Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Big step forward

Although I am away for a few days the following press release was issued today which I view as a thoroughly positive move for the yard.... More detailed comment to follow in due course no doubt!

After 24 years of holding a dual purpose licence Sue Bradburne is set to hand in her Trainer's licence at the end of this season. However, she is far from retiring from the game and will be joining Nick Alexander at his Kinross based yard as Assistant Trainer and Consultant.

Sue has enjoyed many career highs spanning the two and half decades; home bred General Chandos was a real flag bearer for the yard back in the late 80's and early 90's with husband Johnny as regular pilot. Interim Lib, Off The Bru and On the Hooch were other important stars, while Blue Charm provided a real career highlight finishing second in the 1999 Grand National. Predominantly National Hunt, she also achieved success with Lochiel winning the Cumberland Plate in 2008.

Cunnoquhie Racing has always been a family run yard, Johnny, daughter Lorna and son Mark (recently retired after 19 years as a professional jockey have all ridden for the yard over the years. Indeed all four have ridden under rules. Sue points out, "I have been so lucky over the years to have had great owners and some wonderful horses. Obviously it feels like the end of an era, but I am really excited about joining the team at Nick's and our various meetings have established that we have a very similar approach to training and horses."

The yard at Kinneston also has a family feel to it with daughter Lucy (her success this season is well documented) involved, along with son Kit who rides as an amateur. Nick runs a very efficient and successful operation and he will be able to use to the wealth of experience, knowledge and ability that Sue can bring to the yard.

Nick commented, "I am delighted that Sue and her owners have shown this confidence in me and the team here at Kinneston. I am sure that the arrival of such an attractive bunch of young horses will enable us to accelerate the progress we have made over the last few years. Sue's experience will prove invaluable as she has succeeded at the highest level and another pair of eyes and hands will come in very useful."
All of Sue's existing owners are keen to send their horses to Nick's which will obviously boost his numbers. Cunnoquhie will also continue to operate as a 'satellite yard' for any horses needing rest and recuperation.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Almost Blue (Jamie)
...is much further from Kelso than I thought, hence another Saturday afternoon largely in the car between two venues, in an eerie silence as I managed to leave my phone at home, not ideal as a trainer with 5 runners but the weather was splendid, as warm a March day as I can remember.  Delighted though that Almost Blue notched his 7th win for Jamie when dead-heating in the Confined Race at Lanark, Commercial Express put in an improved effort in the Mens Open and is hopefully beginning to find his form, Mersey was backed in to favourite in the Maiden but ran flat, I suspect the race came too quickly after his bold effort last week and we are still searching for the key to Flaming Thistle (a new engine perhaps?); the mystery of the day was Four Fiddlers at Kelso, alarmingly easy to back after his good second there three weeks ago he was never travelling and pulled up after a circuit and a half.  This is the first runner of ours for a long time to put up an inexplicably poor effort, it will be interesting to see if anything comes to light.
We are taking a four day skiing break tomorrow, sadly without Lucy who will be here for a bit then riding out in Yorkshire and hopefully racing at Market Rasen and Newcastle where we will hopefully have our next runners, assuming they fix their watering system which I am sure they will....

Friday, 23 March 2012


The fine weather continues and another busy morning with horses schooling and on the all-weather with plenty of visitors in to see them, we now seem to be exercising 24 each day, rather more than we are used to but we have a great team together and there is a lot to look forward to.
Four Fiddlers is just denied at the last Kelso meeting
Starting this weekend, we run Four Fiddlers with Peter Buchanan on board in the 4.05 at Kelso where the ground is good, 13 run and he has plenty of weight (11lb more than when he was 2nd there 2 weeks ago) in a tight little handicap, I hope he runs well.  At the Lanark p2p we run four - Commercial Express (Kit), Almost Blue (Jamie), Flaming Thistle (Kit) and Mersey (Jamie), we had a double on the card last year and will be doing our best to repeat the trick.  I of course will be trying to take in both venues which will be a challenge as I don't have a helicopter (yet) but fun I hope.  All the action packed in to one day as thereafter we will be quiet until Newcastle at the end of next week.  What I'm really looking forward to is Easter Saturday as we may be involved at Carlisle, Haydock, Musselburgh and Morpeth p2p.. ho ho. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Stunning weather and a quieter morning for the horses either hacking or jumping for most of them. Earlier in the week Peter Buchanan was in to school the two dual purpose filles we have for the summer, Issabella Gem and Goldtrek, they were led over the hurdles by Native Coll, amazingly 100% and back doing his schoolmaster duties 72 hours after the crash below...
Native Coll becomes the 4th horse in as many fixtures to crash out at this final fence at Friars Haugh

