The turf season is just around the corner ...

A slightly damp, overcast morning

Saturday, 08 May 2010

'The man, who can drive himself further, once the effort gets painful, will win.'

- Roger Bannister

Cornish Quest, Ice Magic and Comrade Bond

A slightly damp, overcast morning and the gallops' foreman tells me that we have only had 1mm. of rain overnight. There is plenty of rain forecast though and we could really do with one good day or night's downpour. I took five two year olds over to the Peat Moss first lot, where the ground was perfect and they all showed good progress; all the others have had one good canter, a nice walk and a pick of grass.

Five Hearts and Princess Izzy

One runner today, Theola in the 4.35pm at Ascot. She finished last year with a flourish but has taken a bit of time to come-to-hand this spring, she stays very well and today's run will give her the experience of the Ascot track, as there is a race or two for her later on in the year; I expect her to be in the shake-up today.

Cornish Beau

I would like to go back to Thursday's Chester vase win and comment further on the breeding side of things and how the Dullingham Park/ Garrowby set-up is now working. I have always felt that it was very hard and expensive to buy the type of horse, by the sire we liked, at the sales and that if we could start a breeding programme with interested owners it would benefit everybody in the long run. These last few years have begun to prove Angie and I right, as the lovely homebreds that have come into training have shown: a couple of Group 3 winners and a mass of very nice horses. The owners of the mares, whether on their own or in partnership with us, have been tremendous. I am sure that they, thoroughly, enjoy the whole experience, right from planning the mating through the foaling and the rearing process - to see the foal at a day old and see it progress to the track is a marvellous experience.

Highbrook with Ted Spread in 2007

Highbrook was a very special mare to us, she was tremendously brave in training, winning on the Flat and over hurdles, where she won a listed race. She cracked her pelvis at least three times and came back every time. Dena and Leslie are great friends of ours and their Pollards Stables breeding operation has done unbelievably well with clever matings and good management; it has been done the proper way. All the 'Astro' horses have been bred by Mystic Meg for several years and winners and runners have constantly flowed. We are so grateful to Meg for her rock solid support and great enthusiasm - something she shares with all of our owner breeders, Russell Trew, Mike Bowring, Peter Sakal, Lee Wiggins, Ian Lockhead, David Noblett, Steve Hall and Mr. Reed. Meg and all our owners, certainly, deserve continued and greater success and, I am sure, that it will come their way soon. It is very easy in both the training and breeding sides of the horse business to spend fortunes on horses and nominations but, you do not need to and with careful thought and good management, great results can occur. We have also sold one or two yearlings very well, which helps one finance the whole operation.

Ted Spread, as a foal

We have got some cracking homebreds in training this year and the yearlings up at Garrowby are thriving and getting me excited already. Garrowby Stud, famous for breeding Shirley Heights, amongst others, is a great nursery for the weanlings and yearlings. The land, the natural water and the peace are perfect for producing strong and happy horses. We have some lovely foals on the ground at Dullingham and every day Angie tells me how thrilled she is with them and how their characters are developing. We have twenty mares at Dullingham this year and more and more owners are getting involved. I am really delighted with this situation, as we know everything about these horses right from day one and that they have, always, received the best of attention.

Prince Freddie