Orders for One Jump Ahead received before lunchtime on Wednesday have been dispatched. Those received since will be posted on Thursday morning. The action steps up a notch or two over the next few days with some good cards at Worcester (Thursday), Chepstow (Friday and Saturday) and Newton Abbot (Sunday). Please head to the Publications section of the site to order a copy, if you haven't already done so.
The headline on the front of Wednesday's Racing Post was regarding the possibility of bringing the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe forward a week in an attempt to avoid heavy ground, which we witnessed last weekend. From a personal point of view, I think the idea is barmy and very unlikely to happen. Do you think the suggestion would have been raised if either Tarnawa or Hurricane Lane had won the race? It is a complete over reaction due to the fact the winner was unconsidered and a huge price. Torquator Tasso was a dual Group 1 winner beforehand and deserves more respect. Julian Muscat wrote an article in Tuesday's Racing Post saying the race was a damp squib. I can't believe he would have written such a piece if Dermot Weld had won the Arc for the first time. Nobody has heard of Marcel Weiss and is therefore an easy target. If the meeting was rescheduled in September, it would impact the rest of the Flat programme - would they have to move the Arc Trials, as a result? What happens if they did move it and the conditions were similar? Would they bring it forward another week? Nick Smith has suggested it would benefit Ascot's Champions day meeting if the Arc was staged earlier? When was the last time the French did Britain any favours? - look what's happening in the English Channel at the moment. I suspect the whole idea will have been forgotten in a few weeks time.
Readers of the early additions of One Jump Ahead will recall that I was a big fan of Howard Johnson and his horses featured heavily in a number of additions. Howard gave very few interviews to the press but we always got on well and he was included in the Talking Trainers section of OJA on a number of occasions. Since he retired, I have kept in touch - I went to his father in law Ray Hawkey's funeral - and always send him the latest edition of OJA. Still based at Whitelea Farm in Crook, Howard is busy on the farm and still watches some racing on the TV, which is great to hear. Whether you were a fan or not, he was a brilliant trainer for readying one for the Cheltenham Festival - his record spoke for itself. Direct Route is my all-time favourite horse and Tidal Bay's victory in the Arkle was class.
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