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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

The best and worst of the weekend's racing

Michelle Payne: has been having trouble gaining access into Britain
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Performance of the weekend

Daryl Jacob would no doubt have been the target of all sorts of curses in the course of a campaign when there were more misses than hits on the mercurial L'Ami Serge.

No doubt Jacob would have levelled a few remarks of his own at the horse having seen victories in races like the Relkeel Hurdle, County Hurdle and Prix la Barka slip through his fingers.

Such frustrations could have broken some horse and jockey partnerships, but in the Grade 1 Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil Jacob repaid the faith shown in him by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede with a brilliant waiting ride.

Jacob had done the same on numerous other occasions last season without getting the ultimate reward, but when L'Ami Serge got to the front this time he stayed there.

If anything was to blame it was the trip he had been running over.

Disappointment of the weekend

When you go to the lengths of planning the kind of operation engaged in by Richard Fahey to unleash 32 horses across five meetings on a busy Saturday you would hope for some headline results to justify the effort.

The number of runners equalled the trainer's personal best, a mark he had reached on two other occasions, but the number of wins produced could be counted on one hand – three.

Nevertheless by taking his score to 80 wins for the year, the Malton trainer remains ahead in the race to be the first to 100 in 2017.

Gaffe of the weekend

Certain racecourses strict adherence to an outdated dress code is a public relations embarrassment in waiting.

If there is any day for a more relaxed rule it should be on Sundays but Goodwood's policy nearly denied entry to a tieless George Baker, paying his first visit to a racecourse since his horrific riding accident in St Moritz in he suffered bleeding on the brain.

Red carpet treatment 

Let's hope Britain's toughening attitude towards visitors from overseas does not cost Michelle Payne involvement at Royal Ascot after she said she was experiencing visa problems ahead of her trip.

Aussie apprentice Ethan Brown has already been sent home after being detained at Heathrow by border staff having not arrived with the correct paperwork for what was to be a stint riding out for William Haggas.

Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, is an international role model who is coming over to ride a horse that she will eventually train herself, not to take other people's rides.

She deserves the red carpet treatment not the cold shoulder.

Picture of the week

Alone with his thoughts: Frankie Dettori in the Al Shaqab silks at Sandown on Thursday
Diplomatic headache

Those who are involved in the interest of Qatar's two racing power who also enjoy their winters in the Dubai may want to curb their enthusiasm should there be any success during the royal meeting.

Amid tensions in the Arab world with Qatar, the Foreign Office on Thursday week alerted British nationals to a law passed in the UAE last week which said showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence. Offenders could be imprisoned and subject to a substantial fine.

Quote of the week

"He's got the most unbelievable cow kick – he would take your hand off when you're doing up the surcingle"
Henry Candy on the risks of getting too close to Limato

He's got the most unbelievable cow kick - he would take your hand off when you're doing up the surcingle
E.W. Terms
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