Thursday, 30 June 2011

Huge Day

A fine morning and after so much unsettled weather we need a "window" to make the haylage, I have decided to trust the forecast and have pressed the button to mow about 40 acres today, 3 dry days then required to have it all wrapped up for the winter.... I will be watching the sky.
Splendid racing at Perth yesterday afternoon and today we have John Dudgeon's 80th birthday party at the track with the John Dudgeon Happy Birthday Handicap Hurdle at 3.20 in which his colours will be making a welcome reappearance aboard Traffic Article trained by Gordon Elliot and ridden by the inimitable Paul Carberry, its a competitive race but this could be huge......... Lucy is riding Danny John Boy in the same race for Barry Murtagh; she then rides Floreana for the Boswells in the 3.50 and Scotch Warrior for Mike Smith in the 4.20. Regular readers will be aware that she recently moved to Yorkshire for the summer to be nearer where she was expecting to be riding, a little ironic then that this week she should be at Perth, back down tonight but hopefully at Ayr on Sunday by which time she will have turned 21. She won't stop to celebrate but I feel that her real coming of age is today; three rides in handicaps for three different trainers against Walsh, Carberry etc. We have very mixed feelings watching her ride but have to be pleased that her hard work is being recognised on such a public stage..... Fingers crossed this afternoon!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Summer Jumping

Two year old's trotting & cantering so now ready to go back out to grass for the rest of the summer, Lucy off to work for Kevin Ryan in Yorkshire for a month or two, trainer staring at his haylage fields hoping that weather dries up soon and wondering whether he is too old to go to watch Coldplay at T in the Park after stunning show at Glasto last night;  few more fatties coming in tomorrow to start on the walker and 'tis the season of Highland Show, Game Fair, sports days, school plays and prizegivings and lets not forget the HUGE day at Perth on Thursday - a very special party that day.
A minor rant.......... I had of course hoped to have kept a few horses on the go over the summer but the three I had in mind are all now resting (may appear at the end of August).  Until now there has been a reasonable spread of fixtures but even Sedgefield, Hexham & Wetherby are taking a break and after this week we only have 4 fixtures at Perth , 4 at Cartmel and a couple at Sedgefield between now and 23rd September, that's 10 fixtures spread sporadically over 12 weeks.  Ideally one would have top of the ground types on the go but with the (rightly) watered ground as soon as there is any rain it turns soft and if they have to miss a race because of the ground there might be nothing for them for another six weeks, it is impossible to justify keeping them on the go on this basis let alone thinking of having a few more in.  Racegoers at Perth will wonder why there are so few locally trained runners and so many from Ireland, this is the reason!  In Ireland they have a rounded programme of jump racing through the summer so their trainers can keep a certain type of horse on the go, I don't know how they live with the transport costs though and I can't understand how Gordon Elliot can have 4 horses rated around 130 entered in a selling hurdle. In the past one might have thought of travelling South with them but with increased transport costs and sharply reduced prize money that is also impossible to justify - even at a "big" meeting such at today's Summer National card at Uttoxeter there are races on the card where the winning owner will end up with about £1350.  I may try to have a few on the go next summer but they will need to be dual purpose horses that can run on the flat as well.  I'm all for summer jumping but we need a bit more of it in the North otherwise it will just become even more of an Irish benefit.
Anyway the ironic thing is our winter horses are starting to come back in and within a couple of weeks the yard will be full of fresh but rested horses starting again with a view to being ready to rock and roll at the end of September......   

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A brief interlude...

So, the summer solstice, 12 degrees and half an inch of rain already on an easterly wind, no water shortage here, only horses being ridden are the two year olds, all stables disinfected and repainted, barns mucked out and final stages of the annual spring-clean being completed.
I can become a little wistful at this time of year, whilst it's nice to rebalance one's life a little there is an adjustment process and I miss the continuous adrenaline that makes the 24-7 lifestyle such rewarding fun for most of the year.  I have a stack of office work to catch up on and I definitely need the time out to do this; could I train full-on 365 days a year? Answer is, probably, but other aspects of life would suffer.

Skipping Chapel (by Minster Son ex Harrietfield - rather well named!)

