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Keeping records – too late in the day

December 29th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I trust you had a good Christmas and I wish you all the best in 2019. From a personal point of view I’d like to cut down on hospital visits if possible; a new hip and a pacemaker will do for the time being and, much as I love and respect the nurses, I can live without daily enquiries on the subject of bowel movements.

Of course, not everyone understands the question. I came to know the Somalis visiting a senior figure in the next bed and it was a while before the penny dropped, so to speak. Finding an alternative language is not as easy as it sounds. “Have you BEEN, our Walter? I say, have you BEEN?” worked all right for Hilda Baker in the old music hall days but would have baffled the Somalis. 

The nurses do try, though. Once they consider you a man of the world they vary it a bit. “And how is your bottom?” is a good example. I said it had always been considered my best feature (it’s funny how a joke becomes quite accurate if you live long enough) and that brightened their day a bit.

I saw some betting opportunities over the holiday period but only for high rollers. I thought Unowhatimeanharry had no chance in the Long Walk Hurdle because he’s gone back the better part of a stone and I’d even have laid him for a place but I never started out on the betting exchange road and it’s too late now. He came down, of course, and I suppose a more hardened character would have celebrated a straightforward pick-up but I’d have had mixed feelings about it. I thought West Ham would beat Southampton and I avoided that, as well. 

Then, at Chepstow on Thursday, Paul Nicholls won one of the weakest bumpers I’ve seen for quite a while with Ask For Glory at 4/6, 8/11 available early on. Ask For Glory had won an Irish point at Bartlemy pretty easily (backed to do it) and Nicholls forked out 280,000 pounds for him on behalf of Paul Barber and partner. Well, it goes without saying you’re never going to get that back, barring a miracle, but you’re a rich man for whom the financial side ceased to be a factor many years ago. As for Nicholls, he isn’t going to make a mistake. Ask For Glory ambled home miles clear and would have been 2/5 with me against that opposition. But how much do you need on at 8/11? I’d be going back many years even to have considered it. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that you’re a different person in some respects and that’s all there is to it.

I used to keep records in my diary from the turn of the year but one night in Soho a miscreant snatched it, clearly thinking it was a wallet. I thought of going after him, the way Foinavon might have pursued Dancing Brave, but wiser counsel prevailed. Funnily enough the diary was returned to me by a kind soul who discovered it in her pig bin, as we used to call the repository for left-overs or stale food. There were bits and pieces of carrot all over February and I decided to call it a day, especially as I’d missed Within The Law in the Schweppes.

I used to wonder what the robber would have made of the punting record. As a punter, he’d probably have realised that even a wallet wouldn’t have done him much good and seen the irony of it all. But that’s just the romantic in me, of course, and another reason why I should have been a scriptwriter, not a journalist. Bit late now.

Champ would have been 4/7 with me at Newbury on Saturday because I haven’t seen a more impressive novice this season. Still, not betting odds-on is one New Year’s resolution I’ve kept since my hair was dark. (Yes it was.)

Anyway, all the best in the months to come, and stay regular!

Marten Julian, 69 Highgate, Kendal, Cumbria. LA9 4ED    Tel: 01539 741 007    -    Fax: 08448 11 22 97    -    email: info@martenjulian.com