IT is 33 years ago, but the memory is still as sharp as a stake. Tommy

Craig was in the horse-box all the way from Dunbar to Newmarket, the

2000 Guineas contender Rockavon in his charge. There were occasional

stops as he nipped in to the nearest bookie to stick on another quid.

This was a special horse to Tommy as he had broken him in himself.

There was confidence in the camp, but not much interest anywhere else.

You could get 100-1 against the Scottish representative, trained by

Tommy's uncle, the legendary George Boyd. The trainer himself never saw

the race. He was due to fly down on the day but was fogged in at

Edinburgh Airport.

His nephew did. ''He came up the home straight in front and I just

knew nothing would catch him.'' The official starting price was 66-1,

but the Tote paid 108-1. It would be fair to say the connections went

home a lot richer than when they arrived.

Tommy, once with ambitions to be a jockey, went to his uncle's yard in

East Lothian straight from school. Apart from two years' National

Service in the Army he never left it.

At the height of his career George Boyd was Scotland's biggest and

most successful Flat race trainer. He had more then 40 horses in his

stable and, when he retired in 1969, he had saddled 700 winners.

Rockavon was the only classic success, but he also took the

Cambridgeshire with Rexequus at 66-1. The Boyd reputation was for

good-priced winners -- there were occasionally explanations to be given

for much improved form -- and he loved preparing runners for a gamble.

Tommy became head lad, then assistant in the yard, and finally took

over from his uncle when the old maestro gave up. Last week, after 40

years in the game, Tommy hung up his saddles as well.

''The main reason is that no-one in the family wants to carry on. I

had very few horses left and it seems the right time to go. Mind you,

I've had a grand life.''

He never did become a jockey, he was a bit heavy for the Flat and his

uncle decided to avoid the National Hunt scene. But Tommy himself

trained almost 300 winners and held the Edinburgh Gold Cup, twice, as

well as scoring in the prestigious Portland Handicap at Doncaster.

When he had 30 mounts to look after he thought nothing of driving

78,000 miles every year. His own favourite was a horse called Tacachio,

who called into the winner's enclosure 11 times.

''Of course, the game has changed in many respects. There is much more

competition on the Scottish circuit, improved roads have meant English

trainers are keener to come up here. A syndicate of owners was unheard

of when I started. Nowadays many more people can have an interest in a


''But there are old maxims which are as true as ever. You need

patience in racing. My tip to owners is to listen to their trainers, not

to their friends. To anyone going racing I say always be prepared to

lose what is in your pocket . . . and no more. If that goes, somebody

will usually stand you a drink. If you win, you are on the bell. That is

how racing should be.''

Tommy Craig will still be seen around the circuit. He still gets a

thrill from watching an exciting young horse. And who, I enquired, would

he finger as Scotland's most successful trainer of the future? ''Keep

your eye on Len Lungo down at Dumfries. He has made a big investment in

his facilities and I think he has the ability to come good.''

That could be your best tip of the season.

* I HAVE to tell you I am tired of the debate about whether THAT

penalty for England was really justified. Proving that it was somebody

else's hand that touched the ball is not going to alter the fact that we


In any case, if we are going to question the last-minute award, would

it not be fair to examine all the other penalties in as much detail? I

will tell you this - the majority of the England team were extremely

doubtful about Scotland's dropped goal and Gregor Townsend was far from

certain it had gone over.

The referee was a decent bloke who did his job as he saw it. Yes, we

were unlucky, but the better we play the luckier we will become. Believe