Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Bunnies

I was given a great idea for motivational speaking today. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings ... well, this came out of Anthony's 8-year-old mouth. We have had William Kennedy's nephew Jamie Insole staying, which has been great as he's a good rider, very helpful and just really nice with it. Anthony's been here since Tuesday. Jamie (seen riding Frankie down from Bury Hill, behind Aisling on Asterisk) gets on really well with Anthony, as he does with everyone. Anyway, mid-morning today, in advance of a Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt to which several of Anthony's peers had been invited, Jamie and Anthony had clearly been in discussion, a report of which was given to me by Anthony: "I've given Jamie a choice: work, or dress up as the Easter Bunny and be humiliated by kids"! Great, isn't it? There was no chance of Jamie (also pictured on Hotfoot, alongside Iva on Ex Con yesterday morning's brilliant sunshine) slacking anyway, but that would have been as good a way as you'd ever find of ensuring that his nose remained firmly pressed to the grindstone. I know that various characters have made a career out of motivational speaking, but I'd say that that sentence alone, or variations on it, would provide all the motivation anyone could ever require. You could imagine that if John Magnier called Aidan into the office at Ballydoyle and said, "You've got a choice: get Roderic O'Connor ready to win the 2,000 Guineas, or dress up as a St. Patrick's Day Leprachaun, complete with massive Guiness hat, and be humiliated by kids", and if Sheikh Mohammed gave Mahmood al Zarooni and Simon Crisford the same ultimatum, only involving Casamento and perhaps a pair of over-sized meerkat costumes, then Frankel might just find himself running for third place next weekend. Simples!

Ex Con, like Jamie, has very good movitation anyway, but even so I might whisper something in his ear tomorrow about bounding up the Esher hill in front or dressing up like the horse in 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' and being humiliated by foals. He's set to resume in the second race at Sandown tomorrow afternoon, which really is something to look forward to. I say that because it's always a pleasure to take Ex Con (pictured in the mist up at the Links on Monday morning, when Aisling gave him a refresher course in jumping, which happily confirmed that he has lost neither his enthusiasm nor his aptitude for that discipline) to the races and it's always a pleasure to go to Sandown (but particularly on Whitbread Day), rather than because I'm expecting him to win. In fact, it had never even crossed my mind that he might have a chance of winning, simply because he hasn't run for seven months and he's such a big horse and such a relaxed horse that he surely can't be at his peak first-up after a long spell in a high-grade two-and-a-half mile race. However, I see that the Racing Post has him as second favourite and that he is Spotlight's selection, so let us hope that the paper's assessment of his chances are closer to the mark than mine. (Lest there be any misunderstanding, the horse has done plenty of work, is in great shape and will be out there to do his very best - but that doesn't alter the fact that, in my opinion, he might well not be capable of winning that race tomorrow. I'd love to be proved wrong, though).

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