Monday, December 29, 2014

Post-Christmas frosts

It seems more than a week since we were at Fakenham with Russian Link, and more than six days since Senator Matt ran at Kempton.  But that's Christmas: there's plenty going on.  Christmas Day was Thursday, and today's Monday.  We went from mild weather to very wet weather (Friday evening into Saturday) and since then we've dipped below freezing, with the past two nights having seen fairly hard frosts.  And aside from all that weather, there have been all the usual Christmas things, which basically involves life as normal with a bit more to eat and, one hopes, a bit more TV to watch, including of course some very good racing.

We should have been watching racing live today as the plan was to go to Doncaster with Russian Link.  She did nothing at Fakenham last Sunday so it made sense to put her in another race sooner rather than later, not least because the glut of racing in the post-Christmas period suggested that there might be some relatively weak races around.  As it turned out, though, today's race would have been stronger than I was hoping, with nine of the 16 entrants having been declared, including several from stables which in general have good horses.

That's academic now, of course, as the track at Doncaster is frozen and snow-covered, so that fixture was abandoned yesterday afternoon - which was preferable to it being called off this morning, as it meant that we didn't have to tee ourselves up for a non-event or, worse, a wasted journey.  And I wasn't too disappointed not to be going, bearing in mind that the race looked stronger than I'd hoped.  And, of course, I adhere so strongly to the maxim that 'there's no place like home' that I can generally see a silver lining in any cloud which turns up to abort a trip away.

I am, though, looking forward to our trip to Lingfield tomorrow, when Fen Flyer (pictured on the right in the frosty sunshine in the stable yesterday) is set to run in the 3.00.  He's a five-year-old maiden, and obviously has a fair chance of being a six-year-old maiden come Thursday morning.  But that's not guaranteed, because he's much less exposed than most five-year-old maidens, and I feel that he should have a some sort of chance of winning tomorrow's race (although I haven't yet looked to see what chance the Racing Post gives him).

I feel that he has some ability and I'm happy with his condition, physical and mental; and he has John Egan riding him (his usual jockey Paddy Aspell being on the sidelines courtesy of his broken wrist) and, in general, the presence of John Egan on a horse's back is usually much more of an advantage than a disadvantage.  We'll hope for the best - and we'll hope that, with another frosty night forecast, Lingfield's Polytrack is proves more worthy of the description 'all-weather' than Southwell's new Fibresand surface, which couldn't cope with four degrees of frost last night.

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