Friday, July 24, 2015

A most welcome guest

A week between posts again, I'm afraid.  When I last posted, we had decided against declaring Cottesloe up at Haydock as the race looked like being unnecessarily competitive.  That seemed fair enough when the declarations came out, as the majority of the 12 runners were set to go into the race in very good form.  I was, therefore, somewhat taken aback to find that there were eight non-runners in the race!  That was not what I had expected or wanted to see, but I suppose the way to look at it is that a total of 29 non-runners over six races suggests that the general feeling was that the ground was not in satisfactory condition, so it would be wrong to waste too much time over worrying about the fact that we didn't run on it.

The funny thing about all those non-runners on a day when the ground was apparently fairly firm is that there had never been any prospect of the meeting being run on a wet track.  Cottesloe's race had been one which would have suited Grand Liaison had there been cut in the ground, but I didn't even enter her because I couldn't see any chance of the ground being right for her.  Furthermore, at no stage in the week was I regretting the fact that she was not in the race, because it never looked like being run on anything other than fast ground.  So, presumably, the horses who were declared were ones who should be OK on fast ground - which suggests that conditions must have been very firm indeed.  So probably just as well that we didn't run anything on it.

Annoyingly, Grand Liaison was entered for three races this week, but we didn't declare her for any as the chances of cut in the ground seemed very slim at all venues.  What is really annoying is that there is a lovely race for her at Newcastle tomorrow (Saturday) but it's fast ground up there, with all the forecasts adamant that it is going to remain dry there until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest.  Not so down here, where we're getting a good drenching today, which means that we won't be worrying about fast ground when we run Hymn For The Dudes in the second race at the July Course this evening.  It's just a pity that the race for Grand Liaison tomorrow is at Newcastle rather than Newmarket (or Ascot, where it is already soft) - while at the end of next week there is an ideal race for her at Newmarket, but it will probably have dried up by then!

So that's the outlook: no runners last week and only one this week (Hymn For The Dudes tonight), and after all the lovely weather we'll probably be soaked when we are at the races this evening.  But that's OK.  And he ought to run a nice race, so it'll be even more OK if he does.  Apart from that, today has been most notable for the fact that we've waved goodbye to Aaron Lau, who arrived here on 31st May and who has been part of the team from that day to this one.  It's been an absolute delight to have Aaron here, and what is so nice is that I am certain that everyone whose path he has crossed here would say the same thing.

Aaron's father Joe is a trainer in Macau, and I am sure that Aaron in the fullness of time will be a very good trainer too.  He's currently one year through a degree course in equine science and thoroughbred management course at Oxford Brooks University, and I hope that the few weeks which he has spent here have helped to further his education.  One area in which his education has definitely gone well over the past few weeks has been riding, and I hope that he has honed other skills too.

I was chuckling about one thing.  John Egan, who used to ride in Macau in the '90s and who knows Aaron's parents, called into the stable when Aaron had only been here a few days.  He asked Aaron if he could ride, to which Aaron replied, "Not really".  John's response was, "Well, you will by the time you leave here" - and John's prediction has proved spot on.  Anyway, I hope that Aaron has picked up a few other things too while he's been here, but there's one thing which he won't have needed to pick up: getting on well with people.  He'd clearly mastered that art ages ago, and we'll all miss him.

1 comment:

Roger Vicarage said...

It was a delight to meet Aaron whilst he was working at the yard John!