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19th June 2024 4:38 pm

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

The FA Cup, Golf and The Lockinge

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They’re racing early tomorrow because of the FA Cup. For some reason, I had it in my head that the Cup was next weekend and that this weekend we had The French Grand Prix. I spent 20 minutes proving to myself that The French GP is in fact the Spanish and that it is happening next weekend. Meanwhile, The French Grand Prix is happening, but I think it is motorbikes of which I know nothing.

Well, that isn’t strictly true. We know that motorbike racing is a truly dangerous sport. You need leathers and leather gauntlets with pads on the back over the knuckles, and a lot of other paddings. Not because you might, but because you will come off at 120mph, and the one thing you really need in a motorbike crash is a pair of decent leather gloves. I remember Barry Sheene, who made James Hunt look dull, (and who was also one of his best friends), coming off and being welded together. Periodically TV crews would catch up with him in traction, physio, or practising walking upright. He was always relentlessly cheerful, and ALWAYS had a wonderful blonde nearby – who later turned out to be his future wife, Stephanie, who was with him right to his end from Cancer.

Sorry, I’m digressing… I was in fact going to mention that I had watched the selection process for the Jubilee Pudding, which was won by a Trifle. How damaging must that be for the other contestants doomed to an eternity of Trifle anxiety? The punchline endings they are forever doomed to deliver; “It must have been very daunting being with the Duchess of Cornwall – was it frightening?” “No, it was a mere trifle”. What did irritate me, (yes I managed to be irked by a pudding competition), was that cakes had been selected as finalists. Cakes masquerading as puddings? I think Mary Berry has sold her soul to the BBC. I had hoped that Fortnums and the others involved in this “trifle” might at least have shortlisted a Plum Pudding. The Cannonball of Gillray and Rowlandson political cartoons; the staple of every upper and middle-class table from the mid 18th century to last Christmas – although we now call it Christmas Pudding and make it with much less Suet. As I reread one of my old recipe books, I was reminded that it used to accompany Roast Beef, in much the same way as we might put a Cumberland sauce to the meat nowadays.

We forget our history at our peril, which Europe is rediscovering, along with all those who believed in The South Sea, Tulips and a myriad other financial bubbles – they never stay aloft.

Talking of bubbles…

1:35 NEWBURY BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes Cl1 (3yo) 6f 9 run

HIERARCHY was 2nd in the Mill Reef the last term and has run four times in Group company to date. LTO he ran second to Go Bears Go at Ascot and gives the impression there is still improvement to come. He can improve. He was 6th in The BC Juvenile Sprint – only 1¾l off the winner. He is a good horse – but not to date lucky.


1:50 NEWMARKET Denbury Homes Fairway Stakes Cl1 (3yo) 1m2f 7 run

A decent Listed race and the increasingly confident Jack Mitchell on board ZAIN SARINDA must have a decent chance. He was only just edged out in the Epsom Derby Trial, but he did beat United Nations by 1½l into 4th, who then went on to win the Lingfield Derby Trial. He is currently 4/1 with Bet365, but I don’t see that lasting long. I was given the nod for SAVVY VICTORY and in a 7 runner race, 20/1 looks enormous. I have invested at least 40 minutes of my time trying to make a case for him and other than Sean Woods’ 2-week strike rate is something over 40% and SAVVY VICTORY was third behind Changingoftheguard and New London in the Chester Vase last week, I’m struggling to make the case. Maybe he never was a 12f horse. I’m there tomorrow – I’ll see what he looks like.

ZAIN SARINDA 3 pts win

2:10 NEWBURY Al Rayyan Stakes (aka The Aston Park Stakes) (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f 6 run

This is a lot more open than at first appears. I’m going with WITHOUT A FIGHT who has been sunning himself in Meydan, with an eye-catching 2nd to Hukum and an understandable 6th in the G1 Sheema Classic. That race result was the result of a slow and muddling pace that certainly allowed 66% of the Japanese horses to run better than expected. EHAADA is my worry. Winner of The Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day and runner-up in the Ribblesdale, I can only hope a long lay-off and a 4lb penalty slows her down!


2:25 NEWMARKET TRU7 Handicap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 6f 10 run

My eye keeps being taken by ROMANTIC TIME and in a 10-runner Newmarket handicap, finding a G3 Salisbury winner is always a bit like finding the worm in a bottle of Mescal. It’s always considered lucky, but best you know what the worm was drinking when he died. That Salisbury run was one suspects a bit of a steal, but it was also the first time that ROMANTIC TIME had been sent off on a 6f trip and it is quite possible that he’s a 6f horse, not 7f. It is also quite possible that he isn’t actually Pattern class in the long term. I’M A GAMBLER wouldn’t be a surprise either, even with his 6lb penalty.

