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23rd May 2024 12:19 am

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

Cancel Cheltenham – we’re all going to Bicester Village to buy a hat.

It has been a busy week, which I have covered elsewhere, and albeit I have slightly recovered from a week full of shocks and Valentine’s needs and planning, I am still reeling from Ascot’s appointment of a style guru who will explain to me how to put on a top hat. Meanwhile, the Ascot PR […]

Back, Back and Baccy

Somewhere between Lambourn and Aphrodite’s alleged watering hole, both The Hon and I did our backs in, and so it’s off to the back-cracker for some remedial work at £8m a pop. What a business to be in. You’re never healed and once the hands have provided some relief you’re back again and again. At […]

ROYAL ASCOT 2023 DAY 5

Another delicious lunch, another day of near misses, this time followed by a dinner with a brace of Norwegian Colonels. The attrition rate on my liver must stop soon. After today, I think I might take a week off and will maybe post a few tips by email if so inspired.

ROYAL ASCOT 2023 DAY 4

A lunch party in Lambourn for a dozen or so; a TV on the blink thanks to the WiFi failing to connect correctly to the Sky Mini. This small box is theoretically attached to the Sky Q. This is attached in every sense, to my wallet on a permanent, albeit only half-working, but always charging […]

ROYAL ASCOT 2023 DAY 3

We had another 20/1 winner on Wednesday and got chinned on the line with Random Harvest who I could not believe remained stubbornly available at 20/1+ despite being at level weights with the third-placed favourite. I simply lumped more on – but stupidly did not think to back it with the field in an Exacta. […]

ROYAL ASCOT 2023 DAY 2

The Golf was a bit disappointing – and especially for Rory McIlroy who lost by one stroke to Wyndham Clark who was also investigated for an alleged infraction of Rule 14.7a. You know the one surely… it forbids a ball from being played from the wrong spot. Sitting in the rough off the back nine, […]

ROYAL ASCOT 2023 DAY 1

Loins girded, Titfer polished, socks found, and monocular hung, I am ready. I think I am on top of everything including the wretched ticketing system. Do they really think the Duchess of Fotheringay aged 80 knows whether her phone is Android or Google Pay or even on? Then the email advertising I swear has doubled! […]

Don’t let The Gambling Commission ruin your Cheltenham

Another shock retirement this week, with news that Tom Scudamore has called it a day after 25 years in the saddle and has yet to turn 41. Concussion a couple of weeks ago and a realisation that all top athletic professionals (and even the occasional fading boulevardier) neither heal quickly nor creak less with time. […]

Racing, Footy and a Freebie!

What a week. The Aga saga, which has moved on to the construction of the Kneesup Kitchen at the Chateau d’If, took a turn for the worse with the installation of the quartz worktops. The kitchen supply company had outsourced the installation to, one assumes, the same people who might typically come around and “do […]

Football not the same as Veganism… who knew?

As you might imagine, I was shocked by the Employment Tribunal judgement delivered in McClung v Doosan Babcock Ltd. Caramba, I hear you cry. Not the Unfair dismissal claim by a Rangers supporter who wasn’t given time off by his Celtic-supporting line manager? The very same, says I. Mr Eddie McClung was employed by Doosan […]

Up the Amazon without a stamp

A little shout-out to Amazon, from whom I bought some stamps last June in bulk. What can go wrong with that transaction, I thought. Nothing until I tried exchanging them for stamps with bar codes as required by Royal Mail. This resulted in a curt note from  RM, suggesting the stamps are – and this […]

Like Meghan, I am blessed

As the world descends into chaos and the End of Days announces itself with a viral outbreak “of concern” in the Argentine, my week finishes with visits to plumbing centres, tile shops and a search online for Oxygen suppliers to help me get me over the onset of the vapours caused by the additional building […]

As promised John Reid MBE’s tips for Royal Ascot Saturday

These were John Reid’s tips for Ascot today, as given to the customers at The Royal Foresters. It looks like a very sensible placepot list! The Royal Foresters’ motto for Royal Ascot week has been A Friend to Racing. With John’s tips record over the first four days, I think the Royal Foresters has more […]

Too Hot for fun

Apart from drinking tea, when the temperature heads this far north, we deploy the electric fan, my last punkah wallah having disappeared back to Wolverhampton to join a train strike. With the tea and the fan, I recommend a trawl through any collection of Rudyard Kipling’s poems, which will remind you instantly of the miserable […]

The Aga Can’t.

