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Entries & Recent Form
- Friday, 17 February 2017 08:20
- Written by Chester Barnes
There are four meetings taking place this afternoon with jumps action from Sandown and Fakenham, while there are all-weather flat fixtures from Newcastle and Wolverhampton. The stable has two runners at Sandown; Bella and Rathlin Rose. Bella (pictured above) goes in the conditional jockeys' handicap hurdle at 1.40pm and will be partnered by Michael Heard who claims a handy 3lbs off her back. She is still high enough in the weights but should run her usual honest race. Rathlin Rose contests the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at 3.15pm and he is partnered by the amazing Captain Guy Disney who claims 7lbs off his back. Guy, who lost his right leg beneath the knee in Afghanistan in 2009 is more than capable in the saddle. Rathlin Rose was an encouraging fourth on his first start back from an absence in a competitive handicap at Newbury last time and looks to hold solid claims this afternoon.
Senior handicapper Phil Smith has come in for criticism following the announcement of the Grand National weights on Tuesday. The Irish editor of the Racing Post thinks that it is wrong to give one man carte blanche over the National weights. Personally, I think that handicapping horses is a thankless task and despite my occasional criticism I think that they do a very good job. Phil Smith certainly is no shrinking violet and he is not the type to back down from a challenge - he was invited to Pond House many years ago now and Martin had assembled a firing squad of some of the most knowledgeable people he knew but he more than held his own. Mind you, he did finish up in bed that night with a blow-up doll! I'm not quite sure where Martin got it from.
There was some serious cash changing hands at the Cheltenham Sales yesterday. The top lot was Flemenshill, a winning Irish point-to-pointer who was knocked down to Ann and Alan Potts for £480,000. The form of the race is difficult to quantify - none of the six runners had ever run before and none of them have run since! He could be very good, but that seems like an awful lot of money to me...I wish them the best of luck.
It was a good night for Manchester United as they beat St Etienne 3-0 in the Europa Cup with striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hitting a hat-trick. Let's hope United can keep him for another year. Meanwhile, Spurs managed to lose 1-0 to a pub team called Gent...their performance belonged in the gents!
I see that referee Mark Clattenburg turned down £1 million a year to officiate in China but has instead taken £500,000 from Saudi Arabia (tax free) - certainly not a bad wage for blowing a whistle.
I was using my computer the other day and it asked me to set a password eight characters long....I chose Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Have a nice day...