All smiles at Heath Barn after a solid start to the season – although I’m still whining about the music!

Since my last update I’ve been pointing twice (which included my first lead up), had a run in with the electric shocker on the horse walker, ended up on my arse in the yard thanks to the ice (cue the second temper tantrum of the week), upset Robert (Roberto Pegasus), made a tit of myself on Christmas Day (alcohol related) and finally grown a pair and turned the radio off! Yes, I braved the rickety step ladder and hit the off switch – although normal service was resumed the following morning!

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The new welly bag nestled in the boot of my car was a Christmas present from the trainer and the champ.

Mucking out was the perfect way to work up an appetite for Christmas lunch, which was mint (thanks Mr & Mrs Ellis), but the alcohol intake was a little high and I provided some good material for the children to put on Snapchat! Moving swiftly on… Chaddesley Corbett was next on the agenda with five runners to look forward to and a lovely early (5.30am) start! There are plenty of pics from Chaddesley on the Facebook page so I’ll keep it brief on here.

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Our first runner of the festive period – Roysta’s Spirit (Kipper) and Kate Gowing (left, blue cap).

Kate Gowing and Roysta’s Spirit got the ball rolling with a good 3rd in Div 1 of the Club Members Restricted, the champ then took over in the saddle and steered Bilzic to 3rd in Div 2 of the Club Members Maiden. Total Compliance was 5th in Div 1 of the Club Members Conditions, Vedettariat won the Ladies Open and De Pilgram broke a blood vessel and was pulled up in Div 1 of the Club Members Maiden.

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We had a big support team at Chaddesley and Charlie had her hands full with five runners to prepare!
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My first lead up went well although not everyone liked my jacket.
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Could this be an early entry in the rear of the year competition?

Back to work on Wednesday and Celtic Silver and Roberto Pegasus completed their preparations for Cottenham – they were almost joined by King’s Walden (Blackjack) but the trainer decided to save him for another day – and the Chaddesley runners had a well earned rest.

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Martin Wanless has been popping up at sunrise to work a few on our gallops, he’s good craic.
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Celtic Silver aka Cedric, one of the most popular horses in the yard, completes his Cottenham preparations with Kate on board, along with Roberto Pegasus (with Emilia up, blue jacket).
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This is probably one of my favourite pics from the last couple of months. I was lying on a sack on the drive when Blackjack and Amy (left) and Cedric and Kate (right) led first lot back in. Kate whipped her phone out for a cheeky Snapchat (and I mean cheeky!).
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Somebody had a new accessory for Christmas…

On the Thursday before Cottenham we took a couple of lorry loads to Lodge Hill (Dan Skelton Racing) for a good workout and a change of scenery. There was no vehicle available so we had to walk to the top of Dan’s gallops, well, I say ‘we’, the trainer was knackered so he had to stop halfway!

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Itsnonofurbusiness and the champ lead the warm up, the bloke in the posh car quite liked this one!

I chose a spot under the rails for some of the jumping shots, a brave choice according to the champ!

Bilbrook Blaze (Percy) fluffed his first attempt but he soon got the hang of it and jumped really well. I’ve got a soft spot for Percy and can’t wait to see him on the racecourse.

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The trainer stops for a rest…
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Awful view…
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Time to head back to the lorry – Jack leads on Ginuwinefizz, Gina follows on Itsnonofurbusiness, in behind we have L-R: Kate on Rosie, Sam on Bilbrook Blaze and Kim on Samarnni.

A New Years Eve trip to Cottenham was next on the agenda and I was designated driver for the day so Big T could enjoy a birthday gin or six! I’ll be brief with this as well because like Chaddesley, there’s a fair few pics on the Facebook page.

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A pre-race briefing from the trainer for Celtic Silver’s owners, Richard and Jenny Hayward.

Celtic Silver was first up and he was a very creditable 5th in a hot Club Members race which was won by Porlock Bay (Luke Harvey/Darren Edwards).

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Cecil (Porlock Bay) with Luke and Darren, also in the pic is groom for the day, Luke’s At The Races colleague, Jason Weaver.

Next up was the second runner of the week for our ‘Ice and a Slice Racing Club’ – Roberto Pegasus, with Kate Gowing taking the ride.

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The Ice and a Slice Racing Club, gin and fun is guaranteed!

Robert was second to Sharp Suit in the Ladies Open and it looks like the Racing Club will have some fun with him this season. Kate was buzzing after the race and she’ll hopefully be taking him out with the hounds again next week.

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Broken Eagle and Joe Hill, the most impressive winner of the day!
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Another impressive winner – Lough Inch.
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I think I’m due a new cap.

And that was it, we’d enjoyed two very good point-to-point meetings in the space of four days with some great, competitive racing – well done to all at Chaddesley and Cottenham. There’s lots to look forward to and the trainer and the champ are more than happy with a 25% strike rate from the 8 runners that we have sent out so far!

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