Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Overdose-ing on a vintage Royal Ascot


I meant to write about this earlier- but what a wonderful feast of horse-racing this year’s Royal Ascot was.

There were many highlights- the great Canford Cliffs v Goldikova clash in the Queen Anne on Tuesday’s, the epic So You Think v Rewilding battle in the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Frankel’s maintaining his unbeaten record in the St James's Palace.

But for me the number one highlight was the return to form of the Hungarian wonder horse Overdose, who ran a blinder to finish a close-up fourth (photos here and here  ) in the King’s Stand. And if the heavy rains which arrived later on in the week, had arrived on Tuesday, it's very likely that Hungary would have been toasting its first Royal Ascot success for almost 100 years.

Let’s hope that ‘The Mighty Magyar’ can make it to Paris in October and avenge one of the great sporting injustices of recent years.

UPDATE: You can hear me talking about this year's Royal Ascot on the 'Good Morning Wales' programme on BBC Radio Wales, here (the discussion starts at about 35 minutes into the programe of 16/06/11.)

8 comments:

Rory Gallivan said...

Why is it that this sport seems to be completely dependent on gambling, an activity that transfers huge sums from the poor to rich, causing untold misery across the most deprived parts of the country?

Robin Carmody said...

Not to mention posher-than-thou thugs and prolier-than-thou thugs uniting in thuggery.

Cross-class alliances at all costs ... now where have I heard that one before?

Neil Clark said...

Hi Rory- I think alcohol and drug abuse causes much more misery than having a few quid on the horses. So long as people bet in moderation, I don't see there being anything wrong with it from a leftist perspective.

"Not to mention posher-than-thou thugs and prolier-than-thou thugs uniting in thuggery."
What a cheerful soul you are, Robin

Thousands of people went to Royal Ascot last week, myself included, and you focus on one isolated incident of thuggery.

Rory Gallivan said...

Thanks for your response Mr Clark. Certainly from a New Labour perspective there's nothing wrong with gambling but I'm sure the early twentieth century social reformers of the left would have frowned on it, just as they disapproved of drunkenness and drug-taking.

Visit any betting shop during the day in a deprived part of the country and it will be teeming with people who are quite clearly not just having a bit of fun in moderation. It may be their own fault, but unfortunately it is not just they who suffer the consequences of their selfish behaviour. Gambling seems to me quite similar to drug-taking in that the person doing it wants a quick gain, but can't be bothered to achieve this through hard work and diligence.

I wonder how much less damage is caused by gambling than by drugs and alcoholism. It's probably quite difficult to determine, but any assessment would also have to include the rise of spread-betting, heavily promoted by the newspapers in advertorial supplements lately.

Robin Carmody said...

I mentioned the thuggery because it seems relevant in the context of your (and, even more so, David Lindsay's) belief that the interests of the working class lie in uniting with the landed aristocracy to keep out metropolitan liberals, grime & dubstep, &c. We were reminded last week of what that actually means.

You once wrote an article - for a Murdoch paper - making what you were pleased to call "the socialist case for Royal Ascot". But the non-toffs who go are enemies of socialism; they are the epitome of the original meaning of the much-abused term "lumpenproletariat", the most counter-revolutionary class of all.

Royal Ascot, like Wimbledon, is in its current form the product the traditional ruling class reinventing itself in terms of global capitalism, something it felt the need to do by the early 1990s to avoid complete humiliation by the Tebbitist barrowboys - in other words, the same alchemy that created the current government. Like it if you will, but don't pretend it's socialist.

Neil Clark said...

Rory- "Gambling seems to me quite similar to drug-taking in that the person doing it wants a quick gain, but can't be bothered to achieve this through hard work and diligence."

Well, that might be true of someone who just picks a horse at random at 50-1 and sticks £100 on it in the hope it wins, but a lot of gamblers do put a lot of work in, studying form until the early hours of the morning. I'm sure a pro-gambler, like Dave Nevinson, would tell you that he works at his job seven days a week, from early in the morning, to late at night.

good point about the potential dangers of spread betting.

Robin:
My post was about the quality of racing at Royal Ascot last week, not lauding people who got into a scrap there. Do you agree that the racing was exceptional?

Rory Gallivan said...

Dave Nevinson may put a lot of work into gambling, but he is making money from those punters who randomly put £100 on horses at 50-1. It seems to me that all he is doing is beating bookmakers at their own game. No good comes of a betting shop transaction, which simply involves the transfer of some cash from one person to another. The supposed benefits of gambling - the excitement at the risk of losing large sums of money or the thrill of a big win - are in fact harmful.

What harm would be done if legalised gambling was phased out in this country? The horse-racing industry might die out and I am sorry about that, but if people love it enough for its own sake, then it should survive. There may also be a transfer of some legalised gambling to the black market (and a consequent fall in tax revenues), but I am pretty confident that the overall amount of gambling decline sharply.

We would as a country reduce our exposure to the financial sector, of which gambling is a large part. Many of the energies currently employed in gambling would be diverted to much more socially useful activities. And the huge misery which I am sure this industry causes would be greatly reduced.

Robin Carmody said...

The racing was indeed exceptional.

I just don't believe in cross-class alliances like you do, that's all.