Monday, April 20, 2015

We're orrfff - and inspired?

We are indeed off to Brighton tomorrow, but needless to say common sense has prevailed (or my innate caution has intervened) and it is only Roy (seen here eight days ago, naughty as ever) who is running.  I didn't declare Magic Ice, which surely was the correct decision.  One gets enough disappointments when picking horses who one thinks will handle Brighton, only to find that they don't show their form there - without sending horses there who are obvious candidates not to handle the track.  Roy, though, ought not to mind the undulations (after all, he ran well on the round course at Lingfield on the grass as a three-year-old) so that's OK.  We'll find out tomorrow whether he, too, ought to have remained at home; but for now I'm happy that he's going there and will thus be our first runner for a month, and our first Flat turf runner for the year.

We could then have our second Flat turf runner of the year four days later as today I entered Grand Liaison for Leicester on Saturday.  She won't run if the word 'firm' appears in the going description, which means that she wouldn't have run if the racing had been today - or tomorrow, or Wednesday, or Thursday, come to that.  But the Countryfile forecast yesterday evening said that, while this lovely weather (as shown by these next two photographs taken on Saturday morning) should continue up to and including Wednesday, things might change thereafter; and Friday and Saturday could be very wet days.  If so, she could run.  So that could be something to look forward to - but firstly we'll just get tomorrow out the way.

Mention of Grand Liaison's possible race on Saturday reminds me that it provides a classic example of the dire straits in which racing finds itself.  Everything is all fine and dandy, of course, because the handful of stables supported by international billionaires are overflowing with horses, and thus horse numbers remain OKish. But run-of-the-mill domestic ownership, ie the bedrock - well, that's a different story.  Take this race, for example.  56-70, for four-year-olds and upwards, ie aimed at the middle-of-the-road older handicapper who ought to be the staple.  Leicester: middle of the country, more or less convenient for everyone.  A mile and a quarter: middle of the distance range, ditto.  Saturday: perfect.  Ground should be goodish.  And there haven't been many such races thus far: it's only the second possibility pencilled in on Grand Liaison's list, and it is four weeks into the season.  So how many entries?  Sixty?  No: sixteen.  If that doesn't ring alarm bells in BHA HQ, then nothing will.

But we won't worry about that at present - we'll just concentrate on our trip to the seaside tomorrow.  I hope that Roy is fired up about it.  He ought to be, as he should have been inspired by his exercise yesterday.  Sundays are good as the Heath is fairly empty, and the handful of horses around are either running in the week or so good that their trainers treat them differently and don't let them have a day off.  I only rode two horses yesterday, of which Roy (running two days later) was the first.  We probably only saw fewer than 20 horses all exercise, but they included two of the most distinguished horses in town - Rizeena, winner of the Queen Mary, Moyglare Stud Stakes and Coronation Stakes, and pictured here seven days previously, following her regular mate Afkar; and Gospel Choir, winner of the Jockey Club  Stakes and Yorkshire Cup - so I came home thinking, "Bloody hell, Roy, if that doens't inspire you finally to get your head in front, nothing will."  So let's hope that he has indeed been thus inspired.  Tomorrow will tell.

1 comment:

Brian Jones said...

Well Done, John and Roy, very pleasing to see...