Martin’s Blog 28th October

A very wet few days with Cheltenham’s going changing from good to soft to heavy and only going ahead on Saturday following a precautionary inspection due to over 30mm of rain on Friday night/Saturday morning. Full marks to all the team there and in particular the groundstaff who no doubt have a full on job to put the ground back for the next meeting – I used to be part of that team and they deserve plenty of credit.

On Friday Back on the Lash ran an absolute blinder in ground softer than he’d prefer under Patrick Cowley, just losing out on 4th at the line but a good 5th. He jumped well and once again showed us his tough and genuine attitude and we were thrilled with him. Mr Mafia was never going in the ground and Harrison Beswick sensibly pulled him up. 12 stone was a tough ask to carry in that ground too but he’s home safe and sound which is the main thing. He may now have a school over the cross country jumps but if the ground isn’t going to show any signs of drying up at all he may go home to his owners for a holiday. He’s given us so much fun again this season.

Capital Force was ridden off the pace as usual but just didn’t pick up like we expected him to and was a bit disappointing – maybe that was purely down to the ground but we’ll get him completely checked out anyway. He ate up his supper and breakfast and trotted up sound the next day.

Big Nasty and Witness Protection left at 9am yesterday morning heading up to Ayr in Scotland with Richard & Mick in charge of them. They had a reasonable journey and were up there in daylight. All have had a good night and a big thank you to Ayr who have looked after Richard & Mick very well too. James Best and myself left at 4.20am this morning and are sharing the driving.

Witness Protection makes his hurdling debut under Richard Johnson for Foxtrot Racing and is a horse that has run well in bumpers for us but we are hoping will be better over obstacles. He’s got a lovely attitude and will hopefully run a good race today.

Big Nasty is a huge six year old who I really do think a lot of. He had good form in bumpers and really surprised us on his hurdling debut to finish a good 2nd. When you see the size of him you’ll realise why we have gone chasing so soon as he’s built to be a chaser and has done plenty of schooling at home. James Best has ridden him a lot at home and came in to ride him out yesterday so he takes the ride.

Let’s hope our long trip is a worthwhile one and they both come home safe and sound too.

Back at the yard Paul Davis has been in all morning and met up with Heidi Cross who I’m delighted to say has joined the Black Prince Syndicate. He’s filling up now although there are a few spaces left so do please get in touch if you fancy joining a great bunch of people in what we hope will be a fun horse too.

The usual Monday morning professionals in at the yard too – physio Maggie Turner and Farrier Nick Partridge. Never a dull moment!

We had a fabulous Brunch yesterday with quite a few owners and friends also joining us earlier to watch the Rugby. A really fun gathering with some great people and thanks to Jon, Paul & Belinda for their hard work bringing it all together. A fun time seemed to be had by all and I swiftly changed my mind from travelling up to Ayr last night to this morning!