21 Mar Dancer’s Diary – Week 11
Well, Cheltenham has been and gone for another year, and what a feast of racing it was! Sadly, Mo (Ever So Much) and I failed to land the gamble with our accumulator, so won’t be retiring just yet, but the pure pleasure of watching Sprinter Sacre roll back time and roar up that hill once again easily overrode the disappointment. It bought quite the tear to the eye, not that I let anyone see, and the whole yard was screaming him home. What a training performance, and what a champion. Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh were as ridiculously superb as ever, and I think even I fancy Annie Power now! However, I was probably most impressed by Thistlecrack – he has some engine and I’m praying we get to see what he can do over a fence next season.
Anyway, after a week of watching the good ground at Cheltenham, Mo and I were rather unhappy to find Newcastle was still a bog when we got there on Saturday – comes from living up North I guess. Indeed, Mo’s face dropped about a foot when he put his feet on the turf, and he didn’t run a bad race all in all to finish 4th over the chase fences. He’s hoping the sun continues to shine next week so he can get on the ground he likes, but as I reminded him, two miles in the mud hasn’t done the size of his belly any harm. Poor Mo (below,with jockey Kieran Edgar) has the metabolism of a hippopotamus, and only has to look at a nut to put on a kilo – not a problem of mine, may I add!
I thought I ran rather a heroic race in the circumstances – I thought about giving up half way round again, but then realised my poor jockey Archie Bellamy had driven all the way from Lambourn for the pleasure of feeling how well I jump, so I decided to keep going and pass a couple on my way to the finish line. I feel a bit of the old spark coming back, so will be watching reruns of Sprinter Sacre for some tips once the ground dries up! Luckily it’s been simply gorgeous up here since then, and Mo and I have been having a right old time in the field (top, me looking particuarly handsome by the castle) – thank god Mo doesn’t Buck like that on the gallops or no one would ride him!
Looking to the week ahead, it looks like the ever excitable Fridge (Freeze A Crowd) (right) will be heading to Southwell on Wednesday for a crack at a 6 furlong handicap. She’s been busy begging the girls to give her an extra brush so she can show off her summer coat ever since she heard, and the pouting and prancing on the Moor has been frankly ridiculous. Her only worry is that she’s been told you can get rather covered in sand at Southwell, but I’ve told her to stop being so ridiculous! The surface is, as always at Southwell, an unknown until they try it, but she does look good (don’t tell her I said that) and she’s ready to try her heart out – or she knows I’ll be cross when she gets home! She’s also very excited that Joey Haynes is going to ride her, as she’s decided he seems a very polite young man whenever he comes into the yard.
Henry (Sir Prancealot x Greenflash) (below with Arnie) reckons he’s the blooming bees knees at the moment, as Dougie Costello came and sat on him again on Saturday. Henry was delighted to see him as he’d had rather a boring week doing stalls – he’s telling me! I had to stand in there with the blooming colts! Nearly had a heart attack when I thought Ben was about to start my flat career again! Anyway, Henry was showing off massively on the grass gallop for Dougie, who was full of praise for him afterwards, unfortunately. I’m looking forward to seeing the cocky boy run, though I’m concerned his head won’t fit in the stalls by April!
The other two year old Colt are going well, with Arnie (Pivotal x Respondez) looking particuarly impressive physically. He is a big boy now, and living up to his Terminator nickname well! He looks a smasher for the second half of the year. Toby (Stimulation x Psychic’s Dream) is Finding it all very easy so far, and is starting to get quite cheeky – also living up to his nickname of the Welsh Boyo! Loopy (Lope De Vega x Al Basar) and Percy (Sir Prancealot x Beguiler) (below, doing in his usual pose – sleeping and growing!) have no need to be so obnoxious – their sheer size means they get plenty of respect regardless!
The three year olds are also gearing up well, and Mo was surprised to be accompanied up the seven the other day by Bopper (Lord Bopper) who’s starting to look very well. Mo is rather scared of Bopper, who had an unfortunate crush on him last year, but luckily ever since a little operation to make him a little less of a man, his manners have improved massively and he and Mo managed to make it up. It was getting a bit awkward..
Anyway, until next week!