It’s been an interesting week, with a client winning an award for his work during the pandemic as Communicator of The Year, and he later wins a further award as Individual of The Year. We are delighted that by reflection some small kudos attaches itself to us, but we would never be so vulgar as to go around advertising such a thing. That’s when consultancies forget the Client is always the story. Cummings forgot this. Logically, of course, one should never hire a PR company you have heard of. Hmm….
We also had the Government offering £40m of loans to the racecourses, and it will be interesting to see how this translates into survival or prize monies. I say interesting in the Tears Before Bedtime sense. This is entirely a Damned if you Do and Damned if you Don’t scenario, but the problem’s cause lies elsewhere, witness the sale of William Hill for £2.9bn, making Fred Done’s 6% stake worth £170m. These values weren’t generated from taking bets on cricket but from racing and – in the very early days – from taking bets on coursing. It’s always refreshing to see bookmakers earning an honest profit from the efforts of others, but there’s nothing to be done about our losses now. Every one of our horses has bolted and as no organising body is prepared to simply refuse to provide the bookmakers with any product ever again, we will get poorer and die and they will live.
Talking of getting poorer and dying, the public also had an insight this week into just how incompetent, (and in some cases corrupt), swathes of the pandemic infrastructure have been. Patently there have been some elegant fingers in the chocolate box and they were fast to take out the dark ones and the nutty ones, leaving only the crappy orange ones that always taste of the washing-up liquid. The whiff of corruption is large and I think it would behove this government to nail a few bodies to the mast of the Ship of State, simply to prove that corruption at this time and place is simply too big to ignore. As for Bob and Bill at The University of Misery, it was tragic on Thursday to hear a scientific modeller say (I paraphrase); “We didn’t know what to ask, so we assumed that our guessed answers would probably do.” In Russia, China and North Korea, if you replied thus, you would never need to worry your head again about getting it right in the future. Here, grotesque incompetence which has killed thousands, results in a pension for life, special shopping times at Waitrose, free coffee at Costas, and people standing on the doorsteps thanking you for your services.
I wonder how much of this “knowledge-gap” is simply driven by a lack of experience and worse, common-sense and is entirely the end-result of creating an education system that fails the brightest, and overscores the weakest. Unless someone else can give me an explanation of how such rank stupidity exists in such quantities across Local Government, the Civil Service and all Governments of the last fifteen years, I’ll assume like all the overpaid data-handlers, that I’m right.
That is far more likely than my selections below for Saturday’s racing!
Not on TV but:
I have been waiting for DEYRANN DE CARJAC to come back and he’s the wrong price at 10/1. He goes well fresh and he’s competitive at a higher level than this. He had a mistake at the 5th in the Plate at The Festival and finished lame. But he had been third in The Dipper a G2, and I think he could be a bit of a revelation.
DEYRANN DE CARJAC win
1:50 Haydock Betfair Racing Only Bettor Hcap Hdl Cl2 (4yo+) 2m3f
I had originally thought to put up UMBRIGADO, who I quite fancy but the more I look at this the more I am taken by FLASH THE STEEL from the Skelton team. He is a G3 winner and on this ground and over this distance, the price seems wrong.
FLASH THE STEEL e/w
2:05 Ascot Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chs (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f
Possibly one of the more interesting races of the day – but quite shocking that there are only four runners. It’s a race that has traditionally oozed and produced class. Politologue took this in 2018 for Paul Nicholls, who came back in 2019 with the highest-rated chaser in training, Cyrname. He’s taking no chances this year, by running two, BLACK CORTON and REAL STEEL. Kim Bailey has sent IMPERIAL AURA who won the 2½m Handicap Chase on the first day of the Festival, just after the coughing started. Olly Murphy also turns up with his chaser ITCHY FEET, who has had more entries for this weekend than Boulter’s Lock on a summer’s day. He was third in the 2018 Supreme at Cheltenham but lost his enthusiasm for hurdling. I suspect he was sent hunting and a revitalised horse took an easy Novice Chase at Leicester, and then won The G1 Scilly Isles at Sandown against fancied rivals. .Sadly that impetus has not been maintained, and I’m not convinced that either he or Olly have got their season’s mojo together yet. BLACK CORTON seldom runs a bad race but he is 6lb adrift of REAL STEEL which he won’t make up. REAL STEEL switched this season from Wille Mullins to Paul and I believe that Paul will have him running closer to his Gold Cup run where the distance saw him drop out to a decent 6th. IMPERIAL AURA would need to be very good to beat him. Kim Bailey’s horse has 9lb to find on official ratings but only gets 2lb from REAL STEEL. On the plus side, he is race fit, his stable is in great form and he might have another three lbs in improvement. Still and all, he’s too big an ask for me.
