Sunday, 31 July 2011


Scotch Warrior (Lucy) leads the field at Perth
 A week of glorious weather and a productive time with 15 horses being exercised for about 75 mins each day; lots of walking and trotting, afternoons out in the field in the sun, and plenty of grub; important goundwork ahead of a long season, some will start cantering this week.  Lucy continues to be busy, two rides at Thirsk yesterday produced a 16-1 3rd and tomorrow (Monday) she heads to Carlisle for 3 rides at the ultimate Ladies night, an all lady rider pro-am card with Alexandra Burke playing after racing, they sold all 10,000 tickets for the evening some time ago, extraordinary. Gordon the gormless gnome will have headed back to the Alps with his satchel bulging after a productive Goodwood (£162 profit to a £10e/w stake he tells me), having been there on Thursday I can see why he loves the place, he moans that he can't bet in Swiss francs, puts the pressure on his cousin Frank who will no doubt insist on me giving him some airtime for the Ebor meeting at York. Doncaster Sales on Tuesday with an important order to fill, meanwhile, scenes from Kinneston yesterday........ 
Four Fiddlers (Emma)

Flamimg Thistles admires his new surroundings

The Paddy Premium (Emma), Isla Pearl Fisher (Kit) Buffalo Ballet (Holly) Seeking Power (Jen) and Little Glenshee (Lucy)

Isla Patriot, Four Fiddlers and Ocarina

Four Fiddlers
Capital Venture

Heading home

Nearly there!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Glorious finale...

Another great day for Gordon yesterday, getting the winners of 3 races and 2nd in the other two. Today looks a bit harder...

2.05: Thunderball (91-NAP), Quasi Congaree (75)
2.35: Icon Dream (86), Classic Vintage (86)
3.10: Crystal Capella (95), Midday (94)
3.45: Tajneed (80), Fathsta (75), Colonel Mak (70)
4.20: n/a
4.55: n/a
5.35: Guest Book (87), Audemar (84)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Gordon the Great....

haha, he's a bit full of himself after getting the winners of four races yesterday and second in the other two, a return of over £185 to a level £10 each way stake! Oh well, bound to go pear-shaped today...

2.00: Drunken Sailor (93), Jukebox Jury (92), Redwood (92)
2.35: Neebras (98), Western Aristocrat (96)
3.10: Green Destiny (85), Proponent (80), Highland Knight (80)
3.45: n/a
4.20: n/a
4.50: Chachamaidee (92), Dever Dream (84)
5.25: Quality Art (93), Albany Rose (85)

NAP: Reverse Forecast Neebras-Western Aristocrat

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Goodness gracious me...

all summer we have been wondering, just wondering, if Frankel is something very very special; yesterday's awesome display at Goodwood went a long way to confirming that. However much of a jumps aficionado I may be I find the purest excitement from horseracing comes from sublime moments of pure speed, just fantastic.  And a 10-1 winner from good old Gormless.
Lucy's rides were both non-runners at Perth, the sudden heatwave caused the ground to dry up very quickly, on Tuesday night Scotch Warrior ran well for a long way but tired on the run in and pulled up sore, Pete was a close third. A busy bee she will be this weekend with rides at Musselburgh on Friday, Thirsk on Saturday and Carlisle on Monday, meanwhile back to Gordon.....

2.15: Oceanway (97), Chain Lightning (94)
2.45: Masamah (91), Noble Storm (91)
3.15: Opinion Poll (93), Fox Hunt (84)
3.45: Wild Coco (96), Meeznah (94)
4.20: n/a
4.55: Dimension (93), Tuscania (90)
5.25: Aldwick Bay (94), Kinyras (83)

BANKER: Wild Coco 2/1 William Hill

NAP: Wild Coco-Meeznah reverse forecast

Gormless by name...

gormless by nature, today's selections..........

2.00: Royal Diamond (86), Bowdler's Magic (81)

2.35: n/a
3.10: Canford Cliffs (98), Frankel (97)
3.45: Tanfeeth (97), Arch Fire (90)
4.20: n/a
4.55: Lutine Bell (93), Webbow (88)
5.30: Valencha (95), Ken's Girl (85)
NAP: 3.45-Tanfeeth @ 13/2

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Oh no

it's Goodwood again and the gnome of Zurich is back in the country for his favourite meeting and has requested that he be allowed to act as a guest tipster on the blog, so here we go, another year of Gormless Gordon's Goodwood Greats....... I think the recommendation is a modest e/w tipple on his first two selections.......... I've been quite clear, make us a profit or "you're fired"
2.00: Our Joe Mac (91), All Action (89), Circumvent (81)

