I really hate to start my scribblings with anything negative but I do have a question for you – when is a winner not a winner? The answer, I have recently discovered, is when you place a bet on the overall winning distances at a meeting (in this case Fakenham), as a friend of mine did last week. He bet with one of the big bookmakers (OK, Ladbrokes) on over the 53 lengths quoted, and after adding up the results from all the races, went to collect his winning bet. Unbelievably (well, to my mind), there is a limit of 30 lengths per race for these bets (on National Hunt anyway), effectively turning a winning bet in to a loser, even though the margins added up to 58 lengths or so, six were chalked off from the 4.30pm taking it below the limit.
Now it wasn’t my bet, but I do have to say that in any other business I wonder if this would fall foul of the Unfair Contract Terms Act (it is hardly very clear and is pretty onerous), and it does make you wonder how many other aces they have hidden up their sleeve to avoid paying out to honest customers unaware of frankly ludicrous rules?
Sunday saw the first French Classics and I agree with Ron (novelty value there) about 2000 Guineas third Intello being one of the unluckiest losers of he season. Better still, the race as run in a record time (if memory serves) which makes the form all the more solid looking, and I think we can have a few Euros on him next time he runs which looks likely to be the St James Palace Stake at Royal Ascot in June.
Looking ahead I am, as you know, already in Singapore ahead of the International racing on Sunday evening, and will report on how it went after the event but for now, I need to give you a bet or two for the weekend at the very least. Modern technology means that I am no more out of touch with what is going on than I would be in deepest darkest Sussex although I had hoped for a win from Grandorio though I doubt I am in the minority there. He still ran a good race in defeat and I suspect that the race may have come a bit too soon for him though by the time this is published, explanations will no doubt have been posted or e mailed via Ron with the mile another issue is my guess? Looking ahead to the weekend and ignore Singapore for now as I will try to write a quick fire article about their races there nearer to the date, which leads me to Newbury at the weekend though I am naturally second guessing the ground this early. At this stage it looks like a straight fight between Farhh and Cityscape but the first named has a bit to prove while Cityscape isn’t getting any younger at the age of seven and may improve for the run. To say Aiden O’Brien is doing well with his British raiders of late would be an understatement and if he sends the lightly raced Declaration Of War here then he can be backed as an each way alternative (well, hopefully). A race record of one loss from six races suggests he has ability though it is interesting that they have yet to even attempt a crack at this kind of class – have they been biding their time or is he simply not up to the standard required? All I know is he did quicken up well when last seen (in a Listed race), and if they think he is good enough, who am I to argue?
At Newmarket I am really hoping Richard Hannon allows Professor back to the track in the seven-furlong handicap currently due off at 3.30pm. Yes he has been put up seven pounds for his recent Ascot victory but he had a ton in hand that day and may yet be a step ahead of the dreaded handicapper – though I admit I will be interested to see where he sits on Ron’s figures before parting with too much of my hard earned!
Finally, anyone looking to back Jason Maguire for Champion jockey needs a quick reality check. Firstly, AP gets back up from injuries that stop most jockeys so is unlikely to lose too many days through injury later in the season, and more importantly, Jason is heavily reliant on the firepower of the McCain yard. As things stand, the winners are flying in left right and centre but I remember just before (as well as during) Cheltenham this year when it all went wrong – if that happens again (and it does to most trainers at some time in a season), then where will his winners come from?
Weekend suggestions :
No bets this week yet, waiting on Singapore!
Horses to follow – flat 2013:
Afortunado – unraced well regarded three year old trained by Conrad Allen