In past trips, we have joined stud tours at Three Chimney’s Farm in Kentucky USA, the Irish National
Stud and this trip we wanted to visit the National Stud at Newmarket England.
National Stud and Newmarket
Driving from Manchester to Newmarket was a very nice drive of only about 3 hours 40 which we competed at a leisurely pace arriving at the Heath Court Hotel in heart of Newmarket and only 100 yards walk to the gallops.
Hundreds of horses are worked here every morning and the street around town are filled with quite big stables.
Horses and cars co-exist without all the red tape and safety measures we would have at home. The is a busy road right up to the middle of the slow and fast tracks, cars just wait when large groups horses cross from one track to another.
The tour of the National Stud was the main purpose of our visit and so after booking this online, we presented ourselves at the designated time and place. Nigel our guide was very informative as he was previously the Operations Manager (retired) of the whole stud.
He was an entertaining (muttering about the demise of Newmarket during the tour, now the Arabs own most of it) informative guide that really knew all the ins and outs of the stud.
Including the two stallions in residence
Bahamian Bounty (21 yrs old and retired) and his son Pastoral Pursuits.
Bahamian Bounty was a very successful sire in his time and his son Pastoral Pursuits
He was a very successful racehorse winning Pastoral Pursuits although has not lived up to expectations at stud as he is not attracting good mares and really needs a couple of black type winners to save him from sale.
Toronado (standing at Swettenham Stud) and Dick Turpin (standing in Western Australia) are both been shuttled to Australia for the season which will make for some interest to see how their offspring perform down under.
The stud was all freshly painted inside and out and was looking extra fresh for a working farm but Nigel told us this was due to the queen’s visit recently to plant a second tree (to mark 100 years of the stud), she planted her first tree at the stud back in 1966.
We were able to see a couple yearling being prepared for sale and a paddock full of weanlings including a Frankel Filly which was good, as this is the quieter time in the breeding season there were no foals but com Jan – Mar one could imagine how the place would be buzzing with activity with lots of new arrivals.
After our day at the stud it was back to the Heath Court for a rest, catch up on email and pay the wages for CB Transport aahh live goes on.
It is amazing that we can be so connected to home and travel at the same time. We have been having great facetime /hangout chats with all the little ones every other day.
For dinner we decided on something lighter and found an exceptional Thai place in main street all within walking distance from the hotel which was even better.
One our final morning in Newmarket we headed up to the gallops and watch the horse work again, the number of horses is staggering as well as the number young horses, no wonder this place is filled with people who look like they work in racing, lots of girls. 30 years and 30kgs and four children ago I would have loved to come and do something like this for a while. It would beat riding work in Dubbo that is for sure.
After another enormous breakfast offering, I did say offering, we took the lighter option of cereal, toast, and fruit. It was hard to resist the full cooked breakfast but we did. We headed to our next stop.
I found this interesting place called ‘The Cricketers Arms‘ on Rickling Green in Rickling, Essex we booked a room and headed that way. This was on our way back to Heathrow to return the car.
The Cricketers Arms Pub
What a find The Cricketers is a fantastic English pub in a tiny village overlooking the green. Cricket has been played on Rickling Green since about 1850, photos of which can be seen in The Cricketers Arms the one remaining village pub. Cricket is still played on the Green throughout the summer months.
The food, friendly staff, accommodation are first class and this will definitely make the highlights reel. The is such a welcoming warm feeling about the place that makes you want to settle in for a while.
A walk through the village
will show many houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, exemplifying local materials and building traditions. These include local flints, bricks from local brickworks, tiles and thatch, half-timber as on Manor Farm.
Being only a bit over an hour from Heathrow, you can be sure there will be not a trip to London in the future that does not include another visit here to start or end a trip.
If we ever get to come back to Newmarket for the races it will be my place of choice for accommodation being only 50 minutes from Newmarket itself
It will be sad leaving here but London is calling…