Each year, at about this time (Friday evening to be precise), we stage an annual get-together for the people that have helped us throughout the season. It’s a fun occasion and it gives us a chance to reflect on the events of the Summer.
I’ve come to notice over the years that when a Clerk of the Course makes a mistake, we have a new track layout; when the office administrative team makes a mistake, we have a new filing system – but when I make a mistake, it turns out that I’ve just made a mistake. Well on Friday evening I’ll be reminded of all the new ideas that the team has come up with and all the mistakes that I’ve made during the year. We’ll have a chat and a laugh, we’ll make some fresh plans and we’ll raise a glass to the season that’s passed. And, at the very least, the glass will be half full…
Because there are a multitude of benefits to be derived from positive thinking. According to research scientists at the University of Kentucky, optimists are likely to have a stronger immune system than pessimists, they’re at a lower risk of heart failure and they’ll live for longer. Optimists are also more likely to age well, which explains why so many racehorse owners appear to be so spritely in the Parade Ring - because there can be no greater optimist in the World than a racehorse owner.
And of all the varieties of racehorse owner, there can be no greater expert in positive thinking than those that own jump horses – and of all the months in the year, October is the time when their optimism hits peak levels. This weekend's Totepool Silver Trophy at Chepstow has long heralded the start of the Winter jumps season – with the unleashing of some of the most promising horses from the most prolific yards. The meeting has been through a quiet spell for a decade or so, but this year it has regained its lustre – with Saturday’s £50,000 prize attracting a high quality field and supporting races for the two-day meeting attracting some of racing’s biggest names.
Former Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy could run at the meeting, as well as the Cheltenham Gold Cup fifth Irish Cavalier and Grand National candidates Unioniste and Kruzhlinin. However, if there is one horse that I can’t wait to see this Winter, it is the full brother to Wishfull Thinking – this week’s selection: Wishfull Dreaming.
Call me an optimist, but if this horse can't win off a handicap mark of 123, I'm a Dutchman (and I'm pretty sure I'm not). If I’m wrong? Well, I’ll just have to console myself with the fact that I’m going to live longer than most of the pessimists believe... possibly in Holland