Ms Parfois is new to us and we bought her at the Cheltenham Sale before the Festival having won a point-to-point for Hassett Racing in Ireland. They actually sent over a lovely scarf as a token of good luck for her new owner Martin Chapman which was a lovely gesture. Some friends of Hassett Racing were at Uttoxeter to watch her and it was a really super day. Martin got his first ownership experience at our yard off to a winning start after she nicely won the bumper. She won’t run again now until next season as she’s a huge mare and she’ll want a trip and cut in the ground. She’ll have the summer off and she’ll probably grow again – she’s 16.3hh now.
She’s chestnut with a white blaze, and apart from sending a leg flying in the stable every now and again, she’s great.
Somerset County Cricket Club had their annual pre-season meeting at the yard today. They go away from the cricket club to have their meetings and will watch the second lot, have their meeting, have some lunch and carry on. It’s a really great association that is growing with the potential of a Somerset County Cricket Club horse in the future. Our owners can also have a day out at the cricket that is a fun diversion from racing in the summer.
We’re really pleased with the horses who are in great form at the moment. We had a lull at Cheltenham, which was really disappointing with both Regal Encore and Lily Waugh both running below par. Something wasn’t quite right for a week or so in the yard, but they are all back on song now and we’ve had three winners in the last few days and placed horses too.
With so much rain, it’s been a tricky season but we’ve been really pleased with the horses. We’ve been very careful with those that we know go on the heavy ground as it’s imperative you don’t over run them. Occasionally you’ll have a horse that acts on that ground and they find it easy because they travel and jump, but every horse is different and you have to be very patient.
It’s lovely safe ground now so we have a lot of entries over the forthcoming weeks. The water table is high, and it just takes a day of rain to bring the ground back to soft or heavy.
In the summer with watering, you can get false ground, and we’re not very keen to run. There are a few horses that will cope and have legs of steel, but we’ve found in the past it’s a bit like Russian roulette and you don’t really know which ones will be okay so we’d rather not run.
If you have runners you have to be careful and willing to change your mind at the last minute if you get to the course, walk the track and find the ground is firmer than you are prepared to run on.
I’ll be watching the Grand National from the telly and I wouldn’t have a clue about the winner. It looks a wide open race to me.