Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
Curiouser and curiouser at Ayr
Welcome to the looking-glass world of racing in 2012, when 2.10pm is actually 2.40pm and 2.40 is 3.10 - and 3.10 does not exist.
That is if you set your watch by the racecard at Ayr.
The course did incredibly well to survive an inspection on the eve of racing yesterday, following the latest downpour of an unfeasibly soggy year.
A mile and a half of rails was moved in order to provide a fit surface.
But it was only 12 metres across, too narrow to accommodate the 17 runners declared for the 6f handicap due off at 3.10, which was therefore abandoned.
No problem. Six races left. Re-do the card. Put the first back to 2.40. The next to 3.10. Run through to 5.10. Simple.
Or so you might have thought. But that is not the way things work.
Because the declared card had gone out the previous day, the original timings had to stand. On paper at least.
So the card which appeared in every paper today kicked off with a 2.10 and a 2.40, accompanied (I hope) by a note telling everyone that those races would actually take place at 2.40 and 3.10.
Then an hour's gap to the 3.40 (apparently there had been moves to insist the abandoned 3.10 be carried too, even though none of its 17 runners would be within a hundred miles of the track, with a note letting people know it was not going to be run - fortunately, that was overruled).
Clearly you want to avoid confusion, and there could be no question of, say, a declared 5.10 race being staged half an hour early.
But could common sense not have allowed the first two races to be billed with the time they were actually going to take place?
It was rather like the comical situation you used to get when a track was closed for development, its fixtures were moved and a meeting might officially be "Fontwell at Plumpton" or "Musselburgh at Ayr".
Incidentally, 12 metres might appear decidedly narrow but there were no more than eight runners in either race on the straight course and after walking it beforehand jockey Tadhg O'Shea said: "You want to see some of the tracks in Ireland - this would be a galloping track compared to them!"
No disasters in either event, nor any other alarms on a day when Patricia Corbett did her bit to put racehorse owners' pleas for increased prize-money into context.
She'd come the best part of 300 miles to see Ingleby Symphony land an unexpected first prize of £1,704 in a nursery and said: "We drove all the way up from Nottingham for the day out. This is a bonus."