With the snow and the Ice comes one of those awkward but amusing comments I sometimes get “Watch yourself going across that yard, it’s like an ice rink”.
“Fortunately landing on my ar** is something I don’t need to worry about right now, so this always gives me a laugh”
From time to time I think I might enjoy training a few myself but thankfully a week like last vanishes any of these silly notions. Lylehill seems to have been on a freeze-thaw loop. The frost and Jar has not left our sand arena so Reah’s horse and my sisters ponies had a very easy week.
It’s a great time of year on the farming front though with the whole cycle about to begin again. Things are in gradual preparation for the 10th March when 36 calves and 150 lambs will start arriving. With next year’s crop already in planning my dad collected our new Stabiliser bull on Thursday. The Stabiliser breed are very much based around figures for traits such as birth weight, growth rates and feed efficacy. This boy ranks in the top 1% of the breed based on this and I’m hoping he’ll keep our herd of easy care Stabiliser cattle heading the right way.
I tuned into Fairyhouse on Wednesday to see Drumacoo run a great race in the €25,000 rated chase when just beaten on the nod. I have his two-year-old half-brother at home by Fame and Glory, so this gives me a particular interest in him. Hes back after a year off when with Ben Pauling but obviously has a touch of class having won four times and went off 7/4f for the 2016 Reynoldstown Novices Chase. Back with Michael Hourigan, I’m hoping he can put that class on paper and pick up some black type for my fella going back to the sales.
Point to pointing took me to Kirkistown on Saturday. Getting towed out is fairly common but seeing cars being towed in I suppose sums up our winter lately. That’s as testing as I’ve seen kirkistown in a while and it certainly sieved out the winter ground horses. Our neighbour Warren Ewing’s Bold Plan looked to jump and travel exceptionally well to win the first of this year’s northern 4-year-old maidens. Bought in Goff’s Land Rover Sale, he is the blueprint of what these handlers want to achieve, and I would imagine he will head straight back to the sale ring. Kirkistown is one of the better viewing tracks for me. From the front seat of the jeep I can see every inch and I rarely miss North Downs meeting there.
As I mentioned before, I’m lucky to have a share in a 4-year-old gelding by Ask, an increasing fashionable sire. For future reference I should add he’s nick named ‘Jonjo’ and more schooling after racing provided another great opportunity to add to his Tyrella experience. He too has a decent half-brother in training with Venetia Williams, Emperor’s Choice who won the Welsh National in 2014 so if he turns out near that class I’ll be a happy man my end.
On the 3rd of April last year one of my close friends David Stanbridge left his home in Islandmagee, Co Antrim on his bicycle. Yesterday, 10 months and almost 39,000km later he got his flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne where he will continue around 1200km to his end goal of Sydney.
You did indeed read that correctly and I may have been out celebrating another friend’s birthday last night, but I haven’t made a mistake either. The man cycled to Australia! He was battling plenty of doubt and his trip came with its setbacks, but he has a ‘one track mind’ and I think he is a great example that if you want something bad enough and you can keep a clear vision of that goal in your head, you can achieve almost anything. Well done Stanner and I’d imagine you’ve created your own bit of Co Antrim history.
Follow Jonjo on twitter – @brightjonjo