They are not children ...

A very damp, dark morning.....

Saturday, 08 January 2011


"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took but how many moments took your breath away." 

- Shing Xiong


Khaled gives Hannah a lead, while she gets her feet into the irons, on the Tiger Hill ex Gold Hush colt

A very damp, dark morning with driving rain first lot and it was very hard to see which string was ours, as they came up Warren Hill polytrack in the dark. I managed to do two canters with everything and the two year olds have cantered second lot . All the lads are working really well and their sense of humour keeps everybody happy, even when we have mornings as horrible as this one.


Imjin River has seen something on the roof

We have had plenty of visitors this morning with the first one arriving at 6.45 am and it has been a steady stream since. It is always great to see everybody and to watch them getting really involved with their horses; the interest in the training and breeding side is boundless and their enthusiasm is marvellous. I am sure the horses get to know their owners, especially when they see them often and win, lose or draw everybody gets plenty out of the involvement.


Iain on Smokey Oakey leads the string up Rayes Lane

The third round of the Cup today with Arsenal at home to Leeds  and The Owls away to Bristol City. Let's hope the office is a place of contentment on Monday morning. What's the betting an Arsenal player gets sent off!


Colzium (Abbi)

The result of the Christmas quiz is below.


Smokey Oakey (Iain)


Kinsya leads the ex Seasonal Blossom colt, Like Clockwork, Joe the Coat and the ex Gold Hush colt


  The Christmas Quiz + Answers


There was a bumper entry and a multiple photo finish in our Christmas Quiz - but no-one scored the full 50 points. FIVE competitors, Wendy Marriott, Ian Grimwood, John Powell, Richard Marriott and  Bob Shimmens all got 48 and, after a random independently-observed draw this morning, the winner was declared as Mrs. Wendy Marriott.
Commiserations to the runners-up after such a great effort. Consolation prizes will be on the way shortly.
A bottle of champagne and, of course, the prestigious title of Brain of Flint Cottage, go to Wendy.
The question which appeared to cause the most difficulty was, 'Which future multiple champion jockey, after riding his first winner, was asked why he had taken the horse so wide round the bends and replied that he had been told the animal needed a longer trip?' The answer was Sir Gordon Richards - he had just won an apprentice race at Leicester.
Kevin Mullenger was the only entrant to find that answer but, sadly for you Kevin, it became clear in the closing stages that such strenuous mental contortions had taken their toll!
We very much hope everyone enjoyed the quiz. We'll be back with another in the run-up to the Guineas.
All the answers appear below and also on the 'Competitions' page.


1) Who is stepping down as the BHA’s Chief Executive next Spring?

- Nic Coward

2) What is racing’s Crystal Cup?

- European series of cross country races

3) In which year was all-weather racing introduced to Britain?

- 1989

4) What is ex-jockey Richard Quinn’s actual first name?

- Thomas

5) Who, a multiple champion jockey, rode 1,038 career winners with a strike rate superior to that of both Sir Gordon Richards and Lester Piggott?

- John Francome 

6) Who is the trainer (middle names Richard Amherst) whose father was killed in action a fortnight before he and his twin brother were born?

- Henry Cecil 

7) Who was in control at West Ilsley stables while Major Dick Hern recuperated from heart surgery, and sent out a Classic winner?

- Neil Graham

8) On a similar note, who was the incapacitated Fred Winter’s assistant who became responsible, though not officially, for Champion Hurdle winner Celtic Shot?

- Charlie Brooks 

9) Who rode a Derby winner with one arm strapped in a steel brace after being savaged by a horse in Newmarket less than a month before?

- Fred Archer

10) How old was Lester Piggott when he rode his first winner?

- Twelve

11) Which future multiple champion jockey, after riding his first winner, was asked why he had taken the horse so wide round the bends and replied that he had been told the animal needed a longer trip?

- Sir Gordon Richards

12) Who was the first woman to ride a winner over the Grand National fences (she also achieved the first female riding triumph at the Cheltenham NH Festival, on the same horse, three years earlier)?

- Caroline Beasley

13) In betting, what would a £1 each way patent cost you?

- £14

14) What is a surcingle?

- Strap that fastens around horses’ girth 

15) What is sometimes known as the ‘rogue’s badge’, often unjustifiably?

- Blinkers

16) Which popular racecourse by the River Thames near Hampton Court closed in 1962?

- Hurst Park

17) What was the name of the horse who reputedly swam ashore (some 20 miles!) after the ship carrying him to England was wrecked in a storm, but went on to win the Grand National?

- Moifaa 

18) Which horse was known as The Spotted Wonder?

