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20 Jan 22 16:13
Date Joined: 05 Apr 02
| Topic/replies: 31,333 | Blogger: themightymac's blog
What a horse he was. Arguably the greatest ever performer to run on both Flat and over Hurdles.

Here is a very rare video of an old race which I thought I would share for anyone interested.

It`s the 1977 Colonial Cup which I`m pretty sure was Sea Pigeon`s only ever run over Fences. French Hollow another blast from the past was also in the race. A top class Dickinson horse. I was looking for footage of the mighty Grand Canyon`s win in the race but none about. Grand Canyon was a magnificent black horse and fantastic jumper. Trained by Derek Kent, I think he was one of the first NZL breds to come over here and it started a trend.
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Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:17 PM GMT
From the NY Times archives

Grand Canyon Triumphs In Colonial Steeplechase
by Ed Corrigan

CAMDEN, S.C., Nov. 27—A stumble . . . a recovery . . . another tense moment with the rival rushing up from behind ... but finally victory for Grand Canyon today in the Colonial Cup, the nation's richest steeplechase.

More importantly, Grand Canyon, who represented New Zealand, became the first foreign horse in the sevenyear history of the Colonial to win the run over 2 miles 6½ furlongs at the lush Springdale course. Five foreign and 12 American horses were entered.

“We were scared, all right,” said D. W. Samuels, who, in partnership with Michacl Buckley, owns Grand Canyon. “He stumbled four fences from the end, but he pulled himself out of it all right.”

Then Samuels permitted himself the luxury of a winner—a gentle jibe at his mount.

“I'll tell you,” he said with a wide grin, “this horse doesn't learn very fast. We've seen him jump a lot better than he did today. He almost went through some of those jumps.”

In a special pool run by New York's Offtrack Betting Corporation, Grand Canyon paid $6.80, $4.60 and $3.40 for $2 across the board. Fire Control returned $9 to place and $6.80 to show. Crag's Corner paid $10.20 to show.

The pool exacta of Grand Canyon and Fire Control was worth $46.60 while the quinella involving the same two horses returned $50.10. The triple (Grand Canyon, Fire Control and Crag's Corner) paid $949.

The total handle was $415,155.

If Samuels was happy, Buckley was ecstatic. He was a winner on both sides of the Atlantic in one day. Another of his horses, Zita's Son, also won the Hennessy in England. He is the sole owner of Zita's Son.

“So,” he said, “I have a double reason to celebrate. But this victory in the Colonial Cup was an important one for us. Important? It was the first one we've scored tcgether.

“We'll be back next year to try again; if not with Grand Canyon then with a horse who can remember how to get over the jumps better.”

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Ron Barry, who rode Grand Canyon, agreed that the 6‐year‐old brown gelding had performed better on other occasions.

“He has very keyed up,” said Barry, who was born in Ireland but has been riding in Britain for more than a decade. “He jumped well, but certainly not perfect.

“He hit one fence very low. The others were closing fast, but I knew he could gallop and I figured he'd hold on at the end.”

Woodcrest's Fire Control, handled by Doug Small Jr., was a halt‐length behind, and Mrs. Michael G. Walsh's Crag's Corner was another 2½ lengths back. Lanzarote from Lord Howard DeWalden's Stable in England, was fourth and never really, in contention. The time was 8;12 2/5,

Rain fell last night and the course was somewhat soft. Although the rain stopped just before noon, the crowd, of about 7,500, was probably held down somewhat by the weather.

Grand Canyon's victory was worth $60,000 of the $100,000 purse. Fire Control collected $20,000 and Crag's Corner $10,000. There was no betting on the scene.

Grand Canyon was in the thick of things all the way, although Mrs. William L. VanAlen Jr.'s Life's Illusion, one of the favorites, took the lead at the start and held it for about half the chase. Grand Canyon was right with him, though, and for the second half of the race only Grand Canyon, Fire Control and Crag's Corner were really in contention.

