Whilst Champions Day was a triumph for Jim Crowley it was a bad day for Frankie Dettori and Qatar Racing and Qipco Champions Day principal Sheikh Fahad whose rant in defence of his retained jockey Oisin Murphy when interviewed by Ed Chamberlin was bizarre and irrational.
Murphy put a plastic glass into the face of a bloodstock agent in a Newmarket pub earlier in the month before headbutting him in the car park of the said pub. It is likely that someone who witnessed the incident alerted the BHA who “randomly” breath tested jockeys at Newmarket the following day.
Murphy, unsurprisingly, failed the test and was stood down for the day. That was his second failed breath test for alcohol, and he was suspended for three months for a positive test for cocaine in France earlier in the year. His ban was only three months because he suggested to the authorities that it was “environmental contamination.” His charge sheet is long.
Sheikh Fahad might want to also reflect upon the fact that Qatar Racing did not have one runner – let alone winner – on a card that attracted 77 runners to its six races. That is not good enough. His Roaring Lion defence of Murphy was misplaced – and perhaps his anger should be channelled elsewhere.
In today’s Novices’ Handicap Chase at Plumpton, I feel Raven’s Tower (2.30) can defy top weight for Ben Pauling having dropped down to a mark of 100. The veteran has been running over trips in excess of todays near two-and-a-half miles of late, but I feel the drop back in distance will suit and he gets the ew vote – 5s with William Hill – with the stable in excellent form. I hope to see Chapati make it a decent test, but he looks vulnerable and does tend to jump out to his right.
Gary Moore’s Botox Has has an excellent record fresh and beat Allmankind over hurdles on his comeback last year. He makes his chase debut in a fascinating four-runner novice event today, but I am sure there are races to be won with Up The Straight (3.40) over the larger obstacles and he gets the vote for Richard Rowe.
The selection – 2s with Boylesports – would appreciate any rain that hits the track and ran some good races in defeat over fences last season. He can put that experience to good use if he is ready to go on his return.
I think Moore will have better luck with Royaume Uni (4.15) who was beaten less than a length at Ascot back in March. That form has been franked by the winner – selection again behind – at Sandown and the 4-y-old ran a decent race on the flat at the beginning of the month. That run should have put him spot on for today and, although he will get further in time, he can see off the attentions of Alborkan and Laura Bullion. There was 2s available on Sunday but, at the time of posting, he is into a shade of odds on.
At Pontefract Westover (2.20) can land the feature listed Silver Tankard Stakes although he will have to settle a bit better than was the case at Newbury last time when he pulled too hard but still finished a creditable second. That is the best form on offer and the selection is well housed in stall three. Ryan Moore had a disappointing Champions Day, and, at the time of writing, he has not ridden a winner in his last 42 rides. I wonder?
There was 2/1 about on Sunday but he is into 10/11 with 10Bet on Monday morning.