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

Please God – a jolly Saturday at Cheltenham

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup


As I write this, there is still every chance that some, none, or all of the racing might be abandoned. If only bad weather could stop some other stuff that passes as entertainment. I’m at Cheltenham tomorrow in a cosy box insha’Allah, rounding off a week where I feel blighted by travelling many miles.

I was a guest at a dinner in London on Monday to mark St Nicholas’ Eve. A hugely generous affair and very jolly but marred by my accommodation and later by my travel arrangements which became, in the space of only a couple of hours, more unhinged than a retired Windsor. I had an appointment, I thought at 12:30 in EC4, turned up at the appointed time, was told they had moved and eventually tracked the disappeared to Harley Street. After some angst, (spelt abuse), they agreed to see me. £30 of taxis later, I arrived and was told by the receptionist that I had not read my emails. I showed her the emails and asked her to point to the spot where it gave an address. “Oh”, she said, “that’s the old email system. The new ones have the address on.” I despair. What is wrong with these people? The dreadful overnight accommodation was also due to someone forgetting to alter my booking, having sent me an email confirming the changes. Duuh…. It’s all my fault… Mea Maxima Culpa.

Try as I might, I cannot find a hair shirt on Amazon, the old Catholic method of penitence. The garment of coarse wool was worn next to the skin, thus ensuring that all manner of creepy crawlies took up residence. When I find one, I shall wear it, for being very stupid and assuming that people were still keen, in the manner of the period known as the last four centuries, to generally go about doing their best, if only on the grounds of self-pride.

My day then – as if that were possible – took a bit of a dive. I decided not to wait for The Hon Plantagenet, who was doing clienty things but to fly the Kneesup Independence Pennant, and make my own way back to our abode. My choice was to take the train to Hungerford, Bedwyn or somewhere else, whose name I have blotted with some sort of Travel Stress Disorder, and then take a taxi. I managed after some three hours to get from Paddington to Hungerford via Reading and then tried to find a taxi. Unknown to me, taxis in Hungerford make the availability of Hair Shirts on Amazon look like a glut. Nothing – Zilch -Nah mate – Aiport Pal – Waah today? – Naaah. Luckily I remembered Jonny The Student. I texted he arrived, he delivered, he, unlike almost everyone else I met that day, earned my gratitude and admiration, and I doubled his fee, so grateful was I. With luck, he will become a multi-millionaire before he is 30 by simply delivering what he promised.

Talking of a failure to deliver, here are the tips for Saturday

1:30 DONCASTER bet365 Summit Juvenile Hdl Cl1 (3yo) 2m½f 9 run


1:50 CHELTENHAM AIS December Gold Cup Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4½f 15 run

If FUGATIF stays, then his price might look very big indeed. 2nd to Amarillo Sky in The Paddy Power back here LTO; he is within 2 lbs of his last winning mark. FRERO BANBOU also catches the eye, as does FANTASTIC LADY, who won a Listed Mares at Market Rasen last month and the second has won since.

FANTASTIC LADY 3 pts Win – FUGATIF 2 pts e/w

2:25 CHELTENHAM Unibet International Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f 5 run

I LIKE TO MOVE IT was an easy winner here, and KNAPPERS HILL is awash with talent and to make matters trickier still, Nicky has decided to run EPATANTE after her second to Constitution Hill in the Fighting Fifth. I am truly flummoxed as to what to recommend.


2:40 DONCASTER Bet Boost At bet365 Hcap Chs Cl4 (4yo+ 0-120) 2m3f 7 run


3:00 CHELTENHAM Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m 6 run


3:15 DONCASTER bet365 Novices’ Hcap Hdl Cl4 (3yo+ 0-115) 2m3½f 6 run


3:35 CHELTENHAM Molson Coors Mares’ Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4½f 10 run

MARTELLO SKY will be happier now over this shorter distance and has a good hurdle record at Cheltenham. 4lb in hand of her last winning mark. 11/2 seems a fair price and I’ll forecast with LADY ADARE for the sport.



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