John Grossick has captured all of them on camera and as an experienced rider himself has a good theory as to why it is happening.

This coincides with Kit's intepretation so hopefully suitable adjustments will be made before someone is seriously injured
Kit also came out of it in one piece and is enjoying his week at the racing school, Yogi Breisner coaching him today, what I find very encouraging is that of the 8 amateurs on the course 5 are from the North despite the course being run in Newmarket rather than at the Northern Racing College in Doncaster, surely a good omen for the health of the sport up here.  Lucy notched her 30th winner of the season on Kealigolane at Haydock yesterday, heading home now for a couple of expensive days in the "sin-bin."
Lucy with Little Glenshee and Goldtrek (courtesy of Neil Hanna Scotsman Publications)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Glorious spring weather today and the grass is about six weeks ahead of where it would normally be with the result that I turned the "old boys" (Wise Man, Solsgirth and Noir et Vert) out for the summer, hopelessly optimistic as we will probably get a foot of snow in April and it would have helped if I had shut the gate at the top of the field, last seen heading out onto the Lomond Hills, I am sure they will turn up sometime but if anyone in Falkland or Strathmiglo sees 3 rather over-excited and ancient thoroughbreds on the loose perhaps they could give me a call...
Buffalo Ballet (Holly)
Great work on the grass for a few of them, its drying up a bit but still fine for the better ground horses, particularly pleased with Four Fiddlers, Northern Flame and Issabella Gem. The nomadic one dropped in for about 16 hours prior to heading back to Yorks last night, today she is at Haydock where she rides Kealigolane in the 3.50.  
Goldtrek (Amy)

Issabella Rocket?? (Gemma)

Monday, 19 March 2012


Blowy and cool today but dry and back on an even keel after a productive Sunday catching up in the office and sorting the gallops etc. Plenty to do with the horses cantering in the two schools and on the all-weather, no runners this week until Saturday when we hope to be well represented at Kelso and the Lanark p2p though a few will need some rain.  We might even have Lucy here to ride out for a few days, expecting her back late tonight after being at Southwell today, she will be back off to Haydock tomorrow pm but after that she has a few days off race riding thanks to a four day ban picked up at Carlisle two weeks ago, this takes her out from Thursday until Sunday and is likely to prove quite costly, perhaps disproportionately so as her crime was failing to ride out for 4th place when the jockey in front of her eased up, anyway, lesson learnt!  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bingo! (at last...)

