Postcard from Australia

I arrived in Melbourne on Monday night and checked into the Crown Promenade.  It was a great flight on Qantas – 23 hours including an hour stop off in Hong Kong.  I watched three films – Hancock (starts brilliantly, ok thereafter), Meet Dave (some funny bits) and Batman Begins (only saw half, was enjoying it).

Yesterday I spent most of the day at Swettenham Stud with Adam Sangster and his team – we had a small tv crew and a couple of journalists along too.  We saw a few stallions – big and beefy by UK standards with very strong bone.  We also had a helicopter ride around the whole area, which was an amazing experience – I’m not the best flyer and I had a few nervous moments but I’ll remember the views for a long time.

I’m in the Betfair offices in Melbourne today – I’ve done one radio interview and a couple for the papers.  Betfair have a small office in Melbourne which covers corporate and marketing – the main operations are run from Hobart and I’m going there tomorrow.  Melbourne is a lot bigger and more built up than I was expecting – it’s lively and clean and makes a big impression.

I’ve been active in the Horses in Training sale this week – I bought one last night and one the night before.  I wasn’t sure whether I would play as I’ve spent a lot of money lately, but I had a big win on Raven’s Pass and that made my mind up for me.  Rodger and I paid £46K for Tifernati and I paid £40K for Astrodome – both will be trained by Gary Moore.

I’ve spent time today going through the field for the Melbourne Cup.  With 8 entries from GB & Ireland it’s creating a lot of home interest, and the papers over here have dedicated plenty of inches to the foreign raiders.   I’m coming to the conclusion that Profound Beauty is the one to be on.  Most of the raiders look classy but relatively exposed – PB looks the most progressive in a race that is after all a handicap.  I’m less concerned about the ground for her than I would be for some others in the race, and it looks like a genuinely opportunistic move by Dermot Weld – I think some others are searching for the winner here which puts me off a little.  I like progressive 4yo fillies.

I have a runner today – Nicky Nutjob goes in the 4:30 at Great Leighs.  He’s a lateish developing staying type but the last I heard he was going well at home – he should have a decent chance.