Weblog: Betting Shop Manager of the Year
Shop confidence is for Sweden in the 'Euros'
Any lingering doubts over the fitness of Frankel were dispelled at the weekend with a majestic display at Newbury when the Champ made it a perfect ten on the bounce in the Lockinge Stakes, much to the delight of Sir Henry Cecil and apparently everyone else in Britain judging by the reaction of the media.
It was great to see horseracing hitting mainstream news for all the right reasons, with Frankel being the main feature on the sports reports that were broadcast prior to the UEFA Champions League final that was to be played the same evening.
Once again this magnificent animal, rated the world's finest, put in a flawless performance and poor Excelebration must be cursing his luck to be racing against a horse that seems simply unbeatable.
Again, the reaction of our punters to the victory was lavish to say the least, and rightly so given what this horse has done for a feel-good factor in Flat racing – as Kauto Star has done for jumps.
When the superlatives ran out however, the topic turned in my Scotbet Selkirk shop, as I'm sure it did in most other places, to perhaps what would be the most eagerly awaited race in my lifetime; Frankel versus Black Caviar. I, like everyone else, would simply love to see it happen.
Tom summed it up perfectly when he said "Every Superhero needs a Supervillain and there just isn't that rivalry right now for Frankel".
On the other side of the planet there is also a hero, well heroine in this case and the Aussies all believe they have the best horse on the planet regardless of the ratings. Julian Muscat said in Wednesday's Racing Post that the true place to find out which horse is superior is not on paper, but on the racecourse.
In the same paper Sam Walker raised the hopes of my punters to almost a frenzy with a compelling case as to why it could happen. There is such an appetite for this clash that I may well be proved wrong and it might just go ahead after all. I hate to be the spoil-sport and say it but I just don't believe it will. I believe, as in the Champions League final, the fear of losing will be stronger than the hunger to win and this will end in stalemate.
Unfortunately we don't have penalty shootouts in racing so the Sussex Stakes or the specially made 7f match race that Sam Walker had hoped for won't have a result and we will all be left to wonder, never before have I hoped to be more wrong!
I should congratulate Chelsea at this stage for being the first London club to lift the Champions League. It really was an amazing achievement when you consider this Chelsea team are, in most people's eyes, nowhere near as strong as Mourinho's Blues and their sixth place finish in the league would appear to bear that out.
That did not stop 'Chalky' having a cheeky tenner on the Champions League/FA Cup double before the semi final stages, and at 66-1. I can't imagine there were many Liverpool fans cheering as loudly as Derek when Drogba stroked home that final penalty.
Defending is an art though and Chelsea must be commended for playing to their strengths and grinding down the continent’s best. No penalties required at Hampden where the first Edinburgh Derby Scottish Cup final ended in the Jam Tart's (Hearts) trouncing the 'Cabbage n Ribs' (Hibs) 5-1. Hearts started the game on fire and although Hibs may point to a very poor decision at the start of the second half in giving Hearts a penalty, I don't think anyone believes that altered the destination of where the Cup was headed.
It was Monday before I saw wee 'Eck - and Auld Kenny has been giving him some stick. Allan was also telling me about the game, he is a die-hard Hibee but like many others he was in the pub long before the hour mark having left the stadium after the fourth goal for Hearts.
There are a few Man City fans out there who will swear never to leave a game early again, but for Allan the pain of knowing the 110 year wait for the Cup would continue was too much, it is an extraordinary record and the rivalry in the shop shows how much it meant to two teams who live in the shadow of Glasgow's big two and might not get this kind of opportunity any time soon.
Strangest debate of the week goes to Ben, George S and Ian, and their chat about the Euros, although maybe not the ones you might immediately think of.
I remember being stuck for words as Ben, who is very knowledgeable on most matters sport related, reeled off in depth all the songs and participants of the Eurovision Song Contest. Seeing three big lads getting stuck into this with the enthusiasm they did was surreal, I just couldn't help laugh/mock, take your pick.
All three collected on Azerbaijan last year - on Ben's advice - to my amazement, and this year through chance the same three, plus Bally got into it again.
Sweden may well be favourites at 2/1 but Ben assures me they should be long odds-on, so don't be surprised if it goes the way of the Swedes this year.
Lots to look forward to then, the William Hill Greyhound Derby reaches its conclusion this Saturday and by that time we'll also see how Roy Hodgson's England are fairing in their first Euro 2012 warm-up game, and we should have an idea if Steve Palmer's amazing golf tipping run is continuing.
He is now that feared that there was talk on Twitter of certain shops removing his column out of the paper on Wednesdays, although this has since been denied.
Best of luck to you all this week then, even you Engelbert, it sounds like you will need it!