Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What a week

I am fully aware that I am the worst blogger in the history of people who write blogs, considering nearly a week has passed since Star and Wild Bill raced.  What's worse, is that in my capacity as an article writer for Harnesslink, I have failed to provide a report for last week's racing at Corbiewood either.

Nobody has chased me for an update on either.  Therefore, the guilt I feel at not having put pen to paper for almost a week is self-imposed guilt.  For those of you know me, you will be aware that the person who puts pressure on me the most is me.  It's a flawed trait which I exhibit in every aspect of my life.  Updating this online diary of sorts is easily resolved, as I can ramble away about the week's adventures to my heart's content; trying to justify sending a report for racing on the 6th August to the editor when it's now the 12th August is slightly more difficult.  The only viable conclusion I can come to is that I will write a report for the full week's racing from the Scottish aspect (Grant Cullen's 100th lifetime winning drive on the 6th August, Rewrite History's 3YO Heat and Final win at Portmarnock on the 8th and 9th, Dreamfair I Say and Bestinthewest's victories at Tir Prince last night and then whatever I can say about tomorrow night at Corbiewood) all rolled into one.  After all, the sole purpose of those reports on Harnesslink is to remind the rest of the UK and the wider world that there is a thriving division of the sport up here, and that our horses can leave Corbiewood and compete on the bigger stage in the same manner that the best Irish, Welsh and English horses can.  Plus I didn't have time to do an actual report for last week...
Wild Bill after his race

So a quick synopsis of Thursday night in terms of my own team is as follows:  Wild Bill, for his fourth run of the season, was drawn 5 for the fourth time this season.  What are the chances?  Alone on the second line, he snuck up the inside rail to prevent the outside horses on the gate pulling in behind the leader and sat for much of the race surrounded.  He was unable to get out of the pocket until they rolled off the final bend by which time the leader couldn't be caught, although he paced as fast as his little legs could to try catching him.  The Jockey doesn't abuse a horse coming home if he knows it's beat and he's beating those behind him, so he coasted in for second.

Star was up two races later drawn 2 of 2, so that elusive pole position has still never been obtained.  She led out, although the inside horse did put up a bit of a fight, and settled into a relatively slow first half.  My friend and her mare came to challenge early but couldn't pass her and eventually faded to finish last. I'd bet her to come second to Camden Casper who beat her the week before twice and had won the final in 2.04.  He came to challenge at the 3/4 and passed her with ease; Star had the legs of the other horses in the race easily and again she coasted home for second under a relaxed drive.  I was delighted, as that was one step closer to the win I'm after.  The Jockey stands by his comment that Star won't be beaten out of a gate, and he also said he was playing with the early challenger, easing off to allow her to get 3/4 length up, then asking Star for a bit more to keep her parked.  He's a twisted individual at times.

Star leads the field...again.

Proudest owner in the world!
The only other point of note from Thursday night was that whilst sitting in the office with the race secretary after the qualifier and before the first race, two stewards came in asking urgently for someone to video the races from the commentary box as the usual person wasn't available and they couldn't find anybody.  I explained that I had horses to get ready for racing and couldn't do it, however they continued to stand there saying they needed someone and asking who could do it.  So I went and did it.  Well, the first three races anyway.  No idea how to use the camera, never been in the commentary box before...thought I'd done alright under the circumstances seeing as by the time I got up to the box the gate was rolling, and I even managed to find someone to film the remaining four races after I left to get my two on the track.  However, whilst away over the weekend, a 'friend' commented that she'd seen my efforts and didn't think I'd done a very good job.  Considering she didn't volunteer (as she was in the office with me at the time) but couldn't because she had ONE horse to get ready (in a later race), I didn't think it was particularly fair to slate me.  But then that's harness racing at its worst.

The card is out now for tomorrow evening's racing and Star is in the first in a field of 7.  There is nothing in the race with me that I know can definitely beat me in the manner that Camden Casper can, however with all that traffic the draw is more vital than ever.  Knowing my luck she'll be drawn on the second line, but if she were by some chance to get the gate then who knows what could happen?  Again all I ask for is my horse in one piece when she comes off the track, and if I pick up a rosette then I'll be delighted.  As for Wild Bill, he is in the fifth in a race where he has a very good chance of winning.  It was previously going to be for the GKC trophy, however connections of the trophy sponsor don't have a horse in the race so they've switched their sponsorship to a race that, bar an accident, they should win.  There are some truly bizarre folk around.

I'll save my write up from Ireland for another post, because I have a feeling it may be longer than I first anticipated.  That's what happens when you meet such great characters and you don't want them to remain a secret to the world.  These are the types of people that keep my love for the sport going.

Over and out,

The tiredest groom in the world (not just Scotland)

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