Follow the Bear


It’s been a fairly low key Christmas for me this year in as far as Christmas with four small children can be.  My side of the family come round tomorrow – 18 of them with 11 children, which may get a little noisy. 

I’ve been to church a couple of times this year, which is something I generally try to avoid – I’m not in any way religious but my wife is a practicing catholic.  I actually quite enjoyed it, but it does raise a few difficult questions and I feel a bit of a fraud when I say the various prayers and incantations.  My seven year old daughter is at the age when she asks a lot of questions, and church throws up a few good ones;

7yo   ;  Dad – what does “Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb” mean?

Me   ;  I’m not religious – ask mummy.

Mum ;  It means “he doesn’t hate the Virgin Mary’s tummy”.

Amazingly that seemed to do the trick, and the expected (from me at least) response “Why on earth would anyone hate the Virgin Mary’s tummy?… and what is a virgin anyway?” never came.  Mothers seem to have instincts for these things – god knows what I would have said.  If indeed there is a god.

The Ladbroke was no good for me – having listened to my Henderson man in the Boylesports hurdle I decided to ignore him in the Ladbroke.  I should have done a saver at least for sanity’s sake – I’m a great believer in betting in ways that keep your mind clear, and savers here and there help to do that.

Today I have Ours running at Towcester – if he stands his ground he should have a major chance.  He was born to be a chaser – he was never going to do well over hurdles but at a slower pace over bigger obstacles he is in his element.  He’s a great jumper and has experience from the point to point world, he’s fit and he’s on a great mark.  I’m not sure about the ground – I think it will be ok for him. 

Mon Michel may go tomorrow at Kempton – he’s in great form but this race is no substitute for the Ladbroke.  I’d prefer him in a better race on better ground and with a lower weight.  If he runs he should run well though – he is in good form.  Shepherds Warning is looking to pick up another claimer, possibly on the 29th at Wolver.  She’s game and at this level I’d expect her to go in again.

I live pretty close to Kempton and we’ve had a lot of rain today – they are still calling it gd-sft but I doubt it’s that now.  I’m a big fan of Straw Bear and it can’t be too soft for him – Harchibald on the other hand is best on decent ground and he is a tricky ride.  I think you can largely discount Straw Bear’s last two runs – he’ll be a different horse today and I think he retains all his ability.  If the ground is soft or heavy I suspect I’ll have a go at him.  In the big one I’m sure Kauto will run his usual excellent race, but he hasn’t looked immortal of late and again I prefer My Way De Solzen, choosing to believe Alan King’s excuses.  A small bet only as I’m once bitten twice shy on that one.