Last week didn't entirely go to plan - in fact, I only managed to fulfil one of the scheduled items in the diary due to succumbing to my second bout of COVID, which left me feeling pretty rotten for a couple of days. Wednesday was a complete write off, and Thursday not much better. Thankfully the worst of the symptoms were similiar to a very very heavy cold, so no major worries, but having tested positive, it was sensible to stay at home and not spread it about. By Friday I was pretty much back to normal, but still testing positive. I had planned to get around a lot of the yards this week - so all of those visits had to be postponed, but thankfully we got plenty of photos and videos through to keep all the owners and members up to date with their horses, as many of them get very close to their seasonal debuts.
Monday was the planned 'office day' - as I mentioned last week, the members of The Keysoe Partnership who own the 3 yr old Jukebox Jury gelding in training with Gary Moore had had all of the previous weekend to mull over the suggestions that had been out forward for his name, and cast their votes. Voting closed at 5.00pm on Monday, and the name chosen for him was Cloud Dancer. Congratulations to Chris and Rachel who put the name forward.
On Tuesday morning there was still no sign of the 'lurgy', and I had a meeting with one of our syndicates to discuss the future with them. It was not until I arrived home that I felt that I had the start of a head cold, which quickly developed, and by the evening I was sneezing and streaming - lateral flow test - COVID - rest of the week written off!
I had planned to head up to Donald McCain's on Wednesday - but that trip was binned, but at least it gave me time to get the paperwork sorted for our latest new members - Graham, Paul and Robert all took shares in 'Dean' on Tuesday, and we wish them the very best of luck with him. The three of them were all very much on the ball with the process, and got their completed and signed syndicate agrements back to me very promptly, and the whole process was completed in short order. Sadly it is not always the case, and I am occasionaly left frustrated when people commit to shares only to never get the paperwork back to me - such a waste of everyones time and energy! Having had to cancel my trip to Bankhouse Stables - I did chat to Donald who remains really happy with 'Dean' who has now graduated to the big hill gallop and is striding up it in grand fashion and taking it all in his stride. He is going really nicely and it will not be long before we have to get him named as well! It was good to speak with Stuart Edmunds as well - he rang to say that he is very happy with Classic Ben. He had scoped him on Wednesday morning and everything was A1, so he will start to quicken up now. Like a lot of us as we get older, Ben is hanging on to his tummy a little bit this year, and he will go for an away day gallop in the coming week to help him lose a bit of it.
On Thursday I had planned to head over to The Elms to see the stock there. Another cancelled trip, but Louise did send a couple of clips of 2 of the 2 yr olds there, who I have asked her to get in from the field and crack on with a bit of work with. One is owned by one of our pinhooking syndicates, and will be resold next summer. He is by Muhtathir (Envoi Allen) and out of a winning half sister to no less than 5 black type performers. He comes from a stunning French family, and is really going the right way. He has knuckled down to his work well, and is a good student. The other is our homebred - 'Frank' - by Blue Bresil, out of Savingforvegas - like the rest of the family he is fairly straightforward, but has a streak of toughness about him. It took him a day or two longer to get the drop of things, but he is coming along great now. The work at this time of their life will aid their development, and also help when they start their sales prep next spring, when everything will be a lot less of a shock to them. The Muhtathir gelding will be sold at next years store sales, and 'Frank' will either head to the sales, or we will retain him and syndicate him. He is certainly by the hottest National Hunt sire around at the moment, and looks to have a very nice future!
Two yr old by Muhtathir x Kpalime
Two yr old homebred - by Blue Bresil x Savingforvegas
One place I hadn't intended to go this week was Newmarket for their Book 1 yearling sale. A catalogue of flat yearlings with the finest pedigrees and physical confirmation that could be bought together in one place, and with the trade at all of the previous yearling sales recently being oh so strong, it really did look like there would be fireworks this week at Park Paddocks. It didn't disappoint - records made every day, and the insatiable appetite for horses continues unabated. I had been told that Tattersalls had created a catalogue rammed full of the finest physical specimens that they had ever got together and the trade reflected that. It was quite interesting to get the chance to sit and watch a bit of it on line between the sneezes! Sadly COVID put the mockers on a night out with friends on Wednesday - we will have to reconvene as soon as possible as there will be lots to catch up on!
Two men that could get out and about were Tom and Ben who got down to Ravenswell Farm on Thursday to see Volkovka school over fences. They were delighted to see her looking in fine form, and jumping great. She is a mare that loves to get on with life, and because of that she will start of over hurdles when there is some suitably soft ground about - before switching to fences.
Volkovka schooling over fences
Another to school over fences on Thursday was Auditoria. She has taken well to the bigger obstacles, and really attacks them. She looks to be well handicapped over staying trips over hurdles, so will start in that sphere, but when the time comes to step up to fences she will certainly be ready!
