Top Three Novice Chasers of 2021/22

Of course, a novice chaser is a horse that, prior to the start of the current National Hunt season, has yet to win a race over regulation fences (I could draw parallels to novice online casino players). According to Timeform, the top three highest rated horses in that category in 2021/22 were Galopin Des Champs (175p), Ferny Hollow (166p) and Gentleman De Mee (164p). Interestingly, all three were trained in Ireland, by Willie Mullins in Closutton, County Carlow.

The 6-year-old Galopin Des Champs, who won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, made a seamless transition to the larger obstacles, akin to a online casino gaming player, showing others exactly how it’s done. He won his first two starts of 2021/22, including the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase at Leopardstown in early February, with a minimum of fuss. At the Cheltenham Festival, he was sent off at a shade of odds-on to beat his only serious rival, Bob Olinger, in the Turner Novices’ Chase and, for much of the way, looked like doing so comfortably. However, he fell at the final fence, when 12 lengths ahead, leaving his seemingly well beaten rival to land the spoils. Galopin Des Champs did, however, resume winning ways in the Grade 1 Boylesports Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in April and remains a top-class prospect.

Ferny Hollow, winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, also made a bright start to his chasing career, winning at Punchestown and Leopardstown before injury intervened. Indeed, he was as short as 6/4 favourite for the Arkle Challenge Trophy before being ruled out for the remainder of the season with a suspensory ligament injury.

Gentleman De Mee was beaten 19½ lengths by Ferny Hollow on his chasing debut at Punchestown in early December but, having bypassed the Cheltenham Festival, took his form over fences to a new level in the Grade 1 Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree. On that occasion, he made all the running to beat the Arkle Trophy winner, Edwardstone, by 4 lengths and is another with a bright future.

Emmet Mullins

As William Shakespeare wrote, ‘some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’. Emmet Mullins is, of course, the nephew of perennial Irish Champion National Hunt Trainer Willie Mullins so into which category he falls is a matter for conjecture. Online gambling fans have won many a pretty penny by following his selections.

However, what is certain is that Mullins was well on his way to making a name for himself even before saddling Noble Yeats to win the Grand National, at the first attempt, in April, 2020. He saddled his first winner as a trainer, St. Stephen’s Green, in a ‘bumper’ at Kilbeggan in June, 2015, but quickly garnered as reputation as a shrewd operator. On British soil, his other big race successes include the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso and Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, all with The Shunter in 2020/21, and the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton, with Cape Gentleman, in the same season.

Back on home soil, in 2021/22 Mullins enjoyed his most successful season so far, with 18 winners and over £280,000 in prize money. Of course, that amount was eclipsed by the £500,000 Noble Yeats won in the Grand National so, despite saddling just one winner in Britain in 2021/22, additional place prize money took his seasonal earnings on the mainland to over £531,000. Huge money, that would be up to if not beyond casino en ligne leroijohnny players wildest dreams!

Reflecting on his unlikely Grand National triumph, a disbelieving Mullins said, ‘I don’t know where that came from. I think I’m understandably shell-shocked. He later added, ‘I’ve only twice been short of breath in my life. Saturday was the second time it has happened to me and the only other time was when The Shunter won at Cheltenham last year.’

AP McCoy Sporting Legends by Playtech


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How many winners did Pat Taafe ride at the Cheltenham Festival?

The late Pat Taaffe, who died in 1992, aged 62, following a heart transplant the previous year, will always be remembered for his association with Arkle, arguably the greatest steeplechaser of all time. As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Taaffe rode Arkle to win the Broadway Novices’ Chase, now the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, in 1963 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years running, in 1964, 1965 and 1966. A record that if translated to any other sphere, such as the real money casino world, would see you running away with riches!

Taaffe won the Cheltenham Gold Cup again in 1968 on Fort Leney, trained, like Arkle, by Tom Dreaper. He remains the most successful jockey in the history of the ‘Blue Riband’ event, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which he won five times between 1960 and 1970 and the aforementioned Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, which he also won five times between 1953 and 1970. Indeed, Taaffe won the Queen Champion Chase in 1966 on Flyingbolt, who was rated inferior only to Arkle, according to Timeform.

All told, Pat Taaffe rode 25 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, all bar two of which were over fences; five decades after his retirement from the saddle, he remains fourth in the all-time list, behind only Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Tony McCoy. Of course, Taaffe was also Irish Champion National Hunt jockey nine times and won the Grand National twice, on Quare Times, trained by Vincent O’Brien, in 1955 and Gay Trip, trained by Fred Rimell, in 1970. With a championship standard demonstrated in both Ireland and England he had little else to prove.  This was long before the best usa online casino era, but if it had been you can bet the reels would be bringing in three sevens for Pat! The man had a winning way about him. That can certainly not be denied.