Caroline and I had a big shop on Monday at Homebase and Dunelm.. We bought lots of stuff for the house. Bridal Suite ran at Plumpton, but he didn’t want to know, so he will be going to Ascot sales on Tuesday. James, Charles and Heather Main called in for a drink; I hadn’t seen Charles for a very long time. Caroline cooked the most delicious haggis for supper and Gary joined us for supper as he has been painting my house for the last week.
We had Max Chenery in on Tuesday and he rode Morney Wing. Robert Tompkins popped in to see his horse. We picked up my other sister, Victoria, from Newbury station and went off for another shop in Dunelm. John and Veronica Thorneloe came over to sign some papers for the Military race. We all had supper at Susannah and my children’s house.
I rode work first lot on Wednesday and then we had three very nice Red Letter Days. Eveyln took Caroline to the station in the morning. We had a very good supper at The Malt and Max Chenery came to stay.
Max schooled Morney Wing with Tommy on Gowanauthat on Thursday morning; they both got on well together. We had Simon and Marie for supper.
This morning I am riding out three lots as we have runners at Fakenham and Sandown. I am hoping that the ground will be OK. We have Morney Wing running in the Royal Artillery race today; we have won this race before, with Mr Big, so it would be nice if history could repeat itself! If Morney Wing gets the trip, he should run well in it, as long as the jockey does as he is told! We have two nice horses running at Fakenham; Expedite and Le Legro. If they cope with the ground, they should run nice races.
We are hoping to run Fine Parchment tomorrow at Wincanton and hope that the racing will be on!
Back in the saddle at last and rode up the back of the hill on Wednesday, on Some Kinda Lama, who worked really nicely. I enjoyed that.
William came to stay on Wednesday night – we went to The Malt Shovel and had a very nice supper. They have a very good chef there called June and William loves his beef burger and chips, which is always a big treat for him.
We schooled six on the all weather on Thursday as temperatures got down to -5 and the grass was frozen. We had Harry Bannister, Gavin Sheehan and David Crosse in to school. Julie Duffy very kindly took William to school and then watched her horse, Expedite, on the gallops on second lot.
I had a fella come in who gave me a good deal on tarmacking and graveling the drive, which looks a lot smarter. In the afternoon I met William Selby Lowndes, who is doing some work for me as a Solicitor. We ran Dukes Den at Huntingdon and he ran terribly – I don’t think he is in love with the job, so he is going to go to the sales at the end of the month. I will find something else for his syndicate owners, The Neardowners. He was disappointing after what looked like two promising hurdle runs for us earlier this season. Gary Bradley arrived as he is going to paint the inside of my house, and will be here for a while. We went to see Dilly Keane at The Corn Exchange in Newbury – she was very funny and very entertaining!
We started pulling out at 7am on Friday morning – there is enough daylight now to do it. We had Denis O’Regan in to ride out, as well as Emily Jones. We ran Cody Wyoming at Wetherby – he finished third of four, but I had him scoped after the race and we found that he had bled, and also had mucous in his lungs, so the horse is clearly not right, which is good news as he will obviously improve once we have it cleared up.
They had an Asian Night at The Malt Shovel on Friday night and the food was absolutely delicious.
We had five red letter days on Saturday morning and Evelyn Faber very kindly helped take them up to the gallops as we needed two cars. Some Kinda Lama worked nicely with Morney Wing. Baltic Storm did his first bit of work and went nicely. Expedite did a nice bit too. We managed to get the red letter day guests badges for Newbury, so they were all very happy. Tony Stapleton then came over to see his horses and we went to The Malt for lunch and watched all of the racing from Newbury and Warwick. It was disappointing to have no runners as in the past we have won both The Game Spirit and The Kingmaker and because of the ground, we didn’t even have a runner.
We had a very good evening in The Malt again for Valentines night and I had a very nice lobster.
I had a big lunch on Sunday – the guests included Simon Beccle and Marie Ellis, Kim Brassey, Dominic and Avery Ffrench Davies, Evelyn Faber, Barney Windsor Clive, my sister Caroline and Susannah and my two children. We had a very good lunch, which lasted quite a long time. I did quite well because I invited three cooks who helped me out with the cooking!!
