The Journey Begins

Admitting you have an addiction is recognised as the first step towards rehabilitation.

But no amount of acknowledgement can solve mine, nor is there an inclination to be rehabilitated.

Horse racing has formed a significant part of my identity. It’s something I’ve embraced from a young age.

Every moment relates to racing, it’s parlance used to describe ordinary events.

When appointments are made weeks in advance, the mind first considers what stakes races are scheduled with personal availability a secondary concern.

So my interest was sparked immediately when the opportunity arose to attend a family wedding in Italy during mid-May.

“The Italian Derby is around that time of the year,” I thought.

The Derby would be held the day after the wedding, scuttling that idea unless bypassing the wedding altogether which was briefly contemplated. Common sense won out.

But that planted the seed for a racing themed expedition across Europe. No meeting was too big or small for attendance.

The starting point was Rome’s Capannelle racecourse, a six-race card on a quiet Friday afternoon.

The following three days were spent at the Parisian hippodromes of Auteuil, Longchamp and Saint-Cloud.

I then crisscrossed the channel for the Oaks and Derby at Epsom before an early morning flight, taxi and trek through Chantilly’s forest for the Prix du Jockey-Club.

Where else could you watch such a quantity of quality racing within 72 hours?

Those famed training grounds of Chantilly and Newmarket were toured before attending meetings at Brighton, Newmarket, Nottingham, Aintree and York. Five days at Royal Ascot acted as the dessert.

Over 29 days (May 25 to June 23, 2018), I attended 17 meetings across 12 racetracks, witnessing 15 Group 1 races.

And then it was over, back on the plane home from Heathrow surrounded by English football fans gleefully clapping each of the six goals against Panama, waking up unsuspecting passengers in the cabin.

They foolishly thought football was coming home during the group stages. Thankfully he’s still on leave, unlike myself, which left us all with an uncomfortable reality to ponder.

Those plentiful moments of mid-air thinking prompted the creation of this blog.

My fondness for Australian racing still remains but that period of introspection at 30,000-feet uncovered how much fun I had in discovering something new.

There’s so much Australians, including myself, don’t know about overseas racing.

This comes at a time where those who’ve commenced their careers abroad dominate our domestic scene. Possessing that foreign knowledge is incredibly valuable.

So read on and come on a racing journey.

– Carl Di Iorio

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