Monday, 06 July 2020 10:20

July 6th

For some reason my last two blogs have not published on here which is annoying - especially as I have only just noticed!! Consequently it  has been a long time since an update appeared!

 

Its been a weird time for everyone over the last few months & hard to believe its already July! Happily we have all been virus free up here at Hill Farm, although I do think that there is a strong chance that some of us had the virus earlier in the year. If it was now we would certainly be isolating having had all of the symptoms that are fired at us as indicators of Covid 19!

The team have all been furloughed for a couple of months, but we are at last starting to get back to some sort of normality, with the horses gradually coming in again and getting back to action. the farriers have been busy getting shoes back on and the team bedding up and sorting out the lovely clean stables with new beds, rugs out of storage etc etc! Everyone (horses and people) have summered very well, (and most have a good amount of lockdown pounds to lose!)

The protocol for a resumption to racing appeared at 50 pages long, which initially looked very daunting, but was actually very easy once you got to the guts of it, and all reports were that it was easy to adhere to at the races.

There has been much talk of the limitations put on owners attending which is understandable, but only a temporary measure, and a jump through some hoops to get things going. Admittedly baffling when you can go to the pub/tescos etc etc (including a nice riot if you are that way inclined!) Changes will need to move forward pretty quickly.

They might also need to get moving at BHA HQ, where there is no one in at all apparently! Phone calls are straight to answerphone and an email sent last week remains unacknowledged. With Weatherbys providing their usual efficient service all through lockdown, and racing now going ahead, its hard to accept that British Horseracing are un-contactable!

Royal Bassett has been our only runner so far since racing resumed. He ran a blinder at Newmarket to finish third at odds of 300/1, Softer ground and a completely different track suited him well, and made all the difference, with him staying on very well. He is such a laid back character and is now schooling very well over hurdles as well. He and Phoebus Lescribaa went to Warwick last week to jump hurdles on their very well watered schooling ground. Tabitha & Ceris rode them and both jumped very well.

Its a great initiative for Warwick to provide this facility especially this year, when everywhere at home is like concrete, and schooling on grass is definitely not a thing!

Our newly resurfaced round gallop is looking and feeling fantastic - a lovely even surface that is bloody hard work to walk on but provides plenty of spring as well, it will be a massive improvement to our facilities this year, and should make preparation a whole lot easier. It is also good to jump on, and we have had the schooling hurdles out on it as well.

Its been great to see so many faces up here at Hill Farm, as the lockdown restrictions eased. easy to social distance up here, and the weather lending itself to outdoor coffees and chats.

Its so nice to see the pleasure that people get from seeing their beloved horses again, and humbling to see quite how much the horses have been missed by everyone when visits could not be part of people's week. We just need Terrys'  cakes & life will be back to 'normal'.

We won't be starting our monthly Open Mornings quite yet, but they will hopefully return as normal in the Autumn. In the meantime if you would like to visit just get in touch & you will be most welcome (cake or no cake!!)

  

Thursday, 23 April 2020 08:32

April 23rd

Another week of lock-down, and another week of summer jobs ticked off. Just  one barn left to pressure wash - sterling work from the girls, made easier by Nic lending us his super powered, diesel pressure washer, which although very noisy, did help get the job done a lot quicker!

A good pile of the wood-chip mole hills now gone, but plenty still to go, cant wait to finish that job now and get it all tidied up.

Just a couple of horses in light work, the rest looking relaxed and happy out in the front fields, although the grass still not very forthcoming & badly in need of some rain. A field change due next week which always causes a stupid amount of excitement! 

We did have an interesting interlude on Monday night to break up the boredom! As we went to bed there was a power cut, didn't think too much of it, and it came back on after a short while, nodded off to be woken at midnight by Western Power ringing the gate, accompanied by a fire engine! To cut a very long story short, a power line had come down over the hill gallop, and into the field where the mares are! Cue live line then shorting out & setting the carpet on fire! Cue Darren & Claire running around in our pj's locating all of the horses & making sure they were safe, rehanging gates & mending fences also broken by said power line, accompanied by the men in uniform! Fire was luckily near to the water trough so put out relatively easily, and happily all horses present & correct - if a little un-nerved.

We made it back to bed by about 1.30, but the boys still up the pole till about 4 am, which was all fine except that the alarm in the house then proceeded to go off every time they did something to the electricity supply! By 4 am was feeling just a little jaded!

