Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Summary report 2010/11 season

Having just returned from a short Easter break, here's a rather short summary of the 2010/11 National Hunt season...

Champion jockey: Tony McCoy - 218 winners
Winning trainer: Paul Nicholls - £2,424,059
Winning owner: Trevor Hemmings
Champion conditional jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies - 59 winners
Horse of the Year: Big Buck's

Early in November Ruby Walsh suffered a broken leg in a fall from Corrick Bridge that meant the Irishman missed most of the 'core' season; he returned just in time to take the Thomas Pink Leading Rider Award for Cheltenham, riding five Festival winners.  The inclement weather of the depths of winter resulted in many trainers chosing to send their charges to Cheltenham without a preparatory run. That policy didn't appear particularly successful - Cue Card and Time For Rupert were two high profile disappointments. Nicky Henderson suffered the embarrassment of having to withdraw Binocular from this year's Champion Hurdle as the horse continued to test positive for a banned substance that had been previously administered for an allergy; privately the British Horseracing Authority admitted to having concerns about the standard of record-keeping at Henderson's Seven Barrows establishment. The trainer then appeared to be enduring something of a nightmare Festival, drawing a blank on the first three days, but on Friday he sent out Bobs Worth to win the Albert Bartlett and 40 minutes later Long Run to win the Gold Cup. Long Run's victory, with amateur Sam Waley-Cohen up, marked a changing of the guard but events in this year's National - two fatalities and winning rider Jason Maguire banned for misuse of the whip - have overshadowed the sport in recent weeks. The whip debate continues unabated  - Cornelius Lysaght writing in yesterday's Guardian states that doing nothing is now the only option that can be sensibly dismissed.    

Finally, after some deliberate deliberation, I awarded Blog Horse of the Year to Nacarat who was tipped twice and won on both occasions - Wetherby's Charlie Hall Chase (6/1) in November and Aintree's Betfair Bowl (7/2).

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