Last week John Biscuit finally won, it has been a very tough few years trying to get him back to becoming a racehorse, if Patricia hadn't of owned him then there is no way anyone else would have given him the chance and time he needed - not least because of the financial implications and there is no way that JB would have been suitable as a riding horse, so his options were very limited. When JB came to us he was a very stressed little horse who wanted to go everywhere with his ears up your nose and in a muck sweat, I struggled to get any top line and condition on him and myself, Anton and the vet were all scratching out heads - eventually Trevor said we should do a bone scan. The results were very disappointing, apparently at some point he had fractured both tibias and his pelvis when in training on the flat - that could have accounted for his reluctance to come out of the stalls...This is a picture of him the day he came and one after a lot of work a year later, he still had a ways to go but was less stressed and had more muscle.
So began a long road of trying to teach him not to go flat out everywhere and to learn to enjoy his work, i started running him over hurdles to teach him to breathe again, he was a typical flat horse and tried to do everything on one breath and as fast as possible!
I kept running him from the front until he started to enjoy himself and finally (after several annoying injuries along the way) I felt the time was right to try to drop him out and creep into the race.
It worked and he won at Plumpton without knowing he was in a race, Harry Cobden gave him a fantastic ride and JB was delighted with himself - strutting everywhere like a peacock.
The race was a conditional jockeys one and he had no penalty to run again this week, he was due to go up 5lbs from the handicapper on Tuesday and I decided to run him without the penalty at Huntingdon in a 16 runner field. This week the trainer cocked up and gave the same instructions, however the horses at the front set a hell of a gallop and were not stopping, which meant JB had to make his way through all of the field and make up too much ground on ground that was a little soft for him. However he ran another lovely race, settled and jumped and kept staying on but finished 5th, possibly the race was too soon for him so he will have a well earned break now.
Gallic ran at Newbury and was very disappointing but since the race we have found him to be slightly under the weather, so he is having a bit of time resting before he resumes full training.
This weekend we have two runners at Uttoxeter, ground permitting - they are Starfoot and Heroes or Ghosts, both horses are going well at home and I am hopeful that they will both run nice races.
We have two more horses coming in today, one is a Dr Massini unraced gelding for a new owner, I am delighted that he is coming and I look forwards to working with Sarah and Carole his owners. The other is a horse that I bought for John Marriott earlier this year and is one of the only ones that I have bought who have been a bad buy - having already won for Jeremy Noseda, he went into training with Ivan Furtado and has not stepped up at all to be the horse I thought he would, his last two runs have seen him refusing to come out of the stalls, little monkey. So John has very kindly given me the horse (to be fair I don't think he can bare to look at him any more, let alone keep paying to keep him in training!) and we shall see if 8 flights of hurdles change his mind about being a racehorse, Ivan tells me that he is a lovely genuine horse at home so fingers crossed! Ironically he's called Free One...
So we are really busy now and will have 15 riding out again by the middle of December (excuse me while I go and lie down in a dark room for a min..) and have the usual story of not enough staff, I know everyone who is in the industry is saying the same thing but where have all the good staff gone???!! My guys Ashley and Anne marie are working like Trojans and I am as skinny as I have been for years (there are some bonuses to grafting!!) and luckily we can borrow Mel from Pat Murphy's for two lots a day, but we really need another full time rider and part time yard staff, so if any of you know of anyone who may be suitable then please do pass on my details. However no matter how busy I am I will not take just anyone - I have been left shocked over the past year but some of the behaviour that i have witnessed from former staff, suffice to say that I am making a massive effort to bring my daughter up with respect and dignity and a huge awareness of right and wrong. To be fair when people behave badly its only a reflection of their own insecurities and issues so maybe as parents it is now up to us to teach the next generation a good work ethic and values again.