Friday, June 11, 2010

Quick comments

With Royal Ascot just around the corner, a few quick comments on a weekend when I intend to keep my powder dry for next week's big meeting.

Workforce was impressive taking the Derby seven lengths in a course record time. To my eyes the winner looked to have a hard enough race and afterwards Ryan Moore said he could have given his mount an easier time and still won. Connections reported the colt had only lost nine pounds in weight since Saturday which would appear to show he's taken this tough race remarkably well. I'd guess the Irish Derby may come a bit too soon and the King George would be the next target.

The crowds flocked to Epsom on a fabulous summer's day but both the bookmakers and the broadcasters told a different tale with the former reporting turnover down by up to 20% and the latter's viewing audience down by 33%. Coral has called for a debate to be started on moving the race to a Friday.

On the first day of the 2010 World Cup, the big racing story is that Denman owner Harry Findlay has been warned off for a period of six months after he was found guilty of laying Gullible Gordon, a horse he owns. Findlay has vowed to fight the ban but has said 'Win or lose the appeal, I will never own horses in Britain again.' Betfair, the exchange service Findlay used, said 'We do not believe the punishment to be proportionate or, for that matter, consistent with similar offences in the past.' Andy Roberts of Sky Sports asks the question 'Racing shoots itself in the foot again or a triumph for rule sticklers?' Looks like both to me.

To conclude, a couple of notes on Saturday's Hexham card. Donald McCain's Dorabelle missed a reasonable looking opportunity in the bumper at Market Rasen earlier today and goes instead for the opening mares' novices hurdle. Both her runs to date have been on decent ground so it remains to be seen how she'll handle the easier conditions here. McCain's runners are always worth a second look at Hexham - in addition the stable has a 20% win strike rate in the past fortnight. Connections must think she has a chance as it's a fair way up from Cheshire to Northumberland. One who has spent even more time in the horsebox is Red Jester. Trainer G A Ham has sent the nine year old gelding all the way from Axminster in Devon; he runs in the Lords Taverners Handicap Chase at 3.05 and is Liam Heard's sole ride at the meeting. The last time the bay ran here (May 2009) he finished a well-beaten seventh of twelve - this appears slightly less competitive. The likely favourite Stagecoach Pearl is from Sue Smith's yard which is out of sorts at the moment.

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