Well what a Summer, lots of rain, a bit of sun, Brexit and a new female prime minister! It’s all go. As for Brexit, it was definitely a bit of a surprise for everybody, whether you were in or out! It is certainly going to be interesting times in the horse business. I was rather hoping that when I went to the July sales there might be a few nervous people keeping their money in their pockets and I would be able to find some value. No such luck. With the pound dropping it was the perfect time for all the international buyers to get spending. The sale was up 71% from the year before and business was booming. So hopefully it will be onwards and upwards from here.
There is great atmosphere at the July sale with sun shining and an invitation to the Darley Stallion parade. If you like viewing some of the finest horse flesh around, whilst eating lobster and drinking champagne this is the place to be! It was great to see Casamento again and so far he has managed to sire a few winners. It is so difficult for these first season sires to live up to expectation, people expect so much so soon. But then again it doesn’t help when you have a freak like Frankel having a near enough 100% strike rate with his runners so far.
The yearlings at Culworth Grounds have started their preparation for the sales. After about day two they decided that they loved coming in to a big deep bed of straw and spending most of the day eating and sleeping! They have taken well to their new routine and work and they all have got good brains and are fast learners. (I would say that because they are mine!!) However, it is not all a bed of roses and sometimes it seems like they have a death wish. The other day one decided that he wanted to try out a new field and jumped clean out over the fence. After a few unpleasant Irish words, I had to remind him that he was bred for the flat and I didn’t need him practising his jumping technique but I suppose it is always good to have options.
The showing season is in full flow and I made the annual pilgrimage to the Dublin Horse Show to try and spot some future talent. It was great to see the improved quality down the line in all the show classes. I think it is starting to show that the breeding of Irish horses is going back to the traditional Irish Draught cross Thoroughbred. The best hunters from the Dublin Horse Show generally get sold to England so it is always interesting to follow their journey across the water.
From one Royal Show to another, the next stop was The Royal International at Hickstead. The pressure was on after winning the amateur lightweights last year on The Prof. This year I had Nutwood Mimic who more than improved to come second. It is great to compete with the best and the hunter classes had entries of up to forty horses and really take some winning. If anybody is looking to lose weight, forget dieting and come to Hickstead with me next year. Two days with two horses and lots of running up and down hills is better than any gym membership.