The online diary is awash with appointments, reminders, and “Possibles” and great care has to be taken in their acceptance and insertions, as The Hon’s ability to deliver me from A to B runs the risk of being severely impaired. That sounds grand and truly isn’t meant to; the reality is that I only have three appointments in the next two weeks and The Hon has that per day. Today for example, I had a trip to the GP, where I was told that my life expectancy could be increased by 250 years if I only swerve alcohol, avoid bacon sarnies, or any place where bacon might be served, pass up all potatoes and things such as Bloody Mary’s that are made from potatoes, avoid casual sex with goats and say prayers for Greta Thunberg. I expected this lecture to be delivered by either Nurse A, who makes me look like Twiggy on Crack, (Oh physician, heal thyself) or Dr X who regards me as an Infidel and unclean in many ways. Nothing said, just the sneer of the true believer when confronted by Satan. I am not able to ask him “Where he is from”, lest the House of Windsor remove me from polite society, but I have visited many parts of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa and, in the main, found the people charming. On that basis, he may simply be from Bradford and hate posh accents. I wonder whether to ask him for a loan to keep things balanced. What I have yet to tell him, is that I used to gamble with Haile Selassie’s son Crown Prince Asfaw Wossen in the old Village Casino. He played the worst blackjack end-box of any player in world history and his roulette strategy was woeful. He was a very sad man, who looked just like his ill-treated father.
Sorry, I digress…
So The Hon did her tennis, and rushed back for the GP, then away once more, to go through Rockey the Cocky’s mock Field Test. Yes – the Dog had exams today! The Hon. does not shoot and Rocky is unlikely to be introduced to the Cotswold/Clarkson/Cameron shooting set, but the general concept is that an occupied mind is a healthy mind and nothing reaps rewards more than a healthy Cocker on full charge. The course that The Hon and Rocky attend produces masses of printed material including the guide to the standards required for acquiring one’s Grade 2 Junior Hunting Retriever. Essentially the dog will demonstrate an enthusiasm and aptitude for hunting. Tick – except he wants to keep what he’s caught – and why not? I don’t give away my winnings without a struggle. The tests will also ascertain good progress in his basic obedience – hmm; and that a good retrieving habit has been established. Judging by the collection of walking shoes, gloves and oven cloths in his bed, game over! Is the money for this course well-spent? Who cares – Rocky and The Hon are having a huge amount of fun – and they are being taught by people who patently understand the breed. How do I know this? Because writ large under the title Heelwork is the entire history of the Spaniel breed summed up in one line.
“Spaniel heelwork is not expected to be extremely precise”.
When the mock is done, notes are taken regarding the likely future outcome and the bits that need extra work. I predict a delay. The Hon will return, will drop the dog off, will race off again to pick up medicines for her papa, then deliver them and take wine with him, and then return exhausted, to sit with the dog, united in their anticipation of dinner. Tomorrow is London and the 50th birthday of a goddaughter’s husband and an overnight stay. The dog will have been returned to the breeder for overnight shock therapy… “See that’s what your life could have been like!” Then Hampshire for Sunday drinks for the wrinklies, following another Godchild’s sister’s wedding. I am only away for one night but already there are three sets of clothes, travelling, party, and drinks. How did Jeeves cope with having to plan for so many choices?
Talking of too many selections that are not anticipated as being extremely precise, here are the tips.
1:35 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet September Stks (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f 7 run
BAY BRIDGE will probably go off odds-on, the price reflecting perhaps the 5lb pull he gets from the Gosden runner ISRAR. That said this has not been Stoutey’s finest season and BAY BRIDGE hasn’t exactly shone either. ISRAR by contrast, recently beat 2021 Derby winner Adayar in the Princess of Wales G2 at Newmarket’s July meeting LTO. He’s had a nice break since then and coming from a stable with such an excellent recent record in the race he appeals as the most likely trends winner. The price has appeal.
ISRAR 3 pts Win
1:50 HAYDOCK Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Superior Mile Stks (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m 8 run
The trends suggest CHICHESTER – CHINDIT – ZOOLOGY. Sam Hoskins tells me that SIR BUSKER might need this as a pipe opener after time off for an eye infection. REGAL REALITY comes from a stable that has won this 3 times from 5 runners – but the Stoutey question still isn’t answered and at the time of writing Sir Michael is achieving just a 13% strike rate – but more importantly the beaten horses aren’t achieving many podiums either. A t the current price – and I know they’re going to be gentle on him, I still have SIR BUSKER as second best in this field and anything above 10/1 is a bonus.
SIR BUSKER 2 pts e/w (10/1 or better)
2:10 KEMPTON (AW) Unibet London Mile Series Final Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m 14 run
The only 3yo in the race KATHAB looks to be going the right way and still looks as though his mark is reasonable. However, his age is against him and on the trends. HELM ROCK on the other hand does meet all the trends and was an easy winner LTO at Newcastle. The handicapper had dropped him back to his last winning mark, and he then drew clear to finish well on top, by 3¼l. He picks up 8lb for that, (I might have given the jockey a look for grandstanding!) BALTIMORE BOY and FIRST VIEW fought out a finish here last month and are feared most. and FIRST VIEW would be my first choice. Looking around for a possible longshot, I wonder whether Archie Watson might have a little bit spare in IMPERIAL SANDS weight-wise. He’s 6lbs shy of his last winning mark and with luck in running and a fair wind, might nick this from the front. He’s the wrong price at 20/1
FIRST VIEW 4 pts Win – IMPERIAL SANDS 1 pt e/w – The pair with HELM ROCK in 6 x ½pt CFC
2:25 HAYDOCK Get Daily Rewards With Betfair Hcap Cl2 (3yo) 1m6f 8 run
There’s a lot of talk about the Melrose providing the form line – which would suggest LORDSHIP who was 4th. Willie Haggas won this in 2020 with FAVORITE MOON who was also beaten in the Melrose and he’s being backed as I write. However, there are some little ticks in a few boxes for the Johnston pair. EDGE OF DARKNESS was never fancied for The Melrose and ran no kind of a race beaten 13½l, but he has decent form on his best form and he loses a useful 3lbs with his decent claimer. FRENCH INVASION will appreciate the flatter track.
