Count Our Blessings
One of the great perks of my job is I manage to go racing several times a week, one of the big downsides is the driving.
I am currently doing a “double header”, yesterday evening was Thirsk, today is Catterick and one of those rare occasions where I actually do an overnight stay.
This morning I had some time to kill and sitting in a hot hotel room doing some writing just did not appeal – so what did I do?
I went for a drive.
No ordinary drive, of course, I went for a drive across the North York moors and it made me realise that perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much about all the driving.
I am fortunate in that I have been lucky enough to have visited some of the most wonderful places in the world. I defy anyone not to take a sharp intake of breath at their first sight of Bryce Canyon, not to wonder at the sheer size of the Great Wall, or feel the sense of history sitting a top a mountain overlooking Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
However , wherever I go in the world, nothing matches the natural beauty that can be found in our own Islands. From the rolling Dales, the majestic glens of Scotland, the rugged Cornish coast to the expanse of Morecombe Bay.
I am sitting here, watching the rolling Dales in front of me – bringing back visions from James Herriot books. There is even a racing link here as James Herriot, real name Alf White, was for many years the racecourse vet at Thirsk racecourse.
It is also making me think of the diversity of racecourses in this country.
The United States which is often seen by many as the top in everything has many more racecourses, however 99.9% of them are oval, left handed, dirt strips and at any course you could easily be at any other.
Whereas here we have such a diverse range of courses – in easy striking distance of where I am now we have all the Yorkshire tracks. From the grandeur and history of York, to the garden course at Ripon, to Redcar set between the chemical works and the coast.
From the unique rural idyll that is Cartmel, through to Wolverhampton in the middle of a housing estate.
Courses found on big country estates like Perth and Goodwood, even one owned by The Queen.
Courses next door to Tesco (Newton Abbot), garden centres (Fontwell) and overlooking the sea (Brighton).
We should be proud of the diversity of courses we have in this country and we should do everything to maintain it.
For all the criticism racing is facing and let’s face it there is plenty to criticise, let us also cherish the good bits as well.