It's been a great week. It's hard to imagine a better place to be than Newmarket in 'July Week'. Great racing, lovely stallion parades and parties and the July sales, where everyone is in a little bit of a holiday mood before the slightly more serious business of the yearling sales begins. Yes, last week was Newmarket en fete.
Adding to the excitement from our own small corner of the world was the victory of Batgirl at Nottingham on Saturday. She's a smashing filly who now really fills the eye but in her time here she has given the trainer the odd moments of concern so it was truly satisfying to get her first win on the board, especially for Tony Fordham who is a relatively new owner but a passionate supporter of racing who really deserves this success.
Another piece of good news was the arrival in the stable of the lovely Alcalde, a Lanwades Stud graduate who won three races for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum from the Mark Johnston stable. We're very pleased to have him here to race for three members of the Ex Con syndicate plus Sarah Williams, a co-owner of First Pressing. He's a lovely prospect who will be seen next over hurdles, hopefully later this year.
For John, possibly the most exciting aspect of the week was acting as tour guide to top Australian jockey Michael Rodd (seen above) and a group of very friendly Australians on Thursday. Michael was last seen in the UK in action on Gold Trail in the King's Stand Stakes. He's also the regular rider of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking though sadly he did not win the big race on him as he couldn't do the weight. Michael's one of Australia's finest and it was a pleasure to show him and his fellow travellers Barry and Sue Wallace, Clive and Bill around. As always, seeing Newmarket through the eyes of foreign visitors reminded us how really lucky we are to be here in heart of racing and breeding country.