Monday, August 01, 2016

Reflected glory

I don't know where last week went.  The easy answer, of course, is that it was Goodwood (or, I suppose, Galway) but that won't really wash as neither meeting involved us.  We did go to Epsom on Goodwood Cup Day, but that wasn't too time-consuming as it's not too far away.  And it was an evening meeting too, which meant that we didn't have to leave until the end of the morning, although the downside obviously was that it was a late night: getting home at 10.15 and going to bed at 11.30 might not be a severe test of endurance in the great scheme of things, but it did take me a couple of days to get over it.

The trip to Epsom was disappointing, although it's always a pleasure to go there, especially to those evening meetings, which are delightful.  Epsom Downs are a lovely place from which to watch the sun go down on a warm summer's evening (as the first photograph confirms) and any race-meeting on the hallowed turf at Epsom is a special occasion.  Roy didn't run very well, but we can forgive him that.  He'd had four weeks or so between races so possibly needed the run, and he blew harder and longer after the race than I'd expected.  Still, no lives were lost, and if the run turns out to have put him right for his intended return to Brighton this week, then it won't have been a wasted journey.

Aside from that?  Well, I don't really know.  As the previous paragraph implied, Roy is an intended runner at Brighton on Thursday.  We should have had a runner before then (two runners in one week - great excitement) as Hope Is High (pictured here with Jana this morning - and the second and fourth photos were also taken today) is declared for Bath on Wednesday.  She wants fast ground, but even for her I'd have been concerned had the race-meeting been today, because the track would probably have been on the hard side of firm.  However, they are forecast to be having a very wet night tonight and then to have further rain through the day tomorrow, so I'm hoping that that will take the sting out of the ground, and leave it for us to find just a nice sound surface on Wednesday.

So I'd like to think that we might have a good chance at Bath.  The one problem, of course, is that the Queen has a runner in the race.  That's fine in itself, but it does present a problem in that, having voted 'Remain' in the referendum, I am cautiously hopeful of being knighted in David Cameron's valedictory honours' list.  If Hope Is High beats the Queen's horse, that might scupper that aspiration.  Still, we've had some glorious mornings, even if the heatwave has been and gone, and it's always easier to swallow disappointment when the sun's shining.

Oh yes, and it's easier to enjoy life when one is basking in the reflected glory of one of one's proteges winning a big race.  Which is exactly what happened yesterday when the mighty Dream Walker, Minnie's Mystery's second foal, landed the 100,000-euro Ahonoora Premier Handicap, the feature race on the final day of Galway.  It's been a glorious summer for dear old Minnie's.  At the start of the season, her first three foals (8-year-old Grey Panel, trained by Tony Le Brocq; seven-year-old Dream Walker, trained by Brian Ellison; and six-year-old Roy Rocket) had won 19 races between them.  The total is now 26, which is wonderful.  And that one of those 26 is a proper big race is the icing on the cake.  Congratulations to all those who played a much bigger part in the victory than I did.

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