AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SHARPE MIND: You’re Welcome…

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 January 2 and January 8.

🗓️ JAN 2, 1874………………MESSENGER GETS THE BIRD…………………..Reporting on a recent Auckland Jockey Club race meeting, the 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.’

🗓️ JAN 2, 1992……..GETTING OFF ON WRONG FOOT….…..Having the previous day announced he was launching the first jockey ‘testimonial year’ campaign, 36 year old jump jockey Steve Smith Eccles broke an ankle at Lingfield. He retired, with 876 winners to his credit, in 1994. He won a hat trick of Champion Hurdles on See You Then in 1985/6/7. Known as a jockey joker, his readable autobiography was called ‘Last of the Cavaliers.’

🗓️ JAN 3, 1983…HAYLEY’S DREAM MARRIAGE!………Hayley Turner, born on this date revealed in an interview that her family once tried to persuade her that she was a married woman after she lost her memory for two weeks due to a fall. Hayley said:”They told me all this stuff which I believed, including that my husband was on his way over to see me. I’ve never been married! She’s had a dream career already, but has also reportedly revealed that she had once literally dreamed of something completely different – being married to Bruce Forsyth!

🗓️ JAN 3, 1993……….GOWING THROUGH THE CARD………Former Surrey-based trainer, Robin Gow, went through the card at Seeb racecourse’s 6 race meeting in Oman – saddling every winner on the thoroughbred, Arab and harness-racing card.

🗓️ JAN 4, 1995………….TRAGIC OUTCOME……………..He rode Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s popular horse Attivo to win a Tote Roll Up Handicap in 1973, but in 1981 jockey Chris Leonard sustained injuries from a fall at Ostend, which prevented him from riding again, and were believed to be the root cause of his self-inflicted death on this date almost 14 years later.

🗓️ JAN 4, 1936………………………JONES ENDED JENNINGS CAREER……….Tommy Jennings, born on this date,landed his first winner in March 1959. In 1971 he twice won on hurdler Indigo Jones before partnering him again at Towcester on May 31, 1971, he took the fall which ended his career, as he was told another could be fatal. Highlight of his career was winning the 1969 Scottish Champion Hurdle on Fulke Walwyn-trained Mugatpura. He also rode high quality Sempervivum, but in the 1967/8 season they finished behind triple Champion Hurdler, Persian War four times – in the Schweppes, Champion Hurdle, Welsh Champion Hurdle and at Taunton. Trainer Richard Head praised Tommy for ‘representing the majority of NH jockeys who must more or less accept any ride that comes their way, adding on his retirement:

“Despite the triumphs and the disasters, Tommy would always be back for more with his natural enthusiasm and optimism unimpaired. He will be missed.”

🗓️ JANUARY 5, 1983……..YOU’RE WELCOME…..…The racehorse Welcome Sight, had to be rescued from the River Rye, near Malton, where he had somehow ended up. The horse was trained by Mick Easterby – the veteran trainer, born on March 30, 1931, once declared: ‘I’ve decided I don’t want to be cremated. I’m going to be buried – there’s a slight chance I might get out again.’

🗓️ JAN 5, 1980…………MARTIN’S BUCKETS OF CASH……….Legendary trainer Martin Pipe loved a tilt at the bookies, and, as he explained in December 2015, his ‘best bet’ happened in a selling hurdle race at Haydock on January 5, 1980. ‘I drove the Range Rover and trailer (containing his horse, Carrie Ann) to Haydock. It was the second time ( assistant) Chester Barnes had been racing with me. Chester backed the horse with bookie Pat Whelan – £3300 to £100. He never even altered the odds, so I told Chester to go in again. He had another £100 on. I had gone around all the other bookmakers on the track – 30-plus in those days- backing the horse.

Meanwhile, my father had backed Carrie Ann in betting shops and every credit firm in England. Carrie Ann won comfortably under Rod Millman.

I still remember my wife Carol greeting us when we returned home – and filled up lots of buckets with cash.’

🗓️ JANUARY 6, 1992………MURRAY’S BLAME GAME……..Dual Classic-winning jockey Tony Murray was found dead, aged 41 on this date. He won the Oaks on Ginevra in 1972; and the St Leger on Bruni inn 1975, both for Capt Ryan Price, amongst his 1100+ winners. Once pointed out: ‘When you lose a race, it’s a matter of passing the buck; the owner blames the trainer, the trainer blames the jockey, and the jockey blames the poor old horse.’

🗓️ JAN 6, 1938……………..KEITH ROCKED – TWICE!……Scottish jockey, Duncan Keith, born on this date in Scotland, won the 1965 2000 Guineas on 100/8 Niksar but was bizarrely twice disqualified, having passed the post first in the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup – on the same horse. In 1971 the horse, Rock Roi, failed a dope test. Returning in 1972 he was demoted for interfering with Erimo Hawk.

🗓️ JAN 7, 1833………….CLASSIC OLD PUSHER………………Jockey John Osborne born on this date, won all five Classics during his career. He boasted mutton-chop whiskers, but never wore a collar and tie if possible, while his clothes were described as ‘generally old and shabby.’ Niknamed ‘Old Pusher’ he won 12 Classics, including 6 2000 Guineas and the 1869 Derby on Pretender. He was still riding out, aged 88, a year before he died.

🗓️ JAN 7, 1865……….HURDLES MARATHON…..Australia’s longest ever hurdles race took place over four miles, with 22 3ft 8in hurdles to jump, at Pyalong, near Seymour. The outcome appears to have gone missing in the mists of time.

🗓️ JAN 8, 1807………..’I’M THE GREATEST’…..….He died on this date, but ‘in 1773 I could ride horses in a better manner than any person ever known’ and ‘in 1775 I could train horses better than any person I ever saw’ said modest, five times Classic winner, Sam Chifney senior.

🗓️ JANUARY 8, 2021………..HEREFORD BARKING MAD………..With a big meeting planned for Monday, January 11, and the weather turning very cold, Hereford racecourse tweeted today: ‘Extremely disappointed & frustrated that local people have allowed their dogs to run loose & unsupervised over fleece cover deployed on course to help protect Monday’s fixture. Mindless, costly & the equivalent of vandalism. Keep dogs on leads and under control.’

🗓️ AND FINALLY…………JAN 8, 1996……..WHO WAS WHO?……Reg Hollinshead-trained Loch Style and Taniyar turned up for their races at Southwell – only for confusion to arise when, after finishing 7th, despite going off as 5/2 second favourite in the 2.15 race, Loch Style was recognised as actually being Taniyar in the unsaddling enclosure. Or, perhaps the other way round – to this day there seems to be a doubt as to which it was! The Independent reported at the time: ‘There was chaos in the betting ring after it was discovered that a wrong horse had run in the fifth race. Loch Style, due to run in a seven-furlong race at 3.15, contested a mile-and-a-half contest at 2.15, running in the name of stablemate Taniyar. “Taniyar” was a well-backed 5-2 second favourite but, racing over a trip five furlongs further than thought suitable, finished seventh, beaten over 40 lengths. “I can only apologise to the people who have had a few quid on,” Hollinshead said. One of those ‘people’ was Philip Marshall from Sutton-in-Ashfield, who staked £700 on the horse he thought was Taniyar. “This is an absolute disgrace. He’d have been 33-1 if we’d known it was Loch Style,” Marshall said. Yet, on checking the Racing Post records of past races, prior to writing this account, it transpired that the race report lists Loch Style as being 7th but makes no reference to the fact that it should have been Taniyar running.




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