Wednesday, February 08, 2017


Just a quick chapter on a winter's night.  Hymn For The Dudes - perfectly ridden by Adam Kirby (and pictured here) - did indeed improve for his resumption, finishing third on Monday night.  That was a lovely day here in the morning - cold with fog at the outset, but wonderful once the sun broke through - but a cold and wet afternoon and evening at Wolverhampton; and the cold, wet weather had moved over here by the time that we got home, and has been hanging around for the subsequent two days.  It hasn't been pleasant, but I think that if we can grin and bear it through this week, we'll find more temperate conditions thereafter and spring might not be too far off the horizon.

So that was our first place-getter of the year, at the fifth attempt.  We'll have the sixth attempt tomorrow (Kilim at Lingfield) and I hope that she'll run well (obviously - there would be something wrong if we had a runner and I wasn't hoping that he/she would run well).  After the Monday evening photograph in the first paragraph, we have four Monday morning photographs in the subsequent paragraphs, posted chronologically as the sun broke through the fog.  We can see tomorrow's runner Kilim in the second of these four (with So Much Water's ears in the first of them, and Roy's ears in the last of them).

Good feedback again after the last chapter, thank you.  Yes, Neil, you're not the first person to tell me that I've been too harsh on French jockeys.  I probably have been.  I suppose I'm just extrapolating a few snapshot observations over the whole scene.  And certainly there are some French jockeys who are truly world-class: Soumillon (who isn't French), Peslier, Mosse, Lemaire, Doleuze, to name but five.  The only problem is that we've seen too many instances of French or French-based jockeys getting lost at Epsom, which even caught Soumillon out two or three years ago on an Aga Khan-owned hot favourite in that Group Three mares' race at the Derby meeting.  But then again one might say that it's not the French jockeys getting caught out, but that the French horses, unaccustomed to galloping on undulating terrain, didn't handle the track.

The other two things to stick in my mind were that supposedly the best young jockey in France came over here a few years ago and clearly wasn't, to my eyes anyway, good enough; and the fact that James Reveley, whom I hugely admire and who is a genuinely top-class jockey, is merely one of many superb jumps jockeys in the British Isles, but seems to stand out in France.  And when I watch racing at Auteuil, I am always struck by how many jockeys fall off.  But then again it might be that the fences at Auteuil are much stiffer than the ones over here, so there are more horses making juddering errors there than here.  Anyway, overall I probably have been too harsh on them, for which I apologise.

And, yes, Neil, as Glenn has correctly pointed out, the previous very good female jockey was Lisa Jones, who rode quite a few winners for us when she was apprenticed to my neighbour Willie Musson.  Critical Stage, Brief Goodbye, Henesey's Leg and Sangita spring immediately to mind.  She's now Mrs Wayne Smith.  I think that she was something like the third female apprentice to ride out her claim in Britain, which she did one year by riding a double on the last day of Glorious Goodwood.  She finished third in the apprentices' title that year.  She found it much tougher going when she lost her claim, and went to Macau, where she became one of only a handful of female jockeys to ride a Derby winner somewhere in the world.  She is now a mother and no longer rides; and I would guess that she is as good a mother as she was a rider.  Which really is saying something.

1 comment:

neil kearns said...

Epsom has made a mug of many a jockey over the years anyway back a couple of chapters - prize money -for a question if you enter in a race at the first entry stage do you lose that money if you choose not to declare for the race ?