Michael Ross, a former member of the pedigree department of that great dinosaur of the horse racing world, the British Bloodstock Agency, reminded us this week of Winston Churchill's flirtation with our sport, and the word “flirtation” is used advisedly.
Saturday's J&B Met race meeting was as good a day's racing as we've witnessed recently, and while the margin of his heroics on Saturday might suggest that Futura is head and shoulders above his own generation, it's worth remembering that Legislate was missing and that the recent Highveld Triple Crown winner Louis The King, hot off his own sparkling victory in the Sansui Summer Cup (Gr.1), just didn't turn up.
The one thing about the horseracing business, is that the wheels grind on, no matter where you are, seven days a week, twelve months of the year.The one thing about the horseracing business, is that the wheels grind on, no matter where you are, seven days a week, twelve months of the year.
We recently received a letter from Lynn Atkinson, a regular (and certainly amongst our favourites) correspondent and follower of our blog, and decided that its publication was a wonderful opportunity to share Lynn's latest memoirs, which were described by Mick as "moving"; we're quite sure our readers will agree.
There’s an old saying that “you can take a man out of Africa, but you can’t take Africa out of a man.” It’s grown up around the exotic beauty of this continent, its sounds, its scents, its people, its animals, and as much as anything, its atmosphere.
This past weekend, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, called a general election, obviously seeking a reaffirmation of the mandate he obtained two years ago for his radical new economic plan, popularly referred to as “Abenomics”. There can only be one strategic purpose behind a snap election in these circumstances, and that is to get the support of the populace before the substantial majority you enjoyed last time, whittles away altogether.
When Sebueng trotted up by 2.5 at Greyville towards the end of last week, we should’ve known something was cooking. This coming weekend the former Premier of KZN, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, hosts an old-style country race meeting at his farm near Pietermaritzburg’s Table Mountain, and we’d already agreed with His Majesty King Letsie that Saturday would be the filly’s swansong, notwithstanding Michael Roberts’ misgivings about testing her over this fresh patch of naked veldt.
Your arrival at the racecourse in this Indian Ocean paradise is greeted by a grand statue of King Edward VII, erected no doubt to continue the appeasement of the local French settlers, whose government had been displaced by the British.
Ian Player passed away last night and we are all the poorer for it. People like him leave gaping holes behind them, and somehow we never quite get to fill them again. I know he would chide me for comparing him with Nelson Mandela, but the truth is, he was to the animal and floral kingdoms what Madiba was to humanity.
Ever since his victory in the Todman Stakes (Gr.2), trainer Gai Waterhouse and jockey Tommy Berry had been banging on about the virtues of their Golden Slipper (Gr.1) aspirant, Vancouver; Saturday proved them right. It goes further than that though, particularly if you're tuned into Radio Berry, who's adamant this colt will win both the next two legs of the Juvenile Triple Crown, the Sires Produce (Gr.1) and the Champagne (Gr.1).
Somewhere, sometime, our boat had to come in. There is little more satisfying for a collector of racehorses, than getting a 'lift' in the days following a sale. It was easy, sitting around the sales ring in Melbourne last week, to feel a bit depressed, knowing that with only Rands to spend, we were competing with currencies from all over the world in a sale that posted new highs in every sphere.
The upward figures observed during the three day Session I of the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale continued into Session II Wednesday, resulting in new record average, gross and clearance rate.
Aggregate, average and median prices continued to grow on the second day of the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, with 162 horses selling for a combined A$17,183,500 and an average of A$106,070, while the clearance rate, which had been the only downward figure on day one, received a significant boost from a buoyant 'Blue Riband' session.
The Inglis Premier Yearling Sale got underway with the first of four sessions Sunday in Melbourne, Australia. Gains were realized in high price, gross, average and median, and competition for local Victorian buyers was intense, with much countrywide and international interest.
Remember Barley from Darley, he of the riveting lecture on Sheikh Mohammed's pre-training programme in Australia. At last year's Winter School, Barley Ward-Thomas delivered a paper on what the Darley operation Down Under had done to address the consequences of losing to the commercial market a horse like Pierro, described by Australia's top trainer, Gai Waterhouse as the best two-year-old she'd ever trained.
It’s getting hot in the kitchen, and the ambient temperature at Summerhill for today and tomorrow is in parallel mode. It’s something of a tribute to the power of the internet, that we’ve had interest expressed in tomorrow’s Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run Sale from as far afield as Cyprus and Ethiopia (of all places), Zambia, Kenya and Mauritius, obviously on the strength of what they’ve seen of the gallops.