Knight Ofthe Realm bids to brush up on jumping at Exeter
Words fall out of fashion so that sometimes when you hear one it comes as a surprise. The other day I heard the word flibbertigibbet. It’s a wonderful word, as is strumpet, which has also fallen out of favour. It’s a pity and we should do what we can to revive them.
In the late 1990s Lord and Lady Rothschild bred, owned and presumably named a filly Strumpet, perhaps because she was by Tragic Role out of a mare called Fee. Strumpet won twice, the first time, rather inappropriately, a race for maidens at Salisbury and the second, more appropriately, a selling race at Leicester.
It’s comforting to know that the name lives on in the form of Storming Strumpet, a seven-year-old who has won a bumper and hurdle race for Tom George. Excellent.
Flibbertigibbet fared less well, finishing last on her only two racecourse appearances, in 1997 and 1998. Flibbertigibbet is a wonderful name and it’s going begging and it would be a shame, even a crying shame, if no one seized the opportunity to bestow it on a suitable foal.
There are no strumpets or flibbertigibbets running at Exeter but there is a Knight Ofthe Realm (4.50). Sir Philip Green has rather undermined the standing of knights and Knight Ofthe Realm has done little to restore their reputation. Since the start of 2016, the eight-year-old’s form figures read P0PPP2FF.
Polly Gundry’s stoutly bred putative chaser has been pulled up by Ian Popham, James Best, Micheal Nolan and Liam Treadwell. Having excelled himself by finishing second of four finishers at Hereford last month, Knight Ofthe Realm then fell at the third fence at Warwick (Dave Crosse) before repeating the performance, albeit at the 16th fence when disputing the lead, at Wincanton (Best).
Amazingly and insultingly to his rivals, Knight Ofthe Realm was favourite at Warwick and joint second favourite at Wincanton. It would not be a surprise if, with the promising Mr Sean Houlihan taking on the challenge and taking off 7lb, Knight Ofthe Realm was among the market leaders again. Hopefully he’s been attending classes since his last run and perhaps learnt something.
The challenge facing Oscars Way in another novices’ chase (Exeter 3.40) is more straightforward. Mr Theo Gillard will be trying to make sure that trainer Mark Gillard’s nine-year-old completes the course safely and thereby collects £1,049.40 for finishing last. As Oscars Way is officially 74lb 'wrong' with Clan Des Obeaux and 60lb 'wrong' with Drumlee Sunset, the only other runner, victory seems unlikely. There is always the chance of non-runners.
It’s a similar situation in the novices’ chase at Wetherby (2.50), where I Know The Code and Thedfactor will, mishaps excepted, be rivals for the third prize of £954, with the loser getting £477 for finishing fourth and last. In a separate race, starting at the same time and place but a fence or two ahead, Delusionofgrandeur and Petethepear will battle it out for the first prize of £6,498 and second prize of £1,908.
Good luck everyone.