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It is the usual hectic time of year with some smashing racing all round the country.  The two Grade 1’s at Greyville were won by two extremely smart horses that looked destined for better things.  Rabada was always a horse that impressed me after winning his Grade 1 at Greyville. He impressed me again on Saturday with his tenacity under a pretty smart Anton Marcus ride.  I also think, just as good a ride and effort, was that by Anthony Delpech on Bela-Bela. She looks a smart filly and I was sorry to come up against her pretty early in the season with one of my own runners – and giving her weight!  But that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Down here in the Cape we had a nice filly running in the Nursery. She is looking for a bit further and also some time off to mature. We will be sending her to the farm for a couple of months.  Sadly Attenborough, a really nice horse, could not get past the Snaith runner, Sergeant Hardy and, taking nothing away from the winner, I felt something was not quite right with our horse. We lung washed him when he came back to the stables and the result was pretty disgusting.  I think 2nd was a very good effort considering what was in the syringe after the lung wash.  Back to the drawing board with him.

It is a difficult time of year for the horses – and the trainers – weather wise: the days are amazing but once the sun goes down, it gets really chilly.  With the weather changing by the hour, one never knows whether to have one or two blankets on, leave the top doors open for ventilation or shut them. It is all a guessing game and must be confusing for the horses as well.  It makes winters down here extremely tough for the trainers from a mental perspective but then; no one ever said it would be easy.  We just have to enjoy the sunny days when we can but by golly, we need rain desperately.  The country is crying for it.

It is lovely to have Red Ray in the stable again.  He was handed back to me by Mike in the most beautiful order and I am really looking forward to giving him a run back at Scottsville.  Luckily not too much pressure as he has had plenty of time off but he has been doing really nicely at home and looks a million dollars.  You can have no idea how much pleasure it gives me to have these old friends back in the stables.  It looks to be a fantastic card at Scottsville with four Grade 1 races: two colts and two fillies.  The juvenile features should be exciting and fascinating races and are probably giving the trainers grey hairs.  It is the place to be on Saturday.


Our horses from Australia – well, two of them – have arrived safely and it is great to get them in the yard and see how they have grown and developed since the sales.  We sadly had to leave one behind in Australia as it was left “in quarantine” with another filly. I am not quite sure how that is regarded as quarantine but as it happened in Australia and not here in South Africa I had very little control over it.  When her “paddock mate” became ill, my “quarantined” filly was not allowed to leave and she sadly had to miss the flight to SA.  It is particularly annoying as it had been arranged they arrived directly in Cape Town and we would not have had to wait for the usual round of vaccinations and further quarantine in SA. We could have got her in the stable and going fairly quickly in order to possibly sell her at a later date. Well, that opportunity is now gone.


The weekend obviously leads up to probably the biggest race in the English calendar, the Investec Epsom Derby. It looks to be a smashing and wide-open contest this year. My brother has a small pub in London called the Sydney Arms and runs a syndicate, called Chelsea Thoroughbreds, in which the Sydney Arms has a small share. I believe they are going to have a runner in this year’s event with Humphrey Bogart. He ran 2nd in the Investec Derby Trial which might not be the greatest pointer to a Derby winner. However, William Haggas’ horse last year won a race like that and went on to run a really good 3rd in the showcase race at Epsom. So who knows.  It is super exciting and I hope Humphrey runs exceptionally well. I will be cheering them on. 

There is a great week’s racing ahead for all of us and I am sure we will be exhausted at the end of it all.

This is your Captain signing off on DAY 241 , 31st May



 

 
 
 
 
   


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