Sunday, November 18, 2012


I don't think that we've had a weather report for a couple of days, so I'll pass on the good news that, while Cheltenham (almost inexplicably) managed to go from good to soft, good in places to soft, heavy in places, we've been largely dry for a few days now.  Most of these were fairly mild, but then last night the temperature surprisingly dropped - leaving us with the perfect autumn day today.  Cold at the outset, admittedly, but you can put up with such a minor inconvenience if it means a day such as you can see here.

It's been a relatively easy Sunday with just one lot of horses out.  We've got one entry tomorrow, one Tuesday, one Wednesday and one Friday and, while Friday's horse could get away with having no more exercise than however much or little he chose to do during his four hours in the field this afternoon, the three horses running over the next three days obviously needed to be ridden.  So the three went out together.  I spent the exercise mostly looking through the little ears, as you can see, of Roy, who is engaged at Southwell on Tuesday.

Ollie runs tomorrow at Wolverhampton, and you can see him in the top picture leading Wednesday's runner towards the canter.  This latter horse is one who hasn't featured in these pages thus far.  He's called Forgiving Light and is a three-year-old who was formerly trained by Andrew Oliver in Ireland, where he has been placed a couple of times.  He was bought at the Horses in Training Sale by Kyran Tompkins, an excellent young lad whose resourcefulness more than belies his 14 years.   Fingers crossed, in a couple of years this horse and Kyran will be old enough to be competing together in point-to-points, but more immediately the horse can run in the amateurs' race at Lingfield on Thursday, under the ownership of Kyran's grandfather Richard.

Forgiving Light will be ridden in that race by Kyran's friend Dean Smith, who left school this summer and started work for Julia Fielden; but who is more experienced than that would imply.   He's from round here (his dad works in racing, most notably having looked after Shahrastani) and he has been working for Julia in his holidays and at weekends etc. for the past three years.  He's already had one ride (at Newbury for Julia) and, while I didn't know him at all until he showed up this morning to ride the horse out, I've been impressed by him and am sure that he'll do the horse justice.  So let's hope that he runs well and provides our third good run of the week.

So there we have some runners to look forward to.  And let's hope that this lovely weather can continue.  It's great for us (well, it is during daylight hours anyway, even if it's rather winterish until the sun comes up and becomes cold again as soon as it starts to set) and lovely for horses (as you can see from Roy's expression in the previous paragraph's photograph) and for dogs and cats too.  I wouldn't go as far as to say that the glorious conditions have tempted any of the house cats outside (other than little Camelot, of course, who is even more of an adventurer than usual when the weather is good).

But the others did at least venture towards the kitchen window in the morning to take advantage of the sun's rays pouring through.  Alamshar might be looking a lot less smug now that the sun's gone down, but she was like the Cheshire Cat this morning when finding that she could sit on the edge of the kitchen sink and soak up the sunshine.  Let's hope that we get more of it tomorrow and for the rest of the week - if this keeps up until next weekend, we might even find underfoot conditions outside semi-acceptable.

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