The title refers to the canine Timmy, rather than the equine Timmy and no, we haven't got yet another dog. Timmy is Aisling and Charlie's nine-month-old Parsons Terrier who has been terrorising Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks and murdering anything small and fluffy that has the misfortune to cross his path.
Timmy made his disapproval felt at being taken to boring Burghley horse trials on Saturday by barking loudly at every passing cross-country rider. Fortunately none of them fell off but Aisling was looking less than pleased with her puppy, who is a dead ringer for Tintin’s Snowy. Just like Alice, Timmy looks as cute as a button but, as we all know, appearances can be deceptive.
Burghley was also a first horse trials outing for Sarah, our new greyhound, who has settled in really well to stable life/unstable life (depending on whether you read John’s blog or mine). The one black mark is her insistence on sleeping on our bed but John is very diligently attempting to get her out of that habit.
As our Aussie friends know, we have got over our underdog status in this country and have got used to trouncing our Antipodean cousins at just about any given sport (except squash, Dickie) so it was a bit of a surprise to see Burghley fall to an Australian. Fortunately, close study of the form revealed that Lucinda Fredericks is actually British but opted to ride for her husband Clayton’s home nation. Still, green and gold or red, white and blue, it was a mighty performance on the small, neat mare Headley Britannia, as was that of the second-placed duo and genuine Aussie Andrew Hoy riding the divine Moon Fleet, owned by the Magnier family. They get everywhere, don’t they?
It was a shame for Andrew that he had three show jumps down and narrowly missed out on the grand slam (having already won Badminton and the Rolex International in Kentucky this year) as he and Moon Fleet conjured up the most elegant dressage test followed by a faultless cross-country round. There are few riders who make competing at four-star level look so easy but he is up there with the best and, in my book, as breathtaking to watch as the great Lucinda Green, Mark Todd and William Fox-Pitt. We give a major thumbs-up to Oli Townend, too, who is quickly becoming eventing’s major new star.
Anyway, that was Burghley: a great day’s action and some good shopping. It was also lovely to see Moppy, Issie and Tanya and to meet Issie’s new baby Scarlett.
And, for a completely gratuitous photo opportunity, I had a fantastic day at Aston Upthorpe Stud on Friday and saluted two wonderful retired stallions Zilzal and Mtoto. The latter, as you can see from this picture, is one of the most handsome horses ever and is a complete gentleman. It was a real privilege to spend a few minutes alone with him and to give him some well-deserved fuss.
Everyone keeps asking why I haven’t got the new horses and Sarah on the site. I’m working on it. It’s just been a mega busy few weeks and it’s not easing up yet. The horse list will be updated soon with Michael and Kim’s Most Welcome two-year-old, Allouette, a three-year-old by our old friend Largesse and, of course, the Diktat yearling. Michael Tidmarsh has opened the bidding for her name to be Australia Day, as she was born on January 26th (see John's blog). Armed with this knowledge we can at least start calling her Matilda in the yard as she's currently just known as Diktat, which is a little confusing. The only worry is that it might encourage Dickie back into ownership in this stable.