This is a very weird way to be ending the season, but it is surreal times for everyone right now. These are, of course, incredibly difficult times for a lot of people, so I won’t be moaning too much here.
At least for the National Hunt side of racing we managed to get Cheltenham and had most of our season completed. I’d be very worried right now as a flat trainer, as who knows how long this thing is going to affect our industry? I am confident that the BHA will be doing everything possible to get things going just as soon as is possible, but it's worrying times for a lot of people.
On a bizarre day at Wetherby, we did at least manage a winner, albeit behind closed doors and with about 3 people to clap little Espoir Moriviere into the winners enclosure! Despite the lack of atmosphere, I was delighted because he’s such a popular horse in the yard, as he’s a little trier and so genuine. He may only be rated low 70’s but he is now a winner! Both Richard Roberts and Helen Ray were there to see his victory, which was great. We didn’t get the normal ‘winning connections’ treatment, because of the behind closed doors thing (there wasn’t even a bar open - just tea and biscuits that day!), so we, of course, decided to immediately drink the winners' bottle of champagne!
So, after all that, it was good to finish on a winner, but all the same, it was a frustrating season; to start so well, and then have the horses go wrong again in the middle part then the end of the season to come so abruptly. Frustratingly I feel the horses were coming right and we would have had a good spring, but of course the virus has put a stop to that, so we’ll never know. Still, we managed to finish 61st in the trainers’ table, which wasn’t a disaster.
The Borders National helped that cause, so a big thank-you to Bigirononhiship and fingers crossed for him next season! He just had a few niggles and kept missing intended races in the 2nd half of the season. All being well, he should be fine in the autumn.
As I am going to have a lot of time on my hands, I will continue to give a little update on some of our horses in the coming weeks, and their plans for next season. Right now, all of our horses are either getting roughed off for the summer, although it’s too early & cold to chuck them out completely. We have a group of about 15, who could feasibly run in May, IF racing were to resume. So the plan will be to keep that group ticking over in the hope that they’ll get a run. We’ll just have to monitor this as time goes on.
On the human front, we’ve certainly had some Covid-19 issues… Poor Emma was very poorly, as was Louise, as was Dobbs, and I wasn’t brilliant either, so there’s a chance we’ve all got it out of the way already, but without a test who knows?! It would be very nice to think we have.