SHARPE MIND: The End of an Era…

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 13 September and 19 September.

HAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT……..With £200 (worth £15,812 today according to of his own money on the 8/1 chance, jockey Tommy Lye rode Blue Bonnet in the St Leger, on September 13, 1842, using severe force on her during the race, which she won. Far from being grateful, trainer Tom Dawson told Lye he would not permit him to ride any of his horses in the future. Blue Bonnet never won again.

STOUTE FELLOW……..He’d been trying for 34 years, but Sir Michel Stoute finally landed his first St Leger win with 8/1 Conduit, ridden by Frankie Dettori, on September 13, 2008, completing his full set of British Classic wins.

HORROR FALL…….Paul Cook fell from Madraco in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster on September 13, 1989, fracturing his right foot and right thumb, breaking his collarbone, damaging two ribs and ending his career, while Ray Cochrane also came down, breaking his collarbone, and Ian Johnson damaged his lower spine.

SEEING THE LIGHT……Portland Meadows racetrack, USA, made history today, September 14, 1946, becoming the first course in the country to stage an evening meeting under lights.

WHIP BAN DOUBLE………………..Frankie Dettori on 8/1 Shantou just got the better of Pat Eddery on Dushyantor, to win the St Leger on September 14, 1996 – but both were subsequently banned for over-use of the whip.

OF CAUTH HE DID…..…Steve Cauthen celebrated the thousandth win of his career on September 15, in 1979 – at Doncaster, riding the extremely appropriately named Thousandfold.

LEST WE FORGET……..Lester Piggott set a new record of 28 Classic victories on September 15, 1984, as Commanche Run, trained by Luca Cumani, won the St Leger, taking Lester Classic win clear of previous record holder Frank Buckle.

‘STICK THAT IN YOUR BETTING BOOK!’……………….His jockey John Jackson declared ‘What – ride such a cripple as that?’ on hearing he was to partner 200/1 Theodore today, September 16, in the 23 runner 1822 St Leger, about which one bookie took a bet of ‘£1000 (£88,831.46 today) to a walking stick’. Despite reportedly being lame, the horse won amidst rumours of race fixing.

AIR WE GO…….On September 16, 1994 at Ayr, On Air followed Tap On Air the year before, by winning the EBF Fillies’ Handicap.

BOY OH BOY…………..…Bespoke Boy jumped out of the Beverley pre-parade ring today, September 17, 2008, then charged through the enclosures, knocking over a fortunately baby-less pushchair and ending up uninjured inside the grandstand.

END OF AN ERA………Mysterious Ways won at the Curragh, becoming the last runner and winner for master-trainer Vincent O’Brien,1917-2009, today on September 17, 1994. In a Racing Post polls he was voted best ever trainer of both NH & Flat racehorses. He trained six Epsom Derby winners, three St Legers, won three Grand Nationals in succession and trained the only British Triple Crown winner since WW2, Nijinsky. He was twice champion British flat and jumps trainer.

EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY…A large dog appeared on course as odds-on Queen of Trumps was poised to win at Doncaster, today, September 18, in 1835, causing the horse to swerve, allowing Ainderby to win, landing a £2000 bet for owner, Captain Frank Taylor, who sought out the canine’s owner, bought the pooch and gave it a life of luxury.

RUM DO…….Red Rum made his jumps debut on September 18, 1968, finishing second at Cheltenham, having already had ten flat races, winning two outright and dead-heating in another.

ARROWED IN ON TARGET……Ian Balding-trained 10/1 Lochsong, ridden by Francis Arrowsmith, completed a unique treble for owner Jeff Smith, by adding the Ayr Gold Cup, run on September 19, 1992 – the first running of the race on a Saturday in 189 years – to victories in both the Stewards Cup and Portland Handicap.

DOUG’S JUST TOO GRAND……..Monte Carlo was the second of his two winners at Yarmouth on September 19, 1967, becoming the 20,000th ride of his career for five time champion jockey (1954, 55, 56, 58, 59) Doug Smith (1917-89) who rode a career total of 3112 winners.

AND FINALLY…...After finishing 8th of 12 at Nottingham on September 19, 1995 on The Deaconess, hardly fancied, at 66/1, jockey Gary Hind was not best pleased to receive a verbal blasting, not from owner Jennie Clarke, but her husband, Michael, who was so irate he ended up gaining himself a £275 fine from the Stewards who found him guilty of improper conduct.