I've often wondered, dear reader, what on Earth Thanksgiving is all about. You know, that strange holiday held in the States (and Canada, I believe) towards the end of year, where they eat turkey, but which isn't Christmas.
Well, my curiosity got the better of me today, Thanksgiving Day, and I went online in search of answers. And I found 'em. But just not a single accepted one. Rather, there's some controversy about the origins of Thanksgiving.
So, here is a brief and potted history of this peculiar holiday:
- Broadly accepted to be held in recognition / gratitude of harvest time goodies (though a little late, no?)
- Claimed by the Pilgrim Fathers (i.e. those off the Mayflower) as a religious holiday, from 1621 onwards
- However, earliest claim to the festival was in 1565 (September 8th, to be precise)
- Used to be held on 1st Thursday in November, now 4th Thursday (in USA)
- Held on 2nd Monday in October in Canada
- Americans are now in what they call 'the holiday season', so no work will be done between now and January (sounds good to me!)
So there you have it - Thanksgiving Day is a religious / secular festival / holiday introduced by English settlers / native Indians, and is held in October / November on the 2nd Monday / 1st Thursday / 4th Thursday.... I wish I hadn't bothered!
Onwards and downwards...
You may well have seen on Gavin's blog a post relating to the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase, where he points out that Air Force One is the clear trends pick. I'd just like to add that - in stark contrast to the confusing messages regarding Thanksgiving Day - I wholly concur with Gavin's synopsis, and make AFO a trends banker (if ever such a thing existed).
Of course, much ado gets in the way between paper theory and turf / fence / equine reality, but as six-and-a-half to one shots go, AFO is up there with the pick of them, in my view.
First fence faller anyone?!
The other big race at Newbury on Saturday is the Long Distance Hurdle, a Grade 2 with a veritable stayers' who's who on its role of alumni. Won thrice by Inglis Drever, and twice each by Baracouda and Deano's Beeno (each repeater doing it 'back to back') in the last decade.
The incredible Drever is up again, bidding for a fourth consecutive seasonal debut victory in this race. They said he was too old to win the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival in March as a 9yo, and doubtless they'll say the same again now. The 'couda also won as a 9yo, so don't fret unduly about that.
According to the stats, only three horses can win - Blazing Bailey, Drever, and Petitfour. Don't look any further. Moreover, although it's unlikely to make you rich, Inglis Drever will be very difficult to beat again.
Despite there genuinely being nothing to see, some people have already signed up for my laying service. To those I say, erm, thank you... and can you please now cancel your sub as you will be missing out when it goes live next week..!
A little more info for you... I will be charging geegeez readers and TTS subscribers (some of whom, incredibly (ahem!), don't read my blog) the princely sum of nought pounds and noughty-nought pence for at least the first four weeks.
And the reason for this is that I want people to follow a simple, but important, strategy during that time. I will elaborate further tomorrow so, for now, please DON'T sign up yet, and be prepared for some freebie pre-Christmas action :o)
Finally, its Thursday, so it's time for some Thursday Fun. I found this on another site the other day when I was erm researching, and found it quite amusing (if a tad crass). Enjoy. (Or not.)