'Dyck' can make it a lucky 13th in Dewhurst
The Christian calendar, or Gregorian calendar as it's also known, is the most widely used calendar in the world today and the one we all recognise - although there's still a few places such as Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Iran which use other traditional calendars.
It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in October 1582 to replace the Julian calendar which had miscalculated the length of the solar year by 11 minutes - although it was not adopted in Britain and most of its colonies until 1752.
Ireland was a little bit tricky, of course, and because of our complex relationship with both Britain and the Catholic Church, it's noted to have been in use in certain territories here by the late 16th century, but not entirely widespread.
Anyhow, as mentioned, by 1582 Julius Caesar's calendar was getting wayward, so the Pope declared that ten days be dropped that year, including today, October 13. I suppose it means that in Catholic countries which initially adopted the calendar including Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, the 13th October 1582 does not actually exist.
This tricky business of betting has often left me wishing certain days didn't exist anymore, although following some good success with last week's column, I'm hoping Aidan O'Brien's Anthony Van Dyck can make the October 13, 2018 another day to remember rather than one to forget by winning the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket (3.0) under Donnacha O'Brien.
It looks like Too Darn Hot will go off as favourite for this around even-money, and John Gosden's colt is already favourite for both the Guineas and the Derby next year.
He looks the real deal and was outstanding when winning the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last time so the son of Dubawi is certainly not dismissed easily on his fourth career start.
But Anthony Van Dyck has the advantage of Group One race experience, which can make all the difference, and although beaten by Quorto in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last time, he came out of that race with plenty of credit. Alongside Quorto, he's another very exciting prospect for next season.
There's very little between Too Darn Hot and Anthony Van Dyck on my own personal ratings so with the latter trading around 4/1, it's a no-brainer to go with what I consider to be the value option this afternoon.
A little earlier on the same card, I'm very keen on Persian King, which was chalked up at 2/1 in the early markets yesterday for the Group Three Masar Godolphin Autumn Stakes (2.25).
Trained by André Fabre, the Kingman colt has comfortably won a couple of minor events at Chantilly and looks ready to take the step up to Group level.
Fabre reckons he might be a Guineas horse, so he's happy to give him a run at Newmarket today following the decision to avoid the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere during Arc weekend.
In the opening Listed Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes (1.50), I'm hoping to get the day off to a good start by backing Sydney Opera House, which is far too big at 5/2.
Aidan O'Brien's son of Australia was a very good second to Mohawk in Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, and appears to be the staying sort - so today's step up in trip should give him a boost. He's got plenty of stamina in his breeding, and is one to keep in the notebook for the longer races next year.
A son of Sea The Stars, Waldstern is the main danger to the bet for John Gosden under Frankie Dettori.
Finally, another one which looks overpriced is Euginio, which trades around 12/1 at the time of writing for the Group Three Darley Stakes (5.25 Newmarket).
Do the double
Soccer: I hate being unpatriotic, but I reckon Denmark look a decent bet around 6/4 to beat Ireland this evening in the Nations League Cup at the Aviva Stadium. The Danes destroyed the Boys in Green in the World Cup play-offs, and although this competition is not nearly as serious, Ireland were humbled by Wales in the opening match. They could have another difficult evening in store, although they do deserve credit for the draw against Poland.
Racing: A Group One race was a step too far for two-year-old Space Traveller recently and he duly finished last, but he was runner-up in a French Group Three previously so it was perhaps worth taking a shot at it. He won his first two starts, and has since been racing at Group level, but Richard Fahey has taken a more realistic approach and dropped him back down in class today for the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York (2.40). Early odds of 5/1 look a couple of ticks too high.
With 34 runners, the Cesarewitch Stakes Handicap (3.40 Newmarket) takes quite a bit of time to figure out, and recent winners have been a mix of big-priced outsiders and a couple of favourites.
This year, I’m siding with outsider Eye Of The Storm around 66/1, which looks fairly treated by the handicapper off a mark of 89. The eight-year-old is actually missing one of his eyes, but still finds his way around with a couple of wins to his credit, and wasn’t disgraced when fifth of 15 in a valuable handicap at Hamilton last time off 1lb higher.
* Last week’s each-way selection, Raising Sand, won at 5/1
1.50 Newmarket: Sydney Opera House
2.25 Newmarket: Persian King
2.40 York: Space Traveller
3.0 Newmarket: Anthony Van Dyck
3.40 Newmarket: Eye Of The Storm (e/w)
5.25 Newmarket: Euginio