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22nd July 2024 1:34 pm

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

Rudderless, leaderless, adrift – and 25k for a new propeller!

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A call from a Mate, (not not him, the other one), brightened the morning. Someone else’s catalogue of woes is always heartening, and his first-world trials and tribulations are truly tear-inducing. In no particular order, the livery, hunting stables, eventing yard and all-purpose equine money drain that is home is now surrounded on three sides by developments intended to make Swindon a much bigger and less rural hell-hole. As is always the case, developers have no concerns about whether their vast estates are properly connected to anything like power, drainage and water, nor do they care about neighbouring properties. On the rare occasions they do involve themselves in such matters, they inevitably discuss them with Thames Water, the world’s second most incompetent organisation after the North Korean government.

The inevitable outcome of giving Thames Water a large digger and no interest in where the supply pipes are buried means Mate and Bird’s entire range of paddocks has now been flooded. The haylage is ruined, the house cellars are awash, and when eventually fixed, they were left in a condition suitable for the entire property to be used as the set for the sequel to the film 1917 – to be called 1918 – The Really Muddy Year.

I say fixed; Bob told me that another field had flooded this morning from another previously undiscovered breakage.

In France, he had also decided he was at the end of his mid-life crisis and sold the Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martini and whatever else he had by way of vroom and down-sized. His new monk-like embracement of the third age meant buying a Porsche 911 soft-top, which will be kept en Provence. Oh No, said the German neighbours (apparently not as bad as one might expect),  don’t you know about the Grasse Gang? They follow every open-top Porsche home, case the joint and then rob the place in the middle of the night, often at gunpoint. This had happened to them and others they knew. Les Flics know about this, but they are better at the important stuff, like making sure the beaches are kept clear of holiday-makers by popping them into boats and sending them off somewhere else.

Talking of boats, his own, (larger than my desk but not as big as my bed and ideal for his beautiful girlfriend to sprawl over the bow), has just been taken out of the water for its seasonal clean. This operation, in Antibes, and I am ONLY talking about the lifting out, is for the reasonable sum of  €2,000. But wait, he also needed a new propellor because he had run over some floating lifejacket or something (not occupied). This was another €25k. For a small propellor! I now entirely understand why illegal boat crossings are so expensive at those sorts of prices. Anyway, I was much braced by his news, in a Thank God, that isn’t me sort-of-way, and besides, it put £160 for a Royal Enclosure badge entirely into perspective!

Meanwhile, we have our own industry problems to solve because who will pick the next tranche of racing leaders is a mystery.

As I understand it, Mr/Mrs/They A sits on Committee B, which will select the winner from the applicants for Job C, but as he/she/them is also leaving, his/her/their job will have to be decided by the holder of Post C, who has yet to be inducted and be bought right up to speed on the hunt for the replacement for the new post of D, which was going to be decided by Committee B, which cannot be properly assembled yet. Quite rightly, and as you might expect from the brilliant brains that ceaselessly endeavour to maintain some form of status quo, they have given themselves until 2026 to decide on the policy format that will allow Committee B to act. Meanwhile, one wonders if the former CEO of Organisation 22, who resigned only last week, can be invited to join Organisation 57 as the new C, but only if he resigns from Committee F, which oversees procedures. Subject naturally to the support of the new holder of Post C. Who…

Talking of not noticing that the Captain of The Marie Celeste has left, here are the tips for these hugely important race meetings – some of them are Premier race meetings probably – when all thoughts will be, of course, and quite rightly focussed on them, rather than whether the cucumbers have arrived at Ascot, and whether there is anyone to market these important innovations that have made such a difference to Levy funding.

YORK

13:50 THE QUEEN MOTHER’S CUP HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 3) (FOR FEMALE AMATEUR JOCKEYS) 1m4f

I have it between ANDALEEP with decent amateur Brodie Hampson and ARRANGE, who got last year’s winning jockey Jody Towend hot-footing it over from Kilkenny for the ride.

ARRANGE 4 pts Win – ANDALEEP 3 pts e/w – 1 pt Reverse Exacta

14:25  THE SKY BET HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 3) 7f

Pin time. YANIFER’s periodic absences suggest a horse that has problems keeping sound, but if he’s over that and the ground has cut, he must have a chance – a suggestion that appears to have some weight in the eyes of the market. NEW IMAGE has picked up 4lbs for his win 2 weeks ago at Musselburgh, but that looks well within his compass. QUINTUS ARRIUS and WOVEN both make the few trends there are.

 NEW IMAGE 4 pts e/w – QUINTUS ARRIUS 2 pts e/w – Add YANIFER and WOVEN for 12 x ¼pt boxed exactas

15:00 THE SKY BET RACE TO THE EBOR GRAND CUP STAKES (CLASS 1) (Listed Race) 1m6f

KLONDIKE is an interesting contender following his encouraging handicap debut here last month. RELENTLESS VOYAGER looked in total control in a competitive handicap LTO at Epsom 2 weeks ago, and looks more than capable of making his mark back at this level. CHESSPIECE clearly wasn’t right at Sandown last time and shouldn’t be taken lightly, either. I rather thought REAL DREAM might head for The Copper Horse handicap at Ascot. He’s a typical Stoutey slow burner and could have a future. This is wide open.

2 pts Win KLONDIKE

15:35 THE CHURCHILL TYRES SUPPORTING THE MACMILLAN SPRINT HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 2) 6f

ELMONJED is relatively unexposed and made his handicap debut LTO under a gentle Jim Crowley ride, so you’d hope for some improvement. Chris Hayes comes over from Ireland for one ride! WOODHAY WONDER has won his last for runs and was tried last year in the G2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes. Everything in that race has improved pretty well – in other words, 98 might still not be his correct mark. JAMES’S DELIGHT carries top weight, and I think he’ll struggle off 102, having been beaten in C1 company this year. POCKLINGTON looks decent and I suspect if he was with a trainer with “a name” he’d be a lot shorter. He has decent collateral form on a line through Army Ethos at Newcastle in March who was second to River Tiber at the Royal meeting last year. I wouldn’t put you off The King’s SERRIED RANKS, who has won a Goodwood handicap off 84, where he beat Starlust (now rated 114) and Zoulu Chief (now rated 97). Bred by the the late Queen his mark of 83 gives some hope. GARFIELD SHADOW will enjoy the cut, and his mark seems lenient enough.

ELMONJED 4 pts Win – SERRIED RANKS 3 pts e/w

SANDOWN PARK

14:05 LISTEN TO BETMGM ON TALKSPORT HANDICAP (CLASS 2) 1m

TWO TEMPTING is a silly price. He is 4w and 7p over the trip, is 3/4 this season, and he has come in now from 16s to 12s as i write. Still a silly price. DUAL IDENTITY is a Sandown specialist and won the Whitsun Cup over C&D 23 days ago. His Sandown form figures are 51211 and although he’s 4lb higher (the highest he’s ever been),  he’s good for a podium.

TWO TEMPTING 3 pts e/w

14:40 BETMGM: IT’S SHOWTIME SCURRY STAKES (Listed Race) 5f

I heard a whisper for UNBREAK MY HEART, so I’m having a pop at very small stakes. However, I do fancy NIGHTEYES, who is going for a hat-trick but is dropping back to the minimum for this crack at black type.

NIGHTEYES 3 pts e/w – UNBREAK MY HEART 1 pt e/w

CHESTER

15:20 THE HORSERADISH CATERING & EVENTS HANDICAP (CLASS 2) 7½f

BLUE PRINCE 4 pts e/w

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