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27th May 2024 3:36 am

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

Day 1 of The York Dante Meeting – and a plea for fairness

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

When The Deluge comes – and please save your money by NOT punting on a hung parliament – the new Culture Secretary (in charge of our sport) will likely be somebody who changed her name from Singh to Debbonnaire. In that one astonishingly hubristic move, Ms Thangam D. not only managed to misspell her new name but also reaffirmed that the average Socialist politician has as much in common with ordinary people as the Eurovision Song Contest has to do with common sense.

She told the press she has “…no business telling the BBC how to run its news … something which the Tories seem to ignore all the time”. Then sadly, when asked about applying her “hands-off” approach to GB News, she said: “It’s quite a challenge for me to see how we resolve having politicians of a particular party with entire programmes on a station that’s called the news”. It was then pointed out to her that David Lammy, her much more senior Shandow-Cabinet colleague, has his own programme on LBC. She declared this perfectly acceptable because his programme is; “…a means of communicating.”

As this piece of duplicitous nonsense was being promulgated, two of her colleagues managed to overturn centuries of precedence by creating a new parliamentary law that would punish any MP charged with violent or sexual offences WHEN THEY ARE ARRESTED, not when they are charged or indeed tried and found guilty. Apart from being publicly humiliated and judged guilty by public censure, the punishment not only bans them from any parliamentary buildings but also punishes those the MP represents by removing their representation. Apart from being grotesquely unfair, it is a worrying sign for the future.

J’Accuse – that’ll do, and yer can keep yer common law, you posh bastard. This Labour amendment slipped through unnoticed in Parliament, thanks to Chief Whip, Simon Hart’s continued inability to control Tory MPs, who were blissfully unaware this was happening. Hart was also in charge at one time of protecting fox-hunting… enough said.

Claudia Winkleman is my bodyguard!

Once again, I lose money on a non-runner. I had a plunge on the Netherlands in the ESC for a top 5 position at 2/1. He then had, what is sometimes described as, a meltdown, caused by a cameraperson infringing his space – after he had previously gone mildly “pop” at the shared news conference with the Israeli singer Golan Heights. She had been asked whether she considered her presence might cause a security risk for the other contestants. With all the charm of a disinterested dung-beetle already embedded in the ordure, she said, “No – it hasn’t crossed my mind.” Johny Dutchman then asked – not entirely unreasonably: “Why the fuck not?” One thing led to another: he was sacked, and my bet was lost.

Thus, I ask – and yes, there is a connection: why can’t the Tattersalls Committee or The Jockey Club or The BHA or anybody prepared in the racing industry JUST FOR ONCE to do something for the punters, make a rule that says all horses must have travelled past the starter to be declared a runner. Two weeks ago, we had an NH Sandown race start with a horse facing the wrong way and never passing the starting line. We’ve already seen horses not clearing the starting stalls on mechanical grounds this year. The same should apply to athletics, boxers, Eurovision Song Contestants – when the competition properly starts, they’re competing, or they’re not. If they’re not, then the bet must be treated as a non-runner. It should not be in the hands of the bookmakers to issue a voluntary refund in return for a ringing TV endorsement from Ed “No Bookies Quesionned Here” Chamberlain.

I don’t want a gift from the bookies – I want, naively, fairness.

14:15 Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap (Class 2) (1m4f)

I have tried every way, but the best I can come up with is a short list of three based on the trends. If I follow the same trend, that tells me that 6 of the last 7 winners came from stalls 5-7. I am left with CRYSTAL DELIGHT and CHILLINGHAM and am forced to discard FLASH BARDOT, who is drawn in stall 8. The bookies have priced KLONDIKE as if he is a certain podium finisher, so one assumes that the benefits of his recent wind-op have been noticed – and based on his Bahrain Trophy 4th he might well be placed – but I’m afraid I thought CRYSTAL DELIGHT’s Epsom win looked top notch. I’d want to wait and see how MARHABA THE CHAMP’s gelding has worked, and as he’s unexposed over the trip he’s far too short for me. Away from the trends, KIHAVAH has won C&D handicaps at this meeting in 2022 & 2023 and is 3 wins from 5 at York. He’s race-fit, and the yard expects a big run with Osin Murphy booked.  I’m going to leave CHILLINGHAM alone as I think he prefers flooding.


