After watching the best tennis players in the world at Wimbledon I had the privilege, actually that's an understatement, I had the childish joy of observing the top golfers in the world warming up on the range each day, at close quarters, during The Open at Royal Liverpool.
It was revealing to watch them all at work sharpening their skills before playing, the intensity with which some treated their time on the range, the simplicity of some practice routines and the occasionally weird and wonderful warm up from the likes of Padraig Harrington (in photo below).
But above all else I was fascinated by getting a brief glimpse into the mind of some of the players before they began play. In many of my pre-round interviews with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell, the phrases, 'looking forward to the challenge' and 'it's going to be fun', kept cropping up despite facing awkward conditions on the course. That attitude is palpably a world away from the negative amateur mindset that so many of us experience and maybe something we can learn from.
I am now up in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games but have been keeping an eye on the racing as much as I can and saw Galactic Heroine's run behind Penhill at Thirsk.
I must admit I was initially disappointed, but Penhill's wide margin win on his next start confirmed that he was miles ahead of the handicapper off a mark of 77 when our filly conceded three pounds to him and I'm sure that setting the pace in a three-runner race would not be the ideal tactics for Galactic Heroine and she remains very exciting.
However, front running in the Biddestone silks wasn't a problem at Windsor recently as Pixeleen won on her third career start. Now I'll admit to only seeing the race once, but what I found most impressive was that, although the winning margin was only half a length, the daughter of Pastoral Pursuits had all her rivals off the bridle and humbled at halfway.
Now I'm not an expert in preparing sprinters, unlike the excellent Malcolm Saunders, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Somerset trainer might consider dropping Pixeleen down to five furlongs. Her dam, Ballyalla, raced at distances up to a mile and a quarter, but her only win was over six furlongs and she frequently displayed plenty of pace when failing to stay longer distances. Her daughter has clearly inherited the same natural speed and is another of the 'Biddestone Babes' to look forward to this season.
I'm not sure what sport I'll be covering come King George day, but I hope I'll get a moment to tune into to Channel 4 to see the what seems to be a terrific renewal. For what it's worth I'll be having an each way bet on Trading Leather. He was second to Novellist in the race last year, ran really well in the Eclipse at Sandown and his two best efforts last year came over a mile and a half and on fast ground.
I hope to see some of you soon as once the Games in Glasgow come to an end I'll be catching up with the team at Biddestone and trying to muscle in on some of the success we've been having.