I finished small down at Cheltenham - some real ups and downs. I had a big bet on Alberta’s Run with seconds to go having barely looked at the race - that was the main up. The biggest downer was on the Friday - I was planning to have a big bet on Zarkandar and I had to put on for some mates as well. I got stuck on the phone and missed the start of the race - not only did I not collect, I had to pay out for the bets I didn’t get on, which was painful.
Thursday was the big day - I had a runner in the charity race ridden by Rodger Sargent, a long time friend and co-owner of several of my NH horses over the years. Rodger is not an experienced race rider, but he is very enthusiastic about horses (in particular jumpers) and he wanted to have a go at the charity race - he asked me if he could ride Nemo Spirit. Michael was ok with it and we agreed.
Rodger trained solidly for the two months before the race, getting up at 5 am each day and driving down from London to Gary Moore’s to ride work on his gallops. He lost a stone in weight, which was not easy given that he was not fat in the first place. He was nervous in the ring beforehand, but he rode a calm and assured race, sticking to the agreed game plan and finishing second to the red hot favourite who he was probably never going to beat. It was a great occasion.
I was back home on the Saturday and in the swing of it with the children. Eddie, who has just turned 7, had a tennis lesson and I watched him for a while - at one point as he was running to get a wide ball he shouted “that ball’s got my middle name on it!”
“Good aggression” I said. It wasn’t until I was walking back later that I realised his middle name is Wilson.
My Cheltenham losses were put to rights on Tuesday when Theophrastus went in again. I don’t think Theo will live up to the hopes we once had for him, but he’s looking more professional now and he hasn’t had many runs given that he’s a 9 year old. Hopefully he can go on for a few more years.
I’ve got my first flat runners this week - Whey Sauce and Wear Em out Wilf are both declared for Leicester on Thursday. There’s no reason I know of why they won’t both go well.
One of my home bred yearlings died last week - a daughter of Shawhill by Bahamian Bounty. She got grass sickness - an innocent sounding illness but often fatal, as it proved in this case.
The Lincoln is on Saturday and I think Nationalism has an interesting look to him. Owned by George Strawbridge he looked as if he was going to be a champion last year, but his form tailed off at the end of the season. He has stayed in training as a 4yo and was gelded in the close season - that may make the difference.