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27th May 2024 3:38 am

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

Warning: Work can kill you

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

What I have always suspected, has now been proven in a study, undertaken by that august body the Chinese-run WHO and the  International Labour Organisation (whose acronym should not be confused with the Illyich Lenin Org.). In this report they revealed that Work kills 2m annually. The study considered 19 occupational risk factors, including exposure to long working hours and workplace exposure to air pollution, asthmagens, carcinogens, ergonomic risk factors, and noise. The key risk – and who would have guessed – was exposure to long working hours which was linked to approximately 750,000 deaths. Workplace exposure to air pollution (particulate matter, gases and fumes) was responsible for 450,000 deaths. When you consider that 86,000 die every year in wars; that illegal drugs sends around ¼m to their maker; that Covid-19 saw off 1.8m in 2020, then it is fair to say that an American  heroin addict in Kabul is 6 times more likely to survive than if he got a job! Worse still for Boris, I am fractionally more likely to die if I go to work than if I stayed safe at home. This report came out in late September and so my mini-break away from the grinding routine, was timely!

Sadly having taken a few days off, I missed the opportunity to tell you all to back the 80/1 winner of the Arc. One reader did message me for my opinion, which I gave, and I sincerely hope he backed it. Truth be known, I thought Torquator Tasso was probably good for a place on form, but most importantly, he was the wrong price. He was one of only four Group One winners; he met all the race  trends; his mark was not so very shy of the pack – certainly he needed to improve – but he looked progressive anyway; and he had proven form on Heavy using his big stamina engine. In the race itself he was kept wide pretty well throughout, and while he was keen early, his pilot kept the pace level. TT didn’t record any sub-12sec splits – his penultimate 12.04sec was his quickest – whereas the top three raced faster  – but then as was shown at the finish – they had used their reserves in trying to get into contention, with TT recording the fastest time at 12.44 in the final secton. The ever-readable Marcus Armytage today suggested that German Bloodstock values suffer from some sort of global snobbery. Aah the Huns… couldn’t breed a horse if you gave them Dawn Run and Frankel to start them off. Which is a nonsence. He also pointed out the parlous state of horseracing in Germany. Look and Learn HRA.

Anyway, that was the Arc and the good news is that he’ll defend it next year – God willing.

En vacance, I had been to a splendid dinner at The Turf on Friday night and ended up with the ever-affable George Baker, Cornelius Lycett, a couple of Raceweb members and a barman keen to keep the drinks flowing. I eventually stepped out to find my cab, well after midnight, but was rather startled to see several Old Bill in full kit and armed to the teeth, investigating what I took to be a dog in a bag. “One of yours I think Sir” said OB One. “What makes you say that?” “The way he’s dressed is a bit of a clue Sir” and indeed it was one of our number. A Dinner Jacket never prevents you passing out, or behaving badly, but it does tend to slow down the procedures for being detained – especially in St James – where your DJ might be wrapped around an MP or a Royal.

To cut a long story short, they let me take his keen-to-flop body away in my taxi and I got him home. Sadly as I dropped him off, he then told me that the bag he had bought from the Turf, was not his own and thus his access to his bed required him to return to The Turf, negotiate entrance, find and swap bags. I foresaw a long night and quickly removed my cloak of Christian kindness, together with my Good Samaritan scarf, and wished him the very best of luck. Nobody has called since to ask me to attend the Coroners Court, so I assume all ended well. I never did find out his name, so Bonne Chance whoever you were.

The next morning I had to get from Pimlico to Ascot before 11:30 and discovered that, as UK PLC is still working on 30% capacity, the only public transport system working was a bus from Waterloo Station to Virgina Water and another bus to Ascot. I opted for Mr Uber who sent me a Tesla, which makes less noise than my towel, and a £60 bill. For door-to-door comfort it was hard to beat. I did not advise him to read any recent reports from the WHO, in case I needed him later.

My hangover took the edge off my day at the Ascot races, which would have been perfect otherwise, thanks entirely to a jolly lunch with the Oakman Group who sponsored The Rous Stakes. I probably broke even in the end on the betting front, but my spirit was slightly down on the Joie de Vivre front, thanks to the previous late night. We found some petrol (no, not in the tank of a car in No 2 car park), and headed home for some R&R.

Sometimes you get to the end of the day, and all you want is an egg banjo and a cup of tea – which is what happened. This was accompanied by watching Martin Clunes in Manhunt (excellent and solidly written) and a relatively early night. Sunday saw us at an Arc lunch at the Pheasant run by Jack Greenall, who understands racing people (the Greenalls have always been centaurs) and who recently bought The Surprise in London. A perfect afternoon. Full of racing people, all watching telly and eating rare roast beef and drinking strong spanish – and watching a winner, mea maxima culpa, that I never told you about.

More of the same this weekend, but sans dinner jacket, so fingers crossed I do not have to take anyone home. Before I go off for another weekend full of not working and thus surviving, I have time to tell you the following…..

