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22nd April 2024 10:36 pm

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

York Ebor Day 4

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

The Golf is going well and the TV screen is full of bronzed millionaires in the sun. Having done the rounds of Shagaluf a few months ago, the travel bug is once more strengthening its grip on my psyche and urging me to head for the last of the summer sun, somewhere perhaps where the Euro doesn’t shine. Turkey started to appeal, but then someone pointed out that with inflation at 48% and a bank interest rate of 25%, a cup of Turkish coffee could be £1 in the morning and £2 in the evening.

This is good news in some respects because the currency impact means that the recently updated estimate for insured property losses (I take my holiday risk management very seriously), for Turkish earthquakes by PERILS AG, the Zurich-based catastrophe insurance data provider, was approximately $4.9bn at February 2023 exchange rates – but only $3.4bn at the current exchange rates. Plus the Turks shut the Dardanelles this week because of forest fires, and even a trip to Shagaluf’s older cousin, Bedrum, is not without tremor hazards.

What about Montenegro I asked myself. Tickety Boo, but its official currency is the Euro and whatever the Eurotrash equivalent of gentrification is, that is what appears to be happening down on the Montenegrin coast – with everything priced accordingly. It also transpires that Helen Pitcher, the chair of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), while studiously avoiding her other duties in what might be thought to be a difficult time, has been in Montenegro, promoting her holiday home business. I know I’m morally old-fashioned, but doesn’t that seem a tad wrong? Then I read about Porto Montenegro, a 450-berth marina and residential village, where the ad slogan is A Life less Ordinary. (I’m almost certain I have the word spacing right).

This new development is funded by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, or Shk Momo as he is known, and whilst it is only 40% complete it’s easy to see how in the next decade, this “sun-drenched” harbour could fulfil the developers’ dreams and become a leading Mediterranean superyacht destination – a new Monaco or St Tropez, surrounded by a demi-monde of badly built boxes, built by people who are too busy to do any job properly, stuffed full of £200k pa Mandarins all “working from home”. They’ll be able to visit the chic nautical village with names above windows such as Alexander McQueen, Lamborghini and Valentino. There’s even a Rolex salon that can service your timepiece as you tuck into grilled octopus and sip Veuve Clicquot. Even at less than half built, Porto Montenegro is the largest superyacht port in the Mediterranean. A market, food hall, three-screen cinema and all sorts of mind-boggling wellness facilities are expected, plus summer entertainment including classical music and rock concerts. There’s even a polo field because…. The latest stage is the Boka Place development, with 144 luxury serviced residences and 69 private residences. Activities for homeowners have included underwater art galleries reachable exclusively via scuba diving. It all sounds so ghastly and vulgar, that one might as well go to Cannes, where one at least has the advantage of knowing half the language and touts les friponnerie Française.

Whilst thinking of Cannes and the word vulgar, Malaga for some reason popped into my mind as a former holiday destination. I once took the Hon on one of my spontaneous low-cost adventures and went on a four-day cruise from Dover to Malaga, that was so cheap one felt obliged to increase the ship’s coffers by running through the entire cocktail list, only swerving the Creme de Menthe variations on the grounds of common sense. The ticket was £45, because wrinklies do not apparently “do” The Bay of Biscay in September, but it was luckily for us flat calm and nothing hindered a splendid attempt at acquiring full-blown hepatic steatosis, (cirrhosis’ younger sister), in under 100 hours. My departing drinks bill, including sherry at dinner with the Brown Windsor soup, was £258 – for two don’t forget. We then stayed in a small hotel on a beach in Malaga, where everyone looked like a character from Sexy Beast – and was. There were even people who came to the place by rubber boat from somewhere for drinks. presumably to avoid roadblocks. We did not stay for darts night, but I have always had a fondness for that sort of “boutique” hotel.

The Hon has dissuaded me from revisiting the Costa del Toe Rags, as the old lags are now all in old people’s homes, and also because of the latest high jinks at Malaga airport. Ten years ago Malaga was just five minutes away from a Champions League semi-final, until two late Dortmund goals ended their football dreams and destroyed their finances. These days, the club is skint and is in Division 4 with Lanzarote and Real Sociedad B. So poor that they have been unable to afford any summer transfers – leading to this airport protest, where the Boquerenes faithful turned up and greeted random tourists as though they were new star signings. This one was even assigned his own bodyguard. They deservedly received massive media coverage!

So the search goes on. The Hon keeps mentioning places to which the dog may travel, like Cumbria and Northumberland, but I’m afraid tweed has never been my preferred holiday kit in September. At one point, I thought she started to form the sentence that contained the words “on my own”, but it never materialised. At this rate, far from being the cushioned arm-chair on the sunny terrace of The Grand sipping Whisky Sours and reading crap novelettes underneath a cooling palm, I fear it’s the Lido deck chair with the hair dye running down my face, a la Gustave von Aschenbach and that ghastly, soul-destroying Mahler in the background.

