Archive for May, 2015

One of the perils of researching is spending a lot of time doing something that doesn’t yield starry results.  Typically this happens when ploughing through form books noting results, in the hope that something interesting turns up when enough has been ploughed.  Of course, you will never know if the golden nugget will appear on the next page.  Otherwise, you have to make what you can of what you find up to the point where boredom or time constraints tell you to go no further.

Some years ago I crunched a lot of Fontwell results data for the inter-war years.  Last week I was corresponding with another researcher and it turned out he has compiled a lot of Windsor data.  I said I’d like to see it.  We agreed it was difficult to put a price on it, and he had the idea of swapping his Windsor spreadsheet for my Fontwell.  I’m game – I hope this will come off.

I continued correspondence with the Croydon jockey’s great-grandson.  His research is hampered (or, depending on your outlook) simplified by being based abroad, and thereby having few opportunities to inspect physical records.

I’ve been given the answer to the Bath riddle from a month or two ago, but I have yet to look in the form book for the year in question to see how visible it was (ie how I missed it).

Windsor continues, though not at the pace of the preceding fortnight – indeed, a few potential sources have replied to say they haven’t got anything for me.  It’s all quiet on the Binda and the Uttoxeter fronts, but there are enough other things going on.

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Another of those random obscure enquiries came along in the last fortnight.  This one was from a man whose great grandfather rode the winner of a big race at Croydon in the late 19th century.  I hope I’ve been able to point him towards some additional ways of pursuing his investigations.  Our correspondence has helped me too.  Some of his questions revealed the existence of an early 20th century publication that covered racing that I’d never heard of, and a pdf he sent me coincidentally included a 1910 photo of jumping action at Windsor.

I heard from a chap I met about ten years ago who was starting to research the Alexandra Park racecourse that closed in 1970.  He had a book in mind.  He is still working on it.  Mind you, he told me he’d also been doing a Master’s degree, which had been a personal ambition of his for even longer.

I went to Newmarket last weekend for the 1,000 Guineas, benefiting from a 2 for 1 offer – not for the first time for that particular fixture.  However, I was surprised to get an email a few days later plugging a similar for that meeting in 2016!  That really is looking ahead.

In the last fortnight I have been spending a lot of time, mainly using online resources, working on Windsor.  Hours spent on it go by very quickly, and at times I look back and see I’ve only covered a few years.  It must be like prospecting for gold, as the amount of precious metal left at the end after sifting and sieving all the raw material will seem small relative to the time spent digging it out.  But without that effort, there’s no story.  I’ll be doing more of the same in the next few weeks and months, plus finding more from libraries and by talking to people who might know something about its history.  Or to people who might know people who might know….

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