Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Not the best day's racing - In the first race we had Christopher's debut which didn't quite go according to plan..... Poor Christopher had starved himself for months to get to the required weight of twelve and a half stone, only to find that it was a 12 stone race, he was 10 pounds over, so the first announcement over the tannoy was declaring to the general public that he was a 'fat boy'. Christopher had invited all his friends and family into a specially organised marquee with food and champagne to celebrate his first ride, and needless to say the announcement was greeted with a fair amount of hilarity, then it was announced that Christophers Padfield had a change of colours, and his cap was a different colour to the one in the race card - apparently Christopher thought that the draw strings on the cap looked a bit girly and cut them off.- (these are needed to make sure the silk cap doesn't come off the skull cap) Doug then got Christopher down to the start - We had spent some time practising the start and Doug had stressed how important it was not to get left behind and how quickly they would go into the first fence, well, the starter dropped his flag and they all set off, but fairly slowly as no one wanted to make it, Christopher thought that it was a false start and was asking the fellow jockeys if this was for real, of course they ignored him and continued on over the first fence whilst poor C went straight around it - Doug was absolutely speechless, the one thing we hadn't told him to do was jump the first fence!! C then realised that it wasn't a false start after all and joined in, jumping the second at a bit of an angle, at which point he lost his iron, and because of the high winds it blew straight over to the wrong side. By the time he came past the crowd he was sitting on the iron but frantically still looking for it - as you can imagine to the great amusement, but slight concern of all his friends who had backed him into second favourite, he then jumped the next couple of fences with only one iron and then thankfully pulled up. Oh my goodness, what a relief..... Of course he was then hauled in front of the stewards for continuing after missing a fence (more announcements) and then let off with a caution as it was a genuine mistake (Yet another announcement) I don't think there was a single person on the whole racetrack who hadn't heard of Christopher Padfield by the time the day ended!! On the plus side, he didn't fall of and we all very much enjoyed the entertainment and his hospitality in the marquee. He has seriously got the bug now and wants to have a go at Thorpe next week. Watch this space...
It was then Frog's turn and we were slightly disappointed in her, Dickie Collinson rode her as Will was riding at the Heythrop, we had told him to keep her handy but not to hit the front too soon - in hindsight it was the wrong instructions as they crawled for the first circuit and a half and Dickie was having to pull her back all the time as she was trying to get to the front, she basically pulled like a train for the first two miles and made lengths every time she jumped. but when it came to kicking on at the end she had run out of puff. Dickie said that she gave him a great feel and had he allowed her to bowl along in front nothing would have got near her. Oh well, you live and learn. Next to go was Doris with Josh Hamer on board, his instructions were to try and settle her out the back, and if she settles then to get her into the race, Josh followed the instructions perfectly and settled her beautifully out the back - second time around he just gave her a bit of rein and she cruised into the lead, it was incredibly exciting to watch, but then she lost a bit of ground at the open ditch and ended up finishing fourth. We were all delighted until we saw her nodding after the finishing line and realised to our dismay that she was lame. We were gutted, as it looked very much like a tendon injury. Luckily, we had Emma with us who owns Aitch and Paddy and she owns a rehabilitation centre and as it was on the way home, we got the vets to bandage her up[ and dropped her off there where we knew she would get the best treatment - Emma has been keeping her informed and Doris is a great patient and responding well to treatment. Very sad, but the really exciting thing was how well she settled, jumped, and how quick she is. She is only five and has plenty of time on her side, so fingers crossed she is a very exciting prospect for the future.
We were lucky enough to get a lift in Sarah's big lorry and it was such a luxury, sitting in the living area on the way home, with Lucy as 'trolley dolly' serving us drinks. As we have rather a lot of horses entered for next week-end she has very kindly agreed to drive us then as well.