Saturday, July 20, 2013

More Dates

Dinner Bell looks all set for her debut on the 28th July, with Junji Shimada guiding her around the Niigata track. Lourdes No Hitomi will stay in Hakodate for a while longer, and compete in either a 2400m dirt or 2000m turf race. If possible, the latter option is the one I'd be going for.

Meanwhile, Divine Daughter passed her gate taste on the second attempt, and Irish Harp will be ready for this important test in another couple of weeks. Perhaps the biggest JRA news this week, though, concerns Tenshinramman, as this beautiful monster is set to hit the track on the 10th August. Of course, Tanaka-san takes up the reins, with the Niigata 10R (1800m turf) all lined up. No need to tell you how excited I am to see 'Tenny' out and about again...

On the NAR front, Agua De Vida is signed up for the 'Attack Challenge' race on the 25th July. Also, Pop Label has his big race coming up on the 7th August at Monbetsu, with a hat-trick being on the cards with any luck, and there are hopes that Beat The Boarder will make her debut there in the same week. It will be interesting to see how this rather slight filly (415kg) performs. In addition, there are thoughts of trying Mosto Verde in NAR circles, and that would seem to make sense at this stage in his career.

PS. Igarashi-san has been confirmed as Agua-chan's jockey for the 7R on the 25th.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sizzling Away

It was a hot one yesterday - seriously hot! But horses need their exercise, and riders need their practice, so it was business as usual, albeit with everything conducted at a somewhat slower pace than the norm. With Louis at an athletics practice, training for the weekend, Sophie was able to do things without any time pressure. However, the biggest improvement I saw in her yesterday was in her general horsemanship - she brought Jaguar up from the lower stables, cleaned his hooves out and put on his protectors before riding, and helped wash him down before leading him back to the stable at the end of the session. This may all sound insignificant, but if you know Jaguar's character, then you would doubtless tip your hat towards the girl. With mucking out and changing water (a heavy job when you're dealing with the volumes horses consume) now second nature to her, she's starting to make a fine stablehand...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bedtime Reading

Each year, as spring gives way to summer, I sit waiting for the postman to deliver a hefty box from the Shadai Group. It contains numerous catalogues, a book of bloodlines and DVDs, allowing race addicts like myself the chance to buy a stake in a racehorse, with over 250 yearlings on offer this year. A few days later, and a G1 Thoroughbred Club catalogue arrived from Shadai - one I'd never had before, but that took the total to around 300 to choose from. Yesterday, another Shadai envelope arrived, this time with a Green Farm catalogue inside, containing another 24 youngsters! Although there was one I fancied (a filly by Manhattan Cafe out of Queen Spumante), I'm told the Carrot Club lists have just been released, which means another 90 or so yearlings to go over - plenty of bedtime reading, that's for sure. After all said and done, though, my heart has wandered back to my birthplace - the home of racing - and an exciting proposal that's currently on the table. Watch this space!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Funabashi Fun

Despite the ridiculous heat and relentless sun, which has given me one hell of a red nose and forehead, a good time was had by all at Funabashi yesterday. The Tokoro shop was transformed into a beer garden, and there was an endless stream of ceremonies (such as a celebration of Taito Mori's 1000th win, and an official introduction for Akira Harita) and several talk shows. I don't know where the time went to be honest - maybe a touch of heatstroke! - but I do know that Mori-san won the main event, with his easy win being shown in this picture...