These last few days have been busy, so I had failed to notice that racing was actually “on” during the Coronation. For some reason, I had instead assumed that we would, as one nation, gather to watch HM, share a slice of savoury tart, (not a Quiche), a couple of glasses of Bolly and Three Huzzahs for HM.
Oh no…. none of that thank you very much. Not only is racing on, but it’s also relentless, The 1000 and 2000 Guineas, The Palace Stakes, The Kentucky Derby, and don’t forget Badminton and The Wells Fargo PGA and the Rugby and the…. Everywhere you look, people are pointlessly sweating.
It’s no surprise that HM culled the guest list – they’re all too busy jogging, yoga’ing [?], cycling and otherwise engaging in “wellness”. That overused word implies that there was once a time when people voluntarily said, “No – I can’t go out today – I have to work on my Illness.”
Do you remember those glorious times when we didn’t think about Wellness? We were all terribly keen on staying alive, but that isn’t the same thing at all and generally involved generous dollops of very ordinary food, copious beers, and on a wet Wednesday if you were a sophisticate or on the pull, Wine. Fags, of course, the odd puff, no Bolivian, No Dragons and Smack was for the sads who one could only try and guide. Occasionally, like once in about six months, one of the five hundred or so people one spoke to regularly every month (as in verbal not text) would say they were feeling a bit low, and one might give them a hug and a cheer-up – or take them out for a Bistro Vino Chicken Kiev.
Now it turns out that I am blessed because there is a Wellness Institute to guide me away from watching historic moments on the box and getting me instead to become informed about healthy living, self-help, self-care, fitness, nutrition, diet and the spiritual practices that have become flourishing wellness movements in the 21st century. This would allow me to then engage in the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.
That sounds similar in spirit to everything I have been doing since the last Coronation, namely trying to remember not to mix Grape and Grain; drinking milk before a night out, eating a full working man’s breakfast when hungover – followed by a reviving pint of Guinness and a large very spicy BM with chums at The Old Dogs pub; praying to God for help, advice and support for family and chums, and avoiding the ingestion of Tripe and Tongue.
I also suspect that I would be much “More Wellness” – “Weller” – “Wellnessed” if I could become tolerant of the truly stupid, who will cut you off, not do their job, be hugely disrespectful and fail to deliver a single jot of comfort or satisfaction in the name of Customer Service. Sadly in the case of His Majesty, it will be a constant parade of very low-rate, minimal-ability politicians who impact his “Wellness”, simply from their ability to scale a greasy pole.
So I pray for you, My Liege. I wish you well and pray for your health and your leadership and guidance. I pray that God’s gentle hand rests on all those you love and cherish. You will be frustrated – but probably on a different level to many of your subjects. But always remember in those moments, that you could be me. You will also have moments of real fun and joy – on the same level as the rest of us because that is the nature of Life. Be Wise, enjoy the love and loyalty you are surrounded by, and please remember, we are not all equal, and I don’t want to be. Amen
Talking of the triumph of stupidity over reason – here are some of Friday’s and Coronation Day’s TV tips
1:15 NEWMARKET Newmarket Stakes (Listed Race) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2f ITV4 8 runners
Bearing in mind that you’re better off backing those that ran in a C4 Mdn LTO (C1s are 20R – 1W – 10 races) and having a run at Newmarket LTO (5/10) there is only one candidate and that is WAIPIRO, who won a 10f Novice at 25-1 and this at HQ. By Australia, he monkeyed around in the prelims and I had him marked as probably for cutting. However, once on the course, there was a large dollop of Duck to Water about him. He led early, got headed by the favourite Liberty Lane, and patently thought “Nah” got the lead back a furlong out and won by 3½l with I felt a lot more in the closet. Given that he was not race fit, still immature and had plenty of scope 10/1 is the wrong price forever. I think he’s potentially special – look at the race.
WAIPIRO 4 pts e/w
1:30 GOODWOOD Juddmonte EBF Restricted Novice Stakes (Bands C And D) (EBF Qualifier) (GBB/IRE Incentive Race) Cl2 (2yo) 5f ITV4 13 runners
1:50 NEWMARKET bet365 Mile (Group 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m ITV4 5 runners
Transferred from last Friday’s abandoned Sandown card
NATIVE TRAIL in a 5 pt double with TIME LOCK 2:05 Goodwood
2:05 GOODWOOD British EBF 40th Anniversary Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f ITV4 9 runners
TIME LOCK went up 12 for her last effort and Frankel’s daughter looks nailed on for this.
TIME LOCK see above
2:25 NEWMARKET King Charles II Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo) 7f ITV4 8 runners
The race has been brought forward two weeks to expand the Guineas meeting to three days. It has no meaningful trends.
MAJESTIC PRIDE 2 pt treble with TIME LOCK and NATIVE TRAIL
2:35 GOODWOOD William Hill Pick Your Places Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 5f ITV4 8 runners
WHENTHEDEALINSDONE is being backed like a good thing – which it might well be. This is one of Roger Teals brightest hopes.
