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We have been off air for a while now but it is good to be back. As always, Busman’s holiday and having a bit of fun.  It is good to see how other people do things, what they are feeding, what new innovations are about and how they actually work.  However, it is now time for the serious stuff as the season is upon us.  The horse that Andrew won the Spring Challenge on, Kangaroo Jack, looks a smart type and maybe a new star has arrived in town. He was certainly extremely impressive on Saturday. 

Our runners ran well. I am not too disappointed with The Conglomerate and won’t be jumping off a bridge quite yet. He has always been a bit of a slow starter. He had a tricky draw and got nudged a bit so could have finished a bit closer. But  he needed the run as, with the dreaded AHS vaccines, we have gone much more quietly with all our horses this year in order to be consistent through the summer season.  Provided the horses stay well, we are looking forward to a good season. 

In the Ramsden farmyard, our stable sheep have been sheared and the ducks are quacking happily, particularly the drakes. They have the most beautiful green heads at the moment. They are a bit like the horses: when their coats turn, so does their form. 

We had the Matchem Stakes down here which has opened up to all ages, for very good reason I am sure. It is a great shame not to see any 3 year olds run as this race was always a very good guide as to where we were with the 3 year olds and possibly some of the 4 year olds.  Under those conditions, it looked tough to run a 3 year old. It is a funny race and being right at the start of the season is quite tough to keep them going all the way to the end of January without losing form. The winner, Captain America, looks to have plenty of improvement in him. It was good to see the big horse – and he is a big horse – get back to his best. 

The same conditions applied to the Diana Stakes and again no 3 year olds. It was won by a beautiful Captain Al filly,  Captain’s Flame, and she looks like she could go on to bigger and better things.  Maybe I am a little rude in saying the rest looked more Listed class quality, excluding Brett Crawford’s well tried filly, Alexis. We know she is far better than her run suggests.  

Most of our babies are in and they seem to be going the right way. They have changed shape since bought at the sales and some are still in the process of changing shape.  This is the time of the year which I enjoy the most, watching them grow and develop.  Nothing is going quickly enough to have formed any definite opinions – probably a good thing as when people phone up asking for my selections, they are sure to die a slow death waiting for my reply.  We still have a couple of youngsters on the farm so will be taking a drive out to see how they are progressing.   

We have had some bad luck this past week but these things do happen and hopefully we can all move on. 

It is sales time and yet again, CTS  will be putting on a major show at Durbanville. There are some lovely pedigrees on order and the gallops are always interesting to watch. I have been quite lucky at the Ready to Run sales in the past and I think I might have to revert back to my old way of selecting as it has possibly proved more successful. We will have to see but first of all we have to find the buyers!  It is sure to be a good, fun couple of days. 

While I have been away, plenty of interesting things have been happening on the sporting front.  Let’s start with the demise of the Springboks. I know everyone says they will be back but I would hate to think when.  I have never been a great fan of Allister Coetzee as he barely managed to win a thing with Western Province (which used to consist of two thirds of the Springbok side).  I think he has an extremely large task ahead of him and even with his arrogance, he is starting to look like a worried man. I wish him well. 

The students are going crazy. For once in this country, there seems to be consistency all around. I see from this morning’s paper that the Stellenbosch students are going on a hunger strike. Could be a number of skinny students in the Stellenbosch area in the weeks to come.  Let’s hope these issues are resolved soon but once again, our president seems to have his head stuck firmly in the sand. He brings new meaning to the word “procrastination”. 

To end on a sad note, our last surviving Jack Russell, Heidi, from our Russell dynasty -  starting with Granny Annie, Mother Sarah and granddaughter, Heidi - was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It is amazing: what one does not know, does not seem to affect one. Heidi is in fine form and looking at her picture, one would not guess anything was wrong. She is the most loyal hound and without doubt man’s best friend. 

Until next week, when I will try and be a bit more interesting and topical – this is your Captain signing off on DAY 247, 11th October


 

 
 
 
 
   


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