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

A new exciting national PM Hunt season gets under way

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

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We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult not to have some major cause for unsettling angst. Penury, hypothermia, dehydration, pandemic, nuclear war, infrastructure collapse, Starmer, Truss, SNP and Dementia… and that was just this morning’s list.

The latter came into sharp focus this AM when I reached for the mouthwash and placed my hands on the deodorant, and had it halfway to my mouth when I started to ponder how I might benefit from this exchange. It was a worrying moment – only recovered by my remembering that old joke of the man in the Chemist – who asks for some deodorant, to which the chemist asks: “Ball or aerosol?” and the chap replies; “Just for the armpits please”.

We celebrated Henry Ponsonby’s life in St Michaels Lambourn yesterday, and Nicky Henderson gave a super tribute supported by family and various racing greats. Afterwards, while the throng went off to the wake, we had to take Mutt off to the vet as he had flinted his near hind – blood everywhere – and required some checking over. By the time that was done, and we had travelled to Fiona Marner’s gorgeous Windmill Farm, there was barely time for a bottle of red and a slice of drizzle cake. Mick Fitzgerald, Willie Carson, Corky, Arbo, Kingy, the place was awash with proper racing people. As usual, when three or more get together in Lambourn, the rumours started to fly. Mr A is apparently having to sell his pictures after the markets went against him; Trainer B has been warned that a little less swank and a generally lower profile might ensure he retains a few of the horses from the country of X. The search was apparently on for the 8mm films taken by Mrs X of Mr R and Mr Q with a trio of OP Wives en vacance.

Before I could digest all this improbable news, I bumped into Pete Burrell, who looks after Frankie Dettori, through his company H Talent Management. He also looked after Vinnie Jones and Ronnie Wood. I am fond of Pete, who, apart from a random selection of stunningly beautiful ex-wives and girl-friends, is relentless in his pursuit of securing Frankie’s future, which I suspect is much akin to securing the future of Bill Gates. Historically my liver often does a double-take and starts to shrink whenever it hears Pete’s voice. Sadly he has moved nearer me than Frankie, so I suspect my Liver will be on strike quite soon.

From what I remember of the non-Henry chat at the Wake, much time was devoted to Truss and Co. What a bloody shambles. I am almost minded to suggest that the Tories roll out a unifying candidate, but that is the equivalent of serving Marmite and Pork sandwiches at a Bar Mitzvah – you’re going to struggle to find someone who’s keen! Theoretically, a general election might give the Socialists such a huge majority that they then renege on all pre-election cooperation promises with the SNP and the Lib Dems and don’t make the change to proportional representation – a move which is designed and would, finish the Tories forever. That, however, might be a gamble even the 18th PM this month would hesitate to call.

Talking of unlikely outcomes on a tide of fear and recrimination, here are some suggestions for today.

I suspect ground conditions are going to play an important part today. To that end, I have based my calculations on the following conditions… but please double check:

Cheltenham: GOOD – Newbury: SOFT – Doncaster: HEAVY

1:50 NEWBURY Virgin Bet Horris Hill Stakes (G3) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 9 run

GREY’S MONUMENT has been progressive with a 4½l victory followed by a 6l York victory. That race came over a mile on G/S suggesting there is some stamina there. For an outside have a look at ANCESTRAL LAND

GREY’S MONUMENT 3 pts Win – ANCESTRAL LAND 1½pts e/w

2:05 CHELTENHAM 888Sport Is Made To Play Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+) 3m1f 10 run

LORD ACCORD seems the wrong price given that he is 5lbs below his last winning mark, which was over 2f shorter. He has been given a pipe opener over Hurdles at Worcester and he is 2W 2P 6R. Fergal O’Brien’s CAPTAIN CATTISTOCK goes well at Cheltenham and comes from a yard in good form.

CAPTAIN CATTISTOCK 3 pts Win – LORD ACCORD 2 pts e/w

2:25 NEWBURY Virgin Bet St Simon Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f 8 run

HAMISH 4 pts Win – (If 8 runners) EUCHEN GLEN 1pt e/w

2:40 CHELTENHAM Masterson Holdings Hdl Cl2 (4yo) 2m½f 5 run

PIED PIPER bts BELLA SCINTILLA 2 pt SFC

3:00 DONCASTER Carlsberg Marstons Doncaster Stakes Cl1 (2yo) 6f 9 run

I shall be surprised if AESOPS FABLES turns out for this given the ground. HISPANIC might be the alternative or you could go with the 224th O’Brien to train and have a pop at WODAO who is a sensible price and won a Listed race at Tipperary on Soft.

WODAO 3 pts e/w

3:15 CHELTENHAM 888Sport Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+) 2m 7 run

 THE WIDDOW MAKER 2 pts e/w

3:35 DONCASTER Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (G1) (No Geldings) Cl1 (2yo) 1m 8 run

AUGUSTE RODIN 5 pts Win

3:50 CHELTENHAM Pertemps Network Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 3m 18 run

AN TAILLEUR 4 pts WIn – PANIC ATTACK 2½ pts e/w

4:10 DONCASTER vertem.co.uk Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 5f 13 run

DESIGNER  3 pts e/w

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