The long road back... Isla Pearl Fisher with Amy back in September
A wonderful spring morning and my heart is skipping after an exhilarating week. Yesterday was an extraordinary day to end the week, culminating in an agonizing 90 minute roller-coaster which finished on a tremendous high with Isla Pearl Fisher winning the 3m Chase at Newcastle. A fantastic result, our 50th winner, and a credit to the team who nursed him back from a fracture and subsequent operation just over a year ago to the winner's enclosure yesterday, he's quirky, it took us 20 minutes to load him on the lorry in the morning and he point-blank refused to go into the dope-testing box after the race but we love him! His owner Philippa Gammell had to listen to the race from Australia via a dodgy internet commentary but special thanks should go to her for her exemplary patience, always the key in this sport, I only managed to speak to her briefly after the race but I know that she will be thrilled that her handsome boy is back, particularly now that she has been seen to ride him at Kinneston, not something that she anticipated a year or two ago.
Native Coll yesterday with Gillian (courtesy of Dennis Penny)
'twas a long day... after the (slightly) testing time loading IPF I dashed down to watch first lot working on the grass, a crucial piece of work for Academy in particular, I then jumped into the car and went to look at some horses near Dunbar and then headed across the magnificent Borders countryside to the point-to-point track at Kelso which I wanted to walk before comitting our runners, the ground was OK so I sped on to Newcastle and it wasn't long before I jumped on the roller-coaster; Lucy's ride Posh Bird had been the subject of a nationwide gamble in the Midlands National and had generated an extraordinary wave of publicity, sadly the race clearly came too soon after a gruelling effort 2 weeks ago in the Eider Chase at Newcastle and the horse never travelled, no time to dwell on this though as I was soon on the phone to Jamie for a commentary of the 3.30 at the p2p where Kit was riding Native Coll, he ran a blinder only to crash out through the wing at the last fence when in the lead taking the second out with him (more below), Forcefield then put in a solid effort at Newcastle prior to Jamie having his first spin on Mersey at Kelso, coming a fast finishing second prior to being disqualified on a post race technicality (more below!). Interspersed with this was another ride for Kit and 3 others for Lucy at Uttoxeter the last one listened to in the car leaving Newcastle - head spinning!
It doesn't stop there because Lucy has four rides at Carlisle today (details below), no runners for us which is just as well as a large pile of mail has accumulated on my desk and Monday morning beckons. She had a fantastic time riding at Cheltenham and ended up in the money in the last race when De Boitron finished 6th of 22, a wonderful experience.
Native Coll (Kit)
And now, a rant, apologies in advance and you are certainly forgiven if you don't want to read it .... The sour note of the day was definitely Jamie getting disqualified and fined for taking one step into the changing room (watched by the Stewards) prior to remembering that he needed to weigh in. It seems petty to disqualify a Corinthian of the p2p circuit on this basis, it would never have happened under rules (where he would have been guided to the scales) and it caused serious dissent in the weighing room particularly after the controversial fining of Steven Fox last week in similarly petty circumstances. It appears to me that there is a danger of p2p Stewards trying to busy themselves in order to avoid dealing with the more complicated and serious issues, it was bizarre that they didn't even interview Kit after a such a nasty incident.  As the Owners and Riders representative in the Northern Area (a role which I sadly no longer have time to do justice) I have raised many issues over the past few years to little avail, too many unnecessary and expensive minute abandonments, some meetings run like chaotic gymkhanas and some serious safety issues.  This is an amateur sport but it needs to be run professionally, it's dangerous. At the last fence yesterday Kit was fortunate to come out of a horrible run-out at the last unscathed. At exactly the same jump last year Lucy had a horrendous fall on Aggies Lad, Lucinda's Bear Dancing did the same thing at the same fence, is this a coincidence? - I think not. Native Coll is extremely experienced, this was his 34th race and he leads all our youngsters schooling, Aggies Lad was similarly experienced..... I could go on!
Flaming Thistle
Well, thought Lucy was coming home tonight after a week on the road, just had her on the phone, Southwell tomorrow....... and Kit is about to jump on a series of trains to Newmarket where he is due to attend a course which, if he passes, will allow him to ride against professionals on the racecourse.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Hail the North (and let's not forget Kauto)

Going in to this week I was heard to bemoan the concentration of the best horses at the big Southern trainers compared with a few years ago when the Northern circuit could expect to come away with a handful of winners; how wrong I was and how delighted I am to be proved wrong, a fantastic week for the North at Cheltenham, six winners, more than the Irish and including two genuine Championship races today, I am so pleased for the McCains, Cindy & Scu and the team at Arlary, John Quinn, Malcolm Jefferson and of course the jockeys, most particularly Campbell Gillies and Harry Haynes, and from such a relatively small pool of less expensive horses, top achievers and I trust that Mr Wylie was eating his "there aren't any trainers in the North" words as he watched his horse he sent from the North to be trained in Ireland fail to peg back the awesome Brindisi Breeze. One day I hope to be there with them but for now I salute them (and raise a glass perhaps?), I look forward to seeing them all at Newcastle tomorrow.........

