I’ve always cautioned about this time of year on racing.
After the uptick we get in quality over the Christmas and New year we slip into, most likely, a weather disrupted period with lower quality racing and good opportunities are few and far between.
This year, so far, has been blighted by weather than has been less than favourable. The key new years day meeting at Cheltenham was abandoned, only to be followed by the same fate at the end of the month for the traditionally busy Cheltenham trials.
When a bunch of ‘bumpers for jumpers’ enter the racing card regularly, you know you are swimming against the tide. This is why I’ve never put huge amounts of focus on this time of the year. It can often be a case of trying to squeeze blood from a stone. In Summer it’s like sipping fine wine served to you from a golden goblet while you recline with your indulgence on a bed of rose petals.
As the say goes, make hay when the sun shines.
Dublin Racing Festival
The Dublin Racing Festival takes centre stage this weekend and has eight Grade One contests and a total of €1.8m in prize money up for grabs. This rolls into Sunday as well, so I’ll be keeping an eye on both days but obviously the Saturday is the key day.
I traded from from Leopardstown a couple of years ago, when I was asked to do a brief slot at an event there. I quite like the big Irish meetings, so I’m looking forward to that on Saturday.
Sandown also hosts the Grade One Virgin Bet Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase on Saturday and the rearranged Grade Two Virgin Bet Cotswold Chase. While Wetherby stages the rescheduled Grade Two William Hill Cleeve Hurdle on the same afternoon. These are races carried over from abandoned Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham.
While rearranged fixtures never created the same buzz or liquidity, they should present plenty of opportunity. Of course that is depending on it not being too wet, too cold, too slippeary, the low sun getting in the way or clashing with other races.
Any how, it’s definately a case of a little bit of light in a rather gloomly period for racing.