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The Hennessy

I was asked if I fancied going to watch this today at Newbury. I gave it some thought. Then I remembered that as much as I like Newbury, I do not very much like the cold, or the jumps. I do like Denman and he goes for an historic treble today, but since he had a fall at Aintree and that heart procedure I’ve not been able to watch him. Putting all that into the basket and throwing in a round trip of about 300 miles in the Tin Can from Japan decided me against. If Denman does manage to win I’ll be the first to pour myself a treble of the damn stuff and toast him.

I haven’t got a view of the race to be truthful, although the thought that The Tank will have to lug a minimum of 1 stone and 4 pounds more than his nearest weighted rival makes me shudder (and it will be just 2 pounds shy of two stone to most of the field). Instead I can only repeat what most people may have heard already: there have been strong whispers coming into the race for the Irish horse Pandorama and that some good judges have mentioned that Madison du Berlais may be a rather generously priced 16/1. All home safe and not too knackered is all I ask for.

In the meantime I’d rather look at this fantastic picture of the flat racing darling Selkirk in the snow, which the delightful Clare Balding kindly allowed me to use. Selkirk was trained by her father Ian and raced for George Strawbridge in a career that enjoyed wins in the Lockinge Stakes at the selfsame Newbury, the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

Selkirk stands at Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, the fee for his services in 2011 is ¬£20,000. He has sired 81 Group/Stakes winners including 12 Group 1 winners. So if it’s a group-winning flashy chestnut with some white markings you’re after producing you could do an awful lot worse…

Selkirk courtesy of Clare Balding's Twitpics

“Worn to a ravelling”

The moment you have a child your future possibilities for sleep are completely in the lap of the Gods. Every parent knows this, but you don’t really know it until it is actually too late.

I crawled through the first years of motherhood on my hands and knees in utter exhaustion and I can’t say it hasn’t improved because it has. The eldest is a paragon of virtue remaining neatly arranged in her own bed all night, every night. She even has the decency to lie-in a bit. The youngest however is a different matter. Since a babe in arms she signed some kind of secret hideous lifetime timeshare to occupy the parental bed and although she starts every night in her own pit she invariably makes her way into mine 75% of the time.

At 6 she is too big. She is too elbowy and sharp-kneeed, she is too leg-drapey and hair-tickly and she keeps me awake. She ignores requests to vacate and just burrows further into the mattress like a mite. Worst of all she clutches items of desire in her sleep and brings them with her. It turns out last night I was not sleeping with luminous green slime called Halloween Goo. I am stubborn though. As much as she disturbs my sleep, I refuse to play musical beds. If I go down that road I end up in a narrow single with a dog, and a cat and then she often follows me back and gets in there too. It is a nightmare.

So this is how I was listening to Radio 4 this morning before Farming Today was even on. There was some programme that went like this.

This woman with a rather saccharine lilt was saying how it was miracle that she was no longer crippled by her back. She had been on Incapacity Benefit for 12 years. That’s not working for 12 years you know, because your back hurts. Then she had had this miracle. Someone had suggested she remove her piercing. They surely said whereabouts on her body this piercing was located, but because I was trying to sleep I must have missed it. A piercing that crippples you for 12 years? Where the hell was it? I’m thinking a bolt in her neck. Anyway, let that be a lesson to you all. Metal junk in your body is unnecessary and evil.

Then thank goodness that was over and I had Clare Balding and her Ramblings round Glasgow’s Necropolis with a load of women history detectives. Rather unkindly I admit, it has crossed my mind that the wee small hours are the time programme schedulers let women on the radio because no-one is bloody listening. The theory is flawed because Ramblings is on during the day and rightly so because Clare is still excellent, even when I would rather be in the Land of Nod than wandering around a cemetery in Glasgow. Then I had to suffer the actual Farming Today, but I hung on long enough for the Today without the farming, wherein the great John Humphrys was caught out reading a piece on “peasants and phartridges” which turned out to be a typo from Simon Barnes’ article in today’s Times. Tut, tut.

By the time we got to torture in Iraq and Rooney as the greediest man alive (you’d never guess it to look at his face would you?) I was comatose. So no song lyrics in my head this morning, just a bit of a headache, a stiff back (no piercings, STUPID woman) and a distinct affinity with the Tailor of Gloucester.

Simpkin, alack I am undone. No more twist.

Pity our cat can't make tea

*These are the ramblings of a sleep-starved person so if they make no sense (nonsense) what else did you expect. I might be pulling myself together to predict the loser of the Pacing Rost Trophy at Donny later…