I feel sorry for jockey Ben Curtis, who has been publically hauled over the coals as he scrabbles to earn a crust out of a single ride at – and being ejected from – Newmarket by the Thomson and Thompson Twins. Tintin’s comic book heroes always displayed a sense of self-righteousness that however commendable nearly always resulted in chaos.
The aim of these rules is, of course, to ensure the future success of racing and its continued survival, (and the removal of the PR stigma associated with the Cheltenham Festival). But the administration of these rules has got to be tempered with some concept of positivity. York did it beautifully with its treatment of their visiting owners, Goodwood managed to hack off some owners by bollocking them for talking to their trainer, (who they had driven down with), over a rail. The racing industry is not alone in the issue. Part of the hospitality world is also finding it hard to deliver a consistent, considerate and safe message. I was in one hotel recently, which spent five minutes telling me the rules – before giving me a key and never said “Welcome” once. In a pub on Tuesday, I am welcomed with open arms, made to feel safe AND normal, and not an inkling that C19 is even an issue. On Thursday, a different pub would not let me in, until a man sitting behind a desk, had spent time telling me what wasn’t going to happen and more importantly what they couldn’t do. (Food, Service, Charm and WiFi it transpired). This negative tone continues with the RP’s story today that West Brom striker and racehorse owner Charlie Austin is suggesting a level of frustration with the entire concept of horseracing in today’s Racing Post. “…there is no incentive for owners to be involved in racing”. Even less so if The Thompson Twins start ejecting owners from the course for walking among trainers!
So let me make one teeny suggestion because I fear we are all in genuine danger of making life deeply unpleasant for those with whom we have any form of socio-economic relationship. We must all find a way to sound a little less Jobsworth, a little more grateful that someone in this filthy mess is keen to do business with us. We need to be welcoming and kind, not defensive and aggressive under the guise of putting safety first. Anyone who visited Eastern Europe in the 70s can tell you what the long-term prospects are for that behaviour.
By all means, impose a fine on a jockey for walking through the wrong enclosure, but public humiliation reminiscent of being drummed out of the Regiment seems to me shameful and sad.
Those two words bring me neatly to the tips…
1:50 GOODWOOD Ladbrokes Prestige Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 7f
POMELO has a Capital P and some question marks on this ground, I quite fancy HAPPY ROMANCE, but I just think they haven’t found the switch yet on SEATTLE ROCK, who is quirky, a tail swisher and could very well be a total bitch. She has however got a decent pedigree, she can run and with luck, she’ll run properly today.
SEATTLE ROCK e/w – Add HAPPY ROMANCE for the ½pt RFC
2:05 NEWMARKET (JULY) Close Brothers Hopeful Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f
RAUCOUS is the wrong price, hailing from a stable that regularly sends out seasonal debut winners.
2:25 GOODWOOD Brian Chattaway Celebrating 50 Years At Ladbrokes Handicap Cl2 (3yo+) 7f
2:40 WINDSOR Gallagher Group August Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m3½f
SEXTANT will handle the ground, and looked capable on his return behind Hukum at Newbury. He won over C&D last year and is rumoured to be better than the bare figures suggest,
3:00 GOODWOOD Ladbrokes March Stakes (Group 3) (In Memory Of John Dunlop) Cl1 (3yo) 1m6f
If SUBJECTIVIST gets a soft lead here, then he could easily take this. He runs well at Goodwood and he handles the ground. He’s closely related to Sir Ron Priestley who won this last year before coming 2nd in the Leger.
3:15 WINDSOR Gallagher Group Winter Hill Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m2f
This is not as tough a race as The York Stakes, so the winner FOX CHAIRMAN should hose this. Sadly that is reflected in his price.
FOX CHAIRMAN Wins
3:35 GOODWOOD Ladbrokes Celebration Mile Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m
Sir Michael Stoute’s REGAL REALITY probably has the best recent form, with his Salisbury G3 win LTO, a race in which he spread-eagled the field. He has however had eight shots at G1 and G2 glory and only had three third places for his trouble. DUKE OF HAZZARD won this last year and maybe his dismal eighth also in The Sovereign Stakes, was a result of simply not having a long enough break between races. I suspect he needs 21+ DSLR so this might still be too soon. SIR BUSKER is a fascinating entry, and his OR suggests he is ready to try at this level – but the race itself does have the smack of the deep-end about it. POSITIVE must be held on the results of The Sovereign, and then there is BENBATL who has been ripping it up at Meydan – but who will surely loathe the ground. I have it between URBAN ICON and CENTURY DREAM and I suggest dutching the two and adding SIR BUSKER for a 6x½pt CFC
URBAN ICON win – CENTURY DREAM win – SIR BUSKER all three CFC
Brilliant comments above re: Curtis, Covid respons etc. Pretty decent tipping as well.