Saturday, March 09, 2013

Today's trip

Today's trip was satisfactory.  We found our way to the unsaddling enclosure, courtesy of Frankie (Douchkirk) finishing fourth in his race at Chepstow.  This is the first time that he's made the frame in a hurdle race (at the fifth attempt) so it's a positive sign that he's starting to get his act together.  He jumped very well and raced up with the leaders throughout, travelling with plenty of zest - and there was no disgrace in the fact that three of his rivals were just a little bit too good for him in the closing stages.  He's clearly on an upward curve at present, and that's good.

Conditions were very gruelling on the heavy ground at Chepstow today, witness our race being run in a time 39.7 seconds slower than standard.  Frankie clearly handled the conditions OK, but it's encouraging that we certainly don't have to say that he's run well simply because of the conditions: it is fair to assume that he will be able to run as well on a faster surface, with his bumper win of 2011 having come on good to firm ground.  So he's evidently thriving at present and, as we seemingly don't need to be fussy about what ground he has, we can keep him going and look forward to the spring and beyond.  So that's good.

Let's hope that we can have a good trip tomorrow too, when Alcalde has his first run for approximately 13 months by contesting a handicap hurdle at Warwick.  Conditions will surely be testing there too (as suggested by the fact that Monday's meeting at Stratford, which is only 10 miles from Warwick, has been abandoned because of water-logging) but the ground supposedly is merely soft, so we can run.  I'd have been loth to run on him on heavy, but we'll take the course at its word and assume that it isn't heavy.  Whatever the conditions underfoot, it'll be cold as the predicted return of winter seems indeed to be happening.  Today was rather pleasant, and even driving along after dark, with the temperature gauge showing 6 degrees, it was hard to believe the predictions.  However, by the time we got home at 9.15, it was down to one degree and there was stuff falling from the sky which was as much like snow as rain.  The ground is too wet for any snow to settle, but if the temperature drops any more that won't necessarily remain the case.

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