Tuesday 30th April, 2024

With the new season starting we have made entries for Lesser, Elfride and The Last Drop in the coming week.  Hopefully the ground will be safe without being too fast for the runners as many have not been suited by the heavy ground of last season.

On Friday morning it was great to welcome Deni Harper-Adams from Kingsleighs Equestrian Centre who brought over a couple of young riders who have been funded by the Pony Racing Association Youth Jockey Pathway programme.  Both twelve-year-olds are due to ride at Cheltenham soon in a pony race and it was great to be able to show them the inside workings of a racing yard.  We are always keen to welcome young people into the sport and plenty of good work is going on throughout the country to encourage this.

On Sunday I was invited to the launch of Chris Haslam’s new book, ‘Jumping Into Jeopardy’ at Cheltenham racecourse.  I have known Chris for a long time and he is a retired schoolmaster who taught at Cheltenham College amongst other places.  One of his former pupils Tom Scudamore was present, along with other jockeys including Nico De Boinville and David Bass all of whom helped Chris write this fascinating book on jockeys lives.  It’s definitely worth a read.

International event rider Bill Levett came to coach the staff this morning in their riding technique.  Bill is an excellent teacher and this is something everyone always enjoys and the sessions are of great benefit to humans and horses.

Congratulations to Willie Mullins on the remarkable achievement of being champion jumps trainer in Britain.  I loved his reply to my congratulatory text which was a picture of a number of the ground wearing Willie Mullins masks, with a note saying ‘thanks from all of us’.

Willie is an extraordinary character – a charming genius, but knows everything has gone to plan this year and it won’t every year.

Very sad news that Shishkin died on Sunday evening due to getting cast.  This shows how precarious life is, however the reaction to this  sad news proves how much he was loved.