Sunday, April 26, 2009

End of term report 2008/9

For me personally this was a better season than last - opposing Katchit in his early races paid dividends, as did backing Kauto Star for the Gold Cup prior to Denman's reappearance. That Gold Cup victory was a highlight, as was Punjabi hanging on to take the Champion Hurdle. My mother-in-law backed 100/1 shot Mon Mome to win the National - the horse duly obliged and looked as though he had enough left in the tank to complete another circuit. I managed to regain some small semblance of credibility by putting up Hello Bud for the Scottish National two weeks later.

Paul Nicholls won champion trainer for the fourth consecutive time but he has some way to go to catch the phenomenal Tony McCoy who won his fourteenth consecutive champion jockey award. McCoy performed another of his routine miracles on the final Saturday by getting Hennessy to the front right on the line, clinching Sandown's Bet365 Gold Cup in the process. Earlier, on a wet February Monday afternoon at Plumpton, the champ became the first jump jockey to ride 3,000 winners. J P McManus was champion owner while Aidan Coleman was champion conditional jockey.

Two riders who will have different views on this season are Sam Thomas and Liam Treadwell. On consecutive Saturdays in November Sam Thomas fell at the last in the day's feature race - from Kauto Star in Haydock's Betfair Chase and then from Big Buck's in the Hennessy. The pressure mounted after his exit from the latter and he lost the ride on Master Minded to one A P McCoy. It's an ill wind though - thereafter Big Buck's reverted to the smaller obstacles and went on to collect the World Hurdle and the John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle. Liam Treadwell was relatively unknown until he partnered Mon Mome to victory in the Grand National. Immediately after the race Clare Balding unwittingly added to his instant celebrity by making him show his less-than-perfect gnashers to a watching nation; the BBC received 1477 complaints from viewers. It's an ill wind though - since that interview Liam has been approached by at least two dental practioners offering their services completely free of charge.

There are three contenders in the frame for the title of 'Blog Horse of the Year' - Kauto Star, Punjabi and Hello Bud - I have to give it to Punjabi who was tipped just the once and obliged at 22/1.

In case you blinked, the new season is already under way - Richard Johnson got off to a flyer by riding Treaty Flyer to victory in the Ludlow Golf Club Claiming Hurdle.

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