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Blob system that's not for those of a weak disposition; GRAB A GRAND FOR CHRISTMAS David Ashforth was hoping for tidings of comfort and joy on his first attempt to relieve the bookmakers of a festive four-figure sum. It didn't go to plan.

O ME a favour.

DStop reading this now, and turn to the report on The Tatling's wonderful final bow, instead. Why wallow in misery and intrude on private grief when you can savour joy? If you do read on, I think it reflects poorly on you.

What I'd like to do is write, "Mind your own business," followed by a big empty space, but evidently that's not allowed. So, to return to a former life, five hours ago.

I've pored over the form and reached some conclusions, jolly good ones, and now it's up to the horses and their jockeys not to cock it up.

It's not a large crowd at Wolverhampton and I'm worried that the bookmakers may struggle to make a living, as may their customers.

The first person I bump into is Colin Vickers, who is stewarding. He watches lots of races, so I ask if he has any thoughts. "I'm not allowed to have thoughts," he says, which is what a lot of punters suspected of stewards.

At Fakenham, I've already done a Placepot. I've also backed San Telm, win and place in the first, on the basis that, if he jumps adequately, he must be in the first three. He finishes second and, after commission, I'm pounds 29.47 up. Only pounds 970.53 to go.

Hang on, the 1.30pm at Fakenham is coming up. I've backed Lindsay's Dream. She unseats her rider at the first hurdle. I've also got White Diamond in the Placepot. He's soon tailed off. You know I said I was pounds 29.47 up, make that pounds 73.53 down. I feel a premonition of doom.

I'm using the blob system. A big blob for a big fancy, a small blob for a small fancy. There are two big blobs today, next to Lost City in the sprint maiden at 3.15pm and to Cotton Mill in the last at Fakenham.

There's a small blob next to Otage De Brion in the next at Fakenham, which I back to win at 9.5 to 1. He was going rather well in the lead when Sam Waley-Cohen finished - a circuit early. Oh, dear, and I've left my anti-depressants at home.

Wolverhampton is beginning to look relatively inviting. In the hands and heels apprentices' race I've put a small blob next to Kidlat. The theory is that the 1m11/2f may be just too far for Opus Maximus, not far enough for Zafranagar, while Kidlat has been running into form and, if Natasha Eaton adopts a more conservative strategy than last time - eureka! Maybe.

It would be inaccurate to report that Eaton was bullish about Kidlat's chance of winning. She told me: "He shouldn't run a bad race." Then my pen ran out. Kidlat led for a long way, but not for a long enough way.

THIS isn't going to plan. I suppose I have to face up to reality. Put another way, I'm pounds 158.53 down. Correction, Make Up's just run. I'm pounds 224.53 down. It must have been like this on the Somme, with the same outcome.

A big blob is coming up and it's going to have justify its bigness. I thought Lost City's recent run at Lingfield was full of promise and, although 6f might suit him better, I think he'll win, with Jwala the obvious and probably only danger. If I'm right, I'll be back into profit. If I'm wrong, I'll be in a sorry state.

It's important to be positive in the face of adversity and, to be fair, Lost City ran perfectly well until the stalls opened. After that, least said soonest forgotten.

My other big blob, Cotton Mill, is next, at Fakenham, but he's 4-1 on, which is a step too far. Instead, I join everyone in hoping that The Tatling runs well. That was great (see opposite).

Now I've recovered enough equilibrium to ponder my blob in the last, next to Idol Deputy. Racheal Kneller rides well for a 7lb claiming apprentice and has that look that people tend to have when they are 40 years younger than me and don't realise that the sun will burn up one day and we're all doomed. She looks happy.

"When we hit the front last time, he was still quite green," she says. "So I'll try to hang on to him longer. I'm pretty confident he'll run well."

Racheal also tells me not to ignore Join Up, at 9-1. Did I back it? What do you think? I was going to back Idol Deputy until it shrank to 2-1, then shorter. Too short. At least I got that right.

Day one - details of the Somme Fakenham 1.00 Bet: pounds 22 win and pounds 55 place Selection: SAN TELM +pounds 29.47 Fakenham 1.30 pounds 22 win and pounds 33 place LINDSAY''S DREAM -pounds 55 Fakenham 2.00 pounds 15 win OTAGE DE BRION pounds 15 win HAROUET -pounds 30 Fakenham Placepot -pounds 48 Wolverhampton 2.15 pounds 22 win and pounds 33 place KIDLAT -pounds 55 Wolverhampton 2.45 pounds 22 win and pounds 44 place MAKE UP -pounds 66 Wolverhampton 3.15 pounds 211 win LOST CITY -pounds 211 DAILY TOTAL -pounds 435.53


David Ashforth studies the form at Wolverhampton - but it does him little good
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2011
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