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19th June 2024 5:30 pm

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

Putting the wheels back on the Gravy Train

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

Just in: CJM… Bunter… Ken… Thank you. They join: William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

Many of you will know the music of the much-inked Rag’n Bone Man, and especially his hit lament called “(I’m Only) Human”. A reviewer said of it, possibly in a desperate attempt to be republished in Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner;

Rag’n’Bone man speaks for all of us when he expresses his guilt, sadness, and wanting to remove the burden he feels: “I’m only human after all; don’t put the blame on me.”

Sadly I’m old school clean-skin and have no one to blame for yesterday’s fiasco other than myself. To recap, I gave you ten tips for ten races. I advised doing them in an assortment of accumulators, and I in fact did mine in a combination of Doubles Trebles, Fourfolds and Five folds, plus a Just-In-Case e/w Accumulator. The Stake is immaterial, the outcome – and salutary lesson – is not.

I had started the day with (say) 100 pts. After placing my various accumulators, my account was down to around 30 pts. The first horse won and I had also backed it to win in a single so that I then had some 115 pts, plus several bets which had effectively cost me nothing. It’s at this point that I failed to notice that the gravy train was picking up speed. The second selection also won, which I had also backed with the free bet I got for winning the first race. I now had +150pts and several very healthy-looking accumulators.

The bookmaker surprisingly managed to catch my attention, despite the noise of the train which was now travelling very quickly and making much steam and hooting and whistling and hollering. The surroundings were metaphorically drenched from the vast amounts of gravy that were slopping over the sides and the bookmaker’s announcement simply added to the excitement, the anticipation, even the word lust would not be inappropriate. If I cashed in straight away, I could reap some 350 pts of profit and do nothing more for the rest of the day. I would have effectively got 7/2 about my 100 pt bank, for less than 30 minutes of TV watching (and some 3 hours of research).

Yahoo. Whizzo. Cripes. Lumme. I say chaps. This is SO exciting… all I have to do is press the Cash Out button and Johny Coolio is back in town!

Sadly this was when Mr Greedy came to the bank of the train. He said:

“Look, Kneesup. We’re not even going full-speed, and all the wheels are still fully engaged with the track. You’ve done all this work. You’ve put the hours in. If you stay on board, your wife will return from the bottom of the garden, where she is trying to grow a potato for your dinner, to a house which can now have an Aga in every room; where she can have a Tennis Court in several colours of Puce if she chooses, and she can afford to have Grey racehorses trained by Lady trainers and ridden by Lady Jockeys 247 and 365. All you have to do is leave that Cash-Out button alone.”

I can still hear the whistle as we got a second in the third race, and a third in the fourth. There were too many “Ands” after that, and my last memory of the day’s betting were the words of my first stockbroker in 1969. (The giddy days when you could buy and sell shares with no money on what was known as The Account. The days of Poseidon and Polly Peck, names that made the world embrace unmanaged risk with gusto.)  I digress; the broker said after some greedy observation from me on the timing of some trade; “No one ever went broke, taking a profit.” How true. To make matters worse, I had a moment of insight, so clear that I knew with certainty that I had been right about the last at Lingfield.

I wasn’t and as Rag ‘n Bone Man knows “I’m only human after all. Don’t put the Blame on me.”

Talking of blameless catastrophes, here are today’s selections

1:50 MUSSELBURGH Betway Musselburgh Silver Arrow Hcap Cl3 (4yo+ 0-95) 7f 11 run

There are three I fancy here, MARSHAL DAN who has been sent all the way up from Kingston Lisle, MANIGORDO who has left Richard Hannon and gone to Tim Easterby, and THREE SAINTS BAY who has left David O’Meara and is with Liam Bailey. The last two are both CDs and MANIGORDO has come in from around 20s at 6:00 am to 12/1 and shortening this morning. I suspect his being gelded since we last saw him and his ability to run well fresh has something to do with that price. That said, he tends to run from off the pace and Musselburgh sprints don’t appear to favour the hold-up runners. Both MARSHAL DAN and THREE SAINTS BAY will be happy to race up with the pace, and the latter is no rag, if he is allowed too big an early lead.

MARSHALL DAN and MANIGORDO Dutched to Win – MARSHAL DAN to beat the other two 2x ½pt SFC – THREE SAINTS BAY e/w 

2:05 HAYDOCK Betway Challenger Two Mile Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 1m7½f 7 run

The battle for the Jockeys Championship continues today and here JP has got Harry Skelton on board his VISION DE PUY. The market is set against him and having opened at 2s this morning, he has imitated the unmoored barge and drifted to 3s. XCITATIONS has I suspect been underestimated and his mark of 130 is probably wrong by about by about 7lbs. IF I’m right that puts him back up there with CH’TI BALKO and the favourite SHANTOU EXPRESS.


2:25 MUSSELBURGH Betway Royal Mile Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-100) 1m 7 run


2:40 HAYDOCK Betway Challenger Staying Chs Series Final Hcap Chs Cl2 (5yo+) 3m1½f 13 run

STRICTLYADANCER is having his first race since a wind op, is tongue-tied and blinkered. Christian Williams is double-handed here (DEFUTURE IS BRIGHT) but I just think STRICTLY is better at the weights. I can’t recommend it as a punt, but I was bamboozled but why Kingy left the tongue-tie off MAHLERMADE LTO. He was beaten 45 lengths by DEFUTURE, but I suspect that result. I might personally have a little e/w at the time depending on the odds.


3:00 MUSSELBURGH Betway Scottish Sprint Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 5f 13 run

ZARZYNI has switched stables and is now with the canny David Barron. He had a decent stab at his debut for the yard three weeks ago, coming third behind Summerghand, who won the AW sprint championship at Lingfield yesterday. He possibly needed the race, after a long absence and will be fitter for this drop in trip, and I expect a big run today.


3:15 HAYDOCK Betway Challenger Stayers Hdl Series Final Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 3m½f 17 run

If you look at a qualifier for this final at Newbury this time last month, you’ll find six of today’s runners all met then as well, including the first three past the post. Won by REGARDING RUTH for Lucy Wadham, I think it was the improved ground that saw her beat IWILLDOIT and COLONIAL DREAMS and the better the ground the better her chances today. The one to fear most is ASHTOWN LAD who went right off the boil but has had his wind seen to, and he is a Grade 2 horse when on song. Dan Skelton believes the wind-op has been a huge success, that he has looked happy and physically full of beans around the yard and was schooling well on Friday morning. Either both e/w or Dutch the pair. Hmmm


3:35 MUSSELBURGH Betway Queen’s Cup Cl2 (4yo+) 1m6f 14 run

Mark Johnston has entered enough horses in this to guarantee a prize of some sort, but I think the one they’ll all have to beat is DIOCLETIAN who has been providing Page Fuller with some hurdling work this winter. 3rd in the Borough Cup and found the Cesarewitch too far, I think he’ll get very close at a rewarding price.


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