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21st April 2024 8:53 am

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Having been off-air, (and some might rudely suggest, off-form), last week I thought it time that I bring you up to speed with various happenings. Luckily while visiting my chums, I left you in the hands of the Pharaoh of Galway, who produced a couple of double-digit winners, to the extent that backing him blind would have shown you a profit. He is in danger of becoming a useful performer!

In my absence, the post box was “full” of questions and queries from concerned listeners and I have sent both to my friend The Judge. He is currently at Pardubice trying to work out the form for the 129th running of the world’s toughest cross-country, which has been won by just six horses in the last ten runnings. The Judge has promised me a considered reply by Monday, in relation to Conditions Races and claimers, and the apparent inconsistency of the Arc ratings. When I have them, you’ll have them.

France was delightful, and thank-you for asking. It was warm, sunny and smelled in the main, reassuringly French. Menton hasn’t changed much, Grasse was as always and the only blot on the horizon were the prices and the levels of service. Thanks to EU and French employment regulations, employers are effectively paying the Government the employees salary in a range of deductions. Thus you employ a waiter for €2,080 per month and you pay the government an additional €2k – €2.4k as well. Add rates and rent, food costs and so on and you suddenly realise why so many restaurants are only open 5 days a week and why service offerings have fallen. There are places in Paris where you can still eat three courses and get change from a €20 note and for €35 add a drinkable red to the bill. But overall, I reckon France was running about 20% more than Blighty and that is a lot.

As the American author, Rebecca Solnit, said: One way to guarantee a conversation without a conclusion is to ask a group of people what nature is. One should therefore not be surprised at how Extinction Rebellion continues apace to make a fool of society. Their anarchic agenda, which melds the supra-controlled fears and aspirations of a generation of young, with the hysteria of semi-religious soothsaying religious zealots. lacks credibility on every level. Self-righteous, know-nothings traditionally seen at NIMBY development protests, blocking the roads, preventing workers and emergency services from doing their job, and struggling to even get arrested in the process. They justify their actions by spouting the slogans they heard five minutes before, and while dribbling their middle-class cliches, fail to take into account their own leaders’ words, who carefully remain in the background. I defy you to read their (I promise unaltered) Manifesto and point me to the science within. Please understand – I entirely accept that is likely that there is an issue – but the solution is NOT anarchy. The ER manifesto does contain plenty of fairy dust, mysticism, faux-philosophy, and inner-beating hearts guiding the rhythm of life. Bur not very far beneath the surface is a clear and unequivocal, anarchic message which demands we end life as the majority know it. but with no resolutions to the obvious questions, such as electricity, food, water pumping and so on. It is a global replay of the scenes of Damascus from Lawrence of Arabia. Nothing works and all is lost. If you would like to see and download a copy of this tripe, I have great pleasure in attaching it, HERE, as I have nothing but contempt for the messengers.

In racing terms, we rush headlong to embrace the end of the Flat season and the arrival of the Jumps. Out with the flip-flops and tees, and on with the boots and cardies – the fashion statement that unites Cotswolds and Humberside. The Arc, much like RWC 2019, and the Japanese Grand Prix, have all been affected by the weather. At Longchamps, it got stickier as it dried and Enable, beaten one and three-quarters into second, had her speed blunted at a crucial stage in the race. As Frankie said: “Waldgeist quickened, I didn’t, that’s the difference. If the ground was good I would have got to the line.”

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