Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Glass half full

Today was disappointing before it had even begun with So Much Water having become a non-runner from what would have been her debut at Kempton.  That left us just with Fen Lady at Chelmsford - and she was a massive disappointment.  She was actually something of a relief too, because for a stride in the back straight it looked as if she might have broken down, so it ended up being a relief that she was unharmed, even if she was unharmed and virtually pulled up.  I'm not sure what happened.  I think it might have been that the horse on the inside ducked out, cannoning into the horse on his outer, with Fen Lady then shying away from that.  John Egan thought she had broken a leg when she sprawled and he eased her - but, as I say, no harm done, other than the harm of the toll which disappointments take on one.  I'll record the replays of ATR in the morning (I find watching the replays in the internet to be easier said than done, like most things on a computer) and I'll be a bit less confused once I've reviewed it half a dozen times.

Aside from Chelmsford, Ascot is the racecourse of the moment, and it has been keeping me amused.  In a recent chapter I observed that the Minister for Administrative Affairs hadn't contributed to the BHA's Jump Racing Review.  Now I know why: the Minister (or, anyway, his minder Sir Humphrey Appleby) has instead been signed up by Ascot to write its press releases.  There was an article in the Racing Post, and I was so hoping that that article would have said that Ascot had clarified its position on Authorized Betting Partners.  That, of course, would have been a great brahma, because Ascot's statement was as clear as mud.  Basically, I think that the gist is that it is with the BHA all the way on the subject of ABPs, aside from the one minor detail (ie massive detail) that it won't be refusing to accept sponsorship from non-ABPs.  Bizarrely, Nick Rust appears to have applauded Ascot's stance ("New Ascot ABP rights praised by BHA chief") but I can understand that: I too am a glass-half-full man, always good at seeing the positives, however hard they may be to discern.

Of Ascot's long and complicated statement (a statement of which Sir Humphrey would have been very proud), I particularly enjoyed the gem: "Ascot wishes to recognise the contribution to central funding made by digital levy paying bookmakers by introducing bespoke rights for them, to include on and off course promotional activities ... In recognition of those the BHA credit as being payers of digital levy, Ascot will publicly acknowledge and thank them, both on site and on its digital platforms."  

So that's very good, isn't it?  What's also very good is the plan which Derek Thompson is hatching for Ascot.  You might have read Tommo's New Year aspiration that Royal Ascot will start using Tommo TV, and that he can organise a best-dressed lady competition there, with the winner to earn the title 'Miss Royal Ascot'.  That's excellent.  You could see Princess Haya of Jordan winning that, as she is always wonderfully elegant.  I've heard Tommo referring to her as "Princess Haya of Jordan, otherwise known as Mrs Sheikh Mohammed".  Well, this could get even better.  In the unlikely event of Tommo calling the Derby, you could hear the commentary as they canter to post: "... And here's the favourite New Approach, Kevin Manning riding in the colours of Princess Haya of Jordan, otherwise known as Mrs Sheikh Mohammed and Miss Royal Ascot ...".  See what I mean about the glass-half-full thing?  Even after a thoroughly dispiriting trip to the races today, I can end up with a smile on my little face, thanks to being able to savour little delights such as this.

No comments: