‘Now what about that for a how do you do? Not quite a boy
named Sue, but a colt called Adelaide. Maybe that’s what hardened
him up… because he is one tough son of a gun’.
What a tragedy that it had to rain on our parade last week. The above line had been what James Bester had intended to use as the starting point of his presentation of Adelaide during the parade. James, as I have come to learn during my time at Coolmore, clearly isn’t renowned for his preparatory or organisational skills, but as an orator, there is nobody better.
So on Monday morning, post the parade that never was, when I came to learn that James had hand-written 26 pages of notes in readiness for Sunday, my heart sank knowing that the terrible weather meant that everyone had missed out on the chance of hearing something spectacular.
However, as Michael Kirwan so succinctly put it – ‘you have a full 12 months to prepare for next year James!’
I love nothing more than a good sleep, but rest is something very much in short supply around stallion parade time. Logistically it takes a fair bit of organising and pretty much the whole farm contributes in some way, shape or form in preparation for the day.
We send out over 2,000 invitations in the expectation of somewhere in the region of 1200-1300 people attending who will get through something like 50 cases of beer, 420 bottles of wine, 800 bottles of water, 1100 lunches and just for good measure, 80 bags of ice to keep everything cool!
As you can imagine the set-up of the marquee, grandstands, catering etc. takes plenty of man power and that’s before you factor in all the people who help put the finishing touches to the day and help it to run smoothly.
So all that considered, the 53mls of rain that fell across Sunday and Monday, along with the thunder and lightning was most unwelcome! That said, we still managed to have a good day despite the weather, so credit must go to those clients and friends who came along to create something of a party atmosphere in the marquee!
The theatre of a full stallion parade is something that I think a horse like Adelaide would have really enjoyed.
I must admit he’s a horse that fascinates me, if for no other reason than he has more stamps on his passport than most people and seems to have been able to handle repeated changes of environment with ease.
It’s hard to think of too many horses to have raced with distinction at the highest level across five countries, three different continents and two hemispheres in the space of a year.
Apparently at a Melbourne Bar, the night before the Cox Plate, a prominent member of the Hunter Valley fraternity surmised, unknowingly it has to be said, the magnitude of the horses achievements… ‘Mate, he’s travelled all around the world to get here, drawn barrier 13 of 14, has to carry a four year-olds weight as a three year-old as well as a European jockey and it’s a class field – He’s got no hope… it’s IMPOSSIBLE!’ We all know what happened next!
Despite the parade being a wash-out, spirits were brightened on the farm on Monday morning with the visit of some representatives from the Victoria Racing Club and, most importantly, the Melbourne Cup.
Historically the farm already has an association with the Cup as the winner of the 1920 renewal, Poitrel, was bred here by the Moses family.
Students from a number of local schools, Jerrys Plains Public School, Milbrodale Public School and Sandy Hollow Public School were on hand to see the famous trophy and as always, Pierro was a very willing participant in the event.
He’s a pretty amazing horse that just seems to relish attention and a sense of occasion. Here’s hoping that he’s as good a stallion as he is a model!
Huge credit must go to the VRC for the lengths they go to in the promotion of the Cup. ‘The race that stops the nation’ is the most likely way that I see of encouraging new participants, particularly young people, into the sport and the fact that the trophy will visit 33 different towns/areas across Australia and New Zealand before the race in November is pretty remarkable!
Speaking of famous visitors, we were lucky enough to play host on the farm a few weeks ago to the photographers and ‘crew’ responsible for the David Jones 2015 Spring Racewear photoshoot.
Coolmore was the chosen location for their campaign and accompanying them for the day was pretty exciting.
Hanging out with international photographers and famous models for a day was a welcome change from spending my days with Sebastian, Paddy and Shane here in the office!
Again, Pierro strutted his stuff for the camera, as did the beautiful mare Miracles Of Life (a model in her own right!) who is fondly known to her fans and our staff as ‘Barbie’.
Keep an eye out for the shoot when it goes to print as the farm looks spectacular (as do the clothes!). The team from David Jones seemed genuinely awestruck by the beauty of the farm along with the obvious effort that goes in to the maintenance of the property and it’s that sort of reaction that makes one realise what a special environment we live in.
Growing up on a farm in Walcha in a ‘horsey’ family is pretty good preparation for life in Jerrys Plains and while there are times that the bright lights of the city make more appeal than rural life (Saturday nights!?), Spring is definitely a great time to be on the farm.
There are currently over 50 G1 winning or producing mares on the property and an abundance of quality foals so it’s great to get out and about of a morning and see what’s been born.
I’ve taken a particular shine to the Pierro filly out of Indian Ocean – she’s a real character.
The feedback on the first Declaration Of War foals seems to be very positive and maybe the next Vancouver, Lake Geneva, Pride Of Dubai or Japonisme is amongst them!
I’m reliably informed by the stats man Hutch that the farm is churning out winners at an unprecedented rate… let’s hope it continues!