Entries & Recent Form

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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Looking through the nominations for Sports Personality of the Year award, I was delighted to see that A P McCoy has made it through to the final ten.  In my opinion, the only people that can vaguely claim to be anywhere near McCoy's level of achievement are Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Amy Williams (who won the skeleton at the Winter Olympics) and Jessica Ennis (Olympic Heptathlon winner) - and frankly I cannot believe that any of them would claim to be in McCoy's league.  In terms of records, darts player Phil "The Power" Taylor is the only one that can compete, but throwing "arrers" at a board surely doesn't compare with hurling yourself over fences on horseback at forty miles per hour?!  If McCoy doesn't win Sports Personality of the Year this time around, I think it is fair to say that no racing personality will ever win it.

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I must be honest, I think that A P McCoy has every right to refuse to speak with Racing UK following their criticism of one of his rides.  The broadcasters analyse every single race that they cover, and it seems to me that a lot of the time they are looking for something that isn't there in order to "sensationalise" their coverage.  If their comments had been made about a lesser jockey, it could have serious implications on their career.  AP rode for Martin for many years, and during that time I think we got closer to the champ than a lot of people, and I don't think that I have ever known a more straight-forward and honest jockey.  He is his own biggest critic and is one of the few jockeys that I have ever met that would come back and say if he hadn't given one a very good ride, although that didn't happen very often!

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It's the Japan Cup at Tokyo today and there are two European challengers bidding to lift the £1,664,000 prize.  James Given saddles Dandino, while Aiden O'Brien runs Joshua Tree.  The O'Brien runner finished three places in front of Dandino in the St Leger at Doncaster and it will be interesting to see how they get on.  Buena Vista is the forecast favourite...no, not that Buena Vista!

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Following the abandonment of Newcastle's Fighting Fifth meeting this afternoon, their big race has been transferred onto the Hennessy card at Newbury and features reigning Champion Hurdler Binocular.  Consequently Newbury's bumper card kicks off early at 11.55am.  If you are thinking of going, get your (ice) skates on and don't be late!  It should be a cracking day's action with the least valuable race of the day still worth £10,000 in prize money, while the amateur riders race nets winning connections a cool £15,000.  The big race of the day is of course the Hennessy Gold Cup and with Denman standing his ground at the top of the handicap, only seven of the eighteen runners are in the handicap proper, including our 2008 winner Madison du Berlais.

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Poole Master was a ready winner of the closing bumper at Uttoxeter yesterday afternoon when making all of the running to score by 4 1/2 lengths under Chris Honour.  He certainly seemed to handle the soft ground (heavy in places) well enough, and our five year old looks a nice type who should certainly make up into a decent hurdler.

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