Ashforth’s Angles: A Shakespearean touch at Taunton

Taunton: hosts an amateur riders' race that catches the eye

PICTURE: Getty Images Ashforth's angles: A Shakespearean touch By David Ashforth 6:00PM 19 DEC 2016

STORMING STRUMPET. It's a terrific name, the best name running on Tuesday.

Strumpet has gone out of fashion, which is a shame and I applaud owners PJL Racing, whoever they are, for doing their best to resurrect it. If it was good enough for Shakespeare, who used the word in many of his plays, it's good enough for the 12.45 at Taunton.

Trollop's a good name, too, not to be confused with Trollope, the novelist, and if PJL Racing get another horse, I'm hoping they'll call it Tremendous Trollop.

Storming Strumpet has been less than storming over fences and should be happier back over hurdles with Mr N George (three wins from 12 rides) on board in a race where six riders are hoping to ride their first winners.

There's Mr A Hark (never heard of him) having his second ride, Miss L M Pinchin (never heard of her) having her third ride, Mr C Barber (never heard of him unless he's Chris Barber, the 86-year-old jazz musician) having his fourth ride, Mr C H G Davies (think I've heard of him) having his seventh ride, Mr M S Bastyan (ditto) having his 11th ride and Mr B Paris-Crofts, who I have heard of because this is his 39th attempt at breaking his duck.

The form book entries for Shadow Blue offer Paris-Crofts little encouragement unlike the entries for Beau Du Brizais who has a great chance to break his duck and is armed with Philip Hobbs's promising amateur Mr Sean Houlihan.

Houlihan has only had one win from 47 rides, so it's about time he had another, and he is a successful point-to-point rider. It's not my fault if he makes a complete balls-up of it.

Otherwise, as 2016 fades away (probably for the best when you think what's happened during it), let's celebrate some of the centurions who are also fading away in the form book but whose toughness, resilience and past successes have brought great pleasure.

At Kempton, there's the 11-year-old Shifting Star (2.10), winner of 14 races, the last eight for John Bridger, from 136 appearances and ten-year-old Seek The Fair Land (5.40), boasting 16 wins, the last seven for Lee Carter, from 115 races.

Seek The Fair Land was given an excellent ride by Jane Elliott to win his latest race, at Lingfield. The extra 3lb is less of a problem than the outside draw and unlikelihood of the race developing as helpfully as it did at Lingfield.

General Tufto (12.00 Southwell) is always held up, not least because the jockey doesn't have much choice. In his heyday, Charles Smith's 11-year-old could come with a scuttling charge that few horses of his class were capable of on Fibresand. General Tufto has won 16 races, 14 of them at Southwell and all for Smith but it is 35 races since his last win and retirement beckons.

Not forgetting the old faithfuls Sir Geoffrey (2.00) (18 wins from 136 tries) and The Lock Master (3.30) (15 from 116).

Good luck one and all.

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