Marten Julian Direct

Rhapsody In Blue – A million miles from Gershwin

December 15th, 2018 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

I was pleased when Ramses de Theillee won at Chepstow because it made for a profitable weekend, though I thought the 2/1 starting price very skinny. The veteran Alfie Spinner’s poor run as a saver recommendation dented the pick-up slightly but we had to find out about him.

I doubt that Ramses de Theillee will be good enough in the Coral Welsh National itself because he has another six furlongs to travel off a higher mark but he is still improving and it’s good to know that a wind operation can work in spades because he had to battle very hard to stay in front.

Monday was an odd sort of day. I’d risked a short story in the RP and was still pondering its flaws, though it’s foolish to over-analyse. Where would Bohemian Rhapsody be if you analysed it at all? It’s utter tripe with nonsensical lyrics    Scaramouche, Scaramouche can you do the fandango’ etc, yet it’s revered around the world. I think Queen are hugely overrated. When Freddie Mercury was whirling around in his vest I thought he’d been playing cards again. By golly, you wouldn’t have wanted to be in the front row when the sweat was flying but I suppose I’m the only person in the world who thinks that way. ‘Thunderbolt and Lightning, Very Very Frightening me, Galileo Galileo Figaro’. Complete and utter drivel without a redeeming feature but it goes to show you can fool most of the people most of the time.

Anyway, when I think about Bohemian Rhapsody I don’t feel quite so badly about my own stuff. Monday was disappointing, though, with Jim Old’s Pink Gin running poorly at Lingfield. Although we shouldn’t make too many excuses for beaten horses, he couldn’t handle nasty, clinging ground with 12st 1lb and Mark Grant wasn’t hard on him. Jim rang me the following day to apologise, which tells you what sort of man he is. He hadn’t tipped the horse but was a bit down. Rather better ground and a big price next time will do us. Whatever you do, don’t give up on Pink Gin. 

Angostura bitters originated in Venezuela, incidentally, if it ever comes up in a quiz. I should think they’d welcome a similar invention or discovery now, the way things are going, though several thousand have decamped for Colombia or Brazil. I’ve been all around South America, selling this and that, and I formed the impression that Paraguay would be a suitable place to disappear. I was selling graphic arts materials which didn’t go too well; it’s a strange thing but in another lifetime I also sold, or tried to sell, German Doornkaat schnapps in Hounslow and Isleworth and places like that. I say funny because it would have gone down a storm in Paraguay, though you had to go deep into forest to find the clientele.

The disgraced Labour MP John Stonehouse and I weren’t at Taunton’s School in Southampton at the same time, otherwise I’d have told him to head for Paraguay, not leave his clothes on the beach in Florida and pretend he’d set off for Cuba. Faking it is a tricky business and very few people are willing to believe you’d risk being eaten by a shark. 

Anyway, John fetched up in Australia and was a bit unlucky because the police decided to question ‘the quiet Englishman’, thinking he might be Lord Lucan.  John even had to drop his strides because Lucan had a prominent birthmark or tattoo, no, I think it was a birthmark, high up on his thigh. The rozzers were disappointed when no such blemish appeared and had him deported. He went down for eight years for fraud and embezzlement and all the rest of it and died in 1988. If he’d listened to me he’d still be sipping Doornkaat in the Paraguayan forest but we didn’t quite overlap at school.

There’s not much more I can tell you, although Rather Be seems very fairly handicapped in the Caspian Caviar at Cheltenham and I dare say Guitar Pete will be thereabouts again. Maybe there is something amiss with Call Me Lord because Nicky Henderson has taken him out of the old Bula Hurdle and relies instead on Brain Power and We Have A Dream. With no Laurina to worry about, I think Call Me Lord, not far off Champion Hurdle class, would have won but I’m not sure about the other two. I see a surprise result coming, but I doubt very much that there will be one at St Mary’s on Sunday, when I am entertaining three of the six grandchildren at the Arsenal game. Over from Canada, two of them are 11 and 9 and my half-Chinese granddaughter is 9 as well. 

In an odd sort of way, it’s relaxing not expecting too much. I used to write for the matchday programme in the Redknapp and Burley days but now, with three stents, a new hip and a pacemaker, I don’t really want a much briefer slot with a different theme. Still, at least I didn’t write Bohemian Rhapsody and nor did you. We can all take heart from that.

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