Monday, 19 September 2011

Autumn again!

Autumn is always my busiest time of year when I chase around from pillar to post attempting to juggle a million things at once. But it's also my favourite time of year with the jump racing season starting to rev up. And as soon as we get back to Cheltenham in October, it feels wonderfully familiar and a bit like coming home. So I'm going to have a real decision on my hands whether to abandon it to see Frankel at Ascot. I suspect Frankel will win (on all levels) and having had the privilege to visit him at home over the summer (not to mention that memorable day at Goodwood), I want to carry on being privy to his amazing story. He may be the best horse we've ever seen. Read Brough Scott's awesome article in the Racing Post last Sunday for a fascinating insight

Frankel just being a horse at Warren Place

Racing Post
Once again, Racing Post Books have got some great titles for Christmas. Tuesday this week sees us back at the Osborne Gallery in London for the launch of Edward Whitaker's stunning new book, Beyond the Frame, with an exhibition of some of his best photos from the book.
Channel 4 are coming to film the exhibition for the Morning Line and Ed's star continues to rise as his photographs receive the acclaim they deserve.

One of the stunning images in Beyond the Frame
After that, we move quickly on to Warrior: The Amazing Story of a Real War Horse, which is a true story along the same theme as Spielberg's War Horse due to hit our cinema screens in December.
The Daily Mail are planning to serialise it, which we hope will really engage public interest. And I defy pretty much anyone not to be moved by the story of a horse who was one of the first off the boat to France in 1914, survived every imaginable disaster, saw out some of the major battles on the Western Front, but made it back in 1918 - and went on to live until the early 1940s. Not many horses have an obituary in the Times when they die. But Warrior did. And the 'Horse the Germans Could Not Kill' in my opinion deserves its place on the bestseller lists!
Both these, and our first ever Racing Post Annual will be available on all the major racecourses throughout the build up to Christmas and we're excited about our 'racecourse roadshow' taking to the road once again.
All of our titles can be bought from

Bob Champion and The Bob Champion Cancer Trust
After the success of the John Smith's Aintree Legends race in April, I continue to work closely with Bob (the Facebook addict!) and Lucy Wilkinson who runs the Trust and we've got a few great events in the pipeline including a charity day at Lingfield on 8th November and a Fish, Chips and Champagne evening at the Bluebird in Chelsea (details to follow soon). Alex Embiricos, the daughter of Aldaniti's owners, is also planning an amazing Lands End to John O'Groats Cycle Challenge on her bike 'Ruby Walsh' in May next year and people are invited to join her. Bob may even make an appearance on his heavily re-enforced bike, Aldaniti!
Details of all of these events can be found on

Brough Scott
With helping Edward with Beyond the Frame, working on getting Warrior ready for publication, and researching his biography of Sir Henry Cecil, due out in 2012, Brough rarely has time to take breath. How he manages to then produce the quality of writing he does for the Racing Post, Times, and occasionally Horse and Hound is beyond me. Yet Brough remains one of the finest writers around. Recently, we have developed his website and he's been more than holding his own in the modern world of Twitter (@broughscott)! 

Injured Jockeys Fund
In the last few months, I have helped the great team at the IJF, led by Lisa Hancock, develop their social media ( / Twitter @ijf_official). 
We are currently looking to recruit some key industry figures as IJF 'Ambassadors' - details to follow soon.

Richard Dunwoody
Not one for a quiet life, Richard has spent most of the summer abroad leading holidays for Wild Frontiers ( but has just moved to Paris to embark on a photo journalism course. He has a real talent in this area and is on for both a full on and very hard-working year.  I can't believe it's over two years now since we spent 42 exhausting but amazing days as part of his epic 1000 Mile Challenge. If anyone can cope with going 'back to school' in his '40s, then Richard is the man I'd put my money on!

My favourite photo of the 1000 Mile Challenge - it's the last morning and the strain is starting to tell! If Richard can cope with this, he can cope with anything...

Sam Thomas
We had a great day out on the 'flat' at Goodwood in the summer but Sam is excited that the jumps season proper is about to get going. We are thrilled that equine insurance company, Markel, are going to sponsor him for the third year and we have been really made to feel a part of the 'Markel family' attending some brilliant events with them. Great too that their sponsored flat jockey, William Buick, has brought them some nice front pages over the summer.
It is also announced this week that Sam is going to join Channel 4 as a 'Jockey presenter' and this week we're starting his 'from the saddle' filming at the yards of Venetia Williams, Tom Symonds, Oliver Sherwood and Charlie Mann.

On a personal note, after riding the Henry Ponsonby owned (, Kings Troop, at Cheltenham last March, I have continued to ride out for his trainer, Alan King (, every Saturday so I shall also be really looking forward to seeing Alan's horses run well over the winter.  When you spend a lot of the week sitting at a computer, it's a real pleasure to be part of a top racing yard every weekend and to be with the actual people who make the horses.
My own horse, the ex racer Lord's Bidding, also continues to make great progress and I hope that his RoR competition days may not be too far away! (