Ashforth's Angles: Why would you call a horse Hairdryer?

first race at Chelmsford City racetrack

Chelmsford: allowances in two apprentice races look interesting

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By David Ashforth  6:00PM 9 OCT 2016 

Do you follow racing? Then which Newmarket trainer wrote a doctoral thesis titled ‘The biochemistry and mode of action of Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis delta endotoxin (1984)’? Let’s face it, you’ve got no idea, have you?

The answer, of course, is Dr Jon Scargill who, I’m pretty confident, is the only trainer able to speak with authority on the subject of his thesis as well as numbering juggling and funambulism among his interests.

Funambulism, alias tightrope walking, fits in neatly with the world of racehorse trainers, who regularly sway precariously above an abyss. Funambulism can claim credit for the wonderful documentary film Man On Wire (2008). The man was Philippe Petit but that may have been Scargill’s pseudonym. Even if it wasn’t Scargill, I strongly recommend it (new DVD £1.94 from Amazon), possibly when racing’s abandoned and life seems pointless for the afternoon.

Scargill has been training since 1988, quickly reaching a peak of 18 Flat winners in 1990 but generally fielding few runners and not cluttering up his mantelpiece with trophies. Today it’s the turn of The Ginger Berry (Yarmouth 5.40), who once won three times in a row but then fell back either self-satisfied or exhausted and hasn’t won for a long time. It’s about time he realised that he hasn’t been brought breakfast and dinner and generally looked after for years without needing to reach the winning post first now and again.

Ill-advised and horribly timed name

The Ginger Berry is an intriguing name but not, I submit, as appealing as Eve Johnson Houghton’s runner at Salisbury, Miss Inga Sock (3.50). It made me laugh, anyway, and is better than Hairdryer (Salisbury 4.50). Why would you call a horse Hairdryer? Maybe it’s the start of a dynasty, to be followed by Tumble Dryer. It’s still better than the ill-advised and horribly timed Trump’s Magic (Windsor 1.30), who runs a few hours after the second Presidential debate. At least the horse has a better chance of winning than The Donald.

It’s comforting to know that, when the afternoon’s racing is over, there’s still Chelmsford to take us up to Panorama at 8.30pm – ‘BHS: How Did it Happen?’

Yet again (although it hasn’t done me much good so far) the allowances in the two apprentice races (4.55 and 5.25) are interesting. In the first, Liam Doran and Nicola Currie are able to claim 10lb from the admittedly far more experienced Kieran Shoemark, when in most races they would be claiming only 4lb from him. Similarly, they claim 7lb from the promising Aaron Jones when usually it would be 4lb. It may or may not matter.

The eye (well, both eyes) lingers on All The Rage in the 7.25. The three-year-old’s previous appearance over course and distance last month was a horror story with an unhappy ending, a bit like Edgar Allan Poe. Subsequently, at Newcastle, All The Rage looked set to make it worth missing the Six O’Clock News for but wasn’t. I think Luke Morris is likely to kick for home a bit earlier this time.

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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