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22nd July 2024 10:44 pm

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

A sunny weekend – with a chance of drowning!

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

Just in: CJM… Bunter… Ken… Thank you. They join: 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

You might recall last weekend we had The Derby and later… The Dash. You might further recall we had put up a short list of four for the race; namely ANCIENT TIMES – VINTAGE CLARETS – RECON MISSION – SILKY WILKIE. I was pleased that one of them, Silky Wilkie, was in a bobbing head photo – but he hadn’t made the recommended shortlist. Sadly, the first two on my list, one of which was recommended, couldn’t have won because unless you were looking closely, you would not have noticed that four of the five highest-drawn stalls in the Epsom Dash clearly opened after the others. The Stewards agreed that stalls 16, 18, 19, and 20 had all opened late but decided the chances of the four runners in those stalls were not “materially impacted” by the start and therefore took no further action. Can we assume that the handicapper will treat their performances as such? Both VINTAGE CLARETS (19 – 15/2) and ANCIENT TIMES (16 – 8/1) were impacted, with horses banging their heads and one jockey losing an iron. It is a tricky one, but over the superfast Epsom 5f sprint, there is certainly a case for the affected runners in such races to have their runs voided – regardless of the result –  and their entry fees refunded. I shall also be keeping a close eye on their handicap marks. The first couple of minutes of Nick Luck’s eminently sensible weekly “Talking Points” section of his RUK show Luck on Sunday is worth looking at.

Among the many chores I have undertaken in my life, or what you gentle readers call work, was a spell trading antiques. It was gentle life involving coffee at the Picasso in The Kings Road, a stroll to the Antiques Galleries next door for chats, and then down to The Shop where, when times were bad and the blackjack shoes weren’t kind, and the pictures didn’t sell, I slept in the basement.

From The Shop (it was always capitalised), the partners would go forth and multiply in various ways. Charlie  (furniture “restorer” at the Furniture Cave) would drop in to see Joe (17th-century Oak and other lumps). Tony (Oriental WoA and Japanese Arms and Armour) would be off to see a Katana with a superb hamon, possibly even Shinto rather than the more commonly seen Shinshinto-era blades; and Jonathan (Arms and Armour, General antiques and swerving), and I would pole over to Christy’s South Ken, which had just opened, to corrupt some porters. The other Charles (paintings) would be researching like billy-o and wondering how we could store four 60-foot long panels from a French chateau in a shop 55-foot long, which might have been Fragonard, but which we all believed to be Boucher. Every one of those fascinating, well-educated, witty, young, intelligent, and slightly off-key people could recite the first rule of antiques that we all learned the day one lost one’s first wake-up money. (Wake-Up money does what it says on the tin; if you lose it, you will struggle to sleep, or wake up sweating in the middle of the night). The first rule of antiques is this:


You don’t have to be terribly clever to understand that – nor is it a divine gift. Yes, you will get it wrong once in a blue moon, and the other end of the deal will be bewildered and/or offended that you walked away. But 999 times in 1000, you will offer up a prayer to St Arthur Negus or The Blessed Henry Sandon, for they also knew and quoted the rule. It applies generally to life as well. I had lunch with one of the great jockeys, John Reid, the other day who told me of a man who bought a Sadler’s Wells for £40k. When he got back home and spun it over a couple of furlongs he realised what anyone could have told him at £40k. If its not right – it must be wrong

We should know from experience that when someone with a stake in the same game as you, who has consistently failed to pay their share, and who has relentlessly plotted and schemed to outflank and outplay you whilst shaking your hand so hard that you end up dropping some of your cards – when that person says “let me help”, the next thing you see will be wrong.

The BHA has been shown some papers on which many, many numbers are written, and luckily those numbers seem to support a course of action that had already been suggested to the BHA by the people who had presented the paper. Those numbers told The BHA that over the next two years, IF it put on precisely the right racing at the right times and in the right places that the paper said, the BHA would not become rich – but would become less poor.