It is also time to say goodbye to a few horses and this afternoon it was the turn of Skipping Chapel who I delivered to his retirement home; it will be his first night off the farm after 10 years here but he deserves an easier time.  Although unsound in his earlier years he showed plenty of promise until his wind intervened, since then its been a bit of a battle and whatever we achieved this season in terms of winning races and improving horses I think that winning a couple of point-to-points with Skipping Chapel probably tops the lot and on the way he ended up giving Kit his first winner and brightening up a wet meeting at Balcormo - a real credit to the team as he was unsound of limb and wind as well as being extremely headstrong.  He now joins previous Kinneston luminaries Hayaain, Our Men and Fearless Footsteps to graze the Cunnoquhie hills overlooking the Howe of Fife under the careful watch of former employee Jacqui.... adieu mon ami...
Pull yourself together Alexander, back to normal,  Lucy rides Eastwell Smiles for Sophie Leech in the GB vs Ireland Lady Riders race at 8.40 at Newton Abbott this evening, after that it looks like she is going to head to Yorkshire for a while, probably working for Kevin Ryan but hoping to continue to ride in races all over the country.

With no runners from this yard until late August I will only be updating the blog ocassionally and won't be pestering those of you that are updated by email, in the unlikely event that you are interested in being alerted when it is updated then please register to follow either via twitter or facebook, just search and/or befriend kinneston on either.
One other thing to get off my chest before I sign off (is anyone still reading?)... with little happening here and the children scattered around the country I decided to take Mrs A away for a night last weekend as a treat and we ended up in the rather splendid  Hotel Missoni, a marvellous place but my enjoyment was slightly tempered by a conversation with the receptionist as I was checking out.  In response to my enquiring as to how trade was she said they were delighted because 50-70 rooms are block-booked every weekday night for months on end by a high profile management consultancy whose staff go "a bit mad" with their expense accounts whilst they undertake a long term restructuring project closeby.  I have no doubt whatsoever that they are picking up the pieces of the messy merger between HBOS and Lloyds, wonderful, its good to know that some people are benefitting from the bail out of the banks as the rest of the nation feels some rather more painful consequences.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Weather doing a very good impersonation of a nasty day in February, long walk up the hill to inspect forestry and we return like the proverbial used teabags, never mind, more great racing on this afternoon and here is Frank's offering.......
2.30: n/a
3.05: Await the Dawn (95), Campanologist (90), Drunken Sailor (87), Calvados Blues (85)
3.45: Star Witness (88), Bewitched (83), Hooray (81), Hitchens (80)
4.25: Mac's Power (80), Hoof It (70), Deacon Blues (69), Imperial Guest (69)
5.00: Sharaayeen (88), Life and Soul (85), Fox Hunt (81), Blissful Moment (75)
5.35: Swingkeel (91), Elyaadi (89), Deutschland (84), Degas Art (81)

Friday, 17 June 2011

More Ladies

Another great day's racing at Ascot yesterday and another Ladies Day today at Musselburgh where Lucy rides Oddsmaker for Maurice Barnes in the 5.40.  Exhilarating stuff yesterday, how extraordinary to name a horse Fame and Glory and end up winning the Ascot Gold Cup (not to forget another few Group Ones on the way) and a wonderfully emotional interview with Michael Owen after his winner in the last, watch it here if you missed it.  Lots of whip bans in the big races this week, going to become increasingly topical
So McIlroy has a 4 shot lead in the US Open, if he's still in that position on Sunday night who will be able to bear to watch after what happened in Augusta - not me but let's hope that experience hasn't left any scars.
Quiet here now with only Amulree being ridden & the two year olds, a few on the walker and resting. Disinfecting & repainting of all the boxes is on schedule and should be complete by the end of next week; as for Frank, only one winner yesterday thanks to chaged ground, pressure's on.....
2.30: n/a

3.05: n/a
3.45: Together (100), More than Real (87), Maqaasid (83), Nova Hawk (81)
4.25: Green Destiny (87), Beachfire (85), Lost in the Moment (80), Spanish Duke (78)
5.00: n/a
5.35: Our Jonathan (88), Docofthebay (85), Advanced (85), Free for All (70)

Michael Owen (right!)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ladies Day

Not only at Royal Ascot but also at Ripon where Lucy rides Bright Sparky for Mick Easterby in the 4.30, their "Ladies Derby."  I am especially pleased that Mick has put her up, apart from being a top trainer and legend in his own time, he was a great friend and partner in crime of her late Grandfather's; I'm not sure if he's made the conection, hopefully he will do today.
Mick Easterby
Meanwhile I think Frank has being doing OK on the basis of an e/w on his first two selections, here we go for today
2.30: n/a

3.05: Banimpire (99), Rumh (93), Zain Al Boldan (87), Dorcas Lane (87)
3.45: Duncan (92), Tastahil (91), Fame and Glory (88), Manighar (84)
4.25: Chain Lightning (98), Ashva (78), Common Touch (76), Tropical Beat (69)
5.00: Laajooj (94), Tazahum (93), Moriarity (83), Alkimos (82)
5.35: Malthouse (85), Danadana (85), Mica Mika (85), Charles Camoin (83)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Room for improvement

