I had a lot of runners last week with no success, but Manor House had a Chester winner (owned by Michael) and the 2yos are starting to fire now so I’m fairly happy. It was a very busy week.
On the bank holiday weekend I was away at Turnberry in a group of 47 – back at the farm Jane held an all day party for the royal wedding. I have nothing against the royal couple but it’s not the sort of thing I enthuse much about so I was happy to be away – I caught up with a few old and current Betfairians and met some new people as well. David Pipe was there and also Warren Greatrex who I had not met before. Warren put in a star turn, scoring 42 stableford points on the first day.
I was carrying a few injuries and my golf never got going. Unfortunately for me it was one of those boysy type weekends that I used to do a lot of when I was younger, and there were drinking fines meted out each evening. I was fined mercilessly – whisky fines for arguing with my caddy, playing a putter off the tee, excessive use of my mobile phone on the course and on one occasion just for being me, which was a bit harsh and rather hard to avoid. It was a vicious circle – the more I was fined the worse I felt in the morning and the worse I played. It was a relief to be back at home on Sunday night with my feet up in front of the telly and a nice cup of tea.
Wednesday was the start of the Chester May meeting, and Manor House is just up the road from Chester – we target it as our main meeting of the year and we entertain on all three days. I had a Golfbidder strategy meeting in the morning – Golfbidder has two websites (www.golfbidder.com and www.tacklefanatics.com) and we are thinking about going after a new category. I love Golfbidder meetings as the business just gets better and better and they really know what they are doing. It made time a little tight though, and I arranged a helicopter to take me to the track afterwards. I’ve never done it before and I was a little nervous at first – I’m not a great flyer – but it was an experience and it was a stylish way to arrive. Jane also came with her friend Jonty.
We got there in time for the first race. Van Go Go was drawn 7 of the 9 runners which was not the place to be – the turning track of Chester makes life tough for those without the luck of the draw. She ran a very decent race, trying to get to the front but failing and eventually being forced wide as happens in such cases. Sunday Bess was next and she had a decent draw – the plan was to try and make all but she fell out of the stalls and was bringing up the rear. Richard waited patiently for a gap but it never came and she finished in a relative canter, which was annoying. Blue Jack was bumped leaving the stalls and also had traffic problems. He showed he still has a turn of foot though and he might have a good year. Michael won the last with Brown Panther – he wasn’t there for it as Man U had an evening game but it was a great moment nonetheless.
On the Thursday I only had one runner – Gin Twist went in the maiden, and would have needed the experience. In the ring beforehand I was stunned at the appearance of Gabrial, a colt out of Dark Angel owned by Marwan Koukash. He was huge with long legs and the body of an equine Arnold Schwarzenegger – rippling muscles and a great expansive chest. I’ve only once before been that taken by a horse in the ring, and that was when I saw the progress Raven’s Pass had made when he came into the ring at Ascot for the QE11. Gabrial missed the break and ran green, but he cut through the field at the end of the race and won going away. I’ll be staying on the right side of him from here on in. Gin Twist ran a nice race and comes out again today.
On the Friday Marine Boy ran in a 7 furlong handicap. He had trouble in running but showed plenty – he might have a good year. I didn’t make it to the track – I had had a heavy night and was on the train home. On Saturday night we had our Kilimanjaro reunion back at the farm. We had a hog roast and Nigel Payne did a brilliant slideshow – it was great to see the team again and meet their other halves. Sunday was a day of rest, although much of it was spent clearing up from Saturday night (mostly done by Jane).
Two runners today. Van Go Go goes in a claimer at Wolverhampton, and is a short price. Nothing is certain in this world, least of all claimers at Wolver, but it looks like a pretty clear opportunity. She’s in for £12k and could get claimed – she’s a bit better than this grade. The problem is in finding races for her – she’s won two already and the nurseries don’t kick in until July, and six furlongs might be a push for her. I hope we don’t lose her. Gin Twist goes tonight at Windsor and is up against what might be a Hannon hotpot. She’s nice and if she’s progressed from her run last week she could go very well.