Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back on line

Oh dear, a long time between chapters, if not drinks.  And I do have a genuine excuse this time, on to which I shall come later in this post.  It's so long since I last wrote a chapter that I can't remember what I wrote on that occasion, but I fear that it was before the highlight of last week, which was Grand Liaison's excellent win under Silvestre De Sousa at Doncaster on the Monday.  (That was eight days ago, but it seems longer).  Anyway, that was lovely - and I can just about say that I have official confirmation for my claim that it was an excellent win, bearing in mind that we discovered today that her rating has been raised by 10lb because of it.

That 10lb rise seems harsh, but time will tell on that score.  We won't, though, have a definite judgement on that immediately (although, I suppose, we might do, if one thinks about it) because she won't run off her new mark next time out: running off a 6lb penalty before her new mark kicks in seems a good idea, especially in this unsettled weather (weather which this four-seasons-in-one-day photograph from this morning illustrates quite well) which should produce suitable ground, so she can go to Haydock on Friday, theoretically 4lb well in, but in practice ... (and we can fill that blank in after the race has been run).

We won't start worrying about Friday, though, just yet, as we will have a couple of runners before then.  It should, of course, have been more than that, but the Dreaded Eliminator has struck again.  I keep trying to get the message across that the supposed problem of small fields could be considerably reduced if the large block of horses who have been disenfranchised (older handicappers rated below 55) were allowed to run more than once every three months.  However, I might as well beat my head against a brick wall as try to get any races programmed for horses such as Magic Ice, who was one of 14 horses eliminated from a race at Nottingham on Thursday.  I think that the next entry I make for her will be for a race on 19th July.

Anyway, even without her running, we'll still have two runners between now and Friday. They (Tommy aka Platinum Proof, and Roy) will be at Lingfield tomorrow.  Tommy ran last week, the day after Grand Liaison won at Doncaster. She had taken our record for the 6-week-old turf season to four winners from four runners, but he brought us down to earth with a thump the next day at Great Leighs (which now masquerades as 'Chelmsford City', and which comes up on the weather page on one's telephone as 'Little Leighs', which is arguably a more suitable tag, although I must say that any course which provides free meals for all the stable staff - as this racecourse, uniquely, seems to do - merits a good word of praise).

That trip to Great Leighs / Little Leighs / Chelmsford City saw Tommy (pictured in the previous two paragraphs with our friend Joanna Patajuk, who was kind enough to visit us on Sunday) return from what he had probably thought was retirement, or at least permanent gardening leave, but which in fact was only an 18-month let-up.  And he showed just what he thought of his emergence from hibernation by acting as if he was still on holiday, trailing around in a dismal last.  This photograph (taken after the race, not before it, as you might have thought) shows how little effort he made, and I'm hoping that he might pull his finger out a bit more tomorrow in his new blue hat.

So that's what's coming up.  I also hope that we have some good weather coming up.  We've had some, but at the same time the past couple of days have been archetypal April days (in May): ever changeable.  When it's been sunny it's been lovely (as in this picture of a few Saeed bin Suroor horses on the Heath on Sunday morning shows, as does the following chapter's photograph of a few of Luca's horses walking onto Railway Land four days previously) but when the rain has been hammering down it has been less lovely.  What have been good, though, have been two things which happened yesterday.

The second thing which happened was that I was unanimously elected (by the town's 18 Town Councillors, of which I am one) to be Mayor of Newmarket for the next year, which is a real honour.  I'm very proud to be holding this position; and I just hope that I can do justice to it, to the Town Council and, most importantly, to the town itself.  The first thing which happened was arguably less significant (or, one should say, even more insignificant) in that I collected my computer from the computer-mender's shop.  No big deal?  Well, life-changing, I'd say, because it's now almost as good as new again (as opposed to virtually unusable) so I hope that again I can start to find things like writing chapters for this blog a pleasure, rather than a nightmare.  And, I hope, the chapters again shall be less infrequent.  (And that, of course, is my excuse for having done so little recently).

No comments: