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16 August 2002

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For some strange reason our race planners do not want to give us any good racing on Tuesdays, well - they don't want to even give us any decent racing on Tuesdays, no actually - they don't want to give us even any half decent racing on Tuesdays. For weeks now this season all we have had to watch on a Tuesday afternoon is low grade racing from two very ordinary racecourses, and that's not to put down the likes of Beverley or Brighton as they are smashing places to go, but they simply do not offer any racing of a decent standard and rather than spread these competitive affairs out over the week, we usually get these chronic meetings and for some reason have an extremely busy day on Wednesday's. It will be absolute heaven when York's popular Ebor meeting starts on August 20 and continues through to Thursday the 22nd as I will not feel so utterly bored and suicidal on a Tuesday!

As for the long suffering owners in this country, last Saturday's well received Shergar Cup at Ascot may have provided a great opportunity to go for some decent prize money with their horses and for no entry fees, and I feel that top trainer Mark Johnston made a very good point on the subject. He mentioned how people are always commenting on how poor the wages are at the bottom end of the scale, i.e the stable workers and how trainers complain about not being able to get the right staff. However, if you increase the prize money in this country for the owners and possibly do something about the entry fee system, especially for races like the Derby, then the money will undoubtedly stay in racing as the owners could then afford to pay higher training fees and the trainers higher wages to their staff - simple!

Finally, a word about this weekend's main race meetings. On Saturday there is a high class card at Newbury, which hosts the Group Three Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs where Atavus will attempt to repeat his victory of last season. Also later on the card is the Group Two Geoffrey Freer Stakes, and watch out for a possible appearance from Sheikh Hamdan's recent Princess of Wales' Stakes runner-up Mubtaker. I feel at this early stage that he may take some stopping in a race of this nature if allowed to take his chance. Big betting race the Great St Wilfrid Handicap is run at Ripon, and if you can I recommend you go to Ripon for this one because it is a fabulous course and a good day's racing. On Sunday Pontefract racecourse has the Flying Fillies Stakes which has Listed status and is run over the six furlong trip, while Bath hosts more Listed class fillies in the Dick Hern Stakes over the mile.

Gary Christie

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