Sunday, October 30, 2016

Catching up

Eeks - I ought to write something now (Sunday evening, 30th October) because I see that if we reach tomorrow and I haven't done so, then we'd have gone two weeks between episodes.  And that would be very poor indeed. In my defence (the usual feeble excuses) we had three runners in four days, which puts me on the back foot straightaway, and then we had the Horses-in-Training Sale, and then half-term which meant that Anthony came over for a couple of days.  And I wasn't very well for a while which put me under more pressure ...

Anyway, those three runners (if I can remember that far back) were Sussex Girl at Pontefract on the Monday, Roy at Kempton on the Tuesday night, and Cottesloe at Ludlow on the Thursday.  I think that we covered Sussex Girl's reasonably promising debut in the previous chapter.  Then we had Roy, who (as half-expected) found the standard AW sit-and-sprint scenario against him.  He did his best, though, so that's fine, and he can go off on holiday now; and it was a very pleasant evening in very pleasant conditions - as you can see here and in the first photograph, taken when I took little Blakeney to explore the National Hunt course before the sun set and the racing commenced.

You can see in this photograph how clean Roy was on racenight.  (Well, he probably wasn't quite that clean if one were to inspect him at close quarters, but the great thing about racing at night is that they maybe look a bit cleaner than they are, which is a boon when one is taking a white horse who loves mud to the races.  In the next paragraph you can see just how much he loves mud - and you can also see how quickly he has got into the holiday frame of mind after signing off for the year, as this picture was only taken three days after his trip to Kempton. I'd say that it will be about another six months before he is properly white again.

We had one change of plan at Kempton.  Saleem Golam was meant to ride him, having kindly agreed to come down from the afternoon meeting at Yarmouth for the one ride.  Unfortunately, however, he was delayed in his departure from Yarmouth because he was in a stewards' enquiry (not that he had done anyting wrong, I should add, but his mount had been involved in a fall which wasn't his fault) so didn't leave the track until nearly three quarters of an hour after his race, meaning that he couldn't get to Kempton on time.  So we had Shelley Birkett on board, which was rather nice as she became the third member of her family to ride Roy in a race this season, following her cousin Adam Beschizza and her brother Ross.

Two days later we had the long trek to Ludlow, where Cottesloe made his second start over hurdles.  He had jumped much too deliberately first time at Hexham, but this time he was much more fluent.  In fact he jumped most of the hurdles just about as well as it is possible to jump a hurdle, bar having to put himself right at the hurdle at the bottom of the hill at the entrance to the back straight, and bar being slightly less fluent at the last two as things were getting tough.  But for the most part, it was just a real pleasure to watch him go round.

Cottesloe had looked like winning turning in but couldn't quite go on with it, but he's really getting himself organised now as a jumper, and should have a good future as a National Hunt horse ahead of him.  Having finished in the first four on both his first two hurdle starts, he's now already eligible for handicaps over hurdles and has a rating of 109, which is fair, so that's good, and opens up plenty of options for him in the forthcoming weeks, months and years.  Cottesloe aside, it was a very enjoyable trip anyway: Ludlow is a lovely place when one gets there (and the final 20 miles or so of the journey are a joy) even if it's a fair way from here.  And the weather again was very pleasant - and has been lovely most of the time since then too, as we can see in the last two photographs (of Sussex Girl).

Since then I've had plenty on, hence the 13-day gap between chapters.  But we can cover subsequent events anon: at least I've made sure that I haven't gone a few a full fortnight blogless.  Looking ahead, I have a big test of stamina ahead of me: tomorrow night is Melbourne Cup night, so that'll be a sleepless night for me, spent revelling in the action in the At The Races stoodio with Tony Ennis as we show the full card up to and including the Cup.  Selection?  Well, I haven't really gone through it in detail yet, but Bondi Beach, Big Orange and the disconcertingly badly-drawn Wicklow Brave are the three names which made their way most easily into my mind.  On the subject, by the way, Neil, I have no idea why most British horsemen have seem to believe that horses are less versatile than they are.  That is a trap into which I try not to fall.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

looks like the novice chaser in the opening frame has got his winter coat