Friday, June 19, 2015

Hope in our hearts

Tomorrow is the last day of Royal Ascot, so we'll have our last runner of the week.  That won't be at Royal Ascot, of course, just as the others have not been.  We've been Nottingham on Monday and Chelmsford AW on Wednesday, and now we'll be Lingfield AW on Saturday.  Little fish are sweet as the late, great W. A. Stephenson supposedly used to say; but, of course, they're only sweet if you catch them, which we didn't at Nottingham or Little Leighs (local weather report from my phone explains the re-naming of the racecourse formerly known as Great Leighs) as both horses finished last.  So I hope that things will be different tomorrow.  In fact, I think that Cottesloe has a chance, and I'd be mortified were he to complete a treble of last places for us.  So that's a tip.  BUT ... I must add two cautionary notes.

A few summers ago Jack Dawson won a race at Chepstow on a Friday night, ridden by a 7lb-claimer called George Baker who could ride at 7 stone 7lb, which shows how long ago it was.  Anyway, a horsebox driver had seen me eating my dinner in the canteen earlier in the evening, and accosted me quite aggresively afterwards, saying, "You never told me that that was going to win!".  What an idiot, particularly as he was a trainer's son so ought to have known what a stupid observation that was.  When I told him that I hadn't known that the horse was going to win, he countered with, "Well, you must have thought that he had a chance" - to which my answer was, "Well, yes, of course I thought that he had a chance, but that ought to have gone without saying: it's the middle of the night on a Friday and we're 200 miles from home, and no one would go to the inconvenience of bringing a horse to the races under those circumstances unless he thought that the horse had a chance."

So the gist of it is that, while I think that Cottesloe will run very well tomorrow, you shouldn't read too much into that, for two reasons.  Firstly, I wouldn't be taking Cottesloe to Lingfield for the 9.00 on a Saturday, to get home around midnight, if I didn't think that he had a chance - but, by the same token, one could make the same observation about every other trainer in the race.  So we're no more fancied than any of the others.  (Which, of course, is the case with nearly every runner we or anyone else has: leaving aside debutants, horses going through the process of qualifying for handicaps and horses such as Koreen who are running in suitable races to demonstrate to the handicapper that they are badly handicapped, one only runs horses if one thinks that they have a chance of winning.)

Secondly, the fact that I think that a horse will run well not only doesn't mean that he/she will necessarily win; it doesn't necessarily even mean that he/she will run well.  Tommy in the last race at Nottingham on Monday night was in exactly the same boat.  There's no way that I'd have been 100 miles from home for the last race at an evening meeting if I didn't think that the horse might win.  And what happened?  He finished last, 17 lengths behind the second last horse, and 48 lengths behind the winner.  So what's going to happen tomorrow?  God only knows.  But we'll be travelling with hope in our hearts, as always.

Tommy's OK after the race, by the way, as this paragraph's photograph, taken yesterday, suggests.  (The side of) his little face also appears in the second paragraph, passing the time of day with tomorrow's runner Cottesloe in Hamilton Road last month,  Cottesloe then appears in the third paragraph messing around in the field with Panto last month, and then again in the fourth paragraph, walking through the trees by the Bury Road depot yesterday with Fen Lady (nearside), the latter presumably proud of the fact that her paternal half-brother Road To Paris was going to win the Ascot Gold Cup merely a handful of hours later.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

when is a tip not a tip

nice work jb see john was up again must say people rave about frankie and roger moores grandson but I wonder if they sould win on some ofthe beasts mr egan cajoles over theline because I am certain he would win on the superstars they have been seen on this week