Our 1st Blog Post
Posted on 9th May 2022 at 13:44
Hi there, DJ here . . .
These are exciting times at Ballards Farm for myself and my lovely wife Harriet and as a sheep farmer turned racehorse trainer, websites and twitter etc are among all the things that I said I’d never do, but hey, let’s give it a spin!
This blog will become a monthly affair and I’m also considering guest blogs (please get in touch if you fancy a bash) and DJ’s Discs featuring various racing personalities’ five favourite tracks (music not racecourses). You’ll discover my own taste in music soon and we’re also having a look at a few question & answers with the same sort of characters.
We’re also in the thrilling process of setting up the DJ Jeffreys Racing Club which will hopefully be a lot of fun for the 30 members with two horses in the shape of Ayr Of Elegance and Getaman who I think will both win this year.
Getaman will go straight chasing now and won two Irish point-to-points. We’ve campaigned him over hurdles, just taking our time with him, and he’s ready to rock and roll over fences, while Ayr Of Elegance won a couple of races last summer, has enjoyed a nice winter break and we’ve got her back in and hopefully she’ll be able to exhibit her talents in the second week of May maybe.
The club will be an eclectic mix of old and new friends, including one whose just signed up from Tenerife, and I’m hugely looking forward to meeting the ‘terrific thirty’ either at the track or at the club’s summer party which at the moment I’m tentatively penciling in for a Sunday in June.
That should be an amazing day on which it’ll be great to show off not only the horses to the members, but also the fantastic facilities that are on offer at the farm. I know Yorkshire folk claim their historic birthplace is ‘God’s own county’, a description I’d also give to Northumberland where I was fortunate enough to grow up, but sometimes I look across the beautiful Worcestershire countryside that I have the privilege to live and work in and I just think to myself how lucky I am to be alive.
Russell's Of Broadway
Cheltenham is not far while the beautiful village of Broadway is just a cricket ball’s throw away where a couple of weeks' ago I enjoyed a marvellous lunch at my favourite restaurant Russell’s Of Broadway https://russellsofbroadway.co.uk/ which is owned by racing fanatic Andrew Riley. He expressed an interest in doing a guest blog which is a very kind offer that I will definitely be taking up in the near future.
The restaurant is often frequented by people from the racing world and my own ‘working lunch’ was joined by Luke Harvey. The man’s joy of life is infectious and the great thing about our friendship is I know that he wants me and the horses to do the absolute best that we can, while at the same time I’m absolutely delighted that he is doing so very well with his own media career. I’m hoping that if his busy schedule allows, he’ll join us for the summer party together with a few of our jockeys if they’re not in action that day.
All of our horses are dreadfully important, but I can’t finish my first blog without mentioning Lively Citizen who has been a real dude this year for owners Mark Smith, Brake Horse Power Syndicate. He won his second race at Cheltenham in December, won again at Leicester in February before beating the English but just finding Irish trainer Peter Fahey’s Surprise Package too powerful in Sandown’s Imperial Cup the following month. I was gutted to be defeated, but huge congratulations to Peter and his team.
He had one run after that at Aintree where I thought he put in a marvellous effort on ground that was probably a bit too lively on a fast track to finish sixth and he still gave us a huge thrill as he was still there turning in before getting a bit outpaced on the run-in. I can’t wait for next season and I’ll discuss plans with the owners, but at this stage I’ve got my eye possibly on a big early season handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in November.
Lastly a story that I’m going to describe as “vinegargate!” Now I didn’t come into racing to upset people so I’m not going to embarrass the racecourse by naming them, but I’ve been passed on a story where a part-owner, who later won that day’s feature race, was dining in the owners and trainers’ restaurant when one of his colleagues asked if he could get some vinegar to go on the fried potatoes on that day’s menu.
When he asked a member of staff with the request, he was told: “This isn’t a fish and chip shop.”
Now you can look at that tale in two ways. One it’s quite funny, but also it’s fairly depressing. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request to ask for some vinegar for your potatoes and the response was less than I would expect for anyone, but particularly someone who is part funding the afternoon’s entertainment for what was a fair-sized crowd for that particular course.
Oh and before I go, I hear you ask how that owner took the member of staff’s reply? Let’s just say that she picked the wrong person who didn’t mince their words. And that racecourse was probably the only place with a restaurant in the country that doesn’t have any vinegar!
Thanks for reading my ramblings, enjoy your racing and above all stay safe and well.
Share this post: