Leicester was just lovely; LETTERS.
IT WAS with some trepidation that I agreed to take grandchildren Arabella, ten, and Rory, seven, to Leicester's recent family day.
I need not have worried. The sight of cars having to use the overspill car park was clearly encouraging. My extended family was able to picnic by the winning post and the grandchildren even managed to pick five winners between them. Why do I bother? The jockeys were most amenable when asked for autographs by the youngsters. Rob Hornby even 'lent' my grandson his helmet, Oisin Murphy asked their names and chatted amicably while Silvestre de Sousa, Pat Cosgrave and Adam Kirby were equally obliging.
A PS10,000 handicap was big money for Leicester, but it was the humble selling race that really caught the kids' imagination. I explained to them that the auction might not raise a bid, but luck was on our side. Five bidders entered the fray for African Blessing.
That David Barron's representative held up proceedings by using his mobile to consult the trainer only added to the drama before Nick Lees brought down the hammer at 10,000gns, with Charlie Wallis the final bidder.
Sellers seem out of fashion these days. Perhaps it is because owners and trainers are understandably somewhat reluctant to bid for other people's horses.
Many moons ago I remember Willie Stephenson winning selling hurdles galore with a talented, but bad-legged horse called Lynmoor, who was invariably bandaged all round. After each success the trainer would express doubts about the horse ever running again and bids were rarely forthcoming. Great days!
Offered a walk over to the bouncy castle and other attractions midway through the afternoon, both grandchildren opted to stick with the racing and an enjoyable day was had by all. Well done Leicester.
Mike Tebbitt Daventry