Showing posts from November, 2012

Tattoos, vinyl and psychobilly

This blog post  by a photographer Mrs A has come across in her music business dealings made me laugh out loud. Reminding me of my troubled and haphazard route to Wilko Johnson’s  book signing  this Summer. I think I’ve found a kindred spirit. So cue a non-racing post. I’m thoroughly enjoying reviewing a few gigs and CDs for my mate’s music website. On Friday I went to see Viva Le Pink in Camden. I hooked up with my old mate and music biz veteran, Cookie and we sought out The Black Heart boozer round the corner from the World’s End. I thought I’d been in most of the drinking dens and music venues in Camden. But not this place. It was a revelation. Neon crucifixes and warped posters adorn the walls and there are more tattoos in your face than on a trip to Southend. And not the LOVE/HATE knuckle jobs either. These were full sleeve fantasy depictions, swirling Celtic images and complicated rose and thorn creations. There was even a stout on tap called Camden Ink.

Open Closure

Last weekend’s racing at Cheltenham lived up to the billing. And, as usual, it shook up the embryonic Festival markets too. Dynaste , fulfilling all my anticipation for the Steel Plate and Sections Novice Chase, looked like a classy recruit to the division. He looked full of running when comfortably taking the scalp of Fingal Bay. It’s arguable that Fingal Bay’s form can have holes picked in it. His best win came at Sandown at the Tingle Creek meeting where the form is artificially enhanced because of the subsequent exploits of Simonsig, though at the time was pretty green. Nevertheless, it is encouraging the way that Dynaste travelled, jumped smartly and was clever at a few fences when awkward. Three miles should not be a problem. David Pipe could have a couple to choose from in the staying novice chase division. Our Father could hardly have been more impressive in disposing of two-time chase winner Sire Collonges on his fencing debut. But the one question mark here is what Our Fa

Power up

A great post  here  by Horseracingchat delving into the history of the Mackeson Gold Cup. It prompted me mark the start of the Open meeting at Cheltenham meeting with an affectionate reminisce and a preview of my own. The Paddy Power meeting is usually regarded as the first in the season’s crown jewel festivals, glittering alongside the Hennessy meeting, the King George at Kempton and the Spring Festivals at the top of the pile. I first became aware of it in the days of Mackeson’s long and fruitful association with the Gold Cup until 1995. The race regularly produced high calibre winners who have won top honours elsewhere. The pick is probably Bradbury Star. My anticipation of the fixture was ramped up around the turn of the century when, in company with a few of the lads, the Friday of the meeting became a diary date for an afternoon skiving off work, lounging in the Jugged Hare over a few London Prides and dashing round to the Ladbrokes next door, usually leavin

Something for the weekend?

For sheer diversity, quality and globalism, the racing calendar rarely gets better than this Saturday. Races from Britain, Ireland and the States encompassing hurdles, chases and the flat are run on both turf and dirt and include 21 listed and graded races, bulked out by nine straight Grade 1s at the Breeder’s Cup. The prize money on offer at Santa Anita’s is, of course, staggering. The two-day meeting claims to be the single richest sporting event in the world with well over $25 million on offer to lucky connections. The Classic (on current lists, the third richest race in the world after the Dubai World Cup and the Arc) and Turf pay out over $3m each to the winner. Hell, even Bo Derek likes it! “ The fastest horses in the world will be coming to Santa Anita to compete in the Breeders' Cup in November. It's the richest, most exciting event each year and makes most other sporting events look, well, quaint.” So there you have it. But a t my shivering core I rem

Transition Time

There’s a vomiting pumpkin on the doorstep and there are seven teenagers in the living room disguised variously as Freddie Kreugers, Ozzy Osbournes and L’il Devils screaming their hearts out to Psycho and The Hole. If it’s Halloween then its time for the final reckoning on the Summer’s side project,  Twenty to Follow on the Flat . Unlike this evening’s festivities, I’m keen to keep this low key. After success over the winter jumps  and a bountiful return on the flat last year , it is with some pain and a meek voice that I report a return to the red. The 20 horses yielded a mere 14 wins from 74 runs (18.9%) and a desperate £20 loss to an even £1 stake. More grim than the emo-impersonating trick-or-treater that turned up at the door tonight. Even when I analyse real (as oppose to theoretical) staking, the picture hardly improves. By avoiding bets on no-hope runners and odds-on shots, coupled with some more strategic  bets on better value prospects, I still returned