Martin’s Blog 13th February

We are just 3 miles from Stow on the Wold ‘where the wind blows cold’ and in fact I can see Stow Church from where I’m writing today’s blog on my kitchen table and the wind has blown pretty cold here all week I can tell you! Thank goodness for my fabulous team as they have turned up and worked as hard as usual despite the ridiculous temperatures in the minus figures most of the week but with the wind chill factor, for example, this morning felt 9 degrees colder at minus 13!

The horses are well rugged up and with the care they receive from the team the only difference in their lives is that it is too firm to turn them out at the moment so they are a bit fresher than normal. Oh and of course racing has been off so they aren’t going racing either. Belinda’s bacon sandwiches for the team before riding out this week have gone down better than ever!

Harry Stock, our retired Conditional Jockey, comes in a few times a week and is very useful on schooling mornings in particular and Fergus Gregory has been in this week too and was meant to be riding Samtara twice this week but both times the meeting has been abandoned. Frustrating but we are all in the same boat.

We worked a few horses yesterday and today too and this morning Warren Marston and James Best were in to ride out, Warren squeezing one lot in before rushing back to watch the end of the rugby.

A week off for all those homeschooling parents from today as it’s half term and no half term has ever been more welcomed in our household than this one! The boys have worked really hard this week but need this week off as they are absolutely shattered – hours in front of the computer screen for Freddie in particular is tiring and it must be so odd for them not seeing their friends – they play FIFA on the Xbox/Playstation together but it’s not quite the same.

It was great to see Dan Abraham, who runs Foxtrot Racing Syndicates, interviewed on ITV Racing’s Opening Show this mornng talking about the importance of syndicates and how ownership has changed, mostly for the better, since Covid-19. I know we need to get owners back on the track as soon as possible but whilst they aren’t allowed us Trainers are working harder than ever to ensure the ownership experience is as good as possible. Whenever possible I send a video to the owner groups on the morning of the race with the horse sharing expectations, the team get a video of the horse being loaded at home or unloaded at the racecourse and then often a photo of the horse in the racecourse stables. We take video footage of the horse in the pre-parade or parade ring and then any other footage we can until the all important jockey debrief video which they receive within minutes of the horse finishing the race. We also video the horse trotting up the next day and talk about the race and what happens next. All of this is a huge improvement on earlier racehorse ownership experience and is so appreciated by our owners.

Those of you watching carefully may have seen another member of the team in action on ITV Racing’s Opening Show – Freddie & Blackie featured briefly in the Homeschooling section!

The eve of Valentine’s Day and those of you on Social Media will have no doubt seen our Valentine’s present idea – a share in our exciting 4 year old horse Herecomeshogan. You are not too late if you’ve not got a present for your loved one yet – there is no time for a Certficate to be sent but I can do a personalised video so all is not lost – have a look on the Horses for Sale section here and give me a call 07767472547. I won’t let on it was a last minute decision!!

Great to hear that our Chairman Jon Hughes and wife Jack have had their first vaccinations today … Gloucestershire apparently are doing so well with getting these out and everyone I speak too speaks so very highly of the NHS. Fingers crossed things will start returning to normal soon.

Have a good weekend and stay safe and warm.

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