REAL STEEL Win
2:25 Haydock Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Hcap Hdl (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m½f
A bit of chatter for the consistent THIRD WIND, who will like the ground and has a 2lb improvement over DOLPHIN SQUARE for his Newbury 5th place to DOLPHIN SQUARE’s 2nd. He has strong trends on his side and he is unbeaten on Soft ground.I also quite fancy WHOLESTONE who comes from NTD. The great Jim Old is now working with Nigel and they have both been puzzled by some of their charges recent performances, but the suggestion is that WHOLESTONE is fighting fit despite his big weight. A rank outsider with decent Timeform ratings is JUSTATENNER and I shall have a small e/w on him as well
THIRD WIND Win – WHOLESTONE e/w – JUSTATENNER e/w
2:40 Ascot Coral Hdl (Registered As The Ascot Hdl) (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m3½f
The trends say….
SONG FOR SOMEONE win
3:00 Haydock Betfair Chs (G1) (Registered As The Lancashire Chs) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1½f
Just five runners in The Lancashire Chase, three of whom don’t make the trends. The two left standing are CLAN DES OBEAUX and LOSTINTRANSLATION, the latter having won this last year.
BRISTOL DE MAI finished 17 lengths behind LOST’ in the Gold Cup, but he goes well fresh and he patently loves the course having won here twice. CLAN DES OBEAUX is going to have a pop at a third King George VI and he was well beaten in this race in 2018. He was also behind LOST’ in The Gold Cup. Then again there are only 2lbs between the top three and I’m tempted to suggest you just enjoy it – but I’m greedy.
3:17 Ascot Coral Hurst Park Hcap Chs Cl2 (4yo+) 2m1f
CAPELAND lost to AMOOLA GOLD here at Ascot LTO – largely because CAPELAND unseated. That happened because his jumping was far from fluent and he sprawled at the 6th having had earlier mistakes. His luck at Ascot is a cause for concern and I suspect the problem might be he starts thinking here. AMOOLA GOLD won his seasonal debut in a C3 Wetherby handicap in October and went on to take a Listed over C&D LTO.
3:35 Haydock My Odds Boost On Betfair Stayers’ Hcap Chs Cl3 (4yo+ 0-135) 3m4½f
PERFECT CANDIDATE won this last year aged 12 and is only carrying 5lbs more this year. His seasonal debut was disappointing and age might no longer be on his side. KINGS MONARCH was third last year and he has been given 5lbs more after his win at Ffos Las beating FINANCIAL OUTCOME into second. As we all know with Rebecca Curtis, a string of losses to a horse’s name is no guarantee that today isn’t their winning turn. Daryl Jacob takes the ride and the horse has weight on his side. DON POLI is the form horse with three G1s including the RSA – but again he was once rated 167 and thanks perhaps to tempus fugiting is now down to 130. Frankly, I don’t fancy any of those. I do seem to remember being impressed by SUMKINDOFKING in one of the many regional Grand Nationals that have become the naming norm for almost any Chase over 28f+. That was decent form and his two PUs this term were in The Glenfarclas and latterly on unsuitable ground. Another at a sensible price is SHENEEDEDTHERUN and the 5lb claimer, recent wind-surgery and a fourth in the Midlands Grand National LTO, all point to the possibility of a very decent run. She is 3lbs lower today than The Midlands – all of which helps. Finally, I was tipped ALMINAR by connections.
SUMKINDOFKING e/w – SHENEEDEDTHERUN e/w – ALMINAR e/w
3:50 Ascot Coral Supporting Prostate Cancer UK Bumper Cl4 (4-6yo) 1m7½f
EARL BIFFY BIFFEN ew/