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25th April 2024 3:48 am

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

Warning: Some of this content may trigger anxiety, panic attacks or boredom

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Issues such as a sense of entitlement, lack of charm or people skills, and the realities of living in a world where people do not always like each other, are some of the things that might be covered in these notes. Other phrases to cause distress might include Bad Luck (despite the jockey dropping his hands 100 yards from the finish), or mild expletives when referring to acronyms such as BHA, RCA, ROA, ITV, RUK or HMG in its various departmental guises.

You might not always agree with the views contained herein but that, as they say, is life.


This whole James Bond Trigger-warning malarkey has set more pulses racing than watching the ducks landing at Sandown ever could – and is almost as uninteresting were it not for the relentless creep of this cynical and supercilious form of apology to the constantly Unhappy X-masses.

“Look, we put a trigger-warning… because we care!”

Summary: BFI Southbank is holding a retrospective of John Barry’s film music accompanied by the Bond films he famously scored. (He has incidentally never won an Oscar for a Bond movie – but has won them for Born Free (1966) – The Lion in Winter (1968) – Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) – Out of Africa (1985) – Dances with Wolves (1990) – Chaplin (1992)). The Bond films, music aside, come with the following trigger warning from the BFI’s Panty Pads Bureau:

“Please note that many of these films contain languages, images and other content that reflect views prevalent in its time, but will cause offence today (as they did then).”

WHOA, there. “…as they did then…”,  where the hell did that come from?

Of course, there were people in the 60s who regarded the Bond character as totally reprehensible – as they did in the 20s for Bulldog Drummond and 30s for Simon Templar, who was, in print, a posh thug. This is because it is a fundamental rule of the human condition that one can always find somebody who disagrees or objects to whatever it is. Historically, the contrary views the public heard about, tended to be provided by people who were paid to hold those views. Then an opposing view would be delivered, thus keeping The New Statesman, the Spectator, The Guardian and The Mail all happy – especially if it went mainstream and became an argument on TV and radio.

What simple happy days they were then when you could go to the pub and discuss Perry Worsthorne’s views of Eric Idle’s views of the Bishop of Oxford’s views without feeling the need to break two thumbs and get an arthritic wrist to tell the world your views, whilst typing the word fascist or anything ending ‘-phobic”

What are the odds?

A 54m ton asteroid is thought to be possibly on a collision course with Earth, a scenario which would certainly generate an ELE (Extinction Level Event) later this year – but NASA is not certain where the beast is. Called 2007 FT3, the 300+m long asteroid was spotted and tracked 16 years ago for around 24 hours before its signal became too faint and vanished. As it headed off into the great beyond on some computer-guessed orbit, the scientists postulated it could be back on October 5, 2024. NASA sought to let us sleep easier by saying Relax – the chances of Bob (surely he must have a name?) hitting us is around 11½m-1.

Winning the £1m Premium Bond draw over a year (or 12 monthly prize draws) is one in 49,563,028 if you have £100 in Premium Bonds. Winning the National Lottery with a single ticket is 45m-1. At the other end of the scale, picking the winner of each of Saturday’s seven ITV races, with no non-runners, is only just over 2m-1.

So frankly NASA I think I’d like a little more, “Where the Hell is Bob?” and a little less, “What are the chances?”; the answer to this is that an ELE is only slightly more unlikely than picking the winner of eight televised races, four of which have seven runners or less!

Great Aunt Maude was the same species, after all!

My monthly magazine – “Darwin for Beginners” – once again leaves me scratching my head. Picture, if you will, a large cave on the side of a rocky hill, which has been dug up at Gruta da Oliveira in central Portugal for two years. Much scraping and fluffing with dust brushes and huge care suggest that the Neanderthals were jolly clever and that they were much more like us, the Homo Sapiens model, than the usual grunting, bewildered bipod that was suggested previously.

Indeed, it turns out that Noggin and Nan Neanderthal would be sitting around a fire they had made, chewing the fat, literally and figuratively. After dins, they might well make a little jewellery, shape some bone into something useful, or simply (and relentlessly) shag some of the neighbours.

They also decided that rather than having Aunt Peg’s corpse stinking the cave up, dropping her into a hole also made the place smell a little sweeter.

Scientists inevitably have a different way of expressing all these important findings:

“… archaeological evidence suggests that Neanderthals were capable of crafting jewellery, showcasing a level of aesthetic and symbolic expression… suggesting that our Neanderthal relatives engaged in sophisticated behaviours previously not attributed to them. Contrary to earlier assumptions, recent findings indicate that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead, a practice previously thought to be unique to Homo sapiens… they may have ventured into the realm of art, challenging traditional perceptions of their cognitive abilities”.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Talking of barely being able to walk upright, let alone form a reasoned argument based on cognitive abilities or sophisticated behaviours, here are my thoughts on the racing

1:30 WINCANTON Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Hcap Chs Cl3 (5yo+ 0-125) 1m7½f 6 run


1:40 NEWCASTLE QuinnBet Acca Bonus Novices’ Hdl Cl4 (4yo+) 2m1f 15 run

TWO AULD PALS 3 pts win

2:05 WINCANTON Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Hcap Hdl Cl5 (4yo+ 0-105) 1m7f 10 run


2:15  NEWCASTLE QuinnBet Best Odds Guaranteed Novices’ Hdl Cl4 (5yo+) 2m4½f 10 run


2:40 WINCANTON Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Hcap Chs Cl3 (5yo+ 0-130) 2m4f 7 run

GEORGES SAINT – ICONIC MUDDLE 8 pts Dutch the pair – 1 pt RFC

2:50  NEWCASTLE QuinnBet Acca Bonus Hcap Chs Cl5 (5yo+ 0-100) 2m4f 9 run


3:15 WINCANTON Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Hcap Hdl Cl3 (4yo+ 0-125) 2m5½f 7 run

DON’T RIGHTLY KNOW – RARE CLOUDS Dutch the pair 6 pts

3:25  NEWCASTLE Hcap Hdl Cl5 (4yo+ 0-105) 2m4½f 10 run

YEALAND 5 pts Win – WILD POLLY 1 pt e/w

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