Tom Symonds’ diary: no white Christmas for me, please

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  • No one dreamed or sang of a ridiculously warm Christmas, but it appears we are about to have one. It is so strange that last year I was trying to keep the lid on a very fresh Long Run before the King George, which was then postponed 20 days due to bad weather.

    It could not be more of a different situation this year – equine preparation and weather alike! From a trainer’s perspective Christmas is situated perfectly this year with it falling over a weekend. It therefore works exactly like a normal weekend. That is what you call logistical bliss!

    Last week was an interesting week for Dason Court. Tweedledrum decided to put her hitherto recalcitrant foot forward in the best way! She finished second at 100-1 at Exeter and, that being her third run, she now qualifies for a handicap mark. This will now be rather higher than it would have been based on her previous performances.

    On Friday Scholastica ran a good race in the Championship Bumper at Ascot, but as ever they went a funereal pace. After pulling rather hard she then galloped on too late, as she gallops rather than quickens.

    Duc De Regniere seemed to hate the tacky ground and blundered at the first down the back.

    I keep reminding myself of Dr M V O’Brien’s philosophy that “disappointment makes the thrill of success greater”. Saturday was disappointing as he is better than that; it’s just trying to get all the colours of the Rubik’s cube in line.

    Christmas shopping is my worst nightmare, as rather than being spontaneous, it’s enforced buying. Inspiration runs dry as the harder you look, the less you find… The brighter sides of Christmas are the return of my siblings and the parties. I am going to have to delve into energy reserves for a party per day.

    The post-Christmas blog could be interesting after our inaugural yard Christmas party. Christmas spirit and alcohol-fuelled actions always make for a Jilly Cooper-esque scandal!

    We have also had a new addition to our staff in Nathan Cook, who has joined us from Sue Smith. He will be our conditional jockey and his move south will hopefully prove fruitful for his career and hopefully not detrimental to his sanity.

    On Friday, Duc De Regniere and Wogan have a date with the South Herefordshire Hunt – the best start to Christmas weekend. Shirley Vickery recently told me that Toby Balding used to say that for hunting to really freshen up a racehorse, it needs to be done three times – I certainly don’t mind three times being a charm!

    Lastly, I hate to ruin Bing Crosby’s “white dream”, but sadly if it came true it certainly ruins sport for all readers of Horse & Hound. With that in mind I wish you all a very happy Christmas and enjoy the warm weather – the sport can go on!

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