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

Well Done Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup


I don’t know about Middleham, but in lovely Lambourn, the sun hit some 20º, and the day was glorious. The streets were packed with thousands of racing enthusiasts, several hundreds of members of a simply curious public, and what felt like thousands of children. So I quit the throng sometime after two, having seen enough to know that Mark Smyly and The Peter O’Sullevan Lambourn Open Day had pulled it off again.

In another part of Blighty, it looks as though The Jubilee Sailing Trust will have to fold, a charity that was supported and, to a large extent, directed by a very dear late friend Ian Shuttleworth. The irony of the charity’s name is not lost on me in this significant monarchial year, but having been asked to cast my eye over it many years ago by some of those involved, I remember commenting that there was a great deal of attention being paid to the “Right-On” and not enough to the “Kick-On.” In other words, they had lost sight of the Money and were focused on Diversity and Inclusiveness – entirely worthy but ultimately useless for bill paying.

The endless dichotomies faced by all charitable labours gave me some pause for thought over the weekend. Many charities and significant events are driven by good eggs who have done it for years and for whom there are few surprises left. They have lived through the bolting camel, the missing child, the fatal heart attack, the toddler in the runaway car that takes out the public lavatories. They have witnessed all the dreadful accidents of life that can spectacularly take the edge off an event. They might still remember the year the candy floss stall exploded when Lady Scatter-Cushion’s supervision had been compromised by her playing the Fence Judge’s flute 500 yards away in Dingly Dell. (A slight exaggeration – it might have been the caramelised nuts – but you get my drift.) However, every cloud has a silver lining in charity-land and ever since then, Lady S-C has been volunteering to sponsor the high cost of the St John’s Ambulance!

I hope for all our sakes that Smyly has someone in mind to whom he can hand the reins in five or six years’ time. All organisations need to have a medium-term planned succession because, without it, you lose all that knowledge, experience and calm derived from running a show for the last thirty years – a show that has adjusted and refined the game plan every year. It has incorporated every change required by Law, and many of those requested by society-at-large and their knowledge is born of experience. Well done to all those involved.

I note that Cheltenham’s determination to have a five-day Festival is being pushed through with a thin veneer of “consultation.”

“Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.” –Carl Jung

Talking of truly out of tune, (or maybe its hubris), here are today’s tips …

1:32 MUSSELBURGH Betway Royal Mile Hcap Cl3 (3yo 0-95) 1m 10 run

BAIKAL – ATRIUM dutch for 5 pts

1:50 NEWBURY Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes (aka the John Porter Stakes) (G3) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f 7 run

I have three on the trends ILARAAB, STOWELL and INVITE and I shall rely on Andrew Balding to have bought about the needed improvement to make a mockery of his e/w price.

INVITE 2 pts e/w – ½ pt RFC with ILARAAB

2:04 MUSSELBURGH Betway Musselburgh Silver Arrow Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 7f 10 run

ZIP 2 pts e/w

2:25 NEWBURY Dubai Duty Free Stakes (The Fred Darling Stakes) (G3) (Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 7f 12 run

There’s not much value to be had here, and originally I thought to back WILD BEAUTY, but she’s drifting like a friendless barge, so I’m coming away and going with the second on my shortlist who also happens to be top-rated on Timeform.

JUMBLY 3pts Win

2:39 MUSSELBURGH Betway Holyrood Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 5f 11 run

ZARZYNI 3 pts Win

3:00 NEWBURY Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes (G3) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 7f 6 run

Just the six runners – but I’d have a small bet that three of these will win at Royal Ascot. PERFECT POWER might be an excellent 6f horse – but not 7f; ANGEL BLEU has already spanked LUSAIL and has also improved. In fact, at 33/1 for the 2000 Gns, the play here might be to back him on Betfair for The Guineas and lay him off after this race when having won this, he could easily be around 7s.

ANGEL BLEU 4 pts win – 2pts Win with Betfair 2000 Gns (currently 90)

3:14 MUSSELBURGH Betway Queen’s Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m6f 14 run


3:35 NEWBURY Spring Cup Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m 17 run

The trends are no hope; I have narrowed it down to ROGUE BEAR  – TEODOLINA – THE KODI KID – SALEYMM – IRISH ADMIRAL – ANIMAL INSTINCT  – ISLA KAI. The ratings are all over the place, and the form lines seem muddled. Should we be only looking at The Lincoln? I think I will play the Crazy Williams Saturday System (see posts passim) and go with a horse who is having his first run since being gelded and since having a wind-op. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll also add IRISH ADMIRAL, who is in first-time cheeks.



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