Racing by the sea: Brighton’s three-day festival begins on Wednesday
PICTURE: John Connor Press Associates
By David Ashforth 17:50PM 2 AUG 2016
EXCELLENT. Life’s worth living after all. It’s Brighton’s three day Festival of Racing.
For the elderly, it gets off to a cracking start with the nostalgic appearance of Marquee Club (1.50).
Who can forget the glory days of the Marquee in the 1960s when it was in Wardour Street? (Almost everyone not born before 1950). There was the magnificent Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, with Dick Heckstall-Smith on saxophone and Cyril Davies’s keening harmonica and vocals and Long John Baldry stepping in for How Long, How Long Blues.
“Heard the whistle blowin’, couldn’t see no train
Way down in my heart, I had an achin’ pain
How long, how long, baby how long?”
If Marquee Club follows up his recent Lingfield win it will get things off to a great start and, afterwards, winning connections (Jamie Osborne, William Carson and owners The London Partnership) could sing a track from the LP – I Got My Mojo Working, perhaps, or Hoochie Coochie Man.
Brighton is often criticised but if it’s good enough for Mark Johnston and Sir Michael Stoute it should be good enough for anyone. Johnston’s horses, if not Johnston himself, are often there and he’s got three running in the £12,450 to the winner John Smith’s Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy (3.20).
I’m not hopeful of Stoute turning up to see if Volition can stop being a maiden in the seven furlong handicap (3.50) but if she can then her five appearances will have earned £8,250. If she can just win another £306,750 she’ll have recouped her purchase price.
Mick Easterby, warming to the South after Hoof It’s splendid victory at Goodwood, is there (well, watching on telly in Yorkshire) with Qaffaal (3.20) and Bajan Rebel (3.50). It will be apprentice Nathan Evans’s first experience of Brighton (good practice for going downhill) but when Easterby last had runners there, two years ago, he won with City Ground. As people used to say but mercifully tend not to anymore, “they haven’t gone all that way for the good of their health.”
Big stars in remote towns
Brighton, obviously, is the highlight but there’s plenty to enjoy elsewhere. In what other sport, apart from wind turbine watching, could you go to Yarmouth and see stars of a sport of the calibre of Silvestre de Sousa, Paul Hanagan, William Buick and Jamie Spencer? My case rests.
But that’s enough about them. More to the point, Shelley Birkett’s brother Ross having failed to win on The Ducking Stool at Newbury last month, it’s up to Shelley to ride the nine-year-old mare to what will be her seventh success at Yarmouth (5.20) Go on!
When Brighton and Yarmouth are over and Chiswick Bey has won the veterans’ race at Pontefract (4.40) (don’t say I didn’t tell you) it will almost be time to see how Joe Palooka gets on at Kempton (7.10).
It’s five years since the half-brother to Alfred Nobel fetched 155,000 guineas and he’s finally making his debut, for Alan Coogan. I don’t suppose he’ll run fast enough but it’s a reminder of the once famous Joe Palooka comic strip.