On Tuesday I went to the Grand National weights lunch at the Royal Opera House. Cedre Bleu was given 10st 4lb which means he should get a run in the race. I think he will have a good each way chance judged on his performance at Aintree in December. It is very exciting for the Tangledupinblue Partnership headed by David Obree to have such a nice runner in the prestigious race. Cedre Bleu will have a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Sunday and will then head to Cheltenham for the Kim Muir with Sam Waley-Cohen as his preparation for the big race.
Wednesday turned out to be quite disappointing. We had runners at Doncaster and Ludlow, I headed to Doncaster whilst Foxy went to Ludlow. Superb Story ran a little free becoming lack lustre in the finish, the race didn’t really suit him. Noel really liked him and suggested he would want further and as he develops he will become stronger in a finish. We also ran a young horse called Run To The Rhythm in the bumper there. He managed to get free down at the start after unusually being able to unseat Noel! The race was delayed by fifteen minutes but we still decided to take our chance with him. He ran a poor race after all his pre race antics. We have spent an awful lot of time and effort on breaking this horse in but to no avail it seems! He has been very troublesome, and my patience has worn a bit thin. He has shown plenty of ability at home so I am sure someone will be able to get him to show his full potential.
We ran Royal Redemption at Ludlow, I thought he would run a good race and be up there at the finish. I was very surprised to see him pull up. Jason Maguire came back in and told us he had a wind problem. Our vet backed this up when he got home and he has since undergone surgery. He is a very talented young horse so I really hope this has done the trick as I am very surprised he has not won yet.
On Friday Andy Pountney came to see his horse Nimbus Gale with his two daughters Lily and Rose. We followed a brisk morning on the gallops with lunch at The George and watched the racing.
My children Tildie and William stayed on Friday night. Nigel and Ros Kempner and their daughter Natasha also came to stay. We all celebrated Williams birthday with a delicious curry cooked by Iffy’s wife.
On Saturday morning David Bond joined the Kempners to watch the horses out on the gallops for a couple of lots. Cedre Bleu worked nicely with Verano and Murray Mount worked well with Lord of House, all four horses have had a short break but are back fit and working well. Expedite did a nice bit, he works well for a young horse. Cody Wyoming and Seventh Sky were very impressive on my gallops, you have never seen anything like the way they both work!
We had an enormous lunch with John Francome and a few others at the Royal Oak at Bishopstone. On Monday the 2nd of March they are hosting a Charity Cheltenham preview night and myself and Gavin Sheehan are on the panel. If you would like to book a table please get in touch with them directly http://helenbrowningsorganic.co.uk/pub/our-glorious-pub.html
We had fourteen people for supper on Saturday night. Ros Kempner had bought a chef for the evening to cook a 4 course dinner during a Charity Auction she had attended at Newbury Racecourse.
We helped choose the menu which included Venison Wellington. It was really delicious and a such great treat. It was very kind of Nigel and Ros to share this with us.
A few horses were ridden out on Sunday morning then we had lunch for ten. We ran Sands Cove at Southwell. Tommy Dowling our conditional took ten pounds off his back in a class four handicap chase. We have been trying to win a race with him for two seasons and he has been knocking on the door on numerous occasions so the drop down in class and the weight off his back meant he stormed home to win by eight lengths under a good ride from Tommy. I was very pleased with him giving the horse a nice ride. Part of the winning formula I feel was that neither the trainer or the owners were there which is a first for the horse!
On Monday I rode out for the first time in quite a while. I came back from Cuba with some sort of fever that really knocked me sideways, it really laid me up for a while but I have regained my strength now and managed not to over take the rest of the string on Murray Mount! The Monday Lunch Club ate at The George and I gave Barney Windsor-Clive his trophy from Sands Cove win.
The weather has played havoc with our plans recently so we are not now due to have any runners until the weekend. Verano, Seventh Sky, Cody Wyoming and Expedite should all head to Newbury on Saturday along with Lambro in the Charity race. Seventh Sky contests the Greatwood Gold Cup which I have previously won with Fine Parchment. I wanted to run Murray Mount at Lingfield today but as it is abandoned he will head to Doncaster for the conditional jockeys bumper on Saturday.
We ran a very nice young horse at Kempton back on the sixth of February. It was a competitive bumper and Expedite a son of Brian Boru ran a credible fifth. He is sure to improve for it and Noel thought he would be capable of winning one.
