Martin’s Blog 17th April

What a day we had at Aintree on Saturday – it was a huge privilege to be part of such a wonderful race. As soon as we arrived we went off on the compulsory course walk which is always great fun. The fences have been modified but are still big enough! I was relieved how much the course had dried out after Friday’s deluge of rain although from Bechers to Canal Turn it was still softer than ideal for Lash.

Off we go…
The Family at Bechers
The compulsory photo at The Chair!

A fun lunch with Lash’s owners – although I’m not sure how hungry many of us were with the nerves building as saddling up time approached. Lash was a complete pro, even when the protesters caused a delay, and he looked a picture thanks to Sian & Paddy.

Team Back On The Lash

I have to say watching my son’s favourite horse who is barely 15hh high set off for the first time ever in The Grand National was a pretty nerve-wracking experience and I took myself off into the stands to watch on my own. However, I soon decided I’d rather watch it with the whole team in the Paddock so returned to find my family a bag of nerves too although Lash was jumping for fun and Adam was exactly where we’d planned, out wide and trying to stay out of trouble. Trouble happened around him but Adam reported afterwards he was genuine and brave and he had an amazing spin from him. As feared, the softer part of the course caught him out when he was maybe tiring too on the 2nd circuit but up until then he’d jumped and travelled as well as anything. Adam sensibly pulled him up after he’d jumped the 26th fence.

Relief and pride – what a run and what a buzz he gave us all watching. Thrilled for the Lucinda Russell Team – Corach Rambler was a worthy winner.

25 years after I rode the winner of the bumper, Kings Road, we ran Andrew & Louise Jones’ Shinji who had run so well in a Listed Bumper for us at Newbury. I don’t think a few of mine can be right and he is certainly much better than he ran there. My two runners on Sunday at Huntingdon, Dreamsundermyfeet and Duke Of Luckley were disappointing too – a few excuses were given from Brian Hughes but ultimately they can’t be right either as they should have run better than that. As with every yard we continually strive to ensure our biosecurity is as good as possible but, like keeping a bunch of kids at nursery school healthy, it’s a tough job and nigh on impossible for the whole team to be 100% all year round.

Our next runner is Samtara (Harry Atkins) tomorrow at Cheltenham. His bloods are good and he seems healthy and well so he’ll take his chance for Roger & Yvonne Allsop. Samtara goes into the race full of confidence after his fabulous win last time and Harry is very much looking forward to riding him again and making his Cheltenham debut too.

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