William Haggas' creepy comments to Francesca Cumani and Danny Brock's corruption ban headline barmy week in racing | The Sun
IT’S been another totally normal week in the barmy world of horse racing.
Anoraks got their knickers in a twist when the US champion racehorse Flightline was given the same official rating as the mighty Frankel.
In truth, I really couldn’t care less about the Longines-sponsored ‘World’s Best Racehorse’ rankings. It just doesn’t float my boat.
And besides, we all know deep down that Frankel is the best of all time – there was surely politics at play when Flightline was given the same mark of 140.
But who knew the most interesting thing to happen at the glitzy bash in London would involve William Haggas, Francesca Cumani and a pair of PJs.
Glamorous Cumani, 40, one of the most famous faces in racing broadcasting, asked him a very simple question about Baaeed, who finished second in the rankings to Flightline.
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Haggas responded: “It was a shame Flightline didn’t see you in your pyjamas in Australia, it might have made him lose concentration.”
It was one of those clips that you instantly wished you could unsee – a moment which was at the extreme end of the cringe scale which left poor Cumani completely lost for words.
She brushed it off and continued her interview, but you could tell she was uncomfortable while Jim Crowley looked on in bemusement in the background.
Haggas must have thought it would go down well with the gammons in the room, but it was inappropriate and he just came across as a creepy old man.
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Then there is the case of ex-jock Danny Brock, who on Thursday was warned off for a whopping 15 years.
He last rode in 2021 and has since become a greyhound trainer, but he was found guilty of stopping horses between December 2018 and September 2019.
He issued a sweeping denial and refused to attend the hearing – but his crimes were so blatant and it was one of the most pathetic attempts at corruption we've ever seen.
Nine rides on the all-weather were investigated in all and he was found to have an arrangement with some pals where they would make money by either backing or laying his horses, depending on what he decided to do.
The group were hardly criminal masterminds – they left a trail of breadcrumbs you could see from space and were quickly rumbled by BHA snoopers.
On one occasion, they loaded up their Betfair accounts with tens of thousands of pounds and lumped on Brock's rival in a two-runner race at Southwell, which he duly lost on purpose.
They made little to no effort to cover their tracks, and yet they seemed surprised when it set off a few alarm bells.
This is the first corruption case involving a jockey that we have had for donkey's years, which on the surface is something that should be celebrated.
I hope it means that our game is as clean as a whistle, but I can’t help but feel a little trepidation that there are smarter crooks out there who are going undetected – not like these clowns.
And then there was the ridiculous situation concerning top jockey Sean Bowen and his use of the whip.
He will shortly be hauled in front of a disciplinary panel after five breaches in six months – but three of those breaches were because he was preparing for a new rule that the BHA have since canned.
The Welshman, 25, has been open about the fact that, because of an old shoulder issue, he struggles to use the whip in the backhand position.
In anticipation of changes to the rules that were due to be introduced this month, he had been practising using his whip in that position but ended up using it in the wrong place.
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It seems absolutely crazy to me that he should be punished when all he was doing was trying to practice for a rule that has since been abandoned because it was so flawed in the first place.
Hopefully racing chiefs use common sense – though sadly that is in short supply in this great game of ours as we see all too often.
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