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

Going Cuckoo in Purdah

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

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Capt. Martin Becher

The trouble with managing this lurgi is the absence of the guiding bark. The Hon is absent having gone to London and then Liverpool for three days, leaving me to my own devices. I had the wit to ensure a sufficiency of life-saving consumables; mince pies, Snorkers, frozen chips, Muffins (of the sort that a faux McBreakfast might be served in), you get the picture, but the reality is that I have simply reverted to Student, but sans alcool.

Some work, some research, mostly footy, some Netflix and Prime, and a diet of Banger sarnies (with sliced tomato in a cursory nod to the five a day). Tea-a-plenty, inhalations, another bout of spread-betting losses, cursing the Germans and Spanish – again. But in the end, it’s Student. I fancied I was even beginning to smell a bit studenty, so took a shower… all discipline has gone with the hacking lung.

Of course, I did more research on recent events and discovered that the Grand Panjandrum of The Racially Affronted, is in fact a Bajan and not from West Africa or indeed the actual continent, so was a bit fast out of the trap when it came to being sensitive about her origins. Then she was not actually invited, but coat-tailed her way in; has a history of publically speaking out against the Royal Family, and had called Piers Morgan a racist for his views on Meghan Markle. The charity did not begin operating until 2019, having been formed in 2018. It has been fined for late registration of accounts, pays her £65k pa and spent £180,000 on unaccounted expenses. I could be wrong, but it is entirely possible that the earlier ripe smell wasn’t me at all, but perfidy walking amongst us.

Dishonour waits on perfidy. A man should blush to think a falsehood; it is the crime of cowards.

Samuel Johnson

The Christmas Card is almost done, a task which heralds my ever-present desire to fulfil a pastoral role – with certain provisos, (no body fluids, sickness, poverty, smells etc). This is a possible leftover from my time on at the knee of Cardinal Godfrey when the priesthood was considered. The slow fuse of my semi-religious state bursts into flame about the first of December, when I become excited by the thought of treble voices, the smell of incense, mince pies, cold Christmas pudding slices fried off in butter – all these forever trapped in memories of Christmas Pasts when everything was Good.

Thus the Christmas Card is my effort to be Kind and supportive and to show I care. The card takes the form of a Commonplace and sometimes it is the things that don’t make it to print that gives pause. Why? Was it too long? Then killed off or put by in a second repository to be dusted off and nibbled at in some Christmas Future?  I give you the following piece by way of example – it held my attention, got me thinking, and occupied too much of my time and now I hand it to you to read on the train! CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE PDF

Talking of insights that should never have made it into print, here are the selections for the weekend…

1:30 AINTREE Boylesports Many Clouds Chs (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f 6 run

AHOY SENIOR should win this from the front and it would be no surprise to see DASHEL DRASHER filling the minor spot alongside Emmett Mullins raider NOBLE YEATS

AHOY SENIOR 4 pts Win – 2 x 1 SFC to beat DASHEL DRASHER and NOBLE YEATS

1:45 SANDOWN Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices’ Chs (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f 4 run

JONBON obs but not at that price.

NO BET

2:05 AINTREE Boylesports Becher Hcap Chs Cl1 (6yo+) 3m2f 23 run

SNOW LEOPARDESS won this last year, but she’s 6lb higher this time around and was PU LTO at Warwick. Swerve. I do fancy FIVE STAR GETAWAY who ran in The Topham in April (finished mid-div) and who got a pipe-opener in at Bangor recently. To say that he was hard-ridden at the finish, would be as accurate as my stating I swam the Atlantic in a record time! Trust me his 4th was the steadiest end to a race I’ve ever seen. He’s only 2lb higher now than his impressive Boxing Day win last year and the early 14/1 was gone by Friday night. 10/1 for 6 places still looks OK. Another one to catch the eye is Jimmy Moffatt’s RAPID FLIGHT at 66/1. Jimmy won this in 2015 with Highland Lodge who was also 2nd the following year. Only six, RAPID FLIGHT had a good summer season at Cartmel and fared okay behind Crystal Glory at Hexham a couple of weeks ago – the price is far too sexy for a progressive type. ASHTOWN LAD is at the opposite end of the board and shows as the probable favourite after a decent 3rd here last month and he looks well-handicapped for the always-to-be-feared Skeltons. The two Mullins horses CAPTAIN KANGAROO and RECITE A PRAYER are both players and have decent form. History suggests you back the pants off both of them on their next three runs.

(7 places with Skybet)

FIVE STAR GETAWAY 3 pts e/w – RAPID FLIGHT 1 pt e/w – The five selections in a 20x¼pt CFC (RAPID FLIGHT – ASHTOWN LAD – FIVE STAR GETAWAY – CAPTAIN KANGAROO – THE SNOW LEOPARDESS)

2:20 SANDOWN Betfair Daily Rewards Hcap Hdl Cl2 (3yo+ 0-150) 2m 10 run

This used to be a Listed Race, but look what happens when you let standards slip! This was also a race that tended to be won by 4yo and as there is only one he might be worth having a look at. A French graduate, he won his debut easy peasy, then ran like a chien after a 2lb beef bone supper in the G1 Juvenile at Aintree. He’s been scratching around in handicaps and well off the radar and is now 7lbs lighter at 120. If I run the old trends over the field I end up with two I might play as exotics… HERMES BOY and BASHFUL BOY

IN THE AIR 3 pts e/w

2:40 AINTREE Boylesports Daily Money Back 2nd Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m4f 13 run

It really should be between GUNSIGHT RIDGE and RIDERS ONTHE STORM but they’re terribly short for this tricky race. As an aside, for some reason, I seem to be spending some time at the bottom of the tissue and thinking I see the wrong prices about good performances. EMPIRE STEEL is a decent chaser and I fancy him for a staying chase this season, but I think he needs mud and further and so whilst he’s in my book, this could be a prep for worse weather to come. Just watch him and hope today isn’t the day.

RIDERS ONTHE STORM 2 pts Win

2:55 SANDOWN Betfair Tingle Creek Chs (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7½f 6 run

There’s only one thing you need to remember in the race and it is this magical number. 112112112. This is FUNAMBULA SIVOLA’s chase record over 2m. By all means, have a saver on GREANETEEN and give SHISHKIN a pat on the neck when he comes back home 3rd, but just give me some space at the bookies please…

FUNAMBULA SIVOLA 4 pts e/w

3:15 AINTREE Boylesports Extra Places Daily Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f 13 run

HARBOUR LAKE 3 pts Win

3:30 SANDOWN London National Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+ 0-150) 3m5f 11 run

I have shortened the list somewhat on the trends and the top of my list would be Harry Fry’s REVELS HILL who kept on nicely to take a good second behind Your Darling at Ascot LTO. He’s only got a 1lb for his 3½l defeat and this drop in grade looks perfect for him. D’JANGO also makes my shortlist and 80/1 is way too big.

REVELS HILLS 5 pts Win

 

 

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