...the 2009/10 jump season, well, it did on Saturday afternoon. There is no doubt it was a tough season, the weather took the heart out of the season really but I can remember setting myself some targets in public in mid-January when I rather optimistically thought the worst of the winter was over. I wanted 50 more runners before the end of the season with 20% in the first two and 50% in the first four - how did we do - hmm, I shall immediately make the excuse that the weather caused much further mayhem with abandonments stretching even into April but I don't think we did too badly in the circumstances, we sent out 47 runners 8 of which were in the first two (17%) and 17 in first four (36%) and I must add we had no fewer than eight 5ths. For the season as a whole, 2 winners and 8 seconds from 66 runners, it would have been nice if it had been the other way round! For the new season what targets should I set, not sure as we don't really know which horses we will have but to concentrate the mind I think I should set a pre-Xmas target as historically it always seems to have taken me until Xmas to get going and that is something I would like to change - how about 30 runners before Xmas with 20% first two and 50% first four - we'll see how we go.....
Sorry if that's all rather boring (what's new?), we did end up having a busy weekend starting in the rain at Perth on Friday evening where Forcefield put in a good effort to come 2nd in the Bumper with his debutant stable companion Northern Flame a most encouraging 4th. Over to Balcormo on Saturday where Almost Blue put his lacklustre effort on Thursday behind him to finish 2nd in the Members giving the winner 7lb, Whispering Moor gave Kit a great spin for two circuits in the same race but tired badly and was pulled up two out. Lucy was then a close 2nd in the Restricted on Amour Daria (for the Waltons), Kit 2nd in the Men's Open on Commercial Express (giving 7lb to a horse that was completing a six-timer - something wrong there), Lucy 4th on Foodbroker Founder in the Ladies Open and 3rd in the Maiden on Amulree who at last showed us some ability again. The rain softened ground encouraged plenty of runners and I think I can say it was the best racing seen at Fife for many years, however that's far too many 2nds but no winners; so, horses running well but not quite winning, excuses aplenty but frustrating all the same.
That was nothing compared with what was to come on Sunday though, Lucy went to Wetherby to take a ride in a hurdle on a 50-1 shot for a trainer who rang her up out of the blue; it belied its odds and was 15 lengths clear of the field when it tried to run out and slammed on the brakes at the second last dumping her in front of the hurdle, it's momentum was such that it then appeared to kick her over the hurdle prior to jumping it and landing on her, this all happened in a split second and made most disconcerting viewing from my armchair (roast beef indigestion ensued!) - elation that she was going to ride a winner, followed by horror as she falls then relief as the cameras look back up the home straight to see her on her feet, all this within about 15 seconds and all I can do is sit and stare at the television. She arrived home at about 9.30pm; tired, but fortunate to be in one piece though quite badly bruised.
This week we hope to have a runner or two at Kelso on Wednesday evening, Hexham on Saturday evening and at the Lauderdale p2p on Sunday; at the same time starting to turn some horses away for the summer with the first going to grass by the end of the week (sounds quite appealing to me...)