Winners!

Yesterday is quite probably a day our family will never forget. Freddie and his pony Bubbles (Boston Bell Boy) rode in their third pony race together at Haydock Park and I intended to be there to watch him and then whizz back to Ludlow for the concluding bumper. I left later than Belinda and the boys in the lorry as I was tracking declarations and didn’t have the smooth drive they did – four hours later and I arrived as he was at the post.

Anyone who knows Freddie will know how much of a worrier he is and although so very keen, he worries so much -however yesterday was a day he’ll never forget and thanks to the nurturing Pony Club environment these children are lucky enough to experience, he rode the race of his life and, when challenged in the final furlong by his Ascot victor, Mark & Gee Bradburne’s daughter Katie, Freddie wasn’t going to be defeated this time! A very special moment for our family and I’m so glad I was there to witness it. Well done Freddie – let’s hope that winner will help him believe in himself a bit more….!

Straight to Ludlow for a lovely youngster, Back on the Lash, to make his racecourse debut. Owned by Mark Boothright, Grahame Lovett and Pete Deffains and out of Mark’s winning mare Giovanna, he was ridden by the Champion Jockey Richard Johnson who’d won on Giovanna three times (incidentally so did Warren Marston who has been doing much of Lash’s work at home) but word on the track was we couldn’t beat the hot Henderson favourite. Back on the Lash didn’t know that though and, under the watchful eyes of owners Grahame & Sharon who were representing the rest of the partnership, Richard gave him a great ride and Back on the Lash showed professionalism and, Richard said was ‘as tough as Giovanna’ as he eventually won in good style by 2 1/2 lengths and thrilled us all. A tough, exciting horse for the future and superb to see those special Champion Court/Creepy (& many more winners) back in the winners’ enclosure.

So a very special day for us all. Steak supper (not chicken dinner!) for Belinda, Freddie, Harry and myself at The Hollow Bottom after horses and ponies were put to bed for the night. Harry’s pony Arthur played a special part too by accompanying Back on the Lash to Ludlow and ensuring he stayed calm – something we do with all youngsters and often with single runners too. All little parts of the jigsaw that hopefully keep our horses healthy, fit, relaxed and ready to do their best. A huge team effort and everyone plays their part so well. Brilliant.