AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: Sunny Tribute

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 14 November and 20 November

🗓️ NOV 14, 1988………BILL’S DEAD CERT… Mourners gathered in Southend to bury keen punter, Bill Brown, only to be staggered when presiding Reverend Bob White told them that the deceased had left a message, wanting them all to place bets on Grey General, a horse running in the 2.30 race at Wolverhampton on this date. Rev Rob organised a whip-round, the contents of which were duly placed on the horse – which promptly romped home by 25 lengths, at odds of 4/1, leaving Bill’s brother Jack to explain – ‘Bill placed a bet every day – he just wanted to make all his friends happy for the last time.’…….AND, AMAZINGLY, ALSO ON NOV 14, BUT  TWENTY YEARS later, on the same date in 2008, friends and family attended the funeral of deceased Sussex racing fan, Jim Malone, and decided to have a whip round to back a horse in his honour – deciding on Golan Way, trained nearby in Lewes by Sheena West – which promptly won at 8/1, landing a £600 payout, donated to a local charity.

NOV 15, 1990……..TRIPLE CROWN TRIPLE RUNNER-UP… Runner-up to the great Affirmed in all three of 1978’s US Triple Crown races, Alydar had to be destroyed after fracturing a hind leg in a stable accident – which left Lloyds of London having to shell out a $50m insurance payout. There were strong rumours that the incident may not have been entirely accidental.

NOV 15, 1997……DON’T NOCK THE SHOCK……..With just three horses in her stable, Susan Nock’s Senor El Betrutti was an unfancied 33/1 shot for Cheltenham’s Murphy’s – formerly Mackeson – Gold Cup, but romped home from 8 rivals, under Jamie Osborne at the course where on the same date in 1992, 15,000 turned up for the first ever Sunday jump meeting.

NOV 16, 1992…….ANOTHER GRAY DAY FOR CARROLL…..Having failed to ride a winner since New Tear’s Day the previous year, and having broken his leg in consecutive seasons, point to point jockey, Carroll Gray took a fall from Sue Lark at Haldon – and punctured a lung.

NOV 16, 1957……..FAMILY MAN……The first Hennessy Gold Cup was run, and won, at Cheltenham, by Mandarin – owned by a member of the brandy company sponsoring family. He won it again in 1961, by which time the race had moved to Newbury.

NOV 17, 1996……….ALEC’S RACE WAS RUN……………… Former official Starter, Alec Marsh, 88, who sent off the runners in 101 Classics, died aged 88, having retired after 26 years in the job when Ginevra won the 1972 Oaks.

NOV 17, 2021…RACE MEETING SWISS-ROLLED….…An annual Swiss race meeting was bizarrely put in danger by a local farmer’s plough when land-owner, Hanspeter Bachofen, who farms next to Fehraltorf racecourse, outside of Zurich, ploughed and damaged the ground leading to the track so badly that the local organising committee had to cancel their next scheduled race meeting.

NOV 18, 2008……BALLS UP……Woodfall Treasure, owned by high profile punter, Harry Windfall, made heavy weather of winning at Folkestone, despite going off at 1/5. Trainer Gary Moore declared; ‘He’ll have his balls off tomorrow – that’s what he gets for jumping like a prat’

NOV 18, 2009………………..SUNNY TRIBUTE………….Sun newspaper racing writer Claude Duval’s 40 years career in the role was recognised by a race sponsored in his honour at Lingfield.

NOV 19, 1973………MIRABEL’S MILLIONS……………..Mirabel Topham, whose family had owned Aintree since 1949, sold the racecourse to property developer, Bill Davies, for £3m.

NOV 19, 1982…………AYR WE GO………A record low crowd of just 362 defied awful weather conditions to watch racing at Ayr.

NOV 20, 1999………TRAGIC EMERGENCE OF IJF…………Paralysed by a fall from Border Flight in the 1964 Grand National, jump jockey Paddy Farrell, who rode over 300 winners, died aged 69. His personal tragedy sparked a response which resulted in the formation of the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.

NOV 20, 2007…………NASTY NEV………….Marking the retirement of trainer Neville ‘Nasty Nev’ Callaghan, Peter Thomas wrote in the Racing Post that he had ‘a diplomatic sensibility borrowed from Pol Pot and a vocabulary that makes Gordon Ramsay sound like Mavis from Coronation Street.’ Callaghan himself admitted; ‘ We went to Portman Square with a few, but always managed to scramble out. We’d do it more or less within the rules.’

AND FINALLY……. NO BOG STANDARD STORY…… NOV 15, 2007…….…’Among the bizarre experiences life has brought, standing outside a toilet at Market Rasen racecourse, unveiling a plaque with my name on it, ranks highly’ wrote the Racing Post’s David Ashforth, today in 2007 having declared the track the best in the land for its WCs. PS – David’s latest book, ‘Ashforth’s Curiosities Of Horseracing’ is well worth a read.




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