AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Not Before Time…

In this week’s SHARPE MIND blog sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE brings us 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. This week he digs out some of the golden moments from between 12 December and 18 December.

🗓️ DECEMBER 12, 1977……………NOT BEFORE TIME……………After 225 years the Jockey Club finally accepted female members. One of them, Mrs Helen Johnson Hoghton was the first woman to train a Classic winner, when Gilles de Retz won the 1956 2000 Guineas, although her name did not appear in the record books, as the Jockey Club had not then recognised women trainers, so the horse ran under the name of her assistant,Charles Jerdein, instead. Helen was one of the first three women eventually elected as members of the Club, alongside Priscilla Hastings (part owner of Taxidermist, winner of the 1958 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup and 1958 1958 Whitbread Gold Cup and also a trainer), and her half-sister, Ruth Wood, Countess of Halifax, owner with her husband of 1978 Derby winnner, Shirley Heights.

🗓️ DEC 12, 1992……………LONESOME FIRST FOR USA……………………..Pennsylvanian trainer, Bruce Miller sent out Lonesome Glory, 20/1 in the four runner race, to win the Sport Of Kings Hurdle at Cheltenham – partnered by daughter Blythe, with the horse reportedly becoming the first US-trained hurdles winner in Britain.

🗓️ DEC 13, 1952…………..FRANCS’ DOGGED EARNER………….Former champion jump jockey John Francome was born today – in his early days as a rider, revealed John in an interview about his money-making schemes of those days: ‘When I was an apprentice – conditional jockey as they were called then, I used to drive a hot-dog van to the racing, and sell hot-dogs between the races. I used to make beds in the hostels and used to go baby-sitting. I had a hire-car that used to break down every weekend – and I’d have to drive somewhere and leave my own car.’

🗓️ DEC 13, 1960………..HART OF THE MATTER….……. Guy Coleman Hart, 30, of Hampstead, London, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment at the Old Bailey for his part in a greyhound racing conspiracy, and for assaulting two Detective Sergeants. Hart, formerly known as Guy Packer, rode Esquire to win the 1945 Cambridgeshire when a Newmarket apprentice. He was sentenced to 15 months on two charges of conspiring ‘to cheat and defraud owners of greyhounds and persons who might bet on results of races in which such greyhounds were running’ at White City and Wembley Stadiums.

🗓️ DEC 14, 1893……..KANG YOU BELIEVE THIS?….Born in Australia on this date, four-time (1909, when he was just 16; 1910-11-12) UK champion jockey Frank Wootton, who rode his first winner at Turffontein, South Africa at the age of 9, featured in the 1952 Racing Review Annual, in which News of the World racing writer Kenneth Bryceson recalled interviewing him and discovering that ‘his method of keeping fit was to spar a few rounds every morning with a boxing kangaroo he kept in the grounds of his house at Epsom.’

Bryceson noted ‘the kangaroo had a punch like the kick of a mule – Frank seemed to think it was great fun!’

🗓️ DECEMBER 14, 2021 …MAGNIFICENT 7 FAVS….… It was a day to remember for punters as Dan Skelton-trained debutant Kracka Nut’s 11/4 win in the bumper meant six clear, and one joint, favourites na won on the seven race Catterick card. The tone was set when Pittsburg,never shorter than 150-1 in seven starts, yet now 18-1 shortly before the opening amateur jockeys’ hurdle, was heavily backed into 11-4 joint-favouritism just before the off, and obliged under Alice Stevens. Long odds-on Brorson, 3/10, was steered to a first career success in the novice hurdle by Sean Bowen, who had now ridden a winner at every British jumps track. In the following handicap chase 4-1 favourite Spot On Soph went in. Inca Prince, 85/40 fav, made a winning start on stable debut for Ruth Jefferson in the juvenile hurdle. Odds-on Vee Dancer, 1/3, completed a hat-trick to take the 3m1½f handicap hurdle, and 11/10 Out On The Tear took the handicap chase.

