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Archive for April, 2019

The Salisbury printing problem has been solved, with a lot of give and take all round.  In fact, it was sorted by last Friday week.  That left two full weeks for copies to be printed and delivered to the racecourse.  I expect I won’t see any until that fateful Sunday the 28th, the launch date.  There will be one (I hope) last moment of trepidation when I handle a copy for the first time, wondering if it has been printed upside down or inside out.

Ffos Las is still on ice as my proof-reader has found faults with it, but not told me what.  We do at least know what the pictures are going to be inside the book, and we have a firm of printers lined up. Welsh, of course.  The front and back covers are, I think, undecided, although I have my own preferred template in mind, which can easily be explained to the printers.

I was at Stratford last Sunday to see a horse I have a share in run.  He was down the field that day, but there will be better times ahead.  He was bought for a modest amount two years ago and has won three times for us since then, so we certainly can’t complain.   Then to Newmarket on Thursday where some rather more expensive animals were racing.  One of the faces in the crowd was the indefatigable Derek Thompson.  He was commentating and presenting at Chelmsford when I was there a few weeks ago.  The old Tommo style was undimmed.  A jockey called Philip Prince won one race.  “I always call him Prince Philip.”

Later a horse called La Cumparsita won.  Tommo took the trouble to google the name, and told the crowd it was a tango composed in Uruguay in 1916.  (You may not know the name, but the tune will be familiar.)  He used his smartphone to play a recording of part of it over the public address.  Who else would do that?

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We should be entering the home straight with the Salisbury book.  However, there is an eleventh-hour problem, of the sort I have never encountered before.  There are two or three approaches to tackling it but we have to decide which one very soon.  A meeting at the racecourse on Tuesday will, I hope, determine the right path.

Ffos Las is a little behind schedule.  The nearly-final text is with one proof-reader who’s abroad at the moment and may not think it’s suitable for holiday reading.  I was at the races there today and was pleased to meet one of Wales’s leading racehorse owners, who helped me get some insights into the place.  I am being interviewed there tomorrow by a PR firm that’s helping to plug its 10th anniversary.   We still have to sort out photographs but I have a preferred list that won’t cost too much and I expect to get approaval for it very soon.  As the whole thing is going to be much smaller than the majority of my books we still ought to have it ready by 6 June.

I took time out to visit Britain’s other new course last week, Chelmsford City.  It was a replacement for an Ayr meeting that had to be abandoned.  Quite what Scottish trainers thought about the choice of substitute I don’t know.  Anyway, I was enticed by free entry, to make my first visit there since it was Great Leighs.  The viewing areas – it’s hard to call them stands – are fine for small crowds, but as you can only directly see a quarter of the course at any vantage point it’s only really necessary to get a position in front of the big screen or one of the indoor TVs.  Everything was neat, clean, new and comfortable.  The only drawback was the utter lack of road signs coming, as I did, from Chelmsford itself.  I gather the local authority wants an exorbitant sum to update the existing signs.  I only knew I was near when I saw the array of giant floodlights.  The Dartford Crossing was queue-free both ways, both my bets won, so the day could hardly be improved upon.

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