14 Mar Dancer’s Diary – Week 10
Spring has arrived here in Middleham, which has meant plenty of precious field time for me and a couple of my mates. I’ve had to put up with Wibble (Man Of La Mancha) joining me out there and he drives me nuts – he doesn’t seem to realise the point is to stuff as much grass in your mouth as possible and not just dance around trying to look handsome. He’ll learn – pictured is me teaching him how to get covered in as much mud as we can.
We have had lots of visitors this week, with plenty of the owners arriving to check out their charges before the start of the season. Marcus has been up twice to have a look at Joy (Any Joy) who was delighted at all the attention, and John joined him to see both her and Lekki (Lady Lekki), who was grumpy about all the attention. She then had Geoffrey and Elizabeth come up to have a look at her well, and is now the (self-styled) ‘most popular horse in the yard.’ Richard was also up to have a look at his two who are quite new to the yard – Bondie (Bond Star Princess) and his rather pretty 2 year old Queenie (Queen Starbond). We all love it when people come to visit, particuarly when they bring a carrot or two!
The grass canter is absolutely beautiful at the moment, so the 2 year olds have all been learning to go in a straight line without rails (above, Henry, Arnie and Toby). Sadly, this was less entertaining then I hoped and they all dealt with it rather well despite Op’s (Operateur) best efforts to put them off by leaping in the air and squealing. To be honest, they’ve been putting the older horses to shame with their exemplary behaviour, but there is still time for them to learn!
Henry (Sir Prancealot x Greenflash) (right) was very much the centre of attention last week (his ego is unbearable!) as he had both Dougie Costello and Joey Haynes up to ride him up the grass. It was nice to see him put a smile on both jockeys face, and both were impressed with his strength and professionalism. Sadly, he heard all their compliments and is currently driving his neighbours Bertie (Skellig Micheal) and Loopy (Lope De Vega x Al Basar) crazy with all his boasting and leaping around.
Cassie (Castle Hill Cassie) (left) overhead Ben saying the jockeys would be having a sit on her soon, and I’ve been very impressed with her concentration up the grass as she prepares herself for the big day. Percy (Sir Prancealot x Beguiler) and Loopy both defied there size and growth spurts to be surprisingly nimble up there and both enjoyed it hugely. Even Arnie (Pivotal x Respondez), possibly the most laid back horse in training, has rather woken up for the experience and shows some decent speed alongside Toby (Stimulation x Psychic’s Dream). Their excitement about the season is increasing by the day, and I’m delighted I’m not stabled anywhere near them!
Ive been threatened with a race on Saturday, so Ben gave me the job of schooling Alice over hurdles today (right). She still seems to be determined to jump them like an eventer, so I’ve got quite a job on my hands, but I’m slowly getting there! Hopefully the sun will shine all week so Mo (Ever So Much) and I can head to Newcastle for a crack there. Mo is very excited, though he still is under the delusion McCoy might make a comeback to ride him.
This week I’m not planning on leaving my stable past 12 – don’t you just love Cheltenham! I wish I was allowed to go, though Ben likes to remind me that to do that I might have to gallop a bit faster – spoilsport! I can’t wait to see what Willie Mullins can do this year. I’m pretty certain he and his horses are from another world and are merely pretending to live in Ireland. Due to this, they do seem to be rather unbackable at the prices, so Mo and I have pooled our savings together in support of his owner, JP McManus, and will be counting on a Yanworth, More Of That and Josies Orders treble on Day 2 to bring us into a bit of money.