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Four thousand people can't be wrong

Joy to the world indeed, ding dong merrily on high too - Wolverhampton may not be everybody's idea of paradise but there are many worse places to find yourself onBoxing Day.

An easy run down because there was no traffic on the motorway this morning, as those with proper jobs lie abed sleeping off the Christmas day excesses.

No 'will they/won't they' worries over racing on the all-weather. (Ordinarily that is. It was -14C at 9am last Boxing Day and even the Polytrack was unraceable – 12 months on it was 11C at the same time of day. And it was so mild in the afternoon I ended up working in shirt sleeves. Which I couldn't even do most days in the summer).

And it's the biggest day of the year here. Rather than the two men and a dog you'd expect on a midwinter Monday there were 4,000-odd gathered this afternoon - one press room habituee reckoned he'd had to park in Solihull as there were so many cars.

No relying on miracles to feed the 4,000 either, with burger van, noodle bar, jacket potato stand and Caribbean barbecue springing up in the usual barren wastelands aroundthe parade ring. Just in case anyone was still hungry after yesterday.

Bookmakers fancied their chances of making a few quid out of the big turnout too - there were 20 boards up in Tattersalls, compared to the bare half-dozen usually seen.

All good preparation for Harvard N Yale who would have to get used to a big crowd if he was going to go for the Kentucky Derby - though there are 120,000 at Churchill Downs in May, not 4,000, and there is nothing at Dunstall Park that quite matches the mint julep-fuelled decadent depravity famously recounted by Hunter S Thompson four decades ago.

All of which was rendered spectacularly irrelevant come 4.10 when he'd been beaten at odds of 1-3 - for all that Gerard Butler reckons that the winner Prince Alzain is 'a nice horse', if you can't win a £3,500 novice event at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day you are decidedly unlikely to make a US triple crown contender.

Earlier Hayley Turner had earned a notable comparison after winning on Opus Maximus, whose trainer Conor Dore said: "That makes amends for last week when he wouldn't settle - Hayley was like Lester Piggott today."

Only quite like though. I never saw Piggott with a headscarf under his riding helmet.