Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another good run

Ah well, Zarosa ran very well yesterday, but couldn't quite complete her hat-trick, going down by a neck to another hat-trick seeker (Albonny), with another hat-trick seeker (Arashi) half a length back in fourth in a blanket finish.  If she'd have been drawn lower she might well have won; if the rain hadn't petered out the day before the race, ditto.  But 'if's, 'what's and 'maybe's are of no use to anyone, particularly when you're not looking for an excuse anyway.  She ran another terrifically game and very creditable race, was again very well ridden by Noel Garbutt, and left us again feeling very proud and very pleased.

In retrospect, we probably ought to have gone to Newcastle.  Chief among the reasons for opting for Nottingham was that the last two days were forecast as being likely to be wetter at Nottingham than at Newcastle.  But, as we know, weather-forecasting is, at best, educated guesswork - and, inevitably, Nottingham had no rain in the last 24 hours, while Newcastle was hit by (unforecast) torrential rain the night before the race.  As if the news of that wasn't galling enough, another consequence of this rain (over and above softening the ground) was that the horse whom I'd rated easily our biggest danger there (Almost Gemini) was scratched from a race which the Racing Post described as "a staying handicap hit by six non-runners".  Ah well!

One might have thought that Almost Gemini's trainer, our neighbour Don Cantillon, might have bounced back from that disappointment (ie the disappointment of the unforecast storm at Newcastle, which he didn't want) today when he took the ultimate 'standing dish' to Southwell, La Estrella (who, confusingly, isn't a mare) whose Southwell record prior to today was 13 wins from 13 runs.  Still, we know that all good things come to an end, and La Estrella's winning Southwell run is now a good thing come to an end, the horse's Southwell record now being 13 wins and one third from 14 runs - which, although Don (pictured on the horse leading the string up Exeter Road a few days ago) might be disappointed in the immediate aftermath (especially as the horse was the odds-on favourite), is still (obviously) extremely creditable.  So I hope that he doesn't forget that.

Having saluted a few youngsters in this blog a few days ago, I ought to salute a couple more.  Jordon McMurray, son of Duncan McMurray who has been in the town for years (even if, if you met him, you might think that he'd only left Scotland yesterday) and who, very appropriately, looked after the John Gosden-trained Irish St Leger dead-heater Duncan, started off round the corner from here in Rayes Lane with Mark Tompkins.  He changed stables a couple of months ago, moving to John Ryan, and I was very pleased to see that he had his first ride in the apprentices' race at Doncaster on Saturday.  He finished last, but that was no disgrace as he was on a no-hoper - so let's hope that he can now follow in the footsteps of Lauren Haigh (pictured here leading up Masarah before the 1,000 Guineas a couple of weeks ago) who 'rode her rivals to sleep' at Yarmouth two weeks ago to win (on Manomine, trained by her boss Clive Brittain) on her third ride.  That was very good.

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