Is it just me, dear reader, or were the Guineas races last weekend wholly unsatisfactory?

First, we get the next Pegasus, St Nicholas Abbey, sent off at even money in the boys' classic and getting well beaten; then we get the farce of the girls' race where not only does (probably) the best horse finish sixth due to the state of the ground, but a French-style stewards' enquiry amends the placings for the first time in a Classic since... well, I've no idea when the last time that happened. Has it ever happened?!

Let me tell you what is wrong with flat racing, a sport that I have to concede is doing everything in its power to self-destruct.

The three points below are key in what Racing For Change should be considering. All were typified in the weekend's Guineas races, and all appear to be ignored by that aforementioned nobly sentimented but hopelessly inept committee.

1. Flat racing has no narrative.

The National Hunt racing calendar is a thing of beauty: the season runs for around six months, from late Autumn to early Spring. There are occasional big pots in those early months, and the first serious prizes are awarded at Christmas, fully halfway through the season. Of course, as we all know, everything leads to Cheltenham (and, to a lesser degree, Aintree and Punchestown).

Now imagine running the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Arkle in October. And the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in November. Preposterous, right?

Well, that's exactly what the flat calendar does by having the 1000 and 2000 Guineas races in early May, and the Oaks and Derby in early June. It's ridiculous. Completely anachronistic, and totally irrelevant in today's racing society.

On Saturday, St Nicholas Abbey was sent off at evens to win the 2000 Guineas. He will probably prove to be the best horse in that race, and his Derby chance is enhanced in defeat, rather than diminished, in my book.

His trainer went on the record as saying, "All mine will improve for the run". Meaning I can't get them race fit at home (very few try, and even fewer succeed in this), and the Guineas is waaaaaay too early. Fencing Master, my pick, finished just behind St Nick, and the same comments apply.

It would NEVER happen in National Hunt racing, and if Racing For Change is serious, then it HAS to address the anachronisms - the antiquated, outmoded ludicrosies - of the flat racing calendar. And who cares who gets upset about it?! Common sense MUST prevail, or the stuffed shirt brigade whose tea might get spilt by such a manoeuvre will find themselves presiding over a minority sport with dwindling investment and interest from our increasingly ADD society.

2. Flat racing is not 'of the people'.

The arms race between Godolphin and Ballydoyle in recent years, which has already seen its own cold war, and now has some sort of entente cordiale, has done little to ignite the passions of everyman. Yes, we should be grateful for the huge investments made by the sheiks and the Irish currency traders and former bookmakers.

But, let's be clear: when the same owners win all the big races year after year after year, it just gets boring. And when the majority of those big pot victors are shipped off to stud at the first opportunity, flat racing becomes ever more disposable. Just like its champions.

No Denmans here. Nor any Kauto Stars. Heck, barely a Binocular amongst this year's expected runners.

Sure, there's the occasional Yeats to lift the soul, but these admirable and amiable plodders have limited stud value aside, funnily enough, from their utility to siring National Hunt champions of the future.

When a 'common person' does win a big prize, flat racing shoots itself in the foot. Actually, in the case of Noel Wilson and Jacqueline Quest, flat racing more machine gunned its entire leg and then machete'd said leg off... at the neck!

Here was a bittersweet story to warm the cockles of the most granite hearted individual. Wilson is in a wheelchair and requires round the clock assistance. He is also black. (There, I've said it). He ran a construction firm in Germany in the heady Auf Wiedersehn, Pet days of the early nineties.

But in June 1996, he was attacked whilst using a phone box by neo-Nazi's in Brandenburg. Wilson ran for his car, still pursued, and in the ensuing chase, the scumbags hurled a lump of concrete at the windscreen of his Jaguar and he veered off the road and crashed into a tree. He's been in a chair ever since.

After his wife, Jacqueline (hence the horse's name) died in 2000, from cancer, Wilson decided he would seek assisted suicide as he no longer had anything to live for.

