Ashforth’s Angles: the people need to be heard
Osborne held a twitter vote to decide the rider of Secret Interlude
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Ashforth's Angles: the people need to be heard By David Ashforth 5:50PM 22 NOV 2016
ON WEDNESDAY all eyes (maybe not quite all) will be on Georgia Dobie in the apprentice race at Kempton (7.55). Dobie, yet to finish in the first four in a dozen rides, has been chosen by the people to partner Secret Interlude for Jamie Osborne in a race for apprentices who have not ridden more than 10 winners.
Recently, the people don't have a very good record of choosing wisely but Osborne is to be congratulated for starting what could be a fascinating trend. Racing is too set in its ways. We need a new way. Here it is.
1. The best jockeys tend to monopolise the best rides, especially in big races. It's not fair and from 2017 the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle will not be open to jockeys who have won the race in the past. It won't please Richard Johnson, who won the Gold Cup on Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and the Champion Hurdle on that splendid grey Rooster Booster in 2003 but if he rode better he'd probably have won both races again. It's not our fault that he hasn't and if he sulks, he sulks.
The same goes for Barry Geraghty and Ruby Walsh. It's not seemly to be hogging the winner's enclosure. It reminds me of that episode of Hancock's Half Hour, The East Cheam Drama Festival, in which Hancock is irritated by the accompanying pianist. "Turn it up, mate," says Hancock. "We've all heard you. We know you can play."
In case Johnson, Geraghty and Walsh feel victimised, both races will be confined to jockeys who have not ridden more than 30 winners this season by the time of the Festival. The people will select the riders and their mounts.
2. The same will apply to next year's Derby. I expect Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori will lead the moaners but they've had their turn. Anyway, it will free them up for television and give other jockeys the chance to ride at Epsom instead of Lingfield.
3. Races for the elderly. Young blood is all very well but what about old, coagulated blood? There are a lot of races for apprentices and conditional jockeys but none at all for the aged and infirm. With so many small field jump races there'd be no harm in staging some for those aged 40 or more. We've got to get Andrew Thornton, 44, to 1,000 winners somehow.
4. The racing public should be allowed to vote on the distance of races. It would make a Wednesday twilight meeting at Kempton more exciting. Trainers would declare horses for the seven furlong handicap (4.55) then people would vote on whether it was to be run over five, seven or nine furlongs.
5. Let the people speak. Will the two and a half mile handicap hurdle at Wetherby (3.00) be run over hurdles (boring!!) or, on the day, be converted into a bumper? Should Hereford's conditional jockeys' chase (2.15) be run over hurdles, instead?
Over to you, THE PEOPLE!
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