We run Native Coll in the 1.30 at Carlisle on Sunday, 13 run, Lucy rides and the ground will be soft.  He is running back over hurdles for his seasonal debut and is stepping up to 3 miles for the first time, I think the handicapper has been quite generous in allotting him a mark 13lb below his chase mark and if he stays the trip (which I believe he will) then he should go well, there are a couple of unexposed sorts in the race though and he is a big tank of a horse who takes a while to get fit but I am obviously encouraged by Isla Pearl Fisher’s effort confirming we are ahead of where we usually are at this time of year, no doubt we will be brought back down to earth on Sunday though…

NCollRiverbank

Lucy is also on Knock Three Times for Wilf Storey in the 5.10 at Wetherby tomorrow, it put up an improved effort to finish 5th at long odds at Kelso last time but this is Wetherby’s big day of the year and it looks predictably competitive.  On another note, after careful consideration Lucy has started the process of withdrawing from her course at Edinburgh University; she is absolutely determined to give riding as a jockey a proper go, she is under no illusion about how tough it will be but she wants to give it her best shot and the plan is that she will ride out here 3-4 days per week and make herself available to ride out for other yards in Scotland and the North of England on the other days.  Essentially she is too impatient to put her career on hold to spend four years at University to come out with a fairly ubiquitous degree, no money and probably facing a higher tax rate; it’s difficult to argue with that and having thought about it carefully and seen how focussed and hard working she is, Mrs A and I will give her our full support (although she will only ride for the yard when I consider it appropriate).

I feel a little wistful about this as I had such a good time at University for four years and would have happily stayed there for forty, times have moved on though and I think that the dilemma faced by Lucy will become increasingly commonplace, it seems crazy now that I enjoyed a tax payer funded four years of hedonism in the early 80’s.  I am sure I could have learnt what I did in a much shorter timescale (four months perhaps?), it was very interesting though but the only useful thing that I got out of it was a jolly good wife (I wonder if that feeling is reciprocated?) and I suppose I had the chance to experiment with a few recreational substances without having to worry about getting up in the morning….

One other item of news is that we have parted company with Dougie who had been driving the lorry and done a wonderful job here over the summer as facilities manager.  Fortunately Jim Barclay, who worked here for many years and has just given up training in his own right, has volunteered his services and he will help out with driving the lorry and looking after the facilities for a couple of hours each day – I hope he can put up with my fastidious approach…

Sorry for rambling on, the weather here has been pretty rough this week but if it hadn’t been I would be moaning about the ground being too firm, everyone’s been working very hard, so have the horses and they seem in good order, roll on Sunday (and we even get an extra hour in bed – what could be better than that…)