Endless news from the BBC telling me of the Red Warning for firestorms in Auchtermuchty, the first since Mrs McGregor set fire to the Chip Pan, causing a column of black smoke that could be seen clear across the firth. Government advice is being handed out even as I type: Go immediately to your nearest Iceland shopping centre with a picnic chair and stay there to survive!
Rather selfishly, Kneesup and Co are chilling out, collectively huddled around the hole in the wall where Chernobyl used to be, cooling breezes moving the last of the vermiculite dust around. Such bliss. A temporary table will fill the hole, and on that will sit the tabletop induction hob which arrived today. Huzzah.
This new and very “Now” piece of kit was acquired on eBay for 2/6d and delivered for 3d. It wasn’t quite – but compared to the rest of the building project, that’s what it feels like. I had forgotten that whenever one is engaged in any refurb, all proportionality and sense of financial perspective fall through a giant black hole. I have to pull out increasingly bigger envelopes to fill up the back of them with calculus. There is probably a very clever algorithm on the android market that could tell me the ROI if I dump Gas, go electric, and start saving whales and keeping Goldfish. Perhaps it could also tell me what the house would be worth if Rishi or Penny wins. I shall be comforted when I can feed a dozen for dinner and not expire from heat exhaustion.
Before the new kit arrived, and while trying to fry an egg in a microwave (note to self: Don’t do that again!), I read that Newbury had got itself into deep water by being a bit mean-spirited with the prize money. This resulted in around a dozen trainers pulling their horses from the last race, The Stonegate Homes Fillies’ Novice Stakes, a C5 GBB Race, for 3yo+ over 10f. This led to a lot of cliched posturing by the RCA and Newbury. The RCA’s statement might have merit if they hadn’t said that the trainers’ action reflected “…poorly on British racing, to our customers, participants and sponsors.” All I can say is that as hard as I tried, nowhere could I find mention of the inestimable company Stonegate Homes who had been prepared to put money into Newbury’s kitty. Neither the RCA, Newbury, nor even the journalists writing the story mentioned the poor old sponsor, who presumably had already asked Mrs Flora Clutterbuck to present the Best Turned Out. One further assumes that 200 of the Chairman’s business colleagues had been invited to witness his race at the end of a jolly day in the rolling agrarian landscape and bucolic scenes of Newbury racecourse. Luckily he also sponsors Charlie Hills, so he might have some vague insight into the travails of the training fraternity.
Talking of reflecting poorly – here are the tips for Saturday.
1:50 NEWBURY bet365 Steventon Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f 5 run
CADILLAC is having his second run for De Foy since leaving Jessica Harrington; improvement is expected. He was bought the night before The Wolferton at Goffs London sales for £500k, having won the Glencairn Stakes at Leopardstown in June in something of a canter. He took a keen hold that day and then had to be pushed along 2f out, but kept on well but was no match for Dubai Future. This is the best form on display.
CADILLAC 4 pts win
2:06 MARKET RASEN Unibet Horserace Betting Operator Of The Year Hcap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m7f 7 run
GALILEO SILVER looked recalcitrant LTO at Ffos Las, but that might have been his new headgear. He was sluggish and had to be kept up to his work. He was hard-pressed but won – but it was not an inspiring ride. On the strength of that, I thought him an 11/2 shot, so at his current price, he’s a swerve. Instead, I’m going for ASK PADDINGTON, who is consistent albeit quirky and was reported as thriving after his Course win LTO. He steps up another 3f from that race.
ASK PADDINGTON 3 pts win
2:21 NEWBURY Highclere Castle Gin Cup Stakes Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 2m½f 8 run
GOING GONE has won three times over the distance, and his 2½l fourth in the Ascot Stakes (20f) suggested he has potential and is a work in progress. Coltrane – the winner – has gone on to win a Listed Sandown race by 10l, but I just wonder whether this might be too short, plus he needs an end-to-end gallop to be seen at his best. I think the value lies with DIAMOND BAY who ran well at Salisbury LTO and will like the step up in distance.
DIAMOND BAY 2 pts e/w
2:41 MARKET RASEN Unibet 15 To Go Summer Hcap Hurdle Cl2 (3yo+) 2m½f 11 run
CIRQUE ROYAL is an ex-Charlie Appleby horse and was decent. He runs best from a break, which is my only question mark, but he appears to have taken to hurdling like a duck to water. This is his hat-trick attempt off a mark which I do not think will anchor him. The danger (and some value) might come from PISGAH PIKE from Jamie Snowden’s yard. He has been returned to hurdling after a year of chasing and a break for wind surgery. His first race back after that surgery was poor and I suspect prompts this return to hurdling. He also sports cheekpieces. I love horse profiles like this!
CIRQUE ROYAL 4 pts win – PISGAH PIKE 1 pt e/w
2:56 NEWBURY bet365 Hackwood Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f 14 run
HAPPY ROMANCE won this race last year but has not progressed as much as hoped in five G1s and a Saudi G3. The best of that form is a second to A Case Of You in the Al Quoz Sprint in March. This will be an easier task. Ignore the July Cup run – she was drawn in Trap 1 and couldn’t have won from there on the back of a Ducati. SAINT LAWRENCE has been placed here on each of his three starts and has each-way possibilities AND is being backed, but GREAT AMBASSADOR gets my e/w money and is just 6 lbs wrong of his last winning mark and will handle the ground.
GREAT AMBASSADOR 2 pts e/w 5 places with Skybet and WillHill
3:14 MARKET RASEN Unibet Summer Plate Hcap Chase G3 Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5½f 14 run
5 places Skybet, WillHill
The trends for this race give us a selection of four, MAHLERS PROMISE – LIGHT N STRIKE – LICKLIGHTER – MORTLACH
I don’t fancy the latter, who I think is a small-field type and I think the rest are pretty well-exposed. However, I am drawn to the booking of Jack Wildman on board Emma Lavelle’s LIGHT N STRIKE on whom he’s won before. Emma has made positive noises about him – he’s a sexy price.
LIGHT N STRIKE 2 pts e/w
3:30 NEWBURY Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 5f 21 run
I have been recently guided by a reader to examine the merits of the progeny of Havana Grey, who has two children running here – EDDIES BOY and UNION COURT. The latter broke miserably in the Windsor Castle and then got caught out at the 2f marker as the groups merged. She kept on and might excuses. EDDIES BOY was third in that race behind Rocket Rodney – but there appeared to be some regression from the Ascot form at Sandown LTO. MARIA BRANWELL started her career well with a couple of decent wins and was then third to Dramatised in the Queen Mary – a good run but way too late. I’d love Jack Mitchell to win this on ROGUE SPIRIT, but I have a feeling that Rocket Rodney form is the key here, and so I’m having a pop at DARE TO HOPE who beat him on debut and from which race 45% of the runners have gone on to win.
DARE TO HOPE 3 pts e/w (5 places generally)
3:45 CURRAGH Juddmonte Irish Oaks (G1) (Fillies) (3yo) 1m4f 8 run
Emily Upjohn is a non-runner, MAGICAL LAGOON is too short and Emily Dickinson is underestimated. Enough said.
EMILY DICKINSON 3 pts win