Offering a prayer that Limerick Lord will win at Southwell
Dear Limerick Lord – are you ever going to win again, or aren't you? It's just that, if you're not, it would be nice to know so that I don't have to spend any more time chasing you down the handicap in the so far vain belief that, sooner or later, the paths of you and the handicapper will cross.
It would be nice if they crossed at Southwell (4.00).
It's not that Limerick Lord can't win. He's won twice, on the second occasion over a mile at Southwell. Unfortunately, on the other 35 occasions, including 29 for Julia Feilden, Limerick Lord hasn't won.
He hasn't won since December 2015, off a mark of 60, although he has since finished second four times. It's fair to say that he is not a dedicated winner.
Limerick Lord's handicap mark has drifted down to 48 and, having run two sound races at Chelmsford recently, the still only five-year-old really should be able to at least go close from a reasonable draw.
My advice to regular jockey Shelley Birkett is to do whatever's necessary to win, starting by giving Limerick Lord a motivational chat and finishing by giving him a motivational tap, if needed.
Evidently swearing sometimes helps so you might try that although it doesn't seem to work in front of the television.
By then Treaty Of Rome, famous for having cost $2.5 million in 2013 and 3,000 guineas in 2015, will hopefully have followed up his pleasing victory when dropped to five furlongs a month ago with another over the same course and distance off 5lb higher (Southwell 2.00).
Exeter is one of my favourite racecourses but although many fine horses have raced there in the past none of them seem to be on the attendance list for Tuesday.
The highlight, in its way, is the 0-100 Handicap Hurdle (4.20), by virtue of the appearance of Baccalaureate.
Jimmy Frost's 11-year-old isn't very good but has had a more interesting life and won more races - 11 - than his eight opponents together.
Having cost €340,000 as a yearling, Baccalaureate won two small races for Andre Fabre before joining Nicolas Clement en route to Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Thrashed in a couple of juvenile hurdles, Baccalaureate was then stepped up in class and promptly won a Grade 2 hurdle at Cheltenham at 100-1.
Baccalaureate then fell back exhausted and 15 months later, in 2011, started a second career as a selling hurdler, winning five of them that year before a Mrs Pye intervened, claimed the five-year-old for £7,000 and sent him to Alison Thorpe.
By 2013 Baccalaurete had moved to Sue Smith, who won twice with him before, in 2014, Baccalaureate embarked on a career in Ireland, first in point-to-points and then under Rules.
Between them, Eugene O'Sullivan, Eoin Doyle and Turlough O'Connor ran Baccalaureate 20 times without success and last November he appeared under Frost's name at Exeter.
Last month, 35 races after his last success, Baccalaureate triumphed over course and distance. Go on, Baccalaureate!