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In the decade since that sad loss, Wilson's only apparent shafts of light come from the horses he owns, the best of which - prior to Sunday - was the remarkable dual Royal Ascot winner (in the same week!), Baddam, trained at the time by 'The Windmill' himself, Mick Channon. (Bizarrely, Channon was also recently a victim of a horrific car accident, in which his friend, Tim Corby, was killed).

Then, unlikely glory. Jacqueline Quest, royally tonked by eight lengths in the Nell Gwyn by my 1000 Guineas punt, Music Show, wins the race on the near side (which easily won the race against the centre of the track) and fends off Special Duty, the 9/2 favourite, by a nose in the process. She is trained by 'Sir' Henry Cecil, and pays 66/1.

The klaxon sounds, alerting all to an enquiry by stewards. Channel 4's only intelligent presenters, Jim McGrath and John Francome, immediately declare it borderline impossible for the result to be changed.The replays bear this out: yes, Jacqueline Quest wanders off a true line, and takes Special Duty, herself lugging towards the 'winner', with her.

There was the slightest of touches, costing neither horses nor riders any momentum, and it looked to be an academic discussion between the beaks and the jocks. Indeed, at the point of market suspension when the result of the enquiry was announced, Jacqueline Quest was still trading at 1-5 on Betfair.

In a decision that beggared belief from this scribe's perspective, the placings were reversed, and a tearful underdog who was destined to have his day was usurped by a blue blood trainer and a royal owner (Prince Khalid Abdullah).

It was truly a case of 'if ain't broke, don't fix it', and the stewards decided to fix it. The only sporting parallel I can think of is if, say, England were playing Brazil in the final of the World Cup, and England are winning 1-0 (just imagine!) in the 90th minute.

Brazil are attacking but England look to be doing just enough defensively to hold them at bay. Then, from nowhere, Robinho fires the ball at point blank range and it hits Rio Ferdinand on the arm. His arm is down at the time, and he can do nothing to react.

The ref wavers, ponders, then points to the spot. Penalty to Brazil.

He shouldn't have given the penalty. Ferdinand was innocent. Nobody - not even the Brazilians - would have especially berated the decision not to award a penalty. But penalty he did give.

My point is that nobody would have batted an eyelid if the placings remained unaltered. So quite why the buffoons that run the 'sport of kings' (the clue may be in that title!) persist in devaluing their product in the collective eye of the very market they ostensibly aspire to attract, is beyond me.

Racing For Change? Not in the flat game, chaps...

[Incidentally, the Noel Wilson story is a very interesting one, and there's considerably more to it than outlined above. There's some stuff online - I found an old Daily Mail article about his legal battle with Channel 4 - that makes for a decent read.]

3. Flat racecourse irrigation makes punting a lottery

Why does racing exist? Simple. To put taxes in government coffers and enable the common man and woman (i.e. you and me) to try to win a few quid and entertain themselves in the process.

So why, in this information age, are we left completely at the whimsical mercy of a few 'turfologists' who insist on buggering about with tracks to produce unsatisfactory outcomes?!

Newmarket, HQ of flat racing, and the longest straight track in the country. The 1000 Guineas, one of its flagship races, run over a mile and contested this year by seventeen exciting lady prospects.

But the result was a farce. The winner, as I've said, was beaten eight lengths by Music Show last time. This time, Music Show was beaten six lengths, meaning a turnaround of fully fourteen lengths.

Music Show was clear best of those horses that raced on the far side, beating the equally fancied (both 7/1 shots) Rumoush by three quarters of a length, with the remainder five lengths and more behind. That gives the form of the 'sub-race' a very robust and reliable look.

The first five home were drawn 4-1-2-6-7. The last five home were drawn 10-12-5-13-17.

Jacqueline Quest was box 4; Special Duty box 1; Music Show box 15.

Who do you suppose was the best horse?! And yes, I am talking through my pocket. Having backed Music Show to win, I then decided she was a place certainty and steamed into the 15/8 for a place. I did my brains.

How can it be? It would NEVER happen in jump racing.

