26 Apr Dancer’s Diary – Week 15
I have had a generally enjoyable time this week watching the boys and girls perform on the track – sadly no winners, but plenty of encouragement for the future to keep Ben and I from being too grumpy!
That over enthusiastic rabbit Moonie (Moon Over Rio) (right) got us off to a good start at Catterick, finishing 3rd in a 1 mile 3 furlong handicap. I am a big fan of the old Master Chef – indeed I’m thinking of applying next year with my favourite dish: chewed nuts, essence of hay and a sauce of half digested grass – yum! Anyway, I heard a wonderful description on there last night which suits her to a tee – ‘she seems to just be running around in smaller, ever more excitable circles!’ She put in a good effort at Catterick (which also seems to consist of many small circles) and it was really pleasing to see her back to her old form after a couple of disappointing efforts at the end of last year. She has come back bouncing (god, I wish she was stabled a bit further away from me!) and I am sure her owners The Blue Lion Syndicate will be seeing her back in the winning spot very soon. Oppy (Operateur) was, as I predicted, still a bit chubby, but hes promised me he is going to try a diet before his next run – no evidence of it yet, but you never know!
The next day, I insultingly found myself on babysitting duty – the things I put up with to help Ben out! It was Joy’s (Any Joy) (below, on the left, enjoying some sun with her mate Fridge) first experience of going to the races, and as she can also be rather on her toes I found myself being dragged along as a ‘calming influence’ -pfft. At least it gave me a chance to hammer some last minute advice into her, so I am taking the credit for her incredibly ladylike behaviour at Doncaster. Ben had managed to find her a highly competitive 17 runner 6 furlong maiden to start off her career (lucky Joy!), and I was so proud of her demeanour in the paddock – I bet her lass June wishes she behaved like that at home sometimes! Anyway, the original plan, as she isn’t the sharpest out at home, was to jump out and get some cover in the early part of her race as she can be quite free. Joy likes to do things her own way, however, and surprised us and jockey Graham Lee by being fastest out the stalls and taking off in the front row! She ran like a professional, though was a bit surprised to find herself off the bridle a furlong out (not something that has happened to her before), but picked up again in the closing stages of the race to finish a very encouraging fifth. She is now very, very full of herself and I had an exhausting time of it coming home listening to her! It was particularly nice for one of her owners, Marcus and Dee Rees, as this is their first venture into racehorse ownership and they look to have a nice filly on there hands.
I waved everyone off to Southwell yesterday, where it was a predictably miserable, cold and wet day – what is it about that track which seems to encourage these weather conditions?! Vaux (Henry) (below) was off for his debut, and was being typically boisterous about it – I did try and tell him pride comes before a fall but he wasn’t having any of it. Ben reckoned he’d found a not to strong four runner maiden, only to find that every horse in the race was fancied and half the field had already had a gallop there, a huge advantage on that surface – oops! Anyway, Henry decided to keep everyone very entertained in the paddock, before ditching poor Joey on the beach as soon as he caught sight of that yellow sand – an auspicious start! Luckily, Joey will soon be trying out for the Olympic Athletics team, and performed a stunning landing to stay on his feet and keep a tight hold of old monkey face and they were dispatched to the start with no further problems. My favourite Monty Python quote came to mind – ‘He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!’ Hopefully, Henry will prove to be the Messiah in time! He than proceeded to jump out like a true professional, and travelled well. However, he found the surface and the kickback were not to his liking, and Joey went very easy on him in the last furlong. He wasn’t beaten far at all in a very fast time, and has showed us plenty of promise for his future career. Luckily, the fact he didn’t win seems to have slightly humbled him and he was immaculately behaved afterwards, so I think a few more lectures from me to curb his over enthusiastic behaviour, then we will find him a nice stiff five furlongs on the turf. He will give his lovely syndicate, Ontoawinner, plenty of fun this year I am sure!
Charlie (Camanche Grey) was a lazy so and so once again, refusing to jump out the stalls with any sort of speed which essentially means all hope is over on that surface. He will now head back to the turf, where hopefully he can show his true colours. Lynxy (Riverlynx) travelled well, but slightly petered out at the end to finish 5th and she will now try the shorter trip of six furlongs at Redcar in an older horse maiden. Fridge (Freeze A Crowd) once again deserves my praise as a most genuine and game filly for her owners Middleham Park Racing, and she ran a good race to finish 3rd. I have a bit of a soft spot for her (don’t tell anyone!) and I wish every horse tried as hard as she does.
We have also had a busy week at home, with loads of owners coming in to visit, particularly on Saturday. I am always a big fan of this, as the possibility of extra food is greatly increased! Daniel Shapiro and David Clifford came in to see their exciting two year old colts, Bourbonisto (Stimulation X Psychic’s Dream) and the newly name Rey Loopy (Lope De Vega X Al Basar) (left, with David). This means King Loopy in Spanish, and I am sure he will live up to the title! They got to watch Toby (Bourbonisto) jumping out the stalls, and we are all quietly excited to see him make his debut. Derek and Christine Barclay were also up, and it is always a pleasure to see them as I have known Derek since my younger days, and he is fully aware of just what an exceptional racehorse I was! (And still am, of course!) As I had such a nice crowd to perform to, I naturally bolted up the gallop with Alice to show them just how clever I am, and was rather suprised to see Pip (Hellvelyn X Ball Burst) keeping up with me – could she be the dark horse this season?! Marc Middlemas was also down, and I must say Mark – that was pretty girl you bought with you! And there was I thinking you were a confirmed Bachelor like myself! Maybe I should reevaluate my lifestyle choice…
This week may see Gorgeous George (Epeius) (right, with Joey Haynes) making his reappearance on the racecourse, either at Redcar or Doncaster. He ran two very nice races last year, considering he was in no way a two year old type, finishing 5 lengths behind a subsequent Group 1 winner on his first start. He then go bogged down in the mud at York, so he and I like to pretend that day never really happened. He looks, according to the fillies on the yard, stupendous – I think dreamy was the actual word used, but really, they need to get a grip! Anyway, he looks ready to go and I hope he can give his wonderful owners Trojan Horse Partnership (AKA Lynn and Gary) a great start to their season.
Until next time,