Auditoria schools over fences
It's always a bit exciting when a new set of colours arrives with a new trainer, and our latest new set arrived with Gary Moore on Friday. I had hoped to be there myself on the same day, but that was another visit shelved. Cloud Dancer is really well, and has settled into life in his new home well. I will be organising a yard visit for his owners in the very near future.
It was also good to get a video from Sally on Friday of Volkovka's work, she went really well and really does look in Fantastic shape.
Although we have recently sold her to Ireland as a broodmare, it was great to see Yauthym's pedigree get a lovely black type update when her 3 yr old half sister Greym ran a fine race to be third in Compeigne on Friday. Yauthym is a lovely mare and this update to her pedigree will do no harm to her future career.
On Saturday I had a long chat with Fergal about all of the team at Ravenswell Farm, Blue Bikini had worked great on Tuesday, but had worked very flat on Friday, and when a scope and trach wash had come back clear, further investigation was required - thankfully a reason was uncovered, and although at one stage it looked as though she may need further veterinary treatment, it now seems that a couple of weeks rest should do her fine. So on Monday she will head down to Ivy Lodge Farm and have a short spell on the easy list, and when she is dropped off there, Fortune Forever will make the return trip and head back to work after a nice little break after her very encouraging bumper run. She will resume work and head for another bumper in a few weeks. We go there with Paddys words ringing in our ears 'She won't be beat next time' - but he does say that about a lot of them!
Fortune Forever who will return to Ravenswell Farm next week.
Fergal, like everyone at Ravenswell is really pleased with Mamoon Star who has grown and strengthend for his summer at grass, and really is a lovely horse. He has had his soft palate cauterised this autumn as he was just making a noise, and that operation seems to have been 100% successful. He has already schooled over hurdles, but after showing plenty of ability in three bumpers last season, including an eyecatching third in a Listed race in Cheltenham, Fergal has decided to start him off with his fourth and final start in that sphere in Cheltenham in a couple of weeks!
Ferg was also thrilled with Hidden Beauty, who had done a very nice piece of work on Friday - something like her homework at this time last year, when she was looking like a very smart prospect. She suffered from AF in Cheltenham after her very impressive debut, and her last run in the spring was a case of trying to get her confidence back. She seems to be back on song, and will start off in a mares hurdle somewhere when the ground is right. She has always loved her jumping, and she schooled very well in front of a few of her owners, Rob, Ange and Callum yesterday. It was Callum's first visit, and I was sorry not to be able to get down to see them all at the yard!
Hidden Beauty schooling over hurdles
Hidden Beauty after exercise.
All is well at Warren Chase - Olly Murphy has his string in good order, and they are now getting very close to getting going properly. Tintagel Queen came through her Warwick racecourse gallop really well, and was fine this week. Auditoria is in great order, and Itchy Feet is his usual self, full of life! IF is a few weeks behind the others, and is being prepared for his seasonal debut at the big Betfair Chase Day in Haydock in November. That looks like being a fantastic days racing again - with Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard scheduled to be taking his place on the card. There are still just 2 of the 10 shares remaining in Itchy Feet. Olly is really pleased to have retained him, and looking forward to trying a few different things with him this season - as mentioned in his stable tour this week, his two main targets this season are the race on Betfair Chase day, and the £150,000 Fleur Du Lys Chase in Lingfield in which he was a close 4th last year. Around those runs he will head to some of the best fixtures in the calendar -and is sure to be lots of fun - he won over £40,000 in prizemoney last year - so there is a good chance you will see a good dividend at the end of the season! Get in touch for the full details 07909 518902 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Down at Ivy Lodge Farm - Intrepide Sud looks great, and will be back bigger and stronger next year - he is still only 4, and had been in training an awful long time - the break will do him the world of good. Sunset Melody is still looking big and burly, but that is her, and she will not shift it until she gets into some proper hard work. After her pelvic fracture in February, the vet is in control of her recovery and we are being advised by him as to what level of work she should be undertaking and at what stage.
You can't get more up to date than this - latest lateral flow test - just done - is clear - I am free to get out and about, and there are plenty of places I need to be.
Next week is a week of away days - Fergal will be sending Mamoon Star up the road for his away day tomorrow, and with a bit of luck I will be there too. Stuart, as mentioned, has suggested he will take Classic Ben away this week, and Olly Murphy has a full week of galloping scheduled, and both Tintagel Queen and Auditoria will be among them.
I also plan to get up to Donald McCains to see Dean, and discuss plans, as I didn't get there this week, and a trip to Gary Moore's is also on the cards. Add into the mix a trip to The Elms and the 5 days of sales in Newmarket, where we will be looking at a few flat yearlings, and it looks like being a very busy few days!
Whatever happens, next Sunday I will be back in front of the computer typing away and bringing you all the latest!