Listen, you tweed-jacketed, flat-capped, turf-prodding, soil alchemists... stop p155ing about with the racetracks and let the horses take their bloody chances!!!

Flat racing will continue to be a minority sport, much less loved and commensurately less supported than the jumping hemisphere, so long as these irregularities exist.

We must change the racing calendar dramatically to create a sense of sequence and of horsey hierarchy and of suspense and of anticipation and of conclusion; we must find ways to encourage new owners to the party, and not treat them like second class citizens when they gatecrash the VIP lounge; and we have to stop tampering with irrigation, with stalls positioning, with moving running rails, with false declarations of the going.

Only when those three points have been addressed, can flat racing truly look forward to a brighter future.

These are my thoughts, and now - with my soap box safely tucked away (for the time being) - I'd like to ask, what are yours?

The comments box welcomes all as VIP's. There is no track or draw bias. And the natural meter of the narrative will be dictated by you!


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39 replies
  1. Ben Aitken (NTF) says:

    Matt, my friend, you are spot on, absolutely spot on!

    The only thing I need to add here is that I agree 100% with you. I’m still appalled about the 1000 Guineas result but, unfortunately, now I have had time to think about it I’m not surprised.

    Please don’t put the soap box too far out of reach, these are the kind of comments the ‘racing for change’ numpties need to hear!!


  2. dave foster says:

    my opinion,for what its worth,regards the 1000g.i backed music show with a smaller bet,why,because of the draw,special duty,only on the morning,why,because the horse that beat it had just won the italian equivilant easy,and the rain came,jaqueline i had small bet on,why,its draw only,everyone,including the jockeys and trainers knew the draw,low is king.proven in all stats,any over 16/1 were backed small,that were in the low 10 of draw.dont agree its right that draw has so much influence,but it does.fact.
    with regards to the stewards.technically correct.probably influenced by the tie up with para mutuel on the day.but why can the stewards not be consistent,thats the bugbear.is it really that hard to be consistant.?.by the way my biggest bet was puff.l.o.l.so i got paid out on three winners in my eyes,so not talking out my pocket.

  3. Peter Colledge says:

    Hear hear Matt. A key issue is the safety of the horse. While I can understand the authorities watering jumps racing, I have no idea why they do it on the flat. Perhaps the handicapper should intervene…instead of using weights to create ‘equality’ s(he) should also look at draw history and shift some of the stalls; or only allow one side of the track to be watered. Whatever, a good broadside at the industry, Matt.

  4. karen says:

    totally agree….yet again the french or the arabs must have some clout! i remember last year watching a race at windsor where hannons horse was carried completely from one side to the other and had no chance to get his head in front and they never altered the result!!

  5. Phil says:

    Well Matt, quite a diatribe. Your not altogether wrong, but it has to be accepted that flat racing, particularly the classics are all about breeding and future stud values. This is where the owners make their money. If changes were to be made as you suggest to suit the punting public, then racing could suffer from these mega rich owners withdrawing their support.
    There is room for manouvre as you suggest by having a more structured and and sequential look to the racing calender. I do agree that the order of the classics could be arranged at more logical times. The only part of flat racing that follows natural progression and improvement is 2 year old racing where they gradually improve by fitness and expeirience through the season.
    I fully agree that course clerks should be banned from watering unless it is in the interests of safety, we dont want horses running on concrete hard surfaces, but other than that the ground should be as close to natural as possible. If we have just had 2 months without rain then it should be firm. What happens is they water to ensure good ground then we get a downpour 2 day before racing and end up with soft, absolutely crazy.
    If the stewards are going to apply the rules, then ok as long as they apply the same rule to the claimer running at Wolverhampton on a Monday night, far worse interference occurs on a daily basis and goes unpunished.
    Racing for change is still too establishment orientated to do much good.
    Sorry, borrowed your soap box, you can have it back now.

    Phil (ever the pupil)

  6. tony says:

    Bang on, racing afficials are like MPs they baffel therselvs with science. Whats the point of spending hours studying form when they cock it up, let the weather decide the going.

