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10th April 2020

It was plus 10 and dry this morning.

Happy clapping for the NHS last night in our little hamlet of Sevenhampton. All the village turned out to clap and make loud noises..thankfully all live full time and there is a great community spirit..

Good Friday and stunning weather. Lambourn Open Day..Not this year..

Racing is trying its hardest to resume in May.. Flat racing only, and this is the latest news on the chances of what they are hope they will be able to do.

"Before we can do all this we need to come out of lockdown. We don't want to start during lockdown and we want to make sure the political and medical environment is appropriate."

NHS and health workers... and with that in mind...Public preception is hugely important as Racing could score an own goal if the mood is misjudged..

Clare was able to get her own back last night when she cut my hair..Long scissors bannished like a sword followed by the pony clippers.. slightly smaller than the horse variety..

Roger Hart has joined the Kim Bailey Racing Community spirit..

He wrote...

“Snow and Ice'' usually trigger “abandoned” notices appearing for race meetings in the UK but not if you are heading to Switzerland in February and in particular St Moritz home of White Turf where on 3 consecutive Sundays in February.

13000 racegoers gather on the frozen lake to enjoy a 6 race card comprising Flat racing, trotting and the totally bizarre sport of skijoring where jockeys are on skis being towed by thoroughbreds.

Trainer Mark Johnston described the event as a “point to point with furs”, it should be on everyone’s bucket list to enjoy just once.

Ahead of the centenary in 2007 the organisers wanted to raise the profile of the meeting particularly in the UK and lunch a year earlier with the dynamo which is Barbara Keller meant a plan was hatched.

Barbara knew everyone in St Moritz ( she makes TNDGB look like a self isolater) and I suggested they twin White Turf with Newmarket racecourse, a conversation with Lisa Hancock MD of Newmarket quickly followed and we were up and running.

A conversation with Mike Cattermole saw a film crew from the UK joining us and Mike commentated on the Newmarket sponsored race as well as filming a great feature which duly made its way on to the racing channels in the UK.

St Moritz is also home of the Cresta Run a totally unique ¾ mile down hill run where eccentric British aristocracy hurl themselves head first on a skeleton (read tea tray) at speeds touching 80mph, the course is restricted to amateurs only and they even run the Grand National each year.

I am sure alcohol had been taken when Catt announced he would like to do the Cresta run, his mistake was allowing Barbara Keller to hear him and next morning donned in his tightest lycra, crash helmet and tea tray he found himself at the riders briefing hearing about all the injuries suffered over the years.

The advice if you exit the run at one of the bends (Shuttlecock is notorious) is to stand up so they know your legs are not broken, then wave your arms which means you can get your tea tray off the run and the sport resumes.

Catt did 3 runs improving his time on each run, but little did he know I secured the film of his runs which somehow found its way to the Channel 4 Morning Line team for an exclusive broadcast some weeks later.

Catt had no idea as Jim McGrath led him down a dangerous path “ Mike you’re a bit of a daredevil, do a great Sean Connery impression, have you done anything exciting recently?”, hook line and sinker Catt fell into the trap, talking about his Cresta Run experience before being told here was the film.

Channel 4 chose to show the first run which was a bit unfair on Catt as he looked painfully slow but that didn’t stop Francome, “I have seen cross country skiers going quicker”  to be followed in that unmistakable West Country burr with “ I always thought it was a downhill sport”.

Regular readers will know TNDGB has a great record in St Moritz culminating with victory this year in the feature race, The Grosser Preis with Wargrave. But hang on TLNCK is a Grand National winner so what say they meet in February 2021 on the Cresta Run? I cant wait to read their respective to BLOGanning” thoughts after that.

Take the opportunity to go out and visit White Turf, it is a fabulous weekend but do it soon before global warming has its say.”

The White Turf sponsored race at Newmarket later in the year saw more high drama.

Commentator Michael Luxemburger came over from St Moritz to call the race, a maximum field 2yo maiden and the Race Tech director nearly fainted when he said he would call the start and finish in English and all the bits in between in French, German and Italian.

The problem was Michael could not trust himself to keep to English so with betting in running carnage looming Richard Hoiles called the race and Michael then recorded his commentary in 4 languages which was then played on the big screens over a replay as the winner came back in to huge applause.

A video will follow but I will let you know when it is up and on line.. it will be a week or so.. I need Maddie!! In the meantime here are some photos..

Thanks Roger.. all a bit of fun and no I am too old to attempt the Cresta...Bottle gone!

To finish .. Happpy Birthday to Dougie.. 3 today..

Todays non virus video nasty..