Well, who saw that coming?
Last Sunday I felt a bit like the guy who walks round a corner and gets mown down by a cyclist bombing down the pavement from the wrong direction. Greater minds than this one has voiced their opinion on the Gordon Elliot saga …. I am surprised “Gordongate “hasn’t been used in the Press but there is time yet.
I have been a racing follower since rationing stopped, not being blind to the fact that there were rotten apples involved in the sport but realising that happens in all walks of life. For some reason, this time it felt like being let down by an old mate someone you have trusted over time. You know only too well you are going to get your non-racing mates all over the news with their quick fix opinions and its no use trying to argue about the good that happens in the majority of stables and racing in general. This was very apparent watching the Stud and Stable Staff awards last week where the Industry showcased the hard graft and loving attention that goes on in yards day in day out. If only this kind of news could be plastered over the mainstream press as opposed to the negative perspective, we saw this week, perhaps the opinions of the uninterested majority could be, if not changed, at least be better informed.
Rest assured this is yet another nail in racing’s coffin. The Sport is already struggling for daily coverage in the written media, the animal welfare lobby have been handed another weapon for their arsenal to fire off at the upcoming high-profile fixtures… let us hope these meetings go off without incident.
Hopefully, once lockdown eases Hope Eden are able to get stable visits back on the agenda on a regular basis. This is one way to encourage involvement and open up the sport to new fans., if you get the chance to attend don’t turn it down.
Kelso stages a cracking meeting at the weekend with good prize money. The centrepiece is the Morebattle Hurdle which is usually a good trial for the Champion Hurdle but to my eye not this season however the attraction of a £100k bonus for winning this race and another at the Cheltenham Festival has attracted a good but not I feel a top-class field. The chases on the card don’t really appeal so we will spurn the delights of the Scottish Borders and trek south for a couple of betting opportunities. Incidentally if you get the chance of a visit to Kelso it’s a cracking track with terrific viewing from the old grandstand and a great atmosphere
Selection: 3:30 Doncaster: Grimthorpe Handicap Chase
I thought that the Grimthorpe at Doncaster might provide a runner at a decent price but only seven have been declared which makes things a tad difficult. The going is forecast to be good so it doesn’t look like the usual Doncaster slog will be on the cards. Canelo who won a good race at Wetherby over Christmas heads the early market but if the last few weeks are anything to go by that doesn’t indicate how the market will pan out come Saturday. For some reason, call it stupidity, I like the look of the outsider of the field Special Prep, this gelding hasn’t run over fences since April 2019, but he went off at only 9/2 in a reasonable handicap at Perth. He was pulled up that day, when reportedly bursting a blood vessel, running off 137 he is down to 129 at the weekend so hopefully his recent spins in a couple of Jumpers Bumpers will have blown the cobwebs away, we shall see…will there be the smell of burnt flesh in the air?
1. Special Prep
Selection – 1:50: Newbury: Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Novices’ Handicap Chase
The other quality chase which is of interest is the 1.50pm at Newbury a grade three over 2m 3f and a bit. A good field of fourteen has been declared. The four seven-year-olds all have a squeak Grand Sancy the likely favourite, Killer Clown winner at Kempton last time out, Umbrigado unbeaten in his last two and Nick Henderson’s Pistol Whipped a good second last time out but up 5lbs for that effort. Preference is for the latter who I backed to win at Leicester in 2019, when I thought he was a horse with a future. Like most great plans this one has yet to come to fruition but perhaps Saturday will be the day.
1. Pistol Whipped
It seems the Sussex Stakes this year has been moved from Glorious Goodwood and is happening at the weekend. Renamed the Oprah Handicap only two have been declared, one bred in the purple and the other runner from the States. One match race I won’t be watching.
A torrid week ends let’s all get out there and spread the word to the unbelievers what a great game Racing can be…. soapboxes out
Enjoy the weekend as always.
Again, good luck throughout the winter. If you’re interested in racehorse ownership, take a look at the syndicate’s available shares.