What a glorious weekend and it’s been great to have the horses turned out for the weekend, since they were ridden yesterday, and the daytime temperature has been warm enough to leave them without rugs on all day yesterday and today, with their rugs just going on overnight. Someone mentioned yesterday how lucky our horses are to be turned out so much and how happy they are. It’s a lovely sight and I enjoyed doing lots of my owner updates on video with their individual horses yesterday evening – it was stunning.
It’s fantastic to welcome more owners and visitors back to the yard and the booking system is working well – do get in touch with myself or Belinda to come and see us. Mid week we welcomed Pat Cornell, Jon Sancaster, ‘Granny’ Sue Leech who was here to watch granddaughter Jemima who has been with us all over Easter and yesterday Martin & Jackie Jones were here as well as Neil Clifton who visited with his nearly world famous sausage rolls and some delicious bite size steak & gravy pies too! Very spoilt! Paul Davis is in regularly overseeing proceedings and helping give the partnerships he helps run, and the Racing Club too, mid week updates which is great as the more video and photo updates we can give our owners the better.
Cheltenham on Wednesday was one of those character building days! Witness Protection ran a huge race to finish 2nd in the opener under James Best for Foxtrot Racing – what a genuine horse he is and that run was well above his rating as he was 11lbs wrong with the Skelton winner and Dan admitted he was worried about our horse as they approached the last hurdle!
Back on the Lash needs further on ground that quick and James reported it was only his genuine attitude and toughness that kept him in the race for far longer than he should have been. He’s A1 since as is Reve who also found the ground quick enough and wasn’t keen to completely let himself down. Sean Bowen gave him a sensitive ride and nurtured him home for a valuable 3rd prize.
I was really looking forward to Sarasota Star who I thought had a cracking chance. Well done to Paddy Berkins who won the Best Turned Out Award with him. (Dare I say Belinda groaned, she was delighted Paddy had won a generous amount of money as Cheltenham is very generous, but they say it’s bad luck….?!)
He was in the process of running a mighty race when unfortunately was all but brought down and Rex had no chance of keeping the partnership intact. Such a huge shame and I was gutted for the owners and the whole team as I really thought he’d nearly have won. Belinda rides him out every day and it was the quietist journey home from Cheltenham I think we’ve ever had and the boys certainly laid low Wednesday night!
We are all so competitive and the whole team puts so much into each and every horse here, every single day, that I think we can occasionally feel a bit sorry for ourselves when luck isn’t on our side but only for a short period of time as by Thursday we had to dust ourselves down and off we went again.
Yesterday we also had a visit from a family from London who were staying locally in the Cotswolds for Easter and had noticed our gallops and asked one of the team yesterday what time we rode out. They called back and asked if they could bring their daughters out of the car and of course we agreed – there can surely be no safer place than standing on both our grass mound by our loop gallop near the yard and across the road too watching the horses on our various gallops and schooling ground too. The girls were thrilled to pat Mr Mafia too but it was so interesting how they’d all knew Rachel Blackmore after her famous Grand National win the weekend before. Their mother Robyn admitted not being really ‘into’ racing before Rachel won at Aintree and it’s so great to think that hopefully racing is encouraging a new audience thanks, in part, to her.
Today I’m heading to Stratford with Eclat Des Mottes and brilliant that four of his five owners – Chris Dee, David Bishop, Colin Bowkley and Paul Davis are all present with the new rules that have come in. 5th owner Michael Parker could have attended had he been in the country! We are still segregated but its a massive improvement and lets hope it continues this way. He steps up in trip today as although he was in the process of running a blinder when he fell at Catterick in December, it was softer ground and it all seemed to happen a little too quick over the same trip but good ground last time. I was pleased with his jumping though and hope he can build on those two runs today and James Best will be giving him every assistance from the saddle.
What an emotional and moving service for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday, I was very proud to be British. What a wonderful man and I hope he was looking down proudly on how his wishes were respected for his funeral. Thoughts remain with all his family.
Our thoughts are also with Lorna Brooke and her family too – she is having toughest battle of her life and the whole of racing is behind her. Keep fighting Lorna.
Finally congratulations to HRH The Princess Royal as her mare, Chequered View, who won over hurdles and fences for us and was 2nd over fences at Cheltenham, has had a colt Jack Hobbs foal this week. Fingers crossed he may be on our list of winners too in the future!