Friday, dear reader, and not just any old Friday. But the Friday before the traditional end of Summer jamboree, the August Bank Holiday. Oh, how we've reveled in the Mediterranean temperatures, basking (and baking) in beaches and parks around the country... Not!
Although the UK is almost certainly the greatest nation on the planet (very unbiased opinion, of course!), our weather is officially atrocious.
In fact, a recent study undertaken by the University of Haven'tgotanythingbettertodo suggested that they had discovered the first signs of British people developing webbed feet! At least, that's what I reckon should happen if there's any credence to this evolution malarkey...
[By the way, did anybody else spot the irony of the Fontwell going last night: good to FIRM!!!]
Enough of this rain-soaked banter, and on with the Friday show...
Firstly, well done to anyone who's managed to pick a winner in the tipping competition. I've singularly failed so to do and am grateful for the fact that I carry a handkerchief with me, because right now I'd poke myself in the eye if I tried to pick my nose!
Anyway, onwards and downwards, for I'm only one 50/1 gold medallist away from certain victory ;o)
To Friday's action, and there are monumental marathon cards at Newmarket and Newbury, who are the fortunate recipients of York's desperately disappointing damp squibbery.
The Berkshire track hosts a nine race whopper, while over at HQ, the starting stalls will be employed no less than E-Lev-En times. By my reckoning, that might be a new record. (I know Wolves sometimes do ten race cards, but this trumps even their all-dayers!)
And top animals galore are set to line up. Let's start at Newbury, where the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes has been re-routed. Despite the big field, I'll be very surprised if one of the front two in the market doesn't win this.
Art Connoisseur was superb when winning at Royal Ascot, and his defeat to Mastercraftsman reads well enough. However, I'm convinced that he didn't give his running off a relatively slow pace that day (time was 1.80 seconds slower than standard), and that he will be a different proposition on what must be a true test here. When he won at Royal Ascot, on the same ground as runner-up slot in the Phoenix Stakes, he ran a time 0.21 seconds FASTER than standard.
The once raced and hugely impressive Marine Boy is the only danger for me. He has immaturity to overcome, but is considered the best of a very strong Tom Dascombe 2yo squad this season. As regular readers will know, I consider Dascombe to be a man booked for the top of the training tree - he was one of my trainers to follow this season - and he's demonstrated his capabilities by using his limited financial resources to unnerve the blue chip training establishments somewhat.
There's a big handicap that's been moved to Newbury, but that's way too trappy for me, so I'll pass it over. (Sentiment leads me to hope for a big run from the now quite old Young Mick).
Over at HQ, they bully off at 12.25 in order to have a chance of beating dusk with their supercard this afternoon.
The first of the feature races, the Yorkshire Oaks (in Suffolk!), has a small but quality field. Lush Lashes is a doubtful stayer at the Oaks distance (and the distance of this race), but I reckon she'll get away with it here against just five rivals. Desperately unlucky last time out, she'll come home in front here, albeit at somewhere around the even money mark.
In the valuable St Leger Yearling Sales race, if you're thinking of backing one of Richard Hannon's five entries, consider this: in the last ten runnings, Hannon has run no fewer than 29 juveniles and not one has won.
In his defence, he's had FIVE second place finishes, so he may be due a change of luck. But the two guys to focus on are Messrs. Hills and Meehan, with five wins between them in the last decade (Meehan has won three of the last five).
Between Hannon, Meehan and Hills, they saddle ten of the nineteen marked down to run. But I think it's easier than that. I reckon that if Hannon is to erase his hoodoo here, it won't be with the very short favourite, Bonnie Charlie (good luck if you want to bet 11/10 in a race like this!).
And I think that Bryan Meehan's team is not as strong as usual. So that leaves me with Barry Hills' duo, Damien (1 from 1, could that be an omen...? Geddit?!), and Ouqba. Ouqba is the one for me, despite being ridden by the infuriating Richard Hills. He is battle hardened and has solid form, including here at Newmarket and at the trip.
In the Nunthorpe, look no further than the ridiculously precocious 3yo, Kingsgate Native. He won this race at York last year, as a TWO YEAR OLD having only his third start (!), and proved that was no fluke when winning another Group 1 this season at Royal Ascot. Ground and trip look ideal, and he looks good to add to his uber-impressive CV.
Onto TTS, and I've put another video up about the making of the manual: this one is a bit more interesting than the last, I promise! I asked for feedback on the first vid, and only got one comment. But an old work colleage, with whom I was playing golf yesterday, replied when asked if he'd watched it, "That's seventeen minutes of my life I'm never going to get back".
Harsh, but pretty funny! Anyway, brilliant selling job done (duh!), get over to the video page and check it out:
We've just finished the manual, and it's looking the best ever by a fair distance. Both Gavin and I are delighted with it. Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the punting...!
Friday Fun time, and I don't know if you saw this in the week, but it's pretty funny.
Little known British bronze medal winning swimmer Steve Parry was caught up in a case of mistaken identity in Beijing this week, with the mad Chinese thinking he was eight-gold-medal-winning Michael Phelps...! (Well, they probably think we all look the same! Am I allowed to say that?! Apologies if not).
Anyway, check it out here...http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics/7569430.stm
Enjoy the long weekend, and come back here on Tuesday, for something that I seriously hope will be of interest to you... :o) :o) :o) :o) :o) :o) :o) :o)