Friday 10th February, 2023

We decided to give Uttoxeter a miss with Totterdown tomorrow and will wait for Chepstow in a couple of weeks-time, when hopefully there will have been some rain.  We are quiet on runners for next week but hopefully there are a few suitable races for the string in the second half of February.

It was great to be invited to lunch at the Greyhound pub in Letcombe Regis on Wednesday with Alastair Down, Henrietta Knight and Nicky and Sophie Henderson.  The Greyhound was the first pub I frequented when first coming into racing and it brings back many happy memories.  Such turf legends as R Dunwoody, J Reid, B Powell etc would be regular visitors and we are planning a reunion of the old team this summer to celebrate forty years of working in the sport.

On the way, Alastair and I popped in to see Captain Forster’s grave at Letcombe Bassett.  The Captain was a great favourite of both of us and Alastair loves the fact the gravestone simply says ‘Trainer of Three Grand National Winners.’  Forster was unique, a wonderful trainer and company.

In the evening we entered a team in the West Berkshire Racing Club Quiz at Newbury racecourse.  Normally John Hanmer would join our team but following his sad passing, I was delighted to donate the ‘John Hanmer Memorial Trophy’ as one of the prizes for the competition.

Team members Gordon Clarkson, Neil Morrice and Richard and William Venn certainly varied in ability but we were a very decent second to the Raceform ‘anoraks’.  Taking Hanmer’s place this year was Neil Morrice – the renowned racing journalist who as I pointed out to him, we would have been better off bringing J Hanmer’s ashes than his contribution to the evening.

Great fun was had by all and well done to the West Berkshire Racing Club for putting on such a splendid event.

Yesterday afternoon I was kindly asked to contribute to the Racing Together Industry Day at Ascot racecourse on the National Racehorse Week panel.  Community engagement is at the heart of engaging the public in our splendid sport and it was great to take part in the day.