I might be free on Saturday. I thought maybe a bonus day at the races. Only thing is I have to be back in the evening for dinner as it is my wedding anniversary – so can’t go to far. But it is a Saturday and there will be one decent meeting nearby…surely?
Now I know it is a quiet period between Epsom and Royal Ascot but looking at what’s on offer I can only shake my head.
There’s only one daytime meeting south of Yorkshire and that’s at Newmarket. This Saturday must be the first meeting on the July course. The seven race card consists of five handicaps (including two 50 grand races) and two novice races. Nothing special there then.
Then somehow the fixture boffins have allocated Saturday afternoon fixtures to both Beverley and Catterick – only 74 miles apart. But they are not the only meetings in the North this Saturday. Further north and Musselburgh racecourse has its £100k Scottish Sprint Cup, but that’s not all. To the west Haydock Park (only 115 miles from Catterick) will be the primary meeting with the only pattern races in Britain, a pair of Group 3s the Pinnacle Stakes and the John of Gaunt Stakes.
So four meetings in the north on one Saturday afternoon. Surely that’s crazy. The conclusion is simple – I (and many others in the midlands, west or south of the country) won’t be racing this weekend.
And something else I noticed. The aforementioned Pinnacle Stakes (1m3f) must be one of the the worst Group races there is. Of the 12 entries only three are rated over 100 (of those one is 100 and another 101). On Sunday Nottingham run their Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks (1m2f), and guess what, of their 12 entries (only one rated over 100), no fewer than five are entered in both the Haydock and Nottingham races. Why two such similar races on successive days?
I’m sure if there are some very simple explanations for these racing mysteries but I have no idea what they are.