The low sun low down at Taunton
Whistlejacket on the low sun low down at Taunton
The course is a little way out of Taunton but there is a courtesy bus from the station (or in my case a lift from a friend). The track is quite flat and to get the best views you need to be relatively high up in the stand.
There is a great view from the Winning Post bar which also serves beer for around £4.30 a pint in real glasses – other courses Ascot, Goodwood, Cheltenham etc please take note. There are a few good pubs near the station too.
I attended on Portman Cup day which is their best day’s racing. The Portman Cup saw a great ride from Bryony Frost on the old warrior Yala Enki.
She is a great judge of pace on these willing staying chasers; she gave him a fine ride in the Welsh National three weeks earlier and at 6/4 (backed later in to 11/10) he rated a good win bet.
The right pace
What I liked was the way Bryony maintained the right pace and did not allow the pace set by Regal Flow to enable the race to be set up for a closer.
Low sun was a problem on a beautiful winter’s afternoon and two of the hurdle races turned into essentially flat races with four hurdles attached.
This was a bit frustrating particularly as they delayed the start by five minutes or so whilst they dolled off the fences.
The sun had been in the sky for three or four hours prior to this, it would not have taken much to doll off the fences 15 minutes prior to the race. I notice that this also occurs at Cheltenham where they similarly leave it to the last minute. Perhaps the BHA could explain why.
Back to the racing. Often a horse you thought was quite good in the past, it may have gone off the boil for a bit, the stable was out of form previously, the ground wasn’t suitable before, it has come down in the handicap.
Now one of those things should mean you consider a bet but when they all apply as was the case for Limited Reserve in the handicap hurdle at Taunton, then one’s only regret is the failure to invest a maximum stake!
Joe Tizzard was in the bar (not really a surprise but unfortunately the team were out of luck).
And Lotte Lion, the somewhat controversial Apprentice candidate who wanted to set up an exclusive club for country ladies. So that rules out me and most of the population! I realise that means nothing to those who didn’t watch the Apprentice last year.
So, all in all I give Taunton a definite thumbs up. It is good value for money and perhaps being an independent track gives it an edge over its rivals. Definitely worth a trip particularly on its big day of the year!