6 May 2011
I had got my chat with you this week all worked out in my head and I thought it would all be so straightforward. No such luck.
As you all know I am very superstitious and a great believer in omens. On Sunday morning I drove up from Suffolk to visit my younger son Sid and his lovely wife at their home just off Bermondsey Street.
They were going to take me to see the new house they have bought in a very nice square just off the Old Kent Road. We could have walked there and it was a beautiful spring morning but I asked if they could drive round so that I could see a bit of the Old Kent Road, especially the Thomas A Becket because it brings back such memories for me of the old days.
As we drove past the old pub my daughter in law asked why it was so special. I replied that it was where the legendary local lad Henry Cooper used to prepare for his fights and many other fine boxers too “Who is Henry Cooper?” she asked.
I replied that he is one of the nicest, bravest, most genuine, most loved sports men our nation has ever produced. He held the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles and was voted BBC sports personality of the year twice and not one bit of all that fame ever changed him.
It fills me up to think that the wonderful man I was describing was breathing his last as I said those words.
My daughter in law called me on Monday morning and asked me if I had known that Henry had passed away when I asked to see he building which will always be a sort of shrine to him. I told her the truth that I did not know of his passing, I simply felt an overwhelming need to see the old place again and talk about Henry.
Life must go on and I must move from the exit of one legend to the entry of a new one. I refer to Frankel.
To put it at its most simple I have never seen a hoss race like last Saturday’s 2000 Guineas in all my years in racing. The hoss was awash with sweat in the parade ring. He was drawn on the extreme far side of the stalls but his pacemaker was drawn on the extreme stands side.
They had the whole of the rest of the field between them. All the racing experts, myself included were wondering how Frankel would join his pacemaker. Would he let the other runners go on and cut behind them or would the pacemaker come over to Frankel’s racing line. In the event it was totally academic. Frankel hit the starting stalls like a bat out of hell and blew them all away including his own pacemaker.
At the half mile mark a close up of Tom Queally on the big screen seemed to show the jockey almost apologising for what was happening. All he had to do was sit there until the line came into view and my recommended each way bet Dubawi Gold started to nibble at the favourite’s lead , give him a couple of slaps and that was it, a pillar to post victory for the red hot favourite. It was the nearest thing you will ever come to see of a hoss bolting to victory.
That is how this freak of nature wins his races – he bolts. Henry Cecil says he will not allow him to bolt in the Derby, so the next time you see him bolt to certain victory will be the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
My Saturday bet is Hawkeyethenoo in the Victoria Club Handicap at Ascot.
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