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The blog has been off air for too long, I was taking a break waiting for the summer to arrive before scribblings returned. We had a false dawn and then the winter rain came rushing back. The Guineas run on soft ground, long behind us now, Chester May Meeting run on soft ground – surely June has to be better??
The Derby arrives with perfect ground and beautiful weather, and I was much looking forward to my annual visit to this great Raceday, as firstly it gives me a dry run as to whether I can still fit into the morning coat before Royal Ascot, or I am rushing off to buy larger stiff colours, is it going to be collar size 17½ or 18 in 2012 – I think we will go for 18 slightly more comfortable!
We are extremely fortunate in that we had been invited by our good friends Roy and Belinda Strudwick, from Ballygallon Stud, to join them for lunch in their excellent box in The Queens Stand, but prior to leaving the car park we normally have a “refresher” to kick start the day. Looking for Pete and Bonk Walwyn to join us for a glass of refreshing cold Sauvignon Blanc, I scoured The Derby Stables Car Park where they always park – sadly no sign which is most unusual and worrying as the Walwyns have been Derby Day regulars forever. Making a passing comment to an Epsom Director of my concern, which was passed on to Pete when he saw him in Lambourn High Street on Sunday morning. This prompted a telephone call from Bonk who told me that she had had such a bad nose bleed that meant the Derby Day outing had to be aborted and a trip to A & E was called for instead. This was the first time that Bonk had missed the Derby in 57 years and Pete in 58 years, how sad it was for them to have missed the Diamond Jubilee Derby, happily Bonk is fully recovered. I doubt there are many married couples who could boast such an attendance record at Epsom!?
After the razzmatazz of Derby Day with the fair et al, my next visit to a racecourse was to enjoy the razzmatazz of Cartmel with its fair et al on the following Wednesday – quite a contrast!
There are two things that every racing enthusiast has to attend, Derby day and Cartmel and both are firm entries in my diary. As I had taken my Scotty Dog Betsy with me to Derby Day, I thought she should also accompany me to Cartmel to get that track ticked off.
As usual and despite some rather unseasonal weather, Cartmel was heaving with people enjoying their picnics and all the fun of the fair. Rather like Epsom it has a most unusual track layout which has to be walked to be appreciated. Having the Scots lady in tow we walked the track after racing and did our bit in treading in as many divots as possible.
Everybody who goes to Cartmel always has fun and always returns, and as I was heading North to Hamilton the following day I was staying overnight in the village. The village is full of charm, good pubs and most importantly loads of ‘sticky toffee pudding’! Ever mindful of the Weatherbys expense account, I was able to stay in a very nice hostelry called The Cavendish Arms, where I dined extremely well. I managed to resist booking myself into the L’Enclume Restaurant, renowned for its fantastic Menu, I thought that would be too sad to go there ‘tout seul’!
In any case Royal Ascot looms and waistlines need constant watching with 5 days of eating and drinking ahead.
Let’s hope for a Royal winner in Diamond Jubilee year!! Back after Ascot............