I was delighted to see Qualviro bound to victory at Market Rasen yesterday, relishing the soft ground to come home in splendid isolation, winning by 42 lengths under Bradley Gibbs!
It was Qualviro’s first outing since July, but he had been showing plenty of enthusiasm in his work at home and, as it looked a weak race, we were very hopeful he would make a winning reappearance.
Having finished runner-up three times in the past over fences, he was breaking his maiden tag over the larger obstacles and, on yesterday’s performance, he should be able to find another opening in the coming weeks. Congratulations to his owners, Steve Clarke and Dom Wallis of the Double Trouble Partnership.
Away from racing, two big sporting stories emerged yesterday, the first of them that Michael Laudrup had been sacked as manager of Swansea.
It’s incredible to think that, under a year ago, Laudrup led Swansea to their first every major trophy, the Capital One (League) Cup, and ninth in the Premier League. They sit 12th in the table, which would normally be considered a solid position at this stage of the season, but with just two points separating them from the relegation zone (and just three more from bottom club Fulham) the board decided to act.
As it was Laudrup’s first job in English football, perhaps he can be forgiven for not having realised the League Cup trophy is football’s poisoned chalice:
2013 Swansea (M Laudrup sacked 11 months later)
2012 Liverpool (K Dalglish sacked three months later)
2011 Birmingham City (A McLeish resigned, by email, four months later)
2009 & 2010 Alex Ferguson
2008 Tottenham Hotspur (Juande Ramos sacked nine months later)
2007 Chelsea (Jose Mourinho sacked eight months later)
Since 2007, only the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson has managed to last a year in the job after winning the League Cup. I feel for Gus Poyet and Manuel Pellegrini of Sunderland and Manchester City, this year’s finalists.
The other major revelations came in cricket, with the news that Kevin Pietersen has been left out of the World Twenty20 squad and tour of West Indies, effectively ending his career with the national team.
Five months ago, England had recorded a hat-trick of Ashes series wins for the first time in over 50 years. Now, following a humiliating Ashes defeat (I’ve lost count of the number of Ashes series we have played of late) their head coach, who led them to the top of the test, one-day and Twenty20 world rankings during his five years in charge, and most flamboyant but enigmatic batsman, once heralded as a saviour of English cricket, have both departed.