AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Jim The Diamond Owner

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 8 August and 14 August.

🗓️ AUGUST 8, 1990…….TON-UP JACK…Trainer Jack Berry became the first northern-based handler for 58 years to send out 100 winners in a season when Heaven Leigh-Grey won at Brighton. As a result, Jack, who became even better known for his work with the Injured Jockeys Fund, won a £100 bet at odds of 50/1 with bookie Graham Lisle. The last to achieve this feat had been Dobson Peacock in 1932.

🗓️ AUGUST 8, 2008…TAKING THE MICK…….Leading jump jockey Mick Fitzgerald, born in May, 1970, retired from the saddle on this date, declaring: ‘When you are advised that a fall could kill you, you have to listen.’ He has gone on to become a popular tv broadcaster on racing channels. His biggest success came when he won the 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest and was ill-advised enough in his excitement to declare that the experience was ‘better than sex’, which became the title of his very readable autobiography. H

🗓️ AUG 9, 1775……..JUMP TO IT!……The publication, Heber’s Calendar printed the conditions for horses wishing to contest a race for £50 open to hunters carrying 12 stone, run in three mile heats. But in order to qualify, four days before the race, potential runners had to ‘leap back and forward over a wall made from stone and lime, 4ft 2ins high and 9 ins broad at the top, and also over a drain 10ft wide, carrying 12st before judges appointed.’

🗓️ AUG 9, 1930…..…TO BE FRANK?……..What became known as the ‘Tote Robbery’ occurred, when there was a robbery at the Tote office at India’s Calcutta Race Club. Money was always delivered in ‘special tin boxes’ after racing. On this occasion the tin boxes were opened, and found o contain ‘brick rubble’. The Police were called in and suspicion fell on the Tote Manager, Mr Binning, ‘a charming personality and the last person likely to be associated with a major robbery’ felt W G Frith, who wrote a history of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club. ‘By the time they were searched, Frank Binning’s house and gardens looked as if they had received a visit from Atilla the Hun.’ Despite this and a large reward, the money – an unspecified, substantial amount – was never recovered.

🗓️ AUG 10, 1711……..Jonathan Swift wrote in his diary; ‘Dr Arbuthnot, the Queen’s favourite physician, went out with me to see a place they have made for a famous horse race tomorrow, where the Queen will come!’ By ‘A place’ he meant Ascot, the ‘Queen’ was Anne.

🗓️ AUGUST 10, 1985…….Tremulous won at Haydock, giving trainer Barry Hills his 1000th flat winner in Britain.

🗓️ AUGUST 10, 1991……JIM THE DIAMOND OWNER…..….Born in 1894, owner Jim Joel’s 805th and final winner (his first was in 1928) was Living Image, a 6/1 shot at Redcar. His Royal Palace in 1967 won both the 2000 Guineas (the first British Classic utilising starting stalls) at 100/30 and the Derby, at 7/4. A director of De Beers diamond company, he also won the Grand National in 1987 with 28/1 Maori Venture.He died on March 23, 1992, and his tombstone is inscribed: ‘Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God’.

🗓️ AUGUST 10, 2008……GOLDEN HAT TRICK…….French sprinter Marchand D’Or, trained by Freddie Head won the Prix de Gheest at Deauville for the third consecutive year – the first time a French horse had won the same domestic Group race on three straight occasions.

🗓️ AUGUST 11, 1969…….100,000 NOT OUT…… In The Sweeney Guide to the Irish Turf it was claimed that the 100,000th recorded race to be run in Ireland was a maiden plate at Gowran Park on August 11, 1969, won by Strawberry Belle, trained by John Oxx.

🗓️ AUGUST 11, 1994….READ ALL ABOUT IT…….The longest odds ever offered on an Australian course, 5000/1, were laid to A$20 by bookie, Mark Read, about About Our Friend, who finished 7th at Canterbury

🗓️ AUGUST 12, 1959…….GRAHAM’S WHEELY MEMORABLE DAY..….Long term racehorse owner Graham Wylie was born on this date. He once recalled a memorable day at York racecourse when ‘a mature lady who was very drunk passed out, fell backwards, and landed in a wheelbarrow in the Pimm’s bar.’

Wylie called paramedics who, when they arrived, ‘just wheeled her out of the bar – still holding on to the bottle of champagne she was drinking from.’

🗓️ AUGUST 12, 2013…….ADRIAN’S TWEET COST £100…..… Adrian Nicholls became the first jockey fined for a tweet, when his somewhat ungrammatical outburst after being given a two day ban for misuse of the whip at Thirsk, on August 12, where he had won on Rocket Ronnie, saw him tell the world, or at least his 5000+ followers: ‘F**k the 2 days I got great 2 bang 1 in!!’ He was fined £100 to rub salt into his wound!

🗓️ AUGUST 13, 1985……EDDIE HIDE’S 13-PHOBIA….13 was a number leading jockey of the seventies and eighties Eddie Hide always claimed to be wary of. This is a little odd. Yes, he broke his leg at York one Friday 13th – but his last winner came on August 13, 1985 – and when Morston won the 1973 Derby he was Hide’s 13th mount in the race, and he carried the number 13. Mind you, the horse was then injured and never raced again.

🗓️ AUGUST 13, 2021…. Vandals badly damaged temporary facilities at Worcester overnight before the Friday of a two-day meeting, leaving officials furious at the “mindless pondlife” responsible. Clerk of the course Tim Long discovered on Friday morning that the temporary jockeys’ changing and weighing room facility, and the marquee to cater for stable staff, which had been put up to comply with Covid-19 regulations, had been “smashed to bits” by vandals who had accessed the course overnight.

🗓️ AUGUST 14, 1968……HOW PERCY SHOT BACK UP……. The Percy Woodland Steeplechase, named after the successful trainer and jockey,was first run on August 14 1968 at Fontwell Park. Percy was born in Hendon in 1882 and died at the age of 76. In 1918 he was shot down during WW1, but survived, ending up in a Turkish hospital, suffering from a fractured knee and a broken collarbone. He became the first man to win not only the Grand National, which he did twice – on Drumcree in 1903, and Covertcoat in 1913 – but also to win the French Derby, and, twice, the Grand Steeplechase of Paris.

🗓️ AUGUST 14, 1989……WHY NICO’S KEEN TO KEEP HIS HEAD…….. Born on this date, jockey Nico de Boinville’s family tree ‘features 19 ancestors who were beheaded during the French Revolution’ revealed Times’ journalist Rick Broadbent in a February, 2020 interview. Pondering on the life of a jockey, Broadbent observed: ‘It is a life of serial losing punctuated by fleeting success.’

🗓️ AND FINALLY……..AUGUST 10, 1993……….OWEN’S 3000/1+ DOUBLE……….After a frustrating spell of 102 days without sending out a winner, trainer Owen O’Neill scored an amazing double at Bath, as previously unraced Harvest Rose romped home at 66/1 under Tony Clark, and stable-mate Miss Crusty, who’d been off the course for 658 days, went in at 50/1 for a 3349/1 double.