Racing news from The Colonel

Racing journalist Kevan Minter from Stamford, who was at Newbury paddocks when two race horses died on Saturday'Photo: SM150211-009js
Racing journalist Kevan Minter from Stamford, who was at Newbury paddocks when two race horses died on Saturday'Photo: SM150211-009js
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Top racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives Mercury readers his top tips for the week ahead. Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days and is regularly on television.

Harry Fry’s Defending champion Rock On Ruby is one of four previous winners among 34 entries for this year’s Grade One Stan James Champion Hurdle, the feature race on day one of The Festival, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 12. The race is worth a record £400,000.

Fry’s stable star scored by three and three quarter lengths in last season’s Stan James Champion Hurdle, when trained by Paul Nicholls, and made an encouraging return for his new handler when chasing home Zarkandar (7/1) and Grandouet (7/1) in the Grade Two International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December.

Fry said last Wednesday: “Rock On Ruby is still very much on course for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

“He is all set for a prep run at either Sandown on February 2 (Contenders Hurdle) or at Wincanton on February 16 (Kingwell Hurdle), weather permitting, as I’m not sure what the winter is going to bring next.

“He is not going to run on heavy ground between now and Cheltenham. If the ground is decent, he will have a prep run but if not, he will have a racecourse gallop instead.”

Frankel has officialy been rated the greatest racehorse of all time by the World Thoroughbred Rankings and is the new benchmark for equine excellence with a figure of 140 for his devastating win in the Queen Anne Stakes and the Juddmonte International last year.

Let’s not forget Dancing Brave or Shergar - top-class horses of their day and Sea The Stars wasn’t bad but I must say Frankel is a true great and flies the flag for Newmarket.

Black Caviar the female equivalent of Frankel has been hailed one of the top sprinter’s of all time with a rating of 132, joint highest since 1977, in the new re-calibrated scheme.

Dan Skelton will end his time as long-serving assistant to Paul Nicholls in May and go on his own as a trainer.

Having been with the champion trainer since 2004, the winning point-to-point rider felt it was time follow former assistant Harry Fry into the world of horse training.

At Doncaster on Saturday, in the Sky Bet Chase, recent Sandown winner Katenko has been the subject of good support in the ante-post betting this week with all the bookmakers 6/1 from 8/1.

I can’t get away from Hurricane Fly in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday. The ex-Champion Hurdle winner should be much too good for his rivals.

Noel Quinian’s 5yo, Khawatim, looks something of a standout bet in the 3.05 at Lingfield on Friday. Stevie Donohoe takes the ride.