Monthly Archives: July 2010

My Morning Line


I don’t normally watch this, but today I was in need of a weather forecast so I thought I would tune in.

Once I had got over the shock of seeing a hobbit (Sprint King Dandy Nicholls) and Gandalf (Roger Charlton, Tweeter and Trainer to HM) I was so *bored by their witterings that if they mentioned the weather I missed it. Even through my roadkill eyes it would have been hard not to notice that Goodwood has a serious sea fret gwarnin as I type and it looked to be raining too.

It is therefore entirely impossible to make any punting decisions as the state of the ground in five hours time is an unknown. It is also turned out to be nigh on impossible to take a price with some of the online bookies as they haven’t priced up the races I am interested in. Lazy gits. It’s a bloody liberty to get up at the crack of sparrows to find you have to take SP.

I am nothing if not determined though, so wondering where the Racing Post site were getting their 12s for a certain Michael Stoute trained maiden filly Focal I took the bold step of clicking the Bet Now link. Two companies had priced up the race and had Focal available: Skybet @ 15/2 and Bet 365 at nearly double the price 12/1. I have an account with no money with nearly every firm so it was simply a matter of recalling the keys to kingdom to unlock the account.

If the Pivotal filly, Focal is still 12/1 later on today I will be very surprised, particularly if it rains in Suffolk; bigger than 12s at the off and I will stay in bed in future. Otherwise I could become a late convert to early rising.

*The guests Gandalf and his hobbit were not boring, I actually couldn’t hear a lot of it and Jim McGrath and Nick Luck remain wafflers of the highest order. It’s not unpleasant, it’s just not edifying.

Forget Goodwood

Looks like a pig of a day to me. I might be tempted to back Henry’s wronged Jacqueline, but that is it. Maybe.

Now, to the terrible tank news. I reported the missing snail a week or so ago. The good news is, it is no longer missing. The bad news is that it was found dead and calcified on the floor behind the tank. The other bad news is that the snail that kept rolling around on its back was actually rolling around on its back for good reason. I left it on the rock a few days ago, but it didn’t move, so when faced with one dead snail I decided to be brave and check the other for life. At first, when I picked it up, I was heartened. It recoiled into its shell when I poked it. I did it again to be sure. Could you imagine if I had buried it alive? Anyway, on the second occasion it recoiled further and then plopped out in a decayed smelly jelly mess. Nice.

What have we done?

Hard to tell they have turned up their toes


The calcification of the escapee is not hard to understand. Escapes to a dark corner, is not missed quickly enough and dies before search party is even despatched. The other snail demise is harder to work out, more a reflection on my mollusc-keeping abilities. Did it starve? Given my obsession with weekly water changes and the greedy angel fish there would hardly have been much food going. I thought they would snack on the plants.

I prefer to think it died of a broken snail heart when its companion escaped. Whatever, I do feel a bit culpable. Knowing something like this was bound to happen hardly softens the blow. šŸ˜¦


I have been. Not providing winners on the blog, not keeping readers updated on the grisly goings on in the aquarium. I am sorry and will try and do better from tomorrow, but for now I am sharing this.

I have never been weaned off geetar music and when they start rapping too I’m done gone. This song cannot be loud enough in my car, it makes me want to keep driving. Driving not blogging, or do I mean blogging not driving? Turn that radio UP!

Nor this

But it is today’s NAP.

I have high hopes because Richard & Richard & Hannon & Hannon train it.

Slight negative: may just need it.

It has been pointed out that the Aquarium News has not been posted this week. There is news, but I would be ashamed to type it. Perhaps later.

This isn’t Goodwood either

Head spin on the bandstand


I’d like to be able to find the winner of the Veuve Cliquot Vintage Stakes today and I also wonder if Premio Loco could actually beat the likes of Rip Van Winkle and Canford Cliffs. I’d like to think he can.

Yesterday’s display was only redeemed in part by Lord Shanakill who I could not not back, plus the family owed me a favour after his half-brother’s display last week at Epsom.

My plans today include : Waltz Darling and Yashila in the maiden.

