Friday, September 06, 2019

A well-timed win

I didn't just get exhausted by the busy period of, whatever it was - six trips to the races in nine days?  Something like that, anyway.  I got behind with things as well.  And when I'm under pressure, this blog is one of the obvious things to neglect.  Hence we're now on 6th September and the last chapter was on 30th August.  We've had three runners in the interim, all of which went unpreviewed here.  And one of them won!  Massive relief.  I usually say that one shouldn't worry about a run of horses running well without winning, but I was finding myself struggling to heed my own advice.  It's much easier now to be sanguine now that one of them has won.

The winner we did have could easily have been another valiant and creditable loser.  Hope Is High won at Bath on Wednesday but only did so very narrowly and because absolutely everything went right.  Megan Nicholls gave her a superb ride, and it came with the bonus of her free 3lb claim.  Would we have won with 3lb more?  Would we have won if we'd had one or two points in the race where things weren't going our way?  Would we have won if the pattern of the race hadn't worked out in our favour?  Hard to answer in the affirmative to any of those.

But that's racing, just as it's cricket.  Sometimes the luck goes your way and sometimes it doesn't.  There's no need to feel guilty about winning a race when you think that, had things gone differently, you wouldn't have won, because there are plenty of times when one comes away thinking, "Gee, that was hard to swallow.  If we could run that again and do things different, we might well have won it".  Whatever - Hopey won, and that was wonderful.  A massive relief.  Not to mention a thrilling race.  And the victory was even more of a relief as the first two runners of the week had both run poorly.

Roy ran very flat at Brighton on Monday, coming with a run approaching the two-furlong pole but then starting to struggle shortly after that.  And Sacred Sprite did something similar at Bath half an hour before Hope won, looming up on the outside half a mile from home but then cutting out quickly.  But no harm done.  They're both fine.   Roy always goes off the boil in the autumn and he's clearly had enough for the season, not that he'd let you know that as he's never not perky.  And it had been a gamble running Sacred Sprite only a week after her previous race.  Previously I'd always given her plenty of time between races, but it looked worth having a go (witness the fact that she started favourite) and the world has not stopped turning because it didn't work out.

The other reason why the win on Wednesday was very well timed was because the weather is starting to deteriorate, and it's always good to have a boost to one's morale as we start to say 'farewell' to summer, as it's a depressing time of year.  The return of cold and/or wet weather and of getting up in the dark is always hard to swallow after an extended period of regarding the natural conditions as friend rather than foe.  Winter's bearable when you get there, but it's the getting there that gets you down.  But a winner always puts a smile on one's face.

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