Newmarket is known as the headquarters of flat racing for good reason, and in our home town you really do feel at the centre of the racing world on weeks such as this.
Not only are the bloodstock sales on, at which owners, trainers and sharp-eyed agents mingle and try to re-stock their teams for the battles ahead, but it’s also the July Meeting on the summer course here on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border, where for three days we get treated to some real high-class action on what is a stunning racecourse, both to have a runner or for a day out.
If anyone reading this has never been to the sales I’d urge you to tick that box â€“ Doncaster or Newmarket are a great spectacle and a unique atmosphere.
This particular sale at Newmarket is really more about volume and quantity, meaning it’s also very, very competitive to try and pick up a diamond.
The higher-rated horses tend to attract some quite hefty sums, and with buyers coming from all over the UK, Ireland, France and beyond it’s very easy to find a queue of rivals when you find one you like the look of.
Fortunately for us I managed to pick up a three-year-old filly by Dark Angel on Wednesday â€“ hopefully she’ll enjoy the change of scenery and can thrive.
With sales and races attracting the crowds it seems like the town centre is full to bursting â€“ it’s certainly good news for the hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars â€“ though with our move continuing as we try to improve the new yard bit by bit, as well as an ever-growing team of horses to supervise, there doesn’t seem to have been too much time to enjoy that side of life in recent days â€“ I’m definitely more adept at raising a paint brush than a pint glass!
While I was on sales duty I sent two runners up to North Yorkshire on Wednesday, with Associate Rock running a cracker to be second under Lewis Edmunds in the claiming sprint.
It’s very early days for her and she’s a genuine filly, so hopefully her turn isn’t too far away after three consecutive placed efforts.
Of course, Wednesday was also notable for another big sporting event, namely the World Cup semi-final which I found time to watch with Lemos, who is still aggrieved that his beloved Brazil were booted out by Belgium in the previous round!
I felt for Gareth Southgate and his players, they gave it everything and were so, so close, though based on what little bits I’ve had time to watch I’ll be surprised if Croatia have enough in the tank to get the better of France in the final on Sunday, in which I know Lemos firmly agrees with me that ‘Les Bleus’ are the likely winners in Moscow.
Anyway, one subject I’m much better placed to give my opinion on is racing, and having suggested Roaring Lion was the one for the Eclipse in last week’s update, I thought justice prevailed when he survived a quite lengthy stewards’ enquiry to add to May’s Dante victory.
He was clearly the best animal on the day, the mile and a quarter being his specialist trip â€“ you have to be very brave to come from behind like he did at Sandown Park, and be began his challenge from a position which gave him plenty to do. Good stuff, and a fantastic training performance from John Gosden.
As for this Saturday coming up, York, Ascot, Chester and Newmarket all opening their doors on the same day mean there’s plenty of choice for racegoers and lots of jockeys in demand, with the July Cup (2.15pm Newmarket) top of my list to watch.
I believe the bookies have the likes of King’s Stand Stakes winner Blue Point, Commonwealth Cup scorer Eqtidaar, plus Irish Guineas second US Navy Flag towards the front of the betting, but if FansBet gave me a free bet right now the one I’d want to be on is a horse I love the look of, Richard Fahey’s Sands Of Mali.
Half a length behind Eqtidaar at Royal Ascot, he raced on the stands’ side that day and finished ahead of the others in his group â€“ he’s tough and was very close to completing a hat-trick that day.
I think he might get his revenge here and get one over on the older horses in the process.
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