Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy week

I was really pleased with Russian Link's hurdles debut on Sunday at Fontwell.  Of the eight runners, four had proven good hurdles form, but of the other four there were three who looked ordinary, plus Russian Link, who had never run over jumps but whose Flat form was atrocious, hence her being the complete outsider of the field.  She's capable of much better than her Flat form: she just hadn't tried in her AW runs last year, as anyone who had seen the races could have worked out (the clue being that, having been off the bridle and tailed off virtually from the start, she didn't slow down when the jockey finally stopped pushing her, but actually ran on and passed a couple).  So I'd hoped that she'd prove better than the three whose National Hunt form suggested that they weren't particularly good, despite their being at shorter prices in the betting than she was.

But she didn't only do that; she also beat one of the four who had already shown some ability over jumps.  In fact, on the home turn she looked as if she might beat them all, but for some reason she seemed to get a bit unbalanced coming off the turn and her jockey seemed to lose a stirrup for a few strides; and she didn't seem to be going so well after that.  But it was her first run of 2014, so she was entitled to get get tired, which she clearly did because she blew hard after the race.  So fourth was a very pleasing start to her jumps career - even if fourth isn't the position you ideally covet when you've had a good each-way bet at 100/1!

So that was lovely.  She might have a future after all, and she seemed to enjoy every stage of the day.  As did I, because I had a couple of further bonuses, over and above taking a nice horse to run well on lovely ground (as predicted!) at a nice course on a lovely late summer's day in a beautiful part of the country.  It's always good to bump into Isabel Tompsett, who has done so well to get herself going again after that awful fall at Fakenham a couple of years ago; and I also had the pleasure of an even more heart-warming meeting as it was the first time that I'd seen my old boss/mentor Andy Turnell since his stroke a year or more ago.  He too has done very well to get himself back into good shape, and it was a source of true joy to see him looking so well and in such good form, and to have a great chat with him.  When you see good people smiling as they fight back against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, the day is a good one, irrespective of how the land lies in one's one corner.

So that got the week off to a very good start, not least because it kept up our record of having the large majority of our runners this year finish in the first four.  That has proved to be our only outing of the week because this lovely warm, dry weather is persisting, which means that the only other horse who was entered this week, Zarosa, isn't going anywhere at present.  So we're left to enjoy the nice weather here - and also to enjoy a red-letter day for Newmarket yesterday with the unveiling of the Bill Tutte Memorial in the High Street.

The next time you're in Newmarket High Street, you'll see this outside the Rutland Arms.  It looks very good, and it's a very good thing, honouring the memory of one of Newmarket's finest sons.  Bill Tutte was born in Fitzroy Stables where his father (who subsequently became the Rutland Arms' gardener, the Rutland at the time having its own garden, on the site now occupied by T K Maxx and formerly occupied by Waitrose, in which it grew its own vegetables and flowers) was gardener.  Bill Tutte received no recognition for his feats in his lifetime, but we now know that he was one of the key figures in Bletchley Park, responsible for cracking the Tunny code and devising the Lorenz cipher machine.  And now he is honoured in his home town, which is lovely.

Illustrating this chapter we have a photograph of the track at Fontwell, on which the surface was as kind and well-maintained as it appears from the apparent lushness of the grass.  We also have a photograph of Russian Link and David Crosse coming in after the race, and one of the Bill Tutte unveiling.  And then we have three photographs taken on the Heath this week, showing what a lovely spell of weather we are having, even if it hasn't been quite as splendid every day as it was on Monday morning, during the first lot of which these three photographs were taken.  And I'll leave you with a final thought: of the four meetings tomorrow, we have Salisbury with its longest race just short of 10 furlongs and its second longest race a mile, and we have Sandown with its longest race just over 10 furlongs and its second longest race just over a mile.  It's always good to see that at least half of the day's cards are permissible under the current rules.

1 comment:

M Anderson said...

Good to see a nice feature from the BBC too
all about Bill Tutte