Jump racing

Ascot was a high-profile disaster for jump racing

The government may for the moment have disbanded its circular firing squad, but racing has never shown a greater ability for self-harm. For once last Saturday I was not on a racecourse. Unfortunately, Mrs Oakley had had a late-night mishap with an Ugg boot and after a midnight ambulance, a night in A&E and her hip-replacement operation, my presence was needed elsewhere. Jump jockeys are only too familiar with A&E wards and limb-setting operations, but on our first acquaintance we marvelled not only at the skill and care of the NHS teams but especially at their patience with an astonishingly high proportion of abusive and aggressive patients with dementia. As