Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Open(ish) Day

I'm writing this chapter rather shamefacedly.  I think that in a recent chapter I commented how our counterparts at Epsom put us to shame when it comes to opening their stables on their town's open day.  The collective record of Newmarket/Exning trainers, all 70 of us or however many there are meant to be, in this respect is woeful.  Yesterday the list of trainers who will open their stables here on Sunday 17th September was unveiled.  There are 18 names on it, 18 names of trainers who should be commended.  And the embarrassing thing is that I am not one of them.

The trainers whom we should salute are (in alphabetical order) Charlie Appleby, Michael Bell, Marco Botti, Tom Clover, Simon Crisford, Luca Cumani, Ed Dunlop, James Eustace, James Fanshawe, Julia Feilden, Charlie Fellowes, Amy Murphy, George Peckham, Denis Quinn, David Simcock, Richard Spencer, Roger Varian and Stuart Williams.  Fair play to them all.  Particularly fair play to Roger, who didn't open last year which was understandable as his horses were just returning from a serious bout of sickness at the time, and to Charlie Appleby, who by opening is flying in the face of Godolphin's deeply ingrained tradition of secrecy.

In my defence, I ought to point out that I might end up opening.  I've opened the stable every year (notwithstanding that I do have reservations about the concept of the Open Day in so far as it implies that we aren't open the other 364 days of the year - we are, or rather I am, so if you're in Newmarket any other day and would like to have a look inside a stable, feel free to get in touch because you will be made very welcome here) bar one, when I was obliged to go early to Tattersalls Ireland's Yearling Sale at Fairyhouse.  Unfortunately, this year I have another commitment which looks likely to mean that I won't be in Newmarket.

Parek (Sussex Girl) is an intended runner at Brighton on Monday, and then the intention is for her to back up at Bath six days later, which is the day of the Open Day.  I always take our horses to the races unless it isn't feasible (and sometimes it isn't feasible - for example, this Saturday I won't be able to take Delatite to Stratford as I will be taking Kryptos to Thirsk the same day) and on this occasion definitely would be taking her to Bath because she is difficult at the start and I always put her in the stalls myself.  I didn't put Parek in on one occasion (when she ran at Yarmouth, and I only didn't go down to the start with her because Hope Is High was running in the next race, and I'd just have been putting myself under too much pressure for saddling the latter if I'd gone to the start for the previous race) and she came within an ace of not going in.

In fact, the only reason why she was given such a painfully long time was because there was only a very small field.  Had there been a larger field, the starter's patience would have run out a minute or so earlier, and "Take her away" would have been the order.  So if Parek runs that day, I'll go to Bath and I'll go down to the start with her.  Which means that I won't be here, so the stable won't be open, as it would not be satisfactory from any point of view to open the stable and the trainer not be there.  If plans change in the next 11 days and Parek doesn't run, then I'll open.  But I thought it less unsatisfactory to open without having been on the list of open stables (social media makes it easy to spread the word that another name has been added to the list) than to be on the list of stables open and be listed in the brochure as being open, but not open.

So that's the weekend at the end of next week.  I hope that we'll have runners three consecutive days: Hope Is High at Bath on Saturday 16th, Sussex Girl (seen in the second photograph, on Sunday with Kryptos) at Bath on Sunday 17th, Kilim (in the penultimate photograph, strolling around the yard after work this morning) at Brighton Monday 18th.  More immediately, I hope that we shall have a similar schedule this weekend: Kryptos at Thirsk and Delatite (whose ears can just about be seen in the first photograph, at the bottom of Waterhall at dawn on Sunday) at Stratford on Saturday 9th, White Valiant (seen schooling here yesterday morning under Jack Quinlan, who will ride him and Delatite in their races) at Fontwell on Sunday 10th, Sussex Girl at Brighton on Monday 11th.  Busy times.  As ever, we'll hope for the best but take nothing for granted.


David Wilkinson said...

Over the years I have been lucky to look round the top stables in Newmarket, Lambourn and Malton and have always been made to feel welcome.

neil kearns said...

Nice winner today good ride horse maybe going places congrats to all