Ashforth's Alternative View: Happy memories at Perth of duck racing and expensive whisky

By David Ashforth@davidjashforth
Wed 24 Apr 2019

Perth is an awfully long way, although not for people living there. If it was a different racecourse they’d probably have to move it somewhere else to persuade trainers to send horses.

Luckily, the three-day Festival is jolly popular on the basis that there’s a lot of fun and quite a lot of prize money. The fun was largely the idea of Sam Morshead, general manager from 1994 until his death last September.

When I went, in 2007, Sam was overseeing duck races in the parade ring while the Tullibardine distillery was performing a miracle by selling bottles of their 1965 malt whisky for £300 a bottle. I suppose they were quite big bottles.

 The horses at the yard of Twiston-Davies looked very nice - and the view was not bad, either (Focusonracing)
The horses at the yard of Twiston-Davies looked very nice - and the view was not bad, either (Focusonracing)

I hope the duck racing and vintage whisky have survived. If not, that still leaves the horse racing.

Nigel Twiston-Davies, a Perth aficionado, has got four runners on Wednesday, Juge Et Parti (1.50), Kingofthecotswolds (3.00), Ballykan (3.30) and One Forty Seven (4.35).

You’ll be pleased to know that on Tuesday morning I was standing with Twiston-Davies, Jim Old and Carl Llewellyn watching the stable’s horses going up the gallops.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by the trio’s knowledge of the horses’ names (unless they were pretending) and they made various observations that were potentially useful, such as “he looks lame” and “he’s useless.”

I’ve always found it difficult to remember which comment goes with which horse and the attempt wasn’t helped by being attacked by Twiston-Davies’s children.

Unfortunately, attaching the relevant comment to the right horse has proved beyond me.

All I can reveal is that there was the most beautiful view, the horses looked very nice and the age difference between the youngest and oldest riders was about 60 years. No one fell off. I hope that helps.

In the amateur riders’ hurdle (4.05) my eye was caught by Miss Ailsa McClung (7), a new name to me but not to her. She sounds as if she may be of Scottish-Chinese descent but I don’t suppose she is.

Anyway, she’s having her fourth ride under Rules on Andhaar and she’ll have to be jolly good to reach the winning post first.

It’s all valuable experience, although the same doesn’t apply to punting, where the more experience you acquire the less money you have.

Fontwell is afflicted by small fields but at Taunton it will be interesting to see how Rose To Fame fares in the opening Novices’ Hurdle (5.30).

Kim Bailey’s well-bred mare had been rather disappointing until winning well at Ludlow at the beginning of the month. There’s a good chance that she’ll improve further.

Meanwhile, at Epsom (personally, I’d rather be at Perth), the very capable Rachel Richardson has only her second ride at the track, on Tim Easterby’s in-form Midnight Malibu (2.10).

Midnight Malibu has a contrasting record at Epsom. On her first appearance, over five furlongs in 2017, she finished first while on her second appearance, over the same trip last year in the corresponding race to Wednesday’s, she finished last.

Oh, well.

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