Go Kauto!

A long drive home from the cauldron in the Cotswolds yesterday but another exhilarating day's racing with the highlight being a fantastic fourth win for Big Bucks in the World Hurdle, the collective joy of the crowd when this horse won is what National Hunt racing is all about; people with no financial interest or allegiance to the connections join together to celebrate the horse, pure and simple, and it creates an electric atmosphere that I don't think you will find anywhere else, I can hardly bear to think about what it will be like today if the mighty Kauto can pull it off, I feel extraordinarily nervous about a race with which I only have an emotional connection.
Of course Lucy's riding there as well, Bocciani for Brian Ellison in the 4.40 and then the well fancied De Boitron in the 5.15, gulp.
I trod wearily upstairs late last night but very happy to be back in amongst our horses this morning, we have a busy and important weekend ahead, the horses seem in excellent order and a huge credit should go to the team here who have managed brilliantly despite 3 staff being off sick this week, various others have come in to help exercise the horses and everyone has pulled together, well done!

Forcefield wins at Newcastle in November
Bit of a logistical challenge tomorrow thanks to not very clever scheduling; at Newcastle we run Forcefield in the 4.15, 16 run, Peter Buchanan rides and the ground will be good, we then run Isla Pearl Fisher in the 4.50, 8 run and Peter rides again, I hope both will run well; meanwhile just up the road at Kelso we run Native Coll, Flaming Thistle and Mersey at the Buccleuch Point to Point. Lucy is at Uttoxeter where she rides Posh Bird (good name???) in the Midlands National at 3.20, she also rides Bar de Ligne in the 2.45, Santinho in the 4.25 and Walkabout Creek in the 5.30. We have no runners at Carlisle on Sunday but Lucy rides Formulation in the 2.30, Turbolinas in the 3.30, Zitenka in the 4.00 and Pete in the 4.30...... hmm, better to be busy I suppose!
The imperious Isla Pearl Fisher
Dangerous Dan lost in action on the track yesterday, last seen spending his tipsters fees (ill-gotten?) in the champagne bar, after this week's record I'm not sure anyone will want me to find a replacement, I suggest we all just sit back and enjoy.......
Lucy comes in after her first ride at Cheltenham on Riguez Dancer

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Dangerous Dan

We run SeekingPower in the 3.35 at Hexham today, 11 run, Callum Whillans rides and the ground is on the easy side of good. Just touched off in this race last year we have been waiting for this renewal for a month or two, would prefer softer ground but he goes there fresh and well and I hope he will run a big race. Great winner over at Huntingdon yesterday for lucy and today she rides Red Tanber in the 1.30 at Cheltenham, they have won five together this season but this will be a step too far, tremendous to have a ride in a genuine championship race though, later she rides Charingworth in the 4pm, a very competitive looking race.
That Geordie fellow disappeared after tipping a couple of winners yesterday, replaced today by Dangerous Dan who has descended from the Highlands to share his wisdom....
1.30: Peddlers Cross (166), Solix (164)
2.05: Sergent Guibs (167), Pineau De Re (166)
2.40: Riverside Theatre (174), Medermit (172)
3.20: Big Bucks (177), Thousand Stars (165)
4.00: Nice One Frankie (168), Giorgio Quercus (162)
4.40: Adam's Island (150), Up the Beat (149)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Tumultuous day at Cheltenham yesterday with usual maelstrom of emotions, highs, lows, catching up with friends - a great first spin for lucy round the track finishing 8th at 40-1. Today she is off to Huntingdon where she rides Black Cache in the 1.45, Himrayn in the 3.35 and Go Amwell in the 4.15 - Mrs A and I will be cheering her in from the on course bookies at Cheltenham.
Sorry about Optimistic Oliver, he has returned to his Palace in the Peak District with his tail between his legs, a failed tipster. Found another one though, Geordie George steps up to the plate today.... As ever, tread warily.....