  7. Mike Brennan says:

    Hi Matt
    I agree wholeheartedly with you, BUT, i did have Special duty (following a tip). I could not believe it when, after turning off my computer, and making my way to the pub to sulk, i got down there to discover my horse had somehow won. I knew there was a stewards, but for the life of me, i just cannot see what was wrong. Saying that, the only thing i can think of is that Tom Queally had his whip in the wrong hand. (something i keep telling the wife about, to no avail) When contact with Special duty was imminent. Anyway, onwards and upwards…roll on summer jumps.
    regards and be lucky

  8. Mark Walsh says:

    I totally agree with you matt, the 1000 guineas was a farce. Noel wilson desreved that race and if his horse had stayed on a straight line it would have won by a few lenghts, the result was changed to suit the snobs of the racing world. I had money on music show and thought he ran pretty well, Im not a fan of flat racing but do have the occasinal bet on it, roll on national hunt season!

  9. Craig says:

    As ever, a wonderfully measured rant!

    Channel 4 made an appalling hash post-race, with its premature and utterly crass interviews with the ‘winning’ connections of Jacqueline Quest. It was like watching some kind of sick and twisted ‘candid camera’ stunt. Whether the horse should have forfeited the race is less contentious in my view than the ridiculous draw biases that occured. On Saturday there was a clear bias towards high draws in the 2000 Giuneas. 24 hours later, following some rain, it all switched round to massively favour low draws.

    In recent years there has been an enormous increase in the watering of ground by course officials. Supposedly to prevent ‘dangerous’ firm to hard ground. Absurdly, it has lead to false ground and inconsistent ground where the areas that drain best become the only raceable parts of the course. This meddling and manipulation is not for the good of horses (some of which are bred to hear the ground rattling under their hooves). It makes a farce of the whole sport when horses can turn form round by 14 lengths just because they are running on turf rather than marsh land and destroys the integrity of racing from a betting perspective as well. I can see that there was interference by the horse that came first but really, neither was the best horse. Also, I don’t personally have an issue with a bit of contact in horse racing. It was just a ‘shoulder charge’! Part of the reason racing is less popular is that pretty much everything is outlawed. Jockeys get banned for using their whips too much, get banned for using them too little. Flair and character are ironed out in the same way that they try to iron out the ground by messing with it and end up creating results which are far more unfair than if they just bloody well let it be.

    Personally, although I have sympathy for Jacqueline Quest’s connections, in a truly run race on proper ground that hadn’t been meddled with and manipulated, she wouldn’t have been in the first six, but also if we still had jockeys like Lester Piggott who were able to exploit their tactical genius in order to win races rather than have to ride with one eye on the Steward’s Room, then racing would be better for it.

    Finally, I wrote a jokey comment about the calendar of the flat racing season on another blog, in that the Guineas meeting is the traditional curtain closer of the flat season, but there is a serious point about the ridiculous situation akin to the FA Cup final taking place in October.


  10. Connor Gallagher says:

    Hi Matt,

    In all honesty I couldn’t agree more with regards to the racing calendar and so-called ‘racing for change’ fiasco. In my opinion, the BHB need to focus on keeping current racing fans interested as opposed to attempting to attract new ones by pointlessly enlarging saddlecloth numbers and migrating to decimal odds.

    The admins need to stop tampering with the technical side of things and get to grips with the various changes that may actually be beneficial to racing’s genuine enthusiasts. If you ask me they’re taking a huge step backwards with these current antics, and unless something changes, we’re not going to get anywhere anytime soon.

    On the other hand, I’m not so sure I agree with your comments on the 1000 Guineas. There was minor interference, and in my opinion Tom Queally could have avoided such a penalty by doing more to keep his horse straight. What’s wrong about this situation, however, is that the placings would have remained unaltered if it was Special Duty who passed the post first!

    In an attempt to keep the punters happy, and in order to create media hype with two French winners and the like, they blow things out of proportion by reversing them. To some extent I can understand why, but that doesn’t mean the reasons were correct. If the short-priced favourite had caused such little interference and finished a nose in front of a 66-1 outsider, they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. That’s what pi***s me off…

    Rant Over!


