Sunday, January 13, 2013

Brief notes from the course after Warwick's Classic Chase meet

Brief notes from Warwick's Classic Chase day meeting yesterday...

I've attended this particular meet several times over the years; whilst I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of crowds in the betting ring, around the paddock and in the bars, I'm guessing the track's management will view the attendance figures with some disappointment.

In the opener Timmy Murphy looked slightly unlucky not to win on his first ride back from injury when top weight Thunder Sheik (12/1) couldn't match Flaming Charmer (14/1) for toe after the last. I stood opposite the trainer and owners as the runner-up was unsaddled - Murphy was pretty animated and took what appeared an unusually long time to debrief connections. The first-time tongue-tie worn here appears to have helped and the hint was this bay is likely to appreciate further.

I didn't see Eastlake in the paddock beforehand but colleagues reported the gelding appeared sore behind. In the event he ran well but Rody quickly put the race to bed between the final two flights.

No sooner was Grand National winner Neptune Collonges brought into the paddock to parade before the third than he was spooked. The grey was clearly on good terms with himself - two handlers walked him around for a while after as he calmed down; several racegoers took the opportunity to take a picture. In the race itself 14/1 chance Tour Des Champs, running in the colours of Mr H R Mould (made famous by 2002 Grand National winner Bindaree), looked ready to mount a strong challenge to the principals when coming to grief two from home. Many will have been disappointed with Highland Lodge (third) but punters are forgiving beings - in the unsaddling enclosure I saw somebody pass two packets of polos to the lad as he walked the favourite around.

I wasn't inclined to play in the 2.25 with 18 runners and The Package priced up at around 3/1. The night before I had picked out Ely Brown (honest) but the Guinness called and I went and bought a round of drinks instead. We watched the action from a verandah outside the bar, standing just behind Countryfile presenter John Craven. Much to my dismay Ely Brown (12/1) won well but it appeared Mr Craven had been somewhat less reticent than my good self in striking a wager as the smiles and raised eyebrows came thick and fast after Ely passed the post in front. Displaying signs of excellent breeding, as one would expect, Mr Craven seemed in no particular rush to collect his winnings.

In the paddock The New One looked very strong behind but didn't catch the eye; he certainly caught the eye on the track.

Three pound claimer Robbie Dunne did his career prospects no harm whatsoever winning the feature on Rigadin De Beuachene. Something clearly upset the winner after the race - on a couple of occasions he looked ready to kick out - and the stable girl wisely took him away, missing the opportunity to collect her silver salver. Venetia Williams, a trainer in fine form as well as a lady who knows how to wear a hat, proved an able substitute.

The final word has to go to a bookmaker - the following sign was noted at Ka Be Ge's pitch:

"Remember, a bad day at the races is always better than a good day at work."

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