Magazine article The Spectator

Moment of Glory

Magazine article The Spectator

Moment of Glory

Article excerpt

The Oxfordshire village to which Mrs Oakley and I have moved is possibly the friendliest place in the world. But even harmonious communities can have their little tensions.

Last week we learnt of a local lady who was affronted by the number of dog poos deposited on her front lawn by a neighbour's terrier. She collected a number of examples, wrapped each carefully in foil and took a trayload of the packages round to the offending owner, thrusting it into her hands when she opened her door with the insistence: ' These are yours.' You would certainly have to call that direct action. I did feel, however, that she pushed her luck somewhat in going back two days later and asking for her tray back.

Pushing his luck, too, was a young bloodstock agent at the sales. Spotting a leading industrialist there buying horses with his trainer he went up to him and said, 'Sir Peter. You don't know me but I am a great admirer of your business skills. I know you are frantically busy but if you could just bear to say "Hello, Nigel" to me as you leave, it would hugely impress the new clients I am here with and help me to clinch a deal.'

Impressed by the young man's initiative, the industrialist duly paused as he left the sale.

Playing up to his assigned role, he didn't just say hello but put an arm around the young man's shoulder and said, 'I hope I'll see you at Ascot next week.' Only to meet the response, 'Oh, go away, Peter, don't bother me now. Can't you see I'm busy here . . . ' This column alas has to reach The Spectator before the start of the Royal Ascot events that will take place before you read it. But I am hopeful it will have been a happy week for those who occasionally take a plunge on my recommendations because I am not just on a roll. I am, it has to be said, positively red hot. Scorching. A couple of winners at Sandown last Saturday were just the jam on one of the scones Mrs Oakley dishes up at her charity teas. This summer's Twelve to Follow, so far, are proving near invincible.

Seven of the 12 have run and already five of them have won.

In May, Roger Varian's Aljamaheer won a Listed Newmarket race over seven furlongs at 100-30.Richard Fahey's Baccarat won a York handicap over the same distance at 5-1 on only his third appearance.

Roger Charlton's Mince, beautifully ridden by Frankie Dettori, won a sprint trophy at Newmarket on 19 May at 3-1 and his Bated Breath took the top-class Temple Sprint at Haydock a week later at 2-1. …

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