- The Tetrarch

19) What was the name of the sprinter, trained by Jack Ormston, who raced over 14 seasons, won 34 races, and was retired in 1973 after his ninth race as a 15-year-old? His last win was in a seller at Edinburgh the previous year.

- Le Garcon d’Or

20) He was considered Europe’s best horse since the war at the time, an easy winner of The Derby (2 lengths) and Arc (6 lengths), yet his dam had been sold as butcher’s meat for £100 before he ever ran. Five immediate generations in his female line had not won a race between them. Can you name him?

- Sea Bird II

21) Which stallion’s male line descendants included all but three of the last 50 Epsom Derby winners? He won every race he contested having been sold for 75 guineas as a yearling, and once started at 70-1 ON.

- Eclipse 

22) Where, and what distance, is the Bretby Stakes Course (Both answers required for the point).

- Newmarket, 6 furlongs

23) On the site of which present day racecourse was the highwayman Dick Turpin hanged?

- York

24) The Two Thousand Guineas if for three-year-old colts and fillies. Colts carry 9st., what are fillies allocated?

- 8st. 9lbs.

25) Which four fillies have won the Derby as well as The Oaks? (Three are enough for the point).

- Eleanor, Blink Bonny, Signorinetta and Fifinella 

26) What was the longest officially recorded winning margin in the history of The Derby, by which horse? (Both answers for the point).

- Ten lengths, Shergar

27) Which horse, a Cheltenham Gold Cup runner because of an oversight, won the race beating Desert Orchid and became only the seventh career winner for his trainer?

- Norton’s Coin

28) More than a dozen British racecourses have closed since 1960. Can you name two beginning with the letter B and two beginning with L? (Half a point for each pair).

- Bogside, Buckfastleigh, Birmingham, Lanark, Lewes and Lincoln

29) Who said: “Riding was my job and horses just the tools I worked with” (the second time he has cropped up as an answer)?

- John Francom

 30) Who was The Tinman? (We’ve had him before, too).

- Fred Archer

Mark is an avid fan of Sheffield Wednesday (we all have our cross to bear!) so, for a change, here are some football questions:

31) It was ‘The Stanley Matthews Cup Final’, but who scored a hat-trick?

- Stan Mortensen 

32) Before The Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ of 2003-4, which was the last club to go through a top-division season unbeaten (though they played far fewer matches)?

- Preston

33) Against which side did George Best score a double hat-trick in 1970?

- Northampton Town

34) What is the only major trophy won by Sheffield Wednesday since 1935?

- League Cup

35) Formed in 1820, Sheffield Wednesday started life as a club in a different sport. What?

- Cricket

36) Wednesday were in both domestic cup finals in 1993 but lost on each occasion to the same team. Who?

- Arsenal

37)  Who is Sheffield Wednesday’s post war record goal scorer – The Guvnor’s hero?

- John Fantham

38) In FA Cup history, Fulham have played the most games in a season to reach the final. How many?

- Eleven

39) In which year did the ‘old’ Wembley host its first FA Cup Final, and which teams contested it? (All required for the point).

- Bolton v West Ham, 1923

40) What is now Arsenal FC was founded in 1886. What was the team’s original name?

- Dial Square 

And for the all-rounder:

41) Who was the ‘Boy from Bowral’?

- Sir Donald Bradman

42) Which dog was the last to win the Greyhound Derby twice at White City?

- Patricia’s Hope

43) Which 1950s England bowler, among the fastest of all time, was renowned for quoting Shakespeare and Wordsworth to opposing batsmen?

- Frank Tyson

44) Who was the last man to win the Wimbledon singles title when it was an amateur event, and later won it twice as a professional?

- John Newcombe

45) Which course will host the next Ryder Cup in Britain?

- Gleneagles

46) Who designed it?

- Jack Nicklaus 

47) Which cricketing ‘rabbit’ (average 3.3 in 138 first class innings, 51 ducks) famously defied Michael Holding for several overs in near darkness to help his county win a NatWest semi-final, and was carried shoulder-high from the pitch?

- Jim Griffiths 

48) Which US golf course has 27 holes, each created in an attempt to replicate some of the most famous holes worldwide?

- Myrtle Beach

49) Which heavyweight world boxing champion’s right fist was known as ‘The Hammer of Thor’?

- Ingemar Johansson

50) Which former world middleweight boxing champion, in his declining years, became a professional wrestler? He was later declared bankrupt and committed suicide, yet a statue of him was erected in a Midlands town. Where? (Boxer’s name and the town to win the point).

- Randolph Turpin, Warwick