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A very well deserved winner of the Longines Ladies Award ...

The wind has blown the rain away

Wednesday, 06 May 2015

"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter."

Oscar Wilde.

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Topaling (Joe) and Comrade Bond (Niall) on the peat moss

We woke to a black sky and lashing rain at 5 o’clock this morning, but it is amazing how it all changes quickly as it is now bright sunshine and blue sky. It has been a busy morning once again, with some two-year-olds and a couple of older horses making their way across the peat moss, on racecourse side, and spinning 4 furlongs on the perfect ground. Most of the rest have been doing general canters on Hamilton Hill polytrack. All without any problems.

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Medicean ex Astrodonna (Reece) and Equiano ex Amanda Carter (Jimmy)

We have two runners today, both in the same race at Chelmsford City, the 1m 2f maiden at 7.45. Astromajor and Bracken Brae, both drawn out with the washing, will have to get very lucky to be involved tonight from these wide draws. It does make a difference and the winners on this track have usually been very prominent and very few have come from behind. Both our horses will need a bit further in time, as they get stronger and further developed, but both have ability and will find races in due course, but let’s hope they both surprise me.

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Humphry Repton (Brian)

It the start of the big Chester meeting today and is always one of my favourites. I am disappointed I have not been able to conjure up a runner at the track this year. I have always sung the tracks praises and although the draw is a major problem, it is such a good place to go and owners are looked after like kings, which is, to me, the number one priority the BHA has got to concentrate on. The big races today are the Chester Cup and the Cheshire Oaks. We have won the Cheshire Oaks before and been placed in the cup, but it is still one of my ambitions to have the winner of it. You do need horses rated over 90 to even have a chance of getting in and then you have to get so lucky with the draw and how the race is run. My idea of the winner is the Dermot Weld trained Zafayan, but good luck to Trip To Paris who is part owned by Max and Malcolm Franklin, who have a very nice two-year-old with me this year. I see it is napped in the post, but it will need plenty of luck from draw 11.

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Prayer Time (Reece)

I see the BHA road show rolled into Newmarket yesterday and although I booked myself to go, something else cropped up and I couldn’t attend. I see closer ties with Ireland was one of the BHA’s aims, as well as a better Thursday programme and a 1000 new horses by the end of the decade. Well, I thought we were very close to Ireland and can’t see what they are talking about here. Thursday is the day before Friday and is still, as far as I know, a normal working day for everybody, so if they are looking for a bigger attendance figure, they have no hope. They seem to think if they beef up the programme it will enhance betting opportunities and raise the profile of racing, on a day that is usually quieter than other sports. Whoever thinks these ideas up must live in a different world to me. All Thursday would do is produce more mundane racing at a low level. The tracks will be very reluctant to put on better racing, as it costs more money and they don’t like to put it on mid week.  Kirsten Rausing put them right about the 1000 extra horses, which she said would be nearly impossible, as the number of mares needed would not be in place soon enough, even if there were breeders around to produce them.

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The famous cardigan

We had a great day at Newmarket on Sunday, catching up with old owners and new friends, after being invited to a box to watch the 1000 Guineas. There was plenty of reminiscing and putting the world to rights. It was pretty cold and there was a lot of chat about a very special cardigan which had kept the owner warm on the way down from the north. There was great competition as to who should wear it on the way home, and Ron, one of our new friends, won the race. I am not sure if it suits him though! See picture above.