Horses for courses, they say. They - whoever ‘they’ are - might also say, dresses for courses, and, of course, suits to suit.
When it came to togging out at the winter series of racing at Dundalk Stadium, which ended the Friday before last with Edward Lynam and Wayne Lordan being named to trainer and jockey, respectively, the emphasis among trainers, and others, was on keeping warm. This was to be expected since the Friday night meetings were rarely run in anything but, well, winter weather.
Caps, woollies, heavy coats and even heavier boots were de rigeur among the male of the species, while those on the distaff size also traded glamour for practicality. Rough and ready, you would say, with the intention of just getting on with job as comfortably as possible in the prevailing conditions.
The poor jockeys - nothing for them but silk jackets and light breeches, the same as they would wear on the hottest day of the summer.
How different it all was at The Curragh on the Sunday before last. There you had two parades, one for the horses, the other for the fashion-conscious. The sun was very high in the sky and not a puff of wind. The opportunity then for displaying finery you’d see on Derby Day.
A trainer seen wearing jeans at Dowdallshill sported a Saville Row, while another wore a Panama hat. And though there were many Friday night regulars among the runners, most attention was on the choicely-bred, some of them hopefuls for this year’s and next year’s Classics. But regardless of the calibre the runners and the sartorial elegance of those preparing or owning them, for most a day at the races, let it be at the point-to-point at Tallanstown on Sunday last or that day in Co Kildare, the objective is to come away winning. Readers of this page will be delighted, not to mention excited and over the moon, to hear its compiler came away with more money than he had going in.
A 10/1 winner, named after a flower which is difficult to spell was backed singly and taken with the runner-up in a forecast. The return was big enough for a splash-out on a bag of fruit from one of he vendors on the way out of the course and a stop-off for ice cream on the way home. Surely, the last of the big spenders.
It was, however, back to reality at the ‘Hill on Friday night, when winners, presented for racing by handlers back in their winter gear, weren’t supported.
By the way, this week’s meeting on the all-weather is taking place tomorrow night. And there’s another Wednesday night get-together next week.