Fewer horses does not necessarily equate to less work and the past week has kept us all very busy indeed. Allen, assisted by his wife Anna (aka super secretary and chief of accounts) has been riding away some of the yearling fillies and so far so good. All have been well behaved and well mannered and no one has eaten any soil- which always helps. Anna leaves the office each morning to spend time with "her" yearling filly- she is breaking in the very lovely filly by Stimulation (last year Fascinator was one of Anna's projects and, after Facinators seriously eye catching debut last night at Newcastle Anna is basking in reflected glory while the lads are ribbing Allen by reminding him what a 'wonderful' job his wife made of a somewhat tricky filly).
On Thursday Sugar Beach ran a cracker- her best race recently, when beaten only a couple of lengths at Chelmsford as we try a couple of new things out on her, it looks like finally we are making progress and that a visit into the winners enclosure is looking more and more likely. At Newcastle on the same day the enigmatic Hilary J had us all on tender hooks and in stitches at the same time. "Hilly" is one very tricky customer, hugely talented and highly intelligent, she is able to stay one step ahead of us most of the time and, just as we think we have got her measure she produces a new game to out-wit us. On Thursday she did something I have never seen a racehorse do before, like a thelwell pony she put her head down to the floor while on the racetrack and "shook" her entire body so much that poor Shane fell off over her head! It was absolutely hilarious- even Shane couldn't quite believe it. Once she had shown us who was boss she allowed him back on and carried on as it nothing had happened. Finishing third in a competitive race although it was clear she was still saving plenty of her energy for another day.
Symphonic and Balmec were having their third runs and will be better suited to handicap company- Balmec this season and Symphonic next year. Yesterday, I'M yer Man lined up with stablemate and debutant Fascinator in what looked on paper a very tricky little race with one horse over from Joseph O'Briens in Ireland and a potential improver from the all powerful Fahey team. In the end the slow pace and extra furlong did no favours for I'M Yer Man who ran well but was outstayed by an impressive fast finishing Fascinator who very nearly beat the winner and would have done but for being green and unsure what to do when tackling a gap between two horses. Nevertheless it was a great run for the daughter of Helmet and a lovely sympathetic ride from Graeme Lee who was under strict instructions to be super kind to her. A filly like this does not weant a tough race on her first day at school.
Elsewhere, the antibacterial paint arrived for the start of the big steam clean/ disinfect and repaint. The water treadmill had a double clean and disinfect, including the underground tank, a new lad arrived for a weeks trial and another rider pitched up too and joined us this morning. Hazel has been busy in charge of turnouts, James is always flat out from 4.30am every morning and the office has been a hive of activity with Anna working hard on accounts ahead of last weeks monthly visit from our accountants and Berni has been working hard on the forthcoming edition of Cabin life and helping me with some NTF business, a couple of days without internet and half a day without electric added to a sense of frustration however.
A busy day planned for tomorrow with owners and friends.