Racing fans like fans of sports such as football and rugby all enjoy planning their year around the sport they follow and plotting which meetings and festivals to attend, certain dates always marked down in the diary and trying to knock off new courses or stadiums in the quest to visit them all.
Fortunately you do have to wonder if the BHA posses a map of the UK in its offices or acknowledge Google Earth?
The reason I say this is looking ahead to this Saturday for reasons due to weather and abandonments the most northern meeting in the UK on Saturday takes place (at the moment) in Wales with the rescheduled Welsh Grand National.
Other meetings in the afternoon are at Wincanton and three London based courses in Sandown,Kempton and Lingfield!
Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand the people at the helm of Arc wanting to do a Take 2 as regards the Welsh National, it’s a fine race and of all the Grand Nationals it’s one of the toughest in the calendar and it has been run on this upcoming date a few times now, so much so that it does make one wonder if it should be moved to this date permanently?
I cannot understand the need for three meetings all in the London area though, speaking honestly if the Lingfield one was run at Wolverhampton instead I’d actually consider popping down but as this is a weekend I try to go to a third round game in the FA Cup then I’m happy to take this weekend off and be ready for my annual weekend trip away to Birmingham with the Classic Chase at Warwick although as its done nothing but rain recently I am thankful for having Wolverhampton as a fall back in the evening next Saturday should the heavens win.
It’s not the only time that geography gets in the way of racing since the axe of the old 50 mile rule regarding fixture planning.
Haydock and Chester clash twice in the summer and during the winter months of the jumps meeting on Saturdays every meeting at Ascot,Sandown,Kempton and Newbury always race with Lingfield on the same day, indeed it was noted in the Racing Post last year after Ascot’s Clarence House Chase meeting was abandoned that a coach party of intended jump fans rerouted themselves to Lingfield instead to sample some polytrack action and the reporter told about the purple and mustard coloured corduroys and tweed jackets that were spotted amongst those after a racing fix.
Now like many I have had to engage the flat brain during the core part of the jumps season when Mother Nature has had her say, the way things are going with the current weather it might be worth slowly getting the eye in by keeping one eye on the all weather as we could be set for a string of abandonments due to the lovely rain!
It would be nice if just for once some thought was given into fixture planning, after all how can a Saturday have no racing in the North or even the Midlands?
On the one hand it’s very disappointing but then again it gives many a chance to recharge the batteries and get set for the upcoming months ahead.
I just hope Warwick is on next week though!.