My relationship with the works of Proust has much in common with my relationship with Angelina Jolie. If we could get along we would probably be chums, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to tuck myself up in bed with either to relax.
Also, I am almost Frenched-out, as Angelina might have said, having had a week of sub-titled French TV and films. I have no idea why. Possibly the thought of heading off to Midhurst, Goodwood and Chichester for a break thanks to the kindness of a chum’s hospitality. Perhaps it’s the areas’ proximity to the Deauville (Le Havre) ferry in a happier time. Seagulls crying out for you to take wine and oysters and salt-marsh lamb; memories of the quayside restaurant at La Rochelle and a Fruits de Mer that could have fed Whites during Ascot week; Muscadet that consumed one with its complexity, when married to a freshly-grilled prawn. It matters not why, I just love that part of the world.
My French week has been entirely down to PrimaGoggleflix and I have sat and watched anything with Jean Reno and Depardieu in it. Then jumped to the series Le Bureau or Nicolas Le Floch. Do watch both but be aware you can’t watch Season 3 of Le Bureau now, because they have put it on another PPV channel. Bastards.
Nicolas Le Floch is aka Le Marquis de Ranreuil, and each episode of this 18th-century flic romp, is a two-parter, allowing Le Marquis to display his sword-skills in a variety of ways, depending on the age and sex of the recipient. All was going swimmingly well until, part two of one of the best episodes so far, started with the sub-titles from a previous episode. QUOI???? Nothing would change it. Nicolas is about to get jumped, in the thuggish sense, and the sous-titres are banging on about the words from a minor Italian opera. Naturally, for a near-native speaker like myself, it is no great problem, but purely for others, I think it should be fixed. A hugely frustrating time eventually realising, as the phone exited the window, that getting hold of anyone at PrimaFlixGoggle is akin to getting a date with Marcel Proust – impossible at almost every level.
In truth, getting anything done at all at the moment is tiresome in the extreme and my “Bad-Switch” is now fully on.
There is only one thing for it. I’ll have to ask Angelina what she would do. I might also ask her what she thinks about the King George…..
1:50 ASCOT BetfredTV Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed) (Formerly The Winkfield Stakes) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 10 runners
The market says the winner here could be the winner of the Woodcote, TWAASOL, who quickened up well in the final furlong to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Pinatubo. I am not convinced, and he could be anything, but not under 3s and not with my money. BOWLAND PARK drew my attention in a 7f Chepstow Median Auction where he improved massively on his dreadful debut at Kempton. He was always handy towards the far wide, swept to the front coming to the last furlong and soon scampered clear – despite hanging away to his right – winning by 3½l. I am very tempted by 28/1 – which is effectively 11/4 – for a podium finish. The probable winner is SAEIQA who despite finishing third twice, has run in decent company. Frankie and Johnny have proven a strong combo this season. CHINDIT could run a big race and was an impressive near 2l winner quickening up nicely for Pat Dobbs, without him having to niggle him. He’s about the right price at 8/1.
SAEIQA wins – BOWLAND PARK e/w
2:05 YORK Skybet Britain’s Most Popular Online Bookmaker EBF Stallions Fillies’ Hcap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 1m2½f 7 runners
FREYJA was probably given too much to do too soon, going from two novice wins into a hot Listed race. She’ll be straighter now and her biggest threat is probably DAWAAWEEN from James Bethell’s yard.
2:25 ASCOT Moet & Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Hcap) Cl2 (3yo+) 7f 20 runners
A really tricky handicap with plenty of chances. Glancing through Timeform, I see only two horses have any kind of distinguishing mark, CARD SHARP (+) and ESHAASY (p). However SHELIR is rated 1lb behind MUTAMAASIK , who flopped in the Bunbury Cup, and SHELIR opened at 20/1 with Bet365 and as I write, is 10s in most places. Like Mutamaasik he ran well in the unfavoured centre group that day and today, he’s rated 4lb lower for failing to get home on ground that he found far from ideal.
David O’Meara also runs ARBALET who was again priced up last night at around 20s and is now 16s in one place 14s generally. He was second in this race in 2018 (OR-104) and 11th last year ( 101) He’s running off 91 today and that suggests a possibility – but I think the value has gone. Third-placed last year was Roger Charlton’s BLUE MIST whose handicap record of 0/9 is not encouraging – worse still – in six of those, he started favourite.
CLIFFS OF CAPRI caught the eye as an entry but the pricing for this market seems tight. He’s got all the conditions needed for him to run into a place at least but he’s priced as though he’s going to finish in the top two. Crazy. I’d back him at 16s s0 keep an eye on the market.
Those you who remember watching the Bunbury Cup, will remember what a tough race it was and SPANISH CITY who managed to get a 7th was given a brutal bump in the final furlong, by the runner-up. I think 16s is a decent working man’s price for him.
SHELIR win – SPANISH CITY e/w – BLUE MIST for exotic purposes.
2:40 YORK Sky Bet York Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2½f 7 runners
ELARQAM has had some issues this year – haven’t we all? A lost shoe in the Hardwicke, a poor tactical ride in his pipe-opener he has become a little unlucky. If there is a horse to expose that it might be KING OF COMEDY who finished just behind Elarqam in receipt of weight in last year’s Juddmonte. He’s only 4lb adrift on official ratings with Elarqam, and he could go close now he’s up in trip. Also, NB that Havlin makes the trip to York for the sole ride of Gosden’s only runner.
KING OF COMEDY e/w
3:00 ASCOT Betfred “Nifty Fifty” Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m 8 runners
Royal Ascot’s soft ground didn’t suit GREAT AMBASSADOR but he still acquitted himself with credit in a strong Britannia in which he also didn’t get a clear path. The form of that race looks solid and a repeat of his peak juvenile efforts (less than a length behind Pyledriver) would make him a huge contender for this prize. DANCE FEVER delivered 3/3 for Clive Cox last year including a win her and tried a mile on his reappearance. He’s not obviously bred to go this far, but he clearly stays smile and can take a good step forward here. A mark of 91 is clearly workable judging by his seasonal reappearance.
DANCE FEVER – GREAT AMBASSADOR dutched to win.
3:15 YORK Sky Bet Club Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m 9 runners
3:35 ASCOT King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (G1) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f 4 runners
I’m sorry, I think to see just four runners in this race is sad. Looking at the market, I’m not even clear whether ANTONY VAN DYKE has got on the plane.
ENABLE wins – but I won’t be betting this race.
3:50 YORK Sky Bet Most Extra Place Races Hcap (Div I) Cl4 (4yo+ 0-77) 6f 14 runners
PADDY POWER e/w – QUEEN OF KALAHARI e/w
4:10 ASCOT betfred.com Hcap Cl3 (3yo+ 0-90) 1m4f 12 runners
WESTERN DUKE is being backed and I can see why. He is 1w and 1p from two runs here and won this last year off 83. He’s 84 today. FRONTISPIECE benefits from Ryan Moore and looks obvious e/w value.
WESTERN DUKE e/w – FRONTISPIECE e/w
I also wouldn’t put you off backing either of these.
- COMMANDER HAN e/w 12.30 Newmarket
- THRAVE 4.00 e/w Newmarket