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Tribulations and triumphs make it a combustible time; Marie McCabe, wife of leading all-weather trainer Alan, with her weekly diary about life in a busy Flat stable.

Byline: Marie McCabe

THE past seven days have provided me with so many different experiences and put so many thoughts into my head that I fear I just might spontaneously combust.

I am currently wrestling with numerous and varied UK Border Agency requirements in order to provide one of our best members of staff with a renewed visa, and wishing that I had a degree in law in order to understand the application form.

The process is highly complex and ridiculously expensive, but the industry relies on foreign workers to provide the requisite numbers of staff due to such a dearth of domestic labour.

At least our frustrating run of second-places has been broken - and in spectacular fashion when Fratellino burned up the turf at York last Wednesday. He made all over the minimum trip and scored by several lengths, despite being the outsider of the field at 14-1.

He did not deserve to be such a long price, and this run was the first time he had had a straightforward race run at a proper pace.

He is engaged in a conditions race at Beverley on Saturday and a Listed race at Sandown next week, but plans are fairly fluid at the moment. There has been talk of Ascot, but he was a cheaply bought horse and does not have a stallion's pedigree, so we may opt for other engagements and possibly a tilt at the Molecomb at Goodwood as he is a speedy type.

The biggest shock of the week - and I use this word with emphasis - was the performance of Autumn Harvest at Thirsk on Saturday. I have written before about Autumn Harvest's hard-pulling, and Andrew Elliott can testify to this.

He was unable to pull the horse up on his way to post and had attempted to circle him around the back of the stalls. This proved to be a mistake as Autumn Harvest found himself pointing in the direction of home and decided to head back there. Devoid of brakes, Andrew took the decision to bail out and then it was all hands on deck to catch the wayward beast.

He is not a nutcase, just stupid, and was eventually caught, where it was decided he was none the worse for his little escapade and lined up to take part in the race.

It was divine justice that he then went and won at odds of 66-1! He is a beautifully bred Juddmonte horse, but completely lacking in brains and I imagine any future successes will depend on whether his energies are channelled in the right direction.

Alan then made the dash to Doncaster for Viva Las Vegas night (words fail me) where an acrossthe-card double was completed by the enigma that is Red Wine under a perfectly timed ride from Declan Cannon. Red Wine seems to love Doncaster - perhaps he has aspirations to be an Elvis impersonator or a stag party entertainer when he retires as he seems to enjoy the inspiration he gets from the crowd..
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 21, 2009
Words:503
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