“You would have thought Grand Canyon was as good as beaten when he stumbled on that jump,” said Derek Kent, the winner's 48‐year‐old trainer. “But he loved the soft ground, so I knew he'd be in contention. Now I'm going to take him back to England and think about what to do next.”
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:18 PM GMT
1976 of course.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:22 PM GMT
He was normally a terrific jumper but not entirely on his game in this race.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:24 PM GMT
Grand Canyon won the race again with Ron Barry in 1978. He missed the 1977 race due to injury.
Report sixtwosix January 20, 2022 4:33 PM GMT
In the 79 King George ,Grand Canyon was front running .... in front of Tied Cottage .....a very rare event.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:40 PM GMT
True 626. I found the race

Some very good horses in that.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 4:42 PM GMT
He was beat when he fell.
Report differentdrum January 20, 2022 4:48 PM GMT
One of those very good horses that couldn't win at Cheltenham. He was very short for the novice hurdle after winning a heap of races that season.
Report geoff m January 20, 2022 4:56 PM GMT
Sea Pigeon is a LEGEND of the sport.

Some of his weight carrying performances on the flat and over jumps are eyewatering.

On flat gave 27lbs to the mighty dual Ascot/Goodwood/Doncaster Cup winner Le Moss(Ranked 135 by Timeform  @ his peak) and got beat a neck in the Tennet Trophy Hcap @ Ayr 1978.

Won Ebor Hcap carrying 10-0giving lumps of weight to Donegal Prince.
Report tantpis January 20, 2022 5:04 PM GMT
The trainer proposed asking Lester Piggott to ride Sea Pigeon in the Champion he won but later opted for John Francome,he wanted these jockeys as he wanted it held up until the last minute and they would have had balls of steel to do it.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 5:43 PM GMT
I`m pretty sure that Lester rode Sea Pigeon on the Flat when he was with Jeremy Tree.

Lester on Sea Pigeon in the champion hurdle would have been a joy to behold.

He did ride 20 winners over Hurdles, including 1954 Triumph Hurdle on Prince Charlemagne.
Report themightymac January 20, 2022 5:45 PM GMT
.... mind you, John`s ride on Sea Pigeon was one of the greatest ever.
Report Deptford January 20, 2022 5:51 PM GMT
Just watched again, superb.
Report punchestown January 20, 2022 6:01 PM GMT
Ran in The Derby as a 3 year old and finished midfield in the Jock Whitney colours.
Report howard January 20, 2022 6:10 PM GMT
Not possible then or these days but if champion hurdles could have been run on good to firm he would have won 4 or 5.
Report howard January 20, 2022 6:13 PM GMT
I suppose the nearest we've had since Alderbrook /Royal Gait but still way short.
Report sixtwosix January 20, 2022 6:19 PM GMT
Didn't Lester ride in him in his fifth and final Chester Cup ?

Imagine a flat horse doing that......never mind a horse who ran in 5 Champion Hurdles.
Report TheAnorak January 20, 2022 6:45 PM GMT
In Timeform Racehorses of 1972, there's a picture of Sea Pigeon winning his sole start as a 2-y-old, over 6F at Ascot in October. And I'm 99% sure that the jockey is L Piggott. Given a Timeform rating of 102p and described as a 'very useful colt in the making'. Useful colt, but a much better gelding!
Report alun2005 January 20, 2022 7:06 PM GMT
Lester did indeed ride the Pigeon to victory at Ascot in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes on 6/10/1972.

Retuned 9/2 and won by 3 lengths from Pitskelly.
Report blackbarn January 20, 2022 7:21 PM GMT
Anorak - Just looked at that picture and I'd be as sure as you that it is Lester. I have to say that I cannot recall Sea Pigeon having such big ears, and I know they are pricked. You'd only just get both of them into Lester's helmet.  To coin a phraseCool
Report LoyalHoncho January 20, 2022 7:47 PM GMT
I'm pretty certain that Sea Pigeon wintered as ante post favourite for the Derby.
Report blackbarn January 20, 2022 7:54 PM GMT
Doubt it!.   Noble Decree?  Anorak will knowde
Report blackbarn January 20, 2022 7:55 PM GMT
knowde?? He'll know!
Report blackbarn January 20, 2022 7:56 PM GMT
or Thatch?
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 1:55 PM GMT
Hi blackbarn, hope you are well and still skinning the bookies.

