Forgive (but not quite forget) may be best

September 30th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

There comes a time to acknowledge when time is against us. Or against me, anyway. When Compton Hellyer, a very astute businessman, was building up Sporting Index, he asked me whether I was showing an interest in exchange betting. I think Compton knew full well that the spreads would burn brightly for a while, which they did, and then fade away as the exchanges took over.

I said the answer was ‘no’ but I see now that they offer a unique opportunity where punters are concerned. We’re all right about some things and wrong about others and I regret some basic mistakes from many years ago because it’s money that never comes back. But I’m reasonably accurate nowadays when it comes to poor value and when I saw that Pretty Pollyanna was 6/4 for the Cheveley Park I wished I was up to speed and could press the right buttons to lay her.

When Aidan O’Brien comes over for Group 1 races (he was three-handed in this instance) I doubt that anything else can possibly be value at 6/4. But in any case, the value of Pretty Pollyanna’s form was questionable. Principal Deauville victim Signora Cabello beat only one home this weekend but I disregard that because it’s hindsight. What ISN’T hindsight is the fact that the third in France. True Mason, failed to frank the form at Newbury and Main Edition didn’t do much for the Royal Ascot Albany form at this Newmarket meeting either. I’m not saying Pretty Pollyanna couldn’t win, of course. I’m saying that 6/4 was a hopeless price.

Anyway, to answer the obvious question, there isn’t time now. I think laying on the exchanges would involve long hours in front of screens and laptops and I just don’t want to be that heavily involved. Quite apart from the granddaughter we’re bringing up, there are books to read and films to see. I do think the discerning judge can make the exchanges pay, though, just as I think anyone prepared to lay sprint handicappers starting favourite under a 6lb penalty would end up making a packet.

Henry Candy’s Caption held on to fourth in a multi-runner Cambridgeshire consolation, which meant a small profit. Stable-companion Past Master missed the last at Haydock on Saturday but I think he is progressive and can win again if Henry finds an opportunity before the end of the season.

The Ayr Silver Cup recommendation Al Qahwa finished second but Upstaging was a Carnaby fantasy in the Gold version and Muntadab was there for four furlongs and stopped. So it was pretty galling to see him make all at Newmarket on Saturday at 12/1 but that happens at this time of year. Longer tri and better ground, probably, and you just have to decide whether to forgive  one poor run. If you do, and they disappoint again, you look the proverbial mug. Not minding that it hurts, that’s the thing. Someone should write a book along those lines.

I can live without two in two days but I was down by the furlong pole at Brighton (surprise, surprise) when Spanish Star, with an excellent chance at the weights, or so I thought, plodded past to finish fourth of 6 last time. Something was amiss and Pat Chamings has given him several weeks off. The last at Epsom on Sunday is just as winnable    Swanton Blue gives them all weight and was beaten in a seller the time before last    so it’s a question of forgive and forget or looking the other way. I’m a forgive and forget man, but only once, and I’d have preferred David Probert on top.

I stopped the sports blog because it was in danger of becoming a football or football and tennis blog. I’m not really into golf and the attractions of rugby, where it seems to be an advantage to boot the ball out of play, have always passed me by. My loss, no doubt.

Still, I watch a lot of football and at Wolverhampton on Saturday I wondered how Southampton will escape relegation this time. It hurts to say it but we are so ordinary and the transfers during the summer amounted to a sticking plaster over a gaping war wound. Given that seventy-five big ones arrived for Virgil Van Dijk I don’t really understand it but I think the club is poorly run these days and the suggestion that last year was some sort of blip or one-off is utter tosh.

I read the Racing Post piece on Charlie Austin with interest. Various Saints players have had an interest in owning horses    Terry Paine, Jimmy Gabriel, Mick Channon (of course), his mate Brian O’Neill and so on. Their priorities were always in the correct order and I assume Charlie’s are, as well. But I’m probably not alone in hoping the day is not long delayed when he can concentrate entirely on breeding and syndicate ownership because a Premier League centre-forward he most definitely is not. If either Ings or Long is injured (as Long was at Wolves), Charlie has to play and there seems nothing we can do about it before January.

Yes, Cardiff and Huddersfield are poor at present and Rafa has his problems at Newcastle, as anyone would with Mike Ashley. But I don’t see us wriggling out of it this time and you should look at the prices, probably before Chelsea come calling next week. It’s not something I can consider myself, simply too much love, but I see many more unhappy days coming.