AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Jamie’s Journey

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 22 August and 28 August.

AUGUST 22, 1979…..…PIGEON’S WEIGHTY WIN…….The great dual purpose, later-to-be dual Champion Hurdler, and flat race top-notcher, 9yo Sea Pigeon (7th of 25 at 50/1 in the 1973 Derby under the ill-fated Tony Murray, and trained by Jeremy Tree) won the historic Ebor Handicap at York at 18/1, on this date, carrying a hefty 10stone, (7lb more than any other winner had ever managed), trained by Peter Easterby, and with Jonjo O’Neill in the saddle. Praised prestigious Racehorses of 1979: ‘Sea Pigeon is one of racing’s greatest assets; in showbusiness terms he is a star.’

AUGUST, 22, 1989….SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS……..A mystery punter turned up at York – betting £90,000 on 4/9 Cacoethes, who finished 2nd, then hitting back with a fifty grand win from 2/1 Zalazl, before getting the other forty grand back via £90,000 at 4/9 on winner, Weld.

AUGUST 23, 2008…………STICKY MOMENTS FOR MARMALADE……Not everyone was applauding after Aidan O’Brien’s Duke Of Marmalade, 4/6 favourite, ridden by Johnny Murtagh, took advantage of a manouevre by stable-mate Red Rock Canyon, in seeming to allow the horse to come through a gap caused as Colm O’Donoghue moved his mount off of the rails to create space, and to win Newmarket’s Juddmonte International. Another runner seemed to be denied a clear run as a result. The incident sparked allegations of team tactics and resulted in a BHA inquiry at which O’Brien was fined £5000 and his jockeys both banned for seven days.

AUG 23, 2011……BY GEORGE, GEORGE, GEORGE!………. George Baker – the 4yo horse owned by George Baker the man, trained by another George Baker, was ridden by still another George Baker, the jockey at Leicester on August, 23 2011 – and won for the 4th time in five starts.

AUGUST 24, 1888…MUST HAVE BEEN A HULL OF A COURSE……The Express in Hull reported of the new local racecourse that ‘the ground has been laid out in accordance with the latest ideas, with the result that the course is one of the finest and most completely adapted for racing purposes in all England.’ Yet it did not survive beyond 1909.

AUGUST 24, 1991…..PUNTERS RUSSIAN TO GET ON…… The 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt, which became known as the August Coup, was a failed attempt by hardliners of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party to forcibly seize control of the country from Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet President and General Secretary of the Communist Party at the time. As the coup unfolded, coincidence backers had a field day, latching on to topical tip, Bold Russian, being ridden in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood for trainer Barry Hills by Willie Carson – which duly romped home at 100/30.

AUG 25, 1724…STUBBS GOT IT DEAD RIGHT….…. Born on this date in 1724, George Stubbs was a great English painter, best known for his paintings of horses. Self-trained, Stubbs learned his skills independently from other great artists of the eighteenth century. He studied the anatomy of racehorses, often using dissected corpses to do so. Indeed, wrote Ralph Nevill, in his 1908-published ‘Old Sporting Prints’ of the artist who, he said, ‘became the fashionable horse painter of his day’ that he ‘never ceased to study….even carrying a dead horse on his back up to his dissecting room.’

AUGUST 25, 2008……ICELANDIC SCOUSE ITALIAN…….After sending out his first UK winner, Icelandic, an 8/1 shot at Warwick, Frank ‘Italian Scouser’ Sheridan, originally from Birkenhead, explained that he’d trained in Italy for over 20 years but ‘things are going from bad to worse over there. The prize-money is gone.’

AUGUST 26, 2004………JAMIE’S JOURNEY……..Three months old when he was taken to his first racecourse, eight year old Jamie Thomas completed a set of the 59 British racecourses on this date, when he and his father Tony, from Cardiff, arrived at Musselburgh to complete what Dad called their ‘racing pilgrimage.’

AUGUST 26, 2007…….OWEN’S OWN LONG-TERM GOAL………Many thought racing would be a short lived fad for him, but England striker, Michael Owen, confirmed on this date that he was in it for the long haul, declaring: ‘When you retire, you have to have something that grips you and gives you that adrenalin thrill. I’ve been in racing for ten years and it is the only thing that matches the thrill of scoring a goal.’ And he’s still, of course, firmly involved.

AUGUST 27, 1888………….WAITING FOR WINNERS…………..Leopardstown racecourse staged its opening race meeting, attracting a huge crowd. ‘The site of the racecourse was from medieval times until the 17th century a leper colony called ‘Leperstown’’ explained Alan Shuback in his book ‘Global Racing’. Present for the opening day was future author of ‘Waiting for Godot’, Samuel Beckett, published as a play in 1952, who apparently could get little closer to the course than the platform of nearby Foxrock station, but who, with his father William often also walked to Leopardstown Racecourse, and Foxrock. These would later feature in his plays and prose…..the track eventually prospered despite its opening attracting a spoof obituary by an Irish sporting paper after the opening day, which declared of the course: ‘Brutally strangled at birth by gross incompetence, bungling and mismanagement.’

AUGUST 27, 1990………A POSH DUKE……..Leading jockey-turned-leading trainer, David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson, died aged 67. Given his nickname by one of his father Frenchie’s grooms, who thought he talked ‘posh’, Nicholson rode Mill House to win the 1967 Whitbread Gold Cup, won three Welsh Nationals, trained Charter Party to win the Gold Cup and Viking Flagship to land two Queen Mother Chase victories.

AUGUST 28, 1989………ALFRED CASHED IN…………Riding Tomely Column at Clairefontaine, France, Alfred Gibert was run away with, after his reins broke. Sacrificing his own chances, Cash Asmussen, on Glenetive, rode after Gibert, and brought his mount under control, saving the jockey from serious injury. Asmussen was later honoured by a national tv station for making ‘the year’s most sporting gesture.’

AUGUST 28, 2021…MORE MONEY, MONEY, MONEY……Owned and bred by Abba’s Benny Andersson, 20/1 Lavender’s Blue won the Celebration Mile at Goodwood under Rob Hornby, trained by Amanda Perrett.

AND FINALLY……AUGUST 26, 2021……LAST MEN STANDING!……The older ranks of Newmarket trainers took part in a restaging of a team photograph taken 25 years earlier – revealing that 14 of the original 49 that took part were still going strong, reported the RP on this date.

From the class of 1996, Sir Mark Prescott, Sir Michael Stoute, Chris Wall, James Fanshawe, William Haggas, Michael Bell, Rae Guest, Stuart Williams, Ed Dunlop, William Jarvis, George Margarson, Chris Dwyer, Sean Woods and Conrad Allen remained licence-holders.

In all, 11 had sadly passed away since posing in 1996 including many giants of the turf. They were Sir Henry Cecil, Alec Stewart, David Cosgrove, Pip Payne, Michael Jarvis, Jack Banks, Paul Kelleway, Geoff Wragg, Dave Thom, Tom Jones and Pat Mitchell.

At 73, Sir Mark Prescott was one of the senior handlers in the latest picture, and commented: “I was quite happy to stand at the side for the latest picture, but some of the younger trainers insisted I stood in the middle. When I asked why, they said: ‘Because you won’t be here for the next one!’ I suspect he WILL!