25 January, 2022

AUTHOR: James Dowen

SHARPE MIND: Peter the Great

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 24 January and 30 January.

JANUARY 24, 2009……..BIG CAREER CHANGE……Jockey Kevin Tobin closed his career with Charlie Mann-trained 11/4 favourite and winner Mr Big at Uttoxeter – prior to departing for the USA to start a new one as an addiction counsellor.

JANUARY 24, 1996…..PETER THE GREAT………One of the all-time great jump trainers, Peter Easterby, born in 1929, closed his career after 45 years with a Sedgefield winner, 2/1 shot, Balhernoch. Amongst the stand-outs in his stellar stable were the immortal duo, Sea Pigeon and Night Nurse….. the former won the Champion Hurdle in 1980 and 1981 and was also the winner of the Ebor and Chester Cup (twice) in flat racing. Not to mention finishing 7th in the 1973 Derby. Night Nurse won the Champion Hurdle in 1976 and 1977, then as a chaser, finished second to stable-companion Little Owl in the 1981 Cheltenham Gold Cup, just failing to become the first horse to complete the Champion Hurdle- Gold Cup double.

JANUARY 25, 1990….. WEATHERING THE STORM….Yorkshire trainer Tim Etherington survived as a 50ft pine tree crashed through his roof, demolishing the room he was in, while jockey Seamus O’Neill, returning from the abandoned Taunton meeting also got lucky and survived when a tree crushed his car, as storms swept the country.

JANUARY 25,1994…. WINLING – AGAIN……Partnered by Billy Newnes, C C Elsey-trained Rapporteur, who clearly loved racing there, won for an amazing 18th time at Lingfield today in 1994, to equal Tempering’s post-war course win record of 18 succeses at Southwell. He went on to win there once more.

JAN 26, 2014……….BETTING BOYLE?……. It was reported on Jan 26, 2014, that despite her untold riches and stardom, singing phenomenon Susan Boyle was planning to start working in a local betting shop.
According to The Sun, ‘Subo’ had ‘stunned punters at her local betting shop when she strolled in and applied for a cashier’s job on the minimum wage.’
The branch was in Blackburn, West Lothian in Scotland and deputy shop manager David Corr confirmedin the story that: ‘Susan walked into the shop and inquired about the job (offering pay of £6.31per hour) advertised in our window.’

JANUARY 26, 2021……….CHEAT PROSPERS……Trainer Paul D’Arcy, confirmed in a Sky Racing interview that his Knight Of Kings, running at Kempton on the next day, would be the final runner of his career. However, before that horse would run down the field, he sent out 12/1 shot, the interestingly named Cheat to win at Southwell, thus providing him with his final winner. D’Arcy trained Indian Haven to win the Group1 Irish 2000 Guineas in 2003.

JANUARY 27, 1967…..….FALLING INTO CONFUSION…..There was chaos in the novice hurdle race at Windsor on this date as two runners fell at the first, only to set off the wrong way round the track, meeting the rest of the runners cming the other way head on, and bringing down two more runners.

JANUARY 27, 1993……..Despite no longer owning or training the horse, David Barron withdrew Amenable from the Lincoln, using an arcane Jockey Club rule which meant the horse’s entries were still under his control, despite new owner Andrew Millar having claimed the horse for 10, 500gns after a Southwell race, and sending the previous 1991 Lincoln winner to be trained by Roger Spicer. The horse had been the 22/1 winner of the Lincoln for Barron in 1991, ridden by Alex Greaves.

JANUARY 28, 1993……………COINCIDENCE WINNER FOR ALERT PUNTERS………………..A coincidental Lingfield winner, today in 1993, as the 9 runner Albert Handicap was won by the 3/1 favourite, Jimmy Quinn-partnered Albert.

JANUARY, 28, 1995…….BEST BABY……‘When he was found by his owner, Jacques Van’t Hart, he was lying on a thin carpet of wet snow,a barely moving little black shape. contrasting with the white background’…trainer Henrietta Knight, recalling this date in 1995 – when future triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate was born in County Meath.

JANUARY 29, 2019………………..FAREWELL TO CENTENARIAN RALPH………………..Keen racegoer and small-stakes punter, Ralph Hoare, of Gloucester, died today in 2019 – aged 110. In 2018 Ralph attended the Cheltenham Festival, seeing Native River win the Gold Cup he’d previously seen Arkle win three times, and where he was photographed with 91 year younger jockey, Jack Kennedy.

JANUARY 29………………FAMILY PHOTO….…66/1 St Adam dead-heated with 9/2 favourite Sazerac over hurdles at Bendigo in Australia on January 29, 1994, ridden by, respectively, Rodney Durden – and his son, Craig.

JANUARY 30,1991………STAN’S TRAINING FEAT…….The only trainer whose name enabled him to double up as a London tube station, Stan Moore, saddled his first winner, Dramatic Event, today at Windsor, in 1991.

JAN 30, 2021…HOW LESTER TOOK THE MICHAEL….Announcing his retirement aged 76, racing writer Michael Clower recalled an attempt to interview Lester Piggott: ‘Lester invariably pretended to be deaf and one day at Phoenix Park he resolved to fix me good and proper: He ignored my queries as I followed him to the weighing room after being beaten on a hotpot. He waited until he was sitting on the scales and had maximum audience. He then turned round and said in a loud voice: “What do you want to ask a f***ing stupid question like that for?” ‘

AND FINALLY, THIS WEEK…… A BUM DEAL………Born on January 27, 1949,, leading jump jockey Graham Thorner once finished a race feeling somewhat exposed, remembered fellow rider, Philip Blacker, who described ‘watching Graham ride a finish without his trousers. The bottom had popped early in the race and by the time he’d jumped the last he was down to jockstrap and ladies tights.’
Thorner rode Well To Do to win the 1972 Grand National and afterwards insisted on wearing the same pair of underpants every time he raced until, said fellow jockey Richard Pitman, ‘He wore them until there was nothing left, just a bit of elastic round his legs. He even had to keep them on with another pair – but there was no way he’d ride without them.’