Wonderful racing on Day One at Royal Ascot but I am afraid the two feature races were slightly tainted by firstly Peslier being 2lb overweight on Goldikova and then Queally riding a most bizarre race on Frankel.  Canford Cliffs won cosily enough but we will never know whether 2lb less might have delivered a 14th Group One for the mare, talented as he may be it was appalling that Peslier was firstly a pound overweight and then revealed to have swapped his boots after weighing out to add another 1lb that nobody knew about - to be fined a few hundred pounds for such a high profile offence is simply a joke.  As for Queally, we will never know what his instructions were but I could never imagine one of the top jockeys riding a race like this, I am certain that if he had held on to Frankel for another 2f he would have looked much more impressive and I am equally certain that the private debrief from the trainer last night would have been somewhat different to the public version, it will be interesting to see if Juddmonte are happy to put him up again next time.... I think yesterday's run devalued the horse. Anyway, enough of that, onwards, "Sir"' Frank's selections for today...
2.30: Codemaster (95), Havane Smoker (94), Oracle (91), Fury (82)
3.05: Sajjhaa (94), I'm a Dreamer (91), Lolly for Dolly (86), Seta (82)
3.45: So You Think (96), Planteur (93), Rewilding (91), Twice Over (86)
4.25: Kay Gee Be (83), Julienas (80), Proponent (75), Pintura (74)
5.00: n/a
5.35: Winter's Night (97), Rhythm of Light (94), Dubai Queen (89), Humdrum (84)

The brilliant Peslier - but oops yesterday!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Arise Sir Frank

well, here he is, Fabby back in his new guise having decided he should be elevated - not yet, say I, ideas beyond his station!  Anyway "Sir" Frank's suggestions for Day One at a Meeting full of so much promise.......

2.30: Canford Cliffs (98), Goldikova (96), Cape Blanco (88), Cityscape (86)

3.05: Sole Power (96), Kingsgate Native (95), Prohibit (81), War Artist (79)
3.45: Frankel (100), Dubawi Gold (89), Dream Ahead (88), Grand Prix Boss (85)
4.25: n/a
5.00: Ashbrittle (80), Australia Day (89), Zigato (77), Veiled (76), Junior (76)
5.35: n/a

Glorious summer morning here, cool & bright, not much to ride as most now on summer break but yard still seems busy with redcorating, a couple being broken etc.........

Monday, 13 June 2011


Fifteen love to the oldies at the Point-to-Point dinner, last out of the marquee and first in for breakfast, Mrs A showing plenty of form leaving the youngsters trailing in her wake and looking rather green on Sunday morning, she can show 'em...
A splendid party and I was delighted to collect an award on behalf of the Fife Hunt and, somewhat ironically, the best horse award on behalf of Peter Russell's Badger Foot, my speech was suitably effusive.  I haven't looked at how big the cheque is but the prizes are all well worth winning, Kit collected a very smart racing saddle along with a historic trophy bedecked with familiar names, some of which have gone on in the sport, others of which, well, haven't...
The Queen's Birthday Honours gave much pleasure for a variety of reasons, from a racing perspective the honouring of Henry Cecil was wonderful, do read this article in yesterday's Observer and don't miss the awesome Frankel tomorrow in the 3.45 at Ascot, sadly we will be watching courtesy of the BBC having been eliminated from the Ascot Stakes, at least we tried, but worry not, I do believe Fabby Frank is dusting off his laptop and will be producing his usual list of suggestions after a summer immersed in academia.
Sir Henry with his roses

Friday, 10 June 2011

Moving on...

Glorious morning, horses cantering on the riverbank and two year olds by Generous and Desert King brought in from grass to start being broken on Monday.  No runners from here this weekend but Lucy has her first ride live on Channel 4 when she partners Baralaka for Duncan Davidson and Rose Dobbin in the 2.10 at York.  This horse was useful last summer for Sir Mark Prescott and is returning to the flat for the first time since in one of the feature races of the season for Lady Riders, apart from the usual prizes the winning jockey receives her weight in champagne which sounds rather marvellous to me; if anyone spots someone behaving rather strangely yelling at the TV in the Dormy House at Gleneagles at 2.10pm tomorrow afternoon that will be why!
Later in the day we hope to be reunited at the North's annual Point-to-Point Awards Dinner in Northumberland where I am delighted that Kit will be receiving the prize for Leading Novice Rider (coincidentally very kindly sponsored by Duncan Davidson). It went right to the wire this season and Kit won by virtue of his two thirds at the second last fixture; in point-to-points this season he managed 3 wins, 3 seconds and 3 thirds with his two horses who haven't been stabled all winter but lived together "rough" in a barn....