1:45 NEWMARKET Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stks (G3) Cl1 (2yo) 1m2f

With Aidan having won two of the last four runnings and the Irish overall taking three of the last six, we must pay attention to his BLUEGRASS, and son Donnacha’s UNCONQUERABLE (with Frankie on board). The latter hasn’t really startled me to date, and I’m not sure I like two year-olds to have so many miles on the clock. His one win to date hasn’t produced much in the way of winning form, so not for me. BLUEGRASS won his Curragh maiden from the front and could be anything. and HAFIT looked like the ground was a tad too quick for him in what I suspect was an easier race. That leaves GOLDSPUR who won his maiden by 6½l and was immediately quoted at 33/1 for the Derby. If the ground has a little cut this could easily be an Appleby 1-2.  The surprise package might be BERKSHIRE REBEL who hated the camber at Epsom LTO and lost all confidence as a result of feeling unbalanced in only his second race. He’s good for place money.


2:02 YORK Coral Beaten-By-A-Length Free Bet Rockingham Stks Cl1 (2yo) 6f

More babies on display, this time speedsters looking for a little Black Type. Probably the most likely winner is CANONIZED who was a shd 2nd in the listed Firth of Clyde Fillies Stakes at Ayr LTO. I quite fancy ALOTAIBI who didn’t seem to progress in his second racecourse appearance at Ascot LTO. That race has produced a couple of winners since, so I suspect my reading of his Ascot race is flawed. I think he’ll be value if you can get 11/2 or better.


2:20 NEWMARKET Emirates Autumn Stks (G3) Cl1 (2yo) 1m

I thought for a ghastly moment I had finally succumbed to galloping dementia, because I was certain the Autumn stakes was an Ascot race. Luckily I found a note that told me it had been. Then it became part of Future Champions Day in 2011 and then back to the Cesarewitch meeting and then back and then here. I could be wrong, but then it has moved so many times, everyone has probably stopped caring… if they ever did. It is in fact quite a useful pointer for the future – especially Donny’s Racing Post Trophy. We do know that this race is won more often than not by Godolphin.


2:37 YORK Play Coral Racing-Super-Series For Free Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-110) 1m2½f

BAY BRIDGE might well be another of this year’s many Group horses pretending to be a handicapper, but that’s what everyone thinks, so he’s no value in a busy field.


2:55 NEWMARKET Darley Dewhurst Stks (G1) Cl1 (2yo) 7f

Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten NATIVE TRAIL, the odds-on Dewhurst favourite, may well become this season’s leading European juvenile if he wins the Dewhurst. William Buick is in the plate again, but with each race the opposition gets stronger. One strong contender must surely be STRAIGHT ANSWER, who has been supplementd for the race (only £32,000 to play!), after Ger Lyons charge took a Fairyhouse Listed race apart LTO. The Roger Varian-trained BAYSIDE BOY is also having a tilt at this important G1, having won Donny’s Champagne Stakes at the St Leger meeting beating Reach For The Moon. He is officially 10lbs behind the favourite and I think he’s good but will be 2 lengths adrift of the favourite at the finish. BERKSHIRE SHADOW won the Coventry and deserves his  place, despite his York running LTO. Yes he ran flat in The Gimcrack, but the ground you’ll remember was soft again – softer even than Goodwood. I think he should have won the Vintage Stakes where he was a ¾l second to Angel Bleu, who won at Longchamps this weekend. That is super form. APO’B is running GLOUNTHAUNE, (no I don’t know how to to say that either), who is also taking a big step-up, but Aidan has booked his ticket for the Irish 2000 Gns – of course he’s not alone – but given the breeding and trainer, you should be aware of any price movements. GO BEARS GO is a half-brother to five winners who all won at 7f+.


3:15 YORK Coral Sprint Trophy Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 6f

I can’t believe that GULLIVER can take this for his hat-trick – but you’d have to say his penultimate run in Ireland suggested he was near his best again. My trends analysis leaves me with a shortlist of six and from them I fancy COMMANCHE FALLS, VOLATILE ANALYST and MONDAMMEJ. I am also wary of SNAZZY JAZZY


3:35 NEWMARKET Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 2m2f

CALLING THE WIND has just kept on improving under Richard Hughes and seems to be relishing his work. His biggest attraction is his dogged determination – he just seems to relish the battle. All seemed well in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap at Newbury LTO, but to be honest I’m not sure that Pat Dobbs made a mistake in asking him to quicken a furlong out resulting in his going down to Makram by a head. However, that was over a now inadequate 12f, and this is right up his street despite a 3lb rise. You’d have to give MC MULDOON and BUZZ chances based on the company they’ve kept and their results, but I think this might be a year that Willie Mullins doesn’t win it – although six entries suggest the chances are slim! Amongst the bigger prices however I like ELYSIAN FLAME who has mixed it up with CALLING THE WIND and MC MULDOON before and looks to be closer on weights now. LIVE YOUR DREAM must be value with firms offering so many places and it would be interesting to see the reaction to Saeed having the Autumn double. Finally I have heard chit chat about PLATFORM NINETEEN for old Ding Dong Bell. P19 was only 3½l adrift of CALLING THE WIND at Goodwood over 20f which is probably 2f too far for him.


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