Caught by the Henry Halls, Tuesday’s blog recalled both bandleader and racehorse of that name, though Keith Nicholson was apparently mistaken to remember seeing old Henry narrowly second at Thirsk. It was Ripon, next track along.
Another remarkable fact about the horse, says Alan Hamilton, is that he ran as an “entire” – as they say – throughout his career, though “almost inexplicably” the Jockey Cub was told in April 2009, 18 months after he finished racing, that he’d been gelded.
Though Henry may have been getting on a bit, Keith Nicholson once had a third share in Dhaular Dhar – pictured at Ripon after winning his last race. He was 15.
Lewis Edmunds, the jiockey, was just 16. They’d rather hoped he’d become the first jockey to be younger than the winner he rode.
Racing Post (and Keith Nicholson) reckon the oldest post-war winner to be Sonny Somers, an 18-year-old when claiming handicaps at Lingfield and Southwell in 1980. “He was offered the sort of reception usually reserved for a Grand National winner” Timeform observed.
Sadly, his rider’s age is not recorded.
*Mike Carr also enjoyed the Henry Halls but was puzzled, nonetheless. “I couldn’t help wondering how the horse managed to cover 5k in 56.1 seconds at Redcar. No wonder it’s still a course record.” Sorry, we meant five furlongs. Horses for courses, it might be best sticking to the footy.
*Familiar football scout Tommy Miller, he of the magificent memory, recalls seeing Henry Hall playing for St Johnstone in the 1970s – that was Henry Begg Hall, a winger who was a bit of a flyer, too.
Born in 1945, he played for Stirling Albion, St Johnstone, Dundee United and Forfar, twice represented the Scottish League and managed Forfar and Raith Rovers before becoming a PE teacher.
*Harry Whitton ran an electrical business in Thirsk, never missed a race meeting, owned a few himself and was among my most cherished correspondents in Northern Echo days.
Memories of Harry were also prompted by John Rogers’s latest table of porous defences, steps 5-7, in which Whitton United – Ipxwich-based, Eastern Counties League premier division – are up to fifth with 3.739 a game. No relation, of course, to Witton Albion.
Harry, at any rate, was also an incorrigible name dropper, frequently teased in my columns and further recalled in Unconsidered Trifles. “I enclose a letter from Sheikh Hamdam Maktoum” he’d say, or “Here is a photograph of me with Princess Anne.” or “Lord Howard de Walden once told me that his father occasionally dined while wearing a suit of armour.”
Ribbed rotten in my columns, he took it all in the spirit in which it was intended – so much so that he left me £500 in his will. Though many others have subsequently been joshed, the bank balance heads inexorably for a fall.
*Speaking of the incorrigible…..Sylvia and Peter Lax met on a blind date at Saltburn. “If she’d known all his terrible jokes, she’s probably have run a mile” said their children at Sylvia’s funeral, at Stockton this afternoon.
Peter, who died in 2012, was a wonderful stalwart of Billingham Synthonia FC and long-serving member of the Northern League management committee. Sylvia – “quiet and reserved” said Rodney Breckon, the minister – laughed and groaned simultaneously.
We sang Abide with me, played Sylvia out to We’ll meet again. It’s much to be hoped.