There’s no Jump racing in Britain at the moment, because the jump jockeys have all gone on holiday. In desperation, I've scoured the entries for this weekend and I’ve spotted a jump-trainer, Alan King, with a runner on the Flat at either Windsor or Leicester on Sunday. So this week’s selection in Sir Nigel Gresley, wherever he runs.
Fortunately, to ease the boredom between obscenely short Flat races (some of them less than 60 seconds in duration), the BHA chose this week to announce details of the 2017 fixture list. Now, we don’t require many excuses to stage a party at Cartmel - but just in case you're in need of a few ideas – here are some reasons for you to celebrate at the races:
Saturday 27th May is Mothers’ Day in Bolivia. Everyone has a mother – so even if you’re not Bolivian, we recommend that you bring yours to Cartmel.
Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May, is Oak Apple Day – celebrating the restoration of the English Monarchy following King Charles II’s triumphant return to London on 29th May, 1660. Despite the day being abolished in 1859, it’s still celebrated in some parts of the country – notably in Worcestershire where the locals fix oak leaves to the lapels of their jackets. Anyone not wearing an oak leaf can legitimately be pelted with bird’s eggs or thrashed with nettles; we don't encourage the pelting or thrashing part of the celebration here.
The final day of the May meeting, Wednesday 31st May, coincides with the 30th year of World No Tobacco Day – so if you’ve given up smoking, or never even started, come and enjoy your tobacco-free day with us.
June 30th is Independence Day in Congo, Teachers Day in the Dominican Republic and Asteroid Day across the rest of the world – commemorating the day in 1908 when a massive asteroid disintegrated about six miles above Siberia, knocking down 80 million trees across an area of 830 square miles. We have lots of lovely trees at Cartmel, which we prefer asteroid-free.
The middle day of our nine-day season takes place on Sunday 2nd July, which also happens to be the exact middle of the year – with 182 days of 2017 falling both before and after. The precise middle of the year is about an hour before the first race, at 1.00pm, due to the clocks going forward for British Summer time. It’s also World UFO Day.
Saturday 22nd July is the date to bring any friends who happen to be rat catchers – as this is one of two dates in the year when we celebrate the Pied Piper of Hamlin, although I’m not certain whether that’s because he got rid of all the rats or because he took all the children… Either way, it might be best to bring the kids on Monday 24th July, which is the start of the school summer holiday and Children’s Day in Vanuatu.
The August Bank Holiday Meeting is a good time to bring the family together – Saturday 26th August being Women’s Equality Day in America and Monday 28th August being National Grand Parents Day… in Mexico.
So many reasons to celebrate – just nine dates to put in your diary.