RACING AHEAD: ‘A crumbling show, destined for the dustbin of TV history’

Racing Ahead
Racing Ahead

Racing pundit Tony McCormick from takes a swipe at a crumbling show, destined for the dustbin of TV history.

I must say at this point, anyone who reads this column regularly, will know that I don’t sport my ‘I Love The Morning Line’ badge very often, but knowing that Gordon Elliott doesn’t suffer fools, I thought last Saturday’s show could be fun. How wrong I was.

Thanks to Channel 4+1, I was just in time to catch Rishi Persad introducing his guests, bookie Geoff Banks, ex-jockey Mick ‘that’s what racing is all about’ Fitzgerald and Elliott.

The breaking news that morning was that the main ‘flat’ meeting of the weekend at Newbury was being successfully transferred to the all-weather track at Chelmsford City. To my horror, and no doubt, Elliott’s, Persad, started the show by asking him: “What do you think about the move from Newbury to Chelmsford?’.

Asking a man steeped in the national hunt game, deep in the bowels of Ireland, with the occasional visit to these shores to plunder the prize money at some of the various jumps festivals during the season, was quite a showstopper. He might have well asked the bemused Elliott his thoughts on William and Kate being photographed on the same bench as Diana, outside of the Taj Mahal.

Not 90 seconds in to the show, Elliott was thinking, this may have not being such a good idea after all.

I do like, and have a lot of time for Banks, he says it like it is, which ruffles a few, but his statements are always backed up by the bare facts.

Banks, though, couldn’t resist the obvious question to Elliott: ‘Would Don Cossack have beaten Cue Card if the latter had ‘stood up’ in this season’s Gold Cup?”

“What do you think?” came the terse reply.

Meanwhile Persad, moved on quickly to the week’s racing news, which, even by my limited maths expertise, totalled two items. Enter the ever-entertaining Fitzgerald, who, when prompted to comment on the retiring Wishful Thinking, mused: “Legend is a term over-used in racing for a horse, but this fella has been an absolute star.” So the horse isn’t a legend then, Mick?

The other piece of big racing news this week was a bloke who has been ‘Walking The Courses’ for charity.

Outside now to Tanya, who is interviewing racing’s great and good, mainly a groundsman or a bookies rep who still spikes his hair at 48. Tanya is to slick interviewing what Jon Moss is to good refereeing decisions. She must have been adoring our screens for over 20 years, but still hasn’t quite mastered a smooth TV style.

I have to admit, I would never make a TV reviewer, as I bailed out of the Morning Line after 31 minutes. Who knows what gems lay in store in the remaining 29?

Like Slaven Bilic’s hair, the Morning Line means well, but is wearing thin, in its final stages and, in eight months’ time, will be no more.