Saturday, 6 August 2011

Jockey's take centre stage

Well, yesterday’s blog was culture. Today is an opportunity to pick not a bard but a horse, or perhaps even a jockey. Strict metre is not necessary, just a deep pocket.
My race meeting of choice today is Ascot.
Now, all of you that thought Queen Anne’s only contribution to civilization was a chair, think again. For it was her, that founded the racecourse at Ascot in 1711.
The social composition and the interest of the early nineteenth century Parliament ensured, you guessed it, horse racing. Forget the great Reform Act, the Napoleonic Wars, agricultural conditions, no the real concern was to ensure that Queen Anne’s contribution to the enjoyment of the landed class remained. This they did by passing an Act in 1813 ensuring that Ascot always remained a public racecourse. It’s the sport of kings, don’t you know.
Now when most of you think Ascot, you think hats. Yes, Royal Ascot was part of the ‘season’, but in these more egalitarian days … nothing has changed. The hats come out and there remains a strict dress code so no change there then.  That’s why it was chosen for a scene in the film “My Fair lady.” 
Oh, change and no change, Ascot as a commentary on our society at large – discuss. It could be an exam question in one of our newer universities. Poor Karl Marx, why did he bother.
The four-day Royal Ascot was at one time the sole meeting, but now there are many more opportunities to throw money away. This brings us to today’s meeting the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
Now usually race meetings are about the horses but this one is about jockeys. Racing purists hate this event but who cares about the sniffy lot.
The fun today is about the four teams of jockeys competing over six races for the coveted Shergar cup.
The way it works is, each jockey has five rides and points are given to the first five horses home. Starting with the first on 15, then 10, 7, 5 and 3. The team with the highest points gets the cup and the best jockey wins the Silver Saddle.
Ok, they still have to ride horses and these are today’s selections.
12:50            Swift Gift can do this one although the money will likely go on Dubai Dynamo
1:25            La Vecchia Scoula is the one that makes the  Hughes selection it has underachieved but could start to perform now
2:00            I hate to go with favourites but Medicean Man seems to me a difficult one to beat
2:30            Swift Alhaarth is the prospect that takes my fancy but the tipsters seem to go for Ithoughtitwasover
3:00            Life and Soul good each way.
3:35            Firebream or Desert Law both could do.

But if you fancy a jockey, champion jockey Paul Hanagan is said to be the one to back. He leads team GB who are the favourites to win the Cup

But for my money Rest of the World captained by Whyte may upset the odds. South African Whyte has had a number of wins in Hong Kong. The Chinese love their racing and its very competitive there.

GB: Paul Hanagan (capt), Hayley Turner, Jim Crowley.

Ireland: Richard Hughes (capt), Fran Berry, Colm O’Donoghue.

Europe: Olivier Peslier (capt), Christophe Lemaire, Mirco     Demuro.

Rest of the World: Douglas Whyte (capt), Yutaka Take, Hugh Bowman.
Oh and if none of this takes your fancy you can forget it all by turning up at the post meeting concert with Jason Donovan and King Creole and the Coconuts and other acts that revisit the eighties. The eighties, how post modern.  Forget the eisteddfod now that’s what I call culture.

1 comment:

  1. Jason Donovan doesn't sound so good to me ... no offence. As for the Eisteddfod, well I think I'll just have to give that a miss too.