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25th April 2024 5:19 am

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

There’s nothing like a £5 gift – and I mean nothing!

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

I thought it was just a bad dream – but then I realised it was probably more serious. Was it possible that I have a multiple personality disorder? Many of you had probably already considered it but, being kind souls, had shelved the idea. Yesterday, however, it came to light. I started growling at The Hon, who advised me (35-year-old shorthand for “instructed”), that this year, various familial parties would only be giving £5 presents OR recycling or re-purposing old presents or… there were many more words that all amounted to the same four-word sentence…

I was getting rubbish.

Then it started….

Grinch with a hint of Ghost of Christmas Past: I know better than to ask why this nonsense is happening because it will be accompanied by another lecture on the Cost of Living and the fragility of the Western Economy from someone who might not necessarily be aware of who Adam Smith or John Keynes were. But what’s worse is that my inner Santa is now chained up, and my spirit of benign kindliness is almost unlit. Which is good, because I’m saving money AND I can be beastly when I get crap presents.

Mr Fezziwig: Hold Hard Grinch et al. Here is the problem. I like Christmas. I become fond of children. I can live with the inanities and cliches and embrace whoopie cushions, charades and badly made Mince Pies. I love Christmas Pudding, and Brussels sprouts with Pancetta and Chestnuts. I don’t actually mind Turkey. I have always tried to make it a rule only to give presents I would like. This is tricky if you can’t play Golf or do DIY or drive. However, still and all, you see things that make you think, “If only I did drive, that glittering ratchet set of spark cleaners contained within a credit card that can also measure the trajectory of a Golf Ball via a built-in spirit level LOOKS useful. I wouldn’t mind that for myself!”

Scrooge: Well, stuff that for a game of soldiers, if that’s how they want to play it, that’s fine. Recycling, eh? Luckily, a third cousin gave me a copy of Bradshaw’s published in 1956, which still had most of the Buffet Car’s Soup service contents on the jacket, which was why it was clearly marked 50p in pencil on the inside. Sadly, my cuz had misunderstood my admiration for Michael Portillo’s brilliant wheeze for being paid £150k+ per annum for taking a 300-day all-expenses paid holiday every year. Rewrapped, I shall hand it straight back with four additional pencil marks on the inside, suggesting £12.50p. One down – ten more to go. Perhaps if I wash that old oven cloth, I can cut it into four and call them placemats from some war-torn part of the world, made by the victims of colonialism. I might even get praised for that one!

Fred: Now come on, Uncle Scrooge. Try to be understanding about people’s circumstances. It is Christmas, and that’s a time to be kind and to forgive whatever transgressions people might have made over the past year that have upset you.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: You blithering idiot, Fred. No wonder your uncle never came to lunch with you on Christmas day. All that bleating about forgiveness. I’d have condemned you to an eternity of scalding for that sort of tosh. Look at the Civil Service sitting on a beach, claiming they must WFH for their mental well-being. All well and good, but in many cases, the H is for Honduras, Havana or Halkidiki – that wasn’t really the idea, was it? Cameron coming back? Really? Two political parties that are both unelectable – and a third you couldn’t trust to find the polling booth. We’re almost in the same sad boat as the USA. A Covid Inquiry that is so severely flawed legally, it is now facing a legal review, and the ennoblement of a bra-seller accused of nicking many millions from the treasury? Which bits of this year do you think don’t require forgiveness? We can’t even select a Eurovision singer without falling over our shoelaces.

Ferzziwig: Bloody hell – I hadn’t thought about it like that…. And now you mention it, my favourite pastimes of horseracing and punting are under the cosh for being too dangerous to punters, riders, horses, the baby Jesus, donkeys transporting babies, and… No, I’m not dreaming… I’m still getting rubbish presents for Christmas!

There, I’m cured. Thank you, gentle readers. Without your support, I might have become mellow, Christmassy, and not noticed. Thank you. I just needed to get my head straight.

Talking of rubbish presents, here are my thoughts for today at Ascot and elsewhere:

12:45 Howden Conditional Jockeys’ Hcap Hdl 4YO plus,  10 Runners,  C3,  2m 5f 141y

ROGER POL steps up 5½f in trip in this conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle but his full brother Minella Crooner won over 2m 7f so he should improve for the step up in trip. Last night he was 11/4 now he’s 9/4 and shortening. That might turn out to be generous. MOT A MOT has first-time cheekpieces, and his trainer’s stats here of 5/11 over the past five years make me think 18/1 is way too big

ROGER POL 6 pts Win – MOT A MOT 2 pts e/w – ½pt RFC

13:20 Howden Maiden Hdl 4YO plus,  10 Runners,  C3,  2m 5f 141y

WELCOM TO CARTRIES to beat SILVER JET 3pts SFC – With PERSIAN TIME next race 4 pts Double

13:55 Howden Nov. Limited Hcap Chs 4YO plus,  4 Runners,  C3,  2m 167y

PERSIAN TIME 4 pts double with WELCOME TO CARTRIES see above

14:30 WB Wealth Hcap Hdl 3YO plus,  14 Runners,  C4,  1m 7f 152y

BAD was 2nd in the Gerry Fielden almost weeks ago, but surprisingly only got 2lbs. A decent 5lb claimer in Beau Morgan makes his favourite’s price of 9/4 again look generous. PONCHO has each way claims if he can stay upright. 16/1 is too big

BAD 5 pts Win – PONCHO 2 pts e/w.

15:05 Howden Noel Nov. Chs (G2) 4YO plus,  4 Runners,  C1,  2m 2f 175y

DJELO 4 pts Win

15:40 Bumper

MR ZIPPI is way too big. LET IT RAIN looks better than many.

LET IT RAIN 2 pts Win – MR ZIPPI 1 pt e/w


14:50 BREEZE OF WIND is now with Stuart Coltherd having been trained by Jimmy Mangan in Ireland and historical betting patterns suggest there is something of the plot horse about him. He has an extra 10lbs for his LTO victory, and this longer trip should suit – and they might well strike again.

BREEZE OF WIND 2 pts e/w


14:07 I have heard a word for FIRCOMBE HALL


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