Monday, August 02, 2010

Great excitement

We've just had a moment of great excitement in this household because we've just enjoyed cheering home Iva (seen here on Destiny Rules at Thirsk on Saturday) on what I hope will be the first of her many winners in the UK. She rides a very tricky filly called Bouggie Diva in all her homework for Jane Chapple-Hyam and duly partnered her in her first run of the year today - and won the last race at Windsor, 8.10, at 16/1. I'd hoped that we would have been there to see the race because she had been due to ride Jenny Dawson in the preceding race, but Jenny was eliminated, meaning that we're at home and ATR has had to suffice. And a very fine view it gave of the race too, even if none of the pundits had much to say about the victory afterwards because I don't think that anyone knew anything about the winning jockey (nor horse, probably). But we did, and that's great. We've now just got to help her add to her tally, because adding to it is just what she deserves. She's an incredibly hard worker whose typical working day today started at 5.30 when she took Rhythm Stick for a canter with me on Ethics Girl (whom she galloped yesterday) before going into Jane's yard an hour later, so any success she gets has definitely been earned.

Although finishing second last, Iva did very well on Destiny Rules because this sweet filly, although basically very well behaved, was very naughty in the stalls (or, as Iva put it, "very cheeky") and a lesser jockey might have been tempted to call it a day before the race was off. But we had the right one on our side, and all was well that ended well - particularly as I was merely given a warning on behalf of the filly, rather than having her sent for a stalls' test; and on that subject, the fact that Iva was able to tell the starter truthfully, when he asked her if she'd ridden the horse through the stalls at home, that "I rode her through the stalls on Wednesday and she was very good - but then some horses behave differently on the racecourse than they do at home", must have counted in our favour when the decision was taken about whether a stalls test was or wasn't required. The funny thing was that, of the two horses we took to Thirsk, Alpen Glen was the one whom I'd feared might play up - but she was very good, while the quiet one was the naughty one. Not, as it transpired, that Alpen Glen's good behaviour profitted her or us much on this occasion because she dropped out after suffering bad interference at halfway, but I hope that things will work out better on future occasions - and the fact that she behaved so well in the preliminaries and the early part of the race has certainly boded well.

With our two runners at Thirsk beating one rival between them and with Batgirl running third at Lingfield on the same day, I'm afraid that our stay on the Hot List has probably come to an end. We were, though, still (joint-)top of it on Friday when Silken Thoughts ran at Goodwood, an outing which was both satisfactory (because the filly ran well, despite failing to make the frame) and very enjoyable (because pretty much any trip to Goodwood is enjoyable). It was thanks to good old Ex Con (pictured firstly before and then after this latest victory) that we were hanging in there because he'd taken the starring role again at Stratford the previous afternoon. He'd won very easily nine days previously and was racing off the same mark (105) because of that victory having come in a conditional jockeys' race and thus having incurred no penalties, so he was in theory a good thing, but he's always a bit quiet for a while after a race, and I wasn't totally convinced that he had freshened up enough to repeat the performance. However, he was clearly healthy and sound so there was only one way to find out - and thankfully the answer was resoundingly positive as, re-united with his regular jockey William Kennedy, he came home an easy winner again. It actually became easy to be sanguine once we got him to the track: he was so relaxed that he clearly had no worries about backing up (as the pre-race photograph shows) while once he and his rivals had appeared in the parade ring it became even easier to see him as the clear-cut winner, because only the unpronouceable Stuart Kittow-trained Googoobarabajagal (who duly finished second) carried the appearance of a horse who might give him a race. So that was grand, and the fact that the honest Douchkette (pictured returning to the second's berth) had finished a good second earlier in the afternoon was even better. So, we might have come off the Hot List, but all in all one can't be down-hearted. As the photograph of Ex Con being led in by Hugh shows, that was truly a very joyous occasion, and Ex Con's return to the winner's enclosure was particularly good: four of the six members of the All Points West Partnership were present, plus various family and friends, so there was plenty of support - and Ex Con received further cheers from a group on the rails who transpired to be the connections of Time For Rupert, the best horse whom William rides, on whom he won at the Grand National Meeting last year and finished second to the champion Big Buck's in the Ladbroke World Hurdle at this year's Cheltenham Festival. That was William's only ride of the day, so we can assume that he sent them home happy, just as he sent us home very happy indeed.

No comments: