A Royal Ascot winner goes to the States ...

Where is the next drop of rain coming from

Friday, 06 July 2018

"What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies."


Upsides Velvet Voice and Astrofire leading Roof Garden

It’s still scorching and another record temperature day is forecast. It is so much better starting early and getting the majority of horses out before it really gets too hot. I have been doing some fast work this morning with two lots on the Cambridge Road polytrack and one lot on the Rubbing House. All has gone well and we just need some rain now to help the tracks, but I can’t see any for at least the next fortnight.

Isaac Murphy

Walking off the Cambridge Road Polytrack 

We have two runners today, both tonight at Chelmsford where there are good size fields. Any of the all-weather courses that puts racing on is getting a good turn-out at present. Wolverhampton has split their meeting into two days, now racing both Monday and Tuesday. Our first runner is True Calling in the 8.05. This filly hated the ground at Newmarket after making a good debut at Chelmsford. She is drawn out with the washing today and this field looks well above average. She will be handicapped after this run and I just hope she can beat a few tonight, but from that draw it will be difficult. Ginger Lady is our other runner at 9.15. She has got the ability to become involved over a trip that would suit her better. She has had a long time off and this race could just be needed, but she is not without an each way chance tonight.

Tomorrow we have two more runners, both back at Chelmsford in the one mile handicap, which has divided. Astroblaze is our first runner at 4.25. The trip should suit and she certainly has a squeak of some prize money. Four Fifty Three runs in the second division at 4.55. He is a course and distance winner and I think should be competitive, although not drawn well in nine. England is playing in the quarter finals tomorrow afternoon so I am sure there will not be a lot of people watching the racing at that time of day. Come on England.

Rum Ration and Garrison Law leading Quanah

I am glad to see Richard Hannon having a go at the poor prize money once again. He won a race at Windsor, a novice stakes, and the prize money was £2,900, which is absolutely pathetic. This was on a Saturday and the place was packed he said. How are we supposed to encourage new owners when the returns are so minimal? Every race on a Saturday should have a minimum value of £10,000, but you will see from Phil’s piece today, there is so much racing that the money just gets spread out so thinly. Why we have to have so many meetings and fixtures is completely beyond me and somebody needs to get hold of this. We have got the best horses, the best jockeys and trainers and the best racetracks, but without doubt we do not have anybody in authority who understands this game.

Back at the yard for a pick of grass

There is a good piece today by Lewis Porteous in the Racing Post on the whip and how the rules are still being broken. Horse welfare is a major concern nowadays and sooner or later the BHA has to start to enforce these rules in the proper way. It is just no good that at every big meeting we have winners, and plenty of the placed horses, having their jockeys break the rules. A simple disqualification will soon channel everybody’s brains, including the jockeys, to keeping within the rules. It will cut out any welfare concerns at a stroke. If you read my column you will know that I can never understand why this rule was not enforced years ago, it is so simple.

Phil on Friday


There’s overkill --- then there’s racing overkill. We’ll be confronted by seven meetings again tomorrow, the same as last Saturday when two whole pages of my daily paper were filled by racecards alongside results from three of the six meetings the day before. The evening results were pushed elsewhere.

It’s all self-defeating. How many would-be punters are put off by this sheer volume of material, simply haven’t got the time to wade through it, turn over to the football pages and so don’t have a bet on a horse at all? And how long will it be before sports editors and their bosses decide enough is enough and simply refuse to devote space to some tin-pot meeting offering peanuts for prize money? There’s plenty of competition for those column inches.

That little personal rant brings to mind the extraordinary but true story of a well-meaning but gullible editor in the early part of last century. He clearly didn’t have any problems with pressure on space …

A mysterious gentleman in a top hat, calling himself Mr. Martin, arrived at the offices of The Sportsman newspaper one day, produced a detailed programme for the Trodmore Hunt Steeplechases to be run in Cornwall one Bank Holiday Monday and asked for the card to be printed. The editor agreed – he would also publish the results to be telegraphed through by the mystery man.

Of course Trodmore did not exist and its races never happened, but large sums were placed across the country on what was listed as the fourth. Unsurprisingly it was ‘won’ by the subject of the gamble, Reaper, at 5-1 according to The Sportsman’s results section, and bookmakers began to pay out. Some firms relied on the Sporting Life’s results though, and they were printed next day having been passed on by The Sportsman.  By an unfortunate printer’s error Reaper was now reported to have won at 5-2 and the proverbial rat was smelled.

Some decent sums had already been collected by then, however, but Mr. Martin, and no-one else for that matter, was ever brought to book.

Such a scam won’t happen again. No paper could squeeze in a racecard for Trodmore!