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

All this and The Kentucky Derby

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup


What a joy to be at Badminton. From the Car Park to The Members Enclosure was just shy of 3000 paces. Shopping with The Hon, and a trip to The Beaufort Hunt tent (the cheapest beer within 2 miles!) and several passages to get Rose and lunch added another 3000. Then I repeated The Great March back to the Car Park for a 9,000 pace endurance test. The knee is now the size of a melon and Ibuprofen Sandwiches seem to be in order. Note to self:  is an Android Pace 1km or slightly less?

Taking pain relief with one of the horsemen during the afternoon, I asked after a mutual acquaintance (Bob) and was told of Bob’s horror at discovering that his wife was having an affair with one of The Field Masters. In the mistaken belief that he needed proof of perfidy in any divorce proceedings, Bob set up secret video cameras in his bedroom to record the betrayal. This took no time to obtain, and he decided to tell his friend about his discovery. Bob said that his wife had not only had sex with the bounder but that after a brief pause, they had gone back for second helpings. Apparently, there was a falling out when our chum said to Bob; “So you watched the film all the way through then”.

I think five of my selections for Badminton glory are in with a decent chance – but I couldn’t find a bookmaker anywhere. I am bewildered by the idea of a major sporting event that will today have 100,000 on-site having no betting shop. This would not be the situation in the US, which allows me to segue to a reminder that my old acquaintance Tim Rice has produced his inestimable Derby letter.

If you’re interested in American racing history and in some of the more colourful US racing characters his annual letter is a must-read. That aside, it has got a very useful Derby analysis of the 148th “Run For The Roses” and his picks have the smack of good research. For you gentle readers, that will make a pleasant change! Tim Rice’s DERBY LETTER is linked.

It is already late so please trust me when I say these picks have been given thought, but I do not have the strength to explain.

1:45 ASCOT Royal Ascot Local Schools Art Competition Hcap Cl3 (4yo+ 0-95) 1m4f 17 run

JUAN DE MONTALBAN 3 pts e/w (6 pl with Skybet, WHill)

2:05 LINGFIELD SBK Hcap Cl4 (4yo+ 0-80) 7f 6 run


2:20 ASCOT Carey GBuckhounds Stakes Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f 8 run

The favourite has 8 lbs in hand of these and was transferred here from The Huxley yesterday.

AL AASY 4pts win – MANDOOB 2 pts e/w

2:40 LINGFIELD SBK Derby Trial Stakes (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m3½f 5 run


3:00 HAYDOCK Pertemps Network Swinton Hcap Hdl (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f 17 run


3:15 LINGFIELD SBK Oaks Trial Fillies’ Stakes Cl1 (3yo) 1m3½f 9 run


3:30 ASCOT British EBF Fillies’ Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m 9 run

AURIA 2 pts e/w

3:50 LINGFIELD SBK Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f 8 run

CHOCOYA 3 pts Win

4:05 ASCOT tote Victoria Cup (Hcap) Cl2 (4yo+) 7f 28 run

There is a real groundswell of chitchat about Sir Mark’s charge along the lines of “laid out for this” and “ignore known form”




This is a purpose-built, brand new circuit, I’m guessing that there will be zero rubber burned into the surface and it will therefore lack grip. Add to that Miami’s endless sun supply and track surface temperatures and I’m guessing tire management is going to play a crucial part in tactics and race results. That makes the 9/4 on offer for Valteri Bottas for a top 6 finish, look pretty decent – given his proven ability to manage his tires to order. As to the winner, don’t look any further than Red Bull, whose power/weight ratios will give it an advantage over Ferrari whose aerodynamic qualities won’t count for much on this muscle circuit.

VALTERI BOTTAS Top 6 Finish 4 pts – MAX VERSTAPPEN 4 pts to Win 6/4

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