FRENCH INVASION 2 pts e/w – EDGE OF DARKNESS 1 pt e/w
2:35 ASCOT bet365 Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 7f 14 run
James Fanshawe won this last year with Fresh and turns up here with HICKORY ridden by Saffie Osborne who finished second on the 5yo in the International Stakes LTO. The application of a visor was the probable reason for the performance, with him travelling strongly going down by just ½l. The form of that race is decent with five individual winners to come out of the race including SPANGLED MAC and ROPEY GUEST who were well behind that day. Both of them are however perfectly capable of taking this. I am reminded that ROPEY GUEST’s winning form has been in 7f-8f Handicaps being run in May to September when wearing headgear and with his last race having been run in the last 25 days or less. Those conditions have produced 6R 2W 2P.
HICKORY 4 pts win – ROPEY GUEST 2 pts e/w – The pair with SPANGLED MAC in 6 x ½pt CFC
2:45 LEOPARDSTOWN Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stks (G1) (Fillies & Mares) (3yo+) 1m 13 run
This race is the home of the Forlorn Hope – overturned favourites where the triumph of Ability over Aspiration has seen 3/1 on shots getting turned over. That however will not be the fate of TAHIYRA, Dermot Weld’s filly who has not only looked exceptional on all five of her starts but has actually kept improving. 2nd in the Guineas, winning the Irish Guineas and taking the Coronation Stakes whilst in the background is a muted whisper of doubt. So let me put it this way.
Areyerfeckinmad? She’ll hose this. Sell the children, hurl Granny from the roof and borrow against the will. You can get 6/5 in places. Ah Go on now
TAHIYRA 10 pts Win
3:00 HAYDOCK Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m6f 15 run
I am still hopeful that TRITONIC will get back to winning ways now that Alan King is sending him right-handed. I’m not sure what the problem was at Goodwood LTO – maybe the ground, but I watch and hope. I wouldn’t be surprised. ADJUVANT looks a sensible each-way proposition if we forget his Ebor run but I’m surprised Michael hasn’t helped with a claimer. In that race, however, my eye was taken by CAIUS CHORISTER who had bad traffic issues. The filly recovered well though, and stayed on to come 6th, beaten just 3l. With an unchanged mark, I’m not surprised she is being backed.
CAIUS CHORISTER 4 pts win
3:10 ASCOT Lavazza Stks (Heritage Hcap) Cl2 (3yo) 1m4f 9 run
OVERACTIVE 3 pts e/w
3:20 LEOPARDSTOWN Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stks (G1) (3yo+) 1m2f 9 run
The Irish Champion Stakes is trickier than a tricky thing doing tricks in Mr Tricky’s Circus, with just 3lb separating the top six on Racing Post Ratings. They all have outstanding bits of form so by way of an exercise in separating their sometimes conflicting form lines, I’m starting simply by looking at the fact that they have all won at least one Group 1 – except KING OF STEEL – ALFLAILA – SPREWELL – POINT LONSDALE and with AL RIFFA a non-runner, that leaves four. At the prices – and given he was second in this race last year – I think the best value might lie with ONESTO with Frankie in the plate. The 4-year-old ran a blinder on his seasonal reappearance when a 3½ length 4th of 11 to Inspiral in the G1 Jacques le Marois (1m) over too short a distance, in Deauville last month.
ONESTO 3 pts e/w
3:35 HAYDOCK Betfair Sprint Cup Stks (G1) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f 17 run
Every time I look at this card I keep stopping at SHAQUILLE and I really cannot see anything to beat him. If you must back him – then do him in a double with TAHIRYA. Meanwhile, I’m looking for the second. REGIONAL probably found the Nunthorpe pace a bit sharp and looks worth a return to 6f. He’s been backed in the last 24 hours from 16s to 10s. KHADEEM too is being backed, although with less enthusiasm. Don’t forget he had the quick ground and decent pace he needed when he won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes – again with The Headwaiter in the plate. 10 of the last 12 winners were rated 114+ and only the Favourite, KHADEEM and RUN TO FREEDOM, have achieved and the latter can step up on occasions – such as when 2nd in last year’s Champions Sprint at 150/1, or when he was 2nd in the July Cup at 28/1! GARRUS will almost certainly overturn placings with MILL STREAM who beat him in the G3 Prix de Meautry in Deauville LTO with a 3lb pull and preferred ground. LEZOO won the G1 Cheveley Park last year this time a year ago and won a Listed at Newmarket last month. With just a few pounds between the top ten in the betting, and where trouble in running could make a difference, there’s some value out there.
KHADEEM 2 pts e/w – RUN TO FREEDOM 2 pts e/w