Thursday, June 08, 2017

Valiant by name & nature

We could do with the weather settling down again, but hopefully that'll happen next week.  Tuesday was a grim day, but it ended up as a very happy one as White Valiant, ridden extremely well by Jack Quinlan, ran a mighty race at Fontwell in the evening.  He didn't win, but he did everything right bar win, and he gave us great cause for pride again.  I was worried that he might find giving a stone to the odds-on favourite, a seemingly very promising mare who was sold for £75,000 earlier this year after winning her only point-to-point in Ireland, too difficult.  He managed that, but the task of giving 17lb to one of the debutantes was just too much.

It really was a truly grim morning here, wet and windy.  It was a relief to get in the horsebox at the end of the morning out of the rain and to get away.  Down at Fontwell they had had an inch of rain too, but that had moved on by the time that we got there, and it was very pleasant, if extremely windy.  It was great merely that we were running (it was part of a long-term plan because Fontwell is local for his part-owner Bruce Atkinson, and Bruce's brother and sister-in-law Richard and Lyn were over from America and celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and sponsored the race).  It would have been the icing on the cake had he won, but that was not to be.  However, it was a very happy occasion and he did us all proud, coming very close to the rarely-achieved feat of winning three bumpers.  We can now anticipate his hurdling career  (which ought to begin in the autumn) with relish.

Unless it's at one's local track, evening racing really is a trial of endurance for the human participants, even if not particularly for the horses.  Fontwell isn't too far from here (about 135 miles) but that's far enough when you're in the 8.50 race.  We got home around 12.30, and then I got back in the house around 1.30 after I'd done all that I needed to do outside.  I'd started at 5.30 in the morning, so that made for a very long day.  I used it as an excuse not to start until 6.30 the next morning (yesterday) but even so, yesterday being my birthday, I still had about as quiet a birthday as one could envisage.  No harm in that - and after an early night last night (and tonight, I hope) I should just about be revivified enough for our trip to Goodwood tomorrow evening with So Much Water.

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