AUTHOR: davidstewart

SHARPE MIND: Unhappy Start…

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 11 April and 17 April.

APRIL 11, 1989……..WHO CES DOUG WAS A GREAT?……Five times champion flat jockey (1954-6, 1958,9) Doug Smith, who won four Classics, was found dead at his Newmarket home, aged 71. As a teenager he rode a winner at every British racecourse. Doug loved the Cesarewitch, which he won six times – while his brother Eph did so four times. After hanging up his whip, Doug went on to be a trainer, sending out Lord Derby’s Sleeping Partner to win the 1969 Oaks. Doug’s autobiography was called ‘Five Times Champion’ – see what the publishers did there!?

APRIL 11, 1993………GO FOURTH A WINNER!…..The winner weighed in 6lb light – disqualified; the runner-up took the wrong course – disqualified; the third horse had missed out a fence on the way round – disqualified. So, 4th placed Ballycasey Girl VI was declared the winner of the poiint-to-point race at Ireland’s Dromoland.

APRIL 12, 1984….FRANCS BEAT THE WORLD…..Jockeys from 12 countries contested 4 races, taking at least three rides each in Cheltenham’s unique Railfreight World Championship. However, the title stayed at home as John Francome came out on top, beating Belgian, Phillippe Caus into second, while riders from Italy, Japan and the Soviet Union were also involved.

APRIL 12, 2021…UNHAPPY START…….Happy Mondays’ star, Bez, had anything other than a happy Monday at Redcar, as the first runner for his new racehorse ownership venture, Mystic Moonshadow, refused to race. 2005 Celebrity Big Brother winner, Bez, (real name Mark Berry), launched his racing club, hoping to raise money for Manchester-based homeless charity Coffee 4 Craig.Jedd O’Keeffe-trained Mystic Moonshadow, a 27,000gns yearling, refused point blank to enter the stalls. O’Keeffe said: “She just didn’t want to go in. She took exception to the blindfold as well, so they couldn’t use that.’

APRIL 13, 2019…. RANDWINX WINNER…..Australian ‘super-mare’, Winx triumphed in her last-ever start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on 13 April 2019, at Royal Randwick (inevitably renamed Rand-Winx that day by the media) in front of a crowd of 43,844, scoring a third successive victory in the race, and her 33rd victory – of a total 37.
The two longest winning streaks are by Camarero (56 successive wins in restricted company in Puerto Rico from 1953-55, amongst 73 in total) ) and Hungarian mare Kincsem (54 wins while undefeated from 1876-9).

Winx’s earnings were a record, at over A$26 million, (£14,564,743).
Winx’s exploits almost over-shadowed those of another Aussie super-mare, Black Caviar, foaled in August 2006, who was retired on April 17, 2013, undefeated in 25 races, including 15 Group Ones.

APRIL 13, 1982….BOB’S A CHAMPION, TRUST HIM!…….Bob Champion announced his retirement as a jockey after winning over hurdles on Lumen at Wetherby, and with 420 winners to his credit – most emotionally, after recovering from cancer, on Aldaniti in the 1981 Grand National. After retirement Bob has devoted much of his energy and efforts to researching and combating cancer via his excellent Bob Champion Trust. https://www.bobchampion.org.uk/

APRIL 14, 2012…….TEARFUL A.P. …..…Having won the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised, A P McCoy rode the horse in the Grand National on this date, only for the 10/1 third favourite to fall at Becher’s Brook, suffering a fatal hind-leg fracture. When he was told, said McCoy, ‘I cried, to be honest. I was in a mess and plenty sore in the ambulance room and when JP (McManus, the horse’s owner) came in to see me I was still crying. I went straight home, didn’t ride for days and just stayed in the house.’The race was won by 33/1 shot Neptune Collonges., ridden by Daryl Jacob, and trained by Paul Nicholls.

APRIL 14, 1990……..ROGER THAT – AND THAT!……Having sent out his first winner as a trainer – Deploy at Haydock, under Pat Eddery – on this date, former jump jockey Roger Charlton didn’t hang about, and by June 6 had won the French Derby with Sanglamore, and the Epsom version wuth 7/1 Quest For Fame, from the Beckhampton stables he had taken over from Jeremy Tree, to whom he had been assistant. In early 2022, Roger’s son Harry became joint-trainer with his father.

APRIL 15, 1902……..LURLINE’S SALE FEAT MUST HAVE BEEN MURDER!……Born Lurline Elliot-Pyle, but better known in the racing world as Lurline Brotherton – under which name she became a Grand National winner in 1950 with her Freebooter. She’d go on to own some 350 horses, and have 200+ wins – keeping and displaying plates from all of her runners. In 1968 her trainer bought a horse for her, called Red Rum – who won eight times for her, but was then sold – because he was reportedly suffering from arthritis in his feet – for 6000 guineas to Ginger McCain. No idea what happened to the horse after that…..

APRIL 15, 1991…MARTIN’S MILLION……..Colour Scheme won at Southwell, in the process making trainer Martin Pipe the first jumps trainer to win £1m in first prize money during one season.

APRIL 16, 1929……..PUNCHY BAN…….…The front cover of the racecard for the jumps meeting at Punchestown on this date carried a front page message – ‘Ladies are requested not to wear Native Fox Furs.’…..On the same date, in 1868, the crowd for the meeting had reached a record ‘estimated 150,000’ many attracted no doubt by the presence of the Prince of Wales, who had served at the Curragh as a Colonel.

APRIL 16, 2009…JEANIUS IDEA…..…A family of six were refused entry to Newmarket’s Premier Enclosure when they turned up wearing………jeans. However, the course’s managing director, Stephen Wallis intervened – ‘I gave them all free admission to the Grandstand purely because of their lovely attitude to the situation.’ Hm.

APRIL 17, 1982……CANNY KEN…Ken Oliver won his 5th Scottish Grand National, as a trainer, with Cockle Strand, ridden by David Dutton. He had also ridden the winner of the race, Sanvina, in 1950. Ken was the most successful Scottish-based trainer in racing history. The oldest licence-holder in Britain at the time of his death in June 1999, aged 85, he also trained Aintree Grand National triple runner-up Wyndburgh, and Moidore’s Token, who was also second in the race.

APR 17, 1907…….JONES THE JOCKEY…….Davy Jones was born in to a non-racing family, but the Welshman made his mark in the saddle when in November 1938 he rode winners over hurdles, fences and on the flat on the same afternoon at Liverpool. He won the 1945 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Red Rover – carrying three stone of dead weight. His often effective party trick was to reproduce the cry of an irate stallion at high volume as he charged through the field during a race. His last winner, on Victory March, was scored in 1972, in Nairobi, where he set up a school for young jockeys. Davy died in 1992, aged 84.

AND FINALLY…..WHAT A HEALTHY IDEA…….…Owner Kulbir Sohi snapped up the name Enaitchess early in the covid confusion in mid April 2020, to bestow on a horse in the future. Sohi, with a string of over thirty horses in his name had checked the availability of Enaitchess through the BHA’s naming service and moved quickly,receiving approval for the name on Friday, April 17, and announcing that prize-money earned from Enaitchess would be donated to the NHS. The horse’s first win came at Wolverhampton in February, 2021.

Sohi’s red, white and black silks are a regular sight on the Flat and, particularly, the all-weather. He has had horses since 2014 and his biggest success came in 2019 when Time To Study won the Old Borough Cup.