Sunday, August 02, 2009

Odds 'n' ends...

The final day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting was anything but glorious - the rain came, along with the sea mist. Alan Lee wrote a piece in Saturday's Times commenting on the recession and falling attendances, pointing out that the free view from Trundle Hill had proved popular this year. Anyone who took the option to watch Saturday's racing will have seen next to nothing; from the racecourse stands visibility stretched to two hundred yards at most.

Two performances caught my eye during the week. On Friday at Bangor Beherayn won his first chase. In the past this one has either gone off like a scalded cat or pulled hard when held up, often failing to give the obstacles the respect they deserve. Have connections finally tamed him? The form book reports that he pulled hard in rear, made jumping errors but eventually won with something in hand. On Thursday The Betchworth Kid, a 33/1 shot, ran a huge race to take third place in the Goodwood Cup. He's set to go jumping this winter with Alan King.

Recently a colleague spent a few days walking in Northumberland, staying at The Blink Bonny, Christon Bank. The hostelry is named after Blink Bonny, a remarkable filly who won the Epsom Derby and two days later the Oaks in 1857. The horse's skeleton is preserved in the museum at York racecourse but two of her hooves are kept in a glass case above the fireplace at the pub.

That story brought to mind a time Mrs Tips and I lodged in a hotel in Gatehouse of Fleet, South West Scotland. Our stay coincided with the annual 'riding the marches', a tradition which, according to Wikipedia, 'celebrates the ancient custom of riding the boundaries of the parish/marches'. Townsfolk rode through the streets on all manner of different sized horses; the people of Langholm have recently celebrated the 250th anniversary of their Common Riding. Of course, you couldn't get a bet on for love nor money...

Finally, four footballers who did manage to get a bet on will perhaps wish they hadn't after they were banned for a breach of betting rules. Jay Harris (Chester City), Robert Williams (Accrington Stanley), David Mannix (Chester City) and Andrew Mangan (Forest Green Rovers) have all been fined and hit with playing bans of up to one year.

By the way, the new season kicks off on Saturday.

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