  11. Mick says:

    Completely outside the box thinking for racing may be some form of season long team event. How what etc I am not so sure.
    Grouping by country is always a good way to ensure viewer passion. Or split it further into region or county.
    Rugby in Ireland for example has ulster, munster, leinster etc.
    The average bloke on the street who may not understand all the rules of the game can be drawn in via a passion for their location.

    Aim for tribal loyalty and passion to draw new people to take an interest in the sport.

    Passion and tribal loyalty is one of the key reasons football is so succesfull.

    Think the next 50 years not the last 100.

    As I said .. completely outside the box thinking. 🙂

    Do agree some form of grand finale to the season with building excitement as it approached may improve the sport.

    Watering and the draw..always a factor to ponder.
    My mate Dave does continual research into such factors.
    Draw bias ( due to ground or track configuration ) is one of the areas covered each day in his RacingTrends email.


  12. Peter Elkin says:

    Hi Matt, I agree totally. I backed Jacqueline Quest on the result of the enquiry, thinking it was easy money. My horror was only surpassed by the look on Wilson’s face when the amended result was announced. Henry Cecil’s response was very sporting indeed and I’m not sure that I would have been that controlled. A disgraceful result.

  13. mark says:

    Hi Matt,
    Mark here from IOD june last year, I am now back on the scene after what has been a very tough year and will be in touch very soon.

    Great post as always and agree with most of what you say regarding the flat season, however strongly disagree with your interpretation of the stewards. Agreed would have been a nice story for the original result to stand and we always want to see the best horse win, but I believe for too long stewards enquiries have been a joke in this country, in the interests of fairness the result had to be reversed, now admittedly the decent ante post wedge on special duty may have swayed my judgement a little! But you cannot argue with the fact that special duty was bumped more than once and carried half the width of the track (and newmarket is the widest straight in the country!), and this strongly influenced the outcome in a nose finish.

    For far too long the stewards have had an anything goes approach and it has become practically impossible for a horse first past the post to be chucked out even when virtual GBH has been committed, in fact I still get angry thinking about rhinestone cowboy in the champion bumper a few years back virtually put through the rail twice by pizarro and the result standing, it cost me a small fortune at the time and the sense of unfairness still leaves a bad taste, ok maybe I should let it go, but things have become even worse since then and I for one was glad that the stewards finally had the balls to overturn such an obvious incident in such a high profile race.
    I have to admit that the cynical side of me suspects the fact that it was a french horse (Given their polar opposite stewards approach, where the slightest bump will get a horse thrown out) influenced the stewards outcome, and the sense of british fair play and the probable gallic and diploamatic anglo/french uproar if the result had stood was foremost in the stewards mind.

    Now I would not our stewards to go down the pedantic french route where often the best horse does not get the race but I think this issue should be debated sensibly.

    I suspect (and hope) this stirs an hornets nest!

    Cheers and regards

  14. David says:

    Certainly Derby winners of 1844 and 1913 were awarded race and could anyone ever forget Nureyev in the 2000 of 1981 – disqualified for being better than the rest.

    I have a feeling a Stewards Enquiry amended a major non-classic circa 1966.

    Lucky we weren’t playing France in the World Cup Final that year or we may have had an amended result there too.

  15. David says:

    Incidentally I have now found the Nureyev video on YouTube and STILL can’t see any ( even theoretical ) reason for the verdict.

    Anyone remember the Aga Khan’s filly Aliysa who doped herself – must admit I had forgotten her name.

    That caused the Aga Khan to throw his toys out of the pram and all his horses out of the UK. That must have cost the British racing industry a bob or two !

  16. Christopher says:

    Hi Matt, i agree the result was a farce but, only because the winner
    got kicked out. There are five classics in flat racing, and there
    always will be. Two classics in May, one in June and the other in
    September. I don’t agree in changing that.

