Robin Oakley

The turf: Rescue remedy

Asked why he had sent a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt, a friend at the funeral of a man who had drowned replied, ‘It’s what he would have wanted.’ Does Flat racing, which keeps convincing itself it is drowning, need a lifebelt in the shape of a rich new fixture at Ascot on the second weekend in October to be called Champions Day? In the parade ring on Sunday, Ascot’s chairman Stoker Hartington, the Duke of Devonshire, just about convinced me that it does.

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