Friday, October 03, 2014

Best turned out!

I assume that Fiddler's Dram were referring to the other Bangor - the resort on the north Welsh coast over towards Anglesey, rather than the one only just inside Wales, halfway between Whitchurch and Wrexham - when they sang, 'Didn't we have a lovely time the day we went to Bangor?'.  But, even so, they'd have had as lovely a time had they been at Bangor-on-Dee yesterday.  It was heavenly!

It's been really warm, day and night, over this side of the country, and the air was was noticeably cooler over on the west yesterday.  But, even if it was cooler over there, it was still warm, and overall it was just the most beautiful autumn day.  It wasn't entirely unbroken sunshine, but it was largely sunny, and the clouds which did sometimes adorn the sky made the views even more splendid.  The last 40 miles of the journey over there were lovely, as were the first 40 miles of the journey home; and being there was even better.

The icing on the cake was that Russian Link ran well to finish third.  She jumped well and did her best, and enjoyed doing so; and, while the first two finished a long way ahead of her, that was no disgrace as they are both good mares.  And Russian Link finished a long way ahead of the fourth.  The ground was faster than she probably would ideally like, and it was faster than I like to see for jumps racing, but she still ran her race and appears to have come home undamaged.  Although on the fast side of good, the ground was in very good condition, and the groundsmen had clearly done a decent job of providing a good surface after a very dry period.

Again, the GoingStick reading (6.5) was rather a mystery.  In general that figure would imply some cut underfoot; and, set against the historical readings for Bangor over the past few years, this figure suggested that, if the ground were on one side or other of good, it would have been been on the soft side, which it definitely wasn't.  But, as I say, no harm was done, thanks to the turf having been as well tended as the rest of this lovely racecourse.

The further bonus of the day was that I'd just taken Russian Link up there on my own so was leading her up myself - and happily found myself the recipient of the best-turned-out prize, Russian Link having been adjudged to be the most smartly presented runner in the race.  This was both a bonus and a brahma: in general, my name and the phrase 'well turned out', applied either to myself or to my mount, are famously unlikely to feature in the same sentence.  That generalization, of course, is rather misleading, as I will always make a horse look very smart if I'm getting ready to lead him/her around a racecourse parade ring.

Anyway, I was delighted to collect the prize - and then the supposedly ironic news of the award brought quite a few smiles to quite a few faces.  I did subsequently find myself reflecting, though, that the last best-turned-out award which I can recall winning (and I must add that I am sure that I have won some more in the interim - it is just that I can't specifically remember them) was with a horse ridden by Richard Rowe.  And I don't mean Richard Rowe who rode as an apprentice a few years ago and who now works for Ed Dunlop; I mean his father, who was Josh Gifford's next stable jockey after Bob Champion.  So maybe I really am as infrequent a 'best-turned-out' winner as popular myth would imply!

As the final three photographs suggest, today has been another gorgeous day here.  Sadly, the forecast suggests it might be the last, possibly of the year.


neil kearns said...

Somewhere in the recesses I thought you won a best turned out on one of the Yorkshire tracks on a very sunny day about ten years ago - seem to remember you beaming all round the paddock that day as well
Mrs K has decreed it is autumn as my summer sandals have been consigned to the wardrobe
We will know winter has arrived when you are forced to abandon shorts on the gallops for the year presuming your still wearing them nowadays

RP McArdle said...

Do your horses in training get paddock turn-out every day?

John Berry said...

Yes, they more or less all go out for a while every day.