It’s not Goodwood (but it will have to do)

I can’t make much sense of the card today. So many with good chances that there surely has to be a bit of shiny pin polishing.

I considered selections based on a colour theme, because there is rather too much of that dratted form I mentioned before, but that would be crazy wouldn’t it, and anyway I could only come up with Golden Hinde (who I fancied) and Red Jazz (who I didn’t really).

Molecomb Stakes: I am going to oppose Zebedee and back Lord of the Stars dropped to the minimum trip. And I was thinking Arctic Cosmos in the Gordon. Then I can’t seem to get Finjaan off the brain in the Lennox Stakes, but there’s Lord Shanakill in the line-up too, plus the classy Balthazaar’s Gift which all means I might back the French Dalghar on account of his form behind Goldikova and Paco Boy. Or not. I don’t know: I am paralysed with indecision. This would be one of those days where you need to be there. I know it’s on tv but I will be at work.

P.S. I have other things on my mind today as the Devon Home Cook is staying the night. I wonder what will be for tea, last time I had a trio of rhubarb desserts before washing it down with a barrel of ale.

Suits you Sir? (or when long shorts become short trousers)

This post was inspired by my father’s ever expanding eBay wardrobe. I’ll need to say not much more lest he take exception and sue me…

The novel inclusion of this cropped clobber pushed me into asking the question, especially for men. As more and more of you stray into this sartorial summer territory I think some definitive guidelines are in order. I’ve seen certain transgressors down the sea-front in kecks that are at least two inches above a hirsute ankle and at least three inches over the knee. I’ve also seen them in the Dressing Room at the Theatre (Actors may be able to apply for a special exemption from the Rules). My view is that civilians may be able to get away with them, just, if they are correctly and remedially shod.

The eldest’s class teacher says flip-flops on gentlemen are wrong, plain wrong. I am not entirely sure about this edict. I’d take a more charitable view and say that some men should probably keep their feet encased a bit more than an average flip-flop allows for. There is one absolute though: long shorts or short trousers (let’s call them cropped, capri is for girls) cannot, repeat cannot, be worn with a regular shoe. They can barely be worn with a trainer either. This leaves a real dilemma Sir. Would it be easier to put a line through the whole long short/short trouser option? I’ll leave that with you.

And don't forget to check your bumper view in the mirror

The trouble with form…

…is that its basic precept is founded on the notion that horses will repeat themselves performance-wise each time they hit the track, which of course is completely impossible.

The way to read a race in my view is to assess the governing factors of each race and how that may or may not permit the horse to replicate its average (not best) form. There are also other factors to take into consideration: the paddock inspection, the trainer’s recent success, the market, the jockey’s state of mind and breakfast, and the undefinable quality of whether the horse has got out of bed on the going side.

Then you have to take into account any likely improvement, or any previous decline that has resulted in a relenting from from the handicapper, or that mysterious thing of running into form with older horses. There are those out there that like to win in August only, so watch out for those fellas in the coming weeks. Exhausting innit? No wonder so many casual punters simply pick grey horses, or follow jockeys or trainers, and back the one whose name has special resonance for them.

And I suppose this why I really prefer to back in maiden races. You can put a line through much of that previous selection criteria for a start and make a judgement based on potential. These yute don’t usually have non going days yet either, not yet being wise to the older tricks of the trade. Some might throw their chance away with a slow start, or by getting too gee ed up in the parade ring, but the downside of those possibilities is far outweighed by the joy of a race where I don’t have to puzzle through mounds of form on top of everything else.

So stuff yesterday’s racing with its feature Group Ones and races all over the country all day long; today with three cards and six maidens to choose from is my idea of an easy Sunday morning. It stops just short of perfection though – that would be when the going is soft all over the land.

Bucking the trend: always the best horse in the race

When I am wound up or wound down

I play this tune on the piano. It seems to resonate in my bones and calm me. I am sure the family are heartily sick of it, but I love it.

I didn’t see the film until it was shown on the tv. I regret that now. A big sky deserves a big screen.

