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Whilst the racing calendar has been a little quieter, I took the opportunity to grab a little rest and recuperation with Leanne and the children and head to the Algarve for a week. The kids love it there so we try to go once a year and we had a fantastic time as usual, although I am not sure it was any warmer than it was back home!

There were only a handful of runners from the yard, although those that did run performed creditably with the majority reaching the frame. Aldrin finished third on his seasonal reappearance in the two mile handicap hurdle at Worcester on Monday. He is yet to win on his first start of the season so with normal improvement from this encouraging effort, he should not be long in reaching the winners’ enclosure.

Ourmullion filled the same place at Uttoxeter on Tuesday. He led at the last hurdle only to weaken on the run-in having set a brisk pace. He has finished third in his last three hurdle starts and continues to demonstrate that a race of this nature should be within his compass. On the same card, Mrs Miggins finished runner-up in the 2m7f handicap hurdle. She ran a sound race trying to concede 23lbs to the winner and further success over timber awaits.

With no jump racing fixtures this afternoon (Monday) and Friday and no entries from the stable at Uttoxeter on Wednesday it is going to be another quiet week in terms of runners.  Hot Ryan will be our next racecourse representative when she contests the 3m mares' handicap hurdle at Southwell tomorrow evening.  She disappointed last time but you can safely draw a line through that effort.  Tom Scu thought she had gone lame and did the right thing in pulling her up.  Fortunately she was perfectly fine the next day and she would have claims on the best of her form.

Talking of the fixture list, I was surprised to hear that Worcester have abandoned their meeting for Thursday 18th July (and the following week) to give the course adequate time to recover following flooding that took place when the neighbouring River Severn burst its banks in June. Given the recent dry spell it does seem an incredible turn of events, especially as they have raced at the track twice since. However, inconsistent ground is the most dangerous type of underfoot conditions for the thoroughbred so no chances should be taken and course officials should be applauded for taking the decision to abandon at this early stage, allowing the British Horseracing Authority enough time to schedule replacement meetings at alternative venues.

No Flies On Him

It is that exciting time of the year when the horses are starting to come in from their summer holidays and begin preparations for the ‘core’ part of the jumps season which runs from October until the end of April.

After a busy campaign last season the horses have enjoyed a few months rest and relaxation with the sun on their backs in the paddocks and some lovely summer grass. One of the things that can ruin that relaxation however is the constant pestering of flies. In a bid to counter the nuisance we have been experimenting with an unusual type of rug, designed to keep the pests at bay.

If you took a casual glance into the turnout paddocks at Pond House you would be forgiven for thinking that you were looking across the Serengeti. No, your eyes do not deceive you for it is not zebras grazing but racehorses sporting unique summer fly sheets. The zebra-striped design has been scientifically proven to deter flies and thus give the horses more peace. Just why this works is yet to be discovered, although some theories suggest that the stripes disturb the flies low resolution vision and they struggle to land, something Jacbequick (pictured) will be very pleased about!

Exciting Addition

I was very pleased to pick up a nice juvenile hurdling prospect from France at the weekend. I purchased three year old gelding ‘Paricolor’ from a 1m7f flat claimer at Maisons-Laffitte on Saturday night (pictured right). He finished second, beaten only a head by a horse rated 72 to whom he was trying to concede 13lbs. We purchased him for €21,006 (which is just short of £19,000) plus agent’s fees and transportation.

He will be in our loose school this week with a view to running him in juvenile hurdles very soon. Given the prices that many of the three year old’s were making at last week’s Tattersalls Newmarket sales, with many of them seeming to be heading overseas, Paricolor looks like exceptional value.

He is fit and ready to run, clearly stays very well indeed and handles the prevailing sound surfaces so there is every reason to expect him to be able to make his mark over hurdles straight away. If you would be interested in owning this exciting prospect, please do get in touch.

My My  My (Delilah)!

Finally, away from the racecourse I donned my dancing shoes on Sunday evening when I went to Vivary Park in Taunton to see Tom Jones in concert. It was the third and final evening of concerts at the venue following Madness on Friday and Bananarama on Saturday with more than 25,000 people attending across the three days. It was a very enjoyable and well organised event and that can only be a good thing for the local economy.

Sir Tom is a real icon and he didn’t disappoint, belting out a whole host of classic tracks. I even managed to make a few shapes…before I was cuffed by the long arm of the law for crimes against dancing (pictured below) along with my partner in crime, Gerry Supple! In all seriousness though, it was great to see the local police force making sure that everyone stayed safe, whilst also having a bit of fun and interacting so well with the massive crowd who were just there to have a good time.

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