Firstly, Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a lovely day spent very differently to normal I’m sure.
Today was meant to be spent with 4 runners at Chaddesley Corbett but unfortunately was called off waterlogged.
Christmas Eve was a very wet one and with the amount of water, unfortunately washed away the bottom of our gallop! Luckily, Nick from Stow Groundswork came out within 24hrs to put the gallop right and fix all the damage from the rain. Thank you Nick along with Neil, Phoebe and Harry that helped.
We’ve had a few owners come for a socially distant morning on the gallops this week. Matthew Dodwell came to see knockaderry flyer this morning, Charlotte and Jeff Boyce and Tom Waters popped in to see their WATTIAP horse, Heist.
Joanna Graham and Kirsty Imm popped up to see their smart young breakers progress
And Victoria Terry visited her 4yo who is beginning his education.
Not a white Christmas this year but white it was this morning at MCR. Driving in at 6am it was a normal fresh morning. By 8am, we had a layer of snow and by 12.00 we were suitably snowed in! I was meant to be collecting a horse today but we weren’t risking taking horses on the slippy roads today. We’ll try again tomorrow.
A few new arrivals this week.
Our Norse Dancer 3yo returned to the yard having had a nice long break to grow and mature after being broken in during the summer. He was well bought by Ed Bailey Bloodstock and looks like he could be good value. He looks strong, athletic and tough. Shares still available in this lovely young horse.
Call His Bluff is a new recruit owned by Kelvin Lancey. Call His Bluff has won a point to point and has some nice form in Ireland. Irish jockey, Mikey Hamill, recommend him to Kelvin and he looks a lovely horse that we will have some fun with.
Half sister to Madame Hannah by Dunaden arrived at the yard last week. Owners/breeders Roger and Yvonne Allsop have bred some lovely horses over the years and I’m very lucky to have 2 in training with me. Madame Hannah ran a great race on debut for me at Larkhill to come 2nd in a good bumper and followed up with a good 4th at Maisemore this season. She’s a horse I rate highly and I’m delighted to have her half sister in the yard.
We also have 2 problem horses arriving this week.
So my last blog of 2020, and Looking back on the year we had, and what a year it’s been!! Meeting some great people, losing some incredible people too, all under the big dark coronavirus cloud.
We started the year well with our first runner, George Fernbeck, finishing a nice 2nd in a good race over at Sheriff Hutton ridden well by Ben Love.
Unfortunatly due to Coronavirus, Ben moved back home to Ireland in the summer and was a big loss to the team, but opened up the door for Ella McGarty Jones and James Busst.
Coronavirus hasn’t been easy for us with the 2019/20 season being cut short in March and going into a national lockdown was our biggest nightmare. We dipped from 13 horses down to 3, scratching our heads and worrying about what the future would hold. Staff had to be laid off and horses turned away. Luckily I have very loyal owners and we bounced back stronger than ever with 20 horses coming back in August.
A promising start with a 10 week countdown put together by yard sponsor, Cotswold Film Company. Madame Hannah and Prove Me Wrong showing plenty of promise early on, but a second lockdown wasn’t what we had planned for.
Unfortunately with no racing and finances running tight for millions of people over the UK, we had to lose a few of the horses that we worked so hard to get. Dara’s Present, Cranbrook Causeway and Perishing Missile are just a few that had to move on. A huge knock for us.
Luckily that lockdown only lasted a month and now we’re back in a Tier system where we will hopefully remain, and be able to continue racing. A huge huge thank you to all my loyal owners for sticking by me during such a tough year.
With such lovely horses in the yard, we have a great bunch of staff surrounding them. Ella McGarty Jones works her socks off and is looking forward to riding her horse, Bernardelli, in point to points this season. James Busst is a good rider and enjoys riding the young horses and seeing them progress. Danielle Riley rides work and schools regularly and is another huge asset to the yard. Tommie O’Brien comes in to ride out weekly and rides most of my horses at the races. A lifetime of experience and a brilliant judge makes my life a lot easier. Izzie Marshall rides out regularly with a smile on her face and is a very talented young lady lady jockey. Determined, enthusiastic and confident.
And a huge thank you to the jockeys that slot in when Izzie or Tommie can’t take the rides. James King and Jack Andrews are both riding at the top of their game and slot in well when a spare ride comes up. You’re only as good as the people around you and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by some amazing people.
And to finish, we had to say some hard goodbyes in 2020 too.
Harley Cornock was a credit to me. Harley worked hard and would bring a smile to everyone’s faces, even on the hardest days. Harley loved to dance and would regularly arrive in the mornings with a new dance move or routine that he had learnt on the dance floor over the weekend that would have the yard in hysterics. Talented, strong and quiet are the words I would use to describe Harley on a horse. He was naturally gifted and could settle the keenest of horses and could ride horses that most couldn’t.
Harley loved car racing and showjumping. He would regularly compete his horse ‘Any Currency’, or otherwise knows as ‘Woody’ that he looked after and rode every day when he worked for Martin and Belinda Keighley. When Harley wasn’t riding horses, he was a keen driver and would compete all over the uk with much success. We met years ago when I was riding out for Martin Keighley during my time as a jockey, and we instantly clicked and became best of friends. When I moved yards in 2019 and the yard began to grow, Harley offered to come to work for me and we made some fantastic memories together and had some great results. A dark morning in March, Harley didn’t arrive for work. That was the darkest day of my life, let alone 2020. Harley Cornock will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Harls. A friend, colleague and a member of the MCR family that will never be forgotten.
Here’s to a successful, happy and healthy 2021 with plenty of winners!
Happy New Year
Ella and Bernardelli
Right to left – Harley, Calvins Gal, Ben and Max
Snowy morning this morning. Knockaderry Flyer and Bernardelli
Happy Christmas from MCR
Louis Gill (Cotswold Film Company) and Zack after Cloudy Joker won at Tabley
Nick from Stow Groundwords working hard to get the gallop back
Norse Dancer 3yo