Martin’s Blog 18th February

After a fantastic morning entertaining over 40 people at the yard and the horses all working well in cold but sunny conditions on our fantastic and picturesque gallops…the rest of the day you could put a huge thick permanent marker through!

Belinda, Freddie, Harry and I were a bit late leaving as we were so busy at the yard and I’d probably left it a little too fine and we certainly paid the price with an awful journey. The team ahead had warned us of road closures but at one point we didn’t think we’d get there for Solstice Star’s race some 3 1/2 hours after we’d left. Luckily we did get there but I’d already instructed Issy to saddle him in the stable yard which was a good job as we’d not have had much time to saddle.

That is only 1/4 of the story though as I’d hoped to update plenty of owners on their horses on the phone on the way to the races but Issy rang just 20 mins into our journey to say that a car had pulled out on Ash in the old lorry and they’d not been able to stop in time and had written off the car in front despite only going about 20 miles per hour. The horses, Ash and David Cull were most importantly all fine although the lorry had a broken radiator and the police weren’t keen to help.

Cue a cry for help on Social media and the phone was red hot with offers for help whilst we were trying to negotiate our own way around the traffic. The police advised Ash to try and drive off the M25 if he could and once he limped the lorry off it they carried on and somehow made Ascot. Solstice Star and Pomme De Nuit were in that lorry whilst Buckle Street, who must travel alone in a wide stall, was in the other lorry and had carried on to Ascot and Issy was preparing to go back and pick them up – she then didn’t need to.

The vet was happy for them to run and Solstice Star ran his race again – as I said yesterday he’s still well in the grips of the handicapper two years on since his last win and his handicap mark is still higher than that last winning mark.

I hoped Buckle Street would go close … he had escaped the mayhem on the M25 and was absolutely buzzing – he’s normally a very good ride at home but recently dropped one of our better riders so we knew he was well. This became his undoing though and we watched in disbelief as he whipped around at the tapes at the start and dropped Harry, there was no recall, so he was deemed to have come under orders. Race over. So disappointing. Harry was distraught with himself but that’s racing – no-one’s fault, just one of those things, Ash didn’t want to crash, Harry didn’t want Buckle to whip around and drop him – no point getting cross.

Buckle’s owners were also disappointed but equally magnanimous about it – he lives to fight another day and will run sometime this week. Frustrating but life doesn’t always go the way you wish it to.

Pomme De Nuit ran in the bumper and we knew she’d be up against it but needed a run. She ran a promising race and wasn’t even as green as we feared she may be so we were pleased as we know her future is over jumps.

We had a quick drink with some of the Owners who weren’t rushing off and then looked forward to getting home, supper and bed. With regards to the lorry, we’d rung Maggie Jones earlier and she’d kindly arranged for a lorry to come and collect Solstice and Pomme so they were home safely.

We’d not long left Ascot and a phone call from the vet at home confirmed that one of the younger horses we’d been worried about was now quite poorly with colic and needed to go in for observation…no lorries at home so what to do? Quick calls round and luckily Harry Stock’s family were nearly home, they’d gone earlier than us, and they not only have a lorry but were prepared to turn out straight away and take him to the vets. Massive thanks to both Zoe and Abi for that and thankfully the horse has had a good night and didn’t require surgery. Fingers crossed he keeps going the right way. The owners know so don’t panic if you have a horse here!

Poor Belinda had a phone call from her brother whilst watching Solstice walk around the Paddock – her late mother’s older sister, Aunty Pam, had died suddenly. Sad news and thoughts with Belinda’s Uncle Derek, cousins and family.

A large few glasses of red wine and bed – a day to forget for sure!

No runners today but two birthdays – David Cull is 70 and has been a massive part of our team since we were point to pointing and also Chris Stock, father of Harry and also Boss of Finnick Creative, our marketing team. Happy Birthday to them both.