is now as short as 7/1 for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.  

Tingle Creek has lived up to its reputation and was a great day for all, especially those who won some bets. Now we look forward to the next big race in the calendar, The King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing day, which will hopefully see the likes of Bristol di Mai, Thistlecrack, Might Bite and last years Gold Cup winner, Sizing John all battle it out.