Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hard to predict

Mmm ... four consecutive moderate runs. That's disappointing, but of course it's not the end of the world. No lives were lost, no horses have been injured - and anyone who has been involved with racing for any length of time is almost by definition seasoned in the art of handling disappointment. If one can treat Disaster just the same as Triumph, then taking the relatively minor setback of Disappointment should be a piece of cake. Hotfoot's run at Yarmouth yesterday was actually very similar to Batgirl's run at Doncaster five days previously: she jumped awkwardly out of the stalls, got herself up into a satisfactory position and seemed to travel well enough for some way, but then found nothing in the latter third of the race. Disappointing, but both fillies will fight another day. And, as Aidan O'Brien has proved single-handedly over the past couple of months, the fact that a horse has run really badly on one occasion is far from a guarantee that he or she won't run very well on the next visit to the races. So, as usual, we can move forward with hope in our hearts. As, I'm sure, can Hayley Burton, who rode the winner of our race in what looked a very happy victory. Hayley is apprenticed to Luca Cumani and won this race, on the 33/1 shot Dannios, on her first ride. Dannios is trained by Luca's former assistant, Ed Walker, who has been training for less than a year; and Dannios, owned by Ed's mother (whose birthday, I believe, it was yesterday), was having his first run since February 2010 (when he was pulled up in a hurdle race) and his first run on the Flat since August 2009 (when he was last of 11, beaten 51 lengths, at Brighton, having finished 13th of 15 at Chepstow and 15th of 17 at Nottingham, beaten at least 26 lengths each time, on his two previous runs that year). So all involved in that victory were entitled to feel very pleased with themselves.

As so often, I found myself completely bamboozled by the omens by the time I arrived at Yarmouth yesterday. Surely Hotfoot would run well after I'd been lucky enough to enjoy Fleetwood Mac's 'You make loving fun' on the radio on the approach to the track? But could that be enough to counteract the disaster of hearing yet another dire Coldplay song earlier in the journey? Indeed it wasn't enough, as I was to find out shortly after 4.40 - but one omen which seems always to stand the test of time is that one should always back the first jockey one sees. The first jockey whom I saw at Yarmouth yesterday was Saleem Golam; and he was the last one whom I saw too, as his mount, the Reset four-year-old maiden Riley's Crane (his only mount of the day), was the last horse to canter down past me to the start for the last race, just as I was preparing to leave the course. After that double omen, surely I should have left behind a bet on Riley's Crane (pictured going to post). When I checked the results when I got home to see who had won the last shortly after my departure, I had cause to rue my inability to take a tip: Riley's Crane, seemingly the least fancied of the FOUR runners in the race saddled by Christine Dunnett, had won at 100/1!

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