Martin’s Blog 23rd December

The ground at Towcester on Thursday was sticky and holding and simply didn’t suit either Somewhere To Be or Twentyoneblackjack and I think we can put a line through their runs. Somewhere To Be, on his first start for Paul Armour, was never going and is much better than that – it was a bit of cavalry charge to the first and he never looked like he was enjoying himself and Tom was never happy. Twentyoneblackjack is a horse for the future but we’ll see if we can find somewhere with better ground soon or otherwise he can go back to his owners, Mike & Mella Wright, and have a holiday.

Yesterday was a busy day here. No runners but great to see Neville and Pam Statham who came to see their horses on the gallops and bring some Christmas goodies for the team which were much appreciated.

Today was a new initiative for us – our first of two Friends and Family days this week (the next one is Friday 29th December) where we encourage our Team members here to invite whoever they wish to watch them on the gallops and enjoy mince pies and mulled wine with us in our Owners’ Room. Quite a few visitors with some new faces too which is always great and thanks to the wonderful David & Mary Cull for their help. We look forward to welcoming more people here again next Friday.

Jon Hughes, Fi Gamble and physio Maggie Turner in first lot to watch the horses work.

We worked Lord Condi, Dr Dunraven, Lerichi Belle, Lady Vitesse, My Lad Percy, Sporty Yankee, Cul De Poule, Ask Alice, Young Phoenix, Cup of Ambition, Cottersrock, Oscar World, Hartshorne Abbie and Chequered View. All the rest cantered.

Getting in the Christmas Spirit, as soon as the team were finished we arranged a Tombola with some of the goodies that owners have generously given them (we decided to keep some and share some straight away this month) which was fun from a huge selection of chocolate, bottles and biscuits. Thanks to our owners and friends for being so generous with our team this year – they work hard and deserve it all and I know how much they appreciate it too.

Whilst mentioning the Team – we were thrilled to receive news earlier in the week that we have been Shortlisted for the Lycetts Team Champion Award. Belinda has led the Team in entering this award and has put in lots of work with the help of Jamie, who attended a course with her at Newbury back in September and the team enjoyed helping collate the information and make a video to showcase what we do too. We are in the under 40 horses category with three other yards and there are four yards shortlisted for the over 40 horses category too.

The Lycetts Team Champion Award will be judged on the principals of The Winning Approach, a new industry standard to assist trainers in attracting and retaining valuable staff. The standard provides guidance in several areas, including effective recruitment and induction systems, safe and positive working environments, development and training, reward and recognition. We have a set of judges who will visit the yards during January and then we will know the winning two teams sometime in February.

We believe that working towards this Winning Approach has not only helped us realise what extra things we could be doing for our Team here and but it has also made us realise the things that we really do well too. We do have a fabulous team and it is great to reward them and they do say that a Happy Team makes Happy Horses and I think that is so true.