Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m a firm believer that because there are so many downs and disappointments with racehorses, it’s vital for owners to try to get as much enjoyment as they possibly can from all aspects of the ownership cycle. Being involved in partnerships with co-owners quickly forms many friendships around the common bond of owning. My wife and I certainly experienced that during September, with visits to the sales and several race meetings in the company of owners who have now become friends.
|Sunday Break – Lots of weekends away|
with the new horse
However, it wasn’t just the sale that was enjoyable. Being with our trainer and co-owners out in Aquitaine provided opportunities for eating, drinking and good fellowship. Arcachon is the oyster capital of France, and quite a number of mighty molluscs slipped down the system, particularly at the seafront restaurant Chez Pierre, as well as a magnificent reception hosted by the Osarus sales house. One of our fellow owners also bought a Mount Nelson filly, and there is a lot of fun being had in trying to name her. You can guess why if you look at Lot 85 in the Osarus catalogue!
We flew back into the UK on the Wednesday evening and then drove almost straight up to Ayr for the start of the Ayr Western meeting. It is a 12-hour plus round trip and most people would suppose that to watch one’s horse come last would be a dismal experience. The plan was for the horse to be dropped out, with a lot of cover, and be taught to settle. Unfortunately Jolievitesse broke very quickly from the stalls and shot into the lead while the rest of the field were reined back, and then blew up at the mile post. And yet the owners had a fantastic time at Ayr during the three days and soon put the disappointment behind them. This was certainly helped by all of us having a good bet on Karl’s winning filly, Quiet Reflection, who paid for a magnificent dinner (she will probably go next to either the Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket or a Group 2 at Maisons-Lafitte). There is a theme emerging – good meals and fine wine, in beautiful locations, with friends from racing. This time the seafood was courtesy of Scott's Bar & Restaurant at Troon harbour, looking across to Aran. At the end of the harbour is another fine restaurant, MacCallums Oyster Bar, as well as Scotland’s best fish and chip take-away alongside – Wee Hurrie. It is the only place where I’ve ever seen lobster and chips!
We’re already looking forward to the Ayr festival next year. It’s a track that looks after owners superbly well, as anyone who has enjoyed the owners’ lunch in the Western Hotel can testify. The atmosphere building to the Ayr Gold Cup is electric, and this year the crowd went crazy after the favourite, Don’t Touch, won readily. It’s rare for me to leave a meeting in profit, but I certainly did from this one, together with great memories from a really enjoyable week.
That’s it now for restaurant recommendations. Having said that, owners are going up to Yorkshire soon to see the new horse, and doubtless we’ll enjoy the sumptuous meals at the Wensleydale Heifer. Diet postponed!