Sunday, August 31, 2008


Last weekend's running of the Juddmonte International spawned several articles in the press on team tactics during the week. Johnny Murtagh's reported words to Colm O'Donoghue, rider of Ballydoyle's pacemaker, are unequivocal: "When you get to the four marker just ease off and give me the passage through." On Saturday morning Channel Four's Morning Line programme discussed various angles; whatever your opinion, it is clear the rules of racing have been broken. Paul Struthers indicated the British Horseracing Authority would make a statement on the matter in the coming week.

The usually gruff Mel Smith (of Smith and Jones fame) was anything but as he was interviewed before the Solario at Sandown on Saturday. Mr Smith, joint owner of The Cheka, looked to have had a distinct attack of pre-race nerves. In the race itself The Cheka, who was a drifter in the betting, appeared to have the spoils in the bag going into the final furlong but he tied up ever so slightly in the closing stages and succumbed to Sri Putra's challenge. This looked a hot renewal.

A nasty incident in the Chester Handicap saw Sir Duke fall, bringing down both Cheshire Prince and Speed Gifted. Seb Saunders aboard Speed Gifted broke his leg in the incident and is out for the rest of season. Sir Duke had to be put down.

My brother has received an invite to go to Goodwood on Tuesday, lucky fellow; something of a contrast, I know, but I hope to get to Stratford on Saturday.

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