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22nd April 2024 11:28 pm

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

Aintree Grand National Meeting: Day 1

One of the subscribers asked what courses might be considered similar to Aintree. The straight answer would be Newcastle, Ayr, Doncaster, Ffos Las, Haydock, Newbury, Wetherby, Uttoxeter, and Worcester. Left-handed and reasonably flat. The more worldly-wise amongst you will know that there is no comparative course. At the Pardubice, for example, the fences might once […]

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. […]

Cheltenham Day 4

A very smiley girl appeared at my breakfast table this morning, clutching at some of my clothing that she’d found on her travels. “You bounder and cad”, I hear you say, but wait, the Hon was close at hand; nothing untoward was afoot, and even coffee and a warmed croissant were offered, or a glass […]

Cheltenham Festival Day 3

DAY 3: THURSDAY 14 MARCH 13:30 THE TURNERS NOV. CHASE (G1) 2m 4f Chase ZANAHIYR has had a good season so far with two decent graded runs before converting to Chasing. His debut saw him run into Fact To File, and his poor jumping didn’t aid his cause – but he did have Minella Cocooner […]

CHELTENHAM DAY 2

DAY 2:  WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 13:30 THE GALLAGHER (BARING BINGHAM) NOV. HDL (G1) 2m 5f Hurdle If you swerve HANDSTANDS and THE GREY MAN on trends grounds, and you think the probable winner, BALLYBURN is too short, then you might want to consider either PREDATOR’S GOLD or MERCUREY. The former has recently run second in […]

LAMBOURN – WHERE THE OSCARS ARE ACTUALLY DECIDED

It’s been a week when as much caught the ear as the eye. The Chancellor (how quickly we forget he once saw himself as The PM) said in his Jam Tomorrow and The Day After deceitful Budget speech: “We believe that in a free society the money you earn doesn’t belong to the government. It […]

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 […]

Warning: Some of this content may trigger anxiety, panic attacks or boredom

Issues such as a sense of entitlement, lack of charm or people skills, and the realities of living in a world where people do not always like each other, are some of the things that might be covered in these notes. Other phrases to cause distress might include Bad Luck (despite the jockey dropping his […]

The 2023 Crackers Report – and ITV Racing tips

If you can, spend a few moments on YouTube or Racing TV catching up on the two Irish Christmas racing festivals – especially Leopardstown. Jeepers, they have some excellent animals. Alternatively, look up the last races of these runners who make up my go-to list for winners next March. They all ran and won over […]

A reader writes, (and this might stop that happening in the future)

Three emails this week from readers. There were others of course, but in the main, I try not to buy Lobsters over the Interweb and I am no longer concerned at the chemical engorgement of my nethers. The first wanted to know how successful I was in my tipping. I hate letters like that. There […]

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

… shall think themselves mighty relieved they don’t have to do another day, fighting the Cheltenham Parking Gauleiters who surely should be considered a potential terrorist operation. Yesterday, the gate that had operated perfectly sweetly and easily in October, and this Friday, was shut to people with an acceptable badge, which had become unacceptable over […]

And so it begins

A dreadful week. I have been told not to write against stupidity, moral grandstanding, the pernicious growth of anti-semitism, virtue signalling, the ludicrous fear of the word transition, the stifling of free speech, the collapse in varying degrees of our economy, language, and common sense, and coming soon a time when all our fears re […]

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 […]

It’s a Group 1 Weekend, and Arc, and Ryder, and rugger and, and… !

It is the end of a truly miserable week, which, after much aggravation, has been almost resolved. Quite apart from flu and COVID jabs, and a trip to Coventry to see the dentist and to have my fear of needles, dentists and girls putting their hand in my mouth tested to the max, I seem […]

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 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, […]

Is The Age of Unreason here yet?

An interesting week, that started with my reading the findings of an Employment Tribunal. It was, in brief, the report of a chap who had worked at a bank in management for almost 30 years, and who dutifully attended an HR exercise in Race education, laid on by his employer. In that session, and as […]

York Ebor Day 4

The Golf is going well and the TV screen is full of bronzed millionaires in the sun. Having done the rounds of Shagaluf a few months ago, the travel bug is once more strengthening its grip on my psyche and urging me to head for the last of the summer sun, somewhere perhaps where the […]

York Ebor Meeting Day 2 & THE TOUR Championship Tips

So farewell then Yevgeny Prigozhin However hard we practised, no one could say your name but Putin could, and put it on the passenger list. Surprise! EJ Thribb Aged 17½ Talking of possibly too many air miles, Paddington was thought to have simply done too much this calendar year with eight increasingly tough races since […]

Parky RIP and Eeh Bah Gum

We’re heading for a splendid weekend of sporting action, after a pretty decent social week involving a good mix of work (little), jolly lunches and alcohol (lots). The only real blot on the horizon was caused by opening my mouth to eulogise the chance of Eeh Bah Gum at 6:00 at Windsor on Thursday, to […]

A jolly pub lunch – but for how much longer

I have to declare an interest… I eat and drink out at the drop of a hat. I also eat the hat if given half a chance. I have a long-term interest in ensuring that there are sufficient interesting places for me to eat and drink in – and I include you all by extension […]

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, […]

Tipping the balance with a big P

I am – like Victor Meldrew – in a state of utter bewilderment. Quite apart from this website showing a profit for the last three weeks, you might also have noticed the subject of paint cropping up occasionally. I thought it had been resolved. Having carefully chosen a colour scheme that, by chance, had a […]

Sometimes Eurovision can look sane compared to racing.

