Martin’s Blog 20th March

What a week at Cheltenham with some amazing racing and wonderful to see so many friends too. The ground, as feared, went too soft for Back On The Lash and we knew our fate not long after the tapes went up but, as agreed if he didn’t handle it, Sean looked after him and pulled him up. I’ll not run him on that ground again. He’s A1 though and has enjoyed his few days off in the paddock.

A brilliant Saturday with Zestful winning in really good style under an almost motionless Sam Twiston-Davies at Kempton beating a short priced Skelton runner whom they were very bullish about. After two runs over hurdles she remains unbeaten and couldn’t have impressed me more. Well done to all of her enthusiastic syndicate. We now probably head for Cheltenham’s April meeting with her which has been a long term plan.

The best place to be at Kempton!
Happy owners celebrating!

A sad postscript to the race though was the loss of Western Safire who we used to train before Patrick Cowley, whose family own her, moved as Assistant to Laura Morgan. Our thoughts are with them.

Ballyvango made his debut in the bumper and I could hardly have chosen a hotter bumper for him to run in! He’s been going very well at home but there were some very well bred horses in there and I wasn’t expecting he’d be in the shake up… however, he just kept galloping and ran an absolute blinder to finish 5th beaten just 2 3/4 lengths with 8 1/2 lengths back to the 6th … a half brother to Altior no less! So a thrilled Trainer and delighted owners!!

After a busy morning on the gallops on Saturday and declaring 7 runners for today, I managed to do a detour to Kempton via Shelfield Park to watch Freddie make his Point to Point Pony Racing debut. The timings only just worked out – I arrived with minutes to spare and knew I had to dash straight off again but how glad I am that I did as Freddie gave his pony a peach of a ride to win on their seasonal debut by about 4 lengths. That was his first P2P pony race winner and she’s a talented mare but is quite buzzy and so he’s done a really good job on her. Well done Freddie.

Thrilled connections with Clerk of the Course Nick Pearce

We head to Southwell with five runners – 2pm Just A Deal (Sean Bowen) and Miss Antipova (James Best), 3.35pm Pinnacle Peak (Sean Bowen), 4.45pm Another Day Out (Sean Bowen) and 5.05pm Breizh Alko (Sean Bowen).

At Taunton we run Brianna Rose (Harry Atkins) and Miladygrace (Gavin Sheehan).

Good luck to them all.



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