Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I have, finally, Given Up. I hate and loathe giving up; would much rather bash on. I rather despise the fact I do not have that much physical stamina. I am hoping that is going to change once I get all fit and my muscles harden from riding every day. So, I have conceded defeat to the aches and pains and heavy head and eyes like hot boiled eggs and general malaise and light-sensitivity.
I love all the Dear Readers being doctor. I am now choosing between low grade virus, too much excitement, over-tiredness, Vitamin B12 deficiency, and low blood pressure. Oddly, I have always had very low blood pressure, sometimes the doc has to take it twice, she can’t believe it is so low. I am oddly proud of this, although it is nothing to do with me. But I like the idea of not being in the danger zone for stroke and heart attack. Much better low than high.
Whatever the thing is, I have had to chuck a meeting with publisher and co-writer, since I cannot get down the stairs, let alone on a train. I am quite grumpy about the whole thing. I am typing this in bed, with a dozy Pigeon by my side.
I was worrying about the blog, since my plan is to sleep all day, so I can be well for Saturday, when I drive back north. I must be fit for the five hundred and fifty miles.
Luckily, one of the Dear Readers left a quite enchanting comment yesterday, about Nijinsky. It is such a lovely story that I am going to put it up here for today’s blog. This is very naughty, since I have not asked permission. I am trusting that the Reader will not mind if I share with the group.
This is what she wrote:
I met Nijinsky once when he was an old fellow. Had gone to the farm to visit another stallion and my guide that day was an elderly stud groom just off retirement named Clay Arnold. It was a quiet morning and I was by myself, so Clay took out several of the big names for me to look over (quite nice, as I hadn't a dime and clearly was not a potential client - he must have seen that I just loved 'em.
At the end, as I got ready to leave, he said, "Wait a moment, you can't go until you've see the best of them all. I'm not supposed to, but it's nearly time for him to go to his paddock." In a few minutes he came back with a dark bay stallion who was obviously a senior citizen (he was 24 at the time), but still a looker.
He walked pretty slowly, as old aches had caught up with him, but he had that indefinable air of greatness about him. They were so touching, Clay and Nijinsky, two old campaigners, very quiet and gentle with each other. They're both gone now, but I still have the photo I shot of them and have never forgotten the moment.
Nijinsky was everyone's champion, but he was one man's best friend.
Isn’t that the best story you have ever heard? I love it. Thank you, Bird.
Here are some glorious pictures of the old champion. Still can't quite believe he is the grandsire of my lovely Red:
Lovely to see old Lester in action. The photograph is uncredited, but I think that is Pat Eddery behind him. My guess is that it's the Derby. Wish I knew what that second horse was though.
Another delightful shot:
This is my mare's great-grandsire, the mighty Northern Dancer. Another uncredited photograph, but isn't it rather extraordinary?
Their little descendant, with her rather flashy bay friend:
My very own Northern Dancer:
Some tulips, because you really have had to put up with an awful lot of horse pictures lately:
And a really glorious picture of Kauto Star working at home, taken yesterday by Edward Whitaker, for the Racing Post. Whitaker has always taken absolutely luminous pictures of Kauto Star, I think he has a feeling for the horse. The mighty fella on the right is Big Buck's. So, not so shabby:
The news on the great horse continues good. Now I start to think of serious reality. Even if he does get fit enough, he is still twelve years old, and no twelve-year-old has won the Gold Cup for something like fifty years. (The Older Brother would know the exact stats; he has a steel trap brain for racing facts.) I saw a picture of Long Run on the gallops two days ago, and he looks magnificent. If Grand Crus runs, all bets are off. I still think that dear old Midnight Chase might run a big race, if he gets a bit of luck in running. He stays all day and loves Cheltenham; that hill has no fears for him.
But look at the determination on that face on the left. As I always say, he might be a handsome devil, but he is no show pony. He is tough and true and honest as the day is long. I think he deserves his chance. My heart and my cash are on him anyway. It's a loyalty thing. It's an if wishing could make it so thing.
And now I am going to have a damn good sleep and see if I can't feel better.