Monday, December 15, 2014

Back to the fray

I'm going to have to keep my wits about me tomorrow as we have two runners, one at Southwell and one at Kempton, and that's 20 days since our last runners, so I'll have forgotten what to do.  You might think I'm joking, and of course I haven't really forgotten what to do; but it's not really a joke, because one does get out of the habit, and I'll have to concentrate throughout to make sure that I don't forget something, either when it comes to packing for the trip or when we're at the races.  Still, paying attention isn't impossible, so let's hope that things run smoothly.

Energia Eros will be the first runner, in the 1.25 at Southwell.  We've been allowed to write our own ticket on each of his two previous runs for the stable, but tomorrow he looks set to go off at a single-figure SP, the Racing Post betting forecast having put him in as the 8/1 third favourite.  As this implies, he'll be taking a massive drop in class; but, even so, it will be a difficult race for him to win as the odds-on favourite Reve De Nuit is highly-rated and virtually unbeatable in these claimers around Southwell.  Still, Energia is in good form, physically and mentally, and we'll give it our best shot.

The big ace up our sleeve at Southwell tomorrow will be our jockey: my favourite jockey John Egan has all of a sudden become a regular on British racecourses again after a gap of several years, and has been riding winners left, right and centre over the past week or so.  Energia is very good at making sure that he doesn't overtire himself - but if anyone is capable of getting him to put his head in front on the line, Egan will be our man.  Let's hope, therefore, that it proves to be a feasible task.

Let's also hope that getting Roy's head in front is feasible, because again I feel that we have the right man for the job on board.  Hector Crouch rode Roy really well three weeks ago and we have the same conditions for tomorrow's race (for apprentices who had not ridden more than 10 winners at the start of the winter season) so I was delighted to be able to book him again.  I believe that he was offered a couple of other rides in the race, so it's very good that he's riding Roy.  And it's very good in this case too to see a horse who generally goes off at around 50/1 forecast to start at single-figure odds.

What's also good is that again we have drawn the perfect barrier for Roy.  As he can be restive in the stalls, I was delighted to find last time that he'd landed 14 of 14; and similarly tomorrow we have found ourselves with the gate I'd have chosen anyway, 10 of 11.  (The odd numbers, of course, are loaded first, so the highest even number is the best one to draw if one wants one's horse to be loaded late).  That is just so very, very lucky.  So again I can say that if unforeseen circumstances were to force us to scratch, any conspiracy theorists who exchanged knowing looks and muttered about high draws would be as wide of the mark as they usually are.

As you can tell from this chapter's illustrations, we've been having some lovely weather.  Or, rather, Saturday was a truly divine day, notwithstanding the fact that it began with a reasonably hard frost and then remained cold all day, to the extent that the frost didn't melt in areas which remained shaded.  But it really was glorious in the unrelenting sunshine.  A joy to be alive.  The first five photographs are from Saturday morning (with Roy's shadow in the second and his ears in the third, and then Fen Flyer's ears in the fourth and fifth) while this last photograph (of Roy's ears again) shows that it was almost similarly splendid for a small part of today.

No comments: