Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
Taking the low road for a change
What a nice touch. They knew I wasn't going to be there so they called it off. They couldn't go on without me.
Well, not quite. My first absence from the Ayr Gold Cup meeting for five years or so seems to have coincided with a downpour in the west of Scotland and the track was waterlogged.
At least I got to see some racing at Pontefract, though the scenes after the second showed how grey an afternoon it was.
Eight Chelsea pensioners on their annual visit positively shone out, their distinctive red uniforms blazing beacons in the murk (which suggests that the days of the British army 'redcoats' must have been decidedly dicey for the average foot soldier whose colours would have turned them into walking targets, highly visible and impossible for a sniper to miss even on the bleakest of days).
Less dazzle from the the red anoraks worn by half the racecourse staff. The rest were in blue jackets and all have the Pontefract badge on the left breast, an unsurprisingly classy touch by course supremo Norman Gundill.
I caught up before racing with man-of-the-monent Freddie Tylicki for an Ayr Gold Cup feature.
He was as personable as ever and happy to spare five minutes, though it might have been more profitable to speak to him a week ago, before his 7,435-1 five-timer at Newcastle and 4,283-1 double at Beverley.
Funny how spending a couple of days in the company of pun merchant supreme Derek Thompson can rub off on someone.
Go Racing In Yorkshire's human dynamo of a PRO Graham Orange shared a mike with the great man at Doncaster last week and you could tell the effect was still lingering when he greeted you by referring to the Scottish abandonment and said: "From Ayr to the River Aire." (a line which required knowledge of the rivers of Yorkshire to be funny - and even then was scarcely a side-splitter).
And the participation of Claude Monet in the 5.30 had him launching a bid to make the most puns ever recorded about any one horse - "He should make the frame,", "He looks a picture," "He should make a good impression", continuing ad nauseam - with the emphasis on the nausea.