Friday, 14 December 2012

Magnificent Munnings, Scintillating Sandown, Hateful Hereford, Lots of Links

A real racing round-up in this review. An amazing array of alliterations. Must stop this, it’s infectious and irritating.

In London last week for back-to-back meetings, but was able to escape and visit the superb, free exhibition of some paintings by Sir Alfred Munnings at Richard Green’s art gallery, 147 New Bond Street ( - well worth seeing, particularly the paintings of horses at the start at Newmarket. Definitely one of the most gifted artists of modern times. Next time I’m in East Anglia, I’ll make a point of taking a detour to the museum at Dedham (

The Tingle Creek this year was particularly tingling – Sprinter Sacre surging past Sanctuaire. Can’t wait for the Champion Chase.

More seriously, there was quite a controversy at Hereford recently when Oliver Sherwood was fined £3,000 and Leighton Aspell suspended for 14 days after their horse, Furrows, was very tenderly ridden in a 2m Novices Chase. It is the first time that Sherwood has been punished in this way for a non-trier, and not surprisingly, he was furious. It is probably only Furrows who was happy with the outcome: he is enjoying an enforced 40-day holiday from racing.

The race was won by Vulcanite, a 145-rated hurdler, from Salden Licht, who is 155. The 7-y-o Furrows has only won once in three years of training, amassing a total purse of £3,590 and an OR of 107. Back on 31st August, in the blog, “Novices (at the BHA)”, I forecast that the new Novice Chase rules were bound to lead to this type of occurrence, and “there must be a real risk .... that two sets of horses will be competing in the same race – a few top class, but the majority out of their depth”. That was definitely the case at Hereford. There is no way that connections of Furrows would have wanted to pitch him against horses 3st better than him, but the new regulations force trainers to do this. Our Owners for Owners trainer, Charlie Longsdon, responsible for Vulcanite, also feels that the new rules are inappropriate and that “having to run in one novice chase before handicapping are going to bring about more of these cases”. The rules definitely need to be changed. Over to the BHA on this one. Ironically, connections of Furrows are related to the former BHA CEO, Nick Coward.

Finally, you may have missed the best riding performances of the week. Another Owners for Owners trainer, Jamie Snowden, came back out of retirement, donned his riding boots and took part in the charity trainers’ race at Wincanton on Jamesson. A stylish ride, as ever, with the horse staying on late. Definitely a tryer. All the money raised is going to Racing Welfare and donations can be made on Well done to everyone who took part.


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