SHARPE MIND: Frankie’s Magnificent Seven!
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 27 September and 3 October.
SEPTEMBER 27……RICH MENU…..…Mr Fraser’s horse, Richmond completed a two day meeting at Inverness, Scotland, today in 1826, during which the horse won a Gold Cup over 3 miles; a 1 mile handicap plate and two 3 mile heats of the Ross-Shire Plate – and for good luck, finished runner up in the 2 mile Ladies Purse.
SEPT 27………………END OF THE LINE…..Australian trainer Vic Rail, 49, was infected by the virus affecting fourteen of his horses and today in 1994, died of the heart attack he suffered as a result.
SEPT 28……..MARK HIS WORDS……..Leading trainer Mark Johnston described himself today in 2008 as ‘impatient, irritable, opinionated, overweight, misunderstood.’ Anyone disagree? Oh, he also confessed to dressing up as Ozzy Osbourne to attend a fancy-dress party.
SEPT 28……..STANDS DOWN……A bad date for racecourses as, in 1932 on this date fire destroyed Kempton’s members’ stand, and with it many of the course’s records……and on the same date in 1985 Chester’s County Stand, built in 1899, burned down.
SEPT 29……………HOPELESS WINNER……Jockey W R Brockton won three of four races in which he competed at Market Rasen today in 1879 – but he rode only two horses all afternoon, winning twice on Moorhen, and finishing first and third on the impolitely and evidently inaccurately named Hopeless.
SEPT 29….ALMOST SIXCESSFUL…….Wealthy and hugely eccentric, owner Dorothy Paget sent six of her horses to run at Folkestone on this date in 1948, all trained by Fulke Walwyn and ridden by Bryan Marshall. Legal Joy, Langis Son, Jack Tatters, Endless and Loyal King won the first five races – Loyal Monarch was beaten by an agonising half a length in the last. Dorothy didn’t take defeat well and reportedly had ‘a screaming fit’, having also unsuccessfully tried to buy the winning horse pre-race!
SEPT 30…..LONG SHOT WINNER……Stetchworth reared and almost threw jockey Taffy Thomas at Redcar today in 1978 – they recovered to win the race, but afterwards gunshot marks were found on the horse’s rump – he had apparently been shot by youths hidden in nearby long grass.
SEPT 30….WATTS GOING ON HERE ?……..The Welter Handicap at Newmarket today in 1897 officially became the first race in Britain started by means of a starting gate – a single-strand tape barrier. The race was won by Meditation, trained by Classic-winning John Watts.
OCTOBER 1………….CHAMP CHUCKED OUT…..The reigning champion jockey, American Lester Reiff was warned off today in 1901 by the Jockey Club, which decided he had ‘stopped’ De Lacy at Manchester so that his brother might win the race on Minnie Dee for US politician/owner, ‘Boss’ Croker.
OCT 1………………POLE POSITION……’The camaraderie among pole-vaulters is a joy to behold. You see it at every event, and definitely tonight. Possibly the nearest thing you’ll get to jump jockeys’ tweeted Racing Post writer Lee Mottershead today in 2019 during the Athletics World Championships.
OCT 2……………..DEAD LUCKY……..Frank Hill, the owner of Saysana, a winner at Brighton today in 1990, was baffled by the odd looks racegoers were giving him – until someone told the 87 year old his obituary had been printed in the Daily Telegraph.
OCT 2……….RACING POLICE………Born on this date in 1951, owner Gordon Sumner told me that he got into racehorse ownership when builders working on his house convinced him it would be a good idea. His horse Sandalay won several races for him. You may know him better as rock star Sting.
OCT 3…Jockey Dick Black rode King Penguin to win at Ludlow for trainer John de Moraville today in 1946 – first winner for the pair after agreeing their partnership while together as prisoners of war in a German camp.
OCTOBER 3……SOMETHING BUGGING HIM…..After Simon Dow’s 7/2 shot Kaleo won over one and a quarter miles at Epsom today in 2009 under Hayley Turner, he declared ‘I have to say a big thank-you to the chafer bugs’ – as an insect infestation of grass had caused the cancellation of all sprints at the track, being replaced by races over different distances, and thus the only reason this race had taken place.
AND FINALLY………SEPT 28…..PUNTERS’ MOST MAGNIFICENT DAY……It proved to be one of racing’s most memorable and incredible days on this date in 1996, as Frankie Dettori rode his ‘Magnificent Seven’, booting home every one of the seven races at Ascot today at accumulative odds of 25,095/1 and removing probably £50m from bookies in the process. I had the unique pleasure of ringing a punter to tell him he’d won half a million pounds. I had to offer him a little more to persuade him to ‘go public’ about his windfall. Darren Yates was pleasantly surprised at the amount and has clearly invested his winnings wisely, as he and wife Annaley became, and remain, prominent racehorse owners.