    When horses split in to two groups, half the jockeys get it wrong!
    If they walked the course beforehand or did their homework
    first, then maybe this wouldn’t happen so much.

    Horses do improve and can turn the form book on it’s head.
    Horses are not machines and do run poorly sometimes, Which
    can leave us all scratching our heads.

    As for St Nicholas Abbey, look at it this way, he could be good
    value for an ante post bet for the Derby, so why not take advantage of this?

    I do agree there is a lot of tweed jacket, cloth cap wearing
    numb skulls in racing, who do not do the sport any justice
    but it’s always been that way and always will.

    It would be nice to change that, but we all know that isn’t
    going to happen soon.

    The stewards are usually ex military old f*rts that know
    nothing about race riding anyway.

    I don’t think there’s a stand out classic horse this year, maybe
    we were spoilt last season with Sea the stars.

  17. Tony Booker says:

    Nice rant Matt, and I agree. Unfortunately the racing “hierarchy” have always considered it to be their sport, and have little or no thoughts about the masses who fund a lot of it for them. And I can’t ever see that changing.

  18. Peter Elkin says:

    I didn’t agree with the result of the stewards enquiry but the comments made by Mark about stewards’ enquiries in general are very fair. My judgement of the enquiry was made on the basis of past results and consistency is the issue I think.

  19. colin says:

    If Mr Queally was too close to the eventual winner to be able to use his whip in his right hand, then he would have to use his left hand, which presumably if he is thrashing the horse hard enough will push it further to the right.

    If that is correct, then there is a simple solution.

    Get rid of whips – then we will see true jockey skills without the reliance on beating a horse (You wouldn’t – be allowed to do it in the street saddling enclosure!)

    As to draw bias – it is ludicrous that races should be dependant on the draw.
    The owner who has spent a lot of money – be it a low grade syndicate or high class stud – loses, the jockey loses and the poor punter loses.

    If there is a known draw bias – then it means the race is inherintly unfair, and if it is because the fields are too big, then reduce them so it is no longer a lottery and may the best horse win.

    As to watering – clearly wrong unless the course become rock hard and a danger to horse and rider, and stewards, well we need something to stop a potential free for all. Perhaps a few full time paid professionals possible from retired jockey/ trainer resources may be a solution.

  20. Ray says:

    Hi Matt
    Interesting that the last time this kind of result (ie won in the stewards room) was thirty years ago and same rich sheik owner.Probably a case of who you know rather than what you know. Whatever the reason a total disaster for Flat Racing as the resulting feel good story if Noel had kept the race would have been enormous. I also felt for Henry Cecil who saw a remarkable result snatched from him. Lets hope lessons are learnt from the watering fiasco which turned a good race into just a lottery box.
    Keep up the good work Matt.

  21. paul says:

    Hi Matt
    Pretty strong views and although I don’t normally agree with everything thing you say on a chosen topic this time your bang on.Her comments on tv after the revised placings “I think the result is a fair one,even in France it would be the same and it saves us having to appeal”those words got me reaching for a sick bag.

  22. Arthur Judge says:

    Hi Matt,

    I am 100% behind you and will be pointing some doubters as to my theory on why the result was reversed(me a conspicy theorist) the very thought, its time perhaps for the little guys me being one to make a stand against this bunch of snobbish ceribrily challenge malcontents, keep up the good work.

  23. maneman says:

