Who was Fred Archer?

Who was Fred Archer? Frederick James ‘Fred’ Archer was a legendary Victorian jockey whose life came to a tragic end, at his own hand, on November 8, 1886, at the age of 29. On the day after the second anniversary of the death of his wife, Nellie Rose, during childbirth, deliriously ill with typhoid fever and ‘in a state of unsound mind’, Archer shot himself with a revolver in his bedroom at Falmouth House, Newmarket.

Neverthless, ‘The Tin Man’, as Archer was known, won the jockeys’ title 13 years running between 1874 and 1886 and still jointly holds the record, alongside Elnathan ‘Nat’ Flatman, for the most consecutive titles. All told, he rode 2,748 winners, including 246 winners in a single season in 1885, thereby setting records that would stand until the inimitable Sir Gordon Richards rose to prominence decades later.

Unusually tall for a jockey at 5’10” – interestingly, the same height as Sir Anthony McCoy – Archer faced a constant battle with his weight in his later years and was forced into a Draconian regime of starvation diet, Turkish baths and purgatives, which ultimately contributed to his demise. Nevertheless, having eventually succeeded the equally ill-fated Tom French as stable jockey to Matthew Dawson in 1875, he went on to win the St. Leger six times, the Derby five times, the 2,000 Guineas and the Oaks four times apiece and the 1,000 Guineas twice, for a total of 21 British Classic winners.

Which was the last British racecourse to close permanently?

Which was the last British racecourse to close permanently? The last British racecourse to close permanently was Towcester Racecourse, a National Hunt-only venue near the market town of Towcester in Northamptonshire in the East Midlands, which closed in October, 2019. In fact, it was first British racecourse to close since December, 2012, when Folkestone Racecourse ‘temporarily’ shut its gates, but has been left in a derelict state of neglect ever since.

Towcester Racecourse entered administration, with debts in excess of £1.3 million, in August, 2018 and was sold to Fermor Land LLP, a local company linked to Lord Hesketh, chairman of Towcester Racecourse Company, the following November. However, racing never resumed and, in October, 2019, the new owners announced that, after considering options for the future of Towcester Racecourse, the 93-year-old track was to close permanently.

With the assistance of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Fermor Land LLP sold the remaining ten National Hunt fixtures in its ownership, scheduled for 2020, to Arena Racing Company (ARC), with host venues to be confirmed at a later date. Richard Wayman, chief operating officer of the BHA, said at the time, ‘We had hoped, following the course going into administration, that the new owners might find a solution which allowed racing to resume, and it is disappointing that has not proved possible.’

Which was the first horse to run in the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies?

Which was the first horse to run in the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies? The first horse to run in the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies and, indeed, the first British-trained horse to run in ‘The Race for the Roses’, was Bold Arrangement, owned by Anthony and Raymond Richards and trained, in Newmarket, by Clive Brittain. Brittain was renowned for his adventurous, pioneering spirit and, although often accused of ’tilting at windmills’, became synonymous with high-profile success at home and abroad.

Bold Arrangement was sired by Persian Bold, a smart performer between a mile and a mile-and-a-quarter, including on turf. He won four of his nine starts as a juvenile, including the Group Three Solario Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Sandown Park, under Pat Eddery. After a modest three-year-old debut at Doncaster in March, 1986, Bold Arrangement headed to Lexington, Kentucky for his first start on dirt, the Blue Grass Stakes, over nine furlongs, at Keeneland. Once again ridden by Pat Eddery, the colt came from way off the pace to finish third, beaten three-quarters of a length.

At Churchill Downs, Bold Arrangement was ridden by Kentucky Derby veteran Chris McCarron, deputising for the suspended Eddery, and sent off at 8/1. After four furlongs, Bold Arrangement was only eleventh of the sixteen runners, but loomed large leaving the far turn and kept on stoutly to finish second, beaten 2¼ lengths, behind Ferdinand. McCarron kept the ride at Epsom a month later but, sent off at 12/1, Bold Arrangement could only manage fourteenth of the sixteen finishers behind controversial winner Shahrastani.

What is a Monty Roberts blanket?

What is a Monty Roberts blanket? The Monty Roberts blanket takes its name from its inventor, American horse trainer, or ‘horse whisperer’, Marvin Earl ‘Monty’ Roberts. Originally designed in the early Nineties, the lightly-padded blanket is fitted, temporarily, behind the saddle and covers the hindquarters of a horse down as far as the hocks, or the equivalent of the human ankle. Other styles of stalls blanket exist but, in Britain, Monty Roberts has become synonymous with this type of equipment.

All starting stalls include rails, on either side, on the inside walls, on which jockeys can put their feet down. In the absence of a Monty Roberts blanket, contact with these rails can cause some horses to become claustrophobic and unruly. The purpose of the blanket, therefore, is to protect the ‘vulnerable’ areas of the horse, such as the ribs or stifle joints – the equivalent of the human knee – from unwanted brushing, or bumping, against the starting stalls. A rope is attached to a ring at the rear of the blanket, so that it can be pulled off by a stalls handler when the stalls open.

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