Ascot then Newbury makes a powerful combination to repeat

22-February-2021
22-February-2021 11:08
in General
by Peter McNeile

Most yards would give their eye teeth for a horse of the calibre and appetite for racing of Sceau Royal. He's a winner of 14 of his 36 races and a fabulous total of £464,610 in winnings, including the most recent at Newbury on Sunday. For a two mile conditions race, the Game Spirit runs the risk of setting up a bloodless victory, which has happened on a regular basis previously. Yet this year's race was all the better for the likes of Altior withdrawing.

Although Sceau Royal went off favourite, the rest of the field hadn't read the script. Greaneteen, Dolos and Champ jostled for position throughout. Champ, on his first run since winning last year's RSA Chase, took a keen hold in expectation of running over a mile further than the two miles and would have been closer but for a mistake at the last. But the performance of the winner was very accomplished. As a racehorse, he is the consummate professional. 

Sceau Royal - as versatile over fences as hurdles

Alan King wouldn't be drawn on his next assignation, which will hang on ground conditions. And it's true that there's a tendency among the press to ask what target any big winner is aimed at. The reality is that it's hard wnough to win any race, so we should allow connections to savour a victory, rather than look ahead to something that might or might not happen a month down the road. 

That said, the combiantion of Ascot then Newbury in a series of big races is an opportunity that hasn't arisen before, and I wonder if this is worth exploring as a permanent move. The combined efforts of both racecourses to promote a double-header weekend of this nature could be quite powerful. The Sunday programme in the UK is generally pretty poor, with a few notable exceptions. Building an exceptional weekend's racing would capture both a viewing audience and spectators on the course. 

ITV must be commended for its flexibility in scheduling which has enabled the channel to cover more racing this winter for those stuck at home, and its audiences reflect the appeal of racing. This is to be mirrored in Ireland where TG4 has opted to televise a series of racedays in the Spring, hopefully as a precursor to more regular coverage. 

Generally speaking however, in the written media, racing coverage has all but disappeared in the quality papers. Of the four leading UK newspapers, the Times rarely includes editorial outside Saturday tips, and its coverage is infinitely poorer since the sad death of Alan Lee. 

The late Alan Lee wrote entertainingly for The Times

Searching for racing in the Telegraph takes you into the depths of Other Sport, and not even a quality journalist like Marcus Armytage can find space for copy. 

The Independent gave up racing coverage some years ago, leaving the Guardian to fill the void, and whilst its audience is small, the coverage has been a shining exemplar to its bigger and wealthier brethren. 

So despite good coverage in all the red tops, the levels of coverage supported by the likes of racing Post, Sportilglife.com and every bookmaker web site under the sun, have allowed the quality press to relegate racing editorial to the occasional feature around the marquee events. Despite more TV coverage than ever before, our penetration of the written press must be at an all-time low, which seems a backward step. 

Next Event

When?

Season curtailed. Come racing back next winter

 

 

 

 

 

Where?

Barbury, 3m N of Marlborough, off A346, Jn 15 M4

 

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Ascot then Newbury makes a powerful combination to repeat

22-February-2021
22-February-2021 11:08
in General
by Peter McNeile

Most yards would give their eye teeth for a horse of the calibre and appetite for racing of Sceau Royal. He's a winner of 14 of his 36 races and a fabulous total of £464,610 in winnings, including the most recent at Newbury on Sunday. For a two mile conditions race, the Game Spirit runs the risk of setting up a bloodless victory, which has happened on a regular basis previously. Yet this year's race was all the better for the likes of Altior withdrawing.

Although Sceau Royal went off favourite, the rest of the field hadn't read the script. Greaneteen, Dolos and Champ jostled for position throughout. Champ, on his first run since winning last year's RSA Chase, took a keen hold in expectation of running over a mile further than the two miles and would have been closer but for a mistake at the last. But the performance of the winner was very accomplished. As a racehorse, he is the consummate professional. 

Sceau Royal - as versatile over fences as hurdles

Alan King wouldn't be drawn on his next assignation, which will hang on ground conditions. And it's true that there's a tendency among the press to ask what target any big winner is aimed at. The reality is that it's hard wnough to win any race, so we should allow connections to savour a victory, rather than look ahead to something that might or might not happen a month down the road. 

That said, the combiantion of Ascot then Newbury in a series of big races is an opportunity that hasn't arisen before, and I wonder if this is worth exploring as a permanent move. The combined efforts of both racecourses to promote a double-header weekend of this nature could be quite powerful. The Sunday programme in the UK is generally pretty poor, with a few notable exceptions. Building an exceptional weekend's racing would capture both a viewing audience and spectators on the course. 

ITV must be commended for its flexibility in scheduling which has enabled the channel to cover more racing this winter for those stuck at home, and its audiences reflect the appeal of racing. This is to be mirrored in Ireland where TG4 has opted to televise a series of racedays in the Spring, hopefully as a precursor to more regular coverage. 

Generally speaking however, in the written media, racing coverage has all but disappeared in the quality papers. Of the four leading UK newspapers, the Times rarely includes editorial outside Saturday tips, and its coverage is infinitely poorer since the sad death of Alan Lee. 

The late Alan Lee wrote entertainingly for The Times

Searching for racing in the Telegraph takes you into the depths of Other Sport, and not even a quality journalist like Marcus Armytage can find space for copy. 

The Independent gave up racing coverage some years ago, leaving the Guardian to fill the void, and whilst its audience is small, the coverage has been a shining exemplar to its bigger and wealthier brethren. 

So despite good coverage in all the red tops, the levels of coverage supported by the likes of racing Post, Sportilglife.com and every bookmaker web site under the sun, have allowed the quality press to relegate racing editorial to the occasional feature around the marquee events. Despite more TV coverage than ever before, our penetration of the written press must be at an all-time low, which seems a backward step. 

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