Thursday, June 16, 2016

Angels ahoy

Eleven days since my last post.  That's poor, even by my usual recent standards.  The excuse?  Well, of course there's an excuse.  There always is.  Last week was my birthday week.  And not just any old birthday week - a birthday which ended in a zero, which obliges one to acknowledge its existence.  And I certainly did that, even to the extent of telling all and sundry that I was turning 30.  My birthday was on the Tuesday, which was a lovely day, not least because we turned back the clock thanks to the presence of what James Fanshawe once dubbed, "John's Angels", ie Gemma Waterhouse and Aisling Appleby.  They used to be a daily fixture, but that was a few years and a few children ago, and it was lovely that we got the day off to the best possible start by reuniting the crew.

I've only once trained a winner on my birthday (in 1995) and wasn't able to give myself a chance to do so this year.  However, we had a runner the next day, but she (Magic Ice) failed to hit the target by a massive margin.  She bled and was eased down, finishing tailed off.  I'd forgotten that she had bled once previously, in a home gallop maybe 17 months ago, but Jana reminded me, and I do now recall that.  She was too keen that day, I couldn't hold her, she worked abysmally and bled afterwards.  It was the same here, except that David Egan did hold her.  (In fact, her rode her perfectly, doing everything right).

So I'm prepared to kid myself that it may be another 17 months before she bleeds again, so, more in hope than expectation, I shall defer the obvious option for this six-year-old maiden, (ie retirement).  It was just a really dumb race, ie a straight mile, in which to run her first up after a long absence.  In my defence, I was looking for a six-furlong race for her resumption, but this race caught my eye in the programme book as a 4yo+ 46-55 maiden handicap because it would clearly attract a pitifully weak field, consisting of a small number of horses whose credentials were no better than Magic Ice's.

By the time the race was transferred to the calendar, of course, common sense had prevailed and the word 'maiden' had been removed from its conditions, significantly enlarging the pool of eligible horses.  If common sense had prevailed in this house I would have abandoned the ill-conceived plan to ask her to resume over a mile.  But common sense didn't prevail.  She ran anyway, and she ran as one might have expected if one had given it even an iota of thought.  Still, no lives were lost.  As often happens, I ended the day poorer but wiser.  And older.  And David Egan ended the day with a bit more experience under its belt, so that was good.  Unlike the weather: after 24 degrees in Newmarket, half that at Yarmouth came as a nasty shock.

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