Archive for May, 2014

I have had a break from re-reading the Uttoxeter text by virtue of going on holiday. My week away had no connection with racing, apart from the realisation that a well-known annual European event had its origins in a horse race. I wonder if I can make a publishable article out of that?

Before going away I’d sent the text to a couple of reviewers and I’m waiting for detailed comments from them, though one has already given me a general thumbs-up.

There is one particular episode that could be expanded; I was waiting to speak to someone on that subject and did so earlier today. I now need to incorporate what he said with the information I have from other sources. There is some sensitivity about this matter and I will need to choose my words carefully. When I’ve done that I will send the draft of this episode to today’s contact.

A fellow racing historian – perhaps the top man in the field – has alerted me to a source of material that I would never have found. In starting his own unrelated research he noticed part of it contained a file on Uttoxeter and kindly let me know. I ought to go and have a look! However, I begin to approach the stage where I cannot afford to spend much time exploring new avenues and I should limit myself to significant additions to the content of the book. Without that discipline I run the risk of failing to meet the final deadline.

I have neglected decisions on pictures and getting good quality electronic images, so I need to follow up on that in the next few weeks as the administering of the publication becomes increasingly important. I hope to arrange a Uttoxeter visit in June, but when is dependent on my reviewers.

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Going into Brighton the other day, when I had the unexpected opportunity to see the last three races of the day I noticed all the signs advertising the Brighton Festival. I’d read an article a few days before about the wife of a Newmarket trainer and her operatic likes. It occurred to me how little crossover there is between racing and so much of the arts world. My possibly cliched view was that owners, trainers and jockeys would have little interest in arts beyond traditional hunting scenes and old racing prints. Perhaps that’s unfair. But where is the means of bringing racing to an arts audience or vice versa? At Brighton races a few years ago an 1880s comedy called Dandy Dick was revived at the Theatre Royal was promoted at the races and the cast had a photo-shoot there. Could there be scope to promote a performance or an exhibition of something more modern? Or to advertise the races to Brighton Festival-goers?

Megalala, the old horse who won at the first Brighton meeting won again in similar style earlier this week. Surely he can’t do it a third time…. Their next fixture is on 30 May.

The Uttoxeter text gets steadily neater. I was afraid the question I put to the other historian was going to be a very naïve one – what he doesn’t know about the Grand National isn’t worth knowing – so I was heartened when he expressed his surprise that the answer was more involved than he expected. That’s another gap filled and the text is now adequate to send to a couple of reviewers to get their reaction. Adequate, not final; editing and rewriting will go on for a little while yet.

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