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All of the papers are leading this morning with stories about Her Majesty The Queen's Derby runner Carlton House.  It would be great if Her Majesty had a Derby winner...it has nothing to do with me clutching a 6/1 antepost voucher - if you believe that, you will believe anything!  I would imagine that the Royal runner will draw in plenty of extra interest and that viewing figures will be extremely high.  I would imagine that the housewives will probably latch onto Carlton House in the same way they used to back Lester and more recently Frankie.

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I see that trainers have come in for some stick in the row over prize money.  Earlier in the week there was a race at Nottingham worth £15,800 yet there were only five declarations and two of those were non-runners, leaving three to compete for this decent pot.  Rather than having a go at the trainers for not running, why don't those concerned look at the reason why there weren't any runners and moan about the race instead?  It is obviously not the sort of race that the trainers want...all you need to do is look through the program book and you will see each year the races that attract few runners.  Surely the answer is to put on races that will attract trainers to enter their horses - it's not rocket science!

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Only a couple of days now until one of my favourite days of the year, the Epsom Derby and there is still uncertainty surrounding my ante-post fancy Carlton House.  Despite reassurances that the whole thing has been blown-up out of proportion, I see that at one point yesterday he wasn't even favourite on the exchanges which I find quite incredible.  He is in the best possible hands and I am hoping to be cheering on a Royal winner this weekend.  I will also be keeping an eye on Treasure Beach - he is one of Aidan O'Brien's less fancied runners, but he has shown decent form nonetheless, winning the Chester Vase last time out.  He was bred just down the road at Ashley House Stud near Axminster, so there is a little bit of local interest with this one.

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Kieron_Edgar
It was a weekend to remember for young Kieron Edgar who rode two point-to-point winners within two days at the weekend, so that already makes him twice as successful as MCP was in the saddle!  Kieron works in the yard and has his amateur's licence and is clearly a decent young jockey in the making - let's just hope that unlike Martin, he stays on top of the horse!

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Unsurprisingly there was a sell-out for Rod Stewart's concert at Newbury on Sunday with a crowd of 15,000 people in attendance.  Even A P McCoy was there, although I can't imagine him singing and swaying along to I Am Sailing!  It proves that with the right kind of event supporting the racemeetings, the courses can pull in big crowds.  I firmly believe that racecourses should be looking to stage more events than just racing - some of the courses even have a golf course on the inside of the track, so surely they could utilise that more.  Having said that, I once heard a great excuse from a jockey trying to explain his disappointing performance to connections - he stood on a golf ball!  As far as excuses go that was a good one - I still remember one jockey telling MCP that the sun had reflected in the water jump and blinded him!  I won't tell you his name, although he had "RA" painted on his skullcap!

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The big match on Saturday was a disappointment (and sorry i'm not talking about Manchester United versus Barcelona!) for many fans as Torquay lost and face another year in the bottom league.  In the Champions league final Man United looked very one paced and were completely outplayed by Barcelona and even Sir Alex agreed.  I now think it is about time that United need about four new players.  A few of the players look to have got old together and the midfield looks tired and even the defence does not look as good with Rio Ferdinand not looking the player he was before all his injuries.  Maybe the Premier League is not as good as we all think it is?!  Anyway the matter of the fact is that Barcelona were very good with three or four of thier players exceptional and that was the difference between the teams.  Sir Alex did get one good result over the weekend though as son Darren's team Peterborough won the League One division play off 3-0 against Huddersfield.

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There is going to be a testimonial cricket match at Cullompton Cricket Club on Friday evening for recovering jump jockey Rodi Greene.  A team of racing celebrities will play against a team from Otter Brewery - it sounds like it could get a bit rowdy to me!  After the match there will be an auction which will include star lot, a four night break in the luxury Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sha Tin, Hong Kong.  The match starts at 5pm and I am sure that all the participants would be grateful of support (probably literally if they are playing a brewery!) - anyway, if you are in the area drop in - it should make for an entertaining evening.  In the meantime, Rodi continues to make progress from the spinal injury he suffered in a horrific fall in March.

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I see that the boss at Wetherby has retorted to A P McCoy's observations about the poor prize money on offer at their meeting on Thursday.  The most valuable prize was worth a paltry £2602, so in my opinion A P was right - I just don't see how chief executive Jonjo Sanderson can justify it.  If the owners chose not to run their horses, the Mr Sanderson would be signing onto the dole, afterall it's the owners that keep these tracks in business.

Talking of AP, I see that the champ has taken 680 falls since he started racing...you would have thought that he would have learned how to ride properly by now!  I would be interested to know how that compares with his colleagues, but I reckon that is a fall about every nineteen rides.  Throughout his career A P has boasted an incredible 25% winning strikerate - I guess that means if he is riding for you, he is five times more likely to win than he is to fall off!  I had one go at schooling a horse years ago - predictably I fell off, so I can boast a 100% strikerate!

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Martin_Pipe_Day_CheltenhamFinally, did you get the clues to today's birthday boy in yesterday's story?

It wasn't exactly rocket science, so many happy returns to MCP!  Martin is 65 today and is now able to claim his pension!  We had a great night last night at the Hartnoll Hotel near Tiverton (even though I did miss the Champions League Final!).