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23rd May 2024 12:36 am

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

A flat start to The Flat

Doesn’t life change rapidly? Last week, the supposed greatest racing festival, today is the start of the Flat season. Yesterday, we went off to Wallingford to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang done by the local players – which was fab and, in places, rather surprisingly sexy – or maybe I’m just a sad old git. […]

How did Jeffrey do it?

My hero, Jeffrey Joseph Bernard, of sainted fame, could any day after 6:00 pm do a bottle of vodka, consume a decent dinner, talk racing happily for hours, drink claret, smoke a packet of fags, go to Grouchos, pull a barmaid and be tucked up in bed by 2:00 am. I tried this yesterday without […]

Doncaster St Leger Day 3

I was going to tell you some fascinating gossip I heard yesterday about two trainers in York who were apparently entertaining Ms. X, the daughter of another trainer with the modern equivalent of some Sherbert dip. Papa was deeply unamused when he walked in on the home science experiment and pistols at dawn were discussed. […]

Doncaster St Leger Meeting Day 2

The Dentist calls, and I must be away at O-Crack, so there is no time for chats. The day was a disappointment not because they were rubbish selections but because they were there or thereabouts. The first broke slowly and stayed slow; in the second, the selection was third, but I had mentioned the winner. […]

Doncaster St Leger Meeting Day 1

The Hon has gone to do 3rd lot with Ben Pauling and to take a bacon sarnie off him. I have to find three duvets and a box of linen, all of which seem to have dematerialised but which need to be found because there are house guests tonight and again on Saturday. In between, […]

The Lincoln opens the Flat season 2023

And so it begins. Those of us with lists in various competitions have sent them off. Seasonal fees, subscriptions and early badges have been dealt with. There are ongoing discussions with The Hon. about which days of the Royal Meeting we shall attend; the search for accommodation at Goodwood continues;  the annual Derby Barby at […]

You only get some bums visit once a year

A tiring but jolly and good Friday in town, where I attend the AGM and annual lunch of The Turf Automobile Society. This august body was only established recently and is closely involved with defining the correct procedures for advancing transport systems and vehicle management for those uninclined or prevented from motoring to or from […]

Dum di dum di dum di dum…

Once upon a time, a long while ago, I was staying with my cuz in Middle Wallop, where he was with the Army Air Corps, which he would later command. That weekend, he gave a very jolly Sunday drinks party for the locals, which would be followed by a pleasant family lunch. As has often […]

Please God – a jolly Saturday at Cheltenham

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 […]

A billion races, less runners, but it pales beside the multiverse

Between last night and this, I ran into the work of Albanian-born cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton, who has a fascinating profile piece in The New Scientist this week and who has received wide coverage for her theories surrounding the existence of a multiverse formed at the time of Big Bang. In essence, she has postulated that […]

A new exciting national PM Hunt season gets under way

We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult not to have some major cause for unsettling angst. Penury, hypothermia, dehydration, pandemic, nuclear war, infrastructure collapse, Starmer, Truss, SNP and Dementia… and that was just this morning’s list. The latter came into sharp focus this AM when I reached for the mouthwash and placed […]

A theatrical evening before Day 2 of Donny

I went to The Barn Theatre in Cirencester last night to see Driving Miss Daisy. The Barn is a relatively new theatre whose newness was stalled by Covid, but it has survived and without much scarring. The offerings to date have pleased me four times and irritated me twice, which is better than Chichester Festival […]

Maybe the new PM heralds a time of Boom and Bust

I know, I know – I’m supposed to be a mature adult. Long gone is the former International Boulevardier. Instead, there is a shadow. A chap who has probably handed in his Wild Rover ticket, a quiet, unassuming, philosophical figure occasionally seen in the shadowed corners of The Poona Gymkhana Club with a Chota Peg […]

Cheltenham – An Apology

The management would like to apologise to all those who feel in any way underwhelmed by the astonishing absence of success delivered by Captain Kneesup’s team of expert analysts here at Raceweb Towers over Cheltenham week. As those of you who have dropped by for a glass of Old Bual and a little Seed Cake […]

Chinese prove that Claret fights Covid.

As I write, I discover Barry Cryer has died. I saw him on The Edinburgh Fringe many years ago, and the wave of affection and support that filled the small room where he did his one-man show was palpable. He apparently died just after telling a nurse his favourite Archbishop of Canterbury joke. A man […]

It’s the little things that make one itch

Robert Duvall – possibly my favourite American film actor – once said: “It’s no big thing, but you make big things out of little things sometimes.” Ain’t that the living truth! I made a dinner that pleased Madame – largely because it came from The Cast Iron Elephant – but which lacked quelq’un and simply […]

Crikey – is there nowhere the cameras won’t be today?

Three English racecourses, two jumps meeting, the final televised Flat Handicap Turf race (as I type I wonder whether that’s right?) of the 2021 season, eight Championship races from the States and a house removal so imminent that I am in despair for the management of Zen as we know it. Staying up to watch […]

There are moments when tis wise to stay shtum

I don’t know about you gentle readers, but about every six weeks, the old fleas start to scratch and you know it’s time for the barber. In my case, the barber is a raven-haired and good-looking woman, who has an Arthurian name and she has cared for my hair, for at least the last five […]

St Leger Meeting Day 3

I read this morning of The Commonwealth Secretariat, which provided employment to a chisel-jawed Australian-Canadian lawyer, (several boxes ticked there in terms of Commonwealth), called Joshua Brien. I only read it because reporting of his trial was banned by Judge Martin Griffith, but the order was lifted yesterday after an application by the Evening Standard. […]

Time for a good kip – A post about NH horse ratings

As I mentioned briefly the other day, the BHA has – after some dedicated “doing Bugger All” – held a review, had a consultation and discovered that the Irish know how to beat the British handicapping system. With a tiny hint of knee-jerk, the BHA strode into action after the Irish horses smashed up English-trained […]

They’re Off!

