Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rained off

This terribly wet spell which has been going on for three weeks now has claimed two more victims today, Goodwood and Newton Abbot.  Chester goes ahead but, as yesterday, with some races started by flag; while Yarmouth goes ahead too.  It'll be heavy there, but it passed its inspection this morning having had only another 6mm overnight, compared to the 19mm which had dumped itself down on the Sussex Downs, rendering Goodwood's track unusable.  We were looking at having two runners today, but Silken Thoughts has been spared the trip to Goodwood, leaving Batgirl to go to Yarmouth this evening.  She oughtn't to be unduly inconvenienced by the ground, and we know that she likes the track, but the favourite Jawhar might be a tough nut to crack, especially as he won on the soft last autumn.  We'll see - but, fingers crossed, she'll give it a good try.  She seems on very good terms with herself, as you can maybe see by how contentedly she is pictured here galloping up an overcast Railway Land with Hannah last Saturday.

I've got a bonus treat this evening as Dream Walker, whom I bred, is running at Yarmouth in the race before Batgirl.  I'll really enjoy seeing him for the first time since October 2010.  Whether he'll cut much ice today remains to be seen, but I'll be disappointed if he doesn't prove up to winning something at some point.  This will be his first race as a three-year-old, so it should be very informative.  This will be my fourth trip to the races of the week and we're only on its fifth day.  I went up to Newmarket on the first day of the week (Sunday, lest there by any misunderstanding - not everyone can grasp this fact) even if I was only on course for one race (the 1,000 Guineas).  Monday saw me at Kempton, where Hannah rode Kadouchski (pictured) in a two-mile handicap.  They didn't do too badly (he finished fifth of nine, albeit a distant fifth) but his stamina wasn't really brought sufficiently into play, so he can go to Towcester on Monday (assuming that the meeting takes place) where two miles on heavy ground up that hill might him in a better light.

We were then at Fakenham on Tuesday with Asterisk (pictured).  It's rare to go to Fakenham and not enjoy the outing, so this trip was duly enjoyable, even if the mare did run last.  She jumped very well and travelled easily for two thirds of the race, but when the pressure was applied she floundered on the very heavy ground.  Even when she was tired, though, she didn't make any jumping errors, but it was altogether too severe a test for her.  Unfortunately she seems not to progress as she goes through her preparation, but no harm done.

It was desperately wet underfoot at Fakenham and I was glad to be wearing my wellingtons, even if my footwear was ultimately accompanied by shirt-sleeve order: the heavy showers moved on in the afternoon and it was actually quite warm, with even the sun putting in an appearance as we were getting ready to go home.  As you can see, Asterisk looked very content by the end of proceedings, so, while it had been a totally fruitless outing, at least man and beast came home unharmed, so that was good.  And what was also nice come departure time was that I passed the time of day with the connections of the winner of our race, who had come down from Midlem in the Scottish borders, the next village along from the one from which I hail, Lilliesleaf.  I can truly say that, as we couldn't win the race, I am very, very pleased that they did.

The winner of the race before ours also gave me pleasure: Eleazar, trained by Lucy Wadham for her husband Justin.  This horse had kept good company through the spring, running in the Foxhunters at both Cheltenham and Aintree, so he was understandably favourite for this.  He had to work hard, though, and it was only in the closing stages that he looked like having any chance at all.  I imagine that he would have been a very long price in running, but by the time he passed us at the last fence (pictured, far side) he had just about worked his way to the front, and he stayed there until the post 80m or so farther along.  It was a thrilling race, and again one after which I was very happy to salute the winning connections.


AlanM said...

Thanks for taking the time to welcome us to the yard on Saturday. We both thoroughly enjoyed the visit and trip to the gallop. Your patience and insight were much appreciated. Best wishes. Alan

John Berry said...

You're welcome, Alan. It was a pleasure.