Ashforth’s Angles: A good tip is be wary of my tips


David Ashforth advises being circumspect when following his advice


IT IS a mistake to dwell on the past too much, partly because it’s tedious for the young and partly because it’s a reminder of what went wrong. Even so, if you encourage readers (if any) to think well of a horse’s prospects it only seems right to review the outcome occasionally, for good or ill.

Take last week. On Monday, I devoted a column to that splendid stalwart, Captain Scooby. Lo and behold! At Pontefract that afternoon Captain Scooby played his part by winning at 11-1. It was jolly pleasing and would have been even better if I’d written “the Captain will win today” rather than “he might win today but he’ll probably finish encouragingly into a place.”

Still, not bad and on Tuesday I confidently suggested that Ozzie The Oscar would win the opening race at Ludlow and he did. Mean spirited naysayers will be unable to resist pointing out that Ozzie The Oscar was 1-9 but that’s hardly relevant. It just means that instead of having £100 to win at 20-1 you have £18,000 to win at 9-1 on.

Sensible readers will have won £2,000. It’s not my fault if you didn’t. So, as Billy Bunter used to say, ya boo sucks to you.

Forceful opinion

Wednesday was, frankly, a disappointment. Taking the view that, if one is going to express an opinion one might as well express it forcefully, even if it does concern a 15 runner apprentice handicap at Catterick, I wrote “the race will be won by Golden Spun.”

Golden Spun started at an unappetising 11-4 and finished 15th of 15, 22 lengths behind the 14th placed horse. There is no denying that I expected Michael Dods’ runner to finish closer than that. To be fair, he did break a blood vessel, possibly from the effort of leaving the starting stalls or perhaps from the effort of entering them.

So to Thursday, when the focus was on Outlaw Josey Wales and Benny’s Secret, both at Perth. The former ran an encouraging race to finish second at 14-1. While pleasing in its way it would have been more pleasing if I hadn’t suggested that he had no chance.

As for Benny’s Secret – “I think he’s got an excellent chance” – his secret turned out to be that he still can’t hurdle well enough and couldn’t manage better than 9th of 10 finishers, at 10-1.

Take the hint

After careful consideration and taking everything into account I have decided not to launch a select, luxury priced advice service for highly discerning clients but instead to emphasise that anything appearing here that resembles a tip should be treated with great circumspection, if not ignored altogether.

The same might apply to the following recommendation, namely that if you are finding winners, let alone winning, elusive you try the following experiment. Ignore all handicaps and confine your efforts to maiden races for three-year-olds and upwards.

In Britain on Monday you will only have to study seven races instead of all 35. Even if you still lose you’ll have saved a lot of time.


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