Sunday, November 29, 2009

Points of view

Denman put in an exceptional performance yesterday, carrying 11 stones 12 pounds to victory on soft ground in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury; the horse is clearly back to his very best. Over the past two Saturdays we have seen Kauto Star win by a nose at Haydock and Denman demolish a high-class field at Newbury. Anticipation for their clash in the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March has started to build already; this evening Blue Square bet 9/4 Kauto Star, 5/2 Denman, 8/1 Cooldine, 10/1 Imperial Commander.

Just for a second or so, as Denman and What A Friend raced to the final flight, it looked as though Sam Thomas' mount took the lead judging from the reverse camera angle used by the Channel 4 team in their replay. Thomas' mount seeemd to wander around slightly at the last but Denman powered away on the run-in to take the spoils. Thomas will have had mixed emotions talking on television afterwards, having ridden Denman to victory in the same race two years ago; he spoke eloquently and deserves plenty of credit.

As Alan Lee pointed out in Thursday's Times, Richard Dunwoody hasn't been afraid to put the cat amongst the pigeons in his latest book 'Method In My Madness'. Amongst other things, Mr. Dunwoody has suggested that Richard Johnson might have had a better chance of being champion jockey with a different agent and that jockeys' titles should be settled on prize money rather than winners. Writing in the same paper the next day, Tom Scudamore picked up on the latter point... 'To me, the mark of a champion jockey is consistency throughout a season, not just brilliance on the biggest days.'

A story that ran through the summer months (seems such a long time ago now) was the search to find a buyer for Ayr racecourse. This business snippet was spotted in last week's Sunday Times, suggesting the Reuben brothers, who took over Northern Racing two and a half years ago, are on the verge of doing a deal.

Finally, I was annoyed to have missed the Pantomime Horse Grand National which took place in Birmingham City Centre last Sunday. Spank the Donkey won the fillies event while Hoof Hearted took the colts race. Must make a note of the date for next year...

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