Contrasting Cheltenham opportunities for Ferguson and Redknapp

Kieran Fallon seems to change his agent more often than Roman Abramovich changes the manager at Chelsea football club. In the last few days both have done it again.

The latest agent Fallon has dismissed, Terry Norman, had a similar length of time in post to Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea, but there the comparisons end. Norman took on the role last May, after Fallon's previous agent, Gareth Owen, was dismissed with no explanation.

Norman finds himself in the same position, and for the time being at least, he doesn't have a single jockey to search out rides for in the coming season. He said, "I'm no longer booking rides for Kieran Fallon. Kieran has decided, for reasons I don't know, to switch agents from 31 March. I have absolutely no idea why he has changed agents and I don't know who he's going to, you'll have to ask him. That's Kieran, he has done it before."

As I've already committed the probably heinous crime of mentioning football on this site I'll carry on and dig a deeper hole for myself by looking at the contrasting fortunes of two Premiership managers who have been harbouring hopes for Cheltenham success.

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It's now nearly two years since Sir Alex Ferguson's What A Friend last won a race, Aintree’s Tote Bowl Trophy in 2010. Since then the horse has contested only the highest quality races, and in last season's Gold Cup only just failed to get up for third place behind Long Run, Denman and Kauto Star. The 9-year-old tries again next week, and his owner is likely to be there to watch the race.

It's a different story for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, owner of Bygones In Brid. The horse ran in Cheltenham's Festival bumper last year, and was entered for the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle on the second day of this year's Festival. That is until last Thursday, when he fell at the first hurdle at Taunton, broke his neck and was killed instantly.

Redknapp was at the course to watch Bygones In Brid. He said, "It was a fantastic jumper but, for whatever reason, it just got to the first and I don't know whether the sum was glaring or whatever but it just didn't get off the ground. It had great potential. So it was a bad day. I got to Taunton, two minutes later I was in my car driving home, minus the horse."

Not that Redknapp would have gone to Cheltenham; he doesn't like it. "I don't go to Cheltenham. Too busy. It does my head in. People drunk and disorderly and jumping all over you. It's not racing any more. Royal Ascot doesn't interest me, either. I'd rather have a quiet day at Wincanton. Fontwell or Wincanton, somewhere like that."

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