14:45 Churchill Tyres Handicap (Class 2) (6f)

Charlie Hills ORAZIO, and the morning-line favourite, is now a non-runner, and that leaves me with a trends shortlist of MAGICAL SPIRIT, ALEEZDANCER and CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD. On top of that, whenever SUMMERGHAND appears, you have to wonder whether today is the day again, so he has to go on the shortlist! MAGICAL SPIRIT’s trainer won this last year and MS won easily at Donny LTO. He’s up 7lb for that win but has a lot going for him, and a repeat of his last run would probably win this. ALEEZDANCER is from the same yard and looks fairly priced. CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD was staying on when 3rd at Newmarket LTO, but he has not won for some time, and I thought he broke pretty slowly at Newmarket, which was why he had to do so much work in the middle. SUMMERGHAND looked in excellent shape and to be enjoying the game when he ran so well at Newmarket last month. I respect MR WAGYU, a two-time C&D winner who was impressive when 2nd at Ripon on his seasonal debut 18 days ago.

MAGICAL SPIRIT 4 pts e/w – All 5 boxed 20 x ¼ pt CFC  – All 5 boxed 60 x 10p Tricast

15:15 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes (Group 2) (6f)

It’s a top-quality sprint with very definite trends. Almost immediately, I am left with just two to consider: AZURE BLUE and MONTASSIB. The latter needs the word Soft to appear in the going description, so I’m swerving him – but he has been widely tipped. AZURE BLUE found the July Cup beyond her last season, but she remains one to keep on the side this season. I also had SWINGALONG in the notebook after his fourth in Ascot’s G1 Champion Sprint last October. The race-fit SPYCATCHER will surely have his supporters, but from the Haggas brace, I prefer TIBER FLOW, who was 5th in the Abernant – the race everyone seems to be using as the yardstick.


15:45 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (1m21⁄2f)

I find it very difficult to see past the favourite FRIENDLY SOUL who we backed LTO when she won The Pretty Polly at 10/1. That was probably the best performance by a 3yo filly so far this season, so she looks the most likely winner here both on form and trend lines, and with her proven stamina, the Kingman filly is preferred over Fillies’ Mile fourth CLASSICAL SONG, who like her stablemate LA PASIONARIA, is an Oaks entrant with improvement to find now she steps up in distance.

Rather than back her for this – take an ante-post price right now on her winning the Oaks. She is 10/1 with Unibet

ANTEPOST: FRIENDLY SOUL Oaks 5pts e/w @ 10/1 Unibet   

16:15 Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap (Class 3) (7f)

The trends shortlist suggests ELMONJED, RESPECTFUL, TRUE PROMISE and THURSDAY’S CHILD. On form figures, FIRE DEMON has to be considered after a brace of AW wins especially as the yard is firing on all eight cylinders and Oisin is riding like a man who can’t be beat. Then the eye is taken by the booking of Ryan Moore on EXPENSIVE QUEEN who lost her last race at the start, just getting a bit jiggy beforehand. RESPECTFUL makes his handicap debut, and he’s on a fair mark. BLUE PRINCE is not as exposed as many of these and he has winning course form. A return to 7f will suit and he’s 7lb better off with FIRE DEMON for 2¼l beating at Newcastle in March.

ELMONJED 4 pts Win – RESPECTFUL 2 pts e/w


14:30 Las Welsh Cottage Cakes Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (2m)

BUCEPHALUS needs rain, and it looks like he’s getting it. All three of his wins have come on soft and heavy ground, and he is improving every race into a decent hurdler. He has picked up 2lb for a clear second to an improver at Bangor LTO, but is more than capable of putting another win on the board with his useful 7lb claimer Adam Ryan. You’ll struggle to get bigger than 7s. SADDLERS QUEST got hampered by a faller 3 out at Ludlow 3 days ago on his seasonal reappearance. He goes well fresh, he was travelling as well as anything at the time and has a squeak here.



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