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23rd May 2024 12:51 am

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

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I have this vision of hundreds of people around the country, wandering around in their Jim Jams and dressing gowns, shuffling from fridge to kettle to cornflakes to toaster waffles while they try to transition – is that still a normal word, or has it been stolen by the thought police – between jumps and flat.

They know it’s already too late… the hairy tweed and stinking woollen sweater that bears the faint whiff of a long-gone Norwegian whaler are screaming to be released back into the dark cupboard. The check shirts and cords still have the mud and Guinness from the headlong slip at Cheltenham, crossing the course to see the bloody airline pilot’s horse. They and The Brown Brogues (there was only ever the one pair, but somehow they became capitalised) simply beg to be cleaned. And they will be. When October comes around. When there’s polish to shine the shoes that sparkled when on the feet of your dad before the liver and the fags demanded compensation. They will therefore remain caked in the detritus of dung and mud and yard muck and point courses and walks across ploughed car parks in Auchtermuchty, where you’ve been forced to park in order to watch a race in Cornwall.

Don’t fret. These poor sods will soon be back into the swing of things, as they discover where the pale cotton trousers went with the missing button. When they discover that the winter has increased their well-being sufficiently for the one sea-island cotton shirt they possess to now only work if they leave it undone and only then if they’re on a beach. The straw hat is pulled out – but I remind you all of the Steward at Lingfield who resigned whilst I was there, after a bitter contretemps in the box. “My dear chap,” I said, “it can’t be that bad surely. Do stay, please.”

“I can’t possibly, Kneesup”, he declared. “That man knows nothing about the rules of racing, can’t ride and what’s worse, he wears straw before Ascot.”

Enough said.

Meanwhile, it’s Jim Jams off and a leap into the void of Cheltenham’s last proper meeting of the season and the second day of life on the Rowley mile.

1:15 NEWMARKET Rossdales Maiden Fillies’ Stks Cl4 (3yo) 7f 9 run

Sometimes at this time of year, you just have to go with the market and as I write, the overnight market has crashed into EAGLE PATH has been backed down from 20s and 25s in a place to 14s and 10s in some. That’s gallops watchers, yard chat or someone knows something, because sure as eggs is eggs – he has shown nothing to date! The Chevely Park-owned favourite should win; Roger Varian has after all won this race 4 times, and had a place from 9 runners.

AMEYNAH 4 pts win – EAGLE PATH 1 pt e/w if still bigger than 10s. Consider dutching the pair for 6pts if EP goes to 8s.

1:30 CHELTENHAM Kingston Stud Hcap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4½f 9 run

BOLD PLAN 2 pts e/w

1:50 NEWMARKET bet365 Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-100) 6f 13 run

POCKET THE PROFIT 3pts win – TOLSTOY 1½ pts e/w

2:05 CHELTENHAM Matt Hampson Foundation Silver Trophy Hcap Chase (G2) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f 8 run


2:25 NEWMARKET bet365 Wood Ditton Maiden Stks Cl3 (3yo) 1m 13 run

NOBLE ANTHEM 1½ pts e/w

3:00 NEWMARKET Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stks (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f 8 run

JUMBY 2 pts win

3:35 NEWMARKET bet365 Craven Stks (G3) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m 7 run

Surely the Dewhurst winner’s for the taking? NATIVE TRAIL is simply pounds better on every rating I use. If I was looking for an improver at a price, I might suggest HOO YA MAL or AL MUBHIR. The former wears a hood and I’m not sure it helps him much – he’s doing well in spite of rather than because. The latter won with plenty in hand on debut

Those two for forecasts:

NATIVE TRAIL to beat HOO YA MAL or AL MUBHIR for 2 x 2 pts SFC



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