Tom marquand

Horse racing’s invisible heroes

President George W. Bush used to quote his fellow Texan Robert Strauss who famously declared: ‘You can fool some of the people some of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on.’ Listening to the economic arguments of most of the candidates for the Tory leadership last week, they clearly take a similar view. If it’s honesty you want, stick to horse racing. In Newbury’s baking heat last Saturday, Grocer Jack, an expensive 700,000-guinea purchase from Germany for Prince Faisal bin Khaled, led all the way at a sometimes extravagant pace to win the Listed bet365 Stakes by nine lengths in the hands of Tom Marquand.

A great contest without the skulduggery of the past

Taking a day off racing to enjoy Joe Root’s regal 180 not out against India on the third day of the England-India Test — tranquillity interrupted only by a call from home to say that Flat-coated Retriever Damson had eaten the TV controller — I was struck by the amount of ‘gardening’ indulged in by batters. After any ball that has beaten them they stroll down the pitch, glare malevolently at an innocent patch of turf and prod back into inoffensive conformity the infinitesimal protrusion on the surface which they have assured themselves was responsible for the ball whipping past their hung-out bat. Excuse accepted. Mental confidence restored. Confidence is

The heirs to Frankie Dettori

It is all, it seems, in the tweaks. So said Aidan O’Brien, Ireland’s master-trainer supreme, before his tough filly Magical defeated Ghaiyyath, the world’s highest-rated horse, in the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday. He wouldn’t have run her against the relentless galloper who had beaten Magical the month before, he insisted, if he hadn’t felt there was something he could tweak to make the difference. If ever there was a man in racing who shouldn’t have any regrets it is Aidan O’Brien, but in a fascinating Racing Post interview last week with David Jennings Aidan revealed: ‘Every single race we’re beaten in hurts. The bigger the race the more it