Racing week: Goodwood celebrates Persian Punch

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  • A good week for . . .

    Persian Punch (pictured), whose victory in the Goodwood Cup two years ago was voted for by Goodwood’s members as their favourite race. Voted “horse of the year” by readers of the Racing Post in 2003, Persian Punch died of a suspected heart attack last year while running at Ascot. His ashes are due to be scattered at Goodwood in recognition of his achievements, which include winning the Goodwood Cup in 2001 and 2003. A stone plaque located opposite the winner’s post on the members’ lawn is to be unveiled tomorrow (Saturday 30 April).

    But a bad week for . . .

    Timmy Murphy, who has been sidelined for between four and six weeks after breaking his right arm in a fall at Punchestown on Tuesday. Initially it was thought that Murphy had broken his wrist, which would have kept him out of the saddle for a shorter period, but the damage turned out to be to his arm. The broken bone has been plated and pinned and it is likely that he will make a full recovery.

    First runner for royal

    Zara Phillips has had her first horse run under Rules this week. Manor Down was originally purchased for Phillips to event, but he turned out not to be suitable and so was redirected to the point-to-point field. He won a confined maiden race and was placed fifth in a restricted point-to-point this year before heading to Cheltenham on Wednesday. Unfortunately the Irish-bred gelding had to be pulled-up by his jockey, the record-breaking point-to-point rider Julian Pritchard, making it a unsuccessful day for his royal owner.

    Over the water

    More than 20 people were injured when thousands of racegoers at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong flooded into the course in an attempt to claim a free Silent Witness baseball cap. The caps were available in return for vouchers which had been given away at betting shops. Some 700,000 vouchers had been given out but only 10,000 caps were available leading to ugly and chaotic scenes. The emergency services were forced to intervene when a number of people were injured in the crush.

    Happily retired

    Smarty, runner-up in the infamous 2001 Grand National behind Red Marauder, has been retired. The 12-year-old will be remembered for his brave Aintree performance in terrible wet conditions when only four horses finished, two of which had been remounted. It had been hoped that Smarty could end his career with one more Grand National run, but it was not to be. During his career Smarty ran 35 times, winning six races and £192,242 in prize money.

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