Saturday, April 02, 2016

Giving Lincoln Day a kick in the belly

April 2nd.  That's disappointing, because it means that I've passed up the opportunity to put an April Fool's column on this blog.  I was thinking of doing one yesterday, but I just never got round to it.  And I was worried that someone might actually believe it.  What I'd been thinking of doing was writing something about the TADS, the Tattersalls Amateur Dramatic Society which (as far as I know) is merely a figment of my imagination.  In Newmarket we already have the NOMADS, who play in the King's Theatre in Fitzroy Street, so the TADS would be a great complement to them.

The story goes that, following Brightwells' takeover of Tattersalls last year which saw my friend Andrew Hickman plucked from obscurity to the most high-profile and influential bloodstock auctioneering position in the world (ie boss of the new Brightwells / Tattersalls alliance) there has been trouble at mill.  Andrew has been throwing his weight around, upsetting many of Tattersalls' long-standing staff by either 'letting them go' or demoting them, turning them into his personal servants.  Anyway, to counteract the consequent rock-bottom levels of staff morale, Andrew had decided that some team-building exercises might be a good idea.  Hence the formation of the TADS, in which he has predictably taken on the impressario's role.

As the BBC had kindly done the job of adapting the great John le Carre novel 'The Night Manager' into a piece of drama, that was going to be the play that the TADS would put on.  (Although in the adaptation Jed is no longer described as being an 'equestrienne', so it might be more fitting if that piece of revisionism were reversed for the TADS' show).  Anyway, we were going to have some great fun with the casting, eg Jimmy George (he's the one from the DHL ads) playing Corky, and Frisky and Tabby played by Todd Watt and the Duke of Bedford.  Cllr Morrey could play Jonathan Pyne, while I think that we can leave it to Andrew (who is quite the ladies' man) to dig out a member of his harem to play Jed.

So that was going to be yesterday's chapter.  Only I never did anything, which is probably just as well as we might have had people ringing up the Tattersalls' box-office to buy tickets to the performance (which is taking place in the sale-arena during the Craven Meeting, that week's Breeze-Up being cancelled lest it interfere with the more important theatrical events) and the upshot then would probably be that I'd be even less in Tattersalls' good books than I already am, not least because some of them still don't see the funny side of having Andrew in charge.

Anyway, it didn't really matter because I thought that we had already our April Fool for the week, ie that strange article on the front page of Tuesday's Racing Post (yes, I know that that was only 29th March, but that makes its role as an April Fool even craftier) which ran under the headline, "Ferguson told to give Godolphin 'a kick in the belly'".  To my eyes, nothing about this article rang true: I just couldn't see Sheikh Mohammed using phrases like 'giving Godolphin a kick in the belly', and I couldn't see John saying the things which were attributed to him.  (Not, of course, that one generally has to say something to have it attributed to one in the Racing Post).

Anyway, April Fool of not, Godolphin won the Lincoln today with Secret Brief and also a Listed race on the same card with Belardo, so maybe it was fair dinkum after all.  No one seems to know when the season starts, but I note that Mark Johnston claims to have trained his second winner of the season today, so he clearly reckons that it has only recently started (bearing in mind that he had several winners towards the end of last week) so perhaps we are indeed at the start.  If so, then that was a great start for Godolphin, so the kick in the belly might be both real after all and timely too.

It certainly felt as if a new season might have been starting today as it was the warmest day of the year so far, here if not elsewhere.  It still started off not much above freezing, and the day was not particularly sunny during its first few hours.  But by mid-morning it really was rather nice.  We had several hours of very pleasant sunshine, and I believe that we got up to 15 degrees by early afternoon.  (The first photograph was taken two days ago, the second yesterday, and the rest this morning).  That was very pleasant, so let's indeed hope that someone has given the weather gods a kick in the belly, and that we can indeed all look towards a new season with optimism.

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