A long day yesterday.  It’s been a while since I’ve made it to the racecourse so I decided to take a day out – it isn’t a disaster for me work wise as I can work from home in the morning and I always get a lot done on my Blackberry when I take the train.  Ours was running at Chepstow at 1:55 – I drove to Reading and caught a train to Bristol from there. 

I have a one third share of four horses with Nick Gifford in a syndicate with a couple of guys from the city – Ours is one of the horses.  I met up with Bob, one of my co-owners, on the train.  He had a Guardian newspaper with him – I had the Racing Post.  The headline on the RP read “Purple Pain”, referring to Purple Moon narrowly failing to win the Melbourne Cup.  The Guardian headline also read “Purple Pain”, referring to Prince taking legal action against three unofficial fan sites on the web.  A really weird coincidence.

We were picked up by a mate at Bristol, who drove us to the course.  We had to cross the Severn Bridge, which has a one-way toll of £5.10.  Bob had a fiver in his pocket but we had to scratch around for the 10p.  I spent a while musing over why they charge the extra rather than make life easier for everyone by charging a straight fiver. 

At the course we met up with Nick, and then with Mick Fitz in the ring – a couple of very nice guys.  Nick didn’t think we’d win but he thought we’d show up fairly well – as it was Ours blew up quite a long way out and tailed in virtually last.  Disappointing – sure he’s a long distance chaser, but I was hoping for a little more – Mick didn’t provide any excuses.  We had some lunch and headed back to the station as I had to get to Kempton for the 6:20.

We got to the station in good time and went to our platform.  For some reason my train was moved to a different platform and there was no announcement – I missed it and had to wait for the next one.  When I finally got to Reading and into my car it was clear that I wasn’t going to make it to Kempton on time.  I pulled over to make some calls and check my emails.

I had an email from our lawyer at work telling me that Tristram Ricketts had died.  I was gutted.  I didn’t meet him many times but I think he was easy to get to know and understand, and he came across as a very good man – friendly, intelligent and totally devoted to racing.  He’ll be missed and he leaves a hole that may be difficult to fill.

I called my wife, Jane, at the course – she was with Nicky Vaughan, Michael Owen and his mum, Mick and his daughter and Tony Calvin.  Lilac Moon ran a really nice race but was just run out of it – a bit like Purple Moon I thought…  By the time I got to the course Michael, Nicky and team had flown off, which was a shame.  Jane had had a good chat with Michael’s mum about running a stud, something she does in a small way.

We wandered down to take a look at Lilac Moon, who was staying overnight at the course.  She is a fantastic looker – she has one major flaw in that she is very straight up front, but she’s great in all other areas.  The RP gave her 59 for her run, which is a personal best – I suspect she’s come up against strong oppo and I think her time will come soon.

We had a beer and some food and headed off home.  A long and fruitless day, but nice to be out and about.