Sunday, October 04, 2015

Arc Day

Ah, Arc Day.  Great excitement. We've just had the first race (in which Ballydoyle confirmed that the second Ballydoyle to be trained by O'Brien in Ballydoyle is a better horse than the first one, notwithstanding that the first one had cost $3,500,000 as a yearling and was a full-brother to Storm Bird) so I'll be staying put in front of the TV for a few hours yet (I hope).  It's almost impossible to envisage Treve not winning, but we regularly receive reminders that there's no such thing as a certainty in racing, and it certainly wouldn't be the biggest shock of the year if she somehow managed not to win.

Our excitement yesterday came in the last race at Newmarket when Cottesloe (pictured in the first paragraph, coming in off the course after the race, and in this paragraph in the field today, with the head of Friday's runner Blue Sea Of Ibrox in the foreground) ran another very honest race to finish fourth.  It was the usual thing: during the final third of the season, there are very few 'four-year-olds and upwards' handicaps, so the older horses have to run against the three-year-olds, who collectively have a massive advantage by (a) being generally less exposed, and (b) benefitting from a weight-for-age allowance which in the longer races is generally regarded as being too generous.  Anyway, there were four three-year-olds in the race yesterday.  One was the unplaced favourite who didn't appear to give his running, and the other three finished first, second and third.  So Cottesloe's fourth place was particularly creditable, bless him.

It's another lovely day here today, as has been the case for nearly two weeks.  I've ridden two horses this morning: Indira (who runs on Tuesday and who is seen in the final photograph, along with Blue Sea Of Ibrox) and Fen Lady. As I rode Indira down Exeter Road, three horses came out of Charlie McBride's Exeter House stable, ridden by Charlie, by his wife Bev and by their son Sean.  (Charlie in this photo, Charlie and Sean in the next).  As we rode out to the Severals together we had a chuckle when I told him of the supposed tip which he had unknowingly given to Racing UK viewers yesterday afternoon: we were told on the TV that Charlie had runners at Newmarket but had gone to Redcar, the information imparted in a tone which implied that this might be a tip for the Redcar horses.

This, of course, is nonsense.  While you'll probably find with high-profile, PR-conscious trainers that they'll probably go to the meeting where they can do most to advertise their success, for the rest one goes where one can be most useful.  In Charlie's case this meant that heading to Redcar was a no-brainer, both so that he could save his owners some money by driving the box himself and because, apparently, a two-year-old whom he ran at Redcar is difficult in the stalls, so he likes to go down to the start with him to give the stalls handlers some help to minimise the chance of anything going wrong.

That two-year-old (Quatrieme Ami) finished seventh in the Redcar Gold Trophy, which must have been a very good run, even if a slightly frustrating one bearing in mind that this valuable race, designed to give the smaller players with less expensive horses the chance of a big payday, has prize money for the first six.  The frustration must have been redoubled by the fact that the race was won by the Godolphin-owned Log Out Island, whom Sheikh Mohammed bought for something reputed to be somewhere between two and three million earlier this year.  I'm not really sure that that's quite what the race is about.

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