Archive for the ‘Doncaster’ Category

St Leger Day

Domestic non-racing affairs mean not much work has been done on Uttoxeter, and I have no news yet on the other chap’s projected book on the subject or the Virgin Mary slide.

I received an unexpectedly large order from a wholesaler, at just the time when I was running short of Bath books.  Indeed I’ve only been able to partly fulfil the order, and ask Bath to send the rest direct.  I’m not going to be able to collect fresh supplies from them until next month.

One of my contacts asked me to do some statistical analysis of certain Saturdays’ racing programmes, and this emphasised to me how much the move to shift more big races there has been.  Midweek festivals are extended or shifted to include Saturdays.  Often this means big, decent-quality fields contesting valuable but impossible handicaps.  I’m not sure five fifteen-runner handicaps out of seven races are an attractive programme for a proper racing enthusiast.  Bookies won’t mind mug punters betting on that type of race all day long.  I suspect smaller courses with Saturday fixtures within range of a big course with a meeting also suffer. 

 The biggest meeting yesterday was at Doncaster, where I and 32,000 hoped to see the Camelot win the St Leger and achieve the Triple Crown of three flat race classic successes for the first time in 42 years.  He never looked like winning.  The aftermath was a great deal of earnest debate about whether he lacked stamina, suffered from a slow pace (so that his stamina wasn’t tested), or did the jockey get it wrong, was the horse simply not good enough, or was he below par?  Horses can’t tell us if they’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Leger Day weather was splendid and so were the efforts of the female racegoers, who without exception dressed up to the nines and put on a fine show.  I must commend all racegoers and racecourse staff for their friendliness.  Stranger spoke to stranger in a way that most Londoners find uncomfortable on their home territory.  Despite quantities of alcohol being dispatched, I saw nobody make a fool of themselves.  At least, not before we left the course at six o’clock on a jolly bus going back to the station, where we were soon whisked back to our sombre southern homes.  Meanwhile the bar staff of south Yorkshire were gearing up for a busy night…


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