Matt Chapman: Racing set for huge changes so crunch time for BHA… and why Desert Crown may be one of the best ever

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THERE is still time for the BHA to show strong, Churchillian leadership. You have the chance. Don’t cave in pathetically.

Every organisation needs strong leadership. It also needs to believe in its product.

Chappers is calling on racing's leaders to show real guts at a crunch time with possible rule changes

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Chappers is calling on racing’s leaders to show real guts at a crunch time with possible rule changesCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd.

Tomorrow, when the findings of the whip review group are published, BHA and racing has the chance to excel.

I’m hoping our leaders declare: “We are proud of this sport that gives horses life and in the large majority long, beautiful existences.

“We are proud of the way we police our sport and oversee highest levels of welfare.

“We believe the horses deserve the upmost respect and are treated as such. We are horse people.

“We will continue to always improve. Those who doubt us are welcome to come and learn just how we operate.

“Those who chose to assume without knowledge merely miss out on something incredible.”

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If leaks are to be believed we are on the verge of something truly game-changing. Disqualifying winners.

Only the weakest leaders could introduce such a thing over a whip with no welfare issues and that brings no harm to a horse.

But there is still time. The BHA can be strong and show leadership and be proud. I beg them to do so.

On the track there’s always the risk of looking a fool when you ‘big up’ a horse, which perhaps explains why it’s all fairly muted in praise for Derby hero Desert Crown.

People, and journos in particular, are so worried about being mocked and cursed on social media these days.

But I’m used to that, luckily, so with less than two weeks to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot it’s time to whip up a frenzy about the Epsom winner.

I have a feeling Desert Crown might be one of the greatest Derby winners we have seen. On a par with Sea the Stars. Yes I did just say that.

Desert Crown is unbeaten, and has never looked like being defeated in three runs to date.

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Being unbeaten can be a bit of a curse, in that connections begin to get obsessed with it, as happened in the day of all-time-monster Frankel.

But Sea the Stars was defeated, albeit on debut, and that took nothing away from him being a great.

Racing should be promoting Desert Crown for the King George as the chance to see a ‘worldy’ racehorse.

The son of Nathaniel kicked off his career at Nottingham in the style of a champion, winning by nearly six lengths despite Richard Kingscote just pushing out a green beast.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained three-year-old returned with a thumping of Royal Patronage – the only horse to smash up 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Coroebus – in the Dante and then made his trip to Epsom.

There was never a moment in the Classic when Saeed Suhail’s class act did not look sure to win, travelling like a travely thing throughout before scoring by an eased down two and a half lengths.

A slightly unlucky Westover was back in third, and he went on to slam rivals in the Irish equivalent.

Desert Crown won the Derby eased down in an amazing display of speed and strength

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Desert Crown won the Derby eased down in an amazing display of speed and strengthCredit: PA

Desert Crown could easily be something totally out of the ordinary, but the only man really shouting his class is racing manager Bruce Raymond.

‘Brucie’ has ridden some good horses in his time, including July Cup victor Forlorn and the impressive Bob Back, and was a champion apprentice.

He also finished second in the 1993 Derby on Blue Judge. Brucie knows a good one.

Yes poeple I know he’s racing manager and you will just say he has to talk them up. But that’s simply not true. Indeed most racing manager’s don’t hype at all. And I have never heard Raymond talk like this before.

So let’s start getting excited for the Desert Crown King George.

It might well be a moment in racing history we remember for a very long time.

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