Blog Archives

\o/ The Flat is Back \o/

Perhaps not quite in the *UK, but Ireland’s flat turf season got under way last Sunday; the first race being my favourite kind, a 2yo maiden which was awarded to my pick Whip Rule (10/1) by the Stewards. A win is a win as they say. Then last night Dylan Thomas had his first runner ever: Snowflake Dancer who won very narrowly at Dundalk over 5 furlongs. Today, I can hardly contain myself; not only do we have the Dubai World Cup but also our own Winter Derby at Lingfield.

Now of course, the Dubai card is the one that captures all the interest: will Twice Over manage to win? I hope so. I am more taken up with this horse, Nideeb, who goes in the Winter Derby. Nideeb has to contend with the morning money for the mare Pachattack, and the quality veteran Dansili Dancer. My first ever pin-up was a horse – Black Beauty – this horse is my idea of a very beautiful animal. I will be backing him on that basis alone.

Nideeb at the Rowley Mile

By the by, last night I was getting my gambling eye in for today and had a bit of luck on the all-weather evening meetings at Dundalk and Wolverhampton. Teeth gnashingly, I backed a horse called Wrecking Crew to win in one race, after my sister who comments on here from time to time. The Wrecking Crew was duly beaten into second. I totally missed the very obvious reverse forecast until it was pointed out to me later. The race was won by Barton Bounty, my sister’s full commenting moniker: The Wray Barton Wrecking Crew.

I am certain she will not give a flying fig either way this morning. After having a right rum do with her back recently: bed-bound for days, crutches, tramadol and everything, a very grateful client has purchased her an iPad 2. If only I had invested more wisely last night I could have joined the queue for one too…

(Am now thinking a Twice Over, Cape Blanco reverse forecast might do the trick.)

*We have a 2yo maiden to open @ Kempton this afternoon. My fancy will be the favourite from the Turner yard.

Kieren Fallon punched in the paddock

This unseemly incident happened this afternoon at Lingfield. Apparently an owner of two horses in the second race (David Reynolds) came over to where Fallon was unsaddling his mount and punched him in the face.

I don’t mind admitting there was a time when I would have paid good money to see that, especially after a Group race in the summer perhaps at Royal Ascot, but I’ve revised my opinion somewhat of Mr Fallon. Besides what I may or may not think, it not the proper way to carry on if you are an owner. It would seem that the favourite The Scorching Wind, who was one of the horses owned by Reynolds, was seriously hampered by Fallon’s ride Elna Bright as it appeared to lose its action and was practically pulled up.

God knows how much money the owner had backed it for.

Still, there’s nothing worse than a bad loser and as Fallon said afterwards: it’s fine he punches “like a girl”.

Kieren not being punched in the face

The Kitchen Sink

Whilst I’ve been up to my eyes in it, the washing machine has been silently rebelling; probably for weeks or even months.

I am not a believer in upgrading. Flog it ’til it drops is my motto with any kind of household appliance. Why give money to big companies and encourage them to build in nanosecond obsolence. This stand does not always go down too well. When I had worked to death the 1980s Zanussi washing machine, that was enshrined in the 1970s Schreiber kitchen when we bought the house, there was a then a power tussle about the replacement. In my perfect domestic diva land I would be buying a grand’s worth of black LG that steam cleans clothes without them even leaving the wardrobe (or the floor in my case); back in the real world that kind of expenditure just doesn’t float my boat. I therefore insisted on the most basic of Bosch Classixx because (like Skodas) they never break down. It’s boring but true. A Bosch Exxcel was sent with a digital display. I sent it back. No digital displays thanks, they go wrong. I want dials.

Given my curmudgeonly, and some might say Luddite attitude to white goods, you might think it serves me right that the Bosch has bitten me on the bum, but you would be mistaken. The machine itself is just doing its job. It is the cold water feed that has a leak. I can identify this fact, but I can’t do much about it given my deeply ingrained kinaesthetic ineptitude. I have pulled out the machine to form an on-trend island feature in the middle of the kitchen and torn up the disgusting vinyl (thank you Lord) to let the floor dry out. It would seem from the damp that this has been going on behind my back for quite some time. We have an interesting collection of fungi growing up from the leaky pipe to further support this theory and I also saw a woodlouse.