ROMANTIC TIME 1½ pts e/w – I’M A GAMBLER 1 pt e/w

2:45 NEWBURY BetVictor London Gold Cup Handicap Cl2 (3yo) 1m2f 13 run

ISRAR is in the care of Gosden et fil, who I hope gave him stiff talking after his run at Newmarket LTO. He broke slowly, got unbalanced and generally looked a mess, coming third. I suspect that the race might happen a bit fast for him again because he is surely an out and out 12f horse. As I was researching this I came across an anomaly. Roger Charlton’s record in this race is 7R – 4W – 1P.  However, that record has disappeared from the screens, because the AI is looking for Roger, and not Harry and Roger. His runner also fits the trends. He is being backed as I write and is priced between 14s and 18s

LA PULGA 3 pts e/w (5 places with Sky)

3:00 NEWMARKET Birketts LLP Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 7f 11 run

Both WIZARD D’AMOUR and SALEYMM have race fitness on their side, and both will try and set the pace. Trained by the Crisfords, SALEYMM had been 2nd in the Lincoln before running at Newbury in The Spring Cup. Admittedly he ran best of the five Lincoln runners who ran in that, and maybe it took more out of them all, but it was a pretty poor run, with no obvious excuses. SHINE SO BRIGHT gets the 7lbs improvement of Harry Davies on board and I think that will put him in front of WIZARD D’AMOUR again. However, there are a couple here, who are having their first race since being cut, (4 & 12), and three with new headgear (2,6 & 10). A very small punt on Jack, in what is by far his most tactical race of the day.

SALEYMM 2 pts win

3:20 NEWBURY Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (G1) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m 9 run

There are only three runners to consider in this BAAEED – ALCOHOL FREE and MOTHER EARTH. At a push, you could add REAL WORLD, because as Saeed pointed out he hated Saudi dirt, so could ignore his last two runs. The first selection is blindingly obvious, being unbeaten in the last 6 runs, but not being as good as Frankel and is completely unbackable. The next two are both girls and so get a weight allowance, and MOTHER EARTH is AoB’s tough as teak 1000 Gns winner, who has already had 19 career starts. Stick her with the forecast. I have already backed ALCOHOL FREE at 18/1 and she will probably go off at 12s. She is better than her price. SIR BUSKER whose syndicate includes several readers of Raceweb is not expected to win – but will pick up prize money. You could take a view that at 24/1 for 5 places with Bet365, that is the value bet of the race.

ALCOHOL FREE 2 pts e/w.


Chelsea and Liverpool meet for the second time in a Cup Final this season at Wembley. Liverpool triumphed after a goalless game – followed by a huge penalty shootout (11-10) in the Carabao Cup Final and Chelsea has lost the last two FA Cup Finals. I suspect that there hangs the answer. They have had two other draws this season. 2-2 at Stamford Bridge and 1-1 at Anfield, and I suspect there will be a huge mental battle between managers and teams resulting in a very strong mid-field defensive tactic from Chelsea with the hope of a breakaway.

So play the Draw HT Draw FT result (9/2); Play 1-1 90 mins (33/5); 2-2 90 mins (31/2). If you have an account with Sporting Index for example, there are a number of other supporting bets, such as the time of the 3rd match goal priced at 75½ – 77½ (I’m a seller); and the time of the winning goal: 36-39 (I’m a buyer).

Have fun – it promises to be a game of two halves.



Firstly as I write, they are out there and playing the second round – as such you better keep an eye on the wayward shank and bear in mind this is on the hoof. I want players who’ll make the cut and who I can trade later.

So I want Patrick Rodgers at 400/1 e/w. He’s shot two rounds 69 or less and he’s 8 under in total, which means he’ll make the cut. I want Seamus Power on my team who shot a cosy 66 in his first round. He’s 25/1 with Bet Victor. I want Charlie Schwartzel on 22/1 and finally, I want Justin Lower at 50/1. The one to watch who is starting a charge is Jordan Spieth – but he is now a best-priced 6/1

Don’t forget that in a perfect world I’d be backing these with Betfair and hoping to “Green Up”  – the term used when you can create a perfect Arbitrage position where you cannot fail to make a profit. Otherwise do the above for 1pt e/w with BV and fingers crossed.

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