It's always a pleasure to go to the races with Ethics Girl (pictured) as she is the consummate professional. People may look at her in the parade ring and think she's a small, ordinary-looking filly. She is. But the heart that beats within that frame was obviously one designed for a much bigger horse because she gives her all every time she goes out, as she demonstrated again when a good second at Leicester on Saturday. One has to hope that, barring unforeseen disasters, she'll grab another couple of wins before the season is out.
She came here three years ago, one of three yearling fillies we brought back from the Tattersalls Ireland sale at Fairyhouse. The fortunes of the three have been varied. Ethics was the only one of them to run at two, right near the end of the season. Her colleague, Struck Lucky, was gearing up for her first run as a three-year-old when, heartbreakingly, she fractured her elbow and had to be put down. The third, the one we had gone to see, was Jenny Dawson. Jack's and Jill's sister has been slower to come to hand than other members of her family, though generally it is a late-maturing family. She's had one run and we're very much hoping she can be a nice staying/dual-purpose prospect once she is handicapped.
I can't really think about one of them without thinking of the other two. It was the same with Jill Dawson and her fellow Mull Of Kintyre filly Lady Suffragette, from whom she was inseparable. Both won for the stable and both are now doing well in their second careers, with Lady S about to make her debut in the show ring at the Dublin Show on 7 August ridden by our very own Aisling Appleby.
It's the same now with Silken Thoughts and First Pressing. They came from Tattersalls together, exercised every day together for the first six months of their time here. They're not currently workmates but as soon as they are turned out with the herd, they are most definitely firm paddock mates, as are the two two-year-old geldings Grey Panel and Oscar Bernadotte.
I watch the horses in the field for hours when I should be tapping away at this keyboard and I'm convinced they each have their own best friend. Perhaps I think too much about horses when I should be thinking about important things.
One other thing that should be mentioned before this blog runs out of steam is Iva Milckova (pictured), although to refer to her as a thing is rather rude. Iva is brilliant and has been the partner of most of our flat horses this season. She should be being booked for many more rides than she currently is. Three things count against her:
1.She has no claim as she's ridden more than 100 winners in her native Czech Republic.
2. Nobody knows who she is.
3. She's female, and even with the wonderful success of Hayley Turner, women jockeys still struggle to be taken seriously.
But Iva should be taken seriously. She certainly takes the business of being a jockey very seriously. She's up at an indecent hour every morning to ride one lot for John Ryan, then she goes to her full-time job with Jane Chapple-Hyam and when she's finished at Jane's she comes here to ride one last lot. Then, if she's lucky enough to have been booked for a ride, she's off to the races. She's got a wonderful way with horses, she's a grafter and she rides exactly to orders. Iva deserves a chance. Trainers, please take note.
And one last thing: John has been too coy to name the people who have helped us through the temporary absence of Hugh, who was sending fretful text messages from his hospital bed, so diligent is he in his duty to this stable, and the unannounced departure of Steph, which was unhelpful to say the least. But those who have been immensely helpful and who have proved themselves to be true friends, not that we didn't know it already, are: the wonderful Adam Harris, the brilliant Nigel Walker, the saintly Hannah Nunn (who becomes a full-time employee here on Monday only a day after her 16th birthday), The Angels (Gemma Dawson and Aisling Appleby, as ever) and, of course, the above-named Iva and her friends Amanda and Petra, who helped us out with riding duties last week. Thank you, one and all.