Long time no blog. I’ve been out and about for a while now with no blogging time, so a fair bit to catch up on.
Last Thursday I went up to Cambridge with Steve Morana, Betfair CFO. We spent the afternoon in the offices of a small company called Featurespace – they are data analysts specialising in fraud detection. I studied statistics at university but it was a long time ago – I just about managed to follow the threads of some of the more mathematical discussions, and obviously I moved the conversation on to modelling sport and horse racing. They were properly scientific people and it was great to spend time in their company.
After the meeting we went back to the year 1 halls of residence at Christs College. I was staying in a room remarkably similar to the one I stayed in in my first year at Exeter – not the most luxurious accomodation but it brought back memories. In the evening we ate in the great hall with the senior guys from Featurespace – nine of us on a huge table in the middle of this ancient hall with beautiful stained glass windows and an exceptionally high ceiling. It was a bit surreal, particularly when the college choir started practicing next door.
We got up early and headed off to Newmarket. First stop was St. Gatien where Pete Chapple-Hyam trains. A couple of mine were going out first lot – Maxwell Hawke and my Alhaarth 2yo. Both are close to a run – they worked together. Maxwell has had a few niggly problems, but all being well he should be out towards the end of next week where he has a couple of entries. The Alhaarth may come out the following week, and I like him – I’ve called him “Morana”.
We went back to look at the rest of them. I’ve named most of my 2yos now. The Bahamian Bounty owned by the Comic Strip Heroes is “Wear ’em out Wilf”. My Red Ransom Colt is “Bodkin Van Horn”, from a poem by Dr Seuss. My Pivotal filly will be “Pearl Diver”. My Rock of Gibraltar filly at Manton is “Western Eyes”. My Trempolino filly with Tom is “Bold Font”.
I have an expensive Sadlers Wells filly with Pete – she had grown massively and looked amazing. I’d decided to call her “Blast Furnace” despite concerns that it wasn’t a very feminine name, but the vibes at the stable weren’t good – Pete knows me well enough to know that I don’t like being told what I should and shouldn’t be calling my horses, but there were a few subtle hints dropped.
There was a woman there who I hadn’t met before, and she was a lot less subtle – “with a name like that she’ll never come to anything” she laughed. I gritted my teeth and smiled – I was sorely tempted to ask her what her name was and whether she had bred well but managed to resist.
Later we went down to Duke’s Stud to look at my mares and foals. My Baldovina foal looked outstanding and I’m very positive about her. The Park Acclaim foal looked weak, but probably a little better than last time. My Veiled Beauty foal had had an issue with one of her feet, but it looked to be rectifying itself – the dam is the dam of The Cheka, who finally comes out tomorrow and could still be special. Shawhill, in foal to Bahamian Bounty, looked excellent.
I headed home later, and on Saturday we went to the south coast for a quick break. On Monday night, Hector Spectre, who was claimed off us a while back, finally won a race, landing a gamble in the process. I tried to get a bet on him but I messed up the timing – I thought he’d win in time and I think he can win more races.
Today Quaker Parrot runs at Bath, and I think she’ll go pretty well – a win could be on the cards.
After a bit of thought Winker has been moved to Manton – a change of scenery might work for him. I’ve had a very positive update on Bouguereau, and it’s still possible that he might see a racecourse again one day.
As I write Tiger Woods is level par after six holes at Turnberry. Turnberry is my favourite course – tough but fair – and the best players generally come through there. I think Tiger is the bet despite being short in the market.