Monthly Archives: April 2011

Live Life Like Frankel

That is my motto from now on.

It looks like fun…


The blog is meant to be in a hotel somewhere in Sussex before getting on a flight (yes, feel the fear and do it anyway…) abroad tomorrow morning. Instead of which, in a master stroke of disorganisation, I will be at the Passport Office in Victoria at 7.45 a.m. sharp in an attempt to get the eldest’s passport renewed.

You could kind of understand it if it was a few weeks out of date, perhaps a few months. In fact, hers is a full two years out of date and, despite my checking all this a month ago, the minor detail escaped my usually gimlet eye. I can only be thankful I did notice before the check-in desk. Oh the potential for public, come fly with me, humiliation. At least I have been quietly humiliated in private. Apart from when I told my neighbour, my colleague, my mum, my sisters and a couple of dear friends…

Oh and the Post Office woman. I had to go there and queue up. Twice. I got the same post mistress on each occasion. By the second time I was slightly hysterical with laughter, but at least I had the sense to ask for a couple of forms for all the additional, and elementary, errors I am bound to make.

So, the blog may be on holiday for a while, or the blog may not. It is all slightly out of my cold, yet sweaty, hands now.

Iron Horse

This is a bluegrass cover of the Metallica track The Unforgiven by Iron Horse – a band I had never heard of until about twenty minutes ago. I like the Metallica song a lot, but when one is trying to type up some version of a 3000 word assignment on a Sunday morning, this one is a bit more accessible to the ear and a lot better than Steve Wrights Sunday Love Songs.

I like bluegrass. I dont expect anyone else to…

N.b. I can also recommend their cover of Nothing Else Matters, also a Metallica song.

P.s. I think Jamie will disown me now, but before he does we need a guest post about the A13 and a lurcher…

Ref: yesterday’s post

This was the strains of tune, that I was singing along to at the racecourse. I had never seen the video until I looked it up for this post. They look to me like they (Mumford and Sons) are in India, maybe Kerala.

Time was I would hop on a plane to India with a song in my heart. Next week I am meant to get on a plane to Turkey with only Valium in my stomach. How things change.

Click through required, good video rewards the effort…

Strains of this

wafted across towards the paddock on the Rowley Mile yesterday. If I am to be found singing along to a song outside one of the food and drink outlets when I am racing it means one of two things. I am not in front; I like the song. And I suppose, it could mean both.

Anyway, count yourselves lucky its not David Guetta (it is Friday night after all).

Hang on, it is Friday night. Well then, David Guetta it is – I am not that ancient, yet. The other will have to wait.

You never quite know what a day might hold

Ely Cathedral

In my case, on this day, it was this.

And a fruitless hunt for Oliver Cromwell’s old gaff.

Was he good or bad my co-pilot asked?

Oh, a bit of both I suppose, I said.

From the back the 8 year old piped up: he was warty…
Christmas is sinful…music is sinful…dancing is sinful…

We played David Guetta on the way back.

Old Ironsides must be spinning in his grave.

I just remembered: I forgot to do a post today

One of my strengths is being able to forget; one of my innumerable areas for development is remembering stuff.

I can remember all manner of facts and information that has no especial application, if it fits with one of my obsessions of interest. Anything that might be of immediate and concrete use, often goes unremembered. The cat could vouch for me on this shortcoming as she clutches her ample gut and curses me for running out of cat food and not feeding her all afternoon…

I have been through three or four memory sticks for the computer since Christmas: a couple broken through ill-treatment (accidental), others lost.
One turned up today in the washing machine. I dont know how long it had been there. Safe to say, it too will have forgotten all the important things I asked it to remember…

But I have been thrown a lifeline. A laptop from work that connects to the work network. Now I can save things to a power higher than my own, a memory more reliable, a collective of information – one that will never, ever, not even in my most absent-minded of moments, end up in the wash.


The Persistence of Memory - Salvador Dali

‘How horseracing lives with the spectre of death’

Not my title, Alistair Down’s in the Racing Post (read the full online version here).

I quite often have a problem with Mr Down’s writing style; it’s a kind of why use one set of flowery adjectives, when multiple ones will do. However, on this occasion, he has toned it down and given the subject (the death of two horses in Saturday’s Grand National) the levity it warrants. But still, it grates somehow.

For a start, I do not believe ‘horseracing lives with the spectre of death’. It is most rare to see a racehorse running on the flat (no jumps) knuckle over and die. Of course it happens occasionally, sadly, but it happens mainly because of some intrinsic issue with the horse – not because we have popped some very extrinsic fences in the way of their progress. So yes, jump racing does indeed live with that spectre, because a fence can trip up a horse at any time, occasionally fatally, but deaths in flat racing are far less usual.

I know horses do not jump obstacles naturally. Show me footage of horses sailing over obstacles in the wild? Even a horse schooled by humans to clear a fence will stand patiently in a field waiting to be taken back to their stable at dinner time – they do not jump over the gate (Tesio, Breeding the Racehorse). Jumping ability is not hereditary in horses, because it is not a genetic predisposition. We train them and ask that they do it. We should take responsibility for that. Allowing horses that have never jumped the peculiar technicalities of a National fence, in a field of 30+ horses is, I would venture, inviting tragedy. Of course danger can never be removed, but asking a horse and rider to jump an obstacle at any speed is always going to cause falls and those falls lead to injury, sometimes death.

I can’t bear falls. I don’t watch jump racing really for that reason. It’s not a moral stance, it’s a position borne out of logic, observation and personal taste. As Down says, in jump racing, ‘fatalities are inevitable’. I am not prepared to back that inevitability.

See you on the Rowley Mile Alistair? Oh no, I won’t will I. But we won’t fall out if I do because you say you ‘have no argument with those who disapprove of jump racing. But with those who seek to emasculate it beyond recognition or ban it entirely I am implacably at odds.’

Actually, I wouldn’t mind a ban; I think they have gone that far in the state of Victoria, Australia already.

And then I lose patience with the man entirely, as he reverts to type.

‘Those who love jump racing hail from every geographical corner and inhabit all social strata of these islands. They are Everyman and they are legion.’

No, mate, they bloody aren’t. If they were, we would still be hunting foxes.

Ribot: not bred by Tesio to jump

This is the life

The sun is shining, two weeks plus off school, ice-cream on the beach and no discernible worries in the world.

Black Caviar

I was answering a question from Mr D. Burger at the weekend on the Grand National comments about greatest racehorses, and I mentioned this super-sprinting mare, Black Caviar, to come out of Australia.

Actually, she is yet to come out of Australia, where she is 12 wins from 12 good races, but I hope she travels over here and we get to see her blasting the 5 furlongs of the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

After Saturday’s gruelling 4 and a half miles at Aintree, I think there’s a lot to be said for a spin over the minimum trip before going home again to kick back in your stable.

I tell you, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that when I get back to a real-life flat meeting, I might have to drop to my knees and kiss the turf.

I really hope the blog can host the picture on an ongoing basis. Check out the source at this site which has more fantastic photos, the first being another one of this mare.