Its great to finally be able to sit down and write something positive and happy, all the hard work, early mornings, long drives to the races and disappointments are finally starting to pay off. In the last 5 weeks we have had 8 runners, out of those 3 have won, one finished 2nd, one finished 3rd, one 5th and one nearly got brought down when going nicely and one didn't enjoy ground that was too quick.
I am so happy and thankful for the good times - don't get me wrong we all know with ups you get the downs but I had forgotten that with the downs (and there have been a few over the years!) there are also ups! However we have also had the yang to the yin, with Captain flash damaging his tendon when running at Worcester, By the fireside has had some niggles and we had to have a lovely horse put to sleep due to injuries that were not going to heal, he was also a handful and could never of been rehomed. It brings life back to reality very quickly and there is never any danger with becoming complacent, however enough with the misery lets focus on the good things!
It's amazing when you get a horse like Starfoot to finally start producing the sort of form I always thought he should and having won his last two we are finally seeing a very nice horse. Star is an amazing jumper but some jockeys say he's not natural - which I have always disagreed with, the trouble is when he started jumping hurdles he was scared of the noise and hustle and bustle with horses around him. So to get him to enjoy his jumping we had to run him from the front with daylight and allow him to enjoy the experience, unfortunately it didn't play to his strengths doing that and he was always there to be shot at, not able to use his finishing speed but finally he seemed to be enjoying himself and growing in confidence. Now he is happy at the back or in amongst them and coming with a late run, he is very pleased with himself and came home after both wins and ate up, trotted up sound and is having a ball in the paddock most days, Tom O'brien seems to really get him and has ridden him beautifully both times.
I am glad I stuck to giving him the chance to enjoy his racing and John is a great owner who takes anything I tell him pragmatically, he loves to be involved in the planning of races and enjoys being told upfront and honestly about the horses, even if its not good news. He is the sort of owner I enjoy training for, as are all of my owners, we know where we stand and they trust me enough to know if I tell them something is what it is, on the other hand I know that the minute I have a problem I can phone any one of them and tell them without the worry of blame or having the horses taken away - horses are horses and can injure themselves without our help...Always treat people how you would expect to be treated yourself.
Talking of Injuries Captain Flash had another horrid run, I thought he would run a massive race at Worcester, he had been working better than ever and with the blinkers at home he seemed much more focused. However during the race he obviously got banged by another horse, was struck into on his heel, lost both shoes on his off side, punctured his knee and the following morning when the bandages came off, we realised that he had done a tendon. So so disappointing, however the leg has settled well with hosing and icing and I shall scan it to decide what to do with him. I have told John that I would like to rehome him but with damage to the tendon that is not really an option.
I think he has talent but is too soft and needs everything to go his way, the cost of keeping him in training and trying to find that one average race where everything goes his way is far more than anything he would win.
Heroes or Ghosts finally got his head in front, he has been so hard to train with more problems than any horse I have had and all credit to him for sticking his head out and trying - he did whip round at the big screen and nearly dropped Jerry after the race so I have to wonder how much he did actually try! However his whole attitude has changed since his win, he swaggers about now and is being quite playful in his work.
So we ran him yesterday on what we thought was good ground, just before the jockeys came out to the paddock the going was changed to good good to firm. He made a dreadful mistake at the first one down the back on the final circuit and never allowed himself to get back into the race. That was always my worry with him running on quicker ground, although he can handle it he cannot afford to make a mistake because the horses will go away from him and mentally he won't allow himself to get back into the race and that was probably the worst fence to do it at, right when the front horses were piling on the pace.
Marmont ran in his first handicap and was running a nice race when a horse fell in front of him and he was lucky to stay on his feet, I still don't know if he would have gone close or not but came back bouncing so I ran him at Newton Abbott the following Monday. It was torrential rain all day with really strong winds and he ran a lovely race to finish second, beaten by a well handicapped horse. He came home and ate up so we are supposed to be running today but I am a little worried that there is not going to be enough water put on the track. for him, he would cope with good but any faster will be too fast.
Freeone has thrived since finishing 5th at Kempton, he thinks he is god's gift to horses and has strengthened up massively, he's a completely different horse. He was too free at Kempton but he jumped off and enjoyed it which is brilliant, he still has to learn to breathe and relax but that will come.
By The FIreside ran a lovely race at Huntingdon to finish 3rd. Im sure the owners won't mind me saying he has the worst leg conformation I have ever seen in a horse but he is so genuine and has an engine. He was very green still and pulled too hard but he had had such a bad experience at Plumpton in his first run - came home lame on 3 out of 4 legs - he was defineitely
worried, I had to take Bucket (who has a massive fan base at the races now) the wonder pony to keep him relaxed in the lorry. He will run over hurdles next and hopefully will learn to be a racehorse, when the penny drops he will be a lot of fun if he can stay sound.
I am on the look out for some more young horses, unfortunately the sales seem to be going mad with the prices, I struggled to buy within my budget but I did manage to buy a nice horse for John Marriott, he is an Oscar out of a Supreme leader mare and has had one run, finishing 4th in a point to point in Ireland. He is going to need a fair bit of time to get some weight and condition on before we start working him.
i am hoping to go to Ireland for the Derby sale and possibly to have a look at a few dotted around privately, hoping to get a few more owners involved, its catch 22 - you need horses to sell to owners to get owners but I don't like to buy horses on spec without owners!
So all in all life is great and I am eternally grateful for all that I have and the chances that I have been given. Life is too short to be miserable and if things are good enjoy them, when things aren't so good then remember that it's all relative and as long those that I love are healthy and happy then all is good with the world!