I'm glad to say the trip went extremely well. In total, the horses were traveling for approximately 24 hours, and all are happy and hydrated. There were 24 horses to load at Standsted on Wednesday morning, with the Peden grooms in charge [from Peden Bloodstock International Horse Shipping Agents], the whole process took about 1 1/2 hours. For those of us flying with the horses, we had first class seating behind the cockpit with hostess on hand....who said flying with horses was difficult??!! Once landed all horses were off the plane and put straight into air conditioned trucks and then on their way to the Sha Tin race course, from plane to stables it only took 1 1/2 hours—I don't think a minute was wasted, and compared to my experience last year landing in Rio [at the Pan American Games], there is not one thing I could improve on.
The girls were waiting on arrival all anxious to see their charges. Waiting for the horses were large, deeply bedded stalls in an air conditioned barn.....I think all ponies were happy to have a good roll and stretch of their legs. We have a large arena-sized paddock to hand graze as well as being allowed on part of the race course. So far, the temperature has felt like one of the hotter muggy days in Pennsylvania.
Spoilt, I think, is the only word to use for the grooms' accommodation. We have small rooms with in-suite bathrooms, two people to a room. I am sharing with Max [Corcoran, Karen O'Connor's groom] who I think would agree, that the living arrangements are definately more up market than in previous years!!
Today has consisted of collecting urine samples to check hydration...no glamour here!!.....If only we could train Mac [McKinlaigh] and Comet to be less bashful!! Jo Pagen and his gang from [Kentucky Equine Research] have been extremely helpful in ensuring our horses get all the feeds and hay best suited to them. They are responsible for feeding and bedding of the entire equestrian venue, no small task there.
Well it's time to take Simon [Connaught] out for some grass. Phillip arrives later today, so he won't get a chance to see him, however, I think he will be very pleased with how Simon has traveled. I know he can't wait to take him for a hack around this great venue. I am hoping to get some pictures up soon, just got to work out the logistics......