Ways of escape
May 21st, 2019 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News
York was enjoyable, even if the punting left something to be desired. One or two long-held theories were put to the test and came up short, so there will have to be intense concentration over the coming weeks.
Whilst I have no doubt that my ideal retirement place would be close to the Itchen Valley – actually I should break off there to say that, whilst I’ve never yearned for a great deal of money, the prospect of Boris Johnson becoming prime minister makes me regret getting through so much; even a tiny walk-up in the Paris or Madrid suburbs would do, because I don’t want to live in a country where he holds sway. Sorry, where was I, oh yes, the Itchen Valley, Bill Wightman’s old yard at Upham, the White Swan at Mansbridge, South Stoneham cemetery and my parents’ grave, St Mary’s and the easy country roads to Salisbury and Goodwood, the smart Italian at Botley.
What I was going to say, before Johnson ( or ‘BoJo’ as the tabloids are certain to refer to him, can you bear it, no of course you can’t but it’s coming to a newsagents’ near you soon, BoJo this and BoJo that and all the silly blue-rinsers taken in, no, what I was going to say before he crossed my mind was that Stillington makes plenty of appeal as well, because it’s so silent and every time we drive from Gilling East to York I want to stop off and just sit there, letting time slow down and stop.
David Chapman was a shy man but for some reason he didn’t mind being interviewed by me, probably because things had gone so well on the BBC when Soba won the Stewards’ Cup. When SIS went to see him in the days of Chaplin’s Club and Glencroft he was in great form, telling us he let them mess around in the sand pit because they did all their work at the track. In my book listing the most rewarding bets of my life (a slim volume it’s true) the three doubles and a treble on Chaplin’s Club, Glencroft and Scotch Imp, Ripon, Goodwood and Haydock, is up near the top. It’s probably the only time I’ve affected a market because the first two legs were in when Chaplin’s Club won the last at Haydock at 5/2, shortening from 7/2 in one go. The saddle slipped but he still won with Kevin Darley clinging on. Try to imagine a sprint handicapper winning nine times in a season nowadays. Old Chaplin’s did it twice with the trainer smiling his diffident smile. What a lovely man he was.
Anyway, to business. I don’t know what went wrong with Plutonian in the mile handicap but he was backed from 25/1 to 10/1 and clearly went amiss, dropping right out to finish last. I still think he is more of a ten-furlong horse than a miler so maybe the handicap at Glorious Goodwood where he finished runner-up last year is the answer.
As for Vibrant Chords, who beat one home in the six-furlong handicap on the opening day, my flabber remains ghasted. At one stage I thought Henry Candy was going to pull him out again at Newbury on Friday with David Probert on board, but I’ve never known the Wantage maestro do that in all the years I’ve followed him; Vibrant Chords duly came out.
Ryan Moore was down to ride him at York and another theory went astray because I’ve always noted his mounts outside the O’Brien and Stoute powerhouses but the bookings – everyone from Candy to Nigel Tinkler (blimey) did him no good at all on the Knavesmire and his only winner came courtesy of old ally Jeremy Noseda and even that was only after a desperate set-to.
Mercifully, Headman won for Roger Charlton and Jason Watson at Newbury on Friday and I think they will have a great season with Blue Mist maybe winning the Royal Hunt Cup. Seven furlongs is too short for him so his 6th in the Victoria Cup was a fine effort.
On to Goodwood we go and the Anglesey Arms at Halnaker in the sunshine. I see a lucrative Placepot on the horizon. With time on my side, there may also be time to peruse the small ads for properties on the Rue Caumartin and the Calle Alcala. Come to think of it I’d like to take in Zarzuela, as well. Maybe Ryan will be jocked up for a couple.