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23rd July 2024 4:13 pm

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

Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse…

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… All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.

VICTOR HUGO

Les Mis Vic knew a thing or two about national eclipses, and I feel sure he would have been keen to suggest that HMG’s loyal opposition—such as it is—must ensure that the zealots amongst the newly elected do not make our futures endless night. However, from my perspective, all the lights went out sometime mid-week.

Around Wednesday 1:00 am, a switch somewhere clicked off or on – I have no idea what it did – but everything started to go pear-shaped. Half the golfing emails weren’t delivered, which, as I write, is a shame because we currently have three who are just off the pace. Then everything shut down, and the only thing anyone could see was a “critical error” message. The new host tech department has gone very Slavic on me, with quite a lot of metaphorical shoulder-shrugging and then sixteen lines of incomprehensible instructions which say things like login and enter your password and then click the Epstein-Gersplinkt data tab and then install the 3D software update. WTF! What email, what password,  and where do I get the update? Eventually, during the slower part of the election results – or four hours as it is sometimes called – I worked out what to do, did it badly, repaired the repair, undid the three lines of code I should never have written and watched Farage win at 03:27. Enough said, it is back working, and the gaffer tape isn’t really visible.

Saturday am update: Internet down… totally. No footy, no racing… disaster! I hate tech.

The rest of the day wasn’t much better. My vote for Laura Farris proved pointless as predicted, but I did win a sporting wage against five chums predicting the correct seat returns for each party. I was 100% wrong about the SNP, but I am thrilled that some of the most unpleasant, divisive people in British politics, with their constant self-righteous blasting, will no longer be heard in volume. However, it will be interesting to see how the Gaza MPs, the four independents, will manage Parliamentary rules. Or, indeed, if Starmer keeps those rules. Some of that will depend on the Speaker and who that is. Traditionally, if the previous Speaker wants to keep their post at the start of a new Parliament, then the convention has been that they will be allowed to stand unopposed. Lindsay Hoyle has kept his seat – comfortably – and I suspect he will be formally proposed and voted in “by acclamation”’ (verbally, by MPs shouting in support or opposition to the motion). If MPs audibly oppose the motion, a full vote takes place by division (a formal vote where MPs walk through the voting lobbies). If the motion is defeated, an open election process for the new Speaker begins the next sitting day. However, it serves no purpose for the other parties to stand against him – as they would lose a seat.

The election result wasn’t a shock – so why am I, and many others, in this bemused state? I suspect the issue is simply this. Those remaining Conservatives that have kept their seats are part of the problem, not the solution. The party has to change radically, and that has to be done by ruthlessly removing the existing apparatus regarding policy-making, candidate selection, party management, and the roles of various organisations such as the Monday Club and 1922 Committee. But before even that – and I don’t think they can do so- they need to define exactly what the Conservatives stand for and the direction of travel. Anyone who says they have already done that should be thrown out of the party – because if you had already done that – and stuck to those principles, you might have been at least credible and would probably not have lost so many seats.

A thought. Why not ask the party members for their 1-2-3 from amongst all the existing Commons incumbents (sorry Our Dave, but you started the problem). You can only step aside from the competition once the ballot has been made. This means that no one is canvassing for it at the beginning. Proportional representation selects the top 6 nominations – and then the MPs decide from those who they want to lead them. Who knows, we might, for a change, get someone who didn’t want the job – but did want to serve their country.

Talking of very unlikely to happen…

1:50 SANDOWN Coral Charge (G3) (aka The Sprint Stakes) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f 10 run

Last year’s Nunthorpe winner, LIVE IN THE DREAM, made his seasonal debut in G2 Temple Stakes with a decent 2nd and should have won the Achilles Stakes over C&D LTO, but for falling over his own feet when leaving the stalls. He is fancied for this. I have a question mark over Charlie Hills’ EQUALITY who had no race LTO at Ascot and looks capable of a podium.

LIVE IN THE DREAM 3 pts Win – EQUALITY 2 pts e/w

2:05 HAYDOCK bet365 Hcap Cl2 (3yo) 1m6f 14 run

EAST INDIA DOCK gets first-time cheekpieces after a disappointing run in the KG5 at the Royal meeting. Its a drop in class, so I expect an improved performance.

EAST INDIA DOCK 2 pts e/w

2:25 SANDOWN Coral Challenge (Hcap) Cl2 (3yo+) 1m 10 run

The Hunt Cup produced two of my shortlist, METAL MERCHANT and PEROTTO. Roger Varian’s PEROTTO won this last year off 105 and looks to have a decent chance based on his recent work and mark.

Dutch METAL MERCHANT and PEROTTO 9 pts Win

2:40 HAYDOCK bet365 Lancashire Oaks (G2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m4f 8 run

QUEEN OF THE PRIDE meets the trends, in a pretty open race. If there is any juice in the ground, then consider NOVUS who would relish the word soft in the going. Despite her breeding, she has never been beyond 10f, and won a Newmarket G3 at the end of last season. She is not the fastest to break, but Tom Queally will know her quirks and how to get her to manage this extra 2f. We need rain.

QUEEN OF THE PRIDE 5 pts Win – NOVUS 2pts e/w (if GS or worse) 

3:00 SANDOWN Coral Distaff (FiNOVUS 2pts e/w ofllies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m 9 run

UNREASONABLE 3 pts e/w – TIARAQUEEN 2 pts e/w

3:15 HAYDOCK bet365 Old Newton Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m4f 17 run

Dutch EPIC POET and LA YAKEL 7 Pts Win – IRON LION 3 pts e/w – SHERADANN 2 pts e/w

3:35 SANDOWN Coral-Eclipse (G1) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f 8 run

CITY OF TROY Wins. NO BET.   SEE THE FIRE 3pts e/w

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