Toby Coles’ diary: I’m back — with a new Mistress

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  • It has been quite some time since my last article and a lot has gone on. The jump season drew to a close recently. The Flat season is in full flow with the superstars, Frankel and the southern hemisphere monster that is So You Think, among others that will fill the eyes of any questioning public.

    Keyaza came out of her race at Huntingdon well. Just before her start at Aintree she gained a new owner in partnership with Sam Hoskins. The race did not go according to plan but she was running on well at the end and came home safely, so one hopes there is a bright future for this somewhat late-flowering bloom. She has now gone for a well-deserved three-month holiday down in Dorset.

    The yard has also come on in leaps and bounds. Both the lunge pit and the sand pit have now been finished and have been put to good use. There is nothing better than allowing a horse to have a really good roll when returning from exercise. It does as good a job, if not better, than any chiropractor and they love it. The paddocks have been de-nettled and cut, leaving some short, lush grass, which is a rare sight at the moment.

    Like most of the country, Newmarket is desperate for some rain. We have had just over 4mm since 16 January. Thankfully, it is not just me who is waiting for the rain, everybody is in the same boat.

    Brent Pelham, after showing some promise in his first run by coming second behind a good horse of Ed Dunlop’s, was disappointing in his second start. We have done some quite extensive diagnostic work to try to find the reason behind this disappointment. I hope to run him within the next couple of weeks and hope that he will show the same level of ability as he did on his first start. Time will tell.

    Musical horses

    Things do not change in that we are still playing musical horses. A couple of two-year-olds have gone out to the paddock to mature before returning for an autumn campaign.

    A National Hunt filly has gone home as the ground has gone against us.

    We picked up a two-year-old from the Breeze-Up sales at Newmarket and two three-year-old fillies arrived from Ireland. So the numbers are remaining roughly the same but the horses are continually changing. We are actually slowly but surely expanding in numbers, even though not all of them may be in the yard at any one time.

    Lycidas, the two-year-old Zamindar colt, half-brother to Prix de l’Opera winner Lady Marian, is due back at the beginning of May after the Guineas Meeting. I visited him at the beginning of this month. He is looking fantastic and I am looking forward to his return, as it is an honour to train such a well-bred horse. One’s hopes and dreams are eternal.

    Doncaster Sales took place last week and on the return journey I called in to see the horses which are residing with my parents. A couple are enjoying a break and Littlemisssunshine has been scanned at 42 days and is safely in foal to Sir Percy. All were looking well and happy and after demolishing my father’s birthday cake we returned to Newmarket.

    My new Mistress

    Training can be a lonely profession if living by oneself. A “mistress” is what was required. “Mistress”, a five-month-old hunt terrier, arrived one evening. She is great company and a firm favourite at the yard. She has become a constant companion, even accompanying me to Wolverhampton racecourse in the lorry!

    I was slightly concerned when my vet announced that he would be running in the London Marathon. Would he come back in one piece? He has, despite his best efforts. He did the marathon wearing a Buzz Lightyear full body suit — absolute madness, but well done him!

    This is quite an exciting time of year as we have worked the whole winter towards it. One just hopes that some of the hard work will pay off.

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