What a rollercoaster of a day yesterday. I’ll start with the hard part – we so nearly lost Ballymountain Boy at Kempton Park after he ruptured a tendon before 3 out and was quickly pulled up by James Best. Thanks so much to the team there for looking after him so well and putting his leg in a cast and hopefully ensuring that he will be able to do another job after a long period of rehabilitation. A lot of us feared the worst and are very grateful.
His partnership of Paul Davis, Ross Hemming, Mark Holland and George Thornton (who was able to be there yesterday) have had so much fun with him and have had to be very patient too as he’s been fragile. He’s rewarded them with a bumper win and two wins over hurdles – only racing 15 times so a 20% win strike rate and he was also in the first four 60% of the time – so we’ve had lots of fun with him. He’s got a lovely character and we hope we have already found him the perfect forever home after we’ve helped rehabilitate him here with someone who has always adored him and is very experienced so fingers crossed.
My Assistant Foxy has done a lot of the work with him too and once said that he’s got a Ferrari engine in a Fiat body – as Paul Davis poignantly said, sadly yesterday his Fiat body couldn’t quite take the strain. A sad day but he’s home safely and will have loads of TLC.
Paul Davis is at the Tattersalls foal sale in Ireland with Bloodstock Agent Gerry Hogan looking for a second foal to join our foal buying program, as we already have privately purchased one foal. They viewed huge numbers and had a short list of four, including an Ocovango half brother to Ballymountain Boy. He was the first of the four to come under the hammer – and we managed to secure him. Whether it is fate or not that we bought Bally’s half brother just minutes before the end of Bally’s racing career remains to be seen – but it certainly was a short and intense 30 minutes that went from excitement and happiness, through to sheer worry, and ending up with a certain amount of relief tinged with a fair dose of sadness.
We can’t wait to meet the new foal, who looks gorgeous from photos Paul has sent over – he’ll go straight to Alan and Anna Varey’s Batsford Stud, just a few miles from us and join our other foal who is there – a full brother to Spice Girl. Shares are available in both so it’s exciting times and it’s such a great opportunity to get involved from the very start and watch their journey through to the racecourse – and the dream of owning a share in a future superstar too! Do get in touch to come and have a look at either of them, we’ll be delighted to see you.
A busy day today with three runners at two different meetings. Raving Bonkers heads to Huntingdon under our Conditional Jockey Patrick Cowley. He steps up in trip today and the ground should suit – he’s been running consistently well so hoping for another solid run.
At Lingfield I run Debden Bank and Reve. Debden Bank was disappointing in bumpers but showed a lot more on his hurdling debut so I’m hoping he can build on that again today under James Best.
Reve had some good form last season and, after a wind op, it would be great if he can bounce back to that form. The only worry would be the ground but we don’t know if he will go on it until we try. Richard Johnson rides.
Belinda wants me to remind you all that tonight is the final fundraiser for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust ahead of Freddie’s debut on his Shetland Pony in the Grand National at Olympia in December (16th – 22nd). It’s a Pie & Pint night at The Fox Inn at Broadwell and there are a few tickets still available so do get in touch with her if you are able to go – or if you’d like to purchase raffle tickets for tonight’s raffle through Freddie’s Just Giving site clicking HERE. ALL funds go directly to the charity and not towards any of their Olympia accommodation etc – that is ALL covered by Olympia themselves. Tonight is from 7pm onwards with the raffle around 9pm – do support in any way you can – it’s much appreciated.