The next day I was left completely surprised when AP announced his retirement at Newbury live on Channel Four after notching up his two hundredth win of the season. While it was always going to happen at some point it still sent shock waves through the community as it really is the end of an era.
On the Monday we ran Seventh Sky for the twelfth time this season, he ran a fair race finishing second. He has been a revelation since turning to fences winning four races and picking up plenty of prize money. He thrives on his racing. I was thinking of the 0-140 novice handicap chase at the Festival for him but it seems he is now out of the handicap, there are still plenty of nice races for him though.
On Tuesday we had another second running Bridal Suite at Ffos Las, unfortunately he just found one to good on the day. He is knocking on the door each time and should get there.
Libeccio ran at Chepstow on the Wednesday. The ground was a bit soft for him and he could do with a bit further. We will see what they do with his mark this Tuesday as he could step up in trip in a handicap next time out.
Watching the horses work on Wednesday morning with Barry Davies a new member of the CMRC.
On Thursday we went to Fontwell with two horses. Attimo jumped well, running a better race than he has previously to finish third. It wasn’t an ideal track for him so he should improve for a more galloping track. Miller Of Glanmire blew up three from home after travelling and jumping well, he will come on a lot for the run.
Sands Cove set off for Sandown on Friday morning but with it raining all day it was a wasted journey as the ground became very soft and he was declared a non runner. He has an entry at Southwell next week and could well go there.
We worked a few horses on Saturday morning. Superb Story worked well with Verano and Portmonarch led the young horse Run To The Rhythm up ‘Back of the Hill’ gallop. Royal Redemption worked very well on my bank. David and Jane Obree came in to watch Cedre Bleu on the gallops and enjoyed a lovely breakfast cooked by Katya. The weights come out for the Grand National tomorrow, so hopefully he is given a decent chance to get into the race.
We had a lot of rain this morning, it seems the ground has gone soft again but with a brighter forecast for the rest of the week hopefully it does not affect our plans to much. Hopefully Superb Story and Run To The Rhythm will go to Doncaster and Royal Redemption to Ludlow on Wednesday.
Earlier in the week Equine Productions were doing some filming practice with their drone, they have done some excellent recordings to promote racing. We were lucky enough to be caught on camera during their testing! It really does show what wonderful facilities we have and how fantastic the countryside around here is. Rose leads on Portmonarch followed by Tommy on Verano on the ‘back of the hill’ gallop.
On Saturday morning we had owners and red letter days in to watch work. Run To The Rhythm worked nicely with Expedite. Verano did a nice bit of work and is now on his way back hopefully.
We went to Sandown where we had a box to entertain owners who are coming into a new syndicate called The Steeplechasers. We are trying to get twelve people together to buy three horses for next season. Saturday went so well that we have eleven people now and only need one more. The two people behind this are Bill Brindle and Andy Stone, I think it will work well as it means we can buy three nice horses for next season. So if anyone is interested we only have one more share available.
I got up very early on Sunday morning and drove to Heathrow airport where I met up with Tony Holt and John Robinson who own Superb Story and flew up to Edinburgh as their horse was running at Musselburgh.
We had a nice lunch with my two sisters and brother who I don’t see that often. Superb Story ran in a tough race which was a Triumph Hurdle trial and he finished fourth. Initially I was a bit disappointed until the jockey told me he did not go on the ground as it was very dead. We also ran Seventh Sky in a novice chase and he made most of the running and although he jumped out to the left and gave a lot of ground away he managed to win by nineteen lengths. I was hoping to run him in 0-140 novice handicap chase at Cheltenham but unfortunately he more than likely will not qualify for it now so we will probably give Cheltenham a miss. He is an extraordinary horse and has had eleven runs and won four this season and thrives on his work.
We also had another owner Mark Hitchcroft and his son George up in Musselburgh and had a very good dinner at my sisters house on the Sunday evening. The next morning I didn’t think it was to cold but unfortunately they called racing off and we were meant to have two runners that day. I managed to get an early flight home and was in Lambourn by two o’clock.
This morning we have had about six inches of snow everywhere and it has been difficult to get the horses up to the gallops. The Jockey Club men led by Will Riggall have done a very good job and we have got everything out. I don’t know how much racing there will be this week as the forecast is very bad and it doesn’t look to good.