Tuesday morning then spent replacing the burnt out electric fencing and mending all the gaps! It could have been so much worse & thank goodness no- one was injured. A hefty bill heading Western Powers' way I feel to replace the burnt surface etc etc!

Even in lock-down there is never a dull moment!!

Sadly going to have to furlough another two of the troops from next week, which we ave tried to avoid doing with the team that live here, hopefully only for a short period though if the hoped for return to jumping starts on July 1st. Lots of mowing to do, and I'm sure that they will be able to find ways to amuse themselves up here. Harriet & Dominic have created a whole new veggie patch which is now planted and has a flower border around it! At this rate we will be digging up some fields to plant more veg & also getting the odd cow to milk. Chickens are doing sterling work at present, and if nothing else we have plenty of eggs! Three chicks hatched in the incubator yesterday which very cute, two broody bantams too so shouldn't have to buy any more hens for a while as long as no visits from Charlie!

We hope you are all still well & staying safe, and that we will be able to welcome you up to Hill Farm very soon.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 14 April 2020 08:21

April 15th

Another week into lockdown, and I can't realistically see that changing anytime soon. Tough for many but apart from only two to ride not much change in the routine up here.

The gallop is finally finished - all we need now are some horses to ride on it! The mole hills of old surface still piled up & waiting to be cleared, which we can hopefully do before it starts to rain again.

Unbelievably dry now, thank goodness we got all of the rolling done before it went rock hard, and the only comfort at having no runners is that it would have been too firm to run them anyway!

Not really a lot to report from Hill Farm this week, Robin a bit under the weather but the Docs think not the dreaded lurgy thank goodness. The rest of us all OK so far, although when we get out of here there is a fair chance we will emerge as a bunch of fat alcoholics! 

Having said that we are pretty busy, Harriet T & Frankie are pressure washing (horrible job!), the rest of us are fencing, clearing up after the installation of the new gallop surface & generally catching up on a lot of jobs. The housework pledge went out of the window last week once the temperature got up - far too nice to be inside. the weekend was then freezing cold, so a spot of hoovering suddenly looked a bit more attractive!

We now have a veggie patch & raised beds with veg in too, so hopefully not too many night frosts to kill off future dinners!!

The horses are all out with the exception of a couple nursing injuries, and a couple in work. They all look very well and relaxed out, even though there is not an abundance of grass. some rain forecast at the w/e, which would be welcome to get the green going!

We do feel very lucky to be up here and away from it all as much as we possibly can. I cant quite understand these folks flouting the rules about going out - I wouldn't go anywhere unless I had to! We have had an out break of walkers & joggers - some fine, some definitely not fine. Loose dogs, and people walking off the footpath does not fill us with joy - especially when you get sworn at for asking them to put the dog on the lead!!  They will be sorry when Mr Palmtree chases them!

Graham here for a visit today, first time for a few weeks and quite a long list of bits and pieces to do - very weird just having to leave him to it and work from a list!One of the mares has been cavorting around, and looking very not in foal, so a check needed there - happily a live foal present and correct, so something to look forward to! Timons Tara due anytime but no bag to speak of yet so still here for the moment. 

As always we hope you are all well, covid free & keeping occupied. 

Sadly we hear that John O'Neill (Point of Attack & Just 4 Fun partnerships) is in hospital & we send him our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Stay safe & hope to see you soon

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 08:25

31st March

Another week in these strange times we are living in. Happily so far the Hill Farm family are all well, although in danger of getting hypothermia before Covid 19! After a glorious week last week when the horses had a few days with rugs off and were basking in warm sunshine, its been frankly baltic up here and the heavyweight rugs back out again. 

The grass which was greening up nicely has ground to a halt, and its unbelievably dry now. After a long winter of incessant rain its hard to believe that we could now do with some! The who;e farm has been rolled and all the mess created by tractors and hooves in hock deep mud put back. The resurfacing of the round gallop is very nearly completed - that in itself has been a mission, and a big shout out to Dan Allbutt who has been doing the work under very difficult conditions. He has made a minimum of mess and we are well and truly into the final stretch now.

An equally big shout out to the team, who have had the onerous job of picking stones out of a couple of the bales of carpet that arrived contaminated (not a thing to be proud of from the supplier) with some stones, that were not visible until spread out. The hassle of taking it all off was just too much, so the team have been on their hands and knees picking the stones out before the top layer goes on. They frankly deserve a medal, as the bales of carpet stink when opened and I think cleaning the drains has risen above the least popular job to do! 

