Exorcism required

I went to the €œSharp Edge Entrepreneurial Awards€ last night. It€™s a great honour to be nominated for awards but I have a real phobia about public speaking, and when I realised that all the winners were making short rousing speeches I started drinking hard and praying that we wouldn€™t win. We won the main prize, and I shuffled up to collect the trophy amid loud cheering, or perhaps jeering, with lights flashing everywhere. I felt particularly embarrassed as I had left my shoes at home and was wearing trainers with my dinner jacket, but I managed to muster a smile and mumble a few words before making a sharp exit, cutting a rather shambolic figure.

The human psyche is an odd thing €“ I was once a good speaker, but I choked badly speaking at a business do a while back when I was under a lot of stress. I€™ve never recovered my composure. Years ago, I was on a small plane that was caught in a big thunderstorm and I got into a real panic €“ I had trouble flying for a long time afterwards and I€™m still nervy about it. Once in my youth I ate a bunch of daffodils for a bet and I was violently sick later €“ I couldn€™t look at a daffodil for years without feeling ill.

I got home late and crashed into bed. My hangover was interrupted early by my excited six-year-old daughter who was clutching a beautifully crafted note covered in spangles and lace. It read €œI€™m sorry to hear that your tooth went down the plughole, but here€™s a pound anyway. Always remember to clean your teeth. Love, the Tooth Fairy€. She told me she would remember this note for the rest of her life. As she skipped out of the bedroom I leant over and whispered to my wife €œOh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive€.

It€™s another recent incident that has led me to wonder if my children are a bit weird, and to what degree I€™m responsible. Three weeks ago my two year old son, Eddie, informed us that he was Mrs Goggins, a character from Postman Pat. This morning€™s conversation was typical;

Me: Come on Eddie, time for breakfast.
Ed: (Steely glare) No Dad, I€™m Mrs Goggins.
Me: Would you like some breakfast Mrs. Goggins?
Ed: (big grin) Yes Dad. Sank you very much.
Wife: (smiling) He€™s sooo like his father.

Like his father? Why exactly?! OK, he€™s not exactly Damien from the Omen but it€™s worrying €“ I can see him having trouble with girls in later life if he doesn€™t vanquish Mrs. Goggins from his soul. Anyone know a good exorcist?

Enough of this and onto the racing. Mon Michel lines up tomorrow at Lingfield, and I€™m hoping to find time to go. It was a competitive looking maiden a couple of days ago but it’s cut up small and may be a match between us and the Pipe horse, Polinamix.

Mon Michel was rated 102 on the flat and he was best on soft ground. He’s been gelded and he recovered quickly, so we’ve had plenty of time to work on him. He should go well. The Pipe horse seems to have lost his way a bit, and he has to give us seven pounds. He has the benefit of McCoy on board, but it’s asking a lot of him to give us the weight if we run anything close to our flat form and see the race out.

We will hopefully go on from this and run in the Adonis at Kempton on Saturday – it’s the last date to get a handicap mark for Cheltenham. If it all goes well we can think about the Triumph – if not we will at least have a handicap and we have the option of the Fred Winter.

Better Together has sustained an injury and won’t run again this season. Conservation also picked up an injury on the horse walker the other day, and we won’t be able to get a run into him for six or so weeks. Given the way the timing has worked out we have decided to geld him now and get him out for a few flat runs later this year, where he has a handy mark. He will move from Nick Gifford to Tom Dascombe for the flat season – if all goes well we will take him back to Nick towards the end of the year.

Baldovina has had a clean rating from our vet and she has settled well into her new home. She has a decent frame, but weighs in very light at 410kg – we need to get a lot more meat onto her bones and we will take our time with her.