Victoria Pendleton after her first ride on Royal Etiquette
PICTURE: Louise Pollard
By David Ashforth 6:00PM 20 JUL 2016
WELCOME back Victoria Pendleton and welcome back – oh, back already? – Seamster. It’s hardly worth Seamster going home because his latest appearance (Doncaster 5.50) will be the nine-year-old sprinter’s seventh in just over a month.
Admittedly, five furlongs isn’t very far and when you run as fast as Seamster it only takes about a minute. Seamster’s stepping up to six furlongs at Doncaster but there’ll still be plenty of time before the next race for you to work out how long it would take Pendleton to cover six furlongs on a bicycle, a really good one. If you can work it out perhaps you’d let me know because I’ve tried and failed. It was the same with calculus.
On the other hand I have discovered that it was in an event called a keirin in which she won her Gold Medal in the 2012 Olympics. The keirin featured a motorbike (not ridden by Pendleton, that would be cheating) and is a big gambling event in Japan. Evidently about 800 billion yen a year is bet on keirin. I’m not sure how much that is but I bet it’s a lot. Cycling seems to have moved on a lot since all the talk at school was of three speed Sturmey-Archer gears and someone called Beryl Burton.
Anyway, Seamster‘s in cracking form, his last six runs yielding three wins, two seconds and a third. Along the way his handicap mark has gone up from 56 to today’s 70, higher than for any of his dozen victories. Never mind, nothing ventured nothing gained as Napoleon may have said before his army marched on Moscow.
Seamster will have lots of admirers, including apprentice Cameron Noble who has ridden him to his last three triumphs and rides him again at Doncaster. Noble only had his first ride last year and those three wins account for three of the six he has registered so far.
A great personality in the sport
So another big day for Noble and a biggish one for the splendid Ms V L Pendleton, renewing her partnership with Royal Etiquette (Newbury 5.35), on whom she almost won on her debut ride at Ripon last August.
Pendleton’s an attractive personality, her participation is great for the sport and I hope she continues to enjoy it and achieves her goals, something she seems to be very good at. Horseracing’s not really that different from cycling. Both involve someone sitting on something else and going round in circles.
Despite his falling handicap mark, Royal Etiquette is an unlikely winner today but that shouldn’t put you off – I’m often wrong. The Ducking Stool, in the same race, is a favourite of mine and has the capable Ross Birkett on board. While six of her seven wins have been by the sea, at Yarmouth, the seventh was at Newbury, not far from the River Thames. As long as she’s near water The Ducking Stool is happy.
So it’s go on Seamster! Go on Royal Etiquette! Go on The Ducking Stool! (A dead heat would be ideal).