Friday, January 28, 2022

Blue Diamond Babes at Caulfield

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Miss Roseiano on her way to winning the Fillies Blue Diamond Preview

It has been over a week in Melbourne that  we’ve had to endure hot and sticky weather, quite tropical in fact.

In the past I used to quite enjoy summer weather, but as I’ve got older I find it hard to endure  hot days, so it was with some trepidation that I wended my way to Caulfield on Australia Day for the Blue Diamond Previews meetings.

Fortunately trains were running on the Hurstbridge and Frankston lines, so at least I didn’t have to put up with the concomitant inconveniences of transport disruptions.

I arrived at Caulfield about twenty minutes before the first race as intended. This was the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Preview, one of the races I wanted to see.

Not many other people were in attendance, so I had no trouble getting to my favourite spot on the fence for action photography and finding a seat in the shade in between races.

The stalls area was blocked off for major renovations so general admission race patrons were limited to the front lawn area and Norman Robinson Stand.

Interestingly, first starters won both the Blue Diamond Previews, Daumier proving too good for race favourite Philosopher and prevailing over the challenging Rampant Lion in the colts division to win by half a length.

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Daumier holds off Rampant Lion to win the Blue Diamond Preview

Miss Roseiano led the much larger field of the fillies Preview from the start, and couldn’t be run down by challenging fillies Written Swoosh and race favourite Latizia. She came in at big odds, being unfancied in the betting.

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Miss Roseiano zooms up the straight

I stayed at Caulfield for the following two races, the first of these being the Evergreen Turf Handicap a race over 1100 metres. I can’t say that I’d ever taken much interest in any of the runners.

Asfoora beat Jilette by a length with For Real Life running third.

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Asfoora  (no 2) and Jilette fight out the finish in the Evergreen Turf Handicap

Race 4 was the Listed W J Adams Stakes, another sprint over 1000 metres. Only four contenders were set to run in this race, one of them Enthaar, who started as the hot favourite. I’ve at least seen her race a few times, including on Zipping Classic Day where she won the Listed Doveton Stakes  from Streetcar Stranger.

This time however she ran last, over racing early in the race to fade in the straight, whilst Streetcar Stranger went on to win from Mossman Gorge and Esta La Roca.

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Streetcar Stranger challenges Esta La Roca with Mossman Gorge charging on the outside

It was a disappointing performance by Enthaar, but no doubt she’ll be back in the winners stall again sometime or other.

Calling it quits after the W J Adams Stakes, I headed home, the trains coinciding nicely, but I faced a hot and sticky walk home from Ivanhoe Station.

I survived, and overall was pleased by the rare outing despite the challenging weather.

Let’s hope that the rest of the Autumn racing carnival is run in more tolerable conditions.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

2022 So Far

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Postcard from Gotham Book Mart 2002

As we no longer have a real cat to photograph with Bingo now gone missing for five months, I’ve been reduced to scanning old cards to illustrate my blog posts.

I have an enormous collection of cards, the bulk of which I keep in an old suitcase, so I went  through it today to see if I could find suitable inspiration for a blog post and came across the above post card.

It was acquired in 2002 when I went to New York to attend a book launch held at Gotham Book Mart on 11 November 2002. The card reads Cats at Work and features three ginger cats named Thornton, Mitchell and Christopher sitting in the shelves of said bookstore..

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Invitation to book launch

Gotham Book Mart was a famous old bookshop situated at 41 West 47th Street NYC. It closed in 2007, so I guess I should feel privileged to have visited the place while it was still open. It also had a gallery which at the time of my visit featured photos of musician Patti Smith who hung out there when she lived in New York.

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Patti Smith display with Whittemore books in foreground

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Gotham Book Mart sign outside the shop

Back in 2002 the world was still reeling from the 9/11 (11/9/2001) fall of the World Trade Centre in New York. Terrorism had entered our world and nothing would ever be the same again.

Likewise in these times of the Covid pandemic which has killed many more people than died on 9/11.

I did of course visit ground zero whilst I was in New York and read the tributes in the side street.

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9/11 Tributes near ground zero in Lower Manhattan

It’s a sad old world these days, quite different to 2002.

Back then digital cameras and mobile phones were out of the price range of the general public, so the camera I took to New York was a Ricoh film camera. The photos I snapped with it are mostly not worth saving for posterity, either my abilities or the camera’s being to blame for the poorness of quality. All I can say is that I’m glad I have a decent digital camera these days, and that my skill in using  it has improved.

So here we are twenty years on, in the early days of 2022 and it’s not much fun so far with cases of Covid skyrocketing throughout the country. The Government has been pretty useless in keeping it under control and seem to have given up trying to do so.

There are however things to look forward to, such as the Autumn racing carnival, which kicks off in earnest in a few weeks.

Luckily fully vaxxed persons will be permitted to attend, so I’m  hoping to get to Caulfield for the Australia Day meeting to watch the Blue Diamond Previews.

Since Christmas it has been pretty quiet on the home front and I’ve been nowhere other than to the Victoria Market and the supermarket for provisions.

My recent reading pleasure was a reread of Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate duology – a deliciously witty satire on Upper Class life in England in the 1940s. A cosy comfort read in other words.

It’s hard to face another year of the Covid pandemic; quite depressing in fact. However I’ll soldier on and try not to contract the virus or get seriously ill with some other ailment.