1.30 Teaforthree (157), Harry the Viking (156)
2.05: Simonsig (159), Sous Les Sioux (153)
2.40: Grands Crus (176), Bob's Worth (168)
3.20: Sizing Europe (178), Big Zeb (170)
4.00: Poole Master (165), Balgarry (160)
4.40: Kazlian (140), Vendor (138)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Optimistic Oliver

Met a new potential private handicapper in the bar last night, here are his selections for today:
1.30- Galileo's Choice (156), Darlan (154)
2.05- Sprinter Sacre (177), Cue Card (168)
2.40- Zarrafakt (167), Pentiffic (164)
3.20- Hurricane Fly (175), Binocular (173)
4.00- Gone to Lunch (161), Scotsirish (161)
4.40- Quevega (166), Swincombe Flame (148)
5.15- Carrickboy (152), Hunt Ball (148)
Tread warily!!!
Snippet on news last night from Kinneston, see it here, fast forward to 24:30.

Monday, 12 March 2012


A fine dry morning and plenty of work for the horses in the two schools and the all weather, rapid drive down the M6 and herenwe are in the bar looking forward to a great week's racing, have lost touch with Fabbie Frank so we won't have to put up with his awful tips, last heard of in the Caribbean playing online poker 24 7 I think, am hoping to persuade another private handicapper to give me some guidance though, might not be able to pay hotel bill otherwise, suggestions hopefully published here each morning.
Tomorrow Lucy rides Riguez Dancer in the 2.40 at Cheltenham, Mrs A will be suitably sedated!

Sunday, 11 March 2012


Plenty to look forward to after Ayr yesterday, Papamoa showed improved form to finish 3rd, he is just a bit high in the handicap at present, Tipsy Dara put up a brave effort to finish 4th, she struggled to travel with seasoned handicappers on only her third start over fences, Buffalo Ballet then came a close 2nd in the concluding bumper on ground conditions that were not in his favour, it was an excellent run considering he was squeezed out and lost all his momentum a furlong from home.
No luck pointing today and when I arrived home at 4.10 I passed Lucy on the drive heading off for a momentous week, Stratford  tomorrow where she rides On Gossamer Wings in the 2.40, then Cheltenham or Sedgefield on Tuesday, Huntingdon on Wednesday, Cheltenham Thursday and Friday, Newcastle Saturday and Carlisle Sunday... We are also heading to Cheltenham for the usual "busman's" on Tuesday and Wednesday then maybe Seeking Power at Hexham on Thursday if conditions don't dry out too much, home on Friday, Newcastle and Kelso p2p Saturday and maybe even Carlisle Sunday, really looking forward to it all, can't wait, dream result apart from Lucy............. the mighty Kauto of course.

Buffalo Ballet

Tipsy Dara


Saturday, 10 March 2012


I have to say I'm not sure I can take much more of this media pressure, photographers, journalists and film crews and two TV interviews for Trainer himself yesterday, didn't seem to want to talk about my horses though, cost cutting seems that role of trainer has now become "man that carries tripod for lady filming stable jockey" - well, we should enjoy it while it lasts, the interest has been intense and from what I know is "in the can" the next week is going to be extraordinary, of course the jockey herself is handling it with aplomb and focussing entirely on doing her job professionally, very mature, sometimes necessarily abrupt but always in the zone.  What has made me very happy is whilst the journalists etc have turned up here to see one person they have been unanimously impressed with what is going on here, the organisation and professionalism of the team and the calm purpose displayed by horses and people, they realise they may have stumbled across another story and I am sure that when we have the right horse they will be back.
Mounting up..