2.35: Slumber (95), Fiorente (95), Namibian (91), Hunter's Light (89)
3.10: Strong Suit (99-NAP), Red Jazz (89), Libranno (87)
3.45: n/a
4.20: n/a
4.50: Viva Vettori (83), Guest Book (80), Charlie Cool (74)
5.25: Arganil (85), Admirable Duchess (84), Noodles Blue Boy (81)
See what I mean, laid back or what? Forcefield & Four Fiddlers showing plenty of enthusiasm for their morning exercise!
I omitted to mention that Lucy has one other ride this evening at Perth, Over the Clyde for Willie Young in the 7.35.  Tomorrow she rides Frontier Lad for Mike Smith in the 2.55 and Danny John Boy for Barry Murtagh in the 5.15.  Our lorry will be up at Perth this evening to collect Flaming Thistle who is joining the stable from Nicky Richards in the hope that the point-to-point field will allow this smart horse to find his confidence prior to returning under rules next spring. Some other pics taken at Kinneston this morning, in order that I avoid becoming a complete pest Gordon's updates and other news this week will be posted on the blog but not alerted via email.......... good luck!
New arrivals Ocarina and Capital Venture


First lot heading out, watched by (from right) Northern Flame, Papamoa, Fleet Fox & Daasij

Monday, 25 July 2011

Summer at last....

Glorious weather today, more hay being made, 15 horses out hacking and trotting - all looking relaxed and well.  Lucy had a great weekend being placed in the two big Ladies Races, 2nd on her first ride at Ascot on Saturday and then 3rd in the Ladies Derby at Carlisle yesterday.  She will be up at Perth this week, tomorrow riding Scotch Warrior in the 8.40 for Mike Smith and Pete in the 9.10 for Barry Murtagh and hopefully picking up a couple of rides on Wednesday.
Scotch Warrior - through the hail!
I listened to Lucy's race from a very special restaurant Domaine de Capelongue where we were enjoying the centrepiece of  my old friend Cree's 50th birthday celebrations with a motley crew assembled from around the globe, I think one could call it a 24 hour "gastrobinge"  - great fun but I was back here in time for evening stables on Sunday and the weigh-in wasn't too disastrous.  Always good to be back and I am always surprised by what I notice even if I have only been away for 48 hours, this time I was struck by how chilled out all the horses seem to be, the yard was spotless and there is a sense of order and routine about the yard that seems to have the horses feeling very at ease with themselves - much more so than usual, I'm not sure what it is, quite a few are living together in pairs in the barns still, maybe that helps, it was an experiment I started last year with one or two worriers, it seemed to work and now that I don't have (quite) so many young horses about the place I can role out the concept further.  Whatever it is long may it last.
I was happy to have missed such a disastrous King George, I have read plenty about it since and was taken by John Gosden's remarks re adrenaline overcoming pain, I remember when a promising horse I had called Fearless Foursome shattered his pastern as I was riding him on Lucinda's gallop.  I held him for some time whilst we waited for the vet then xrayed prior to putting him down, I was convinced that horse suffered no pain despite a catastrophic injury, he  munched some grass and was completely calm.
If you need cheering up after such a grim weekend on so many fronts watch this, and apologies if you've already seen it.......funny talking animals   sorry, very silly!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

BBC bias?

The  BBC definitely has an axe to grind against racing; on a day when there was plenty of news about (to say the least) they chose to give prominence to Howard Johnson's case at the BHA as one of the headlines on the 10pm news and use it as an excuse to regurgitate issues regarding the whip and the Grand National, yet they persistently refuse to give coverage to any of the good news stories emanating from the sport of which there are plenty as the sport enjoys another vintage flat season.  They've dropped 80% of their coverage, have been allowed to keep the crown jewels and they trash the sport prominently whenever they have the slightest excuse......... grr - speak up for us Clare and Cornelius!
Anyway perhaps they can redeem themselves a little in my eyes by showing a recording of the 1.30 at Ascot on Saturday as part of their King George coverage, I hope so because Lucy is having her first ride at the track on Lightning Cloud  for Kevin Ryan in an ultra competitive 7f handicap.  Mr & Mrs A are  unable to attend as they are going to be at a 50th birthday party but will be trying to find a television somewhere, it's a fantastic opportunity for her to ride on one of the big days of the flat season at a world class track, on Sunday she is booked to ride in another valuable Ladies race, this time the Northern Ladies Derby, the feature race at Carlisle on Sunday.
Howard Johnson faces the music at the BHA yesterday
Back to Howard (yawn), his defence is that his vet told him you were allowed to carry out nerve desensitising in the lower limb and then race the horse, well, I am afraid if my vet had told me that I would have sought a second opinion straight away, I'm afraid this defence won't wash, the responsibility rests with the trainer and aside from horse welfare issues to endanger jockeys' lives in this way is very serious and I cannot see him being allowed to continue training, it's sad for Northern jump racing as I fear it will sour its largest patron of recent years in the form of Graham Wylie for whom the glory days of Inglis Drever must seem a remote memory at present.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Royal Portrush - maker of men!

