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DON'T the folk from the shires and we're not talking hobbits here take the chocolate digestive when it comes to defending their right to live in the Dark Ages.

The BHB tinkering with the idea of rebranding National Hunt racing as British Jump racing or something has veteran trainer Toby Balding spluttering into his G and T.

He has railed against the move, saying that dropping the present moniker was just not on because 'country pursuits are vital to the ongoing role of jump racing.'

What a euphemism country pursuits is. Basically, that would boil down to the grandees of rural communities still being able to let loose a pack of hounds whose only desire is to rip a fox to bits.

Neat or what? Let's just tag it as a country pursuit to avoid spelling out the gory details.

Despite the imminent banning of this barbaric practice the tweed set cling to it like a drowning man with one finger still on the liferaft.

Of course no-one will give a damn what the sport is called I recognise that when theyr'e queing up to place a bet.

But just for a giant get-it-up-ye to Balding and the rest of the Tory pack I sincerely hope I will soon be referring to British Jump Racing!

BELTING explanation from Neil Callan after being fined pounds 375 for weighing in 4lb heavy at Wolverhampton last Monday.

The jockey claimed the pounds had piled on because he took two cups of water to rehydrate himself after suffering from flu.

So Rik Waller can now claim it wasn't the two curries, three fish suppers and assorted cream buns daily that made him a tub of lard.

It's just that he's an Evian addict.

YOU can't say Musselburgh doeosn't have a touch of class, The Rhode Island College Chamber Singers will perform a selection of classical and gospel music before the first race tomorrow night.

The track is also adding to the Edinburgh bank holiday atmosphere with a bouncy castle for children who are allowed free entry with adults and a live band will play between races.

Should be a great night and with Kelso staging a super Festival on Wednesday and Thursday followed by Ayr on Friday, Scots racegoers are well catered for.

GOT a racing query? Write to Joe Punter, One Central Quay, Glasgow G 3 8DA or e-mail
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 16, 2004
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