Your racing weekend summed up

When the racing is not quite of the standard of the previous weekend I am always more than a little worried that I will struggle to find anything worth mentioning but thanks to the wonderful world that is racing, I should have known better. Rain fell once again to spoil the best laid plans of trainers and punters the length and breadth of the Country, with the word soft appearing in going descriptions everywhere, but Chepstow put on perhaps the best jumps card of the season to date, and at least reminded us that even after the speedsters are long tucked up in their winter quarters, we will still have plenty of action to follow.


Richard Fahey – a good day at the office

As for the flat, trainer Richard Fahey pulled off a Musselburgh double courtesy of Henrytheaeroplane and Zuhoor Baynoona, but for me the plaudits all belong to Borderlescott who finished runner up to One Chance in the Conditions Stakes, which was pretty impressive in the circumstances. Giving seven kilos to his conqueror who is nine years his junior, this was his eighty-first race at the not so tender age of twelve, yet he clearly still has ability and loves every minute – that’s what horse racing is all about for me sometimes and brings a tear to the eye (don’t tell anyone).


Newmarket officially raced on good ground though the times suggest it was a little slower than that which may well make the form close to worthless, though I could not fail to be taken by the performance of Commemorative who took the Group Three Autumn Stakes by a length but showed plenty of good qualities to do so. Making all the running (nigh on), he repelled challenger after challenger throughout the final quarter mile and although no world-beater is one to keep on your side if you like a horse with the heart of a lion that is? When it came to the Cesarewitch result I doubt I would back the winner in the replay, yet other punters clearly felt differently as he was sent off a mere 10/1 shot, only twice the price of the favourite at the off. I had been told by a shrewd judge that a hurdler was the one to be on in this contest and so it proved as the seven year old scored with a bit in hand for Philip Hobbs and jockey Tom Queally, though he only finished a thrashed twenty-first here last year so this was some improvement.


Kirsty Milczarek – sadly forced to retire.

Moving on to Sunday and I hope some of you took a look at the Velka Pardubicka from the Czech Republic, which is a spectacle at the very least. Considering the marathon trip and specialist jumps I was amazed to see the now twelve-year-old Orphee Des Blins win the race for the third year in a row. This time the winning margin was down to a mere three quarters of a length so I doubt we see him attempt to retain his crown in 2015 but at least he came back safe and sound which is a mini miracle in itself as you would appreciate if you watch a replay of the race.


Lastly, it has been a week or so of retirements for various reasons that need mentioning if only in passing. Derby winner Australia was retired last week, and has now been followed by Oaks winner Taghrooda, Coral-Eclipse winner Mukhadram, Cheltenham winner Captain Cee Bee, and worst of all, top female jockey Kirsty Milczarek has been forced to retire at the tender age of 29 through injury. Damaging her neck on the way out of the stalls at Brighton last year she has never fully recovered and after being told one fall could paralyse her, she has taken the sensible if regrettable decision to stand down. Personally, I felt she was possibly the most talented of the “next generation” and perhaps the one who could make the elusive all out breakthrough and even win a classic, though that particular fairy-tale will have to wait for someone else for now.


Next weekend: Future Champions Day on Friday (Newmarket) and Champions Day on Saturday (Ascot).






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