Little Glenshee
 An encouraging run from Little Glenshee on her hurdling debut yesterday, 4th of 13 at 33-1, doing her best work late on after some novicey jumping, Isla Patriot didn't seem to handle the deep ground but galloped to the line to finish 7th. Today we run Papamoa in the 2.50, 7 run and Lucy rides, this is the sort of race I have been looking for all season for him and he seems very well but I am just beginning to wonder if I am barking up the wrong tree ground wise with him. We then run Tipsy Dara (Lucy) in the 3.25, 8 run, she ran well over course and distance last time, she is in good heart and this doesn't look as competitive, we then run Buffalo Ballet in the 5.40, 10 run and Lucy rides, I had been hoping to find some better ground for him but he needs to run and we will take our chance. Tomorrow we run Almost Blue at the College Valley p2p with Jamie on board, he ran well there last week and should improve on that.


Close up

Isla Patriot

In the bunch

Lucy had another fine winner yesterday on Stanley Bridge for Barry Murtagh and today she rides Last of the Bunch for him in the 4.35 and she rides Sophonie in the 4.00 and Desperate Dex in the 5.10 for Ferdy Murphy.  Pictures from yesterday courtesy of Frank Cornfield 
Cold Shoulder?

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Little Glenshee
Breezy but mainly dry today, a quieter day on the yeard with most of the horses hacking and a few of the summer horses having a spin on the grass gallop. We withdrew Tipsy Dara today after yet more overnight rain and will hope things dry up a little for Ayr on Saturday but I was delighted that Lucy won the race on Ferdy Murphy's Rich Lord, a timely winner if there ever was one.  Tomorrow at Ayr we run Little Glenshee in the 2.10, 13 run, Lucy rides and the ground will be soft, this looks like a warm race for her hurdling debut and education will be the key goal, we then run Isla Patriot in the 3.55, 11 run and Peter Buchanan rides, he ran a nice race over 2m 4f on similar ground at the track last time and if he improves for the step up in trip he should make his presence felt.
Isla Patriot

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

It appears...

to be snowing outside, a little sting in winter's tail as predicted but fine and dry this morning and last night's rain had freshened up the grass gallops nicely and ten horses worked including the six scheduled to run on Saturday and Sunday.  All worked well and legs feel good tonight so fingers crossed, no luck for Lucy today, 3 rides at Carlisle tomorrow, On the Right Path in the 2.10, Rich Lord in the 3.15 and Raggio's Boy in the 3.45, we have Tipsy Dara declared for the 3.15.

Buffalo Ballet (Gemma) and Tipsy Dara (Lucy)

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tension mounts...

Frosty start today but clouding over now, Friday's potential runners worked on our all-weather whilst the rest had a spin in the round school and then a less strenuous time up the gallop. 
A big week for us with some important runners at Ayr and a big ten days for Lucy as it now look as though she will have some rides at the Festival after an exceptionally busy week before that, she was home briefly last night having clocked 1700 miles in the previous six days, time to school Academy over the hurdles this morning before heading off to Newcastle for five rides this afternoon, at this stage it is crucial that she is available for as many trainers as possible and I just have to grab her when I can!  Tomorrow she is at Catterick with four rides; Rare Coincidence 2.20, Penton Hook 2.50, Mansonien L'As 3.50 and Seren Gris 5.20.

Racehorses on the beach
Lucy (red cap) with Ferdy and his Cheltenham squad relaxing on Redcar beach yesterday (another picture on page 10 of today's Telegraph.)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Frosty Monday

So, frosty today and out early on the rotovator to open things up, fine and dry so no problems and all the horses worked in both schools then up the gallop, more frost tomorrow then turning wet and windy. 
A really special day at Kelso on Saturday, our family day and I was thrilled that Lucy rode two seconds and a winner from her three rides, racking up her fifth win of the season on Red Tanber, I was also extremely pleased that at last the "Memorial Race" trophy stayed local and was won by Lucinda for a syndicate of local owners (she put a nice little bit on her website), this prize has gone South for too long, then in the last Four Fiddlers put in a career best effort to finish 2nd, with Lucy battling McCoy all the way up the straight, great stuff, then on to Edinburgh for the birthday celebrations, a splendid dinner, comfortable night in a hotel, an hour feeding the soul in St Giles Cathedral on Sunday morning followed by a long relaxing lunch - all perfect really.  Some great pictures of the day from thanks to Dennis Penny.........
Lucinda and owner Ronald Barbour recieve trophy (wrong one!) and carrots from Jamie

Kit and Commercial Express, slight improvement on his seasonal debut but something troubling him in the jumping department..

