Magazine article The Spectator

I Should Have Plunged

Magazine article The Spectator

I Should Have Plunged

Article excerpt

Some things in life give one a special, familiar pleasure: slipping into a slightly battered old pair of suede shoes, eating baked beans on toast after a week of restaurant meals, or getting halfway through a Dick Francis novel and realising that, although you've read it before under a different cover, you still can't remember the ending. One such pleasure that comes round regularly is getting back to race on the July course at Newmarket. On Saturday the sausages and onion gravy were a point, the hanging baskets were gorgeously in bloom, and the straw hats were out in force around the friendly little winners' enclosure.

I had just a single bet in mind. George Margarson's My Only Sunshine had run well to come second in a big field first time this season at headquarters. He had then flopped at Lingfield, handicapped by a bad draw, and looked good value at 12-1 for the Moulton Rated Stakes handicap. But that was later on the card.

In the opener, with most of the entrants unraced, I was disinclined to plunge. It often pays in such events to follow the market, but I ignored the money which forced Margarson's Our Teddy in from 8-1 to 9-2. More fool me. On his one previous run, at Goodwood, Our Teddy had finished sixth after losing ground at the start and this time he ran a cracker under Jamie Mackay, winning the race in near record time. George revealed afterwards that Our Teddy had been doing solid work with older horses. He reckons him the best twoyear-old he's seen since Barathea Guest, 'I think he'll go on to big things. He's got to do it in better company than this but he's proved he's tough and this should make a man of him.' Two-year-old speedsters are two a penny at this time of year but what I liked about Our Teddy was the resolution he showed, lengthening and running on again when Hollywood Henry and Laggan Bay came at him. Mark him down on your list, even though he's likely to try Listed company now.

Nineteen-year-old Jamie Mackay, who had handled Our Teddy so well, is at that crucial stage poised between the hall of fame and the graveyard. Too many talented ex-apprentices suffer for a season or two then slip into obscurity once they have lost the riding allowance, which encourages trainers to put them up. Jamie lost his right to claim three weeks ago, but is surely one who will make the grade after the way he handled Atavus, again for George Margarson, in the day's big event, the 35,000 Criterion Stakes. Atavus likes to lead but Jamie slowed the pace from the front with the result that the hot favourite, Tillerman, who has to be saved for a late burst, wore himself out fighting Richard Hughes for his head at the back of the field. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.