Martin’s Blog 25th February

Pleased to see that Catterick has survived the snow and rain and passed it’s 8am inspection today (actually brought forward) as we now head north with two runners. City Never Sleeps runs in the Racing To School Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle under Lilly Pinchin who schooled him on Saturday. He’s lightly raced but jumps for fun and it would be fantastic if he could run a solid race for our Racing Club. It was great to get him back on the track last time after a long time on the sidelines and hopefully he’ll build on that run and run well.

This race is sponsored by Racing To School – a wonderful initiative that helps school children learn with the help of racing – from measuring fences and distances to learning about healthy eating and lots in between. It’s also hopefully encouraging our racegoers of the future. I know Harry is very much looking forward to a similar day at Stratford Racecourse with his school during the summer term and it is something I think is fabulous.

A bumper day for our Racing Club as Be Thankful is a second runner for them in the Maiden Hurdle. However, she ran an absolute blinder at a huge price to surprise us all last time on her hurdling debut and she’s a lovely big strong mare and I’d hope she will come on again from that experience.

I wasn’t at Kempton on Saturday where Eclat Des Mottes made his debut for the yard in a red hot hurdle race – a run where we knew was a bit of a fact finding mission. Although disappointing on the face of it, we received valuable feedback from jockey Johnny Burke and he returned safe & sound and there are a few things to check out on him now too. However, despite the outcome, it sounds as though his fabulous bunch of owners enjoyed a fun day supporting him for the first time – lunching together outside in the sunshine and having a great afternoon which is just what racing is all about. I’m sorry to have missed spending the day with them all but I was having a rare boys weekend….

Thanks to owner Phil Eaton and due to Freddie’s upcoming leap day birthday, Phil generously arranged for Freddie, Harry and myself to watch Manchester United (Freddie’s team) play Watford at Old Trafford, somewhere we’d not visited before. We went up overnight and were at the Stadium bright and early and I think we were the first in! A brilliant game with the reds winning 3-0 and no doubt a day we will never forget. They slept all the way home! School wasn’t an exciting prospect the next morning…!

Great to have James Best in this morning back from injury and fighting fit. Also fantastic to hear that Ironman Richard Johnson is back in action later this week – a tough breed these guys are. We were sad to see Leighton Aspell retire on Sunday as he’s a jockey we use a lot and who is such a fantastic horseman and has ridden winners for us but most importantly educated so many that haven’t won too. He’ll be missed but not to the game I’m sure and we wish him well. I’m sure we’ll still see him on the Shetland Pony Grand National circuit!

Warren Marston and Deb Butler in to ride work this morning and Paul Davis overseeing his partnership and racing club horses too. We worked Sarasota Star, Solstice Star, Black Panther, Black Prince, Capital Force, Beneagles, Dreamsundermyfeet, Mozzaro and Kazontherazz. All the rest cantered.

Two weeks today we’ll be awaiting that spine tingling roar…..