Ashforth’s Angles: Can Outlaw run his rivals out of town?

Perth 29.04.0211

Perth: will we see a shock in the opening race?

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

YOU wouldn’t give Outlaw Josey Wales more chance than a mouse in a snake pit in the opening race at Perth but Josey Wales was always beating the odds, at least in that stirring Clint Eastwood western.

Eastwood directed it himself as well as playing the taciturn hero, hunting and hunted. “Not a hard man to track,” as Captain Terrill of the Union army said, “leaves dead men wherever he goes.”

“I wish we had time to bury them fellas,” says Jamie, Josey Wales’s sidekick. “To hell with them fellas,” replies Josey Wales. “Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.”

It all ends with the hero observing, “I guess we all died a little in that damn war.”

That was the American Civil War and if Outlaw Josey Wales is to come out on top again and conquer the novices’ hurdle (2.00), I can’t see any alternative but to run his opponents out of Perth, all of them.

Tendency to fall

While people will be keen to see how Willie Mullins’s runners get on, I’m keen to see how Nick Alexander’s Benny’s Secret gets on in the closing novices’ handicap hurdle (5.05).

Benny’s Secret’s suggestions of ability have been interrupted by his tendency to fall over, taking Lucy Alexander with him. Having fallen at Kelso in December, he fell at Catterick in February before unseating Alexander at Ayr in March.

That wasn’t either the horse’s or rider’s fault but it put Alexander on the sidelines again, leaving Brian Harding to show what Benny’s Secret could do when winning at Kelso a month ago.

The six-year-old looks handily handicapped and I think he’s got an excellent chance. Obviously, it will be improved if he makes a point of not falling over. If Benny’s Secret’s got any sense of justice, he’ll win. Go on, Benny! Go on, Lucy! Don’t go on all the others!

Birthday blues

I thought there was bound to be a horse laid out to give the Queen something to bet on for her 90th birthday but, alas, she doesn’t seem to have a runner. It’s awful to think that she might be watching Exeter and Market Rasen and Tipperary this evening and not have one of her own string to cheer on. If I was the Queen (unlikely), I’d sack all my trainers and send my horses to a different lot. At least it would divert attention from the EU referendum for a while, unless she sent them to France.

Anyway, I hope the Queen’s got something else to do in the evening, instead. Does she own any greyhounds?

It’s a bad day to have a birthday because, with evening racing upon us, it’s a cracking day for real obsessives to close their front door and settle down to watch the 44 races on offer, starting at 1.40 and finishing at 8.10. Rush hour is between 4.00 and 5.00, when there are nine races to savour.

It doesn’t leave much time for musing over the form or for making tea. It might be best to make plenty of sandwiches beforehand. Turkey ones are nice.


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