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WORLD OF SPORT - General speculations, musings and perhaps a rant
WACKO THEORY OF THE WEEK

Everyone knows that we have traditional rhymes to base optimism or pessismism for the day around the number of nearby magpies. However, in a legitimate story the UK Jumping policy revolves around buzzards at or around ground level (on a post, in a tree etc). Three times this had happened in the past, and three times successful days racing followed. Returning from Plumpton on Sunday, after Brother Bennett's win, a buzzard was spotted in a road side tree. Does this mean now that even buzzards have outwitted the human race?

NATURE VALLEY PRODUCTS

When the product development division found their new creation being named "nut butter" was there really not a sufficient outbreak of childish giggling to make the people think that this name is not going to work.

COOL DAWN R.I.P.

One of the more appealing of the post Desert Orchid Gold Cup winners has lived to the ripe old age of 30. Well done to him. But it was very disturbing to find out from the reporting that his owner Dido Harding, having presided over Talk Talk's era of woeful service provision, miserable support and multiple data hacks is now head of NHS Improvement. It does indeed seem that the NHS is doomed.

CHELTENHAM SALES OBSERVATION

The star of this was the Irish pointer who sold for £330,000. In the reporting on the sale, the previous owner, who works for Gordon Elliott, noted that the trainer had been of great assistance in sourcing the horse in the first place. From there, he could hardly have been oblivious to what was going on with the horse, and yet at the sales, the winning bid was from agent Mags O'Toole, on behalf of... Gordon Elliott. How very strange, and it is not too cynical to wonder if some fiscal chicanery regarding fees or commissions was going on. 

CHELTENHAM ROUND-UP

Star performance for UK-Jumping was Presenting Percy, who turned out in a Grade 1 for a trainer who has raced fifteen horses all season and made the rest look like desperate, attention-seeking wannabes. Honourable mentions for demonstrating star quality go to Altior and Footpad, and then Native River and Might Bite salvage a memorable Gold Cup finish, even though the procession of Henderson/Mullins/Elliott winners made for a boring round of races for the most part. However, the horse that we feel sorry for (at least for the time being) is Pacha Du Polda who would have had a Foxhunters’ hat trick had 2016 not been wasted on a limp publicity stunt. Imagine if Big Bucks’ had not won the 2010 Stayers’ Hurdle because in order to promote the sport in southern Africa, they gave the ride to Grace Mugabe.

2017 UK-JUmping Awards


Same rules as ever - no actual prize but infinite prestige

HORSE OF THE YEAR

FRANK N FAIR     a return to the traditional process of longest priced winner backed all year. A very honourable mention to Landscape going very close to stealing the prize a week before Christmas

JOCKEY OF THE YEAR

TOM CANNON     based on the usual rotation

TRAINER OF THE YEAR

TOM LACEY     the annual score is 29 winners from 144 runners with a level stake profit of 66.10 over the year.

OWNER OF THE YEAR

TOM SEGRUE      Cumulative award for years of service to lower tier jumps racing via the "Ilewin" horses, and because this year you need to be named Tom to win

COURSE OF THE YEAR

FAKENHAM     which proved to be thoroughly good fun to be at as an owner, especially if you are a dfan of cottage pie (and despite the horse being less appreciative of the individual charms)

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT

Everyone one involved in "Blade Runner: 2049"      they could have completed devastated the legacy of the original, but instead came up with a very good film - what a relief

RACING POST MAY BE PROVEN IN DUE COURSE NOT TO HAVE COVERED ITSELF IN GLORY, pt 2 (or is it pt 1 of a new theme?)

Wind ops will soon have to be declared, which is something the paper has got a bit obsessive over. Plenty of them fail to make a difference and the assertion in their headline that it is a boost for punters remains to be proven as a certain quantity of people will assume improvement everytime - as that is the way they tend to be reported up to now.

RACING POST NOT COVERING ITSELF IN GLORY
, pt 1

According to the November 2nd disciplinary reports of the BHA, Joseph O'Brien was fined for a member of his staff having a prohibited substance in Rekindling's stable before the St Leger. The circumstances are non-sinister, and it does appear to have been intended for post-race use, or just a precaution. However, the Racing Post, which normally reports disciplinary issues in detail with glee, seems to have totally ignored it. Ant suggestions that the sports major publication is too sycophantic of the major racing operations and families is, of course, totally paranoid/understandable (delete as you see fit).

PERTH VOID RACE - THE FINAL OUTCOME

When the jockey bans were appropriately reduced to allow for the circumstances, the reporting was that common sense has prevailed. Of course it has not. The decision to void the race was, based on all available television angles, wrong, and the track management has got away with the mistake by hiding behind the modern poltroon's shield of claiming "health and safety" was the reason. A bad precedent.

