Not The Best Of Weeks
It has been quite a week in this small racing world of ours. Normally the time between Epsom and Royal Ascot is a quiet period, a time to recharge batteries.
Not this week, we have had two stories dominating the sport as well as distractions from a competitive sport.
The story which has caused most concern in the racing village is the disappearance of commentator Doug Fraser. Last seen leaving his Leeds flat at 02:00 on Friday 4th June and nothing heard since. The alarm being raised when he failed to turn up to commentate at Hexham on Derby day.
As I write this on the day before Royal Ascot police in Leeds report they found a body in the River Aire yesterday afternoon. Although identification will not be confirmed until Wednesday police are as certain as they can be the body is that of Fraser.
The one "good" aspect of his body being found is at least his family and friends now know what has happened to him the uncertainly has gone. Although as time went on without sightings this result was inevitable.
There are still many unanswered questions, not least why? Perhaps we will never find out.
It is desperately sad news and I must admit I had a very sleepless night last night having heard the unconfirmed reports last night and I am not ashamed to admit I do have a tear rolling down my cheek as I write this.
The saddest part for me is that Doug was so well liked and was held is such affection. It is really sad to think that if he had something troubling him then he felt unable to talk to someone and share whatever it was that was worrying him - assuming something was playing on his mind.
I am actually hoping the post mortem shows something no more sinister than he wasn't feeling well, had gone for some fresh air and had a heart attack or something and fell in the river. We shall have to wait and see.
I had only met him a handful of times but found him to be a really quiet, pleasant man.
Many knew him far longer and a lot better than me my hear goes out to them and his family.
Rest in peace Dougie.
The other big news in the world of racing this week has been Harry Findlay being warned off for two years for laying his own horses. Many column inches have been written, some of it – especially in the Racing post – absolute rubbish.
He is, in some quarters, quarters which should know better, being made out as some poor hard done by individual.
The rules are clear - he broke them, end of.
He could have received an 18 month ban so, arguably, he has got off lightly.
He is a professional gambler for goodness sake - to say he did not understand the rules just does not wash.
When it comes to gambling Findlay is one of the sharpest knives in the draw, he thought he could get away with it because of who he is – he has learned he can’t.
Now he is threatening to throw his toys out of the pram and walk away from British racing.
Well if he cannot play by the rules he will be no loss to the sport.
I have no axe to grind with Findlay but the fact he has brought a lot to the sport should have no bearing whatsoever. However how many punters have lost out due to some of his gambles?
Am I the only one sick to death with the World Cup?
I have absolutely no interest in a bunch of, overpaid, semi-literate yobs kicking a ball round a field (by all accounts not very well), yet there is nowhere to escape this blessed tournament.
Idiots are driving cars around, festooned with St George’s flags. Even worse is the sight of middle aged men, beer guts a plenty, walking round wearing the England football strip.
Do they not realise just how stupid they look? If they broke into anything faster than a brisk walk most of them would probably drop dead from a coronary.
Those who play the game at the highest level have a weekly wage that would make your eyes water, some earn in one week three times what a fully trained nurse or paramedic earns in a year. To me there is something wrong, obscene even with a society which condones this.
I have even been called unpatriotic for not supporting the England football team.
Let me assure you there are few more patriotic than me.
I support 100% our troops fighting unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I support the guys who put their lives on the line every time they step out to do their job. Who would support their comrades with their own lives.
I do not support a group of so called men whose idea of camaraderie is passing around some smitten tart for their own sexual gratification.