Whatever you wished for from Santa, I hope that you found it in the toe of your stocking. With a great King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, Sprinter Sacre appearing at Kempton on Friday and the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Saturday, you could be forgiven for thinking that all your Christmases have come at once.
But we know that’s
not quite true – because there have been some great Christmases already. There was that
heart-warming one when Wayward Lad won his third King George in 1985, that brilliant
one when Desert Orchid won his fourth King George in 1990, that heart-breaking
one when Bradbury Star was just beaten by Barton Bank in 1993 – and that frustrating
one in 1994 when Barton Bank fell at the last. Do you remember that one? Barton
Bank’s trainer, David Nicholson, was so upset he punched a photographer.
Perhaps that wasn’t a great Christmas after all.
Chris’s failure to make the line-up for this year’s Boxing Day feature, I’m
hoping that 25/1 shot Tour Des Champs
will put in an appearance at Chepstow on Saturday. Teaforthree will run his usual good race and Well Refreshed looks well handicapped, but I’m siding with Tour Des Champs because he’s trained by Nigel
Twiston-Davies who has raised some good jockeys as well as training some good
Being a good
trainer and raising children at the same time isn’t easy. A friend of mine, who
trains racehorses, has two children: a little girl who is as good as gold
and a little boy who isn’t. The boy swears like a member of the trainer’s
stable staff and would give many a sailor a good run for their money.
For the last few
months they have been telling both children that they should behave well, or
else Santa may not visit them on Christmas Eve. It seemed like too good an
opportunity to miss – when the boy continued with his foul-mouthed ways, they
warned him that they’d report his language to Santa’s elves. When these threats
yielded no improvement, they turned to desperate measures. While the little
girl was provided with all the items that she had specified on her list, the
boy’s stocking was filled with fresh horse manure.
morning the parents sat in bed and waited - listening for their children’s
response to Santa’s visit. The little girl was delighted and came sprinting
into her parent’s bedroom, “Mummy, Daddy, Mummy, Daddy, – Santa brought me a
bicycle, a sparkly tiara, a lollypop and a sack of pony feed!” She wore the
biggest smile on her face.
They called out
to their son, who was looking mournfully out of the bedroom window, holding the
stocking full of horse dung in his hands. “What did Santa bring you son?” they
“I asked him for
a racehorse,” he said, “but the bugger's gone!”