Ashforth’s Angles: No Jolly Boys Outing at Towcester

Towcester racecourse general view

Jolly Boys Outing is often to be found at Towcester but not this time

  PICTURE: David Dew (racingpost.com/photos)  

WHAT’S HAPPENED? He’s not there. But he’s always there.

It’s like that episode in Steptoe and Son where Harold wants to go abroad for a holiday but Albert, aggrieved, says “But we always go to Bognor. What about Mrs Clifford, she’s expecting us?”

Towcester’s clerk of the course must be shocked, amazed, distraught. I can see Robert Bellamy now, inconsolable. “But Jolly Boys Outing always comes to Towcester. He was entered, we were expecting him. He can’t be going anywhere else. He always runs here.”

And he does. Jolly Boys Outing must be the modern record holder for the most successive appearances at the same British racecourse. Every one of the 13-year-old’s last 19 races have been at Towcester. Since the start of 2011, Jolly Boys Outing has run 38 times, with 31 appearances at Towcester, where all three of his wins have been achieved.

A Towcester meeting without Jolly Boys Outing is like toast without … well, marmalade, or honey, or that peanut butter that Elvis Presley loved. It’s just not the same.

With Towcester having gone to the dogs, there are few enough fixtures for trainer Rosemary Gasson to choose from and the next one isn’t until October. Was it the fast ground or having to run out of the handicap that kept Jolly away? Does a race need to be framed to accommodate his handicap rating of 71, the Jolly Boys Outing Handicap? Something must be done.

Ben Poste, who has ridden Jolly 34 times, must be wondering when normal service will be resumed. In truth, Jolly hasn’t been running jolly well for quite a long time. Is it time to try somewhere else? Hexham perhaps?

Please let Pleaseletmewin win

If you’ve got this far you’re probably thinking, what good is a non-runner to me? Well, first of all, you didn’t have to read this far and, second, you get your money back with a non-runner.

If you look at Wolverhampton, instead, you might find yourself hoping that Pleaseletmewin wins the 6.10 for Ralph Beckett, Fran Berry, owner Richard Roberts and, in particular, you. It’s an omen. How many times have you said, “Please let me win”? especially when broke. No one is listening but even so Roberts deserves our thanks for turning our prayers into a horse.

All that’s mildly interesting but by far the most interesting name is tucked away at the end of Redcar’s card, in the amateur riders’ race (5.55). Dr M. Voikhansky, making his debut on his own horse, Natalia, is Dr Misha Voikhansky, a Birmingham doctor with an extraordinary history.

Voikhansky’s mother, Dr Marina Voikhanskaya, left Russia in 1975 after bravely criticising the misuse of psychiatric treatment on political dissidents. Harried as a result, she came to Britain but her nine year old son was not allowed to join her. He, too, was brave, writing to Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Premier, while western governments sought his release. In 1979 Misha joined his mother in Cambridge.

Now approaching 50, Dr Voikhansky must think there is little to worry about compared with his childhood.

 

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