I think you are right that Noble Decree was winter favourite for the Derby but I`m pretty sure that Ksar took over at the head of the market in the Spring. Willie preferred the latter at Epsom.
Report TheAnorak January 21, 2022 2:26 PM GMT
Sorry, missed the question last night. I have found a newspaper comment on the day of the Craven Stakes, stating that Sea Pigeon was 20/1 ante post for the 2000 Gns at that point. Which doesn't seem like a price that would be available for a Derby favourite. If he ever was favourite, he wouldn't have retained that position after his unplaced runs in the Craven and the Dante - and in both those races, Lester passed him over to ride one his opponents.

Perhaps the best comment on his 3-y-old form is that he was sold for just 8,000gns at the end of 1973. So if you were compiling a list of the best ever purchases at the horses in training sale, he'd be near the top.
Report geoff m January 21, 2022 2:34 PM GMT
His hcap hurdle victories that made the eyes water courtesy of fellow fan/forumite cyclops:

The details of Sea Pigeon's battles with Monksfield and his two Champion Hurdle wins are widely known. However, he also put up the two most extraordinary performances I've witnessed much earlier in his career. This is the story of his 1976-77 season when he was 6, rising 7  in his third season hurdling.

Sea Pigeon kicked of with an "impressive" 5 length win at Ayr in October, carrying 12-7 in a handicap on firm going. (The runner-up himself won under 12-1 over course and distance later in the season).

He turned out again just a week later but was well beaten over 2m4f at Kempton by Lanzarote. One of the extraordinary things about Sea Pigeon was that, despite winning two Chester Cups and an Ebor under top weight, he never prospered over trips longer than two miles over hurdles.

After Kempton, owner Pat Muldoon transferred his horses from Gordon Richards to Peter Easterby. Sea Pigeon made his debut for that stable in the Embassy Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, a good prize in itself, and a recognised trial for the Schweppes (Betfair) Hurdle.
Sea Pigeon carried 12-2 that day and, as ever, stalked a big field. He made mistakes down the back and seemed to be going nowhere. Turning into the straight, he was plumb last. His new jockey, Ian Watkinson, pulled him wide. There was no point putting him under pressure as Sea Pigeon was not a horse who ever did much for the whip. He merely "clicked in his ear" as they approached three out and the horse took off. I met Watkinson many years later and he still maintained that he was speechless about what happened next. Eleventh two out, and only seventh at the last, Sea Pigeon ran away from his field to win in a canter by seven lengths. The form stacked up, too. The runner up, Gathering Storm, (received 33 pounds) won his next race, the fourth horse, Tanora, won off 12-5 later that season and the fifth horse, True Lad, (received 26 pounds, beaten 16 lengths) won the Schweppes next time out.

From Haydock, Sea Pigeon went for the Champion Hurdle. The prevailing wisdom was that he could not act on soft going and Jonjo O'Neill took him as wide as it is possible to go - out of sight of the camera for much of the descent, although the rest of the field, including stablemate and winner Night Nurse, who was also thought to detest the soft, hugged the inner. The combination of his detour round Tewkesbury, the heavy going, and the extended 2m1f trip saw Sea Pigeon's run peter out at the last and he finished an eight length fourth.

Despite that sapping race, Sea Pigeon turned out again at Aintree in the Allied Manufacturing Handicap Hurdle against a hugely strong field. This time he was burdened with 12-6. This time he was less spectacular than at Haydock, but, in winning by two lengths, achieved what Julian Wilson referred to as "impossible".
The runner-up, Multiple (received 37 pounds) bolted up by seven lengths at Aintree again the next day. The third horse, Flying Diplomat, (28 pounds) had been a close runner-up in the Schweppes. Top mare Mwanadike, back in fourth, had finished runner-up under 11-8 in the County Hurdle last time out, yet received 20 pounds from Sea Pigeon and was beaten 8 lengths. Next time out, at the Punchestown Festival, she finished just ahead of Champion Hurdle runner-up, Monksfield, at a difference of only 16 pounds. And, finally, in fifth was Troyswood who won a handicap at Fairyhouse next time out off 11-5, yet was beaten 17 lengths by Sea Pigeon, receiving 27 pounds.
Sea Pigeon had missed the Schweppes, for which he'd been a leading fancy, despite being scheduled to carry a colossal weight, on account of the heavy ground. Any reading of his form with those who ran in it would have had him winning that race with well over 13 stone! Ratings were never mentioned in those days, so it's hard to quantify just what he achieved yet, using the highly reliable Mwanadike as a benchmark, it would be very hard to rate her less than 155 and that would imply that Sea Pigeon was probably running to a mark of around 185. And, in the Haydock race, he won as he pleased.

