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Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Good friends, good horses, big winners and great parties - weather permitting

The latest update from Lil Rockerfeller's co-owner Andy Smith

Andy Smith: looking to the skies as the weather forecast for Cheltenham changes by the hour
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I just spoke to Neil [King, trainer] and Lil Rockerfeller is fine. He's going to be boxed off and go somewhere else to work on Wednesday, a nice little away day, but obviously, although Neil's pleased with him, we're looking at the weather forecast every day and hoping it doesn't get too soft.

We all know Cheltenham dries out very quickly but the outlook changes every hour, depending on which forecast you look at, so we'll have to wait and see, both for Lil Rockerfeller in the Stayers' Hurdle and for Doing Fine in the Kim Muir.

Lil Rockerfeller: on course for Stayers' Hurdle
As things stand, we're certain we're going to run 'Rocky', but for anybody who's intending to back him I'd say hold on. If it's no worse than good to soft, we're guaranteed to run, but if it came up soft, heavy in places we wouldn't be guaranteed to go there. Likewise if it's too soft for Doing Fine, we'd keep him for the Scottish National.

One way or another, though, it's an exciting time for me and my co-owners in Rocky: John Davies, Peter and Paul Govier and Geoffrey Brown. John has had horses for 30-odd years and still has a few scattered about; Peter and Paul are twins from Devon, they do a lot of steel-erecting, building barns for various trainers, and they're always working, but they had a share in Melodic Rendezvous so they know what success with a good horse feels like; Geoffrey Brown is another one from Devon, who buys and sells agricultural machinery.

I knew the twins from the races, just to say hello to, but when I went to see Lil Rockerfeller one day, they were there and it turned out they were part-owners. They and the others had already bought a half share, I bought a leg and we all got on really well. We go to the races and have a few beers together and we've been lucky that we've won a few quid with Rocky that's enabled us, along with an old mate of mine called Ashley Carr, to buy Danehill Kodiac.

Celebrations as Danehill Kodiac returns in triumph from the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot last October
He's won a Group 3 at Ascot and taken us to a lot of nice places, Hong Kong included, thanks to his trainer Richard Hannon, which is where we are now, enjoying a glass of champagne at the yard. I spend a lot of time going round looking at my horses and trying to duck the big bills trainers keep giving me, but it's a lot of fun, although I haven't plucked up the courage yet to suggest to Richard that Danehill Kodiac need his *******s off and eight flights of hurdles in front of him.

I've known Ashley for a long time. He's got horses with Gary Moore and with Harry Whittington – in fact he's got a couple of runners at Sandown on Saturday: Octagon in the Imperial Cup and The Dubai Way in the EBF Final. Then he's got Doing Fine to look forward to with me and the Flat season with Danehill Kodiac as well, so there's a lot to look forward to, and hopefully a few more drinks to celebrate.

The best party we had with Rocky was after he won the National Spirit at Fontwell two years ago. We ended up in the Malt Shovel in Lambourn and there were a few sore heads in the morning but it's worth it for a day like that and we wouldn't mind another one after Cheltenham.


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As things stand, we're certain we're going to run Rocky, but for anybody who's intending to back him I'd say hold on
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