Monthly Archives: December 2009

My 2009

The year of turning 40, seeing a flat horse of a lifetime in Sea The Stars, brilliant jumps horses Kauto Star and Denman – on the comeback trail.

Biggest returns: Supaseus winning the Cambridgeshire
Biggest odds: Ghanaati winning the 1000 Guineas
Nearest miss: Midday in the Oaks
Race of the Year: Sea The Stars’ Arc

Roll on the next one.

Who Da Man?

Vic & Stan on the water meadow

Well if this picture emailed to me yesterday by my oldest step-sister is anything to go by – Stan is the Man.

Some will say it is and always was the great Arkle, but now the very brave official handicapper, Phil Smith, is reassessing the whole Arkle rating thang. If Arkle’s rating is correct then on this last Boxing Day he would have come home a full 21 lengths to the good of Kauto Star….

Our Vic’s Stan, an Irish Wolfhound, is one magnificent looking curiosity and if you check out the colour picture and article about Arkle and his rating here you can hardly fail to think the same.

“A Distressing Apostrophe”

This is what my soon to be sister-in-law and always esteemed friend deemed we had been beaten by in this year’s World Hurdle. This sage summation came via text and I can’t even remember the detail of the those unfortunates carrying our money that day.

This day Newbury hosts the errant punctuation mark and an all-star card and it would clearly be folly to oppose him. There is a story I heard about the name – he was to be Big Buck’s something or another, but the something or another was not allowed by Weatherbys who decide such things, so the name was rather inelegantly curtailed.

In a happy coincidence I was sent this Christmas card this year and it photographed exceptionally well. It is by Charlie Langton a ridiculously young and talented artist and sculptor. He shares the same birthday as George Stubbs so comparisons are not only inevitable but appropriate.

For my own part as much as I see the sense of Big Buck’s and love this painting, I am a Karabak fan and whilst his form falls somewhat short of the required standard I might have an each-way dabble. Good luck to all.

Big Buck's by Charlie Langton for The Spinal Injuries Association

After Kauto Star’s simply unbelievable King George last Saturday I can feel a statue coming on.

Just in case

one was wondering (I know you weren’t Emily), I will mention that racing stuff tomorrow. Today’s racing is too muddy and strength-sapping to discuss and Saturday’s too sublime to summarise in a sentence.

In the meantime I have another snap from yesterday’s expedition, the line-up being as follows:

Billy (deaf and out of shot doing his own thing) – for the record a cross between a brown dog and a Lassie (Stamford Hill circa 1995). Variously described as chestnut or ginger and on one outrageous occasion “orange”.

Henry (Billy’s first friend after Senna) a brown labrador.

Max (Billy’s second friend etc.) a black labrador.

Raffi (Billy’s one year old brother) a black poodle, who has read somewhere that the poodle is a very intelligent breed of dog and is minded to demonstrate this factoid as often as possible.

Rudi (who needs no intro) a fawn lurcher from Navan who needs to go to Your Vet today for his booster vaccinations but who remains blissfully unaware of this necessity…

Only they know what it was...

Raffi - far more intelligent than his namesake

Blowing the Cobwebs Away with Old Friends

Billy and Cassia - we love you both!

This lad being my oldest friend. Billy made us work hard today to get a snap of him. At thirteen years young he is as self-directed as he ever was and his fantastic good looks belie his public “Hackney hoodie” persona. His health and wellbeing are a credit Bren and Dan who have cared for him for the past six years.

The rest of the beach gang tomorrow…

Happy Christmas from Makemeadiva and her Elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

This is deeply silly and I am not sure little sister will approve, but we enjoyed it!

Have fun everybody x

Rudolf Nureyev in the Snow

This is the only picture I could get of our dog, to give him his full moniker. It is hard to get a Russian ballet dancer to stand still for even a moment, let alone in the snow.

I like this picture so much. It has the look of the skinny little dog that came over from Ireland on the boat in December two years ago before he had discovered arch looks and “I’ll stab you with my stiletto knife whilst you sleep” humours.

Actually, he hasn’t murdered me in my bed yet and has become just like my old dog at night. He sleeps either on or next my legs and, despite the battle over the cover, there is nothing better in the world.

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt

Firstly I apologise to anyone who ever comes here looking for hot tips or intelligent comment. Since it snowed my brain stopped working. I have had a little think about the King George, but surely only Satan (curiously an anagram of Santa) himself would stand in the way of history. Or this snow and ice I suppose.

So sorry, but any blogging activity this week will be of the deeply self-indulgent kind and of zero interest to most. However just before I start all that I would just like to congratulate my good friend, Joseph Isherwood, who has bagged his own regular blog at the Racing Post about learning to ride (inside job given he works there). We met when he worked at the local bookies as a student and we have been friends ever since, notwithstanding that I am old enough to be his mother. In fact, when we have been on the Rowley Mile and he was wearing jeans I was instructed to tell the premier enclosure guards just that! Then there was the time he turned up at the July course with his badminton racquet and we had to hunt for it with various officials after the July Cup. We share the same birthday eighteen years apart and it is good to know someone who has the same mad enthusiasm for things that I do…

I am not sure where Joe stands on Christmas trees but I am in the buy it at the last minute camp. I also can’t stand artificial ones, except perhaps in supporting roles. The year we had an artificial one at home when I was young stands out in my mind. The horror of it. Does this make me a Christmas tree snob? There is always a strong rear guard action against a real one here, although that may be a ruse to make sure that I am the one tasked with sourcing one and dragging it home. Last year I ended up with two 6 footers by Christmas Eve – my own and a homeless one.

Anyway, here is this year’s version. A twenty quid rooted job in a pot that Cassia and I risked life and limb to get on Sunday. There wasn’t a lot of choice, but more than last year where I nearly had to a fight a duel over the last Christmas tree in Essex in the garden Centre car-park. I think this is the earliest I have ever put one up, left to my own childless devices I would leave it until Eve as the kids say. After all you don’t want to be sick of the sight of it and knee deep in needles by Christmas Day…

Rudi’s Routine

Is a bit out of whack, what with the snow and the school holidays. Galloping him on the ice-fields is a bit out, but he doesn’t seem to mind curtailed walks due to the Arctic temperatures.

Probably more irksome is the disruption to his morning nap. When the kids go to school (after he has had his morning porridge and kippers) he likes to pop back up to my bed and my pillow and have a lengthy sleep. Yesterday I disturbed him and he gave me this look.

Of course the sensible thing to do would be to close the door leaving him a choice of three other beds, his own bed or two sofas, but our doors are a bit hit and miss in the “staying closed or being opened again” department so I let him get on with his life of luxury largely undisturbed.

There is a good explanation for the dodgy doors but that’s another story titled “The pros and cons of reclaiming panel doors from skips”.

Kieren Fallon Programme

Talks to Clare Balding about his career and troubled times including Ballinger Ridge.