Chepstow goes ahead….

So pleased that Chepstow passed it’s inspection. I can hardly remember when a declared horse of ours managed to get a run! Anyway, thankfully Big Nasty goes there with James Best on board and runs in the Novices’ Handicap Chase over 3 miles. The ground is unsurprisingly heavy.

I don’t think Doncaster suited him last time but even so he raced a little lazily so he has cheekpieces on board today to hopefully encourage him and make James’ life a bit easier! He’s in great form and Anna’s been pleased with him at home so he should run a big race in what looks a very open contest. Good luck to his enthusiastic owners, Peel Racing Syndicate.

Also pleased to hear that so far Wetherby is on tomorrow having abandoned it’s chases and enabled extra hurdle races so Witness Protection gets a run. It still has to pass tomorrow’s 8am inspection so will it be a case of 4th time lucky for Witness as his past races that he’s been declared for have been abandoned! Fingers crossed.

So sad to hear that Lord Vestey died yesterday and so soon after Lady Vestey last November too. Lord Vestey was a lovely man who, no matter who you were or what your job was, treated you exactly the same – he remembered names and went out of his way to speak to you. Belinda remembers him in her early days riding out as a school girl for The Duke where he was one of his biggest owners and great friend. What A Buck was probably his best chaser in those days and The Duke retired from the saddle after winning on him and Lord Vestey gifted him to the Nicholson Family when he retired from racing. In fact he was doing his wonderful job as lead horse/school master when he died at the top corner of The Duke’s old gallops behind our yard – ironically exactly where they’d stand and watch us canter by. Poor Belinda was riding him that day but she recalls he pulled her arms out all the way so a lovely way for him to go, just not very nice for her at the time. He was buried where he died and has a headstone too.

Latterly we saw him at Cheltenham where he was Chairman and he knew all the names of the Groundstaff when I was part of their team and all the names of the team in the office too where Belinda was based. He’d always congratulate us on our Cheltenham winners and the last conversation we had was at Olympia in December 2019 when, as President of the Show, he came to talk to all the Shetland Pony Grand National jockeys including Freddie.

What a loss to racing and to Gloucestershire, he’ll be much missed.

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