Sunday, November 03, 2013

Flat out

Again, too long between chapters, I'm afraid.  I think that the last time I posted on this blog we'd just regretfully decided not to run Gift Of Silence (whose joints are nearly a pair now, but still not quite - so it was clearly the correct decision to scratch her) at Yarmouth and were about to head off to Nottingham with Forgiving Light.  Anyway, that proved to be an enjoyable trip.  The horse, although unplaced, ran as well as one could have hoped, and showed that he should be a nice horse for his owners over the forthcoming years, with, I hope, Kyran Tompkins, grandson of his owner Richard and pictured here leading the horse up, being set to enjoy plenty of good rides, Flat and jumps, on him from next summer (when he turns 16) onwards.

I was impressed by the rider allocated to the horse (it was a Fegentri amateurs' race, so one didn't chose one's own rider) as William Easterby came across as a high-calibre young man.  As I'd suspected, he's the son of Tim and thus comes from a family of top horsemen.  His father was a terrific amateur back in the day; William may or may not achieve such distinction, but he'll do well come what may.  So that was good, as was the weather, and as was the fact that Gus and I picked up Anthony on the way home, who came here for three days during his half-term.

Since then, what's happened?  Well, the big excitement was the return of Magic Ice.  Earlier this year there was a mass exodus from here.  Magic Ice went to Brian Ellison, Tannhauser Gate to Jamie Osborne, Platinum Proof to David O'Meara, Orla's Rainbow to Gary Moore and Many Levels to John Quinn.  Tannhauser Gate was unraced (ungalloped, even) when he left, but the other four already had handicap marks.  Since then, Platinum Proof's mark has dropped by 10lb, Many Levels' by 7lb, Magic Ice's by 4lb and Orla's Rainbow's by 2lb.

This would imply that they've all started down a slippery slope, but I thought that Magic Ice was well handicapped when she left, so have got to believe that she's still well (in fact, even better) handicapped now.  She showed up in the Horses-in-Training Sale on Thursday and, as one would expect from a horse trained by a master (Brian Ellison), she showed up in great condition. She's still as sound as she was the day that we first met her 18 months ago, which is remarkable, so I took the punt that she would be worth buying (for 1,700 gns).

I'd be worried sick if I put £50 on a horse to win a race, and yet here I am putting a fortune on backing my judgement that she's a future winner.  And it's clearly my bet: I'll obviously have to race her myself, because if I told anyone that they could buy (part of) a maiden rated 49 who has come from one of the best stables in the country and has been running badly - well, I'd get pretty short shrift, wouldn't I?!  So we'll see what happens - but, just for now, it's lovely to have this sweet filly (pictured in the third paragraph, back in the herd) back here.

Other than that, I've been too busy being flat out to pay much attention to the rest of the world.  It's great nowadays having the Breeders' Cup on TV (At The Races, of course) but last night's great excitement turned out to be a major let-down: I was so tired come Saturday evening that I had to head off to bed at 8.15, so only saw two of the races live. Still, I recorded it, so watched all the races when I got up this morning, which was basically the same as watching it all live.  Well, sort of.

Anyway, we're heading towards winter and October seems to have been a long month - we were still almost in summer at the outset, but that's only a very distant memory now, even though it was only five weeks ago. But today, at least, was a lovely day, albeit a very windy one and albeit only by the standards of November.  You can see from these final four photographs how nice today was; and its sunshine, along with the 10 hours in bed last night, has helped to buck me up.  I'll need to be bucked up though, tomorrow night being Melbourne Cup night, which means that I'll be up all night in the ATR studio. That's great, but the lack of sleep is daunting - and then the thought of getting through the next day's work is even more daunting.

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