The importance of second chances

A Sandown Saturday proved the perfect send-off for 12 raceless days on the otherwise wonderful Isle of Mull. A Frankie Dettori win on a progressive colt who could bring the Queen a Derby victory in her Platinum Jubilee year of 2022, another victory that restored the rumbustious Jane Chapple-Hyam’s faith in her best filly, and a talk with a jockey whose career is taking off nicely thanks to hard grafting after an early mistake left me in perfect holiday mood. I was bouncing anyway thanks to a meticulously researched family history that Mrs Oakley had bought me to celebrate a birthday with a big zero attached. Links back through a

The poetry of Bryony Frost

Hearing that the Queen has both a real and an official birthday, a small boy asked the obvious question: ‘Does she get two lots of presents then?’ Horses, too, have an official birthday: no matter the month in which they were foaled, they all become one year older on 1 January. The advantage for some is that they then become eligible for the increasingly popular veterans’ races confined to horses aged ten or more, like the classic Unibet Chase we saw at Sandown last Saturday. What racegoers love about these contests is the presence of familiar names on which they have won money, or narrowly lost it, over the years,