RACING is back and my Good, Bad & Ugly column is back up and running – at least in some quarters normality is returning.
But who or what has made it into my first post-R above one Covid-19 pandemic thoughts? Lets find out!
In a move which will shock the nation, I am including the BHA, as well as ITV and my pal Oisin Murphy, in here. They all deserve a mention.
'Praising the BHA?!' I hear you scream. Are you sure Matt? I know, I know, even I feel a bit queasy about the whole thing.
But, first of all, racing behind closed doors has been put together perfectly by the BHA under the current guidelines – whether one agrees with those or not is another matter – and I can't see how anything could have been done better.
The race planners have got us up and running, and not for the first time I can't help but feel the BHA's Ruth Quinn has played a blinder here, for all that we hear and see a lot less of her these days than 10 years ago.
Jockeys and trainers have played their part. Racecourse staff have been brilliant. Honestly take a bow the lot of you.
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I haven't had anything to do with the afternoon ITV shows yet, but I have been watching from home and I also have to say the team has done an outstanding job, particularly from behind the camera, so hats off to leaders Niall Sloane and Mark Demuth, Paul McNamara (the Bafta King), Richard Willoughby and Paul Cooper.
Top notch from all of you and to get so many races on the main ITV network has been fantastic.
And what can I say about Oisin Murphy, the Qipco 2000 Guineas hero on Kameko. Well done my boy.
I don't get much right, but when James Doyle was struggling I tried to tell everyone who would listen that he was outstanding. I was right.
It makes me chuckle now when I hear so many TV experts and journalists now joining the Murphy bandwagon, as some of us have been saying he's incredible for a long time.
He is what every sport needs. Charismatic. Interesting. Cheeky. Dangerous behind the scenes. And most importantly an extraordinary talent.
I'm proud to say I think he's my friend. I'm proud that I spotted him as different so early. Gosh, racing is lucky to have him and his family should absolutely be in awe of the boy they have produced.
PS: Oisin just a quick message from your lady Emma O'Dwyer. Now you are a Classic hero she would like a lovely new dishwasher and wifi that works in the house. Just passing it on. Yeeehaaa!
Was Pinatubo bad or not? That is the question one must ask after last season's cracking youngster finished third in the 2000 Guineas.
Connections have suggested there were no excuses and Pinatubo was beaten by two better horses.
They might be right, and Pinatubo's optimum trip is open to all sorts of questions.
However, there was a moment in the 2000 Guineas when William Buick took a pull on the Dewhurst hero and he still looked an absolute machine.
I'm not giving up on him whether others feel they should or not.
Both the 2000 and 1000 Guineas were not tough for ante-post punters with Pinatubo and Quadrilateral bombing out. Ugly times for their supporters.
I had put up Quadrilateral each-way at prices from 6-1 to 9-2 in various columns so the damage was not bad there, but Pinatubo was a blow to many, and Military March finishing fourth rather than in the frame was annoying too.
That said ante-post punting is often an ugly risk. As the saying goes, you pay your money and you take your chance.
Doesn't help the feeling when you think 'oi oi big day ahead' and it all goes wrong!
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