Spectator Life

Spectator Life

An intelligent mix of culture, style, travel, food and property, as well as where to go and what to see.

An ante-post wager for the Cambridgeshire

My beloved late father, who was responsible for my love of horse racing, made an annual attempt to land the so-called ‘autumn double’: the two big Newmarket’s handicaps run towards the tail-end of the Flat season. For the best part of half a century, I have followed his lead with a fair degree of success

Two ante-post tips for the Ayr Gold Cup

The last of this season’s big six-furlong sprint handicaps takes place in Scotland three weeks tomorrow. The Virgin Bet Ayr Gold Cup is always a competitive affair with up to 25 runners spread across the course, often splitting into two distinct groups on the near side and the far side of the stands. Last year,

The betrayal of Wrexham AFC

For political nerds, the revival of Wrexham AFC, under the ownership of Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, has eerie echoes of the history of New Labour. A historic organisation, strongly connected to working-class communities, looks defeated and deflated. A clique of talented smoothies comes along and offers a better tomorrow. Tired of disappointment,

Four tips for York’s big meeting tomorrow

The most likely winner of tomorrow’s Sky Bet Ebor Handicap (3.35 p.m.), the most valuable flat race handicap in Europe, is Sweet William. John and Thady Gosden’s four-year-old gelding is going for a four-timer and he will land a £300,000 first prize if he achieves it. Those canny enough to have bagged fancy prices on

The fight over jockey saunas is heating up

When the nine equine athletes involved in the seven-furlong contest for Newbury’s Saturday highlight, the Group Two BetVictor Hungerford Stakes, strolled around the parade ring there was nowhere else in the world I would have preferred to be. As the sun gleamed off perfectly burnished coats and perfectly toned muscles rippled in sturdy hindquarters I

Mad Max meets Mr Toad: The Morgan Super 3, reviewed

When you first lay eyes on Morgan’s new Super 3 – a three-wheeled car categorised, intriguingly, as a motorbike in the US – it does take a moment to get your bearings. First, in an age when all cars essentially look the same, this one appears to be back to front. Set wide, two front

Two tips for York next week and one for tomorrow

York’s Ebor meeting next week is one of the highlights of the racing calendar with four days of quality fare on offer from Wednesday onwards. York is a flat, left-handed track suitable for strong galloping horses yet for some inexplicable reason quite a lot of thoroughbreds fail to act on what should be a fair

Real football fans watch non-League football

Oxford City vs Rochdale at Court Place Farm doesn’t have quite the same ring as Chelsea vs Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, but last Saturday’s match was important all the same. At this level, you feel part of the match, which never happens in an executive box at the Emirates ‘The Hoops’, Oxford’s oldest football club,

Harry Kane should have gone to Saudi Arabia

It’s official, folks: Harry Kane is off to Germany. England’s captain this morning joined Bayern Munich for an initial £86.4 million. The 30-year-old will sign a four-year contract. The Germans are understandably excited. In the UK, though, most football fans were left scratching their heads. Bayern Munich? Why? Kane could have gone to Saudi Arabia

Two tips for Ascot’s Shergar Cup meeting

Amid the fun and games that always accompanies the Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot, there is at least one horse that goes to the Berkshire track on a deadly serious mission. Connections of PRYDWEN are hoping he can win the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers handicap (tomorrow, 2.10 p.m.) for two reasons. Four teams of

Tom Marquand was the star of Goodwood

On no course in Britain does jockeyship count for more than at undulating, tricksy Goodwood and although Frankie Dettori was able, on his final appearance there, to treat the expectant crowd to a couple of flying dismounts after victories on Epictetus and Kinross, the week’s top rider was clearly Tom Marquand. One racing sage told

Conor McGregor is finished

The most recent UFC event, UFC 291, was a fascinating spectacle. Of all the compelling fights that took place, the final one, which saw Justin Gaethje face off against Dustin Poirier, was by far the best. Shortly after Gaethje stole the show with a devastating head-kick knockout of Poirier, Conor McGregor took to Twitter – sorry, X ­– to give

Why everyone is delighted the US women’s soccer team is out

Americans awoke on Sunday morning to find themselves bathing in wave after wave of schadenfreude. In Melbourne, the unthinkable had happened: the US Women’s National Team had been defeated – and eliminated from the football World Cup. The online criticism was unrelenting. ‘They really are equal to the men’s team,’ said The Spectator World’s Stephen L.

