Interview with Architect TipsLearn a little more about our longest serving Tipster
At Tipsters Empire, we are keen for you to find out more about our Tipsters – they are human beings after all. We felt that a good way to do this was to ask them a few Horse Racing related questions…
What first got you interested in horse racing?
My interest in Horse Racing begun at a very young age, back to when I was in School. One weekend, I visited my Dad’s and he was watching Attheraces on television. From then on I would watch it every weekend and one time he asked me to pick two horses and he would put me a £1.50 double on. At the time my dad handed me the Express and Star and I chose two horses called “Bob’s the business” and “La Marett” both were 10/1, surprisingly they both won and I couldn’t believe he gave me the winnings not long after he collected. Since that day, my love for racing grew everyday until I was that obsessed, I ended up having my own folder, which I took into school drawing all different racehorses from the cut out photos in the Sun newspaper. Horses such as Rooster Booster and all other great racehorses. I remember back in 2004, I was so excited to see the Cheltenham Festival but I was stuck in school. In my head I just thought I need to make up some sort of excuse so I can get home to watch the Champion Hurdle. My excuse was “I feel really sick”, the school let me out 20 mins early as I didn’t have walk far home, but I sprinted as fast as I could to get back and see like of Rooster Booster in action. When I got home, I watched him get beaten by Hardy Eustace at 33/1, I was mortified. However, my love for Horse Racing continued and all that is mentioned above, is how I got interested in the game to begin with.
What’s your favourite racecourse to visit and why?
Well I have been to a variety of racecourses over the years and I still have plenty more to visit in time. I really like Haydock Park, because the long home straight to the winning post is a spectacular sight to watch, especially with the fact some of the greats have been there such as Kauto Star, Beef or Salmon etc. However, I am keeping it simple and my favourite racecourse I have visited is none other than Prestbury Park, Cheltenham Racecourse. A wonderful, unique course that is different to any other track in the country. It just gives you that feeling like nowhere else when you walk into the place, especially when it holds the best four days of the jumps calendar, the Cheltenham Festival. Add in the roar of the crowd, which gives you goosebumps. The view of the country hills and the racecourse from the stands is second to none and this is why it is classed as the home of national hunt racing.
What’s your favourite horse and which race is most memorable for you?
A very tricky question with so many I could possibly have as my favourite racehorse. But, one horse is at the top of my list and that is “The Tank” Denman. Now at the age of 18, he still looks phenomenal. But, going back to his years on a racecourse, I just loved how this giant of a horse would gallop opposition into the ground. His relentless power, stamina and courage wins it for me. He was pretty much unbeatable over fences at one stage, becoming a dual winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy (formerly known as the Hennessy) under top-weight 11st-12 and then ripping the heart out of Kauto star in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, with a breathtaking round of jumping and galloping under Sam Thomas. Every time this horse was having his next run I would get excited like never before and it was a real shame a bad heart problem stopped him becoming possibly the greatest horse of all time. However, to come back from that problem and finish second in the three more Cheltenham Gold Cup’s stands above anything else to be honest. I doubt any other horse could ever do that and his record around Cheltenham was just exceptional – 12111222. I am honoured to have witnessed the whole career of Denman from his debut at Wincanton in 2005, all the way to Aintree in 2011 where his fabulous career ended and he will always be my favourite racehorse.
My most memorable race has to be the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, for years and years we had hoped the Kauto star vs Denman battle would finally happen and this is the race we finally witnessed two of the greatest national hunt racehorses of all time go toe to toe one final time and the race did not disappoint. Coming down the hill with three to jump, Denman and Kauto star jumped the third last together and on the home bend both of them were in full battle neck to neck, with Richard Hoiles commentating “Kauto star and Denman rolling back the years”. I can tell you right now I have never had shivers down my spine like it in a race at the Cheltenham Festival and although both of them were passed by the young and rising force Long Run late on, both of the Paul Nicholls trained horses both put on a hell of a show for us and that performance alone cemented their legacy for me as the most memorable race I have ever witnessed.
Which Festival is your favourite and why?
With the Cheltenham Festival my second favourite Festival of the year, my favourite is the Aintree Festival. Don’t get me wrong I love both but Aintree just wins this for me because the Grand National is the most exciting race of the whole year in my opinion. There is no better sight than seeing the horses compete in the hardest jump race around, especially when they jump the last fence and then have to keep on galloping all the way past the elbow to the winning post. It is a race that stands above anything else and that reason alone is why I have chosen the Aintree Grand National Festival.
Who’s your favourite jockey and why?
A clear difference between best and favourite. Ruby Walsh is the best around without doubt and he proved that aboard Footpad at Cheltenham this year. Just like Ryan Moore, who is the best around on the flat and both are very special talents.
However, I have two favourite jump jockeys. The first being Derek Fox, who is the most underrated jockey out there. His brilliance at judging the pace and getting the best out of horses is exceptional. For an example, just watch back his two rides aboard One for Arthur at Warwick and then in the Grand National. This lad rides with full of confidence. He never panics and he just let’s his horse get into contention, jumping fence to fence before pressing the button at the right moment. He proved that when winning last year’s Grand National aboard One for Arthur, who sadly has to miss this year’s renewal.
My other choice is David Bass, who has a unique style of riding. He is a perfect judge of pace on Front-runners and you only have to go back to Willoughby Court in last year’s Neptune. He has that aggressive style of riding, very similar to Tony McCoy when he was in the saddle. He is another who is underestimated and if I was a trainer and had two employ two jockeys, it would be these two I have mentioned.
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