I had a whole bushel of words for you today, but the hours rushed away from me and now it is eight o’clock and my brain has turned itself off. So today is mostly pictures.
The loveliest thing of the day was watching Kauto Star parade around Haydock, the place where he stamped his class and his guts and his great, beating heart on four glorious occasions. The old warrior looked better than ever, his head held high, the look of eagles in his eyes. The new stars, coming out to strut their stuff, looked a little mere and ordinary by comparison. The decision to retire the great horse whilst he is still fit and well was a good and honourable one, but there was a sliver of regret in me as I watched him, looking as if he could hack round the three miles in a canter and give the young fellows a run for their money.
There are some very exciting new young horses this season, and some lovely prospects just coming into their pomp, but nothing will thrill me quite like Kauto. He was, truly, a horse in a generation. As Ruby Walsh once said of him, live on British television, to happy, watching millions: ‘Ah, I love him, anyway.’
I shall miss him.
I miss my dogs today, quite a lot. ‘Why do dogs have to die?’ asked the four-year-old cousin, in a spirit of enquiry. I did not really have an awfully good ontological answer to that.
I miss my mare, who is very much alive, but five hundred miles north. I look at pictures, to quench the yearning. ‘Oh,’ says the four-year-old, a dying fall in her voice, ‘she is so beautiful.’ And so she is, and I am lucky to have her.
Today’s pictures are a random selection from the last few months. I was going through the files and plucked these out for you. There are some archive shots of the Duchess and the Pigeon too: