Monday, March 17, 2014

Good day

Yesterday (Sunday) was a lovely day, and not only for the fact that it was a lovely day, as we can see in this photograph.  It was also a lovely day because of whom we can see in this photograph: 'Ralph', properly known as Carl McEntee, one of my longest-standing friends.  When I started training in the former Loder Stables in Hamilton Road in 1995, Ralph's late father Phil had been the previous trainer on the property, and the McEntee family (well, Phil and his wife Lindy, plus their youngest child Carl who was still at school and thus still living at home) were still living in the bungalow on the property.  And the whole family became really good friends to me.

I did, in fact, already semi-know the family, having worked with one of Ralph's elder brothers (Mark, fraternal twin of Phil junior, who now trains in Hamilton Road, having previously trained in part of this property).  Anyway, Phil senior (an outstanding horseman who had been champion apprentice in Ireland in 1966, and a really decent and likeable man to boot) and Ralph became two of my most-valued friends, and at various times I was lucky to have the help of both of them in the stable (as you can see in this photograph of Phil, taken here in I would guess 1997). Ralph rode in a few races for us in his younger days, but he was always going to be a lot bigger than his dad, and riding was probably always going to take a back seat sooner rather than later.

Ralph duly heeded the time-honoured advice 'Go west, young man' and has forged a really good career for himself in the bloodstock world in the States.  He's currently in a very good job at Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky, former home of Ribot, Graustark and Roberto, and it transpired that he's making a brief visit to Europe trying to put together what seems to be a very exciting project which he has got brewing on the farm's behalf - and yesterday, completely out of the blue, he appeared in this yard, which made my month, never mind my day.  We'd been in touch intermittently, but I hadn't seen him for years, and it was a real delight to see him.  I'll just have to make sure that it isn't however many years it was before I see him next.

So that was lovely - and let's hope that tomorrow can be a lovely day too.  Tomorrow's highlight (I hope - although it could obviously turn out to be tomorrow's lowlight) will be our trip to Southwell with Indira, who is set to run in what I believe will be a very suitable race.  She's very well and I hope that a mile at Southwell will turn out to provide suitable conditions.  You can see her perky ears in the previous paragraph, in the sunshine yesterday morning at the bottom of Long Hill.  (And you can see the perky ears of the other horse whom I rode yesterday, Douchkirk, in this paragraph's photograph, in which you can see one half of that famous duo, me and my shadow.

4 comments:

RP McArdle said...

How do you get those shots? Your shadow's hands don't appear to be holding a camera. They sure give you a great view from on-board.

John Berry said...

It was a fluke - I'll take loads and hope that one of them works!

John Berry said...

It was a fluke - I'll take loads and hope that one of them works!

John Berry said...

It was a fluke - I'll take loads and hope that one of them works!