That’s entertainment

sang The Jam most memorably over 40 years ago.

Racing claims to be in the entertainment business too. So why on earth are Southwell racing today? Who in their right mind would want to trek out in sub-zero temperatures, potentially with more bad weather later to see some low grade all weather flat racing? That’s not entertainment, that’s survival.

Seems to me that all the snow and freezing temperatures couldn’t have come at a better time for racing. Sure we lose a bunch of meetings but if ever you are going to lose meetings, and there will always be 1-2 weeks every winter with some bad weather, then when better than this pre-Cheltenham period. No disrespect to the offerings from Doncaster or Newbury this weekend, but it isn’t one of those weekends you ink into your diary at the start of the year as must go racing, unless you are Paul Nicholls who has dominated the big race at Newbury over the past decade. .

This break allows us all to draw breath, keep some money in the betting bank and do a bit of early study for the Festival.

The English weather, being what it is, may yet have some tricks up its sleeve but can you imagine this weather being just two weeks later. Good news for the pubs and bars around the Cotswolds but bad news for everyone looking forward to the best show in racing. It’s happened before. Just look at the course when The Thinker won the Gold Cup in 1987.

There was heavy snowfall an hour before the race and the runners for the Gold Cup, having made their way to the start, were recalled to the parade ring with conditions deteriorating fast. After a delay of well over an hour, the snow began to melt, they tried again and got the race run, with The Thinker revelling in the conditions getting up to win close home.

Could that happen again? Who knows, anything can happen – and in just two weeks time, Might Bite might head over for his annual pint of Guinness before deigning to win the Gold Cup, we’ll find out.



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