I've had a rather up and down time through June and July. The perils of old age attacked me from all ends at once ...
Starting at the top and descending to others less photographable. But equally hard to get rid of. And all combining to make poor me a rather melancholy, sleepy (14 hours out of 24) and world-weary old man.
However, not all has been entirely woebegone these last two months, and our beloved Emily has given us a few thrills. Alas, she hasn't quite managed another win, but you couldn't really get much closer without clutching the candyfloss..
Addington 25 May. Fourth in a blanket finish beaten a head by the starry MAJESTIC LOVE
|I think I can ... ach! not quite!|
Ashburton 4 June. She hates Ashburton. I think I do too. She messed up. And the toilets (human) were dirty.
Addington 9 June. Ran on for a very fair fourth behind veteran MADELEINE STOWE and the extremely interesting (see later) MAKE MY SUNDON
Addington 25 June and 30 June. Two disappointing runs. What is wrong with her? Answer: she has/has had a virus. Antibiotic treatment, so no races.
She resumed in the semi-classic Darren de Filippi Memorial for junior drivers. A wish of trainer Howie's. Darren and he were friends. Oh dear, will a junior driver get her away? She often 'does her little dance' when the tapes fly. Anyway, I don't have a junior driver. But trainer Howie did. Tom Bamford is now my Junior Driver. He got the wee girl away perfectly, not even un petit pas de chat! she ran nicely, and finished 6th of 16 behind LIGHT OF THE MOON and GIFT CARD both of whom look like future top horses.
Was she coming back to her autumn form? Hopefully. Only one way to find out. 27 July. The public and tipsters thought she was a no-hoper. Fifteenth favourite in a field of 16. And Jimmy, our regular driver, was on a .. what? ... cruise?! Let the lad drive her! I harrumphed. But, once again, Howie had a better idea. His, and our dear late Murray's neighbour, at Motukarara is Steven McNally, the still young driver of 499 winners (one for me!). Well, Steven got her away brilliantly from way out under the stands and she led the charge until WAIHEMO HANNAH dashed past her at un unwise rate. Perched on Hannah's wing was favourite GALLEON'S AMBASSADOR. But little EM put her back into it. She gobbled up the audacious Hannah ... but so did the AMBASSADOR .. EM gave chase. The fifteenth favourite conceded a matter of an inch to the fave at the line... Steven 499.9wins!
Wendy, on a rare holiday, watched the race from the Shore's Tavern in Yamba, NSW. I gather she howled as loudly as I and my babysitters did at Addington. But when people realise 'you OWN that horse? WOW!' ...
She's back on form! Well, her crucial four-year old season is fleeting. But, best of all, she comes through her races in such lickety-split lead-me-to-the-next shape ... So. Bring her out again a few days later! Errrm... Mobile start (yuk). Sprint (yuk). Oh pouff! programming! But we went. We came 4th, breaking the 2.30 mark, after being sadly hampered by poor 7-win WINNING BONES (who turned out to have palatal ulcers). Well, she's the only one of the trotters I have owned, apart from SEPPL, who has got near the 2.00MR. Oh, the runaway winner was TI AMO BELLE, the same filly who beat EMILY (yes, by a nose!) in her very first race!
Last week, Wendy was back home, and we were also back to real racing. 2600 metres. Standing start. Very even field. Steven in the sulky. And the punters seemed to have changed their evaluation of our girl. She ended up second favourite. Fickle, fickle, thy name is punter ... The betting was rather incomprehensible ... these are all nice horses but ... the computer at Addington almost tied itself in snakes as the 2nd favourite became momentarily the 7th favourite ...
To me, the best horse in the race was our old rival MAKE MY SUNDON. But no ... somebody brought out statistics and it was TK MEGASTAR (which won Heat 2, when TI AMO BELLE beat us for Heat 1 in the fabulous Rangiora trot series) who was favourite. Anyway, we were at about $7.
The race itself was déja vu. Emily and Steven: great start. Field split in two, led of course by Emily. But the quartette de tête also included MAKE MY SUNDON (3/5 in the betting!). And surely enough, before long, that speedy 7 year-old zoomed to the front.
But EMILY didn't give up! The two of them neck-and-necked down the straight, Emily inching closer and closer.
They hit the line together ... But oh no! When the judge's call came out we were second! Beaten --- you guessed it -- by a nose! Blurry Hell! Steven 499.99 wins!
I asked Howie, does our girl need a nose job? Should I sacrifice a little of my Jewish nasal equipment?
Well, one more go, before she has a wee break. Off to the race track in 45 minutes. GALLEON'S AMBASSADOR is in the field again. And BROTHER LOVE, which won the Kurt Gänzl and Wendy Williams Trot at Rangiora three starts back ...
It is nice to be in the swim when good horses go racing. And I think the best of this year's crop are very good.
PS Emily began strongly, found the lead and led the race to the turn. GALLEON'S AMBASSADOR toddled along behind. They came swooping at her in the final furlong and she, lacking just a smidgin of her recent sparkle, was beaten into fourth place. She now goes for a nice wee freshener, munching Motukarara daisies for 2-3 weeks, before starting her spring preparation ... not TOO many daisies now, Emily!