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20th May 2024 1:17 pm

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

The Ayr Gold Cup, The Mill Reef, and a missing caravan

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It was a cracking week with Sunday drinks in Lambourn, a London racing lunch, surrounded by old chums who were served the most outstanding roast beef I have eaten for the past five decades; and topped with a backgammon dinner at The Hon’s Club, this time with delicious pork chop the size of a tomahawk steak and several Gins. I have swerved the conservative drinks tonight on the grounds of my seething anger at the inability of Sunak to realise that he cannot be all things to all people. He has surrounded himself with pole-climbers and spads who are long on ideology, wokery, and political posturing and bloody short on common sense, and with no grasp of the laws of unintended consequences. As a result, anyone getting behind Sunak runs the risk of being run over by his bandwagon as it u-turns out of control… again.

Once I got back from my London rounds, the thrilling pace of local life sprang into sharp focus. One of the big problems the region has is rural crime – anything from sheep rustling (10 head will fetch a grand in the Tooting market) to illegal coursing – and this week, illegal caravans! This report captured my attention:

“A caravan was seized from a layby in the Faringdon area by the Thames Valley Police Rural Crime Taskforce as police suspected it had been stolen. They said: “Using skills taught to our rural crime officers, PC Uren seized the caravan as suspected stolen so it can be examined.”

What are these skills and can anyone be taught them? What uncanny insights led the TVPRCT to think that an unhitched and slightly muddy caravan found sitting alone in a Faringdon layby had the mark of Satan about it? Has PC Uren been taught to read and mentally record fingerprints using special glasses developed at GCHQ? Can he mind-read the caravan dumpers’ intentions using the mental gifts of strange monks from the high Andes? Did the acquisition of these skills involve long and arduous body and mind-cleansing rituals, perhaps only eating rice once a week and otherwise sucking on three slices of lemon a day? We should be told.

I noticed also that the Gambling Commissioner had charged, snorting and puffing, into the racing china shop again. Continuing to ignore any logical approach to the matter of statistical integrity, Andrew Rhodes the CEO of The Gambling Commission has addressed some remarks in an open letter to the entire readership of The Racing Post. Tom Kerr’s extremely good opinion piece in response is superb. PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE HERE and remember, most of you are far brighter than the many MPs who appear involved peripherally, and who haven’t done enough research to ask cogent and logical questions of the Gambling Commission.

Sorry to go on about this, but I consider it wrong for any Government to decide how my leisure time is spent and for them to decide how I spend the money I am left with after the highest taxation regime of any Tory government ever. This appears to be a Conservative Government creating more centralised controls through the use of entirely bogus statistics and unelected bodies. Sadiq Khan has done the same in London re Ulez, but he at least has the excuse that he is no gentleman. It is surely wrong to create a system that allows private companies to demand your payslips, bank accounts and tax statements – in order to protect vulnerable people prone to addiction.

It is a myth to suggest this is all to the benefit of the NHS which could save ten or fifteen times the sum, by simply avoiding paying negligence damages after spending a similar amount on contesting the cases. The Gambling Commission does not appear to have started a war against the tens of thousands of online ads for casinos that accompany, for example, Windows Solitaire. They do not do the same if I buy £500 of lottery tickets every Wednesday and Saturday; nor do they have a plan for all the online games that give you the first few levels free and then demand increasingly larger sums of money to play on or to buy “Special unlock codes.” Both these latter cases are aimed specifically at children and some of them whilst claiming to be “Fantasy Games” are in reality learning aids on how to play the slots.

But what is never mentioned by both pro or anti advocates – is that these enquiries will all be recorded on your credit rating. It might not matter to JP McManus much, but it will do to Mrs Brown in 32 Updike Street who always has a £5 acca on the horses at the weekend. Some will say that isn’t a problem, but that also assumes that the data isn’t shared with your bank, doctor, insurance supplier and other bookmakers. All the reassurances in the world will calm your worries and say your data is safe. That is a lie. No data is safe, and one is also relying on the algorithms remaining reliable as well. One wobble by an electron and poor Mrs Brown’s entire data can not only be demanded from her “in error”,  but all her personal financial data be placed at risk. I have no idea of the ramifications of a gigantic hack of all financial data for say 100,000 people being stolen. Perhaps they will steal, or perhaps they might utilise the accounts to give access elsewhere. It probably won’t happen unlike the Northern Irish Police, MI5, NHS, TfL, Equifax, Facebook, and Twitter, amongst many others. Just keep telling yourself it could be worse, or more worse, or catastrophic or …

Talking of putting all your finances at risk from a lack of due care and diligence, or perhaps just incompetence, here are the tips for the weekend.

