Showing posts from August, 2011

Flat fortunes

About time. Here’s a chest-thumping, chin-jutting, pride-bursting moment of self-congratulation to mark my best run of winners on the flat since champion sire Galileo was still tinkering with telescopes. And this comes after an abysmal Royal Ascot where I managed to link together a chain of losers long enough to anchor the Titanic. So further proof, as if any is needed, of the fickle fortunes of racing. This is the game’s innate attraction. Without the lows, the highs would be meaningless. What is the point of me screaming the actual words “I am a genius!” at my laptop as it grudgingly dispensed a few pixelated images of Rose Blossom stoutly landing a listed event at Pontefract and so filling me with a sense of achievement, without the ricks and wrong-headed thinking of backing, say, a patently non-staying Wootton Bassett in a mile event, that provides the counterpoint and therefore the emotional raw material for such delirium? Anyone make it to the end of that sentence? Well done.

80 not out

The madness began with Auntie Sue’s arrival from Tenerife on Thursday morning at about 2am. It didn’t subside until I scrabbled back home, dazed and confused, at 6.30pm on Sunday. And even then I knew it was only an ebb tide in an on-going torrent. Auntie Sue had a plan. It involved whisking away the children on a secret mission to Berko, Hemel and all points in between to empty poundlands and gift shops of their party poppers, bunting, balloons and all stocks of assorted celebration-fare. Then she moved on to the children themselves: party dresses, footwear, haircuts, and French manicures. It was a blizzard of activity. I’d never seen anything like it. Not since the last party anyway. The girls loved it. In amongst this whirlwind, Mrs A, Auntie Sue and the girls had made two trips to the airport to collect Auntie Betty from Florida. On the first occasion they lost her. Or, more precisely, Delta airlines did. They cancelled her flight from Boston and would give Mrs A no infor

I (didn't) predict a riot

Anyone desperately trying to make sense of the appalling scenes that have broken out across England since Saturday, these are about the most interesting pieces I’ve read. The explosive fusing of pressure cooker tension and poor police relations with opportunist criminals and thug tourism comes through strongly. Camila batmanghelidjh Penny Red Dave Hill Toby Blume But I’ve seen an equal amount of reporting that isn’t at all interested in making sense. Where there’s nothing beyond the immediate police response and the calls for retribution against the perpetrators. The riots have to be stopped. What’s happening out there is sickening. It cannot be condoned. But asking questions about it is a valid response. Mass media coverage has been stuck in a mindset that condemnation is the only appropriate reaction and that trying to understand it is the act of an apologist, or even a supporter – witness the Darcus Howe interview  on the beeb this morning.  That is too si

Duel on the Downs

The Duel on the Downs, splashed the Racing Post front page in 4-inch Times New Roman.  The eagerly awaited clash between Frankel and Canford Cliffs got the full “so it comes to this…” fight them on the beaches treatment. Bacchy was a bit sniffy. “Guff”, he said, pointing at Brough Scott’s flowery prose. “There’s no penetrative journalism in this rag any more.” He’s probably right. All the same, I do love a bit of overblown drama and sentiment, building up the big day with hyperbole and superlative. Alastair Down is the master. His piece the following day was anticipated with the slogan Down on the Duel. Ho ho! Bacchy, Brynaldo, Ben and I were on a train crawling through ripening wheat fields, edging towards the 2 nd day of Glorious Goodwood. The Sussex Stakes was indeed the jewel on the card. But the supporting races were taxing me more. I had been charged with placing two life-changing bets with the remnants of the kitty from Mrs A’s Berko Mums drinking gang. Sounds a bit seedy wh