…that is what I blame my abject punting display yesterday on.
Once again the world turned and I was slightly behind it. Leaving late on account of the 8 a.m. inspection, missing the first and not being able to get a copy of the Post until I was on course all meant I had no chance for some proper study. This is what you need when entering the bear-pit and I had a) forgotten b) little opportunity – which was my own fault.
Time was on a Saturday, when the girls were little and had naps in the day, that I would take the dog out early doors and buy the Post. I also used to buy the ill-fated Sporting something or another in its brief life. Then I would read the form and read the trainers’ comments which, as a novice, I set great store by. Then I would take the dog out again via the bookies and place my bets.
The kids never sleep during the day now, not even when they are ill. On weekends they like to do stuff. Come on dog walks, hang out, watch films. I knocked the sticking my head in a paper habit on a Saturday a long time ago because it was selfish and didn’t read well. Consequently, I have come to terms with Saturday, the biggest punting day of the week, being my missed opportunity so to speak. I’m ok with that in the comfort of my own home. Doing a nearly 8 hour round trip with your dear mother counting her wonga in the dusk is a little harder to take! I don’t begrudge anyone a winner though.
I was able to read the Racing Post last night at bedtime. Therein were some of the nuggets I could have done with on course. In one small field hurdle race I had a nice theory about the well-bred Fiulin, trained by Evan Williams (in form) and was somewhat seduced by some fancy entries (Champion/World Hurdle). This fella downed tools before the home turn on the hill and came home last. As he dragged his sorry, and as it became evident fat, arse past the stands to explain himself to his connections I popped him in the mental notebook “will come on for the run”. If I had acquainted myself with the trainer’s view I would have know this:
“Time has conspired against us. It’s now the end of January and we haven’t been able to run him, so instead of going for a Mickey Mouse race and learning nothing, we are going for a good race to hopefully find out where we are with him. He has done a lot of schooling (makemeadiva notes: the beast jumped nicely it must be said), but he is a big horse and will come on a bundle for whatever he does here.”
So basically, I paid money to find out what I had already paid money to find out when I bought the paper. This, incidentally, is what trainer, Robin Dickin, said of the race winner Restless Harry who laid it down from the front and earned the only applause of the day from me.
“I have been riding horses for 40 years but the feel he gave me when I rode him on Tuesday was the best I’ve had. It was an extraordinary piece of work so I have to be expecting a good run. He is in better order than before (his last race) and was hardly trained or fed – this time he’s highly trained and well fed, so I hope I haven’t messed him up!”
Of course, not all trainers’ comments are equal. Paul Nicholls did not fancy Taranis, who delivered at 20/1 (well done to one Ms AMB 🙂 )after 766 days off the track since breaking down in the 2007 King George, saying:
“…it’s been a hard road back and I have yet to see the old ability’s still there.”
Yep the ability’s still there Paul and Fiulin is porky sort who thinks he doesn’t fancy actually running fast after about 1m6f.
It was all there, shame I didn’t read it first.
On the upside, I saw a Red Kite and Buzzard on the way out (these are impressive birds of prey and deserve to be proper nouns). I met some old and new friends on course and saw a fantastic yellow moon on the way home.
Oh, and mother bought the chips.