Well what a way to kick off the new 2019/2020 season in style with our very first runner, Forecast, winning at Uttoxeter yesterday over hurdles. With usual pilot Conor Shoemark claimed to ride at Hexham it was down to super-sub Richard Johnson who gave him a class ride settling him in last and coming from last to first to win impressively by 6 lengths. Great to also kick start Richard Johnson’s season in good style as he aims to retain his Championship for a 5th time.
Thrilled for his owners Stuart Baikie, Richard East, James Gibbs, Paul & Geraldine Townend, Hugh Kelly, Paul Charnick, Ron East, Stuart Telford, Gary Lewis and Mark Drury who was able to be there to represent the rest of them with his son – what a day they had! Huge credit must also go to Harley Cornock, who led him up yesterday but who also rides him out at home every day and switches him off making him look an easy ride – he’s certainly not easy and Harley does a superb job with him.
Whilst my Assistant Foxy was on hand to saddle Forecast, I was at Badminton Horse Trials with Freddie who was riding in the Shetland Pony Grand National on his pony Blackie (Brewards Kerwen). 18 lucky children allowed to compete in the Main Arena in front of packed stands cheering them on. Two heats then a final. Freddie’s produced his young pony himself and he was up against seasoned ponies but he behaved impeccably, jumped for fun and beat a couple of ponies in his heat. Lots to work on but such great experience and he absolutely loved it. An exciting season ahead with plenty of chance to improve and learn from the others. All of them raising important funds for The Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
Very proud Dad and his beaming smile as he came out of the Arena said it all. A brilliant day all round with Forecast rounding it off well.