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25th April 2024 3:59 am

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

Between teenage killers, corruption in the Town Hall, barmy illegals, HMRC and the bookmakers – what could possibly go wrong?

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

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

My recent observations on the ferality of much of the infrastructure of the departmentalised Civil Service, with specific reference to HMRC, struck a personal chord with one reader. He/She/They wrote: “I have been hounded for doing nothing illegal, for paying the agreed tax in place at the time, and paying it promptly, and have been fined and been charged interest on a situation over which I have neither control nor recourse.”

I advised him to contact The Loan Charge Action Group and Jeepers if you want a sleepless night, their catalogue of HMRC actions will give you the willies for life!  HMRC has been aggressively chasing after blatantly unaffordable sums. If someone cannot afford to pay their tax bill all in one go, the tax office will set up a ‘time to pay’ arrangement. However, some contractors appear to have been given deliberately unmanageable payment plans. According to the Loan Charge Action Group, one individual was ordered to pay £3,511 every month despite their monthly income being only around £2,000. Another was warned HMRC would start bankruptcy proceedings if they did not pay £70,000 within 11 days. One man was called on his mobile while he was in the hospice seeing his terminally ill father and asked if he was expecting an inheritance after his father’s death.

Rupert Lowe highlighted the principal issue in today’s Torygraph when he pointed out that the UK Tax Code is 21,000 pages long and Hong Kong’s is 350 pages. In 2000, Public Spending accounted for 35% of GDP – this year, the OBR says it will be 44.8%. In 2000, UK Tax receipts were the equivalent of 29% of GDP. This year, the OBR says it will 38%. And if you think either Labour or Tory fireside chats about how investing in future growth and supporting promising, innovative companies will save the day, think again. The rules surrounding EIS and VCT schemes are being deliberately obfuscated as I write. On current form, investors in such schemes can expect HMRC inspectors to give them the dawn-light-knock because unbeknownst to everyone, the schemes were declared illegal yesterday at 2 in the morning in some Whitehall bunker under Catch 22 of a never-passed bill.

As Lowe reminded us, Tacitus said: “…the more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

Which segues us neatly into this little statistic…

Across the UK, 36 local authorities (almost 1 in 10) have had councillors and staff accused of economic crimes, including fraud and the misuse of public funds, with dozens arrested and convicted.

Many other councils are being scrutinised for potential financial mismanagement, leading to huge losses in council funds. One of those is Thurrock council, found to have recklessly put hundreds of millions of pounds into commercial investments, where the FRC is investigating an involved accountant.

If you want to see how widespread the problem is, just Google: local council fraud arrests and then bear in mind that given all we know about the police, local government and available manpower, the likelihood is the ratio of unknown to known incidents of corruption will be about 99-1.


  1. So Lewis Hamilton is going to Ferrari. Regular readers will undoubtedly remember my words from July 7th 2023: “… we had a lot of guff about his new contract, which he and Toto Wolfe are confident will be with Mercedes. In the ever-friendly, always deceitful world of F1-speak, that simply means Ferrari has to offer Lewis more cash, the number one team spot and a five-year contract.”

Job done as they say in The Scuderia.

  1. You arrive illegally from a safe country – you leave. You don’t get relief because you learned the Lord’s Prayer in Dari or Pashto. You don’t get relief ‘cos you’re bonkers. The law – with no ifs, buts, or intercessions from Cantab – should state that you will be returned to the last safe place you were in, and I’m sorry if you don’t speak French, Italian, or Albanian. End of.
  2. Can we please stop this nonsense about not naming child killers because they’re underage? If you commit a crime that carries a minimum sentence of a year and you’re over 12, let’s have some focus on them and their parents.
  3. Physician Associates… are we as mad or stupid as this scheme suggests? Do you think I am foolish in suggesting this? I am, it transpires, not exactly alone. A BMA survey announced today has found that 55% of doctors say working with these fake doctors, sorry Physician Associates, has increased their workload. OK, it was only 18,000 doctors who were asked, and many of them haven’t been working because they’ve been on strike, trying to get the same hourly rate as my gardener. Still, it might seem indicative of an issue.
  4. Milton Harris – hmmm. I was startled by how many girls aged 14’ish  appeared to be looking after Dobbin et al. Can we assume he gave a discount to the Owners?

Talking of strangely tainted, corrupted, and even possibly mad or stupid, here are the selections.

Before we go any further, can we please stop these endless comments re racing plans and how “real racing fans” are disappointed that we won’t get to see the clash between MARINE NATIONALE and GAELIC WARRIOR or whether FACILE VEGA should run in this or that. Worse still is when some racing hack expresses his endless opinions about why he, she or they think the better race for Dobbin would be The Transpennine 6-mile Hurdle based on zero experience of being a trainer … Trainers have to make a living. In the main, they do that by winning races and by developing careers for both horses and jockeys. Sometimes, they get it wrong, but Willie Mullins gets it right more often than either Milton Harris or I do. I hope that helps.


1:25 SANDOWN Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Nov. Hcap Hdl. Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m4f 10 run

My trends shortlist is MAGICAL KING, CLASSIC ANTHEM and DIPLOMATIC ASH. However, with decent course form, a liking for the ground, and with some pull at the weights against the other two I think I’m in with a shout of a podium at the very least.

