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Baaeed should be ending his career in the Arc… while alleged failed drugs test show the ugly side of racing

, Baaeed should be ending his career in the Arc… while alleged failed drugs test show the ugly side of racing

WE’VE had it all recently. The good, the Baaeed and the ugly.

Let’s start with something positive because I’ve given Arena Racing, the owners of 16 racecourses, plenty of stick in the past.

Baaeed will end his career in the Champion Stakes rather than the Arc

So it is only fair to applaud the way they handled the hastily rescheduled St Leger meeting at Doncaster on Sunday.

The tone of the meeting, which marked a return for the sport after 48 hours away, was spot on.

There were plenty of touching tributes to the Queen around the racecourse and the quality of action on the track was top-notch.

The whole occasion was as fitting a mark of respect and remembrance as I’ve seen over the last 10 days.

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It feels like there is always some sort of tension or in-fighting going on in this highly politicised sport.

So it has been pretty uplifting to see the entire industry come together to honour the Queen.

After all, she was the game’s best friend and greatest supporter. She leaves a huge hole that will never be filled.

Now for the bad. Or the Baaeed, if you will.

It was announced this week that the unbeaten superstar will end his career at Ascot in the Champion Stakes, NOT in the Arc.

That’s despite William Haggas strongly suggesting in recent weeks that a trip to Longchamp on October 2 was on the cards.

The excuse they are using is that they are fearful of running over 1m4f on testing ground in France.

A quick glance at the weather forecast suggests the weather is set fair across the Channel – we might even get a good ground Arc.

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Marco Ghiani and Sean Levey are alleged to have failed drugs tests

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the going ended up bottomless on Champions Day? That’s a very real possibility.

There has been plenty of comment in the media about Haggas’ decision in recent days, but let’s just say it how it is.

Haggas wants to run his galloping cash register at Ascot because he wants to win the trainers’ championship.

Baaeed will scoop 750 large if he wins the Champion Stakes, and such is his superiority he basically needs to complete the course to secure Haggas his first trainers’ crown.

Longchamp’s loss is absolutely British Champion Day’s gain.

But this sort of horse comes around once a decade if you’re lucky – he should be ending his career in Europe’s greatest race. It’s bad for racing.

As for the ugly, we have had two high-profile jockeys allegedly fail drugs tests in a little over a week.

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Sun Racing exclusively broke the news about Marco Ghiani’s positive, and just a couple of days ago the same fate befell Classic winner Sean Levey.

There is little doubt in my view that racing, and in particular the weighing room, has a drugs issue. That’s one to explore in greater detail another day.

The failed tests are ugly in themselves, but the way the authorities and the sport close ranks around these issues isn’t pretty either.

In the cloke and dagger stakes, it’s horse racing first and the rest nowhere.

My colleagues and I have put some very simple questions forward to the BHA in recent days.

Most would require a simple yes or no answer, but instead you are told it’s “confidential” or hit with a “no comment”.

I know the press and communications department in BHA towers would like to be more open, but their hands are tied by the top brass.

Why the secrecy? In most other sports, a failed drugs test would be reported quickly and openly.

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The sport has become so paranoid and insecure. Rather than risk negative headlines, our leaders prefer the method of burying their head in the sand.

Racing chiefs need to take the blinkers off and look around them every once in a while. A bit of honesty and transparency goes a long way.



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