Beware the going. On Friday Newbury was testing Heavy with Soft in places: Ayr was GS. Any overnight rain will make a difference.

1:15 AYR Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-100) 1m 10 run

I am rather hoping REVICH wins as it would help my score in a fantasy racing league I’m in. On the other hand, FOOLS RUSH IN has turned up and given his price, the fact that he was rated 98 just 12 months ago, his Ascot 5th in The International in July and his slightly hampered 4th LTO and his 5lb claimer, suggests the value is here. Course specialist REDARNA also appears.

FOOLS RUSH IN – REDARNA Dutch the pair for 7 pts

1:30 NEWBURY Dubai International Airport World Trophy Stks (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 5f 5 run

I could make a case for SENSE OF DUTY but this is the softest ground he’s ever encountered. In the same ownership is NYMPHADORA who has soft ground form but may not be better than Listed class. RAASEL also has merit. The winner has been named, but I’m going for…

NYMPHADORA 2 pts Win

1:50 AYR Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Doonside Cup Stks Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f 7 run

HELVIC DREAM 3 pts Win

2:05 NEWBURY Dubai Duty Free Autumn Cup Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 1m5½f 7 run

VALSAD 3 pts Win

2:25 AYR Virgin Bet Ayr Silver Cup Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 6f 25 run

At first, I thought the draw played no part in yesterday’s Bronze Cup, and they all resolutely made for the middle. I was therefore inclined to ignore the Silver Cup stat that tells me 18 of the last 20 winners were drawn 1-8 or 20+ until I saw that four of the first 6 home in the Bronze cup were drawn lower than 1-8. Checking the draw, I saw that there were two I fancied drawn 1-8.  Then David O’Meara had the firs two home in the Bronze and he runs the favourite GULLIVER from stall 22, who although he meets no age trends was once rated 104 and needed a 5lb penalty to get in here. The word Plot springs to mind. The four that make my trends are BERGERAC – LUCKY MAN – ABDUCTION – WOBWOBWOB. ABDUCTION has a 50% strike rate here and is 7lbs over his last winning mark, with his draw a8/1 looks decent. WOBWOBWOB benefits from Hollie Doyle and away from the trends, CALL ME GINGER, won the Bronze Cup in 2021 and has won 2 of his last three starts and was sent off as favourite for the Portland LTO but got razzed up down at the start. 10/1 seems toppy with Paul Mulrennan in the plate.

ABDUCTION 4 pts e/wCALL ME GINGER and WOBWOBWOB 8 pts Dutch – the three with GULLIVER in a 12x¼pt CFC

2:40 NEWBURY Dubai Duty Free Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2f 8 run

CERTAIN LAD 3 pts e/w

3:00 AYR Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Firth Of Clyde (G3) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 6f 9 run

RAQIYA’s 4¼l Haydock Novice victory had the stamp of a Group filly-in-waiting. She swept clear of a Thirsk winner and Group 3-tried runner-up and it could be argued that the performance was one of the more impressive we’ve seen by a juvenile filly in Britain this year.

RAQIYA 7 pts Win

3:15 NEWBURY Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stks (G2) Cl1 (2yo) 6f 8 run

I’m happy to ignore HAATEM’s last run which was a true rarity. He won the G2 Vintage Stakes beating a subsequent G2 winner in Iberian (now rated 110) and that suggests he’s capable of giving 3lbs to this field, particularly in the soft conditions which has supported his best results to date.

HAATEM 4 pts e/w

3:35 AYR Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup Hcap (Heritage Hcap) Cl2 (3yo+) 6f 25 run

As usual, you can pick a dozen, for any number of reasons – but remember that since 1980 there have been only 3 winning favourites. However, all 3 were in the last 9 years. Kevin Ryan has won the race five times and there will be support for 2021 winner BIELSA but if it rains and the ground goes to Soft then Kevin’s ALEEZDANCER, who ran a blinder in the Stewards Cup might appeal. RAMAZAN hasn’t won over 6f recently and has been competing over 7f and 8f this season winning 2 of his last 3 races and coming close in two big Ascot handicaps. NORTHERN EXPRESS has never raced over 6f, and he was the joint favourite LTO for York’s Clipper, coming 5th. His Ayr form is R2 W1 P1. This is so trappy I think I’m just going to for the one shot and keep my fingers crossed. I supported LETHAL LEVI LTO and he gave us a return. He has six career victories to his name and has not been beaten far in some big competitive events this year. He had a troubled run in The Wokingham and he looks an each-way punt with the six places generally available.

LETHAL LEVI  4 pts e/w

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