Sunday, May 10, 2009

Racing reflections

Good God, I never thought I'd see the day - booing on the Roodee - I had to go and have a lie-down. There was an element of the ridiculous surrounding Friday's renewal of the Ormonde after five withdrawals left a field of just three for the £75,000 added prize money. Three runners for a Group Three but none of them appeared interested in making the running; in the end William Buick took the bull, and the race, by the horns and was rewarded for his enterprise with emphatic victory. Johnny Murtagh aboard 8/11 favourite Frozen Fire trailed in last, eleven lengths behind, and received plenty of catcalls for his trouble. The day before the same jock on Masterofthehorse (13/8f) allowed his mount's stable companion Golden Sword (25/1) too much rope with the pace-making duties; the pacemaker duly went and won with Masterofthehorse finishing like the proverbial train but still two lengths adrift at the line. Still, fair play to Johnny Murtagh, come Saturday he appeared on The Morning Line, took the flak, together with Tom Lee's looks of thunder, and then went and won the Lingfield Derby Trial, although he had to get serious with Age Of Aquarius.

There's usually some sort of football connection when there's racing at Chester. Several Manchester United first teamers were in attendance on Thursday while on Wednesday the finale was entitled 'Hull City AFC Premier Dream Maiden Stakes'. Hull's manager Phil Brown is a keen racegoer - after his side's 2-1 defeat at home to Stoke yesterday, the dream looks increasingly less certain... In that very same race, the Michael Owen owned Paddy Partridge was sent off at 200/1 and trailed in eighth. My guess is Michael will be more worried about tomorrow's crunch relegation fixture at St James' Park with Newcastle set to entertain local rivals Middlesborough.

The Queen's horse Free Agent never ran at Chester on account of a bruised foot and I'll bet Nicky Henderson wishes Moonlit Path, in the same ownership, hadn't run in the Turftv Mares' Novices Hurdle at Huntingdon last February. Moonlit Path failed a drugs test and I would imagine Her Majesty is not amused. Just how does one extricate oneself from a rather unfortunate situation such as this? A date in June is to be set for the disciplinary panel.

Finally, Clare Balding was a guest on last night's 'Have I Got News For You'. As you might have expected, there were several references to teeth and dentists. Ms Balding, who earlier in the day hadn't formed part of the BBC's Ascot coverage as she was fronting the Wakefield v. Wigan rugby league match instead, pointed out that her insult on live TV had resulted in Liam Treadwell receiving offers of free dental treatement. She then offered to insult other people live on TV; I'm thinking of asking her to ridicule my ageing Vauxhall Astra 1.6 (8 valve), in the vain hope somebody out there will give me a brand new car free of charge...

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