Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy Noo Year for William

We're still on zero for the year, but that's OK.  Magic Ice was our first runner for 2015 when racing at Kempton on Wednesday (7th January) and, while she didn't finish in the frame, she ran adequately, finishing about 3.75 lengths behind the winner.  She can be too keen in a race if she sees daylight, and unfortunately John Egan was not able to get her covered up until they had gone about two furlongs.  She was drawn one, which is rarely a good draw on the AW; and she jumped faster than the horses in two and three, so it seemed to take forever for anything to come across in front of her, not least because of the AW rule that horses have to keep straight until they have passed a pole approximately 100m after the start.  Still, she did well under the circumstances (ie having over-raced in the first half of the race) not to weaken more than she did - and the icing on the cake is that she seems to have come out of the race in good shape.

I've entered her again this week and I would imagine that she will run at Wolverhampton on Friday. If she does, then God willing she will, having been our first runner of the year, also become our third runner of the year, following Roy (whose ears can be seen on the right, looking over Southfields just before dawn today, with the Rowley Mile grandstand in the distance) being our second runner when competing at Kempton on Wednesday.  So let's head into this week with optimism - and we can take heart from the fact that Britain 's most under-appreciated jockey, William Kennedy, finally seems to be enjoying some of the support and success which he deserves.

As an unfashionable trainer, one does at times become dispirited by how hard it is to attract patronage to the stable, while other trainers, including some of little obvious merit, seem to find it a piece of cake to persuade people to spend fortunes on filling their stables.  However, any time I am tempted to feel had done by, I only have to look around me to see plenty of other trainers in the same boat.  My idea of the best trainer in Newmarket (Stuart Williams) never has one of the biggest nor most talented strings in the town, while it is easy to spot many other trainers, based hereabouts or elsewhere, who were conspicuously successful during 2014 (including, off the top of my head, Michael Wigham, Alan Bailey, Chris Dwyer, Charlie McBride, Jim Goldie and Dianne Sayer) who also receive far less recognition and patronage than they deserve.

The situation is similar among the jockeys, with several of those who struggle to ride 10% of the totals of winners partnered by the most successful jockeys (and who rarely even get a ride in a big race, never mind a winner) being no less skilled, effective or professional than their more fashionable colleagues. Top of this list is our jockey William Kennedy (pictured on Douchkirk at the Links a couple of years ago, on Russian Link at Fontwell in November and on Wasabi at Fakenham last winter) whom I regard as being as good as anyone in the land but who really must feel as if he is banging his head against a wall for most of the time.

Happily, though, the tide seems at last to be turning for William, who rode his second double of 2015 at Kempton yesterday when having two rides and winning on both of them, getting home by a short head and a head on 12/1 shot Lost Legend for Jonjo O'Neill and by a short head on 6/1 shot Ardkilly Witness, riding for the top-class trainer who is generally referred to on television as Dr Richard Nooland, it seemingly having now become as common among media types to pronounce 'new' as 'noo' as it is to pronounce 't' as 'd' (which latter habit was so memorably highlighted during Alan Partridge's on-air banter with his BBC Radio Norfolk colleague/bete noir Dave Clifton/Clifdon.  That was lovely to see, showing that just occasionally, to quote Roger Waters in 'It's A Miracle', 'an honest man finally reaps what he has sown".

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