Monday, July 22, 2019

Only the good die young

Gosh, where did last week, our runner-less week, go?  It was supposed to be an easy time - but I've blinked, and we now ave another busy week ahead.  I made one entry for Tuesday (Sacred Sprite at Chelmsford), one for Wednesday (well, two, but both for the same horse: Hope Is High, at Bath and Sandown), one for Thursday (Hidden Pearl at Yarmouth) and one for Friday (well, again two but again for the same horse: Das Kapital in two races at Chepstow).  We won't go anywhere on Thursday (it was only a speculative entry on the basis that a maiden handicap at Yarmouth might attract a very weak field, but a ten-second glance at the entries suggested that that wouldn't be the case, and the plan was immediately scrapped) but we'll be away the other days.

Tomorrow it's Sacred Sprite (seen in the first photograph on Saturday morning with Ivona Slachtova, her usual rider) at Chelmsford.  Wednesday we'll go to Sandown with Hope.  Bath might have presented an easier assignment but the going will be hard (well, it'll be 'firm', but it would be hard not to feel that that might be a euphemism) and I just thought that, even with a horse who likes fast ground, that might be an unnecessary risk for a six-year-old having her first run of the campaign.  Her last run of the campaign, and one would probably have viewed things a bit differently.  And on Friday we'll almost certainly go to Chepstow, almost certainly for the shorter of the two races (ie the 12-furlong race, the same course and distance over which Das Kapital finished second 14 days previously).

So that's the plan.  But plans usually aren't a matter of life and death, so plans aren't that important.  Death reminds one of that.  Sea Of Class' death today reminds us of that, and that's sad.  Even sadder, though - much, much sadder - is the death last night of our friend Nicky Murray, nee Howarth.  I was up at Hilborough Stud, home of Nicky and her husband Chris, one day last autumn and Nicky was in great form.  It was hard to swallow the news that a couple of weeks later she was diagnosed with a very bad case of cancer that was very likely to kill her sooner rather than later.  That was last October and her life has been very, very difficult since then.

Nicky has lived longer than expected.  Getting to the summer seemed an impossible assignment at the end of last year.  I last saw her on Wednesday and didn't think that she'd live another 24 hours.  She did, though, but now her suffering is at an end.  We had already had too many deaths over the past year and now we've had one more.  And this one came far too soon: Nicky was only 48.  Nobody could have done less to deserve a premature and appalling death than Nicky, and nobody could have done less than Chris to deserve what he has been and is going through.  I can't add anything to the lovely tribute to Nicky which Emma has written for the Thoroughbred Daily News, but I can echo the thoughts and offer my deepest condolences to Chris.

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