Oh how we love a Cheltenham winner! It’s been a little while since Bobble Emerald and Harry Stock completed a memorable double after Brillare Momento (Aidan Coleman) had won earlier in the card two seasons ago so we can be excused (I think) for being very excited when Back on the Lash stormed up the hill in front on Saturday!
It was in impressive style that Back on the Lash earnt the right to have his name added to the Cheltenham Role of Honour that adorns the entrance to our yard. Owned in partnership by Graham Lovett, Peter Deffains and Mark Boothright he runs in Mark’s colours, made famous at Cheltenham by Champion Court and Creepy having won numerous Graded races at the Home of Jump Racing so it was great to have them back in the Winners’ Enclosure there again. It’s always lovely to be able to reward the support of owners who have been with us for such a long time with a great day like Saturday was. Sadly Graham & Sharon Lovett and Peter & Jackie Deffains couldn’t be with us but Mark’s son Elliott and daughter Annabel were at Cheltenham along with his fiance Elouise and her children Harry and Oliver – attending their first Cheltenham race meeting – no doubt one they will never forget!
Johnny Burke has been schooling one of ours at Henrietta Knight’s recently and the horse has now returned to us so we got him in to come and school earlier in the week. He also schooled Lash too and with Dickie Johnson out injured he came in for the ride and what a super positive ride he gave him. What a way to celebrate your first ride for a Trainer!
Scenes of jubilation followed and how thankful I was that I somehow managed the cross-country dash from Uttoxeter having saddled Big Nasty there in time. I even arrived in time to saddle – just! Belinda’s now keeping an eye on the post for the next few days hoping nothing arrives from the journey!
We are so thankful for all the support we receive from family, friends, owners and the general racing public too. You’d think we’d won a Festival race from the greetings we received and it is much appreciated – we love it that we seem to have an extended team of people who feel part of our yard. It’s been a little while since we got in our favourite winners’ room but Suzanne and Helen knew they’d be a lot of us and trays of champagne greeted us – along with plenty of hugs! It was great to win the race sponsored by another owner of ours, Andrew Jones, so huge thanks to the Andrew & his Team at Steel Plate & Sections, especially after 41 years of sponsorship there. It doesn’t seem like four years ago since Solstice Star won the same race – how time flies. The Trophy bags they give out the owners’ goodies in sum it all up to stating: “I’ve died and gone to Heaven, which looks just like the Winners Enclosure at Cheltenham”!
Nearly an across the card double! Big Nasty ran an absolute blinder over fences given a lovely ride by Leighton Aspell. He jumped for fun and I thought he was going to win all the way up the straight, flew the last but just couldn’t quite hold off the Henry Daly horse, carrying 6lbs less, going down by 1/2 a length. Although I generally hate 2nds it was a brilliant run from a horse that is surely destined for some big staying prizes in the future. He’s going to give the Peel Racing Syndicate a lot more fun days out.
Our team at Uttoxeter cheered home Back on the Lash on the big screen and then watched City Never Sleeps, returning from 18 months off the track, run a solid race to finish 6th. The ground was tiring and Patrick Cowley gave him a sympathetic ride and he trotted up sound yesterday morning. Hopefully we can keep him in one piece now as he could give our Racing Club a lot of fun.
Back to Back on the Lash and do have a look at our videos on social media especially the one taken by Harry Renouard, eldest son of Mark Boothright’s fiance Elouise – we are struggling to watch it without getting emotional! Thrilled for Beth Whittle who rides “her Lash Potato” out every day and looks after him too – the look of delight on her face was pretty special – it means the world so so many of us. Lash is also my eldest son Freddie’s favourite horse – he’s getting quite a following! It was a struggle for him to go back to school today after that weekend!
We didn’t make Cocklebarrow Point to Point yesterday – it looked very wet as the forecast rain at midday arrived as expected. Thrilled to hear that Pomme De Nuit, who used to be here, won the Members Race for Fran and Chris Marriott. The pony racing sounded well supported too and well done to Richard Cook and Harry Atkins who both did well on their seasonal debuts. They both use our gallops here in return for riding out for us and are two lads to follow – they both ride well and are very polite.
Happy Birthday for yesterday to Paul Davis who is our Racing Club and Syndicates Manager and is such a massive part of our Team. Although he was at Uttoxeter when Lash won, he said they gave him a pretty good shout from there and not a bad way to start his birthday proceedings!