AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Go Fourth, Willie!

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 11 July and 17 July.

🗓️ JULY 11, 1993…GO FOURTH, WILLIE!….…Alhijaz finished runner-up at Hoppegarten in Berlin, but was demoted to 4th for jockey Willie Carson and trainer John Dunlop – having previously visited the course in May, finishing first, only to be demoted to 4th. On this date in 1990 Carson had landed a Newmarket 4-timer and completing his fastest century in 19 seasons.

🗓️ JULY 11, 2014……PEED OFF….… A £1000 fine sounds a little pricey for a wee mistake – but that’s the punishment Newmarket stewards levied (lav-ied?) on former Desert Orchid trainer David Elsworth for relieving himself in the equine sampling unit at the racecourse on July 11, 2014.

It happened on the day Elsworth’s Arabian Queen won the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.

The trainer was reported by the BHA Equine Welfare and Integrity office and the head groundsman, who alleged that he had ‘acted in an improper manner on licensed premises, in that he had entered the equine sampling unit and contaminated the bedding which, in turn, had to be cleaned in preparation for the following day’s racing.’

I’m a wee bit surprised Elsworth didn’t tell them to ‘p*ss off’!

🗓️ JULY 12, 1711…FIRST ASCOT MEETING DELAYED……..The London Gazette carried an advertisement for the first meeting to be run at Ascot Common on August 6 and 7. In the event, the meeting was later postponed until August 13.

🗓️ JULY 12, 1992…WHEN CHINA BET ON RACING…….Horse racing resumed at Beijing for the first time since the Communists came to power in 1949. Punters placed bets via lottery tickets. The Kang Xi Cup was won by Inner Mongolia champion rider, Za Na.

🗓️ JULY 13, 1985……KNIGHTLY NATIVE……..Former jump jockey Gerry Kelly finally got off the mark on the Flat – at the age of 53 – as he partnered 4/1 favourite Always Native to win at Ayr. Had an unusual claim to fame during the 1950s, when he became almost certainly the only jockey ever to appear in a movie wearing armour – which he donned for ‘Knights of the Round Table’, filmed at Phoenix Park.

🗓️ JULY 13, 1990……HARD DON BY?…..Five years after apparently retiring, Lester Piggott was back on track – contesting an invitation race at Tipperary, a course where he had never previously ridden, but finishing down the field on Don Leone in the Silvermines Veteran Riders’ Stakes.

🗓️ JULY 14, 1951…HORSE IN A MILLION……For the first time a horse’s career earnings topped one million dollars, as 6yo Citation won the Hollywood God Cup in California. He’d won 32 races, finished runner up ten times with two thirds in his 45 races.

🗓️ JULY 14, 2006……IN THE BEST POSSIBLE TASTE…..’14 hot girls’ in the relevant ‘swim’ wear, contested the inaugural Bikini Mile over, according to different reports, quarter of a mile. or half a furlong, at Hollywood Park racecourse’ on July 14, 2006. They(were) paraded pre-race to a trumpet fanfare and installed in the starting stalls before sprinting for a $500 prize. Conditions of entry included – ‘Girls of all ages and races may apply. Must look great in a bikini. Must also have a great personality, fun spirit, and be able to run a bit.’

🗓️ JULY 15, 1983…STUNG INTO ACTION….…Rock star Sting celebrated his tenth winner as an owner when Sandalay won at Newbury, ridden by Willie Carson and trained by Peter Cundell. The lead singer of The Police told your author he became an owner after being persuaded to do so by builders working on his home.

🗓️ JULY 15, 1991……IMPROPER TACTICS………Jump jockey Shane Jennings was last of eight at Moonee Valley, Melbourne, riding Direct Mail. He was later banned for two years after being accused, and found guilty, of using ‘a hand-held metal object’ as an ‘improper contrivance’.

🗓️ JULY 16, 1955……..ROGER AND OUT….…Sacre bleu! Alec Head’s Vimy, ridden by Roger Poincelet, became the first French-trained winner of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. He was retired from racing after his win at Ascot and stood as a stallion in Ireland before being exported to Japan in 1964.

🗓️ JULY 16, 2012……DANNY COULDN’T WAIT……. Observant punters may have noticed that Danny Brock was looking forward to partnering Mazovian in the 4.15 at Southwell on July 16, 2012 – when he turned up in the paddock ready to be mounted – before the 3.45 race!

Sure enough, when he returned half an hour later he and Mazovian duly galloped to a 10/1 victory.

🗓️ JULY 17, 1903…….NO ARD LUCK STORY……The Eclipse Stakes at Sandown attracted a top quality line up for its inaugural running, with 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Rock Sand finishing 3rd; Sceptre, who boasted four Classic victories, as runner-up, and the previous season’s Derby winner, Ard Patrick winning the race.

🗓️ JULY 17, 1946………TRAGIC MANNY’S FIRST WINNER………..Wings Ashore, at Lanark, was the first winner for brother of Joe, jockey Manny Mercer. He was born in November 1928, but died on 26 September 1959 when the filly, Priddy Fair, threw him before the start of the Red Deer Stakes at Ascot. Mercer was fatally kicked in the head as he fell to the ground.

🗓️ AND FINALLY…….JULY 11, 2012…THEN THERE WAS ONE….…A novice hurdle race at Worcester became a walk-over as eleven horses were withdrawn, leaving Moulin de la Croix, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies to turn up on his own under Sam Twiston Davies to collect the £3000 prize money – which was used to pay each of the other trainers’ £140 fines for withdrawing. The rest was donated to the Injured Jockeys Fund. The protest was over poor prize money.