24 October 2017

Records and Rainfall: Flat Season Farewell

So here endeth the 2017 Flat Season, even though they race on turf for another fortnight and this weekend could see history made with an unprecedented 26th Group One win of the year for Maestro O’Brien, who has taken this training game to new heights.

But there’s still some work to do. I sit on a couple of voting panels one of which will choose Racehorse of the Year- surely Enable after her glorious conquest of Three Oaks and the French in a never to be forgotten demolition job in the Arc at Chantilly.

And after a summer in which the Weather Gods ran as badly as some of the best backed horses, perhaps an award for the worst ‘soaking while covering racing’ of 2017.

It’s an award with a long and distuinguished short list, even though, I am happy to report, despite the gloomy forebodings from the usual suspects last Saturday when Storm Brian was due to at Ascot he appears not to have booked a ticket so it does not qualify.

But there are plenty of days that do. Ascot gets on the list for the spectacular cloudburst on King George Day in July, the night after York on a music night when ‘Wet Wet Wet’ would have felt at home.

Then there was the first day of the Ebor Festival at York. The train is admirable- 2 hours from London- but waiting for a platform outside York station that Wednesday morning the sky got darker and darker and darker. In 2 hours the rainfall count was of cricket score proportions.

But no, dear Reader, that doesn’t get the prize.

It goes to Sussex Stakes day at Goodwood. The leafy Sussex Downs are truly glorious on a fine summers day but on that memorable Wednesday it got wetter and wetter and wetter. No one would have argued if the racing had been called off because of the waterlogged state of the crowd.

It’s not all glamour in this job you know!

By Mike Vince