NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Tue May 21
Goffs Spring Sale
Tue May 21
Hexham, Huntingdon
Wed May 22
Warwick, Southwell

Entries & Recent Form

I see that Ladbrokes have already paid out on Paul Hanagan to be the champion flat jockey for this year.  Apparently they have paid out about £150,000, although maybe they will be wishing they hadn't after his nearest rival Richard Hughes rode a treble to reduce the gap to seven.  I suppose Hughes' upcoming seven day suspension and his trip to ride in the Breeders' Cup in America on the last two days of the season have something to do with their decision to pay out early.  I wonder what would happen if there was only a couple of winners in it with a few days to go - would Richard cancel his trip to the States to challenge for the title?  I was also puzzled as to what Ladbrokes get out of paying punters early?...publicity I suppose.

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For those of you that keep in touch with my daily column, you would have read about my concerns for the England football team.  Well, as predicted they did not get a cricket score, instead they could only draw 0-0 with Montenegro.  Although England probably deserved a penalty for a hand ball infringement, let's be honest - if we can't Montenegro at Wembley, what chance do we have of lifting a major championship?  The obvious answer is none...how can you pick someone to win their first cap at the age of 32?  I really don't understand why Capello doesn't play more of the under 21 squad, they need to be blooded and I think that most of the public would be more accepting if they could see that the manager is building the team for the future.  Personally, I will be glad when Harry Redknapp takes over as England manager!

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Over 5,000 people turned up at Salisbury races yesterday for the Bathwick Tyres sponsored meeting.  The repeat of the free entry initiative certainly did the trick again, and the spectators were treated to a Frankie Dettori signature flying dismount after his victory aboard Secrecy.  It was obviously no secret that he was well-fancied as he started at odds of 1/2!  Let's hope that some of the first time race goers in attendance will come back and maybe pay next time - I firmly believe that more courses should have free entry days in the hope that they may capture more racing fans.

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I didn't realise that Paul Nicholls was looking for another jockey!  Did anyone see the drunk who tried to get his leg over the Nicholls trained Escort'men in the winners enclosure at Chepstow on Saturday?!  To be honest, the enthusiastic race goer looked to be in no fit state to get his leg over anything!  I am sure that if he wanted to ride out there would be a few trainers that could easily find something a bit keen to put him on.  There is nothing worse than getting carted up the gallops - I know, I have seen the lads and lasses  faces from the safety of the Range Rover...mind you, it's not that safe when MCP is driving - he ranks just behind Hadden and Johnny!  On a serious note though, there is a real need to tighten up security - when you see people as drunk as those football supporters were, they really do need throwing out.  How do I know they were football supporters?...they were singing football songs and chants.

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If you are going to Salisbury racing tomorrow you can get admittance to the track free of charge.  I am glad to see the track following up last year's initiative, which was a huge success with 4,313 people attending (not at all bad for a Monday).  Incidentally, the meeting is sponsored by our yard sponsors Bathwick Tyres who do so much to support and promote racing in this country.

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Rules are rules and Richard Hughes broke them, there can be no arguing with that.  I have to say though, that I think the six day ban handed down as punishment is perhaps a little harsh.  It means that Hughes will be out of action between 16th and 22nd October inclusive, and it has put a real dampener on the jockey's title race - Paul Hanagan's first jockey's title now looks to be signed, sealed and delivered.  In the short-term, both men are still going for everything - Hanagan has eight booked rides today, while Hughes has seven.

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I thought that Armenian Boy ran a good race in defeat at Ludlow yesterday.  Our seven year old finished a close second to favourite Court Red Handed, and was conceding 8lbs to the winner.  The only problem is that the handicapper will most likely stick a few more pounds on his back for his trouble.

The most impressive winner on the card was Golan Way who landed the beginners chase with any amount in hand.  He was entitled to win on his hurdles form, but that does not always translate to the bigger obstacles, and I was particularly impressed with the way in which he attacked his fences.

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