Ashforth’s Angles: Zig Zag a welcome distraction from EU

David Cameron

David Cameron: take a break from the Six O’Clock News to watch Ripon

IF YOU can tear yourself away from the Six O’Clock News (David Cameron says it will be a disaster if we leave the EU, Boris Johnson thinks it will be a jolly good thing) you’ll be able to see what happens to Zig Zag Girl in the first at Ripon (6.15). I recommend it. There’s more than a month to find out if Cameron or Johnson wins but there’s only one chance to find out if Zig Zag Girl does.

In her short career, Zig Zag Girl may already have set a modern day record. Last November, as a yearling, she was sold at the Doncaster Sales for £800, about the price of one night’s bed and breakfast at the Ritz. She was bought by Mick Channon, who probably serves a similar breakfast – porridge oats.

In the space of a month, Zig Zag Girl ran four times, culminating in a barnstorming victory by ten lengths in a selling race at Ripon last Sunday. It was so barnstorming that Paul Dixon, former president of the Racehorse Owners Association, former chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, father of trainer Scott Dixon etcetera waded in at the subsequent auction and got the filly for £16,000.

The racecourse was pleased, as it received £5,200, Channon may have been pleased, as he received £10,800 and both Dixons, senior and junior, were pleased because, for good or ill, they received Zig Zag Girl. We don’t know whether or not Zig Zag Girl was pleased but, like it or not, she’s back at Ripon to run over six furlongs again for a first prize of £3,234.50.

It’s quite exciting although it would be even more exciting if Zig Zag Girl was running in another selling race. It’s additionally exciting because Zig Zag reminds me of a book by Ben Macintyre called Agent Zigzag about Eddie Chapman who, in an interesting life, was involved in fixing greyhound races.

High blood pressure at Goodwood

But I digress. As well as Ripon, it’s Goodwood. In my experience the best thing to do at Goodwood is to stand and stare across the Sussex countryside and say, “It’s lovely, isn’t it?” which it is. That, and sipping champagne, is preferable and cheaper than having a bet which is an invitation, gleefully accepted, for the horse you have backed to get stuck behind a wall of horses, several of which are rolling around on the camber. If you haven’t got high blood pressure when you arrive you will have by the time you leave.

No, you’re better off going to Sandown in the evening where it might be worth the wait to see if the attractively bred Danilovna shows willing and able in the 8.35, a 0-75 nine furlong handicap.

Danilovna, who won a maiden race at Lingfield on her sole appearance as a two-year-old, represents the same David Lanigan, Bjorn Nielsen, George Baker combination as the equally promising Almodovar. It could be a good year for their team although I remember saying the same thing about Doncaster Rovers.


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