Weekly Blog – UK Politics, Horse Racing & Eurovision

Roy The Boy's weekly blog touches on the UK General Election result, UKIP’s leading money man, UK & US racing & the Eurovision Song Contest.

Political Puppet Shows

What did we all make of the UK’s General Election? I enjoyed it for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I relished the irony of a general public who, for the best part, are scornful of anyone who places bets staying up until 6am to see the outcome of their own speculative bet … their vote. It’s all the same thing isn’t it? Fill out a slip, hand it over and hope your selection wins!

Secondly, and this has had me in a kink, the radio waves have just informed me there is to be an inquiry into how the polls got the result so wrong. I can recall this malarkey in 1992 when John Major began election-day as a 7/1 poke and 24 hours was declared the clear winner by a decisive margin. There was uproar; “he should not have not won, the polls said he had no chance” protested half the population.

That uninitiated general public really should try reading formbooks and backing horses. People like us are well used to an 85-rated horse getting stuffed against a rival rated 59 who has not beaten a rival home in his last six starts!

I firmly believe the US Elections will to be a similar ‘how did that happen’ story and Hillary Clinton, representing the same party as the unspectacular and forgettable President Barack Obama, is a stand-out ‘lay’ at the 11/10 most firms are going.

On that theme, how is Jeb Bush just 5/1 to get the Presidency?  He’s 5/2 to get the candidacy and even if he does his party is 7/5 to win the election! Actually that 7/5 is a stand-out price which Sportingbet are going.

Wheeler Dealer

Spread betting never truly took off in sport did it? Huge margins make it unattractive although I’m sure it still holds its own in financial circles. It’s been around a remarkable number of years.

Amazingly IG Index was founded in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler who came to public prominence by donating £5m to the Conservative Party in 2001. I played poker with Wheeler the following year at the World Series of Poker but must confess I was more interested in his daughter who was obediently watching him on the side-lines.  His money, her looks, it was like Lynx body spray.

Alas I should have known a multi-millionaire could not be bluffed in a $10,000 entry game of cards and likewise his daughter, the model Jacquetta Wheeler (pictured above) who had already been bestowed the accolade of ‘Model of the Millennium’ by some well-known magazine, would not entertain a peasant like me.

I had a fair idea when our conversation turned to property, it went something like this:  “So, where do you live?” she asked.  “I live in a live in a five-bedroomed detached house with some wonderful views of the hills and lakes, yourself?” “I live in a castle, a Grade 1 castle set in a few thousand acres of the Kent countryside. Our estate is officially listed as one of the finest country homes in the British Isles!

Anyway, Daddy continued to dump money on the Conservatives right up until 2009 when they kicked-him out of their organisation due to his vociferous condemnation of David Cameron’s stance on the Lisbon Treaty and EU. Showing his class Wheeler immediately set up his own shop, ‘The Trust Party’ and ran for election himself.  Latterly he has turned his attention to UKIP and has already started signing them cheques. In 2011 he was appointed their treasurer and raised a serious wedge for their highly successful 2014 European elections.

Therein, until yesterday when it was announced Farage was indeed staying on as the head of the party, Paddy Power’s 14/1 about him becoming the next UKIP leader had some appeal. There was no way he could have maintained the role. Sending what will then be an 84-year-old to the parapet in the 2019 general election would be suicidal but he might have been a stop-gap. Akin to a test driver who pays for the privilege of getting a ‘seat’ in Formula 1 car but the chances of him ever lining up in a race? Negligible.

We live in hope, who knows by 2019 Jacquetta might choose me as the person to fill her inevitable mid-life crisis stop-gap although any odds about that – and lets be truthful you would be at layer a 5,000/1 – would be as futile as backing Stuart Wheeler for UKIP leadership yesterday.

Epsom Oddity

The Epsom Derby is just around the corner. It is a race I’ll never understand. Speaking as a former greyhound trainer, I can categorically state there are simply some places you would never consider racing a very fast greyhound.

If the same ethos goes for racehorses, and the training of them, then surely Epsom is amongst the last places you would send one. The place is a kip, right up there with the likes of Brighton (another undulating camber laden gaff) and it is telling that, apart from the Derby meeting, every other race at staged at the Surrey racecourse during the course of the year fits into the egg-and-spoon bracket.

Nevertheless there’s no denying that every recent Derby winner has been worthy and not unfancied. Amazingly, since ‘High Rise’ scored in 1988 at 20/1, no winner has started at a price greater than 7/1.

The Preakness

This weekend is the second leg of America’s Triple Crown. The first three home in the first leg, the Kentucky Derby, all face-off again over a journey that is half a furlong shorter (9.5 furlongs) at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland.

American Pharoah is 4/5 (Betfred & select others) to prevail over Firing Line (5/1 with BetVictor & select others) and Dortmund (7/1 with BetVictor & SkyBet). Nine of last 17 Derby winners went on to claim the Preakness but all of those latterly failed in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont.

With rain forecast for the Belmont area this weekend, I can see American Pharoah bombing out at odds-on just like Kentucky Derby winner Orb did in 2013. On that occasion Orb won the Derby on a sloppy track but failed to perform on the fast dirt track.

I’ll start clicking the lay button now before the firms start to appreciate just how much rain is forecast to fall on the track.

Fin to Land Eurovision

The Eurovison finals start and finish on May 23rd.  I’ll repeat my belief that Italy, the 3/1 second favourites with their operatic song, are to be opposed for a podium finish while I maintain Finland (18/1 with Coral) have to be of interest.

This is the rock band made of entirely of musicians with ‘special needs’ and that is a first in Eurovision Song Contest history.