Anna and Kerry have been complaining that I haven't blogged for a while. Main excuses are a rash of feature deadlines to adhere to (all done bar one) and working three days a week back in London at Horse & Hound. It's great to see the old crowd but the commuting is already getting me down after only one week. Three to go and this coming one will be easier as I'm crashing in Julian's bunk beds in my old room at the Elspeth Road flat and meeting up with a few of my old London muckers for a long-awaited session at my former Battersea local, the Fox & Hounds.
Apart from being a part-time city slicker again, this week's really exciting news is that I managed to buy Panto at Tattersalls February Sale. It wasn't difficult as no-one else bid for him (in my nightmares over the last few weeks I had engaged in protracted bidding wars with Demi O'Byrne and John Ferguson but I presume they must have both been snowed in on Thursday as mysteriously neither of them appeared as lot 305, a handsome son of Royal Applause and half-brother to dual G3 winner Ringmoor Down entered the ring. Their loss.). And so the little man, as he's fondly known, (and it's not just me that's stupid about this horse - John loves him as much as I do) remains here at BHS and I can finally sleep easily. He's pictured here with queen of the yard Desiree who seems rather taken with him too.
Great weekend. A trip to Kerry's to see Anis Etoile and Ben Bhraggie (full report in latest news). Highlight of the day was Kerry's son Josh and his tales of derring-do on the ski slopes, closely followed by Kerry's delicious Chocolate Apple Betty. Kerry, Stephen, Josh and Eleanor made us all really welcome and it's great to know the horses are in such safe hands (and sorry about them galloping across your tennis court, Stephen!).
Tim and Anna stayed and we spent Sunday morning in unexpected sunshine on Warren Hill. Anna gave Timmy a blast up the hill with John and I on Panto and Bilkie while Tim juggled walking Stan and Alice with official photographer duties. And to the reason for the title of this blog. John gave me a superb book for Christmas which highlights the 100 greatest moments in American racing. While I can't claim to be an expert on the subject, few people who love racing will have failed to have heard of Secretariat and the essay on his 31-length Belmont win, featuring the memorable line from the race-caller "and Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine", is just fantastic.
While it's a bit much to compare the immortal Secretariat with our own dear horses, I know I can speak for Anna and John when I say that the treat of partnering a throroughbred of any ability on a beautiful February morning on one of the world's most famous gallops is a privilege indeed. They may not all be great champions but they are all tremendous machines.
Now I must go and pack my bags for another few days in the big smoke.