After another glimpse of summer late last week a disappointing wet weekend, and today's not much better, however delighted to be riding horses again here this morning with 9 doing a little flat work in the school prior to a 40 minute hack, we won't hang about too much as they have had plenty of time on the walker and all being well we will have 15 cantering before too long.
Great excitement in the car in Cruden Bay golf club car park listening to the commentary of Lucy scything through the field to come from last to first to win her first flat race on Key Breeze at Beverley last week for her current boss Kevin Ryan, that was 3 out of 10 in 14 days which put her in the hot jockeys column in the RP, 2nd only to the mighty AP and ahead of all the flat jocks, big thrill, down to earth with a bump though at Cartmel on Thursday when Floreana fell at the 2nd fence. It's great to see all her hard work paying off and with luck she can continue to build a bit of momentum in an exceptionally competitive environment, this week she is hoping to ride at Ascot on Saturday and Carlisle on Sunday.

What a wonderful day yesterday for golf fans, seldom have I been so mesemerised by watching one man play a round of golf and seldom have I been so pleased by a result.  As a golfer I don't have much in common with Darren Clarke apart from being slightly portly and having a fondness for Portrush and the odd pint.  I am lucky enough to go there in the spring most years as part of a group of only quite talented golfers, we feel the place is very good for us though as the course is so difficult that it makes every other one appear so easy thereafter (ha ha)........  not so last week on our little golf tour of Aberdeenshire (Stonehaven - Newburgh - Cruden Bay - Newburgh - Murcar), having established a strong early lead fitness gradually crept in and by the 90th hole I was tailed off in a remote last place & barely able to walk, managed to get quite a red face thanks to the splendid weather and hospitality at the Udny Arms Hotel, a shadow of its former self but on its way back, Mr Trumps's architect has been living there for the last three years and now that Trump has shelved plans to build his own hotel the "Udny" must have a chance of a comeback.....

Monday, 11 July 2011


Perth has been remarkably kind to us this year and it came up trumps again yesterday when for the second meeting in a row Lucy won the feature race on Mike Smith's Scotch Warrior, it was a splendidly gritty performance in a race run in a hailstorm which then turned into torrential rain - couldn't wipe the smile off the faces of the winning connections though and a splendid pic in today's RP.
Speaking of newspapers the NOTW saga is becoming increasingly tiresome, I wouldn't underestimate the seriousness of the transgressions but the self obsession of the press is dull, NOTW may have had a circulation of 2.5m but that leaves about 57.5m of us who did't buy it, aren't going to miss it and aren't remotely sad about its demise.  If you happened to read the Telegraph rather than the NOTW this weekend then you may have read a article about the new wave of independent gins that are on the market - they missed the best one of the lot - Edinburgh Gin - have a look - I recommend it.  This week I am heading to Aberdeenshire for a few days golf before we become too busy here, no rest though for Lucy who returned to Yorkshire last night and is due to have her first ride for her new boss Kevin Ryan at Beverley tomorrow at 5pm, then she hopes to be at Cartmel (I'm missing Cartmel already...) on Thursday and will be trying very hard to find a ride in the big Ladies race at the Curragh on Sunday...
Scotch Warrier, pictures courtesy of Dennis Penny

