Cartmel tomorrow

An annoyingly damp afternoon after a decent 48 hours, frustrating for those harvesting and not ideal for us on a number of fronts.  A runner at the uniquely idiosyncratic Cartmel tomorrow, I’m looking forward to being back on a racecourse and ground should be perfect good to soft for Queen of Avalon in the 5.45.

Queen of Avalon after her work on Wednesday.

She knocked a leg on her handicap debut at Perth a couple of weeks ago and has done well to bounce back so quickly, she should run a decent race if that incident hasn’t left a mark – track, trip, ground and company should all suit, 10 run and Bruce Lynn rides in this Hands and Heels Training Series race.

25 August 2017|

Weather, weather, weather…

Mild but dull, a damp sort of air and more rain in the forecast, after the driest April and May we had the wettest June and July and it has rained pretty well every day in August.  That’s been the story of the summer and its all everyone talks about but we’ve been lucky to be away in the sun for the last 10 days enjoying a special family holiday.  I’m delighted to be back feeling rested and enthused for the new season, Lucy came home early to ride at Perth and has gone back to France today for another few weeks whilst Clare has returned to Ralph Beckett’s in Hampshire, Kit moved on from France to Germany where he is touring around this week visiting Studs and Trainers and looking at lots of horses.  With the stables here pretty well full already Catch and the team have been doing a great job moving the horses forward and whilst only half a dozen are in full work most have started cantering.

Murky and autumnal back on the gallops yesterday morning

Most of the smaller projects here are now complete, the “big one” is making excellent progress despite the weather, can’t wait.  As I said I can’t seem to stop wanting to improve the details of what we do here and this year the “smaller” projects included; redesigning the ventilation in the feed room and one of the main barns, installing a concrete wash pad in another, topping up the surface in the round school, installing a completely new upgraded surface in the main school and building a new turning circle at the bottom of the gallop.  This is all vital detail but none of it is a “game-changer” – the “big one” potentially is.  One entry this week, Queen of Avalon at Cartmel on Saturday – she hurt herself in the closing stages at Perth last time so has missed a bit of work but if we are happy with her tomorrow she will run.

Queen of Avalon

22 August 2017|

Holiday time (nearly)

Looks like being showery again today, grim at Goodwood on Wednesday, 35mm rain -ouch,and summer slips by without feeling much like summer.  Very busy here with three teams of contractors currently onsite improving our facilities in one way or another, I suspect there will never be an end to the things I want to do here to keep moving forward.

Congestion in the yard this morning

Trying to get as much wrapped up as possible prior to heading to London on Monday for industry business followed by Doncaster Sales on Tuesday then heading off for 10 days holiday on Thursday.

Pouring concrete

Bit of a hospital pass to Catch for me to disappear with some much going on let alone 30 plus horses to train but I’ll be on the end of the phone and it will be great to find some sunshine (I hope!); plan is for Lucy to join us from G Macaire’s in France and Clare to join us from Ralph Beckett’s in Hampshire, Kit has also been out with Macaire for a few weeks but has come back principally to help me at the sales next week.  Johnny, the runner, there as well of course to keep us all sane and from talking about horses all the time.

Reshaping the turning circle at the bottom of the gallop

So, Queen of Avalon, she was running a promising sort of race at Perth on Tuesday, staying on and only 6l off the winner coming in to the last hurdle when she appeared to go wrong behind and was heavily eased by Grant, she’s a bit sore still but I’m hoping that she has just knocked herself, fingers crossed as she certainly has a level of ability, no other runners imminently – it’s the official National Hunt break, hence holidays!

What Mrs A loyally refers to as “my mid-life crisis”

Think these chaps are a bit fed up of our summer and thinking of heading to warmer climes…

4 August 2017|

Hello – Perth tomorrow, an update and a horse for sale!

Hello, hello, hello – it’s been a while, I’ve been rather lazy about blogging, no harm in that I hear you say…  Showery today, again, it’s been the pattern for a few weeks now and the long dry spell of late spring appears a very distant memory.  Busy here with 30 horses back in and a variety of projects to juggle; horses mostly trotting, a handful cantering now but only one race fit and she, Queen of Avalon, goes to Perth tomorrow evening where the ground should be good, the race is at 8pm.

Queen of Avalon (Grant) cools off after her pipe-opener this morning

This is her handicap debut and as 5th top weight in a field of 12 I don’t think the handicapper is taking any chances; she’s been 3rd in the two novices that she has run in over 2m but the form is thin and her inexperience may catch her out in the hurly burly of a handicap, she is fit and well though and Grant rides.  Delighted to see that Perth has been awarded another Listed Race for 2018 – a 3m Mares Chase at the April Festival – a very positive step in the continued improvement in the quality of the Northern jumping programme and a really nice valuable race to be able to aim for.   Aside from Perth a great week’s racing in prospect with the two high summer Festivals, Goodwood and Galway; our plot to have a runner at the latter sadly didn’t work out – maybe next year!

Most excited by this 3yo daughter of Martaline that arrived from France recently, she is a big strong free-moving filly from an excellent family and I’m delighted to have her in the yard.

This 4yo filly by Ask (Alannah) had her first canter of the season this morning, she has strengthened up nicely over the summer and I couldn’t be happier with her.  Also from a top class family she is a 3 parts sister to Buffalo Ballet and should come to hand quickly – she is for sale at a very reasonable price or available to lease.


31 July 2017|

Perth & Newmarket

Cooler today down here in Newmarket where I am attending the July Horses in Training Sale.  A showery outlook at home and it should be perfect good ground at Perth on Sunday where we run Benny’s Secret in the 4.40, 10 run and Grant rides.

Benny’s Secret – I’m hoping that this bumper and hurdle winner can now turn the corner

It is a competitive enough race for the grade and this minimum trip could be on the sharp side for Benny but he wasn’t right last season and I wouldn’t be running him if I didn’t think he was right now so fingers crossed for a decent effort, he schooled well this morning.

What’s going on here then?

Tough work down here, hard to believe that after much research, talking and looking a catalogue of 909 horses ends up rounded down to one that we are happy to vet and bid on, frustrating therefore to come out as the underbidder, it will be interesting therefore to see how Falak fares for Gordon Elliot. My disappointment greatly lightened by the exciting news that Moore’s Novelty had arrived safely at Kinneston from Co Cork.

Really pleased that this smartly bred son of Sholokov has joined the yard

As I’ve said finding value this sales season has been especially hard but I’m delighted with the five horses that we have now added to the team for next season, time will tell but I feel they are well bought and we will keep going in the hope of adding another two or three. Lucy is riding in France this afternoon, in the 4.35 at Senonnes, an unraced 3yo filly starting out over hurdles, fingers crossed for a good spin.

14 July 2017|