Firstly, thanks to everybody who has read, followed and retweeted my blog over the last couple of years, including such luminaries as Jim McGrath, Richard Hoiles, Paul Nicholls and Richard Fahey to name but a few. I really appreciate every single retweet as if anyone is entertained, informed or enthused about this great sport, then it's worth sharing my experiences with you.
2014 started with me carrying quite a bit of overweight at 14st 4lb, with High Blood Pressure and just seen my 53rd Christmas. Ready for retirement and retraining for another discipline (more of this later). Now I like a pint, pasty and a Bacon Roll as much as the next man (if the next man is Giant Haystacks) so the thought of diet and exercise wasn't filling me with enthusiasm. However with the support of my colleagues at work (and a whiteboard countdown to my target of 13st by end of April - titled The Fat Controller) I started counting the calories and doing some gentle exercise.
Now, I hear you say, what the **** has this got to do with Racing, you buffoon? Well, my motivation was to try and improve the odds of extending my Racing career well past retirement, most importantly to see my sons grow up into adulthood but also to do the Year!! You know the one, Cheltenham, Doncaster, Aintree, Newmarket, Punchestown, York, Chester, Epsom, Ascot, Goodwood/Galway, York, Doncaster, Ayr etc etc on until Kempton on Boxing Day (Lots missed but you get the drift!!)
Anyway, I sit on this lawn in Tunisia at 12st 9lb and despite the All Inclusive buffet available, spending 45 mins in the gym each day desperately trying not to put all the weight back on. So hopefully it's still on and I've had a damn good go at as much as poss in 2014.
The full Cheltenham experience (no Moosie this year!!) was followed by 3 days in Punchestown both as punter. My horses have taken me to Doncaster for the Lincoln/Spring Mile, York May Meeting, Newmarket Guineas weekend, Sat as owner, Sunday as Racemaker (more to follow), Hamilton Park, Newbury, Ffos Las, Huntingdon, Stratford, missed Goodwood Sat as on holiday. Trips booked to York Ebor and Ayr Gold Cup weekend with possible runners.
So as you can see I've had a damn good go whilst working, 10 more years and I can start the full year adventure!!!
With only my iPhone for company, the horse by horse summary will have to wait until I return on the 10th but highlights have to be Sweet Lightning's brave 4th place in the Lincoln at 9 years old & Stand my Ground's even closer 2nd in the Spring Mile on the same wonderful March afternoon. Latenightrequest proved herself a classy soft ground performer with a brave 6th in the Group 3 Musidora at York after losing a shoe, watch out for her in the Autumn. Finally Tatlisu has proved himself a sprinter to follow with victory at Newcastle (from Muthmir!!) and then just missing out on two big pots with 2nd in the Scottish Stewards Cup at Hamilton & beaten 2 short heads for the Stewards Cup Consolation race at Goodwood on Saturday. Ripon & Ayr could be next in line for him.
So as you see, very close to 4 big prizes but winning less than £4k for being beaten less than a head for a £24k first prize is a little frustrating as I'm sure the handicapper will look harshly on his brilliant effort!!
Anyway nearly time for Tea and cakes!! (Just a diet coke with a diet vodka thrown in for good measure!!). I will update this seasons horses shortly, three new 2 year olds to look forward to, and news of good old Moosie and Marty at Nigel's with appropriately stolen photos from twitter and Facebook. Also news of my next stint with the brilliant Racemaker team at York.
Please retweet to as many people as possible. Thanks and next update as soon as I get back to blighty!!