Friday, July 28, 2006

Fallon's High Court appeal fails

Fallon's appeal to the High Court to lift his current UK riding ban has failed.

According to representations made to the Court yesterday, this decision will have 'disastrous' financial consequences for 41 year old Fallon. Many will see it as signalling the end of his race riding career.

The trial is set take place sometime in 2007. Fallon's retainer with Coolmore expires in November and is unlikely to be renewed.

It certainly is a sorry state of affairs for a jockey Aidan O'Brien has recently described as 'the best in the world'.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

King George at Ascot

Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot has eight entries at the five day stage - a small but select field.

Three horses have form at the highest level - Hurricane Run, Electrocutionist and Heart's Cry; unsurprisingly they occupy the top three positions in the betting.

Today the Racing Post report William Hill had 'laid one five-figure wager and a number of "significant four-figure bets"' for Hurricane Run, forcing the price to odds on. Andre Fabre has booked Soumillon to take the ride in Fallon's absence. The general opinion seems to be that the Hurricane will blow away the opposition provided he's on top form. Of course, we don't know if he is.

Frankie Dettori riding Electrocutionist will be hoping to rescue Godolphin's season with victory at his favourite course while Japanese entry Heart's Cry is tough and cannot be discounted.

At the moment 100/30 Heart's Cry looks the value; a classic race is on the cards.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ladies' Day at Stratford

Sunday was billed as Ladies' Day at Stratford but it's likely the ladies will have been singularly unimpressed with Paul O'Neill's antics.

Naughty boy O'Neill was caught on camera head butting City Affair after the rather excitable gelding had deposited him on the ground.

To be fair, O'Neill has apologised to all concerned. A good ticking off at Portman Sqaure together with an enforced holiday now look on the cards.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shetland Pony Derby

Following on from the Jump Jockeys Derby recently run at Epsom which was won by Tom Scudamore, a Shetland Pony Derby was run yesterday as part of the Epsom Trainers' Open Day.

The appropriately named ten year old, Daniel Little, rode Tangies Sovereign to victory.

A name to look out for in the future perhaps.

Friday, July 21, 2006

BBC commitment to horse racing

If you feel dismayed at the BBC's lack of commitment to horse racing, you'll be glad to know you're not alone.

Barbara Slater, Head of General Sports at the BBC, has written an article on the BBC Sport Editors' Blog in which she affirms that 'we remain committed to racing...'

Check out the replies on the link below and you'll see a lot of people remain unconvinced.

The Sportsman enters administration

Barely four months after its launch, BBC Ceefax reported last night that The Sportsman newspaper had entered administration with immediate effect.

Publication is set to continue while chiefs attempt to secure additional funding.

The Times' City Diary reported a week or so ago that Kelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, had looked over the books and decided to walk away.

With that sort of recommendation, the odds look stacked against this betting newspaper surviving much longer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Market Rasen on Saturday

The biggest jump meeting of the summer racing season takes place at Market Rasen on Saturday, with the highlight being the Summer Plate worth £65,000.

At the moment Peter Bowen, based in west Wales, heads the jump trainers' title race. I haven't sat down and done the homework but it has always struck me that there must be money to be made by identifying National Hunt trainers who seriously target races run during the summer period; many races look decidedly uncompetitive.

For the last three or four summers now, Bowen has certainly had his string fighting fit. He has three declared for the Plate on Saturday, his best chance being Yes Sir. A high class hurdler, Yes Sir has taken his time to get to grips with the larger obstacles; recently he has done well in novice company but this is a step up in class.

Our old friend Full House is likely to run

Going well when falling in this race last year, I'd expect a bold show from Paul Webber's horse.

With the hot weather likely to continue, we can expect a bumper crowd on Saturday.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Food for thought

Racegoers at York today are likely to be hungry for more than just success.

Races on the card include the Hovis Maiden Stakes, the Cuisine De France Summer Stakes, the John West Tuna Stakes, the Mr Kipling Exceedingly Good Stakes and the Fit As A Butcher's Dog Stakes.

After racing, anybody fancy a steak?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fallon appeal fails

Kieren Fallon's appeal against his UK riding ban has been dimissed

Hmmm, nothing unexpected there then.

Jump Jockeys Derby

Several top drawer jump jockeys including Richard Johnson, Timmy Murphy and Paddy Brennan have the chance to ride the Derby course at Epsom this evening in the Sodexho Prestige Jump Jockeys Derby Handicap.

A competitive race it looks as well.

Philip Hobbs' Fair Along is likely to start favourite, the horse having finished second in the Triumph hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Whatever happens, quizmasters up and down the country will be able to ask 'Who was the last jump jockey to ride a Derby winner?'

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Sportsman on the ropes

This piece from today's Times highlights the increasing commercial pressures facing The Sportsman following its lacklustre performance during the World Cup,,9071-2264239,00.html

Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane's quick return to action

After being sent off in the World Cup Final on Sunday, Zidane is due to return to action in the Ladbrokes Bunbury Cup at Newmarket on Friday, but only provided the ground is good.

A whiff of corruption in the air?

The Horseracing Regulatory Authority's decision to suspend Kieren Fallon from riding in the United Kingdom pending the outcome of the forthcoming trial has generated differing opinions.

Fallon has stated publicly that if the decision is not overturned his career will be in ruins.

In other professional walks of life the accused are usuallly sent home on gardeneing leave - that is to say on full pay pending the outcome.

Fallon has the luxury of a lucrative retainer with the Aidan O'Brien stable based in Ireland. Financially the other two jockeys suspended, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams, will be worse affected as they ride freelance; in effect their ability to earn a living has been taken away from them.

On Sunday John Francome set the cat amongst the pigeons by estimating that up to six races a year may be fixed

One thing we can expect over the next few months is a period of moralising and soul searching, and it looks like it's already started...,,1816209,00.html,,1817483,00.html

The wretched irony is we go racing to try and escape this sort of stuff.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

McCririck in Wife Swap

An interesting snippet in The Times Racing Diary caught my eye today.

It seems that Channel 4 racing pundit John McCririck is to take part in that well known TV programme Celebrity Wife Swap.

The unfortunate lady who will be McCririck's wife is Edwina Currie.

Brings to mind the old saying 'The Lord makes them but The Devil pairs them.'

The programme is due to be shown October time; I'll certainly be watching.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rosemauve at Stratford this afternoon

Rosemauve is top weight in the 4.20 at Stratford this afternoon.

He certainly has his quirks and is not an easy ride; however, when he puts his best foot forward, he has plenty of ability. A couple of years back I had a decent win with this horse in a D rated handicap hurdle on firm ground over three miles at Ludlow.

His latest effort appears to have been particularly stubborn. Looking at the form, you could take the view that he hasn't taken to chasing all that well. If the return to hurdles today where to signal a return to form he wouldn't be without a chance in what looks a pretty competitive race.

Several bookmakers, including Stan James and Totalbet, offer 20/1. That looks a big price for a horse from the Pipe yard. If you're tempted, an each way wager is affordable at that price.

Fallon - Saint and Sinner

Whatever you may think about Kieren Fallon, two things can go undisputed.

Firstly, he's an exceptional jockey. In my opinion his record around Epsom is bettered only by Lester Piggott.

Secondly, he's already had his fair share of scrapes. Years ago in a Coral shop in Plymouth I remember watching him ride a close finish and then drag the other jockey from his mount just after the horses had past the winning post. I'd never seen anything like it at the time and still haven't to this day.

Whatever the outcome of the charges brought against him, racing will need to remember that he should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.