NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Sun Mar 24
Carlisle, Exeter
Mon Mar 25
Wincanton
Tue Mar 26
Hereford, Hexham

The Grand National 2019

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Entries & Recent Form

Well, England managed to win the second Test match against the Australians by an innings and 71 runs, and following his efforts with bat and ball I was amused to see Kevin Pietersen (tongue firmly in cheek) refer to himself as an all-rounder!  Remember, England only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes, but wouldn't it be great to win the series outright?  I have a few Aussie mates who have given me quite a lot of stick down the years, but funnily enough I haven't heard much from them recently.  Fortunately Ricky Ponting is going through a torrid time with the bat, but even so, Australia look to be a poor outfit...so now we have got them down, let's tread on them!

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There are two all-weather meetings on this afternoon at Southwell and Lingfield (Lingfield passed a 6am inspection).  Interestingly, Southwell plays host to three National Hunt Flat races on it's card and they have attracted fields of 14,10 and 9.  The three year old bumper has the most runners so it looks like these races are obviously needed.  I would think that if one of the all-weather tracks were to put on three or four races like this once a week they would be well supported.  Even champion jockey A P McCoy has a couple of rides, so this initiative should be something that the planning committee should consider doing on a regular basis.

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I was looking through the Racing Post yesterday at AP's ten best rides and four of them were aboard horses that were trained by MCP.  I hate to argue with the great man, but I have to say that I think the ride that he gave Deano's Beeno when he outsmarted Thierry Doumen aboard Baracouda had to be one of the best that I have seen - he stole a long lead and the French raider was never quite going to get back to him.  Although not his favourite success, AP picks out his ride aboard Pridwell as his best race ride.  The pair beat the mighty Istabraq at Aintree - now Pridwell was a real character, but he had masses of ability and on this day McCoy managed to coax it all out of him to deny the triple Champion Hurdle winner.

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They say that too many cooks spoil the broth...well the old adage certainly doesn't apply to cricket!  Alastair Cook has been in fantastic form for England against the Aussies in the second Test of the Ashes series.  Following his magnificent 235 not out at the Gabba, he finished the second day at Adelaide unbeaten on 136, while it was also good to see Pietersen coming back to the form he showed about four years ago with a knock of 85 not out.  England will resume tomorrow on 317-2, with a first innings lead of 72 - a very promising position indeed.  For all that England have played superbly, I do feel that the Australian bowling attack is probably the worst I have ever seen.  A couple of years ago the skipper would just have thrown the ball to Shane Warne, and to be honest Warney would probably still be better than the bowlers they have now!

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I was amazed as I was watching the coverage of the 2018/22 World Cup bids yesterday to discover how everyone knew who hadn't made it through the first round of voting before the result was announced.  Everyone already seemed to know that Russia was going to be hosting the 2018 event and Qatar the 2022 contest.  It seems a huge coincidence that everyone was praising England's presentation, yet we only polled two votes.  It was widely acknowledged that ours was technically the best bid, and financially the most profitable for FIFA - so it begs the question, how could we fail so spectacularly?  I don't suppose the fighting in Birmingham the evening before or the Panorama programme broadcast earlier in the week investigating FIFA really helped matters, but even so it is difficult to believe that it made that much difference to the result.  It is a great shame as it now means that England will not host a World Cup until at least 2030 and I will be a ripe old age by then!

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Following eight inches of snow, Lingfield has been forced to abandon it's all-weather fixture this afternoon.  Ironically the meeting was intended to be a replacement fixture to make up for the recent abandonments owing to the inclement weather.  So there you have it, all-weather racing is all-weather racing so long as it isn't snowing.  I have been going on about the fact that we have had no snow in my home town of Brixham - well, you should never count your chickens!  I woke up this morning and when I looked out of the window, there was snow everywhere.  On the plus side, it is the only time my garden ever looks tidy!  Unsurprisingly, both Exeter and Sandown have been abandoned ahead of tomorrow.

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Some of you might have realised by now that I am a West Ham fan, so I am going to take the rare opportunity to gloat!  What about last night and the 4-0 drubbing that the Hammers handed out to Manchester United?!  It was United's first defeat in twenty-nine games, and I think it is fair to say that maybe Mr Ferguson's reserves aren't quite as good as he thought they were.  It's a shame that Obinna is only on loan from Inter Milan as he looked a class above everyone last night, and sadly I don't think that West Ham will be able to afford to sign him at the end of the year.  Anyway, I was delighted and Christmas is back on the agenda in the Barnes household!

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