CLASSIC ANTHEM 3 pts e/w (4 places WIllHill – 888)

1:40 MUSSELBURGH bet365 Frodon Nov. Limited Hcap Chs Cl3 (5yo+) 2m4½f 6 run

MARBLE SANDS keeps being unsuccessfully pointed at G1s G2s at various Festivals. However, whenever he is subsequently dropped in class, he runs like a good’un and he is 4/4 when running below G2. So here he is back in the Common Sense Stakes and only 3lbs higher than his last win. MONMIRAL too has Graded form.

MARBLE SANDS 5 pts Win 1 pts RFC with MONMIRAL

2:00 SANDOWN Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+) 1m7½f 5 run

Nothing much grabs me, but I have a dim memory of backing RED ROOKIE here last year. He was third behind Third Time Lucki when favourite for this race last season off 138 and went on to win at Warwick beating SAINT SEGAL 8l. He meets him today with a 4 lb pull which is crazy… I think Emma Lavelle is coming out of the doldrums, and that the first-time cheekpieces will keep his mind focussed.

RED ROOKIE 5 pts e/w (2 places generally)

2:15 MUSSELBURGH bet365 Edinburgh National Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m7½f 12 run

He’s won twice over 3m, and UNIVERSAL FOLLY looks more than capable of going almost 4m here today. Certainly, at Carlisle LTO, the 21f looked way too sharp. Not every Irish horse is at DRF; here we have TEMPTATIONINMILAN who returns to Blighty having finished 4th in an Ayr Nov Handicap Chase over 3m last April. There has not been much since then, but it’s a long way for nowt, as Nanny used to say when she’d get to the bar to find she’d left her purse at home. CASTLE ROBIN would not be a surprise and I might play him in exotic support.


2:35 SANDOWN Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Nov. Chs (G1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f 5 run

DJELO was previously unbeaten over fences when wiped out LTO at Lingfield by the wayward Matala. He should no more be the outsider than I should be Pope.

DJELO 5 pts e/w

2:50 MUSSELBURGH bet365 Scottish County Hcap Hdl. Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 1m7½f 13 run

BALLYGEARY is still fairly treated and will be hard to keep out of the frame with him just a 1lb over his last winning mark. PARK ANNONCIADE also has a lot to like about him and he makes all the trends. He was a bit trappy LTO and made a silly mistake at the beginning of the race. He was always behind after that, but he finished really well to get an 11-length 4th on a strong run-in. He’s now only 4lb shy of his last winning mark and I think must be destined for a podium. Another to catch the eye, with decent marks across all areas (Going, Class, Pace etc) is the hugely over-price CUBAN CIGAR. His jockey’s 5lb claim leaves him on 9st 11lbs and the same lad has steered him home for a C&D win previously.

PARK ANNOCIADE 3 pts e/w – BALLYGEARY 2 pts e/w – CUBAN CIGAR 1 pt e/w with BENSON in a ¼pt CFC

3:00 LEOPARDSTOWN Race & Stay At Leop’town Hcap Hdl. (4yo+ 0-150) 3m½f 24 run

I had a whisper for Philip Rothwell’s STARZOV – the yard seems delighted at his mark. The seven-year-old has dropped 7lbs since April and is set to receive weight from most of this field. (66/1  6p with PaddyPower). FINE MARGIN was also entered at Sandown today but came here instead. WM improves horses and he has done that here. He could easily go off 5/2 from his current 4s. He finished second LTO to Slate Lane (Emmet Mullins) in a G3 handicap hurdle at Haydock following a long absence. The trend horse CANAL END had no problem with the extended trip LTO, and I see no reason to oppose either the first or second favourite!

So I won’t’

STARZOV 1 pt e/w 66/1 6p

3:10 SANDOWN Virgin Bet Heroes Hcap Hdl.  Cl1 (4yo+) 2m7½f 15 run

Three make the trends WONDERWALL – TRANSMISSION – GOOD LUCK CHARM. Two of them met in the Lanzarote Hurdle where GOOD LUCK CHARM finished fourth and the quietly fancied WONDERWALL was brought down when out the back at the fourth last. That looked like a decent enough run from the mare and came off the back of a third-placed finish in a mares handicap at Cheltenham (the winner has won again since). Anthony Honeyball’s 8yo should have no problem in the conditions and can go well off her low weight in this.

GOOD LUCK CHARM 4 pts e/w – WONDERWALL 2 pts e/w

3:35 LEOPARDSTOWN Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup Chs (G1) (5yo+) 3m½f 4 run

What’s to know? GALOPIN DES CHAMPS is odds-on, wins this and will extend his unbeaten Leopardstown wins to five, he needs to be ridden forcefully, and a return to 3m will be better. FASTORSLOW won’t run if there is overnight rain and the ground changes, but that aside, he has beaten GdC twice. I hate odds on shots with no visible alternative, so let’s just watch and enjoy.


3:45 SANDOWN Virgin Bet Masters Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+) 3m 10 run

Only one horse meets all the trends – Ben Paulings BANGERS AND CASH. he is decent and honest and arrives here (thanks to his 3rd in the Mandarin) just 1lb higher than his last winning mark.



1:20 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Nov. Hdl. (G1) (5yo+) 2m6½f RTE2 6 run


1:50 McCann FitzGerald Spring Juvenile Hdl. (G1) (4yo) 2m RTE2 11 run

INTELLOTTO 3 pts e/w

2:25 Goffs Irish Arkle Nov. Chs (G1) (5yo+) 2m1f RTE2 6 run


4:10 Ryanair Hcap Chs (5yo+ 0-150) 2m1f RTV 13 run

MADARA 4 pts Win

4:40 Donohue Marquees Future Stars (C & G) Bumper (G2) (4-7yo) 2m RTV 10 run



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