State Man

Cheltenham Was Always About the Horses and Britain Has Lost Ground 

When I started covering the Cheltenham Festival in the late 1980s it was still a place of myth and legend: whiskey priests, all-night card schools, hopeful (but not expectant) Irish pilgrimages, farmers with chances of winning a race and wince-inducing whip-use up the hill. It was a place chiefly for aficionados - the county set and jump racing hardcore, leavened with once-a-year urban tweedies who loved the racing and knew what it meant to watch Dawn Run win both a Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. A place, in other words, for...

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A Mullins Treble Puts Cheltenham Century in Reach

CHELTENHAM, UK -- The biggest cheer all day at Cheltenham came from the Ascot crowd. Sir Francis Brooke, first Her Majesty's and now His Majesty's Representative at Ascot was engulfed by back-slappers and well-wishers as the horse he owns with Richard Pilkington, Chianti Classico (Ire) (Shantou {Ire}), ground his way through the extended three miles of the Ultima Handicap Chase to provide the sole strike for Britain on a day dominated - predictably - by Willie Mullins.  Chianti Classico's trainer Kim Bailey has had his share of Cheltenham glory but...

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'State Man Must Win' – Q&A With Haras de Saint-Voir Boss Nicolas de Lageneste

There are few more respected figures in French National Hunt racing than Nicolas de Lageneste.  It seems as though everything de Lageneste turns his hand to, be that breeding, training or simply owning racehorses, it is a success. Last year he completed the rare achievement of being crowned champion National Hunt owner and breeder in the same season. Nobody has ever done that before.  Fewer still would be capable of nurturing a horse like Il Est Francais (Fr) (Karaktar {Ire}). Not only did de Lageneste breed the superstar chaser, who...

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Champion Hurdle Favourite Constitution Hill to Miss Cheltenham

Constitution Hill (GB) (Blue Bresil {Fr}) will not run at the Cheltenham Festival, trainer Nicky Henderson has announced. The unbeaten and defending Champion Hurdle hero worked poorly at Kempton Park last Tuesday, putting his participation at the showpiece meeting in major doubt. A scope showed mucus in his lungs and despite slightly more positive news in the following days, results of a blood test on Thursday proved to be another blow. However, Henderson stressed that another blood test on Monday would probably prove to be the "acid test", and on...

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Rock Star Rachael Is Pure Gold On A Plus Tard

CHELTENHAM, UK--Emotions ran high at Cheltenham on Friday as Rachael Blackmore, the most successful female National Hunt jockey of all time, continued to rewrite the history books, this time by becoming the first woman to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Her willing and sublimely talented partner was A Plus Tard (Fr) (Kapgarde {Fr}), who was runner-up to his stable-mate Minella Indo (Ire) (Beat Hollow {GB}) last year but turned the tables in emphatic fashion this time around. Tackling the defending champion for the lead over the final fence, the 8-year-old...

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