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25th April 2024 4:14 am

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

The problem with the Interweb – I went down the rabbit hole for 200 minutes, and they were lost forever.

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It started as a simple question. “Would…” asked the Hon, “,,, an air-fryer be useful? As a Christmas present?”

The mistake I made was to treat that as a reason for research. I brushed off my inner Kipling and his Six Good Serving Men – the mantra of all good researchers and journalists.

I keep six honest serving men; they taught me all I knew; Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

What could it actually do other than chips? Would it be useful? In a world of extremes, could you do a deep-fried Mars Bar in one? In 2023, one can ask these questions with the absolute certainty that if you google Air Fryer Deep fried Mars Bar there will be recipes, videos, news stories, graphs, and scientific articles. In short, Yes, the Air Fryer Mars Bar was on… but wait before you meet the woman on YouTube who looked like she could pull a bus along with her teeth whilst feeding the world’s poorest children en masse at her enormous heaving bosom. She had helpfully produced a video where she adds icing sugar to the flour she uses for the batter for the Mars Bar… no me neither… but then another screen told me there is a journalist whom The Grauniad has asked to fry his entire Christmas Lunch.

So, having watched the Large Lady who didn’t sing, I went off to discover the truth about deep-fried Brussels. Sadly, just as he gets into the swing of his article, he leaves a small breadcrumb on the trail by saying (and I corrected any spelling mistakes): “If you follow any Americans on social media, you will know what a silly idea it is to deep-fry a turkey because you will have seen videos of people filling metal dustbins with superheated oil and then dropping in a whole turkey, which always results in an Oppenheimer-level explosion.”

No, I have never seen that… and with one tiny click, I was transported to the deep south where some very robust firemen and a truly large Fire Captain (he made me pound for pound look like a Lowry sketch and the non-singing Large Lady look like Twiggy), dropped a frozen Turkey into an oil drum, which not unreasonably sent a column of burning oil propelled by steam many feet into the air.

How stupid are these people? Yet every year, according to the Fire Captain, “thousands die as a result of deep frying frozen turkeys.” Meanwhile, back at the Graundia, I’d lost interest in Jim-Soon-To-Be-Dead’s journey, which was about deep frying, not air fryers. I say I lost interest – a skim-read told me it was not good except for deep-fried Christmas pud. Well, we all know that, for God’s sake. I was more surprised that I had also read that one could fry a Mince Pie!

Anyway, I went back to Google, but en route, I tripped over an ad for The Festive Air Fryer Cookbook magazine, which retails for £11.90. More time was spent on trying to work out whether it would arrive in time for Christmas – it wouldn’t – but then neither at this pace would an air fryer. They have usefully produced a guide to their top 15 air fryers at the Beeb. Why 15 and not 10? Why not 20… these are the questions few interrogators think to ask. Boris and Rishi should be thankful I was not made KC in time – or, even indeed, called to the Bar. So the Beeb tried to be helpful – but I immediately spotted that one machine, let us call it Whizzo 1234, is £200 and The Whizzo Max 1234 is £160. Why is the Max one £40 cheaper? What specialist chores does the non-max do? Should we call it Mini? After 17 minutes, I had enough knowledge to know that one was heavily discounted and better than the older model, which they had decided to price high in order to lower the price in time for the Boxing Day sales… or maybe not. I almost made the mistake of checking on UK consumer law as it relates to the timing of price cuts, but then I suddenly remembered…

I don’t want a bloody Air Fryer. Sorry, Darling, no offence…. but hang on… here’s an article about a load-bearing E-scooter…. now there is a thought.

On the subject of stumbling around in the dark, trying to resolve questions that no one had thought to ask because the answer was so blindingly obvious to everyone else … these are my thoughts on Cheltenham and the TV racing.

A 20-point profit yesterday, so it wasn’t all bad!

12:05 CHELTENHAM JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hdl Cl2 (3yo) 2m1f 7 Run

AN BRADAN FEASA has the best form – KOUROSH is capable of more improvement – but David Pipe saddled Adagio to win this in 2020, and he runs hurdle debutant REBEL ANGEL here, who has been backed this evening from 28s to 16s. A winner of five claiming races on the flat this year when in trained in France. There’s nothing sexy about her – but the money suggests some fear.

REBEL ANGEL 1½ pts e/w

12:40 CHELTENHAM John Wyke Memorial Novices’ Limited Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+) 3m1½f 7 Run

EVERYTHING’SONTICK beat six home at Leicester LTO over 2m 6 ½ f. The runner-up won at Sandown last Friday – tick; he is 4lb higher in a better race than that – and his jockey had the choice of him or SOME SCOPE and has remained with him. SOMESCOPE might handle his 6lb increase but will need to work hard. WISEGUY will set an honest pace; MOFASA looks progressive.

