Toby Coles’ diary: new horses and old friends

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Last Wednesday morning was fairly uneventful, but the afternoon proved to be something more exciting in that it was the third day of the sales at Tattersalls. There was a fairly large consignment of blue-blooded fillies and mares coming from Juddmonte Farms. I was extremely lucky that a new owner of mine decided to buy Main Attraction, a three-year-old filly by Zamindar, previously in training in France. Fortunately, I can speak a little French and, so far, we have got on like a house on fire.

    Main Attraction was ridden for the first time since she had arrived from France on Thursday morning. She was, one might say, typically French, and rather headstrong until she realised she was fighting a losing battle whereupon she diplomatically ran up the white flag! In all seriousness, she seems rather nice and will be a joy to train.

    The British Horseracing Authority also decided that it would put on an extra card at Southwell the following Monday. Main Beach would run in the mile and six furlong juvenile National Hunt Flat race.

    A friend for Littlemisssunshine

    Early in the afternoon, I was offered a companion for Littlemisssunshine (pictured above) in the form of Love Is More. She is rather a rare customer, having come from Sir Mark Prescott’s yard without a run under her belt, and is, to my knowledge, the only four-year-old Azamour filly (she was born on 28th December 2006). My thanks go to her previous owners who have very kindly given her to me.

    After a year of keeping Littlemisssunshine company I may well be tempted to bring her back into training to try and get her to win a race, something I am sure that Sir Mark would be gladly proud of if we do achieve the seemingly impossible! She is extremely well bred and probably deserves another chance.

    Friday morning was another bitterly cold morning and after a long morning I made the short journey to my parents’ home for a bite of food and to collect my musket. I was back in time to do evening stables to view the ever-increasing string!

    A bit of shooting and a chilly trip to Southwell

    Saturday morning was fairly sharp as it was bitterly cold and the trainer was off to play with some friends in the afternoon. After an early morning I made it in time for the second drive at a friend’s shoot not far from Newmarket. It was a superb change to the rigours of training and a good opportunity to catch up with some old mates. Being so close to Newmarket, I was able to be back in the yard, albeit slightly late, for evening stables.

    Sunday was a gallop morning for most of the horses who are getting ready for a winter campaign. For Brent Pelham it was his first piece of faster work, which was eagerly watched by his Swedish owner and some of her friends. He was, as expected, rather green but showed promise. Rich And Reckless showed a great temperament and was pleasing, while Nineteensixtysix is now on the path to becoming a lady’s hunter! My next challenge for him before the final decision is made is to see if he can run out of sight on a dark night. Unlikely!

    Monday was an entertaining day on more than one front. I had planned to take my first day off since starting training as I had been invited to shoot south of the New Forest. However, Main Beach was due to run at Southwell the same day so the horses had to be done by both Sammy and I before we left for our different destinations. As most of the horses had galloped the day before it was the perfect day for them to have a day off.

    I left Newmarket with a friend on board who is also due to join the training ranks imminently. He gleefully pointed out to me that I must have settled into the rigours of training as I was willing to let my staff look after a runner while I went shooting for the day. Thankfully, the horse is owned by my mother, who had taken strict instructions from me how and when to help Sammy with the giant Main Beach. He as a creditable third, just running out of puff towards the end of the race. All three — Sammy, my mother and Main Beach — seem to have enjoyed sunny Southwell at minus 11.5 degrees…

    I had a fantastic day with some good friends and returned refreshed, albeit exhausted, even though after lunch I could not have hit a London bus at 20 yards. I don’t even have the excuse of drinking as I don’t drink!

    You may like...