Robin Oakley

Staying on

Remember the one about the husband who goes home and gets clouted with a frying pan by his wife. ‘Hey, what’s that for?’ ‘I found a note in your suit pocket with a number and the name Fanny May on it?’ ‘Oh, that’s just a horse I bet on last week.’ Two weeks later he gets clobbered again, this time with the rolling pin. ‘What’s that for?’ ‘Your horse phoned.’ If only they could. But never mind those mists and mellow fruitfulness, around this time of year horses do tell us a lot. My notebook is filling up nicely with prospects for 2013.

At Ascot last Saturday, where ground varying between soft and heavy made racing a real test, Mick Channon was beaming after his two-year-old Bungleinthejungle had won the Group Three BMW Cornwallis Stakes. Worried about running him with top weight on such soft ground he had reckoned, ‘It’s the last chance of the season and it’s only five furlongs so we might as well have a go.’ Bungleinthejungle showed real resolution in holding off Garswood, and Mick reckons he has a top sprinting prospect for next year. ‘He’s tough and he loves the game.’ One of the jockey finds of this season has been Martin Harley and Mick owes his stable rider. The jockey had walked the course before racing and reckoned that he needed to be four or five places off the rail.

Mick’s only complaint was that the first-place prize money of around £20,000 didn’t any longer reflect the status of the race. ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ said a journalist colleague. ‘I wouldn’t turn my nose up at £20,000.’ ‘That’s because you’re skint,’ said Mick.

Two other performances brought joy in this corner. Victory in the Group Three John Guest Bengough Stakes for Lady Rothschild brought Mince her first Group contest and it was her fourth win since she was named as one of our Twelve to Follow.

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