The end of the flat season brought us the biggest and most shocking news of the season this far with a radical racing shake up….and that was that Godolphin has signed up James Doyle and William Buick to ride for them from this season onwards. Buick will be Charlie Appleby’s main lad, and Doyle will be first jockey for Saeed Bin Suroor, after his one year contract with Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte comes to an end next month. John Gosden, the trainer that Buick will be leaving as retained rider, has also been brought under the Godolphin umbrella with Princess Haya’s horses set to run in the royal blue silks from next season. I’ve always rated Buick as one of the best jockey’s based in the UK, and would more than likely go for a Buick Gosden horse in a Graded Race, so from a selfish point, I’m gutted he’s gone. But it’s the right time for him to move on, and who can say no to a job like this? And he’ll still keep a strong partnership with the Gosden yard for sure. It seems fair and reasonable that this promising talent should look to move onto bigger and better things. Doyle on the other hand I don’t get. Why would he jump ship from the Juddmonte operation only a year after becoming Prince Khalid’s retained jockey? You certainly couldn’t say he had a disappointing season when Kingman scored 4 Group 1’s including a Classic and a Royal Ascot win, Noble Mission provided a scintillating finish to the season and plenty more such as Snow Sky brought winners aplenty. For a young jockey with this fire power and financial backing you would have been forgiven for thinking he was set for a few years. So why the jump? I really hate to think that it might be solely to do with money but it is difficult to avoid the idea. Godolphin have totaled only a single domestic Group 1 success this season and they were sorely lacking in two year-olds that would have set the heart racing. Hardly filled with promise for a young and promising jockey to be persistently in the winners enclosure. There may be more to emerge from this story in the coming days, and shan’t be surprised if there is, and at the end of the day, money sure talks.
Onto Wincanton’s Badger Ales trophy winner, and THE BHA has formally objected to the controversial winner The Young Master, who is now facing the possibility of disqualification as he was not eligible to run in the race. It wasn’t until after The Young Master had romped home at Wincanton, that it emerged the five-year-old had not been qualified for the race, as, being a novice, he was required to have run three times over fences. The stewards, alerted too late to prevent The Young Master from running, forwarded a report to the BHA after racing and, after assessing the facts, they lodged an official objection on Monday, which will now be considered by a disciplinary panel. The error, which allowed the Neil Mulholland trained novice to take part despite having had just two runs over fences, appears to rest with Weatherbys, who are responsible for racing administration. In my opinion both parties are at fault. Why was he entered in a race that he wasn’t eligible for and why was he allowed to run? It’s a complete shambles really and the long and short of it is, is shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. But if the race is taken off him, what happens to his handicap mark then? We all know he’s better than what Saturday’s mark suggests, but now the handicapper knows his potential, will it go up? If the race is taken off him, I don’t think it should, but you never know in racing!
Staying with Saturday’s racing, and there were a few runners that caught my eye, and are now in the notebook ready for next time out. Workbench caught my eye in the Badger Ale and the step up in trip really suited. Opening Batsman will come on leaps and bounds from the race too, and given trainer Harry Fry’s current form, I’ll be looking out for his next run. Over to Ireland, and at Naas, The Big Apple was an impressive winner who I flagged up the morning of racing. He was still very green and looked to have a lot to learn so he’ll come on a lot from that, and I’m hoping connections will be patient with him, as I’m sure he’s one for the future. Jollyallan, who is one of my ’10 to follow’ fpr the season, was another easy winner during the week. He looks like he is made for further. He also looked quite green, but JP has too young pretenders here, who I think will go far.
Rebecca Curtis this week announced that aswell as O’Faolains Boy, Hennessy hopeful The Romford Pele is now out for the season after suffering a tendon injury. There was some extremely sad news towards the end of the week, that World Hurdle winner Solwhit had died after breaking a shoulder during a schooling session. It just goes to show how fragile these creatures are and it can happen at home as well as on the course. After aggravating an injury at Exeter on Tuesday AP McCoy is set for some time on the sidelines, with Newbury’s Hennessy the Champ’s hopeful return. Racings rouge Mad Moose is back on the loose and free to race again, with The Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday a potential starting point. And after missing last season with injury, Simonsig will warm up for the King George in the Peterborough Chase at Huntington next month.