For a brief and glorious moment, I truly thought I was home free. Arriving back last night to Camp Tamarkan, the temperature was slightly north of melted engine block territory but I brushed it aside knowing that I had less than a week to go before The Aga was switched off and removed. The financial […]

Smiles for Day 1 and onto Royal Ascot Day 2

What a marvellous day. I spent the morning in the company of one of the best jockeys of the last quarter of the 20th century John  Reid, and his brother Noel, having breakfast and chatting about the day’s racing and various mutual chums in the Vale of the White Horse. Then running slightly late, onto […]

Bad Manners, The US Open and Royal Ascot Day 1.

In the midst of all the Ascot preparations, the thinking, the calculations, the decisiveness and confidence, sadly coupled with the loss of all value perceptions and risk management, I managed to scramble home from The Derby crash, by dint of good fortune and the bond of friendship.  I cannot recall a more topsy-turvy year when […]

QIPCO British Champions Day

A quiet lunch in East Garston, where I see the shoot wagon bringing in hungry souls all sporting long woollen socks and rather bizarrely in one case a pair of Gucci deck shoes. Dinner with friends including my chum Carlisle, in a pub in the Filkins where a log fire blazes. I call him Carlisle […]

Ascot Day Sank

How went your day at the bio-secure experiment that was Ascot’s Day 4? I hear you ask. Well, my dears, there was horrendous traffic thanks to a collapsed road which cut off the M4 J14. The road closure resulted in our late arrival at a very delicious breakfast at The Royal Foresters, a highly recommended […]

Ascot Day 4

It was a day when the Shortlist produced 3 winners and the final selections looked like after-thoughts. Mark you, much of the day was lost to trying to decipher a set of NHS instructions in order to take two tests, in order to gain access to Ascot. What is it about all Government communications that […]

Ascot Day 3

Work raises its ugly head and delays matters, while winking at me from the sideboard are the 227 tests I have to take before Friday’s big adventure. But first, we must continue our labours against the bookies and, as labours go, yesterday went pretty well. We’re showing a 30pt profit for the meeting so far, […]

Ascot Day 2

Sometimes you have days when God leaps out of bed and says “Here I am – and because you have recently been less of an arse than normal, I have decided you shall have a good day.” So you go for lunch with old friends and see a chum you haven’t seen for five years […]

For a brief moment we all became Christians

Thanks to the Welsh, the first score draw arrived on Saturday, while I travelled back from Newmarket, having spent the morning with William Knight and the boys from Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds. We were taking pictures of their new branded racing kit, KVT having secured a decent sponsorship deal with the fast-growing pub company, Oakman Group […]

Royal Ascot: Saturday 19th June 2020 – Day Five

Our Literary correspondent, High Rise, sent me a brusque note today about my curmudgeonly criticism of ITV and specifically Francesca Cumani’s hats. He pointed out that the poor girl needs to keep her face free because she is on TV and thus, the wide-brimmed hat a la Ms Eliza Doolittle would not cut it for […]

Royal Ascot: Friday 18th June 2020 – Day Four

Really tricky on Thursday, despite the 14 hours notice of impending rain and likely going changes. I was already struggling when I got tucked up by Roger Varian and his observations on Molatham’s last outing on Soft ground. “He’ll hate it” he said or words to that effect. Lumme, it turns out Roger, old darling, […]

Royal Ascot: Thursday 18th June 2020 – Day Three

Well, what a cracker for all the Sir Busker owners! Madame had a small wedge on it and we spoke to the rightfully incoherent shareholder afterwards. We might try to speak again tomorrow. We continued our policy of bringing comfort to those more fortunate than us today, by delivering vital supplies to a family in […]

Royal Ascot: Tuesday 16th June 2020 – Day One

No preliminaries, we all know why we’re here…… Kick On! 1:15 pm – Buckingham Palace Handicap (Handicap) “Cripes” as Bunter might say. Tricky or what? I have cogitated about this field for almost 40 minutes and only managed to narrow it down to a dozen. I don’t think the draw is going to matter much, […]

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