Friday, July 02, 2010

Easily pleased

I've always counted it as an advantage that I'm easily pleased, but I'm beginning to worry that perhaps it's not quite such a good trait as I'd thought. I've really enjoyed my last two trips to the races, but I'd say that a trainer more single-minded in the pursuit of success might have come home rather less gruntled with two runners finishing out of the frame. I seem to have reached the stage where I'm happy as long as the horses get round. This is a stage which, if I were a jumps trainer, might have something to recommend it - but as most of our runners are on the Flat, I feel that perhaps I really ought to be considering raising the bar a bit. We're continuing to have lovely weather, and Windsor last Sunday really was a lovely place to be. My satisfaction with the course was more or less guaranteed when I walked the track prior to racing: the meeting came after a hot, dry week, and yet the groundstaff had produced ground which really was close to perfect for that, the second day of a three-day fixture. Jenny duly finished last, but that had been anticipated, and all in all it was just a pleasure to be there with those of her syndicate who had been able to attend to watch her belated debut. The preferred post-script, of course, will come if she steps up on this moderate debut effort in the future, and we now should not have to wait too long to find out whether that is going to be the case. But, all in all, it was lovely to see her conduct herself so well on her first raceday outing and so clearly to enjoy all that went on - even if it would have been more lovely had she beaten a few.

The trip to Worcester with Douchkette on Wednesday could be said to have fallen into the same boat. The filly finished seventh so I shouldn't have been pleased, and I'll certainly say that I would have enjoyed the trip a lot more had she won or been placed. However, she too did her best and ran bravely and honestly on a lovely racecourse on a lovely day, so one can't be too upset, can one? As her best form on the Flat is at a mile, one can't be too shocked that she seems to find that the minimum National Hunt distance of two miles rather stretches her stamina. However, she did so much right in the race - apparently the betting-in-running market had her at 2/1 on the home turn - that we've been emboldened to try her over hurdles again. Let's hope that she can win a race because she deserves to: she's a lovely, very genuine and enthusiastic filly and if she can't win, it certainly won't be for the want of trying, on her part or ours.

Another lovely four-year-old filly who truly deserves to be described as genuine and enthusiastic is Ethics Girl, who is due to have her second run of the year at Leicester tomorrow afternoon. She seems in good form so I'm looking forward to running her. Her chance tomorrow is not obvious, but she's so genuine I think that we can rely on her to try her best and perform with credit even if she finds that some of her opponents are just that bit sharper than she is. So you can see what's happening: I'm already working my way round to her finishing out of the money and my still coming home pleased!

What has also (hugely) pleased me recently is the continuing illustrations which I've been receiving of the saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed. We've been very busy in the stable of late, the result of several factors one of which being that poor Hugh has been unwell. (Happily, Hugh seems well on the road to recovery and his illness has been nothing more sinister than a very bad chest infection brought on by his industriousness and unwillingness to take any time off work through sickness until it was absolutely unavoidable). Anyway (and here I'm making my excuses to all those who've noticed that I've been even less sociable and communicative than usual over the past couple of weeks) we've been bloody busy - but thankfully everything has continued to run smoothly thanks to umpteen people who've gone well beyond the call of duty in making themselves available to help. I'm not going to embarrass them by naming them (and they know who they are anyway) but all I can say is that I've been overwhelmed by thepeople who, knowing we've been under a bit of pressure, have unprompted come forward with help and offers of help to make sure that the stable still runs smoothly and that the horses get worked. We've already established that I'm easily pleased, but even if I were virtually impossible to please, I'd be pleased by that. Thank you all very much.

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