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12 February 2014

The First Race Meeting as a Melbourne Girl...

My writing has dropped off over the last week.  I'm not sure why, I've gone to start, but then just ended up doing other things instead.  Perhaps I also just didn't feel like writing much recently either.  

I bounced into the Press Room at Caulfield on Saturday, despite the beginnings of a stinking hot day which usually renders me completely hopeless and grouchy.  When my ace friend Gatty saw me his face broke out in a grin, he opened his arms and hugged me saying "you're a Melbourne Girl now!!!!"  He said my face was glowing, and happiness was radiating out of me and that's he only ever once seen me this happy.  One of the best feelings was to be able to arrive at the track without having gotten up at Stupid O'Clock to catch a plane, or having just driven a stupid amount of kilometres.  Even better was also not having to do it for the return trip north.  It was the best feeling in the world. 

No one was more pleased than me with the decision to start the raceday early.  It was such a good plan and we got away with the meeting by the skin of our teeth because it got truly hot.  Each time we walked up the stairs out of the press room it was hotter than the time before.  No matter how much water I drank I still ended up with a blinding headache at the end of the day.  It was a good raceday for me with some good results and good pictures, including getting some images published in the Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph of Billy Slater riding a recalcitrant and grouchy Maldivian. 

In other news we are having a pretty good week.  I should arguably be photographing the Mornington Cup today and  I had hoped to get there, but the kids have their parent teacher interviews today which conflict utterly with the running of it.  I am reluctant to do shoots outside of school hours during the week when I can avoid them as well because it disrupts their routine too much and we are still settling in and trying to establish a good routine.

In other bits and pieces, I recall my friend Lyn telling me, way back at the start of December 2012 when life felt like it had derailed just a little bit, that I needed to start reading again and lose myself in a good book.  Well, I have 2 lovely new books, called Peter Pan (the horse not the little man in the green suit who can fly) and Shannon.  And I'm dipping in and out of my Dressage Masters book which I found when I was unpacking a few more boxes yesterday.

Archie is going super!!!!!! We're still working on the simple things, like walk-halt-walk and walk-trot-walk transitions, changing the flexion and getting him round with a contact and striding out properly.  We've also started fiddling with the canter as well. He's traveling far better off my leg now and is much less inclined to have a grouchy pig-root at the forward leg aid and while it's nowhere near brilliant it has improved each time we've done it.  Right now he'd score about a 2 for his trot-walk transition because he still thinks he should jog sideways when I ask him to go forward into walk but he is occasionally doing them almost properly and his walk-trot transitions have improved out of sight.  Are you bored stupid yet?????  I'm also working on establishing nice calm manners on the ground and teaching him about personal space (mine!) and for him to stand quietly while I fiddle about with him.  We are bonding beautifully, Lyn appears delighted and I am falling into my usual habit of getting far too fond far too quickly.  I'm trying to get better at keeping distance between myself and others but it is difficult at times!

Yesterday Jessica rode Khadet yesterday afternoon all by herself (ie - not on the lunge) while Heath did a lovely job helping Lyn with the chores.  The interviews at school were good.  Both kids are doing well although Heath still has a long road ahead of him though in order to be ready for high school next year.  If the tears caused by getting his homework done this evening are any indication we still have many improvements to work on this year.  I tell myself that he is a bit like Archie.  Both are having little tantrums, and are prone to leaping up and down and telling us it's too difficult and that they can't do it.  We are after little, gradual but constant improvements throughout the year.  If I can work with him in the same calm manner I am using on with Archie we'll be in a better place by the end of the year.

I have 2 photoshoots tomorrow so will reluctantly not be able to work Archie and I should have a third on Friday before heading to Flemington on Saturday for the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.   No Famous Pony for the first time in 3 years on this day in February...  I pause slightly and think about the first time she won it...  A special day????  As far as I am concerned it certainly was....  It was absolutely the start of something very, very special.....

A Time for Julia.  "My Boy" Redoute's Choice had 2 winners on Saturday.

Lankan Rupee.  The horse with the loveheart.  Another Redoute's Choice winner.  He was smashing.  What a shame they had to geld him.

Maldivian decides rearing at Caulfield is still his thing...  Billy Slater rode it pretty well. This image was run in the Sunday Herald Sun.

Hanging on..  Run online by the Herald Sun and others, and in print in the Sunday Telegraph.

Not finished!!!!

Moment of Change gives Moody and Nolen an overdue Group 1.  Their first since the retirement of The Famous Pony.  Oh how I miss her.... There are some loves that are hard to get over and I still miss.

Here's a colt!  Rubick.  Closely related to "My Boy" Manhattan Rain.  Bred by Teeley Assets (who bred the former and champion Redoute's Choice, as well as little "Barbie" Miracles of Life and the afore mentioned Lankan Rupee), and bought by my friend and colleague David Raphael.  By Encosta de Lago and out of Sliding Cube.
So...  will a good colt always beat a good filly? The Famous Pony well and truly sent this theory packing....

Earthquake..  Won with her ears pricked...

Just so easy...  I should have stood at the 200m mark!

Black Caviar - the Lightning Stakes is now renamed in her honour.  This was a special day for me....

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