SHARPE MIND: Unbeatable’s Unthinkable Loss…

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 22 November and 28 November.


NOV 22, 1994……….FIDDLER’S SEASONS OF GOODWILL END……….Trainer Arthur Goodwill died today in 1994, aged 82. Turning up at trainer Harvey Leader’s stables to be an apprentice jockey as a boy he was carrying a violin, and for the rest of his life was universally known as ‘Fiddler’, as a flat and jumps jockey, and trainer. His most important training success was saddling Woolley to win the 1969 Bunbury Cup.

NOV 22, 1940……..SIR GORDON FOXED……..Going in to the final day of the flat season level pegging in the title race, Gordon Richards won today’s 1940 November Handicap on 25/1 Glorious Devon to go one ahead, only for rival Freddie Fox to land a double to take the title. Fox, born in 1888, twice won the Derby, and died in a 1945 car crash.

NOV 23, 2007………..WOODY TOP RON…………….Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood, owner and punter, revealed his most embarrassing racing moment today in 2007, confessing- ‘I got thrown out of the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot for not having a top hat.’

NOV 23, 2004……..MARCUS MY WORDS………Amateur rider Marcus Armytage rode Mr Frisk to win the 1990 Grand National, but today in 2004 observed of his fellow jockeys: ‘The weighing room is something of a cultural desert. This is not a criticism, because the ability to recite poetry is bugger all use to you as you sail down to Becher’s.’

NOV 24, 1990………….JULIE’S JAPANESE JOY…………American jockey Julie Krone became the first female ever to win a race in Japan, today in 1990.

NOV 24, 1990……….BACK THE OUTSIDER OF FIVE……Five set off in the novice chase at Newcastle today in 1990. All five came to grief at some stage, but 16/1 outsider of the field, T Reed’s mount Tropenna was remounted to win for trainer John Goulding, earning this race close-up write-up:’ Left in lead 1st, tried to run out bend after 6th, blundered 8th, headed 10th, left alone 12th, fell 3 out, remounted.’ This was the 7 year old’s only win in a 23 race career.

NOV 25,2004…………….GUY BOMBS IN………………….Guy Willoughby rode his first winner under Rules, Inn From The Cold, at Carlisle, today in 2004, before returning to his job as an explosives expert. As his winner’s trainer, Len Lungo noted, ‘Guy may not be the best amateur around, but I assure you he is better at riding than I am at bomb disposal.’ Chief-executive of the mine clearing charity HALO, he retired from the saddle in 2008 at the age of 47.

NOV 25, 1967 …..RACING’S FORCED WINTER BREAK……….Racing suffered a total shutdown from today in 1967, due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, resuming only on January 5, 1968 at Sandown.

NOV 26, 2008………………JAMIE’S XMAS NAME GAME…………………………Trainer, Jamie Osborne claimed today in 2008 that he had named a dozen yearlings after the 12 days of Christmas – Three French Horns, Five Gold Rings, Six Geese A-Laying, etc. How many of them made the racecourse under those names is unclear!

NOV 26, 1966……………..UNBEATABLE’S UNTHINKABLE LOSS……Most punters assumed odds-on Arkle only had to turn up to win Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup today in 1966. But the good thing was turned over – only by half a length, and conceding 35lbs – by Stan Mellor’s unconsidered 25/1 shot, Stalbridge Colonist, a grey, who won 13 chases during his career, was 2nd in the 1967 Gold Cup to Woodland Venture, and was trained by Ken Cundell.

NOV 27, 2004………..POINTLESS PANTS COMMENT…….In the 2004 Mackenzie & Selby Hunter Chasers & Point To Pointers Annual, published today, a horse called Knickers had ‘never looked like coming down’, while Centurion had ‘the speed of a 100 year old.’

NOV 27,1993………….SHOWING GREAT FORTT-ITUDE……Today in 1993, virtually unknown Daniel Fortt became the first conditional jockey to win the Hennessy Gold Cup, on Andy Turnell-trained 10/1 shot, Cogent. It was just the 12th career win for Fortt.

NOV 28, 2007…..…BATCHELOR BOY MATTIE………Asked today in 2008 about an alternative career, jockey Mattie Batchelor – several times champion jockey in the Channel Islands – was in no doubt – ‘A male escort. With my charm and charisma I’d have been a natural.’

NOV 28, 1990…MAJOR RACING FAN……..At the very moment her father John officially became Prime Minister, today in 1990, Elizabeth Major was x-raying a sedated racehorse at a veterinary surgery near Huntingdon as part of her studies at the Animal Heath Trust,

AND FINALLY…..ON HIS TOD…….US jockey Tod Sloan, famed for introducing the revolutionary ‘monkey up a stick’ style of riding to this country, rode four winners at Manchester on November 27, 1897, the final day of the Flat season. He was later deprived of his licence for disregarding the rule forbidding jockeys from betting. His career fell into decline and he died in the charity ward of a Los Angeles hospital in 1933, aged 59.

GRAHAM SHARPE


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