Martin’s Blog 6th November

A mixed day at Carlisle yesterday. Solstice Star, under a very positive ride from the Champion Jockey Richard Johnson, tried to make all the running putting in plenty of exuberant jumps and giving a pretty awesome display from the front over Carlisle’s big fences. Sadly two out weight told and he gave way to a rival carrying nearly a stone less. We were all thrilled though none the less and Richard’s post race debrief was, once again, superb. He makes owners feel he has all the time in the world to talk to them. He reported he didn’t deserve to get beaten but he gave his all and seems to be back to his very best leaving us all delighted.

Ocean Eleven however was disappointing. The race panned out to suit him and he had a soft lead under a sympathetic ride from Harry Stock and actually jumped possibly the best he’ has done to date. He failed to be competitive at the business end of the race though and we need to find out why. Generous of Chairman James Westoll to come and find us and recognised that after a long journey up and a disappointing run we could all do with a glass of bubbly in the warm of the Winning Connections’ room. Very thoughtful that a racecourse is thinking about how important the owners are to us all.

Issy Mangan and Beth Norrish, who were in charge of our runners there over the weekend, also reported that Carlisle had looked after them well too. Another important group of people as without either our owners or our racing grooms, there would be no racing. The accommodation on site was fine and the canteen provided them with free food and even a takeaway for their long journey home so very much appreciated by us all.

Our journeys home were pretty horrendous with busy traffic all the way home but we had Freddie & Harry in with us and the firework displays all the way home kept them entertained (and made up for them missing the Guiting Power fireworks last night!)

All the horses just cantered here this morning. We had our farrier and our physio in this morning and our first proper frost of the autumn. It’s such a relief now I have the carpet surface from our sponsor, Leisure Ride Surfaces, as the sleepless nights of wondering whether we will be able to canter are a thing of the past. The carpet gallop never freezes and we are so fortunate to have such a great surface to work with.



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