Martin’s Blog 18th June

A very busy and enjoyable few days. On Friday I was at Aintree with Grahame & Sharon Lovett, Jon & Jack Hughes and my parents too. Primogeniture ran in the boys’ race and was running a big race but didn’t quite get home. It’s a long way up their straight and, if he rode it again, I think Harry Stock would have held onto him for a bit longer but he’s learning all the time and will have learnt from that ride too. It didn’t cost him the race and it’s all experience for both horse and rider.

Enforcement ran well for a long time and was still going well turning in but Harry felt his wind stopped him achieving a better placing than he did so he will have a palate operation before he runs again and we hope that will bring improvement.

A super evening followed with Sharon, Grahame, Jon, Jack and my parents and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On Saturday morning Ash was in charge back at the yard to receive 3 of the lovely new purchases from Ireland who arrived at 5.15am – earlier than predicted. Poor Ash (& Harry and Mick) had experienced an awful drive home from Aintree and didn’t get home until 1am (someone was trying to jump off a bridge) so we are indebted to him to get up again just a few hours later to receive the new horses so a huge thanks to him. We have such a great team here and we simply couldn’t do it without them.

After helping Ash and the new horses settle in, Belinda & the boys set off for their trip up north to Bishops Auckland to the home of Christine & Nick Barratt-Atkin – a pit stop before heading to Newcastle Pony Racing on Sunday. On route they stopped to see my parents, home from Aintree, and then we all met up and the ponies (Harry’s pony Arthur came too!) settled into Chrstine & Nick’s lovely stables whilst we were Glamping next door! We were welcomed like long lost friends and, along with other pony racers there for the night (from Towcester & Banbury – we are all mad!) we had a BBQ and such a fun night.

Earlier we’d gathered to watch the Macmillan Charity race at York that Belinda & Buckle Street had won in such good style in 2017 – a very special day. We cheered on Bels England and Chris Hughes, our local jockeys, and they both did everyone proud – as did all the riders – raising so much money once again for a wonderful charity. Well done to them especially Bels who had undergone a massive operation following a cancer diagnosis not even 12 months ago – an inspiration to us all.

A great sleep and all well fed by our hosts and an hours journey north for race day. We’d not been to Newcastle Racecourse before but friendly people and a lovely course. Freddie was in a hot open race but ran well to finish 4th of 5 and Freddie never gave up, pushing and shoving all the way to win himself the prize (a stick) for the jockey who rode the most stylish and tactical race due to his sheer determination. Big smiles all round and I headed home soon after with the boys to get them home as soon as I could. Lovely to get a ‘Fathers’ Day shout out’ on Radio 1 from them on the way home! Not their work I’m sure….. Happy Father’s day to my dad and how we miss my father in law John. Roads were clear so 4 hours for me and 5 hours for Belinda. All home safely and a wonderful weekend meeting friends we will keep in touch with forever – what life is all about.

Back to it today. Ash and the team here ensuring the yard runs smoothly regardless of whether we are here or not. A great bunch. Jon Hughes and Carole Arnold in early for a meeting with Belinda and then James Fairrie – who was presented with a Magnum of Bollinger by me for introducing a new owner to the yard. A perk for anyone who brings someone new in. James seemed very happy with his bottle!

Long standing owners Jo Stainer and David Bishop – both have nearly been with us from the start – called in late morning independently but fantastic to see them both so a great catch up with them all. A busy morning but surrounded with a fabulous bunch of people and lots achieved too.

Our latest newsletter out today – do get in touch if you would like to receive it – there can’t be many more Trainers’ newsletters that have more content …. but I am biased – maybe you should judge for yourself?!