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4th June 2020

Plus 8 and dry when driving in.

Yesterdays rain hardly laid the dust..It actually did not cover the bottom of my rain gauge..

Desperately needed..Oh for a bit more?.. Please don’t hold it against me when in the middle of winter I might be saying the opposite.

Graham Potts rasped all the teeth of the horses currently here yesterday. Graham, who is off the road due to points totting, was helped by his partner/driver and future wife Jackie..

Why Graham Potts rather than Tom Siddall who normally does our horses.. Answer is that Graham had his own helper rather than a member of our staff.. Social distancing and most of the horses were done while my staff were out of the yard.

It was good to see so much more activity in the yard yesterday..Enough to suggest we now will start planning on how we cope going forward.. more hand washing, fogging? etc..

Last night Mrs B and I swapped hair cutting methods.. Who do you think came off best?.. Even Archie had a hair cut, but he did not trust us.. Sammy Baines one of his cricketing mates cut Archie's hair..

Ciaran Gethings has kindly taken up the mantle of the Kim Bailey Racing Community spirit..

Thank you Kim for giving me this space and I hope not to dull down the current list of contributors- it’s no easy task following Nico De Boinville on track or in a blog!

It feels a long time ago since I last spoke about anything National Hunt related, in fact the last time I think I even ushered the phrase ‘what a jump’ was in relation to the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance on Netflix- which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen yet and one of my many binged series that has filled my current abundance of downtime.

Aside from the Chicago Bulls, Joe Exotic and Connell’s Chain- if you understand all 3 references, you too have had a lot of time on your hands- I have been filling my mornings riding out at Archie Watson’s yard six days a week.

I spent last summer riding out for Richard Hughes which was fantastic also but, evidently, under very different circumstances to the ones we all currently find ourselves in.

The riding out experience is very different this time around with my awareness of my 2 metre radius at an all time high! But it has been a bit of a lifeline for me to have structure in my day, as well as helpfully keeping the weight down and the fitness up!

Lambourn has carried on fairly easily in the Covid climate with the gallops remaining open and yards functioning as usual albeit with a social distance policy akin to that you’d find in a string of fillies and colts.

I’m fortunate to have been given some cracking everyday rides at Archie’s including Maystar, already a four-time winner as a two-year-old but more importantly Jojo Rabbit, who is a very exciting two-year-old to watch out for early on this season.

Aside from my early morning rises I’ve found myself embracing a more domestic side including cooking wholesome homemade meals, baking, gardening and home rejuvenation.

BBC GoodFood has been the app of choice for the past few weeks with such recipes as Herby Chicken Pot Pie, Yorkshire Pudding wrap and Peanutbutter and Jam Flapjacks- you can understand further as to why I need my current four lots a day!

The house has had a spruce up also with a cleanse and polish from top to bottom that even Kim Woodburn would be proud of. Along with that every room has had a new lick of paint to finally rid the Magnolia and replace it with grey scale; each room of which reflecting a different end of the scale as we couldn’t decide which colour was best.

Also I should just briefly mention that every domestic task I’ve just listed was performed by my girlfriend Kate, thought I’d better just slip that disclaimer in here subtlety.

However, one thing I can pride myself on around the house is the gardening. My father back home in Wicklow is a professional gardener and I definitely inherited his green fingers and interest in horticulture.

From Corinthians to Azaleas I’ve fitted them in somewhere around our garden, all so our nine-month old cat can come along and trash them as she sets about pretending to be a tiger in the undergrowth hunting flies and other insects she has no chance of catching.

Finally, I thought I’d better touch on my version of male grooming nightmares as, along with everyone’s time spent queuing outside Tesco, has been a widely discussed lockdown topic of conversation.

My hair grows at a rate of knots and with temperatures rising I thought the time had come to try and trim the mop. I bit the bullet and asked Kate if she would take up the task to which, now that I look back was with more of a menacing expression, she gladly agreed to.

How I regretted that.

Imagine Arthur Shelby if you crossed him with a Komondor...that is what I was left with. Luckily for me a few weeks later, once lockdown measures were easing, my friend who’s an actual hairdresser came to my rescue and, following a lengthy assessment of the damage, he proceeded into turning me back into someone from this decade.

Hopefully, when I see all from Kim’s again the hair will have remained at a steady level and I won’t succumb to the desperation of asking my other half to help me again but until then I wish you all a good health and look forward to getting back to Thorndale Farm and seeing you on the gallops.

Thanks Ciaran.. Not long before we see you riding out?

Happy birthday to Bob Champion...

Todays non virus video nasty..