Thursday, September 15, 2016

Various ATR brahmas - and a runner tomorrow!

This really has been a wonderful summer.  June was fairly moderate, both (considerably) wetter and less warm than one might hope; but July and August were excellent, and September so far has been glorious.  This week has probably been the nicest of the year, particularly bearing in mind that one might have expected conditions to be deteriorating by now, so it really has been a bonus.  We've been up to about 30 degrees during the past few days, with overnight pre-dawn lows of 18 or 19.  It was foggy this morning with the sun not breaking through until about 10.00, but otherwise the mornings have been divine.  As this chapter's illustrations (most taken yesterday) suggest.

Another highlight has been the very high brahma content of At The Races.  (And I'm not just saying that because I was on the Sunday Forum on Sunday, and then the first hour of the afternoon programme after that).  Firstly we had the great brahma of Derek Thompson and Josephine Gordon's mum.  I'll just re-cap that just in case you missed it - although if you did miss it, you are very much in the minority, because the film clip has had about 200,000 view on Facebook.  Basically, Josie rode the winner of the 7.45 at Chelmsford last week and was interviewed by roving reporter Tommo on her way back to weigh in.

Tommo ended the interview with a throwaway question about whether Josie's mum would be watching, to which Josie replied that she would probably be in bed.  As Josie retreated into the weighing room, Tommo cut back to Matt Chapman in the stoodio with the sign-off, "If I know your mum, she certainly won't!", in a tone of voice which, if used in the Viz Christmas Pantomime, would have ended the sentence with the phrase, "Fnaar, fnaar".  We cut to the stoodio, in which Matt spend about 15 seconds looking and being lost for words, before finally coming out with, "We just don't know how well Tommo knows her mum.  That's the simple truth of the matter."

It was very good.  And we've had a couple of good follow-ups.  A few days later Matt was again in the stoodio for the evening racing.  Josie rode the winner of the first race, after which Matt gave the usual post-race round-up, which ended with, "In fairness, at 5.28 pm, I think that even Josephine Gordon's mum will still be up."  We then had Matt on course at Yarmouth for the first two days of the Festival, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Josie finished second in one of the races on the Tuesday, after which Matt observed, "... kept on well for Josephine Gordon but was never quite going to get there - which is a pity, as I'd have rather liked to interview her!".

That interview, no doubt, would have been fairly brahma-ful.  But, however brahma-ful, it wouldn't have been Matt's best interview of the week.  He really came into his own both before and after the Sir John Musker Stakes, Yarmouth's biggest race of the year, named after the former owner of Nunnery Stud in Norfolk.  Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber's top-class filly So Mi Dar was favourite and won easily and, while Lady Lloyd Webber is clearly the racing face of the union, Matt managed to interview Lord Lloyd Webber both before and after the race.

It was very good indeed.  Lord Lloyd Webber would clearly be much more comfortable being interviewed about Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, about Jesus Christ Superstar, about Evita, about Cats, or about The Phantom of the Opera; but Matt interviewed him about racing, and the show went on as it only could do with Matt at the helm.  And that was helped by/despite (delete as appropriate) Matt telling Lord Webber that his father (ie Matt's father. Dr Chapman) had taught him (ie Lord Lloyd Webber) to play the piano.  This was the very last direction in which Lord Lloyd Webber would have expected the interview to go when he saw the microphone heading in his direction in the parade ring, but it was no less brahmatic for that.

Arguably televisual brahma of the week, though, came from another of ATR's brahma-meisters, Robert Cooper.  Robert was sitting in the stoodio earlier this week as random crowd scenes from the Listowel Festival flitted across the screen.  We've been having plenty (too much) discussion of the staffing arrangements for the forthcoming ITV racing shows, but one thing we haven't heard is who will be covering the fashion at Royal Ascot (which is, after all, probably the most important, and definitely the most entertaining, part of the year's coverage).

Will it be Gok Wan?  Unlikely, as ITV seem determined not to use the C4 people, even if at times this seems akin to cutting off its nose to spite its face.  Will it be Gok's BBC predecessor, James Sherwood?  I don't know, but I hope so.  James was so good, creating the unprecedented situation that when he was on the show, one got into the habit of going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea during the races, rather than during the intervals between them.  Anyway, Robert seemingly threw his hat into the ring, with his Listowel observations: "A lot of fascinators.  A lot of T-shirts.  A lot of baseball caps."  Sounds banal, but one couldn't have summed it up any better.

We haven't had a runner for ages.  (Well, two and a half weeks).  But we should have one tomorrow, when Cottesloe heads up to Hexham for his hurdles debut.  He's been schooling well (as you can see in these pictures of him and Jack Quinlan, the final one taken up at the Links today before the murk lifted, and the other three taken on a previous schooling session last Saturday, which was a rare damp day - and he's in the photograph in the fourth-last paragraph too, taken on Long Hill two days ago) but that goes without saying, really: he wouldn't be running if he hadn't.

It's the first race at an early evening meeting (4.00?  4.30?  Something like that) which is ideal as it means we can go up before racing without a desperately early start, and can come home afterwards without a really late return.  I don't like spending a night away from home unless I have to, with or without a horse; and, anyway, going up this afternoon would not really have been an option, as it would just have been a recipe for the horse sweating away his chance beforehand, as even at 8.30 pm, an hour or two after nightfall, the temperature is still in the low 20s.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

looking at the schooling shots of Cottesloe , neither looks like what I would call a traditional hurdle , the lower one because of the supports look as if it is unlikely to "give" if hit and the upper one more like a mini fence - having never seen the relevant hurdles I could be completely wrong but would be interested to know