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Chalk & Cheese

If the European elections proved anything at all, it is that the country is hopelessly divided. There are those who would like to have cheese with their pickle, and others that would prefer chalk.

I can only recall one character who was supposed to have eaten chalk: the wolf, who did so to soften his voice while pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood’s granny. He didn’t meet a good end.

But then there are people who point out that cheese isn’t much use for writing on blackboards… and they have a point. It’s going to take someone with the wisdom of Saul to sort this whole Brexit thing out. Which is probably where Nicola Sturgeon is coming from: if we can’t agree what we should do with the baby, maybe we should just cut it in half.

They had a referendum about that too – which was similarly contested with equal vehemence by both sides. If I remember correctly, roughly half the population wished to retain the union between the baby’s top end and bottom end – while the remainder believed they could do without the bit in the south that produces all the bad smells. The arguments became uncomfortably heated at times.

So, in order to heal the divisions, the Tory’s have started a race to decide who will become the next Prime Minister. Amazingly they’ve had no trouble at all raising a field of twelve runners for a contest which has all the appeal of a suicide mission. It’s like a 100m sprint where all the starters line up at one end while, in order to spice it up a little, the judge points a machine gun down the track from the finishing line. One has to admire their pluck.

In horseracing, we like to think we’re more civilised – but, in truth, we’re equally divided. The Derby, staged at Epsom on Saturday, has attracted a field of thirteen and you either believe that the race will be won by Aidan O’Brien who trains seven of the runners, or you think that one of the other six has a chance.

I quite like Telecaster, who won the Dante at York and whose connections have had to pay a large supplementary entry fee to get him back into the race at a late stage. But I’m also attracted to Humanitarian, if only because his name suggests a form of altruism which may help to heal the wounds that have been opened by the last few years of political rumination. The winner of a small race at Salisbury, Humanitarian is available at prices of up to 100/1, which also makes him a fun each-way bet.

Despite this week’s Derby attractions, the selection is Morning Royalty over the jumps at Hexham. It’s not that jump racing and flat racing are like chalk and cheese – it’s more like apples and pears. You can enjoy both fruits, I just like pears so much better.

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