I’m not sure what shocks me more about the Telegraph’s latest tale of doping woe that continues to follow Sheikh Mohammed around like a bad smell. Is it the photo showing the Queen dressed like a babushka or is it the sob story headline, ‘Sheikh Mohammed’s son-in-law explains pressures that lead to doping in endurance racing’?
The photo is captioned with the phrase ‘Royal approval’. Which Royals would those be? The Queen certainly didn’t break out her string of pearls for the endurance race taking place on her front lawn. In fact, I suspect the Baba Yaga costume was a half-hearted effort at a disguise in the hopes that folks wouldn’t recognize their monarch dressed in such drabbery. Even more successfully incognito though, was Prince Phillip, who was kitted out like a pensioner who had strayed off course on his daily constitutional. No, I think ‘Royal approval’ must refer to the King of Bahrain, who positively glows with contentment standing there beside HM, watching the race that he sponsors.
So what about the central message in this article by Simon Briggs (whose photo on the byline finally solves for me the puzzling question from London last year about who was that Mr. Bean look-a-like hanging around the media centre from time to time)? It turns out the headline was just a hook, and not an accurate representation of the meat of the article, which is simply another bit of exposure about how endurance racing is the FEI’s unclean discipline, particularly in the Middle East.
I expect you may be tiring of this topic, much as you almost certainly experienced fatigue of my many posts about the Welly Wars. So unless something really eye poppingly scandalous takes place, I’ll stop making you endure endurance for a little while.