SHARPE MIND

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Belmont’s Heavenly Help

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 March 27 and April 2.


🗓️ MARCH 27, 1980…….LORNA’S BOLD WINNER NOT ON THE CARDS………..Lorna Vincent became the first professional woman to win at Taunton and, perhaps a little more importantly, the first woman jockey to lose her right to claim. She won on Bold Front – but neither she nor racegoers could get souvenir racecards – as a printer’s strike meant there were none.

🗓️ MARCH 27, 2022……….NO CONFUSION AS NINA DANCES TO WINNING LINE……….. Nina Carberry won Ireland’s Dancing With The Star tv show after dazzling the nation with her dance moves and footwork for 12 weeks.Nina was one of the most successful amateur jockeys of all time with 423 winners, including the 2011 Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion. Rachael Blackmore had urged racing fans to get behind Nina, and she duly wowed the show’s judges alongside dance partner Pasquale La Rocca.

🗓️ MARCH 28, 2022…..NATIONAL HOSPITAL HELP….….Betty Batt from Warrington became the honorary 41st runner in the 2022 Randox Grand National. The four-year-old’s name appeared around the racecourse and in the racecard, alongside the runners in the race.The initiative, launched by The Jockey Club in 2017 for neuroblastoma campaigner Bradley Lowery, is to help raise awareness and funds for Alder Hey Hospital. Betty weighed 1lb 13oz (650 grams) when she was born more than four months premature in June 2017, spending the first year of her life in hospital. She was able to go home after 13 months when a team of Alder Hey specialists trained her parents to deal with her tracheostomy and medical needs.

🗓️ MARCH 28, 2022…….BELMONT’S HEAVENLY HELP……. The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America held a ceremony for a 3500 sq footage, multi-purpose building and chapel on the grounds of New York’s Belmont Park, to be located just inside the Gate 6 entrance to the racecourse.

🗓️ MARCH 29, 1966……..TAFFY’S CHANGE OF LUCK……. Taffy Jenkins had his first success as a trainer with Voleur in the Downs Selling Handicap Chase at Sandown. He rode his first winner at the same track in 1953, on September Air, who dropped dead after passing the post. Three years ago his riding career had also ended here, when he fractured his skill and jaw, injured his spine, broke his left leg in two places and was left partially paralysed in his left side. Yet he still managed to ride morning work.

🗓️ MARCH 29, 2022…COOLMORE RESCUE OP………. It was reported by the Racing Post that ‘Coolmore have undertaken a major operation to rescue families of UkraInian staff working for the bloodstock giant and its racing arm at Ballydoyle.’ Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien said Coolmore boss John Magnier and wife Sue had ‘assisted the families of 20 staff members in making a safe passage to Ireland, also providing them with accommodation.’

🗓️ MARCH 30, 1990…NOT TAKING THE MICK – CHANNON SCORED TWICE!……..… International footballer turned trainer only since February 1, Mick Channon, sent out his first winners in his new profession – Golden Scissors at Beverley, 4/1, and Wessex Warrior, 5/2, at Wincanton – a double of over 16/1.

🗓️ MARCH 30, 1993…..SORRY, SHOULDN’T HAVE DUN IT….….Richard Dunwoody publicly apologised after he and another jockey were arrested during a fracas at a London hotel. But then, despite a strapped up right hand, he rode a 14/1 treble at Sandown.

🗓️ MARCH 31, 1921……….GORDON LORDS IT AT LEICESTER…………Teenage jockey Gordon Richards rode his first winner, Gay Lord, at Leicester, in a race in which the last horse home was the charmingly named Toilet. The 16 year old rider would win 21 champion jockey titles.

🗓️ MARCH 31, 1990…..…..RACING TO GET TOGETHER…..East and West Germany met at a race meeting for the first time since the 1961 erection of the Berlin Wall, which had been brought down just months earlier, at Hoppegarten, in the East, held the meeting, also attended by Westerners, who saw British jockey Peter Bloomfield win on Kassu.

🗓️ APRIL 1, 1907……TRIUMPH THEN TRAGEDY………A mere ten days after winning the Grand National, 7yo Eremon was back on course, this time at Manchester, winning the Lancashire Chase – but tragedy struck shortly after this when the horse ran free on the gallops and was fatally injured.

🗓️ APRIL 1, 2022……..PALMER SHOOTS…..AND SCORES!……Trainer Hugo Palmer’s 13/2 Noman winner at Leicester, ridden by James Doyle was the first he’d sent out since taking over at former England footballer Michael Owen’s Cheshire stables.

🗓️ APRIL 2, 2022………GOLD-EN DERBY WINNER………Cyberknife won the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park to earn a crack at the Kentucky Derby. Owner Al Gold named his horse after a robotic radiation therapy used to successfully treat the 66-year-old’s prostate cancer. ‘At the end of the day, the Derby is exciting and very important, but it pales in comparison to helping people become aware of the power of CyberKnife in treating cancer’, Gold, now in remission, said, having received his first CyberKnife treatment on his 65th birthday in 2021.The non-invasive procedure delivers radiation beams from unique angles, targeting only the tumour and minimising any radiation dose to healthy tissue.

🗓️ APRIL 2, 2022…CLYDE’S BONNY DEBUT….…Ayr racecourse employed a Harris Hawk called Clyde, to ensure that no seagulls would be around to possibly interfere with photo finish images – that was the story told on ITV’s morning preview show when Alice Plunkett interviewed the Hawk handler. Mind you, the day before’s date may have been relevant!…..On the same show, during discussion on that afternoon’s up-coming Scottish Grand National, Mick Fitzgerald said: “For Rob James the jockey, it’s a huge day for him. It’s a real compliment to his ability. It’s like stealing. Him having a seven pound claim is like theft because he’s so experienced.” In the afternoon James – who was able to claim 7lbs despite having ridden over 200 point to point winners – duly won the race on 13/2 shot, Win My Wings, trained by Christian Williams, whose Kitty Light finished runner-up.’

🗓️ AND FINALLY……….SHOCKING RESULTS BETTER?………MARCH 29, 2021….Michael Madgwick joked that he was never brave enough to back his runners when they were rank outsiders, but that did not dampen the local trainer’s celebrations following 100-1 shot Big ‘n Better’s shock victory in the 2m3f maiden hurdle at Fontwell. The big-priced winner theme continued on this date, at Wincanton, where Catchin Time struck at 125-1 for Laura Hurley and amateur jockey Peter Summers in the 2m5½f handicap hurdle. **These two big-priced winners meant there had been 21 winners at odds of 100-1 or greater in Britain and Ireland since racing resumed in June. In the previous 33 years, there had been just 179 such winners.

GRAHAM SHARPE


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