Martin’s Blog 13th September

A frustrating day at Uttoxeter yesterday. I was furious after Buckle Street didn’t jump off with the field after a shambles at the start. Every jockey in the race agreed that it was a complete shambles. I agree the Starter was trying his best to help Ben Pauling’s horse start but in the process of doing that Buckle Street had already whipped around once and then Harry had him jogging into the start and was shouting ‘yes sir’ at the top of his voice and instead of letting them go he stopped them from starting. They were all then on top of the tapes and all the jockeys were then asking the Starter if they could please take a turn and coming in properly…..the Starter ignored them. Buckle Street was forward thinking then but that caused him to be brought to a standstill and as Harry felt Buckle Street going to whip around again he screamed again at the Starter to not let them go but he ignored Harry again and let them go.

I approached the Starter as he was coming off the course questioning why he chose to let them go and his response was that Buckle Street has done it once before….surely he should then have been trying harder to help Harry get my horse to start not ensuring he didn’t start?

Very frustrating as it takes such hard work to get a horse primed and in good form and for his race to be ruined by the Starter it is so disappointing. All my owners were there to watch him and, even though I called for a Stewards’ Enquiry, we knew it was probably going to be a complete waste of time and that it turned out to be but Harry and I were nonetheless keen to get our side across.

Another Trainer in the race was also upset as their horses was impeded too – surely two Trainers and all the jockeys in the race can’t all be wrong. Disappointing and frustrating.

Two other runners and Oscar World ran a solid race on her seasonal debut. I am very pleased with her jumping and the way she galloped all the way to the line. Paul Armour also had Somewhere To Be over fences and he absolutely jumped for fun and travelled really well too. He turned for home and took Aidan Coleman to the front and looked the winner all the way up the straight only to be joined at the last and to lose the lead up the run-in. Hard to be disappointed by such a bold run but he deserved to win and it’s winners we want and we had to feel a bit hard done by bumping into such a well handicapped horse that seems so leniently treated over fences. A solid start to the season for Somewhere To Be though and surely there are some decent races to be won with him. Let’s hope the Handicapper isn’t too harsh on him for finishing 2nd yesterday as they were a long way back to third place.

The build up to our Owners’ Day continues and the team here are working hard on the finishing touches – cleaning running rail, strimming, mowing etc so a huge thanks to them for their continued hard graft. Farriers Nick Partridge and Amy Clarke in this morning and a few more horses in from the field too including Champion Court who will be doing such an important job leading all the schooling throughout the season.

Belinda had a very informative day at Cheltenham Racecourse on a course put on by the National Trainers’ Federation on Staff Management aimed at helping Trainers recruit and retain staff. I was meant to go on the course but had to go to Uttoxeter (which I was quietly pleased about although she is determined to get me on a course as she thinks I’d benefit from it!). A shame it wasn’t on a non-National Hunt Racing day as we are in such a predominantly jump area here that I think it would have been better attended if it had been maybe today or tomorrow. I know it’s a hard job to find a day to suit us all.