THAT old Charles Dickens knew a thing or two.
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’, he wrote.
Well, that’s bang on the button for our game at the minute. The corks had barely stopped popping at Cheltenham before coronavirus stepped in to put the brakes on racing.
That signals hard times for all racecourse staff. The majority of this merry band beaver away on zero-hour contracts so won’t earn while our `pause’ button is pressed.
On-course bookies are left waiting and worrying too.
These fellas chip away at the coal face to earn a crust. Two or three months without work will ensure some of their already endangered species drift away for good.
The layers weren’t done any favours when Paul Nicholls landed a touch with Mcfabulous on Kempton’s bumper card last weekend either.
The gang over at Paddy Power’s HQ were heavily involved with laying this flying machine.
And one of their shrewder operators gave me a nod that the `right people’ had made themselves busy backing the horse.
They were spot-on too. He hosed-up with Harry Cobden doing a passable impression of a statue.
Happy Harry was properly impressed and told connections Mcfabulous’ next dance should be in a Grade 1 event. Stick him in your notebook.
Mind you, Harry was lucky to walk away virtually unscathed after Soldier Of Love fell and flattened him later in the day.
Horse and jockey were laid down for longer than Rip Van Winkle and got the biggest cheer of the afternoon when they emerged from behind the green screen.
By the way, there was a late plunge on Fergal O’Brien’s rag Ballyhome in a red-hot 20-runner handicap hurdle on this card.
One shrewd face had £500 each-way at 25s near the off and landed the place part of his punt when the horse rolled home fourth.
Plenty of regulars followed the money in and reckoned they would have hit the jackpot if jockey Max Kendrick had munched three Weetabix for breakfast.
There was some interesting chat about Blacko who ran a shocker when sent off a well-bet jolly at the Festival.
The word is Alan King’s young gun bled during the race. That’s a big punting no-no and he must carry a wealth warning from now on.
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Meanwhile, I hear Colin Tizzard’s team are still perplexed about The Big Breakaway’s lack-lustre run in the Ballymore.
Canny Colin was so gutted by his team’s form during Festival week that he reckoned Lostintranslation was only marking time running in the Gold Cup.
Typically, the horse proceeded to set a lifetime best in third. In the words of Jimmy Greaves, `it’s a funny old game`.
Meanwhile, the BHA have been huffing and puffing about who should be crowned champion jumps jockey.
Fortunately, the gang over at Betway are a bit more decisive and have opted to pay out on Brian Hughes. Hats off to them for that.
Finally, my old mate Tracksuit Dave has been on the blower with a bit of advice for itchy-fingered punters during our enforced break:
“Whatever happens don’t get bored and start betting on things you don’t understand.
“If you want a bet study the Irish racing but don’t get sucked in by all these online games. They will eat up your betting bank.
“Just be patient, study form and wait for the Flat season to get going.”
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