Saturday, November 01, 2014

Sunny October, sunny November (so far)

Zarosa's trip to Catterick on Tuesday was neither good nor bad.  She ran OK, neither better nor worse than that.  The race was very competitive, much more so than one would expect, and it probably wasn't the ideal track for her.  She finished about halfway down, at the back of the main group, and has come home in good shape, so no harm was done.  It's been a pity that she hasn't won on the Flat this season, but she has finished second twice and, in a relatively light campaign, has generally run respectably.  She can now go over hurdles, and has already begun her education for that role, Jack Quinlan having given her her first lesson yesterday (pictured).

When we headed up to Catterick, we left behind a lovely morning here (as shown in this paragraph, with the dogs overseeing a spot of farriery) but headed up to the wet part of the country, the first half of this week having seen a real north-south divide in that respect.  As it turned out, even Catterick was far enough south for us not to be totally drenched, the rain petering out as it moved down the country.  It reached here on Wednesday, but in a fairly half-hearted way; and, that one day aside, we have had a(nother) wonderful week.

Yesterday was, I believe, the warmest Hallowe'en ever recorded in Great Britain (it was supposed to have reached 21 degrees in south east England) and it was wonderfully sunny.  And today, the first day of November, has been similarly glorious and nearly as warm.  That's certainly made the autumn thus far very easy to swallow, because there have been plenty of years when it has felt as if winter had already arrived by this time.  This photograph taken yesterday morning actually underplays how nice the day was, but today's shot in the next makes it clear how lovely this morning ended up.

I'm writing this with the television switched on in front of me as we have a busy afternoon of National Hunt and Flat racing.  And it's a particularly busy one for me, as the Flat XII to follow competition which I run still has another week to run, while the jumps competition started a couple of weeks ago; so they're overlapping, which means that I need to concentrate on everything.  And I feel as if I'm overdosing today: the first Breeders' Cup race last night was not until 9.25 in the evening, so I just watched that and then recorded the rest, which meant an early start today mixing up the BC action with ATR's coverage of VRC Derby Day at Flemington.

I ought really not to be watching the sport on television this afternoon, though, because Dream Walker, the best horse whom Minnie's Mystery has bred (which means that he's the best horse whom I have bred), was running in the 2.00 at Newmarket, so I really should have gone up to the Rowley Mile to cheer him on.  But days are busy, so I just watched on television as that's easier - which meant that I had passed up the opportunity to be there when Dream Walker landed his best victory (to date) because he was really, really brave in battling his way to a photo-finish victory in a Class 3 81-95 handicap.  That was terrific - and let's just hope that his half-brother Roy, seen her enjoying today's sunshine, can eventually be inspired into pulling his socks up.

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