Commercial Express, Kit and Skipping Chapel
Disappointing that it doesn't look as though Daasij will make the cut on Tuesday, will be declared just in case, looking at this though maybe hurdling will be his forte...... I shall have to wait again for my first runner on the flat
Daasij at Cartmel

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Daasij (right) at Hexham
Daasij has been given a mark of 82 for the Ascot Stakes, a pound or two below what I think will be needed to get in to the race; we will prepare him as if he is running and hope for a deluge that will put others off and create perfect conditions for him, if it doesn't rain then I suspect we shouldn't be running anyway and the whole process has certainly opened my mind up to what he might be able to do in the future.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A fine place to start...

Ho, ho, ho - I've never had a runner on the flat but I have just entered Daasij at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, and, no, I haven't lost my marbles - his flat form is well up to it and although he's been mixing it in a much lower grade over hurdles he is clearly in great heart, there is only one problem and that's the, err, trainer - does he have a clue?  Probably not but I can't see what's wrong with the idea apart from it seems completely and utterly bonkers, oh well, a few (more) sleepless nights beckon and of course, it will need to rain but they've had 35mm in the last three days and the forecast is unsettled (wouldn't have entered otherwise).
Only Daasij and Amulree being exercised now, The Paddy Premium having a little break after his win on Sunday and the rest all at grass.  The joy of seeing them relaxing is tempered by watching several of them looking increasingly pregnant and once again Seeking Power has stolen the show by turning into an elephant, I therefore had to bring him in yesterday and the scales proved my point, he has put on 50kg in 3 weeks, restricted grazing and the walking machine for him, seems like a long time until Hexham in October....

Monday, 6 June 2011

More Celebrations!

The Paddy Premium
 Fantastic atmosphere at Perth yesterday with the best part of 12,000 people enjoying competitive racing;  I was absolutely delighted that The Paddy Premium won the 2 mile handicap chase for Mark Fleming and me with Ryan Mania on board, it was an important winner for all of us and the horse received a tremendous welcome to the winner's enclosure which was very special. I'm not quite sure why he was 20-1, perhaps because he is 11 and had never won a chase, let's hope he can progress from here. Lucy finished a good 4th on Scotch Warrior who was outpaced but stayed on strongly
As for celebrating, well, a 19yo Frenchman may have stopped our nation from celebrating royal victory in the Derby and some may disapprove of his extravagant and risky gesture as he crossed the line but for me it was such a wonderful spontaneous outburst after a brilliant run from an awesomely talented horse that I can forgive the exuberance of youth, so different from the reserved trainer - great stuff, there was so much theatre in the build up to the race, I was completely enthralled.
Pour Moi

Friday, 3 June 2011

Two Pads

Well, Mrs A came up trumps with an iPad2 for the big day and my present to myself from the Farm account was this different sort of pad, not quite as useful as the other one..
the pad
Please note the colour of the sky - a most fantastic day here today, a thoroughly welcome change, slightly weary yesterday after so many trips to and from Cartmel but re-invigorated by Clare's end of exams lunch at Castle Terrace - seriously good, a rising star. On the subject of eating, amongst many lovely presents received the elder daughter came up trumps with a Tasting Menu for Two at Scotland's very best restaurant, Martin Wishart, though apparently I have to take Mrs A rather than go twice by myself.

The Paddy Premium warms up for Perth on the Riverbank
I digress, sorry, this is meant to be about horses; at Cartmel on Wednesday Commercial Express finished 5th having been sent off favourite, he didn't look happy jumping off the loose watered ground and never really got into it, Lucy finished a close 2nd on Floreana, might have won had she not been badly hampered on the home bend, gave her a taste of her first Stewards Enquiry.  The previous evening at Redcar the illusion that watching her flat racing rather than jumping was going to cause less parental stress was shattered when the horse she was riding lay down in the stalls prior to rearing a couple of times, oh dear, its going to be a long summer.  On Sunday we run The Paddy Premium for Mark Fleming in the 3.30 at Perth, 8 run, Ryan Mania rides and the ground will be on the quick side of good, he ran very well over course and distance last time and if he can reproduce that on the faster ground he shouldn't be far away.  Lucy rides Scotch Warrior for Mike Smith in the same race.
Some pics from Kinneston yesterday and this morning, I absolutely love seeing the horses out relaxing in a big herd - it is their natural environment, they run with the cattle, have masses of space, excellent grass, plenty of shelter when needed and are checked twice a day and have a bowl of Medlocks finest oats just to keep them a little hard. They work so hard for us all winter that they thoroughly enjoy their rest.... come and see them!
Daasij - relaxing after completing his hat-trick

Mooching about

Some still at work....

Almost Blue and Native Coll

Desert King 2yo

Fleet Fox; Solsgirth & Northern Flame in background 

Little Glenshee