SHARPE MIND

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Ally Oops

In this week’s SHARPE MIND blog sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE brings us a rundown of sensational, hard to believe, amusing, remarkable, pertinent & entertaining events which have happened over the years in the worlds of racing and betting during each specific week of the year. This week he digs out some of the golden moments from between February 27 and March 5.


🗓️ FEB 27, 1948……TAYLOR MADE FOR LIZ……As a present for her 16th birthday on this day, actress Elizabeth Taylor was gifted a blue Cadillac. However three years earlier her birthday present from her MGM studio for completing the horseracing themed film, National Velvet, was the 7yo horse she’d ridden in the movie – real name King Charles, but called by her, The Pie or Pirate. The horse was a grandson of the great Man o’War, (winner of 20 of his 21 races) and was also related to Seabiscuit.

🗓️ FEB 27, 2022…………ONE OF THE VERY GREATEST……….….Marking the birth in 1952, of unbeaten Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner and hugely influential sire, Ribot, the landmark date was commemorated with a ceremony in Pisa, and a ‘Ribot Day’ at San Rossore Racecourse, featuring the annual Ribot Cup. Ribot was bred by Federico Tesio and born in Newmarket, but trained in Italy. The undefeated horse won all of his 16 races. He raced from 5 furlongs to 1m 7f, in three different countries on varying track conditions. He is considered by many experts to be in the top 3 of the greatest racehorses in history. Reflecting on Ribot and other equine greats, trainer John Berry noted: ‘The problem about the perception of the stud careers of truly great racehorses is that they cannot escape the overshadowing impossibility of ever siring a horse as good as they had been.’

🗓️ FEB 28, 2022……THE FATHER OF ALL RESULTS…..Named after the character Bishop Leonard ‘Len’ Brennan, in the popular tv show, Father Ted, 9yo, 6/4 favourite Len Brennan won a Plumpton Chase on this fitting and appropriate date for the victory, as, on February 28, 1998 actor Dermot Morgan, who played the eponymous Father Ted in the show, died. And on February 28, 2016, actor Frank Kelly, who played Father Jack in the programme also died.

🗓️ FEB 28, 2022……..FLOODED OUT IN OZ…Reporting on heavy rains and flooding in Australia, the Racing Post spoke to leading Brisbane trainer, Rob Heathcote, who told them that his Eagle Farm, Queensland stables had been inundated: ‘Everything, including my office, all went under. We’ve been in the middle here for seven years and I’ve never seen anything like it; it all happened so incredibly quickly.I sat here last night and had a quiet glass of red wine on my own looking at my flooded stables; it was bizarre.”

🗓️ MARCH 1, 1836…….BOOMING COURSE……..…Racing first took place at High Wycombe today in 1836. The course lasted until 1844, but in March 1840 staged what may have been a unique meeting whose races were started by the firing of a canon on West Wycombe Hill.

🗓️ MARCH 1, 2022…….ALLY OOPS…….Scottish international footballer turned broadcaster, Ally McCoist revealed on this date: ‘In 1990 Rangers’ manager Graeme Souness announced a surprise training session for the following morning. I was already down at Cheltenham waiting for the Festival to start next day. I had to catch the Tuesday 7am flight from Birmingham to Glasgow but made sure I flew back in the opposite direction the same afternoon and got to Cheltenham in time to see Katabatic win the last race. He got me out of a hole in the Grand Annual – and the cost of my flights was covered as well!’……

🗓️ MARCH 2, 1781……TROUBLING PAYMENT…..The minutes of Doncaster Corporation recorded that Mr John Carr should receive 100 guineas ‘for his trouble in architecting and directing’ the work of constructing Doncaster racecourse’s grandstand – for which they had paid £2,637.

🗓️ MARCH 2, 2022…IS THAT RIGHT?…..’Like humans, left-handed or right, horses favor one leg versus the other, with related studies approximating 75-80% of horses are right forelimb dominant. ‘…..Who knew? Leading US farrier – Jude R. Florio, Gr Dip ELR, no less!

🗓️ MARCH 3, 2008……………HALF BEATEN BY A NOSE……It was revealed that one of the horses who dead-heated in a race at Gulfstream Park in January, Golden Velvet, was found to have had a piece of sponge deep within her nostril, probably placed there to inhibit her breathing, thus stopping her from winning. Which it half-did.

🗓️ MARCH 3, 2020………….WHAT A LEDGEND!..….Today in 2020,15-year-old, Sunny Ledgend sent off an unconsidered 66-1, ran his 14 Exeter rivals ragged in the 3m handicap chase under a disbelieving Richard Patrick, trained and owned by Andrew Martin, returning to an ovation from an equally shocked crowd with a Tote return of £139.90.

🗓️ MARCH 4, 1868…….SWEPT OUT OF THE RACE……..7/1 Grand National favourite Chimney Sweep broke a leg without even jumping a fence, when he hit a course-marking rock. 10/1 The Lamb won.

🗓️ MARCH 4, 2022……TRAGIC DEMISE….The shocking news of the death of cricketer Shane Warne at the age of 52 on this date sparked memories of his love of racing, and that he had captained the Rest of the World team in the 2004 Shergar Cup event at Ascot. Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing, said: “Shane captained the Rest Of The World team against Great Britain & Ireland and pretty much the whole Australian cricket team was here that day – it was lively! Shane loved his racing and that wasn’t his only trip to Ascot, he’d been here on several big days since and, like most Australians, enjoyed a good day out at the races.”

🗓️ MARCH 5, 1840……………WHERE DID WE PUT THAT JOCKEY?….Jockey ‘Barker’, whose first name was not the only thing forgotten about him, fell from Weathercock during today’s Grand Liverpool Steeplechase, and was left unconscious. They took him to a nearby farmhouse – and left him there for several days until someone remembered, and went back for, him.

🗓️ MARCH 5, 1966………LIFE PUT IN PERSPECTIVE BY FALL….….Declan Murphy was born in this date. He became a jockey but suffered life-threatening injuries in a May, 1994 fall at Haydock, which, apart from a very brief comeback spell 17 months later, ended his career. ‘When something like this happens you ask yourself why. This has shown me the value of life and makes things you would normally worry about very small fry.’ His 2017 book, ‘Centaur’ is well worth a read.

🗓️ AND FINALLY………FEB 27, 2022……KNOCKED OUT BY SPIRITED WIN…………. Josh Moore rode 20/1 Botox Has to win Fontwell’s National Spirit Hurdle on this date. Not only was the outcome a shock, but also the fact that he would even consider riding the horse, from which four months earlier at Plumpton he had suffered a heavy fall and was knocked unconscious, then, thanks to covid, have to wait eight days for spinal surgery – made it even more remarkable. And Moore, grinning in the winner’s enclosure, said: “The last time I wore these colours they were cut off me, so it’s great to win with him again. It means a lot. Four months ago I didn’t think I’d be sitting on him again this season.’ It had seemed Moore would have to settle for second at the second-last, but he rallied to win by a head, only to be handed a two-day suspension for using his whip above the permitted level.

GRAHAM SHARPE


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