Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Postcard from Paris (and Doomben)

I always used to say that people could tell how busy I was by how frequently or infrequently I made contributions to the 'Readers' Letters' section of the Racing Post. Nowadays the inverse correlation is between busyness and postings on this blog. I don't really know why I've been so taken up doing other things the last week or so - I certainly can't blame running horses, because I haven't done that - but I've just been doing other things. Last week we went up to Norfolk on Thursday afternoon to see Allouette at Chris Murray's Colton Stud so that was one afternoon gone; still, it was a productive trip, because we found, as expected, that the fillly has flourished during her extended spell (as has our foundation mare Minnie's Mystery, pictured below, who is in foal to Largesse), so she can come back into work soon and we can start to find out whether she has the potential to race successfully. The following afternoon it was Emma's grandmother's funeral, and then the following two days were also written off as we treated ourselves to a weekend away: once the horses were worked on Saturday morning headed for Folkestone, put the car on the train and headed off for 29 hours or so in France.

We stayed in Chantilly, which I'd never previously visited, and spent Sunday afternoon at Longchamp, watching the the Poule d'Essai des Poulains and the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. It was a lovely afternoon, and a reminder of just how feasible it is for people living in south east England to have a day at the races in France if they wish. A very poor shot of Darjina about to be mounted might appear in this slot, although the picture editor might - justifiably - decide that it was too obviously taken by an amateur snapper.

So that meant that there were four consecutive afternoons on which I got no paperwork done - but what a way to spend a weekend. And what made it even better was that Saturday had started with Doomben on At The Races, which meant that we were treated to the sight of Bentley Biscuit storming past Takeover Target to record his third straight Group One success. He looks a really sweet horse and I'm so looking forward to him joining Takeover Target in coming to Newmarket for the summer. I really enjoyed trotting out a grey panel for thoroughbredinternet on that one. So that race was great, and two or three races previously we'd had an even bigger thrill. Michael and Sarah Tidmarsh (see previous chapter) have Michael Pitman, leading trainer in the South Island of NZ, staying with them for the Brisbane Winter Carnival with two of his best horses, both of which ran on Saturday - and one of which, Irish Sky, a son of Stravinsky, won. It was so exciting, even though my connection with the horse is extremely tenuous and exists solely in my mind. It was a thrilling race, because he came from nearly last (in an 1100m race) under Glen Boss to win by about half a length - and then we cut to the stands, to see a replay of both Michaels plus Sarah cheering him home. So, all in all, it was a weekend of racing which I found very enjoyable - despite (or perhaps because of) not having any runners. But we should have one or two next week (none this week) so we can preview those when we get a bit nearer the time.

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