Thursday, 26 January 2012

Kieren off mark in Dubai, BHA on the ball, an invitation to the Breeders' Cup..................................................

Kieren finally got off the mark for the Carnival when riding Krypton Factor to victory at Meydan. It has been difficult to ride winners in Dubai - most of the top jockeys have struggled - without a major yard. It was a double celebration with Fawzi Naas, a promiment owner in Britain, gaining his maiden success as a trainer.

Kieren, who lost his best ride at the Carnival with the sale of Green Destiny, is in for a busy time. He rides at Wolverhampton on Friday and Lingfield on Saturday before flying back to Dubai on Tuesday.

I have given the BHA plenty of stick over the whip rules but it's pleasing to see that they are investigating the ride of 7lb claimer Steven Gagan on Kickahead at Musselburgh a fortnight ago.

Punters are too quick to condemn rides - the accusation aimed at Peter Hatton for his unseat on Esteem at Leicester on Tuesday was plainly ridiculous (he was making stealthy headway), but Gagan's fall-off - I can't bring myself to say unseat - was suspicious at the very least.

It was also interesting to read that trainer and previous owner Ian Williams, who had sold the horse to an unnamed new owner before the race, had also reported the ride. Kickahead had drifted from 11-4 to 9-2 on course.

Racing has to be seen to keeping its house in order and the BHA have to be commended in investigating this incident so swiftly. Full marks to them.

From a personal point of view I was delighted to be asked by Gary Stevens to be part of the NBC team to help cover the 2012 Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita. NBC have taken over the contract from ESPN and Stevens, a Hall Of Fame rider, has been part of the commentary team since his retirement.

I booked rides for Stevens during his successful four-month spell as stable jockey to Sir Michael Stoute in 1999. So maybe networking (which I abhor, by the way) has worked for me this time.

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