Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our trip to Windsor

It was an enjoyable trip to Windsor on Monday with Gus having some great fun running around both before and after racing; and with Grand Liaison doing us proud, even if it was a slightly frustrating outing as she didn't get the run of the race.  But that's Windsor.  I've never trained a winner there which might explain my reluctance to go there when we have a horse who looks as if he or she is just about ready to win; but, leaving my prejudices aside, it is widely reckoned that one needs even more luck in running than usual there.  However, Grand Liaison, having been eliminated from Yarmouth the previous week, had only two options this week - and the other was Brighton, another track where one ought to expect the unexpected.  She'd have been in a full field at Brighton, which means that one's fate could have been in the lap of the gods, so it was a relatively easy decision to head to Windsor.

She ran well to finish third, doing well to get so close after being too far back early on.  It wasn't the aim to get back, but that's Windsor: it was a rough race, she was squeezed out after about 300m, and our goose (our metaphorical goose, that is, not one of the many geese who roam along the banks of the Thames next to the track while the races take place) was cooked at that point.  Still, it was very good to see her run so well and so genuinely, especially after the form of her previous second place at Leicester had taken a couple of serious knocks.  I wasn't actually too concerned about the Leicester form being let down, because the race at the time had seemed to be a proper test.  However, one couldn't ignore the fact that its winner (Sea Fever), its third (Neige D'Antan) and it's fourth (Kaiser Wilhelm) had all subsequently run poorly, seemingly leaving a question mark over the merit  of our second place.  However, Sea Fever had over-raced when a badly beaten favourite next time (unlike at Leicester, where he travelled very kindly), Neige D'Antan had missed the start again (and I am happy to put a line through the performances of horses who develop a habit of missing the start, as it usually means that they've got something wrong with them) and Kaiser Wilhelm had run on very different (much firmer) ground when tailed off at Yarmouth.

So at least Grand Liaison has been the one of the four to hold her form from one race to the next.  Let's hope that this lovely filly can continue to do so - and if the Racing Post's comments are anything to go by, one might expect Kaiser Wilhelm to pop up one day.  I don't know if you noticed these words, but when the horse finished 10th of 14 in his third maiden race at Kempton on 30th April, Spotlight commented, "Allowed to be very slowly into stride and soon held up in last, pushed along over 2f out, kept on steadily, capable of better".  It's lucky that Chris Catlin isn't litigious: lawsuits have been based on less than that!  I don't know what the stewards' report made of it (disappointingly, unjustifiably and inexplicably, the Racing Calendar no longer carries stewards' reports, which is a real shame as they used to be the most interesting part of the paper) - but it might be worth noting that the horse ran considerably worse than that at Yarmouth last week when finishing last, beaten 29 lengths, off a rating of 62.

No comments: