Sunday, June 26, 2011
I'm in Australia. Sydney. Well, Lane Cove.
It's not really a holiday, more a change of air, and a bit of a test to see if my health is in good enough condition yet to allow me to head back to the northern hemisphere.
The Emirates staff looked after me, gently, on the flight and Barry and Rosemary have looked after me wonderfully for the last week and weekends. But I haven't been very adventurous: truth is, I have to face it, I'm not really up to Doing Lots of Things. Especially solo.
The occasional walk to the shops, up the steep hills, once the morning chills are past, has been about the limit to my activity through the week, but yesterday, Sunday, we drove out for a delightful day up the Hunter Valley. Through the coalfields and vineyards and, of course, on into the green vastness of horse country ..
Our first target was under-new-management Brooklyn Lodge, 1000 acres of beautiful horseland and the home, for years, of many of Barry's horses. Manager Adam escorted us up through the impressive pastures to the dry mares paddock, to visit our mare, Rosmarino. Well, she's not mine now, but she was for eight years: when she was racing, and through her first four foals. It is hard to believe she's eleven years old. A decade since we bought her from the yearling sales. She is looking quite splendid, and that high-tensile, nervy, neurotic filly has mellowed into a gentle, friendly, healthy-looking mother. She'll give the boys some fine, future babies.
The last foal of which I'm part-owner (papa: Stratum) is a rising yearling now. He was down in a paddock with the other little boys, and he proved just as amiable as his mother. He is a fine looking lad, too, smashing legs!, and someone will get a beautiful (and, I hope, expensive) boy at next year's sales.
From Brooklyn Lodge, we travelled back to Lower Belford, near Singleton, to visit the new training establishment of Todd Howlett where Barry's two-year-old Mambo King has been prepared for his first campaign. Todd is building an all mod cons combination of boxes and yards, which are already filled with 32 magnificent-looking racehorses. Thank goodness, after my experience with Tenor, I've given up buying beautiful-looking horses. I'd have come away with two or three irresistibles.
Home then to Lane Cove, via a nice, light luncheon at Mama's of Cessnock, tired but happy ...
And tomorrow, New Zealand. The next day, to hospital. Fingers crossed.
And Europe? Well, I'll decide after the hospital experience.
PS What am I thinking of? I must chronicle Livia's ... fifth victory. Back to less than classic class, last weekend, she went out red hot favourite at Charlton, and duly obliged, narrowly but comfortably, officially breaking the two minute mile. Number thirty-nine!