The COVID inquiry has, thank the Lord, identified and widely publicised the least efficient ways for Government ministers, advisors and Special Ones to be potent forces of efficiency by replacing the language of the Mandarins with fifty ways to say Ferk on Wassup. As a result, it misses many key points of evidence, such as the handling and distribution of inferior data – many of the sources of which were later identified as being deeply flawed. (READ THIS WEEK’S ARTICLE FROM THE SPECTATOR).
To the Inquiry, however, it is no matter. They have revealed that Dominic’s an utter S**t, Hancock is a c**k, and as the first bills have arrived, it must surely be time for large drinks all around. So far, the £56m to date costs include:
- £19.6 million on 62 barristers (including 12 KCs) and assorted solicitors
- £11 million legal representation for key participants
- £7m 118 civil servants
- £0.26m Chair of the Inquiry
- £5m “Every Story Matters” Project
- £3.4m Advertising & PR
The circus isn’t going to stop any time soon – and why should it? At this rate, it will be responsible for 70% of our GDP! However, Le Cirque D’L’Enquête and the government can save wads of cash by eliminating all SPADS and their useless advice – and hiring Nostradamus Kneesup instead.
Only this past weekend, I suggested that Government-driven bank enquiries into whether Bob or Irene can afford a punt on Dobbin in the Grand National would prove the thin end of an enquiring wedge into one’s disposable income. I wrote in the cover letter:
“How long before the benefits department asks one to justify one’s annual expenditure on Premier League Season Tickets or funding for travelling to Away games? Currently, no one on benefits is asked to explain their decision to pay hundreds of pounds a year for Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV subscriptions … how long before the minority will decide again what’s best for us?”
On Monday, The Telegraph reported:
Benefits claimants will have their bank accounts checked every month to make sure they are not lying about their savings under plans for a new post-Covid fraud crackdown… The proposals could trigger criticism that the personal rights of benefits claimants are being infringed, with banks looking into specifics of accounts without the individual being notified.
Stand aside, Matt and Dominic, Captain Kneesup is coming through, and CK is a total expletive.
One thing I hadn’t predicted was Frankie’s crashing fall into IACGMOOH. Why? Who told him that the loss of dignity, credibility and sale of ego to a moderately high bidder was a cracking idea. By all means, do a celeb bake-off for SU2C, or help Pudsey on his relentless taxation of Supermarket shoppers; “we’re eating jelly babies for Children In Need, and then we’re going to shave our eyebrows off ‘cos that will help end child poverty”; but the very words I’m A Celebrity are so demeaning. Especially when you discover that some old busty beauty from 1980s TV has been paid £250k more than you. It’s a shame because when I won the Euromillions in 2024, I was going to ask him to ride my Breeders Cup horses, and now I won’t.
I gave a gasp of concerned breath for Conditional Thomasina Eyston, who, three days ago, had her ride, Rock The House, rear and fall back on her, breaking her pelvis and lowest vertebrae. That’s her second injury of the season, and she went off in the ambulance with Lilly Pinchin – because “…Lilly has injured her back before, so she made sure I was getting the right painkillers, and it was great she was there. The injury didn’t even happen in a race, but the vertebrae fracture is stable, so that’s massively good news. I was worried at the time as it was pretty crunching and was one of those I knew was bad when it happened.” My admiration for her bravery and coolness makes me terribly proud of her and the rest of the weighing room for their everyday heroics and matter-of-factness.
If life isn’t fair when it comes to bastard rides, then it’s even worse, I would think when your body just doesn’t fit. The day after Thomasina’s crunch, Champion Conditional Luca Morgan retired from race riding, declaring his body is “not healthy” and is “crying out for help” after a prolonged battle with the scales caused him to quit the saddle just seven months after being crowned champion conditional.
22-year-old Luca stands at 5ft 11in, and his lowest riding weight is 10st 9lb. “After I was crowned champion conditional, I was burnt out. I was doing light weights at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals and at my bare minimum for a long time. After Sandown, I had a week off, and I went to Tenerife with my family. I didn’t eat like crazy, and I was trying to mind it because I knew I had rides waiting for me, but I got back and weighed myself, and I had 17lb to lose in two days. After taking some time off and sustaining an annoying foot injury, I was getting back going and in Oaksey House every day for weeks. The weight came off a bit, but not enough. I couldn’t see myself being able to do it any longer. It’s not healthy. I’m not a healthy person at the moment, and my body is crying out for help.”
To put that into context… when I was in the Army, there was a brief moment in time when at 6’3″, I weighed 15st 9lbs. I would have to run 2 miles (and did as a regular punishment), carrying two medicine balls in under 15 minutes. Admittedly, I only managed that once (12m 42s); but to be just 4″ shorter and 30% lighter and do two miles with a half-ton to manage is heroic at any level.
Talking of things that are very unlikely to be seen running anywhere quickly, here are the Kneesup views for the TV racing.
I’m almost tempted to suggest you back all Paul Nicholls runners today. It would save some typing.
