Irish Sporting Legends, And Other Stuff…

It is most ironic, dear reader, to this commentator at least, that the fact we've been deprived of the greatest flat jockey of his generation for eighteen months has to do with the administration of a banned substance. Unfortunately, the banned substance was cocaine, and it was administered to himself sufficiently close to a riding engagement in France that it was still in his body when the test was taken. Careless, reckless, sometimes feckless: that's our Kieren.

Of all the things that have happened during his career, to be banned for snorting white powder is madness. (Note, I in no way condone the use of drugs, hard or soft, with the exception of alcohol... ahem).

Following a strong lineage of flawed Irish genius, from the dazzling trickery of George Best, through the sheer natural brilliance of the 'Hurricane', Alex Higgins, to the brute strength and unquenchable desire to win of Kieren Fallon, Ireland has long been a nation that celebrates its' sporting heroes.

And perhaps from the very core of the Irish conscious comes this fragility; this ultra-human quality that is at once so endearing and so frustrating. Now, as a non-Irishman who puts words before the eyes of many better qualified readers, I'd be more interested in the views of those who know than my own conjecture on this subject.

So just why is it that so many brilliant and talented Irish athletes have flirted with - and occasionally succumbed to - the fripperies of fame? (Of course, I realise that the Irish are by no means isolated in this. We have our very own Paul Gascoigne, as just one 'for instance'!)


No matter, for - time served - Mr Fallon will be back riding tomorrow. And his first mount back in public and in competition will be for none other than... erm, Miss Amy Weaver. Who?!

Well, I've never heard of her, but she had a winner yesterday with Boquito and her runner tomorrow - Rare Malt - has the best public form. There are numerous debutants from decent strings, and it's to be wondered how many of those Fallon might have had the offer of the leg up on, given the pertinence and publicity that is bound to be afforded his first return winner.

The man has a pretty full book tomorrow, with Rare Malt (2.20) followed by Roodee King, Diriculous, and Satwa Gold at Lingfield, before he scoots across to Kempton for evening action aboard Wigan Lane, Arte Viva and Bugaku (they might even get a fee-paying crowd into double figures!).

Seven rides on day one of his comeback - Fallon is a man who doesn't believe in easing himself in gently! At 44, the bones won't be any younger but he probably has another two or three years at the very top, before deciding what next.

He may be a courter of controversy, and far from the ideal role model for young equine enthusiasts but, as a punter, I, for one, cannot wait to see this brilliant, brillant jockey back on a horse I've backed!


Now then, it was a busy Bank Holiday weekend for me, and you'll have read and watched my journal from Bratislava earlier in the week.

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Today, I've melded together my Warwick footage, from Obvious' first run - and indeed Geegeez Racing Club's first runner - on Monday.

Again, please bear in mind that I'm the most amateur of amateur videomen. I'd never even used a camera before I started doing bits for the blog, and I don't record anything else, so I've shot just a handful of clips in my life.

With that apologetic caveat in place, and please bear in mind that I was sleep deprived due to another flight delay on the way back from Bratislava (you'll see what I mean when you click 'play'!), run VT!


Finally, did anybody else see Dragon's Den last night? Although I think this programme is pretty good, I don't watch it very often. It's remarkable (and remarkably dull, in my opinion) how often these gurus of business lazily 'piggy-back' on the point one of their colleagues made, no matter how obtuse it is.

It's not clever to copy someone else without adding any colour or inference of your own, and Dragon's Den - whilst compelling TV - could be so much better, I reckon.

Anyway, I did actually get to enjoy a rare 75 minutes of gogglebox last night (the other hour being the funniest Family Guy episode I've ever seen, and Shooting Stars - consistently ridiculous).

The reason I mention this was that racehorse trainer Edward Creighton and some self-styled 'lord' (when pressed, he simply said, 'Well, I look like a lord'. He looked liked an idiot).

Their 'idea' for which they wanted funding was for a brilliantly innovative business, which they called TURF. It stood for something, but was basically a racing club.

The business model was predicated on 500 people paying £1,500 to take a share in ten horses. Now let me help you with the maths here: that's three quarters of a million moolah for ten beasts in training. It costs about fifteen grand plus VAT to train a horse for a year, and an average horse will sell for say ten grand.

Thus, each beast would cost around £28,750 (funnily enough, exactly the fund Geegeez Racing Club raised for Obvious, with the difference between the purchase price and fund allocation being distributed pro rata at the end of our year).

Ten of those comes, by my rudimentary arithmetic, to £287,500. Okay, let's be generous and suppose that Creighton and 'The Lord' were going to spend £20k per horse. Including VAT, etc, their costs would now be £40,250 per horse, or £402,500 in total.

Where the hell was the other £347,500 going?????!!!!

At the risk of getting in trouble... Edward Creighton... Buffoon! (And arguably a crook to boot, but only arguably - don't quote me on that).



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9 replies
  1. Leo says:

    Hi Matt,
    Just a quick one for the members.
    Anyone thinking of backing Profound Beauty ante post
    in the Irish St Ledger on Sept. 12 hold off.
    Trainer Dermot Weld said if the ground was
    very soft he would not run her and would send her
    straight out to Australia. The Melbourne Cup is the
    target race this year and he was satisfied with
    the weight of 53.5kg ( 8-4 )

  2. Paul says:

    I saw Dragon’s Den and sat open-mouthed at “the Lord’s” business proposition. Peter Jones summed it well when he said “but surely the benefits for every member reduce every time you bring a new customer onboard”. Enough said.

    Deborah Meaden is the worst for piggybacking what everyone else says. Every time she opens her mouth these days I can’t help thinking about the Kevin Bishop sketch (think it was him anyway) where she was portrayed as a bulldog chewing a wasp 🙂

  3. sim says:

    Hi Matt,
    Totally agree about Dragons Den, maybe it could do with a “come dine with me” voice over, how funny would that be.
    Next video, could you get more footage of the ‘fillies’ especially the ones that are good walkers, (with nice legs preferably)
    Seriously though, Obvious looks a really nice filly in the making, although after the first run she looks a miler,just wondered if she would have the speed for 7f ?
    May i wish you and your fellow syndicate members all the best of luck, it’s been a pleasure following so far.
    All the best,

  4. john kerr says:

    The flawed Irish genius has something to do with Catholicism,it sends you slightly mad! The late great Bobby Beasley said that.

  5. Gillian says:

    With all due respects Matt, the flawed Irish genius, and its relationship to drinking, cocaine or whatever is not something you should have brought up on your blog.
    This just asks for the most ridiculous statements, as witnessed in many forums, especially Betfair`s.
    As Father Dougal might say “down with this sort of thing”
    I love the thought of Best and Higgins being the champions of Catholicism!!!

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Gillian

      Thanks for your comment and, of course, I wasn’t meaning to cause offence (though appreciated I might have been sailing close to the wind). Every nation has its flawed geniuses (genii?), and they are celebrated mostly because they show themselves to be like us – their very human frailties make us feel better about ourselves and closer to them.

      That’s not a statement allied to a nation – rather, it’s a holistic anthropological observation. Easy for me to say!


  6. Brian says:

    Hi Matt,
    I know the little irish master very well and spent most of last summer with him and Kirsty in Newmarket, he’s a born winner, and was up every morning riding work for a good few trainers, nothing was too much trouble for him. He knows he was stupid, but dont we all ‘chance’ our luck for as long as we can?.
    He will be the champion jockey next year thats for sure!!.

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