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Monday 6 November 2023

A look at Opulence Thoroughbreds

You may be wondering what does this Opulence relate to. Well, it is about a new horse racing syndicate called Opulence Thoroughbreds. There are many horse racing syndicates (in fact several hundred) who give horse racing fans an opportunity to have a share in a race horse. Syndicates have grown in popularity in recent years because it is a less expensive (dare I say cheap) way of ‘owning’ a horse.

Opulence Thoroughbreds started in 2020 and have a variety of syndicated horses at differing price points.

With my niche being two-year-old horse racing, I’ve take a particular interest in their juveniles over the last few seasons.

Opulence Thoroughbreds is a more branded outfit with a high level of media coverage advised by Cornelius Lysaght. This British journalist and broadcaster has a wealth of experience and was the BBC’s horse racing correspondent from 2001 – 2020.

Other ambassadors for Opulence include, Luisa Zissman. She is an English retail entrepreneur. Also, the runner-up on the 9th series of The Apprentice. She has a great passion for horse racing.

What do you get from your purchase?

  • Visiting your horse at the stables

  • The thrill of race day experience

  • Share of prize winning and sales proceeds

As you may imagine, Opulent Thoroughbred have a select number of high-profile trainers including: Andrew Balding, William Haggas, Roger Varian, Stuart Williams, Ed Walker, Paul & Oliver Cole, Charlie Fellowes, Michael Bell, George Scott, Jack Channon, Dr Richard Newland, Clive Cox, Harry Fry, Evan Williams & George Boughey.

All syndicates are kept small from 10 -20 people. Also, tailored to your interest and affordability.

Throughout the year there will be opportunities to visit your trainer’s yard and enjoy the spectacle of seeing your horse run on the gallops. It’s brilliant insight to appreciate the preparation before race day.

The thrill of going to the races. Your owner’s badge allows you and your guest full access to the parade ring and winners enclosure. You can also get complimentary food and drinks in the lounge.

Taking a look at the horses in training for the 2023 season:

Being interested in the two-year-old horse racing niche, I see Opulent Thoroughbreds had 20 juveniles in training this season

They had 7 three-year-olds.

They had 6 older horses aged from four to six years old.

Three National Hunt horses (aged five and six)

And two broodmares.

Opulent Thoroughbred are predominantly interested in two-year-old horse racing, which is the most exciting age group and offers the chance of training a high-class talent that races at pattern class.

If you are interested in being part of a forward-thinking horse racing syndicate then you will have to go a long way to better Opulent Thoroughbreds.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Mildmay Novices' Chase

The Mildmay Novices' Chase is a Grade 1 novices' steeplechase run over 3 miles and 210 yards on the Mildmay Course at Aintree in early April. As the title indicates, the race is restricted to horses, aged five years and upwards, who, at the start of the current season, have yet to win a race over regulation fences. Both the race and the course on which it is run are named after Anthony Anthony Bingham Mildmay, second Lord Mildmay of Flete, a popular amateur jockey, who rode in – and came agonisingly close to winning – the Grand National either side of the Second World War.

The Mildmay Novices' Chase was inaugurated in 1981 and boasts an impressive roll of honour, which includes future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Bregawn, Burrough Hill Lad and Native River and future Grand National winners Rhyme 'N' Reason and Royal Athlete. The race was awarded Grade 2 status following the revision of the National Hunt Pattern in 1989 and upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2014.

The Mildmay Novices' Chase often features horses that previously contested the three-mile novice steeplechasing 'championship' at the Cheltenham Festival, the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase. The last horse to complete the double was Might Bite in 2017. Nicky Henderson, trainer of Might Bite, also saddled Sparkling Flame (1991), Irish Hussar (2003), Burton Port (2010), Terrefort (2018) and Chantry House (2021) for a total of six winners and is the most successful handler in the history of the Mildmay Novices' Chase.

The 2023 renewal of the Mildmay Novices' Chase is scheduled for 2.50pm on Friday, April 15 – the second day of the Grand National Festival, a.k.a. Ladies' Day – and, at this still early stage, it is hard to look far beyond the likes of The Nice Guy and Minella Cocooner, who feature prominently in the ante-post betting for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase.

Monday 18 September 2023

Aintree Hurdle


As the name suggests, the Aintree Hurdle is a Grade 1 hurdle race run over 2 miles and 4 furlongs on the Mildmay Course at Aintree in April. Inaugurated, as a Grade 2 contest over 2 miles and 5½ furlongs, in 1976, the race was shortened to its current distance in 1988 and promoted to Grade 1 status three years later. Interestingly, while the Aintree Hurdle is open to horses aged four years and upwards, no four-year-old has ever won.

Morley Street, trained by the late Gerald 'Toby' Balding, won four consecutive renewals of the Aintree Hurdle, in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, and is the most successful horse in the history of the race. Balding, who died in September, 2014, also saddled Beech Road to victory in 1989 and, alongside Nicky Henderson, is jointly the most successful trainer. In 2010, for one year only, the name of Dick Francis – Champion National Hunt Jockey in 1953/54, but probably best known for his calamitous ride on Devon Loch in the Grand National – was added to the race title, following his death in February that year.

The 2023 renewal of the Aintree Hurdle is scheduled for 3.30pm on Thursday, April 7 – the opening day of the three-day Grand National Festival at Aintree – in the same spot it has occupied since 2013. Not altogether surprisingly, the Aintree Hurdle is often contested, and won, by horses that ran in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the previous month. In the last decade, Annie Power (2016) and Buveur D'Air (2017) won both races in the same season, while Zarkandar (2013), The New One (2014), Jezki (2015) and Epatante (2022) ran with credit at Cheltenham before winning at Aintree.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Which jockey has won the Oaks most often?

Run over a mile and a half at Epsom Downs, Surrey in late May or early April, the Oaks is the third English Classic horse race of the season and the second of two – after the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket a month earlier – restricted to three-year-old fillies. Established in 1779, the race was named after the residence of Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, in nearby Carshalton.

The late Lester Piggott, who won an unparalled 30 British Classics between 1954 and 1992, won the Oaks six times, but the record for most wins is still held by Frank Buckle, the outstanding jockey of the Regency Era. Between 1792 and 1827, by which time he was 61 years old, Buckle rode 27 British Classic winners, thereby setting a record that would stand until 1984, when Piggott won the St. Leger, having 'jocked off' American Darrel McHargue on the favourite, Commanche Run. It is also noteworthy that the first of them, 1792 Derby winner John Bull, came 17 years before the inaugural running of the 2,000 Guineas in 1809, while the 1,000 was not established until 1814.

Anyway, between 1797 and 1823, Buckle won the Oaks nine times, on Nike (1797), Bellissima (1798), Belina (1799), Scotia (1802), Theophania (1803), Metora (1805), Neva (1817), Corinne (1818) and Zinc (1823). Nike and Bellina were owned by Richard Grosvenor, 1st Earl Grosvenor, while Metora was owned by his son, Richard Jnr., 2nd Earl Grosvenor, who succeeded his father in 1802. Neva, trained by Richard Dixon-Boyce, th Duke of Rutland, was the first filly to complete the 1,000 Guineas – Oaks double, while Corrine and Zinc, both trained by the so-called 'Emperor of Trainers', Robert Robson, were the second and third fillies to do so.