Sports Diary
by Patrick O’Connor

THERE’S a new superhero in the sporting world – and he’s a horse!

The racing world is currently marvelling about the achievements of three year old colt Frankel who last week won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot and has now finished first in all of his seven races.

 

 

There was a little bit of a scare in this latest triumph after Frankel eased off towards the end to eventually win by less than a length.

Trainer Sir Henry Cecil, attributing human characteristics to the horse, commented: "He looked as if he was going to win a bit more easily and I think that he thought that he had just done enough."

Jockey Tom Queally added: “I had to make a decision to go when I did. He was running for a long way and was starting to get a little bit fed up with it in front - he does it so easily.”

He added: “We have got options regarding tactics and he is still the one to beat at the moment. He's getting more professional with every run and he's starting to know he's good now.”

Now that’s what I call horse power!

A less savoury aspect of horse racing came into focus when top jockey Frankie Dettori was given a nine-day riding ban for using his whip with ‘excessive frequency’ whilst winning on Rewilding at Ascot.

It was stated that Dettori struck the horse 24 times during the final two furlongs of the race as Rewilding came from behind to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

The British Horseracing Authority is currently carrying out a review into the use of the whip by jockeys.

There is a debate going on about how much use of the whip is acceptable with animal welfare groups concerned that tired horses may be forced to go beyond their normal tolerance at the end of a race by being excessively whipped.

Maybe instead of banning the jockeys, they ought to be mounted, raced and whipped until their bodies are marked!

The word ‘organic’ is often used these days as a marketing tool by the food industry who believe that shoppers associate the word with ‘better’ food.

Now a football club is hoping to create the first organic pitch.

Forest Green Rovers, who play in the Blue Square Premier League, have begun spreading cow manure as part of their policy of becoming more eco-friendly.

The driving force behind the initiative is the club’s chairman Dale Vince who also runs green electricity company Ecotricity.

Manager Dave Hockaday said the smell was “a bit lively but the pitch is looking magnificent.”

There’s a bit of stink brewing up about news that the average salary at the British Olympic Association has risen by more than 20 per cent in the last year.

According to the BBC this means that the average pay of staff has gone up by £13,000.

Nice work if you can get it, especially in the current economic climate.

However the financial crisis does seem to impacting on the BBC itself, according to a report in the Sunday Times newspaper.

They claim that the broadcaster is considering dropping its coverage of Formula One motor racing rather than close one of its digital channels.

Apparently the Beeb’s contract to screen F1 for five seasons until 2013 will cost £300m.

It’s also a sport that is extremely boring to watch!