Martin’s Blog 1st May

So April in Lockdown is behind us and onwards into May. This week has been similar to the past few in that our Yardman Lucjan and I have been busy around the yard and the gallops so pretty full on days for us but very satisfying. Vicki Atkins and Deb Butler have continued to come in voluntarily and have been riding out and going over and above assuring us that they enjoy being here. We all know how stunning it is and they both love the horses we have in training at the moment (Black Prince, Raving Bonkers and Gold Mountain) so it seems to suit us all. It’s great to have their smiley faces here too and we are very lucky to have them as part of our team.

Talking teams, we miss our furloughed team too and we organised a Friday Night Drinks virtual get together tonight on Zoom which was fun and so good to see those that could make it and we will do more of them I’m sure. Zoom is new to us but we caught up with Yard Sponsor, Neil Lloyd, earlier today on it and Freddie had a maths lesson with some of the ITV Racing Mini Me’s on Zoom today. Obviously, being 12 years old – he gets all this technology far better than we do so he was fine! Ollie McPhail, who was a jockey with us at David Nicholson’s, works for Racing To School and took the lesson – something he absolutely excels at and made it fun for the children and made them feel at ease. Cheltenham Racecourse’s Meg Furse organised it all and we can’t wait to see the finished product on social media next week.

We keep in touch with our Management Team Jon Hughes and Paul Davis with twice weekly conference calls – same time every week as obviously we all have free diaries! Isn’t it bizarre! It’s great to catch up with them both and ensure that we are still working towards the same goal of surviving this pandemic in the best possible way and it is so helpful to have their support.

The Lycetts Team Champion Award Application had to be in by yesterday and we have once again worked hard at our application and hope to retain our Gold Standard. It’s a brilliant initiative led by the National Trainers Federation and we always get so much out of it – even by simply going through the nomination form. Anything that can help us look after our team even better and aid staff retention we give our full support to.

Much needed rain this week and although it’s not as uplifting for our spirits in general, the fields look so much greener – we had 19mm two nights ago! This weekend looks set to be BBQ weather again though – don’t worry we don’t invite anyone other than the four of us but we do really enjoy sitting out by our chickens and eating outside. I find BBQing relaxing too.

Talking chickens….8 have become 11 with Farrier Nick Partridge bringing us three more in the week! Two have yet to be named but Belinda has named her one Chuckle Street after her much loved York winner Buckle Street thanks to a suggestion on Twitter recently! Only the original 4 are laying so far therefore egg sales are slow (we eat some too!) but they will hopefully be laying soon and Freddie & Harry will be able to earn some pocket money!

They’ve been pretty good at their school work this week but there is so much to do outside that I can empathise with them both that they’d rather be helping me than reading poems or doing history! I’d better not tell them that though as Belinda needs them to have all the encouragement possible! She has emailed various teachers though explaining what Freddie is doing outside that could be marked against the lesson and some teachers have agreed to that. Both boys do so much fitness work, for example, I can see why Freddie objects to learning to juggle which was one of his PE sessions!! Not as many tears this past week (from all 3 of them!) and as long as they do a little bit every day we are happy.

More horses in this weekend – a handful to go summer jumping with hopefully when it is safe for racing to continue – currently hopefully in July. However, in our Business Continuity Plan we plan for the rest f the horses to come in on 1st June along with all our team to come back from being furloughed and I cannot wait. I know we will all have to be very careful with social distancing etc and we will ensure everyone is safe but it will be just great to have them all filling the yard again.

Hope you are all keeping as well as you can do. Stay safe everyone.

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