It is that time of year again, when Lady Kneesup, the former debutante Isadora Ablative-Courgette, haemorrhages cash like a Chancellor trying to save the nation’s economy.
Simply put, she has created a “wagering system”, I use the term advisedly, that only requires one to back all the Grey horses in a race. Additionally, however, the true aficionado of the A-C system also backs Lady Jockeys, including jockeys with girly names (Atzeni springs to mind); Lady trainers; horses owned by people one knows; horses in which one has an interest; and horses owned by relatives. Anyone familiar with the Ablative-Courgettes, Shire wine merchants and gentlemen farmers for many centuries, will know that there are very few people who are NOT related to this family, and Lady Kneesup’s capacity for [a] never forgetting a face and [b] never forgetting a branch of the family tree, means that her wagers are as the grains of sand in The Empty Quarter – many. As a result, today is a day when bookmakers line the streets of Newmarket on the off-chance of catching sight of this legend of The Turf, for today is the day of The Grey Race.
Twelve runners will line up at 3:15 pm and each of the dozen will be backed… kerching. One of them is trained by Eve J-H… kerching. Three of them are ridden by ladies… kerching, kerching, kerching. One of them has a name that without careful checking might be thought to be a girl’s name if you weren’t familiar with the Celtic language…, kerching. By 3:14 bookies will be putting the shutters up, secure in the knowledge that even if they are given a 28 day-lock-down on their return from sharing this enormous windfall with the peoples of the Caribbean, they are still in clover for the rest of the year. This is the one race on the year that they could offer a 90% over-round and still not lose.
As a result, the Captain has retired for the weekend and will be back on Monday. His brief tips are as follows:
The game is odds-on to draw. No action
BARCELONA GRAND PRIX
The Pirelli tyre situation has not improved, and the blistering heat of Barcelona will continue to wreak havoc. Additionally, the other F1 team’s antipathy to Mercedes continues. It almost seems that the forthcoming clampdown on teams using different engine modes during qualifying, from the Belgian GP onwards, is primarily aimed at teams like Mercedes, who run so-called “party modes” during qualifying.
In simple terms, it’s a bit like the athletic heats, where the elite athletes only do the bare minimum to qualify. They then go into race mode for the final, where they give it their all.
If you’re beginning to sense a common theme, it is perhaps this. Big money in F1, as with so many sports, comes from TV rights. TV audiences demand competition and entertainment. Watching one team endlessly dominate, with one dominant driver from, in Audience Demographic terms, a small, not particularly, loved country, is an issue for the powers that be. Getting that sorted requires the domination of Mercedes to be “managed.”
LAY LEWIS HAMILTON 1.54 – 2 to win
The racecard for Deauville – oh to be in Trouville now that August’s here – suggests Frankie will ride MISHRIFF in the St. Germain at 1:35. Judging by the Brit-trained non-runners, later on the card, I wonder if he turned the plane around and never touched down?
1:50 NEWBURY Denford Stakes (Formerly The Washington Singer Stakes) Cl1 Listed (2yo) 7f 7 runners
Talking of Eve Johnson-Houghton, she runs JUMBY, a 45k gns yearling who made a winning start at Ascot last month. He cruised through the race in midfield and, having challenged over 2f out, comfortably made headway to lead inside the final 1f, then drew clear. His quick step up in grade is fully justified. A Frankel half-brother to Golden Horn, DHAHABI cost, by comparison, 3.1 gns and while winning his debut LTO he ran green but got the hang of it in the final furlong. He has got the magical Capital P Timeform mark, but I’m not sure about the ground, and I feel he’s too short.
2:05 NEWMARKET (JULY) Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap Cl4 (3yo+ 0-85) 1m4f 8 runners
BOSS POWER was stepped up in distance again for his handicap debut but showed that he is an out and out stayer, responding to the pressure to grab the lead inside the last. Today is another step-up, a slightly stiffer test with the long Newmarket an opportunity to discover all his gears. The 5th and 6th from that race have both won since, and 2/1 would be a reasonable price.
BOSS POWER win
2:25 NEWBURY Unibet You’re On Handicap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m 10 runners
The Stats say TEMPUS, but I have a sneaking regard for ORBAAN who is within 4lbs of his last winning mark, two races ago on GS. A recruit from Andre Fabre, he needs cut, and he’ll get that today.
2:40 NEWMARKET (JULY) Betway Handicap Cl3 (3yo 0-90) 7f 10 runners
KARIBANA was eye-catching with his CD win LTO. His finishing run was impeded, but he brushed aside his handicap mark, quickened well when he did get the room and displayed an action that showed he loved the firmer ground.
3:00 NEWBURY Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Geoffrey Freer Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m5½f 8 runners
MORANDO will be suited by the going, has a high rating and an equivalent price. He was 2nd in this last year and went on the win the Cumberland Lodge by 6l. He is stepping down in class after his Hardwicke 7th – a race from which not much has emerged. On the other hand, four winners have since emerged from HUKUM’s
King George V victory at Royal Asco, for which he has been given another 7lbs. He was a bit “shinny” after, but time will have been the healer, and the cut will help. COMMUNIQUE is e/w value as a front-runner and will like the ground. If he gets a soft lead, he could take this.
HUKUM win – COMMUNIQUE e/w
3:15 NEWMARKET (JULY) Betway Grey Horse Handicap Cl4 (3yo+ 0-85) 6f 12 runners
Has CASE KEY shown up? Yes. Has he won this before? Yes, ’17 and ’19. Has he got something to take the weight off? Yes, the excellent Angus Villiers. Then he should win. GLENN COCO is of enormous interest because I have no interest in the horse, I don’t know the owner. His trainer and jockey are both men, and none of the connections is related to me by marriage. I can, therefore, assume the odds will be a fair reflection of his ability and 12/1 is too big.
CASE KEY win GLENN COCO e/w
3:35 NEWBURY Unibet Hungerford Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f 10 runners
Here’s a question. Is a German G3 winner better than an English G3 winner? I’m assuming not, because the priceless work of the British Official handicappers has generally ensured that the European nations generally whistle to the same tune. I only ask because I kept trying to work out why NAMOS hadn’t performed better in the G1 July Cup, having been a triple G3 winner in his native Germany. The answer is, I suspect that the July course 6f was too sharp, he lost his near-fore shoe and frankly the field was too high in quality. As I write he’s 10s, and I think you’ll get 12s and that seems a decent e/w punt. The drifting favourite is Stouty’s DREAM OF DREAMS who was runner up in this in 2018 to Sir Dancealot. Last year’s winner GLORIOUS JOURNEY also returns. A sudden storm and last year’s winner will look cheap at 11/2.
4.45 Newbury – SHAUYRA e/w