01 Jun Dancer’s Diary – Week 20
Well I’ve had quite the day, so I thought I’d better put my feet up tonight and tell you about it – and, of course, mention the others who’ve been holding up the fort this week!
After a quiet weekend (though we all enjoyed seeing how green Alice and Ben looked on Sunday after they’d been to a wedding), we were all guns blazing yesterday, with Mo (Ever So Much) (below, pretending to hurdle is a chase fence) heading to Towcester and Charlie (Charlie’s Approval) going to Redcar for the – wait for it – 6 furlong Amateur Riders Maiden Handicap for over four year olds. I think we can all agree, one of the highlights of the racing calendar! Now, the day quickly split into two tales – one of an extremely good training decision, and one decision where Ben clearly had ignored my advice! We will start with the bad and dispense with it quickly, but Ben clearly still hasn’t learnt about headgear! Charlie, bless her, is a little gormless, and once put in blinkers showed a very different attitude to her racing, surprising everyone at Thirsk when she came a close 3rd. Naturally Ben, therefore, decided a visor was the answer yesterday (God help me) at which point she decided to look at everything through the small holes and reverted to ‘sightseeing’ her way down the track. There will be another day, however, and I can assure you the blinkers will be in place!
Now, onto the good. Ben and I spent a long time pouring over the racing calendar after Mo’s gallant win at Southwell last week, and came up with the genius plan of sending him to a 2 mile 4 hurdle at Towcester. Due to go up only 3lbs for his chase win, but also with his hurdle mark due to go up next week, he would be 2lbs ‘well in’ at Towcester – what an opportunity! On arrival at the course, Mo, Alice and Terry watched with increasing depression as the rain started to pour, washing away our chance as Mo is not a fan of getting his feet wet. The poor old Clerk of the Course was getting his ear chewed off by a frantic Ben, who was busy messing it up at Redcar, but eventually the decision was made to let him chance it – it’s a long journey after all! Richie McLernon, our Man Of The Moment, looked more confident then the rest of us, and quickly found Mo pulling his arms out of their sockets – uncomfortable, but a good sign. Concerned there was no way he was going to get home now, there was an aura of suprise in the yard as he stayed on… And stayed on.. Before drawing clear to claim his second victory in a week for owner J.P. McManus. Now, I may take the Mickey out of him for being soft, but he’s proved me wrong yet again, looking hard as nails the whole way round. Our corner of the barn is rather winners galore at the moment, and I keep telling the others they need to keep up!
Having watched this impressive display of tenacity, I decided I better put my best foot forward today at Cartmel – can’t have Mo taking all the glory (me, left, after trying my heart out!) Richie was on board again, and I must say I’ve taken a bit of a shine to him. It’s vaguely hilarious, bless him, how he tries to humour me at the start by making me go in a different direction to everyone else, but I like to humour him too by pretending it’s worked and looking terribly enthusiastic. Gosh we had fun – I was out in front the whole way, running and jumping my heart out, taking in the admiring cheers.. Before some cheeky young gun slipped up my inside a furlong out! How dare they!? Nonetheless, I still had 14 horses behind me, and I believe it to be one of my finest performances. Richie and I are now firm friends, he’s terribly complimentary about me – rightfully so – and he seems to bring the best out in me. I had a hard race today, and I’m tired tonight, but a few days in the field and I’ll be back in that winners enclosure soon! We had a slightly embarrassing situation on the way home – I’d drunk rather a lot of water, and my increasing age brings certain bladder issues. Ben wasn’t overly impressed when I tried to jump out the lorry on the way home but luckily we got there eventually!
Things aren’t calming down much tomorrow, and I hope two of the younger members of the team and been watching Mo and I’s heroics. Toby (Bourbonisto) (below right) and Bopper (Lord Bopper) are off to Scotland, where Hamilton will be graced with their presence. Toby is up first, and he is out to make amends for the slight disaster that occurred on his last start (he still cries if I mention blindfolds. Therefore, it’s quite fun to mention blindfolds.. Until Ben starts crying too!) He looks very well at home, and whilst he will want further then five furlongs, I reckon he shows plenty enough speed whilst I’ve been in Trainer role.
The incorrigible Bopper (below) is finally rewarding his amazing owners, Carol and John Aldridge, incredible patience by making it to the racecourse as a three year old. A bouncy, bubbly chap, he’s been chasing me round the field (no, it doesn’t go down well), rather then taking in my advice, but I expect him to come back a wiser horse tomorrow. Life is a bit of a game for him at the moment, but I have a feeling a trip to the races may be just the trick, and I reckon he’ll have a lot more respect got me soon!
Meanwhile, Moonie (Moon Over Rio) is doing a very enthusiastic rain dance, whilst Op (Operateur) is countering it with a ‘dry day’ bop. Both are entered in the same race tomorrow at Ripon, so there are plenty of stand offs going on over the stable doors – really, you would have thought they were too grown up for that! They are both in excellent form – AKA driving me insane – and either will give a good account of themselves.
On the fillies front, we welcomed yet another 2 year old girl to our ranks this week. By Rip Van Winkle, out of Raggiante, and from Kildaragh Stud, she is very good looking (the boys don’t know what to do with all these young girls around!) and is unbelievably relaxed – I am an instant fan! She and Tequila are rather similar, and I’m considering investing in a pair of specs to tell them apart!
Until next time