EVERYTHING’SONTICK 2 pts e/w

1:15 CHELTENHAM Quintessentially Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+) 2m½f 7 Run

IN EXCELSIS DEO looks much better than his 132 mark but is priced by the market as such. CALICO gave Jonbon a scare in a Warwick G2 last season before winning a Donny C2 handicap last March before going to Aintree the following month. He was nailed on for a 2nd behind Jonbon when falling at the last. He looks in good shape, as judged by his seasonal reappearance. AUCUNRISQUE’s mark is more than lenient, given his record, and he is well-treated if he recovers his mojo. PRINCE ESCALUS was 4th here LTO and meets most of the trends. He’s 2 pounds lower than his last winning mark.

CALICO 4 pts win – PRINCE ESCALUS 2 pts e/w

1:50 CHELTENHAM Virgin Bet December Gold Cup Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4½f 12 Run

10/17 previously contested the Paddy Power Gold Cup, with seven finishing P5. This year, we have IL RIDOTO 3rd, FUGITIF 4th, and TORN AND FRAYED (F 2 out). Only one horse meets all the trends: IL RIDOTO, who has a fantastic Cheltenham handicap record and looks a cracking price at 8/1. Also on the trends shortlist is GRANDEUR D’AME, Alan King’s unexposed seven-year-old. He has some depth to him, and 20/1 looks too big.

IL RIDOTO  4 pts e/w – GRANDEUR D’AME 2 pts e/w  – 12 x ½ pt CFC: IL RIDOTO, FUGITIF, TORN and FRAYED, GRANDEUR D’AME

2:05 DONCASTER bet365 Novices’ Limited Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+ 0-135) 2m3f 9 Run

Seven-year-old DEEPER BLUE made his handicap chase debut at Plumpton LTO and produced an eye-catching performance to fill the runners-up spot. That came after a 360-day stint on the sidelines, and as such, he should strip much fitter for that outing. He is likely to improve for his latest start, and off a similar mark, he can finish in the money again.

DEEPER BLUE 4 pts e/w

2:25 CHELTENHAM Favourite From The Sun Now Daily Hcap Chs Cl1 (4yo+) 3m2f 9 Run

You can give most runners some chance, so it’s a competitive enough race. I can’t be having PROTEKTORAT off his top weight and having shown so little LTO. THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE, on the other hand, has demonstrated sparkle with a career-best performance in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase last month, where he finished a 3l 2nd. He’s only up 3 lbs for that, but at 11/2, the bookies aren’t taking any risks. The Irish raider MALINA GIRL won here LTO, and he’s been handed 11 lbs for that – but Conor Stone-Walsh takes off a valuable 5 lbs. CITY CHIEF was 4¼ lengths behind in that race, and he now has a 12lb pull (7 lbs with the claimer) and must be respected. The favourite BROADWAY BOY made all to win here LTO and NTD won this in 2018 & 2019. Keep an eye on EASY AT THAT, who I think has a real presence. This trip will stretch him, but I think this is a sighting shot for Aintree. Today will be about stamina and jumping for him. This will also be a stiff test for ELVIS MAIL, but he is the horse on the trends.

2:40 DONCASTER bet365 Hcap Hdl Cl2 (3yo+) 2m½f 12 Run

Two of my notebook horses are here, TOO FRIENDLY and MATCHLESS. They both have decent bits of form; they both seem to be providing their trainers with quandaries over ground and distance, and they’re both way too big a price.

MATCHLESS 3 pts e/w – TOO FRIENDLY 1½ pts e/w

3:00 CHELTENHAM Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hdl (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m 10 Run

DESTROYTHEEVIDENCE 4 pts Win – KERRYHILL 3 pts e/w – ½ pt RFC

3:15 DONCASTER bet365 Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+ 0-150) 3m 11 Run

It’s the most competitive race of the day. FORWARD PLAN’s last run in the Badger Beer has to be measured against his being 7lbs out of the handicap – so it was in fact pretty decent. Possibilities. SAIL AWAY beat FORWARD PLAN by 11 lengths at Ayr (and still remains 3lba better off. You could ignore his LTO run, the first after a wind-op. WHISTLEINTHEDARK progressed with each of his four starts over fences last season. He struggled in The Paddy Power last month. Has a chance- ish. TWOSHOTSOFTEQUILA has just achieved a career-best RPR, and the trainer is in decent form, he is also being backed like a Can’t-Lose bet. MANOTHEPEOPLE made a promising return to action when a neck 2nd of 11 at Exeter two starts back. He only got as far as the 4th before unseating his rider, in the first time cheekpieces and he is pretty unexposed over fences. CASTLE ROBIN is a former C&D winner – but there are better in the race. He has podium potential with four places.

WHISTLEINTHEDARK 3 Pts Win

3:35 CHELTENHAM Virgin Bet Mares’ Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4½f 10 Run

WINDTOTHELIGHTNING is an improving handicap hurdler who is 4/5, winning decisively at Wetherby LTO. She is up 12 lbs for that and is now racing with some classy animals – I think she’s solid podium material. The same could be said of STAINSBY GIRL, who should give her backers a good run for their money, given her solid LTO performance.

WINDTOTHELIGHTNING 3 pts Win – STAINSBY GIRL 2 pts e/w

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