Suddenly we’re surrounded by ‘existential threats’. According to politicians parading upon the Today Programme, antisemitism is an existential threat to the Labour Party, ISIS is an existential threat in the Middle East and climate change is an existential threat to all of us.

I’m not certain whether the word ‘existential’, which only entered the English language in 1941, is intended to describe the source of the threat or the subject which is being threatened.

While most people will recognise the phrase as meaning a ‘threat to existence’, conventional syntax would suggest that existence is the threat – as in the case of a ‘terrorism threat’, whereby the perceived source of the threat is from terror.

So is climate change a threat which is caused by our existence, or is it a threat to our existence? Depending on your view, the answer may well be both – which turns the phrase into powerful philosophical paradigm. Which is why I get irritated when it’s overused.

Every generation suffers the fear of a major, overbearing threat. When I was growing up it was the nuclear threat: the fear that the Cold War would result in total annihilation; if you didn’t get evaporated by a bomb blast then you’d be fried slowly from the inside out by radiation. I’m not saying that I was scarred by my childhood – but, to this day, I harbour a deep distrust of microwave ovens.

So is global warming really an existential threat? Well, it turns out that it is a threat to racing taking place – which makes is serious enough to trouble my own narrow horizon.

Several race meetings have been lost in France this year due to the baked ground and racing enthusiasts will be aware of the abandonment of Southwell on Thursday in order to safeguard the welfare of the participants.

I’m not about to buy a house at low sea-level down by the promenade at Grange-over-Sands, but apart from the possibility of coastal flooding and the abandonment of racing, I tend not to lie awake at night worrying about climate change. Terrorism, however, is another matter.

Standing next to Stanley Johnson, the father of the Prime Minister, at Cartmel races last weekend, I felt slightly uneasy.

Not that he’d be the most obvious terrorism target now – much more likely that anti-Brexit campaigners will attempt to send someone back in time to terminate him before Boris is born. And that the Brexit lobby will send a gladiatorial mercenary to defend him (there might be a film script in there somewhere…)

But even so, standing next to Stanley gave me the same feeling that I get whenever terrorism is mentioned. Which isn’t that I’m particularly concerned about my own existence – it’s that, if there if I were to blown up at that moment, and someone were to start rifling through my pockets to identify my corpse, I’d really want them to find a winning betting slip and not a losing one.

This week’s selection is Crystal Ocean who is taken to spoil Enable’s party at Ascot.