Martin’s Blog 6th March

The countdown to Cheltenham continues and, whilst with our younger team of horses this year we won’t be massively represented at The Festival next week, you can’t fail to be affected by the increasing buzz in the run up to next week being so close to Cheltenham.

On Monday we took Solstice Star (Conor Shoemark) to Cheltenham to school over the Cross Country fences as he has an entry in the Glenfarclas Cross Country race next week. We are so lucky to have Champion Court as our lead horse and Harry Stock thoroughly enjoyed himself on him giving a lead not only to Solstice Star but to two of Nicky Henderson’s horses – he was pleased to see the Champ turn up! It’s a shame we can’t roll back the years with him as he was awesome. Solstice seemed to take to them well too and we’ll go back for another school before the end of the week. It was a hive of activity at Cheltenham as you’d expect and Ben Hastie and his team have the track looking in top shape.

Yesterday one of our physios, Hannah Ashton, arranged a ‘Therapy in Racing’ course here and we were pleased to hire out our Owners’ Room to her for the day. Her partner, Racing TV’s Alex Steedman, called in to interview me during the morning and give the attendees a chance for a Q&A session which seemed to go down very well. It was so well supported and everyone looked to thoroughly enjoy it so well done Hannah. Our room easily holds 30 people seated and with a smart kitchen next door and a huge car parking area, it’s perfect to hire – do get in touch if it’s the kind of venue that may suit you as we’d love to discuss it.

Later yesterday afternoon we had a visit from Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA who was here to also meet with our Chairman Jon Hughes and have a look around the yard. It was great to meet Richard and to discuss plenty of current topics in Racing and talk them through with him. He seemed to enjoy his visit and not only loved our private facilities but was impressed with how calm all the horses were.

Our busy day ended with Belinda and I attending a Cheltenham Preview Night at The Wild Rabbit in Kingham – I was one of a number of local Trainers hosting a table. As usual the food was absolutely stunning and instead of a panel going through the major races, each Trainer stood up to give their choice of a Festival banker and an outsider too. It worked well and a fun night was had by all.

We drove home in torrential rain and it looks set to continue throughout today at least – not fun to work in but much needed for not only the racing ground but also my newly seeded fields and schooling grounds.