Showing posts from May, 2012

Blue Eiderdown

I was sorry to see Henrietta Knight retire from training this week. The official explanation was that she needed more time to look after husband Terry, who had a stroke last year. I wish her and Terry the best.  In truth, Hen's star has been on the wane for some time. The stable has had fewer runners in recent seasons and fewer high profile winners, drawn from a decreasing number of very loyal patrons. So maybe the time was right.  But it is worth emphasising the affection in which she and Terry are held by the racing community. Her tender handling of Best Mate to win three imperious Gold Cups, accompanied by a charming, almost skittish and yet idiosyncratic persona won her a unique place in the hearts of the public. Best Mate's tragic death in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter in 2005 seemed to me to mark a change in the stable's approach. The incident must have, quite understandably, left it's mark on the team. And from that point on, we saw much more cautious and

Slow day

It’s a quietish day at the office. I’m poised over the laptop, checking some indecipherable interview text and enjoying the banter on Test Match Special. It’s a slow day at Lord’s too. Aggers is describing in some detail the criteria deployed in his judging of a recent pork pie competition in Melton Mowbray: depth of filling, opacity of jelly, firmness of crust, etc. I remember going to Melton Mowbray for a conference once upon a time. In a spare hour, I toured the many independent butchers and carefully selected a prize specimen to take home. I later discovered exactly the same brand was on sale considerably cheaper in my local supermarket. Aggers is in good form. He’s chatting to the great Sir Vivien Richards about the West Indies awesome attack of the 1980’s. “Malcolm Marshall once said sorry after he hit me in the ribs”, offers Aggers. “Maybe he saw something in your eyes”, suggests Viv. “Yes - pain”, retorts Aggers, “It was sheer pain!” I’ve also caught some of the action from


Just time, before the flat season clicks through the Classic gears, to indulge in a familiar and intimate masochistic ritual: Analysis of last season's 40 jumpers to follow .  Some slightly better news this year. After three woeful years of loss and shame, 2011-12 showed a return to happy(ish) days. Overall, I squeezed out a 27.8 points profit: 135 bets and 33 wins at a rate of 24%. Total staking came in at 138 points, producing a Rate Of Return (ROR) at 20%. For that level of win rate, I'm looking for a much chunkier ROR. This betrays a lot of short priced winners. A profit is a profit. I'm not arguing with that. But the results don't stand up to closer analysis. Against the accepted benchmark of a level 1-point stake per run, the picture is much less rosy: 155 bets giving a 4.9 point loss. Crushing. The actual profit compared to the level stakes loss is largely accounted for by three factors in my real-wedge punting this year: No-bets on short priced favourite