Ridiculously cold today, snow showers driven in on a strong northerly wind; on the chilly side at Balcormo on Saturday for our local point-to-point where we were delighted to end the season in style with a first double for our Corinthian amateur “Uncle Jamie”.
In a season in which we have enjoyed many memorable doubles this was right up there with the best of them and I wonder how many “over 50s” have ridden doubles around the country, an exceptional achievement though he was overheard trying to persuade the announcer that he was 31 not 51.
Earlier in the afternoon Afterclass ran better to finish 2nd under Crawford. A fun day at an exceptionally well organised point-to-point run on good safe ground, some really good races but overall a shortage of runners, something that has afflicted a few of the Northern Area fixtures this season and there needs to be a long hard think about the whole structure of pointing in the North, the status quo is becoming unviable and we can’t afford to lose fixtures.
Not a bad day at Perth on Friday either; Landecker left his misdemeanors of the previous day behind him and ran an excellent race to be 2nd, Andhaar also took another step forward in the same race to be 4th, Dutch Canyon probably put up a personal best to finish 4th of 15 but the highlight was brave old Bertie Milan running and jumping his heart out on ground that was totally against him to finish a close 5th after a seven month lay off.
It was a curious sort of day for me in that I had BBC Landward filming me rather close up for a lot of it, restraint had to be applied but I am sure they will have made a good little feature which is due to be shown at 7.30pm on Friday on BBC 2 Scotland, those of you in England will have to put up with the snooker instead unless you are clever enough to find BBC Scotland on Sky, I will try to put a link up when it is on iPlayer (here is me assuming that anyone would actually want to watch it – don’t worry, it’s more about the yard then me).
So the season is finished, 31 winners under rules for the team against a previous best of 28 and rescued by Jamie’s heroics to record a best overall total of 38 against our previous best of 36, not bad at all for a little yard in Scotland and right up there with the best in terms of winners to horses. None of this possible of course without the support of our loyal team of owners and the exceptional dedication and hard work of the team of staff headed by my Assistant Trainer Catch, our Head Groom Fran, our Stable Manager Shellie, our travelling Head Groom Amy and our Barn Managers Kelly and Crawford along with their assistants David, Sally, Mhairi, and Allanah (and don’t forget our work riders and stable assistants Isla, Lucy H, Clare, Jenny, Hazel, Charlotte, Danni, Sophie, Megan, Emma, Claudia, Duncan and he who fixes everything – facilities manager Daniel).
A good season for our jockeys Stephen, Kit and Blair (ex?) but special mention must go to Lucy who despite a total of at least 16 weeks on the sidelines managed to regain her position as the leading Lady Rider in the country this time riding more winners than any Lady Rider in Ireland as well, she doesn’t really like being judged against the girls but it is a point worth making at a time when others have perhaps been given a somewhat higher profile – her ambition and dedication is undimmed and we all look forward to the new season.