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MARIE MCCABE

Weblog: The wife of leading all-weather trainer Alan McCabe with her diary

Looking ahead after the highs and lows of 2011

Well, there are only two more weeks of this year left and it is truly scary how quickly that has come around. If the doom-mongers are to be believed, we can all look forward tothe end of the world in 2012, so this may well be my last ever Christmas blog.

I must say, they have gone on far longer than I could have anticipated when I started with my little weekly bit in the Racing Post in December 2008 which was supposed to last until the following March. Sometimes the subject matter has been plentiful, sometimes a bit thin and for the inevitable times when I have repeated myself, I apologise.

This year has been an eventful one in many respects. We have endured
some hideous personal times - none worse than the tragic loss of our beloved young blacksmith, Mark and myself of my grandmother. We have also enjoyed some completely thrilling moments, most courtesy of darling Caspar Netscher and the juxtaposition of the highs and lows in the microcosm of my life have almost unbalanced me at times.

I cried like a baby when Caspar won the Mill Reef after triumphing in the Gimcrack and becoming the first horse to do the double.  I almost repeated the blubbing when he flew at the death of the Middle Park and I watched our chance of a Group 1 win disappear over the horizon.

Our trip to America was, as they say over there, awesome, and the only thing that could have made it better was a Breeders' Cup win. That may have been getting greedy, because we have come so far in these past twelve months that none of us could have imagined how we would end the year. Fairytales seldom come true though, so we had to accept defeat (this time) and begin the battle-plan for next year.

Our all-weather season has started in good fashion and we have hit the bulls eye nine times since November 12th. At the time of writing, we have had a total of 60 winners this calendar year, far better than any previous tally. I know we are still a long way from troubling the likes of Messrs. Hannon and Nicholls, but I am pleased and proud for what our little team have achieved. We work hard, every one of us, and the results give some justification for the effort and hours put in by us all.

Our lads and girls, despite the inevitable moaning when requested to do a Wolverhampton Saturday night meeting, have been stoic this year and worked like troopers to keep it all going. We have had the usual mighty haul of best-turned-out prizes too, testament to their pride in their work and skill and dedication to the job. This dedication will continue to be tested throughout the winter, as our all-weather team are primed and ready for action right through the festive season and well beyond, so there will be no respite throughout those brittle days and evenings to come.

I'm not usually much of a new year person - I find the whole idea of everything somehow being different on January 1st bewildering - but as
a prospect, I am intrigued to know what 2012 may bring. We have some proper ammunition in the yard now and I'm hoping the new turf season
comes around as quickly as this Christmas seems to have done.

Last year I wished for a group winner and we got two, so what should I wish for this year? A classic winner? A champion horse worthy of plaudits come the annual round of awards next winter? These would both be very nice and if Santa wants to provide these I will be more than happy, but this year I'm going to keep it simple. I wish for good luck, health and prosperity, sound horses and peace of mind. I'd rather do without the drama and to keep a positive outlook and an even keel.

If we win a Guineas, so much the better - I'm not fussy about which country it may be in, but I do know a dandy little horse who really deserves it.

So may I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and a new year filled with long-odds winners. Keep the faith and you will be rewarded.

I'll see you next year, provided we haven't all been despatched to Armageddon, that is...

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