This time last week I had the temerity to comment that there was precious little worth writing about so lo and behold, the racing World rains down a ton of stories for me to sift through and cherry pick the ones I want to talk about. As if by magic, we have yet another corruption charge being brought by the BHA, this time against jockey Richie McGrath, ex trainer Kate Walton, and numerous others over races from the periods 2009 to 2012. I have no opinion (or knowledge) over any of the charges but I am wary of the damage this does to OUR sport’s reputation but what can they do? On the one side this is dragging us through the dirt and in the public eye (this is sure to make pages other than those allocated to racing sadly), but on the other it does prove the BHA will not sit back and are trying to do something about it, which surely has to be the better option. Fact is (and this is called second guessing plus a few back up stats), the jumps guys (and girls) get paid £161.51 per ride plus a percentage of prize money won, up from £157.72 the year before, plus a percentage of prize money that averages out around the 6% mark (more for a winner than a place). Now rough maths shows Richie earned £39,272.28 from rides last year plus about another £8,000 from his prize percentage, a grand total of just over £47,000 before all those travel, valet, agent etc expenses – not bad I suppose but hardly top dollar for someone putting their lives on the line on a daily basis. My point is, the temptation could be there for your average jockey struggling to make ends meet on that sort of income and maybe that is the area that needs addressing the most in our long term battle against corruption?
Cleverly, that brings me neatly on to my second point – did anyone else have a bet on Tom Sawyer in the 6.00pm at Yarmouth Tuesday evening and wish they hadn’t? Forecast the 7/2 jolly on the tissue and tipped up to me at 15/8 early doors, the six year old gelding had won his previous race at Beverley and looked to have every chance of following up here off a mark a mere three pounds higher on ground and over a course and distance he has scored over before carrying more weight. To say the starting price of 10/1 (opened at 8/1 on course) was a shock is an understatement in the circumstances, and although I am not implying anything untoward about Julie Camacho’s gelding, I do have to question why the BHA have failed to even ask a question – surely answering the issues before the likes of me get to them is an integral part of the job, or are they once again simply ignoring us “mere punters” concerns?
As for the better horses, if you learnt an awful lot from the Arc trials last weekend do feel free to let me in on your secret because my head is still spinning? Treve disappointed badly back in fourth (for an odds on shot) but is sure to have been left wanting with her main target far more important but does that mean she will reverse Longchamp form with those who finished in front of her in a fast run race – after all, their training regime may also be geared around the same end of season jackpot? Ruler Of The World did it cleverly and again the time was exceptional, but did the rest simply let him have a soft lead, something he is unlikely to get away with in early October (and how many front runners win the Arc anyway?). For me, Ectot put in the best run when taking the Prix Niel with any amount in hand and again in a superb time, and at odds of 7/1 although I won’t be backing him myself, he does look to have a very decent chance at the price.
As for the weekend ahead, I am delighted to see a couple of horses I have been waiting for reappearing at a racetrack near you, and hopefully well worth a bet as well? Deep down in my horses to follow I have had Rewaaya for some time and it looked as though she had disappeared without a trace but no, she is due to turn out for her third race in the 5.25pm at Newmarket, a 0-95 handicap which is hardly the standard we once envisaged! I originally heard she was possible Oaks material but clearly not lol, though she hardly appears overburdened off a mark of 86 with the excellent Tom Queally in the saddle to do the steering.
Secondly (two bets seems fair – we don’t want to be too greedy), how about an evening bet at Wolverhampton on the tapeta just for you Ron? Wahgah is clearly a filly you have to catch exactly right to see her at her best but when she is in the mood she has plenty of talent. Top weight in the 8.20pm won’t make life easy but she did hack up last time out on the polytrack at Kempton which is encouraging enough, and she is also reunited with Dane O’Neill who rode her that day – enough ticks in enough boxes for me to open my wallet.
Selections this week:
Rewaaya 5.25pm Newmarket Saturday
Wahgah 8.20pm Wolverhampton Saturday
Horses to follow:
Timba – I backed her last minute last week after being told she was pretty decent and was rewarded with an 8/1 starting price. She won with plenty in hand despite drifting from 4/1 in the morning and will improve hand over fist for the run – next stop will mean a step up in class but she could be way better than average.
***Entered Newbury 4.05pm tomorrow (Friday 19th September)***
Enraptured – a lovely looking progressive daughter of Oasis Dream whose two-year-old form would put her in to Listed class as a minimum assuming she has trained on. Her handicap return at Newbury disappointed me to be fair as I thought she was thrown in at the weights, but she was far too buzzy for her own good and the betting suggested she will improve considerably for the run – her first in eleven months. Update – she was beaten on Thursday 21 August at York where the weight of my money seemed enough to stop her but I still feel she will win a race soon.
***No current entries***
Toronado – could be absolutely top class and looked to ease up in front at Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes for a cozy victory. Bound to improve again for the run he will be aimed at the top all aged mile events this season and will hopefully mop up and boost our profit margins! Finished second in the Sussex Stakes but was anything but disgraced and well worth leaving on our list.
*** Beaten in to second at Longchamp last weekend and entered at Ascot on 18th October ***
Rewaaya – word at the John Gosden yard is that she is better than we have seen so far and certainly Group class – be that here or possibly abroad as the three-year-old options start to run out. She was talked of as an Oaks filly so no great shock to see her win her maiden with ease at odds on but she still showed all the customary signs of inexperience and I am sure there is more to come.
***Entered at Newmarket 5.25pm Saturday 20th September***
Mutakayyef– trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.
***Entered at Newmarket 27th September***