Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
Stage drama in the pouring rain
DRAMA, tragedy and an appearance by a local celebrity - it was all go at Uttoxeter.
The conditional jockeys' seller had appeared an instantly forgettable event yet the closing stages will probably be shown time and again thanks to its dramatic final twist.
The riderless Stage Acclaim swerved to the right at the final flight, forcing King Fingal wide and onto the chase track just as he appeared poised to go clear.
As Brian Toomey desperately tried to get the leader back onto the hurdles course, the loose horse ducked out, blocked his route like a rugby winger shoulder-charging his opposite number into touch and forced him to go the wrong side of the running-rail.
Tragedy had struck as Alfloramoor collapsed and died in the winner's enclosure following the Always Waining beginners' chase - a raced named after the three-time Topham Chase winner, whose owners Peter and Linda Douglas sponsored the card and who paraded beforehand.
Always Waining was actually coming home as he used to be trained just up the road by Pat Clinton and he looked full of the joys of spring, pulling his two handlers arms out.
No danger of his 3m track record being broken today as the ground turned soft after continual heavy downpours - one wag suggested that the guest of honour was named after the England football manager's description of the Uttoxeter weather.
'There's only two Tim Peters' might have been the chant from the crowds. Equity wouldn't allow it but there are two of them making a living behind the mic in the small world of racing.
And the elder version, a well-spoken MC, whose former calling as a stage actor comes across in his beautifully-enunciated announcements on Midlands tracks from Stratford to Yarmouth, came across his younger namesake, a trainee commentator who was here to call two pony races, for the first time.
Now for four more 'reasons to be cheerful it is 2012 not the Silver Jubilee year of 1977' for people in racing:
The original legislation legalising off-course betting stressed that shops were required not to encourage loitering and plenty of premises appeared to take their responsibilities very seriously - gloomy, bare places in which to hear a blower commentary describe your horse falling. Whereas now they are lurid entertainment emporia - whatever your views on numbers games, fruit machines and virtual greyhounds, having live pictures is an undoubted plus.
Off-course punters had two options in 1977, the local betting shop or a telephone credit account, each offering a bare handful of traditional markets. Competition and the internet means that now you can do your money with countless firms offering prices on a vast array of different events. And whether you are a winner or a loser, the birth of spread betting and Betfair have added enormously to the punting experience.
The legendary Peter O'Sullevan may have been the voice of racing in 1977 but the standard of some if his colleagues behind the mic was decidedly variable. Now the standard of race-calling is almost universally high - the likes of Martin Harris and Mark Slater may not be household names but you can set your watch by their ultra-competence.
There was no Breeders' Cup in 1977 and any European trainer eyeing the Melbourne Cup would have been laughed at like Christopher Columbus before he discovered America. Now the best horses travel across the world to take each other from Ascot to Arlington and from Sha Tin to Santa Anita.