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Well-drawn Negotiation can score off new rating.

THERE are times in life when you have to stand up and be counted, so I want it put on the record that the Icelandic nation is now officially getting on my thru'penny bits.

First of all the geyser dippers lose all our readies, when we had bankers in Britain who were just as capable of the same level of incompetence. We only have to look at how Racing For Change have managed to flush untold greens down the Armitage Shanks to see that.

Then the arctic-roll munchers send a volcanic puff of smoke over our green and pleasant land and manage what British Airways staff have been trying to do for ages - bring the airports to a standstill.

Also Iceland are responsible for putting the wretched Kerry Katona on the Roger Mellie, where the ex-moggie from Atomic Kitten - not to be confused with the gorgeous Jenny Frost - tries to flog us fluorescent-looking tempura prawns and bright red strawberry desserts.

Last Thursday, London was covered in a huge dust and rust cloud, but we can't blame them for that, as the old boy who cleans the Arsenal trophy room was later arrested by plod. He was let off with a caution.

The Windsor night meetings are here for a longer run than The Mousetrap, but when the ground rides fast and the clerk of the course leaves his hose alone, us wagon shunters can beat the bookies.

In the 19th Punchestown Handicap (6.10) over 1m, I like the look of the top-weight Negotiation, who has had only six runs in his short career, so has ample scope for improvement.

Last season, the son of Refuse To Bend was under John Gosden's wing, where he landed a Yarmouth maiden on his first run as a three-year-old, before taking a Newmarket handicap over this trip in August off a perch of 81.

Princess Haya of Jordan's horse was then sent off a 3-1 jolly to land a red-hot Glorious Goodwood handicap off a revised perch of 85, but he suffered the fate of many an unlucky animal at that wretched track, and saw as much daylight as Bela Lugosi in a black cloak.

Negotiation was sold at the Tattersalls October Sales for 18,000gns to Mick Quinn, and that looks wonga well spent. On his first run for the former striker, the fouryear-old failed to hit the net on the sand dunes at Lingers just over three weeks ago.

That run will have put Negotiation spot on for this and, off a new mark of 84, he is well treated to beat a bunch of largely exposed creatures. Superbly drawn in stall 10 of 11, I expect Franny Norton to bounce his mount out and make all, as these tactics are hard to beat at the riverside venue on fast ground.

I've never logged on to, but maybe it's time I did. They sponsor the concluding 1m4f handicap for three-year-olds (7.40), when High On A Hill looks the one for the getting-out merchants.

Sylvester Kirk's horses are in great form, as two winners last week proved, and this animal produced his best performance last time out when just under a length second to the 74-rated Manxman, in a Kempton maiden run over this trip on the last day of March.

High On A Hill has been raised 1lb for that sterling effort to a new perch of 71, so the assessor has played the game with a straight bat.

Watching the video, the winner was given a peach of a ride from the front by Frankie Dettori, and I was left with the very strong impression the Italian maestro rode his rivals to sleep.

But that won't happen to High On A Hill, as the brilliant Ryan Moore has been booked to ride the Val Royal offspring for the first time.

Norman the Northerner will be heading off to Pontefract for cakes and mushy peas, and to help pay for this extravagant expense for a born-and-bred Yorkshire lad, I suggest he backs Marine Boy in the RIU Palace Meloneras Handicap (3.10) over 6f.

Tom Dascombe thought this horse was going right to the top as a juvenile, but the huge beast rather lost his way. He began his three-year-old career rated 109, yet he rocks up here off a perch of 98.

Blue Jack bolted up in a sprint handicap at Newbury last Friday for the yard, so we know the stable's older speedsters are in great nick.

Well housed in trap two of 15, Marine Boy is just the type to have grown into his huge frame and make his mark as a top-class sprinter from a good rating.

Today's bets Marine Boy 3.10 Pontefract 1pt win Negotiation 6.10 Windsor 1pt win High On A Hill 7.40 Windsor 1pt win
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 19, 2010
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