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Thursday, June 29, 2017
Home > Chris Pitt

Chris Pitt

Chris Pitt is a racing historian and freelance journalist. He has written three books including 'A Long Time Gone', chronicling Britain's lost racecourses, and 'Go Down to the Beaten', stories of jockeys who didn't win the Grand National. He founded the Midlands Racing Club and was formerly racing correspondent for BBC Radio WM.

Carlisle Bell and Cumberland Plate day

York racing

The Carlisle Bell and the Cumberland Plate take place on Wednesday. Both races boast long histories. The city records mention two Carlisle Bells in 1619 when a race meeting took place on a course at Kingsmoor. Carlisle’s clerk of the course Sir Loftus Bates visited the local Tullie House Museum in 1922 to inspect the original Carlisle Bells, which had ...

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Royal Ascot coverage worked well

Commonwealth Cup

ITV’s Royal Ascot coverage struck the right note in appealing to both the racing fan and the casual observer. Ed Chamberlin looked good and knew his stuff. Jason Weaver was reliable; Francesca Cumani excelled when commenting on how horses looked; Matt Chapman was …. well, Matt Chapman. Oli Bell was a good interviewer. Speaking to a jockey straight after a ...

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Royal Ascot good things: just two left

Commonwealth Cup

Five Royal Ascot good things had bookies running for cover in the days leading up to this year’s royal meeting. Punters placed accumulators on five odds-on favourites. Ribchester got them off to a good start but the acca bets bit the dust when Churchill finished fourth the St James’s Palace Stakes. Order Of St George started a warm order for ...

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Long-distance races are jumps trainers’ benefits

Jumps trainers supplied 50 per cent of the runners for the Ascot Stakes on Royal Ascot’s first day. The winner, Willie Mullins’ Thomas Hobson, had not run on the Flat since 2013. Nor had Nicky Henderson’s Beyond Conceit. Alan King saddled three and finished third and fourth. David Pipe, Paul Nicholls and Tim Vaughan all had runners. Furthermore, Saturday’s Queen ...

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Royal Ascot race names explained

Horseracing tip of the day

Some Royal Ascot race names have interesting histories. The Queen Anne, Queen Mary, King George V, King Edward VII and Duke of Edinburgh are all self-explanatory. But what about the Coventry, Jersey, Ribblesdale, Chesham and Hardwicke Stakes? They celebrate masters of the Buckhounds. Queen Anne built the racecourse in 1711. However, Ascot was controlled by the Master of the Buckhounds, ...

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Outriders required for British racing

I recently queried why so many horses were withdrawn for refusing to enter the starting stalls. It rarely happens in America because their stalls are wider and more inviting. Now here’s another aspect in which America leads the way: outriders. American tracks have two outriders on hand to deal with horses getting loose at the start. If a horse breaks ...

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Starting stalls: what’s wrong with ours?

Sandown Saturday Gold Cup

There are few more frustrating things in British racing than a horse refusing to enter the starting stalls. Almost every day a favourite, a fancied horse or an outsider is withdrawn for that reason, despite the best efforts of the stalls handlers. A withdrawn favourite can result in a hefty deduction from winning bets, which is doubly frustrating when you’ve ...

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Belmont Stakes last leg of Triple Crown

The Triple Crown races in America this year have proven attritional. Neither the Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming, nor the Preakness winner, Cloud Computing, will run in the last leg, the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park in New York. Belmont Park is the longest track in America, at a full 1 1/2 miles around, a ...

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Chapman Derby axing was wrong

Investec Epsom Derby 2017 4.30pm ITV

The most bizarre decision on Derby Day was Epsom’s refusal to have Matt Chapman as MC for the Derby trophy presentations. It wasn’t just bizarre, it was plain wrong. Today’s Racing Post reported that Chapman displeased senior figures at Epsom when carrying out the role after the Oaks. He welcomed Enable’s trainer John Gosden with the words: “Here’s Johnny G!” ...

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Stratford enlivens somewhat dull fortnight

scottish grand national

The period between the Derby and the first day of Royal Ascot is the dullest of the Flat season. Most years have 10 days between the two but this year has 17, due to how the calendar falls. It’s two weeks of not very much. However, there’s a saving grace for jumps fans: the Stratford hunter chase meeting on 9th ...

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