1:15 WINCANTON Boodles Conditional Jockeys’ Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m4f ITV4 12 run
Paul Nicholls’ five runners to date have produced 3W – 1P -5R. HUELGOAT represents him. He won his first four starts over fences and kept his form right through April this year when he was fourth off a 4lb higher mark. A brace of pipe-openers over hurdles should have him right for this. There has been a flood of money for FRAGRANT DELITIEP who has gone from 9s yesterday to 4s as I write. I have taken the 11/2 with Bet365 and he is now 19lbs better off than his last winning mark. He’s been tipped in the RP , based on his 4/7 at Plumpton LTO where he got another 2lb drop, it was his best-ever mark on seasonal debut AND he got the mark going left-handed which doesn’t suit him. At the time of writing I’m in the fortunate position of being able to dutch the pair, by the time you read this and act, I fear the time will have passed – so my selection is…
HUELGOAT 5 pts e/w
1:30 NEWCASTLE (AW) Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Irish EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f ITV4 13 run
VERA VERTO comes over for Gavin Cromwell and is way too big a price – ignore the Bath run LTO, she was way too keen.
VERA VERTO 3 pts e/w
1:35 AINTREE: Pertemps Network Hcap Hdle NB: Not on ITV)11 runners (
STARZOV hails from Philip Rothwell’s yard – not a man given to shoving his horses into boxes and driving them to Blighty. In the last five years, he has sent over 11 horses of which only one came to Aintree. What’s even more curious is that that horse was STARZOV who ran here staying on late on Grand National day. He’s here for a reason! Any more rain and I might throw in BUSHYPARK who looks too big for a horse getting weight from everyone. He stays all day.
STARZOV 3 pts e/w – BUSHYPARK 1 pt e/w
1:50 WINCANTON Boodles “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chs (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f ITV4 6 run
KNAPPERS HILL obs – Paul Nicholls doubles and trebles all around as my old nanny used to say.
KNAPPERS HILL to beat GIVEGA 4 pts
2:05 NEWCASTLE (AW) Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Wentworth Stakes Cl1 (3yo+) 6f ITV4 10 run
SENSE OF DUTY 4 pts Win
2:25 WINCANTON 62nd Badger Beer Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f ITV4 11 run
THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE has his seasonal debut, meets all my trends, and with the guiding form of a 4th in last April’s Scottish National as his last run, looks more than capable of getting off the mark here.
THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE 4 pts Win
2:45 AINTREE BoyleSports Grand Sefton Hcap Chs Cl2 (6yo+) 2m5f ITV4 11 run
Many bookies are offering 4 places. Venetia Williams had had this in mind for FRERO BANBOU and he is a talented horse on his day. Now at a mark 1lb off his last winning one, and with Venetia Williams in strong form over the last fortnight (6/16), he must be on your shortlist. BORN BY THE SEA makes it on trends – and not much else and I also like HALF SHOT for Iain Jardine and Sean Quinlan. He won twice last season and was an OK seventh in the Scottish Grand National, from 7lbs out of the handicap. There is no value left at all for the favourite, the French-bred GESSKILLE, who was last seen landing a Listed chase over in Auteuil on ground listed as very soft and I shall not be hugely surprised if he won, 11/4 isn’t really very interesting. PERCUSSION too is fancied given there is a fag-paper between them on weights and form and PERCUSSION is almost 3 times the price. I have probably named the first three… but more for fun I suggest…
FRERO BANBOU 2 pts e/w
3:00 WINCANTON JenningsBet Elite Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m7f ITV4 5 run
RUBAUD should win – but i can’t see the play, especially with this race being the second preferred for one of the five. As I said before – Doubles and Trebles.
3:20 AINTREE BoyleSports Acca Boost On Horse Racing Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4f ITV4 3 run
I’m assuming WEST BALBOA will race in this and not at Wincanton. She goes well fresh and although she has a higher handicap mark than some of these, her mares’ allowance covers the shortfall. She hacked up in what was considered a competitive handicap at Aintree in April, and this could be her year. The trends horse is BREWINUPASTORM who gives a lot of weight away but is a class act on his day and was a G2 winner two starts ago. Sent off the odds on favourite for this last year when unseating at the first he’ll be looking to put the record straight in this small but competitive field.
WEST BALBOA 5 pts Win
3:32 WINCANTON JenningsBet Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m5½f ITV4 8 run
Probably not his only winner of the afternoon! However, if you’re looking for an outsider, you do worse than row in with SPACE VOYAGE, who has had a wind operation following her wheezing run at Worcester LTO. She looked to be a real progressive mare and could be very well-handicapped from a mark of 123 here if back on track.
LIME AVENUE 6 pts – SPACE VOYAGE 2 pts e/w – 1 pt RFC
3:45 NEWCASTLE (AW) Virgin Bet November Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m4½f ITV4 14 run
If Paul Nicholls doesn’t perform we could be in real trouble – so for the Get Out Stakes, I offer you EUCHEN GLEN who is competitive over most distances and just missed out at Ayr in September off a pound lower a 1lb lower mark at Ayr in September and ran a mighty race when fourth in the Ebor in August.
EUCHEN GLEN 2 pts e/w