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24th April 2024 5:30 am

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


These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

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

It’s been a week when as much caught the ear as the eye.

The Chancellor (how quickly we forget he once saw himself as The PM) said in his Jam Tomorrow and The Day After deceitful Budget speech:

“We believe that in a free society the money you earn doesn’t belong to the government. It belongs to you.”

But following the ludicrous Westminster Hall debate on Affordability Checks, when the jackanape Stuart Andrew MP, the minister with responsibility for gambling, made it plain affordability checks were still on the way and that racing could go hang, The Chancellor should have added to his Tory Mantra tosh.

“But we also believe we’re allowed to investigate how you spend it, to arrange for private companies to see your pay slips, bank accounts, proof of earnings and to ultimately decide how you spend the money we have almost left you after the highest rate of annualised taxation since 1948”.

The Chancellor
Kenneth “Oooh Matron” Williams

It’s hard to remember a more ghastly bunch of Yahoos, and what truly irritates me is that so many of them have a permanent look of smugness. Hunt constantly looks as though he’s just seen a picture of Matron in a Liberty Bodice doing something rude with an Accordion—he doesn’t know what, but he’s sure it’s naughty, and he’s one of the lads, so he’ll join in.

I feel I ought to write the farewell speech for one of the “runners” that just might make his or her journey in and out of the Houses of Power worthwhile – because it would at least be honest. But what’s the point? Honesty and a loss of faith in the failed political ideals that some might have felt when they were 19 and railing against the advance of socialist gibberish have diminished these once-Titans. They’re in their mid-forties and scared of the mob and unable to do anything about it for fear of being no-platformed in some future public role, yet they’re too blind to realise that they’re already strapped to the Guillotine’s Bascule.

Hey Ho, onwards, ever onwards… and sideways

I had lunch with Sam Hoskins the other day. It was nice and quiet until half of the retired Lambourn Jetset walked in for a pre-Cheltenham lunch with a few Sherberts. They were travelling under the name of The Geldings. Much Hail Fellow’ing, and then, as happens in Lambourn, Sam saw the writing on the sensible wall and went home and was replaced by Ed, with whom I stayed until 4:30, roped in to help make the American markets spreads on the Oscars. Thanks to some Vino Rosso I was able to announce the likely colour of the dress worn by X, Will Smith’s gaffs, the time of the first Trump joke, mention of the LGBTQ community before or after Female empowerment, the number of Oscars for Oppenheim (eight is my shout), winner of best animated short and so on. Much cheap plonk and Guinness later, I eventually made my excuses and left when the light started to go, and I started taking Barbie’s possible Oscar costume victory seriously. Here is our list of Oscar Winners:

  • BEST PICTURE: Oppenheimer
  • BEST DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
  • BEST ACTRESS: Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • BEST ACTOR: Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers
  • BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer
  • BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Justine Triet and Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall
  • BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Cord Jefferson, American Fiction
  • BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: The Zone of Interest, United Kingdom
  • BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
    • POSSIBLE RISK The Boy and the Heron
  • BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: 20 Days in Mariupol
  • BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hoyte van Hoytema, Oppenheimer
  • BEST EDITING: Jennifer Lame, Oppenheimer
  • BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Jacqueline Durran, Barbie
  • BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP: Kazu Hiro, Kay Georgiou, and Lori McCoy-Bell; Maestro
  • BEST SOUND: Willie Burton, Richard King, Gary A. Rizzo, and Kevin O’Connell; Oppenheimer
  • BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi, and Tatsuji Nojima; Godzilla Minus One POSSIBLE RISK Charley Henley, Luc-Ewen Martin-Fenouillet, Simone Coco, and Neil Corbould; Napoleon
  • BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sarah Greenwood, production design; Katie Spencer, set decoration; Barbie
  • BEST ORIGINAL SONG: “What Was I Made For?,” Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, Barbie
    • POSSIBLE RISK “I’m Just Ken,” Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Barbie
  • BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Ludwig Göransson, Oppenheimer
  • BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
  • BEST ANIMATED SHORT: Letter to a Pig
    • POSSIBLE RISK War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko
  • BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: The Last Repair Shop


EMMA STONE – Yellow Dress

JODIE FOSTER – Brown Dress

TIME OF THE FIRST TRUMP JOKE Within the first opening ten sentences 4/5

I hope that helps!

I am assuming you were as incredulous as I was when I read in Charlie Brooks’ Telegraph column on Monday last that since the last Cheltenham Gold Cup—there have been no Grade 1 Chases run in the UK with more than seven runners.

Over the same period, Ireland had 20 G1 Chases, with 25% of those having eight or more runners—and one of those, The Irish Grand National, had 27 runners. Now, I’m happy to concede that some G1s in Ireland are giant Handicaps masquerading as national holidays. They are run in a beautiful country with wonderful food and drink, hosted by charming people, and not an ugly one amongst them. So, no differences there, then – but could we at least try?

Charlie’s point was that we need a clearly defined and properly funded route, starting with Novice Hurdles, that helps owners progress their horses from C4 to C1 and into Graded company. That journey takes between four and seven years, and simply clapping your hands and saying, “Huzzah—It’s a Premier Raceday!” doesn’t pay bills. The fact that Sir Fergy of Manchester and his mates are keen and happy to spend £750k+ on a gelding in order to win a cup that they won’t keep and for prizemoney, which this year will be worth £35ok gross and about £220k net, suggests that at that level it isn’t about the money. It’s about the winning and the sporting endeavour. Perhaps I’m wrong… but perhaps it’s worse than that.

