With the Flat season upon us, Jamie Lynch hijacks one of the oldest - and phoniest - belief systems in the book, the signs of the zodiac, to analyse a dozen of the major racing personalities for 2013...
This novel that McCoy is supposed to be writing may turn out to be a hit given he has something in common with Kingsley Amis, Henry Fielding, Daphne du Maurier and William Shakespeare: they're all Taurus. It's written in the stars, you see, which is just as well as God only knows when he'll get the time to write it on earth.
Then again, according to Astrology In Depth, Taureans hate discomfort, dislike hard work and are therefore inclined to seek occupations where they can hold back rather than risk themselves: being anything other than a jump jockey, in other words. When McCoy nearly won the Gold Cup aboard Sir des Champs it had nothing to do with horoscopes. Dirty scopes yes, but horoscopes no.
It's the Babylonians' fault. The race that gave us one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - their Hanging Gardens - undid all that good work by also leaving the legacy of one of the Seven Biggest Red Herrings of the Modern World, courtesy of astrology. The other six, for what it's worth, are democracy, Feng Shui, the KitchenAid, multivitamins, the going stick and John Bishop.
I, and hopefully you, can't have astrology at any price, though I'm a Libra, hence a cynic by nature. The idea that our lives are governed by celestial forces out of this world is out of this world, almost as hard to stomach as the fact Russell Grant can and does charge £22.99 for ten minutes on the phone. I know this as it says so on his website, but also because I rang up for a racing-related reading, to determine what the stars in the sky say about the stars on the level for the 2013 Flat season.
ARIES (March 21 - April 19)
Case study - John Gosden (born March 30)
Russell says: The awards of last year hang heavy around your neck, but keeping a cool head, even under various gravitas-giving hats, is the hallmark of Aries. Remember how tall you are. You're looked up to by your peers, particularly in interviews. Keep talking the American talk. Focus on the spring equinox and the positive of the sun moving in rather than the spring clean and the negative of Nathaniel, Great Heavens, Izzi Top and Thought Worthy moving out. You still have the skill, you still have the fire and, most importantly, you still have The Fugue.
TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
Case study - Dawn Approach (born April 23)
Russell says: The bull. You're strong like one, you took none of it in 2012, and the bigger china shops are open for you this year. Once you're at full force there's no stopping you. However, yours is a fixed sign, meaning you can be slow to change, including gear, so beware those flat spots that could prevent high points. Similarly fixed are your targets, and you apparently won't go that extra mile-and-a-half, for the ultimate test at Epsom, though the people around you may want a new approach.
GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)
Case study - Pearl Bloodstock (first ever runner June 2)
Russell says: Think Gemini, think twins, and the twin virtues of intent and megabucks makes you an irresistable power in 2013. Wednesday is Gemini's luck day, though any day is a lucky day for those whose door you come-a-knocking with unrefusable offers. If you can't breed 'em, buy 'em. Look out Ballydoyle and Godolphin, there's a new superpower in town. Geminis go well with other Geminis, their compitability high and ambitions the same, so the link-up with Jamie Spencer (born June 8) is a match made in heaven, literally star-crossed lovers.
CANCER (June 21 - July 22)
Case study - USA (Independence Day July 4)
Russell says: Just like the crab, American racing is going only sideways, if not backwards. That hard outer shell, used for protection, is in danger of acting as a buffer to the rest of the world. You've got a lot going for you, so look out rather than in, and have the courage of your convictions to see certain issues through. The racing world will be a better place with more of you in it, so be Wise (Dan), and let's see the Animal (Kingdom) in you.
LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Case study - Black Caviar (born August 18)
Russell sings Simply Red, appropriately Stars: Anyone who ever saw you, would tell you the way I'm feeling. Anyone who ever took on you, would have to tell you that they're hurting inside. The only thing that left you daunted, was the feeling that you ain't Frankel. But he has gone while you are still about, turn up and win it, can't get beat. And I, see a name in the stars, it's you Black Caviar. I've seen you, at Ascot, I hope you come again.
VIRGO (August 23 - September 22)
Case study - Ryan Moore (born September 18)
Russell says: Virgos, symbolised by the virgin, are often considered to be shy individuals, but that can sometimes mask the demon within, as is the case with you. You're hungry, probably literally and certainly metaphorically, and the time has come for you to regain your rightful place at the top of your profession. To get there you need only two things: more luck than in recent years, and a certain knighted Libran to start re-pulling his considerable weight.
LIBRA (September 23 - October 22)
Case study - Aidan O'Brien (born October 16)
Russell says: Listen. Because Librans enjoy balance in their lives, they like to keep all options open, favouring discussions which tend to be more seated than heated. Librans have loads of speed. You, weighing up everything on the symbolic scales, are meticulous, but also far-sighted, even in dodgy sunglasses. Camelot's dimming star is balanced by the rising star of Kingsbarns, and amid all the pressure you, as an even-tempered Libran, keep your cool. You're Mr Cool. Mr Coolmore.
SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21)
Case study - Channel 4 (first broadcast November 2)
Russell says: Like the scorpion, you're fiercly independent, which is a good job as you have the field to yourself now. Like the scorpion can lose its tail and promptly grow a new one, you too have tremendous regenerative powers, and this is a big year for you following the latest evolution. Like the scorpion would rather kill itself than be killed, you force the issues and have a style that some find overbearing, but mostly it's exciting and, with a bit of Luck and spot of Cunning, you'll revolutionise the way we watch racing.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)
Case study - Graham Lee (born December 16)
Russell says: The archer is depicted as a centaur, half man half beast, making Sagittarius a dual sign, and you are the ultimate dual jockey. You literally had your ups and downs over jumps, but the Flat is where it's at, and you, as an archer, are aiming higher and higher: well over 100 of your arrows will hit the bullseye this year. Influential is the North Star. In fact, you are the North Star.
CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
Case study - Marco Botti (born December 23)
Russell says: Being born just one day into Capricorn puts you on the cusp, and you're on the cusp of the big time. Your symbol is the goat, who loves to climb to the top of the mountain, and you too are showing that same ambition, with a new base, new targets and new stars. One such star, Moohaajim, might just give a certain Taurean something to think about in a few weeks time.
AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)
Case study - Frankie Dettori (born January 23)
Russell says: Who knows? Even horoscopes can't predict the unpredictable. Look at last year. Let's just hope you keep out of big bother and big brother this time.
PISCES (February 19 - March 20)
Case study - Hydrogen (born March 12)
Russell says: A water sign. H2-oh no. Rarely does the reality match the hype, even when the stars are aligned. It's all about the money, money, money, and it's not so easy to forget about the price tag when it's £2.5m, the most expensive yearling in the world last year. Who knows if you'll become a star, but the star-signs are there.