Just to complete a remarkable season, Sea Pigeon also added the Scottish Champion Hurdle in April.
Report howard January 21, 2022 2:44 PM GMT
I suppose two miles was where you find the prize money. Wink    And on the flat even with cut it's summer ground not the kind of stuff they were running on in winter. Given good to firm and a 20f hurdle with top prize money the trip would have been just fine.
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:08 PM GMT
Chester Cup 77 and 78
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:11 PM GMT
1973 Craven Stakes

.... One of my old favourites in 4th. Duke of Ragusa.
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:13 PM GMT

1981 Chester Cup with Lester up.
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:15 PM GMT
Here`s a rare one. 1980 Welsh Champion Hurdle
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:17 PM GMT
1975 International Hurdle

I wouldn`t have minded owning any of the five runners.
Report themightymac January 21, 2022 6:19 PM GMT
80, 81 and 82 Champion Hurdles. Great stuff.
Report ged January 21, 2022 6:24 PM GMT
The unseen Ebor finish..

Hope your C & p works. Otheriwse, good luck with the typing!
Report ged January 21, 2022 6:27 PM GMT
Here's an easier one, though the SL have trampled on it...
Report ged January 21, 2022 6:32 PM GMT
The Alamy site also has the pic of him winning as a 2yo, which is probably the timeform one referred to above. Lester up.

Pitskelly was 2nd. He won his maiden next time up, and then finished a good 3rd behind Targowice in France - he still only got 8-3 in the Free Handicap (a race he won as a 3yo). Jacinth was on top with 9-7, followed by the Van Cutsem pair, Noble Decree (9-4), and Ksar (9-3). Sea Pigeon didn't get a mark, presumably because he only ran the once.
Report sixtwosix January 21, 2022 6:47 PM GMT
Hard not to compare the state of hurdling today to then.

A very good champion in Honeysuckle .....and Saltier who beats up small fields in grade 1s over the water .....and then nowt.

Beacon Light , Dramatist , Birds Nest .......and they could only place in the Champion.
Report geoff m January 21, 2022 7:01 PM GMT
Thanx for those TMM .Enjoyed watching them.

Who da thought after watching his tearaway Craven run he would end up the LEGEND he did.

Think you probably mean Sharjah  626.??
Report TheAnorak January 21, 2022 7:06 PM GMT

It was the LEG the vet removed from his back END that made the difference!
Report geoff m January 21, 2022 7:08 PM GMT
Report JulioMariner227 January 21, 2022 10:03 PM GMT
Agree with you TMM...Sea Pigeon was just a magnificent dual purpose racehorse.The mid to late 70's was just a fabulous period for top class hurdlers...almost making me misty-eyed at the thought! When Sea Pigeon just held on to win the '79 Ebor from Donegal Prince(?) after Jonjo dropped his hands in the shadow of the post...I almost needed a change of underwear...not only had I backed it...but I was doing the Blower commentary on the was definitely 'squeaky bum ' time!
Report LoyalHoncho January 22, 2022 12:23 AM GMT
Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse, Bula, Monksfield, Birds Nest, Ekbalco,......
Report themightymac January 22, 2022 1:16 AM GMT
Indeed LH - a golden era. I`ll add Tree Tangle, Pollardstown, Comedy of Errors, Lanzarote and there are many more.
Report themightymac January 22, 2022 1:24 AM GMT
Great story Julio. Did you work for Extel?