Walthamstow FC and the contradiction of William Morris

In 1884, William Morris gave a lecture to the Hampstead Liberal Club with the title of ‘Useful Work Versus Useless Toil’. His remarks were typically damning of what he saw as the crude philistinism of Victorian capitalism with its mass production of fripperies and of what Marxists call the alienation of labour – the psychological

Three bets for Glorious Goodwood

The all-important ground conditions at Glorious Goodwood have varied from ‘good to soft’ to ‘heavy’ this week and that trend could continue over the next two days with a mixed forecast. Throw in the complications of the draw and the unique undulating track and there are plenty of challenges out there for punters. Starting with

Roger Alton

Stuart Broad would make a great politician

And they said Test cricket was in its death throes! This epic, attention-grabbing, emotion-wringing Ashes series ended in the last minutes of the last hour of the last session of the last day of the last match: who could ask for more? England have had a number of very good captains since Mike Brearley took

Toby Young

What does a supercomputer say about QPR’s chances?

The football season gets under way again on Saturday – or at least it does if your team isn’t in the Premier League, which starts a week later. My beloved Queens Park Rangers are off to Vicarage Road to take on Watford and I’ll be there with my three sons to cheer them on. We

Two bets for Ascot tomorrow

The Grade 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes, first run at Ascot in 1951, has lost some of its lustre in recent years. Many of best middle-distance horses have swerved the race and it has often been left with small fields of only modest quality. Yet tomorrow’s race (Ascot, 3.40 p.m.) is

Relief Rally put the Ascot heartbreak behind her at Newbury

‘God it’s hot,’ said a Newbury waitress escaping into the lift from rain-soaked crowds jostling in the bars last Saturday. ‘Yes,’ I agreed. ‘It’s steaming.’ ‘Oh no,’ she replied. ‘That’s just the ladies waiting for Tom Jones,’ and the veteran Welsh warbler was indeed scheduled to be the after-racing entertainment. The race is framed to

Two ante-post bets for Glorious Goodwood

The delights of Glorious Goodwood are on the horizon and now is a good time to have a bet on a consistent, well-handicapped horse with rock solid course and distance form and who is not ground dependent. Furthermore, he is on offer at a super-generous 33-1 with most bookmakers. REVICH is a credit to the

Stress Test: some cricket fans can’t cope with the Ashes

The current Ashes series is proving a once-in-a-generation classic, one of those contests that cricket fans spend decades dreaming about. How are some of those fans reacting? They’re refusing to watch. I’m talking about the ‘I just can’t stand the tension’ brigade. The ones who, when the run chase gets down to 30 with three

Roger Alton

Cricket, tennis and the Women’s World Cup: what a summer 

Great sport needs great rivalries, and that is why anyone with a pulse must celebrate being in the throes of an unrivalled confluence of extraordinary sporting occasions right now. As commentators grind on about what a bad place the world is in – ignoring the far worse places the world has been in over the

Three tips for the big weekend handicaps

The two big handicaps tomorrow are the bet365 Bunbury Cup at Newmarket and the John Smith’s Cup at York. Both are early closing races in which the weights were framed by the official handicapper several weeks ago. This means several horses in both races are ‘well in’, in that if the handicapper was in a

What happened to Italian football?

Neither Sandro Tonali nor AC Milan wanted to part ways. The young midfielder is from the outskirts of the city, has been a fan since boyhood and his dad’s an ultra. He wanted to become a Rossoneri icon like his hero Gennaro Gattuso. The top brass at Milan saw him as a future captain. Tonali was instrumental

Paddington emerged victorious but Eclipse was an enthralling duel

I should have listened to George Duffield. Sandown Park’s Eclipse Stakes, the first time the Classic generation of three-year-olds take on their elders, is one of my favourite races and the then 53-year-old rider’s triumph on Giant’s Causeway in 2000, beating Kalanisi by a head after Pat Eddery had driven him into the lead 200

Two tips for big handicaps this weekend

Trainer Jamie Osborne has targeted OUZO at most of the big one-mile handicaps since taking over the training of the horse at the beginning of last season from Richard Hannon. To date, the gelding is zero wins from 11 runs for Osborne but that statistic does not tell the full story. Ouzo has run some

Watch out Wimbledon: padel is taking over

For the past 15 years, I’ve had an entirely healthy compulsion – my wife, I suspect, would disagree – to play tennis at least twice a week. I assumed this habit was so ingrained that nothing short of a calamitous injury could ever keep me from my fix. Spain is where the craze took hold.