This week has not been the best for racing; with the news that Frankie Dettori the “face” of the sport has had his licence suspended for being tested positive in France. It appears there are some questions that need to be answered.
Frankie is the biggest name and undoubtedly the most recognised figure in racing, he is the BBC man, someone that even the random punter who knows nothing about the sport would be able to name. His fame has transcended far beyond the boundaries of racing and into restaurants, adverts and quiz shows. I’ve even had the odd occasion when someone has asked me: “Is Frankie riding in this?” and I have to say trying with all my strength not to sound overly patronising: “No, this is the Grand National jumps aren’t really Frankie’s thing.”
Who knows what will happen to the great man. A lengthy ban? I don’t know. But one thing is for certain he will now remain ever so slightly tainted, which is a real shame for the sport and the man.
On to the positives because there are some thank God!
I was lucky enough to go to Cheltenham last weekend for the Paddy Power it really got the heart rate up and the juices flowing.
Al Ferof’s romp in the Paddy Power came as no surprise. I really thought it was a no brainer. With the ground the way it was, slowly slowly deteriorating he seemed the most viable option. As for Grand Crus; again not showing his best at Cheltenham running an almost identical race as he did at the festival, he disappointed again. The explosive performance we were all anticipating was just not to be. But supporters of the lovely gray should not despair; in my opinion you will see a very different horse come Boxing Day at Kempton, a track he has shown he clearly enjoys.
The new crop of novice chasers really gave us something to roar about. Pipe’s Dynaste was simply unstoppable and Henderson’s Captain Conan was sublime. Both were absolutely foot perfect, they will be two seriously exciting novices for this season and certainly two horses to keep an eye out for.
This weekend we see the much-anticipated re-appearance of the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Long Run, in the Betfred Chase at Haydock. However this will sadly be run without it’s most successful graduate, Kauto Star, having won it last year at the ripe old age of 13. It will be sad not to see line-up, however Paul Nicholls and Clive Smith certainly made the right decision to retire the old boy in good health and after an amazing season. It is a very rare thing to retire a horse in perfect health a season after winning 2 Grade One’s. It’s pretty unbelievable.
So without his arch rival can Long Run deliver the goods on Saturday? With Imperial Commander now out with injury it is looking like Long Run should win, although the ground could be a worry, not to mention a classy horse in Silvinaco Conti. But if all goes to plan Henderson’s Gold Cup hopeful should canter home in front.
The racing is top notch on Saturday, with the return of some pretty exciting horses. With the likes of Oscar Whisky, Champion Court, Finian’s Rainbow, Captain Chris, Raya Star the list goes on and on.
You would be seriously foolish to miss it!