"Making rapid headway towards the leaders", lol.

Great memories. Those were the days.
Report themightymac January 22, 2022 2:46 AM GMT
... I`ll need to tell you a story.

A one shop Independent bookie was struggling for custom when a complete stranger enters his shop.

He looks at the board and while listening to commentary, he asks bookie, "Excuse me, I`ve never been in a betting shop before, how do I place a bet please?".

"Quite simple sir", replies bookie, "Just pick a horse, write it`s name on this betting slip and the amount you want to bet and give it to me".

Stranger looks at the board, picks a 14/1 shot at random and puts £100 on to win, a small fortune in the 1970s.

Race goes off and new punter listens to race commentary on blower. His selection isn`t mentioned and he leaves shop without saying a word.

Next day he returns, picks a horse at 20/1 for another £100. Again, not mentioned and he leaves shop without saying a word.

Following day he is back, picks a horse at 33/1 and puts another £100 on. Never mentioned again and he quietly leaves shop.

Next day he reappears, picks another horse at 50/1 this time and puts another £100 on. Not a mention and he is about to leave shop when bookie asks, "How are you enjoying your new pastime sir?".

"I like it", replies the punter, "but my horse never get a mention. If it happens again tomorrow, I`m chucking it".

Later that night, bookie is in pub having a drink when an old pal he hasn`t seen for years approaches his table.

"Hello Joe, me old mate", says the pal, "Great to see you. How`s business?".

"Great to see you too Robert", replies the bookie, "Business has been bad, but this week a new punter has been coming into my shop. He doesn`t know anything about horses and he bets £100 each day on an absolute donkey at a big price!".

"Hahahaha", replies the pal, "That`s fantastic mate, so why you looking so glum?".

"Because his horse never gets a mention and he says that if it doesn`t get a mention tomorrow, he`s packing betting in", says the bookie.

"Don`t worry about that mate", says the old pal, "I`ll sort that out for you, no problem".

"What do you mean?", says bookie, "How can you sort it?".

"I`m working for Extel now and I do the betting shop commentaries at the Northern tracks", he answers, "And Haydock is the only meeting on tomorrow. Other two meetings have been abandoned. Here is my on course number. Phone me before the race starts and let me know what the mug bets and I`ll make sure it gets a mention in the commentary!".

"Ya Daaaaancer", says the bookie, "You`ve saved the day and I`ll see you alright my old pal!".

Next day the punter appears, looks at the betting and sticks £100 to win on a 66/1 shot. Bookie immediately phones his pal at Extel.

"Robert, it`s Joe. The guy has bet the 66/1 no hoper Red Rocket in next race. Make sure it gets a mention in commentary and I`ll see you all right mate", says bookie.

"No worries Joe will do", says the pal, "See you in pub later".

Race goes off. Punter`s horse doesn`t get a mention first circuit and a half. Then four fences from home:

"And they are jumping four out and it`s Tigerman in the lead by 2 lengths from Green Hornet and Big Bert, followed by Tartan Man and Grey Dog with other well behind. Three to go and the leaders are bunching up. Only a length now between Tigerman, Green Hornet and Big Bert with Grey Dog and Tartan Man right behind. Number 7 Red Rocket is making good headway towards the leaders".

Upon hearing this, the punter turns round and smiles at the bookie. Bookie gives him a thumbs up and punter does same back.

"Over 3 out and Tigerman has fallen and brought down Big Bert. This leaves Green Hornet in lead by a length from Grey Dog and two lengths back to Tartan Man. Number 7 Red Rocket continues to make good headway and is closing on the leaders".

Punter getting excited, turns to bookie and clenches his fists. Bookie smiles and gives him two thumbs up.

"Over the second last and Green Hornet is tiring badly and has lost his position leaving Grey Dog in front by a length from Tartan Man. Red Rocket is still closing on leaders".

Punter really getting excited now and waving arms in air and shouting. Bookie tries to contain his laughter and gives the punter a big thumbs up again.

