A glorious autumn afternoon here at Kinneston; warm and sunny, a lovely soft light. Hopefully it will last until tomorrow at Perth where we have a few people coming for lunch after seeing their horses here in the morning.
And I’m delighted that we have a runner, Landecker in the 4.30, 8 run and Lucy rides. He’s matured into a game and consistent handicap hurdler and whilst the ground being heavy, soft in places, isn’t something that I think particularly suits him it may well be more of an inconvenience to the opposition. He was a good second at Hexham in May and whilst his fitness has to be taken on trust after his break he ran well in this race last year after a very similar preparation so fingers crossed!
Warm and sunny this morning but not due to last with this changeable spell due to bring rain again tonight, and whilst it doesn’t directly affect us I feel for everyone connected with Ayr after losing their valuable and prestigious three day meeting due to water logging, a bitter blow for racing in Scotland. Harvest came and went in the blink of an eye, it used to last many weeks but now The Fife Farmer sends in his mighty tackle and 200 acres of barley are hoovered up in 24 hours- just as well as days shortening, dark in the mornings now and torch required for early morning dog exercise.
A busy week on the training front and delighted to have Lucy back riding out after nearly 4 months in France; a tremendous and invaluable experience for her to spend 4 months learning from their champion trainer, schooling horses the French way almost every day; riding every variety of horse from top class to unraced 3yo’s over every variety of obstacle, a few rides on the track as well, if you have a few minutes watch this video about his training methods and facilities – it’s worth watching even if you can’t understand what he is saying! A useful insight into the French training methods, his results are excellent and what she has learnt won’t be lost on us back here at Kinneston.
Aside from training the horses here and finalising “the project” a few meetings elsewhere, NTF at Kelso always interesting to talk to other trainers for a few hours but best meeting I attended was that of The Thoroughbred Health Network, having been an original collaborator in this project I am delighted that it has now been awarded Charity status, it is a first class resource for anyone working with racehorses – trainers and their teams, vets, owners.
Laura Friend works exceptionally hard to produce high quality content under the guidance of senior vets from the Weipers Centre and the Royal Dick veterinary hospitals, it should gain real traction now that it can be rolled out nationally and internationally. Have a look at the website and spread the word, an equine knowledge exchange should produce real benefits in terms of horse welfare.
Excited to say we have some entries this week at Perth’s September finale meeting – Landecker, Jet Master, Benny’s Secret and Dance of Fire all have appealing engagements and will take them up if conditions suit, expect it will be pretty soft with the forecast remaining unsettled.
Changeable today, cool with a North wind, and it’s been a changeable week with plenty of heavy showers hindering harvest, “the project” and our ability to work on the carrot field. Horses have made good progress nevertheless, it’s a tremendous time of year watching them come together and the rapid progress being made by the younger horses is particularly rewarding. A sad week though as I have to report the passing of our most senior owner, Lord Cochrane of Cults who died peacefully on Monday a fortnight short of his 91st birthday. Vere transferred his horses here when Susan Bradburne retired and became a friend and most loyal supporter of the yard and we had plenty of success together, he will be greatly missed but hopefully the connection will be maintained through his son Tom and daughter in law Silke.
The week started with a memorable trip to watch Johnny run in the exceptionally well organised Great North Run – what a wonderful event; 57,000 runners lining up behind some of the world’s great athletes including Mo Farah and the top three female distance runners in the world, a fantastic atmosphere and Mrs A and myself thoroughly enjoyed cheering Johnny home. He might have been half an hour slower than Mo but to record a time of 90 minutes for his first half marathon only a year after he started running was pretty exceptional and he did beat approx 55,600 of the others.
No runners coming up this week, we will hopefully have a handful at Perth for their two day “finale” fixture on 27th and 28th of this month, that should start our season proper off though we won’t be properly busy until later in October. In the mean time some fun pictures taken yesterday, a practice run for a video we are producing about the yard and our soon to be enhanced facilities. Do also find the Kinneston page on Facebook – link here, I do a photographic highlights update each week, like it and hopefully it will appear on your timeline though I’m not sure how it works really….
Cold and showery today, the wind in the North and a chill in the air when I returned late from Doncaster Sales last night after a long but ultimately rewarding day. We’ve worked hard at the sales all summer; Doncaster, Ascot, Fairyhouse, Angers, Deauville, Newmarket – plenty of long days and plenty of blank days. The demand for horses had been consistently driving valuations out of our comfort zone and whilst we have managed to acquire 5 well bought horses only 2 of those were bought on the fall of the hammer.
It was gratifying therefore yesterday that the supply/demand pendulum eventually swung back our way and with many of the bigger trainers absent having apparently filled their boxes some value appeared at long last, particularly late in the day and we were delighted to buy three horses.
Kit has been looking hard all summer both at auction and privately so it was pleasing to see him eventually manage to buy a couple for his own account, Killer Crow bought from the Gigginstown dispersal had been on our radar for the last two months and we had our eyes on Thomond since the catalogue came out a couple of weeks ago.
He has come from Noel Meade and whilst looking at his horses I was greatly attracted by the profile of Fly Rory Fly, I didn’t really imagine we would be able to buy him but I was really pleased when the hammer came down on what was our final bid.
He’s a cracking 5yo son of Milan that has already shown plenty of ability over fences and if given a little time could turn out to be a very decent horse, he’s for sale so please contact me if he is of interest, come and see him – you won’t be disappointed. No runners this week but an entry at Perth on Monday, Benny’s Secret – will run if we feel everything is right for him.
Hmmmph, 400 miles is a long way to drive for a PU, disappointing, everything should have been right for Queen of Avalon yesterday and she travelled and jumped sweetly enough but when the going got tough she didn’t and she may not have what it takes to be a racehorse; she recovered very quickly and was as bright as a button afterwards which only reinforces my doubts. I suppose Cartmel is an idiosyncratic sort of track and she did pull a front shoe off so we probably ought to give her one more chance, perhaps with some headgear next time.
I was pleased with young Bruce Lynn’s attitude to his job and the way he rode the horse, a shame she didn’t run better for him but he’s in the right place working for Iain Jardine and could well make the grade as Iain and Val are diligent in their support for him.
And what a day it was for them, a double at Cartmel then winning the famous Ebor at York, so that’s the winner of Europe’s most valuable flat handicap and jumps handicap both trained in Scotland this year despite the absence of the more powerful owners, tremendous stuff and a shame that the RP chose to lead on its obsession with the, admittedly unfortunate, Davy Russell incident instead. On what was a brilliant week for racing – Ullysses, Enable, Marsha and Nakeeta all wonderful stories – more column inches have been devoted to one jockey slapping a horse round the head at Ballinrobe a week ago, it might have been the wrong thing to do but surely our trade paper should focus on those other wonderful stories rather than again obsess about the negative. This is becoming a theme and horsemen are increasingly frustrated by what appears to be an illogical agenda – don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
No runners for us now for a couple of weeks at least but 36 in and focus is on preparing them and completing “the project” – stay dry please! Some more photo’s of the horses out at exercise yesterday…