Martin’s Blog 3rd February

What sad news of the passing yesterday of Captain Sir Tom Moore – such an incredible man, and such a positive inspiration to us all throughout the past 10 months. My boys received his book for Christmas and have loved it and I know he’ll be remembered fondly by so very many.

The promised snow never properly materialised at the weekend but I think my boys were the only disappointed ones! My parents in West Yorkshire however have plenty. Those new sledges Belinda bought in a rush on Friday (the last 4 of 5 left at Fosseway Garden Centre!) have been put away – till next year?!

Frustration of meetings continuing to be off although thankfully all those we have intended to go to have been off the day before or before we have set off. Having worked at Cheltenham Racecourse on the groundstaff team I feel like I have been on both sides of the coin and feel for the racecourses as they are literally damned if they don’t and damned if they do in respect of deciding whether to run a fixture or abandon last minute…. disappointment all round when a fixture is called off but I know they know how desperate we all are to run our horses so sometimes they just give it the best chance they can. I thought Richard Johnson spoke very well on the topic when interviewed by Luke Harvey after a winner at Lingfield recently.

Yesterday I had James Best and Fergus Gregory both in and so we schooled quite a few including City Never Sleeps, Miss Antipova, Ten Past Midnight, Pinnacle Peak, Robsam, Kazontherazz, Witness Protection, Samtara, Big Nasty and Eclat Des Mottes. I’d hoped to share a video with you all last night but I had a few technical issues and even with Freddie’s help I didn’t quite get it finished as well as I’d hoped so maybe later today!

Work morning and James in again along with Warren Marston, Harry Stock and Kai Lenehan. We worked Sarasota Star, Dariya, Be Thankful, Pinnacle Peak, Eclat Des Mottes, Ten Past Midnight, Robsam and City Never Sleeps. Some nearing I run didn’t need to work especially Big Nasty and Witness Protection who just did a swinging canter.

I’m really pleased with our young horses and how they are maturing and taking their work. They are like children at school and you have to let them tell you how much work you can throw at them and when to back off as well. Duke of Luckley is coming along well and so is Herecomeshogan, our Sageburg gelding who has just been named. He was nicknamed ‘Hogan’ by the team as he was bought, as so many of ours are, by Bloodstock Agent Gerry Hogan and we ran a competition with his syndicate of owners to name him. It was such fun and Paul Davis, who runs the syndicate, has been kept very much entertained as he has received and collated the results over the past few weeks.

It went down to the wire and with The Condicote Kid close behind, it was Amy Wood’s winning suggestion that prevailed and we hope it’s the name of a winning racehorse! Gerry Hogan himself has found it amusing! If he’s half as good as the last horse with a link to him, Annacotty, whose stable name was Gerry, then we’ll be happy! Indeed before that Palmers Peak, Jo Stainers’ multiple point to point winner for us and our first Chase winner under Rules (with a Full Licence before I upset Belinda who rode a Hunter Chase winner for me a few years earlier!) was also called Gerry and is a horse we remember very fondly. So….no pressure Hogan!

I take my hat off to the Teachers at the moment juggling work for their classes remotely. I often pop back to the house whilst Harry is having his Tutor catch up, lesson and instructions for the day and with a classful of different abilities that you can’t look over their shoulders and see how they are getting on, I just don’t know how they manage. They seem to have got it just right this time and their main aim is for the children to be happy, active and not feeling pressured to do work but doing a bit every day none the less. Freddie is at secondary school so has more but they set the tasks early so he’s an early riser and he cracks on and gets it done as early as possible so he can get outside and chill for the rest of the day. I see so many encouraging messages coming back from his teachers via an app they use and it’s so good. Well done to all concerned with both schools in what is such a crazy time for us all.

I’ve declared Big Nasty for Friday at Chepstow….will it be on?! We tried to go to Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Catterick with Witness Protection last week and failed and now his Sandown hurdles run looks in the balance… in no time we’ll be moaning about firm ground I’m sure!

Plenty of birthdays at this time of year and yesterday it was Jemima Turner’s birthday so happy birthday to her. Jemima is one of the top team of girls who help us out at weekends and allow the full time team to rotate working one in three weekends instead of every other. More good news is that my parents received their first vaccination a few days ago and have their second one booked in for April. They’ve been very strict on themselves since before the first Lockdown although did visit us for a day when allowed last summer but haven’t been anywhere else apart from food shopping before or since. We decided we wanted to be together for many more Christmas’s to come so just facetimed last Christmas. Light at the end of the tunnel……..

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