"Over the last and Grey Dog and Tartan Man are neck and neck but Red Rocket is finishing fast. Inside the final 1f and Red Rocket hits the front and draws a length clear from Tartan Man and Grey Dog. Crossing the finishing line and it`s Red Rocket by two lengths from Tartan Man in second and Grey Dog in third .......... and I`m not f****** kidding!!!".
Report themightymac January 22, 2022 2:57 AM GMT
..... to any younger readers. In the old days punters stood in betting shops and listened to race commentaries provided by Extel over the blower. There were no pictures and even if one`s horse was well behind and had no chance, it was unknown to the punter and we stood waiting for the magic words, "And number 5 Blue Heaven is making rapid headway towards leaders", lol.

... and apologies to posters that I have told the joke to umpteen times over the years LaughLaugh
Report JulioMariner227 January 23, 2022 5:47 PM GMT
Indeed TMM...I worked for EXTEL(Exchange Telegraph Co.) or more commonly known as The Blower!If I remember correctly the Blower was actually the Victoria Blower Service ( Vicky Blower)...which provided a hedging facility for bookmakers who wanted to 'blow' money back to the racecourse if they had a big liability for a particular horse. It's more than 40 years ago that I worked for EXTEL...spent 3 years there...loved every minute of it! I could definitely tell you a few stories...but the laws of libel might have something to say!!
Report themightymac January 23, 2022 7:02 PM GMT
Yes, I thought that Julio when you mentioned the "Blower". They were good days. I remember Extel with great fondness. I like nostalgia.
Report ronnie rails January 23, 2022 9:01 PM GMT

We all used to stand and look at the little brown box in the corner some of the punters even through the little brown pencils at it.

hope you are well
Report The Knight January 23, 2022 10:02 PM GMT
Sea Pigeon was a legend even in the 1970's when we were overflowing with wonderful horses. Night Nurse wasn't far behind and if only he had nicked that Gold Cup in 1981 (?)!!

As for Extel, I had my mum put on a 50p EW double in April 1976. I was too young to go into betting shops but probably could have got away with it by then. Anyway, the double consisted of horse called Palatable at Newmarket and a dog at Walthamstow named Jack's Latest.

On the way home from school that day I was walking past 'Tatts' betting shop in Manor Park, East London - the shop was at the end of my street - and I heard the Extel commentator calling home Palatable. SP 8/1. The dog was running in the 19:45 at Walthamstow and so I waited anxiously for the first set of greyhounds results on LBC radio at around 21:45.

Being a bit of a swat at school I generally went to bed at about 21:30 on weekday nights and so was primed and ready for the results fifteen minutes later. On came the 07:30 result and then '07:45. Jack's Latest Trap 4, 11/8F......' F**k knows who was second because I was punching the air in delight by the time the the second and the forecast was read out!

The bet came to over £10.50 profit with the EW and so my first proper memory of Extel was Palatable being called home that Tuesday afternoon so very long ago.

At that time, the whole game seemed like a piece of cake but now I know so effin much, from speed figures to handicap marks to breeding etc, it is so much harder. Hence, in the words of, I believe, Bob Sieger, I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know back then!!!!
Report WhiteHatJon January 24, 2022 9:44 PM GMT
Was there in 1981 when Sea Pigeon won unfer the great JF.

I'm sure he got the 'greatest jockey' moniker after that ride, to say it was well timed would be a joke.

Just by way of my memory now being shot away, I had forgotten Easterby trained SP and the great Night Nurse.

Report LoyalHoncho January 24, 2022 10:13 PM GMT
sixtwosix      21 Jan 22   18:47
Beacon Light was the other contemporary I was trying to remember - many thanks and I plain forgot about Dramatist.
As we are all recalling, what a fabulous era for hurdling.
I still have it in mind that he was an ante post winter favourite for the Derby but it seems maybe not true.  This, from wiki, seems very true though.

