Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Big weekend for our favourite jumpers

And no, I don't mean the Grand National, though that's as exciting as ever, even if the BBC Sport team no longer thinks so. From this stable's perspective, we're all looking forward to Sedgefield on Friday and Market Rasen on Sunday, where Asterisk and Kadouchski will be in action with our favourite jump jockeys, William Kennedy and his nephew Jamie Insole. Here they are putting both horses through their paces on the Links on Easter Monday (Will is on the left with Kadouchski and alongside Jamie and Asterisk).

It's a very big day for Jamie on Friday as he is set to partner Asterisk in his first race ride in an amateur riders' hurdle race at Sedgefield. I'm really sorry to be missing this exciting occasion as I'll be on duty for Racenews at Aintree throughout the Grand National meeting, but I'll be glued to the TV and wishing Jamie every bit of good luck that he deserves.

On Sunday, William takes the ride on his old favourite Kadouchski, back over hurdles at Market Rasen. Both horses are looking really well at the moment and have better summer coats than any of our potential flat runners. They are both very good, safe jumpers so let's hope both horses and both jockeys have enjoyable and successful rounds.

It has been a pleasure having Asterisk here at the yard for the last few years. She's been leased from her breeder Peter Onslow and she has particularly started enjoying life since becoming a novice hurdler in the last season. She's going to Doncaster's May sale, where I hope she'll find a nice home so she can carry on with this career.

Of course, we'd be delighted to have her back if anyone wants to buy her and send her back to John to train, but she is for sale so, as ever, we have to start to get used to the fact that we'll almost certainly be saying goodbye to her before too long.

One of the things I've found hardest about living in a racing stable is letting the horses go when the time comes for retirement or they are sent to the sales. It's part of the job that horses come and go, but when you live above the shop in a small stable it's hard not to allow them to become part of the family. In fact, it's important that they do become part of the family: we have to care about them to do the job properly and ultimately that will almost certainly mean some tearful goodbyes.

I can at least rest easy knowing that my own Pantomime Prince will never be sent away. It was the happiest day of my life when I bought him and seeing his face from the kitchen window each morning makes life that bit extra special. He's a horse in a million and a good friend to us all.

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