Perhaps we don’t have five years.

Once upon a time when I was young and feckless and bestriding London like the Greek God I always aspired to be, London was Open at night. OK, Greek God and even bestriding might be pushing it, but it was possible to trip over people after midnight as one left Madame Olga’s Latvian Jiggyjig Piano Bar to go and have a Chinese in Soho before going on to the last couple of hours at the Connoisseur Casino. We complained bitterly in the seventies because we had to be slightly feral about where we went late. There were doors and knockers and bells rung in certain orders – and then in the eighties, it was wide-open and even more so in the nineties because people who weren’t Greek Gods had money, and everybody could come out, go out and stay out, and none said boo to the goose. It was FUN.

However, that has all changed.

Over the last three years, over 1100 venues have given up their licences. Heaven is threatening to close; the nightclub scene is dead or on life support, and the person being blamed is the Mayor, Sadiq “You look Islamaphobic” Khan’t Do. London’s nightlife even has its hashtag, #LameLondon. The problem is so serious that Khan’t has appointed a £117,000 per annum night Tsar (always a sign that it must be serious”), a person called Amy Lame, who is of American descent via Camden where she was, I think, Mayor – one has to be careful how one phrases these nomenclatures. Amy has addressed the issue by (no, wait, this is true!!!) creating the Night Time Enterprise Zone programme. This programme focuses on the boroughs of Bromley, Greenwich, and Lambeth and aims to boost the high streets after 6 p.m. It manifests itself by…

… and don’t forget you’re heading out on the pull. It’s party time, you’re out with your mates, and you’ve dressed up and sprinkled the Eau So Savage around the gonads just in case. You are hot to party…

… stopping to look at the new murals in Vauxhall, celebrating local Portuguese-speaking and LGBTQ+ communities; then wander along the night-time outdoor “culture trail” in Greenwich; and, of course, join the programme to raise awareness about “neurodiversity” in Bromley. Phew and I thought she was going to be simply chucking the money away.

This over-paid nitwit with little skill and no ambition to succeed is failing to tackle the principal issue: the antipathy of local councils such as Kensington and Chelsea or the City of Westminster or Camden to late-night economies. This largely stems from the pandemic lockdown when the few residential properties in Soho or Leicester Square were no longer bothered by the old problems of noise and revelry. Suddenly it all started up again, and because they were not used to it, they complained – and bitched and moaned and got legal. Go on, Lame. Get up and do your job. If asked, you could start by demanding that all local councils extend late-night licences to 4:00 a.m. and then demanding that there be at least two train services and a proper night bus service to support the people and the 1.3m night workers – and you could do that because for Sadiq Khan – every journey matters!

Talking of overpaid, underperforming, cliche-driven voices of the people, by the people and for the people who even a Lame-duck can fool all of them all of the time, the racing selections are:

1:50 SANDOWN EBF Betfair ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hcap Hurdle Final Cl1 (4-7yo) 2m4f 17 run

Paul Nicholls is at the top of my trends list with his FIRE FLYER and EMAILANDY. The former jumped somewhat haphazardly LTO, and I can’t decide whether that is overexuberance, overconfidence, or he doesn’t care. Despite that, he won his last two starts over hurdles and showed a good attitude in his attempt to prevail at Taunton last month. It won’t be an easy task under a top weight of 12-0 on the testing ground, but he’s open to improvement, judging by how he finished at Taunton LTO. EMAILANDY looked to have improved when runner-up at Market Rasen last month and isn’t badly treated back in handicap company, but the ground might be an issue. I also quite fancy PICROC for Ben Pauling, who is being backed, but I am still concerned by a 10 lb difference for a defeat and although he might have improved, that still seems to be asking a lot. I could also make an argument for CHAMPAGNE TWIST, but this is not the day with Cheltenham looming to be chucking the cash around.

EMAILANDY 2 pts e/w 5p with Bet 365 and others

2:25 SANDOWN Betfair Imperial Cup Hcap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 2m 16 run

I am so confused by Ben Pauling’s BAD, who I had down as being aimed at The Coral and with Rachel Blackmore getting the ride. He’s the favourite here and certainly meets the trends, and he’s on a workable mark. However, he’s still o-6 but keeps going up in weights. He has the ability, but not for me at around 11/2.  MAKING HEADWAY had a pillar-to-post win at Newbury LTO in a heavy Novice Hurdle. He’s on a decent mark and is open to improvement.


2:40 WOLVERHAMPTON (AW) BetMGM Lady Wulfruna Stakes Cl1 (4yo+) 7f six run


3:00 SANDOWN British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ Bumper Cl1 (4-6yo) 2m 12 run

BELLA’S BRIDGE 2 pts e/w

3:15 WOLVERHAMPTON (AW) BetMGM Lincoln Trial Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m½f 11 run

KING’S CODE 4 pts e/w – 1 pt RFC with SUDDEN AMBUSH

3:35 SANDOWN Betfair Serial Winners Fund Novices’ Hcap Chase Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f eight-run

Dutch the Gary Moore pair for 7 pts


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