A two-parter this week – Tips and comment on Cheltenham. This first, though, as they’re almost OFF for the first day of the 2021 Flat season. Also The tips for The Dubai World Cup and the first race of the 2021 Grand Prix season. Talking of wheels almost certainly coming off, here is the tip […]

Another quiet week with nothing on the news

You get weeks like that, don’t you? You can have month after month when the papers are full of horror stories, and the TV and radio stations spout doom and gloom every hour on the hour. A relentless montage of death, destruction and loss. Friends, neighbours, citizens, strangers all weeping and wailing, and all being […]

Crikey Bruce – that’s a bit rum

While Europe tries to remember its manners and its debt to others, and decides whether the subjugation of moral principle by political ideal merits such poor behaviour, I have to ask what on earth is going on in Oz, renowned for its incorruptible embracement of moral decency, culture, diversity and fair play? For almost a […]

Voulez-Vous un bain, ou un Soupe a L’Oignon, M. Rosbif?

I am appalled. The French, it turns out, sleep 5 minutes longer than us, and work a full hour less. They also do less care and voluntary work, but spend 20 minutes extra on shopping and housework. How do I know this? Thanks entirely to this wonderful chart, which also possibly explains why Les Grenouilles […]

Racing – with not a drink in sight

On Thursday Lockdown 2 started. The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker, all remain open and three Huzzahs for them. That isn’t however the case for all the places in which I have felt safest, most comfortable and welcomed – and which we will all miss dreadfully. Until someone can produce hard facts that show […]

Cheltenham Day 2 and the last gasps of the Flat

A dreadful start to the new season yesterday, and my fingers are crossed that I’ll get my “jumping eye” in soon. I have spent a large chunk of the day, trying to get a chum to complete a task she agreed to undertake. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Why do people take on so much that they […]

St Leger Day – Doncaster Day 4

Four winners yesterday including a 40/1 shot and a 17/2 (backed down from 10s), heralded the beginning of a busy weekend of top quality racing action, both here, Ireland, France and Germany. The 40/1 shot was trained by Nigel Tinkler, whose father Colin effectively rewrote the rules on syndication, with Full Circle, which at one […]

Doncaster St Leger meeting Day 3

The long and complicated story of Phoenix Thoroughbreds is a million miles from being either understood or fully exposed. It involves a Bulgarian-based crypto-currency Ponzi scheme, the FBI, a man called Amer Abdulaziz Salman, who owns various companies that have the word Phoenix attached to them, a lawyer called Scott, (part of whose testimony ran […]

Donny St Leger Day 2

A poor start to the morning with an unexpected trip to somewhere miles away with an equally unexpected bill; an unplanned detour to another place less far, but as tiresome; the failing computer not improving;  but luckily, I suppose, some resolution to the burning question “Why are we spending £2,000 a day on feeding the […]

Doncaster’s Leger meeting Day 1 TV Races

The twilight of the Flat season is creeping in, with talk about the Arc and Melbourne Cup betting markets, and emails containing the words “Breeders Cup” become increasingly prevalent. The chill draught of a disappearing summer; ground that veers between motorway and bog; handicap marks receiving their annual dusting off, all suggest that “The Sticks” […]

Coronavirus, Corvid19, and Saturday’s TV Racing – All you need to know.

The most novel thing about COVID-19, is the extraordinary speed with which the brutish symptoms of the associated #MEFIRST culture have spread. Aided by 4G, 5G and WiFi, people everywhere have been able to tell us every moment of their illness. Unless you’re in China. Apps tell you when you’re nearing an infected address in […]

Festival Trials day and all Saturday’s TV races

I suppose as race titles go, the 1:50 isn’t at all bad, given that it tells us exactly how much time we have to wait for The Festival. However. it doesn’t tell us how much time until the announcement by Martin St Quinton, Cheltenham Chair, regarding the introduction of a five day Festival. So, as all […]

A wet end to the Flat season

A rotten way to end the season, but for the people of Donny, no racing is an irrelevance. Having been flooded once before, I can only tell you, that the hackneyed phrase, emotionally scarred, does not do post-flood sentiments justice. I wish them all the very best of luck and please God, the fact that […]

Saturday’s TV Selections…

Not a desperate set of results on Friday and only really let down by the ground, fitness, speed, ability, horsemanship and skills of the participants and the stupidity of your correspondent. But for those small, inconsequential elements, we might very well have swept the board. We named the second and third in the first; and […]

St Leger Day

As many of you racing historians will know, it was not uncommon in days gone by for a horse to run in several races over the length of a meeting, and indeed that some races might have heats or be run as “best of three”. Thus, today of all days, one should bear in mind […]

Friday the Thirteenth at Doncaster!

Readers of Raceweb enjoyed a bumper day yesterday with The Tissue picking five out of seven winners at Doncaster. The legend of Longcot started off with a 170-1 treble courtesy of Graceful Magic, Endbihaar and King’s Lynn. There followed the two blots on the copy book in the fourth and fifth. Many of us would share […]

Donny Day 2

I was reminded of late, about the dreadful old Saturday magazines that contained vast numbers of advertisements for chest expanders, which would ensure that never again would one have sand kicked in one’s face down on the beach. One would be exhorted to try so-and-so’s unrivalled pools selection model that guaranteed a result every 100 […]

Donny, Leger and a proper chap

There are few races that don’t have some history attached to them. A fatal accident, a crowd gone awry, a fortune lost, another gained. The St. Leger, not least because of its age, is one such race. Currently, I’m reading Chris McGrath’s Mr Darley’s Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing […]

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