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26th May 2024 3:52 am

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

Chester May Meeting Day 3 – plus Marmalade, Greek girls and American fakes

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This morning, a propos of absolutely nothing, I spent too much time pondering over the essential matters of modern living that had grasped my attention in the last 24 hours – quite apart from the wretched draw at Chester.

The first was whether The Savoy or Claridges makes its own Marmalade from scratch, on-site. I hope it doesn’t ask a La Vieja Fabrica or a Tiptrees or the Edinburgh Woolen Mill or some company that has a name that suggests homely handcrafted output to do the job. I imagine a man employed solely to do the oranges and another to manage the vast vats of streaming fruit and sugar. A stern Trompetto-like figure in the crispest of Whites with a colour chart showing the exact Pantone colour he demands. I fear it is not like that at all – but I hope. I was only thinking this because I wondered where I might find a decent pot of marmalade; in the old days, guests would bring such things – now I get Chutney, as though I spend my life sitting down with Ploughmen at lunchtime.

Then, my mind wandered onto the subject of spooning. What is the word – the ideal description of what SHOULD happen with Marmalade on toast – and smeared is the wrong answer. I dislike the word spooning – a vision of times to come in the Old People’s Home, perhaps? Only Marmite should be smeared, ideally on fresh bread, thinly cut, buttered and with slices of cucumber added over the smearing. No salt is needed; the Marmite is the seasoning.  So marmalade is not smeared, and I don’t much care for the word “spread” either with its connotations of dead whales and sump oil sold by supermarkets as I’mstaggeredyouthinkthiscouldbebutter. Dolloped? Glob? Blobbed?

I left that hanging because my eye had been taken by a story about a 37-year-old pretending to be much younger. This was pertinent because I had been pondering the performance of Marina Sarti from Greece only hours before in the Eurovision Song Contest. She is apparently, in Euro terms, pretty damned famous. Her entire act seemed to portray some 2022 E-girl character, an 18 yo (honest Guv), who is cutesy and sexy in all the wrong ways – an Only Fans fake. I wondered whether this was healthy and whether she had been one of the pro-Hamas supporters to Israel being present in the competition, which, given ESC’s rampant LGBTQ focus, would seem like Turkey’s voting for Christmas. In some parts of the Muslim world, 70% of the participants would receive a severe flogging, and one or two of them would be shot pour encourager les autres.  But they are young people in the main and so naive – unlike Ellie Blake. “Who She?” I hear you ask.

When 13-year-old ‘Ellie Blake’ turned up for her first day at Jeremiah Burke High in Boston, she seemed to slot right in. They started to get a little suspicious after some months when someone saw her parking a 1994 Ford Cortina and head into class with some fags and a tax return sticking out of her pocket! It turned out ‘Ellie’ was Shelby Hewitt, a 32-year-old social worker who’d conned her way into the school by posing as a troubled teen.  Shelby had contacted schools via fake social workers, convinced them to let her enrol, and then rocked up in braces and a ponytail to be the standard pupil gossiping about boys and doing her homework. She also convinced a social therapist and her husband to foster her, and her new ‘dad’ regularly turned up to support her in high school basketball matches. Hewitt was eventually rumbled after firing off an email from her fake social worker, claiming that ‘Ellie’ was being bullied by other kids for looking old. This allegedly manifested itself in an African American black kid telling her White school friend that the reason her wrinkles were appearing was that “White kids crack early”. The joy of all this is that no one knows Why!

I’m afraid ESC so distorts the moral compass that I just found the story brilliantly funny, and whilst Boston social services appear to have been slack in their computer management, record-management, security, and application of common sense, plus there will also be a large number of people feeling very stupid, I’m not sure I’d be inclined to bang up the kid impersonator. Instead, teach her Latvian or Estonian, then teach her to sing. After that, and wearing her Boston High School kit, we’ll see her in Croatia or The Netherlands at next year’s ESC!

I suppose some sense of normality was re-established at Chester on the second day. The winners were all drawn no higher than four and I had a nasty dose of seconditis. The record books show that we made a profit on Thursday, but it was entirely down to a large lunge on a Jonjo horse at Huntingdon. I took the 9/1 from bet365 so I was pretty pleased. However, all I achieved was to get the funding back on even keel. Never mind – the reality is that we’re only 7.8 pts down for two days and we have everything to play for. So that you know – I won’t be trying to find the winner of a televised Class 2 five-runner handicap at Ascot with a guaranteed prize fund of £45k where the favourite is rated 83 and the nearest rival is 96.

I’d rather have a bet on Netherlands for the ESC. Top 5 placing at 2/1 – no brainer.

1:50 Ascot AMERICAN BAY 4 pts Win

17:00 Market Rasen IRON HEART 7 pts Win

14:20 Ascot MISS RASCAL 2 x 3 pt doubles with the above. 1 pt Treble

1:30 CAA Stellar Earl Grosvenor Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 7½f 13 run

BOARDMAN 4pts e/w – FINN’S CHARM 1½ pts e/w

2:05 Boodles Darley “Confined” Maiden Stakes Cl2 (3yo) 1m4½f 7 run

The field to beat MOONSILVER 4 x ½ pt SFC

2:35 Free Bet Friday Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m2½f 9 run


3:05 IRE-Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Huxley Stakes (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m2½f 9 run

ISRAR ran horribly LTO. His action was commented on at the time as seeming scratchy  – which might suit here, but not me.


3:40 Duke Of Westminster Supporting The Chester Cup Cl2 (4yo+) 2m2½f 17 run

FORZA ORTA 4 pts Win – MAGELLAN STRAIT  4 pt Win – ZEALANDIA 3 pts e/w – SOLENT GATEWAY 3 pts e/w 6 places generally

Be wary of Too Friendly – just can’t see how to cover him as well. Exotics?

4:15 Duke Of Westminster Supporting The Chester Plate Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 2m2½f 17 run

Dutch LAW OF THE SEA and BAEZ 8 pts.

4:50 Horse PWR Apprentice Hcap (Div I) Cl4 (4yo+ 0-78) 1m4½f 9 run

LEAP YEAR LAD 3 pts e/w

5:23 Horse PWR Apprentice Hcap (Div II) Cl4 (4yo+ 0-78) 1m4½f 9 run

TURNER GIRL 4 pts e/w



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