Martin’s Blog 7th April

What a Grand National – what a performance from Tiger Roll to make history and win back to back Grand Nationals. Well done to all connected with him – fabulous and so good for racing too – very emotional.

From Aintree to Plumpton which is where we head today with one runner in the Bumper. Cloud Formation makes his racecourse debut under Conor Shoemark for his owner/breeder HRH The Princess Royal. We’ve trained two winners for her already this season and it would be fantastic if he could run a solid race on his debut and be in the mix today although with his breeding his future will undoubtedly be over obstacles.

We were at Sedgefield on Friday and Enforcement, who won last time at Plumpton, ran a little flat and I think that win took more out of him than we originally thought. He’ll be given time to get over his two runs and I’m sure he’ll give us plenty of fun over the summer.

It was a bit of a journey to Sedgefield for Richard & Jasmin in the lorry as they had a blow out near the M1 / M18 junction. Richard arranged for a police escort off the motorway to the nearest services and the AA were quick to arrive and help change the tyre. The horses were cool and calm luckily and thanks to all that helped.

We worked plenty yesterday with Mark Caswell and Beth Whittle our extras in to ride out. Lord Condi worked second lot under the watchful eye of part owner Jo Stainer – always great to have Jo in and he was in good form and looking well. He’s awaiting news of Scarlett O’Tara, who we used to train for him, who is heavily in foal at Batsford Stud. We can’t wait to see her foal when it arrives. Alan & Anna Varey are very busy with mares foaling and plenty due too – the boys can’t wait to go and meet the new foals in the next week or so.

We head to Ascot tomorrow with a smaller member of the team – Freddie makes his pony racing seasonal debut on his 12.2hh pony Bubbles. He’s too small for anyone else to ride so with dark evenings and lots of after school clubs he’s not had a busy winter so will definitely need the run as he’s carrying plenty of condition but it’s all about having fun and learning and I’m sure they will do just that. Freddie is wearing a new set of colours too – this season on his pony club pony and also his Shetland Blackie who he hopes to ride in the Shetland Pony Grand National series. After a conversation Freddie had at The Festival with Rich Ricci he is proud to be wearing his pink & light green colours and he can’t wait to get going for the season. These children are so lucky – not only are they riding at a Grade 1 track like Ascot they are fortunate enough to walk the course with Bob Champion and Leighton Aspell tomorrow. Some of them will be our Grand National riders of the future so a fabulous grounding for them all.