Sunday, May 03, 2009

Smallish snippets

Sea The Stars won the 2000 Guineas on Saturday but there was something of a shock in the fillies' equivalent on Sunday with Barry Hills' 20/1 shot Ghanaati collecting the spoils. John Gosden's Rainbow View was sent off the 8/11 favourite but the writing was on the wall two furlongs out - the filly made some late laboured headway to finish fifth. After the race connections put her disappointing performance down to the firm ground.

Two to take out of the two Guineas races are Rip Van Winkle and Super Sleuth. In commentary on Channel Four before the colts' classic, John Francome said Rip Van Winkle would be some horse if he won looking the way he did; in such circumstances the horse ran well to finish fourth, with the yard under something of a cloud. In the 1000 Guineas Super Sleuth was last early on and practically last two furlongs out before making eye-catching progress to finish third.

Chester's May bash next week is one of my favourites on the Flat. Having spent my childhood just down the road in Wrexham, I remember the meeting always generated plenty of local interest. I finally managed to get to this one for the first time roughly ten years ago, when the racing was staged from the Tuesday to the Thursday. The train was late (plus ca change...) and in the dash to try to make it for the first, I was nearly run over by a Merc; we ended up watching the Lily Agnes Stakes from the City Walls, my selection obliging but without my having managed to get a bet on. On the walk towards the Tatts entrance I had two Club badges shoved in my hand by a Liverpudlian tout and then followed a gent wearing plus-fours and a deerstalker onto the course. Of course, all my other selections, which I did manage to bet, failed miserably. Don't you just love racing?

A couple of new books have appeared on the shelves recently. Patrick Veitch's Enemy Number One: The Secrets of the UK's Most Feared Professional Punter looks required reading while those who play the exchanges may be interested in Colin Cameron's You bet: The Betfair Story and How Two Men Changed the World of Gambling.

What with the Punchestown and Guineas Festivals, one that slipped under my radar was Nick Gifford's Russian Around - the beast won the Class 2 three mile handicap chase at Uttoxeter on Saturday. I'd made a note of this one after he collected in a Lingfield novice chase at the end of March. He won at 10/1 and looks worth noting for future reference.

Finally I bring to your attention the BBC's story that Y-front sales have increased by 35% during the recession. A spokesman for Debenhams attributes this success to the 'greater sense of security they provide'. I've invested in a three-pack and intend to make use of a pair the next time I bet a 33/1 shot.

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