Cool, breezy and remaining dry today with no sign of rain imminent, irrigators in action on the racecourses and would be no surprise to see them make an early appearance here on the farm after the driest April on record.
Ayr’s two day Scottish National Festival kicks off today and they have some fantastic racing lined up despite minimal representation from Ireland and no runners from Kinneston. As the leading trainer at the track this season it is disappointing not to be represented at their flagship fixture but the horses we had entered prefer softer ground, simultaneously stepping up in class on ground that would not be in their favour didn’t feel at all sensible to me; it is wise to be wary of having runners for the sake of it at the end of a long season on drying spring ground though Ayr will have been very well watered.
I am sure that the same will apply at Perth next week where we hope to be well represented at the Festival that opens their season, we will have plenty of entries and hopefully end up with a dozen or so runners, ironically with having had so few runners recently we have more horses down to work tomorrow than we have had since November, no rest for the wicked!
A profoundly bitter sweet day yesterday when I attended the thanksgiving service for the life of John Cockburn with Mrs A, Lucy and Kit; a lovely service triggering so many happy memories but just so very sad at the same time.
John was a lifelong family friend who rode point-to-pointers in the 1960’s for my Father and latterly owned horses here at Kinneston, not to forget that he was an extraordinarily brave test pilot for Ferranti & BAe Systems pushing fighter jets to their absolute limits in the skies above Europe, enjoy his obituary here, he died following a heart attack at the Berwickshire point-to-point having just won the Borders Hunt Club Members race with Always Tipsy – he was particularly pleased to see his own name on the trophy in 1960 and 1964, life’s full circle…