Four Fiddlers is just denied in the last by "AP" riding for "JP"

Four Fiddlers led in by Emma
Busy week with lots of imponderables regarding the ground etc, looks like Ayr on Fri & Sat then p2p at Alnwick on Sunday; probable runners are Little Glenshee, Isla Patriot, Academy, Papamoa, Tipsy Dara and Buffalo Ballet, Almost Blue and Mersey - also entered are Four Fiddlers, Seeking Power Forcefield and Isla Pearl Fisher - all quite confusing for trainer!
Lucy at Newcastle tomorrow for (gulp) 5 rides, see her rides here on her page at the Racing Post

Friday, 2 March 2012

There's nothing wrong....

First lot this morning (from right) Commercial Express (Holly - runs tomorrow), Tipsy Dara (Kelly runs next week), Academy (Lucy runs next week), Isla Pearl Fisher (Amy runs next week), Four Fiddlers (Emma runs tomorrow) Papamoa (Gemma runs next week) and Flaming Thistle (Juleen)
 ... with a good thick neck.. Good Lord, shower of rain last night, whatever next, can't remember what the stuff looked like, almost welcome. Useful morning on the all-weather today, all seem good and sound, big week ahead starting with what promises to be an emotional day at Kelso tomorrow. Some excellent racing including our sponsorship of the Cyril Alexander Memorial, 20 years since he died and I am sure he would be chuffed to have two grandchildren riding at the meeting
Academy, hopefully makes his stable debut next Saturday at Ayr - hasn't been clipped all winter - how odd is that?
We run Commercial Express with Kit on board in the 4.45, 9 run and the ground will be on the dead side of good then in the 5.20 we run Four Fiddlers with Lucy on top, 11 run. We are hoping that Commercial Express can put his disappointing seasonal debut behind him, he will certainly strip a bit fitter; with Four Fiddlers it will be interesting to see if he improves with a step up in distance and this is his handicap debut though he doesn't look obviously well treated. Lucy also rides Kealigolane in the 1.55 and Red Tamber in the 3.05, we will then head for Edinburgh to celebrate Mrs A's birthday though Lucy will be away early on Sunday to Sedgefield where she has four rides, not much celebrating for her!
Papamoa, aiming for Ayr next Saturday
 We will also be celebrating the latest narrow escape in the never-ending saga of the dogs, last night the aged Tarka disappeared, couldn't find her anywhere, left the office door open for her and there she was this morning with the snare below wrapped tightly round her neck... hmmm

The snare - lovely....

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Loss Leaders?

Glorious spring day, warm and sunny, bizarre, 8mm water applied to Kelso should result in perfect ground, quiet here with a few having a gentle canter but most having a decent hack out in the spring sunshine after working yesterday.  Hoping to have a couple of runners at Kelso then lots at Carlisle and Ayr next week, horses seem well, two new arrivals this morning, Mersey from the Alners in Dorset to go pointing for Jamie and Balwylo from the Haslams in Middleham to see if a change of scene can enable him to find some form, we'll do our best.  Lucy back very late from Southwell last night and off before light to ride out for Jim Goldie, I can hear her packing her car again now after a couple of hours at home, she is heading to Doncaster for one ride tomorrow, Invent in the claiming hurdle at 2.30, five hours each way, it's first run over obstacles, almost every jockey will travel anywhere for one ride on the basis that you never know what it might lead to.....