15th July 2015
It's hard to believe it's fifty years since the innovation of starting stalls in the U.K. The great Lester Piggotts career is packed with significant moments but none so historic than when he won the Chesterfield Stakes at Newmarket on Track Spare which was the first race in this country to use starting stalls.
Races are occasionally started without them a case being at Haydock last week when stall handlers were held up in traffic and the first race was started by flag. Some unlucky punters will remember the favourite Iggy whipping round and losing all chance of winning.
This happened in numerous races before 1965 when a tape was raised across the runners and released on the starters command. I am old enough to recall racing at that time and can still raise a smile when the top jockey of the era was Gordon Richards and you could hear the starter say are you ready Sir Gordon before whipping up the tape.
Times have changed but punters being punters will always have a moan but perhaps they should spare a thought for backers in the old days when races could be lost before they had gone a few yards.
Another cracking week for those who follow my eye-catchers with the icing on the cake being Master Carpenter winning the John Smiths Cup at 14/1 s/p.
As for today's racing I'm going for one in the Sandown 7.40 for Howies Hottie. The tip is Fracos Secret who is better known for his exploits on the polytrack however he is on a competitive mark for the mile handicap.
He is a hold up type so will always be a hostage to fortune but if the jockey finds the gaps at the right time he could be finishing strongly in a race that should be run at a good clip.
Spangled trainer R.Varian - This giant filly won with plenty left in the tank at Newmarket and could well be up to group class when raised in grade.
Easton Angel trainer M.Dodds - She never got a clear run in this top juvenile fillies affair and her placing can be ignored. When she races against these girls again she should be backed for compensation.
Basatteen trainer R.Hannon - This race was won by Birdman who I told everyone would hit the high notes in fact I knew even before his trainer David O'Meara realised he had a hot one on his hands. However I backed Basateen as he was better off at the weights but he ran as if the race was needed after a long break. The engine is still intact so don't miss him when he next appears.
Bogart trainer K.Ryan - A slow start cost this talented sprinter the race at York and if he gets away on terms he should be right there when next sited.
Venezia trainer M.Halford - The horse made up a lot of late ground and could be one to note in staying handicaps over in Ireland.
Back next Wednesday have a good week and be lucky.