Race Favourites Ahead of the Cazoo May Hill Stakes We can all look forward to some excellent racing at Doncaster this week. On Thursday September 9, it’s the Cazoo May Hill Stakes with Inspiral the hot favourite to win this Group 2 race. It’s a race for two-year-olds, run over a straight mile and the forecast going is Good to Firm as the UK finally enjoys some good weather.

According to DailyMail, the winner of this race will receive £63,799 in prize money. Last year, the May Hill Stakes was won by Indigo Girl, trained by John Gosden. Who will be the winner in 2021 and will we see a future Classic winner?

It is possible that may well be the case. Inspiral is the current 12/1 favourite to win the 1000 Guineas next year and 16/1 to win the Oaks. A win in this race will see those odds shorten, so it might be worth taking them now.

Inspiral is trained by John and Thany Gosden and has won both of her races this year. June saw a first win for Inspiral in a Class 4 race run on Good to Firm ground. That was followed by a move up to Listed race company at Sandown. Inspiral ran out a three-and-a-half length win over Wild Beauty (second in a Group 3 race since) over seven furlongs.

The filly went clear in the final 110 yards, so getting an extra furlong isn’t looking like it will cause Inspiral any problems at all. You can get odds of 4/6 at present on Inspiral winning this Group 2 contest reports horse.bet.

The main opposition to the favourite is the Joseph Patrick O’Brien trained Albula. It was only last month when this runner made its racecourse debut at Naas That was on good ground and over a mile with no problem getting the distance. Such a good debut wasn’t expected by racing experts as Albula went off at 12/1 that day.

Albula then raced in the Group 3 Manguard Plus Irish EBF Flame Of Tara Stakes at The Curragh on August 21 on good ground. The odds-on favourite was two lengths clear going into the final furlong but couldn’t stay ahead of Magical Lagoon and finished second. At 11/2 for this May Hill Stakes, Albula may well finish second behind Inspiral as long as the ground isn’t too fast for this runner.

Andrew Balding runs the third favourite, Speak. This runner has only had one race to date, and it was a Class 4 event on the all-weather at Kempton last month. Speak finished a length-and-a-half clear of Natasha and proved that staying a mile is not a problem. nagshead.co.uk

This is a big step up in class for Speak. We also have to take into account that debut race was on Standard to Slow ground on the all-weather. How will Speak cope now racing on Good to Firm ground on turf in a Group 2 race? With horse racing betting apps you can get 8/1 on this runner and that can be a good bet both ways.

Others to consider include Wild Beauty at 12/1 but has a lot to find on the favourite having been beaten at Sandown. The extra furlong may bring some further improvement. Another contender is Seisai who was fourth in a recent Group 2 race. That was on soft ground, how will the filly (available at 8/1) fare on Good to Firm?

If there’s one race that gets casual fans and die hards alike tuning in, it just has to be the Grand National. Taking place this year on Saturday April 10th, it will provide welcome relief from the struggles of the past year and although there won’t be crowds cheering on the proceedings, we will all no doubt be willing on our selections from our own livings rooms.

It’s of course not just this past year that has seen changes in racing and indeed society though. Above, Katie Walsh in partnership with Betway, guides us through the journey and hard won advancements that female jockeys have made over recent decades. From the first female jockey in the National, Charlotte Brew, in 1977 to recent years where (in the 2000s) their presence is a much more common sight. We’ve come a long way since the days of Ginger McCain saying that the event was ‘no place for a woman’. 2021 will see three female jockeys riding in the Aintree Grand National (Rachael Blackmore, Bryony Frost and Tabitha Worsley). Progress.

Jonjo O'Neill As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Jonjo O’Neill will be best remembered for riding the legendary racemare Dawn Run who, in 1986, became the first, and so far only, horse to complete the Champion Hurdle – Cheltenham Gold Cup double. However, since turning his hand to training, and recovering from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, in the late Eighties, O’Neill has enjoyed several notable victories at the March showpiece.

For the first 15 years of his training career, O’Neill was based at Penrith, Cumbria. He sent out his first Cheltenham Festival winner, Danny Connors, in the Coral Golden Hurdle Final – now the Pertemps Network Final – in 1991 and was subsequently successful with Front Line in the National Hunt Chase in 1995 and Master Tern in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle in 2000. All three winners carried the famous green and gold hooped colours of his principal benefactor, John ‘J.P.’ McManus.

Indeed, in 2001, McManus purchased Jackdaws Castle, a training centre originally built by David Nicholson in Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire, just 30 minutes’ drive from Prestbury Park, and installed O’Neill as trainer. The following year, O’Neill won the National Hunt Chase again with Rith Dubh, owned by McManus, and has since won the historic steeplechase a further four times, courtesy of Sudden Shock in 2003, Native Emperor in 2004, Butler’s Cabin in 2007 and Minella Rocco in 2016.

O’Neill enjoyed his highest-profile Festival victory with Synchronised, owned by McManus and ridden by Sir Anthony McCoy, in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2012, but it is worth noting that he has also won the Stayers’ Hurdle twice, with Iris’s Gift in 2004 and More Of That in 2014, and the Pertemps Network three times, with Inching Closer in 2003, Creon in 2004 and Holywell in 2013. All told, he has saddled 26 Cheltenham Festival winners; his most successful horse, so far, at the Festival was Albertas Run, who won the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase in 2008, before recording back-to-back victories in the Ryanair Chase in 2010 and 2011.