Martin’s Blog 15th August

Jump racing has re-started after a two week break. Many of us are very much in favour of a longer break – possibly all of July for example as it would make it so much easier for us all. We will see.

Last Wednesday night we all celebrated the marriage of our very own Paddy Berkins and his now wife Abbie. It was a fabulously fun evening at Hyde House in between Stow on the Wold & Bourton on the Water – formerly the very famous Fosse Manor Hotel when run by Bob & Yvonne Johnston. Their daughter Kate is a childhood friend of Belinda’s so it was interesting for her to see how they had changed their once family home next to the old hotel into a wedding venue. Not only a lovely venue but great to catch up with so many people and no doubt a few sore heads on Thursday morning although my lot hid it well if they had them!

A great night celebrating the new Mr & Mrs Berkins

On Friday I went to Wolverhampton to watch Freddie ride in a Pony Race there on his mare Miss Millfield. Neil Lloyd, MD for our yard sponsor FBC Manby Bowdler, came along to support and Freddie’s Godmother Amy Stennett was there too although in a professional capacity as her fiancé Patrick Owens had a runner too. Freddie’s plan was to try and go with a pony who has been unbeaten this season and no pony has seemed able to lay up with although he knew that in doing so it may cost him a chance of being placed. He did go with her for a while but couldn’t stay with it and, although looking booked for a comfy 2nd place, his early challenge told on his filly and in the final 1/2 a furlong two top ponies came past him – last year’s champion pony and last year’s winner of that race. She’d run a blinder to finish 4th though and Freddie never stopped pushing. More experience and lots more learnt.

Neil & Freddie

Belinda & I are so envious of how much experience these kids get and especially riding at lots of professional racecourses too – invaluable for those who want to be jockeys and hopefully also giving a wide variety of children the taste of the different job opportunities that racing has to offer. So important to keep encouraging the youth of today into our wonderful sport.

There are a few opportunities here to join our team too – we are currently recruiting a 2nd Travelling Head Person to assist Paddy Berkins as we will no doubt be busier this year than last with runners. Ideally we could also do with another regular member of the team to work full time as a work rider/groom. In addition to these posts we are keen to recruit a pool of weekend helpers so that our full time team can continue to work just one in three weekends – this position is non-riding and would suit either a keen teenager or a fit retired person or, indeed, simply someone who loves racing, would like to be part of our team and has time free at weekends to help out. Do get in touch if any of these positions sound like they’d suit you – we’d love to hear from you.

Codey Jones wasn’t declared for Worcester on Wednesday so our next runners now may be at Newton Abbot on Saturday. More horses are back in from their summer holidays so it is a busy time for us all.

Happy Birthday to both HRH The Princess Royal and also to ex Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham Simon Claisse, both celebrating today.



If you would like to have a horse trained by Martin Keighley, visit the yard or make an enquiry