Will James Moon be taken the plaudits here on Wednesday?
PICTURE: Getty Images
By David Ashforth 5:50pM 20 SEP 2016
SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness; but enough of that.
Over The Moon, Shoot For The Moon? Just thinking of headlines if Black Night or Engaging Smile win at Goodwood for trainer James Moon.
I’d never heard of him but that’s because Moon hasn’t been training for long (New Moon?) and he’s been doing it in Jersey. British trainers quite often take horses to Les Landes but Jersey trainers rarely bring them to Goodwood so let’s hope that the sun shines on Moon’s bold venture.
Although Black Night (3.45) has won three times at Les Landes this year he is surely out of his depth in a Listed race and Engaging Smile (4.55) also faces a tough task. Blue Moon? I hope not.
Whiskey’s big day?
While Goodwood will attract most of the attention it would be unforgiveable to overlook the appearance of Big Whiskey in the seller at Redcar (5.05). Selling and claiming conditions races are notorious for causing fatal injuries to punters who place too much faith in handicap ratings. If the runners could be relied on to run to their handicap marks a lot of them would be running in something else.
According to the official handicapper (think of him as Pinocchio or Donald Trump), Big Whiskey, rated 92, is at least 17lb “well in” with his rivals. As a bonus, Silvestre De Sousa rides. If Big Whiskey can’t win this …
After racing regularly for the last three years, the six-year-old has run only once this year, when finishing a respectable midfield seventh, not beaten far, off a mark of 93 in a 0-95 handicap at Doncaster in June.
That was for John Best. In July Big Whiskey was sold to Ruth Carr for 20,000 guineas but didn’t race for her and is now with Dandy Nicholls, racing in Middleham Park Racing’s colours. Presumably Big Whiskey has been difficult to train and if he wins then the bidding to buy him starts at just £3,000. If he doesn’t, he can be claimed for £10,000.
He’ll probably cruise in but there might be the proverbial each-way value to be found in the likes of reliable veteran Kiwi Bay, in-form Nonno Giulio and even the “disappointing but he’s going to pop up again one day” Chiswick Bey. After all, Chiswick Bey is only 25lb “wrong” with Big Whiskey. A race to savour.
Those yards could have made a difference
Confidence is important when betting and mine’s just received a tremendous boost. They’re going to remeasure every Flat racecourse in Britain. Excellent!
I’m going to spend the next few days drawing up a list of all the horses I’ve backed that would have won if the race had been run over the proper, official distance. One yard less, and they’d have hung on; one yard more and they’d have got up.
Then I’m going to submit a claim to the BHA, threaten legal action and an enormous fuss, then quietly indicate that unpleasantness and bad publicity could be avoided by a discreet ex gratia payment with several noughts on the end.
Over The Moon!