Friday, July 17, 2015

Roy's so naughty, but ... bless him!

Another long gap between chapters, and I can only partly blame my traumatic trip to Epsom last Thursday for my silence.  Gee, Roy can be a bugger.  He's the most smashing horse, and he ran another good race at Epsom last week to finish third - but he's so naughty. The trip to Epsom was a nightmare.  We had left in plenty of time, so I decided to go around the west side of London on the M25, rather than the more obvious way via Dartford, because I heard on the radio that the traffic was terrible in the Dartford area.

We had loads of time, and we kept chugging along nicely.  Coming that way, one can get off the M25 at Junction 9, rather than Junction 8 with which I am more familiar, but that's fine - I'd been that way previously, and you just go through Ashtead, past Woodcote Stud and in through Langley Vale.  What could be easier?  Well, it transpired that getting lost was easier, and getting stuck in a traffic jam in Epsom High Street was easier.  With any other horse that would be fine, but Roy's can be a nightmare if the box doesn't keep moving.

It was like having an exploding box of heavyweight frogs in the back of the truck, to the extent that I was thinking that we ought to unload him just off the High Street and lead him the mile and a half up to the course.  Pedestrians on the pavement were stopping and staring at the box, so loud was the sound of his crashing about in there.  Anyway, we did get to the racecourse, with no damage worse than a badly grazed face on Roy, quite a nasty gash on his off-fore fetlock, and my bridle broken - which was the best result of all, because it was a chilling reminder that, if it could be broken that easily, the reins could instead have broken riding out any morning.  Roy put years on me in the last half an hour of that journey, but he could have saved my life!

Anyway, predictably he wasn't at all bothered, and went on to run another very sound race, finishing third in the best race he has ever contested.  He's a smashing little horse: six run this season for three wins, two seconds and a third, and he's done his best every time.  I've always said that I love going to Epsom, and basically that's true.  But after last Thursday's visit, which was another lovely evening at the races at this most special of racecourses, I'll amend my observation by saying that I always love being at Epsom, even if the going there hasn't always been a pleasure.

That was our second outing of the week, and both were evening meetings.  I was wiped out by the end of it, especially as it came in what is one of the mayor's busiest weeks of the year.  I'd intended to go up to the July Course on the Saturday afternoon (July Cup Day) but that plan went by the board when I ended Saturday morning in the stable feeling as flat as the proverbial s**tcarter's hat.  So a Saturday afternoon in the armchair was the only option.  And I even managed to keep my eyes open for part of it.

This week has been more straightforward, largely because we have had no runners.  We only had one entry - Cottesloe at Haydock tomorrow - but ended up deciding not to run him.  It would have been perfect to run him as it is his owner Stewart Brown's local course, but we ended up deciding that it was a stronger race than we need to be running in, and that under the circumstances it would probably make sense with what is quite a lean horse to give him a bit longer between races.  He won't run next week, but I hope that he will run the week after that.

We might have a runner or two next week - Senator Matt, Grand Liaison and Roy already hold entries, although the lovely weather probably means that the first two of those won't run, and Hymn For The Dudes will be entered - which might be good.  After all, while we've been in good form so far this season, a run of good form will inevitably grind to a halt if one doesn't have any runners.  So that'll be good, like the weather - and like the lovely article which Nick Godfray wrote for today's Racing Post subsequent to his visit here last Friday.  It was a pleasure spending a couple of hours with him then, and a further pleasure this morning to read the Racing Post and see a reminder of just what a great feature-writer he is.

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