Firstly let me congratulate Bryony Frost and her Ditcheat-based ‘super’ trainer/guv’nor, Paul Nicholls, on their Irish triumph with Frodon last Saturday; the initiative and confidence the ‘Champion’ has invested into his jockeys is impressive.
Paul is a businessman through and through, it’s testimony to Bryony and Harry Cobcden they are entrusted with such colossal responsibility; what a team and this column is in awe of the magnificent, consistent achievements down the years. No onto today..
Brilliant Blue is fancied to complete a natural numerical sequence (6/3/2!) in a twelve-runner Maiden Stakes over seven furongs of Kempton polytrack this afternoon, part of an eight-race card around this superb right-hander; not the most popular attendance-wise but ideal for punting given the surface has now settled down following early teething problems. No complaints from jockeys is always a good sign.
In fact all six artificial venues are firing ‘on all cylinders’ so to speak, a reason why my flat modus operandi continues to enjoy consistency, even though I’m forever hitting the goal post and suffering ‘seconditis’ with selections; one sound reason is because I’m determined to nominate good-priced each-way chances whenever possible. Place to place with doubles/trebles are proof positive this is the best method to exploit financial opportunities.
Brilliant Blue was a 200/1 chance when Gary Moore’s charge achieved his best time-handicap at Newbury in September and 16/1 three weeks ago at Yarmouth where, though second to John Gosden-trained Samburu, this Ribchester colt failed to replicate his previous mark which was disappointing for readers.
Since then Moore’s yard has been in tremendous form on the flat and over jumps, hopefully Tom Queally, engaged to Gary’s daughter, Hayley, will steer Brilliant Blue into the hallowed winners’ enclosure; what beats him will win!
Race-timing has come a long way since one travelled tracks countrywide throughout England to ‘clock’ races manually and stood on the line with a dual-purpose motive; in addition to ‘clicking’, as the winners hit the line, so many times it was possible to determine photo finishes to my satisfaction. Bulk of my winnings came from backing horses which had already won!
They were, pardon the pun, great times!
There were a few mistakes but annually I made a few thousand from the unique practice which, like so many racecourse features, has now disappeared.
Watching horses go to post was also a tremendous winner-finder and confirmed my computations; now, vexingly, many courses have installed all-weather strips to save turf tracks but, regarding times, National Hunt races are all timed from the moment the runners ‘hit a beam’ adjacent to starter’s rostrums, an idea one put forward two years ago to the BHA.
We have never had it so good and why my time-handicapping can be relied upon while I remain compos mentis!
Selections, Kempton, 2.35 Brilliant Blue (e.w); Hereford, 12.25 A Distant Place; Wolverhampton, 4.30 Fristel (e.w).
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