I exercise a great deal of caution about wandering around the village these days, for fear of being accosted, and then denounced, as an agent of the Left, Right, Rich, Poor, Workers, Fascists, Communists, Idlers, and people of … “insert your Woke word of choice”. Yesterday I had written a letter and missed my hugely obliging postman who is always happy to extend his duties by collection. The postbox is only 300m from the drive entrance, but as sure as eggs are eggs, Bosh! I was caught with nowhere to go, by the Village Inquisitor.
Have you had it then? she asked.
It? I replied. The Jab she said. Oh yes, I said, I’ve had the first Pfizer jab and now I’m waiting for my second… Lumme! There’s my phone silently buzzing in my pocket – that might be them, even now, giving me a date. Do excuse….
You’ll be dead if you do, she said. I don’t think so, I said. Oh yes, she said they’re dying in their thousands and it’s all being covered up because they’re dying of blood clots, and they don’t want to be sued. My friend says the pain is excruciating, it’s like the bends she said.
Crikey I said. Has your friend had the bends then?
Oh yes, she said and she had to go and be relieved. I suggested as gently as I could that I thought it was more likely her friend had merely had digestive issues, rather than decompression sickness, both of which could indeed be painful, but neither likely to be caused by vaccination. I added that I had every confidence in the system and that I really had to go, but it might be an idea to wait until we all knew more, before saying vaccinations were a bad thing. She muttered something darkly, about my knowing less than I might and more than I was good for, which gave me a good thirty minutes of illogical philosophical thought. Nanouk or whatever her name is, had also touched a nerve. I am 100% confident that I’m OK, but I needed the input of the newly moustachioed, retired consultant and current jabber, Prof. Clever-Dick MD, who lives not far away. Come, I said. Drink wine in the blizzard in my garden, and explain. What follows is the Cru Bourgeois magnum precis that I can remember.
Covid 19 thickens the blood. Covid 19 can be hosted by Nanouk and others who will never know it. They go for a jab. They are Asymptomatic, but still have thickened blood for a period after the vaccination. Now rewind to say last year (the figures are for illustrative purposes only and have no place in science) when 3 in 1m people died of blood clots every year, say 200 people a year. This year it is now 3.2 per 1m and they have all had the vaccine. That is NOT an 8% increase in risk, just a tiny change in a tiny number. So  this is not a huge spike and  it might indeed have something to do with the vaccine, but the risk-reward ratio is still far outweighed by Better Yes rather than Better No. In other words, it is entirely conceivable that the jab impacts a tiny number of asymptomatic C19 carriers, who are already and unknowingly predispositioned to clotting or blood thickening. When they are injected their risk marginally increases – because they have the virus. The solution will be pre-jab testing, which fortunately is already in the pipeline. Time alone will tell if this is right, but the sheer weight of numbers of doses, now in the global hundred of millions, set against the numbers of reported cases of clotting, (30 UK reported cases of ALL clotting against 18+ million vaccinations) suggests having the same risk as being hit by plane debris falling from the sky. To all of you I say, you have more chance of my running through the card than of getting blood clots from vaccines, so do please keep positive on this and get vaccinated. Seriously.
Talking of serious, here are the Aintree Tips for Day 1.
13:45 – Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m 4f
The top four in the betting are covered by just 4lbs ORs, so it is nothing if not competitive despite being only 7 runners. Top of the market is THE HITMAN and with no weight allowance, he looks vulnerable quite apart from the fact that 5yo are 8r – 1w -0p and Paul Nicholls is 10r – 0w – 2p. THE SHUNTER contests this as well, having won his £100k bonus with his victory in The Plate and while this is a step-up in class, he is an out and out battler and I suspect will try to take this from the front. Also, I am reminded that 10 of the previous 11 winners of this race had contested either the Arkle or the Marsh (5 apiece) at the Festival. That would bring in ELDORADO ALLEN who was 2nd in The Arkle – but this is over a distance he has yet to attempt, and FUSIL RAFFLES who was 2nd in the Marsh. His form is possibly the strongest on display, and he meets most of the trends. I think he’ll be battling THE SHUNTER at the line.
FUSIL RAFFLES Win
14:20 – Doom Bar Anniversary 4-y-o Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO only) 2m 1f
I wish I could be more interesting in this, but the fact of the matter is that 12 of the last 17 winners had a top 3 finish in the Triumph LTO and 15/17 ran at the Festival LTO. That would be ADAGIO then. If there is to be a challenger it will almost certainly be MONMIRAL The principal line of form there is through Nassalam who was beaten by ADAGIO in the Future Champions at Chepstow and was properly duffed up by MONMIRAL at Haydock in February. On paper, that battle is slightly in favour of MONMIRAL. The filly FIVEANDTWENTY gets a 7lb allowance and remains unbeaten over hurdles, but I think she is probably five pounds shy of these two on best form. PAROS is taking a big step in class and he suggested in his running at Donny a couple of races back, that he prefers to be going right-handed. No, I’m sticking with the trends.
