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13th April 2024 8:49 am

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

Cheltenham November – not Open – Meeting Day 2

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I was pulled up by a Cheltenham Grandee today when I exclaimed how much I was looking forward to the first day of The Open. Gently chided, I was reminded this is now called The November meeting – because it is in November and is no longer Open.

This sort of rebranding happens all the time, which is pretty unimportant in this case. My losing selections (two winners and a very decent second today) don’t care whether it’s November, the Open or The Big Red Balloon with Bells On Festival. But this happens quite a lot in the broader world, and whenever it does, I fear that in the background is some silver-tongued bearded smoothie who is called the Head of Brand & Consumer Collaborative Enhancements, or perhaps Clicks and Mortar Consumer Engagement, or some similar title. He or indeed she, it, they, us, have been appointed because they have convinced a wiser and older person that their “Now” marketing credentials are outstanding and that common sense and old-fashioned management will interfere in the entire forward-moving creative process.

But you ignore those ideals at your peril because if you do, the law of unintended consequences will find you out. So for the organisers of COP27, the smoothies should perhaps if been told to shut up, as they made Coca-Cola,  COP27’s drinks sponsor. Super. Apart from half the press corps and several hundred delegates pointing out that the company is the globe’s largest producer of discarded plastic waste. How on earth did that original marketing team conversation go? I bet someone said the words Kids, Trust, Empathy, Cool.

Simultaneously, KFC has to apologise for a push notification sent to its customers with the message: “Commemorate Kristallnacht – treat yourself to more soft cheese and crispy chicken. Now at KFCheese!”. This went out on Wednesday, the 84th anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, in which Nazi-led gangs torched, vandalised and ransacked Jewish shops, businesses and synagogues across Germany. The event is seen as the beginning of the Nazis’ systematic attempt to annihilate Europe’s Jewish population.

And don’t forget Macdonald’s Portuguese campaign for their ice-cream dessert Sundae Bloody Sundae not so long ago.

Just to briefly return to the subject of COP27, I read that Sharm-El-Sheik continues to provide global lessons that are rarely seen in Conference, Destination and Reputational Management terms. Youth delegates have been left without beds, subjected to extortion, forced to sleep in rooms with no locks and woken up in the night by arbitrary demands for documents — all as part of a program sponsored by the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports. The Egyptian COP organizers are now under intense diplomatic pressure over the situation after key negotiators had to leave the talks to ensure their youth delegates were safe, while The EU and other delegations raised their concerns with the Egyptian government, but I suspect many were busy trying to sort out the river of sewage that flooded the main conference centre. Oh, and don’t forget the hunger striker, the human rights campaigners, and the…..

But I bet you won’t have seen anything compared to Qatar.

Talking of reputational snafus, here are Saturday’s thoughts.

12:35 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hdl (G2) Cl1 (3yo) 2m½f 10 run

Hard to see beyond SCRIPTWRITER, who was a decent Flat horse and couldn’t have done much more on his relatively facile hurdle debut. WAR CORRESPONDENT would be a concern.


1:10 Celotex Thermaclass Amateur Jockeys’ Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+ 0-140) 3m1f 14 run

Charlie Longsdon’s CASTLE ROBIN looks good on the trends and is only 2lbs shy of his last winning mark. He’s won a hurdle race here in the past and had a decent chasing season last year with 3 wins. I’m guessing he’s ready for this. DIDERO VALLIS and BIG NASTY would be unsurprising place horses, but don’t look like winners.

CASTLE ROBIN 2 pts e/w

1:45 From The Horses Mouth Podcast Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chs (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m 6 run

With MONMIRAL out of the race, it has a more open look to it, but it is still hard to be against the favourite, TOMMY’S OSCAR who is 10 clear on Timeform and has a Capital P. Dangers might come from BANBRIDGE who is dropping in trip, and SOLE PRETENDER who will ensure a decent pace at the front end. TOMMY’S OSCAR has an undoubted ability, and there is nothing to suppose he will not move forward over fences, having just beaten Geromino at Carlisle.

TOMMY’S OSCAR  4 pts Win

2:20 Paddy Power Gold Cup Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f 15 run

STOLEN SILVER will enjoy a decent pace and looks dangerous. GALAHAD QUEST was fifth in this last year, off a mark of 135. He’s now 4lbs lower but with a deal more experience. David Pipe’s UMBRIGADO had a decent pipe opener at Newton Abbott over hurdles last month.

STOLEN SILVER 5 pts Win – UMBRIGADO 2 pts e/w – GALAHAD QUEST 2 pts e/w

2:55 Paddy Power Games Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 3m 13 run

SHEARER 4 pts Win – ZOFFANIEN 2 pts e/w 

3:30 Paddy Power Feel Like A Favourite Intermediate Hcap Hdl Cl3 (3yo+ 0-140) 2m5f 12 run

The yard is confident about WISEGUY, I’ve heard chat about BOURBALI, and FOREVER WILLIAM is too big.

BOURBALI 2 pts e/w – FOREVER WILLIAM 2 pts e/w

4:05 Stirrups Restaurant And Cocktail Bar Evesham Mares’ Bumper Cl1 (4-6yo) 2m½f

LUCCIA and QUEENS GAMBLE should have this between them and are hard to separate. RUBY ISLAND ran well at Aintree LTO

RUBY ISLAND 2 pts e/w


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