Martin’s Blog 8th February

Plumpton off today but an early call so thankfully we’d not set off. Robsam (Richard Johnson) and Samtara (Fergus Gregory) were our intended runners and both looked to have great chances but having looked at the forecast we weren’t confident of it being on.

It’s a familiar feeling – we’d intended to run Witness Protection at Wetherby on Saturday after their chases were abandoned making way for two extra hurdle races but Wetherby didn’t survive it’s inspection. Witness was also in at Sandown but their hurdle races had been abandoned and their chase course passed. That’s his 5th planned race in a row to be abandoned with 2 or 3 options in December and early January also falling the same way. Frustrating. However those of you on social media that saw him frolicking in the mud over the weekend in his paddock will know he’s none the wiser and very happy indeed!

We did have runners on Saturday evening at Kempton though on the all weather with some of the team joking that Paddy & Jasmin were lucky to have a Saturday night out in London! Dariya was partnered by ex-jockey Wayne Hutchinson’s son Callum making me feel quite old! Wayne partnered Andrew & Louise Jones’ Wolf Moon to win for us at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day in 2010. It was great to get a run into her and she ran well enough to be beaten under 7 lengths and we may well run her on the flat again.

Our other runner has to go down as a very unlucky loser. Be Thankful, running for our Racing Club and having her first run since a wind operation was partnered by George Rooke. They had a good draw, broke well and he got her settled on the inner however in a split decision after turning in he pulled wide obviously fearing a gap wouldn’t open in front of him. This lost him vital ground but she ran on again really well but agonisingly went down by a short head on the line. One more stride……

It’s always frustrating to lose by such a short margin and even more so when a lot of hard work has gone into a horse by the team but that’s what makes the game so interesting and is why we celebrate so much when it all does fall into place. Apart from that one decision he had given her a lovely ride and he’s a claimer (a young jockey given a weight allowance until he/she has ridden a certain amount of winners) so still learning their trade (aren’t we all still learning!) and she will have gained so much confidence from that run after struggling to breathe the time before – prompting her operation. Both mares are A1 and ready to go again and we’ll decide whether they return to the flat or go jumping if we can find decent ground anywhere? Or any racing on?!

Fresh horses this morning a couple briefly parted company with their riders showing their well-being! All riders okay and still smiling thank goodness! My family have reminded me that I’ve not ridden Champion Court for just over a week…..I’ll be back on board soon I promise!

Bitterly cold this over the weekend and this morning so fair play to my team who carry on regardless ensuring the horses have the best care no matter what the weather. A big thank you to Anni Wootton who used to have a share in a horse here and who kindly sent some money for goodies for the team. Cakes this morning were much appreciated although we thought we should have gone for some hot food so we’ll improve on that with our next trip to the supermarket! Very kind Anni, such a lovely thought.

For all those homeschooling …. I’ve been told next week is half term so no doubt the countdown has begun…..!

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