So the situation is this, I am on the M6 in the back of Harry Cobden’s car and at half past four the light is dying on my Northern weekend. The wrong side of 270 miles lay ahead of us, however despite this news we are optimistic we will be home in time for Tuesday afternoon.
It has been a weekend of near misses which essentially makes it a slightly frustrating few days, but plenty of horses ran with great credit without getting their heads in front, something that in competitive racing you have to be prepared for.
Black Corton, Old Guard and Art Mauresque all found only one too good for them in their respective big races, but all put in big efforts and, while gutted they did not win, it was hard not to be pleased with all of the equine efforts, in particular Art Mauresque who has given the De La Hey family some fantastic days throughout his career and ran his heart out once again under what I thought was an excellent ride from Lorcan.
Cyrname also put in a good effort up at Carlisle on Sunday to finish third in the Colin Parker Memorial and, with bigger days ahead for him this season, we will look forward to him improving on some softer ground this winter.
Travelling team deserve much praise
As I mentioned at the top of my blog, travelling has taken up a good junk of my week and while there have been some late nights and long days they are totally insignificant when you consider the hours and hours that our teams of travelling staff put in. Kate, our travelling head girl, has been to Fakenham as well as Wetherby this weekend while Trudie took care of our runners at Ascot and Scott made the long journey to Carlisle.
I think sometimes when there are overnight trips with the horses, people might be mistaken for thinking that it is a short break for our staff, a small holiday if you like away from the daily grind of the yard. However witnessing the work they put in first hand I can assure you it is anything but.
Paul, along with working his horses hard in the morning to maintain their high level of fitness, does a lot of walking with them in the afternoons to ensure they keep moving and never get stiff in their stables.
That is fine at home with the luxury of our walkers, but when the horses are away the only way to walk them is courtesy of our staff and walk they do. They are long days travelling with our horses always put first whatever they may require.
That work is unglamorous and tiring but goes to show the love and dedication our team have for our horses so that when Racing UK or Attheraces finish up in the evenings and we all go home, our horses still get the very best of care wherever they are in the country.
Paris awaits for mighty Malaya
Talking of travelling horses, rather excitingly the good-looking ball of energy that is Malaya will head to Paris next week in search of the riches Autueil has to offer in the Prix Renaurd Vivier, a race we have won before with the wonderfully honest Ptit Zig.
It is a race restricted to four-year-olds and boasts a big prize fund so it seems like a good place to start her season. After a really fruitful juvenile campaign last year, we hope to let Malaya take her chance.
With that in mind we took her off for a racecourse gallop to Kempton during the week and were pleased with how she went, she is a competitive, attacking mare who loves her job, qualities that make her a joy to train so hopefully all will go well with her this week and she will head to Paris and run her usual honest race.
For the blog faithful you will be aware of my highlight of the week and, although this one came early in proceedings, there was never going to be any contest for the accolade which came in the shape of our huge four-year-old Eason, pronounced in one’s best Cornish accent Eeeeeeeeeezzzzonnnn!
Now before you login in to your Racing Post account and try to find his Cornish breeding I will quickly add he is French, and formerly named something long, difficult to pronounce and weird sounding, so it was lucky that a proud Cornish man bought him and saved commentators around the country a headache of pronouncing his native name.
Eason, bought by Tom Malone from the Arqana breeze up sale, has been with us well over a year now so did not surprise us at all with the manner of his victory at Chepstow winning really nicely under Bryony and displaying a great turn of foot in the process.
Huge credit must go to Nicky Fry, his regular rider, who has done a lovely job with him looking after what is a big, raw framed unfurnished horse day to day.
Young talent continues to emerge and thrive
For Paul though the thing which is most satisfying about horses like Eason, Enrilo and Macfabulous, all recent bumper winners is, the process that they have come through in order to win so nicely on debut for us. In the last few years Paul and his owners have invested heavily into the various store sales through the summer in search of good athletes with pedigrees that will one day be high-class chasers.
The process is one that requires patience with Will Biddick taking care of them after their purchase and teaching them the ropes and the basics they will need for their lives in the future. They then undertake their racecourse gallop in the spring, a long summer strengthening before their preparations for a first race and everything that goes with that.
Watching Paul train I can see the little details and building blocks in a horse’s education give him as much enjoyment as watching horses like Eason win on debut. Although it is the first you have all seen of him, I know the work that goes into those horses and what is to come from them. That is an exciting thought in itself.
We are a little further down the road now so I guess writing this week’s blog has been a good thing to take some time out of the journey, but for now I will leave it at that and once again pick up the excellent Taking my Time, George Baker’s new book and let the miles tick away.
Thank you once again for reading, go well,