Race meetings have come thick and fast at
recently, with three in eleven days. It is important to be busy,
however with two popular annual Stratford evening fixtures sandwiched in that
period, coupled with the fact that there are only so many people who choose to
go racing over eleven days in any one concentrated area, it lends weight to the
argument that race planning sometimes needs more thought and at times, there
can be just too much racing. Having said
that, our meetings were well supported as well as being competitive.
The second fixture saw a welcome win following a lean period for the Ian Williams yard from Alvechurch. Williams brought a football theme to the evening with his two runners. Leath Acra Mor took the handicap hurdle under top weight for owners John O Shea, Stephen Hunt and Craig Gardner, and in the concluding race, hot favourite Tadabeer who is co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson was just touched off into third place.
Our most recent meeting last week was staged on a very sad day for racing. Sir Henry Cecil had passed away that morning and as a mark of respect to allow time for reflection, we held a minute’s silence as the runners walked quietly round the parade ring before the first race.
On a happier note, Donald McCain had a successful trip down from
with a double on the night. Separate Shadows, who got his
nose in front in the novice hurdle, runs in the very famous Crazy Quilt
colours, now belonging to Howard Spooner. These extremely distinctive colours are totally unique and used to
belong to the Crazy Gang of comedians in the 1960’s. Almost certainly, colours like these would
never be issued today.
Another notable owner was delighted with her McCain trained winner on the night. Diana Whateley, whose other horses include Menorah and Captain Chris, was particularly pleased to see confidence restored to first time blinkered Tornado Bob in the handicap hurdle after a very bad fall at Haydock.
Last weekend, we had a stand at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern. It was an excellent opportunity to meet many regular racegoers as well as making new acquaintances over the three days. On a wet weather walkabout, I was greatly interested to stumble across the 2004 Grand National third placed horse, Lord Atterbury, formerly with David Pipe, who at the age of 17 had been retrained and was enthusiastically taking part in the horse boarding slalom competition. It was a sport I had not previously come across but found riveting to watch.
The equestrian classes at the show included one for ‘race horse to riding horse’. It is always reassuring to hear of new avenues of activity for ex race horses.
Another big family event is due this Sunday at Pitchcroft. Our race day will include appearances by Fireman Sam, plus a charity Mascot Race in aid of The Children’s Trust with 19 mascots taking part at 2.30pm. The gates open at 11.50am.
Separate Shadows (Jason Maguire)