Roy The Boy's weekly blog looks at Champions weekend, Angel Jacobs, the X Factor and the Wayne Rooney late surge in support for Sports Personality of the Year.
It’s a big weekend on the racing front, with the headline act being ‘Storm The Stars’ who is set to win the St Leger by a wide-margin.
However it’s the slowly unfolding soap opera, ‘Ballydoyle Street’, that’s heading for a thrilling climax. According to insiders a sub-plot, called ‘Coolmore Cool-Off’ O’Brien snr is threatening to walk away from his highly successful training role if his son, O’Brien jnr, is jocked-off yet more high-profile runners in Group 1 races.
But who is behind this cunning plan which is thought to have been sparked a year ago when O’Brien jnr gave Australia a diabolical ride which saw him beaten by The Grey Gatsby at Leopardstown. It was a faux-pas which wiped at least a couple of million off of Australia’s stud value.
Unease amongst the owning partnership of the Coolmore/Ballydoyle operation: Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and John Magnier has already seen Joseph O’Brien demoted from first jockey to second, but now the No.1 rider, Ryan Moore, is injured there are plans to demote Joseph down to No.3.
Confused? All will become clearer on Saturday when young Joseph gets put on the brilliant Glenegales in the Irish Champion Stakes – scene of the aforementioned crime – or a lesser fancied runner in the St Leger.
I still fancy O’Brien jnr will get the plum ride, as defeat can be put down to the horse disliking the going, which has long been used as reasoning for his [premature] withdrawal from the likes of the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood during high-summer.
As for the person that can be attributed for yielding the shitty-stick… as Smith (Ladbrokes) and Tabor (Arthur Price and latterly BetVictor) are former bookmakers it is 11/10 the pair and 16’s Magnier.
Jasmine the opening X Factor button play
It’s very early days in the X-Factor, a competition, which is a cash cow using the simple formula laying the favourite every time a new act is promoted to favourite.
For the backers however SkyBet’s standout 80/1 about Jasmine Leigh Morris is worthy of a play for a few buttons (it’s all they will take after all). The 21-year-old Welsh lass simply smashed her audition with a rendition of Emeli Sande’s ‘Clown’.
With little idea about presentation; her appearance on stage was reminiscent of Susan Boyle stepping out on the Britain’s Got Talent stage back in 2009, and given no prior background story/interview producers have plenty to work with. Intentionally?
Let’s hope she has some dreadful heart-wrenching story behind her, such as her dad having to hold down two jobs, one 72 hours a week down the coal mines, to earn enough money to buy her her first pair of earrings and get her ears pierced when she was aged two.
I also liked the 40/1 about Hannah Kilminster, eye candy (a clear resemblance to Holly Willoughby) with an angelic voice who repeatedly stated she worked and lived on a farm ‘singing to her animals’ and had little experience of auditions.
The truth, which came out a few days later, is a lot darker. She has a dozen professional credits on her CV, previously played a lead role in a production of Evita and also appeared on stage with Il Divo at the Royal Albert Hall.
This puts her in Angel Jacobs territory. To recap: Jacobs is the Puerto Rican jockey who, claiming 7lb, rode five winners in the UK in 1998 under a false name.
It wasn’t only his name that was false, it transpired this individual was formerly an American-based professional who had failed a drug test in 1995 and was banned from racing when called Angel Monserrate.
He then assumed the identity of Carlos Castro and raced on. He was soon arrested for impersonation, forgery and tampering with a sporting event at Aqueduct in New York.
Next up he re-emerged in England with a third name and claimed amateur rider status. Nowadays Jacobs/Castro/Monserrate is behind bars serving ten-years for involuntary manslaughter. One can only speculate "what name he is using to ride in there".
Huckabee and Cruz step on a political landmine
The money continues to come rolling in for our 100/1 shout Donald Trump to win the Republican Party US Presidential Candidacy. The businessman, who is banging a ‘stop immigration’ drum is now into a top-priced 7/2 (Paddy Power & BetVictor). I’m starting to think even that price is value.
Trump’s prospects received a major shot in the arm this week when rival candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz decided to publically support a clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage certificates from her Kentucky workplace. It’s a story which has been headline news in the States for the past week.
If there is one thing the US public do not like, it is defying law and authority no matter how morally right or wrong their disobedience is – exhibit A: Edward Snowden, exhibit B: Bradley Manning, both exposed their President to be a war criminal and both are paying the price – and no politician will go far in that godforsaken country for doing so.
Rooney – The Football Factor
Andy Murray, KO’d from the US Open at the early stages of the tournament. Strike another one out of the Sports Personality of the Year running.
That’s was my take on it, but the irksome Scotsman apparently still has a chance according to some judges with a Davis Cup win considered good enough to see him prevail.
There can be no underestimating the popularity of tennis players amongst the kind of people who vote for candidates in the SPOTY, but despite the Davis Cup final being on the eve of the BBC classic, figuratively speaking, surely victory in this tin-cup competition cannot be considered the most outstanding sporting performance by a British athlete during 2015.
What does really concern me is the hullabaloo about Wayne Rooney breaking Bobby Charlton’s England National Team goal scoring record. I never had Rooney, who cannot be accused of overdosing on beauty pills, on my radar.
I don’t dislike the guy, I even respect his choice of hookers, but he represents a country that has not won an award in 49 years and he has not brought his country any closer to international glory.
Lots of people do like him and Manchester United’s faithful adore him. We are talking some serious support and should the plethora of fan sites (and club) throw their weight behind him who knows what’s possible.
A reminder Ryan Gigs collected the SPOTY award in 2009. His achievement: Being no more than being a faithful Manchester United veteran player.
I’m worried, I’m also reluctant to place more bets on the event – Ennis-Hill, Johnson-Thompson, Chris Froome and Andy Murray to a lesser degree already make up the portfolio – but 25/1 (Betway) about Rooney might just get a few more pennies.
I swear, by the time this thing is over I will have bought it and paid for my sweat along the way.