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Two bets at Haydock and one for France

Horses drawn high had a considerable advantage in the big sprint races at Haydock a year ago and I suspect it will be same again tomorrow, even though the going is much softer than 12 months ago. There could be a particular advantage for front runners if they claim the near-side rail early on and don’t go too fast in order to keep that advantageous position. There are other complicating factors, however, for punters, notably the ground which, as of this morning was ‘soft, heavy in places’. That’s almost certain to mean there will be several non runners between now and tomorrow afternoon, with horses that prefer good ground kept

Bridgerton’s big fantasy

Bridgerton is an American fantasy of ye olde England – right down to the absurd if enjoyably playful not-quite colour blind casting and its insinuation that Regency London was peopled with an equal number of Bame and white aristocrats. Even the casting of Queen Charlotte, played by half-Guyanese actress Golda Rosheuvel, is an allusion to the dubious speculation that the real Queen Charlotte had African heritage and was in fact a woman of colour.  So the unspoken final frontier of oppression is also the most debilitating: not being hot Bridgerton’s beloved first season saw an explosively sexy performance from its male lead, an antisocial Duke played by the gorgeous British-Zimbabwean

Facing death in the African bush

I travel to the African bush frequently, at least once a year. It takes my mind of British politics. The trips often involves watching predators hunting down their prey and then tearing the poor animals limb from limb. Red in tooth and claw, the African bushveld reminds me of the fragility and brevity of life and the ever-presence of death. My insignificant place on the planet was thus confirmed A week ago I was in the Botswana’s Okavango Delta, at the safari operator Natural Selection’s new North Island camp, when I suddenly found myself confronting my own mortality. I had gone to bed early after a pleasant meal in the camp’s mess

Guns, drugs and beatings – I loved boarding school

My son and various well-meaning friends have been advising me to abandon writing history books and cash in on the trend for boarding school misery memoirs. On the face of it, as someone who was sent away aged seven and remained in these institutions until I was 18, I am well qualified to add my contribution to what has now become a recognised sub-genre of English literature. My problem, though, is that I quite enjoyed my time at boarding schools and I cannot claim – as so many do – that it adversely affected my life; rather the reverse. In his extended essay ‘Such, such were the joys’, George Orwell

The hell of interior design

I spent seven hours yesterday cutting up cardboard boxes into little square pieces with a Stanley knife and stuffing them into rubbish sacks. I’ve just moved house and my home is piled high with bulging black bags and looks like Leicester Square during the Winter of Discontent. Given that I don’t currently have the necessary bin from the council, I could end up living with them forever.  These are just some of the stresses of moving into a newly bought flat. Everyone knows the legal process of buying a place is an ordeal – the multitude of documents you can’t find and questions you can’t answer, the survey that over-stresses

Lisa Haseldine

Real Southerners never liked Elvis

Cowboy boots are ubiquitous in Nashville – although not hats. ‘That’s Texas,’ one woman told us earnestly. Locals say, ‘y’all,’ ‘yes, ma’am,’ and make eye contact when they speak to you. Despite the lack of cowboy hats, this is still the South. Welcome to Music City, the capital of country and the gleaming buckle of the Bible Belt. Nashville is home to over 700 churches and numerous evangelical choirs. The Union Gospel Tabernacle, built in the 1890s by a Tennessee businessman, was once the largest church in the city. Now its simply the Ryman Auditorium. After the first world war, the owners found they made more cash booking secular performers.  The