WHENTHEDEALINSDONE 4 pts Win
3:00 NEWMARKET Nyetimber Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 7f ITV4 8 runners
One should always be wary of ACCIDENTAL AGENT even at the age of 9, who can still arrive sharp for the first race of the year. He did so last year over C&D and off the same mark (carried 9st 4lbs). It’s simply a question of Tempus Fugiting and weight and I’d prefer to see him running with 9st 2lbs rather the lump he’s got. THE GATEKEEPER appears to never sleep, having his 4th race of the season so far. Having missed his 3yo career, he doesn’t;t have many miles on the clock so I’m wary. FINAL WATCH hails from William Stone and I’d really like to see him cracking the winner’s enclosure a bit more often before I start getting excited about this one – who is in and out, witness his last race at Newbury. BASS PLAYER looks out of love with the game so I’m slightly left with PERSUASION. His LTO performance at Southwell was encouraging and he looks on a very handy OR of 88, 5lbs better than his last winning mark.
PERSUASION 4 pts Win
3:10 GOODWOOD Not on TV:
I have had a strong whisper for ERNIE’S VALENTINE – he has decent form and has Cieren Fallon to reintroduce him to Turf winning ways in what looks like a very decent piece of race planning.
ERNIE’S VALENTINE 4 pts Win
3:35 NEWMARKET Jockey Club Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f ITV4 5 runners
Almost a No Bet. A very tactical race with HURRICANE LANE turning in a lacklustre performance on his seasonal debut. The favourite should win this but it will depend on pace. No I’m right
Marcus Tregonning’s SKYSAIL is of interest.
2:15 NEWMARKET Howden British EBF Ellen Chaloner StksCl1 (3yo+) 6f ITV4
The trends all point to PERDIKA with William Buick in the plate.Ran a blinder at Chantilly to win a Listed but that was on VSoft ground. The rain might have arrived by then. To avoid the risk of the wrong ground I suggest dutching with a proven fast ground horse GALE FORCE MAYA
PERDIKA – GALE FORCE MAYA 7 pts Dutch Win
2:50 NEWMARKET Howden Hcap (Heritage Hcap) Cl2 (4yo+) 6f ITV4
The trends are a bit weak on this as it is one of those races that constantly (about every 7 years) change something. My personal choice leaves me with BLACKROD, LEAP ABOARD and LETHAL LEVI. I’m doing all three for 2 pts e/w
BLACKROD – LEAP ABOARD – LETHAL LEVI 2 pts e/w each – ¼ pt CFC with SUMMERGHAND
3:05 GOODWOOD William Hill Epic Value Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 1m2f ITV4
3:25 NEWMARKET Suffolk StksCl2 (3yo+) 1m1f ITV4
After a bullish report from Sam Hoskins, the head of KVT, I understand that my selection and his horse, might be tipped up in The Racing Post this Saturday so get on big and get on early. DUAL IDENTITY was 3rd to MAJESTIC in the Cambridgeshire, and the latter was 4th in the Lincoln LTO. They now have a 3lb advantage on MAJESTIC. Topically, HM will be putting down his napkin and getting the family around the box to watch His, sorry Hers, SAGA who does have a chance.
DUAL IDENTITY 4 pts e/w – MAJESTIC 2 pt Win (insurance)
3:40 THIRSK Vickers.Bet Thirsk Hunt Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m ITV4
David O’Meara’s is a great one for popping in a handicapper on a Saturday and whilst I wondered about Summergand earlier, I think PISANELLO might do the business here, in a race in which he has three possibilities. Remarkably consistent, he floats around the 77-83 mark with his irksome trademark of missing the break but getting placed. It’s as though the whole gate thing is a total mystery. However, his price in this (around 6s as I write) suggests market confidence that this is his day. Just in case it isn’t, I guide you gently to SYMBOLIZE from Julie Camacho who recently purchased the nag at the October HiT at Newmarket, sold from Andrew Balding’s yard. He has shown some sparkle for his new handler. Ground with the word soft in the description will be best.
PISANELLO – SYMBOLIZE 2 pts e/w both
4:00 NEWMARKET Howden Palace House Stks(G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f ITV4
Apart from the trainer, Ed Bethell, everyone thinks SANDBECK is a bit ordinary at worst and, at best, a decent handicapper. So why is she here? It is a punt on the going. No rain and the current 40s will look chunky. Worth a small e/w punt anyway. In the real world Charlie Hills’ EQUALITY, again for the KVT team, is being backed like a Shakespearian First Folio in a bookbinders – for a lot of money. Opened 18s now 11s. No finer man for getting a sprinter Black Type, there is a lot to like about EQUALITY. Another to catch my eye is Clive Cox’s GET AHEAD who finished like a train at Bath in the listed Lansdown Stakes to get third after a cramped and rather messy start.
EQUALITY 4 pts e/w – GET AHEAD 2 pts e/w – SANDBECK 1 pt e/w
4:40 NEWMARKET Qipco 2000 Guineas Stks(G1) (Colts & Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m ITV4
Things we know we know:
- Ao’B has never seen a horse like it and is “just terribly lucky” “…very grateful” and has “a marvellous team”. This has been said more about the market leader AUGUSTE RODIN than his other runner LITTLE BIG BEAR who has a higher rating from almost everyone. That is why AR is the favourite.
