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Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Wandering Mind...

A Wandering Mind
There are many excellent blogs in our little community and perhaps some of the most interesting are those which are simply used as an extension of a wandering mind. It is those random thoughts, which often capture the attention of others - sparkle like a seam of gold. That is exactly the thought which come to mind when reading Wayward Lad's blog when he talked about his travels, horses, greyhounds and a fascinating glimpse of the quality of being human. 

It has been a so so day for me from a punting perspective. I had a few quid win and place on Cades Reef in the 3:00 Chester. I can't go into the reasoning behind my betting, not that it matters, because it finished unplaced. I managed to get quite a speculative price on Betfair and was hoping it would be backed to half the odds, as I generally lay my bets at that point to have a no-lose wager. Some days everything falls into place: others I kind of sit there bemused and feeling indifferent. Andrew Balding is a talented trainer of two-year-olds so I am hopeful that my money will be returned plus a little more in the coming weeks. 

You may remember I have talked about an ex-racehorse called Western Art. He used to be trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam at two and was a talented youngster winning a Listed race in his first season. Sadly, thing went down hill in his three-year-old career, suffering from injuries, and for a couple more years was trained by Gay Kelleway before being sold at a public auction where he was a potential riding horse for whoever cared to own him. The story began when my brother, Tony, got chatting at work and the name Western Art come up in conversation. It's strange how a past memory of a random horse can come back to play, in ways, a magical story that seems to unfold as if fate needed to tell me an important tale. It is fascinating how one story leads to another, and people, and intrigue...then appreciating and perhaps eventually wisdom. That is what is happening with Western Art because through him I have been introduced to so many amazing people. The conversation with my brother led me to write a few sentences about his story and to my surprise I was contacted by his new owner, Alex. She was interested to learn about his background because his racing career was something of a mystery. Being a follower of the two-year-olds and remembering Western Art it didn't take me too long to do some research. However, with each new piece of information it opened my eyes to how transient the life of a thoroughbred racehorse can be. It is perhaps too easy to see a horse at the race course and think that is the story - that race on a given day. But in truth - however true that may seem at the time - it is only part of a much bigger picture. It is only when you consider each individual horse you appreciate it's unique story. In a way, Western Art is just a random horse - he could be any horse - but with each piece of information learned it seems that it has not only opened a door to his past but unlocked a new world of intriguing people and opportunities for me and those around him. You may remember that Peter Doyle - the bloodstock agent linked with the Hannons and purchaser of horses such as Canford Cliffs - phoned me out of the blue to tell of his role in Western Art's purchase from Keeneland sales. Only this week I received an email from America - where Western Art was born and raised for the first year of his life. It was from the Virginia Thoroughbred Association who are interested in publishing his story and a day later his breeder, Nellie Cox, of Rose Retreat Farm contacted me about the little yearling she sold all those years ago, keen to learn he was safe and well. The story of Western Art is far from complete but what I have learned is that even in the busiest of worlds it is surprising that so many people remember and, at least to me, that  will always shine so bright.