There’s a grandstand made out of hay bales, some melt in the mouth beef rolls, an ice cream van, lots of nice people and some pretty impressive horses, oh, and pigs, ducks, chickens and puppies! Welcome to life at Blackgrounds Farm in Chipping Warden, where Doug Harkin has a microphone in his hand as he prepares to kick off the Pauline and Doug Harkin Racing open day.
The horses were paraded and first up was ‘We Never Give Up’, followed by ‘Back In A Flash’, ‘Intimate Whisper’ and ‘Ponty Pandy’, then Lady Barfad, Exclusive Rights, View The Dance, Glory Hunter, Velvet Cloud, Sea Rock, Out Of Range, Endofdiscusion, Velvet Shadow and Don’t Budge Me all took their turn in front of the ‘grandstand’.
Ponty Pandy and We Never Give Up both won last season and we were at Didmarton (photo here) and Sandon (see some pics here) respectively to witness both victories. We also have photographic evidence of the victory celebrations on the course but the party continued long into the night, and according to the programme notes ‘The Squashed Duck Club’ (Ponty’s syndicate) have not stopped celebrating since!
Incidentally, I had two personal favourites for my ‘ride of the season’ in 2014 and the ride that Pete Mann gave Ponty Pandy at Didmarton was one of them, the other one was the ride that Jane Williams gave Cottage Oak to beat Palypso De Creek at Chaddesley Corbett back in May (read about that here).
I’ve used lots of photos here but Carolyn Tanner wrote an excellent article about the day so I’ll include a link at the end of this post for anyone who wants to read a more in depth review of the horses.
Next up was a rather lovely un-named 4 year old filly, she is is completely untouched and will be broken in over the next week or so, then given a gentle introduction. She is out of 12 time winning black type mare She’s Our Mare and her breeding marks her out as a fine broodmare prospect.
Last out were the two Cheltenham winners, Popaway and the legend that is Doctor Kingsley, and as you’d expect both were given a great reception.
Pauline wrapped things up with a nice thank you for the team and the guests, but there was still plenty of entertainment to come as well as some delicious hot beef rolls!
I was having a nice chat with Dickie Barrett and Carolyn Tanner by the bar when Doug told me that there was an ice cream van in the yard. I love an ice cream so that went down well!
Rob Martin provided the final bit of entertainment for the day when he had his hair cut for charity, as you can see from the ‘before and after’ photos below, the haircut certainly made a difference to Mr Martin!
We couldn’t miss an opportunity to have a photo with Doctor Kingsley – and he seemed happy to oblige – then Mrs S almost made it back to the car with one of the adorable eight week old Jack Russell puppies hidden under her coat.
And that was it, a lovely afternoon with some rather lovely people had come to a close. It was good of Pauline and Doug to invite us and it gave us a reminder of why we love point-to-point horse racing so much. We really are very lucky to be involved!
For further information on owning a racehorse or joining a syndicate please contact Pauline or Doug.
Here are some useful links:
You can read Pauline’s excellent blog here.
Click here to read the ‘Open Day’ article by Carolyn Tanner.
For information on Velvet Energy click here, and for information on Equine Fitness click here.