Friday, 26 April 2013

Mixing Tipples With My Tips

The Winster Valley Brewery brewed their first real ale for the racecourse in 2011. A light bodied and agile ale, it has wonderful floral tones that make it ideal for summer drinking. We decided to call it Hurdler. 

The following year, the masters of the micro-brewery developed a more mature ale, rich in colour like a bay horse. It has a strong flavour and supple tones; we named it Chaser. Now they have brewed us a real treat – a chocolaty ale, technically known as a “mild”. It is almost black like Sprinter Sacre and its name is… (drum-roll, fanfare)… Dark Horse. 

In racing terminology, a dark horse is a secret waiting to be discovered; unknown on the track, but which has been ripping up the gallops at home. Having taken stock of our first delivery this week, I can confirm that the ale is set to become a firm favourite (if you’ll excuse the obvious pun). Once you have discovered the secret of the Dark Horse, I am sure that you’ll be galloping down to the Brown Horse Inn at Winster, where the brewery is based. Incidentally, they also do a fine lunch. Alternatively, you’ll be able to find it in the Cartmel Village Shop, Holker Hall and at the racecourse on race-days. 

Of course the jockeys can’t drink beer when they’re riding, so we import vast quantities of bottled water for them to drink throughout the day. But it’s not just any water, it’s Willow Water and it only travels 2 miles from the source at Flookburgh. Willow Water contains minute traces of salicin, which it picks up from deep layers of peat under the ground. The Salicin is believed by some people to reduce pain and high temperatures, while other minerals in the water are thought to benefit the skin and reduce wrinkles; all of which answers the question as to why the jockeys at Cartmel look so young and healthy! 

Finally, tips for the weekend. The big race is a 3m5f chase at Sandown, known to almost everyone as the Whitbread but actually sponsored nowadays by a bookmaker. Hold On Julio is exposed in terms of form and has won twice at Sandown before - but in appearance, he really is a dark horse.

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