MISC

5 January, 2022

AUTHOR: James Dowen

SHARPE MIND: Barking Mad

In this week’s SHARPE MIND blog, where sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE aims to bring you 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, he digs out some of the golden moments from the week between 3 January and 9 January.


JANUARY 3, 1984…….HATS THE WAY…….Giving potential visitors every chance to implement the instruction, Buckingham Palace officials announced today in 1984, that women would not be allowed into the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot ‘if their hats are too small’, which must have been music to the ears of one Gertrude Shilling, who regularly turned up there with huge, bizarre head-wear. Once perching a giant football on her head, and on another occasion, a giant apple with a four-foot arrow piercing it.

JAN 3, 2021………………TRAINER TRAGEDY…….Trainer Zoe Davison died,aged 60, following a long battle with cancer. Her West Sussex yard had sent out Brown Bullet and Mr Jack to win at her beloved Plumpton that afternoon, shortly before the popular trainer lost her brave fight against the disease she had been diagnosed with four and a half years previously.

JANUARY 4, 1990….BAY LEADING THE WAY…….The Shanahan Bay became the first, but far from the last, horse to win four races on the all-weather when the Eric Eldin-trained 5yo scored over 6f at Lingfield.

JANUARY 4, 1954……ROGER’S WEIGHTY FAUX PAS…….Born on this date and known as a flamboyant, if slightly overweight figure, US trainer Roger Stein brought Forty Niner Days over to contest an Ascot race in September, 1991, and there were sharp intakes of breath from racegoers and spectators alike, as Stein appeared in the parade ring sporting a blue tracksuit and – horror of horrors – no tie! Forty Niner Days did win the $400,000 Grade 2 Golden Gate Handicap in 1991. Stein died in May 1991.

JANUARY 5, 2020…………BUCHAN BURNT…….…Buchan racecourse in East Gippsland, Australia was ‘decimated by bushfire’ it was reported today in 2020 as such conflagrations raged in many parts of the country. The region’s racecourse at Canni Creek also failed to escaped the effects of the inferno.

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

JANUARY 5, 1920……………WEIGHTY DECISION……………..Both horses contesting a Plumpton chase fell today in 1920. One was remounted and went on to win. The other was caught by a spectator who rode him to the finish and was officially placed second as he – a Mr Dale – made the weight.

JANUARY 6, 1938……ROCKED AGAIN…………….Scottish jockey Duncan Keith, born today, who won the 1965 2000 Guineas on 100/8 Niksar, was TWICE disqualified after finishing first in the Ascot Gold Cup on Rock Roi – in 1971 when the horse failed a dope test, and in ’72 when they were demoted for interfering with another runner. Keith retired in 1973 and died in May, 2014.

JANUARY 6, 1996……JACK JACKS IT IN…Myjinka won over 6f at 11/2 on the Lingfield all-weather for trainer Jack O’Donoghue. Aged 88, Jack retired after this victory, rounding off a 50 year career, which included the small matter of training the 40/1 Grand National winner, Nickel Coin, in 1951, ridden by Johnny Bullock.

JANUARY 7, 2020…………….AT LAST, HALF A WINNER………….…For the first time since he began training in 1992, Seamus Mullins sent out a horse which dead-heated – today in 2020 – Inspireus sharing the honours with Touch Screen at Lingfield.

JAN 7, 1993……………….BY GEORGE!………………..George Aubrey Beauclerk was born today – his godfather Marcus Good had high hopes that the lad would become a jockey, so placed a bet £10 with me at odds of 10,000/1 that he’d become champion jump jockey by his 30th birthday – Jan 7, 2023 – come on George, still time to win that fifty grand!

JANUARY 8, 1996……………..LOCH OUT, REG!………….….Trainer Reg Hollinshead sent out Loch Style and Taniyar to race at Southwell today in 1996 – which they did, but unfortunately each in the other’s race. Fortunately, each was unplaced.

JANUARY 8, 1807…..SAM’S SAD END……...Winner of four Oaks and a Derby, jockey Sam Chifney senior, born in 1753, died on this date, in Fleet prison, to which he had been committed for owing money to a saddler. Not a modest man, he was once quoted as saying, ‘In 1773 I cold ride horses in a better manner in a race than any person ever known in my time. In 1775 I could train horses for running better than any person I ever yet saw.’

JANUARY 9, 1986………..NEARLY A CAT-ASTROPHE….Driving a Snowcat tractor over the ice and snow course at St Moritz today in 1986 a racecourse worker narrowly escaped with his life as the vehicle sank through and under the ice surface.

JAN 9, 2021………………..DARRYL’S NAP HAND……………………Daryl Jacob landed his first five-timer today on Wincanton’s eight race card, all coming for different trainers, at accumulated odds of 3,275-1.….on the same date at Chepstow, the 2020 Coral Welsh Grand National was run in 2021, having been postponed from its intended date by bad weather. It was won by favourite Secret Reprieve, trained by Evan Williams and ridden by Adam Wedge.

JAN 9, 2021…PAUL’S MAC-NIFICENT SEVEN………Paul Nicholls, who had developed a habit of celebrating significant occasions in his career by visiting a McDonalds on the A303 enjoyed a good excuse for another visit today, after landing his first winner of 2021 – followed by six more – a 10,419-1 seven-timer highlighted by a pair of Kempton Grade 2 wins and confirmation that one of his young stable stars, McFabulous, could be a seriously big Mac!

AND FINALLY……BARKING MAD………With a big meeting planned for Monday, January 11, and the weather turning very cold, Hereford racecourse tweeted on January 8, 2021: ‘Extremely disappointed & frustrated that local people have allowed their dogs to run loose & unsupervised over fleece cover deployed on course to help protect Monday’s fixture. Mindless, costly & the equivalent of vandalism. Keep dogs on leads and under control.’

GRAHAM SHARPE


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