Beat this

That’s how the market have Workforce right about now. I was going to type up this whole thing about my doubts, but then Paddy Power sent me this, and made me laugh so I thought I’d share as per the spirit of the age.

It’s the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, hitherto referred to as the Ball And Chain Dash – what it lacks in communicating the tender loving relationship between a former monarch and his wife it more than makes up for in being easy to type. To quote Shakespeare, ‘whatever crappy name we decide to call it, it’s still going to be a really kickass race ;-)’.
Ok, you’ve caught us – Shakespeare never used emoticons.

It’s one of the highlights of the flat season for several reasons that we haven’t thought of yet, but chief among them is the fact that it’s the first time the cream of the current Classic crop take on the cream of the older horses who haven’t been shipped off on mare-humping duty. To express it in a human rite of passage way – it’s a bit like the first time you take on someone who’s not your own age in a game of pool. A game of pool worth about Ā£600,000.

The main thing we’re going to find out is if Workforce is really all that. In terms of speed, his victory in the Derby was the most impressive since 1845 when someone first had the idea of taking a watch along to Epsom to see how fast the horses were actually going and more than likely the quickest Derby win of all time. The bad news for him is that the connection between winning the Derby and winning the Ball And Chain Dash is about as pronounced as Big Brother contestants having doctorates in astrophysics. And the fact that the horses he beat at Epsom have been playing musical statues since hasn’t helped his reputation

The greatest challenge to Sir Michael Stoute winning this race may come from none other than Sir Michael Stoute. That’s not to suggest he has a multiple personality disorder or he enjoys sabotaging himself, it’s our way of telling you he trains the top two in the betting.

Harbinger looks to be the main rival to Workforce. He spent his Classic year arsing around and putting in performances that were mainly tripe, but with age he has really hit his stride to become a real heavyweight. Think Robert Downey Junior in equine form, but without the rampant substance abuse. In 2010 he’s turned a corner which was fortunate for him because the road he had been on was leading him to the glue factory. Stoute looks to have saved him from a fate which involved being turned into something they show you how to make on Blue Peter.

The new route has taken him to victory in two Group 3 races, but it was his impressive win over the same course and distance during Posh Week at Ascot aka Royal Ascot that has him so highly rated. The win in the Hardwicke Stakes was impressive in itself, but also suggested there was further improvement to come. Stoute also has Confront in the race and while our legal team have warned us against using the phrase ‘pacesetter’ we would suggest, that his job will mainly be to set the … tempo of the race.

If you don’t think either of Stoute’s good horses are going to do it or just like backing horses that are named after terrorities governed by both Morocco and Mauritius, then the chances are you’re considering the chances of Cape Blanco. Much was made of Workforce losing in the Dante yet going on to win the Derby, but the more traditional route is winning the Dante and going on to win the Derby. Injury ensured Cape Blanco didn’t get his chance to record that double, but he did claim the Irish Derby by way of consolation.’Like the Epsom version, we’re not completely sure about the quality of the vanquished opponents, but he’s certainly good – how good we’ll soon find out.

In an over-hasty summary of the other runners, Youmzain has been a quality performer for Mick Channon over the years, but his habit of not actually winning suggests winning may be beyond him. Alain de Royer Dupre has decided to send Daryakana to Ascot. He must need his stocks of Yorkshire Pudding replenished because on the face of it, the leading contenders would seem to have his number and place money is pretty much the best he can hope for.

We reckon Workforce will step up to the plate and prove his class, but then again we thought Bowfinger would be the end for Robert Downey Junior.

Inconveniently they disagree with me and think he will do the business, but I am more uncertain. A visually impressive win in the Derby (and the clock agreed) will surely have taken something out of this magnificent animal. On top of that, I was concerned about the trip prior to the Derby, something that continues to bother me, although having read that Workforce’s dam is a full sister to St Leger winner Brian Boru I might shelve that doubt. I am very prepared to be wrong about his winningness, after all Workforce is 11/10 on as I type, but I have this niggle that he might “bounce”.