Five lessons from the Dublin Festival to take to Cheltenham

The Dublin Gold Cup is one of the premier meetings in the Irish calendar, but rightly or wrongly, the rest of the racing world views it more in the context of being one of the best indicators for the Cheltenham Festival.

The latest tips

From the almost Lazarus-like performance of Edwulf to the growing concerns over former bookmakers’ darling Faugheen, there was certainly plenty to take in. The Twitter tipsters at Racing Bets post daily predictions and tips as the Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer. Here are five of the stories that have attracted their attention.

Edwulf the Brave

After last year’s festival, Edwulf looked like another of racing’s sad casualties. His collapse at the final jump of the National Hunt chase left spectators the world over with a bad taste in their mouths. Initial rumours that the horse had died proved to be premature, but when it was confirmed that he had suffered oxygen starvation and temporary blindness, the prognosis was bleak.

His return to competitive action was therefore miraculous enough, but to go on to win the Gold Cup is the stuff of fairy tales. Surely a repeat performance at Cheltenham would be asking too much? At 25/1 there are certain to be more than a few each way bets.

The Supreme Novices Hurdle just got tougher to call

The opening race of the festival is invariably something of a free-for-all, with as many as 30 entrants. It has a habit of producing surprise winners, but while the bookies have been backing the Willie Mullins trained Getabird as hot favourite, Samcro’s performance in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle has got everyone wondering. He led from the start, and victory never looked in doubt. Those in the know think this could be a very special horse, and whether he ultimately runs in the Ballymore or the Novices Hurdle, he has every chance of beating all comers.

Faugheen in decline?

A few short months ago, the horse nicknamed “the machine” was being tipped as having a real chance in the Champions Hurdle. It all went wrong over Christmas, and Dublin was set to be the great return to form. However, a lacklustre performance had Willie Mullins shaking his head. “He had no spark,” said the veteran trainer. Arch-rival Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air is now 1/2 on to win for the second year running, and Faugheen is looking like an increasingly remote shot, drifting to 8/1.

A new favourite for the Stayer’s Hurdle

The horse that spoiled the party for Faugheen is not to be underestimated. Supasundae has come into form at just the right time, and most of the bookmakers now have the Jessica Harrington trained gelding as favourite to beat Sam Spinner in the Stayer’s Hurdle.

Mullins on the up

Faugheen concerns aside, Willie Mullins will have left Leapordstown a happier man than when he arrived. Doubts over many of his Cheltenham runners were cast aside, and seven winners is an impressive tally. He will look to take Henderson on in his own back yard next month, and the likes of Min, Footpad and Total Hero have the potential to win him plenty more silverware.

Photo by Pete Davies

Protect yourself and your horse when riding in hot weather

Taking better care of your horse when riding in hot weather

Riding in the hot weather can be hard work, particularly when you act responsibly and wear the right protective wear, gloves, boots and hat. But while it is sweaty and uncomfortable for us sitting in the saddle, spare a thought for your poor steed who is doing the really hard work. We can strip off, take a cold shower, enjoy a cold drink and spend the rest of the day sitting in the shade in shorts and a t-shirt. But what can you do to make your horse more comfortable and ensure he remains fit and healthy?

Advice from the racing experts

Race horses can’t pick and choose when to venture out, but they do have teams of experts looking after their welfare and keeping them in tip top shape. The pundits at don’t just study bookmaker odds to come up with their Australian horse racing tips. They also understand what it takes to build and maintain fitness for a successful racing career under the Australian sun. Here are their top tips that can be taken to heart by any horse owner:

Time it right

The top trainers will not be exercising their race horses under the midday sun if they don’t have to, and neither should you. An early start and an 8AM ride is the perfect way to begin the day, and is better than leaving it till evening, when the air is still hot from the day.

Minimise your time in the sun

Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the amateur take his or her horse out into the middle of the yard and spend 20 minutes under the unforgiving sun saddling up, getting prepared, forgetting things, readjusting the bridle, changing boots and so on. And then they spend another 15 minutes out there warming up. By the time the actual exercise begins, horse and rider are both overheating and have had enough. All the preparation can be done in the shade, so only get out there in the heat when you really have to.

Strip off after exercise

We mentioned earlier that it is easy for the rider to discard those sweaty jodhpurs and other clothes after riding, but your horse will be equally eager to get undressed. Boots and leg wraps should come off without delay, as the tendons in the leg will continue to heat up even after exercise. Leaving anything on will cause discomfort and possibly internal damage.

And shower

On the same theme, your first port of call when you’ve stripped off will be a nice cool shower. Treat your horse to the same. Hose him down, and you will see the steam pour off him. Make sure you use a sweat scraper to remove the water, which will heat up faster than you could imagine possible. Repeat the process as many times as necessary till he is properly cool – then you can go and enjoy your own shower with a clear conscience!

