Talking Horses Tuesday 22/06/21

We should see more fallout today regarding the Jockey Club plans to make Cheltenham a five day festival from 2023. Speculation is that only two new races will be added and the days adjusted to six-race cards.

Twitter’s racing folk seemed hard against a fifth day in the main. To try to gauge just how anti they are (I include myself here) I put out a Twitter poll. I was surprised how strong the feeling proved to be, with four hours still to go (as I write).


  1. I hoped it didn’t go to 5 days but it’s inevitable. Money talks ….
    We should look for less dilution of the quality in races. Look at the Dublin racing festival for example, less days but unbelievable quality of racing and prize money.

    I also do not think Kempton should be sold but that again sadly may be only a matter of time. House and land prices may eventually mean it’s a no brainer for the bottom line but it would be a terrible result for racing.

    Onto racing Tuesday –

    Keith dalgliesh runs Beltane In the maiden at Ayr. He is 4-1 as there is a Caravaggio colt trainer but Kevin Ryan as fav.
    I think Beltane may be better than the odds predict.
    Regal mirage runs at Beverly in the 3.30 and is one who will like be back at a stiff track. 7-2 is fair.

    Newbury holds the evening card.
    Looking at Duke of condicote at 6-1 in the 6.30 for Alan king. More to come from this horse. Also in the 7.00 Typical man runs for Ian Williams and Buick on board. Favs chance I’d say …


    1. As posted earlier, I am a big fan of the Dublin Festival of Racing and I hope to be there in 2022. I’m also with you on the Duke of Condicote and this is doubled up with Arranmore at Ayr.
      As for a 5 day NHF, if you bleed something dry, then life ebbs out if it. Morons.


    2. Thought the 3.30 Beverley race looked tricky but have gone for Regal Mirage also (nagging doubt that a positively raced Puckle could upset the applecart – wouldn’t put off any loon who fancied the Forecast.)


  2. Those considering extending the Festival are advised to read Julian Muscat’s article in today’s Post. I quote:-

    “The first half of each day resembles the Royal Ascot of old, when superior horses lock horns in a series of thrilling tussles. The second half can be charitably described as unfit for purpose.’


  3. It seems an intrinsic part of human nature that things have to grow / expand (that’s a polite way of saying “we’ll milk the arse out of it for all its worth” coincidentally I believe that’s why I got fired as a farm hand) and whilst I don’t agree with this constant clamour for growth which often leads to a dilution of quality (see Euro 2021 for prime example) in this COVID economy is there not a genuine case to be made for it in these troubling economic times ? Think of the shot in the arm an extra day would give to the racecourse and all the ancillary services that benefit from The Festival.


  4. Apologies to the true followers of horse racing here. I have been posting up stream of consciousness in TH. I have found something horse related to put here.

    I have been diverted by a tale of my great grandfather who bought a former trotting pony as a “riding horse” (I presume with a carriage, but not sure). In the meantime a trainer who re-trained it to enable my GGF’s wife to ride it, also entered it in various trotting race handicaps and it had won several (outside the official regulations). The horse/pony was called Message Boy.

    It was supposed to be looked after in the winter by a farmer, Mr Hunt, but he allegedly failed in his duty and the horse died of colic as it had become emaciated and he fed it on bran and water which it could not digest. As the horse cost a lot, my GGF took Mr Hunt to court, hence how I know all these details. They were reported in the Wigan Observer and District Advertser dated 13 August 1904 under the headline, ” A CURIOUS HORSE CASE” (and other newspapares including the London Evening Standard under “Provinces”.

    It emerged in the hearing that Message Boy, according to my GGF, “had legs like polished steel and a constitution of iron and he was absolutely the fastest British bred horse in the kingdom”. He said Message Boy, for sweetneess of temper, speed and endurance, was one of the best animals he had ever handled. The pony had done the straight mile on the road from St Helen’s in 2 minutes 29 seconds.

    There appeared to be doubt about the horse’s official age, my GGF claiming it was younger than it actually was. It had also not won under the rules of the Trotting Union since 1894.

    “In 1896 it won a Silver Cup and in 1897 at Aintree it won a heat, and it should have won in the final.”
    Mr Rigby Swift; “Why did it not win?”
    Witness, “It was not his turn to win.” (Laughter)
    “Things are very nicely arranged in trotting”. (Laughter)
    “Would it ever again have been the turn of a horse of 15 or 17 years of age?”
    “Bendig and Manifesto were older.”
    “His turn never came again, did it?”
    “No, because I was so disgusted with the manners of the men associated with the sport that I gave it up altogether.”
    Further questioned, the witness said his object in having the horse was to prevent the butcher’s boy from passing him while driving down to his laboratory in the morning (he was head brewer for Messrs Greenhall, Whitley and Co in St Helen’s). He thought it quite worthwhile to give 130 guineas for that.

    Mr Rigby Swift, “Did you accomplish your object?”
    “I did”. (Laughter)

    There were many other deatils.

    The outcome of the case was an agreed settlement of £55.

    I doubt that my father had ever heard of this case as he never mentioned his grandfather who died when my father was 11 years old.

    One conclusion: Certain handicap races outside the rules were fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

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