Nobody has asked to see the other bits of the paper, which might show that UK Racing Industry Plc (UKRIP) by following the plan, has filled a marketing gap for the bookmakers. When perhaps it needed the opportunity to promote itself to a target audience. When perhaps it has allowed them to centralise their advertising and promotional costs. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps… I really don’t know, but if it’s not right, it must be wrong.

Sooner or later we have to consider the possibility that UKRIP breeds too many lowly-rated horses, who race in too many lowly-rated races at too many racecourses, ridden by too many jockeys who have to abuse their bodies to carry the correct weight, on the instructions of too many trainers, with too few horses chasing too few owners – all of which relies on extracting a levy from people having a bet which, for so doing next month, will allow bookmakers to examine your personal financial details, for the bookmakers to graciously allow you to support this edifice.

As a child being taught to dive in the last century, there was a slightly different concept of the Duty of Care. You stood, aged 8, on the 12′ or 15′ board with a rope attached to a rubber hose around your waist. You had been told that the object of the exercise was simply a question of getting from the board into the water. It hurt less if you dived. I rather sense the BHA, and even possibly ourselves, are being tugged into the water – and the belly-flop awaits.

Talking of drowning not waving, here are the tips for racing on Saturday…

1:15 HAYDOCK Sky Bet Achilles Stks Cl1 (3yo+) 5f 10 run

Frankie gets EQUILATERAL, the short-odds favourite, who is good – but probably better in Meydan. He might however be fooled by the unexpected sun and there are positive noises from the gallops! CLARENDON HOUSE was seen coming a close-up 3rd in the aforementioned Dash last Saturday and must have a squeak – as must RAASEL who won this last year.


1:50 HAYDOCK Sky Bet Reverence Hcap Cl3 (4yo+ 0-95) 6f 14 run

SILVER SAMURAI was an impressive winner of this race last year and looks ready again to strike – especially in his 1st time cheekpieces. MR WAGYU ran last weekend – but do not worry about the fast turnaround. He was 5th in the Ayr Gold Cup after six days; 3rd in the same race the year before from a 7-day break; and taking the Stewards Cup Consolation race from a 7-day break in 2021. He is 2/3 here at Haydock. FOOLS RUSH IN would not be a surprise as he heads south in the weights.

SILVER SAMURAI 3 pts e/w – FOOLS RUSH IN 1pt e/w

2:05 BEVERLEY Hilary Needler Trophy Fillies’ Conditions Stks Cl2 (2yo) 5f 9 run

ALFA MOONSTONE made all at Catterick LTO and I think is capable of handling this rise in class. ZIGGY’S PHOENIX caught the eye when winning The Lily Agnes at Chester – but did not enjoy Chantilly LTO. She gets Kevin Stott as a pilot which looks interesting.


2:25 HAYDOCK Better Betting WIth Sky Bet Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m4f 10 run

GET SHIRTY comes from David O’Meara’s yard -507R – 226 Top4 – 60W at the course, he is a C&D winner and he is only 2 lbs lower than his Old Newton Cup victory. LIVE YOUR DREAM looks to be on a competitive mark and Saeed is beginning to open up the throttle.

GET SHIRTY – LIVE YOUR DREAM Dutch the pair for 5 pts

2:40 BEVERLEYbet365 Hcap Cl4 (4yo+ 0-80) 7½f 10 run

UGO GREGORY is 11R – 3W – 3P at Haydock and seems a worthy favourite from a decent draw.


3:00 HAYDOCK Sky Bet Lester Piggott Stks (Registered As The Pinnacle Stks) (G3) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f 6 run

I fancy Frankie Dettori will steer MIMIKYU to victory. She won The Park Hill last year and is a C&D winner. As usual, I am frightened of the Germans and will be checking for market support for NACHTROSE a G2 winner with ability.

MIMIKYU 6 pts win – ½ pt RFC NACHTROSE

3:15 BEVERLEY bet365 Two Year Old Trophy Conditions Stks (Colts & Geldings) Cl2 (2yo) 5f 7 run


3:35 HAYDOCK Sky Bet John Of Gaunt Stks (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 7f 6 run

JUMBY beats THE ASTROLOGIST and EL CABALLO… I hope. However, the market is way too tight and I really can’t see how to split them



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