Wow! What a day we had at Cheltenham on Friday – another amazing day at our local track that has been so kind to us over the years. Cheltenham’s race had long been the plan for Pinnacle Peak however we were unsure that he was high enough in the handicap to get into the race so he had other options in case he was balloted out. The main reason why we opted for Cheltenham was for social reasons – part owner Mark Boothright was over from South Africa and his son Elliot was celebrating his 30th Birthday on that very day and we were all due to go out for supper that evening too.
Mark, Elliot and Pinnacle’s other owner Richard Lloyd were here before racing Friday morning to watch the horses schooling and, with Sean Bowen claimed to ride elsewhere, Freddie had joked with him in front of the gang of owners that he’d made the wrong choice and that Adam Wedge was going to beat him with Pinnacle again (just like at Worcester in September!).
We had loads of owners in on Friday morning and, despite the fog, it was a fabulous morning watching horses schooling before heading to Cheltenham.
So back to Pinnacle who was giving Richard & Coot Lloyd, who are now based 10 minutes from the yard, their very first Cheltenham winner – something so many owners dream of and something Rich said he thought would only happen to other people – a very special day. Mark Boothright has already tasted Cheltenham success and that was his 11th Cheltenham winner, from 6 horses, all trained by us – but this one no doubt incredibly special on his son’s 30th Birthday. A superb ride from Adam Wedge and a brilliant performance.
Huge celebrations were planned anyway that evening with Elliot in 131 in Cheltenham but they were extended from the last race and some are probably still going!
On Saturday we were thrilled with Ballyvango in the bumper who finished a good 7th under Sean Bowen but who was too keen and lit up for much of the race to give himself chance of a place but who ran a solid race nonetheless. Both horses were fine the next morning.
Saturday marked the end of an era for Suzanne Roberts as it was her last day after over 25 years working at Cheltenham Racecourse. Suzanne was Edward Gillespie’s PA whilst Belinda was working at Cheltenham and, latterly, Ian Renton’s PA and always looked after us brilliantly in the winners’ room after our winners. She knew that there were always lots of Team Keighley supporters and had plenty of glasses filled ready! It won’t be the same and she will be missed.
Racing again yesterday at Aintree but with Freddie on his racing pony Miss Millfield in the Pony Racing Authority 148cm Final. They have had a super season and that was their final race so very exciting to be at Aintree. They ran another solid race to finish 4th and enabling themselves the memorable walk into that very famous winners enclosure.
The first two ponies are superb top ponies with a bit more weight than Miss Millfield but they only just failed to give a stone to the 3rd placed pony and she’s still only 5 years old. We can’t wait to watch her progress as she strengthens up even more and cannot thank Gavin & Suzanne Hughes enough for allowing Freddie such an amazing opportunity to race her for the past 18 months. They’ve both learnt so much together, she’s not been easy but she’s so talented so has been worth the hard work.
Today we have just one runner going to Huntingdon – David Maughan’s Redbridge Rambler under Sean Bowen. Sean didn’t think he made enough use of him last time so, instead of stepping him up in trip this time (we have the option to do that at a later date) Sean intends on making more use of him and he will hopefully go close.