Magazine article The Spectator

Loyalty Stakes

Magazine article The Spectator

Loyalty Stakes

Article excerpt

Well, we did it. I am not saying that this column's refusal to continue wagering its fivers, tenners and, occasionally, Mrs Oakley's housekeeping with Hills, Ladbrokes or Corals until they agreed to contribute to the Rehabilitation of Racehorses Fund was the clincher. But obviously I was not the only one expressing such sentiments, and now the Big Three have relented and will contribute after all. As the man with the billboard, the unmatching socks and the bad case of halitosis outside the Commons the other day declared, there is always a welcome for the sinner who repents. Maybe a Few politicians will try it too one day.

Talking of joy unconfined (well, we almost did) I have not seen many better examples yet than the cheery chappie I accompanied down in the lift at Kempton on Bank Holiday Monday with his retinue. Berets are replacing baseball caps as the inthing, I had read that morning. In a fetching little black number marked with the Wentworth logo, a gent who turned out to be His Royal Highness Sultan Ahmad Shah, a man presumably more accustomed to coronets, was repeating `Ten to One, Ten to One' in tones which rose from the thoughtful to the ecstatic. He had every right to do so, as he was on the way to greet his horse Pulau Tioman, a worthy winner of the day's big race, the Coral Rosebery Stakes. HRH, who had explained to us that the horse was named after an island in his patch out East, didn't even lose his smile when one fellow-scribe asked if he came from Nepal, which in my atlas looks rather short of a seaboard. So long as it stays soft, Pulau Tioman can be expected to win again. But watch the track. His canny trainer reckons the miler is a much better horse on the turn when he can be tucked in behind the others and come late.

Another horse who should surely win again while he has the soft ground is David Arbuthnot's sprinter Monkston Point, who dominated his field in the kickon.com Conditions Stakes. His trainer says that Monkston Point, now gelded, has enjoyed the move from Compton to his new Lambourn base as much as any in his stable. Five and six furlongs come alike to him and he looks like one of those cases of a good sprinting two-year-old who misses out at three only to become a stalwart over the next few seasons.

The third soft-ground specialist who seems worth following while conditions are his way is John Dunlop's Right Wing. Pat Eddery, whose treble showed all his old determination, had him waiting to pounce inside the final furlong and he made the victory in the Magnolia Stakes look easy. …

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