Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
No rushed verdict after trial
There were signs plugging the Chester marathon on the approach to the racecourse today and introducing hurdle racing to the track promises to be as long and laborious an effort as slogging 26 miles 385 yards round the city this Sunday.
It's to be hoped the runners this weekend get off to a happier start, too.
In marathon terms we are still in the stadium at the moment with a first exploratory trial session staged today.
Four hurdles were erected and ten horses came up from Donald McCain's yard to gallop in two batches of five round two circuits of the very tight track.
The course were happy to embrace the press - we had the best view in the house, watching from a balcony outside a private box opposite the winning-post - rather than holding it in secret.
Which may not have seemed a great decision at around a quarter to twelve, when one of the ten had fallen at the final flight (sited by the furlong-pole, opposite a 'No BBQs in this area' sign) and lay ominously still on the ground.
The screens went up around him.
But fortunately he was only winded and got up apparently unscathed after a couple of minutes - which must have seemed like a couple of hours to those involved in setting up the trial.
Now, you know as well as I do that equine fatality is a fact of life in racing, Flat as well as jumps.
And the horse who came down was an unraced animal who had got very tired in the testing ground - his falling was no reflection on the safety of hurdling at Chester in any way.
But any student of the recent history of the Grand National will be well aware that when racehorses die, common sense and rationality can sometimes go out of the window.
Had today's young faller not got up, there would have been no end of fuss and hullabaloo - and it would have taken a lot of courage to pursue the idea of staging hurdling at Chester.
As it is, we are still a fair way off the Roodeye staging a Rock On Ruby versus Overturn rematch. Today's events will have to be digested, there will be internal and external consultation and the BHA will want to have their say.
It may come about one day. But this is a marathon not a sprint.