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6th May 2020

It was plus 3 and dry early this morning.

We look like having a few days of decent weather before wintery shows.. what snow!?

I bumped (not the right word.. social distanced) into Jonjo O’Neill junior yesterday.. He said his Father, like us, only has two horses in their yard.. Jonjo seems to spend his day painting.

I don’t but..

What I have done thought is invest in a bicycle..Yes hard to believe as I have not ridden a bike since my teens..

They do say that you don’t forget how to ride one.. I might probably disagree.. A bit wobbly, rusty and as for modern saddles!  It is about the same size as the one David Bass uses when doing 10 stone..tiny

My good mate Mikey Elliot is the cause of my problem as it was his suggestion.. Archie being on home schooling and not allowed to visit friends needs exercise and entertaining.. he enjoys biking so I thought why not, a bit of bonding and fun..

Matt at Cotswold Cycles came to the rescue..Although I might be asking for a bigger saddle?

Mark Stallard has kindly taken up the mantle of the Kim Bailey Racing Community spirit

'I am one of the many small punters who loves horse racing and its characters (both horse and human). I have been enjoying Kim’s blog for many a year so time to give a non-owner, but big enthusiasts view as I am sure poor Kim must wonder what to write about at the moment.

It started for me like I am sure it did for many of you. A trip to the races, Wincanton, (no easier to get to then) for the first time one boxing day too long ago. A J Francome was riding Rough and Tumble in a novice hurdle and that got the day off to a great start (big life changing mistake!)  and then two more winners. How easy is this I thought! The following Saturday nipped into a betting shop to back J Francome again on Ali Forever. 16/1, win. This really is easy. But of course, it has been an uphill but fun battle ever since.  (I am sure our maker is a punter on the quiet).

Initially I followed Fred Winter and Tim Forster and JF. Having successes with the likes of Rodman, Midnight Court and Uncle Bing and of course Docklands Express and Mr Frisk! The whole Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse and Monksfield thing completely captivated me. I loved little Monksfield, so brave. MCP arrived and in many ways changed the sport for ever  As we know today nothing stays the same.

Nowadays my day starts with a cup of tea and a read of Kim’s musing. I forward the daily joke or story onto a few family and friends. They never say thanks but get sniffy with me when no joke is forthcoming, so I figure they do like the stories! I am a Gloucestershire based mortgage broker, so I follow closely Kim and all the GL trainers. We do have a wonderful array of talent both equine and human in the county.

I restrict my punting to southern trainers and southern NH racing. That way I give myself a chance I feel. If I am struggling, I may have to call on PN and Bryony and Harry down in Somerset to get me out of Jail, but Bass, Brennan and Burke seldom disappoint.

I (think) I know my horses and carefully watch the Trainers day to day approach and method so between September and April I can find enough winners to keep the wolf from the door. But I still must learn to stop doing Saturday multiple bets, they seldom work, and I know that! More importantly I love the stories the horses bring. I did not back the stables festival winner this year, but boy did I cheer him home. My bookshelves house many racing books, anything from McCoy to Mill Reef!

My own golden moment was being in the HQ winner’s enclosure with the owner’s party when the brave one-eyed mare Material World bolted home in Dec 2008 and then was just touched off in the 2009 Pertemps. An astonishing couple of occasions. Of course, I dream of being a part owner one day when retirement beckons but my interest in the sport gives me plenty of investiture for the time being. I worry that I am forgetting how much I used to love Saturdays.

This time is so strange and like you I am sure, we at home are getting through it. We have a lovely home and garden and we are lucky here but of course like many I worry about the future for the business and my family and friends. I really hope my racing “heroes” can survive.

My beloved Swindon Town sit at the top of div 2, what will happen there? Everybody has found out what pleasures they took for advantage and boy do I miss sport. It must be so hard for all you owners, trainers and jockeys and dedicated stable staff, wondering when and how you can start again.

I wish you all well in these unusual times and from one very small punter a massive thank you for the fun you all give us. Of course, you do not do this racing stuff primarily for us but we sure as hell love it!'

Thanks Mark..

Todays non virus video.. shocking!!