After a busy morning’s faffing about I was very late having my breakfast. This situation saw me settling down with a bowl of porridge to watch the 2.40 “E. B. F. Mares’ ‘national Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (qualifier)” from Leicester. I had no interest in the race, it was just what was on At The Races as the porridge was ready. There was a hot 8-15 odds-on favorite, a David Pipe horse called Sure Josie Sure. At the first hurdle another animal called Miss Nightshade who was at the far left of the runners (eleven in total, though there were soon to be only nine) decided that rather than clear the obstacle she would instead swerve across the face of the entire field. This resulted in her bringing down the hot favourite, who was at the the far right of the picture, before it had even cleared the first. I felt for punters, but thereafter I was handsomely entertained by Miss Nightshade who galloped over to the far side of the track for a couple of furlongs, in that happy way that racehorses do once they’ve got rid of the burden on their backs, before seizing her moment to cut right through runners as they took another hurdle. In so doing she created a dodgems-type effect and nearly took two or three more out. Thereafter she slightly lost her bearings. You could tell this because at the extreme edge of the screen you could see the course divider fences (which are made of white plastic) shattering sideways onto the track as she careered through them. Miss Nightshade finally returned into shot unharmed where she engaged in a further unsuccessful attempt at sabotaging a rival at the rear of the field by snuffling the mount up the backside. The jockey actually turned round and shouted at her, for what it was worth. At this point she went off on a route of her own before reappearing at the finish line to come second. All this gave me much amusement and caused me to look her up. She fell in her last race and started this one at 25/1, though to be fair she has won one and been placed third out of her five (now six) starts to date. Miss Nightshade is clearly a spirited individual and I am therefore putting here up as the blog’s ‘one to watch’ which is turf-talk for a likely future winner.
Wild Horses by Eighties indie poets Prefab Sprout follows for a music/horse racing cross-textual note. A sex-laden song dealing with impossible desire, it has the extra bonus of sports-influenced lyrics, (I want extra time to play/afternoons in the hay) and is made even sexier (for some) by talky bits from Jenny Agutter. Note also the inter-textual pop reference to Bjork’s first band The Sugarcubes. In the line, I’ve tried the Sugarcubes and they’re okay/but I don’t think I’ll catch you that way… singer-songwriter Paddy McAloon extends and reinforces the idea made plain at the outset Through the rails I spied, your ponytail… that the object of his desire is a schoolgirl who likes schoolgirl bands. The lyric is after Lolitta in this aspect, the thing is deftly done, and the use of Agutter’s voice only adds to the confusion. The band never got into any trouble for it as far as I know, perhaps because it was never released as single, perhaps because those were different days before wall to wall phone-in shows gave Jo Public the chance to get hot under the collar at every available opportunity.