Traincrash, Disaster, Devastation, Mayhem, Sadness

Yesterday started brilliantly.

I had done the form very early on Saturday morning and, despite slipping on ice and crashing to the ground at 1:00 am, I was none the worse for wear. The cataract operation, (done on Monday), is on course for the Outstanding Performance by the NHS award and four days later, I headed to Newbury in what was a biting wind, to spend a jolly day, surrounded by delightfully charming people, a half dozen of whom were already chums. It was to be a day of full-on kindness, with huge, unstinting dollops of generosity, laced with largesse, and with an open-door policy that resulted in my host catering for another dozen or so reprobates, dropping in for hugs and Malbec glugs. By midday, I was thinking, so far so good. Two Bloody Mary’s up, bonhomie in full throttle, eye patch set at a rakish angle, half a dozen plus pretty girls in the box, and then the racing started.

As I stood on the privileged balcony, I wondered why it was that almost all racecourses, cannot in the 21st century, install a sound system that delivers an audible commentary in the open air? There were two speakers set into the ceiling above the balcony that simply could not be heard and the racecourse commentary was set to broadcast to the parade ring. Irritating beyond belief, because it meant that one was either going to have to watch the race on TV or to follow it without commentary. The late Stan Clarke made it a point to see the racing from every point and perspective at Uttoxeter and to resolve the issues that didn’t meet his standards immediately. The new chair at Cheltenham has also apparently appointed a “Duty Director” to do just that on racedays, so that – before March – they will know that the Annual Members steps are an auditory jungle, or that the XYZ Bar stinks of chips by 11:00 am because of the extraction system. (I have no idea if that is the case, but its the sort of thing one hears from the olfactory racing purist).

As those of you who stayed at home and watched the racing know, the Pharoah of Galway and myself then went on a double-handed spree to ensure that no bookmaker’s child misses the opportunity for a public-school education and that the bookies’ wives, partners and significant others would have a Christmas that wanted for nothing. The results were dismal! Mea Maxima Culpa.

Peter “At all At all” O’Tool
  • 12:05 SILVER FOREVER 2pts win
  • 12:40 RESERVE TANK 2pts win
  • 13:15 LARRY 1pt e/w
  • 13:50 PETER THE MAYO MAN 1pt e/w DOWNTOWN GETAWAY 1pt e/w
  • 14:25 ELVIS MAIL 1pt e/w TORCELLO 1pt e/w
  • 15:00 WEST APPROACH 1pt e/w MISTER MALARKEY 1pt e/w ROBINSFIRTH 1pt e/w ELEGANT ESCAPE 1pt e/w All four in a 12 x 0.25pt CFC
  • NEWCASTLE
  • 12:55 GLENDUFF 1pt e/w
  • 13:30 HILL SIXTEEN 1pt e/w
  • 15:20 JONNIESOFA 1pt e/w TOP VILLE BEN 1pt e/w
Capt. Kneesup
  • 12:05 NEWBURY FLORESSA – VALSE AU TAILLONS
  • 12:40 NEWBURY RESERVE TANK ante-post punt for the JLT not available
  • 1:15 NEWBURY WESTEND STORY – JERRYSBACK
  • 1:50 NEWBURY PRIDE OF LECALE – NORDIC COMBINED
  • 2:05 NEWCASTLE BUVEUR D’AIR
  • 2:25 NEWBURY ELUSIVE BELLE ELVIS MAIL – SCARLET DRAGON
  • 3:00 NEWBURY ELEGANT ESCAPECABARET QUEEN – COMMODORE
  • 3:20 NEWCASTLE JONNIESOFA
  • 3:40 NEWBURY NO COMMENT – THEO – WHATSWRONGWITHYOU
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