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1st September 2014

Plus 15 and damp when driving in.

That AP McCoy is some jockey? How did he manage to get Able Deputy to win again yesterday at Worcester lord only knows.

It was the 5th time that AP has ridden AD and yesterday was their 4th win..Nobodyelse seems to be 'able' to win on him.

AD was top weight and raced off a career high of 145. 

I thought too high but then what do I know.. It was summer form, not winter form, and yesterdays race was full of summer horses and most we had met before.. We had beaten most of them at some stage of the season and the one who had beaten us last time was 2lbs worse off.

They went off at a tremendous gallop and although AD traveled well he was not jumping that well. Produced at the last by AP AD was sent on to win by a length, confirming the form of his last race when he was second to Fair Dilemma, who was second this time, with the same horse third in both races..

AD won two prizes. £100 best turned out, which he has won most starts, and the race valued just over £12,000.00 to the winning owner Bill Ives. A good day at the office. That was AP's 11th winner for us this season, out of 16 rides!

I had hoped to have been there but traffic coming down from the Borders was dreadful so we missed it. I could not find a betting shop and listened to the race on the Facing FM app (bloody good service).

Sad news was text to me by Marcus Armytage early yesterday morning; Roddy, his father, had died.

I had hoped to have seen him this week, but it was not to be.

Roddy was one of my most favourite men.

We met many years ago when I appeared in East Ilsley to start my training career.

Roddy was a quiet, shy man who used to write poetry and liked to live his own life, and I was totally the opposite.. Bizarrely we gelled and became great friends.

When I had a bad day I used to visit him after evening stables and I would appear a couple of hours later laughing and very happy...helped by the fact that Roddy was usually far more depressed than I was, and as he had almost stopped drinking he had a good supply of whiskey on his shelf!

Roddy had that way with people and few sadly knew it. He loved his horses,his dogs and all animals, and of course his two children Marcus and Gee who he was immensely proud of.

Roddy was a bloody good trainer. He knew his horses inside out and he knew when they were going to win..His best horse was possibly Barona who won back to back Scottish Grand Nationals

He and I shared an unique event when we both sent a horse to run in a novice chase at Newbury.. they went in the same horsebox and with about 8 runners we were both fancied our chances. What happened next was a million to one shot. One by one horses fell or pulled up and there were only two horses left jumping the last. Mine and Roddy's. They passed the post together and a dead heat was called..

I shall miss the old boy as much for sending Roddy his annual Christmas card asking if he was still alive? Sadly I wont need to this year.

Deepest condolences to Marcus and Gee. They had a great father and one who will be much missed..As Marcus said yesterday... The end of an era..

We have one runner, Viking Ridge, at Huntingdon this afternoon.

Viking Ridge has not seen a racecourse for 767 days.

A winner of a bumper at Huntingdon on his first appearance and a novice hurdle at Uttoxeter.

AP McCoy rides in what looks a interesting race, a novice handicap chase. It is a race we have had marked out for a while.

David Bass has schooled him and would have ridden him if AP's agent had not asked. He is fit.

The only way to pull off a Sunday afternoon 'quick bout of love making' with their 8-year old son in the apartment was to send him out on the balcony with a Mars Bar and tell him to report on all the Street activities.

He began his commentary as his parents put their plan into operation:

'There's a car being towed from the parking lot,' he shouted.

'An ambulance just drove by!'

'Looks like the Anderson 's have company,' he called out.

'Matt's riding a new bike!'

'Looks like the Sanders are moving!'

'Jason is on his skate board!'

After a few moments he announced, 'The Coopers are having a root!'

Startled, his mum and dad shot up in bed!

Dad cautiously called out, 'How do you know that?'

'Jimmy Cooper is standing on his balcony with a Mars Bar.