Talking of not having a great time in the North, or of searching for the unattainable, some more tips for what has been a poor meeting for me and – had you been following my advice – dreadful for you.

1:50 YORK Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes (G3) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m1f 6 run

NOSTRUM was 4/6f LTO when the market obviously expected him to win a Goodwood G3 after an impressive seasonal reappearance at Newmarket. It was probably the ground – but then it might also be that he isn’t as good as everyone thinks. Only Stoutey knows. Too short to back and possible threats from JIMI HENDRIX and EL DRAMA.

No Bet

2:05 GOODWOOD William Hill Prestige Fillies’ Stakes (G3) Cl1 (2yo) 7f 9 run


2:25 YORK Sky Bet Melrose Hcap Cl2 (3yo) 1m6f 13 run (4p gen)

The 3yo Ebor and the first of four tricky heritage handicaps. Sir Mark is running TRUE LEGEND who should have won LTO but for traffic. I think THE GOAT is the wrong price and DAVIDEO needs to be backed.

TRUE LEGEND 5 pts Win – DAVIDEO 2 pts e/w – THE GOAT 2 pts e/w

2:40 GOODWOOD William Hill Celebration Mile Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m 8 run (3p gen)

RANDOM HARVEST  gets Saffie Osborne back in the plate after a very neat piece of timed riding as Ascot LTO. With no rain forecast, I think anything around 6/1 looks value – but back her now for 3 places.


3:00 YORK Sky Bet City Of York Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 7f 11 run

Wide open and I can make a case for MUTASAABEQ – G2 winner, good when fresh; SACRED who was 100/30F for the race last year but came 6th. Different prep now and again best fresh; OLIVIA MARALDA who didn’t quite get 8f in the 1000 Guineas before winning easily over 7f at Epsom NTO; AL SUHAIL is very tempting at the price – he has excellent Meydan form and seven furlongs is his best trip. The only problem is this wretched quiet patch the Appleby yard is going through,

OLIVIA MARALDA 3 pts e/wwith the other three mentioned 12 x ¼ pt CFC

3:35 YORK Sky Bet Ebor Hcap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m6f 21 run

The trends suggest ABSURDE – LIVE YOUR DREAM – HMS PRESIDENT – REAL DREAM. Of those I fancy Willie Mullins ABSURDE the most, but he also runs JACKFINBAR. The former finished 2nd of 16 to stablemate Vauban in a valuable handicap at Royal Ascot. Drawn out widest in stall 24 isn’t ideal but Frankie Dettori is on board for his last-ever ride in the Ebor, a race he has won twice in the past, and he won from stall 20 last year. JACKFINBAR has returned from an almost 4-year break with two good strong performances including 4th of 17 in a Galway Handicap (1m 4f) 22 days ago. Willie won the contest back in 2009 with Sesenta and almost took the prize back across the Irish Sea last term with Alfred Boucher going down by just a short head. He has been put up 3lbs for his LTO Ascot effort. Milton Harris has been on about SCRIPTWRITER for this race for a while now. The son of Churchill is lightly raced, with just 12 runs to his name, and there was nothing not to like when he got beaten a head by Hamish over C&D in July. I’m also going to support HMS PRESIDENT largely because he is a decent servant to his syndicate and Henry Ponsonby was a chum.

ABSURDE 5 pts Win – SCRIPTWRITER 3 pts e/w – HMS PRESIDENT 1½ pts e/w

4:10 YORK Sky Bet Constantine Hcap Cl2 (3yo+) 6f 20 run

SUMMERGHAND won this off 97 last year, but good performances without much reward sees him here on 102 now. He’s picked up another 5lbs for example for coming 2nd last week in the St Wilfred, with the winner well beaten on Thursday. He’s a swerve for me – especially with his draw. I’m looking closely at MR WAGYU – ALBASHEER – ORAZIO. Staking this properly is the problem.

MR WAGYU and ORAZIO Dutch for 8 points – ALBASHEER 3 pts e/w 

4:45 YORK Julia Graves Roses Stakes Cl1 (2yo) 5f 11 run

PUROSANGUE should win… too short. The selection looks decent.

MON NA SLIEVE 3 pts e/w

5:20 YORK Sky Bet Finale Hcap Cl2 (3yo+ 0-105) 1m2½f 17 run

HAVE SECRET – GAASSEE – OVIEDO take your pick or dutch all 3 for odds of about 13/8

GAASSEE 2 pts e/w

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