Toby Coles’ racing diary: the name’s Bond…

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  • It seems strange that my week begins on a Tuesday, but in this world there is barely any difference between the days, each and every one is packed to the brim with an organised chaos! This past Tuesday was a little different in that Cotton King got given a handicap mark, so the beginning of the week was spent trying to find races for the horses I have in at the moment. Littlemisssunshine’s nose is on the mend, so she will be back out soon. It sounds easy to find a race, but there are so many factors that need to be taken into account. All things being well, I have found some.

    Wednesday saw what would be a small trial for a two-year-old I have. She galloped with two of Rae Guest’s two-year-olds, on the grass. She travelled easily and the bubble is yet to be burst! The dream still lives on.

    Newmarket is a great place to train as there is always someone willing to help out. Rae is my landlord and a great one at that; he has been very good to me. We also galloped most of the rest of the yard. Cotton King wore a visor for the first time, Dear Maurice a tongue-tie and a cross noseband, while Main Beach went without a gadget. All three went very well. Main Beach was very pleasing, but his quarter crack is still an issue and we are going to have to muddle our way through.

    Spa treatments and haircuts

    Thursday morning was an easyish morning as all the horses that had galloped the day before were just walked out and given a pick of grass. A new owner from Norfolk visited in the late morning to see where his Royal Applause filly is going to spend some of her early days as an inmate of Coles Racing. Mind you, I think any inmate of the institution will say it is a five-star spa!

    I then jumped into the car to drive to my parents’ home to see the two horses that are there on their holidays and out with my father’s hunter (see the picture of Nineteensixtysix above), and to be given a good feed. My mother’s cooking is second to none and well worth the drive and even the bollocking over the length of my hair. Note to self — must get hair cut before I go home again.

    Friday was back to normal, and we were able to spend some time doing stalls work and find out that we were going to need a little more help. Cotton King’s school report would probably read rather like mine did — opinionated, obstinate and very unwilling to change despite a large amount of pressure. Some reinforcements will be needed.

    A spot of exploring

    Saturday was a day to remember, and will go down as one of those great days. A couple of horses were given a light piece of work before tucking them up for the day. I don’t like to do too much with them on a day when Newmarket races are on. I went for lunch with some of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Next Generation Committee in the Darley box. It is nice to see that there are some people my age who are just as keen as me.
    I returned back to the yard after seeing some great racing and some horses I could only wish for, and met another prospective owner at my yard to show her round and persuade her to send me her two-year-old Kyllachy filly. We shall find out if my sales pitch is any good over the next few days, as I await a reply.

    I then headed into the smoke for the first time in months. I went to a Help the Heroes ball on HMS Belfast. I now know why I never used to drive to London — parking, there is none. Lambeth Palace gardens provided a great place; there are no double yellow lines on grass… HMS Belfast saw action in the last war as a cruiser. It was now the place for a ball, and what a ball it was.

    Being the explorer I always thought I was, a British Navy ship makes a great place to explore. It was dark and I definitely could not see the “no entry” signs — were there even any? Well, I did not see them. While standing on its bridge just about to turn on the siren and shout down the intercom, “BATTLE STATIONS!” this very nice chap in uniform thought it better I return to the rest of the guests as I was not James Bond. Mind you, I felt fairly close to it — veni, vidi vici!

    I had returned from London early on Sunday morning or late at night depending on how you see things, as I don’t drink. Horses have a funny way of knowing when you are tired, and exploit it. Instead of being just fresh, they were all like lions.

    Monday was again a busy day. I went to see some horses near Bishops Stortford during lunch, and once again hope my sales pitch is up to scratch. There were a couple lovely yearlings and an athletic Singspiel colt foal. The end of the day saw a visit from my vet to see if I could declare Littlemisssunshine for Pontefract on Thursday. Her cut nose is on the mend and she will run, all things being equal.

    Back up came in the form of Gary Witheford and his son Craig on Tuesday morning to put Cotton King through the stalls. He had no fear of the stalls, he just did not want to be told what to do. After some persuasion he went in, and in, and in, and in until he went in unaided. They really are very good at what they do, and shall be at his next start to persuade the obstinate King that the stalls are not very frightening. Well, while they were there they might as well put through the unraced two-year-old, so when we go to the races we won’t have any unexpected surprises.

    This next week will see us visit the racecourse and hopefully return home full of the joys of spring — forever the optimist!

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