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The Weekly Blog

News from Paradise

Be honest. On a scale of one-to-ten, how surprised were you when Panorama revealed that Prince Charles, a passionate environmental campaigner, allowed the Duchy of Cornwall to invest in a company called Sustainable Forestry Management Ltd?

Wouldn’t it have made a far more interesting story if the Paradise Papers had revealed that the Duchy was putting its wealth behind fracking and the increased exploitation of fossil fuels? While it might have been wise to declare his interest before dipping his oar into the pool of carbon trading initiatives, I’m struggling to spot any inconsistency in the Prince’s behaviour – he’s run strictly according to form.

The same could be said about Ladbrokes who, according to reports from a recent BHA disciplinary hearing, gave trainer David Evans enhanced odds when he used his telephone account to back a horse that he trained, called Black Dave, almost three years ago. Apparently Evans was keen to “nick a bit of extra value,” before withdrawing another of his horses from the same race. He was rewarded with odds of 4/1 instead of 7/2, although it didn’t make much difference as Black Dave eventually finished fourth and Evans ended up being fined £3,000 by the British Horseracing Authority.

In response to questioning, Evans stated that Ladbrokes only ever offered him enhanced odds on horses trained by himself. A spokesman for Ladbrokes Coral pointed out that the activity had pre-dated the company’s merger and denied that they were in the habit of enhancing odds for racehorse trainers – and yet, wouldn’t it be an obvious way for bookmakers to obtain some fascinating information? Come to that, wouldn’t we all like to know when trainers are backing their own horses and how much they’re putting on?

Perhaps the bets should be declared openly; instead of calling them the Paradise Papers, they could be published as the Punters’ Papers and we could have them tweeted to us prior to each race. My guess is that we’d soon discover that some trainers are incurable optimists, some are lousy judges and a few are pretty shrewd.

Now… if you haven’t read the length of this blog in order to gain some quality insight for monetary gain, then I’m a Dutchman. Which happens, almost, to be the name of a promising hurdler and novice chaser trained until recently in the Scottish Borders by Sandy Thomson. The Dutchman is now trained in Dorset by Colin Tizzard. I saw him at the yard last month, when the trainer mentioned he’d recently benefited from a wind operation. I think he was talking about the horse.

Colin Tizzard didn’t say whether he was going to back The Dutchman at 14/1 with Paddy Power in Haydock’s Staying Hurdle on 25th November, but that’s my intention. In the meantime, our selection for this weekend’s racing is Rashee in the 3.45pm at Kelso.



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