Weblog: The wife of leading all-weather trainer Alan McCabe with her weekly diary.
Caspar and I are ready for next jaunt to France
We are still here - just about. We built an ark a few months back and it's been a godsend.
The horses have settled into it well and it's doubled nicely as transport to get to any of the few race meetings that haven't had to be abandoned.
We can be seen occasionally, sailing it deftly down (or up) the A1, waving to all the poor mortals being swept along in their inadequate vehicles.
It's not been terribly fruitful once we reach the surviving meetings though, because not all of our horses are confident swimmers.
Some, like Levitate, splash along quite happily, picking up the prizes as they go, but most hate the sodden, testing ground and the hard slog that such conditions force them into.
For those who really object, we have been making entries at all-weather meetings, but unfortunately, so has everyone else.
As a consequence, the kind of races that more moderate beasts from yards like ours might just be able to pick up every now and again are being won by the kinds of animal they would not normally have to encounter on the track - we ran some two-year-old fillies in a race at Kempton a few weeks ago and the list of our opponents read like a potential Queen Mary field.
Even more demoralising is being ballotted out of such races as they attract the numbers of entries not normally seen on the all-weather in the middle of July.
It's highly unusual and incredibly frustrating because this is the time of year when we all hope to win some more reasonable prize-money (for more reasonable, read 'less miserable'), but we're all stuck in the same boat, or ark.
This is not a whinge, just an observation as I know all stables are suffering from such a prolonged period of reduced activity.
I hope the good weather that is forecast arrives, because I'd really like to put on a T-shirt and flip flops at some point during the summer - I'm a bit bored with coats and boots now.
We did have two days of good weather a few weeks ago when we took Caspar to Chantilly to contest the Prix Jean Prat.
It was not a successful trip because, for whatever reason, he ran flat and Shane reported that he just didn't pick up when asked as he usually does.
We gave him a week's rest when he came home to freshen him up a bit.
He was supposed to have two week's rest, but he became such a handful after a week that we had to start riding him again. He's back in tremendous form now and we are very happy with him.
He goes for the Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August, so maybe I will finally get a chance to break out the flip flops although I may need to get a new, smarter pair for that particular trip.
I really enjoyed Chantilly, despite the race result and could have happily spent a couple more days exploring the area.
It was a beautiful and impressive place and I would have loved to visit a yard or two and inspected the famous gallops.
The racecourse was really relaxed with racing fans of all ages enjoying a lovely, sunny Sunday afternoon's sport, picnics and all.
I was surprised that there wasn't a larger crowd, especially taking into consideration the fabulous quality of the day's racing, but it was still very enjoyable nonetheless.
These experiences are what makes the job so rewarding and I'm really very grateful for the opportunity to go to the sorts of places I have been lucky enough to visit since the glorious Caspar came into our lives.
We still enjoy the winners at Southwell, Pontefract and Wolverhampton as much as we ever did, but it has been a real privilege to visit some of the great international racecourses too and see how things are done differently.
Hopefully there will be a few more trips that a racing geek like myself can tick off my bucket list and to continue with a runner at Deauville is not too bad at all.
It's most definitely the best part of my job and I'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.