Anthea Morshead, Clerk of the Course at Kelso and Cartmel, has just returned from Australia where she reported that three race-days had been abandoned during her stay, as a result of too much sunshine and hard ground. Which strikes me as a considerably higher-class problem than losing race-meetings as a result of too much frost and hard ground.
But I’m not envious. The days are already becoming appreciably longer and our optimism has soared in tandem with the Vitamin D that is now coursing through our veins. The sun will set at 4.09pm on Sunday, when we hope to get Kelso’s first race (since November) under way at 12.40pm – a comparatively late start compared to the scheduled race-times over the Christmas period as we benefit from 32 minutes of extra daylight.
If there is a silver lining to losing two fixtures in December, it’s that the track is in fantastic condition. Not that we’re in need of too many silver linings; 2018 is going to be a fantastic year and we’re approaching it with relish. Here’s a sneak preview of a few things that are going to happen:
Prize money at Kelso Racecourse will be increasing by 26% to £1.2 Million for the year, with the richest race-day taking place on Saturday 7th April – when the ITV cameras will be on hand to show coverage of a new £50,000 steeplechase and two £40,000 hurdle races. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to pay for it all, because the BHA would frown on the racecourse management attempting to raise funds by staging a betting coup on one of our own race-days – although I think we can still recommend a selection for the weekend which, in the absence of Wishfull Dreaming, is going to be Jassas in the 1.40 on Sunday.
We might be permitted to strike a bet or two on races at other tracks – and we’ll therefore invest some of the racecourse’s funds on Pingshou, who is going to win the Champion Hurdle at 50/1 in March. In fact… would some one please tell me when Pingshou is declared a non-runner, because that’s what inevitably happens when I declare my antepost selections.
Following the announcement that Thistlecrack will miss the rest of the season (yes – I backed him last week), I have no idea which horse will win the Gold Cup, although whatever it is – it will be ridden by Bryony Frost. Miss Frost is also going to win the Grand National (again, can’t tell you which horse) and she can currently be backed at 50/1 for the 2018 Sports Personality of the Year Award – which looks pretty poor odds in comparison to a double on the two races concerned. But she’ll be a shoo-in and a winner’s a winner, whatever the odds.
Prince William and Kate are expecting their third child in early September. Apparently they’re hoping that it doesn’t arrive early as that would spoil the family picnic at Cartmel races – where tickets will be going on sale (step in quick for the half-price early bird tickets) on Monday.
I’m going to take a little bit of the 9/1 about the baby being named Victoria. After all, why wouldn’t the royal couple name the baby after a former spice girl? I’ll also indulge in a small saver on the baby’s second name being Posh (500/1 with William Hill).
I could suggest doubling up on David Beckham to be the next James Bond (200/1), but we’re not going to get greedy in 2018 – I’d settle for some nice weather and good racing.