 This was Able Deputy winning at the last Worcester meeting.. No photos from yesterday.The future Mrs Nicholls.. Evelyn Bartlett receiving the tophy in behalf of owner Bill Ives.Dryburgh Abbey.. a few pictures from my travels last week.. Culture.William Wallace MonumentSmailhome TowerJedburgh AbbeyNorham Castle

30th August 2014

Plus 10 and damp again in the Borders.

A work morning at Thorndale and many will do just that..

Robert Chugg reminded me that I had failed to mention that his 5 times winning mare Supreme Present had returned to the yard this week; SP spent her summer break with Robert at Little Lodge Farm

Robert co-owns this exciting mare with Bruce Robbins and Mike Campbell of Lucky Bin Racing fame.. All being well she now heads to Cheltenham in October.

David and Carolyn Crompton will call in mid morning to see A Shade Of Bay; they are thinking of joining The Have Fun Racing Partnership

Yesterday was a perfect day for me.. a days fishing on the Tweed, at Upper Makerstoun.

Fishing is the one pastime that makes me totally relax.. hard to believe I know....Anyway..

Ghillie Colin Pringle guided me through the areas where fish might be, and blow me by the end of the day I had managed to wrestle two fish out of the river....filling freezer for the winter months?

Today in an important day as it is Clare's mother, Cilla's birthday; so big family celebrations up here tonight.

It would be a delight if we have further celebrations at Worcester tomorrow where Able Deputy runs.

AD has risen to a rating of 145 which is high enough for a summer horse; tomorrow is his last chance of winning a decent race. £20,000.00 on offer.

AP McCoy rides and he is the only person so far to have won on AD.. Miracles do happen (I caught a fish) and it would be good if AP can do it again.. 10 from 15 is his record for us.. 11 from 16 by tomorrow night? Difficult I think, but he will not disgrace us.

The first of my two fish..The other was of course twice as big!! 

29th August 2014

Plus 9 and damp up here in the Borders while staying with Clare's parents..

Talking damp, West End, who finished 4th, found the 47mm of rain that had fallen on Stratford Racecourse a hinderance. Back to the drawing board and probably an Indian summer needed for him to win again... and perhaps AP?

Are you for or against.. or.. are you voting Yes or No.. That is the big question everybody is asking when you drive over the River Tweed.. feelings are running high.. I just hope the bettertogether vote wins.. I love Scotland and I believe it would be a crying shame to be parted..As for Scottish Racings future.. Do you agree with Gary McDaniel?

Kerry is struggling to add to my blog, so we are short on content while I am away

To finish..This picture on the right made me laugh as I seem to have met so many men like Chris B..that well known jockeys agent.

Aiden Murphy........................sent this over

28th August 2014

Plus 10 and raining in the Borders..

I am sure Kerry will update you on what is happening at Thorndale.

We do have one runner this afternoon, at Stratford..

West End and Ed Cookson team up again and although they were narrowly beaten last time (Fakenham) we are hoping that they can do better today..

West End won easily for AP McCoy last week at Southwell but AP is not riding for us today as he is down at Fontwell, Ed takes over. A Bonne Fee moment please Ed..They must have a great chance of doing so..


 This was the last thing I saw before I floated out to sea.. Name the bridge

27th August 2014

Plus 7 and dry when waking in the Borders...

David Bass was in this morning for a couple of lots and we worked a few including Sunblazer and Viking Ridge.

Martyn and Sandra Steer Fowler and Tim and Anita Dymond called in third lot to see Such A Legend, A Shade Of Bay, 'Twiggy' and Fizzy Dancer;they have been staying at The Wheatsheaf.

Karen Masters and her sister Fiona were also here to see her KBRP horse Knockanrawley.

 Fiona, Karen, Tim, Sandra, Such a Legend, Liam, Anita and Martyn

26th August 2014

Plus 14 and raining when driving in.

Robert Baskerville was here this morning with nine friends for a first visit to Thorndale.  Robert sponsored a race that we won at Uttoxter with Midnight Oscar in July.  We always write to the sponsors of the races that we win and offer a morning here to see the horses on the gallops and have a tour of the yard.

Tom Bellamy was in this morning for a few lots and Jason Maguire called in on his way to Oaksey House.

I can tell you that ln the weekly handicap charts Midnight Oscar has come down 2lbs to a rating of 128, Bonne Fee has gone up 8 to 118 while West End has gone up wopping 16 to 115.

Robert Baskerville with family and friends and Midnight Oscar 

25th August 2014

Plus 11 and wet when driving in.

Bonne Fee made the journey to Cartmel very worthwhile when winning by a staggering 35 lengths on Saturday.. prompting the thought that wing mirrors would be an ideal Christmas present for her rider Ed Cookson.

Strange as we had no intention of running at Cartmel on Saturday, especially when doing the 24 declarations on Friday morning as it looked a competitive race on paper; most of the trainers who had entries said they were running.. Well they changed their minds and the race reopened, and we then changed our minds too..

It looked a very moderate 3 horse race on paper and I am sure the only fact that we did not go off favourite was because AP McCoy was not riding Bonne Fee; but then I had told his agent we were not running!

I have yet to make an appearance at Cartmel ..I will one day, but when Julie and David Martin said they were going to watch their flat horse run at Windsor I was let off the traveling hook.

Double good news for the Martin's as their flat horse Salt Island won at Windsor; a double for them and winner number 15 for us so far this season.

My day was then spent at Brockampton Village Show.. A good old fashioned family village show and one not to be missed if possible.. Yes we had a winner there too. Bear and Archie won a class in the dog show..

No runners today.

Today is the last days flat racing at Warwick; the curtain comes down after 300 years of flat racing. The course now becomes a dedicated jumps course.

I am sure there have been many notable landmarks from 300 years of Flat racing and one was that my Champion Hurdle winner Alderbook won a handicap flat race there off a rating of 74.. He improved to be rated just over a 100.. He was trained then by Julie Cecil and was still owned by Ernie Pick.

Robert Saunders, who is a member of the A&R Racing Club called in third lot to see his horse Fizzy Dancer.

Here are three genuine complaints to local couincils..

1. It's the dogs mess that I find hard to swallow.

2. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.

3. I wish to complain that my father twisted his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage.

 Bonne Fee in the winners enclosure at Cartmel on Saturday . Thanks for the photo Jackie KingdomMorris Dancers opened up the Brockampton Show on Saturday.. Archie and Bear waiting for the judge to appear..
And the winner is? Dogs can you make you look a fool at Times.. George Dowty showing that he is just that!! Dog sausage catching competition! The local tug of war
Show chairman Charles Arkell about to start prize giving Auction of produces.. Yes everything was for sale.. William Parker with his trophie and Archie and his winning dog Bear.. A fun family day out..

23rd August 2014

Plus 6 and dry when driving in.

Watching the news last night was just about as depressing as it can get; the world is going mad.

We carry on our life as normal and worry about the horses working and running well, that owners are happy and still pay their bills and staff keep turning up for work.

Yes on the work front we are gradually increasing the tempo of the horses work. Every day brings us closer to the winter season and with the temperatures most un August like we feel the need to move on.

This morning we worked...Able Deputy, Amazing D'Azy, Charingworth, Crazy Jack, Faerie Reel, Gaelic Myth, Gallery Exhibition, Gold Man, Grand March, Milord, Mrs Peachey, Fizzy Dancer, Patsy's Castle, Premier Portrait, Sunblazer, Viking Ridge, Un Ace and Up For An Oscar. Every other horse cantered.

Dave Tyler who is a member of the A&R Racing Club was here second lot with his daughter Jasmin to watch Fizzy Dancer. There are still a couple of shares left in this exciting filly.

