Sunday, 23 June 2013

Royal enjoyment

The flat racing season revolves around Royal Ascot and, although it was a shame we had nothing suitable to run at the meeting, it was a highly enjoyable five days.
I'm not the kind of person to go to the races just for a day out and, with runners elsewhere, I didn't have the time either. However, the action looked great on the TV and my undoubted highlight was seeing the Queen's delight at winning the Gold Cup with Estimate. My Royal Family claim to fame was when I rode against Princess Anne in an amateur race during the 1980s. I was killing some time having a snooze in the changing room when in walks Her Highness with her lady in waiting! I was a bit stunned but she just acted like any other girl in the changing room and was very down to Earth.
We're still looking for that elusive first winner at the Royal meeting despite going close with a third and a fifth from just a handful of runners. We did have some connection to one of the big winners of the week through Diamond Jubilee winner Lethal Force.
One of the most expensive yearlings I have ever been asked to train was a small stocky filly by Kyllachy who had been bought by local land owner Simon Gibson for £60,000. The high price was due to her speed-laden pedigree but that was about the only fast thing about her as she was very slow and showed little on the racetrack in just a few runs. She had a nice temperament but just wasn't any good as a racehorse.
However, the ability was certainly in her genes even if it wasn't in her muscles as she has since become a successful broodmare and can now boast about producing a Group 1 winner after Lethal Force romped home on Saturday. It just goes to show that racing is an unpredictable game and paying a lot doesn't always guarantee a winner!
Royal connection: Lethal Force
After going through a purple patch in recent months, it was a shame to go a week without a winner but things just didn't happen for us.
Chilli Green ran another lacklustre race and is likely to be retired to stud now. She was a talented filly in her day but more recently had been showing signs that racing isn't what she wanted to do for a living.
The weatherman also might need to consider what he does on a daily basis too after getting the forecast so wrong over the last few days. All week he had been promising heavy rain on Thursday and Friday so I entered up all the soft ground horses for the end of the week in the expectation of soft ground. The rain never came so the horses couldn't show their best.
There's no point in dwelling on the past though as we have a few chances this week.
Khajaaly drives me mad as he is so well handicapped on the turf compared to the all-weather but he still can't win on the green stuff. He does have his own ideas about the game but we seem to be able to keep him sweet and I hope the likely fast pace of an amateur race at Salisbury on Wednesday will help him come with a strong late challenge.
The following day sees She's A Honey make her debut at Yarmouth. She has taken a while to settle into life as a racehorse but exercising her in a hood has helped calm her. She will likely need the run but I hope she can develop into a winning stayer later in the season.
Also there is Tiger's Home. She hasn't fired since finishing second back in February but the straight seven furlongs should be to her liking so you never know.
At the same track on Friday, I'm looking forward to running Honeymoon Express. She was a very weak two-year old last season but thrived over the winter and has come back much stronger. Her comeback fourth was a great run as she got very tired and I hope with that run under her belt, she can finish in the frame.
Finally, it was nice to get some critical acclaim for this blog and our website in the Racing Post on Sunday. In their website review section, our sites came under inspection but passed with flying colours with praise such as: "One of the great 'smaller trainer' sites that's a real pleasure and frames an endearing view of the operation".
However, I think the biggest compliment came from the line that we have "one of the best photographs of a dog forking hay I've seen"!

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