Photo by Daniel from Pexels

All Change: British Eventer Lissa Green to Ride for Australia – Eventing Nation – Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary

In the eventing world’s equivalent of the draft season (that is, the off season, in which riders may actually find a few minutes spare to rethink and restructure their brand and business), big changes are

Source: All Change: British Eventer Lissa Green to Ride for Australia – Eventing Nation – Three-Day Eventing News, Results, Videos, and Commentary

Boyd Exell wins 8th FEI World Cup Driving Championship | Equestrian Australia

Equestrian Australia (EA) congratulates Boyd Exell on winning his 8th FEI World Cup Driving Championship overnight in France. A member of the Equestrian Australia Hall of Fame, Exell dominated the four-in-hand final in Bordeaux and scored an easy win over his high-class rivals. “We went fast. I had to live on instincts and drive,” said Exell. “There was no room for error and that’s what a good final should be.” “My sister and parents were up all night watching and I’m pleased for them too,” he said.

Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Champions Hurdle Preview

Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Champions Hurdle Preview

The Champions Hurdle is the highlight of Day One at Cheltenham, and is the race that really gets the Festival underway. Like every race over the first two days of the festival, it is run on the Old Course at Prestbury Park, just outside the historic spa town of Cheltenham. The race is run over a distance of just over two miles.

What happened last year?

In 2017, the race was won by Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D’Air. The 5/1 shot overcame the 2/1 favourite Yanworth and won by four and a half lengths. My Tent Or Yours came in second, and Petit Mouchoir third, while Yanworth never really got going and placed seventh.

Tipsters’ choices for 2018

The bookmakers have Buveur D’Air as odds-on favourite to defend his trophy and win the Champions Hurdle for a second year, a feat last performed by Laurence Byrne’s Hardy Eustace in 2005. However, the tipsters at think that punters are better off looking a little further down the Champions race day card for the most tempting bets. With Buveur D’Air so hotly fancied, it could be that an each way shot among the best of the rest is where the smart money lies.

Buveur D’Air

We should start with a look at the favourite, though. Nicky Henderson has a tendency to produce winners at Cheltenham, and has been doing so for the past 40 years. Following last year’s victory, Henderson described his winner as “a very talented horse,” and he has won every other outing since, including the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day. Barring disaster, it is hard to see any other horse run him close, and on current form, there is every possibility of him going on to match Istabraq’s amazing record of three in three years.

My Tent Or Yours

There is an unwritten rule around Cheltenham, that if you are unsure what horse to back, you should look for one of Nicky Henderson’s and failing that, you should look for another one of Nicky Henderson’s. Last year, he trained not only the winner, but the horse that came in second. My Tent Or Yours was a 16/1 long shot, but managed second place for the third time, having achieved the same feat in 2014 and 2016. Could he do it again? Many bookmakers have shortened the odds to 12/1 this year, but some are still offering 16/1, which has to be worth an each way wager.


Willie Mullins is refusing to be over optimistic, and is calling the Champions Hurdle a “big step up,” but the word from the tipsters is that if there is one horse with a realistic chance of spoiling Buveur D’Air’s party it is Melon. The horse showed impressive speed to win at Down Royal in November, and he showed well at Cheltenham the week before Christmas losing, as fate would have it, to My Tent Or Yours


The tipsters might be all over Melon, but the bookmakers are showing far more interest in another from the Mullins stable. Faugheen romped home to win this very race in 2015, and bookies currently have him as second favourite, offering 4/1. However, a poor run over Christmas cast doubt on his fitness, and everything could depend on the form on show at the Dublin Festival this weekend. Many punters are keeping their powder dry and their stakes in their pockets till the dust has settled on Leopardstown.


If Faugheen’s variable form is a mystery, Yorkhill, yet another Mullins runner, is an enigma. This is another horse that disappointed in the Christmas run out at Leopardstown, but all will be far clearer after the weekend. He is odds on favourite in the Grade 2 Dublin Chase on Sunday. If the race goes to form, expect the 10/1 Champions Hurdle odds to shorten. Anything less, and Mullins will have even more head scratching to do in the run up to Cheltenham.

Protectionist before the 2014 Melbourne Cup” by Chris Phutully – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

EQUESTRIAN AUSTRALIA Rehabilitation Recovery

Horses can be unpredictable and with that comes risk. Riders can be injured, hospitalised or die as a result of horse-related accidents and injuries. Equestrian Australia has established a program to assist riders who sustain injuries as a result of horse related accidents and incidents, such as a horse and/or rider falling or the rider being thrown from a horse.

Click here to donate

Source: Rehabilitation Recovery

CCI 2 Star complete, Emma Mason wins in tight finish

On a perfect day at the Mitsubishi Motors Australian International 3 Day Event the riders in the CCI 2 Star fought it out for top places in their showjumping round. With quite a few rails rolled and time being tight, the eventual winner was announced as Emma Mason on Warrego Marco Polo.

Regards Walter