The main part of the new jump racing season is now just around the corner and with that comes a growing sense of anticipation among fans and punters of the sport. More and more news stories are starting to emerge about the horses and people that light up the game and we have picked out all of the best ones right here. Each Monday for the next few weeks we will be reviewing the last seven days of Jump racing news to bring to you five of the most important and interesting pieces of the week as we build up to the new campaign.
We may only be in the first week of September but there has been no shortage of news over the past seven days with Festival winning horses and jockeys retiring, while another Festival winner has started his campaign off with a bang across the channel in France
Festival Winner Peddlers Cross Retired
Donald McCain Jnr broke the news via twitter on September the 1st that one of his stable stars, Peddlers Cross, had been retired. The Grand National winning handler described the 2010 Neptune Novices Hurdle winner as 'the best horse i may ever train' and he was certainly a popular horse with fans. As well as that success in the Neptune, Peddlers Cross won a Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree while he also chased home Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion Hurdle. That famous run in the Champion Hurdle was a career best and although he was never able to reach those heights again, there is no doubt that Peddlers Cross was a top class race horse on his day.
Harry Derham in Shock Retirement
Perhaps the most surprising news story of the last week broke on Tuesday when 19-year-old Conditional Jockey Harry Derham announced his retirement from the saddle. Derham, who had been working for his uncle Paul Nicholls, cited a lack of confidence after a fall last October as the main reason for the surprise announcement and he is now assessing his career options. Derham was perhaps best known for his association with the talented Brampour, while he also tasted Cheltenham Festival success in 2013 when he rode Salubrious to victory in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle.
King Balthazar Reigns In France
The new season maybe still a few weeks away in the UK but there was some big race National Hunt action in France on Sunday and there was a familiar winner for Philip Hobbs. Dual Cheltenham Festival Cross Country hero, Balthazar King, produced another one of his famously brave runs to win the Grand Cross-Country de Craon for the second year-in-a-row. The Philip Hobbs horse has become one of the most popular in training over the past few years and he enhanced his reputation even further in the north-west of France at the weekend. The Grand National appears the long term aim for Balthazar King this season after his second place last year and he is sure to be popular in the ante-post market after this latest triumph.
Silviniaco Conti Set for Charlie Hall Bow
Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls held his annual owners day at Ditcheat on Sunday afternoon and much of the headlines were made by Silviniaco Conti. Officially rated as the best chaser in training last season, Silviniaco Conti is set to start his season at Wetherby on the 1st of November in the Charlie Hall Chase. The eight-year-old won the King George VI Chase last Boxing Day in great style before finishing a slightly disappointing 4th in the Gold Cup when looking like the winner coming to the last. Nicholls is hoping the can have Silviniaco in better shape come the spring time with the Gold Cup the clear aim for the horse, for which he can currently be backed at 12 with Paddy Power.
Jamie Moore Announced As London Racecourse Ambassador
Jockey Jamie Moore was announced as the new ambassador for the London Racecourses for the 2014/15 season on the 5th September. Moore enjoyed the best campaign of his life last term as he partnered Sire De Grugy to to five graded race victories last season including at Cheltenham in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Moore will work with Sandown and Kempton Park this season in a promotional role having also tasted success at both tracks last season and his partnership is sure to be a popular one. Sire De Grugy is expected to turn up at Sandown before Christmas for the defence of his Tingle Creek crown and with Sprinter Sacre fit again, the pair of them are set for a famous battle.