Martin’s Blog 17th July

Off to Newton Abbot today with Stephen Sugden’s First Angel who won on his debut for our yard in May and ran well to finish 2nd last time. It’s good to soft at Newton Abbot after a weekend of showers which isn’t ideal but every ground is different and I’ll have a good walk around, he’s in good form and will hopefully run another big race for us but any extra rainfall would be against us.

We’ve had one ‘runner’ this weekend – at Ascot on Saturday where Freddie rode his lovely racing pony, Miss Millfield, in the PRA Dragon (TV & Film) Studios Racecourse Series 148cm race and, as you would expect for Ascot, it was a pretty hot race. He was determined to be patient with her this time and switch her off and come with a late run and he did just that, turning for home in about 7th position and resisting the temptation to do anything until much later up the straight. When he eventually kicked for home, she was very game and they got up in the shadows of the post to record their second Racecourse Series race of the season and sixth winner of the season including their 2nd win at Ascot having won a Pony Club Race there at Easter. We were all absolutely thrilled as we really weren’t expecting a win like that – a Best Turned Out prize for Belinda too although we have differing opinions about whether she should plait up or not!

They aren’t allowed to celebrate with any gestures in Pony Racing but I think Freddie is shouting something!

A busy weekend for us continued as Harry became a teenager yesterday so had a gang of friends overnight on Saturday for a sleepover and then they all went Go Karting yesterday. After a 10 lap warm up they were put onto the grid in a random order and Harry went from driving “like an old woman of 90” (a favourite expression of The Duke!) to Max Verstappen and, after a brief lead earlier in the race, Harry got back up with a great manoeuvre in the 38th lap and held on to win the 40 lap race. A brilliant time was had by all and well done to the Birthday Boy! Brother Freddie was 3rd but did win Fastest Lap – happy boys.


Instead of heading back to school this morning Freddie headed south very early to Ditcheat to join Team Nicholls for four days of School Work Experience. He’s so fortunate that they are allowing him to join them and will no doubt learn so much this week. Huge thanks to Clifford and Sarah Baker for looking after him and treating him like their own – scarily it was 34 years ago since I came down to Condicote to join The Duke for my school work experience and it started a lifetime in racing for me. Clifford was my mentor then too as he joined Team Nicholl’s from The Dukes so Freddie couldn’t be in better hands.



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