Today we have Bridal Suite running at Plumpton. He is having his first run over fences and I don’t hold out much hope for him; he has the ability to win if he wants to, but I’m not sure he does!
We have entries at Sandown and Fakenham on Friday. We may run Morney Wing in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. He will be ridden by Capt Max Chenery.
My sister Caroline is staying for a few days, and my other sister Victoria is also coming tomorrow, which will be good fun!
On Saturday, we sent Morney Wing to Ffos Las, which I think was an absolute disgrace, as they more than likely could and should have called it off the day before, but they chose to get us all there and then called it off at midday. Will Stuart came to Sandown with me, where I foolishly ran Seventh Sky. He takes his races very well, but in hindsight, he had a much harder race in very bad ground than I had anticipated. He ran very flat and didn’t show any spark, so he needs to be freshened up before his next race, but no doubt will be back shortly.
We had lunch with Judy Maynard and her daughter Sarah. We also had a drink with Paul Mott, who was having lunch in the Royal Box.
We schooled a couple of horses on Sunday morning, in the rain. Tildie came round to see me and she was in good form. We then had a very good lunch at Kim Meehan’s with a lot of nice people there.
On Monday it was a filthy wet day. It was really miserable for both horses and riders. I really am getting fed up of this weather now, my mobile got soaked and is still out of action.
We sent Fine Parchment to Fakenham and he ran a really nice race to finish 2nd to the odds on favourite. He jumped really well and I think both horse and jockey enjoyed themselves. He should be able to win a race before the end of the season.
I saw Simon Christian in the Co-op.. He came and had a quiet supper last night and we caught up on a few things.
This morning is the first time I’ve ridden out, so that was rather enjoyable!
We have got entries towards the end of the week, with the likes of Dukes Den and Cody Wyoming, but we are still waiting for some better ground for most of our horses, and I know that most other trainers are in the same boat. It has been very frustrating with the ground as it has been, but I suppose it has to dry up at some stage!
We didn’t have a very good day at Doncaster on Friday with Dukes Den and Tango Unchained. Dukes Den found everything a bit quick for him, but he is in again this Saturday at Ffos Las. Tango Unchained the first too well, jumped into the back of another horse and got rid of Harry Bannister, so they were both unlucky.
I went up to Doncaster on Saturday, where Le Legro ran a nice race. He enjoyed the ground and should be thereabouts next time. Gowanauthat ran in atrocious ground at Uttoxeter; only one horse actually finished the race – it was a mistake to run him on that ground. We ran Ephraim in a Cheltenham trial against some very good horse. I was hoping that he would run well, but tragically he struck through his tendon and we won’t know for certain whether he will ever run again because of the injury, for about two months. It is a major blow for us and David Fox as I thought he was out of the top drawer, having won a Group race on the flat. We will keep our fingers crossed and hope that with time, he might be OK.
Tim Thomson Jones and I went to the funeral of a dear old owner of mine called Gilbert Turner, who was a sub-mariner. His wife, Bea and he got a lot of pleasure out of their horses and Gilbert died aged 95, and apparently he was getting the Racing Post up until his last day.
Seventh Sky worked on Wednesday and he seems in great form. He will probably run at Sandown on Saturday, where he will probably have top weight. Denis O’Regan came in to ride Morney Wing who went very nicely. Elmore Back did his first bit of work and we were happy with him.
We had a very jolly afternoon on Wednesday when Michael and Judy Maynard and Phil and Mary Docherty came to see the horses. We then had lunch in The Malt Shovel, where Tim Thomson Jones, Jenny Cassan, Evelyn Faber, Barney Windsor Clive and Mark Usher joined us. It was all very good fun.
I had my son William to stay on Wednesday night – we had a pizza and watched the film about AP McCoy, which I thought was terrific.
This morning we schooled a few horses. James Davies and Mark Grant came in. Morney Wing and Elmore Back jumped well. Expedite, Tango Unchained, Dukes Den, Libeccio and Bridal Suite all jumped nicely.
We have a few entries at the weekend, at Ffos Las and Sandown, and we are still hoping that the ground will dry up a little bit.