Frustrating really as once down the surface looks and feels amazing, but at least onto the final couple of yards today, so the end is nigh!

We have roughed off the pointers and some of the youngsters,as no where for them to go, but its too cold to just chuck them out, so in at nights for feeds and rugs very much still on. The rest of the string just ticking over currently and hope that we might start back on May 1st - although personally I have my doubts about that. I guess time will tell as the next couple of weeks statistics unfold.

All the store sales have been put back till late summer,and will be interesting to see what the lack of sales of the four year olds, will do to the store market.

All of ours string look really well, and are plenty fresh enough - neck straps in full use! 

Trying to wade through what help we can get in these difficult times is a tough chore too - lots of reading to do, but no real end goal at present. A massive task for the powers that be to sort out, but at least some decisions made which will hopefully enable us all to get through this unprecedented crisis.Its going to be very tough on many - including us - but we at least feel grateful to be living in such an amazing place and that largely our lives go on, at least in part, as normal.

 

We hope that you are all well, and managing to stay safe from this hideous disease, and that we will be opening the gates at Hill Farm before too long. Please do keep in touch & keep an eye on our facebook & Twitter pages for updates & pictures (I'm still rather struggling to get the pics on here!!)

 

Thursday, 19 March 2020 08:15

Thursday19th March

These are extraordinary times that we are currently living in, and also very worrying.

Currently we are all well at Hill Farm, and although not self isolating, we are very much keeping ourselves to ourselves. Just for the moment we have asked that we don't have any visitors, except the essentials of vet, farrier feedman etc! Very important to try & keep the team safe.

The horses are all well & our current plan is to keep them ticking along for a couple of weeks until we at least get a clearer idea where the virus is heading. All of our flu jabs were due in April so we have decided to bring them forward a couple of weeks to get them out of the way, whilst the horses can have an easy week post jab. At least we won't have to stop again once racing resumes.

Interesting that Ireland have decided to keep racing, even though its one meeting a day & behind closed doors. We can but hope that it works well, and that we will be able to consider the same measures before too long. I believe that the pointing continues too. No overseas runners though so thoughts of nipping over with a few scuppered!

The premature end of this season does not fill us with any sadness, as its been testing few months for us up here at Hill Farm. a bug through the string at the key part of the season dashed many hopes for the year, and although all well again, an outbreak of seconds has been very frustrating. 

We have said good bye to some key owners, with the death of Mrs Merry & of course Cliff Beach last year. Losing people like this who have been part of the team for so long has a big impact on the business. 

We have nearly finished resurfacing the resurfaced new gallop! Having spent weeks & plenty of ££ working on it last summer, the exceptional weather proved too much for it and we have struggled with wet patches, which have kept changing places. Having put in new drains/new surface etc etc, Nic took the massive decision to rip the whole lot up & go again with carpet, and also to do it in February! we now can be seen from space & look as if we have the biggest outbreak of giant moles ever seen! BUT its nearly done! Having not been able to haul away the old stuff its all piled on the side to be dealt with if it ever dries up! (hence the giant mole hills!) hoping to be finished by next week at the latest, weather allowing, and once we are racing again will have a fantastic gallop.

Dan Allbutt doing sterling work in doing a great job under very difficult circumstances. 

Now to get all the jobs done outside that we have not had time to do all winter. Its a bit early in the season for some of it, but the team being amazing and keeping a cheerful face on during an extremely stressful & worrying time.

The implications for the business are very serious, but so many are in the same boat, and we all just have to try & keep the boats from sinking.

Apart from the virus its horrific to see the mindset of the idiots who are panic buying, it makes you ashamed to be part of the same species - none of that at Hill Farm & the team just getting on with things at the moment.

Here is hoping that everyone stays well, and that we will all be able to resume normal service as soon as possible.

Stay safe & keep in touch - it'll help stave off any cabin fever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 03 February 2020 10:41

Monday 3rd Feb

Nice to be getting back to some sort of normality after our enforced layoff over the festive period. The bloods at last looking a lot more sensible & the horses running better as a result.

Twycross Warrior so nearly got us off on a winner at Warwick - going down by just a head, and then following that run up with a very gallant fourth at Huntingdon - only beaten 2 1/2 lengths. He picked up a nasty cut after the last race so is now temporarily confined to his stable with stitches in the wound.

