It`s not every day me and my guys go racing rubbing their hands at the thought of winning a big slice of the £50, 000 on offer in the 3ml 1f Betfair Exchange Chase, the last race on Haydocks Betfair Chase Day.
And why not ?
Five opponents, as follows Captain Redbeard a horse we`
d beaten before by 40 plus lengths ...Vintage Clouds ...a horse we`d beaten before…Taking Risks…a worry but a big step up in class here….Braqueur D`or ….not the best jumper as his form showed and Buywise ….a 33-1 shot and not for nothing.
Is it any wonder the 20-1 on offer for Delusion 48 hours before the race had cascaded down to him being a 5-1 shot just before the off.
Before continuing, a little pre race anecdote, the relevance of which soon became aware during the race.
Myself and members present were enjoying the excellent hospitality owners and trainers receive at Haydock, when yours truly, en route to ponder over the desserts on offer, crossed paths with Sue Smith.
Usual niceties over, Sue then said something to me which I didn`t want to hear.
Now I have always had a tendency to be a bag of nerves on race days, getting progressively worse as race time gets ever nearer, and this day was no exception.
What Sue said was that a lot of the jockeys involved in earlier races had come back complaining about the size of the new fences, they were bigger and stiffer than what they used to be.
Thanks Sue, in my nervous wreck condition, thats just what I wanted to hear.
Nevertheless, because of the belief in the pre mentioned form assessments, with my body confident but shaking, we all took our positions in front of the magnificent giant size screen which had been erected adjacent to the parade ring, and prepared for our fate to be revealed in MGM style cinemascope… like we were at the flicks.
The flag came down and off we went.
Things were going well…very well as Delusion and Vintage Clouds went straight to the front, in the main, jumping these bigger fences well, whilst apart from Capt Redbeard and the Richards horse, the other two were running as predicted.
DoG and VC pressed on confidently, together in an almost synchronised jumping style, until the time came to jump the 9th fence….. DISASTER followed by a cacophony of damn n blasts and worse from yours truly. Delusion was down.
I have to say Sean Quinlan did nothing wrong, he knows Delusion well, has ridden him many times on Sues training gallops, and six times on the racecourse, winning once at Catterick when he beat …you`ve got it.. Vintage Clouds !!
As Sean approached the 9th fence, he saw a good stride, asked the horse to go for it, as he has done many times before, but for some reason Delusion hesitated, and in doing so, with those stiff fences, he couldn`t adjust, and there followed a horrible looking fall which, for a split second I thought would soon be seeing the air ambulance on its way as well as the covers erected round our horse.
Thankfully this was not the case as Delusion was soon to be seen cantering down the track, seemingly unhurt, and Sean, apart from a slight cut on his lip, joined us on his way back to the weighing room, a very disappointed fella.
For me, and members present, it was very frustrating and disappointing when we were well on the way to win or place success in this £50k race.
As for reasons or excuses, we can only summise.
Best to be philosophical instead, especially in the knowledge that Sue has just been in touch (Sunday morning 25th) to say Delboy`s well and grazing out in the paddock, so we live to fight another day.
As for the fences, not just ours, but an awful lot of horses fell or unseated yesterday, way above the average you would expect. Its also true to say having now watched Racing Uk re runs, lots of horses that didn`t fall, put in quite a few sketchy jumps which adds weight to the case for a review of those fences by Haydock Racecourse management.
But, to continue in philosophical mode, those fences were the same for all the horses, some handled them better than others, and the best won on the day, and unlike Brexit remainers, I won`t be demanding a re run.
Congratulations to Vintage Clouds, and jockey Danny Cook, owner Trevor Hemmings,…a nice double for him as Preston beat Blackburn 4 – 1… his Racing Manager Mick Meagher, and not forgetting Sue and Harvey of course.