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Horse Racing

Matt Chapman talks veteran jockeys, Frodon and the virtual Cox Plate in his latest column

THE Flat season is nearly over and the jumps has already roared into action.

But who or what has made it to my latest Good, Bad & Ugly column? Let’s find out…

Good

Let’s play the age factor here. There are 103 years between Kevin Manning and Joe Fanning, but they both banged in Group 1 winners at the weekend proving once again that skill and experience counts for much in the world of horse racing.

Manning, of course, scored on Mac Swiney for Jim Bolger in the Vertem Futurity, while Fanning was on top Subjectivist for Mark Johnston in the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp.

For both trainers it was a return to the top table of the game after considerable time in the Group 1 wilderness.  Manning and Fanning are similar in more ways than simply having names that rhyme!

They go about their business quietly, and to be honest not many of us know much about them. You don’t see either on Instagram banging out some dance music.  But they are both class jockeys who have given us much enjoyment over the years.

There is an old saying that class is permanent and form temporary, the for both riders that is absolutely true. Fair play to both for being at the top of their game for so many years. 

As for Bolger, it was a stroke of genius to name his horse as he has. Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike on October 25, 1920 in Brixton prison and Bolger had been well aware his 100-year anniversary was approaching.

Bad

Slightly contrived the bad section, but let’s face it is bad news for any horse when Frodon is on top of his game as he was at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained inmate is just a joy to behold when in full flow, and Bryony Frost’s love affair with him is also joyous.

Once again the debate will rage whether Frodon should be aimed at the Ryanair or the Gold Cup.  And once again Paul Nicholls needs to listen and take note of what I say. 

Do not run Frodon in the Gold Cup. He will not win. Go for the Ryanair. Listen to me Paul. You know I am right, man. 

Ugly

OMG it’s been a terrible, ugly few days if you are Australian. First of all, as regular readers are aware, those Down Under decided to run a virtual Cox Plate to promote the 100th running of the event on Saturday.

But rather than Phar Lap, Kingston Town or Winx landing the spoils it was our very own Frankel who defeated US dirt star Secretariat. You have to laugh, even if it was the correct result for any serious person who has studied a form book. 

Some will say worse was to come, though, when in the real event at Moonee Valley on Saturday Sir Dragonet denied Armory in the £1.7m to-the-winner event. 

Now of course Sir Dragonet – favourite for the 2019 Derby at Epsom – was once trained by Aidan O’Brien, so Australians could claim the win their own now he is in the care of Ciaran Maher and David Eustace. But we all know that is a nonsense. And, Armory ran for O’Brien. 

There is no doubt the ground turning soft in Melbourne will have played a key factor. But once again we see horses from Europe who are far from super stars whipping the backsides of the Aussies in their main events. Yeeehaaa!

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