Predictably, the best intentions of the BHA in their new “weight management” programme, has hit the buffers, with the PJA members crying foul and various members saying it’s bad, pointless, too little, not enough, career-threatening and ill-conceived. Accusations of bulldozing the measures through are rife and a full-blown tizz has developed based on the following. The BHA intends to drop the C19-measure of a 3lb allowance because the Saunas were shut on the grounds of risk. The saunas have now been closed permanently but the jockeys are now only effectively getting a 2lb allowance, when all weights rise by that amount on March 26th.
PJA President, PJ McDonald said today the closures simply means that some jocks will go back to wearing a sweatsuit in their cars. It does appear possible that the new regulations are going to unfairly impact some jockey’s livelihoods.
I am – no don’t laugh, it’s a fact – not a jockey. The breed of horse I need, Cart out of Shire by Brontosaurus has yet to be discovered, but in the main, I have never approved of having jockeys weighing so little in the 21st century – but that requires one to have a long and proper conversation with the European Pattern Committee about the entire Programme. We couldn’t suddenly declare, for example, that for 9 st, read 10 st. What is certainly true is that physically we are all bigger, we eat better, we are less deprived and even this Government surely could not bring us back to the privations of the early 1900s. What the BHA has therefore done now, is at least a step in the right direction – but if the people who have to make the weight think the system is flawed then it needs an urgent review. This is NOT a decision that should involve anyone other than the BHA’s medical team, the BHA, and the Jockeys. I do not think all the other varied interests should have input into the decision – except possibly the Trainers on an advisory basis.
The concept of Plod now knocking on the door of the Government and issuing on the spot fines to Augustus, Livia, and the rest of the Johnson supporters, has lathered up another baying mob away from Newmarket and Lambourn, and I am bound to confess, that I am getting pretty fed up with it. Not because, as I have suggested before, BoJo has done anything truly appalling, but because he hasn’t got the political wit to resolve it. Every day more fly-tipped rubbish, full of No 10’s DNA is discovered on some layby, and every day he appears more and more like a skulking character from some Edwardian melodrama, covered in the remnants of his last rubbish run.
By the time you read this Ms Gray’s report will not have been released, and by the time the Gowran meeting is over in Ireland tomorrow afternoon, it might still not have been placed in The Common’s Library. Do not be surprised, if the printing presses at HM’s Stationary Office suffer some malfunction, or more likely are instructed by the Speaker not to run because the information therein is now a matter of a criminal investigation. On the issue of partying that is one thing; however, if Plod discovers someone has told staff to erase text messages, lie or take the heat, the conversation may well move along the charge sheet to perverting the course of justice, and that is nigh-on a hanging offence in political terms.
As I have already mentioned en passant, people who think themselves above the law, I am now aware that the Highway Code has become a Code for people who occupy the road, pay nothing towards the Highway’s maintenance, contribute nothing to The Exchequer by way of Fuel Tax, and spend vast amounts of their time, self-importantly declaring their lack of impact on the environment, while wearing textiles made from oil by-products. (I know MAMIL’s clothing can be made from rubber trees – but they rarely are). If you find a cyclist on the pavement, hit them with your handbag and demand a policeman arrest them for dangerous driving! Was I my forbear Judge “Black Cap” Kneesup, I would give the first ten cyclists I found on an Inner-City pavement, a Grand Piano and tell them to bike it from Tower Bridge to Skegness in under six hours. This would not only be a suitable punishment for people who think of themselves as above the law, but in the event of their inevitable failure, and following the removal of their Noses (to spite their Face), the pointlessness of their selfish transport, would also result in the bulldozing of all Bike Lanes, the removal of the grinning bouffant that is Grand Schnapps from public office, and the reinstatement of common sense on all roads. (By the by, my motorway policies would also remove anything with the word Smart attached to it.)