🗓️ DEC 15, 1994…………..KHAN RETURN…….Owner, the Aga Khan announced he was to end his four-year boycott of British racing, which had been sparked by the banning of his 1989 Oaks winner Aliysa, for testing positive.

🗓️ DEC 15, 1983……….TOUGH DEBUT………………….Son of champion jockey, Willie Carson, Anthony Carson made his debut as a jockey in a hurdle race at Haydock – and was stretchered off the course after his mount, Brockley Belle, came down at the second. Fortunately he was not seriously injured. He went on to become a trainer.

🗓️ DECEMBER 16, 1989………….PERUVIAN PIGGOTT………….Lester Piggott returned to the saddle after a three year absence – in Peru, where he finished 3rd on Sulieman at Monterrico, collecting $20 prize money in the process. On the same day he also became a grandfather for the third time, as daughter Maureen – wed to trainer William Haggas – gave birth to 9lb Marianne.

🗓️ DEC 16, 1993……..BETTER LATE THAN NEVER………….Brigadier Roscoe Harvey was delighted as his 7/1 shot, Relkeel won at Towcester, finally achieving his lifelong ambition by being the first winner he’d bred – at the age of 93.

🗓️ DECEMBER 17, 1846…………..HAPPY START TO RACING………..….On this and the next day there was a race meeting which had been announced in Hong Kong’s first newspaper, the China Mail, which, according to the 1975 book, ‘The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club’, ‘may in fact have been the first held at Happy Valley’ and thus the first organised racing to take place in the colony, although there may have been some a little earlier held in Macau.

🗓️ DECEMBER 17, 1993…….KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY…….Playful Juliet was a 100/1 winner of a novice chase, and Neltegrity 25/1 winner of a hurdles, both at Uttoxeter, and both trained by Warrington-based Terry Caldwell – and ridden by his sons, Pat and Peter, respectively……on the same card French trainer, Francois Doumen, became the first from his nation to saddle a winner at the track – 4/11 Man To Man, again partnered by a son – Thierry.

🗓️ DEC 18, 2019……………………..DAVID’S TEA-TIME DEMAND…………………….‘A condition of racecourse licences will be that receptacles are provided for used tea-bags – or I may scream’……David Ashforth of the Racing Post’s recommendation/demand on this date, for this most urgent racecourse innovation to be implemented during the forthcoming decade. Apparently yet to be introduced!

🗓️ DEC 18, 2021………’ARRY SHAKES UP BOOKIES…………Harry Redknapp’s horse, Shakem Up’Arry was running in the 1.30 at Haydock on this date, with the former football boss explaining : ‘I used to have a guy stand behind me at West Ham when I was manager. For 90 minutes he’d shout: ‘shake ‘em up, ‘arry’. I thought, when I get a horse, I’ve got to call it that.’ The horse, whose recent form figures were 00U certainly shook up the bookies, by winning a handicap chase as 6/5 favourite.

🗓️ AND FINALLY…….Dec 13, 2021…………STU’S STALLS STUNNER…….….Eagle-eyed race fans on social media spotted a discrepancy as the 12 runners jumped off for the 6f novice with two horses in the wrong stalls.The Stuart Williams-trained 80-1 outsider Lord Cherry was supposed to be berthed in stall two, but instead got off to a slow start when rearing in stall four under Luke Catton, with the Richard Hannon-trained 2-1 joint-favourite Sixth Street and Kieran O’Neill jumping out of stall two instead. After the race, the stewards held an inquiry into how the unintentional swap unfolded with both jockeys given a one-day ban. It was not all bad for Williams, as his other runner in the race, Marco Ghiani-ridden 13/2 shot Shanko, made a winning debut to provide the Newmarket trainer with a first two-year-old winner of the year on the all-weather. Williams said of the error regarding his other runner: “Luke was the last one in, so how can it be his fault?




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