Thursday, 29 June 2017

The All Weather Track

"Can you make it NOT rain?" read the text message.

I can do a lot of things, but for influence over the weather I have to turn to someone much more powerful than myself. I won't tell you who, because she wouldn't thank me, but she says she'll see what she can do.

If that fails, we've got two pallets full of plastic rain ponchos to give away - when you live in the Lakes, you learn to come to work prepared for the odd shower.

If you're planning a trip to the races on Friday (for the Tom Jones experience) or on Sunday (when we've a troupe of circus performers wandering the enclosures), I'd suggest you pop a pair of wellies in the back of the car. It doesn't hurt to be prepared and they're easier to walk in than high heels - or so I've been told.

Not that any of that advice will help the trainer who sent me the text message, because we don't have a rain poncho that will fit his horse and I've practically never seen a Thoroughbred shod in flip-flops, never mind heels.

I think he was hoping we'd describe the ground as Good to Firm. Which of course we could, if we wanted to, although it wouldn't be true - and racehorse trainers get funny about that sort of thing.

So does The Racing Post for that matter, although I'm not sure when journalists became so proficient in assessing the condition of the turf. Ascot took some flack from the media for watering at the Royal Meeting and yet their excellent ground staff (second only to the team at Cartmel according to last year's RCA Showcase Award judges), work to the highest professional standards to provide a consistent and safe racing surface. Could it be that some of the critics were talking through their pockets?  

But I digress. If you're coming to Cartmel this weekend (and we still have tickets for both days) the best thing to do is to prepare for all eventualities. Bring a pair of sunglasses, in case the sun shines, and a decent coat in case it doesn't. You can always use it as a picnic blanket when it turns out fine.

If you're backing a horse, look for one that won at the last meeting at Cartmel, when glorious sunshine gave way to rain and glorious sunshine again. Although, if the racecard form comment reads "well suited to all-weather," be a bit wary - because that doesn't mean quite the same thing.

This week's selection is Morning Royalty who goes in the £20,000 Oakmere Homes Handicap Chase on Sunday. He’s a three-times course winner and has proved successful on Good ground, Soft and Heavy.

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