Sea Pigeon won once as a two-year-old in October 1972, when he was ridden to victory by Lester Piggott in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Ascot.[5] In early 1973, he was considered a serious contender for the Classics.[6] He ran in the 1973 Epsom Derby and finished seventh behind Morston.[4] By the end of 1973, Sea Pigeon's indifferent form led to him being thought "ungenuine, highly-strung and difficult to handle."[5] He was subsequently gelded and was sold for £8,000 to Pat Muldoon, who sent the horse to National Hunt trainer Gordon W. Richards.[2]
Report LoyalHoncho January 24, 2022 10:14 PM GMT
Piggott in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Ascot.[5] In early 1973, he was considered a serious contender for the Classics.[6] He ran in the 1973 Epsom Derby and finished seventh behind Morston.[4] By the end of 1973, Sea Pigeon's indifferent form led to him being thought "ungenuine, highly-strung and difficult to handle."[5] He was subsequently gelded and was sold for £8,000 to Pat Muldoon, who sent the horse to National Hunt trainer Gordon W. Richards.[2]
Report screaming from beneaththewaves January 24, 2022 10:25 PM GMT
Great story, The Knight. I can almost smell the mixture of old newspapers and Rothman's King Size carrying the sound of the Extel tannoy out of that shop.

My story from 1976 comes from that blistering summer. Times were pretty hard with roaring inflation, especially if you weren't getting union-driven pay rises. Summer holiday was a week in Southsea.

I'd just turned 15, and I spent the train journey down studying Formcast in the Daily Mail and sorting out a 1p each way super yankee for my dad to put on when we arrived there. We spent the afternoon on what passed for a beach, before my dad went into the shop to check the results. All five had won, and it came to £54. It completely changed the household finances. I don't think I have a happier memory than sitting on a bench in the late afternoon sun with my mum and dad working out the return to the last penny.

I remember one of the winners being a chaser of Richard Head's called Village Thief, and another a good Flat handicapper called Chemin De Fer. But one of the other winners was bizarre. It had a W for walkover in front of its name, and carried a penalty. No wonder the SP was 10/1. My rationale for selecting it was that if nothing had taken it on the time before, it must have been a good horse.

As you say, how simple life is when we're ignorant.
Report themightymac January 26, 2022 3:11 AM GMT
We all used to stand and look at the little brown box in the corner some of the punters even through the little brown pencils at it.

That is so very true Ronnie. LaughLaugh

Hope you are well too mate. All the best.
Report LoyalHoncho January 27, 2022 3:11 AM GMT
I remember going into a bookies and asking for a pen and being looked at as if I had horns in ma heid!  Laugh
We used to write bets oot on anything - old envelopes, scraps of paper - anything.
Stained windaes so folks couldn't see in and smoke from ceiling to about knee height so we wanted oot. Laugh
And listening to the Saturday blower as he made it sound like Paradise Spectre just won - somewhere in London, memory says Hackney - when later we learned it had led all the way and won about seven lengths!
"But it was a good life"!
Report themightymac January 27, 2022 2:15 PM GMT
Us all standing round the coal fire betting and listening to the commentaries from Ireland when all UK racing was abandoned.

And when racing everywhere was abandoned, us all congregating behind the betting shop at a Pitch N Toss school, which usually had a violent ending.
Report themightymac January 27, 2022 2:16 PM GMT
And another fresh memory is Somebody coming into the pub on a cold winter`s day, usually a Saturday, producing a letter from some tout in Newmarket proclaiming, "I`ve got a Wire".
Report JulioMariner227 January 27, 2022 5:40 PM GMT
'Telephonic Interruptions'!'ve brought a wry smile to my face! Back in the late 70's when I did my time on the'Blower', on Saturday mornings if the Fav in the first at HACKNEY was well backed..if the commentary we were getting from the track was telling us it was leading 'trap to line' and hosing in by 5/6 lengths...we would hold it up and just get it up on the line to win a neck!!The only way punters would know the truth was if they were to check the results and winning distances in the Sporting Life on the Monday morning! My auld faither and his pals used to go into the betting shop at 10.30 on a Saturday morning...pick out their horses for the afternoon TV racing...then wait for the first at Hackney...then invariably back the Fav...then head to the pub for 2/3 pints! If the auld yin had more than 2/3 pints, when he got home he would usually fall asleep and miss most of the TV racing and probably got 'pelters' off my mother!! Happy, innocent days indeed!!
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