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24th July 2024 11:44 am

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

Don’t let The Gambling Commission ruin your Cheltenham

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

Just in: CJM… Bunter… Ken… Thank you. They join: 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

Another shock retirement this week, with news that Tom Scudamore has called it a day after 25 years in the saddle and has yet to turn 41. Concussion a couple of weeks ago and a realisation that all top athletic professionals (and even the occasional fading boulevardier) neither heal quickly nor creak less with time. Unlike some resignations, Tom is not going because the polls suggest he’ll never ride another winner, nor is he going because of his very strong transspecies views (look it up). Indeed he has never shown any support for racehorses that want to call themselves sheep, although the RSPCA are surely fully supportive of this – believing horses are fully entitled to do so as they are sentient and fully capable of donating funds to a good cause. I wish him well.

Sadly the people this week on my “Why in the name of all that’s holy are you still here?” list, are still there. There is an acronym for their position based on their condition – which I suspect is actually a form of mental illness. It is their mantra whenever they are asked to go. They suffer from Fully and Uncaringly Conscious of Keeping One’s Final Function. This is the position of Andrew Rhodes the head of the Gambling Commission, who decided he was being very clever by being very literal in an interview in the RP last weekend. He had not per se instructed the bookies to ask for payslips and bank statements, but in the near same breath, explained the bookies are required to prove that punters can afford to bet or face prosecution, fines and possible loss of licence. How they get that proof is up to them. This is the way Gangsters think and dictatorships operate. “If you don’t shoot him Luigi – I’m killing your brother.”

Does any of this really matter to us Joes on the Road to Perdition? Well sadly it does, because that is exactly the view of the Gambling Commission. You’re gambling therefore you’re already on the road to hell – or at least a bad place littered with broken families and sobbing infants – and it must be stopped. The same of course applies to drinking, meat-eating, heating one’s house, driving to work and failing to drink 100 litres of water a day.

Lest you think me a flaneur, consider this my cherubs. Every week you have a Saturday punt. You take for example The Raceweb tips and you do them in doubles and trebles to give you an interest in TV racing. It costs you – as we have proved with the results over a year – about 10 pts a weekend. But for Cheltenham week, you’re off to stay with chums, you’re in the company box and your tweeds are brushed and pressed. You’ve ignored Raceweb’s tips, you’re loaded for bear and you deposit 1000 pts with your bookie for the week. If each point in this scenario is 51p – NOT £1 but 49p less – then your account at 888 or William Hill will be frozen until you can supply details, of your pay, banking arrangements, where you got the money from in some cases and so on and so forth. This is because their stated investigatory threshold is £500 and any deposit bigger than that might trigger an investigation. Industry experts (what a loathsome word), believe we could easily see a 40% drop in revenue.

If this does happen to you then please complain. Write a letter to your MP. Write a letter to Lucy Frazer, the Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire. Her appointment last week was potentially positive for racing… her constituency includes the July course at Newmarket and the National Stud. She is regarded as a supporter of the sport, but she needs to know this is wrong. Incidentally, when you write to your MP, you might also point out that the affordability checks for 4 days does not stretch to the cost of 20 pints of Guinness [£160], on course food [budget £80], two celebratory bottles of fizz [£140], the racecourse tickets [£400], parking in Auchtermuchty [£80]. I am not including petrol, hotel accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, gifts for hosts and so ad infinitum.

Finally what was going on at the Nicola Bulley press conference? Quite extraordinary and a massive overreaction by Old Bill to irresponsible media reports suggesting the police weren’t doing their jobs. The way to respond to social media isn’t to make comments that are guaranteed to start a Twitter storm, by belittling the victim. The ability of British Police to constantly shoot themselves in the PR foot is so sad, when in the main and overall they do a tough job for tuppence. This is a rare moment when I cannot think of an appropriate segue, so get on with you to the tips. Because I am out and about today, they are in a slightly “note” or précis form.

1:50 ASCOT Bateaux London Reynoldstown Nov’ Chase (G2) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m 4 run

NO BET – My new rule I’m not punting in 4 runner races.

2:05 HAYDOCK Betfred Rendlesham Hdl (G2) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m½f 7 run

This looks like a poor renewal and nothing really leaps off the page. I could have had a pop at ITCHY FEET, but WAKOOL seems a couple of points too big. He’ll love the ground, and is a strong traveller.

WAKOOL 2 pts win

2:25 ASCOT LK Bennett Swinley Hcap Chase Cl1 (5yo+) 3m 14 run

The market looks about right. CAP DU NORD, REVELS HILL, LASKALIN, NEON MOON.

REVELS HILL First-time cheekpieces. Good form figs.  NOCTE VALATES Tom Lacey is in flying form 4W 5p 12R last fortnight. Cheltenham Trials Day Paddy Power has produced 5/6, exception finished 3rd.  That might be marker for PHOENIX WAY.


2:40 HAYDOCK Betfred Grand National Trial Hcap Chase Cl1 (5yo+) 3m4½f 15 run

Only one of the last 25 winners won NTO. 12 of the 25 failed to finish NTO. Stretched to 1st 3 places 3 of the 75 won NTO 38/75 failed to finish. Trends: QUICK WAVE – GRUMPY CHARLEY – TIME TO GET UP

QUICK WAVE 3 Pts e/w

3:00 ASCOT Ascot Racecourse Supports Box4Kids Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m3½f 13 run

Last 50 winners aged 4-8yo: Max 12 hdl starts max 3 hurdle wins ran in a hdl race to. Newland WHIZZ KID has had 5 runners and 3 won all under 10/1 or less form lto produced winner FIFTY BALL always needs 1st run of the season so ignore last run.


3:12 WINCANTON Wincanton Jennings Bet Kingwell Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7f 4 run

No Bet

3:35 ASCOT Betfair Ascot Chase (G1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m5f 6 run

On the trends from its 235 2 Won this last year all the conditions are his favourite. His price is too big and he’ll probably go off 5/4. Can’t work out SHISHKIN


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