Sunday, August 02, 2015

Running in the sun

We don't have many runners at our local racecourse - I'd have said that we mainly compete at Yarmouth and Folkestone, but sadly that doesn't seem to be an option at present - so it was lovely to have Grand Liaison run a really nice, really honest race to finish third at the July Course yesterday.  We just about got the weather right: thanks to the heavy shower on Thursday afternoon, the course managed not to dry out too much even with the weather turning lovely again from Friday onwards, and the ground was just perfect good ground.

It would have helped her had the heavens opened and the ground had been softer than good, because she is better on soft ground.  But she can cope fine with genuine good ground, and that's exactly what it was.  And, as one would hope and expect for running on good ground, she seems to have come home fine.  So that's lovely.  And I hope that we'll have another nice run tomorrow, when Hymn For The Dudes heads off to Nottingham.  He's been in the second half of the field both times so far, but he has shown promise both times, and he must have a slight chance tomorrow.

We'll then be heading to Salisbury on Tuesday when Senator Matt runs at Salisbury.  For a while it looked as if he might not get in, but happily two races have been divided on the card and his race is the second of them, so he gets in on bottom weight in the second division, with nine runners in each division.  He should benefit from the step up to 14 furlongs and I hope that he can run well, with the prospect of the ground being firmer than he might like being the one fly in the ointment.  However, there was quite a bit of rain there last week and now the course is being watered, so fingers crossed he won't find the dryish track too much of a problem.

Later in the week we ought to have Roy heading to Brighton on Friday, the third and final day of the Brighton Festival.  Goodwood one week, and Lewes (now defunct, of course) and Brighton the next week made up Sussex fortnight.  Goodwood receives 99% of the spotlight, but the Brighton Festival is still a big deal for the many people who love that special little racecourse, and I'm really looking forward to heading down there with him.  It would have been nice to put Roy in the Brighton Cup, but that would have been unrealistic, so we'll go instead for a lower grade race over the same 12-furlong distance.

The problem is that this race is 3-year-olds and upwards, rather than 4-year-olds and upwards, and such races tend to be dominated by the relatively unexposed younger horses rather than the exposed older horses, who almost by definition are generally not so well handicapped.  Still, local knowledge is a big plus at Goodwood, and Roy certainly has that, even if giving a lot of weight away to some younger, and possibly potentially more talented, rivals might not be easy.  Still, it should be a pleasant trip come what may, just as long as Roy doesn't do anything stupid (which can't be guaranteed).

There is bound to be some good company down at Brighton.  There's always a jolly crowd there, and during the Festival it should be even jollier.  Newmarket yesterday also contained plenty of friendly faces.  One never minds being a minor place-getter when good people win the race, and you can see Brendan Powell in the fourth paragraph following in the winner of our race, Stock Hill Fair.  And in the fifth paragraph you can see two notable characters who always enjoy a good brahma, David Dineley and John Higgins.  My only regret is that I didn't get the third member of the group of ex-jockeys into the photograph, Colin Williams; those three could tell a few tales!

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