One winner one loser at Meydan last week for a profit at the end of the day (which can only be seen as a bonus), but with some stamina sapping handicap awaiting us this week at Aintree I will be amazed if we stage a repeat of that miracle!
Before we look ahead to the final day of the National meeting (as race which polarizes racing opinion like no other contest I know of), a moments prayer please for Aussie jockey Nathan Berry who passed away this week at the tender age of 23. One of the few jockeys around who always had time for the media he will be sadly missed by family and friends and I suspect (or hope for), a minutes silence at Kranji in Singapore on SIA Cup Day in May in his honour – this genuinely is a loss for racing around the World and my thoughts go out to his family.
Back in Dubai a quick assessment seems in order after the races were won by horses from South Africa, Ireland, England, Hong Kong (twice), Japan (twice), and Dubai/England (you tell me when it comes to Godolphin)? As you can see, racing can be and is a truly international sport elsewhere in the World, but what did we learn that would help us in the months ahead? Firstly, Joey Ramsden is alive and doing well in South African and the win of Variety Club in the Godolphin Mile is likely to put both him and South African racing firmly on the map, though knowing him as I do, he may not want to be the centre of attention and seems quite happy where he is in Cape Town? Certerach could be a force to reckon with in all the Cup races this season if Mick Halford decides to send him over from his County Kildare yard, while Jamie Osborne may have a realistic Derby contender on his hands after Toast Of New York ran on well to take the UAE Derby just like his trainer suggested – I only wish I had listened? I also learnt that Hong Kong seems to house the best sprinters at present (after they took both the five and six furlong contests), that ignoring Japanese form can be bad for your wallet, and that Godolphin have a decent sort who will be campaigned in Europe this summer in Gold Cup winner African Story who broke the course record – but do we really believe he is better than Dubai Millennium and if so, how have they improved him from a rating of 119 when last seen to the 127 or more of the previous record holder – all I am saying is I think we should treat the time and form with caution until something somewhere franks it?
Looking ahead to the weekend and those who listen to the podcast will hear Ron’s race profiling selection and who am I to argue with the master but I will have a little each way on The Package. Even my own stats rule out his chances yet the David Pipe yard seem to be ending the season in style, Tom Scudamore is having a season to remember, and one run all season at least allows the horse to arrive here relatively fresh? For a more sensible weekend bet I am happy to suggest the dreaded all-weather from Lingfield for starters and the highly regarded Barley Mow in the Listed 32Red International Trial Stakes at 3.40pm. Sadly Richard Hannon has made it public knowledge that he is considered a very serious 2000 Guineas contender by the yard and if that is the case (and he has certainly strengthened over the winter and was described to me as a “bull of a horse”), then he needs to win this and do impressively as well.
Being as lazy as I am, I am cutting and pasting the next aspect of this weeks news but trust me, it is well worth the read and if you fail to smile at least once, someone needs to double check for a pulse! For reasons beyond my limited comprehension, and in a World where we all know a large percentage of racegoers are “only here for the beer”, Aintree racecourse media office have decided to send the press a list of racegoer quotes for Lady’s Day – whether or not you are in the “we don’t want them at the races” camp or the “live and let live” corner is up to you, but they did make me chuckle and are repeated without change below:
Kerri, 24, Liverpool
This is my third time here and it is a girl’s day out. We started planning it in the new year and we got up at 5am. We’ve been on the booze since 8am and plan to get smashed.
Leanne, 19, Manchester
This is my first time here and I am so excited. I could hardly sleep last night. I have never had a bet before and might do later if I see some colours that I like, but I am more into the fashion.
Carli, 34, Liverpool
I find horses boring but my mate got dumped last week so I said I would come with her to cheer her up. I don’t mind getting done up like this though, it’s good crack.
Rosie, 19, Newmarket
This is my third year here and for me the racing the highlight. The fashion is very important and elegance is key. I prepare months in advance but don’t go down the self-tanning route – pale is beautiful. I don’t want to look like an orange. I wish I had worn a coat though as it is freezing.
Emma, 27, Chester
I have been up since 6am getting ready and have had four spray tans this week. We had our first drink at 8am and are hoping to get lucky – with the fellas and the horses.
Sindi, 25, Toxteth
This is my second year here. I couldn’t come last year as I was in Magaluf on a hen do but that was less fun than when I came here two years ago. This is my first day off since New Year’s Day as I run my own cake making business and I have borrowed this outfit from my mum. She is with me today but I hate her coming as all the lads crack on to her. My stepdad won’t talk to us when Aintree racing is on as he says we’re a disgrace but we are both as bad as each other.
Rachel, 19, Newmarket
This is my first time here and I have to say that the ladies look like they have put a lot of time and preparation into their looks. I haven’t bothered doing much with my outfit – as I tend to look good anyway. I think I will be having a bet today as I love horses and I hope to be back next year.
Emma, 44, Windsor
I have been coming here for at least 15 years and while I adore the first-class racing I also love the sights and sounds of the Liverpool people. This is a racing and fashion extravaganza and I think everyone likes to make a special effort on Ladies’ Day, but being a southern softie I dress for the weather.
Dawn, 41, Ellesmere Port
I have been coming here for 10 years and get a new dress each year. I got this one when I was in New York at Christmas and it cost me a bloody fortune! I save up all year for this – but not for betting as I need the money for the tanning shop.
Lauren, 22 and sister Lyndsey, 21
We have been since 6am getting ready and went to Peaches and Cream at 7am for our makeup – it was so busy we had to queue outside and wait our turn. We have been here for the last four years and the dresses are our favourite things. The more glamour the better – it is the reason we come. We have no idea what we are doing betting so just pick the names.
Amy, 21, Anfield
We were up at 6am to start getting ready and had a champagne breakfast at 8am. We had a spray tan yesterday and my dress is from Topshop. I love the dressing up and the glamour. I don’t know how to bet but my stepdad said to back Tony McCoy as he is an OK rider.
Selections this week:
Barley Mow 3.40pm Lingfield Saturday
Horses to follow:
Solar Sky – put in a great debut run over hurdles at Kempton in a pretty hot race – should improve and win on decent ground shortly.
***Entered Taunton 10th April ***
Tominator – back in training at the Jonjo O’Neill yard they are very happy with him and he looks a picture – expect a few wins this season with the Chester Cup very much on the agenda.
***No current entries***
Mutakayyef – trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.
***No current entries***
Freemason – a once raced juvenile owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Harbinger (a posh syndicate), he cost a whopping 150,000 Guineas so ought to be half decent – word is he is all that and more, so one to stay on the right side of.
***No current entries (unless you include the 2014 Derby!***
Idea – twice raced two year old trained by Sir Michael Stoute and said to be flying on the gallops. Won after a poor run at Windsor when last seen looking as green as grass and very much one to keep on the right side of – originally nominated by a post racing reader!
***No current entries***