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

But where do I put my Swan?

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup


Just as I was about to send you some small note last Saturday on the weekend’s racing, The Hon Plantagenet dragged me away to give thanks for Lord Aged P’s 90th. This involved Lunch for 80 on Saturday and Drinks for 100 on Sunday, for which I was given a three-line whip. Even the standard Kneesup fallback (“quando omni flunkus moritati”) was not a viable option. This meant you missed six losers, a 17/2 winner, and a brace of favourites, so no actual harm was done.

Moment de Crise was probably the paraplegic cousin becoming marooned in the world’s most advanced electric wheelchair. Another gushing cousin rushed toward him to give him a loud hug, a kiss and several loud exclamations of affection etc. Sadly she failed, plus ca change, to remove her mobile phone from her hand. The phone has a magnet on it, which, when inadvertently pressed against the control panel of the wheelchair, immobilised it. That was something of a shock. Nothing like an unsettling moment of guilty panic, a potential medical emergency and a blocked corridor to unsettle a party.

Then another cousin arrived and told me I wouldn’t have him down on the guest list. In my best Maitre D’ fashion, I tried to reassure him that we knew he was coming and where he was sitting. He said. “You can’t because you don’t know my food preferences and dietary requirements”. “We did ask”, I purred, “on the invitation, and as you’re here, I’m assuming, foolishly perhaps, that you told us”. He said, “No, I was only bringing my Aunt so that you won’t know.” “And yet, here you are and your placement is thus. What…” I asked, “…might your food preferences be?”

“You didn’t ask me whether I had any allergies”. “Do you?” I asked.

“No.” he replied.

Just as I was about to shout Huzzah, he said “You also didn’t ask me whether I was a vegetarian or not”.

“Let me guess,” I said….. At this point, The Hon hoved into view and said: “It’s a buffet – you can pick and choose. Leave the Salmon and Chicken alone, and you’ll be fine”.

“Oh, I eat those”, he said, “just not red meat.”

The title Stranger Things sprang into mind.

While all this nonsense was taking place, The Shergar Cup was on at Ascot. The late and very great Carrington loathed the Shergar Cup, which I promoted from inception to change of sponsor. However, John was nothing if not practical, and with wedges of prize money all round, he or rather his Executors had a runner in it on Saturday, namely Celtic Art. I backed it for four places simply because I didn’t want to give John the celestial pleasure of victory without my support. As it is, it came ninth, wiped its travelling costs nose, and still gave John a little chortle at my naivety.

On other matters, in the Halcyon days of the pre-downsize kitchen, I had a brace of 43 cm wide roasting pans that fitted my oven. I did not think them excessive, and they were lovely. Now it transpires that they will not fit into any oven that hangs on a wall. Finding this information took 1 hour 48 minutes and 22 seconds and five telephone calls. One of these was to Neff, where a lady barked at me as though I was being tiresome rather than trying to buy an oven.

I went into my 3S routine (soft-southern-stupid), which is ingratiating beyond measure. Could it be possible that she might be able to help me – but if she was too busy, I would quite understand and could talk to one of her staff. I wanted to know in Neff ovens, what was the maximum internal dimensions of… before I could finish, she said: “That’ll be on’t site with all t’other measurings”. I played my 3S wild card. “Thank you, I said, that’s very kind, and I’m sorry to be a nuisance, but I’m blind.” Without a moment’s pause, she said, “14 inches.” The implication was clear. She had known all along – but only in Imperial – and I was now a real nuisance. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” “No, you have been more than generous with your time”. I wanted to ask; How do people cook Sunday Lunch in a 14″ pan? What size slab of Ox fits it? Where does the Boar’s head go? No Swan could possibly… I didn’t

Talking of not understanding the North, there’s racing from Ripon, St Gosden Market and Newbury. Aye, Ripon. Proper. Great St Winifred’s. Aye. Grand as owt, ‘Appen.

I know the ground is hard, but the entries are dismal.

1:20 NEWBURY Download The BetVictor App Hcap Cl4 (3yo+ 0-85) 1m2f 8 run


1:40 RIPON William Hill Ripon Hornblower Conditions Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 5f 5 run

FLORIDA FILLY won back-to-back 5f sprints at Hamilton in June and July her last of six on handicap debut was over 6f. Back to 5f and a conditions race. 4/1 looks like a fair price.


1:55 NEWBURY Denford Stakes Cl1 (2yo) 7f 5 run


2:10 NEWMARKET (JULY) Discover Newmarket Fillies’ Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m6f 5 run

Frankie Dettori only has two rides on Saturday, and ATLANTIS is one of them. She won after four attempts in July at Donny, and arrives here 4lbs worse off. His other ride is for Hannon on Mum’s Tipple. You might just do the pair in a 3pt double.


2:30 NEWBURY BetVictor Geoffrey Freer Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m5½f 5 run


2:50 RIPON William Hill Great St Wilfrid Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 6f 15 run

SUMMERGHAND has run decently in The Stewards Cup LTO and the Royal Hunt before that, given that he makes traffic conditions in a junkyard derby look benign. He must surely have been given enough weight back by now – but this might well have been undone by his dreadful draw. Stalls 1-2-3 are 1/45 in the last 15 years (stall 1 0/15), and the pace looks Middle to High. Instead, I plump for MISTY GREY aye, nice draw tha’nose.

MIST GREY 3 pts e/w

3:00 NEWBURY Play Pick 6 At BetVictor Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 7f 7 run

GISBURN 2 pts win

3:18 NEWMARKET (JULY) Grey Horse Hcap Cl4 (3yo+ 0-85) 6f 7 run

STRIKE 3 pts Win

3:35 NEWBURY BetVictor Hungerford Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f 10 run

TIDAL FLOW has won 4/6, including a Newbury Listed starts to date, including a Listed event on this course in May. 8th in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) LTO at Royal Ascot in a worse-than-expected performance, they have dumped the cheekpieces this time, and better is expected.

TIBER FLOW 4 pts Win


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