‘At A Pinch’ I’ll plump for Bayraq!

‘Actions speak louder than words’ and William Haggas, Mark Johnston, not to mention the irrepressible champion trainer, John Gosden, have proved it with admirable consistency these last few years; serious punters aren’t fools, many specialise with selections from such yards and enjoy profit from their hobby/passion.

When you consider just what makes for a successful training operation you could well join in and confine majority of bets to runners from major ‘industrialised’ yards, which rely on a solid business plan, involving managers who report to their bosses and form a backbone to an obsession for superiority.

My first recollection of outstanding, imperious training techniques came about when I was invited to the Gisburn, Lancashire establishment of Tony Dickinson way back in the early days as a racing journalist, early 1970’s!

On the lounge floor were all kinds of data, racing calendars, form books, copies of Sporting Chronicle (which I worked for!), Sporting Life etc and son Michael, who actually fell asleep and was left prone by Tony and wife Monica as bedtime approached and passed.

The subsequent ‘genius’ never did things by half and became a good friend to a ‘new kid on the block’  who fascinated ‘the long fella’ with time-handicapping computation. ‘Time’ was right for a racing revolution!

Following several early successes, with backing of my ‘clock specials’, Michael realised that slowly-run races were a waste of time, forgive the pun!

Given his judgement of pace he soon cottoned onto wisdom of making the running and outclassing opposition, time and time again. Betting was a joy to behold.

Throughout a tremendous career training jumpers Michael dominated the scene and when he pursued a flat-training career in USA he was also extremely successful and scored at the Breeder’s Cup fixture; he also invented the fabulous Tapeta surface, laid at Newcastle, Wolverhampton and now Southwell where, after thirty-two years, fibresand has been dug up in favour the revolutionary matting!

It would be possible to write a book on Michael Dickinson but I’ll end this missive by stating categorically, like Martin Pipe afterwards, and the three aforementioned trainers, he was a colossal contributor to the ‘Sport Of Kings’ and his legacy will live forever, on racetracks!

Meanwhile Kempton stages its obligatory ‘Wednesday-nighter’ with an eight-race card and Gosden will be represented in the opening Novice Stakes by recent Yarmouth winner Millennial Moon, a Dubawi colt which is penalised 6lbs and at first glance looks unbeatable.

On polytrack however, which rides ‘standard to slow’, that’s a real burden and with two places in mind I’ll take a chance with once-raced Bayraq, another ‘super-bred’ which ran third to Kiwano over course and distance a fortnight back; ‘horses for courses?’

‘Big John’ should be on the mark with At A Pinch and at Sedgefield (jumping!) don’t miss Punxsutawney Phil!

Selections, Sedgefield, 1.38 Punxsutawney Phil; Kempton, 4.58 Bayraq (e.w); 5.30 At a Pinch. 

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019