Velvet Vista runs at 5.45 followed by Astrojewel in the 8.45 ...

We have no runners out this weekend

Friday, 02 February 2018

"Every vice has its excuse ready."

Publilius Syrus.

Second lot out ready for exercise

It’s another cold morning but no rain as yet. The only problem is the wind, which is quite strong and we were absolutely frozen watching work at first lot on the Cambridge Road polytrack. There is nothing between here and Siberia when standing out there and you begin to realise what a reindeer feels like, but at least they have some thick fur to keep them warm. Everything went very smoothly and Tim and I walked off the gallop with a smile on our faces as there are one or two beginning to give off some proper signs.

Cantering up Hamilton Hill

Astrofire is obviously not a sprinter after yesterday. It was worth a try, but after a short break, or even waiting a bit longer for the turf, we will be going massively up in trip. She is a long way from being useless and we should have a very good handicap horse on our hands.

We have no runners over the weekend, but there is a possibility of a couple on Monday if I like the look of the races.

     05_Tpin     09_Rum
Topapinion and Rum Ration

Saint Anthony

I see the trainer got fined for the mix up with horses at Southwell in what was described as a comedy of errors - that was not in any sense funny- by the BHA disciplinary panel chairman. He also said incidents like this risk bringing racing into disrepute. To my mind there should be no risk involved and it does bring racing into disrepute and makes everybody look idiots. Once again the trainer has been fined, but the raceday BHA employees have got away with it. It is beyond comprehension how this could happen and the dangerous thing about it is that it would not have come to light at all if the horse hadn’t had been selected for sampling - and nobody would have been the wiser. This must have happened plenty of times before and in my opinion the whole situation of horses arriving at the racetrack and running needs looking into. There is a rule that horses should be there at least an hour before and I have seen this rule flaunted many times. They should be checked on the way into the yard and then checked again when entering the paddock for their race. It should be easy. The BHA has got to employ people who don’t mind getting wet and cold, rather than stay in the warmth of the hut.

This incident begs the question of how many times it has happened before as it was only luck that it was found out. With the pressure on all trainers with staff issues, horses are being sent to the races illegally with only one person. This situation will continue to happen if nothing is done about it.

Phil on Friday

We’ve a long wait until the next Grand National, so it was good to meet up the other evening with an old friend who worked on the Tote for many years and did duty at Aintree. He was there when the race was postponed because of a bomb scare, and he recalled for me the tale of the man who drank his own contact lenses …!

On that unforgettable afternoon in 1997, with the bomb threat still very real, Tote staff were herded into a car park and given £50 each to find themselves accommodation for the night. That was plenty of money in the Liverpool of 20 years ago, so our man and his mates checked in to a cheap doss house and decided to spend the excess on a good night out.

It all got a bit out of hand, especially for Pete – we’ll call him that to avoid embarrassment – who relied heavily on his contact lenses. He could barely see at all without them so as his mates led him back, after a very heavy night, to his bed it dawned on him that they were missing.

Relatively sober next day he tried to recall all that happened on that hazy night before, such as when his sight began to fail so abysmally. By a process of elimination the search was narrowed to a particular tavern in the city centre.

Who could hope to find a pair of flimsy contact lenses on a beer-soaked floor in a Liverpool pub on a weekend? Anyway, what is known these days as a fingertip search was undertaken. Bar staff and others were closely questioned, but nothing was found. Inescapably, there was only one place the lenses could have gone – into Pete’s Pint No. 8!

“They must have fallen into my mug,” he lamented. “I’ve drunk them!”

They never turned up, so he must have done.