Horse welfare is paramount ...

Changeable weather

Friday, 16 March 2012

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Eliot.


Astrosapphire (Lauren)

The weather has once again decided to change on us. Just as it looked like spring had well and truly sprung with the lovely weather we experienced yesterday, the tables have turned and this morning the big jacket was called upon once again. It is still slightly overcast, and there is talk of rain being forecast for the weekend. Although not always welcomed by all who experience it, I would relish a few more good downpours. This would enable me to get the horses cantering up the Warren Hill turf, which I prefer to the polytrack.

All of the horses have once again had a good, safe, workout up Warren Hill following much the same pattern as yesterday. The plan is to try a couple of the horses on Railway Land next week, and I shall see how they perform. The horses are now back to full strength after their vaccinations last week, and although a couple were a little fresh while going around the indoor ride, all riders stayed in place – avoiding the “loose horse scenario” we had earlier in the week.


Barbsiz (Nikki) Likelikelikelikeit (Rhea) Astrosapphire (Lauren) Haafd filly (Robbie)

It's a mouth-watering last day at the Cheltenham Festival, dominated by the long-awaited Kauto Star and Long Run re-match in the Gold Cup. Of course they might both get turned over - as we said yesterday some 'good things' have been beaten this week - but on paper it should concern the Big Two. If Kauto Star has fully recovered from his fall at home, and his preparation has been relatively uninterrupted, I would take him to win, but there might still be that niggling doubt. I suggest you do what I shall do - just sit back and enjoy the moment as a neutral. In our tipping contest I have gone outside the two favourites, purely in search of a bit of value.


The Guv'nor walking with the string

In the Telegraph's fantasy racing competition the Flint Cottage League remains in 19th place, which is a great team performance. Andrew Rushmere still heads our league and Roy Thompson has moved into second place. There is everything to play for on this last, difficult day.

Whatever happens, one of the best memories of the week will be Big Buck's win yesterday. What a super horse he is - four World Hurdles and 16 consecutive victories. As we thought, it was a tough test yesterday but he was more than equal to it. We haven't seen a horse so outstanding in his own particular field for many years. Cheltenham is a wonderful festival altogether and then, when it's all over, you know the flat turf season is only a matter of days away. We can't wait.


Hannah brushing down Kathleen Frances

Another foal was born at Dullingham Park yesterday. Dolls House, who was herself bred at the stud, gave birth to a lovely chestnut colt by Motivator. That makes 12 foals now, and they are a testament to the hard work, long hours and dedication Angie and the staff put in. We are grateful to them all.


Mystic Meg was a very welcome visitor to Flint Cottage and Dullingham Park this morning. She is seen here with her filly Astrogold, the Guvnor and feed man Darren

Finally, all of us at Flint Cottage would like to wish Rebecca Marriott a very happy birthday today. 'Bex' is a regular visitor to the yard and gets a tremendous amount of fun from her racing. Many happy returns Bex, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Cheltenham Festival 2012

Tipping contest standings after Day Two (to £10 level stake):

                                The Guv'nor: - £109.29                                          Phil: -£12.02


                      The Guv'nor's Tips                                                                       Phil's tips

                      Race Times:                                                                                          Race Times:

                      1:30 - Pearl Swan                                                                                 1:30 - Hollow Tree
                      2:05 - Plan A                                                                                          2:05 - Magnifique Etoile
                      2:40 - Rocky Creek                                                                              2:40 - Mount Benbulben
                      3:20 - Burton Port                                                                               3:20 - Long Run            
                      4:00 - Boxer Georg                                                                             4:00 - Cloudy Lane
                      4:40 - Street Entertainer                                                                  4:40 - Open Hearted
                      5:15 - De Boitron                                                                                  5:15 - Slieveardagh