Monday, 13 March 2017
"A diplomat is a man who always remembers a women’s birthday but never remembers her age."
Cantering on Southfield Round
It’s a spring like morning, no wind, good temperature and sunshine. It sounds like it is going to continue along this way for most of the week, which will certainly cheer up Cheltenham Festival racegoers. It is also much better for everybody riding out as it is far nicer, always, when the weather is like this. We have been cantering on Southfields Round for most of the morning. Everything has gone pretty smoothly and, as you can imagine, everybody is in good spirits.
Honey Blossom, Koin & Astroblaze
It was great to see Hold Firm win once again on Saturday night. He was left in front a bit earlier than he wanted to be, but Gabriele is beginning to know him well now. He idles when hitting the front but always has something in reserve when another horse comes up to him. He is a tough, genuine horse and has given his loyal band of followers, the Raceworld syndicate, plenty of action and excitement all his life. Long may it continue. As he gets no penalty for winning an apprentice race, he may well run again this week.
Mr Turner behaved very well but didn’t stay the trip and at least I have finally got this out of my system. I will drop him back to six, seven and a mile and even put a pair of blinkers on him. He is such a frustrating horse as there is no better looking horse in training and he shows ability at home. I am always hopeful of getting it right and let’s hope I can sort it shortly.
Gee Sixty Six
We have one runner today with Bracken Brae in the 5.50 at Chelmsford. It’s an apprentice race, which she won last year, and I am hoping she can do it again tonight. Gabriele claims the full 7lbs here and she loves racing around this circuit. It was amazing for me to see the statistic in the Racing Post today with trainer spot giving us 100% in form. It must be the feeder I keep telling myself and, although I gave him a pay rise last week, he needs another one.
Dixon and Budgie
It was very sad to read of death of trainer Jim Leigh last week. He trained for the Nicholson family in Lincolnshire in the yard that James Given now trains from. He took over from Harry Wharton, who was the brother of Walter and Terry who I had worked for when I left school. I will never forget Harry training Eagle’s Nest and was one of the first big bets I ever had. My boss at the time, Terry Wharton, went off to watch it run with all our hard earned cash in his pocket. In those days we didn’t have mobile phones, and didn’t know the result. On his return he told us that it had got beaten, but when finally going into supper from the yard, there was a pile of cash waiting on the plate. A great day. Jim Leigh took over Eagle’s Nest and did very well with him and was a proper horseman. Our condolences go to all his family.
Sunrising between the trees
Cheltenham starts tomorrow and our tipping competition will be in full swing. I hope Richard is burning the midnight oil as he is going to need it this week because I think a few funny results could occur. I just hope the clerk of the course doesn’t start watering as he has often done in the past, but I am sure it will be a fantastic week whatever.