Old Beast's Almanac

New Year is a time for looking forward and The Beast has dusted off his crystal ball to have a look ahead to 2009. (Is it really 2009 it seems it was only yesterday we were seeing in the new millennium).

Like everywhere else the credit crunch will dominate racing in 2009 and by the end of the year I can see there being a lot fewer horses in training (which may not be a bad thing).

I also envisage at least two of our courses disappearing for good in 2009, although we will see the opening of a new course at Ffos Las. However most racegoers will a) not have a clue how to pronounce it and b) won’t have the foggiest idea where it is. Although Fakenham will be happy knowing it is no longer the UK’s most remote course.

On a lighter note, here are some more predictions for 2009.


Irish trainer Jimmy O’Bollinger launches a blistering attack on National Hunt racing, declaring the Cheltenham Festival to be “as significant as my local donkey Derby.”


Carrying on his crusade Jimmy O’Bollinger calls for the abolition of National Hunt racing.


Newest Approaching, trained by Jimmy O’Bollinger, romps home the easy ten length victor of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. The trainer states the horse was only entered in the race due to an administrative error.

As the Denman / Kauto Star debate sends another 100,000 race fans to sleep, neither make it to the Gold Cup which is won by a 66/1 outsider.


The twenty seventh appeal by Dean McKeown against his warning-off fails, proving he is as good at throwing away appeals as he is races (allegedly).


A new EU directive forces the Newmarket authorities to rename two of the classics. So punters now have to tackle the 2,362 Euros and the 1,181 Euros.


Global warming  forces the abandonment of the Derby after 6” of snow falls on Epsom Downs. In a rapid rescheduling the BHA decree the race will be run at Southwell’s AW meeting the following day. 


Jockey Jamie Moore enters hospital for a pioneering humour implant operation. Unfortunately doctors declare the operation a failure when the implant rejects the champion jockey.


After yet more flooding at Worcester, Arena Leisure announce they are to deposit 1,000 tons of sand on the site and run Laytown style meetings in future.


Kieren Fallon returns to race riding and wins the opener at Laytown, the only meeting at which he can get a ride.


There is a major diplomatic incident at Longchamp as Frankie Dettori mis-times his flying dismount and lands on top of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.


In another thrilling finish to the flat season, Frankie Dettori just beats Ryan Moore by a smile.


 In an attempt to make the cross country events more interesting Cheltenham introduce some new features including machine gun posts to shoot jockeys who take short cuts. Making the ditches deeper and adding piranha fish to the water.



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