Vlad the Torso also believes himself above the Law – sadly he has placed a small part of his armed forces on the Ukrainian border, which is larger than the entire UK defence establishment. My Grandfather, who knew a thing or two about the Royal Navy, once said that the very worst thing for this country’s armed forces was a Conservative Government in peacetime. So it has been proved and we are now in such a bad state, that if Norway decided to annexe The Shetlands, I believe we would struggle. We will rattle our indignation at the Russkies, and we shall waggle our fingers sternly at their forelock-tugging supporters, but for us, the war is already over and The Iron Curtain can be placed wherever and whenever Vlad says. Of course, it is possible that Biden has got NATO lined up to go beyond sanctions and finger-wagging – possibly even getting Germany to pay their proper share and stop saying Nein to everything. Only time will tell what happens next and whether Sweden, Finland and Austria will get on board tout suite!
Talking of desperately seeking divine guidance, there is an important race meeting tomorrow at Gowran Park with a crowd of 10,000 expected as the Irish Covid restrictions are lifted. God, I wish I was there. If you can watch do – there will be many Cheltenham pointers.
1:00 Langtons Kilkenny Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-102) 2m
I had a good look at the market for this and EXTREME CACAO is already being backed. At 5:33 this evening he was available at 33/1. By 6:20 he was 22/1 in one place and generally 14s. He is now a best-priced 9/1 and 8s generally. Robert Tyner is on sparkling form (1W 5P last 8R), and has been fitted with 1st time CP. GET ON NOW he will be shorter. As an aside, if AQUA COURT has any market interest near the off, risk a small e/w. He has the second highest rating on Timeform with a small p and on this handicap debut after a break might be anything.
EXTREME CACAO 1 pt e/w
1:35 Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Ladies Auction Maiden Hurdle (IRE Incentive Race) (4yo+) 2m4½f
I can’t really see past SAMS CHOICE who was 2nd at Punchestown in November to Fredom To Dream, who went on to be 2nd to Eric Bloodaxe in a Limerick G2 Novice Hurdle in December.
SAMS CHOICE 4 pts win
2:05 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle (Grade 2) (5yo+) 3m½f
KLASSICAL DREAM should win this, but the price is very skinny. If I could get 16/1 about COMMANDER OF FLEET -and the ground had dried out a bit, I’d be having a little e/w punt at him. He raced prominently in The Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle until he clattered the 5th and 6th and both he and Sire Du Berlais pulled up after that.
COMMANDER OF FLEET 1pt e/w
2:35 Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle (4yo+ 80-123) 2m4½f
You could make a case for a dozen here. Both the Favourite AUKLAND and 2nd/3rd in the market POKER PARTY are quite likely to have it between them – Dutch the two for 4 pts
AUKLAND – POKER PARTY 3pts stake DUTCHED
3:05 Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase (Grade A) (5yo+) 3m1f
On the trends I have reduced the numbers to eight! (Racecard Numbers in case you’re interested are: 1-4-6-7-11-16-17-18). Of those, two are from Mullins, a brace for Elliott, a Henry de Bromhead and a Noel Meade, a Pat Fahy and a Mouse Morris. Paul Towened has elected to ride FRANCO DE PORT who I thought flattered to deceive when winning a G1 at Leopardstown at Christmas ’20. Not for me. CHRIS’s DREAM has too much weight, COKO BEACH won this last year and ONTHEROPES deserves respect. FOXY JACKS is let down by his jumping, and I fancy MISTER FOGPATCHES as well. ONTHEROPES is by Presenting who has had sired three previous winners of the last 13 (Westerner sired 2). He gets 1st time CPs and I can get currently get 16/1 for 6 places with Paddy Power and others. He’s good enough for a place at least. I’m gping to kick myself I know for leaving BRAHMA BULL alone who was just 7l behind Al Boom Photo LTO – despite jumping as if he had a sack of spuds attached to his tail and 28/1 is too big. MISTER FOGPATCHES looks well treated based on both his Scottish National and Troytown thirds.
ONTHEROPES 1½pts e/w – MISTER FOGPATCHES 1½pts e/w
3:35 Daly Farrell Chartered Accountants Beginners Chase (5yo+) 2m
COEUR SUBLIME will win too short
4:07 P.J. Foley Memorial INH Flat Race (4yo) 2m
MERCUREY will win too short.
KLASICAL DREAM (2:05) – COEUR SUBLIME (3:35) – MERCUREY (4:07) 3pt Treble
Total Stake 20pts