It’s the right day for the Secret Racegoer at Newmarket, but the wrong day for singing the blues
There was a heat haze at Newmarket. A heat haze! In April! At Newmarket!
Normally in April Newmarket viewing conditions can be affected by rain, even sleet. But not a heat haze.
It meant that a balding bonce needed a bit of protection from the sun, so the Gift Shop was visited where you could buy a Godolphin blue baseball cap for £19.95. Or, at the adjacent hat stall, a panama for £15. No brainer.
Arrival at the Suffolk (with a bit in Cambridgeshire) track got off to a problematic start. At the ticket collection window, after some prolonged computer keyboard typing, a ticket and badge were forthcoming.
What was not forthcoming was the required beep when the ticket was scanned. Nor at the second or third attempt. Then a lady spotted the date. The ticket was for the previous day’s racing.
The Secret Racegoer had come on the right day but had booked for the wrong day. But, without any fuss, a valid ticket was printed out, and the scanner went beep.
It would appear that the previous day had been the wrong day for bookmakers. Despite the betting ring being described as a “Bermuda triangle”, the plunge on Qabala in the Nell Gwynn Stakes caused some severe damage to the layers.
“I’ve been racing eight days this month”, said a bookie, “and five of those were a mistake”.
It wasn’t clear if it was the right day or the wrong day for one racegoer, but he made it very clear to the people he was with who were taking group selfies that he couldn’t be pictured on Facebook. “I’m not supposed to be here” he said.
His anonymity might have been better maintained had it not been for the bright blue suit he was wearing, but without a matching Godolphin baseball cap.
It wasn’t the right day for the battle of the Godolphin blue in the bet365 Craven Stakes. The top two in the market, Royal Marine and Zakouski, from the Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby stables respectively, finished behind the Abdulla Al Khalifa blue worn by James Doyle on the William Haggas trained Skardu, one of the horses in Gary Sears’ Quick Pick Horses to Follow list to be found on this website.
That probably added to the warmth which was now permeating around the betting ring as, in the previous race, the favourite and last year’s winner Brando, together with the fancied Dreamfield (in Godolphin blue), finished behind the shock 66/1 shot Keystroke, making it a first Group winner for trainer Stuart Williams.
Whilst the new Flat season was hitting its stride at HQ, there was one last hurrah at Cheltenham’s jumps HQ.
It’s not clear if the Newmarket gods were showing disapproval of those who wanted to watch the Cheltenham coverage but, during the running of the feature race at Prestbury Park, the screen suddenly switched to a bet365 logo.
Then the pictures from Cheltenham returned, disappeared again for the bet365 logo, returned to Cheltenham, switched to a view of the Rowley Mile, back to Cheltenham, one last flash of the bet365 logo, and back to Cheltenham for the closing stages.
Another favourite bit the dust at Newmarket when Clerisy drifted alarmingly in the betting from 9/2 to 8/1 but was not for beating.
Finally, Godolphin blue prevailed when Jalmoud crossed the line first for the Charlie Appleby camp, beating the Saeed Bin Surror contender, Mons Star, into fourth place.
Along the way the Guinness was sampled in the Millennium Bar, a facility which the Secret Racegoer shuns on the busy days as it can get a bit “boisterous”.
But, today was the right day for being served quickly and watching the racing from outside the bar’s elevated viewing balcony, even if the heat haze and possibly further sampling of the Guinness made things a bit fuzzy.
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