Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
From Pontefract to Dubai - City is set to go this time
Strange how you can run into the same people in wildly different places if you just wait long enough.
Last time I met Roger Charlton was in July at Pontefract where he was discussing why he was reluctantly forced to withdraw Cityscape, who would have been the best horse seen at the track for ages, due to the sun-dried ground.
Whatever Norman Gundill might tell you, it's actually even sunnier in Dubai but seven months on the same Cityscape will take his chance out here on turf that is extremely unlikely to be anything other than quick.
The difference is in the geography.
Pontefract, a former mining town, is in the midst of the Yorkshire hills and those minded to jog round the track will confirm it has marked inclines and down slopes, on which Charlton will not risk a high-class horse - it's nothing personal, he wouldn't run him on a firm surface at Goodwood or Newmarket either.
Whereas, like Noel Coward's Norfolk, Meydan is very flat - you could play snooker on it, if the horses didn't get in the way.
(Incidentally, my conversation with Mr C was conducted over a barrier designed to separate people like me from owners and trainers and allow them to watch their horses doing morning work in peace, so all kudos to him for coming across and talking to me).
It's been even longer since I last met Peter Ellis, an Australian form analyst with an infectious enthusiasm and a voracious appetite for hard work, physical and mental.
So infectious that on one of his visits to Europe he persuaded me to join him walking the track at the Curragh on the eve of the Irish Derby. Pontefract joggers might think they have it tough but that is a gruelling course - don't ever think of backing a short runner there.
We only did the last couple of furlongs at Epsom but that was enough to prove what an 'unusually' configured track it is on which to stage any race, let alone a classic.
That was in High Chaparral's year, when fashion expert Jeff Banks came into our hotel on the morning of the race and asked if he could have a room for half an hour. No. He had just flown in and wanted to have a shower.
I remember that we stopped at Leicester Forest Easton the way back north and my PA colleague Keith Hamer and I - looking decidedly out of place wearing full morning suit in a motorway services on a Saturday evening - tucked into something greasy while Peter got a tough lesson in the standard of British catering.
He searched high and low for something he considered even vaguely edible. After casing the whole joint he finally decided the only thing he would risk passing his lips was a small box of breakfast cereal.
As you can probably tell from the above, today was a quiet day. A day for getting your head down and churning out previews.
Tomorrow promises to be rather more spectacular.