Who are the Top Three Juvenile Hurdlers of 2021/22?

A juvenile hurdle race is a hurdle race restricted to horses that are three years old at the start of the current National Hunt season or, for races run on, or after, New Year’s Day, to horses that are four years old. The most prestigious juvenile hurdle race of the season is the Triumph Hurdle, run on the New Course at Cheltenham on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Unremarkably, the top three highest rated hurdlers of the 2021/22 National Hunt season, according to Timeform – in fact, the top four, because two of them shared third place – contested the Triumph Hurdle. In finishing order, they were Vauban (149p), Fil Dor (143), Pied Piper (142) and Knight Salute (142). Vauban, trained by Willie Mullins, was always travelling strongly and, having taken the lead on the run to the final flight, drew clear in the closing stages to beat the Gordon Elliott-trained pair Fil Dor and Pied Piper by 2½ lengths and a neck. Knight Salute, trained by Milton Harris, was eased down when it was clear his chance had gone and trailed in ninth of 12, beaten 20 lengths.

However, three weeks later, at Aintree, Knight Salute proved to be a different horse, dead-heating with Pied Piper in the Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle, before being awarded the race in the stewards’ room. Celebrating his first Grade 1 winner, Harris said, ‘Nothing went his way at Cheltenham…when he was beaten.’

Indeed, in late April, Vauban and Fil Dor demonstrated the value of the Triumph Hurdle form when finishing first and second in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown. Once again, Vauban ran out an impressive, 4-length winner, but the pair drew 14 lengths clear of the third horse, HMS Seahorse, who had previously finished a close fourth in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

What are the Richest Horse Races in the World?

Some of the world’s most famous horse races have seen their prize purses slashed over the past couple of years.

The Covid-19 pandemic and an uncertain economic outlook have led to some belt tightening among organisers. However, there are still eye-watering sums up for grabs at the world’s richest races.

Based on the current exchange rates, these are the top 10 richest horse races in the world right now:

10. Japan Cup

The Group 1 Japan Cup boasts prize money of JPY 648 million. A couple of years ago, that was enough to see it comfortably nestled in the top five richest races in the world. However, the Japanese yen has plunged against the U.S. dollar in 2022, as the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy stands in stark contrast to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive moves to stamp out inflation. As such, JPY 648 million is only worth $4.8 million now, compared to $6.4 million in 2022, causing the Japan Cup to drop to 10th.

9. Dubai Turf

Prize money for the Dubai Turf has dropped from $6 million to $5 million, meaning it is now the ninth richest race in the world. It was initially run on dirt when the race was inaugurated in 1996, but it was transferred to turf after a few years. The Dubai Turf achieved Group 1 status in 2002. Recent winners include Benbatl and Almond Eye. Lord North won the race in 2021, with Frankie Dettori in the saddle. The following year witnessed a dead heat between Lord North and Japanese horse Panthalassa.

8. Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The Arc is Europe’s richest horse race, with a prize purse of €5 million ($5.3 million). It is named after the famous monument in Paris, and it has been running since 1920. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe attracts the world’s best horses, who arrive to pit their wits against the leading French runners featured at Race Sharp throughout the season. Dettori is the most successful jockey in the race’s history, having won it six times.

7. Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is known as “the race that stops a nation”. It causes Australia to come to a virtual standstill each November, but it is also very popular around the world. Organisers at Racing Victoria claim it is watched by more than 750 million people across 163 territories globally. It has prize money of A$8 million (US$5.6 million), which leaves it ahead of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This race is a staying test, taking place over 3,200m at Flemington Racecourse, and Irish and British raiders have a strong recent record of upstaging local heroes.

5.= Dubai Sheema Classic

The Sheema Classic takes place on Dubai World Cup night, along with the Dubai Turf. It is the richest single day of racing in the world, with $30.5 million in prize money spread across nine races. The Dubai Sheema Classic and the Dubai Turf previously had identical prize money, but the Dubai Turf has now dropped to $5 million, while the Sheema Classic still offers $6 million. It is a Group 1 race that takes place over a distance of 2410m at Meydan Racecourse.

5. Breeders’ Cup Classic

America’s most prestigious race also carries a prize purse of $6 million. This Grade 1 weight for age race is run over a distance of 114 miles at a different racetrack in late October or early November each year. Some consider it to the be fourth leg of the Grand Slam of thoroughbred racing in the U.S., following the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont, but it has a larger purse than those races. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is open to three-year-olds and older. Famous recent winners include American Pharaoh, Gun Runner and Authentic.

4. Golden Eagle

Prize money for the Golden Eagle has been bumped up to A$10million (US$7 million), which has seen it overtake the Melbourne Cup to become Australia’s second richest horse race. It was inaugurated in 2019, when Kolding saluted. Colette won in 2020, followed by I’m Thunderstruck in 2021. The race is for four-year-olds and run over 1,500m at Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney.

3. The Everest

The Everest made a splash when it launched with prize money of A$10 million in 2017. The prize money has crept up on an annual basis, and it now stands at A$15 million (US$10.4 million), making it the third richest race in the world. There are 12 slots available, and an entry fee of A$600,000 is required to claim a place. It follows a similar format to the Pegasus World Cup in Florida, which once boasted prize money of $12 million, although it has since dropped to just $3 million. The Everest is a spring race, run over 1,200m, and recent winners include Classique Legend and Nature Strip.

2. Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup remains the second richest race in the world, with prize money of $12 million. It is the centrepiece of Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan, which also includes the Dubai Turf and the Dubai Sheema Classic. The race was first held back in 1996, when Cigar won. Famous winners since then have included California Chrome, Arrogate and Tunder Snow. In 2022, Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer won the race. Dettori was the rider, making him the joint most successful jockey in the race’s history, as he and Jerry Bailey now have four wins apiece. Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor is the race’s most successful trainer, with nine wins.

1. Saudi Cup

The Saudi Cup is the world’s richest race, with prize money of $20 million. It launched in 2020, when Maximum Security won the race. However, his purse was withheld over doping allegations. There were no such concerns for John Gosden’s Mishriff, who won the 1,800m race in 1:49.59 in 2021. Emblem Road was the 2022 winner. The Saudis are making controversial inroads into golf and boxing, and they currently occupy a lofty position in the sport of kings.

Top Three Two-Year-Olds of 2022

At the time of writing, Royal Ascot is still a few weeks away, so the first premier juvenile races of 2022, including the Coventry Stakes, Queen Mary Stakes and Norfolk Stakes, are yet to be run. However, the opening two-year-old race of the season, the Brocklesby Stakes, run over 5 furlongs at Doncaster in late March, has already produced the highest rated winner this century, according to Timeform.

That winner was Persian Force (100p), trained by Richard Hannon, who looked a class apart from his rivals, quickening clear in the closing stages to win impressively by 4¾ lengths. The son of Mehmas was well touted before making his debut and, having justified even-money favouritism, winning jockey Rossa Ryan said of him, ‘He didn’t even look at the crowd, he just did his job. I never had a moment’s worry. We were going a good gallop and I was always cantering all over them.’ Persian Force did not to improve to win a small conditions race at Newbury in mid-May, but has already been favourably compared with multiple Group 1 winner Canford Cliffs by his trainer.

Joint second-best at this early stage, according to Timeform, are the Kessaar colt Tajalla (99p) and the Showcasing filly Dramatised (99p). Both are trained in Newmarket, the former by Roger Varian and the latter by Karl Burke. Tajalla made an unusually early racecourse debut for Varian, winning a novice stakes race at the Newmarket Craven Meeting. Varian said afterwards, ‘He’s an exciting juvenile and I hope he’s the type of horse that gets us to Royal Ascot.’ Dramatised was no less impressive when winning a maiden fillies’ stakes race, also over 5 furlongs on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, by 4 lengths two weeks later.

Greyhound racing: The top dogs of 2022

As we pass the half-way stage of 2022, and this year’s renewal of the prestigious English Greyhound Derby appears on the horizon — with the final due to take place at Towcester in Northamptonshire on June 25th — it’s worth taking a look back at some of the standout performers of this exciting season so far, especially as the winner of the Derby will steal the spotlight from all others.

There have only been around 18 Category 1 finals at the time of writing, with roughly 30 still to come before the year is out.

So, there is still a large portion of this season left to be written and more records to be broken, but as we eagerly count down the days to the Derby — which Graham Holland-trained Romeo Magic is the favourite to win amongst the greyhound betting — read on a we take a look at some of those who have already made a name for themselves.

Bellmore Sally: Golden Jacket

One of the standout Category 1 finals of this year thus far, with a £20,000-winning prize purse up for grabs, the Golden Jacket was held at Crayford on February 19th and Bellmore Sally landed the massive sum of money for trainer Jimmy Fenwick.

Capitalising on a missed break from pre-race favourite Warzone Tom, the bitch gained a good lead at the first bend and the 2019 daughter of Droopys Sydney and Bellmore Lucy was never headed as she won by over five lengths clear of Droopys Senorita, who made it a miserable night for Warzone Tom — passing him for second.

Coolavanny Aunty: Essex Vase and Grand Prix

A dual Category 1 winner in 2022, Coolvanny Aunty took her over career tally at the highest level of racing to three with victories in the Essex Vase at Romford in the first big final of the season back in later January before doubling up with a win in the Grand Prix at Sunderland in April.

It was an over 600-mile round trip down to Essex for trainer Angela Harrison, but the two-year-old made it worthwhile — beating her Alnwick kennelmate Coolavanny Bani by over six lengths to land the £10k purse. Aunty got the better of Bani again in the 640m Grand Prix. The latter lead the whole way, but Coolavanny Aunty pipped her at the line.

Rising Coco: Kent St Leger

We all love it when a massive outsider prevails and Rising Coco certainly did just that in the Kent St Leger. Locally trained by Jim Reynolds, the three-year-old was written off in the latter stages of the contest. But she proved the bookies wrong to win her semi-final from 50/1 and did so in some style, never being headed as she crossed the line almost three lengths clear of Bellmore Sally.

The oldest and again least fancied of the finalists at 10/1, Rising Coco performed almost a carbon copy of her semi-final showing — once again leading from trap to post and finishing two and three quarters lengths clear of Bellmore Sally, the exact same distance as their head-to-head in the semis.

1 2 3 102