SHARPE MIND

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Brown’s Bob Booster!

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 5 December and 11 December.


🗓️ DECEMBER 5, 1931……….NOT-SO-MODERATE MILLER’S WEIGHTY DEFEAT………………..Golden Miller, who would win five Gold Cups and a Grand National for charismatic owner Dorothy Paget, finished first in Newbury’s Moderate Steeplechase, only to be disqualified for not carrying the 7lb penalty required by race conditions. Trainer Basil Briscoe was fined £50 but bets stood.

🗓️ DEC 5, 1947…………SCHUBERT ON SONG, BEFORE AND AFTER WAR…………..Horses returning to win at courses where they had triumphed pre-War were not that common, but on this date, 13 year old Schubert, a pre-conflict winner at Worcester, returned there to land the 3m Kingham Chase, ridden and trained by Cliff Beechner.

🗓️ DEC 6, 1996……..SO, NO ALPHA-BETS?……..One of the oddest of national newspaper apologies appeared in the Daily Express: ‘The letter ‘A’ did not appear in the names of horses in our racecards. This was due to a computer error. The problem has been dealt with, and we are assured it will not happen again.’

🗓️ DEC 6, 1997………AL-ARM-ING FOR ADRIAN………A racegoer’s arm-waving antics were blamed for distracting jockey Adrian Maguire’s mount, Mulligan at Sandown, resulting in the horse falling and Maguire breaking his arm as a result.

🗓️ DEC 7, 1957…………..SILKY SMOOTH – FOR FIRST TIME………………..2yo Silky Sullivan won the Golden Gate Futurity at the San Francisco Bay track,  over 1m, coming from 27 lengths behind in what would become the horse’s trademark style – which subsequently became used by commentators to describe any horse adopting such tactics.

🗓️ DEC 7, 2007………CHOC’S SOFT CENTRE?……..‘If I could go back and do it all again, I’d appreciate everything that came my way’ mused jockey Robert ‘Choc(olates) Thornton, aged 29, on this date – referring back to his 18 year old self who he described as a ‘snotty-nosed kid, a bit too big for my boots’ following his string of early successes for trainer David Nicholson.

🗓️ DEC 8, 1937……………FULKE WAS NO FLUKE……Future leading trainer, Fulke Walwyn rode French Mandate to win the 3m Pegasus Chase at Gatwick – where the course consisted of part of what is now the current airport. His most notable victory had come as an amateur rider on Reynoldstown in the 1936 Grand National. He was forced to retire from the saddle after a fall at Ludlow in 1939 fractured his skull, He began training in Lambourn and sent out 18 winners before the Second World War began -. his efforts to join the Military Forces were rejected because of racing injuries. He moved to Saxon House stables in 1944, where he became one of the most successful of jump trainers, sending out winners of four Cheltenham Gold Cups, two Champion Hurdles, five King George VI Chases, seven Whitbread Gold Cups, seven Hennessy Gold Cups and the 1964 Grand National with Team Spirit. He was jumping’s champion trainer five times. He sent out 40 winners at the Cheltenham Festival from 1946 to 1986, a record not beaten, until 2012 -by Nicky Henderson.

🗓️ DEC 8, 1975………..VAN CUTSEM GUARDED TOP PERFORMERS…………..An officer in the Life Guards during WW2, Bernard Henry Richard Harcourt Van Custem was born in 1916. His High Top won the 1972 2000 Guineas. But although his Park Top, foaled in 1964. cost just 500gns and was an unfashionably bred yearling, she went on to win 13 races, worth £136,440 at top class level. In 1969 she won the Coronation Cup, Hardwicke Stakes, and the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, as well as finishing runner up in the Arc. Owned by the Duke of Devonshire, he wrote the excellent ‘A Romance of the Turf’ about her. However, his world record $510,000 purchase, Crowned Prince,won two early races, only to develop a soft palate purchase, and failed to live up to expectations. Van Cutsem died comparatively early, aged just 59.

🗓️ DEC 9, 1989………..SHILSTON GONE…..31 year old jump jockey Stuart Shilston won at Towcester on Slightly Gone – and was immediately completely gone, himself – announcing his retirement, having ridden the first of his 131 winners, Mr Linnet, at the same track, in 1976…..on the same date, Run For Free won a 2m hurdle in a course record time – only for Cruising Altitude to better the time, just 1 hour 10 minutes later.

🗓️ DEC 9, 2007……..HOW JOCKEYS GOBBLE UP WINNERS……..……Much respected racing writer Geoff Lester – I had lunch with him recently, he’s vey happily retired, thanks for asking (!) –  hit the nail on the head when, writing in the Sunday Telegraph,  (Geoff also wrote for the Sporting Life for many years) he said; ‘Jockeys don’t eat, they survive on a diet of winners.’

🗓️ DEC 10, 1977……….HAPPY KID…………’Kentucky Kid’, Steve Cauthen – in just his second season of riding – his debut was in May, 1976 – became the first jockey to win $6m prize money in a single season as he partnered a 3yo  called Little Happiness on his way to an astonishing 487 winners during the calendar year.

🗓️ DEC 10, 2008………BROWN’S BOB BOOSTER……….Alan Brown from Tottenham was such a fan of jockey turned trainer (from 1954), Bob Turnell, that he wrote to the Racing Post, demanding to know ‘why has there never been a race named after the legendary Bob Turnell?’ He reminded unaware readers that ‘ Bob won the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, was top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, also won the Hennessy and Whitbread – he won everything except the National – which his son managed to do.’ Put that way, I’m wondering myself why he didn’t get that race name credit!?

🗓️ DEC 11, 1849…….LESTER’S FAMILY TREE BLOOMED EARLY ON……..Lester Piggott’s great-uncle, Joe Cannon was born – he rode Regal to win the 1876 Grand National. Then turned to training and landed the 1878 1000 and 2000 Guineas double with Pilgrimage. His brother, Thomas, rode or saddled 15 Classic winners…..and on this date 144 years later, Lester himself rode a treble – in Buenos Aires.

🗓️ DEC 11, 2007…….HAYLEY’S WIN NO SURPRISE………Local lass, Hayley Turner, on 5/2 favourite, Weet A Surprise, was a popular winner of the first race run at Southwell after the course returned to action half a year since the last meeting had been run there on June 5-  when summer floods had necessitated a closure and refurbishment of the track

🗓️ DEC 7, 2019……AND FINALLY……NOT SO MAGNIFICENT 7……‘The Hoover’ cleaned up, a Tote worker revealed to the Racing Post, telling them that a man who earned that soubriquet for his modus operandi, of collecting up as many discarded betting tickets as he possibly could on-course, in the hope that some which have been thrown away are actually worth money,  was able to cash in after the controversial voiding of the London National Chase run at Sandown on this date. It upset the seven jockeys, for sure – as they were banned for ignoring the yellow flag  signalling ‘void race’ after one of the runners suffered a fatal injury. It also upset bookies and punters, as confirmation that it had become a no-race took many minutes to come through- even course commentator Simon Holt hadn’t realised the what was being signalled-  so some punters had already been paid out on the ‘winner’ who wasn’t! Seven of the 14 runners had finished the race, with Neil Mulholland-trained Doing Fine coming home first under 7lb claimer Philip Donovan, who was thus deprived of the biggest win of his fledgling career.

GRAHAM SHARPE


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