Sunday, 22 April 2018

FABULOUS Popaway wins her 19th race hard on the bridle. What an amazing mare!! We had a great day today, slightly marred by Velvet Steel's pull up when absolutely flying in the restricted race, but thankfully Darren Edwards, the jockey, pulled her up just in time and she has just tweaked a tendon, as she came off the lorry sound and it could have been so much worse if he hadn't the experience to pull her up when he did.  Kingsley was an absolute star for his first run and took it all in his stride. Darren gave him a fabulous educational run and pulled him up three from home having taught him a lot with a few very green jumps to begin with. Darren was amused and surprised when he pulled him up thinking he was tired, but then Kingsley decided to set off after the field and it took a little bit of brute strength to haul him back, so as not to get in trouble with the stewards.
We also won three best turned out prizes, mainly due to Jane and Lucy Burton who did a fabulous job.
We had a lovely picnic by the lorry afterwards where we all toasted Popaway. As it may be her last point to point, Carol gave a really emotional speech about how much fun she, Roy and her family have had with her and thanked Doug and I for the great journey that they have all enjoyed..... the next thing we knew we were all in tears. It was a very special moment which has only happened because of a truly exceptional mare.

Last to leave (Percy Mitchell) looking very handsome at his first point to point yesterday

Beech Hill winning best turned out again. Such a pretty lady.

Popaway, Kingsley and Velvet Steel are in the beauty parlour as we speak before their big day at Guilsborough

Saturday, 21 April 2018

What a difference a week makes! The sun shone and we went to Chaddesley Corbett with four horses. We had Hannah on Beech Hill who was unseated at the fourth, but both were fine, Paddy on Last to leave (his first start over fences) who jumped beautifully, but was pulled up suddenly after a circuit and a bit as Paddy thought he had done a false stride after a stumble and he was worried he had gone wrong, but thankfully he seems fine and thoroughly enjoyed himself without being bottomed, Paddy also rode Glory Hunter in the novice riders race and two from home looked as though he was going to win but just got caught on the line with no more than two lengths between the four finishers. Velvet Cloud had her first run of the season with another novice rider, a local girl called Claire Angus, who had a lovely spin on the very gutsy Cloud, who was in a really hot Ladies race as there was no restricted, and just missed out on fourth place by a nose. We were delighted with her and Claire rode her very well.
Tomorrow we are taking Velvet Steel, Popaway and Kingsley to Guilsborough. I am really looking forward to it as having walked it on Friday night it looks perfect going, although it has just started to rain. However, it is our old stamping ground so the picnics and socialising should be good fun and it
will be lovely to catch up with everyone.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

This crazy English weather! Less than a week ago racing was cancelled due to water logging, with cold miserable weather and today we have just had the hottest April day for seventy years and a race at Cheltenham was abandoned because it was too hot and the horses were distressed. We may not run at Larkhill as it could be too firm, would you believe!? Page Fuller came in this morning, fresh from her victory at Cheltenham yesterday on a 33/1 shot and schooled Velvet Steel, Top Garry, Kingsley and Popaway, all of which went incredibly well. We are running 'Beech Hill',  'Glory Hunter' 'Velvet Cloud and 'Last to leave' on Saturday at Chaddesley Corbett (unless it rains) and Popaway, Velvet Steel and Kingsley (his debut) on Sunday at Guilsborough.

I LOVE this weather and had my first swim in the river today. Bliss but VERY cold. It is quite astonishing how two days ago the countryside looked cold, wintry, wet and miserable and today boiling hot with the trees bursting into bud, the grass literally growing by the minute, the sky full of birdsong and no wellies needed, quite extraordinary but I am definitely not complaining!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

We had our first sunny day yesterday for what seems like months... Both the meetings we were supposed to be running horses at were cancelled (Mollington and Guilsborough) because of the wet ground, so we went on a 'bus man's' holiday to Herefordshire to watch the North Ledbury point to point at Hereford racecourse. It was rather nice watching the races without feeling sick with nerves and although there weren't many runners it was very good racing, and we couldn't believe how good the ground was.
As it was Doug's Birthday the following day we stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast in Bromyard (Buckenhill Manor) and went for an evening meal in Bishops Frome. The locals were incredibly friendly and we ended up being joined by a few of them, and having a seriously good night.
Today we went walking in the Herefordshire countryside and on the way back stopped for a lovely Sunday roast in the Cotswolds.
It was raining again today but the forecast is reasonably good for the rest of the week so fingers crossed we will have some decent racing ground next weekend.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The first swallow has arrived at Edgcote! I think it is the earliest I have ever seen one, although it is a well known saying that 'one swallow doesn't make a summer' - The weather has been absolutely horrendous up until today and I am sure there is more rain to come, but the beautiful spring like weather today has cheered us all up.
The horses are all bouncing out of their skins and Percy Mitchell (Last to Leave)  dropped me on Tuesday, when he shied at something in the hedge, little monkey. We are hoping to run him and plenty of others when the ground dries up. This Saturday we are going to Brampton Bryan with Memphis (King of Rainbows) who blotted his copy book at Brafield when he reared over at the start and was withdrawn. Paddy is riding him this time, and as he rides him all the time at home he knows his quirky ways and knows how to handle him. Fingers crossed it wont happen again. Beech Hill is also having a run and as she likes the soft, she should go well and give Hannah a nice spin.
Sadly the Edgcote races which was supposed to be on this Sunday has been postponed due to waterlogging....

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Velvet Steel looking very beautiful before winning her race.

All the runners have come out of the race incredibly well. You just would not believe that Popaway was thirteen years old and is still so enthusiastic. She absolutely loves her work and racing and it will be difficult to retire her at the end of the season, but we know it will be the right thing to do.
Velvet Steel (Tik)  may not win 18 races but I got a huge amount of pleasure from her win as we have had to have an enormous amount of patience with her. To say that she is quirky would be an understatement. She refused to race on her very first start at Brafield two years ago, and on her second start at Atherstone a horse unfortunately ran across her at the last fence and badly injured her back. It has taken until now for her to be fully healed. She used to spin and plant and has got rid of many jockeys, including Peter Mann who she put in hospital. However, we have managed to put all that aggression into her work and it seems to be paying off. She now understands what the point of it all is and loves life and is a very well behaved girl (most of the time...)
She came from Ireland and is very nicely bred out of a black type mare called 'She's My Mare' so she should make a nice brood mare for the future. She is lucky to be with us at all though as when she was picked up by her Irish owner in a trailer he was happily driving along when a horse overtook him on the road - It was her! She had jumped out the back of the trailer and was careering along the tarmac avoiding the traffic. It could only happen in Ireland...