Racing has had its ups and downs of late which let’s be fair is no surprise; Writes Neil Watson.
Last month the good old British weather certainly showed that in fine style when the intense heat that the country experienced led to a jump meeting at Southwell being abandoned towards the end only for Uttoxeter a few days later being called off due to waterlogging!
Hayley Turner breaking Gay Kelleway’s long standing record of the only woman jockey to have ridden a winner at Royal Ascot was overshadowed by the whip ban she received for the ride given but even this went slightly under the radar by the Frankie Dettori show that had the crowd cheering and the bookies running for cover and many to the bank managers for the possibility of the odd overdraft or three!
This plus many other things such as the whip rules, prize money, welfare issues, number of fixtures and the many other potential problems that may occur come October 31st can often make us feel negative and feeling down.
Recently though in the past few months the glorious sport of horse racing has also made many feelgood headlines that has propelled into the mainstream and increased positivity about the sports future.
It’s time for a little look back at the more positive side that racing fans have experienced in 2019 plus a look at what is still to come.
July saw the return of the wonder mare Enable, two starts in what will be her final season of racing have yielded two wins in the Eclipse and the King George, a trip to York for the Yorkshire Oaks beckons before her potential swansong in Paris come October.
June brought about another Aidan O’Brien Derby win with Anthony Van Dyck and although he hasnt kicked on fully from that he was electric with the way he switched for his brave run up the inside in what was a thrilling finish to the most famous of the five classics, added to this with Royal Ascot which had racing of exquisite quality not to mention the usual fashion and famous people that get spotted by the snappers led to five days of flat racing’s finery.
Also in June saw one of my favourite horses of the flat season so far, Safe Voyage complete a three timer of victories at my local course Haydock when landing the 7f John O’Gaunt Stakes, this followed on the back of wins in a Handicap and a Listed race all over the same trip.
Now we are in that slightly quiet period in the flat season, Glorious Goodwood has been and gone, as has the ultra-long but equally excellent Galway Festival which seems to last longer than the entire Cheltenham Festival Preview Nights all put together and attentions turn to this Saturday’s Shergar Cup at Ascot which sees jockeys from all over the world come and represent their respective team.
People have their own views on this day from good to bad but it’s a unique day that always sells out and this Saturday will be no exception although I will be in attendance at Haydock for the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes on what is billed as Ladies Day
Having had a discussion with some of my fellow racing enthusiasts i actually think that the Shergar Cup would actually be better as a Friday evening meeting on primetime television where it can have a much bigger exposure as opposed to getting caught up in the middle of the other four afternoon meetings taking place on Saturday.