Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Curmudgeon Stirs

What a magnificent fortnight of sport we’ve just experienced. Even the most cynical and sceptical of individuals must have been enthused by the Olympics. A tremendous success. I’ll definitely be following dressage horses in future after the great Valegro’s exhilarating performances. If I can find a spare couple of million, he’s mine.

Went down to Glorious Goodwood to see the equally fabulous Frankel turn in another pulsating performance in the Sussex Stakes. On the way back, popped into my local, The Pheasant at Lambourn Woodlands, only to find the Curmudgeon propped against the bar. He was not in good humour. Apparently Racing for Change (RfC) pursued another of their “ground-breaking initiatives” at Sandown recently as part of “making our sport more accessible”, with a trial of dual displays of imperial and metric weights and distances. “So tell me, Hughesie, why are all the races in the US still in good, old-fashioned imperial distances? If it’s such a great idea, do you think golf will be changing yardages any time soon? They don’t seem to have any problems with that in China and across Asia, do they? In fact why doesn’t RfC go the whole hog and recalculate the Guineas? And while they’re about it, let’s confuse everyone in York for the Juddmonte International and see if Frankel stays the extra distance, in metres not furlongs.” I knew what was coming. “Come on, you’ve got a Cambridge education. What’s the metric equivalent of one mile, two furlongs and 88 yards? And when you’ve worked that one out, tell me how that’s going to improve the racing experience.” Sometimes in life it’s better just to feign stupidity. A bit like RfC. Maybe Rod Street can convince the Curmudgeon and make it all seem necessary and relevant. I know I can’t. It was time to beat a retreat.

Let’s just hope that Frankel enjoys his next spin, over a distance of around 2100 metres. I’ll be up in York, cheering him on regardless. Can’t wait.


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