It is morning. You sit at your table, the sideboard creaks with chaffing dishes keeping the devilled kidneys a point, the poached eggs at a perfectly-held softness, the grilled tomatoes sweetened with their own caramelisation ready to support the saltiness of the dry-cured streaky from a Gloucester Old-Spot. Scrote, the hunched family retainer, brings in another rack of the toasted sourdough and rye from Lechlade, and the familiar grip of the slightly chipped mug of Clipper Organic English Breakfast Tea, provides the warm sea of tranquillity on which your day can begin its journey.
At a moment’s notice, the calm is shattered as a news item penetrates the zen-like state of calm. It is perhaps in the paper, catching the eye like some floating spec of dust caught in sunlight, or perhaps from a radio blaring from Scrote’s pantry. The story is so dreadful that the marmalade is hurled at the wall and the cocker is startled as the milk jug hurtles past the ever-listening ear.
This collapse in sang-froid is the result of some ghastly and wholly irrational stupidity delivered by some national organisation that the taxpayer finances. It is of such magnitude that all coherent thought is lost. What has happened is that you have just borne witness to Robert Conquest’s third law of politics.
Yer What? I hear you say. The three laws as remembered by John Derbyshire in The National Review in June 2003 and as postulated by the great historian and Sovietologist Robert Conquest were:
- Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
- Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
- The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
Now getting over the usual intellectual squabbling about when, or precisely what the great man said, those three laws in various linguistic guises are Conquest’s Laws of Politics. They are useful laws to remember – because when you think about it – so much of Whitehall and what passes for The Establishment becomes clear.
Rule 1 accounts for everyone in horseracing. The entire cathedral of British Horseracing is founded on the Quoin stones of a sharp intake of breath and “I’m really not sure that would work. We have after all some experience of doing XYZ and our way has been proven to work. 7 st. wet is the correct weight for a jockey and none of mine was ever taller than 60 inches” Because no one understands horseracing like horseracing people, non-racing people who come into the sport, rarely make an impact at Board level – until they own at least three horses and have been made a member of The Jockey Club Rooms. Rule 1 also applies to almost all Cricket Clubs established before 1900 – think Yorkshire Cricket and The MCC.
Rule 2 has little real impact on racing, except in employee representational terms – but even then and as witnessed by recent Weighing Room events, the winds of change are not going to lower the traditional temperatures in that august chamber any time soon. Rule 2 is seen at work in The Church of England, The BBC and The RSC. It was never noticed in Portman Square.
Rule 3 is where I lost the Marmalade this week, thanks entirely to OFGEM. Surely the only plausible explanation for all their incoherently stupid works over the last ten years is that they effectively formulate policies that ultimately profit the Russian state. They may also be fulfilling a brief to ensure that Mrs Johnson is seen as being the first unelected leader of a democratic country to achieve Net Zero at the cost of a million jobs and a probable fall in life expectancy. Yes, we need to act, yes we need to be responsible, but every action required by the citizenry from charging electric cars to installing solar panels or heat exchangers, reinsulating your house, or changing your gas boiler, all require an upfront cost. Payback on almost all those personal Capital Expenditure projects, which is money you spend from savings or loans, is probably between 6 and 10 years and often longer. We’re going to be colder, poorer and less likely to be employed because WE DON’T PRODUCE ENOUGH POWER and the businesses that consume most power NOW, tend to employ large numbers of people and they’ll be going broke.
Even mentioning the cost burdens of the green energy transitions required, is seen by some as the equivalent of climate-change denial. But we all need to get our heads around this because it is – and largely thanks to OFGEM – going to get worse. Six out of the UK’s seven old nuclear reactors are going to shut – and even when Hinkley C opens, we will have a massive shortfall of reliable energy – the power we need when the turbines don’t turn and the sun doesn’t shine. In 2020, 29% of the UK’s energy supply was wind and solar-powered. Sadly, and as happens, recent Government data showed that the 11,000+ UK wind turbines produced 30% less power last summer because of the absence of wind. We no longer have any coal-fired power stations, but we do have hugely expensive foreign gas. We haven’t got enough hydroelectric power, because OFGEM didn’t push power companies to make the investment. In brief, OFGEM has ensured that we don’t have enough now to survive as we are – but luckily their new scheme to allow energy companies to develop surge pricing means that soon you will be charged three times as much to boil a kettle when you actually want it and four times as much to watch TV in the evenings except on Wednesdays when it will be treble.
Perhaps we will end up watching racing on TV with a Pay-per-view fee, based entirely on the number of horses in a race. Under that scheme, today’s racing might be free!
1:15 NEWBURY Betfair Cheltenham Roarcast Nov.’ Limited Hcap Chs Cl3 (5yo+) 2m7½f 6 run
The short version? If BRAVEMANSGAME wins this at odds-on, then maybe Paul Nicholls is getting back on his feet. PATS FANCY on the other hand has nothing to prove having effectively carried 10lb more than his mark. (5lb out of the handicap and a 5lb penalty). He beat Imperial Alcazar who went on to win at Cheltenham next time by 10l.
