ALL the talk of the last week in the racing fraternity was understandably about one of the highlights of the calendar, the Cheltenham Festival.
Always a thrilling meeting, this year was no exception. After the build up, speculation and expectation, 2012 was sadly not the year of Kauto Star. The 12-year old simply could not find the form of previous years and was pulled up in Friday’s Gold Cup, a disappointing outcome after what many believed would be a crowning glory for Nicholls’ champion horse.
The punters’ favourite, owned by Clive Smith, now looks set to go into retirement. Smith announced earlier this week that it was 90 per cent certain that the horse had run his last race after it became clear he had not managed to put his fall, suffered during a schooling incident in the run up to the festival, behind him. Not the ending that racing fans hoped the horse would enjoy to a magnificent career.
The star of the festival was Synchronised, ridden with real conviction by jockey Tony McCoy to take victory in the Gold Cup. The horse only took the lead after jumping the last and galloped strongly to head The Giant Bolster (50-1) by two and a quarter lengths. Last year’s winner Long Run, favourite to take the title again this year, finished third - another three-quarters of a length away.
The big news in the racing world is this week’s announcement that terrestrial broadcast rights for British racing will be passed exclusively to Channel 4 from 2013 for at least four years.
BBC will hand over the reins, as it were, after a competitive domestic TV rights bidding process was won by Channel 4, which will add the John Smith’s Grand National meeting, Investec Derby festival from Epsom, Royal Ascot and Ascot’s Qipco British Champions Day - all of which are presently televised by the Beeb - to their existing 80 days of racing.
Closer to home, we’re setting our sights on next week’s William Hill Lincoln meeting, which will officially kicks off the summer flat season. The two day fixture on March 31 and April 1 is always a fantastic occasion, and we’re expecting a big crowd.
For more information about the Lincoln meeting, to buy tickets or for more details of any other meetings or events at Doncaster Racecourse, go to www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk or call our box office on 01302 511 918.