The John Magnier article is a must read ...

We have one runner today at Kempton

Friday, 13 April 2018

"The face is more honest than the mouth will ever be."

Daphne Orebaugh.

Ttmab leading Garrison Law and Pageant Master

Once again it has rained all night and it is still damp with a drizzle in the air. We are forecast for a drier and warmer couple of days and let’s hope the forecasters are correct. Everybody is in and we are getting on well with the horses. Two good canters is the exercise of the morning, with a pipe opener for the runner tomorrow. All has gone well.

Rum Ration

We have one runner today at Kempton. In the 5.45 we run Saint Anthony who gets in the handicap right at the bottom. He has not shown anything in his three runs so far, but he has since been cut and we have put a pair of cheekpieces on him to make him concentrate. Shane Kelly takes the ride. He has always shown more at home than he has on the track so we will be hoping to learn a bit more tonight. I do think the turf will be his better racing surface and he may need a bit further.

We have one runner tomorrow at Lingfield in the 4.15. Rum Ration takes on five other opponents in the mile and a half handicap. Harry Bentley rides and this is another horse that is starting off after three runs and is certainly the right end of the handicap. I am sure he will stay well and improve as the year goes on. He has also been cut and it has certainly changed his outlook on life.

True Calling

Both the new foals continue to do well and the mothers are being very good. With the weather like it is they have not had too long out in the nursery paddocks as they are starting to get really ploughed up. You don’t want to start getting young foals wet and cold at this stage of their lives. Being in a nice warm bed under a heat lamp is much more beneficial, but warm weather is on its way and they will soon be having many hours out in the open.

     Ex_Tenpence_18     Ex_Topling_18
(L) Sixties Icon ex Tenpence and (R) Gregorian ex Topaling

It’s the second day of Liverpool today with another top class card. Richard and I didn’t get off to the most brilliant of starts, but we had a couple of winners and quite a few that ran with credit. I thought at one stage my 50/1 Cristal Icon was going to get involved, but it just had too much to do. She is certainly worth watching in the future, as are several of the other runners that ran there yesterday. The standings at present are MHT minus £41.25 and Richard minus £40. Our efforts for today are below.

1.45  Jenkins    2.20  Style De Garde    2.50  Mia’s Storm    3.25  Min    4.05  Flying Angel    4.40  Chef Des Obeaux    5.15  Thosedaysaregone


1.45  Who Dares Win     2.20  Vision Des Flos     2.50  Terrefort     3.25  Politologue    4.05  Rogue Angel    4.40  Santini    5.15  Pym

Phil on Friday

You could write a book about Steve Smith-Eccles’ exploits – he’s already done so himself - but one remarkable incident just before the 1986 Grand National is worth retelling.

Having had an almighty row with his then girlfriend Steve was forced to sleep on the back seat of his car. He bedded down under a pile of clothes and next thing he knew, according to an Independent report,  he awoke to find himself being driven in his own car at great speed along the M57 by a young car thief! The youth had no idea what was on the back seat but no doubt soon found out!

It would take more than that to ruffle The Ecc though. Soon afterwards our hero was third in the National on Classified.

Members of the old Mark Tompkins Racing Club have good reason to remember The Ecc riding the Guvnor’s Staunch Friend to victory during one of our annual trips to the Punchestown Festival. The ground was desperately heavy – ideal for Staunch Friend - and asked afterwards when he knew he would win The Ecc’s answer was straightforward: “On the way to the start”.  He then headed off for TV interviews but we asked if he would join us later for a celebratory drink. “As soon as I’ve told the ------- world how I ------- did it”, he said.

Staunch Friend had been trained in his early days in Ireland by John Oxx, and the renowned trainer was one of many who extended a warm, almost overwhelming Irish welcome to club members brave enough to undertake the Punchestown excursion. We’d visit top Irish stables and studs in advance of racing and, with one of those mornings in mind, we all wish good luck to Katie Walsh, riding in her sixth Aintree National tomorrow.

In 2000 I asked Ted Walsh if we could visit his yard to see National winner Papillon and other stable stars. “No problem”, said Ted. “We’d be delighted to see you”. Having confirmed the arrangement at Punchestown the day before, when Ted said he would be ‘over the water’ but his family knew of our visit, we were greeted by daughter Katie, then 15 or 16 years old. “We knew you were coming”, she said. “We’ll just get the horses in from the field for you”.

Ten minutes later back she came with Commanche Court, winner of the Irish Grand National, and Papillon who, ridden by brother Ruby, had reputedly landed a £10 million public gamble at Aintree just weeks before. So there they were, the winners of two Grand Nationals, covered in mud, being patted and fed Polo mints by a group of strangers from ‘over the water’. It could only have happened in Ireland.

So good luck again to Katie Walsh. She has, of course, become a top class jockey in her own right now but before all that the teenage Katie was able to make a good many English folk very happy indeed on that memorable morning back in the year 2000.