Sunday, August 14, 2011

Holiday happenings

A short post after a wet week's holiday in west Wales...

Howard Johnson has been banned from racing for four years following a BHA disciplinary inquiry; quoting Alan Lee in Saturday's Times, Johnson was judged ' have shown "reckless disregard of equine welfare" in running a horse, Striking Article, eight times after an operation to desensitise a leg.' The decision spells the end of the trainer's career. Johnson's main owner Graham Wylie had previously moved six horses to Paul Nicholls' yard and has indicated he will consider his involvement in the sport over the weekend.

Comedian Jarred Christmas may have played The Queens Hall, Narbeth, but a couple of racing connections popped up while I was perambulating in Pembrokeshire... I discovered that famous author and jockey Dick Francis was born at Coedcanlas, Lawrenny, while a number of racing-related  items are to be found on the walls of The Cresselly Arms at Cresswell Quay. This hostelry wouldn't necessarily be everyone's cup of tea but its lack of pretence and accompanying memorabilia were right up my street. In recent years several horses have carried the name Cresswell (including Cresswell Quay), many of them owned by Mr Bruce McKay and trained nearby by Keith Goldsworthy. I was particularly pleased to come across a picture of Hills Of Aran (McCoy up) as I tipped this one at Cheltenham's New Year's Day meeting in 2008 and managed to avail myself of 14/1 offered by Fred Done. In the ensuing three and a half years I have tried on several occassions to repeat the stunt - but with no further success.

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