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Age Quod Agis – Do As You Are Doing

I have cleaned the glass since

I’ve mislaid the camera, so am relying on the Blackberry.

Fingers crossed the actual one turns up soon.

This is an original, possibly by a well-known equine artist called Jacquie Jones (I think, in the process of verification). I found it in a charity shop earlier this month. Jacquie Jones is the artist in residence at the Newmarket Horse Racing Museum. I also think that this horse might be her ‘muse’: Age Quod Agis, a horse who won the July Stakes in 1980 at Newmarket as a two year old for Henry Cecil, Joe Mercer up. Jacquie ‘did’ Age Quod Agis who was owned by Daniel Wildenstein who is now deceased, but owned other good horses such as Ascot Gold Cup winner Westerner.

Anyway, one morning, when she was not riding work on the grey, he got rid of his rider on the heath and bolted into the road where he collided with a car. The young man driving was killed. Jacquie never rode again after that, but stayed on at the yard and nursed the horse for another six months before he went off to stud in America. She took up painting full time after that and says of Age Quod Agis

He comes to me in dreams. Not very often, but sometimes when I’m going through a low patch he’ll just appear. It’s almost as if he’s encouraging me on, saying ‘Yes, you’re on the right path’; it leaves me feeling very uplifted.”

'Elegance' by Jacquie Jones

Live Life Like Frankel (via On wishes and horses)

S’pose it’s the height of laziness to reblog your own post.

Note to Self: Fuck It & Live Life Like Frankel?

Live Life Like Frankel That is my motto from now on. It looks like fun… … Read More

via On wishes and horses

Live Life Like Frankel

That is my motto from now on.

It looks like fun…

Forget Goodwood

Looks like a pig of a day to me. I might be tempted to back Henry’s wronged Jacqueline, but that is it. Maybe.

Now, to the terrible tank news. I reported the missing snail a week or so ago. The good news is, it is no longer missing. The bad news is that it was found dead and calcified on the floor behind the tank. The other bad news is that the snail that kept rolling around on its back was actually rolling around on its back for good reason. I left it on the rock a few days ago, but it didn’t move, so when faced with one dead snail I decided to be brave and check the other for life. At first, when I picked it up, I was heartened. It recoiled into its shell when I poked it. I did it again to be sure. Could you imagine if I had buried it alive? Anyway, on the second occasion it recoiled further and then plopped out in a decayed smelly jelly mess. Nice.

What have we done?

Hard to tell they have turned up their toes


The calcification of the escapee is not hard to understand. Escapes to a dark corner, is not missed quickly enough and dies before search party is even despatched. The other snail demise is harder to work out, more a reflection on my mollusc-keeping abilities. Did it starve? Given my obsession with weekly water changes and the greedy angel fish there would hardly have been much food going. I thought they would snack on the plants.

I prefer to think it died of a broken snail heart when its companion escaped. Whatever, I do feel a bit culpable. Knowing something like this was bound to happen hardly softens the blow. 😦

The Eclipse: the partial or total obscuring of one celestial body by another

The actual horse Eclipse, whom the race is named after, was born on April Fool’s Day in 1764 during a solar eclipse.  He went on to win all his races, and was eventually retired due to lack of competition.

“Eclipse first, the rest nowhere” was coined during his short career.  Like most great horses he had his idiosyncracies, being boisterous and bad-tempered.  His running style – carrying his nose near the ground -made him so hard to ride that only one jockey, John Oakley, partnered him in his 18 race career, all won hands and heels.  Rumour has it that Eclipse’s best friend was a Psalm squawking parrot…

It is reported that at least 80% of today’s racehorses have Eclipse in their pedigrees and he himself was a direct descendant of the great foundation sire the Darley Arabian.

It is therefore apposite to note that Singspiel who I met once at a distance at Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud was sadly put down yesterday after a *long illness.  Today Singspiel’s daughter Dar Re Mi lines up against the boys in the race at Sandown.  I have checked that Singspiel and his daughter are in the 80% of thoroughbreds that have Eclipse runing through their veins and they do.  As you go back through horses’ pedigrees the different strands become so convoluted and the pathways so many that I couldn’t look at every bit of Eclipse that they inevitably have but I can confirm that Eclipse and Creeping Polly produced King Fergus who appears at least twice in Singspiel’s pedigree, not to mention a bit of Eclipse and Sportsmistress producing the strangely named Pot-8-Os.

Pot-8-Os Got his name from a stable lad who was asked to put “Potatoes” on his corn bin but misspelled it (possibly as “Potoooooooo”). It was said to have amused his lordship (Earl of Grosvenor), and so it appears in the General Stud Book. Later it was shortened to Pot-8-Os for general use.      


Anyway, I am sure most of the other runners today have Eclipse in the pedigree too, although it would be interesting to try and find the 20% who don’t and put a line through them.  Without the time to indulge in a morning of poking around  in pedigrees over 250 years old you will have to settle with my summary.

