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The Crown Jewels

One minute you think there’s nothing to bother blogging about on a windy and wet Saturday (although it’s so far sunny in this neck of the woods) and then the next you find this list:

Summer Olympics, Fifa World Cup finals, Uefa European football championship finals, the Grand National, FA Cup final – in England, Wales & N Ireland, Scottish FA Cup in Scotland, home and away qualifiers in FIFA World Cup and Uefa European football championships in home nation to which they relate, Wimbledon, Open golf championship, Cricket’s home Ashes Test matches, Rugby union World Cup tournament in entirety and Wales matches in Six National rugby championship, in Wales.

Can you guess what it is yet?

These events form the list of the sporting crown jewels that should enjoy protected status and be kept on free-to-air channels according to a government appointed “review panel”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much on there that shouldn’t be is there? (except perhaps for the interminable sport known as cricket), but wot about wotsnot?

WOT NO DERBY?

No Derby!

The review group, which included racehorse owner and former racecourse board member Michael Pescod, and was chaired by former FA executive director David Davies said, “In order to be eligible to be listed, an event must have a special national resonance and not simply a significance to those who ordinarily follow the sport concerned.”

Where has flat racing gone wrong? The Derby, on a Wednesday, used to have just that. What’s changed? Why does flat racing not resonate in the nation’s psyche in the way jump racing seems to. I can perhaps answer my own question which would clearly include the commercial breeding demands that dictate our heroes are whisked off to stud, but I would rather know what others think?

The wind’s picking up, it looks like rain, it must be the NH Season.

Great Sporting Weekend

The Tour de France started, there was some motorbike racing, Roger Federer completed his 15th Grand Slam title in nerve-shredding fashion and Sea the Stars became the fifth horse to complete the Guineas, Derby and Eclipse treble in his three year old season.  The latter was not even mentioned on the BBC news at 10 (or whatever time it rocks up on Saturdays) which mildly enraged me.

I, on the other hand, was to be found desperately trying to cycle the Southend end of Essex, be with the family, exercise the dog and not kill all the plants in the garden during the heatwave.  That’s the problem with great sporting weekends, 4 and 7 year old kids (not to mention dogs) don’t care and demand service as usual.  So I managed to catch the Eclipse with my bike in the bookies, some of the 2nd, 3rd and 5th sets at Wimbledon yesterday and not much else.  That meant I missed the delightful Speightstown colt Lord Shanakill’s win in the Prix Jean Prat in France.  His first Group 1 win and the first for his trainer.  I liked the horse a lot last year, I have mentioned him before and I thought he might struggle this season having been raced 8 times as a 2yo, at a high level and having been very genuine in so doing.

Not so.  He won at 11/1 and had I had time to read the Racing Post in my possession before the race I would have been swayed by the piece of information “thriving on work is a family trait” in the Bloodstock world page.  Then there was the trainer comment “I think he has come on for his run in the St James’ Palace”.  I form my views as the season unfolds and then these are the nuggets of info (along with his liking for fast ground) that inform final opinion and staking on the day.  Unfortunately, on the day, the Post was in the footwell of the car (unread apart from admiring the photo of Sea the Stars) and I was prancing around dog agility (dog) and archery (kids) at a country show.

That is the conflict of the punting life.  You can’t afford to let up on studying and keeping in touch otherwise you will miss something, on the other hand you can’t afford to spend your children’s lives with your nose stuck in form and the Post.  That’s why I like Group races during the week – I can pay attention to the form and not entirely neglect my motherly duties!  Hurray for Ascot, the July meeting and Glorious Goodwood. 🙂 

I can report that agility is not my lurcher’s metier, but notwithstanding dangling from the A-frame and refusing to entertain the tunnel he did the rest ok and got a certificate.  The scurry went less well (retrieval).  He amused those nearby by doing a good “time trial at Crayford” impression (tight bends) and then had to be practically handed the retrieve thingummyjig which he sort of tossed in the air to break its neck properly.  On the upside he deigned to be caught quite easily which would have never happened but a year ago.  I think, once this bike ride is done, we will have to seek out some lurchering events for him to enjoy.  After all,  it’s no good trying to put a round peg in a square hole.

Dog & Daughter with no Racing Post in sight!

Dog & Daughter with no Racing Post in sight!