The Inside Rail

It was too good to be true. Veterans’ chase. Right-handed. Nine entries. Valuable prize. High weight. Fresh off a win. I’ll be there.

Yes, all too good to be true. Leicester became water-logged this week and Valdez’s Sunday race was abandoned. Great word. Not cancelled. Not postponed. Abandoned, like an old dog in a junk yard.

As Dad says, “Son, it’s the game we play.”

Yes, it’s game we play. The variable-filled outside sport, dependent on the whims of man and horse and sometimes the weather.

Enjoyed a day at Newbury Saturday. My old friend, Richard Hutchinson, picking me up at Heathrow just like old times. Richard took me to my first British steeplechase, Barbury Castle Point-to-Point and Stratford the day before the Festival nearly 20 years ago. We are racing fans, we know each other’s styles, he walks off one direction and I walk off in the other. We meet up at unplanned vantage points – doesn’t matter if it’s the big screen behind the grandstand at Cheltenham or the front lawn at Newbury or the hill at Far Hills. We simply walk into each other, watch a race, neither saying a word about how the favorite’s traveling or how the ground is playing. We watch, binoculars to our eyes, program at the ready for reference if needed. Occasionally, we might utter “Come on my, son.” But, only occasionally. Maybe Best Mate…Kauto Star…Valdez.

We scudder to the winner’s enclosure, cheer on the first four home, a few claps and a shared moment of sport. Then we walk off, split like two divergent cars on a highway to places deliberate and defined. We meet up again, maybe a race or two later, sharing what racing shares. Our heroes are horses. Our jets are jockeys.

Surround yourself with people who make positive differences in your life. There won't be many. Recognize them. Appreciate them. Cherish them. 

Off to the Tattersalls Mares Sale. Catalogues in hand. Dreams alive.