Saturday, 27 April 2013







Saturday's musings from a retired racing enthusiast.
David Ashforth at the Derby Awards 6.12.10
David Ashforth:
Twice voted journalist of the year
PICTURE: Dan Abraham
27. 04. 2013
"Drake has a nose for a winner while Sedgefield gets Mania mania".

Pic: Samantha Drake: unseated at Towcester but a winner at Sedgefield

“DO YOU know what won last Saturday’s Scottish Grand National at Ayr? It’s just that I tipped Godsmejudge and wondered how he got on. Yes, yes, yes  GODSMEJUDGE won 12-1.  


“What with Punchestown and Sprinter Sacre and steroids, you may not have noticed that this week was National week again, the National in question being Sean Magee’s Full Set Durham National at Sedgefield, one of my favourite courses.

 The winds of shock that shook the tea party, silver spoons and all and, the filly who kicked the silver tea tray high up into the apple tree.

“Magee kindly invited colleague Steve Dennis, myself and other curiosities along for what has become an annual institution and, as I passed an enormous sign alongside the A1 reading, “Prepare to meet thy God’, I was reminded that this is, perhaps, the greatest of all Nationals.


“It’s a long way to Sedgefield so I called in at Towcester, another favourite of mine, where I fancied Meridiem in the conditional jockeys’ race, although I fancied him a lot less after the second hurdle, where he unseated Samantha Drake. The stewards stood her down for the rest of the day. I don’t blame them. I assumed they’d backed Meridiem too, but it turned out that Samantha had hurt her nose (for breaking news on Samantha’s nose, try to keep reading) . I then backed Amistress – trained by Renee Robeson and owned by Mrs P Robeson – in the mares’ novice hurdle. Who could ever forget her husband Paul’s rendition of Ol Man River?

“Dat ol’ Man River, he mus’ know sumpin’, but don’t say nuthin’” – a bit like Lester Piggott, really.

About the song Ol Man River
  Computer skills? Dear all,  my live text keeps hop, hop hoppin'  all over the page ...... sorry

“Anyway Amistress looked as though she was going to win, but finished second instead. You’ll know the feeling and it’s always a good idea to remind yourself things could be a lot worse.

“For instance, almost 2,000 years ago, as I discovered at Towcester’s brand new museum, an army led by Boudicca suffered appalling losses in a battle fought nearby.


“At Towcester, you shouldn’t take on either the Romans or bookmaker Barry Johnson. On the other hand, it’s worth visiting the Towcester tea rooms and asking Sharon McMurray about her kidneys, one of which is now inside her dance teacher, Tracey Aspin. It’s also worth transplanting a slice of the coffee and walnut cake.


“At Sedgefield, there was a bookmaker trading under the name of Jo Bloggs and  a private box occupied by The Pet Crematorium. I didn’t like to open the door.


“In the first race, another conditional jockeys’ hurdle, I backed Danceintothelight, who fell, while Samantha Drake, her nose held together by a sticking plaster, rode Takaatuf, who won. It shows a bad nose is no obstacle to success, as long as you can breath through it.


“Having followed my own nose, without success, I decided to follow Drake’s instead, which eventually brought us to Sean Magee’s Full Set Durham National. As Magee pointed out, it’s better than the Aintree version, where they only go round twice, whereas they go round three times in the Durham National. Well most of them do.


 “DRAKE, and her nose, were on Leac An Scail jumped poorly, particularly at the seventh fence, where he fell. This may have been what is known as ‘a blessing in disguise*’, as Lackamon’s victory provided the perfect prelude to the guest appearance of Auroras Encore, fresh from winning that other National and, like Lackamon, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania. Mania Goes Mad!


“Tommo was in terrific form, as were the crowd, who applauded Auroras Encore, applauded Ryan Mania, applauded Tommo, and applauded Sean Magee. If you’d been there, they’d probably have applauded you, too.


“Sir Peter O’Sullevan, a Sedgefielder himself, would have been there if he hadn’t been detained elsewhere on the grounds of being 95, but Magee announced O’Sullevan’s tip for Call It On, each-way. Call It On finished where such bets tend to – fourth. All except Paddy Power who’s colt promised to pay out on even fifth place as well yesterday. We hear you David, Paddy, Rory, Tanya. Yes, yes, yes.


“As a prize, and a wonderful one it was, O’Sullivan had donated the original colours chart he used when calling home Rubstic in the 1979 National (the other one). Rubstic, as you know, won the Durham National on three successive occasions, from 1978 to 1980, and is the only horse to have won both Nationals in the same year. Golden Miller and Red Rum, what have you got to say about that?


“Denys Smith didn’t train Rubstic but was encouraged on to the winner’s podium, aged 88, on the grounds that he’d trained Red Alligator to win the other National in 1968, would add interest to the group photograph and was liked.


“Sue Smith wasn’t in the photograph, on the grounds that she wasn’t there, but Mania was not only in several photographs but also came across well and, one way and another, it was terrific fun.”

“*Blessing in disguise. An attempt to persuade the victim of disastrous misfortune that it’s all for the best. No, it isn’t, you idiot.”

J Margaret Clarke Turfcall Comment

Best for whom?  Calling into question the British Horseracing Authority Government’s (BHA) Bloodhorse Illiterate handling of this weeks breaking news concerning the use of steroid medication for racehorses suffering injury either in training or whilst racing.  


Have you noticed how some of the British who have themselves called ‘The Great and the Good’ have only one remedy for everything ‘Punishment’.
 eg David Cameron,  Paul Roy,  George Osborne, and Paul Bittar. Punishment so harsh, so
 cruel, so severe as has happened this week to Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, warned off for 8 years for using steroid medication to treat 11 injured racehorses placed in his care by owner Sheikh Mohammed.


We observe David Cameron and George Osborne allowing world bankers to be bailed out by British tax payers hard earned cash. Their financial greed, their dodgy rip off  working practices ignored completely.


We observe the recent millions of hard earned taxpayers cash used to finance the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Who split this country in half causing horrendous hardship to millions of other peoples lives, whilst she herself,  died in the Ritz Hotel in London.


We observe Mahmood Al Zarooni this week facing an illegal bloodhorse illiterate BHA disciplinary panel plucked straight out of the dark ages, with every financial  advantage point that money can buy. With Al Zarooni acting as Litigant in Person alone,  under sufferance treated like a criminal due to his concern for suffering racehorses who in his opinion  needed medication.

We observe British prisons bursting at the seams with prisoners. Many have had no education, no loving parents. British prisons are cruel, they are in fact ' people rubbish dumps'. Estimated to hold 65 percent of people who should not be in prison at all. Instead they need guidance to find their own way along their own path of life.


  History and literature by the Middle Ages Boudica was forgotten.

A gladiator (Latin: gladiator, "swordsman", from gladius, "sword") was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.[citation
The games reached their peak between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE, and they finally declined during the early 5th century after the adoption of Christianity as state church of the Roman Empire in 380, although beast hunts (venationes) continued into the 6th century.
Gladiators, replaced by worldwide licensed jockeys’ together with the trained racehorses they ride.  Licensed by the bloodhorse illiterate bully boys within both British government systems - political and horseracing. Anyone who has achieved true bloodhorse literacy in their own right are considered to be surplus to both government requirements. We haven’t come very far have we since 389.  What do you think?

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