Tuesday, March 25, 2014

C'est la vie

Meteorological highlight of this week was yesterday, and in particular yesterday morning.  We had one of this past winter's few frosts at dawn yesterday morning when the temperature was minus 3 and everything was white, but the sun rose so splendidly that we didn't have the chance to feel cold: the frost didn't last long as the crystal-clear skies overflowed with sunshine, which lasted more of less all day, which was really, really nice.  I took several lovely photographs, some of which adorn this chapter.

We had a runner yesterday - Wasabi at Towcester, who was unplaced but not totally disgraced - but I didn't go to the races as I had a long-standing hospital appointment to have a check-up after my hernia operation of 3rd February (which, happily, seems to have gone very well).  I'll be going to Kempton tomorrow when we have our second and final runner of the week, Indira running in a mile-and-a-quarter handicap, ridden by Jim Crowley, a jockey who has a terrific record for the stable.

Our jockey yesterday was David Crosse, and what was lovely was that today he rode his first winner of the season.  Well, it's not lovely that it was his first winner of the season as the season's nearly over - but what's lovely is that, as it was looking as if he was going to have drawn a blank for campaign, he is now on the score-sheet after all.  The Cold Jockeys' list in the Racing Post tells me that he'd gone 142 rides and 366 days since his last winner, which is terribly undeserving as he's a good jockey and a good man too.

We'll appear on the Cold  Trainer's list in tomorrow's paper (I think it's 28 or 29 consecutive losers spread over 31 weeks) so let's hope that we can follow suit in leaving the dreaded chart.  It is terribly demoralizing for both trainers and jockeys that there can be some in each category who are overwhelmed with patronage and success, and others - effectively doing the same thing in the same way - who find it very, very hard to take even the occasional trick.  But that's life, I suppose.

That was why it was so nice to see Joe Akehurst salute the judge on Saturday.  Like David Crosse, Joe really does not deserve to be so ignored, but I am  pretty sure that not only was that his first winner of this season, but also that he didn't ride one last term.  It's so tough - as I was reminded when I bumped into Matthew Salaman in the stable yard at Stratford.  Matthew, a very nice man and excellent horseman, was getting his own horse ready for our race - only he doesn't train him himself now, as he's given up the unequal struggle and has put the horse with Alastair Lidderdale.

Matthew made a really good start when he took over the stable of his father Taffy a few years ago, showing that he is a good trainer and seemingly showing himself to have a good career as a trainer ahead of him. Sadly, we now know that things didn't turn out that way, but I was really pleased to see him as I hadn't seen him for a while, and to see that he's still involved with the game - even if the pleasure was tinged with a reminder of how unjustly harsh this game can be at times.


David Winter said...

John, your photos are truly stunning and thank you for them. They are most appreciated.
I remember seeing you in December, and you seemed careworn and troubled. Although It might have been my un-timIey intrusion when you were in the middle of your accounts .I apologize if that was the case.I think being a trainer must be one of the m
ost trying occupations ever and a great builder of character.....a bit like self flagalation.

David Winter said...

That's ....."flagellation"...oop,s

M Anderson said...

Well Jim Couldn't have gone much closer on Indira and was unlucky not to hold on for 2nd. Cracking run!

John Berry said...

Thanks David. I like the self-flagellation simile!

Yes, thanks, Mick. They always seem to run very well when we have Jim on board.