Friday, August 07, 2009

A longshot coupled with a news update...

Notwithstanding cheerleaders, an open-topped bus and jockeys from sunnier climes, Ascot's Shergar Cup meeting has never been one of my favourites - I shall steer well clear.

Just one hopeful (rather than confident) selection to waste your money on this week, in the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock. Nine go to post for this Group 3 event which is run over ten furlongs. On official ratings John Gosden's Duncan looks the one they all have to beat and consequently the bookmakers make him their market leader. He ruined his chance last time in the Group 2 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket by pulling hard early on - that run is best ignored. He's my idea of the winner but I'm going to look elsewhere for some value. We've had enough rain recently so I went searching for something that would definitely handle soft ground and came up with Traffic Guard. Last September on soft ground at Leopardstown this horse finished half a length second to New Approach in the Irish Champion Stakes. At that time he was trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam but he was moved to one H. Brown (no trainer details available on the Sporting Life site) from whence he was sent out to race three times at Nad Al Sheba. He's back in this country now with Paul Cole and finished a staying-on third in a listed event at Newbury three weeks ago; I'd like to think he can progress from that. The effort behind New Approach is at the back of my mind; any more rain will suit - I'll have a small each-way interest.

The decisions earlier this week, firstly by William Hill and then by Ladbrokes to move their online operations to Gibraltar, will have a major impact on racing's finances in this country. If, as is likely, their telephone betting businesses follow suit, a number of UK call centre jobs will be at risk. Both bookmakers talked of stringent times, in marked contrast to betting exchange opeartor Betfair who reported a 29% jump in underlying earnings and hinted that a public flotation on the stock market may be a possibility.

Betfair co-founder Andrew 'Bert' Black has other things on his mind these days. He has provided financial backing for Michael Owen's new trainer Tom Dascombe. The dream team of Owen, Dascombe and Black were all interviewed at length by Brough Scott at Owen's Manor House Stables on Tuesday.

Finally, something for those who appreciate the finer things in life... Lord and Lady Derby are to open their private horse racing painting collection at Knowsley Hall to the public for one week.

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