The last couple of weeks have been absolutely manic, with runners all over and still a yard full to exercise everyday. I feel punch drunk with the driving and have no idea how people actually drive for a living, the roads are so busy now and the standard of driving has lowered dramatically.
We have had a mixed couple of weeks, starting with the excellent win of Starfoot and Page Fuller at Huntingdon, it was such a boost for us all and so deserved by the horse and owner, John puts a lot of money into the sport and deserves success. Star is a funny one to keep right but he has won 3 this year and 4 in the last year and a half, not many horses manage that. He is in again on Sunday at Huntingdon again, it may be too soon but we won't know unless we try, he is certainly bucking and kicking at home - there is no reason not to run him.
The next runner we had was John Biscuit and I really fancied him, however the jockey that rode him had won on him when he was a less relaxed horse, it really didn't matter that I gave explicit instructions for the horse not to be dropped out, he was still jumped off last and last he stayed until 2 out. He then proceeded to pass 10 horses to finish 6th staying on, not great considering he is so hard to keep right, he has relaxed so much that he needs to be handy in the middle of the pack, not put to sleep out the back. As you can see he was looking amazing, ready to give everything.
On Thursday we had Tuppence Coloured at Towcester and I had been deliberating about whether to run her or take her for a racecourse gallop. It has taken so long to get her to stop being absolutely mental, so I figured running her dropped out would give her the best chance of learning to switch off and relax, which she did and did beautifully, so much so she looked like she would be tailed off at one point. However the penny dropped and she ran on really nicely to finish 5th, she came home and ate up and thinks life is very easy if that's all she has to do. We are aiming at a fillies only bumper with her next.
Friday brought a lovely road trip for Jo and Ash, off to Doncaster with Heroes or Ghosts (Floyd) and Oscars Leader for the bumper. i had been deliberating about whether to run Heroes and had always thought that the course would be too sharp for him, however with the rain due and the ground on the slow side of good I thought we could get away with it. Silly Jo, Floyd made sure I lived to regret my foolishness, he launched a the first and possibly pulled his shoe off there, then proceeded to jump right and land flat footed at every fence, not getting away from them like we know he can. At least he came back ok, his foot was sore for a few days but he had the shoe back on Tuesday and is very very fresh again.
Oscars leader ran a lovely race to finish 4th in a competitive bumper, he is a kind, honest horse who will only improve with time, still very weak but has shown enough to give us lots of encouragement.
Sunday brought us to Leicester for Touchy Subject who is a supremely talented horse, having finished second in a point before we bought him. However he has not been without his problems and we finally thought we had him right but he decided to drop himself out, look like he was going to pull up and then decided to stay on up the home straight. I think we are going to look at his wind, there has to be a reason for the lack of enthusiasim during his races.
Lastly we took the beautiful Freeone to Plumpton on Monday and he was ready to win, very sadly he lost his life at the second hurdle, he was so keen he came up too soon and landed very badly on his knee. We are all devastated, having taken him from an unhappy horse who refused to race to the bonny, happy soul he was, who couldn't wait to get on with it. So so sad for Patricia who bought half of him when his original owner Peter sadly passed away in August, strangely Peter and my father were very good friends, now both of them and the horse have all passed. Maybe they are all together now. This is the part of the job I hate, it has been 10 years since I lost a horse on the track and it has really shaken my confidence, he was like a friend and is missed every time we walk in the barn. Just look at his cheeky face...