Librisa Breeze to blow away Newbury rivals
While there are various records of raffles and competitions going back thousands of years, the first known official lottery in a country was set up in England by Queen Elizabeth I in the 1560s.
It seems the country was running low on cash, so the lottery was designed to bring in a few bob for the "reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardes such other publique good workes".
Silver was a common prize, and because most ordinary people couldn't afford a ticket, brokers began to spring up, selling shares in tickets. These men were, I suppose, the early stockbrokers and the system a forerunner to the London Stock Exchange which opened around 30 years later.
The lottery worked by drawing slips of paper from two pots. One pot contained the names of the ticket holders, the other pot contained mixed slips of paper - some with prizes, but most were blank. Tickets were drawn simultaneously from each pot.
If your name was drawn from the first pot, you got whatever was contained on the slip of paper from the second pot. The lucky ones won a prize, but most people drew a blank.
There are times when racing can feel like a lottery, and I'm on a recovery mission today having drawn a blank with each of my five selections last week. It's always tough on the wallet, and the ego, when that happens but I'm confident I can get some of my cash back from the old enemy today in the Group Two Ladyswood Stud Hungerford Stakes (3.35), for which Librisa Breeze looks a pretty good bet around 7/2.
Dean Ivory's six-year-old has some top-class form in the book having beaten a quality field in the Group One British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October, and his fourth place last time out in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville is overlooked as the pace didn't suit his hold-up style.
The biggest threats to the bet come from Aidan O'Brien's Gustav Klimt, which was second in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Sir Dancealot, which won the Group Two Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time out for David Elsworth.
For one at a bigger price, consider Red Pike, which was trading at 12/1 yesterday evening for the William Hill Silver Trophy Handicap (2.05 Ripon), a consolation race for the St Wilfrid.
Bryan Smart's gelding flopped in a handicap at Redcar recently, finishing last of five, but he just never settled on that occasion and I suspect was having a rare off-day. The handicapper has dropped him 3lbs to 82 following that effort, which may prove to be lenient.
Finally, a chance is taken on Dal Harraild around 4/1 in the Group Three Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2.25 Newbury).
Do the double
Under the guidance of Micheál Donoghue (right), defending champions Galway are worthy favourites at 8/11 to beat Limerick in tomorrow's All-Ireland final to end what's been a hugely entertaining championship. Limerick have youth on their side but Galway have experience, and if they get out of the blocks fast and knock up an early lead, they'll be very hard to catch.
Trained by Richard Hannon, two-year-old Boitron looks very promising and I'm happy to take the 7/4 about the colt for the Listed Denford Stakes at Newbury this afternoon (1.50). Successful on his debut here in July, he followed up with a victory over today's 7f distance last time at Doncaster. Hannon has two other outsiders in the seven-runner field but the biggest danger comes from Good Fortune, which hacked up in a Lingfield novice.
I always enjoy getting stuck in to the puzzle that is the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap (3.15 Ripon), although, as usual, a decent case could be made for nearly half the field.
Priced around 20/1 in the early markets, the one that stands out for me is Dakota Gold for trainer Michael Dods under jockey Conor Beasley. Rated 91 for a comparatively low racing weight of 8st 8lbs here, he's been dropped 9lbs since April following some mediocre performances but he's shown plenty when rated around this level or just below.
It would be no surprise to see the four-year-old place at least, although the likes of Growl, Golden Apollo and Spring Loaded are not dismissed easily.
1.50 Newbury: Boitron
2.05 Ripon: Red Pike
2.25 Newbury: Dal Harraild
3.15 Ripon: Dakota Gold (e/w)
3.35 Newbury: Librisa Breeze