Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ups and downs

It's all in a day's work for a jockey... While Paul Hannigan was collecting his first Flat jockeys' title at Doncaster on Saturday following a titanic struggle with Richard Hughes (final score: Hannigan 191 - Hughes 189), Ruby Walsh was riding Kauto Star and The Nightingale to victory in the two big races at Down Royal. Then disaster struck - Walsh suffered a double leg fracture when his mount Corrick Bridge fell in the Rainbow Telecom Handicap Chase. Walsh faces a protracted period on the sidelines and that enforced absence leaves champion trainer Paul Nicholls with something of a headache. A poll on the Racing Post website indicates 39% of their readers think Sam Thomas should get the leg up on Nicholls' best horses. The big Cheltenham Open meeting starts on Friday - watch this space as they say.

The failure of racing and the bookmakers to come to an agreement on the levy is likely to have serious implications for the future funding of the sport. The government's Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is now charged with making the decision. Journalist Greg Wood wrote a bitingly critical piece in Tuesday's Guardian in which he argued that Paul Roy's position as chairman of the British Horseracing Authority was no longer tenable - watch this space as they say.

Viewers of BBC1's business reality show The Apprentice will know that Lord Sugar's prize for this week's winning team was a day out at 'Royal Windsor' races; I did note Lord Sugar failed to point out to winning contestants that it was a Monday afternoon meeting in mid October... Anyway, Synergy members enjoyed a slap-up meal and a glass of champagne before the serious business of finding winners began. Overseas property developer Jamie Lester, who incidentally had set up his own company by the age of 24, was shown striking a £2 wager (in what one could only describe as a rather extravagant manner) with well-known layer Barry Dennis. 'Two pounds on the nose Green Earth!' cried Mr Lester about his selection in the first. Now, given that the winner of The Apprentice is likely to pull a job that will pay in the region of £100,000, Mr Dennis might have expected to have taken a slightly larger wager from Mr Lester but the layer was politeness itself, merely commenting on the fact that this particualry punter 'liked it on the nose'. I harboured further concerns regarding Mr Lester's business nous. At the pre-race meal he stated it was a 5/1 chance any of the five at the table would make the final and 10/1 any of them would win the competition outright. 'Nice' said Stella but consider this - at the time of filming, it would have been known that there were ten contestants left in the competition. Assuming for the sake of argument each of those contestants had an equal chance, it looked to me as though Mr Lester was selling 9/1 chances at 10/1. And we all know that's the road to rack and ruin...

For those who simply have to know - Green Earth finished ninth of fourteen in the Windsor, Ascot & Eton Express Nursery Handicap (div 1) run at Windsor on Monday 12 October 2009; the race went to the rather appropriately named Agony And Ecstasy.

No comments: