26th March 2015
Plus 4 and raining when driving in. Nearly 8 mm of water has landed here overnight.
A good day putting The Andoversford Point to Point course together yesterday. All hands on deck..
Thursday, so it is our easy day for the horses.
Kissing spins problems are common and very uncomfortable for horses, especially when jumping; it is when they jump that they arch their back and then compress their spine.
You would be pushed to notice anything wrong with horses when just working on gallops.
We have had several kissing spin problems over the years and some have been fine with rest, but others we have operated on; frankly in my opinion the operations have not worked.
You can inject between the discs to help; saddle changes and manipulation certainly help.
The first time I came across a horse with kissing spine was Mr Frisk.
After Mr Frisk had won the 1990 Seagrams Grand National we were aiming to run him in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown 2 weeks later, and as a change we decided to swim him at my neighbours BHMFE's pool at Rhonehurst.
Mr Frisk swam like a natural, but when he got out of the pool he suddenly collapsed and lay down in agony, thrashing the ground.
We thought he was about to pass away and immediately called for the vets.
He was sedated and then he relaxed, got up and within a few minutes he was fine.. He showed no ill effects from that and we still ran him in the Whitbread two weeks later and he won.. He is still the only horse every to win the two races in the same season..
After The Whitbread we took Mr Frisk to Newmarket to their Veterinary Hospital, and they diagnosed kissing spine.. swimming was the worse thing we could have done to the poor horse.. We would never have known if we had not swum him.
Mr Frisk was given rest and carried on his winning career after his summer break.
TFFFN is a maestro with horses and The New One will be back in full flight next season, even though he misses Aintree in two weeks time.
Further news in todays Racing Post is about Tom Siddall's retirement from the saddle.
Tom used to ride for us here when he was retained by owner Alan Halsall and trainer Charlie Longsdon. A lovely fellow who rode well and proper natural horseman.
Tom showed that life as a jockey was tough, but he had the sense to forge another career as a horse dentist while still riding and we use him for all our horses dentistry problems.
Good luck Tom you deserve it, and we will see you here in the Autumn.
We have four runners today. Gold Man and Magic Money head to Newbury while The Drinkymeister and Premier Portrait head to Ffos Las. Ffos Las has had 15mm of rain overnight and the ground is described as heavy.. it will be virtually un raceable.. how to ruin a racecourse?
Mike Marsland sent this over..
Constables Ken and Bob placed a call to their Station..
"We have a case. A woman just shot her husband for stepping on a floor she mopped."
"Have you arrested her?"
"No sir. The floor’s still wet."
25th March 2015
Plus 4 and dry when driving in.
Oh so close again at Wolverhampton yesterday; Sunblazer was mugged on the line and beaten a head by the fast improving and heavily backed Gabrial The Terror. Bugger! Yes I hate being second, and I was not the only one to be speechless after his run.
David Bass was in for a couple of lots this morning. David, who almost smiles when arriving in the yard, is fresh from his first treble at Towcester a couple of days ago.
We jumped Mrs Peachey, Midnight Oscar, Up For An Oscar and Un Ace over fences.
My godson Harry Sheppard and Ben Bentley were here first lot for a visit. Harry who works locally is keen on bringing clients for 'a morning on the gallops'; Harry was as they say, on a snooping trip.
Roland Fox and Maurice and Pim Greenaway were here late morning to see their horse Fizzy Dancer.. One of their co owners Adrian Grazebrook celebrates his birthday today..Adrian's mother is a sprightly 105.. so it looks like there is longevity in the family.
I see that Leicester Racecourse have finally updated some of their facilities.. They have re named and refurbished two former hospitality boxes.
The King Richard 111 box will have now vastly improved drinks, and of course food.. they are now serving Mead, wine and an array of rich foods including exotic meats, freshwater fish such as pike, and birds such as swan and heron. Book now?
No runners today means that I am able to start working on the Andoversford Point To Point racecourse.
Our Point To Point takes place the day after the Crabbie's Grand National and as I am clerk of the course (for the last year) I have to have everything ready.. ground prepared, fences up and looking the part, and the course generally looking ready for action.
Yesterday I started harrowing and today the wings go up, while the fences are currently being re stuffed. We have a new web site, so why not click here and see all about our Andoversford races..
What are the chances of parading a local winner from the previous days Crabbies Grand national.. Dont Push It made it there in 2012.. The Rainbow Hunter and David Bass would be very welcome guests!!
Huw Davies, who owns and bred My Cousin Rachel, is still not happy about my swipe on his tea drinking habits at Newbury last week sent over this well known Thomas De Quincy quote..
'Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, will always be the favourite beverages of the intelligent'
Thanks Huw.. point taken..
24th March 2015
Plus 2 and dry when driving in. Frozen windscreen and rain overnight; not much of either.
Dear Towcester we miss not seeing you so often; a good course going to the dogs?
Yesterdays visit started with a course walk with Richard Farquhar.
Richard is walkingthecourses; all the 60 racecourse in the UK to raise awareness and valuable funds for Pancreatic Cancer (his father and trainers John Hills and Dessie Hughes all succumbed to this awful decease) and Racing Welfare. To support please click here
Yes Zimmer frames and walking sticks.. Fellow old trainers Oli Sherwood (BHMFE) and James Eustace were among about 30 people who walked the course. I was about the last to finish along with Nick Cheyne, although Matt Chapman did a late surge to avoid being upsides us. Fun and all in a good cause.
A Shade Of Bay, our reason for being at Towcester, sadly did not enjoy the course as much we did.. Badly handicapped and tough hills were not for her. There will be other days.
Towcester enjoys its jumping and it was a jolly day; even well know racing folk like Cornelius Lysaght and Alastair Down were seen in the bar while bloodstock agent Mags O'Toole really shocked us by popping her head around the door. Mags buys most of Gigginstown's horses.
Towcester also produced a first yesterday. David Bass, fresh from riding his first Cheltenham Festival winner (Darna) rode his first treble.
Tom Bellamy was in this morning. Tom who is rapidly losing his claim has ridden 22 winners so far this season.
Our vet was in for his weekly visit
This weeks movers and shakers in the handicap charts are. Ballyknock Lad down 4 to 106, Allez Encore down 3 to 128 while Net Work Rouge who ran so well at Newbury to finish second goes up 5 to 121.. Hate being second!!
Wolverhampton.. Yes we have one runner ther this afternoon. Sunblazer runs in what looks a very compeptive race and for my thoughts please click here.
Peter Wheatley sent this over.. a good vet story for Graham Potts..
A dog lover, whose dog was a female and 'in heat', agreed to look after her neighbour's male dog while the neighbours were on vacation.
She had a large house and believed that she could keep the two dogs apart. However, as she was drifting off to sleep she heard awful howling and moaning sounds, rushed downstairs and found the dogs locked together, in obvious pain and unable to disengage, as so frequently happens when dogs mate.
Unable to separate them, and perplexed as to what to do next, although it was late, she called the vet, who answered in a very grumpy voice.
After she explained the problem to him, the vet said,"Hang up the phone and place it down alongside the dogs. I will then call you back and the noise of the ringing will make the male lose his erection and he will be able to withdraw."
"Do you think that will work?" she asked.
"Just worked on me," he replied.
23rd March 2015
Minus 2 and the whole countryside, including my car, was white with frost when driving in.
The ups and downs of racing was sent our way within 10 minutes of each other yesterday.
Jimmy The Jetplane won impressively at Wincanton while at Market Rasen, in the very next race, Knocklayde Express broke her leg.
The downside of working with animals is the sadness when it goes wrong and yesterday John Perriss lost his winning mare Knocklayde Express at Market Rasen. Incredibly sad and I am so sorry for John.
John, who was at Wincanton to watch his By The Boardwalk run rather disappointingly stayed to watch Market Rasen. It was not a good journey home for him or for his wife Penny who was at Market Rasen with my assisatnt Mat.
The ground has dried incredibly quickly and the racecourses are not calling it correctly, which means we are heading racing on false descriptions.
Yesterday the ground at Wincanton was nearly good to firm according to the jockeys so Mor Brook did not run. I was not for taking the chance on this fine big potential chaser.
MB's owners had travelled a long way to see him run, but they were very understanding when we decided not to take part.... When in doubt pull out.
Saturdays owners of Derrintogher Bliss at Kelso were regally looked after by the Chairman of the racecourse for lunch; it was their first visit and they thoroughly enjoyed it, even though their horse finished 5th.
DB actually ran a blinder and was only beaten a total of just over 3 lengths.
Our other runner there Gallery Exhibition also ran well to finish 3rd.
It was a long way to go but good prize money was on offer.
Well done Kelso.. another top racecourse and a very friendly one too.
Newbury, were I was on Saturday, Allez Encore did not stay. Well at least that is what Ed Cookson thought; we shall see. Aliandy ran well in the DBS bumper to finish 5th; we were pleased with him and again many thanks to DBS for looking after all my owners so well. It was hugely appreciated.
I was not racing yesterday as I was with Oliver Sherwood celebrating his 60th birthday (it is today).
Monday morning and fresh horses. Jockey Conor Shoemark in for a couple of lots
Martyn and Sandra Steer-Fowler called in 3rd lot to see Such A Legend and Pulling Power.
I am going racing early to walk the Towcester racecourse with birthday boy the BHMFE, Matt Chapman and Richard Farquhar.
Richard Farquhar is walking all 60 racecourses in aid of Pancreatic Cancer and Racing Welfare. If you feel generous and would like to support Richard on his venture please log onto Walkingthecourses.com
This time last week I was still feeling the 'after effects' of Darna's win at Cheltenham.
I have now finished writing, emailing and texting to all who sent messages of congratulations.
Also thank you Mark Firth for the side of smoke salmon. Mark's company Chesil Smokery is a winner too.
Darna now heads to Aintree for The Crabbies Topham Chase
21st March 2015
Plus 4 and dry when driving. A fine day ahead.. I hope in every sense of the word.
Newbury was pretty soulless yesterday and the racing was similar; perhaps it was just me or was it that fact that their car parking arrangements are so bad that it just puts you in a moderate mood on arriving.
It was good to see Huw and Caroline Davies who own My Cousin Rachel; they offered of a cup of tea in the O/T bar!
A drink with Robert Fanshawe was appreciated.
Net Work Rouge ran well but finishing second made sure I left the course 'really happy' and cemented my mood!!!
NWR is every inch a chaser and looked huge compared to all the other horses in his race. I had texts and messages saying what a lovely horse he is going to be next season over fences.. But that did not make for finishing second and going up another 5/6lbs in the handicap!
Seriously NWR is learning, improving and Martin McIntyre rode him well.. Both have a bright future and NWR is fine this morning.
Michael Winterson, Dan and Paul Wilson, Phil and Les Lewis, Becky Bailey and Neil Wood were here this morning for a morning on the gallops followed by breakfast as booked through CD Tours.
Ed Cookson was in for a couple of lots and we worked a few.
We have a very busy weekend on the racing front with 4 runners today and 5 tomorrow.
There are five jump meetings today.. too many and makes jockey bookings difficult.
We have a couple at Kelso where Mat heads.
Derrintogher Bliss and Gallery Exhibition are both to be ridden by Andrew Thornton.
Mat enjoys Kelso as I do.. my favourite town..Cilla Wills, who would normally don her racing kit and represent me up North is currently on holiday in Cuba I believe.. not really an excuse Cilla?
Newbury is where I am heading.
Tomorrow we run 2 at Market Rasen.
Knocklayde Express and Same Ole Trix in the bumper; David Bass rides those two.
At Wincanton Aidan Coleman rides By The Boardwalk and Mor Brook and Tom Bellamy rides Jimmy The Jetpane.
For my thoughts on their respective chances please click here.
Yes busy. Kevin and Dermot Clancy had asked Archie and I to Twickenham but with so many owners going to see Allez Encore Harry Bailey is talking my place while Archie heads to Newbury with me..
Ball games all weekend?
1. The sport of choice for the urban poor is BASKETBALL.
2. The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BOWLING.
3. The sport of choice for front-line workers is FOOTBALL.
4. The sport of choice for supervisors is BASEBALL.
5. The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS.
6. The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF.
THE amazing conclusions are,
The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.
There must be a boat load of people in Washington, Westminster or Whitehall playing marbles.
Have a good weekend.
20th March 2015
Plus 4 and dry when driving in
Not the best day in the office yesterday. Ballyknock Lad was disappointing and probably wants further and fast ground while Azure Aware ran to his form to finish 3rd. At Ludlow Master Dan ran well to finish 4th while Faerie Reel made a bad mistake and AP McCoy pulled her straight up; he was not happy with her. All seem OK this morning.
Last night's Grand National Preview evening with AP McCoy, Cornelius Lysaght and Mark Pougatch was the greatest fun. A huge turn out of locals, including Lord Gower were squeezed into the Sibford Gower village hall; and a great deal of money was raised for charity..
Plenty of banter..We might miss AP when he retires from racing but Channel 4 will be making a big mistake if they don't grab him to front racing. AP is very good with a microphone..Of course he might not want to and have other ideas.
An early start to be in Lambourn. Keith and Liz Ellis were there to meet us . We took their horse Abbreviate plus King Simba, Lady Of Llanamon and Pulling Power.
We have one runner today at Newbury. Net Work Rouge is to be ridden by one of my old members of staff Martin McIntyre. Martin rode Mrs Peachey to win a bumper at Bangor 3 years ago. For my thoughts on their chances please click here.
Jeremy Ker who was in Sidford Gower village hall last night sent this over..
Two elderly ladies were talking.
"At our age, I don’t know what would be worse; Parkinsons or Alzheimers?" one said.
Her wise friend answered, "Oh I’d rather have Parkinson’s, definitely Parkinson’s.
Better to spill half my wine than to forget where I keep the bottle."
19th March 2015
Plus 3 and dry when driving in.
JonJo O'Neills Jockey Richie McLernon and I were eying up the last Racing Post in the Andoversford garage early this morning. I won!
Andrew Bengough, who stayed with me last night was up and about early to see his horse Laval Noir canter first lot. Andrew brought over Neil Smith and Nigel Wood to see his horse.. all work for Hampden
Mrs Peachey had visitors.. Nicky Van Dijk, Gary Liptrot and Gordon Farr called in to see her canter 3rd lot while Karen Masters called in to see her KBRP horse Knockanrawley. KAR's successful season is over and he is waiting to go out to grass.
Virginia Johnson was here 4th lot to see her horse Lady Of Llanarmon. Rodney and Moira Stoneman called in late morning to see their three horses; the KBRP's Boolavard King and Knockanrawley and the A&R Racing Clubs Fizzy Dancer.
Peter Kerr who runs my KBRP's was also here late morning
Dessert Orchid and Simon Sherwood made the Racing Post today with a picture of them sailing over a fence at Kempton as part of their 50 greatest racing pictures.
Simon, who is now Clerk Of The Course at the most successful Ludlow (fabulous prize money on offer again today; a total of £60,000.00) celebrates his 57th birthday today...
I am heading there today with a couple of runners..After racing I am heading off to Sidford Gower Village Hall for a Grand National Preview evening/dinner... Oh no not another preview evening I hear you say.. I don't do them, unless they are fun and tonights should be..
Tonight's Grand National preview is being hosted by Mark Pougatch with AP McCoy and I are on the panel while Cornelius Lysaght and Richard Phillips are filling in with witticisms and gossip? All for charity..
Apparently it is a huge sell out.. Thats what happens when somebody famous announces his retirement?
Going back to my runners today.. We have 4... At Chepstow we run Azure Aware and Ballyknock Lad; BL has had a breathing op since his last run.. Master Dan and Fraerie Reel run at Ludlow.. For my thoughts on their chances please click here..
Breathing operations are causing problems for the public and there have been some high profile runners/winners that might not have won if they had not had them..
Should the public know.. yes.. I always announce them.. So much so that Roy Mousley from Nuneaton sent me a bottle of Whiskey and a note saying thank you.. Roy backed Darna at 33/1 each way after reading what I said in the Weekender ..
To finish. Dave Law who emiled me to say well done with Darna sent this over..
Yesterday while I was playing golf.
My wife sent me a text, saying she was in Casualty.
When I got home I watched all 50 minutes of it ...never saw her once.
She still hasn't come home yet.
18th March 2015
Minus 1 and thick fog when driving in.
Last night it felt for a hour or so that spring had started, but not this morning when scraping ice off my windscreen.
Nick Cook did not have a good journey from Leicestershire to try and be here for second lot to see his horse Midnight Oscar perform. Nick, who has spent the winter in warmer places, standing at one end of a mown grass strip giving out judgements found the cold and fog most disagreeable and returned home after finding the roads a mess.
John Stanley was here to see his KBRP horse Boolavard King and John and Liz Wills who were here to see Net Work Rouge.
Jockeys in this morning were Tom Bellamy, Ed Cookson, David Bass and Martin McIntyre.
We jumped A Shade Of Bay, Allez Encore, Amazing D'Azy, Azure Aware, Ballyknock Lad, By The Boardwalk, Derringtogher Bliss, Faerie Reel, Gallery Exhibition, Gold Man, Jimmy The Jetplane, Knocklayde Express, Magic Money, Master Dan, Midnight Oscar, Mor Brook, Mrs Peachey, Net Work Rouge, The Drinkymeister and Up For An Oscar.
We have no runners today.
Keith Francis sent this over..
"Lexophile" is a term used to describe those who are clever with words, such as "you can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish" , or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless."
A competition to see who can come up with the best lexphillies is held every year in Dubuque, Iowa. The year's winning submissions:
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
The batteries were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
A will is a dead giveaway.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
Police were called to the daycare centre, where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
When she saw her first strands of grey hair, she thought she'd dye.
Acupuncture is a job well done. That's the point of it.
17th March 2015
Plus 4 and damp when driving in. I feel normal for the first time in nearly a week!
I left here in rain to go to Southwell yesterday and it rained on and off the whole way there.
Arriving at Southwell, the daffs were out and the sun shone; the ground was good and dust was blowing in the wind. A country of extremes.
Extremes was what Fizzy Dancer faced in the mares bumper. It looked a hot race on paper and it certainly was.
The winner Sea Pride was bred to fit in at Buckingham Palace; by Sea The Stars and trained by Sir Mark Prescott. The third horse was related to Denman and her trainer, although not in name, David Loder, said she could not be beaten.. We (Fizzy Dancer) finished 4th, beaten 2 lengths for second, although the winner by then was already half way up Buckingham Palaces front stairs by the time we went past the post..
It rained most of the way home.. when past Leicester.
This morning we worked Jimmy The Jetplane and Gold Man, all the rest cantered.
Kilty Caul the horse Aiden Murphy and I bought at the Brightwells Cheltenham Festival Sales last week arrived in the yard after spending time in isolation with Mathew Delahooke. She will be posted for sale later in the week.
Talking for sale; we still have a few shares left in Allez Encore and King Simba. The GSTTKPA Charity Partnerships 131 rated mare Allez Encore looks like carrying top weight in the big mares EBF final at Newbury on Saturday. This £40,000.00 race is for the taking so please take a close look at the partnership and you can join and be there in the paddock on Saturday.. Come on.. join us ..ring me..
Graham Potts, our vet, was in the yard this morning for his weekly visit.
This weeks movers and shakers in the handicap charts are.. By The Boardwalk down 7 to 105, Crazy Jack down 2 to 118, Emily Gray down 2 to 132, Grand March down 2 to 105, Premier Portrait down 3 to 119 Mrs Peachey down 4 to 114, Such A Legend down 1 to 126 while Cheltenham winner Darna went up 7 to 147. after such a week is it all down hill??
Over heard last night..from 50 shades of whatever..
'I'm your slave,' she said breathlessly, 'Make me feel completely helpless and worthless.
' So I locked her in the shed and went down to the pub.
And this one made me laugh.. especially with the in laws coming for Christmas..
'Hurt me!' she begged, leaning over the dining table expectantly.
'OK,' I replied, 'Your turkey's too dry and your sprouts are overcooked.'
And one last one for Gordon the shepherd..
Her body tensed and quivered as she felt wave after wave flow through it.
I probably should've told her about the new electric fence.
16th March 2015
Plus 4 and dry when driving in. Hardly spring?
Monday morning and a new week.
This time last week we were preparing for the Festival and tonight last week Nick Luck and I were doing a Cheltenham Preview at The Wheatsheaf. One of most reminded selections was Darna. They laughed as he was 85/1 when somebody looked on his mobile.. Here we are a week on and Darna did the business when winning on Thursday.
It was long week and what a week it was. A turning point for the yard? I very much hope so. We have had a cracking season but a Cheltenham Festival winner is what this sport is all about; now we need to capitalize on it.
All I do know is that I was mighty glad that FFos Las was abandoned yesterday as it meant a quiet day and a day to catch up.
Strange to think that racecourse in Wales was flooded while Southwell where we are heading today is good to firm on their grass..
We have one runner there in the bumper and for my thoughts on Fizzy Dancers and ride Tom Bellamy's chances please click here.
Lan and Ann Harvey called in late morning to see their KBRP horse Boolavard King
Bored over the weekend I started looking into Family Trees. Discovered this amazing one!!
Van Gogh's Relatives
After much careful research it has been discovered that the artist Vincent Van Gogh had many relatives.
Among them were:
His obnoxious brother, Please Gogh
His dizzy aunt,Verti Gogh
The brother who ate prunes, Gotta Gogh
The brother who worked at a convenience store, Stop'n Gogh
The grandfather from Yugoslavia, U. Gogh
The brother who bleached his clothes white, Hue Gogh
The cousin from Illinois, Chica Gogh
His magician uncle, Wherediddy Gogh
His Mexican cousin, Amee Gogh
The Mexican cousin's American half-brother, Grin Gogh
The nephew who drove a stagecoach, Wellsfar Gogh
The constipated uncle, Cant Gogh
The ballroom dancing aunt, Tan Gogh
The bird lover uncle, Flamin Gogh
His nephew, psychoanalyst E. Gogh
The fruit loving cousin, Man Gogh
An aunt who taught positive thinking, Wayto Gogh
The little bouncy nephew, Poe Gogh
A sister who loved disco, Go Gogh
His Italian uncle, Day Gogh
And his niece who travels the country in a van, Winnie Bay Gogh.