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Getting Busy With Ben!

Things have been generally been pretty quiet since my last blog this time last month having only had a couple of rides. The weather recently has played its part in delaying going racing, with January being so dry and quick to now being the complete opposite end of the spectrum, with meetings being abandoned due to too much rain and Storm Eunice.

I went to the last Larkhill meeting for a day out to watch Dad’s homebred Santos Blue; it was absolutely baltic, I could barely feel my fingers and toes. Sadly, it wasn’t the result we were looking for as he and James got badly hampered and unseated at the 2nd or 3rd but I think he had a whale of a time as he frustratedly galloped all the way round. But the misfortune of what happened to Santos Blue is nowhere near the same to what happened to Michaela Tallett, I hope she’s ok and recovers well. Santos Blue ran on Saturday at Horseheath to finish 2nd in the Maiden under a great ride from Bradley Gibbs this time, as James was up at Haydock. Dad, Alan and Joe all seem very happy with his run as he needed his confidence boosting after a couple of unfortunate mishaps. I’m sure Santos will win his Maiden soon on better ground.

With the weather flipping and changing we were planning to take Sir Mangan to Charing, but the ground was too quick. Then we thought we would take him to Bangor for that Hunter Chase, as he recorded his two best career performances under rules there so we knew he would like the track but sadly the morning of the race he had a bruised foot. The Lingfield Hunter Chase came into the equation, but the ground was bottomless there with good opposition of Dolphin Square. Plan A with him has always been Kingston Blount this coming Saturday which is where he’ll go as he absolutely loved the track at the final day last season. He’s in such good form and I can’t wait to get back on him this weekend.

Last Thursday I was given a brilliant opportunity to ride in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown on Diplomate Sivola for my grandfather, who leased the horse from my dad for the day. I was able to ride in it; being related to my grandfather who was in the Artillery and won the race as an owner 50 years ago. This meant I was able to have a spin round the iconic course over the iconic railway fences, which was great fun! Diplomate ran a good race he just made a couple of slow jumps down the back, lost our position and just ended on the back foot a bit. I knew he would stay and gallop on all the way to line, which he did and finished 7 lengths back in 4th behind the winner Rolling Dylan. He ran to his mark. With him being such a stayer, we reckon next time out we’ll step him up in trip to 3 miles plus.

With Chaddesley being called off I went to Badbury Rings last Sunday with Chameron in the Men’s Open. Luckily he was entered at both meetings but sadly with Chaddesley being off I wasn’t able to ride Majestic Touch in the two and a half mile Conditions race, in which we all were excited to see him back racing after nearly 18 months off as he’s been in terrific form at home. The race for Majestic has been the plan for months and I’m not sure what Dad and Alan have in mind now. Chameron absolutely belted the open ditch the first-time round in which both my legs were flung over to one side of the horse and I was just clinging on to his neck. At that moment I just thought I haven’t come all the way for this and with looking at the ground for a bit I didn’t really fancy landing on it, so managed to somehow get back in the saddle just before the bend. After that we had lost some ground and he never got back into it. We were jumped into at the second last and I lost my iron which I couldn’t regain in time for the last, so I just pulled him wide as with Chameron’s lack of good jumping I didn’t want to hurt myself or the horse to finish a well beaten 3rd. Sunday’s ground was probably a bit quick for him so next time find some softer ground.

Coming up this weekend I have hopefully a couple of nice rides in likes of Sir Mangan at Kingston Saturday and potentially Dad’s new horse Hugueneau at Garthorpe Sunday.

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