“Life in the year of corona”

Hats off to the Peter V’Landys: a miracle racing is going on. All due to this man. Well done! And Thank you.

Being practical, it would a disaster were a jockey to contract the dreaded lurgy. Racing would be “off’. Some trainers, foremen, blacksmiths and strappers could get the bug and racing would probably cope and continue. But a sick jockey is an “existential” threat.

I wonder if it were sensible to quarantine (say 25 of them), living separately (or in groups of five) away from their families – as they do in Japan, then on raceday (no shortage of space), have five separate jockeys’ rooms spread through the empty grandstand. They would be safe from the virus, if cranky.

I loved Hugh Bowman playing to the imaginary crowd after the Slipper – the gestures and, then, throwing his googles into the make-believe spectators. Good on him.

I wish the course curators were more accurate as the going descriptions. We used to have five (fast, good, dead, slow and heavy) and used them all. They expanded to ten descriptions but only used four (dead four, dead five, soft six, soft seven). Fast, good and heavy are rarely used, notwithstanding they are often the correct designation. Saturday originally described as Soft 7, then Soft 6, then Dead 5. It was, on the times, just Dead 4, borderline Good 3.

Punters bet more on dry tracks. Underrating the track going has the very real effect of reducing betting turnover and, consequently, prizemoney.

In contrast, the previous week it was officially rated a Dead 5 originally. The first was always, in my view (based on times), a Heavy 8, perhaps exacerbated by longish grass. Some rain fell and the track was continually downgraded to finally be a 10 (I have marked, in my records, the last three races a Heavy 14 [I was a wider range!]). Consistency and accuracy would be good.

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