Mr Palmtree has been very consistent this time following up his two seconds with a good third on the same card at Huntingdon. He missed quite a bit with a wonky blood, so will undoubtedly come on for that run. He & Tabitha have struck up a good partnership & boy does he operate over a fence - especially for a relative baby!

Secret Court now running for the Point of Attack Partnership, ran a decent race at Ludlow - just getting a bit tired in the closing stages. She finds it all very easy at home, and makes her hurdling debut back at Ludlow this week.

Bob Maxwell ran nicely on the flat at Kempton, and Tara Well ran her usual solid race at Lingfield.

All Is Good, is enough to try the patience of a saint, with different niggles, but with some bespoke dancing shoes made by our farrier Charlie Sands, and the skill of the team we managed to get him to Taunton yesterday! He ran well to finish 5th - the lack of a proper run for nearly a year just catching him out on some pretty dead ground. Home fine today as well, so hopefully we can push on towards a reasonably quick (less than three months!!) follow up run!

Open morning last Saturday & great to see so many new & old faces here in a very bracing breeze! At least no rain, and as always plenty of cake thanks to Terry & Mandy Poulson. We sent off nearly £300 from our Air Ambulance collection box this time, so are now well over the £1k for what is such a worthwhile charity.

The other charity that we have been supporting  - the IJF, - (which helped Harriet so much last year after various broken bones) are nearly £700 better off after the Quiz that we had in November raised almost £500 & the calendars, so beautifully produced by Jill Hurst raised £200. Thank you to all who support both very deserving causes.

 

Sedgefield & Market Rasen tomorrow, so a bit of trucking for the team! Fingers crossed for good runs for Vocaliser & Dontminddboys respectively. 

 

Friday, 03 January 2020 07:24

New Year

Its been a pretty quiet Festive period on the runners front at Hill Farm. The horses had not been running particularly well, and although all tests came back negative they were not seeing their races out over the last couple of furlongs. All scopes/trach washes/ etc etc clear and very frustrating for all concerned. Then just before Christmas we started to get a few anomalies in the white cell counts which suggested a 'post challenge'picture. the challenge most likely some sort of virus. annoyingly you mostly do not get a change in the cell counts at the time of the challenge so unless it causes sore throats or snot or temperatures you have no way - apart from bad results - to know what is going on! 

After Taunton with Galactic Power, who always finishes off his races well and didn't - we decided that enough was enough and to not have any runners for a couple of weeks. Everything stayed in work, but no actual galloping just cantering away to keep everyone ticking over, and closely monitoring the bloods.

This weeks results much better, and time to kick on again, with hopefully some improved performances. All the horses look really well, and are of course fresh from an easy time - a few neck straps in regular use!!

As a consequence of no runners the team managed to have a relatively restful festive period, and everyone having either Christmas day or New Years Day off, and apart from John who hails from Co Tipperary, all got home or to where they wanted to be over the holiday period. (John is having a belated Christmas at home in a couple of weeks.) A big thank you to everyone for rocking up with a smile (it could have been a grimace!!)over the holiday. 

Into a new decade - hard to think where the last ten years have gone so quickly - we saw the new year in at home, and I'm still cleaning vodka jelly off the kitchen ceiling!

A few very welcome days with no rain spoilt last night with a heavy storm, and some raindrops back on the forecast for next week - at least time to dry the waterproofs out! Its been a very testing few months one way and another so hoping for a positive start to 2020.

As always thank you for everyones unending support & encouragement and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR from us all at Hill Farm.

First Saturday of the month this week & I have it on good authority that the cakes are in the oven! See you at open Morning!

 

 

 

 

Monday, 18 November 2019 11:43

Nov 18th

Its a case of all or nothing on the weather front, and having spent all of last season moaning about a lack of rain its now a case of' 'will someone please turn the taps off?''!

Last Thursday was unbelievable, and it just did not stop all night & all day! No chance of getting up Park Lane, and Jack & Badger had to wade through, and negotiate their way around three feet of 'puddle' to get to the waiting taxi to get up the drive! Darren & I on drain clearing duty but the ditches & drains just could not take the water away fast enough. 

We got everyone living away off early, as Great Alne tends to be marooned quite quickly once the river bursts its banks, which it did just after lunch - tractor the only way out after that!

