I was reading through my Twitter timeline at some stage this week when I saw a message revealing just eight weeks to Cheltenham appear.
That got me thinking, you gallop through the autumn rush,through Christmas and here we are now just a stones through away from the biggest four days of our year.
Only then did I think how fast this season has gone by and how, before we blink, we will be starting all over again. January, a month most find a tiresome boring foe is reaching its latter stages and for people involved in team Ditcheat this is good news. The opening month of the year for us is always a little quiet what with our pack leader getting some incredibly well-earned rest in Barbados and the string as I’ve said before undergoing a subdued couple of weeks.
The tone of the week just gone has been the temperature, with most nights playing host to a hard frost; coats, scarfs, gloves and a warm hat have been the attire for the week, unless you are David Rochester that is then you’ll just wear a light jacket, no gloves and carry on like it’s summer. He tells me that feeling the cold is very much mind over matter . . . I can’t say I’m sold on that particular theory just yet however.
Doff your Cap to our new recruit
One thing I am sold on though is a new young horse currently in David’s care, and that is a four-year-old gelding by French sire Muhtathir who goes by the name of Cap St Vincent. A big, striking, good looking horse who we will be in no hurry with. I’ve seen him jump a couple of times already and I’ve been impressed with his way of going, a long term prospect but a name to hopefully watch.
At this moment in time my address is Heighes House, Manor Farm Stables and, if you’re lucky enough to live with 82 four-legged neighbours, then feeding any runners that are setting off early to Northern tracks is a privilege you are entitled to. Like Haydock on Saturday for example. The exact time of this morning feed is always a conversation I tend to dance around with Clifford the evening before as the inevitable “five o clock please Harry” is usually his answer. Damn, he didn’t forget, again.
The alarm sounds in my room at ten to five, I leap out of bed, well I say leap . . . clamber out of bed, whip on a dynamite pair of pyjamas, a dressing gown (designed in the sixties by a blind man) and a pair of slippers. Clifford is good enough to put the feeds all prepped in my door way the night before so I’m now ready.
I’m now heading to Politilogue who is first on the list and walking through the yard it very quickly comes to my attention that my sixties dressing gown isn’t built for the minus four that has hit me. Not a great start to the day is brain freeze but, as it was thawing back inside, Taunton crossed my mind. It was minus five while I fed our three Haydock runners which made me think I had a better chance of flying to the moon on Dodging Bullets than Taunton being on so I decided to take a journey up the M6 with a certain Mr Bowen.
Maccies closure typifies a frustrating day
All in all Haydock was a kind of a frustrating day, but Politilogue ran an excellent race in defeat to Waiting Patiently, in what I thought was a well-above average novice chase. Happily, Irving is fine after he decided to take a lie down on the landing side of the fourth flight of hurdles, a bizarre incident and to this moment I can’t understand what brought him down.
Now, I’ve not got involved in the ITV chat so far mainly because I’m not a TV critic and therefore don’t think I warrant an opinion, one thing I do know though is that surely we are better off having racing on terrestrial television than not. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Ed Chamberlin a couple of times and he seems like a genuinely good man who wants it to be a success. Something I did like on Saturday as I watched the coverage back was Brough Scott being part of their team. How refreshing it was that a man of his experience and knowledge is keen to look way into the future of jump racing.
While the racing was frustrating I did have a fun day Saturday with only one particular negative to mention, a low that came on the M5 on the way home from Haydock. I had been travelling with Sean all day and come six-ish hunger was dominating his emotions so Strensham Services seemed like a good plan.
I hardly had the car in park as Bowen bounds in literally salivating at the prospect of MacDonalds nuggets and chips only to find they’re closed for refurbishment, word on the street is they ran out of salt for the chips. Fair to say I’ve never seen anyone more hacked off eating a Costa cheese and ham toastie in all my life.
Jonny’s return not before time
I’m going to leave you all this week on a personal note I think, just because, it being my blog, I can. Jonathon Burke, a very close friend of mine was back in the saddle this week in Ireland and how good it was to see him back. I say that for a couple of reasons; one he’s a bloody good jockey and two there is only so much I can listen to his punditry skills on my television. He’s had some rotten luck over the past 18 months but this guy can really ride and I hope he gets some well deserved good fortune over the next few months.
Have a good week all.