Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lovely Lingfield (and that's not said sarcastically)

Well, this high pressure and consequent nice (but very cold) weather might be on its way, but it's taking its time in arriving.  I'd got so brainwashed by this dry weather thing that I was rather taken aback to find that it was raining on and off all the way down to Lingfield, that it was raining on and off all afternoon there and that it was raining on and off all the way home.  Ah well, tomorrow (and tomorrow, and tomorrow ...).  It did, though, look like brightening up as Hugh and Tommy (Platinum Proof) left the stable for our race, which was just as well as it had been raining quite hard just before that.

It was, of course, raining again shortly after the race, but at least it stayed dry while it mattered (from our point of view, anyway).  And Tommy ran OK.  He'd been tailed off first time out on the heavy ground at Leicester, but he found the galloping much easier on the Polytrack surface.  Drawn one, he at least got in amongst his rivals this time and he'll have learnt a lot from the experience.  He's still something of a big baby both in his body and in his mind, but he's a lovely horse and today has confirmed, to my mind at least, that he's definitely going in the right direction.  Only time, of course, will tell how far he goes in it, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Tommy's five-year-old half-brother Keep Up won a Grade Three race at Churchill Downs at the weekend.  That was the first piece of stakes form he's ever shown, so that was a timely reminder that this is perhaps a breed which takes a while to come to its peak.  And, by the way, if you're wondering why he's Tommy, I probably ought to explain, as you'd never guess it from the name Platinum Proof.  It took a long time to name this horse because he's American-bred: we'd reserve a name safe in the knowledge that it was free in Britain and Ireland, but of course it had to be free in the States too.  I'd reserved Atomic Number, having found out that it was available, so we took to calling him that - and that, as you can understand, was abbreviated to Tommy.  It was only when I finally got around to sending in the passport to Weatherbys to have Atomic Number officially registered that it became plain that, while it was free here, it was taken in the States, so we'd have to think again.  And by this time, of course, he'd become Tommy.  And that's what he's remained.

Anyway, that's the report from today's outing.  There's plenty of ground to cover on other subjects, but we can leave those until tomorrow (or tomorrow, or tomorrow ...) as it's late enough now.  Even though the joy of these midwinter early starts to racing is that one gets home in good time (left home at 7.05, arrived at Lingfield at 9.00, ran at 12.00, left the course at 1.20, home at 3.30 - easy peasy) there's always plenty to do on one's return, so it's late in the evening by now.  Just before I close, though, I must salute Lingfield in having got its jumps card off the ground yesterday: one always thinks of Lingfield's NH track as being one of the wettest ones, so it's a huge credit to Neil Mackenzie-Ross and his excellent team of groundstaff that they held a meeting on turf in a week in which there's only a handful of courses in the whole country which aren't waterlogged.  It wasn't the season's most memorable Lingfield jumps meeting (that honour, of course, is held by the card which included the Flat jockeys' hurdle race, the posters advertising which are rightly still on display) but it was good to be racing - and all the more so because the horses coped well with the conditions, and neither man nor beast came to any harm on the very wet turf.  Good on 'em.

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