Saturday, August 08, 2015

The taking part

Roy (pictured yesterday in the first four paragraphs) was arguably marginally disappointing in finishing third at a gloriously sun-drenched Brighton yesterday (and I say that solely on the basis that he had been favourite in the morning paper, and went off the second favourite) but he still ran a very good, honest race under top weight of 9 stone 10lb, off a rating higher than he has ever won off.  He did everything right throughout the day and he ran well and bravely; so that, allied to the fact that it was a lovely day spent in excellent company, meant that it was a really good trip.  When they run well and come home safely, I almost invariably go home happy - and that was indeed the case yesterday.

John Egan has been a massive factor in the surgence of Roy (I can't say 'resurgence', as he had never previously been in form) and we had to make do without him yesterday.  However, Martin Harley proved himself to be a very suitable substitute, and I will automatically call on him again for Roy on any future occasion when John is unavailable.  Things didn't go entirely according to plan in the race, but overall Martin showed that Roy goes really nicely for him. Roy, who can be very naughty and cheeky, behaved impeccably all day, and he was so good for Martin.  With an odd-numbered draw we couldn't go in last, but Roy was very sensible in the stalls anyway, and he both cantered down to the start and travelled during the race very kindly and sweetly.

Of all the really nice bits of the day, one which particularly stands out was the roar which went up from the stands as Roy moved forward promisingly on the outside of the field running down the hill with half a mile to go.  He is such a popular horse there - his frequent excellent runs there obviously helping in that respect, with his name and his colour both being other factors which help to endear him to racegoers - and it was so moving to hear the reaction when he loomed up on the outside, travelling very easily.  It was the response which one would expect to be elicited by the hot favourite in a big race; but it was a Class Five handicap, and he wasn't even favourite anyway.

That's us done for a week now.  Grand Liaison was entered at Wolverhampton on Monday, but she has not been declared.  We then have no entries through the week, with the next entries to be made being for next Saturday, Cottesloe at Lingfield and Grand Liaison at Ripon (in the race which the Giles Bravery-trained Puzzle Time won last year on the very, very happy day on which she and Indira, who is pictured under Hannah this morning in the final paragraph, travelled up together and both won).  God willing, Cottesloe should be a definite runner; but Indira will only run if the ground isn't at all firm.  And with the current spell of good weather which seems to be settling over England again, that looks odds-against to be the case.

To look outside our own tiny part of the pond, we have the Shergar Cup this afternoon, a meeting which is always interesting.  The organisers made an odd decision in deciding to include a 3lb-claiming apprentice in the ladies' team, because in a jockeys' challenge, in which the riders are meant to be competing on something like even terms to see who is supposedly the best, it makes no sense to have any of the riders claiming an allowance.  Common sense says that these should be races in which allowances cannot be claimed - but as it would have occurred to nobody in advance that an apprentice would be riding in the races, there was nothing written into their conditions to this effect. So we had this oddity. But all has ended up well, with Sammy Jo Bell being one of the stars of the show courtesy of her win on Royal Signaller, so we won't worry about that even if said narrow win can be attributed to that claim.

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