Balthazar still King in life after racing at Kimpton Down Stables
The Opening Show set the scene for the weekend's racing and the return of the Flat from Doncaster on Saturday morning, with Rishi Persad filling in for regular host Oli Bell. Persad was joined in the studio by Hayley Turner and Jason Weaver, and if you were having a lie in or were on the road, here's what you missed.
Flat season starts here
Former champion apprentice riders Hayley Turner and Jason Weaver were both smiling from ear to ear with the prospect of the Flat turf season starting this afternoon with both reflecting on how they used to feel on the eve of a new campaign.
Turner said: “If you’re one of the jockeys riding on the all-weather through the winter it gets quite repetitive, so it’s very exciting when the turf season comes around. There’s so much to look forward to - Churchill is the obvious one. I can’t wait to see him contest the Classics.
Weaver added: “It’s changed somewhat since my riding days, but it really does turn up a notch when the turf season starts again. They go that bit faster and the class horses will be on show throughout the summer.”
Positive update on Baker
George Baker is recovering in the rehabilitation wing of the Wellington Hospital following a fall at St Moritz in February, so it was good to hear a positive update from Turner.
She said: “A few of the jockeys who are good mates with George [Baker] have been to see him recently and he has made so much progress in the month since the fall.
“He’s still got a long way to go, but he’s speaking and walking. He gets tired, but time is a great healer and it’s looking quite positive.”
Balthazar still King in new life
Footage on Saturday morning footage showed Victoria Pendleton visiting Kimpton Down Stables to meet old favourite Balthazar King in his life after racing.
The 13-year-old, who won 16 of his 47 starts and almost £500,000 in prize-money, has been enjoying hacks, cross-country and showjumping since being retired last year.
Izzi Beckett, who looks after Balthazar King, said: “You have to be fairly open minded with them and work out their temperament and natural intelligence.
“We try to keep it fun and vary it with him, he loves his cross-country and has even had a few showjumping lessons. He’s just perfect.”
Best bets for the team
Hayley Turner and Jason Weaver teamed up to select the The Opening Show’s selections for the ITV7 bet. They are as follows…
Doncaster 1.50 4 Birchwood
Kempton 2.05 7 Absolute Blast
Doncaster 2.25 1 Ballet Concerto
Kempton 2.40 9 Hakam
Doncaster 3.00 3 Crazy Horse
Kempton 3.15 2 Wild Hacked
Doncaster 3.35 5 Yuften
Awesome Arrogate still on the mind
The comparisons between Bob Baffert’s superstar Arrogate and Frankel continue to rumble on this week.
Although Turner and Weaver could not be drawn on picking their favourite, both former riders were amazed by the Breeders’ Cup Classic hero’s latest success.
Turner said: “It was such an amazing performance. I think they are going to make some kind of American film out of it!”
Weaver added: “He’s a superstar. It’s tough to compare him and Frankel, but Arrogate is pretty remarkable. He moves like a turf horse on the dirt. His mental state is particularly strong - they’re just two brilliant racehorses.