‘Ne’er cast a clout until May is out’ is an old, wise saying and this morning, I have done so on the first day of ‘Flaming June’ in anticipation of all that’s good at this time of year in England, once the best and most prosperous country on our beleaguered planet; so many factors have served to demean status but having travelled this World so many times nothing and nowhere compares to sitting in our ‘created’ garden alongside flowers, shrubs and a variety of wonderful ubiquitous birds. Every type seems to come in here.
It all adds to relaxation and calm as one plots and sometimes plunders the English racing scene which, next Saturday, hosts the Epsom Derby with a sizeable, regulated crowd due to circumspect easing of rules imposed to thwart the much-underestimated killer Covid-19 (Coronavirus) disease. Millions have succumbed and, unfortunately, ‘it’ still lingers. Hopefully a colossal vaccination programme world-wide has and and will have diminished effectiveness.
This date signals another important point, the opening up of my time-handicap to deal seriously with an ultimate personal speciality, two-year-old racing, a fascination which has carried me through decades successfully.
By virtue of computing race-times I’ve long held an edge over contemporaries who simply couldn’t (and wouldn’t!) be bothered to fastidiously analyse daily performances from a time angle; there’s no other way and I’m living proof of another well-known fact, ‘the harder you work, the luckier you become!’
In the early days ‘have stop-watch will travel’ was my motto, nowadays electrical timing is installed at every racetrack and even the National Hunt scene is equipped with a beam from starting gates which one pressed for vehemently until it finally happened only last year.
‘Stop-watch’ days were best, I had it all to myself and ‘clocked’ the sensational Australian-bred Crisp on a foggy day at Wincanton just a few days before he won the grade Champion Chase over two miles at Cheltenham, by TWENTY-FIVE LENGTHS!
We knew, myself and the late professional-backer Alex Bird, who wasn’t ungenerous and, until his cruel ‘Lloyd’s’ demise, proved a wonderful friend. I liked and admired him!
Anyway back to modest but interesting sport today with four meetings which are mostly are riddled with difficult handicaps; best bet on the seven-race Brighton programme is undoubtedly progressive Fast Medicine in the eight-runner ‘aged’ Novice Stakes over a mile of ‘good to firm’ ground; enough boxes are ticked for a solid punt.
On similar surfaces at Lingfield and Yarmouth both Liger King and Imperial Force should go close, the latter especially.
Selections, Brighton, 2.10 Fast Medicine (e.w); Lingfield, 6.20 Liger King (e.w); Yarmouth, 6.30 Imperial Force.
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019