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SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK: The squads have been picture perfect in their exercises… and Davy Russell can’t stay away in retirement!

  • Post category:UK Racing News
  • Reading time:8 mins read


  • Two of Aidan O’Brien’s contenders have been deemed not fit enough to run
  • Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys was also made unavailable by vets
  • Russell, meanwhile, has been travelling and was trackside on Thursday morning 

Aidan O’Brien’s squad have looked picture perfect in their exercise this week, so too has Jessica Harrington’s Givemethebeatboys, a contender for the Juvenile Turf Sprint. 

There was understandable fury on Friday morning, then, when local vets deemed that the colt, as well as two of O’Brien’s contenders’ River Tiber (Juvenile Turf) and Bolshoi Ballet (Turf) were not fit enough to run after an examination. 

The team behind Givemethebeatboys had been in high spirits all week but this setback left them shattered. It is safe to say neither Aidan O’Brien nor Jessica Harrington, agreed with the decisions.

Aidan O’Brien’s squad has been picture perfect but vets have deemed that two of his contenders couldn’t run

O'Brien - nor Jessica Harrington  (not pictured) - were left frustrated when told similar news about their horses

O’Brien – nor Jessica Harrington  (not pictured) – were left frustrated when told similar news about their horses

Russell can’t stay away

Davy Russell, in normal circumstances, would have just been getting ready for the National Hunt season to kick into gear but his retirement in the spring has opened up many new possibilities — one of which is travel. 

One of the best jump jockeys of the last 25 years, with a Cheltenham Gold Cup and two Grand Nationals on his CV, Russell called time on his career in April. 

He looked fit and well when he was trackside at Santa Anita on Thursday morning, savouring the Californian sun. 

Racing legend Davy Russell is now retired after a long career but has been trackside at Santa Anita ahead of the events

Racing legend Davy Russell is now retired after a long career but has been trackside at Santa Anita ahead of the events

Treats for the horses 

Who says horses don’t get fussed over?  

At the entrance to the track where horses funnel out from their stables, bunches of carrots are left on the rails and chopped up to ensure there are little treats awaiting the equine stars after exercise. 

Santa Anita drips with history and atmosphere and that is only added to by the fact you can go on what is called the ‘Secretariat Tour’. One of the greatest horses of all-time, reports say the American Triple Crown winner’s top speed when galloping was recorded at 49.3mph.

The scene is set at Santa Anita with horses given chopped up bunches of carrots for treats

The scene is set at Santa Anita with horses given chopped up bunches of carrots for treats

No entry for some

Nothing says officialdom quite like someone standing in front of a roped off area with logoed clothing and one local took enormous seriousness in not allowing one trainer’s wife into the breakfast buffet that was laid on for all participants. 

Her husband, who knows a thing or two about winning big prizes, was out of contact but despite politely showing who she was, there would be no budging the sentry. 

It prompted one onlooker to suggest that ‘Our Lord wouldn’t get in here if he didn’t have his badge’.





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