Royal Rustle wasn’t able to fend off heavily-backed favourite Kavanaghs Cross in a Maiden Hurdle over two miles of ‘soft’ ground Kelso on Sunday but this was THE race of a tremendous week for me and I’d relish owning Lucinda Russell’s charge, definitely my kind of racehorse; unfortunately it can’t happen, for two reasons!
Thought of an elongated, complicated process registering ownership doesn’t appeal one iota, another stumbling block would be Peter Scudamore, partner of Lucinda because I experienced a severe hiatus with him in 1978 before ‘Scu’ became NH champion jockey due to his attachment with multi-champion trainer Martin Pipe; any one of ten jockeys would have been able to take advantage of such a privileged position.
‘Back in the day’ my Oxford Mail weekly column criticised a negative ride by Peter, (on John Sutcliffe-trained Al Kuwait!) and his boss, the late David ‘Duke’ Nicholson’ took issue vehemently!
Profile judicial process was enacted and cost them close to ‘twenty grand (then!) which was wasted as no case ever made court; Nicholson made several vicious phone calls and my livelihood, racing journalism, went pear-shaped for THREE YEARS.
Al Kuwait, ridden positively, recouped losses, ten-fold!
Coinciding with my negative thoughts of bygone ownership times is the dawning of a new era at floodlit Southwell all-weather racecourse tonight when a newly laid Tapeta surface will be on spectacular display to racegoers following thirty-two years of Fibresand, which was dug up a few weeks ago; it actually represents a sad sequel to my life because, by virtue of the incomparable seventeen times winner, Elton Ledger, on the ‘deep stuff’ in my colours, I became ‘leading owner’ at the Nottinghamshire course!
Such status will not appear in the Guiness Book of Records but like my soccer medals as a teenager it ranks highly in ‘personal achievements category’ why wouldn’t it?
I’ve scrutinised an eight-race card, determined to make an impression on this historic day, and reckon Justcallmepete will be a force in division one of a Novice Stakes over seven furlongs on the back of his promising debut third (of 10!) to 8/13 winner Tolstoy at Leicester six weeks ago. An extra furlong should prove ideal for this Bated Breath gelding, again mount of Dougie Costello.
‘Pete’ doesn’t merit nap status but twice-raced Wineglass Bay does in division two; Danile Muscott’s mount was unlucky (from a bad draw!) on Kempton polytrack seven weeks ago and this James Ferguson-trained New Bay gelding will be tough to overcome.
Sadly I wont be there, still under ‘Doctor’s Orders’ and waiting for another pacemaker but I’m looking forward to watching a grand occasion on ‘Attheraces’ racing channel.
Selections, Fontwell, 2.20 Lady Of The Night (e.w); Southwell, 6.30 Justcallmepete (e.w); 7.00 Wineglasss Bay (nap-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