Tim Richardson, Vince Burmingham and Sue Thomas were here third lot to see their KBRP horses Knockanrawley, Milord, Savant Bleu, Silver Eagle and Boolavard King. (3 shares left in Boolavard King)

Yesterdays runner Midnight Oscar ran well enough to finish 3rd. He looked like winning 2 from home but watching AP McCoy stalking him it was only a brief though of winning!

On The Record was making it 4 wins on the trot..his form has improved out of all recognition since being beaten out of sight during the winter.

All was not good at Ffos Las as Seran, my traveling head girl, dislocated her shoulder while saddling MO and is now based (temporarily)in Carmarthen Hospital..

We have one runner today at Cartmel.

Bonne Fee was not going to run, but they reopened the race, so we went back in.

The race conditions suit us and we have Ed Cookson riding to take a valuable 5lbs off her back. We might have liked to have had the services of AP but he went over to Bespoke Lady which just might be a sign if there is one?

BF who is favourite has run at Cartmel before (and favourite) but finished second... It is going to be a very tactical race as there are only 3 runners....One better than last time please Ed.

You can probably tell I am not in a joking mood this morning..

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when De Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded "Does that include those who are buried here?"

Lets finish on a lighter note.. Happy Birthday Chris Broad.. raconteur, bike rider and Jason Maguire's long suffering agent.. 59?

Viking Ridge far side and Sunblazer this sidePatsys Castle's backside (sorry Phil!) leading Up For An OscarJimmy The Jetplanes backside leading Able DeputyJasmin and Dave waiting for the horse to appearFizzy Dancer and Premier Portrait 
Mor Brook and Such A Legend Harry Topper leading Jasmin and her father Dave with his horse Fizzy Dancer
 Sue, Vince and Tim watching Knockanrawley fly past  Net Work Rouge  The Rainbow Hunter and Silver Eagle looking bored.. even though their mates are passing in the background

22nd August 2014

Plus 11 and drizzling when driving in.

AP McCoy broke another record last night. Another first and this time he was breaking his own record of the fastest 100, by two weeks. Does AP ever stop thinking about breaking records? Does he go to bed and ponder over what record he should break now?

Truly staggering, but this time AP should be sending Jason Maguire a huge present as he would not have been near breaking this record, if it had not been for the fact that Jason is out of action as result of his life threatening fall at Stratford in March.

What is far more amazing is that we have given him 10% of his winning rides.. They would have been Jason's, if he was riding, so that tells a story in itself; and don't forget the 14 winners AP has ridden for Jason's main retainer Donald McCain.

Keeping on the jockey front. Jamie Spencer has suddenly announced that he is going to retire from riding at the end of the flat season. I don't know Jamie but it is quite a shock announcement. Is there a reason we don't know?

Norman Carter, who we nicknamed Mr Cornwall when rang up out of the blue a couple of years ago was here mid morning to see the KBRP horses that he has shares in.. Milord, Silver Eagle, Sunblazer, Mor Brook and Taras Rainbow.

Ffos Las. Yes we have a runner there this afternoon. Midnight Oscar runs in the 3 mile handicap hurdle. There might only be a few runners, but this is no easy task with top weight.

MO went up 10lbs for his recent win at Uttoxeter and Ed Cookson, who rode him well then, retains the ride.

If MO and Ed can repeat the run at Uttoxeter then he will go close. The track and ground should suit.

Well done Will Duff Gordon... any chance of Short Squeeze coming jumping here looks well out of the window after yesterday's York win.

Back at York today the promising Cable Bay runs for Julie and David Martin; good luck to them.

Here are a few one liners to prepare you for the bank holiday weekend..

My wife and I had words, But I don't get to use mine.

Frustration is trying to find your glasses without your glasses.

The irony of life is that, by the time you're old enough to know your way around, you're not going anywhere.

God made man before woman so as to give him time to think of an answer for her first question

I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one

A three-year-old boy was examining his testicles while taking a bath. "Mom" he asked, "are these my brains?" "Not yet," she replied.

John Cootes sent this video over ..