- We have little recent data to guide us and we don’t know for sure that all of the will stay. To that end I have created the Does He Stay (DHS) figure: No = 1 Yes = 5
1 AUGUSTE RODIN
He will probably be suited by further, but he’s one of the proven class performers in this. He could be at a different level to his rivals if he is as gifted as his trainer suggests, but his form does not warrant his price over this distance on this ground. DHS 5
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore
Forecast odds: 13/8F
With Frankie unshipped at The Greenham start, we have no handle on whether this top two-year-old has improved. I suspect he is not a speedster seeming to use petrol sparingly, with the winning margin in three of his four races being less than 3/4l, culminating in the Dewhurst. He has beaten ROYAL SCOTSMAN, as well as INDESTRUCTIBLE twice and SILVER KNOTT twice. I just don’t know whether he stays a mile. DHS 3
Trainer: Andrew Balding Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Forecast odds: 6/1
Acts on soft ground and ran second to Isaac Shelby in the Greenham. I suspect he’ll be best at 7f. DHS 2
Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: Tom Marquand
Forecast odds: 33/1
4 DUBAI MILE
Won a narrow G1 at Saint-Cloud (1m2f, heavy) in October making it three of his five starts to date. I think he might make the pace. Rain would help him. DHS 5
Trainer: Charlie Johnston Jockey: Danny Muscutt
Forecast odds: 33/1
5 FLIGHT PLAN
He needs to improve – but it is still remarkable that Karl has three runners in this. This is the least polished of his trio, but he is highly regarded back home. Beaten a neck in Listed company on his return in April he cannot win this without wings – it doesn’t matter whether he gets a mile!
Trainer: Karl Burke Jockey: Danny Tudhope
Forecast odds: 66/1
Respectable third at Newcastle (1m, all-weather) in April but Flight Plan had his measure that day, He won a valuable sales race in the mud at the Curragh last September. DHS 5
Trainer: Charlie Hills Jockey: Kieran Shoemark
Forecast odds: 100/1
7 HI ROYAL
Has potential but he’s miles adrift of what others in this line-up have achieved and has not yet tackled Group company. DHS 3
Trainer: Kevin Ryan Jockey: Oisin Murphy
Forecast odds: 80/1
8 HOLLOWAY BOY
Won The Chesham Stakes and was third to AUGUSTE RODIN in The Futurity and was previously third to SILVER KNOTT at Newmarket in The Autumn Stakes. He is too big. DHS 5
Trainer: Karl Burke Jockey: Christophe Soumillon
Forecast odds: 16/1
Recent Craven C&D win. Ran second to CHALDEAN twice last season . Overpriced. DHS 5
Trainer: Karl Burke Jockey: Kevin Stott
Forecast odds: 16/1
10 LITTLE BIG BEAR
6f G1 Phoenix Stakes at the end of last year was the best performance by a European 2 yo. Won the Windsor Castle by a neck, before landing a G3, a month later. The colt has won his last three races by increasingly impressive margins, against increasingly better opposition. DHS 4
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Wayne Lordan
Forecast odds: 9/2
11 NOBLE STYLE
Was unbeaten in three and is a very classy animal. He landed the Gimcrack in August, where ROYAL SCOTSMAN was 8l 5th. Charlie has expressed concerns about his staying the mile. DHS 2
Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: James Doyle
Forecast odds: 16/1
12 ROYAL SCOTSMAN
He has valid claims. He was gaining on CHALDEAN in the G1 Dewhurst here (7f, good) but got beaten a head. He won the Richmond Stakes and was 5th in the Gimcrack, subsequently scoping badly. I see no reason why he can’t beat CHALDEAN over this longer distance – except his breeding suggests he might be better over 7f. DHS 3
Trainer: Paul and Oliver Cole Jockey: Jim Crowley
Forecast odds: 8/1
Lost his debut which surprised Roger; two weeks late won a novice by 6l with time to stop for a chat if he wanted; 16 days later won The Mill Reef showing a change of gear and an engine. DHS He will almost certainly stay and is an exciting prospect DH 4
Trainer: Roger Varian Jockey: David Egan
Forecast odds: 8/1
14 SILVER KNOTT
My fear is the ground as he really does not want the rain to get in. He would be among my ideas of a Derby runner and his price for that will shorten with any kind of decent performance. He won his second and third starts at Kempton and Sandown before coming 3rd of three to CHALDEAN and INDESTRUCTIBLE in the G2 Champagne Stakes on ground he hated. He won NTO in October and was unlucky not to take the BC Juvenile Turf at Keeneland, having missed the break and then getting caught on the line. DHS 4
Trainer: Charlie Appleby Jockey: William Buick
Forecast odds: 11/1
SAKHEER 5 pts e/w – 1 pt RFC with LITTLE BIG BEAR