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Happy Derby Day Ma’am (as in jam)

The stunning Manduro, Bonfire’s sire

HM the Queen, celebrates her Jubilee Saturday at Epsom today. I hope she sees that handsome headcase, Bonfire (by Manduro), win. There is nothing so yawnsome as the Ballydoyle mafia winning all the classics and, so far, this season, their record is 3 out of 3.

I am not sure what the purpose of a jubilee is, never having had one of my own. Are we meant to be celebrating longevity, or just the fact that she hasn’t thrown the crown in? Does having a Queen make *a material difference to our lives, or has she provided decoration for our currency and postage stamps. It’s just a question, I do not have the answers.

This is a snapdat I took of Her Maj racing at Newbury a few years ago.

*Constitutional experts can consider themselves in the same category as the Ballydoyle mafia.

Derby Day: Part III – The Post-Mortem

An outrage occurred this afternoon on Epsom Downs: a horse got beat. The Queen’s horse got beat. The favourite in the market GOT BEAT. Of course we are all morally outraged by this…this… treason. One needs to apportion blame and somehow and in grudging fashion hand over the winner’s trophy to sit on une FRENCH mantelpiece.

The blog, having heard from everyone and the kitchen sink this afternoon, decided to talk to the horse that GOT BEAT direct. This is what the desperately, unlucky and we can hardly credit it vanquished hero said.

Terribly hot afternoon what? Didn’t fancy it greatly to be honest. Got a bit hot under the collar down to the start. Then those proles shoved me in the stalls well early, so I had a little nap and missed the orf. Well that didn’t bother me much, after all I am the Queen’s Horse and it was one’s Right Royal Destiny to win The Derby. So orf I galloped and Ryan, the pilot, did his best but what with taking our own time to get going we had to run absolutely miles off course because the peasants on those carthorses just did not get out of my way. Do they know who I am?

Well eventually I managed to get a bit of a wriggle on down the hill but, and would you believe this, one’s front shoe flew orf and then some froggy horse came whizzing past my right nostril and they said he had won. Well of course, the young froggy chap had realised his terrible treachery immediately he went past me. He stood up in his stirrups and tried to stop his horse Pour Moi (geddit) by hauling on its mouth before the winning post and then, in desperation, he flung his arm in the air in an admission of guilt. ‘Mea culpa’ he shouted at me in abject apology over his shoulder. Oh, what had he done? Ruined the country’s good day out, that’s what.

Orf with his head!

*munches carrot*

And then there was a great wailing and many gnashings of teeth throughout the land. Republican plot and conspiracy theories abound. Tonight, fat bookies get fatter on the nation’s hard-earned dough, invested in good faith in the Royal Horse who woz robbed, and the ever-loyal Clare Balding went home in tears and ate her hat in protest.

A devastated French Boy

Derby Day: Part II

The Queen *curtsies* not Carlton House *admires nostrils*

Well, well, well. Kieren Fallon comes a cropper in the law courts.

Native Khan’s owner, Ibrahim Araci, has been successful in his appeal to prevent Fallon from riding Recital this afternoon and the sensational story has usurped the favourite in the market, the Queen’s horse, in the racing headlines.

Going into the race it has all been about Her Maj’s Carlton House and his twanged leg tendon. Now we will be hanging off our seats going round Tattenham Corner to see if Fallon’s intended mount, Recital, is running like a Derby winner and Native Khan’s Araci will be wanting right to be on his side for the second time in a day in the UK.

Imagine the equivalent in another sport? Injunction prevents footballer playing in a Cup Final. Legal ramifications may abound. But that’s for another day.

Today we have the Queen, the Aga Khan, the Turk and the Irish, plus a billion punters. What story are they going to back this afternoon with so many to choose from.

Now, with a little help from the judge, one of the most intriguing narratives of the day belongs to Recital.
Pat Smullen is forgoing a date in Tramore, Ireland this afternoon and hot-footing over to the Epsom Downs to partner Recital. I don’t really rate the form of that horse myself – Fallon may know better than me of course, but I would like to see Native Khan come home in front of that one, for both the craic and on pedigree.

Then there is Carlton House, belonging to the Queen. She has never had the Derby winner, so a first winner for her and a sixth winner for her trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, would be a nice headline for the Sunday papers. Better yet that she saves her first winner of the Derby for her Diamond Jubilee year (that’s 2012)?

Best story: Native Khan wins, making Fallon a liar and a fool
Second best: The Queen wins and a nation rejoices
Third best: Recital wins and the British justice system prevails

Ok, not buying that analysis? Try this instead.

Ballydoyle run 4 – yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn. Of the four, I would take Seville.

I can’t have anything by Montjeu today so that narrows things down nicely. And I find I am bored of typing now so I will leave it as a combination forecast involving Native Khan, Seville and Vadamar. Oh I am nothing if not rigorous in my analysis…

Native Khan's sire: Azamour - an exceptional looking horse

Derby Day: Part I

I am hanging around to see how the judge rules in the appeal against jockey Kieren Fallon being ‘allowed’ to ride Recital in this afternoon’s race. They said we would get a judgement at 9 am this morning, no sign so far.

Native Khan’s owner, a Mr Araci, has taken exception at Fallon jumping off his rather nice (but unlikely Derby winner according to many) grey colt, onto one of the bigger guns from the Ballydoyle yard. Ed Dunlop, Native Khan’s trainer, says that Fallon did indeed sign a contract to ride the horse.

Anyone who follows racing knows that Mr Fallon is not a philanthropic sort of fellow so none of us would be surprised at his jocking himself off Native Khan, but I am rather interested to see what the judges do finally decided. And there is something rather compelling about an owner prepared to go the extra mile and thoroughly mess Mr Fallon about…

Native Khan and Fallon in happier times

I do wonder if he might improve a little for the step up in trip.

09.37: still waiting *drums fingers impatiently*

STOP PRESS: Fallon banned from riding in the Derby!

The Crown Jewels

One minute you think there’s nothing to bother blogging about on a windy and wet Saturday (although it’s so far sunny in this neck of the woods) and then the next you find this list:

Summer Olympics, Fifa World Cup finals, Uefa European football championship finals, the Grand National, FA Cup final – in England, Wales & N Ireland, Scottish FA Cup in Scotland, home and away qualifiers in FIFA World Cup and Uefa European football championships in home nation to which they relate, Wimbledon, Open golf championship, Cricket’s home Ashes Test matches, Rugby union World Cup tournament in entirety and Wales matches in Six National rugby championship, in Wales.

Can you guess what it is yet?

These events form the list of the sporting crown jewels that should enjoy protected status and be kept on free-to-air channels according to a government appointed “review panel”. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much on there that shouldn’t be is there? (except perhaps for the interminable sport known as cricket), but wot about wotsnot?


No Derby!

The review group, which included racehorse owner and former racecourse board member Michael Pescod, and was chaired by former FA executive director David Davies said, “In order to be eligible to be listed, an event must have a special national resonance and not simply a significance to those who ordinarily follow the sport concerned.”

Where has flat racing gone wrong? The Derby, on a Wednesday, used to have just that. What’s changed? Why does flat racing not resonate in the nation’s psyche in the way jump racing seems to. I can perhaps answer my own question which would clearly include the commercial breeding demands that dictate our heroes are whisked off to stud, but I would rather know what others think?

The wind’s picking up, it looks like rain, it must be the NH Season.