It was busy last week with a combination of strategy meetings for Betfair and Swindon along with half term.
On Tuesday I packed the family in the car and we headed west. First stop Manton, and we got there just before 10. They do a nice cooked breakfast there, which was welcome. Brian came round and we went out in his jeep to look at the two horses I have there – Cheddar George and Western Eyes.
We caught up with them on the all-weather gallop, along with a taking looking 3yo filly which was owned, I think, by Jaber Abdullah. I was looking at her go by and I asked Brian who she was by – he said she was a Medicean. This was a big moment for me as I had thought she was a Medicean – I’ve never identified a horses sire on appearance before.
My two looked good. Cheddar George is a 4yo now and has still to see a racecourse – it’s been one niggly problem after another with him. He’s a big horse and he needed to fill his frame – he’s done that now and he’s an imposing sight. He’ll be out early, hopefully either at Newbury or Newmarket in early April. Western Eyes, my 3yo Rock of Gibraltar filly, looked very well and had developed a lot around the chest and shoulder. She should also be ready for an early start.
We saw them in their stables afterwards and took some pictures. Back in the office Guy Sangster had wandered in and he stopped off for a chat – he was about to head off to Dubai. Back in the car we headed to Warminster to see Jane’s sister and her adopted son – we got there in time for lunch.
After lunch we went down to the safari park at Longleat. The main attraction – the monkeys who climb all over your car – was closed down, never to reopen. The woman on the gate explained to me that it was a health and safety issue – monkeys can give humans simian herpes and it is very dangerous. She was explaining the detail of the herpes to me, but she had this huge sore on her lower lip and my eyes were being drawn to it. I sensed a laughing fit coming on so I quickly thanked her and shot through.
It was good fun driving through the park. We behaved in a fairly immmature fashion, shouting out to the various animals at every opportunity. When we got to the tigers, to wind the girls up I said I was getting out to pat them on the head and I opened the car door – that was a bridge too far for Jane and I was duly and loudly reprimanded. We went from there to the funfair bit for an hour or so and then home – it’s a trip well worth making.
I had two runners on Saturday, but Mon Michel lost his chance when Wincanton was called off. I went to Ascot to watch Bad Sir Brian run – I was hopeful but he was tailed off last. We had him scoped and there was mud in his lungs – clearly he’d breathed in a clod of earth during the race. Hopefully he’ll improve next time.
Sunday was Eddie’s birthday, and we organised a party down at the local dry ski slope – sledges followeds by “mini ringos”. On the first run down the slope one of the boys came off his sledge at the bottom – his mother rushed to his aide. He had a screaming fit. I got him a drink of water but he carried on screaming – his mother carried him off to be checked out. It turned out he had broken his leg – I felt terrible because I’d thought he was being a bit of a wuss.
The jumps season is proving pretty unspectacular, and I’ve got no action on the all-weather. The flat should be exciting, and Manor House is geared up for a big start to the season – bring it on. Swindon are flying and we’ve got a great chance of finishing somewhere in the places.