14:50 – Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m 1f
There is inevitably going to be much discussion on the subject of TIGER ROLL. Please God let it not include O’Leary who has been behaving disgracefully by acting as an unofficial Spanish policeman, deciding arbitrarily whether Spanish ex-pats can or cannot go back to Spain. The misery that man brings to his commercial life is a beacon for all sociopaths. Sorry – ghastly man.
Anyway, TIGER ROLL also meets CLAN DES OBEAUX, NATIVE RIVER and WAITING PATIENTLY in what could be a great race. All of them have questions to answer, but I think it’s down to three. WAITING PATIENTLY was in front of CDO in the King George on his return and his race LTO can be ignored because it was over too short a distance – he hadn’t won over the trip for five years! Again he was outpaced last year over shorter behind Min and Politologue. The trends aren’t the strongest, but looking at the previous winners it seems you need a decent 165+ rating, and a horse with some depth and Colin Tizzard, who hasn’t had the best season, could take this with NATIVE RIVER who was let’s remember 4th in last month’s Gold Cup. I can’t have CDO or TIGER ROLL.
15:25 – Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f
Wide-open. McFABULOUS was spanked by BREWINUPASTORM in the G2 National Spirit at Fontwell, where a return to hurdling paid huge dividends. I’m not convinced McFABULOUS will beat him this time either, despite a pull at the weights. BUVEUR D’AIR is trying for a second Aintree Hurdle, a course where he also took the 2016 Novice Hurdle. JASON THE MILITANT was backed from 7s to 9/2 on Tuesday and is now a 3/1 favourite. He was a close third in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November and took the Red Mills G3 Trial at Fairyhouse LTO. The “Henry and Rachel Show” accounts for some of that money, but the sheer weight of investment suggests there are no doubts about his ability to handle 2½m at Aintree. The same question mark over distance applies to ABACADABRAS, and if it comes to a sprint and if he gets the distance, he’ll make a dash to the line an exciting one. He needs to be delivered at the very last instant, as the rest are thinking about a cup of tea. On the trends, ABACADABRAS and SILVER STREAK both make the cut and the latter will love the Good – G/S going.
ABACADABRAS Win – SILVER STREAK e/w
16:05 – Rose Paterson Randox Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) (6YO plus) 2m 5f
Well done to Randox – yes it is The Foxhunters and it is the first of three races over the National fences at the meeting. Jamie Codd rides the Denise Foster-trained MIGHTY STOWAWAY and has been backed to around 14s from 25/1 and with Jamie Codd (previous winner in 2016) on board, he might yet go off shorter. The favourite is BILLAWAY who was second The St James Place FOXHUNTERS at Cheltenham and the way he jumps suggests that this track will suit him better. (Incidentally, did StJP really think that people would gasp in admiration and forget the shocking Sunday Times expose of their business practices by simply changing the name of a horserace? Patently Helena Morrissey, the prominent City leader and StJP board member was unimpressed. She’s resigned after a year and gone to chair a rival!) I like the look of CAT TIGER who isn’t short of pace and has some form on this faster ground. SOME MAN caught the eye LTO at Down Royal. Overall I have a sneaking regard for SAMETEGAL who meets many of the trends, likes it around here and simply ran too poorly to be true LTO. KILLARO BOY, TANGO DE JUILLEY and MIGHTY STOWAWAY all make the trends as well and in a match bet I’d have KILLARO BOY to get his revenge on TANGO DE JUILLEY beating him LTO with CAT TIGER’s winning race LTO. On that occasion, KILLARO BOY put a foot wrong at the fifth last and lost all momentum.
SAMETEGAL Win – KILLARO BOY e/w – MIGHTY STOWAWAY e/w Add TANGO DE JUILLEY for ¼pt exotics.
16:40 – Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m
MOON OVER GERMANY looks to have been laid out for this race and with The Shunter’s Cheltenham claimer (another Cheltenham trend turned on its head!) Jordan Gainford still taking his 7lbs claim, he looks like an obvious choice. The trends point to Brian Ellison’s THE KING OF MAY who is around 22s and GAELIK COAST, with all three of them within 2lbs of their last winning mark. I might do them all in cross-doubles with the Foxhunter selections for a minimum of 80/1 payout.
MOON OVER GERMANY Win – THE KING OF MAY e/w – GAELIK COAST e/w
17:15 – Goffs Uk Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f
A cracking end to the day and Pam Sly must thank The Lord every day for EILEENDOVER, who is the best Bumper in the UK. She opened 7/4, but she’s been backed for mortgages and is now around 4/5, although there is growing support for ELLE EST BELLE. After today she’ll be prepared for a Cup season on the Flat. Today, however, Paul O’Brien is going to have every tactical move from Harry Skelton covered because I’m not sure there is that much in it. For fun, however, have a look at Alan King’s FINEST VIEW. A sister to four winners, Passing Call (useful 2m-2m1f hurdle), Passmore (2m2f hurdle), Can You Call (bumper) & Neil The Legend (2m6f chase), Alan King in the last ten years his record in this race is 12r-2w-2p and overall he has trained 3w and 6p from his entries.
FINEST VIEW e/w