That was assuming that you could find away around all the dead cars that had for some reason been driven at high speed into the torrent!! Unbelievable really, as their were so many either in or around the floods, and a couple in the ditch!

Finally a better day today & some sunshine even spotted! Having had a few days in, all the horses wildly excited to go out - no doubt will be plastered by the time they come back in!

Cheltenham did really well to get the two days of racing in, having had to abandon Friday. Some great racing - no runners for us at HQ, but Tara Well (BTO for Harriet T) finishing third at Uttoxeter. A little disappointed with the run, but probably came up against a very well handicapped winner, and back safely.

Mr Palmtree (BTO for Frankie) ran another improved race at Hereford earlier in the week, to finish second. he jumped very well, and was just a bit green in the closing stages, which considering his experience is so limited yet, can be forgiven.

Twycross Warrior ran a blinder to finish fourth in his first race of the season, both horses ridden by Tabitha.

A busy day at Warwick saw Oneida Tribe, run a nice race, Vocaliser travel better early than he has done, & Black Kalarosa make a nice debut in a very hot bumper.

The team as ever doing sterling work in all the weather that is thrown at them! Clippers going non stop - as soon as you get to the end, its back to the beginning again! 

We welcome John Ferguson & Michelle Burton, who have both joined us recently. 

We should have been at Leicester today, sadly abandoned, and no entries until next weekend now.

A big shout out to Terry & Mandy Poulson, who helped us with the quiz that Harriet organised for the IJF a couple of weeks ago. As she had made quite a lot of use of Oaksey House this year (fractured tibia & wrist!!) Harriet wanted to put some funds back into the pot, and we were delighted to raise just shy of £500 to send to them. Once the calendars have all sold, (please send requests for orders to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or collect at out next Open Morning on Dec 7th, that will be topped up to well over that total. Thank you to all who came & supported & gave raffle prizes etc.

Keep an eye on our facebook page for a cheeky preview or two!

 

 

 

   

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 08:02

Tuesday 8th October

A busy few weeks with all of the horses work building up ahead of their first runs, and fantastic to have the new gallop up & running. As always with a new wood-chip surface it takes a lot of working down as it settles in but it is a  serious addition to our facilities, and we are delighted to have got it finished.

First few runners of the season as well - its so nice to get started again! Anti Cool ran well at Huntingdon to finish third, Bob Maxwell ran a nice race at Stratford yesterday & will come on for the run. Clondaw Sam ran a hugely encouraging race at Warwick, he actually ran all the way to the line,after a big wind op in the Summer. He will want further & probably fences, but at least now looks capable of transferring some of what he shows us at home onto the track.

A nice day at Warwick when we also sponsored the 'Charlie Poste Chase'. As you will know Charlie retired from race riding a couple of months ago, and we wanted to do something to mark the occasion. aside from another picture to hang on the wall, we couldn't really come up with anything, until Barney Simons suggested sponsoring a race!! Light bulb moment!!

A massive thank you to Charlie for all his efforts over the last 12 years, winners, shopping trips, riding out twice a week come rain or shine and a big input with race plans etc. We will miss him enormously, but as he & Francesca are only down the road will have plenty of opportunity to keep in touch.

We were delighted to attend Charlie & Frans' wedding last month as well, which was a fabulous occasion. Perfect day, stunning bride & the groom didn't brush up to badly either.

The team as always doing a fantastic job, especially as we are a man down. Its always disheartening when you give someone a chance and they then throw it back in your face. The work load huge this week as we had our Owners morning on Saturday.Lovely to see so many faces & a huge thanks to Nic Allen & Paul Mohan for all their help with pig cooking and catering, and as always Terry for yet more cakes!!

The horses all looking well, coats suddenly have started growing rapidly so clippers going constantly at present! Plenty of rain about but it did manage to stay away last Saturday, which was a relief!

Harriet & I had a very wet & muddy week in Ireland for her first competition since breaking her wrist. Huge fun, but bloody hard work on the mud, and possibly a rather large consumption of alcoholic beverages to compensate!!

Entries at Ludlow tomorrow, then nothing more until a busy looking time next week

 

  

 

 

 

Tuesday, 03 September 2019 10:07

September 3rd

The refurbishment of the woodchip gallop now on its final week (hopefully) an extension to complete the loop & a complete new top up all round, with a new layout incorporating the existing circle as a roundabout, will make a massive improvement to the facilities here. It also gives us a wide grass strip getting on for four furlongs long, which will also serve as a fantastic schooling ground.

