Wednesday, December 18, 2013

War of the Worlds

I see that it's been an up-and-down day for Ross Atkinson at Lingfield: he failed to weigh in after finishing third in one race (for which oversight his mount was inevitably disqualified and he was inevitably suspended) but then rode the last winner.  I'm pleased about the second part of his afternoon, if not the first.  Ross (pictured on one of Roger's yearlings last week) started work for Roger Varian a few months ago, having come down from Tom Dascombe's stable, and he's a really good addition to the Heath, being as good at his job as he is friendly.  I'm pleased that he's doing well, which he is, having ridden a double at Lingfield recently (for Roger and Pam Sly) as well as today's winner, and also having ridden a couple of winners for his old boss since he's been down here.  The fact that Tom is still using him after his departure tells you all that you need to know about him.  As regards the failing to weigh in - well, what can you say?  It shouldn't ever happen, but always does once in a while.  It reminds me of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds: "The chances of anything coming from Mars / Is a million to one, he said / The chances of anything coming from Mars / Is a million to one - but still they come!"

Another good result was the redoubtable La Estrella winning his 10,000th race, or whatever it was, at Southwell yesterday.  The Don (pictured on La Estrella last May at the bottom of Exeter Road on what has to be one of the most recent occasions I've seen Don on a horse) has his horses in great form, having won with Odin two days ago and La Estrella yesterday - and he looks nailed on to have another winner at Southwell tomorrow with the recent Kempton winner This Is Me.  I'd like to say that we could be finishing the year with a bang too, but unfortunately that's almost certainly not going to happen: Frankie (Douchkirk) might have an entry in the year's dying days, but is more likely to run in the first week of January, and none of the others will be entered again this year.

Let's hope, instead, that we can start the new year with a bang.  It is, of course, bogus to think that one's fortunes are going to turn over a new leaf between 31st December and 1st January (well, to think that they're any more likely to do so than between any other two consecutive days picked at random) so we won't put too much store by the change from one year to the next - but that doesn't alter the fact that I will be happy enough to wave this year goodbye.  So let's hope that the New Year can indeed start well for us.  God willing our two recent runners-up (ie Frankie and Indira) will run very early in January, and I hope that Russian Link (ears seen heading down to the Links as jauntily as she does everything, bar race) might contest a juvenile hurdle before January is too many weeks old.  There's clearly no point in running her on the AW again, but she had her first jumping lesson today, in which she confirmed that physically she's well capable of jumping - but that, as yet, she's got a lot to learn.  Still, she's slightly less clueless than she was 12 hours ago - and no harm was done.  I'll be very happy, though, to hand the reins over to someone closer to 40 than 50 for her next lesson.  That might be a good idea.

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