Racing really does do so much very well and yesterday was one of those days that I was proud to be part of our sport. I was at Ascot Racecourse supporting Freddie who was fortunate enough to be riding in a Pony Race there on his pony Bubbles along with lots of other children throughout the day. Such an encouraging day for all – even the younger children and their parents had the chance to find out about pony racing and racing as a whole before the races actually started by having a tour of the weighing room, walk onto the course and a go on a mechanical horse – a brilliant introduction to the world of racing as a whole. I bumped into a lady who’d only ever been to Royal Ascot and was finding the ‘behind the scenes’ experience absolutely fascinating – she was finding it odd to be there in smart wellies instead of uncomfortable high heels!
Freddie has always been very keen but equally very nervous but yesterday he overcame his nerves and, most importantly, enjoyed the day to the full. Harry Greasby, who rode out for us first, kindly led him up and helped keep him smiling and Belinda was thrilled to win the best turned out prize! Freddie was proud to be wearing his new smart colours and in his Webblite Racing Saddle too and, after a great start, he finished 5th of 9 and loved every moment, pushing Bubbles all the way to the line.
Such lucky children to have the opportunity to ride at a Grade 1 track and also to have a course walk from Champion Flat Jockey Jim Crowley, 2 times Grand National winner Leighton Aspell and the legendary Bob Champion too. Jim & Leighton’s children were also riding yesterday. Thanks to all concerned – how could racing not benefit from such initiatives? These are our jockeys, trainers and racegoers of the future and yesterday was a day some of them will never forget.
Any Currency ran for us in the Grand National six years ago and was in training here for 9 years retiring in 2017 having amassed over £160k in prize money for his owners. In addition to winning 6 times, he ran at Cheltenham 21 times and of those, walked into the hallowed Winners’ Enclosure a massive 14 times making him a real favourite with racing fans. He is a special horse and was hugely popular in the yard despite not always being the most straight forward to ride! In retirement he has an amazing life with Harley Cornock, who looked after him & rode him when in training and who now works mornings for us. He is enjoying his new life as a show jumper and this weekend jumped a double clear to finish 3rd in the British Novice class. Thrilled that he’s enjoying his new career aged 16.
Work morning here and Abi Stock, Harry Greasby & Beth Whittle in to ride out. With the rain we’ve had we were able to work on the grass again which was great. We worked Reve, Capital Force, Somewhere To Be, Brillare Momento, Matravers, Primogeniture, Back on the Lash, Solstice Star, Acacia Dream, Capricia, Be Thankful, Sarasota Star, Mr Mafia, Lord Condi, Cotswold Prince, Debden Bank, Jeans Genie, Mozzaro & Fairmount. The rest cantered.
Hannah Ashton was in for the day having hired our Owners’ Room for a small group of people trialing new and interesting looking equipment that I’m hoping to find out more about later today. I’ll share with you tomorrow!