    Hi Matt,
    Yes I totally agree with you about point 2 and the travesty of the 1000gns completely ruined by an awful decision by the stewards who have become a law unto themselves. I think the Newmarket stewards must be on the same drugs as the other lot at Salisbury who banned Laura Probert for 28 days in her first ride as an amateur, for not riding her horse out properly. Yet under her own admission, she was absolutely exhausted and should not have been treated so harshly as effectively thanks to the racing schedule for amateur races, she’s out for 6 months!
    Point 3, re: watering of racecourses. I have always been totally against watering because it creates false ground but most importantly it ruins the root structure of the grass. Can cause slippery areas, uneven going and what if it rains after all!! There is enough interference with Mother Nature by man as it is; why racecourses can’t cease this ridiculous interference with the going under both codes beggars belief. If your horse is unsuited by the going, then don’t run. It’s as simple as that, certainly the going is used as an excuse for non runners often enough as it is.
    As far as point 1 goes I cannot agree. You clearly display a NH perspective of Turf Flat Racing and fail to understand the Pattern system and understanding of flat thoroughbred horses. Remember NH horses are 4yo + and they are the equivalent of young men/girls in their late teens early twenties dependant on which month they were born. Flat horses at 2yo are like young juveniles of primary school age and are developing mentally and physically very fast and as they move into their 3yo stage they are at the equivalent of teenagers still developing mentally and physically but at varying rates. Hence, their abilities on the racecourse tend to be very progressive especially with regards to the distances they can race as their speed and particularly stamina is very much improving. The Pattern system and Classics are structured historically with the development of young thoroughbreds. Horses like Sea The Stars and Nijinsky are uncommon but then so are the likes of Arkle, Red Rum and Desert Orchid. It is sometimes a shame that the stars of Flat racing are shipped off to stud after only their 3yo year and the dominance of Godolphin and Coolmore is so profound. As in many sports today, money and vast amounts of it talks, just take a look at football, rugby, cricket to name the obvious.
    As with many things in sport as in life, they are not perfect, far from it but if it isn’t broke don’t fix it and I fear that this ridiculous “Racing For Change” is another interfering body as overzealous and as full of their own self importance as the racecourse stewards were at Newmarket and Salisbury last weekend.

  24. colin says:

    If the general tone of comments thrown up here is typical of the country at large, we awill wake up tomorrow to another 5 years of Robber Brown and his band of bruvvers….

  25. maneman says:

    It’s going to be a thankless task to sort out the monumental damage that Blair & Brown have inflicted upon this once wonderful country!

  26. Phil says:

    A healthy response to your article Matt, not the usual verbally constipated reaction. Do you feel justified or chastised or are you casting your all important vote for our next great leader. Given the state of the nation it wouldnt surprise if the next lot of scoundrels decide to damage our beloved sport further. Could tax free earnings from betting be a thing of the past before too long?

  27. Fred says:

    Just to put a bit of perspective on things. Around about 1980 Known Fact was disqualified after winning the Guineas. Owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah. What goes around comes around.

  28. tom says:

    Hey Matt,

    Whilst i felt sorry for the owner of the demoted horse in the 1000 guineas, and im not a lover of the french, it was the right decision.
    Actually, I find it annoying that more results are not reversed in UK.

    So many times horses that run straight are impeded by
    horses NOT running straight and that is simply not fair.

    Stewards are INCREDIBLY lenient in this regard in UK.
    in this case they really had no choice.

    You say the eventual winner got a slight bump, yes but it was then carried almost half way across the track ( yes, half the track ,take a look at it again) by the wayward horse.

    Its simply wrong to make a horse who is performing as it should and running straight , to then run a greater distance because another horse is not performing as it should.

    Running straight and not impeding others is an important part of racing too, as much for safety as anything else.

    If the french horse was not impeded and ran straight as it was doing and the other horse had drifted as it was doing then the race would have been easily won by the french horse.

    For this reason it was completely the right decision.

  29. Joyce says:

    Sorry Maneman, got to diagree with you there! this recession is a
    Global one! which everybody seems to forget, Brown has also looked after the older generation.. i.e heating allowances, for which my 83 yr old Mum is grateful for…….

    God help us if the tories, get in again, then we’ll see who was worse……..

    By the way Matt, great rant, totally agree with everything you said
    it’s a wonder with so much comments being said about
    Noel’s horse, they haven’t said anything afterwards…..

  30. SEAN says:

    “St Nicholas Abbey was sent off at evens to win the 2000 Guineas.

    His trainer went on the record as saying, “All mine will improve for the run”. Meaning I can’t get them race fit at home (very few try, and even fewer succeed in this).”