 Chris Marriott sent this over.. so right!!My bloodstock agent Aiden Murphy is in Ireland looking at horses for me and he sent this picture over.. Is it a hint on my training abilities or his view of horses?
AP going for another record? Archies first day out with the string Norman Carter with his horses.. Milord, Taras Rainbow, Mor Brook and Sunblazer


21st August 2014

Plus 3 and dry when driving in. It actually dropped to plus 2 and one stage of the drive.. thats cold for August?

Thursday is our easy day and around the farm for those who worked yesterday.

I am in London all day starting with a meeting with my accountant Ian Hewitt..

Yesterday afternoon I popped over to see my recent Tattersalls purchases who are being broken in by Martin Jones. I also wanted to photograph them but it then poured with rain which was not ideal.

The three horses (Lot 87.. Lot 97 and Lot 354) are looking good and I have no regrets. You can sometimes get a shock when you see them again as they can change quickly for a journey across the water.

Martin is a true professional and I find that my horses return here having been broken in with great manners and looking better than when they arrived with him.

After seeing the horses I was passing my old boss Mercy Rimell so I called in for a cup of tea and a chat. Mercy is now 95 and now sadly pretty immobile.

Old age is not much fun and Mercy, who has been a person who has always been capable of looking after herself, now needs help. A fall some months ago when  broke her hip has left her chair bound; this is not helped by the fact that she broke her left shoulder some weeks ago in another fall.

Outside that nothing has changed. I walked in and no sooner than I had sat down than she suggested tea was a bad idea and that I should find the fridge and open a bottle of champagne.

The bottle opened we chatted and laughed; we talked about the good old times when TFFFN, Sam Morshead and I shared a house; TFFFN was their amateur jockey and Sam was their main jockey and I was their assistant, yes fun, although Mercy was quick to point out how badly behaved we were..!

Reminiscing over the years about some of their great horses, Comedy Of Errors, Rag Trade, Royal Frolic and lest we forget some very interesting owners like Teasy Weasy Raymond..and jockeys ..not least the great Terry Biddlecombe.

Fred and Mercy were champion trainers while I was there and they had about the largest string in the country; 59 boxes and they were always full.

Mercy looks amazing and time has not changed her; her brain is still razor sharp and she misses nothing. She lives for racing and TV racing is her most important diet. Her thoughts on some of todays presenters would make their hair curl, but mind you her thoughts on some of the things that are happening in racing and also some the people leading our sport also hit her temperature button.

I had a fun couple of hours and a second bottle was opened.. time to go and a promise of a return visit to replenish Mercy's fridge.. Hate to see her run out quiet yet.

A 95 Year Old Lady rings her local hospital and this conversation follows:

'Hello I'd like some information on a patient, Mrs Tiptree. She was admitted last week with chest pains and I just want to know if her condition has deteriorated, stabilised or improved?'

'Do you know which ward she is in?'

'Yes, ward P, room 2B'

'I'll just put you through to the nurse station.'

'Hello, ward P, how can I help?'

'I would just like some information on a patient, Mrs Tiptree, I was wondering if her condition had deteriorated, stabilised or improved?'

'I'll just check her notes. I'm pleased to say that Mrs Tiptree's conditioned has improved. She has regained her appetite, her temperature has steadied and after some routine checks tonight, she should be well enough to go home tomorrow.'

'Oh that's wonderful news, I'm so happy, thank you ever so much!'

'You seem very relieved, are you a close friend or relative?'

'No, I'm Mrs Tiptree in room 2B. They tell you f*** all in here................

Lot 354... 3 year old gelding by Authorized out of AzaleeLot 87...a 3 year old by Presenting out of Water RockLot 97...A 3 year old by Let The Lion Roar out of AnaaweenThe view from the top of my gallopsSheep and horses do get on.. Harry Topper and Agent Fedora are about to misbehave?Shane Collins riding MilordComing off the gallops first lot 


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