Ralph beckett

Lesson to self: don’t put a bet on in autumn

When things went wrong in his days running the Daily Mirror, the scoundrel Robert Maxwell used to shout: ‘Which effing idiot thought of doing that?’ Told once by a bolder-than-average subordinate that what proved to have been a disaster had been his own idea, he responded: ‘In that case what effing idiot let me do it?’ Thanks partly to generous layers who pay up to six places in Heritage handicaps, it has been a prosperous punting season for me but at Newbury last Saturday it was bookmakers 7 – Oakley nil and I have nobody to blame but myself. Every year I counsel myself to hold back as the autumn

My tips for this season and a look back at our Flat Twelve

There are Flat people and there are jumping people. People like the late Captain Tim Forster, trainer of three Grand National winners, Ben Nevis, Well to Do and Last Suspect, who once declared: ‘One day I’m going to stand for Parliament. If I get in my first Bill will be about abolishing Flat racing and the second about doing away with hurdlers.’ People like Trevor Hemmings, the billionaire with the flat cap whose later life became a quest for Grand National winners in his green and yellow quartered colours, a quest in which he succeeded with Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds. Sadly the kindest of owners died last month and