Slightly frozen and mentally drained was how my Tuesday was spent. Myself, my dad and our friend Sam set off for the February National Hunt sale in Tattersall’s for the second year in a row. The aim – find value and add to the modest, but ever-growing pin hooking enterprise that runs alongside the farm.
Farming is a great lifestyle and a huge passion of mine. It is usually brave and steady, but margins are tight, and you need to be running an extremely efficient operation to farm without being reliant on government subsidies. Bloodstock is something I have a huge interest in and I see it to continue my involvement in racing. Something I can dabble at that has the potential of earning a few quid, while always holding that chance of finding the golden ticket. to sit and watch a horse that we stored win a graded race or come up that famous hill in the Cotswolds would be quite a special feeling. The dream is a big part of it for me, everything is an unknown. I could be looking at a horse that never makes the racecourse, or when you’re an optimist you’ll always see that small chance he could be the next Denman.
So, with all that said, late on Tuesday night seen delivery of two new recruits. A half-brother to Little Boy Boru by Mahler, and a lovely model colt by Frozen Fire. Fingers crossed now I can keep them healthy, thriving and they should make nice three-year-olds for somebody.
Last week I mentioned about my fascination with figures and statistics. each and every session I do with ‘Sandy’ the robotic Ekso skeleton is recorded within the device software. Walking time, number of steps, walking pattern, work rate … I heard a great quote when I was in hospital, “what isn’t recorded can’t be improved”, so these numbers certainly interest me.
Ekso arrived in June 2015 and since then I’ve taken 196,137 steps. Assuming I take a 30cm step I make that almost 59km/37 miles covered by someone who can’t stand up! This is the power of modern technology showing what it can do, and I believe these machines will be a big part of our future. Ekso is not yet something that I can jump into on a Monday morning and run around the farm however, I do visualise it being part of a recipe that makes for a lot of redundant wheelchairs.
“We had no northern point to point this week but if I’m honest I’d have found it difficult to miss Saturdays card from Leopardstown. Similar to Cheltenham week, doors were locked, niece and nephew banned from the racing room and the kettle got plenty of work too”
I thought both Min and Footpad were very good and being a Team Mullins supporter, I’d be pretty confident they’ll be putting their best foot forward at the festival. Faugheen, although no disasters like in the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas, still lacked something for me.
When he won his champion hurdle in 2015 I thought he had enthusiasm and an almost gazelle like spring about him that looked different, whereas on Saturday he blended in. Optimism again makes me think that a combination between his upward curve, the sun on his back and spring ground could leave everyone wondering why they ever doubted him.
Blackbow came out on top of Saturdays bunch of elite bumper horses. He flys the flag for English point to pointer graduates and I believe he runs for the same family who once owned Florida Pearl. Himself and Joseph O’Briens Rhinestone pulled 15 lengths clear of the others and considering the class in that bunch, it must put them at the top of our bumper horses.
Samcro took his step up in class with perfect ease. He is one settled composed individual. I’m sometimes guilty of looking into the future too much but I cannot wait to see him back up in trip and over a fence again. I took a stab a while back and told a few people I thought he’d win a Gold Cup inside 3 years and I tell you what, in the meantime I’m not taking it back.
All before his 25th birthday Joseph O’Brien’s list of achievements grew further when he teamed up with Derek O’Connor to win the Unibet Irish Gold Cup. I think after Cheltenham last year everyone was glad to hear Edwulf was still alive never mind give him a chance of winning a €200,000 Grade 1.
I was delighted to see Derek picking up a prize like that, but it should come as no surprise. Irelands top level Amateurs are on par with the top-level pros in my opinion.
I’ve had a busy week which I always like but it was certainly dampened with some tragic news. My thoughts have very much been with the family and friends of Willie Codd. A massive force in the point to point world and will be missed by so many.