So, the great event that the good people of Carlisle have looked forward to for weeks finally happened!
No, not the Royal Wedding, but two cranes finally turned up to try and sort out the chaos which has been caused by the dilapidation of the Central Plaza hotel in the city centre. I appreciate this is of absolutely no interest whatsoever to the three readers who don’t live in the great Border city, but to the two local readers it was a momentous occasion. Not quite Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un but hey, this is Carlisle….
Slow but sure
Another slow news week…James Reveley did us a favour when he took the Grand Steeplechase de Paris with On the Go. Things haven’t gone as well in France for young James this season compared to 2017; he puts it down to more competition for rides at his main employer, Guillame Macaire’s. But, whatever the reason, he’s still riding as well as ever and has won the last three runnings of the most prestigious jumps race in France.
Moore like her…
Hope you managed to catch the footage of ATR presenter Hayley Moore stopping a loose horse at Chepstow. It’s worth a watch.
Reckoning that, like most of these runaways, there is no stopping them once they get a head of steam up, she bravely grabbed the reins as the horse galloped past. Knocked to the ground, she hung on, got up, calmed the animal and had started to unsaddle him before the stable staff reached her. She’s a tough cookie – as you would expect being Gary Moore’s daughter – as she then went back to the day job.
We were at Kelso recently when one of Mickey Hammond’s chasers got loose after a fall, then evaded all attempts at capture and completed another four laps of the track; luckily the escapee avoided injury, but the various attempts at capture all proved unsuccessful.
If only Gordon Brown had been trackside it would have been interesting to see if he could have “done a Hayley”.
Hope Eden seem to be having a frustrating time of late with their string.
Various little niggles leading to setbacks which have seen the chance to get the horses to the track disappear. It must be really frustrating for everyone involved. I was reading an article this week about how one of John Gosden’s fillies was being readied for the Oaks some years ago. Things were going well with her preparation when one day the filly was being walked from the yard when someone on the other side of a wall gunned a lawn mower. The filly spun round went down and never got to Epsom…talk about walking on eggshells.
Down but not out
News from Ireland this week that one of my favourite jump jockeys of a few years ago, Adrian Maguire, has had to pack in training. Just losing out in a titanic battle for the 1993-94, he was probably unlucky never to have been crowned champion. He had a reasonably successful start to his training career but, like a lot of the smaller yards in Ireland, was badly affected when the recession hit. Once the Celtic Tiger roused itself some years later, the show had moved on and, as we have noted a few times, the power base became concentrated in fewer hands. Maguire’s now working as a work rider at Ballydoyle, where I am sure his knowledge and experience will be put to good use by Aidan O’Brien.
Divide by four
I know I am old school where racing is concerned and don’t appreciate a lot of the initiatives that are happening to attract a newer audience, but I fail to see how having three top class flat meetings plus an always well supported jumps fixture this Saturday can be good for the individual tracks. Chester, Haydock and York strut their stuff on the flat, whilst Cartmel keeps the jump flag flying. Hopefully, I will be proved wrong and each track has a good crowd, but I can’t help thinking they are all fighting for a share of the same critical mass.
Some good horses are out and about this weekend though, so we mustn’t be too churlish. The one I am most looking forward to seeing is the sprinter Battaash, who makes his seasonal reappearance in the Temple Stakes. He rounded off last season with a cracking win in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly, which is Group One form. Obviously, he therefore must carry a penalty for that win, but this lad should give weight all round on the way to another successful season. He won’t be a working man’s price unless you’re a Russian Oligarch and it looks like they might struggle to drum up the readies even if they can get back in the country.
A word also for Elarqam who I fancied for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He contests the Irish equivalent at the Curragh this Saturday, the track should suit him better and connections think he will go well. Another tight price but that’s Group racing.
A pun to win
No real fancies this weekend but a race that catches the eye is the last at York. It’s the John Wright Electrical Handicap for Gentleman Amateur Riders. You could ask a battery of questions about the field, reckon current form is vital and give a plug for one of the jockeys before switching off and watching the Liverpool game. Try a little flutter on top weight Alfred Hutchinson ridden by Zak Baker for David O’Meara. This lad can ride and might have been as good as brother George if his weight had allowed.
Right made it to the end, but late news just in …no not Trump refusing to meet Little Rocket Man…they have stopped work on the Central Plaza.
Yawns all round.