Showing posts from September, 2012

40 jumpers to follow 2012-13

The Ryder Cup is seriously warming up in Illanois. Europe is trying to overturn a four-point deficit in the last day singles. An uphill struggle. And as I stagger to comprehend Rory McIlroy almost being late for his tee-time, I realise that I’m almost late with my 40 to follow. For me the jumps season starts tomorrow, 1 st October, a long time after the Ryder Cup is won and lost at Medinah. It’s not just about personal pride and private income. These forty raggle-taggle hurders and chasers carry my credibility into the Annual Atkinson Challenge which, in five years, I have failed to win. Nevertheless, last season’s stats are good. I aim to match or better that performance with these. Last year’s list had too many odds-on shots at unbackable prices. I’ve tried to redress the balance here with a few more unexposed types, a few more handicappers and a little less focus on the big end of season festivals. It remains to be seen whether that proves to be the case. 1. Alfi

60 not out

On St Leger day, we were at Steve's 60th birthday bash, bathed in gorgeous Autumnal sunshine surrounded by bucolic Suffolk rurality. Steve and Di inhabit a wonderful Victorian rectory which they have painstakingly and lovingly converted into a top class  B&B . For an insight into some of that pain (mostly Steve's) and love (see Di)  - check out this edition of  Channel 4's   Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue  about the renovation. These deeply complex reality programmes always need a Shakespearean sub-plot of intrigue. Step forward Steve who quickly realised the need for a fall guy to Ruth's patronsing wisdom. He expertly portrayed himself as the reluctant and unenthusiastic hoarding grouch with natural born comedic timing and understated scene stealing.  There was a marquee in the back garden, which Steve and Di used for wedding receptions and most recently an 80th birthday party. Inside and sitting in prime position on the top table was a gleaming barrel of Ad

List horses

The infamous flat horses to follow  project is rumbling into its penultimate month. After a slow start, the list has begun to wash its face financially, albeit with a flannel small and thin enough to give airline complimentary wet wipes a good name. Today presents an opportunity to move the project up a rung or two because of the presence of half-decent chances and half-decent prices. Kempton, 2.30pm – Modun is a forecast 5-1 chance in a strong looking September Stakes field. He picked up this race last year whilst in the charge of Sir Michael Stoute. There were signs of a return to form at Newbury last time after a previous effort on the wrong ground. A busy time before that in Australia and UAE can’t have helped. 1m4f here will suit, as will the surface. It’s a confident bet, but he main danger may well be Calvados Blues and arguably comes with the best Godolphin form. Sagramor is feared too. Haydock, 5.05pm – Aazif . John Dunlop’s charge has been frustrating this s


Saturday racing coverage switches to More4 today and next week in deference to Channel 4's big (and welcome) push on the Paralympics. Incidentally, we cheered the Paralympic torch through Berkhamsted in the wee hours of Wednesday morning on its 24 hour relay from Stoke Mandeville up the road to the Olympic Stadium. In reality, it was more like a 26 hour relay. The bearers and their entourage were already two hours late by the time they pounded across our fabled streets. This was by then approaching 2am in the morning. I think it was all part of a grand plan by Phil, the landlord in our local pub. The Lamb kept its doors open all night to meet the thirsty demands of its torch-eager customers. And whilst the ch-ching  of the singing till provided some inevitale motivation, Phil at least looked after his customers properly. Chairs appeared for the over-tired and hyper active  kids, ditto the pensioners. And tables for our drinks... I even offered to wheel out the fruit machine at on