Saturday, January 11, 2014

What keeps us going

That was another good trip to Wolverhampton, I'm pleased to say, last night.  I was sure we weren't going to get rained on this time as the day has started beautifully, but inevitably the rain arrived at the racecourse shortly after nightfall.  That, however, didn't spoil things, particularly as Indira ran another very pleasing race.  She's had three maiden runs now for a second, a fourth and a third, and she seems to be progressing nicely, as well as consistently showing a good willing attitude.She seems to have come back from the race in good shape, so let's hope that this is merely the promising start to a good career, rather than the full extent of her achievement.  One never knows what's around the corner - but so far, so good.

It's funny running against nearly-mature horses with a horse who has just ceased to be a two-year-old only a few days previously, and it was particularly odd with a youngster to be up against an odds-on favourite whose last run was over jumps.  There must have been a fair bit of speculation in working out the weight-for-age allowance at this stage, but it produced a good contest - and so we can either say that we did well to finish placed behind a nice four-year-old, or say that we did poorly as we couldn't beat another maiden when he had 10 stone and we only had 8 stone 2lb.  Time will tell which applies, but she seems to be doing OK thus far.

One aspect of the journey yesterday was interesting as, crossing the Great Ouse at Huntingdon, it was easy to see why yesterday's meeting at that racecourse had been abandoned.  Huntingdon's problem isn't the Great Ouse itself as such, rather the brook adjacent to the track which flows into the Great Ouse - and when the Great Ouse is too full, the water in the brook backs up and spills out over the racecourse.  Seeing this photograph, it's easy to understand why that has happened this week, because this photograph isn't actually of the Great Ouse itself: it's of a large field adjacent to the Great Ouse, just upriver from the bridge at Huntingdon.  The only problem, of course, is that one can't see the field.

I can't end without saying how much I enjoyed David Ashforth's typically excellent article in today's Racing Post.  He focussed on the woes of David Crosse, a good jockey and excellent man, who hasn't been able to take a trick in recent months (and who is seen here schooling Frankie/Douchkirk at the Links this autumn) and then moved on to the travails of battling jockeys and trainers in general.  "Training and riding racehorses involves an awful lot of fruitless journeys, defeats and disappointments.  I look at some trainers and jockeys and wonder how they survive, and what keeps them going.  For many, the answer lies in the horses and the people, a passion and a way of life".  Couldn't have put it better myself.

The real highlight of the paper, of course, was the story of one of the late Major Dick Hern's former lads, who was sacked from the stable in the '70s for reasons which have become lost in the mists of time and who has now, aged 75, gone to jail for four years for stealing £154,000 and losing it betting (mainly in fruit machines, including in Las Vegas).  This story is odd enough, but the real highlight (for me, anyway) was the sentence which added the little nugget of extra information that he is a Conservative local councillor - as if one of us would do such things!  That little snippet brought a smile to my face - although, even when one is dog-tired after a late return from the last race at a Wolverhampton evening meeting, the morning doesn't need too much brightening when it already looks like this.

No comments: