Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday snippets

Following Denman's defeat last weekend, champion jockey AP McCoy came in for some unjustified criticism from certain quarters after being unceremoniously dumped on the Newbury turf. Alan Lee penned a piece in Tuesday's Times defending the champ while yesterday Harry Findlay, joint owner of Denman, was at pains to point out to the TV cameras that the bookies currently have Denman priced correctly for next month's showpiece; in this week's Weekender paddock judge Ken Pitterson also observed Denman was carrying condition. Nonetheless the casual observer who watches a bit of TV racing on a Saturday afternoon will be left with the distinct impression that these days it's Ruby Walsh who is riding the big race winners. Two articles in the weekend's papers aim to redress the balance - David Walsh conducts an in depth interview with McCoy in today's Sunday Times while Tony shared the secrets of his success with readers of yesterday's Daily Mail.

The loss of Wincanton's Kingwell Hurdle card on Saturday has left Nicky Henderson with a headache as he tries to get another run into Punjabi before the Festival. The trainer is now pinning his hopes on the addition of a two mile hurdle race to Saturday's Kempton card - a decision will be made tomorrow. If that plan falls through, I guess a racecourse gallop will be on the cards for the current champion hurdler who is known to be quite a stuffy horse.

Me Voici (11/10f) looked the part when taking the Victor Ludorum at Haydock yesterday; bookmakers offer 25/1 about the winner for the Triumph but connections indicated they may miss the race. It's worth noting that in this race Venetia Williams' Stars Du Granits opened 100/30 on course, was backed in to 2/1 second favourite but got no further than the second flight. Similarly Monsieur Jourdain (25/1) threw away any chance he had with a terrible jump when in the lead four from home.

Following the death of former jockey and writer Dick Francis last Sunday, I was surprised by the number of people who came up to me and said they hadn't realised he was on board when The Queen Mother's Devon Loch famously 'did the splits' within sight of the winning post in the 1956 Grand National. There have been several tributes to the great man - I favoured this obituary in Monday's Daily Telegraph.

Finally to finish with... The Festival is a little over three weeks away - get yourself in the mood with this behind-the-scenes look at the the making of the Cheltenham Charity Song.

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