Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Brave little girl

I really enjoyed the Jubilee Long Weekend, admittedly mostly because it ended with Grand Liaison running really well to finish second at a chilly, overcast and showery Leicester yesterday.  This filly seemed OK last year but was clearly very backward, while this year she's been going nicely all the way through.  She resumed in a very hot maiden race at Newmarket last month, in which she ran what I thought was a nice race.  Unfortunately the handicapper didn't agree, so he gave her a rating of 35, which is the mark of a horse with no ability - and it's also a mark which is of use to nobody, as all it means basically is that one can't run in a handicap, the lowest-rated horses, of course, being eliminated first.  And as all low-grade races attract plenty of entries, it meant that she would be struggling ever to get a run, never mind a win.

However, thankfully Leicester is a spacious track and the safety factor for its 9.5-furlong races is as high as 17; and thankfully the 46-65 three-year-olds' handicap there yesterday ended up being divided.  Thirty-four horses, therefore, would get in the race; and thirty-four were declared, of which she was the 34th, so she sneaked in by the skin of her teeth.  It's rare enough for handicaps to be divided, so we really were very fortunate indeed to get a run: under normal circumstances she's have missed out by 17.  Obviously she couldn't run off her rating as one can't run off a rating lower than 45 ever, and usually not off a rating lower than 46, so she was competing off a rating 11lb higher than her rating.  But we weren't worried about that, merely very happy to be allowed to run.  Happily we were able to find a good jockey light enough to ride her (Dominic Fox, who is still claiming 3lb, for which he is extremely good value, at 7:13) and happily she ran very well to finish second at 33/1, which is short enough for a horse carrying what one could view as 11lb overweight.  She's bound to have her rating now raised by at least a stone, but that's no bad thing: all it will mean is that we'll have some choice in where she runs in future.  I'm sure that the winner (the Luca Cumani-trained Sea Fever, who had cost 115,000 gns as a yearling and who is a half-brother to the Grade One winner Wigmore Hall) will turn out to be a very good horse, and fingers crossed our little filly can continue to progress.  Her heart's in the right place, so she'll give herself every chance to do so.

In common with, I presume, millions of others, I'd also say that a highlight of the Jubilee Weekend was the concert outside Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening, which a huge amount of people appeared to enjoy live, while millions more would, like we, have enjoyed it on TV.  One of its very few low moments came when Lenny Henry, who clearly should stick to advertising the Premier Inn, decided to cut Rolf Harris off with less than a minute of  'Two Little Boys' remaining.  Rolf (or Sir Rolf, as he ought to be called) looked decidedly non-plussed; while I thought that, as I tweeted, that was f***ing sacrilege.  Anyway, for those who missed it, the perfect post script came to this on Radio Two the next morning, when Lisa Tarbuck was standing in for Ken Bruce.  Having asked people to contact the show with their thoughts on the concert, she found that the vast majority were calling to express their disappointment in the shabby treatment afforded to Rolf and his wonderful song.  To try to right a wrong she duly played the song, which was lovely.  And its post script was lovely too: I've always felt rather bashful about the fact that I can't listen to that song without my eyes filling with tears, so it was music to my ears when she broke in at the end of the song with the words, "Am I the only one whose eyes are welling up?  I can't listen that song without crying."  That was very reassuring - and only redoubled the mystery of why Lenny Henry felt that it should be silenced in favour of giving a lengthy introduction to Stevie Wonder, who, of course needs no introduction.  Anyway, what a lovely, very special concert it was - and I can always bring my Best of Rolf Harris triple CD down from the shelf any time I'd like to listen to Two Little Boys anyway.

So now we look forward to a few more runners, I hope.  Ollie (Orla's Rainbow) won't be running at Lingfield tomorrow as it'll be wetter than he'd like, but I'm hoping that, with the north seeming to have missed the worst of the recent deluges, we'll be able to take him to Newcastle on Saturday.  You can see him here galloping on Railway Land this morning, alongside Ethics Girl who is nearly ready to resume.  Don't be fooled, though, by the smidgin of blue sky and the general brightness which you can see there: that's only transitory, and I'd say that we're going to have quite a lot more water falling from the sky before we find ourselves back in proper summer conditions.  Both these horses appear best suited by fast ground, so we might have to be patient - although Kadouchski is entered at Folkestone on Monday (as well as his charity assignment at Newmarket three days previously) and he never complains when asked to race on a rain-affected track.


racingfan said...

I thought it was a lovely performance by the horse and she will hopefully go on from this, Dominic Fox rode very well and is nice to see him getting a few rides nowadays,(he rode Diamond Orchid years ago). I also agree that the Luca Cumani horse will be winning from a lot higher mark in future.

Would like to have come to newcastle on saturday to watch Orlas run as its my local track around ten miles away but unfortunately work commitments mean I can't get there.

We have had quite a bit of rain last night but the weather has been good recently and its currently dry.

The follow up to shadow of the wind is going on sale in the next few weeks.

Keep up the good work,





John Berry said...

Oh well, you won't be missing us at Gosforth Park, Ian: all this rain means that Ollie will be a non-runner. The forecast meant that in all probability we were declaring him (on good, good to firm in places) only to scratch him later - but it is not unknown for weather forecasts to be wrong, so we declared. On this occasion, though, the forecast was correct, and the ground has changed too much for there to be any point in taking him up there. Summer will return eventually!