A small amount of time between finishing work, packing for and then setting off for Cheltenham and I'm feeling guilty that I have not updated this blog in ages.
It's probably easiest if I link to two postings on my American colleague Sid Fernando's site, as Sid's excellent blog has had more of a contribution from me than my own has of late. So if you want to see pics of Snow Fairy or Frankel in action on Newmarket Heath in the last week or so, click on their names.
If you've bothered to come back to this site, life here, in a nutshell, has been frantic, fun, sad and stressful (but most of all fun). Basically all of the emotions one would generally find in any racing stable on any given day.
On the negative side, Anis Etoile has been sold, Ben Bhraggie has been retired and Ruby In The Dust is going to have to have a break. Anis has gone to a very nice National Hunt breeder in Waterford called Michael Tobin and we wish him the very best of luck with his lovely new mare. I believe Michael's plan is for her to be covered by Coolmore's new National Hunt sire, Getaway, a very talented son of Monsun. The hunt is on for a home for Ben, who will make a lovely riding horse for the right person. Ruby has been showing signs of wanting a short break, which is what she is now having. This is not such a disappointment as it was half expected but it's a shame as she had seemed to be be coming on. She'll be back.
Positives include the arrival of Batgirl's Beat Hollow half-sister, who does not yet have a name but does possess the most wonderful temperament. If she is as easy to train throughout her career as she has been in her first month here then she will be a delight.
Oscar Bernadotte started cantering and is looking very much the part but could it be that I am wearing the rosiest of rose-tinted spectacles? His yearling half-brother Jack Irish continues to thrive and I've recently had news that their dam, Desiree, has tested in foal to Schiaparelli. In fact, she made headlines by being the first to be covered by then test positive to Overbury Stud's new boy.
Biggest highlight of the month had to be Kadouchski's win at Sandown (pictured walking in after the race) which was just a tremendous fillip for us all from a horse we adore. Alcalde has also put in several very pleasing efforts of late, first when winning at Fakenham which he followed up with a very game second in tougher company at Newbury. He continues to be a horse to get the pulse racing. And talking of racing, this is very much what we hope Kadouchski's brother Douchkirk will be doing very soon. The trainer now has a smile on his face when he comes back from exercise on him. Mind you, John should be smiling because he boasts a 33% wins-to-runs strike rate over jumps and 31% on the Flat. How many others can say the same?
So this is brief and hurried, for which I apologise, but a roast chicken is beckoning tonight, followed by the annual pilgrimage to the Cotswolds tomorrow. My hopes for the week are that Will Kennedy gains his first Festival win aboard Time For Rupert, that the game little mare Sparky May wins the David Nicholson, that Peddlers Cross remains unbeaten when running away with the Champion Hurdle, that Big Buck's can get his hat-trick in the Stayers' Hurdle and that the lovely old war horse Denman can have us all in tears when battling home up that hill for a second Gold Cup. Please God just let them all come home safely. Bring it on, the greatest show on turf.