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

Maybe this time I’ll be lucky…

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup

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I see no point in dwelling on the past two weeks, in which Raceweb has been dogged by problems associated with emails. We may well have to use a service like Mailchimp in the future, but for the moment let’s see whether this workaround pans out.

In the hiatus of striking Santas or whatever, we have departed from the calm and welcoming bosom of the Marlborough Highlands into the Lambourn maelstrom and are metaphorically ploughing through the hazards of resolving Mick Mack Paddy Whack (and nieces) Ltd’s departure from what they assumed was the end of their contract. This is sometimes known as snagging. This is a word that implies small… hmm

Nor shall I burden you with tales of the Christmas Lunch, provided for the family the day after we moved back in. It was with hindsight, the equivalent of sending Alan Carr unaided into the Himalayas to plant a Tree on Everest. Suffice it to say, that whilst the old Aga was Always On between January and its departure in July, the new wall-mounted array of beeping electronics, slidey doors, black glass and dialling-turning things, refused to do anything between 12:30 and 2:00 pm on Christmas Day, rendering the Beef merely frightened rather than cooked. I say rendered as though fat had been introduced to heat and melted. No, no, this was just sullen obstinacy of the very worst kind. Still, eventually, I found a man on YouTube who explained it all and we were off. I may yet give you my recipe for thrice-cooked roasties.

Boxing Day was a train crash betting-wise, and my invitation to The Royal Box at Kempton was rescinded by The Irish Pier, on the grounds that his likely absence as my host would be noticed – especially as he had yet to leave his house, would miss his own horse running and was unsafe to drive. Yesterday was much better and one reader sent a charming note begging for some intervention in his rapidly declining financial situation. This was a new first, as no one has ever begged for my tips before! I always fear that such a request must be desperate and might be viewed as the equivalent of The Samaritans providing a rope and a loaded pistol, but as it turned out, the advice was not too ugly. This is what I sent:

  • 12:45 K ARTISTIC CHOICE – FORWARD FLIGHT
  • 1:05 C FUGITIF – ENZO D’AIRY – GOLDEN WHISKY – FRANCKY DU BERLAIS
  • 1:20 K LAC DE CONSTANCE bts AUCUNRISQUE
  • 1:40 C DIXON COVE
  • 1:55 K GET A TONIC (+7lbs)
  • 2:10 C GREEN BOOK – BELLS OF PETERBORO
  • 2:30 K NUBE NEGRA – MISTER FISHER (Bw/o)
  • 2:50 C Welsh Grand National: THE BIG DOG – THE TWO AMIGOS – CYCLOP – TRUCKERS LODGE
  • 3:09 K FIVE STAR GETAWAY – FONTAINES COLLONGES – STRIKING A POSE

So my apologies for the absence, please bear with me. By way of recompense, I give you this brilliant rendition of the Title of today’s piece, sung by the late and very talented Natasha Richardson, in the role of Sally Bowles.

“… maybe this time I’ll win”

There is a strong word for BUILT BY BALLYMORE who finished second in a Punchestown Festival bumper when trained by Pat Doyle. and who makes his hurdle debut at Leopardstown (12.00). This is a very good horse. Mullins has the deserving favourite in the Bumper at 3:30. If he wins he might be saved for the Festival.

1:10 LEOPARDSTOWN Pertemps Network Hcap Hdl (Qualifier) (4yo+) 3m 28 run

MAXXUUM and PERCEVAL LEGALLOIS are the two big dangers who need to win this in order to qualify for Cheltenham. Everything else has a chance – and I mean everything. I’m going to pull out two who will handle the ground, don’t mind a crowd and have form over the distance.

MAZE RUNNER 3pts e/w – A GREAT VIEW 1½ pts e/w

1:45 LEOPARDSTOWN Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hdl (G1) (4yo+) 3m 11 run

The winner comes from the top 3 in the betting and I’m going for BOB OLINGER who will improve for his LTO run

BOB OLINGER 3 pts win

2:20 LEOPARDSTOWN Savills Chase (G1) (5yo+) 3m 8 run

A PLUS TARD brings an army of admirers with him – sadly accompanied by an equally sized army of doubters. This makes CONFLATED look a sensible bet. GALVIN is the obvious selection for exotics and places

CONFLATED 5 pts win

2:35 LEICESTER Pertemps Network Leicestershire Bronze Fox Hcap Hdl Cl3 (3yo+ 0-130) 1m7½f 9 run

It’s Heavy on the Hurdle Course and MARTINHAL makes sense although this is his first run since a wind op. The favourite looks as though he should be, as he is dropping in class and has heavy ground form – but offers no value. My eye keeps being taken by ZAMBESI FIX and whilst he has struggled recently this C3 offers an opportunity to show the class he displayed running 2nd a couple of times at Sandown in better races than this. The ground is the key to unlocking his potential and his only win has been on heavy to date and one of his seconds was also in mud. He carries 6lbs less than that performance and has a decent 3lb claimer as well.

ZAMBESI FIX 2 pts e/w

2:55 LEOPARDSTOWN Ballymaloe Relish Beginners Chase (4yo+) 2m5f 6 run

DECIMATION gets the benefit of Rachel Blackmore who must surely have made the pick? That being the case, then this must be huge value given that the Mullins favourite is sucking money out of the market?

DECIMATION 2 pts e/w

3:10 LEICESTER Pertemps Network Leicestershire Silver Fox Hcap Chase Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m4f 10 run

Good – Good/Soft ground on the Chase course CORRAN CROSS e/w will probably be beaten by OUR JET and if I could get four places, I might have a pop at THE HOLLOW GINGE for old timers sake.

CORRAN CROSS 2 pts e/w

 

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