WINNERS & LOSERS
Expanding horizons: Trainer John Thompson. Photo: Tertius Pickard
The influence of John Thompson will be felt in two diverse worlds - Inner Mongolia and Ireland - in coming weeks. Thompson can have a hand on the lever that releases the floodgates of racing in China, of great benefit to the industry here, and Nechita, the mare he developed, is prime to impact under Aidan O'Brien. Betting in any form on racing in mainland China is outlawed. Millions have been invested in the hope the policy will change. Thompson is headed - with 25 horses, Australian-owned - to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, for a trial meeting. The same number is being sent from Coolmore and the French also having a contingent. The trainer says senior politicians will be attending. Thompson already has horses in training there, including an $800,000 Fastnet Rock yearling bought in New Zealand, for wealthy mainland Chinese clients. With the savage cutbacks to the Nathan Tinkler empire, the trainer had vacancies at his Randwick stable. On Saturday he notched his third consecutive Silver Shadow Stakes, with the Tinkler-owned Thump, and last year scored with Nechita, described by him as ''the best sprinter I've ever had anything to do with''. Nechita was knocked down to Coolmore at Tinkler's fire sale. Coolmore sponsored the Silver Shadow and a representative informed Thompson of the high opinion O'Brien has of Nechita.
Bum riding instructions and the rule regarding change of tactics cannot be overlooked with the Chris Waller-trained Coup Ay Tee reversal. Coup Ay Tee, with Nash Rawiller up, was an easing favourite at Rosehill on August 17 when he flopped, ridden upside down on the pace. Five days later the gelding won the Hawkesbury Gold Cup handled from behind with aplomb by Jason Collett. Waller is a great achiever but as a grandstand tactician some of his strategies compare with the worst of World War I generals. He told stewards at Rosehill ''he may have erred'' by telling Rawiller to be up close when the horse races best with cover. Stewards blasted Rawiller, on his present form rated with George Moore, Mick Dittman and Darren Beadman, for taking a ''poor option''. Stewards had prior knowledge, being informed of the change, but does that make it right?
Long live the lair
Glen Boss, again up to excessive antics on Rebel Dane at Warwick Farm on Saturday, is an acquired taste. ''Bossy very nearly got the whole race wrong, for a top jock to behave the way he did in the last 50 is a disgrace and should be banned,'' wrote Strew on the Racenet forum. However, it was countered by Gazza: ''Let's not take the 'lair' out of him. Sport across the board has slowly seen (for the worse) the eradication of the larrikin and the showman. We are now too politically correct and dull.'' Being a Boss convert, my recommendation is just get on him and enjoy the ride.
The turf is awash with complaints about the stingy behaviour of offshore-owned corporate bookmakers. ''I reckon they employ an expert to go through the accounts to bar winners, regardless of how much they have on,'' said one long-time horse player, name, address and former account number supplied. It is a far cry from the old SP days when Melbourne Mick Bartley declared a $10,000 wager ''toilet paper''. Recent indications raise the question whether a similar transaction, certainly if on a winner, would have to go before the board of William Hill in Britain. With all the waffle by the corporates about ''no bet is too big, nor punter too good that we won't let them on'', they should live up to it.
Beaten but on the up
The breakneck pace in Saturday's Warwick Stakes should have suited imported stayer Beaten Up, but he could finish only fourth. However, don't give up on him.
Horse to follow
Gai Waterhouse's Ecuador was unlucky at Canterbury last Wednesday and will make amends.
Casual Choice, which eased from $2.60 to $4, could finish only eighth in the seventh at Warwick Farm on Saturday.