HORSE RACING

31 December, 2021

AUTHOR: James Dowen

SHARPE MIND: The Final Blog of 2021

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 27 December and 2 January.


DECEMBER 27, 2019………POTTERING AROUND…………..Potters Corner was the 8/1 winner of the Welsh National at Chepstow today in 2019 – as, according to tweets from the track, ‘several course officials had to physically remove an in-running punter who tried to retrieve his drone.’

DECEMBER 27, 1993……….SEEING THE LIGHT…….Wolverhampton staged the UK’s first floodlit meeting today in 1993, with Petraco winning the first race of its type – the 4.05, 6f, 10 runner, Musco Lighting First Ever Floodlit In Great Britain Handicap – at 4/1, ridden by Steve Williams for trainer Nigel Smith in front of a 10,000 crowd.

DECEMBER 28, 1971……………D’OH, I FANCIED THAT ROGUE!………….The highest odds in Irish Tote history – £289.64 for 10p- were paid out on Gene’s Rogue at Limerick, today in 1981.

DECEMBER 28, 1992………..MARTIN’S MONOPOLY……….The first four home in the Welsh National at Chepstow were winner, 11/4 jt fav Run For Free, from 50/1 Riverside Boy, 11/4 Miinnehoma and 20/1 Bonanza Boy – all of them trained by Martin Pipe, who had previously won the race in 1988, 89 and 91. 11 ran.

DECEMBER 29, 2008…………….SKINNING SIR MARK…..92 year old owner Lady Anne Bentinck died today in 2008. She gave trainer Sir Mark Prescott an unusual gift – the skin of legendary 19th century racehorse St Simon, Ascot Gold Cup winner and great sire, owned by her grandfather.

DECEMBER 29, 1982……….TIP FROM THE WEST……..A Grand National winner in waiting, West Tip won at 50/1 in his first outing, a Warwick novice hurdle, for trainer Michael Oliver and jockey Philip Hobbs. He went on to become a standing dish in the National – winning under Richard Dunwoody in 1986, finishing 4th in ’87 and ’88, and second in ’89.

DECEMBER 30, 1986………………WHAT A BOY!……………Manhattan Boy won at Plumpton today in 1986. Nothing very unusual about that – except that he ran at the course 64 times, winning 14 of them including five Peacehaven Hurdles – an individual record for the track. Manhattan Boy ran 24 times elsewhere, winning none of them.

DECEMBER 30, 1992……..CHINA CRISIS…….Having very recently permitted horse racing to recommence in the country, Chinese officials announced a renewed ban on the sport, and also strengthened its anti-gambling laws.

DECEMBER 31, 1896……..DOUBLING UP………Both horses fighting out the finish of a steeplechase at Keele Park today in 1896 were named Lambton. Lambton won, with Lambton second, causing racing historian, Chris Pitt, who is not quite old enough to have been there, to observe; ‘A good thing neither was ridden by Mr W Lambton, who scored a double at the course in February, 1898.

DECEMBER 31, 2000……….BOOKED OUT……Legendary equine bookshop J A Allen, in Lower Grosvenor Place, London, open for 75 years selling an enormous selection of racing-related books and publications, sadly closed its doors for the final time today in 2000, much to my own disappointment.

JAN 1, 2022…………CHARLIE BOY JOINS THE TEAM………………On this date Charlie Johnston officially joins his Dad, Mark Johnston, Britain’s winning-most trainer, on a joint licence at the Kingsley Park, Middleham, stables.

Commented Johnston senior: “He has been doing that work for the past three years. The time has come for Charlie to share the responsibility as well.’

JANUARY 1, 1973……..DAWN OF NEW AGE……..Charmian Hill, later to become owner of the Champion Hurdle-Gold Cup double winner, Dawn Run, became the first female to compete against men in Ireland, finishing 3rd in a Fairyhouse bumper.

JANUARY 1, 1924………….UNEXPECTED HURDLE……The three runners in a one and a half mile flat race at Calcutta, India, were shocked to come across a set of hurdles left across the track from a previous race – but all three managed o negotiate the jump successfully and the result was allowed to stand, despite an objection from the third horse’s jockey to the first two.

JANUARY 2, 1965……….A RUM DO……………..Despite having held a permit licence to train for 13 years, triple Grand National winner Red Rum’s trainer Donald ‘Ginger McCain only landed his first winner, 3/1 San Lorenzo at Liverpool, on this date in 1965.

JAN 2, 1874………………BIRD BRAINED RESULTS……………Reporting on the recent Auckland Jockey Club race meeting, New Zealand’s Auckland Star newspaper reported; ‘The carrier pigeon which went holiday-making yesterday instead of coming home with our message (race results) from the course, turned up at a most disreputable hour in a dissipated condition. He has undergone a proper punishment and will, we hope, do better in future.’

…..AND FINALLY……OH, FOR ******* SAKE……..Riding in Dubai on December 31 in 1998, Gary Hinds earned himself a £500 fine after being reported by an owner for whom he’d just ridden a winner at Nad al Sheba, for swearing. Explained trainer Satish Seemar: ‘I asked Gary why he had been so far back on Susu and he used a swear word in his reply. It was not directed at me, or at anyone else. It was the first time he has done it, he has apologised and I can forgive him. But I do not think a swear word should be used in the paddock.’

GRAHAM SHARPE


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