ITV presenter Matt Chapman's Good, Bad and Ugly from this week's world of horse racing
10th December 2018

Then there were the International races in Hong Kong. But what makes my column this week?

A jockey caught for taking drugs wouldn't be an obvious candidate for the good side of this column. But good comes from bad, and that's the case in this instance.

I'm talking, of course, about Kieran Shoemark, the rider attached to the Roger Charlton yard who has failed a drugs test (reported to be cocaine). Shoemark was seen to great effect on Projection in the Group 3 Bengough at Ascot this year.

Of course there is no excuse for any sportsman taking recreational drugs. Or is there?

Look people, this was not a guy having a night out and being unprofessional.

This was a jockey who needed help, but didn't get it until forced. It's someone with a problem.

Why Kieran gets in here is because as I type he's in rehab. He's sorting himself out for drink issues, which were the catalyst for the drugs problem.

He's convinced he'll come back stronger and is just hoping trainers and owners understand the issues he has had.

Shoemark's problem is not short term. He's had ongoing issues for a lengthy period. He takes his work seriously.

He wants to get better. I salute him, and hope anyone else who might be reading this and be in his position gets help before it's too late.

PA:Press Association1
Kieran Shoemark has been handed a provisional ban in December

There's every chance that I will have to smile and talk about 'team racing' on TV at some stage.

OMG. It's one of the most ludicrous ideas I have ever heard of in horse racing, and trust me there have been a few!

For those of you that don't know, the concept is there will be 48 races, all of which will offer more than £100,000 in prize money.

No details are offered yet as to which trainers or owners will supply the horses to run in the series, or where the money will come from.

Horse racing is not a team sport. To market it as such only helps create a feeling of fixing. It's a nonsense.

Forward thinking Sheikh Fahad has described it as 'ridiculous'. The Qatar man is correct.

I needed Altior in here, so the ugly part of the column has to be the weather prior to the Tingle Creek.

Wow it was like a monsoon and wasn't ideal for a betting ring reporter!

As for Altior he was anything but ugly, and won much more easily that I thought most suggested.

I got the real feeling Nico de Boinville just knew all he had to do was get Altior over the final two fences to score, and was very much conscious of just doing that, rather than throwing Altior at the fabulous Un De Sceaux.

Altior is not rated in a league of his own – that's the problem with ratings as fans of Sea the Stars will tell you. But it's hard to see him beaten. A monster for Nicky Henderson.

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