Showing posts from February, 2016

The end of the line

After a day at the races with Dad and Bruv, I waved them off  and then picked up a TransPennine Express to my next destination. Cleethorpes: the end of the line. There’s no doubt that I have a compulsive fascination with seaside towns out of season. And if they are faded glory Victorian resorts, so much the better. It appeals to some deep-seated romantic notion of decline and change. That’s not quite what I got in Cleethorpes. After exiting the open-platform, unstaffed station at about 8.30pm, all the shops, cafes and arcades were shuttered up and bolted down. Padlocks rattling in the stiff westerly. This played to my expectations of run-down bleakness. Only the pavilion at the end of the truncated pier had lights blazing, against which I could see half a dozen couples propping up the bar in penguin suits and party dresses. However, on Saturday morning, the town was alive. As I promenaded along the seafront I chuckled to see a woman swaddled in headscarf, parka and wel

Just a click away

Alongside the exponential growth of on-line betting over the last 10 years has come the equally voracious spread of internet forums, tipsters and bloggers. Indeed, in some small way I am part of that virtual community. Any amount of advice and information is (theoretically, at least) available if you are prepared to filter out the detritus; sieve through the rubbish; scroll through the pap. I recently left the Horse Racing Social group on Facebook because I got fed up with the amount of knee-jerk bellyaching, belligerent contributor-baiting   and bellicose conspiracy-theorising. Racing trolls, eh?   (Sounds like a new toy for Christmas.) That’s not to say the site was bereft of occasional wisdom, insightful comment or the odd pretty photo. I even learnt some new insults. For instance, last week I had backed Paul Nicholls’ Stilletto to win a novice chase at Wincanton. The horse cruised around the home bend to lead, with his rivals toiling in the mud. Approaching three out, I co

Ante-post bolstering

I’ve been scrabbling around busily bolstering the Festival portfolio by trying to unearth value in opposing Mullins. It is a thankless task. Ahead of a traditionally informative trials weekend here and at Leopardstown, it’s time for a health check. My nemesis, the Supreme. I’ve sided with Henderson here. There’s a collectors item. The last one was Sprinter Sacre (3rd!) in 2011. In absorbing a good few shrewd observations that Min is far too short for the rubbish he has been beating; and that he shows a little too much green-ness, I’ve backed Altior at 7/1. It’s principally a price call to oppose Mullins with one that is improving rapidly. That said, I think I saw some of those behind Min have now come out and won. Ho hum. I also had a dabble with Anibale Fly at a neat 225/1 on Betfair last month. He was then beaten easily by Bellshill over 2 ½ miles. I had been hoping that a step back to 2 miles would see him line up in the Supreme, allowing me to cash out my first Festival


En route to the station I walked past our local M&S where the external sign has been reading F OD HALL for sometime now. I attempted to engage a young man with a mirthful witticism. He was bent over a large vowel swathed in clear plastic which he was slicing off with a knife ready to re-attach to the sign above the entrance. "Got any Os?" I lobbed. The sign-smith gave me a look of total confusion. The appeal of the classic Two Ronnies sketch is clearly a generational thing. I didn’t think it was worth inquiring about fork ‘andles… On the train to Doncaster, there were the usual shenanigans trying to navigate through prats in order to find my seat. For instance the dithering woman on the phone in front of me, blocking the entire vestibule at the end of Car C, and saying, "I'm so busy. I'm literally flying to New York on Sunday!" loud enough so that the passengers in Car M didn't miss her executive travel arrangements. “Literally”, I though