Thursday, June 13, 2013

What a fool

David Winter was kind enough to sympathise in the comments section of the previous chapter, but really I've no complaints with the ground our recent runners found.  We found fast ground, but we were expecting fast ground, so that was no problem.  There are occasions when one finds the ground very different to what one had expected, but this wasn't an issue last week.  We got what we expected, so there are no worries in that respect.  And if, say, Grand Liaison didn't like it (which she didn't) at least we learned something, as she, like so many horses, had gone through last year without encountering fast ground.  And she lives to fight another day.

What we can expect in the next few days is harder to predict as the weather seems unpredictable at present. It's raining very hard at Nottingham currently, but when and where these storms will hit is unknowable.  It looks as if we might have wrongly missed an opportunity to run Zarosa at Chepstow tomorrow, a track which has had a fair amount of unforecast rain - but declaring her (on Wednesday morning) didn't really seem an option, as these words from Chepstow's current bulletin suggest: "3-4mm of irrigation applied on Wednesday when ground was Firm and little or no rain was forecast".  Under the circumstances, it was hard to predict the ground being anything other than very fast.

We also missed an opportunity yesterday as there was a four-year-olds and upwards maiden handicap over a mile at Yarmouth, 46-65.  That would have been perfect for Gift Of Silence (pictured lairising in the dust bowl in the field on Sunday) who has run so well over Yarmouth's mile the last two times.  She was rated 65 - but her second place there three weeks ago saw her rating raised 2lb to 67, which was slightly hard to swallow for being beaten in a 7-runner race.  What, though, was considerably harder to swallow was the fact that when she finished third there last week in a 6-runner race, beaten nine and three quarter lengths, her rating remained unaltered on 67.  The three horses whom she beat were complete no-hopers, but 67 we remain.  I just hope that this filly (whose form career form figures are now 536223 and who has run well every time) does not go through her whole career running well and genuinely without winning.  That would be a galling reward for consistently honest endeavour (by both horse and trainer).

Still, it could have been worse: when last week she finished third, having started third favourite and being beaten by the favourite and the second favourite, she could have been dope-tested, which really would have been rubbing salt into the wound.  Would that have been unlikely?  Well, two days previously Ethics Girl had started second favourite and Fakenham before finishing second to the favourite, and she found herself being selected for dope-testing - so nothing should surprise one.  Which, of course, is the point of random dope-testing: you can never be sure that you won't be tested, even if you're seemingly the least likely horse on the whole course to be tested.

And another silver lining to the cloud of Gift Of Silence's ineligibility for her perfect race was that that contest ended up being won by a horse who lives on this property: the Dave Morris-trained Jamaica Grande.  This is a lovely horse who has some very poor form to his name for his previous connections, but who had showed massive improvement on his first start for Dave when third in a weight-for-age maiden at Yarmouth.  He'd really caught my eye in his homework and looked perfectly placed yesterday, dropping hugely in the weights despite simultaneously dropping hugely in class into maiden handicap company.  This was a rare occasion that I rued the fact that I rarely even think about having a bet.  I'd just assumed that Jamaica Grande would go off close to favourite because he clearly had an outstanding chance, so was rather taken aback when his SP came up on the screen after the race: 25/1.  I think that what I did was worse than looking a gift horse in the mouth: I never even got off my a&*e to inspect said gift horse.  What a fool.

Oh yes, and Royal Ascot's round the corner.  It's good to have our Aussie visitors, so there are two pictures of Shamexpress up the top and two of Sea Siren lower down.

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