20 Mar Dancer’s Diary – Week 43
I hope you all hugely enjoyed watching the Cheltenham Festival, what a feast for the eyes it proved to be! I very unfortunately didn’t manage to get my tips up last week, but naturally knew that Buveur D’Air, Special Tiara, Nichols Canyon and Sizing John were the way forward! There is nothing more endlessly thrilling then watching those wonderful battles up that hill, and it was fantastic to see our owner JP McManus have such a brilliant week with his horses, who were in sparkling form. Giant Redwood was particularly awestruck by the performance of Premier Bond, who shares his MPR colours, who defied his inexperience to run a fantastic third in the Kim Muir and looks a real horse to watch out for in the future – Giant now has his game face on and is determined to get to the Festival next year! He has a long way to go, but at this stage (not yet run due to waiting for decent ground) the dream is still very much alive!
Whilst the cheers were ringing around Cheltenham, our own team were making a hell of a noise up at Newcastle racecourse on Wednesday night, where Percy (Prancing Oscar) (left) and George (Epeius) did well not to break the lorry under their combined weight on the way there! First up was Percy, one of the most handsome (according to the fillies) colts around, who was going for his second start in a mile maiden. Looking at the runners, we would have been very happy with 3rd or 4th, as he is a big clown who is still growing into himself, so we were absolutely over the moon with him when he ran on well into 2nd. Though well beaten by an experienced winner, the rest of the field was well strung out behind him and the experience will have done him loads of good. Hopefully, he is a horse who will have a nice future for us and his MPR owners, though I am ordering a DNA test as he is supposedly by sprint sire of forward two year old’s Sir Prancealot, yet a step up in trip may be in order for this quite backwards three year old.
The last race of the day saw Gorgeous George (right) stepping up to the plate, and he looked as typically stunning as ever. We have worked on him hard over the winter after all his near misses last year, finding lots of little niggles that may have been holding him back, so we were hopeful of a good run as we now felt we were on top of them. He nearly had Graham Lee over his head on the way to the start, which we took as a good sign! He travelled nicely throughout the 6 furlong sprint, and a furlong out I was worrying we might be filling 2nd or 3rd spot yet again! Luckily, Graham is the master of his trade and knew all was well, unleashing him in the last half furlong to run out a cosy winner by 1/2 length. I cannot tell you how much this victory meant to us all – he is a horse that Ben has always liked and it has been quite frustrating for us and his owners Trojan Horse so far, with all of us scratching our heads a little as to how he hadn’t won yet. However, I must thank Lynn and Gary for their faith and patience with us, and we were over the moon to be able to provide them with a first winner in their colours. Hopefully, George has a bit more to offer this season and will keep us all crying for the right reasons!
With any luck Newcastle will continue to be a happy hunting ground for us as we head back there on Friday night, possibly with Loopy (Rey Loopy) and Percy in tow. Loopy is very fresh and well at home, and we are hopeful he will put in a nice show in the 7 furlong handicap, having hopefully learned plenty from his last experience there when he finished a green 4th a couple of weeks ago, only just getting rolling at the end. Percy may go for a mile maiden, but we will monitor how he is this week, though he was giving his rider plenty of jip this morning so looks fresh and well after his run!
Saturday may see our newest arrival, Cup Final, heading to Kelso. We were delighted to be sent this really classy horse, who runs in the JP colours, and he has settled in nicely at home. We don’t know an awful lot about him yet, other then he finds the work easy, so will be looking forward to learning a bit more at the weekend. Door (The Doorman) will be joining him, and hopefully we will do a George and change the seconds into a first, as will Hawk (Hawkhurst), who we hope is steadily improving.
We were really sad this week to say goodbye to Nicola, who has been a hugely important part of the team here for the last year or so. Unfortunately, we were rather keeping her from her family, with racing hours and young children not being very compatible, so it was with a huge amount of reluctance we agreed to let her return to them! At least George, who she has always looked after and cherished, rewarded her with a win before she left, and I am sure she will still be up to visit plenty! We had a good joint leaving do/celebrating George party on Saturday night, and the whole team definitely enjoyed the evening, though possibly the Sunday morning less so! Silly me forgot the camera, but here is a gratuitous photo of the whole team on parade (left), ironically excluding Nicola to whom I apologise! The horses have someone new to get used to now, as we were very pleased to welcome Chris to the yard a couple of weeks ago, and he is already proving a great asset.
Until next time