Martin’s Blog 17th April

Cheltenham’s last professional meeting of the season so an ‘end of term’ feel and we look set for lovely weather too although no doubt Cheltenham’s team have been working hard to produce decent ground.

Six runners today so a busy morning yesterday working out jockeys with owners etc. Pat Cornell visited us in amongst the mayhem to see Mozzaro in action on the gallops – a nice youngster who he’s a part owner of and who has been given the time he needs and is going very nicely. Good to see Pat.

Cotswold Prince (Harry Stock) is our first runner of the day in the first race. He ran a lovely race on his hurdling debut to be a good 2nd at Doncaster. That’s probably not good enough form to win this hot novice hurdle today but I’m sure he’ll run a nice race – he’s only 4 and the experience will do him good and he’s a novice hurdler to look forward to next season.

Back on the Lash (Aidan Coleman) is next. After winning on his hurdling debut, the race wasn’t run to suit him last time. A stiff 2m 4f run at at strong gallop should really suit him. He’s a young improving horse and we are hoping for a good run (my son Freddie adores this horse so is thrilled to be on school holidays to cheer him on!).

Solstice Star (Sam Twiston-Davies) has done us proud once again this season bouncing back to form and winning three of his five races. Can put a line through his last run where the ground was way too soft for him – he seems to prefer better ground these days and a return to his Catterick win over fences would give him an each way chance.

Reve (Leighton Aspell) won nicely last time in novice company – he makes his handicap debut today and the step up to 3 miles will suit and he should love the ground. It’s a very competitive race but again I think he’ll have a good each-way chance. My youngest son Harry has him as one of his favourites so he’ll be cheering him on today!

Somewhere To Be (Leighton Aspell) seems in great form – it’s a race we have been targeting for quite some time. He runs really well when fresh – Dingo Dollar will be tough to beat having been strongly fancied for the Scottish National before the ground went too quick. He is stepping up in trip today but if he stays the trip he must have a solid chance and he deserves some luck as it was galling for owner Paul Armour and the team when he fell with the race in the bag at the last at Leicester last time. The team have worked so hard with him to get him back to full fitness so fingers crossed.

Capital Force (Harry Stock) has recently joined us after John Abernethy purchased him out of Henry De Bromhead’s yard after a recommendation from Bloodstock Agent Gerry Hogan. He’s lost his way a little in Ireland but if he could return to some of his old form he could run well but it’s a learning curve today for us and we’ll know far more about him tonight! He seems a lovely type and we are hoping for some fun with him this summer.

So a busy day for my team and great to have such a good team both at home and at the races that are so reliable especially on days like this.

Yesterday we had just one runner at Exeter – Raving Bonkers with Harry Stock on board for the What In Heavens Partnership. He ran a much improved race to finish 5th to Philip Hobbs’ horse Melekov (well done to Melekov’s owners – most who are also with us here – Jon & Jack Hughes, Pip Frankish, Michael Ogilvy, Alan Stickley, Torben & Siri Dal, Chris Dendy, Steve & Kay Kent, Geoff & Caroline Godsall & all involved with him). Raving Bonkers wasn’t ideally suited by the softened ground but will now get a handicap mark and will hopefully find life much easier in his own grade. He’s a bonny horse and will be able to plan more for him as he’s been repeatedly balloted out recently which is frustrating for his owners. Will be good to aim him for a race that they can all attend.

There is the annual charity football match for the Injured Jockeys Fund tonight at Cheltenham Town which should be a fantastic occasion so do support – tickets can be bought on the gate for just £10 for adults and kids go free.

Great excitement in our house yesterday as Freddie & his shetland pony ‘Blackie’ have been selected to race with the Shetland Pony Grand National Team at Badminton Horse Trials on 4th May. Such lucky children to be able to compete on such a large stage in a fun environment. Seb Garner & Vera Akehurst and team do such a great job with the Shetland Pony Grand National racing and are raising money once again for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust – such an important charity.

Finally a big Happy Birthday to owner and good friend Peter Boggis – 21 again!