Friday, 8 July 2011


Summer grazing below the Crags at Kinneston
 A busy and emotional week on the domestic front with youngest child Johnny leaving prep school on Wednesday, difficult not to be touched by how sad they all were to be leaving (in contrast, escaping from Colditz, aka Cargilfield, in 1974 was one of the happiest days of my childhood), then yesterday a 4.45am start to take younger daughter Clare to the airport for a solo trip to Mexico - very enterprising and I am sure she will be looked after fantastically well when she arrives there.  Lucy has been busy and I understand yesterday rode six lots for two different trainers, will be back up here late on Saturday night to take three rides on Sunday for Mike Smith at Perth - Mack Milan in the 2.10, Frontier Lad in the 2.40 and Scotch Warrior in the 3.40, she also rides Cape Secret in the 3.10 for Gordon Elliot - four in a row, I am sure she will be fit enough.
Just in case anyone knows of anyone looking for a cottage to rent we have a three bedroom 1980's bungalow available, quiet, secluded, wonderful neighbours & grumpy racehorse trainer providing free snow clearance service, more details & viewings here - Bradburne & Co - Mr Bradburne of Bradburne & Co is no longer part of the team there, he is of course a famous ex amateur jockey,  married to "Mrs B" the trainer, father to jockey Mark and TV presenter Lorna.  He became seriously ill in Cuba a couple of years ago and is taking time to recover but everyone has been delighted to see real progress over the past few months and his (not to forget Mrs B's) stoicism in tackling this illness is an example to us all.  He hasn't lost his wit either as he shuffled up to me at Perth recently and muttered  "well, Alexander, looks like you've finally worked out how to train horses" I assured him that the recent good form of the yard was a mere blip and Mrs B could relax because normal service would resume shortly.  Cheeky bu**er - it's the horses that have improved "dear", not the trainer....  Tough week for ex trainer C Brooks, bet he wishes he was still fretting over Suny Bay's legs, his mate Dave Cameron is going to really struggle to live this one down, how could he have been so daft as to give that man from the NOTW such an important role, it will be tragic if this brings him down but having shown such poor judgement will make one question every other judgement he has to make, confidence is everything in politics as well as training horses (see Chris Bealby blog on the latter here); as for Mr Murdoch, how convenient, a good excuse to launch his seven day Sun, shut NOTW and make even more money from the British consumer, surely the high-minded advertisers that so publicy withdrew their patronage from the NOTW should extend that to all Murdoch enterprises if they really mean it.................. sorry, politics crept in again - eek - and what about the horses here, still on on summer break but about 12 back in the halfway house routine of walker/field/barn, 3 more to come in on Monday.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hay saved

With darkening skies a big effort was required by the contractors baling and wrapping to beat the weather last night, in the event they wrapped 333 bales of what appears to be exceptional haylage in a few hours.  Locally yields are reported to be 20-25% ahead of normal and at over 11 bales per acre I will now have a big surplus if anybody wants any, this yield is in stark contrast to the very poor yields being experienced throughout most of England, a small dividend in return for putting up with so much awful wet weather I suppose.  New problem now as for some reason the crows have decided they like pecking holes in the bales, quite why I don't know, they probably enjoy seeing the irate trainer rushing down, jumping out of his car brandishing his shotgun before firing a couple of barrels into thin air while they fly away laughing.....
Plenty of horses in now, all on the walker for an hour, out to the field for the afternoon and into big airy barns for the night.  Farrier will be in next week and we will be riding at least a dozen by Monday 18th.  Lucy rides Danny John Boy in the 6.40 at Worcester tomorrow evening, her first ride against the great AP McCoy amongst others; she then has possible engagements at Chester on Friday and Perth on Sunday. Some pictures of the horses earlier this week....

Fleet Fox

Four Fiddlers - can be difficult to keep condition on this horse when in full work, plenty to work on this time!

We are herbivores too!

The matriarch - Harrietfield - breeder of nine horses at Kinneston and the best are still to come!

Desert King 2yo, just broken.

Friday, 1 July 2011


A special day at Perth yesterday, sadly Paul Carberry couldn't quite pull off the miracle and had to settle for 2nd on the Birthday Boy's horse but it was fine to see the old woollen colours out even though they seemed to have shrunk somewhat, I am sure they will be seen again (we have a cunning plan...).  Delighted though that Lucy won the feature race on Scotch Warrior for Mike Smith justifying his faith in her by beating a field of top (male!) jockeys, a splendid early birthday present but no time to celebrate as she drove straight from Perth back down to Yorkshire having just had a text from her new boss indicating that a 4.30am alarm clock would be required.  Earlier Danny John Boy was 5th and Floreana 4th both looking like they needed a stiffer test, I believe Lucy will be back in action at Ayr late on Sunday afternoon.
One's ability to enjoy Lucy's riding is continually tempered by the risks involved and and it is difficult to reconcile the emotions.  This is a particularly poignant article from yesterday's Telegraph   about Isabel Tompsett a top class lady jockey that had an awful fall at Fakenham in the spring, she is also a vet working for the wonderful Buffy who is so much help here.  Isabel is making steady progress and we all hope and pray that she recovers fully, it will be a long road.  On a lighter note Gary Rutherford emerged unscathed from these acrobatics at the 2nd last in the opener yesterday, and let's not forget Andy this weekend, cometh the hour.................. what I love about him is that he is so typically Scottish!
Bit blurry, but you get the gist.....