    The odds weren’t the horses fault, and anyone who backs an O’Brien horse FTO is a fool.

    This is a DERBY horse, the Guineas was a prep race.

    O’Brien is more than capable of getting the horse fit enough to win, but where to then – it is a long season??

    Stud fees dictate that a DERBY winner is worth its weight in gold, O’Brien is not paid to keep punters happy he is paid to produce Grp1 champions and he does it time after time.


  31. Nathan says:

    Agree with the concencus and sentiments noted above – roll on Boxing Day and Kauto flying over that last fence at Kempton……..

  32. jb says:

    There was one classic turnaround about 20 yrs ago
    I was there on sunday and l piggot was of the view that as the result was so close that special duty was intimidated and had her run significantly interferred with. Why T Queally kept his whip in his left hand cannot be fathomed.
    J Gosden had walked the course and said a lot of those involved knew this. Impossible to win drawn high and arguably some should have got across as the loss of distance would not have been so important as the impaired going.

  33. Alan says:

    It would have been a fairy tale result – but the filly clearly interfered with the other filly – correct decision.
    I’ve seen horses thrown out for touching and not for barging through the rails – penalties given and not – ‘inconsitancy’ is the pain.
    A first past the post bookmaking rule would end this, for punters. Of course the prize and race honours would be subject to ‘the established, if inconsistant, rules’.
    I agree Matt that our flat season is completely out of sinc with everyone else and that the guineas should be later, and all subsequent classics moved to suit. Probably suit trainers more, but upset owners, who’d like more choices and alternatives.
    As for the luck of the draw – it is as it says on the tin. I think shrewd trainers and jockeys are justly rewarded for their enterprise in exposing these anomalies.
    As far as horses reversing form by large margins, the rules of ‘non trying’ and ‘schooling in public’ need a tweak here and there.
    Finally – Why should horse racing be fair to the punter? Never understood this concept. You should bet only for the fun of seeing a plan come to fruition – and lose with the understanding of it not.

  34. Richard says:

    Hi Matt
    I’ve always been of the opinion that we should have a Flat festival at the back end of the season as we do with Cheltenham for NH.
    We have Ascot in June and then the rest of the season is a bit of an anti-climax.If we went out with a bang with a big festival at the end of September then racing would surely benefit from this.I know we have the big meeting at Newmarket around that time so lots of championship races could be incorporated into that meeting and create much more of a buzz.I know the French would not be happy because of the close proximity to the Arc but sod the French we need to give our racing a kick up the a…backside.

  35. colin says:

    Joyce – You are SO wrong

    I am one of those who instead of drinking , smoking etc ( I am not suggesting your Mum was did or was careless with her money) invested in a private pension.
    In the 10 years from the time Brown became chancellor until it was due to be paid, he robbed my fund to a drop of 73% Yes DROP.And because the £40 per week nett this gives me, I now end up with the same pension as those who didnt save a penny! Great socialist values.

    He has spent money the country didnt have and he encouraged the banks by reducing regulation. HE is part of the reason for the global recession – not a saviour from it

    And as to the reason for this thread, it has been suggested that first past the post(on the racecourse )might be a solution – that is just a way of letting the bullies win races, a sort of Schumacher rule for racing.

    If the eventual winner was pushed off course by the disqualified horse is true (I didnt see it) it would clearly have affected the result if the winning margin was only a nose and the much maligned stewards were right.

    The physical, emotional ,state of the affected owner is quite irrelevant and can have no part in it.

    And why should “earnings” from betting be tax free?

    This is a rhetorical question. as to be equitable it should only be on nett winnings and how on earth one could organise that I dont know.

    But again, why on nett winnings. When I go to work as a PAYE earner, (or when I did work) I couldnt deduct my “losses” as in clothes for work, packed or other sustenance, travelling etc.

    This could go on forever……

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      It could do Colin, but it won’t…

      I politely remind all readers and contributors that horse racing is the theme on this site and not – thank the deities – politics.

      Good weekend all – I’m off to Lingfield!


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