TELEVISION ADVERTS THAT SHOULD GET SOMEBODY SACKED (Part Three)

Amazon Prime: A baby is frightened of the family dog, and big, old easy-going labrador. The solution, which makes he baby socialise with the dog, is to dress the lab up as a lion. All this is doing is teaching the baby almost certainly fatal survival skills if it were ever to be lost or stranded on the plains of Africa.

TELEVISION ADVERTS THAT SHOULD GET SOMEBODY SACKED (Part Two)

Admiral Insurance: It portrays the company as run by a simpering ninny and staffed by bumbling halfwits. It may be true, but it is not the iomage they should want to projec
t.

Some form of chewing gum that thinks park footballers go home and watch detailed video of all their future opponents. What planet are these pieople living on?

REJOICE

The worst of marketing's crimes against language has been reversed, and the Open Meeting at Cheltenham (which is anything but open) is back to being the November meeting.

TELEVISION ADVERTS THAT SHOULD GET SOMEBODY SACKED (Part One, probably)


Microsoft Surface: This has been steadily advertised by the most annoyingly smug and unpleasant clowns that the US can muster. With each new ad they get worse. Who on earth do Microsoft think they are appealing to?
Always: Starts the ad by stating that there are 3.5 billion women in the world and no two are the same. Therefore they need bespoke pads. It goes on to show that they have four different designs. It is not acceptable that they are out by a factor of nearly a billion.
Computer Associates: During cycling, we get adverts from team sponsors Alpecin and Bora, but then CA wash up and have in ad in which they condescend people who have built up a big business that they are idiots and they should just do what CA tell them.

WORDS ARE IMPORTANT

Racing Post readers who digest the Letters page may have noticed Andrew Franklin getting a bee in his bonnet about whip use policing. Strange that...someone from a television background getting unduly hysterical over a topic. One of the problems is that what people refer to as “whip rules” should only ever be “whip guidelines” that leave the stewards complete discretion. One obvious potential example. Some horses are dashing for the line, head to head. The one on the outer starts to drift or hang towards the

A LESSON ABOUT LISTENING

A few years ago there were a couple of very high profile trainers who would never run their horse when top weight in handicaps at 12 stone. This was not an objective view because what they wanted was to have the best horses, but other people's horses to be rated higher. Realising that this was all in the human mind, rather than the equine one, the powers that be lowered the minimum weight to 11 stone 12 pounds. This went on for quite a time, long after the original bleats had passed. Recently, a rule was changed so that horses rated no more than a couple of pounds above the maximum mark for the race (e.g. up to 117 in a 0-115) could run in those races with a bit of extra weight. And guess what? Loads of trainers have been happy to run with up to 12 stone 5 pounds, and the horses involved win races. What was the fuss all about?

DUBLIN DOGS UPHEAVAL

Without making any claims to being close to what is going on, the antics of the Irish Greyhound authorities seem very bizarre of late. A report that they commissioned recommended closing profitable Harold's Cross to subsidise loss making Shelbourne. But surely the best way to subsidise Shelbourne would be to keep making profits at Harold's Cross? Instead the authorities have chosen to take short termist advice from people who appear to have no empathy for the sport. And as soon as anyone tries to publicise opposition to the plan, the meetings at which they will do so are cancelled. So far, so Stalinist.

KEMPTON CLOSING

Probably not a surprise considering the location in probably Europe's most badly overpopulated region. At least the money will be reinvested in racing rather than lining the pockets of shareholders. The funny thing was that with the adding of an all-weather track at Newmarket, Chelmsford becomes completely pointless as venue that is inaccessible and poor for viewing. Yet on the same day that course announces that they are adding a turf track.

HAYDOCK FOG

It is a bit bewildering why people think that the last race at Haydock should not have been run. The horses were there, the riders were happy that conditions were raceable, and both the extra official on the line and photographs in the media from near the line show that producing a result was perfectly viable. Owners had stumped up for themselves and their horses to travel there, so run the race. So what if it was not possible to commentate, or show pictures? It was only one race, not the whole card, and if there is no distance or other minority betting options it is not the end of the world as a one-off.


UK-JUMPING'S 6 UNIVERSAL PUNTING TRUTHS

Another idea that I have shameless ripped off from the Racing Post, but to save the suspense, they will be delivered in one hit, not as a series.

i) When the voices in your head give you a tip, back it. They are desperate to win your trust for when they need your help setting fire to something.

ii) The smaller the field, the lesser the big off-course bookies profit margin. Therefore, their love of all-weather racing is not for love of their customers.

iii) Never fear backing a market drifter, but check that it has four legs and head (preferably not all tied together) first, just in case.

iv) Any premonitions of racing results picked up in cheese dreams have a 75% chance of being true.

v) Despite what certain media people may lead you to believe, no jockey rides every single race all season to the 100% maximum of his talents, it is simply not possible to be infallible in any sport.

vi) If an acquaintance asks for a tip as a one-off on a special occasion, it will win. From this moment onwards it is not possible to tip them another winner, even if you both live to be 200.
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