Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Seven days between posts this time, which again is poor.  This time I have a sort of excuse.  Senator Matt ran early evening at Kempton last Wednesday.  He struggled again, but then again he'll find it easier in future now that he will no longer have to run against some very good horses in maiden races. Anyway, about half an hour after his race I was walking through the stable yard when my throat started to feel very uncomfortable.  Sure enough, I was developing a cold - which turned out to be rather more than a cold, and for a few days I didn't feel well at all. There are some things one does unless it is impossible (riding out, stable-work, admin, writing my three weekly columns) and some things one puts to one side (this, eating) if one is struggling.

Anyway, that week's gap means that this chapter gets written within a week of the Festival.  I'm coping better with the run-up to the Festival better this year (a) because RUK have realised that it is no compulsory to talk about it all the time and (b) because we now get the on-line edition of the Racing Post, which means that it's more feasible to overlook the overkill.  I'm really looking forward to it, not least because my XII to follow list is doing quite well and I ought to collect a lot of points during the meeting.  There are ten of my twelve who, I presume, are intended runners there, while it wouldn't be a total shock if the other two ran (The Druid's Nephew and Unanimite) although, saying that, I haven't looked to see if they hold any entries.  Obviously if they do not hold entries, then it would be a total shock of they ran.

Much, though, that I'm looking forward to Cheltenham, I'm looking forward to a few other other meetings more, ie the ones at which we will have runners.  That's the beauty of having one's own horses: the anticipation never wears off so, and, I can assure you, the excitement of a low-grade meeting at which one has a runner is greater than the excitement of a major meeting at which one doesn't.  And I write that as  racing addict, who finds the big meetings really, really exciting.  Mind you, one can assume that the big meetings will take place, while one can never guarantee one's own participation at any meeting.

The first meeting in March for me to look forward to was Kempton, 4th March, ie today. That hasn't happened (well, the meeting is taking place, but without us) as Roy was one of 11 horses eliminated from his race.  (Which is food for thought when one considers the supposed small-fields problem).  Wolverhampton 6th March, ie Friday, was going to be even more exciting as we had two entries: Tommy (Platinum Proof), who hasn't run since 2013, and Magic Ice, in the same race.  Another damp squib, I'm afraid: I decided yesterday that, to my surprise, Tommy probably needs to wait a short while longer before resuming, while I'd say that Magic Ice is odds-on to be eliminated, notwithstanding that Tommy not being declared makes it easier for her to get in.

Wolverhampton 10th March is the next day of excitement, partially because it is the first day of the Festival but more particularly because Fen Flyer will have an entry at Wolverhampton.  That's Champion Hurdle Day - and Gold Cup Day will also be a day to anticipate, not merely for the Gold Cup but also because I might enter Tommy at Wolverhampton's evening meeting. If I do indeed do that, it goes without saying which race will be uppermost in my mind that day.  Roy might end up having an entry at Kempton on 18th March, and I suppose I ought to dig out another race for Magic Ice if indeed she does fall foul of the eliminator's axe this morning.

Arguably the most exciting race of the month, though, might be the mares' bumper at Bangor on 21st March, which has been pencilled in for Near Wild Heaven's debut.  And, as things stand at present, I would currently regard her as more likely to run in that race than not to do so.  So that's March.  The month has begun with bright and breezy, as one would hope, with some wonderful great drying conditions, just as one hopes for the advent of spring.  However, the wind has been very, very cold the past couple of days, and I see that there have been significant snow-falls not that far north of here.  But we're told to expect temperatures of 15 degrees at the weekend, which is a truly wonderful thought.  Nearly as exciting as the racing, in fact!

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