12 February 2009
I SUPPOSE the nasty weather and the doom and gloom pouring out of the telly and the radio makes everybody a bit judgemental and being a miseryarse goes with my time of life.
You try to keep yourself upbeat and cheerful but all you need is a snowball up the earhole from the local youths who are not considered to be safe in school and so are wandering the streets terrorizing their elders to put you in Grumpy Old Git mode.
I was at Southwell last week with Lawyer To World (and the less said about him the better) when I was struck by the sight of one of the best sprinters of modern times running for peanuts in a Grade 5 race at the Newark track.
I refer of course to the one and only The Tatling. Bought for little more than ten grand out of Dandy Nicholls yard by Milton Bradley from a claiming race this fantastic hoss went on to win the Blue Riband of sprinting, the Prix de L'Abbaye at Longchamps.
At the time I thought it was the most fantastic Cinderella story and was really moved by the story of old Milton Bradley nearly not making it to France because he did not have a passport. Now I feel embarrassed by the whole sorry spectacle of The Tatling at twelve years of age plugging round the fibresand for hay money.
At a rough guess I would reckon that that gallant hoss must have won more than a quarter of a million quid in prize money in his career. If that does not earn him a warm stable and a bellyful of oats on a filthy February day I do not know what does.
And do you know the most poignant thing of all? The old boy won that race at Southwell. Contrast the story of that hoss with the story of Denman. He had a lacklustre return to the fray at Kempton last week following his heart scare. His owners have immediately withdrawn him from the Grand National and put a question mark against his participation in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. Like The Tatling, Denman is a gelding so he has no future stud value but his owners are quite prepared to let him rest on his laurels and most importantly allow him to be remembered by the sport as the great champion he was rather than to literally run him to death. There is a moral in there somewhere.
So I have been judgemental about two hosses so where does the Ass come in? He is a racehorse owner named Michael Thomas who was jailed last week for the rape of his ex-lover. My eye was first taken by the headline description of Thomas as a "racehorse owner". I thought that is a bit unfair to all of us racehorse owners that he should be identified in the public mind by the fact that he was involved in racing as an owner.
I wanted to say that it was unfair but when I read on exactly what this Ass had done, hiding in a shed in his ex-lover's garden, spying on her through holes bored in the walls of the shed then leaping out on her as she loosed her dog into her back garden I realized that the man is as wicked as they come.
The fact that he slept in the shed on a mattress waiting the best moment to pounce underlines that he is not only bad but bonkers.
Looking forward to the weekend racing a hoss I have always liked very much Voy Por Ustedes heads an all star cast for the Betfair Ascot Chase and I think he will be well suited to the drop back to two and a half miles.
He was not disgraced in third place behing Kauto Star in the King George on Boxing Day. Double him up with Character Building in the Blue Square Chase at Kempton also on Saturday. For what it is worth, which is not a lot, we run Lawyer To World one last time at Fakenham on Friday. Another disappointment there will mean he will have to be found a good home as a family pet somewhere. Milton Bradley please note.
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