It's almost August and we've finally had what feels like a summer morning in Newmarket. The constant gloom hasn't really inspired me to get out and about with my camera lately but there was no excuse today.
Magic Ice is a graduate of the DBS breeze-up and John's hoping to run her before too long. She's a straightforward filly by Royal Applause and has strengthened up nicely in the last few months so it will be great to see what she can do.
Grand Liaison heads to Yarmouth on Tuesday and we're delighted to have secured William Buick's services for the race. He's having a tremendous season and while it was a shame not to see Nathaniel bag back-to-back King Georges this afternoon, he lost nothing in defeat by the smallest of margins to a very smart filly indeed. I'm always pleased to see owners keep the top fillies in training beyond three so it's great to see Danedream's connections rewarded for being so sporting.
Just as Galileo is emulating his amazing sire Sadler's Wells here in Europe, so is Deep Impact fast becoming the most exciting son of Sunday Silence as stud, and that's saying something. He's made an extraordinary start to his stud career and has been supported with some terrific mares.
Here at this yard we have a descendant of the great Sunday Silence and, even more excitingly, he's a homebred. The horse to whom I refer is John's two-year-old Roy Rocket, by Layman.
As always with horses, good news is accompanied by bad news, and while the boys are doing so well, Minnie's first filly, a yearling by Gold Away, had to be put down a couple of weeks ago after sustaining an injury in the paddock from which she didn't recover.
Minnie lives at Haras de la Cauvinière in Normandy and currently has a filly foal by the stud's flagship stallion Le Havre, whose first yearlings sell this autumn. She's in foal to Youmzain, who was every bit as tough a racehorse as she was, so I very much hope John won't be tempted to sell the offspring of that mating.
In 2007, the year we got married, John and I made a second foolish decision to become, in a very small way, thoroughbred breeders. We have restricted the project to one mare each, with the aforementioned Minnie, who belongs to John, based in France, and my mare Desiree closer to hand in Norfolk.
It has to be said that my boys have a long way to go to catch up with the flying start made by John's homebreds. Desiree is yet to have a runner but I'm extremely hopeful that her Sulamani four-year-old Oscar Bernadotte will grace a bumper field before too long.
Her second foal, a colt by Kayf Tara, died at birth but she has a two-year-old called Jack Irish, who is currently up at the farm with his mother and his young half-brother, Delatite, who is pictured here.
He's the strongest of Desiree's foals so far which is not surprising as his sire Schiaparelli is a really strapping horse. Most breeders would kill for four colts in a row but I can't wait for Desiree to produce a filly. She's in foal to Archipenko so perhaps next year will be the year.
Desiree (pictured with her less-than-trusty rider back in 2006) was the first racehorse I was ever allowed to ride after meeting John and conning him into believing that I knew what I was doing. I was so grateful for the fact that she never dumped me on the Heath that I became very attached to her and had to keep her when she retired. It's absolutely the wrong reason to become a breeder but over the years she and her offspring have given me an enormous amount of pleasure.
Of course that all may change once Oscar sets foot on the racecourse but for now, in my mind, it's still perfectly feasible that he will win a few bumpers then come back to the Flat and become the first English-trained winner of the Melbourne Cup.
The likelihood is that he'll be no good but for now, untried, he could be anything. The dream is still intact.
The resident ghost duly did his worst on a filthy morning, scaring my usually unflappable boy into a swift sidestep that left me lying in a puddle at the feet of Yarmy and Roger Varian's assistant David Eustace, who had just finished a stalls session.
The gallant duo scraped me up off the ground and caught my horse, who looked every bit as shocked as I did. Apart from a few bruises it was really only my pride that took a bashing, especially after having to ride home covered in wet orange sand from the walking grounds. Thankfully there's no lasting damage done, though, as you can see, my riding kit needed to be boil-washed. Remind me not to give up the day job.