Its always a long old job and 'Digger Mick' doing sterling work - can't wait to be able to start to use it.

Great to have Andrew & Jane Nicholls' Oneida Tribe back after his summer break, and hoping he will have a bit more luck this season.

The new filly from Ireland arrived last week, and it was nice to welcome a good turn out of the National Hunt Racing Enthusiasts to meet her on Saturday morning. Scorpion Sea went off to her new home on Monday, and we wish Bryony & Aero all the best for many happy years of fun together.

Future Boy has gone of to start a new life as well, & hopefully both homes will work out well for horses and their new riders.

The ROR charity is in the news today, and Harriet & I experienced the charity first hand when we took Thomas Crapper to the championships at Aintree last week. Crappy has always loved an occasion and took part in the 'Always a Star' parade on Saturday evening and then did some showing on Sunday.

He won two classes and was third & fourth in two others. He behaved impeccably and was much admired. A big step for a horse so recently out of training, and with a rider on board with a broken wrist!!

He is off to Moreton -in - Marsh show on Saturday for more of the same, having also done his first dressage test on the week which he duely won! TC is such an intelligent horse he can just turn his hooves to anything, and its great to see him setting out on the next phase of his career.

The rest of the string slogging away on the path back to full fitness - at least its a bit cooler now, which makes it a lot easier on horse & riders.

Angel of The North ran a couple of times last week. She is owned by the Mulrine family and Finn is gaining some experience as an amateur. She didn't really get home at Wolverhampton but ran much better at Brighton. She will go back over hurdles before long but its great to get Finn started as an amateur jockey. 

 

Tuesday, 27 August 2019 12:14

August 26th

Very hot here today and it has been baking all weekend.

The horses have had an easy few days as they all had their flu jabs last week ready for the new season. The rules have changed again again after the outbreak earlier in the year, and their once annual booster has to be done every eight months.

We didn't want to be doing them just as everything is ready to run, so have plumped for the six month option which won't then have to be topped up until April.

Just hacking for a week, which in the heat is something of a relief. the troops also managed to have a reasonably ordinary bank holiday Monday - the calm before the storm!

Its been a busy few weeks but has included a week away for us with a welcome break in Greece with the family, which now seems several lifetimes ago!

Straight back to it on return, and off one plane onto another to Dublin & a day at Tattersalls Sales followed by a trip, to West Meath to look at a smart Kalanisi filly belonging to Martin Lynch. Martin has kindly offered to lease her to the NHRE to replace Scorpion Sea whose wind is not letting her be a racehorse. she is looking for an alternative career, and the new filly arrived at 4.30 on Sunday morning.

In between the travelling we had an important evening giving Charlie Poste, who has been our stable jockey for 12 years, and who retired a few weeks ago, a proper send off at the end of his racing career.

Fran & I had managed to hatch a plan, that Charlie didn't know about and a good gathering of jockeys, owners, trainers, and friends all turned up to The Bell in Alderminster to have a drink with Charlie & wish him well.

A fun evening and one which we hope Charlie enjoyed. 

We had many happy days on the track with Charlie & some super winners, and we will miss him immensely. However he & Fran have built up a very successful pre-training/pointing business & we wish them all the very best for the future along with a massive thank you for all of the miles travelled on Dickin horses!

Another good bye was to Toby Collins who has been spending his Summer holidays with us working in the yard. We would have been quite happy to kidnap Toby on a permanent basis but GCSE results loomed & funnily enough his Mum insisted on him going home for them!! Well worth it as some great results - well done Toby & thanks for all your help this summer!

The extension to the woodchip gallop is well under way & will improve the facilities again here at Hill Farm. It will be a mile around the woodchip once finished, also giving us a super grass gallop along side it which will also accommodate our schooling ground. Should all be done by the end of next week and will compliment the stiff hill gallop well.

A couple of runners at the end of the week, but the main gang won't be ready until the end of next month and the season is kicking off properly, hopefully along with plenty of rain.

The days are drawing in massively & Darren is having to turn lights on when he feeds in the mornings, which have a very Autumnal feeling to them already!

 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019 06:59

July "3rd

Summer holidays seem to have flashed past for the horses, and most are now back into work. They have all summered really well with conditions good for plenty of grass (unlike last year when it looked like a desert up here!) and also minimal flies.