On the upside I found the sink plug which has been missing for months.

I was having a break from horses today, but then the Nag Me service emailed me to say that the United Arab Emirates container ship Al Farahidi is running in the 5.50 maiden at Lingfield. So I had a look and realised that we’ve got the Winter Derby and another mile and half maiden. I’ve postponed the break.

This is essential housework music (although a musician would need to sit and admire the guitar action) and much better than a picture of a washing machine or kitchen sink plug.

The Psychology of a Nose, a Head and a Neck

Selecting and backing a horse that then proceeds to either fail to get up in the shadow of the post, or is headed and done on the line can be one of the most painful things in a punter’s life.  It makes no difference to the money lost after all whether your selection was beaten into second by an equine pixelled whisker or the full length of a yak’s back or indeed ten, but to the helpless backer close proximity offers exquisite torture.

Sometimes the centimetre of a prevailing body part causes the punter to drop to the floor and thrash about gnashing their teeth; losing slips need to be shoved in the victim’s mouth to stop their tongue being bitten clean off.  Other times (when you are already ahead probably) it can merely bring on a wry smile and sanguine acceptance, but I have now actually experienced a third state: the highly-evolved nirvana of APPRECIATING the winning ride when I was on the second home.

If, I can share this joy, I thought, of backing seconds I will be able to start a new cult.  Currently, seconditis is seen as a scourge.  A terrible affliction causing sufferers to congregate on Betfair forums and the like for pep talks in search of winners to banish the disease.  If I could remove this pain with some simple psychological insight it would be a breakthrough for humankind.

Well, I am sorry to disappoint, but I don’t think I can.  This state has only ever been achieved by backing a maiden in double figures on debut who ran a bit green.  He’ll pay me back next time out.  No more sloppy seconds for Al Farahidi.  OK?

Al Farahidi bringing me my money next time out

I want that one

This is the distilled system in the ceaseless quest for a maiden winner.

Arry’s Horse 1.40 @ Lingfield – owned by Harry Redknapp, but that is not a contributory factor in the selection, merely a point of information. Likely to be a fav too, also not a factor.

Killing Moon 6.00 @ Kempton

Proceed with caution

NB: This post comes with a dashed off quickly warning.

The jumps comes back today at Kempton and also at Huntingdon (after passing a second inspection). This recent inconvenient weather will have interrupted exercise regimes for some horses. I know that some trainers, who are near the coast, have been taking horses down to the beach for gallops and we can be sure that those horses are probably going to have a fitness edge on their more land-locked rivals. Obviously some trainers will have better facilities to cope than others, and some will have been harder hit and for longer, so rather like the weather forecast it is going to be pretty difficult to predict. Without the benefit of paddock-side view I will just pass on the information that Ferdy Murphy, Evan Williams (entries tomorrow @ Ffos Las) and Victor Dartnall (entries next week) have been using the beach. There will be more, but you are going to have to work those out for yourselves!

I also read that Lucy Wadham has been using Godolphin’s facilities at Newmarket and was rewarded for her efforts with a winner at Southwell this week in the all-bumper card run on the fibresand. Nicky Henderson had a good few winners that day too, so we can surmise (no surprise there though) that his facilities are pretty much up to scratch in the big freeze.

I have looked at the Lanzarote Hurdle today and Henderson’s Tasheba is currently just shading favouritism from Venetia William’s Aachen. I think Aachen might go off favourite. I am not convinced about the step-up in trip for Tasheba where it is obvious that it will be right up Aachen’s street. We will see. I will also be testing the “off a break” theory in this race, combined with different fitness regimes mentioned above. I am aware I am stretching my own credulity a bit with this each way selection – Fenix, trained by Lucy Wadham and off the track for 819 days! I have popped this one in a speculative Lucky 15 with the two Johnston horses I expect to win the 6f and 1m maiden races at Lingfield as well as Bridge of Gold at 15.40.

I am expecting some favourites to get turned over today on the NH cards and I am feeling quite chipper about Aachen, my only niggle is how they’ve got on in the weather up in Herefordshire as he’s making his seasonal debut. Anyway good luck, I think we will need it!