Saturday, May 07, 2016

A golden week, out of the blue

Yesterday turned out to be a real red-letter day at the end of a real-letter week for Indira and her connections, but I'd be kidding both myself and you if I were to say that I'd planned it.  In picking races for Indira, timing-wise this week seemed to fit in nicely for her, following her previous run at Wolverhampton.  There were two races which might suit: Bath on the Monday and Chester four days later, ie yesterday (Friday).  Common sense said that Bath would probably present a less competitive option, an impression that was confirmed once the entries were published.

It clearly made sense to run at Bath, but even so I still put in an entry for the Chester race - just in case one might want to run in it for some reason or other, even though I don't like entering races and not running in them, and it appeared very likely that we wouldn't want to run.  Defeat at Bath would hardly have been an encouragement to back up in a more competitive race four days later; while victory at Bath would usually hardly have been an encouragement to do that, bearing in mind that we'd be backing up under a 6lb penalty, and one doesn't usually go up that much for winning.

However, it turned out that she won very easily at Bath, so easily that it was fair to assume that her rating would consequently be raised by at least 6lb.  She came out of the race very well - so thank God I had entered for Chester, because it clearly made sense to run.  And, as we now know, running in that race meant winning it, because the result was beyond our wildest dreams as she won.  This is my 22nd season as a trainer, and prior to yesterday I had never had a runner at the Chester May Meeting.  It was a treat just to have a runner, so for that reason it was more than a dream come true that that runner should win.

Indira really is in terrific shape at present, physically and mentally.  She won a fairly competitive race emphatically yesterday off a rating of 83, so that's clearly a career-best performance, at the age of five and on her 28th start.  Where to go from here?  Well, yesterday morning I did the same as I had done when I had made the entry for Chester, ie I entered her for a race, just in case.  She thus holds an engagement for a race at Newmarket on Thursday.  She will not receive a penalty for yesterday's win as it was in an apprentices' race, so she can either race off 83 again on Thursday, or wait a bit longer and run off a few pounds higher than that.  She seems to have come out of the race well, so we'll see how we go, and aim to run if she seems fine.

It was good that a few of Indira's connections were able to get to Chester yesterday to enjoy the course's wonderful hospitality, not to mention the excitement of competing at one of the proper big meetings at a special racecourse; and it was also lovely that Lucinda, who rides her most mornings before going on to her proper job, was able again to take her.  She's taken her to all three of her wins this year, but this really was the reddest of the red-letter days, so I was particularly glad that she was able to take her again.

Lastly, we have to hail Josephine Gordon.  We were possibly flattered yesterday because there were quite a few inexperienced apprentices in the race, with only two names standing out: Josephine and the excellent Louis Steward.  Of that pair, Josephine was able to claim 3lb while Louis had no claim.  And then in the race Josephine was again faultless, doing everything right all the way through from the first 50m of the race to the last.  She really is very good, and I do fear that, while Indira is clearly in mighty form at present, it is possible that the quality of Josephine's riding, with the bonus of her claim thrown in, is maybe making her look just a little bit better than she is.  But if that's the case, then I'll happily take that the fruits of that illusion - and we have the happy memories of yesterday to prove it.

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