Tuesday, 14 January 2020

We had a lovely day racing - Everyone at Ampton is always so friendly and they made us very welcome. The boys had a very easy time which wasn't quite the plan - I think the jockey took my instructions to 'look after them' a little too seriously and pottered around the back pulling Ted up after two circuits and then Glory Hunter after 18 fences (there are twenty in the 3 mile race at Ampton)  He hadn't schooled them, as unfortunately Sam Lee who thought he would be free wasn't after all, and he rode rather tentatively, which is totally understandable when you don't know the horses. Both horses were a bit ring rusty with their jumping. Ted blew a bit afterwards but Murphy didn't at all and was able to go straight onto the lorry afterwards. Most importantly they enjoyed themselves and the jockey, James, did a great job of looking after them!
They were so fresh the next day that we had to put them on the walker for over an hour and then when they were turned out they cut some serious shapes.
Ted Thistle having a lovely day out

Ted and Murphy playing in the mud the next day
As they didn't do much at the races they are both going to Thorpe in two weeks time. Sarah will be in charge as we are going to Sri Lanka to spend some time with Jay. We have great team to look after everything and it will be good for us to get away from the stress of HS2 and come back fighting fit to take them on....

Saturday, 11 January 2020

We are looking forward to going to Ampton tomorrow with Glory Hunter and Ted Thistle - Both are probably a bit short of work as they haven't been in as long as most of their competitors but they will come on from the run and they have to start somewhere. It should be a fun day with lovely owners and a good picnic. They both schooled well and fingers crossed they both come home safely. This is the first point to point since we lost Babbiloora which was so horrific that I still have bad memories of that and it will be good to move on, hopefully.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

There was some great and very competitive racing at Larkhill on Sunday. We went particularly to see Velvet Dove's 6 year old by Midnight Legend have his first run. We sold him to Nick Phillips and Dibbie Brown trains him. He was named 'Smoking Pidgeon'.  He looked stunning in the paddock but was slightly lively (just like his Mum used to be) so Doug had to go in to help Dibbie out. At one point he reared up and hit Doug in the face, adding to the black eye he had already received from Jasper (the foal)  the day before. However, as soon as the jockey got on board he became very workmanlike and went down to the start like a very grown up boy. I was SO nervous as there had been an awful lot of nasty falls in previous races but he did everybody proud. He was right up with the leading group, right on the heels of the Trevor Hemmings horse when he got slightly unsighted and blundered the open ditch three from home - He stayed on his feet but the jockey fell off, which probably wasn't such a bad thing for his first run as he finished the race still full of running and seemed to love every moment. It was certainly a very encouraging run though and they will have a lot of fun with him in the future. I have to say that I think in the future we are going to have such fun watching our homebreds race. Although I was nervous it was no where near as bad as watching one that you have trained yourself going round, it is also a lot cheaper!
Velvet Dove's youngster, 'Smoking Pidgeon' after the race, doing his mother proud.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Happy New Year everyone! Sorry this is a bit late but things have been a little bit hectic here. We had a wonderful last 2019 evening and saw 2020 in with some very good friends - David and Di were the ultimate hosts as ever. Di is just so good at table decorations and all the sort of things I am rubbish at so I had to take a photo so that I can look and learn...!
The table before things got messy

Just getting messy enough...

This morning Andy Hartgrove came round to help us trim the foals feet - We thought they were fairly well handled and the three girls, Popalong, Stacey and Vicky were all very good,  However, the surprise package was Jasper, Velvet Steel's son who up until now had been very friendly and relaxed but turned feral and wouldn't let us anywhere near him. When we eventually got the head collar on he then refused to pick up his feet so Doug had to go back to basics with him in the sand school. He fought and fought, and threw himself around angrily swishing his tail but eventually Andy managed to get the front ones done - He will have to come back to do the backs. It just shows 'nurture and nature' though as his Mum had exactly the same quirky streak in her and had to be managed accordingly. It is often the quirky ones who turn out to be the better racehorses, we hope....

Jasper having a lesson on how to behave.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

RIP Velvet Dove

Velvet Dove in her heyday
We were very sad to find Velvet Dove dead in the yard this morning - She looked peaceful and hadn't got a scratch on her but oddly she had jumped over two barriers and was in the yard next to her foal. She had never even looked like doing it before. She had been completely relaxed about her weaning, even letting herself out of the yard the day before for a pick of grass. She must have known her time had come and possibly gone to say goodbye... She was always very quirky and did things her own way. She was barely 16hh but managed to win 6 races carrying 12 stone plus and two races she won by a distance. If she didn't fancy the competition she would refuse to race - She couldn't be told but we loved her dearly. Thankfully she had a lovely Christmas day with lots of polos and didn't suffer at all. She has some lovely youngsters coming on, one of which (Smoking Pigeon by Midnight Legend) will be running next weekend at Larkhill for his first run. If he has got anything like his mothers courage and tenacity then he should do really well. Most importantly he comes home safely.
We are off to Cottenham tomorrow to watch some racing without horses - Yippee!

Thursday, 26 December 2019

We had a lovely but rather poignant Christmas at Blackgrounds. This will almost certainly be our last Christmas at Blackgrounds farm due to HS2 wanting to take possession on January 30th. We have no idea where we are going from here as they still haven't offered us any form of compensation. Added to that Dad has now got early onset Alzheimers disease and may not be around (in mind) next year if in body. However, it was a very happy occasion and lovely that cousin Marion and her son James could also join us. On Christmas Eve I took Dad to see all his Great Grandchildren (all six of them!) which we all thoroughly enjoyed, especially the little 'uns as they were allowed to open their presents early. We also did the Carol service in Priors Hardwick which was very special.

Marion (Pocket), James, brother Peter (Jack)  Dad, me and Poppy, Doug (Tatty), sister Rose and Eve her pooch.

Clan Des Obeaux - Not at all tired having won the King George in very testing conditions.
Today we went to Kempton and saw some great racing - It was fabulous to see Clan Des Obeaux win the King George so easily and Epatante was also very impressive in the Christmas hurdle. There was a very jolly crowd there, somewhat different from the Cheltenham racegoers but jolly good fun nevertheless.
Epatante having won the Christmas hurdle


Sunday, 22 December 2019

To say it has been wet these last few days would be an understatement but today there was a strange yellow ball in the sky - The sun! It was lovely to see and everything looked so much better.  It has been so wet that we bought all the mares inside as the fields were flooded and they were making such a mess. Popalong wasn't at all bothered about seeing her Mum again even though they are now in neighbouring yards. She is very grown up and totally in charge of everyone -  including us! 
I have been rushing around getting everything ready for Christmas. It has been a very sociable last two weeks and we are about to go out to a drinks party now so better dash. Hoping to go to Kempton on Boxing day and then either Chaddesley or Cottenham in between Christmas and the New Year.  Annoyingly Top Garry has pulled a hamstring messing about in the field, so is off games at the moment. Ted and Murphy may be going to Ampton on the 12th January depending on the ground.  Happy Christmas to everyone if I don't have time to do a post before now and then!
Popalong very grown up now.

Glory Hunter in front and Ted's ears going for another paddle