The team have all been having some well deserved down time too, and looking well rested and ready for action!

That said, we have have a man down after Harriet had a horrible fall eventing a couple of weeks ago and smashed her wrist into small pieces! Surgery required and plenty of metal work inserted, she is now on a quest to get fit again, and is currently at Oaksey House who are helping her in that quest!

Oaksey is an incredible facility, and anyone on the stable staff register has access to it as well as the jockeys. Frankie has been spending time their too after knee surgery and they have been an incredible help. The mindset the polar opposite to the NHS who are happy for you to take forever to mend - everyone who rides horses wants to be back yesterday!

The team here have been fantastic in helping keep Harriets' string on the road whilst she mends, and as soon as she is given the green light they will be ready to go. 

Exciting to have some new equine faces in the yard after a few shopping trips. Some new babies, and a lovely winning pointer, Secret Cove added to the string last week at Ascot sales.

Not many runners through the summer this year, a couple getting handicap marks, and sadly Scorpion Sea retired from racing as her wind not up to being competitive. SS is looking for a new home, so if she would be of interest for some post racing activity do get in touch. 

After a couple of months with no Open Mornings its back to it again next month - Terry has his cake tins lined up and we are looking forward to seeing you all on August 3rd! 

 

Monday, 17 June 2019 10:30

Monday 17th June

Flaming June it has not been! A LOT of rain fell last week, and planned outside get togethers very much on hold for the moment.

Planned runners staying at home as racing mainly cancelled due to water-logging. If only we had had some of this in the Winter it would have made life so much easier.

The holiday makers not looking wildly impressed with the conditions, but balanced out by no flies yet & plenty of grass, its probably an OK option!

 Fair to say there are several who have completely let themselves go, and whose figures are going to take a bit of getting back!

Nice to see them looking so relaxed and not too long before they are back in again.

The team having well earned breaks, and nice to welcome Finbar Mulrine who has been coming in to ride out whilst Ceris off in Ireland fora few weeks.

Plenty of visitors here to visit and see the horses having some down time.

Only a couple of boxes left to power wash, the strimming is a never ending job as well, as fast as you get to the end its time to start at the beginning again!

We said a sad au revoir to Alice at the end of May (although she has already been back to ride out!!) before she heads off for her Australian adventure. Hope to see her again before she goes.

Hopefully a couple of runners at Uttoxeter this week conditions allowing.

 

 

Monday, 10 June 2019 10:53

WINNER!!

Great to have our second winner of the new season on Friday. Hopefully starting out as we mean to go on for this year, having dug a very large hole and thrown last season into it!!

Anti Cool has had more than his fair share of problems over the years, and is basically made of glass, but when he gets it right does so in an impressive sort of way!

Its been a difficult time for everyone concerned with EPDS Racing, and as mentioned in a previous blog, there is really no need for us to comment more on a well documented subject, but hats off to Anti Cools' long suffering and patient owners who have stood by him (including EPDS) through thick and thin.

He was unlucky to get beaten on the line at Wincanton after being in front for a long time as he was travelling so well, and then just getting caught.

After a disappointing run at Worcester he had a 'mini break' and headed off to Market Rasen looking a picture. BTO for Harriet T much deserved.

Always keen under Tabitha Worsley, the pair sat handy (didn't want to be in front too soon!!!) joining the leader going to the last, and then scampering away to win tidily, without any undue exertions.

Tabitha is riding out of her skin at present, so well done to her, although I do think the home team deserve a special mention for skill and patience in getting this lad back to the winners enclosure! Its taken a while in coming but even sweeter for it!

Nice to disturb the residents of Park Lane again.

Much excitement last Sunday as Harriets' event mare Suzie Bell finally produced her foal - only took 369 days, and is the smallest foal you have ever seen. Feisty as you like though, and coming home from Batsford Stud today, along with Timons Tara and her colt by Dartmouth. thanks to Alan & Anna Varey and their team for all the care & attention (and sleepless night!). Suzie was the last of 60 they have foaled so a good nights sleep will be very much deserved.

Looking at the forecast not many outside jobs going to to get done this week so the last of the power washing to finish, as it looks as if a monsoon is heading our way. 

All of the holiday makers looking fat and well, although I don't think they are going to appreciate the rest of the week!

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