A winner and a place from three selections last week, though I can but pray that you all took the early prices which were considerably better than starting price – are bookmakers beginning to read my article I wonder and pricing my suggestions accordingly, yep, I doubt that too.
First up we have what I consider the sad news of the resignation of Nick Rust from the position of Chief Executive of the BHA (British Horseracing Authority). Now I do understand that he has not been 100% popular with all of his decisions, but I do suspect that is an impossibility for the role full stop, how do you keep both sides happy in the whip or no whip argument, for example. However, I have had a few formal and informal dealings with him myself, and I am absolutely certain that he has always had racing’s best interests at heart.
Whoever follows has some big shoes to fill with Rachel Hood (former president of the Racehorse Owners Association) and Alan Delmonte (current Chief Executive of the Levy Board) heading the only book I can find on the matter, though without upsetting either of them I would hope for a promotion from within to continue all the good work of recent years.
Meanwhile, a massive over reaction to a brilliant ride by apprentice Dylan Hogan has seen all sorts of accusations thrown into the wind but at the time of writing, and as far as I am concerned, he simply outwitted his rivals.
Poaching an early lead and never stopping he came home an easy five and a half lengths clear at odds of 12/1 which I suspect in itself suggests no skulduggery. Admittedly the time of 7.68 seconds below standard suggests the winner is no world-beater, and I do wonder if the other riders felt he had to be going too fast to go clear, they are learning their trades for goodness sake, but it does seem a shame that instead of being applauded and seen as a talent for the future, unfounded (as yet) questions are being asked which sadly cannot be retracted or unseen.
Over in Dubai the Carnival continues to gather pace with Magic Lily taking all the plaudits for her course record success over the Meydan mile in the Group Two Cape Verdi, albeit by just a short head. Runner-up Nisreen would also have smashed the record, yet barely gets a mention in the racing press, and she is the one I prefer to take out of the race. That was her first start for Hiroo Shimizu after arriving from John Hammond in France and I suspect she may have even more to offer and I will be watching out for her next start with added interest.
Just like every other week I feel better for getting all that off my chest, so those who sensibly scrolled down can now get straight on to the racing action this weekend, and it is pretty exciting stuff.
Ascot’s jumps (National Hunt) card top the list as you would expect, though heavy ground may not make life for punters quite as easy as it looks at first glance and one solitary suggestion makes good sense to yours truly. I do have a soft spot for Nigel Twiston-Davies who is a likeable character and off two pounds higher than when successful last season, Ballymoy ought to go well in the handicap hurdle at 2.35pm. His stable is in decent enough form, he handles the ground, loves the track, and returns to hurdles after three second places over fences this season and ought to at least prove difficult to keep out of the first three, in the hope that all eight declared stand their ground.
Sticking with the same stable and I note Flying Angel is declared at both Haydock and Ascot with preference for the former, and I am going to take the hint. I know Nigel has always thought quite highly of the now nine-year-old who has won four of his starts over fences including one off four pounds higher, and although this three miles and a furlong has seen him fail before, there looks to be less pace in the race this season and he is another who could sneak in to the places at a price.
To round things off, anyone who knows me is quite aware that I am a huge fan of International racing, especially Hong Kong, and that I have a soft spot for Beauty Generation among others. This time last year he ran away with the Stewards’ Cup by an easy three lengths, but he has been going backwards recently and may not be the force of old. If I am wrong then so be it, but I am hoping he has at least one last hurrah in the tank even at the age of seven, and with rumours of a bit more sparkle in his recent work, the predicted odds of 5/2 are just too much to ignore.
Ballymoy each-way 2.35pm Ascot Saturday
Flying Angel each-way 2.40pm Haydock Saturday
Beauty Generation 6.15am Sha Tin Hong Kong Sunday morning.
Beauty Generation and Zac Purton, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club