Monday, 21 December 2009

the view from the cab

down the gallop was rather snowy at 3pm this Monday afternoon. Despite the absence of racing we have 12 horses that we are keen to run in January, so far we have had no problem keeping them working, both on the gallop and in the circular sand school where they can do plenty of steady cantering and jumping.

We "re-backed" a couple of youngsters (by Kayf Tara and Terimon) that are due to come into training and Lucy re-acquainted herself with Contendo's jumping. She is due to have two medicals in Edinburgh tomorrow that will determine when she can have her licence to ride back.

We will hopefully be back racing at Musselburgh and Ayr in the early days of 2010, I hope everyone has a Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year; that, of course, assumes anyone is actually reading this, if so, thank you...

Monday, 14 December 2009

All fired up...

With nowhere to go; racing at Ayr today was abandoned yesterday afternoon as the course was frozen after a couple of nights of sharp frost. Whilst it is frustrating and racing must always be given every chance an early decision is most welcome if there is obviously no chance of racing. Fearless Footsteps, Skipping Chapel and Contendo were our intended runners and they had a spin on the all-weather yesterday morning (pictured), it is taking the frost well which is good news. Skipping Chapel will now be aimed at Newcastle on Saturday, Contendo will go to Carlisle on Sunday where he will hopefully be joined by racecourse debutant Papamoa if conditions are suitable. Fearless Footsteps will probably head to Ayr on 2nd January (she'll be 6 by then and it would be nice to have managed one run as a five year old, I'll have a hunt around for something....)

Friday, 11 December 2009

Slim pickings....

for the hens in the weak afternoon sun.

For once things went to plan on Wednesday and Seeking Power had a good school round in the mud at Hexham, finishing 3rd of the 4 starters. He was beaten a long way by two decent horses but collected some good place money and can hopefully go handicapping now which will be much more his scene.

We hope to be heading for Ayr on Monday where we have entries for Skipping Chapel, Contendo, Fearless Footsteps and Papamoa.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Seeking Power

We run Seeking Power in the 2.50 at Hexham tomorrow, the ground will be heavy, Peter Buchanan rides and 5 run. It's his first run over fences but he has had five point-to-points so should take to the larger obstacles. We have found it very difficult to get the weight off him and despite our efforts and two races he is still a massive 625kg, perhaps I should stop feeding him! Whilst he will be trying hard he has little chance at the weights with two of the runners so we will be hoping for a clear round and might pick up some worthwhile place money as it is a valuable (£14k) contest.
This is the horse that lost its bridle with Lucy on board in March this year, Peter will be pleased to hear that we now plait the top of the bridle into the horse's mane hopefully ensuring no repeat of this rather alarming incident
Lucy meanwhile is making a steady, if slow, recovery; she aims to be riding at Ayr on January 2nd but will have to undergo one or two tests first. Otherwise with Lucy off and Jacqui still off with her trodden-on arm the team here are flat out, they are doing a marvellous job; let's hope we can put some better results together to reward the effort

Friday, 4 December 2009

thank goodness...

as I write Mrs A is fetching Lucy from Ayr hospital, she is still quite sore, dazed and asking some slightly odd questions, but her main focus seems to be on telephoning the BHA's chief medical officer, Dr Michael Turner, to find out when she can start riding again - not too soon I hope. It will be good to have her back home for a few days rest as Ayr isn't terribly handy for visiting, particularly with the seemingly permanent snarl-up that afflicts central Scotland's road system every afternoon.
We are bypassing Kelso on Sunday but we might take Skipping Chapel back to Musselburgh on Monday, he didn't seem quite himself after his last run there a week ago but he did a nice piece of work this morning on the grass & if we are happy with him over the weekend he will take his chance. Hopefully Fearghal Davies will be in on Monday morning on his way to Musselburgh (well, we're not quite on the way from Penrith to Musselburgh but near enough!), the plan would be to school Contendo & Seeking Power over fences prior to running them at Hexham on Wednesday - time to stop messing about over hurdles with these two I think!
First lot reaches the top of the gallop just as the sun comes up this morning - rain again tomorrow, have to enjoy the nice mornings!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A longish sort of day...

hmm, things aren't really going our way at the moment, Contendo, having won the best turned out award (about the only thing we seem to have won in living memory), stepped at the 3rd hurdle and fell sending Lucy into the ground at some speed; she took the full impact with her head and was unconscious for a few minutes, further to examination in the racecourse medical room she seemed quite badly concussed and was then transferred to Ayr hospital where she will spend a few days under observation. Luckily Mrs A was present so she was able to accompany her to hospital while I nipped home with the horses, scooped up some bits & bobs and went back to Ayr to deliver them and collect Rose, Lucy seemed a bit better by that stage though still had her face covered in racecourse mud, I spoke to her this morning and she seemed a bit brighter however she needs to have a few easy days and despite her protests, she is best to stay where she is, the horse on the other hand has already been up the all-weather three times this morning and may now go to Kelso on Sunday.
It had been a delight to walk the course earlier in the afternoon and find the track back in such good condition, Scotland's grade one course needs a grade one surface and it was immaculate which is quite the revers of what it was like a year ago, let's hope the weather isn't too unkind to it this winter. All-in-all the racecourse & medical services responded very well to our little drama, there is something appallingly helpless about having to stand and watch as an incident like this is dealt with, I think Mrs A and I probably feel about 10 years older today (we're not used to late nights!) - Lucy has shown a glimmer of interest in going on a Ski Instructor's course after Christmas, right now that seems like a brilliant idea to me..

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


..we run Contendo in the 2.25 at Ayr, 12 run the ground is soft and Lucy rides, a nice little race for this horse, 2m 4f Novice Handicap Hurdle, competitive but it is his grade and he competes off a 10lb lower mark than when beaten a neck on this course in the past. He has a visor on for the first time, something I have been itching to do for some time so I hope it will sharpen him up a bit though I imagine there will be improvement to come for this second run of the season as he is 15kg heavier than when he won in February this year.

Miss Colima did not really handle the very wet conditions at Carlisle on Sunday and pulled up three out.

The new website is complete and ready to launch, it just requires yours truly to find a bit of time to bring some of the content up to date, hopefully I will manage this before I completely forget what I learnt at my training session last week.....