Make sure you play ‘Fair And Square!’

Now do you understand why ante-post betting is a ‘no-go’ area for this experienced columnist?

Last Monday nineteen were declared for the Epsom Derby on Saturday but in a completely unexpected interview two days later Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien stated Ryan Moore-ridden Bolshoi Ballet would be his only runner from six declarations; anyone speculating on so-called strongly-fancied, heavily-backed ‘Dante’ third, High Definition, experienced that sickening feeling knowing ‘money had gone down the drain!’

It’s happened so many times before but don’t tell me bookmakers didn’t have an inkling about Ballydoyle plans; they have the ‘Sport Of Kings’ stitched up beyond the hem and, not surprisingly, I’ve developed a hatred for the cynical, disgusting way the one time ‘enemy’ conduct themselves at the expense of beleaguered punters.

Almost on a daily basis, usually about 8am, eight-runner races are reduced to seven, which means only two places are on offer, and this particular practice saves the bookmaking profession millions world-wide; does any other racing correspondent mention it, does anyone care?

Too many have cushy numbers and are well looked after by the bookmakers, they have no desire to rock the smooth-sailing boat but I’m a betting man through and through and care passionately about readers/punters who have contributed to my decent life-style; I owe it to racing, loyalty and passion.

One was also disgusted to learn Adam Kirby had been ‘jocked off’ John Leeper in favour of veteran ‘showman’ fifty-something Frankie Dettori who recently started appearing on a bookmaking advertisement to encourage betting at a time when ‘Gambling responsibly’ is firmly in vogue. Morality springs to mind!

Dettori was ‘pencilled’ for High Definition, he’d rejected John Leeper out of hand and I wrote to trainer Ed Dunlop asking him to ‘grasp the nettle and book Hollie Doyle’, successful on the Frankel colt at Newcastle where they stormed home despite a moderate draw. A wonderful ride.

To his credit trainer Ed Dunlop replied and revealed Kirby was the choice of his owner Mrs Patino; now he’s quoted when ‘Frankie became available, blah, blah, blah!’

For what it’s worth John Leeper is a ‘no-hoper’ in my book but that’s not the point, Dettori could have convinced ‘Mrs Patino’ fair is fair and that Kirby deserves an opportunity; after all there isn’t a better jockey on the circuit and 7lbs lighter Adam would be automatic champion jockey.

Epsom kicks-off traditionally with the listed 2-y-o Woodcote Stakes over five furlongs and if the recent Newbury time-figure of short-head loser Daireran is accurate Oisin Murphy is set for an armchair ride because there is no serious ‘form’ rival.

Tonight at Bath, highest racetrack and only venue with no watering system, twice-raced Fair And Square is worth chancing in a weak-looking Novice Stakes over five furlongs despite a wide draw; veteran trainer Ron Harris has a good record at this unique course which is forecast ‘good to firm.’

Running in tandem is Goodwood where Unspoken is expected to supplement recent debut gains.

Never bet with bookmakers, come onto the Betfair betting exchange for the very best prices.

Selections, Epsom, 2.00 Daireran; Goodwood, 6.00 Unspoken; Bath, 6.10 Fair And Square (e.w).

 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