Thursday, June 14, 2012

The favourite's home - courtesy of George Moore's whiste

You may have seen the news story which Emma put up on the site about the favourite winning.  This, of course, was Kadouchski, who is our favourite at all times, even when he is the outsider in the betting, as he was on Monday when winning at Folkestone under a top ride from Hannah.  I'd been very pleased at the chance to let him run on the Flat on soft ground, conditions which have always brought out the best in him over hurdles but which he had never previously encountered on the Flat.

I thought that the going would surely bring him right into it, especially as he was racing off a mark only 2lb higher than when winning at Folkestone on firm ground last July.  And Spotlight in the Racing Post clearly held the same opinion, making him the selection.  I was, therefore, rather surprised as the horses cantered to post to note that he was the 8/1 outsider (and actually returned 17/2) in the five-horse race (the field having been reduced by two scratchings).  Even so, I have so much respect for the top-weight Golan Way, who has put in so many terrific runs over jumps, that I thought that, even getting a stone and a half with him on top weight as us at the bottom, he'd be a hard horse to beat.

And so it proved: we won by three quarters of a length from Golan Way.  And we have Hannah's ride to thank.  She did everything right, mooching around on the inside behind the leaders all the way, waiting and waiting until the gap came in the straight almost as if George Moore was there with his whistle, and then squeezing through it.  Carrying 7lb more (ie without her claim) he couldn't have won, and he couldn't have won without everything going right in the race too.  If she had adopted the all-too-popular tactics of challenging on the outside around the final bend, as one sees on a daily basis, he wouldn't have won.  So that was excellent.  And it was pleasing that Hannah got so much recogition for it, the press being very quick to highlight the ride, and even one of the senior jockeys who rode in the race (Dane O'Neill) tweeting that it was a "cracking ride".  So that was just lovely all round.  And Gus enjoyed it too: as ours was the last race, things were quiet enough afterwards for him to help supervise Kadou in his victory pick.

Monday was, of course, in plenty of other respects a shocking day.  Terrible weather in much of the south east.  Newmarket didn't fare too badly and neither did Folkestone (which apparently only copped 10mm of rain, all in the morning) but the area from north London down to the south coast and along into West Sussex seems to have had about two inches in the one day, which is as solid a deluge as one would usually ever see in the UK.  We drove through so much really heavy rain on the way down to Folkestone (where, miraculously, we didn't get rained on at all) before finding that it was still raining solidly for most of the journey home several hours later.

Anyway, as you can see in the previous paragraph, conditions were bleak on the Heath on Monday morning, while Tuesday was almost similarly grim.  Much better conditions the past couple of days, fortunately, with Wednesday's dawn, as you can see, having the sky much less full of cloud than it had been previous couple of days.  Things did subsequently spoil a little bit, but we've had reasonable amounts of sunshine too today so I hope that we're going in the right direction.  Tomorrow could be a big setback, though, if the forecast is right, so we must hope that, while we want plenty of rain for Batgirl, Wasabi and Zarosa to get nice soft ground on Sunday at Salisbury, there isn't so much that racing is abandoned.

Ethics Girl and Ollie (Orla's Rainbow) were entered at Sandown tomorrow, but the ground 'soft, heavy in places' with more rain forecast made it a no-brainer not to declare those two particular horses.  (Other entries not to be running include Grand Liaison, who missed out by one when eliminated from Yarmouth today; while Ruby's intended debut has been postponed by a couple of weeks, the result of a sore foot - the best laid plans of mice and men, and all that).  However, we put Ollie in at Musselburgh too and I hope that we'll find a sound surface there, so I'll be heading up there with him early tomorrow.  I love going up there so, once I've got over the very early start, I hope that it's an enjoyable trip.  I hate being away from home overnight, but it would be unrealistic to go up and down in the day, so we'll stay there after racing and come home on Saturday.  Let's hope that it's a worthwhile trip - and Ollie is certainly giving himself every chance: I've told him to keep himself fresh with a long journey ahead of him and, as you can see, he's taking me at my word.

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