PATS FANCY 2 pts win
1:35 WARWICK Virgin Bet Warwick Mares’ Hdl (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f 4 run
INDEFATIGABLE Wins No Bet
1:50 NEWBURY Daily Rewards With Betfair Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 3m 8 run
THE BIG BREAKAWAY looks as though racing is no longer fun for him, and POLISH won this last year and Paddy Brennan has chosen to come and ride him. That could be a clue, I just want a bigger price. COEUR DE LION hasn’t won a hurdle race since 2017 and WHATSUPWITHYOU looks to prefer softer ground. This leaves SUSSEX RANGER for whom 11/2 looks a very decent price for a possible Moore gamble and who is 9lb in hand of his last winning mark.
SUSSEX RANGER 1pt win
2:05 WARWICK Virgin Bet Kingmaker Nov.’ Chs (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m 4 run
I’m going to say EDWARDSTONE, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more improvement BRAVE SEASCA.
BRAVE SEASCA 1pt win
2:25 NEWBURY Betfair Denman Chs (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m7½f 5 run
Another short-priced Nicholls G1 horse CLAN DES OBEAUX and theoretically you might think – if Nicholls wins with Bravemansgame earlier – that all is well. I would just remind you that Dolos won last weekend and PN’s other nine runners were nowhere. The drying ground will go against ROYALE PAGAILLE and the other three simply aren’t realistic. (There are some people out there that think my Hubris is a reliable source of energy – they’re confusing it with the concept of perpetual motion!) Let’s just watch this one because I can’t even see a profit from the forecast.
3:00 NEWBURY Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chs (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m½f 4 run
So much of today is simply a Lateral Flow Test for Paul Nicholls’ yard. If he’s had two winners by now – possibly more – then HITMAN might be for you. He ran well behind Greaneteen in the Tingle Creek but the winner, in turn, was beaten by Chacun Pour Soi in The Dublin Chase. Chacun PS had earlier run like a three-legged dachshund in the Tingle Creek – so where’s the form line? In my Raceform racing reports, these races are full of the phrase “something must have been amiss”. Yeah right. SCEAU ROYAL won this last year but turns up with a 6lb penalty, no chasing prep race and a trend defying age of 10yo. SKY PIRATE is too good for handicaps and not good enough for the top-end of chasing. That leaves me with FUNAMBULE SIVOLA who has talent and weight on his side, will like the ground, has some very strong form lines and if you can get 5/2, bite their hands off.
FUNAMBULE SIVOLA 2½pts win
3:15 WARWICK Virgin Bet Warwick Castle Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+) 2m4f 11 run
No, you don’t new specs, there are 11 runners in this!
Sorry Ten runners now, but still wide open. FALCO BLITZ is being backed and he looks a worthy and solid opponent to the flip-flopping favourite CELEBRE D’ALLEN who has also come back from a 2-year break and won twice over hurdles – albeit on heavy ground. CHEDDLETON tries this longer trip after posting solid seconds the last twice and is strong in the market. JACAMAR jumped badly LTO and I wondered about his back or whether it might just have been Cheltenham. However, he has won over this distance and he might well prefer Warwick’s track configuration. 7/1 isn’t that ugly and you can get 4 places with Skybet and William Hill. However, I do want to back AMOOLA GOLD who is 22/1 for 3 places and 18/1 for four places as I write. This is not beyond him and he has some nice little bits of form, beating recent winners Frero Bambou, Editeur du Gite and Dolos in the last six months. He is way too big.
CHEDDLETON 2pts Win – AMOOLA GOLD ½pt e/w
3:35 NEWBURY Betfair Hdl (Hcap) (Grade 3) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f 14 run
Nicholls’ runs the G2 Aintree Bumper winner from last year KNAPPERS HILL and bar PN’s current form, you’d think the horse had a chance. His runs at the time seemed OK, but not much better than that, but as time has gone on, one is beginning to see that some of the form is pretty strong. 13/18 of that G2 Aintree Bumper have gone on to win since for example. BOOTHILL and SOARING GLORY, who won this last year have crossed swords before and he is 4lbs better off at the weights compared to Jonjo’s top-weight. He beat FIFTY BALL by 3l last year and Joshua Moore’s mount is now a stone better offer for that 3 lengths. You could make cases for JPR ONE who could be underestimated by the handicapper, and BROOMFIELD BURG is top of the trends, (along with KNAPPERS HILL). JETOILE looks decent as a decent former pointer, and he was noticed by those looking 12l behind Constitution Hill in the Tolworth, as being useful, going into many notebooks to see where he went next. 5 places generally and 11/1 makes him a very plausible punt. There’s been a bit of money for ROYAUME UNI over the last 48 hrs shortening from 25/1. Gary Moore’s race figures are 1W 2P 9R and I like this son of Galileo who won’t mind the ground likes to target this race and today he has two runners Fifty Ball and my selection Royaume Uni and has Jamie Moore on board who has managed to make 10st 2lbs just above his minimum weight.
JETOILE 1½ pts e/w – ROYAUME UNI ½pt e/w – FIFTY BALL ½pt e/w
THE PAUL-NICHOLLS-IS-BACK CRAZY BET
All seven of Paul’s runners today is 35 x ¼pt Trebles