The Winker Cometh

I travelled up to Newmarket to watch Major Eazy run and arrived forty minutes before the race – I met up with Jeremy, who with his brother Ed are the co-owners. The horse looked pretty well in the pre-parade ring – fairly lean and very calm. Richard Perham joined us – he said that he’d been riding Spirit of Sharjah on the gallops and he was special. We met up with Brian and went into the ring – surprisingly we were favourite. We think a lot of the horse but Brian’s 2yos don’t normally win first time up – the price was so short that I didn’t back him.

We came third, beaten fairly convincingly by Spirit of Sharjah. Richard Hughes was pretty upbeat – he thought it was a decent race and the time was less than a minute. He will improve a huge amount for the run – whether he can improve enough to justify a tilt at one of the Ascot races remains to be seen, and his second race is critical.

I went for a drink with a French guy called Marc-Antoine who I am using to look at French claimers. We’ve looked at a number but haven’t made any claims yet – I’m hoping to pick up a few horses this way in the coming weeks. Marc-Antoine told me that he claimed 44 horses for clients last year, and 2 of them went on to win stakes races – the standard of French claimers, particularly at the Paris tracks, looks a little higher than in the UK.

Later on Jeremy and I wandered up to the Owners and Trainers bar for a cup of tea. There was an old guy on the table next to us – he looked about 80 – accompanied by a good looking buxom blonde, perhaps in her twenties. We were wondering if it was Sir Robert Ogden (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t) who owns Sander Camillo, a horse he named after his young Brazilian girlfriend who has since been replaced by another young Brazilian girlfriend. Good luck to him – unfortunately his filly came second on the day.

The vet’s report for Shawhill is through, and it’s pretty good. Some minor niggles, skin and coat can be improved, weak with a lack of muscle tone which is a positive. I’m confident that she will turn out to be a good buy.

Vicky Coren won the poker tournament and collected a £12k cheque.

Winker Watson comes out tomorrow in the first at Newbury. He’s a proper racehorse and we’re expecting a big run. Andrew Balding played in the poker tournament on Monday – he said he thought his horse, Flying Indian, would run well at a big price.