With no runners and a drying week here, this has allowed us to do an intense amount of schooling and trips up the grass gallop. It is always an exciting time to watch next season’s young Chasers put through their paces and indeed the Bumper horses transform themselves into Hurdlers. Some take longer than others for the penny to drop yet they all get the same enthusiastic but patient and sympathetic handling. Charmant and Ascot de Bruyere were particularly impressive over fences.
Although conditions have improved here in the Borders, Newcastle is waterlogged and with Saturday’s meeting abandoned and we are all still waiting for the racing ground to improve. It is still ‘heavy’ ground across the board this week and possibly next week too. However, when the ground does improve, it will be well worth the wait!
Briony has taken Jim Gordon’s Detonate to the renowned Rossdales Veterinary Practice in Newmarket for a wind op this week. They treated Denman and operate on their horses standing up which they believe has a significant impact on the success rate.
With a first-class welcome from the team, we enjoyed top facilities and were able to travel up alongside the gallop in a golf buggy with the over-ground scope and see exactly what was happening in real time. The horse was operated on the next day by Richard Payne and so far so good. We very much hope that this will be a success as he is a lovely horse who will be unable to do his job without treatment. Time will tell now and all being well when he next runs he will be declared as having had a wind operation since his last run (WS on race card).
This was a good opportunity to get some tack repairs carried out with Angela Barnes at Talkin Tack, aka The Tack Lady - another first class service based in Newmarket. The lorry flooring was also redone thanks to long time sponsors and supporters DC Norris & Co http://www.dcnorris.com and to catch up with much neglected family and friends of course!
Happy Birthday Daina!
We are very lucky to have had Daina Harvey here now for three years and she celebrated her 21st Birthday on Thursday with a very large and delicious chocolate cake supplied by James and enjoyed by all! As a treat she was allowed to school her favourite horse Into the Breach (nicknamed Bam Bam).
What riveting racing we have enjoyed this week from the Cheltenham Festival with a few unexpected results in the very testing ground. It all flies past far too quickly.
It was especially good to see Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker all riding such superb races to win. Dan Skelton is right - we no longer need to say lady jockey but just jockey and I suspect Harriet Tucker is a name we will all get to know well.
The Irish trained domination is no surprise and will be the catalyst for some head-scratching, but honour was more than upheld with a stunning 1-2 for the U.K. in The Gold Cup. What a truly exceptional race Richard Johnson gave the brave Native River! Rules are rules but the whip ban he received surely is questionable judgment.
For those not with bottomless pockets it was very encouraging to see Colin Tizzard win the Albert Bartlett with Kilbricken Storm who cost £20K at the sales!
Steven Fox rides Bill D’Aron in the Handicap Hurdle at Carlisle on Sunday.