Another week goes by and in the world of racing we have seen many of the world’s famous and in some cases not so famous jockey’s head to Ascot for the Shergar Cup. Gerard Mosse lifted the cup (everything else too!), as captain of Europe but there were some great display’s in the saddle from Gary Stevens and Joao Moreira.
The win for Stevens, which was his first in England for a good few years and which was also his fiftieth winner over here was a super ride. He has not long returned to the saddle having dabbled in presenting on TV and of course an acting career which saw him play George Woolf in Sea Biscuit and also a jockey in the American series Luck alongside screen legend Dustin Hoffman.
The American legend won the final race on Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day when Annunciation, trained by Richard Hannon, won the sprint for three-year-olds.
Stevens, whose mount produced a late thrust that narrowly deprived his fellow American Rosie Napravnik on Noble Deed, took his personal tally to 18pts, although his team, the Rest of the World, could finish only third in the competition with 46 points – the winning Europe team amassed 97 points.
Stevens, for whom this was a 50th winner in Britain, said in his interview after the race, “That was fun, and the only ride I’ve had today that played out right. The trainer wanted to try something new today and to drop him out because he felt that was the only way he would get the trip. The partnership [owners Middleham Park Racing] didn’t think much of those instructions but they are happy now.”
“I’m proud of Rosie, on her first trip to Britain. She has done us proud. I know a lot of people have been impressed with her performance, including this camp that I just rode for.”
“It’s been a long time since I was here – about ten years ago – and there is a new grandstand and winner’s enclosure, but the course is the same and you never get tired of winning. If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be standing here as a jockey and not a presenter, I would have said ‘you’re wrong’.”
“Before this race I was feeling bad at not having shown a little better, but nothing was going right. A couple of horses gave me a good feel but didn’t get the run of the race.”
“Everything this camp [Hannon’s stable] has been doing this year has been win, after win, after win, and I’ve enjoyed watching them and Hughesie on television. I just pretended I was Richard Hughes out there.”
“The track rode well, the weather was lovely and I’ve had a helluva day.”
Joao Moreira is one of the many talented Brazilian riders that are making an impression in the world of horse racing. Moreira won the sprint on Godolphin’s Ahtoug with a strong ride and a power-packed finish to repel the late challenge of the Roger Varian trained Steps. Moreira was probably not that well known here before Saturday but this globe trotting rider has ridden all over the world and currently reign’s as Champion jockey in Singapore. Raul told me before the day’s racing commenced that Joao is a great talent and he wasn’t wrong about his fellow countryman. When interviewed in the build up to Saturday’s event Joao expressed a desire to ride over here, I am sure he would get rides but there seems to be a shortage of “top” jobs theses days. Albeit, with the Godolphin roundabout that has spun over the past year or so, who’s to say they wouldn’t be interested in a Brazilian tag team?
I know the Shergar Cup isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and while you can’t be anything other than be impressed with the domestic records of both Rosie Napravnik and Lisa Allpress, I have to say that in my opinion, Britain has the best female jockey’s in the World.
Whilst we talk of the visiting International jockey’s from last weekend, one jockey who will wish he stayed here touring Lingfield, Kempton and Wolverhampton last winter is Martin Dwyer. The on going saga around his ride on Ice Age at Mahalaxmi racecourse back on the 17th of February took a cruel twist this week when the Royal Western India Turf Club imposed a ban of eight month’s on the likeable Scouser. I have to admit when I first saw the race it didn’t look good, but then the filly he rode was found to have bled. Finger’s crossed Dwyer will get this nonsense sorted out and this having happened the year after Richard Hughes had a number of run in’s with the Indian officials may well deter British jock’s from travelling over for future winter’s.
In Thursday’s Racing Post I was interested to read the Thursday Report about our great sport been cleaned up. I’m sorry but as long as you can make money by backing horses to lose you will have shenanigans going on. One of the frightening thing’s in that article was where the BHA’s director of integrity Andrew Brickell explained that the BHA are monitoring the use of social media as a source of information. Well, have you read some of these forum’s? The Betfair forum has it’s daily influx of “contributor’s” if that is a sensible word to use? Many of which slate jockey’s and trainer’s after races which is obviously pocket talk in many instances.
We all watch racing, some more than other’s and there are a lot of people who could watch a race and pick out something that maybe wasn’t given a ride, or was put into a lot of trouble say and it would be put into a notebook or the alerts for future reference. If you or I can notice things like that, then why can’t those employed by the sports governing body see them?
It is a bad state of affair’s that some keyboard warrior that has lost a few quid could spark an investigation off because of a remark put on a forum or social media site. If they do listen to the comments on the Internet I am afraid we will end up with the BHA chasing a lot of shadows. Money would be wasted that could be better off pumped into prize money for those that put into the game.
Looking ahead, it could be another for John Quinn when ABSOLUTE DIAMOND returns to Catterick to try make amends for her last time out defeat. Raul rode that day and he couldn’t get the handy position that he wanted early on. He made up a lot of ground to challenge the eventual winner Dennis but she ran out of time. I felt that the filly carried her head around a bit too and the cheekpieces she wore when winning are back on here so it should sharpen her up again.
I have had a new addition to the team this week and I was very pleased to have the very good Northern apprentice Shirley Teasdale come on board. Shirley is a lovely girl and she is a very good rider. I have always been impressed when I have heard her interviewed on the racing channels and she is a grafter, so I hope we can have a lot of success.
She rides PERFECT WORDS in the 7.45 at Catterick for Marjorie Fife, now this gelding by Thousand Words maybe still a maiden but he has been placed on four occasions from five races so he acts on the sharp undulating track and Shirley has been placed twice on him from two starts so the combination look to have solid each way claims here.
Kirsty is hoping to PETRIFY the layers in the 7.35 race at HQ, this Luca Cumani trained Rock Of Gibraltar gelding ran well enough on handicap debut when third, dropped a pound since and in here against some exposed types I hope Milkshake can get another winner on the board for the boss.
Hopefully we might get some spends for the weekend there! Apologies for the football tip last week, it was a case of one that got away according to a number of sources. We missed a few chances while gifting Dagenham two goals. Anyway, that was last week….this week we are back at home and we play hosts to the Monkey Hangers from up the A19. Those of you not familiar with Northern history and folklore, I mean Hartlepool United! A local Derby with a big gate anticipated and I’m hopeful of returning to winning ways. Fleetwood and Chesterfield are two teams to stay on the right side of this season in League Two when filling those coupons out, along with Watford in the Championship.