AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Let’s Call it a Draw…

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 25 April and 1 May.

APRIL 25, 1905………STEVE PROVED HIMSELF ABROAD…..British champion-to-be Steve Donoghue (1884-1945) rode his first winner on April 25, 1905 – Hanoi, at Hyeres in France, where the Warrington-born 20 year old had gone to escape bullying at the Kingsclere stables of trainer John Porter. He then became champion jockey in Ireland in 1908, before returning to England and dominating the sport as ten-times champion between 1914-23.

APRIL 25, 1989……. Commented the Sporting Life on what happened on this date at Punchestown: ‘Their move was scandalous and an insult to the public’. Another Clem had won the 5.45 race, a two and a half mile hunter chase – but no one could back him as a result of bookmakers’ clerks, Tote staff and the official timekeeper all going on strike, objecting to the 8 race card ending so late in the day. Bizarrely enough the horse came out again the next day, finishing 3rd at 10/1 in a three mile, half furlong hunter chase.

APRIL 26, 2009……DICKIE LEADING AT LAST…..Having ended the first day of the 2009 jump season, April 26, 3-1 up over perennial champ, Tony McCoy, pretender to his title, the modest Richard Johnson, made the most of his early but ultimately futile, lead by telling racing writers, ‘It will sink in shortlt as it has never happened before!’

APRIL 26, 1989…..SCU SET THE BAR HIGH…..Peter Scudamore became the first jump jockey to ride 200 winners in a season, as he did so over the sticks when landing a four-timer at Towcester on April 26, 1989. And the 30 year old was the first jockey to reach a double century in Britain since Gordon Richards achieved it on the flat in 1932. By the end of the current season Scu had ridden 221 winners while his trainer Martin Pipe had 208 to his credit.

APRIL 27, 1753…..LET’S CALL IT A DRAW…..….One of the earliest dead-heats recorded wasn’t even called that. A report from April 27, 1753, of the race between Earl Gower’s Moorelander and Capt Vernon Brown’s Surley, run over Newmarket’s Beacon Course, with both carrying 9 stone for a £50 stake saw the two ‘come in so near together, that it could not be determined by Byestanders which had won – no person being appointed Judge – therefore it was rendered a drawn Match.’

APRIL 27, 1834……HORSE PENSIONS…..The Sunday Times of April 27, 1834 reported that ‘On the death of Lady Penrhyn, six of her horses had pensions assigned to them of £45 per annum each. The first five died at the respective ages of 28, 29 and 31, the executors having paid for the pension of this one horse, £810.’

APRIL 28, 1868…LET’S CALL IT A DRAW..….The first dead-heat in the 2000 Guineas saw 14/1 Moslem, and 5/2 favourite, Formosa inseparable on April 28, 1868, with respective owners declining a run-off and splitting the spoils.

APRIL 28, 2018……NINA DANCED AWAY…….On the final day of the 2018 Punchestown Festival, April 28, Nina Carberry, now 34, announced her retirement after dancing to victory on Josies Orders for trainer Enda Bolger and owner J P McManus.

APRIL 29, 1952……..CLOCKING ON……..Electric timing of races was introduced at Newmarket on April 29, 1952.

APRIL 29, 1971…JOCKEY-SIZED…Adrian Maguire, born on this date explained why he became a jockey: ‘I was too small to become a window-cleaner, and too big to be a garden gnome.’

APRIL 30, 2016…… Despite never having had a bet in her life before, someone suggested to Joanna Morgan as she ran her marmalade stall at Goodwood racecourse on April 30, 2016 that it may be a good time to break her betting duck as a horse named Marmalady was about to contest a 5f sprint on the course.
Joanna also just happened to be world champion marmalade-maker (for her Radnor Preserves Smokey Campfire Marmalade). The horse was an outsider but, and why else would I be telling you this? – duly obliged at 16/1. Joanna was then invited to present the race prizes. She didn’t reveal how much she staked.

APRIL 30, 1983…….ROYAL OPENING……The Queen officially opened Newmarket’s National Horse Racing Museum on April 30, 1983. If you haven’t been there, I can recommend it as a thoroughly worthwhile visit.

MAY 1, 2021……ONE FOR THE OLDIES….…On May 1, 202154 year old Kevin Manning became the oldest jockey to ride a 2000 Guineas winner since Lester Piggott at 56 in 1992 on Rodrigo di Triano, as he partnered 16/1 Poetic Flare, trained by his 79 year old father in law, Jim Bolger, to win the 2000 Guineas.

MAY 1, 2019…….THAT’S IT, I’VE HAD ENOUGH…… He’d said it before – ‘I’d love to get off one at Punchestown, pull the saddle off and tell Willie that I won’t be out for the next one’ when asked whether and when he might eventually retire. But few there at, or watching, the May 1, 2019 Gold Cup at Punchestown realised that Ruby (christened Rupert) Walsh was set to do just that, as he had been telling people he expected to ride at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. However, after the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy passed the post in front and Ruby jumped off, to be told ‘Well done’ by Mullins, he responded: ‘You’d better find a rider for Livelovelaugh later.’
That was it. The end of a glorious riding career – and the start of a new one as a tv pundit.