Sunday 20 March
Sorry for the lack of updates - the wifi in the Cotswolds not so good! Since I last posted we have spent a few great days at The Cheltenham Festival, had a winner, and been to Fontwell. Today it is time for a catch up. On Monday afternoon I travelled down to Kilkenney just outside Andoversford to stay with good friends Kev & Jules Hanks. Kev and Jules were the previous Landlords of our local - The Jackal in Thurleigh, and last summer to a leap and moved themselves and family down to Gloucestershire. It has been a bumpy ride since they arrived at The Kilkeney last summer, with the building throwing all sorts of curve balls at them, but after a brief spell closed after Christmas they have got it in perfect working order, and we were delighted to be their first folks in their freshly renovated Guest Room. Jules has done a great job with it, and we had the perfect few nights there. Jules is the perfect host, and even managed to sort me out a tyre fitter and new tyre at 7.00 O'clock in the evening! Kevs food is great, and they stock a good selection of beers - What's not to like!! I can really recommend it if you fancy a break down in The Cotswolds - give K&J a call!! (www.kilkeney.co.uk). At the Fetival we saw some great performances - Annie Power stand out on Day 1, and of course a real pleasure to be there and see the victory of Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase on Wednesday. Mister Miyagi, owned by Ben Turner and Jay Tabb ran a cracking race to be 6th in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and they look sure to have plenty of good days with him! On Thursday we headed back towards home, stopping off in Towcester to see Visible Light make his debut for the Fences Farm team. Purchased out of Ireland about a month ago, he had been lined up for a crack at the race for a couple of weeks. Owned by 4 members of The Sherington Partnership, it was hoped that he would be better suited to racing on this side of the Irish Sea, and we hoped that he was up to winning on his debut. It proved to be the case, although there was a very scary moment at the first, when he stepped at it, and nearly got rid of his jockey Ciaran Gethings. But Ciaran sat tight, and rode a cool race to take it up approaching 2 out, and then going away to win a tad snugly. The job was done - good to see all of his owners there to celebrate the victory - I think Paul is still dancing! VL has come out of his race in fine form, and has not left an oat. With the likelihood of him going up in the handicap, and having won a conditional jockeys race for which he escapes a penalty, he will run again in Southwell tomorrow. Ciaran will ride again - he can claim 5lbs in this heat, so that will all help too! Yesterday we headed to Fontwell - Bold Conquest restarting his season after a midwinter break. Their ground was given as Good, but to be fair the times of the races suggest that it rode dead. BC was back over fences and we hoped that the ground and the fact that the 3m 1f trip meant he had to come up the hill 3 times would help him. Unfortunately we were proved wrong, and he was not suited by the tight configuration of the track. On the plus side he jumped really well, and has blown any cobwebs away that he had. He will get eased by the handicapper, and we will return to more galloping tracks when we can. The yards other runner Paddy Thedeejay got his season back on track with a fine second place, again, on a track that didn't suit him. Good to see him back to form after his recent trials. Both horses seem fine this morning. Off to sunny Southwell tomorrow!!