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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Striker's near miss, deep breathing and a wonder woman in the spotlight

Bristol De Mai and Daryl Jacob fly the first on their way to a breathtaking Betfair Chase success on Saturday
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We take a sideways look at the best and worst moments from the weekend's racing

Performance of the weekend

How can there be any other candidate other than Bristol De Mai's blitz of the Betfair Chase to set up the tantalising £1 million Triple Crown prize for winning the 32Red King George over Christmas and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in March?

Racing Post Ratings adjudged the grey's 57-length defeat of Cue Card a better effort than any of Kauto Star's four successes in the race with a scorecard of 185-184.

Achievement of the weekend

Another performance standing head and shoulders above the rest was Josephine Gordon riding 100 winners with a victory at Wolverhampton on Saturday evening.

Never mind the fact she is only the second woman to achieve the feat after Hayley Turner, she also joins an elite club of champion apprentices to have ridden 100 winners in the season after their title.

Frankie Dettori, Jason Weaver and Ryan Moore are the jockeys she follows and she comes in at number 11 in the list of riders to have partnered 100 winners or more this year. 

Josephine Gordon rides her 100th winner of the year on Thunderbolt Rocks under the lights at Wolverhampton on Saturday

Disappointment of the weekend

Defi Du Seuil losing his unbeaten hurdling record with not so much as a whimper in the Ascot Hurdle on Saturday.

The triple Grade 1 winner in an unbeaten run of seven last season folded tamely as the 10-11 favourite in the Grade 2 Ascot Hurdle behind the little terrier that is Lil Rockerfeller.

Wind of change

Is it a waste of breath or worth the deep breathing? After all the huffing and puffing since the BHA announced connections have to declare a horse running after having a breathing operation, the only certainty is nobody is any wiser.

First former champion Paul Nicholls held up his Haydock winner Clan Des Obeaux as a shining example of a chaser whose career has been resurrected by having a soft palate and hobday operation after stumbling over his fences last season.

Then trainer and vet Mark Johnston came out against the initiative, producing personal stats that showed ten per cent of wind operations had worked on 50 horses in his stable.

Michael Owen and Sheikh Fahad before their charity race at Ascot on Friday

I'm A Celebrity . . . get me a horse

Second winner of this racing show following Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton is former England footballer Michael Owen after his debut performance in the Prince's Countryside Trust charity race at Ascot on Friday.

Five months after setting out to compete in such a race Owen earned the respect of professionals with his ride, which momentarily looked like being a winning one on Calder Prince before experienced point-to-point rider Tom Chatfield-Roberts proved too strong.

Some public criticism was levelled at his ride which was fuelled by third-placed Sheikh Fahad using his whip in a race in which the whip was allowed to be carried but not used except for safety purposes.

Inspirational quote of the week

"In 2008 when Hayley [Turner] got 100 winners, I was sat in school and looking up to Hayley thinking: ‘Wow that’s amazing’. I would never have expected for myself to then go on and hit those heights."

Josephine Gordon showing that daydreaming in the classroom can lead to dreams being realised with hard work and talent

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Five months after setting out to compete in such a race Owen earned the respect of professionals with his ride
E.W. Terms
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