Yesterday – I discovered appropriately today – was National Diary Day. In that vein, yesterday’s selections weren’t so appalling, but still, we were down a point for the day and all of it the 3l difference between the winner and Raymond Tusk at 40/1. I take no comfort in the words of one of my favourite Irishmen, Kevin McAuliffe, who once told me to; “Stop complaining, coming second simply means you came last first… and you’ve still lost.” There’s the rub, maybe one should think of a new betting strategy; maybe one shouldn’t overthink, maybe, maybe, maybe. One huge benefit of the day, unless I missed it, was that Ed C. didn’t fall into the “New Chairman is a Lady” trap. I suspect York might have suggested not. There is still time, however, for my prediction to come bad.
Otherwise, I continued the constant post-pandemic battle between trying to get my needs serviced and the new working mantra of Can’t-Do. For example, I saw a hat I thought I might like this summer, which was made from Brazilian recycled transport lorry tarpaulins. It was available in that rarest of things, a size that would fit me, and including a red and black, rather snazzy-looking para-cord hat-band, the hat came in at under £50. I saw myself transitioning between Indiana Jones and Tiradentes, the Hero of Brazil, (who is rather charmingly, the Patron of Brazil’s Military Police). Cutting a dashing figure in my new hat, my dash would be entirely due to my new diet, where my battle should be the stuff of legends – but simply leaves me feeling weak. The Diet Diary is for another day, possibly combined with my Skills – I – Failed – To – Acquire – During – Covid -Lockdown Diary and my Foreign – Language – Films – That – Were – Crap – On – Netflix Diary.
Anyway, I am sans chapeau, because their website wouldn’t work properly. Helpfully, I emailed and pointed out that their security was an issue and that their payment links didn’t work. Their response was, essentially, that I must be wrong and was making a mistake. I had the same with my new glasses. Where are they? You said two weeks and it is now three. – Oh No Senhor, we said ten working days. – Yes, it is now twelve. – Yes, we know, but you did not tell us it was urgent!” I say Senhor. For all the service I’m getting, they might as well be in Rio.
Note for Rishi Sunak’s Diary: If we have a post-pandemic economic boom, it won’t be driven by people wearing hats and glasses. Talking of unlikely economic booms, here are today’s tips.
1:40 YORK Matchbook Betting Exchange Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 5f 18 run
Looking at the historical pace and draw advantages, it seems likely that a hold-up horse with a low-draw om G/S (but admittedly drying) ground, will have an advantage. This leads me to ILLUSIONIST who has run here three times and been placed twice off higher marks. His Newmarket run LTO was on unsuitably fast ground and had the look of a pipe-opener. He was beaten by MUSCIKA under 2l over C&D last October giving 2lbs and is now 8lbs better off. MUSCIKA is no forlorn hope either, but I prefer VENTUROUS for some e/w value, who caught my eye on running on from The Forlorn Hope Stall 10 last week at Chester. He was full of running from a wide draw at Chester when finishing full of running when he went past the post behind COUNT DORSAY and COPPER KNIGHT and a different draw would undoubtedly have seen a different result. Anything better than 10s is a huge result.
ILLUSIONIST Win – VENTUROUS e/w
2:10 YORK Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stks (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m2½f 6 run
SILENCE PLEASE thoughts: Shane Foley comes over for just the one ride. Jessie doesn’t send many over. She was 4th in the German Oaks. She’s 2/4 on G/S and placed once. She was 4l second to Tiger Moth in a G3 last year at Leopardstown who went on to be 2nd in The Melbourne Cup. Hmm.
SILENCE PLEASE Win
2:25 SALISBURY AJN Steelstock “Record Sales” Hcap Cl3 (3yo 0-90) 1m2f 7 run
WAHRAAN might well be chucked in here, but it is hard to ignore LORD PROTECTOR’s form, with his debut race providing five individual winners including Listed winner Third Realm, who won Lingfield’s Derby Trial Stakes. I would also not be surprised to see Oisin Murphy close up, the whisper says.
LORD PROTECTOR Win.
2:40 YORK Matchbook Betting Podcast Hambleton Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m 15 run
I have three on my trends shortlist, ARTISTIC RIFLES – JOHAN – OUZO. The first I fear might be in the hands of the handicapper. JOHAN was 5th in the Spring Cup and is now 2lbs lower and Haggas and Marquand are both in form. OUZO won a decent handicap over C&D last year and didn’t run badly in the Lincoln. Some jockey called Ryan Moore takes the ride. On draw and capability alone, FIRMAMENT is no ethereal chance (geddit?).
JOHANN – OUZO – FIRMAMENT All e/w + ¼pt CFC
3:10 YORK Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stks (G2) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2½f 10 run
This is probably going to be the definitive Derby trial, and it needs to be because, let’s face it, the rest of the picture has been pretty confusing so far. Also, I should declare that I hold two Derby antepost tickets. One for HIGH DEFINITION at 8/1 with B365 and the other for UNCLE BRYN at 20s for The Derby. This inevitably means that neither will win today. I would have preferred a better prep for HD, (14/18 Dante winners had made their seasonal debut), but he has been truly impressive on both his starts to date – hence the Kneesup cash going down. Aidan had aimed him towards Saturday’s Lingfield Derby Trial and I just wonder whether that was on grounds of time, or a check to see if he’d handle the hill and Tattenham Corner under racing conditions. In any event, he missed that with a low blood count, but appears here and has been backed for this. UNCLE BRYN was very green in Epsom’s Blue Riband trial, where he was distracted by the filly Technique in the ring. It isn’t for me to criticise, but I bet if Frankie Dettori and I had just finished a plate of Vitello Milanese with wilted spinach and a Magnum of 1996 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo together, and I asked whether he thought he might have bought UNCLE BRYN out into the open at Epsom too early and too wide, he might say Si. That being the case, he has a real chance. Jim Bolger sends FLYING VISIT, who has had a seasonal run in which he was a 2¼l second to Bolshoi Ballet LTO. As we all now know, that form looked very impressive with BB’s victory on Sunday where he destroyed the field by 6l in the Derinstown Derby Trial. I suspect too that this is a sighter for the Irish Derby rather than The Derby. I’m tempted to dutch my selections, but I’m afrit.
UNCLE BRYN e/w – FLYING VISIT e/w
3:40 YORK British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stks (Listed) Cl1 (3yo) 5f 8 run
ACKLAM EXPRESS is race fit from Meydan including a 3rd in a G1 LTO. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of backing horses FTO after their UAE jaunts and prefer to see them run first. He is also drawn high. DEXTER BELLE won easily at Ponty LTO (by 5l), and while this is a step up, it looks do’able. ATALIS BAY is the wrong price and Marco Botti has talked this one up before. Won well at Nottingham LTO.
ATALIS BAY e/w