Secret squirrels

Saturday turned out to be a good day for me financially as I backed Supaseus, the winner of the Cambridgeshire.  Supaseus is owned by Sir Martyn and Ben Arbib – Sir Martyn is one of my co-investors at Swindon Town.  The icing on the cake came a little later when Swindon held on to win 3-2 at Brentford – it was one of those games which would have ended up 3-3 last season. 

On Sunday Sea the Stars made his little piece of history, winning the Arc in authoritative style.  I’m developing a mini obsession with Sea the Stars – I scrutinise every picture I can find of him as I try to understand and digest what it is that makes him the great horse he is.

Monday was a busy day – we have all the site meetings for the farm on Monday morning, and in the afternoon I was meeting Michael and Tom D at Windsor to discuss the upcoming sale at Tattersalls.  I checked my email late morning – there was a racing alert from “Nag Me”, the Sporting Life service, telling me that Comedy Hall and Bea Menace were running from my list.  I was too busy to think about betting – they won at 11-1 and 8-1.  My betting this year has been poor – I haven’t had a proper study to operate from all year and my thinking has lacked clarity.  It was an annoying missed opportunity.

Bea won nicely and seems to be improving – she is probably limited but is attaining a reasonable standard now. 

Book 1 kicked off on Tuesday.  Tom Dascombe was looking to pick up a few sharp types to continue growing the base at Manor House.  I’d been scouring the catalogue for nice types that could make up into broodmares – I’d been corresponding with Michael and we decided to look for a couple of nice yearling fillies that were void Northern Dancer.  I thought this was a good idea as a number of the main void ND stallions in Europe were coming to the end of the line – Selkirk only put three in foal last year, Red Ransom has gone south, Cadeaux Genereux is now 24 and Monsun is 19.  We ended up with a shortlist of four who had the pedigree and looked the part.

Lot 39, Monsun/Royal Dubai, was a three parts sister to Royal Highness, a group 1 winner from Germany.  The vet had a concern, which dimmed our enthusiasm a little.  She was quickly bid up and we never got a look in – John Ferguson bought her for 300K.  Lot 218 was a Selkirk out of Amenixa, the dam of Zinziberine.  She looked nice but a litte weak – the dam’s progeny since Zinziberine had been poor by comparison and I wasn’t willing to go too high for her.  Again we sat on the sidelines as she sold well for 200k.

On day 3 we liked lot 508 – Selkirk/Lady Links and lot 521 –  Cadeaux Genereux/Lighthouse.  Both were nice physically although both looked like they needed a little time to come to hand.  The Selkirk had a full sister, Selinka, who had won listed races at 2 and 3 – the dam had also won a listed race at both 2 and 3, so there was a nice consistency there.  The Cadeaux had a full sister and brother, both of whom had run to ratings of over 100 but neither of whom had achieved black type – I tend to go with ratings and ignore black type but many think otherwise.  The Cadeaux’s full sister had had her first foal, and she was a cracker – Misheer has won two group 2’s and come second in the Cheveley Park.  The dam was a half sister to First Trump (who won the Middle Park) and the Cadeaux/Warning combo is a strong one – five out of seven nice animals including Donativum.

The Selkirk came up first.  It looked for a while as if she would go cheaply, but the interest built up.  I was hiding on the back stairs with Tom G and Tom D – we bid to 160k but it went higher.  I wanted them both but I wanted the Cadeaux more – I decided to drop out.  Cheveley Park bought her for 165k.  The Cadeaux came up half an hour later – we resumed our position in secret squirrel fashion halfway up the stairs, with Tom G poking his head up to make our bids.  She was offered by Watership Down, the stud owned by the Lloyd Webbers – they protected her up to 150k then stood back.  I think we were bidding against Rabbah, who bought Misheer – we finally got her for 200k.

I was over the moon – I had Michael on the phone and I think he was pleased.  I’d like to have had them both, but we’ve made a start and it’s good to be selective.

Morana runs tomorrow in a Group 3 at Ascot, and he’s in with a proper chance – the two that have beaten him are both still in the Racing Post Trophy and I’d readily take them on again as he hasn’t had conditions entirely to suit yet.  It’s a big day – I’ll find out if I’ve got a proper prospect on my hands or just a nice horse.  I may back Irish Heartbeat in the Coral Sprint Trophy at York – he might be improving and he might be better now he’s coming back to sprint distances.