Sarasota Star becomes our 19th winner of the season!

Sarasota Star made his first run for his new partnership a winning one yesterday at Worcester and in doing so opened his account over fences in quite some style earning him the Racing Post’s ‘Star Performer’ of the day in their analysis.

Sarasota & Rex clear a fence early on. Thanks to Nigel Kirby for the great photos.

Sarasota sails the last…

Given a great ride by Rex Dingle, who’d won on him over hurdles last season and had been into school him in the week, he jumped for fun and hardly missed a beat which really did delight me as he’s not been the most straight forward over a fence and we’ve worked hard on his jumping. I mentioned in my blog yesterday that his slightly disappointing chasing debut in June was probably down to it being one run too many and that I thought he’d run better than his starting price suggested…and that is what happened!

With original owners Jon & Jack Hughes abroad on holiday, the rest of his partnership who were all new partners were due to be at Worcester. However the traffic to Worcester was absolutely horrendous. Our lorry with Sarasota in it left at 11am (thankfully as Paddy Berkins asked if he could go early – I’d suggested 11.30 would leave him plenty of time for the 45 min journey) yet Paddy only made it to the course just before 1.30pm (race time 2.17pm). I rang the Clerk of the Course to declare him for us and, with us miles behind Paddy, rang Rex to be on standby to saddle. We re-routed and went North missing the City Centre and trusting traffic app ‘Waze’ to negotiate us around the back roads and thankfully it did it’s job and we arrived, somehow, in time to saddle. Paul Davis ran in as Rex was just cantering to post and poor David & Janne Bishop, who had overtaken us in slow traffic on the way, rued having their mobile switched off as we were desperately trying to call them to re-route them North and to follow us. They watched him win from the other side of the course but David did manage to get to the Winners’ Enclosure in time for the photo whilst Janne parked the car.

David & Janne sat next to us on the M5
Happy new syndicate!

Sarasota Star went quite wobbly in the Winners’ Enclosure so there was no time for a photo and we dowsed him in water before leading him to the shade below the pre-parade ring, with a vet on hand, to use the hoses. Thanks to all the team there and to Paddy, who also looks after him, as Sarasota whilst having a wobble accidentally split his lip and gave him a bloody nose too. Everyone was fantastic though and he was soon 100% and fine back in the stable yard and is A1 this morning. His legs feel good too.

Sarasota Star looking well this morning

We all descended on our favourite place at Worcester, and one we have been in a lot of times this summer thankfully, the winning connections’ area where Jane Broad ensured that everyone’s glass was full of champagne as we watched Sarasota’s replay and enjoyed his win again. A lovely group of people and hopefully lots more fun to have with Sarasota too.


With the hot sun continuing to dry out the ground and with both Reve and Brorson being bigger topped winter horses, I made the decision to pull them both out. Disappointing for the owners but they were both so understanding and supportive. There is always another day and they are too nice to risk if in any doubt.

The Team all joined us for some drinks at The Coach & Horses pub in Longborough last night as we celebrated our 19th winner of the season and passing the £100,000 prize money mark too.

Winning Celebrations!

This morning Gordon Bendall and Paul Davis were in 1st lot in the fog and it hadn’t lifted much when we had a very special visitor after 2nd lot – 3 week old Hector Shoemark, son of Abi Stock and Conor Shoemark. Abi used to help Belinda in the office and with the boys years ago and the Stock Family are very special to us. Proud Granny Zoe and proud Great Granny Sue came too and Hector posed for a photo with Uncle Harry, who was here riding out, and Mr Mafia who Harry won on 4 times. So lovely to see them all.

Abi & Hector with Sarasota Star
Mr Mafia, Uncle Harry & Hector

A fantastic round of cross country by Kitty King today in the FEI Eventing European Championships as Great Britain maintain their Gold Position going into tomorrow’s Show Jumping Final stage. Very proud to watch her produce such a superb round – fingers crossed for a clear round tomorrow.



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