It's Champions weekend ...

A wet morning but warmer than Sweden

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”



The Guv'nor watching first lot come up the turf

A wet morning with constant rain which really gets you soaked through whatever you are wearing. It’s not cold though and the wind is light. It looks like it's going to be an all day job which should really start to fill up the underground levels. It has only made the ground good here in Newmarket, there is no soft at all, and it just goes to show how little we have had over the past year. A good healthy canter up the grass on Bury Side, followed by a nice walk in, has been the exercise this morning. All have gone well.


Astrogold (Nikki) and Battery Power (Butch)

Tenpence foaled last night at around 7:30pm. She had a really lovely filly foal by Champs Elysees. We are absolutely delighted as it is from one of Angie’s father’s families and will keep the line going well. She is a strong, very attractive foal who was trying to get up nearly as soon as she was born, as you can see from the video below. We have now finished foaling for the year and it is just getting them all back into foal now, and keeping everything healthy and well. I must thank David our stud groom who does a fantastic job with the foaling, and all the staff who take it in turns to sit up every night throughout the foaling season.


We had a group of Swedish farriers visit the yard this morning. They are on a four-day fact-finding holiday in England and have spent a couple of days in Newmarket organised by Simon Curtis, who is the world's best farrier. Plenty of questions were asked and it’s great to see such enthusiasm. They informed me that there are a tremendous lot of horses in Sweden and that trotting rather than our type of racing is the big thing there, with many amateur and small-time operators having a horse or two in the back garden.  

       25-_The_Guvnor_talking_to_the_Swedish_farriers_1       The_Guvnor_talking_to_Swedish_Farriers_2

The Guv'nor explaining about the facilities at Exeter Ride

It was very sad to read of the death of George Ward who had been a tremendous supporter of racing and was the chief of the Horse Racing Sponsors Association and all that went with it. He put a tremendous amount of money into sponsorship and really didn’t get the accolades and thanks he deserved. He was his own man with a great character and a very generous spirit. We send our condolences to the family.


Two lucky Swedish visitors being shown Warren Hill by The Guv'nor

Punchestown got off to a great start yesterday and we even had a Newmarket winner in Don Cantillon’s Grand Gesture who won the bumper. He says he only put it on the box to keep his runner today company - the one-eyed As I Am who runs in the 6:05. It looks a cracking card there once again and I hope everybody enjoyed it yesterday. Phil is doing some reminiscing on his trips there and they are below…


Eanans Bay (Abbi) leading Five Hearts (Emelie)

As the Guvnor said yesterday, the Punchestown Festival holds marvellous memories for racing club and syndicate members who joined our organised visits for so many years. Each day, for the remainder of this year's festival, Phil will attempt to recall some of the highlights of those incredible trips, but a Murphys-induced haze means some might remain obscured for ever .... 

If you can say "I was there", we'd like to share your memories as well.

Memories of Punchestown ....

Staunch Friend's win was a major moment. I recall being dragooned by 30 fellow travellers to ring the Guvnor on the morning of the race for the very latest information. It was a difficult conversation, given the aftershock of what had gone on in Kildare the night before, but I do remember slurring something like, "What shall I tell everyone?"

"Is it raining?" he asked. "Still bucketing down," I said. "That's it then!"

Staunch sluiced up, almost literally, and fortunes were won.

Steve Smith-Eccles was always good for a sharp quote. He told me afterwards he knew he would win when he was on his way to the start. Then I asked if he could have a word with the Mark Tompkins party. "Of course I will, as soon as I've told the world how I ------- did it," the Ecc replied as he headed off for his TV interviews. 

And that is the last thing I remember!

25_-_retuning_through_The_PlantationReturning through The Plantation