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Magic memory makes me sing praises of Ebor.

Byline: GARRYOWEN read scotland's top tipster every thursday in record sport

FORGET Royal Ascot with its hordes of merchant bankers and City halfwits who wouldn't know a placepot from a flower pot.

Give me York any day of the week. For me, the Ebor is by far the best Flat meeting of the season with an abundance of talent, on and off the track.

Long-legged fillies, trained to the minute, strut round the paddock inhaling the atmosphere with a clear eye in an intelligent head, and the horses don't look too bad either. Trust me, Fifty Shades of Grey would turn green at York's party animals.

Yorkshiremen are known to "say what they mean and mean what they bloody well say" and as a "sweaty sock" left reeling by last night's Wembley woe I'll be subject to the kind of slaughtering from my amigos south of the wall today not witnessed since Mel Gibson's entrails were hung out to dry.

But enough of Hollywood history. With every track, you have good and bad memories.

One of my better ones concerns trainer Sam Hall's Dakota who won the Ebor back in 1975.

My Middleham gallop watcher, let's call him Walter, was afflicted by a terrible stammer and a hunter chaser could complete the Epsom Dash in the time it took Wattie to finish a sentence.

Never a sage to say one word when a sermon will do, his personal remedy to get a point across revolved round singing a song with the horse's name in the lyrics.

So My Kind Of Town Chicago Is would be Gordon Elliott's Cheltenham hero, Chicago Grey, although Walter did mix it up a bit with D:Ream's Things Danoli Get Better shortly before Tom Foley's star landed a colossal punt in the 1994 Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle. His finest moment, however, came courtesy of the delectable Doris Day and the Black Hills Of Dakota and it would have been a real calamity not to have cashed in.

On the downside, I recall taking over two hours to travel from Harrogate to the Knavesmire in a taxi, stuck in traffic listening on the radio as my first two selections bolted in, needless to report, with not a coin on either. The dunderheid who booked the hotel knows who he is.

If you haven't been to the Ebor, rectify that schoolboy error soon and note these words of wisdom. Don't stay in Harrogate and be on the listen-up for Wattie. He's no Gene Kelly but he'll be the one singing in the ring.

Nobody likes an after-timer but remember I did warn you no PGA title would be shipped to Worksop or Florida as neither Westwood nor Tiger could belly up to the bar at the Rochester venue.

Woods has his own demons to face these days but, strike a light guv'nor, if you don't feel even the slightest morsel of sympathy for Westie's putting debacle on the Oak Hill greens you were clearly kicked out the SS for cruelty.

PS: No truth in the rumour happy-go-lucky winner Jason Dufner is the next Ray Floyd? DNA test please.

Following hot on the heels of the Ebor Meeting, Ayr's Festival from September 19 to Saturday, September 21, promises to be more popular than ever with the prize fund standing at PS587,000 - up PS150,000 from last year.

The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup is now worth PS155,000 and chairman Alan Macdonald said: "It continues to be the richest sprint handicap in Europe and this rise shows our commitment to keeping the Festival at the top of the calendar."

'There's a genuine abundance of talent - on and off the track'


EBOR ANTICS J Unlike at Ascot, the ladies at York are proper party animals
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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 15, 2013
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