18 June 2006
World Cup pundit and former striker is on the scoresheet at Sandown Park.
In these fevered World Cup times every event and every participant feels an obligation to declare an unswerving football connection. Mick Quinn, trainer of the Scurry Stakes winner Angus Newz at Sandown Park, does not have to pretend. In his earlier life he was a leading goalscorer for Portsmouth, Newcastle and Coventry and he currently uses what is laughingly called his leisure time as a World Cup pundit on Talksport.
But, in truth, racing has become his abiding obsession. It was all very well for Bill Shankly to say “football is not just a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that,” but Quinn now knows that if you are into racehorse training the game consumes you like no other. Which is why the achievements of a three-year-old filly like Angus Newz brand deeper in the memory than any hat-trick on the pitch.
Adverts don’t come much better, or indeed faster than this. An 8,500gns yearling, she has now won six times and been placed in five of her 18 races, earning over £60,000 for her owners. As these gentlemen include the proprietors of the Black Angus (M Quinn Snr) and the News Bar (hence Angus Newz) in Liverpool, it can be confidently expected that their assorted customers also shared and spent in the celebrations.
A week ago Angus Newz had run what appeared to be the worst race of her career when only eighth of 11 at Haydock. The difference in form saw the Sandown stewards asking Quinn for explanations. At Haydock a visored Angus Newz made much of the running before fading away dramatically in the final furlong on ground which had baked out more than she could handle. The watering policy at Sandown gave her more cushion, but more importantly, the fast uphill gallop meant that she was unable to get involved early on.
Indeed two furlongs out the sight of Anguz Newz behind on the outside was anything but promising.
Meanwhile the Hughie Morrison- trained Leopoldine had loomed up to the pacemaking Clare Hills to make you remember that only 10 minutes earlier Morrison had been spotted outside the Sandown weighing room shouting “Come on Steve” in more and more urgent tones at the TV set as jockey Steve Drowne was seen urging the stable’s Prince Tamino through to a decisive victory in the William Hill Trophy up at York. If Morrison was staying here, Leopoldine must surely score?
But up behind the ears of Angus Newz, Darryll Holland was not panicking. Going to the final furlong those up front began to weaken and his filly found both rhythm and encouragement to sweep impressively past the leaders and have a clear couple of lengths on the late closing Dixie Belle and Gamble In Gold at the line. “She’s a terrific filly and my Dad will be over the moon,” said Quinn, now 24 per cent slimmer thanks to starring in TV’s Celebrity Fit Club. The man whose autobiography was called “Who Ate All The Pies” went off to hone up on France v South Korea while Australian jockey Kerrin McEvoy had to sprinkle his winning interviews after the second and fifth races with good wishes for the Socceroos against the might of Brazil.
Kerrin, too, is aware that from the World Cup there can be no escape.