pre and post race.....


The nerves are kicking in- made no easier by the fact that he’s a pretty short priced favourite. It looks like they’re backingTailspin; the McManus horse. His hurdles form is nothing to write home about but, then again, you could say the same about Bay of Freedom.

I had spent the flight over convincing myselfthat Captain Bizarro was the main danger so now I’ve got two horses to worry about.  Horses and the weather: on that front it was the most beautiful drive down this morning and if only it could have stayed that way. There has been a little rain and it looks like it’s set in for the afternoon. That being said, it seems pretty light so, apart from being annoying, we should be all set.

The plan is to get up to the course and in adequate time for the race; what that really means is that w ehave time for me to have a couple of Guinness’s and Kim a couple of Bacardi and Coke or one of her extravagant Captain Morgan inspired concoctions.

I don’t have wifi in my room so am writing this from reception; I was tempted to wear my PJ’s to embarrass the hotel but chickened out completely; green bottoms with horses on them is probably a step too far!

We’re going to get a taxi down as that was the secret when he won at Galway.  I have played out the race so many times that it’s now more like a Monte Carlo simulation. It would appear that we have a 70% chance of winning if we follow the pace (which should come from Tailspin); 20% if we make it and 10% if we set off last. Strangely enough, the plan is to sit in just behind Tailspin!

I will now return to the room and try and relax by watching Aintree on the oldest (and strangest) TV I have ever seen. It is 18 inches square; a good excuse to get my binoculars out early.


See you later…..


Post Race

HE WON!!  That’s all you need to know now to the stuff you don’t need to know:


First of all the hotel not only didn’t have wifi , it didn’t have Channel 4 so no racing from Aintree. We got to the track in time for a couple of relaxing drinks in the Owners and Trainers shed. We saw Peter walk by and couldn’t understand why, with only 15 minutes before race time, he hadn’t contacted us. We made our way to the paddock in what were the most miserable conditions; as the Irish say: it was a ‘soft day’ alright! As we entered Ber came running over having been sitting in the warmth and comfort of the restaurant and bar; wondering where Kim and I had gone.

We watched the race from the stands as, based on the first race, you couldn’t see much on TV. Well, you couldn’t see much from the stands either! When the race started I turned to Kim and said ‘he’s settled much better today’ and that, combined with some good jumping, allowed him to have a fairly easy run of it in 2nd place most of the way. He was asked to make his move coming into the straight with two to go and readily went on. Captain Bizarro got a bit closer at the last but, on the run in, we pulled away and were going clear at the line.  Kevin Sexton (jockey) said that he actually got to the front a little early and that he was idling in front and hanging; essentially saying he won more easily than it appeared. The ground was horrible and Kevin said he coped with it but it was his class that got him through it; no doubt , though, that this gives us many options over the summer because, being Ireland, firm ground is by no means guaranteed.

Interestingly, he wasn’t even favourite; starting at 5/2. The money had come for Captain Bizarro who had been backed from 5/1in the morning to 2/1 at the off.

The photos we had taken after the race will probably not be appearing on our 2016 Christmas card; bedraggled and ‘drownded rats’ does not even begin to describe it! After the race, we were taken to a subterranean den for drinks with the racecourse management; everyone was wonderful and the hospitality and friendliness were almost overwhelming. It really added to the occasion. They even suggested a restaurant for dinner as, by now, Kim and I had become so disenchanted with our hotel that weren’t going to take up our reservation.

After underground drinks we went upstairs for more drinks with Ber and Peter and spent the rest of the evening talking about something I cannot now recall. After that came one of our funniest moments in Ireland:

It started with Ber trying to hijack a taxi to take us into Wexford; Kim, Peter and I watched amused from a distance knowing the taxi driver had no real chance in the face of Ber’s wonderful mix of charm, and obstinacy. Somehow he took advantage of a momentary lack of concentration on Ber’s part and sped away, leaving us back at square 1. Not for long though because two of the racecourse workersoffered to take us down in their van; we accepted. With that Kim and I got into the cab with the driver and Jimmy slid into the back of the van.  Halfway into our journey we had to brake pretty sharply and we came to rapid halt; this was accompanied by a cry of “mind yourself there Jimmy” followed by a thud and small moan. Poor Jimmy! Kim and I , who by this time had had a few drinks (if you’ve been counting) were in tears of laughter . Those tears came in torrents when, having got to the restaurant, we shouted “ do you want to get in front Jimmy?” and when no answer came we opened the side door to the van and there was Jimmy, lying flat on his back, his arms outstretched and a glazed look on his face. He slowly slid out, shook himself down and got in front; Kim and I went crying into the restaurant. The meal was fabulous, the wine was amazing (I know, I know) and we arrived back at the hotel in great spirits and to a fully functioning wifi signal; cue multiple replays of the race.

We’re traveling up to Peter’s later this morning andtaking a look at Bay of Freedom. Hopefully, he’s eaten up and taken the race well – I will let you know later.