Lambourn said goodbye to Cath Walwyn today. Fulke and Cath’s daughter Jane sadly died terribly young from a fast and aggressive cancer, and Isabel her daughter became the focus of all Cath’s maternal instincts. After the Hon and I were married, she became one of my favourite people, and whenever I saw Jane at drinks parties or at supper, we always seemed to find some corner where we would sit and gas for what seemed ages. Jane met and married Richard and in what seemed minutes later was gone.
Today’s was a Catholic service with a good Irish priest, in a church that the Walwyns had built on the ground they had given to the Catholic church. Isabel had flown in, especially from Oz, and the church seemed full of young – great nieces and nephews, plus of course the Lambourn nobility. By way of a change, Richard Philips was not doing the Eulogy, but being a left-footer knew all the words and sang well. No, the Eulogy was left to Simon Christian, Fulke’s last assistant, who delivered a charming speech, which was applauded at the end, as is the modern way. More hymns, communion, and then Isabel gave a fluent, note-free and thus the best tribute to “Granny”. She spoke movingly and wittily about naughtiness and being taught to mouth the Catholic mass responses, so the priest would always believe she was following the service. She talked about chocolates and Mr Kipling’s cakes and was taught by Granny to play cards, read the racing form and understand casino games. But the phrase which left me winded, was when Isabel declared of her Grandmother’s care, “She loved too loudly.”
God, I hope there is someone, somewhere who might feel able to say that of me one day. Cath and her daughter Jane are two bright and distinguished jewels in the casket of memories and I hope that over time we’ll see more of Isabel. Cath’s priest, Fr. O’Sullivan made the point in his homily today, that we do the departed honour and ease their path to God’s peace with one’s recollection of all those moments of fun that our knowledge of them bought. I suspect Cath’s path to God was swift and sure.
The rest of the week suffered from the devastating news from Turkey and Syria, coupled with more concerns and woes about the racing industry, However, I bumped into a senior vet at the wake, who assured me that his workload was undiminished, that sales prices across the entire equine world from dressage to eventer, from pony to hunter from yearling to polo pony remained as far as he could see high and that I should stop worrying. Phew – so that’s alright then… History however tells me that medical men are notoriously unreliable when it comes to foretelling the future.
Talking of unreliable, here are Saturday’s tips…
13:50 Betfair Multiples Offer Every Saturday Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) 3m
There is only one selection on the trends…
BRIDGE NORTH 3 pts e/w (4 places on Skybet and a drifting 11/1)
14:25 Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2) 2m71⁄2f
FANION D’ESTRUVAL 4 pts Win
15:00 Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m1⁄2f
FUNAMBULE SIVOLA’s winning run last season remains in my mind and I thought some of his old spark was back on display at Cheltenham a fortnight ago – in the higher grade Clarence House. Another chance for him today.
FUNAMBULE SIVOLA 3 pts win
15:35 Betfair Hurdle (Handicap) (Class 1) 2m1⁄2f
My three against the field are ICARE ALLEN (8/1), NO ORDINARY JOE (11/1), and YORKSEA (12/1). Last season’s “Horse With A Future”. Bags of promise, occasional flashes, but nothing that grabbed. A Gerry Fielden fourth, for his seasonal debut after almost a year off, and a relatively chilled victory at Fontwell LTO by way of warm-up, he looks to have a decent mark of OR 126 which I think puts him in range. He might have been laid out for this.
YORKSEA 4 pts e/w 6 places with a number of bookies
13:30 Virgin Bet Warwick Castle Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2m4f
A 4-runner field and the rightful favourite is Sam Thomas’ 8 yo STOLEN SILVER. Can’t see anything else – but the price is way too tight.
14:05 Virgin Bet Warwick Mares’ Hurdle (Class 1) 2m5f
THEATRE GLORY looks the most likely runner here to upset the odds-on favourite. Listed form, and off this mark, and she gets her preferred ground, (4/5 on good). mOh and the stable jockey is here rather than Newbury.
THEATRE GLORY 3 pts win
14:40 Virgin Bet Kingmaker Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m54y
Another 4-runner race Grade 2 and a very short favourite. Oh Please.
UTTOXETER ~ Not televised: 2:45 MISTER COFFEY Nicky Henderson has been trying to find the right race for this one – and if he turns up here I’m interested at around 11/2, which he is now with Bet365.