Frankly, I’m happy for the rest of tomorrow to gallop by as I prepare for the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night. It is a chance for my egalitarian, liberal, inclusive side to shine as I admire the many facets of socio-economic Europe on one gigantic artistic display of … hmm… To some, it’s an […]

Bueno Dias, Hola and I’m delira and excira to be back

Perhaps from my lapse into Dublin slang, you will gather that my world clock has quickly adjusted from Mallorca to Punchestown time and that the Craic is well imbued in these typing bones. The spirit of Punchestown washed over me on Tuesday when I saw Facile Vega clatter a couple and still win by 7½l, […]

In the eye of the storm before the deluge.

We’re in the eye of Storm Dressdown, the calm epicentre of the surrounding torrent of hot-air and clashing reputations, where we have most of the Cheltenham decs; where we also have a decent idea of what the Festival ground will be (Soft, as I suggested earlier this week) and some small inkling of where our […]

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 […]

Love The English.

On paper, we were down 9 pts, but with Bangers and Cash a non-runner in the Lucky Last, I backed Castle Robin e/w at 10s for break-even stakes and added the only other trends horse still running, Laskalin, to the ticket, who duly came second for a 65 pts profitable forecast. Sometimes there is a […]

Just another brick in the wall

RIP Kit Hesketh-Harvey, an amusing, talented and thoughtful man. Thank heavens that the Welsh Woke Police have got hold of the Delilah issue and rapped it firmly on the head. Thanks to them, we can rest assured that no one will ever sing that song again – live on TV. However in the Six Nations […]

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 […]

Cheltenham November – not Open – Meeting Day 2

I was pulled up by a Cheltenham Grandee today when I exclaimed how much I was looking forward to the first day of The Open. Gently chided, I was reminded this is now called The November meeting – because it is in November and is no longer Open. This sort of rebranding happens all the […]

The Handmaid’s tipping sheet

I arrive, as ever, late to the party and so am finally able to say “Lumme. That Margaret Attwood and her Handmaid’s Tale. Bleak? … I should cocoa.” I have no idea why, but it passed us by, and it was only a comment along the lines of, “Crikey, who knew they’d get five seasons […]

One last gigantic throw of the dice, before we flatten out.

Tomorrow it starts. The last big meeting, the final hurrah for 2022. The Breeders Cup gets underway on Friday, ends on Saturday and sandwiches The Doncaster finale. Somewhere we also have the Haldon Chase and the beginning of the 2 year-recession possibly accompanied by some nuclear hot kimchi and some glowing Ukrainian wheat. For one […]

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 […]

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 […]

Off to Longchamp via Warmington-on-Sea

As the weekend looms, it’s difficult to know how to divide one’s time. The TV alone will be providing: The Singapore Grand Prix (Sunday 1:00 pm), Saturday and Sunday at Longchamp, the decider in Pakistan between them and us in the T20 (Sunday after the Arc), all the racing as shown below, and finally the […]

The Fleche was strong -but is racing’s spirit weak?

The Autumn double arrives with The Cambridgeshire, a race with a history that should reinvigorate the spirit and souls of ALL racing fans as they prepare for the long hibernation. Recently, it is a race that has unmasked Group 1 winners masquerading as handicappers. Chief among the founders of its distinguished history is La Fleche, […]

Through a glass darkly.

Since we were last together, it is accurate to say that the world has changed, and the impact of those changes is primarily unseen and unmeasured. My equilibrium has been unsettled by the attritional news flow; Henry Ponsonby, a good friend, avoided an annual racing lunch by suddenly dying. James Delahooke, whom I’ve known for […]

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 […]

The circus comes to town.

This week’s diary found me pinning a badge saying “I like Milk from Cows” on a small Ukrainian child. As you might imagine, my historical engagement with young children has been plagued by the conflict between my upbringing and the modern social mores. Young Vlad’s rudimentary English and his impeccable good manners prevented him from […]

The York Ebor Day 4

An agonisingly slow day in the office – but not at York where the ground simply got faster. No Stradivarius (not as predicted) and no Trueshan (exactly as predicted). I know my astonishing prescience of likely weather outcomes must have you reeling, but that was before we saw Quickthorn, which must surely have staggered us […]

York Day 2

Well, there can’t be many times when you get beaten out of sight and you’re cheering the photograph that shows you coming third. The result of that photograph in the Juddmonte International meant for Sir Busker’s owners £55,000 more prize money than the 4th horse – a total of £107,600. Their exceptional horse came third […]

And so it begins….

There is a lot of pressure this week as we prepare for the builders to arrive and we also move into temporary offices. The Wifi needs some resolution (as in trying to download a photograph in under 30 minutes), but before then, we have to go to Goodwood. I use the phrase “have to” in […]

Stand by to fend off all boarders: July Festival Day 2

The Hon. is diseased and I have run out the Yellow Jack to warn the bumboats, tinkers and itinerant matchstick sellers to stay away. I have had to move a number of appointments, and cancel a Sunday lunch that would have had a range of very splendid wines served alongside delicious food. I have changed […]

This next month will prove crucial to the future of racing

I suppose one might describe this past week as better than expected. In cellar terms, not a filthy glugging week, but more a robust cru bourgeois week. A bit of tennis, a drinks party, a soupcon of American cousins, some musical theatre, a brace of jolly (and free) dinners, and a visit from my travelling […]

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 […]

The Derby Meeting – Oaks Friday

Overarching all that we do in these brief few days, the aura of Her Majesty’s presence shines out. From the top of White Horse Hill, the Defence College Military Wives Choir sang The National anthem as the beacons sprang into fiery life across the Vale and The Downs, as far as the eye can see. […]

York’s Dante Meeting Day 3

Normal service resumed today and I am beginning to scratch the scalp. Certainly, some of the results have been very unexpected, but nonetheless, I am beginning to doubt my ability to handle a computer form book. We are 52½ pts down since January which, it could be argued, still makes it a bloody cheap hobby. […]

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