The stupidest question ever asked of any sportsman, as their hopes, self-worth, future careers and personal reputation lie in tattered, bedraggled pieces in full view of a watching and sometimes, smirking world is: How does that feel?
For Sir Ben Ainslie and his sponsor, Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, that pile includes £110m of investment, the ending of years of hard work, the disappointment, and in some cases despair, for a team who are all too well aware that their best wasn’t good enough. I will say no more on the subject, other than to wish the Italians well in their pursuit of the America’s Cup and to say thanks to Sir Jim and Sir Ben for the excitement, fun and endeavour their efforts have produced and for their sportsmanship in bitter defeat.
Please God, it has inspired some young to go sailing, to start competing, to start dreaming, to start fighting, and most importantly to learn to work as a team under one inspirational leader.
Not a good day on the water, but yesterday on the Turf we pulled out a 16pt profit on the day’s racing! Certainly enough to buy a drink to the health of Team Ineos.
Talking of things to make you weep, here are today’s tips:
1:50 NEWBURY Betfair Weighed-In Podcast Weekly Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 3m
The word is that Jonjo is running PALMERS HILL as a Cheltenham trial, although he would have to qualify for the Pertemps – so possibly the Coral. HOWLING MILAN fell at the last in this in 2019 and 20/1 is too big for a horse with prospects. ES PERFECTO won his hurdling debut over 21f suggesting the yard had already tagged him for 24f. He ran well here LTO, 7l adrift of the 150-rated Ballymore 2nd favourite. Shop around for 5s for SOUTHFIELD HARVEST who has been in the top two of five of his last six runs. He might just be carrying too much weight and I’d have preferred to see a claimer on board.
ES PERFECTO e/w – HOWLING MILAN e/w – Add Palmers Hill and Southfield Harvest for a 12 x ¼pt Exacta (Tote)
2:05 MARKET RASEN Ballymore Sidney Banks Novices’ Hurdle Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4½f
Compared to previous years, (think Shiskin winning last year and the second Shan Blue), this is a weak renewal. However, this is the perfect opportunity for the selection to improve his 50% strike rate over hurdles – and he has never been out of the first two.
MINELLA DRAMA Win
2:25 NEWBURY Betfair Denman Chase (G2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m7½f
All known form points to CLAN DES OBEAUX winning this. TERREFORT is way too big for a horse that looked a very smart prospect two seasons ago. Hendo does not keep horses in training for fun and not just to pop them straight into a G2. Trust the trainer
CLAN DES OBEAUX Win – TERREFORT e/w
2:47 NAVAN Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle (G2) (5yo+) 2m5f
I’m backing this one now, as I think he’ll go off shorter. He’s the wrong price for a former Champion Hurdle contender with ability and form.
3:00 NEWBURY Betfair Game Spirit Chase (G2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m½f
GREANATEEN is the only horse to make the cut on many of the key trends amongst which are a top 3 finish LTO (12/15), top 4 LTO (12/13), a win in one of their last two runs (11/13), 8yo or younger (13/15). Those trends paint a strong picture of a horse that is trying, winning, staying on its feet and is generally progressive. With 15/15 being priced 5/1 or less in the market, you only have one choice.
3:15 MARKET RASEN MansionBet’s Faller Insurance Hcap Hdl Cl3 (4yo+ 0-135) 2m½f
A really tricky race and I’m tempted to advise no bet. I could make a cogent case for four, and gun to the head could only narrow it down to GORTROE JOE, AJERO and MICK MAESTRO. If I was forced beyond that to select, perhaps by threatening me with a night out with Chris Witty at The Comedy Store drinking Gluhwein with Creme de Menthe Frappe chasers, I would have to suggest, and based purely on his race LTO, and the way he impressively eased clear while barely coming off the bridle, then I would say
MICK MAESTRO Win
3:35 NEWBURY Betfair Hurdle (Hcap) (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f
I have a shortlist of eight, GUARD YOUR DREAMS e/w (NTD has taken this race six times in 13 years) and BALLINSKER might seem crazy, EDWARDSTONE (the local word is Alan King has this one ready for Graded races) less so. Back all three e/w
GUARD YOUR DREAMS e/w – BALLINSKER e/w – EDWARDSTONE e/w