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horse racing fans on the racecourse in 2021
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In this round-up:

Inconsistent stewards

Saturday’s racing was embroiled in controversy early on when the inconsistency of stewarding decisions were highlighted in stark fashion. First up was the opening race at Newbury, the bet365 EBF Novice Stakes. The punters thought they gotten off to a great start when 10/3 favourite Home City, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by ironically named Louis Steward beat Richard Hannon’s 9/1 chance Tropez Power by a neck. The head-on showed that the winner hung left inside final furlong and bumped the runner-up near the finish. The bing-bong went for a Steward’s Enquiry but very few observers expected it to be more than a look. There was some surprise when it was announced that the placings had been revised, especially given that the winning distance was a neck not a nose. 

Punters who backed the first past the post that had the cup snatched from their lips over at Newbury had reason to be a little niggled an hour later. That was after the Thank You Dr Jerry Hill Handicap. The reason for their annoyance was that Jedd O’Keeffe’s 17/2 shot Devil’s Angel under Callum Shepherd committed a similar but arguably a worse offence. That observation backed up at least in respect that the word ‘hampered’ appears in the Racing Post close up here but not at Newbury. The winner prevailed by just a head from Richard Hannon’s Theotherside which sent off the 5/2 favourite but kept the race after a subsequent enquiry. The fact that the Newmarket stewards had allowed the winner to keep the race leads to the fair assumption that had the officials been at each other’s courses, both races would have recorded different results at their hands. When there is so much betting money at stake worldwide surely punters are quite right to demand a better level of consistency in those decisions when translating the same set of rules.

Francky licks them in the Plate

There was some excellent summer jumping up at Market Rasen where the feature race, the Betway Summer Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) went to Francky Du Berlais for Peter Bowen under James Bowen. The 8-year old ran put a disappointing sixth place at Cartmel last time out winning readily by seven and a half lengths. Despite his poor last run, he was not unfancied by some shrewdies, Andrew Mount said prior to the race that the small field and steady pace last time wouldn’t have suited today’s winner. Karen Bowen representing the winning trainer bore that out telling Racing TV ‘He’s one of those who you’ve got to keep a lid on a bit, and I don’t think Cartmel suited him last time out. He’s happier when he’s racing and you need a horse that can handle that type of race, because not every horse can handle that fast-run hustle bustle scenario.

The Hannon old one two in the Super Sprint

Richard Hannon notched up his fourth victory in the Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes at Newbury, when 4/1 poke Gubbas under Sean Levey got home by half a length. The race is for two-year-old where their weight is determined by how much they cost at the sales. The race was worth £98,340 to the winner and £41,820 to the runner-up. That second figure was important to Hannon too as that slot was filled by 22/1 stablemate Symphony Perfect ridden by Ben Curtis. The winning trainer said after the race that the winner was a very good two-year-old but only time would tell if he is more than that. He added that he’d probably get further, as the further he went the better he was going. The winner completed a double for the Richard Hannon and Sean Levey combination having picked up the previous race, the Group 3 bet365 Hackwood Stakes with 11/1 chance Happy Romance. 

The well-touted 15/8 favourite for the race, Eve Johnson Houghton’s Chipotle had a torrid time under David Probert meeting all sorts of trouble in running. The colt finished 9th which was still in the prize money earning connections £1,960 but is surely much better than that and would have finished a lot closer had he had the run of the race. He’ll be priced accordingly next time out though, so punters beware. 

Donny Nightmare for promising apprentice

Jockey Mark Crehan suffered a nightmare up at Doncaster in the LMD Vacuum Excavation Handicap. He appeared to be certain to win the race having taken command and kicked clear on Sir Michael Stoute’s 9/4 chance Aerion Power. He then mistook the half-furlong post as the winning one and started to ease his mount. He only realised his mistake when the others got to him again in the shadow of the post, he shook Aerion Power up to quicken again but it was too late and was beaten a neck at the line by John Mackie’s 7/2 chance Colony Queen under Connor Beasley. 

The Steward’s held an enquiry where Mark Crehan was found guilty of ‘failing to ride out on a horse that would have finished first’ and was suspended for 28 days covering July 31 to August 27. That must be a huge blow for the jockey who has notched up 17 winners and at time of writing is currently chasing the apprentices title in second place. 

Newton Abbot joy for Turner and Kimber

At Newton Abbot on Sunday, the veteran predominantly flat Somerset trainer Bill Turner and jockey Harry Kimber landed a famous treble. The first leg of the three-timer was with 13/2 chance Oscars Fame which triumphed in the NewtonAbbotRace On Twitter Maiden Hurdle under Harry Kimber winning by five and a half lengths despite giving all concerned a scare pecking at the last. 

The second leg of the treble was landed in the newtonabbotracing.com Juvenile Hurdle where Harry Kimber had to work a bit harder to bag the spoils on Scrappy Jack. The winner sprang a 22/1 surprise at Newton Abbot a couple of weeks ago but was apparently better fancied today. The winner had been a 12/1 chance, but those odds had been slashed to 6/1 at the off. The combination rewarded backers by scoring a half-length victory. Harry Kimber would have been the toast of those that had lumped on with the bookies. Scrappy Jack had dropped to the rear and had to be pushed along to remain in contention in the early part of the race before running on turning for home and coming with a late rattle to get up on the run-in to win. 

The fabulous third for Bill Turner and Harry Kimber came in the Follow @WillHillRacing On Twitter Novices’ Handicap Hurdle when Youvebrokenmydream won at 11/2 for the combination.  They came with a well-timed run to lead at the last and go on to win by a length and a half to complete a 340/1 treble. I hope Bill Turner was on, it’s doubtful many others were, or the bookmakers would have been wheeling out their PR departments to say how they had been clobbered by the punters in multiples. 

The treble for Harry Kimber came after a barren spell of almost a year without a winner. He’d not ridden a double before let alone a treble and joked with Luke Harvey on ATR that he didn’t think he’d even had three rides in an afternoon before. Well done Bill and especially Harry, persistence paid off, may there be many more afternoons like this one. 

Simon Nott

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