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. And beyond sight yet more were lit, each spark drifting up a small token of her people’s love, respect, admiration and thanks. Of course, there are the curmudgeons, the pseudo-intellectuals who have worked it all out and can produce the reasoned argument as to all that is wrong with Royalty. I am always struck, (of the ones that I have met), by how little they have actually done in the way of public service, how little they have contributed to the well-being of the nation in comparison and often how their petty politics are a mask for their inadequacies. Yet I am terribly sad because this momentous occasion will never be repeated and I am afraid because I sense the faintest breeze heralding the beginning of a wind of change. Where Less will be thought of as More, where Egalitarianism and Inclusivity will replace Majesty and History, where our heritage and traditions will be traduced and stolen by the non-entities, powered by their furious little keyboards. So for every passing moment of this weekend give thanks. We saw it, we were there, we lit the beacons, we said a prayer for her wellbeing and we have honoured her selfless life of service, duty and care.
In the deeply mundane world of Kneesup, and still smelling slightly of bonfires, it has been a pretty astonishing few days. Our recommendations on Saturday produced three winners at 100/30 – 13/2 – 2/1. We also had a 100/1 forecast, plus three paying seconds at 11/2, 28/1 and 16/1. Overall, to recommended stakes, we made a near 75 pt profit and the bank is now back to 1033.59 pts. I had done the selections in a variety of low-stake accumulators and was at one time offered a total of £5k in Cash-outs. Luckily the Hon. Plantagenet advised me to be greedy, which meant God stopped smiling on the righteous, and the last two legs didn’t come in. It was still a tidy profit – and I’m not moaning – but I do sometimes wonder at the vagaries of the opposite sex.
Then we had the Monaco GP where Ferrari became Italian rather than focused, and tried having both cars in the pits simultaneously. Le Clerc’s fury was palpable, as he was forced to pointlessly drive through the pit lane in first gear, and could be heard even in leafy Lambourn. Then on Tuesday, we had one of the greatest games of tennis that I have ever been privileged to watch. How Nadal lost the second set and won the fourth is beyond me. Perhaps Djokovic was suffering from long covid… who knows? John McEnroe summed it up when he said: “These two Gladiators left everything on the court, in a game that started in May and ended in June.” I wish I had said that.
I had a call on Wednesday and was kindly offered a share in Frankie Dettori’s Derby ride, PIZ BADILE which chums had purchased at one of the dinners I wrote about the other day. They got it at an effective 9/1 net win and 2/1 net place, plus a stake-back situation for coming last. I am delighted because I suspect that he will go off nearer 7s as Frankie is the Housewives Choice, so it looked sensible. Another dinner last night in town where L’Equipe de Table drew Field B and made a small profit. Only later did we work out that Field B was Royal Patronage and Hoo Ya Mal. Inevitably I am forced by dint of “What Might Have Been”, to back both. Luckily Sky Bet are taking 6 places. I shall be both surprised and astonished if that pays off!
And of course, I am astonished and yet unsurprised at the general outpouring of affection for Lester. Please God, the men in shiny suits and adenoidal tones that pass for marketing men in racing these days, don’t get their hands on his memory and turn him into a circus. However, if there was one man who would understand capitalising on an opportunity it would be Lester. The tips for the first day are here, and if you by any chance end up cursing a bad ride – remember this:
“A good jockey doesn’t need orders and a bad jockey couldn’t carry them out anyway; so it’s best not to give them any.”
There is some moisture in the ground and the going is Good, Good/Soft in places. The weather is dry and sunny and I’m guessing it is drying all the time into good racing graound.
2:00 Cazoo Woodcote British EBF Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6f 18 run
The trends leave me with a choice of three – BLATANT – LEGEND OF XANADU and COMMANDER STRAKER. The latter would have been my first choice, on the grounds of improved form and a front-running style that could easily capture this race. However, I notice that in the last 10 years no horse drawn higher than 6 has won the race.
BLATANT 2 pts e/w
2:35 World Pool Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m½f 22 run
My trends shortlist is 6-7-10-11-12.
CAROLUS MAGNUS 2 pts e/w
3:10 Dahlbury Coronation Cup (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f 6 run
You could argue a case for five of the six, but the reality is that it is probably between PYLEDRIVER and HIGH DEFINITION. Dutching the pair would be the equivalent of 4/5 about your money. So whilst my heart is with Frankie, I’m going for HIGH DEFINITION. On the trends, AOB has a better track record, and PYLEDRIVER didn’t have a top 3 finish LTO
HIGH DEFINITION 4 pts win
3:45 Cazoo Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m2f 21 run
VICTORY CHIME is 1lb short of his last winning weight and loves the track (R3 W2 P1) as does SOTO SIZZLER. On the trends I also like MOKTASAAB
MOKTASAAB 4 pts win – VICTORY CHIME 2 pts e/w
4:30 Cazoo Oaks (G1) (Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m4f 12 run
The tomtoms say that all EMILY UPJOHN has to do is turn up. Against that are her price and the fact that only 4/25 Musidora winners have won next time out. Lingfield Oaks Trial winner ROGUE MILLENIUM was supplemented for £30,000 and gives jockey Jack Mitchell his first ride in the contest. Frankel’s daughter, NASHWA, won her trial at Newbury LTO in a very decent time (fractionally faster than the London Gold Cup time which is always a hot handicap producing group runners and which was won by the Gosden’s Ishrar). It is consequently the best RF speed figure in the field. Hollie Doyle was very complimentary afterwards, but my worry is the price is still very tight, and I had hoped she might have been 9/2 or even 5s. I just wonder whether I should also look to her husband’s ride TRANQUIL LADY, who might appreciate any give underfoot… This is much trickier than it looks, or quite possibly I am simply overthinking it. Bet 365 and Skybet go 4 places, so I’m supporting young Jack who deserves to join the Classic ranks.
NASHWA 3 pts Win – ROGUE MILLENIUM 2 pts e/w
5:10 Poundland Surrey Stakes Cl1 (3yo) 7f RTV 12 run
DAWN OF LIBERATION 2 pts Win
5:45 Cazoo Derby Festival Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-100) 7f RTV 25 run
NUVOLARI 3 pts Win – ZIP 1 pt e/w – ELDRICK JONES 1 pt e/w – ¼ pt CFC. (6 Places with Sky Bet)