Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Late nights

I enjoyed your observations at the end of the last chapter, David, pre-dated from 01/04/17.  Very good, thank you!  As regards the present, rather than the first of April, we have two outings coming up.  Roy goes to Sandown tomorrow night and Kilim to Chepstow on Friday night.  More evening racing!  Friday will be a test of stamina because we're in the last race (8.50) and Chepstow is about 190 miles from here.  It will be a pleasant surprise if I'm in bed before 2am, but the gruelling schedule will be worthwhile if Kilim can win.  Can she?  God only knows.  The ground will probably be soft and she's only ever once run on ground as soft as good.  I suppose we'll be wiser afterwards.  Probably poorer too, but one never knows.

Softish ground too for Roy.  He's shown his best form on fast ground, and has struggled a bit the odd time he's run on softish ground, but it will be worth giving him another try.  His best-performed siblings Dream Walker and Grey Panel show their best form on soft ground and he is very like them in a lot of ways, so I am quietly hopeful that he might thrive in tomorrow's conditions.  Over the years Sandown has been a lucky track for us, so let's hope that it can be lucky again.  He should have a chance, anyway - and, whatever happens, it should be a very pleasant evening, taking my favourite horse to run at a lovely track and to spend time with very good people.

I've actually already had an outing this week as I took Roy off for his stalls test yesterday.  (He had not had any significant instances of bad behaviour, but had accrued three 'yellow cards', two of which were taken at my request to allow him to go in last when we had been unlucky enough to draw stall one).  It would have been so much more convenient and less expensive to do the test at Newmarket, and I did book him in for a test before racing at the July Course on Saturday.  However, it became clear that there were going to be five horses being tested, and it is always so much more stress-free and low-key if one's horse is the only horse being tested and thus isn't going to be set on edge by the misbehaviour of others.

So it made sense to bite the bullet and go to the time and expense of heading away to do a test elsewhere in a more relaxed, tranquil environment where the chances of anything going wrong would be much less.  It would have been more than annoying to take a test and fail (which, with a horse who can get very restive in the stalls, is always possible) so it made sense to minimise the chance of that happening.  Happily, all ran very smoothly and he stood like a lamb on his own in the stall and didn't get worked up at all, with David Egan being kind enough to ride him in the test and pass on his own calmness to the horse.  So that's grand - now let's enjoy our trip to Sandown.  As always, we'll hope for the best but expect nothing.

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