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27th May 2024 4:42 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

A jolly pub lunch – but for how much longer

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

I have to declare an interest… I eat and drink out at the drop of a hat. I also eat the hat if given half a chance. I have a long-term interest in ensuring that there are sufficient interesting places for me to eat and drink in – and I include you all by extension and loyalty. Sadly this morning I was told there are now 3,350 fewer choices because they went bust in the first quarter.

Let me put that another way. Six restaurants were declared insolvent every day between January and March according to data from the Insolvency Service and first reported by ​​Sky News.​ 98% of the cases have ended with the business being shut down. This follows recent figures from accountancy firm Price Bailey, which revealed that restaurant closures reached the highest quarterly figure in a decade in the first quarter of 2023. I know that it’s bad for all sorts of businesses everywhere, but hey – I can’t pop into BP’s head office or drop into the regional centre for John Lewis and order a Pint of Guinness and some Bangers and Mash – I can only do that in an ever-diminishing number of pubs and restaurants.

The Bank of England with the astonishing insight we have recently come to expect from this august epicentre of economic intelligence, also suggested that insolvencies are likely to rise further as high interest rates and a “subdued economic outlook” continue to take effect. Indeed, and this really astonished me, companies that are facing interest payments of more than 40% of their annual revenue are “…materially more likely to experience repayment difficulties”. No kidding, Andrew. That might of course have something to do with the rise in interest rates on new loans for small and medium-sized businesses rising from an average effective rate of 3.4% to 6.9% – or doubling as we ordinary people call it.

So every day, six restaurants close and put on average, let us say, 30 people out of work, or 210 per week, or almost 11,000 onto benefits in a year – at the current rate of closures. No, I don’t know what the answer is, but continuing the ridiculous late-night levy scheme across entire councils rather than in specific areas; refusing to change the business rate valuation methodologies; charging VAT on pub food but not supermarket meals, and so on and so forth are all key actions which exacerbate the fuel costs, the rising food prices, the increasing rents and thus rates. The list of actions that this Government could take to support this extraordinarily important industry is long – but it will never be done. Shame on them. Meanwhile, very large corporations and brand names like Prezzo, are going to court and being allowed to walk away with their assets, nil debt and floundering suppliers, because the law if argued cleverly agrees that this is the “best possible outcome”. (If you’d like to know how, then read Freshfields report HERE). The Tories are rapidly turning me into an alcoholic communist with Stalinist tendencies in solution terms!

Talking of Stalingrad victories that make King Pyrrhus look like an underachiever, here are the brief tips for a huge amount of racing this Saturday.

Newmarket is riding good to soft with showers expected. Ascot is riding Soft with 3-5mm more rain to come on Saturday. York is riding GS with strong blustery showers from mid-morning.

1:45 ASCOT Ascot/1711 Learning To Work Bake-Off Competition Heritage Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 5f 19 run

RAASEL will handle the ground and this is a huge drop in class given the company he kept last year. He’s also getting first-time cheekpieces. I’m surprised to see CALL ME GINGER running here, maybe this is a prep for Goodwood? The ground won’t be an issue and he’s only got 1lb more than his last winning mark. KINGS LYNN, as well has merit in this.

RAASEL 4 pts e/w – CALL ME GINGER 2 pts e/w.

2:00 YORK John Smith’s Racing Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m 12 run

Last year’s winner will do. SCOTTISH SUMMIT wouldn’t surprise.


2:20 ASCOT Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stks (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m 9 run

ALDAARY makes the trends and will love the ground. Sadly I also fancy Queen Anne 7th ANGEL BLEU who had a very choppy run and he has G1 winning form.

ALDAARY – ANGEL BLEU Dutch for 9 pts – 1 pt RFC

2:35 YORK John Smith’s City Walls Stks (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f 11 run

NYMPHADORA 2 pts e/w

2:50 NEWMARKET (JULY) bet365 Mile Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-100) 1m 12 run

Ryan Moore and a progressive, albeit difficult, Havana Grey colt? That’ll be HAVANA BLUE. Again I also fancy TAFREEJ – and so according to the market do a lot of others.

HAVANA BLUE – TAFREEJ 8 pts Dutch – ½ pt CFC the pair with COCO JACK

3:10 YORK John Smith’s Cup Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m2½f 22 run

I have a dozen candidates for various interpretations of the trends and using my pin and an Ouija board I can narrow it down to MAJESTIC and HAUNTED DREAM from the trends and PRIDE OF AMERICA and MARHABA THE CHAMP from Great Aunt Maud from the Spirit world. The latter pair have ground form and MARHABA has both Course and Distance form.


3:25 NEWMARKET (JULY) bet365 Superlative Stks (G2) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 10 run


3:45 YORK John Smith’s Silver Cup Stks (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m6f 6 run

HAMISH will win. Too short

No Bet

4:00 NEWMARKET (JULY) bet365 Bunbury Cup Cl2 (3yo+) 7f 20 run

My shortlist would be CRUYFF TURN – MONTASSIB – STREETS OF GOLD. I keep looking at BIGGLES and GORAK but the latter is 22 lbs wrong and BIGGLES albeit progressive and with Ryan Moore is 10 lbs higher than his last winning mark.  STREETS OF GOLD is 4lbs well in as his future mark is 109, making him the joint highest rated in the field.  But as a three-year-old, he also gets an 8 lbs allowance which makes him very close to “Sell the dogs and the wife and lump on” material.

STREETS OF GOLD 4 pts e/w – CRUFF TURN 2pts e.w – The pair with MONTASSIB 2 x ½ pt RFC

4:35 NEWMARKET (JULY) Pertemps Network July Cup Stks (G1) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f 9 run


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