I want Dar Re Mi to win obviously, but the last time I went to the Eclipse wanting a mare to win Christophe Soumillon got poor Ouija Board murdered round the last bend and she came back in about 5th place with cuts and bruises.  I can’t even remember who won that day, and I can’t be faffed to look it up now.  Maybe it will come back to me.

Dar Re Mi may find 10f a bit sharp is the conventional wisdom, but she is a course and distance winner.  Zacinto will be popular, but is stepping up from his usual mile for the first time and for that reason I don’t fancy him.  With Twice Over I am always a little bit cautious especially since he didn’t fire in this race last year when I am sure I backed him, but a Cecil win is always a heartwarmer.  I won’t back his today though because my heart is with the mare.

Of the others: Viscount Nelson, Sri Putra and Mawatheeq – I am not convinced.

So come on Dar Re Mi – do it for your dad Singspiel and your 30Greats Grandad Eclipse.

Poor Singspiel succumbed to laminitis

Breeders’ Cup Weekend

There was a day in the not-so distance past that you could hoof off down the boozer and watch this on the tv.  If anyone can still do that please let me know for next year.

This year, in another appalling punter versus being a fully-paid up member of a family conflict, I am called away to Devon.

So tonight, when Midday is winning the Filly & Mare Turf in emotional scenes for the blog’s beloved Henry Cecil (or it could be Father Time lifting the Marathon), I will be on an M-way somewhere in the South.  On my own with a 5 year old, which is worse than actually being on my own.  Not because she is not good but because of the responsibility of it all.  Motherhood seems so much more heavy on my shoulders when I get in a car, in the dark, in three lanes of traffic, on my own!  Did I mention I was on my own?

Saturday will see me dragged out to a cold open field for fireworks.  I have been informed I can “catch up” on the Breeders’ Cup when I get back, but by then Fleeting Spirit will have won the sprint and Twice Over will have won the Classic.  Actually I am not too confident about any of the selections given the quality of the fields, but on the nights that are the Breeders’ Cup where international collateral form can be hard to come by or assess, I suggest chucking the form book out of the window (on the M5 perhaps) and just enjoying the Californian spectacle.  The Brits dishing up a can of whupass to the Yanks and all that kinda thing y’all.

That’s if you’re not out watching fireworks or driving to Devon.  Did I mention I was on my own…


Aidan O'Brien works Lillie Langtry @ Santa Anita

P.S. Don’t forget Frankie says “relax”, but he also says if your hoss has a draw in double figures at Santa Anita “forget it”.

Search Terms Pt. 2 – “Henry Cecil walk on water”

There was no question mark either!

I am a fan of Henry Cecil but I am not sure that this skill is among his many powers.

He seems to have been a hostage to fortune in many ways; badly used by his wife and then stable jockey (Kieren Fallon), losing his patron Sheikh Mohammed and now sadly battling cancer. Throughout all these trials he has remained a stoic gentleman of the turf and his return to the Epsom winner’s enclosure, when he won the Oaks with Light Shift a few seasons ago, was a very memorable and emotional moment.

This season we are crossing our fingers for Midday and a Group 1 win, she has certainly caught a Tartar in the shape of the tiger Sariska. Good luck Henry 🙂

Not walking on water, but close.

Not walking on water, but close.

The Oaks Preview – without the strength and depth of the Derby epic!

I just took a phone call from my friend – did I want to go to the Oaks tomorrow (setting off for Epsom in about 12 hours time)?  We went last year, when I had about three days notice…

Sadly I had to decline just now because I am bound for something much more boring (delivering a workshop at a conference that has nothing whatsoever to do with horses, although I have hidden a Derby question in the interactive quiz :-)).  What a disappointment.  March in the fens or Epsom on the downs.  No contest 😦

Anyway, I took the opportunity to pick the horseracing journo’s brains and he said he has Sariska but he is worried she will be outpaced down the hill.  He said he also backed the Bolger filly last year at 50/1, Oh Goodness Me.  So that’s the expert’s view.  He also particularly wants to be there when Jamie Spencer wins his first English Classic, that’s a big fact that had escaped my notice.  Well I hope it happens for them both.

My own position is this.  I don’t have time to tie myself in the comprehensive knots I have over the colts race on Saturday and I have been busy doing Powerpoint slides for the conference when I could have been studying the form, so I am forced into a Little Britain, Lou and and Andy type decision.

“I want that one!” 

That one being Henry Cecil’s MIDDAY.  I like that she has course experience behind a useful colt, Debussy who has then finished behind two of the Ballydoyle Derby runners at Chester.  I like that she won her trial very nicely at Lingfield, albeit against a nothing sort of field.  I like her sire Oasis Dream and I like Henry, a lot.  He has a great record in the Oaks and at Midday tomorrow although I will be in March, my heart will be at Epsom.

Midday aims to give Henry Cecil his 9th Oaks winner tomorrow

Midday aims to give Henry Cecil his 9th Oaks winner tomorrow