My house is a building site at the moment – they’re working in half of it and we’re living in the other half.  The whole place is covered in brick dust – it seems that no matter what we do to keep the dust out it finds a way through.

The highlight of the week occurred a couple of days ago when we dug up the drains – it turned out that the manhole cover was an original Thomas Crapper manhole cover from the 19th century.  Quite a rarity by all accounts, although not worth very much.

I decided to get away from it all for a day, and on Monday night I travelled up to Newmarket.  After a Chinese with Pete C-H, Tom Goff, Jeremy Wray and Robert Markwick (JW and RM co-owners of various horses) I checked in to the Bedford Lodge Hotel.  We were up early and on the heath by 8 a.m.

Winker was first out and he worked with Fat Boy and Sayif over 7f. 


Visually it was good with Winker pulling clear by around 4 lengths.  It wasn’t quite the performance it looked though.  Winker has done a huge amount of work over the winter and he’s fit – the other two may have needed it.  The general feeling was that the ground was too firm for him – it was pretty solid underfoot.  He is well and we have our fingers crossed for a big season – he never really got it together last year after injuries and a load of box rest and we’re hoping to put the record straight this year.

Also on the gallops were Maxwell Hawke, Teia Tephi and our unnamed Bahamian Bounty 2yo colt.  Teia Tephi definitely didn’t like the ground and she has a very pronounced knee action.  Maxwell Hawke and the Bahamian Bounty (who we may call Wear em out Wilf) both went well – both were ridden by Alan Munro.   I caught Alan on the way out and asked him what he thought.

I like Alan a lot – he’s always got a smile on his face – but he’s normally pretty negative when it comes to giving an opinion.  He was very positive about both horses, which is unusual and a good sign.  Fingers crossed.

Back at the stable I went to see my Sadlers Wells filly.  She was out of work with a massive haematoma on one of her legs.  I took a photo;













She looked all round extremely well – a bit of a baby still and a typical Sadlers Wells.  We wandered over to see Maxwell Hawke, and I had a chat with his lad.  He said that Maxwell was a horse with attitude – “if he was a lad he’d have an Asbo”.  Bolshy and yappy but not nasty.


Winker came in and had a hose down.   He was looking great and he seemed to be enjoying himself – he looked happy with life;



We wandered round the back to the adjacent yard, where we heard the most beautiful singing;











Monitor Closely is training in operatics in case his racing career doesn’t take off, but there seemed to be a feeling that he might be one to have a good year this year.


My Pivotal filly was in the next door box, and she went out for a canter on the all-weather gallop.  She’s a lot bigger now and still looks the part;












She’s always looked good and on the gallops later she moved very nicely.  Still early days but I’m very positive about her.


Teia Tephi was round the back and I got her out for a photo;












I thought she looked a little weak in places and she hadn’t come in her coat.  I also saw Looby Loo – she is still a bit backward and probably won’t be out for a while.


The last horse up was my Red Ransom 2yo colt (who I may call Bodkin Van Horn).  The vibes about him are very good at the moment and he looked the part;











Nothing much lacking there and he might be an early type.

I headed back to the office and had a think.  There’s plenty to be excited about at St. Gatien – maybe this will be the year.

I have a few runners in the pipeline – Theophrastus, Max One Two Three, Hector Spectre and Tikka Masala are declared over the next few days.  Max in the Cammidge is the big highlight – if she gets to the start and into the stalls (she’s a loony…) then she has a great chance.  Hector Spectre should run well and might win.  Theo I think would want it softer and Tikka Masala may need the race.

I’m off to Portugal with the family on Saturday for a couple of weeks in the sun.  Good luck all.