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13th November 2023

Plus 13 and raining when driving in. We have had 25mm over the weekend...

No runners over the weekend meant I watched and enjoyed an afternoons racing watching TV. Low sun at Aintree one of my bugbears, but then I am not a rider! Surely a race time change would help!?

Remembrance Sunday and I was able to attend a church service (usually racing) to celebrate in one of our local church in Hazelton.

Mrs B’s father read the lesson and although a small church it was pretty full. Many of the congregation including the vicar returned to Clare’s parents for a post service ‘sweet sherry..’ I am sure that is what they drank in my youth.. certainly not nowadays.. Jumbo Hicks certainly does not do sherry..

Shocking news about Graham Lee.. Please pray for him..

Monday morning brought Ben Homas, Dave Allwood and Tony Bailey for a morning on the gallops followed by breakfast.. An IJF auction prize. Nothing like starting the week on the right note?

Sadly it has been decided to retire the wonderful Ajero from racing..

Ajero who is a half brother to the great Charbel was bought privately by Julie Martin after he had finished 3rd in a bumper at Thurles.

He might not have been as tall as his brother, but he was supremely athletic.

Ajero started his career for us over hurdles at Huntingdon in the days when it was difficult for owners to go (covid) and David Bass my stable jockey was injured and out of action.

Hence why we asked a rather young and very confident Harry Cobden to ride him. Harry at that stage had never ridden me a winner, although he had ridden plenty of seconds..On legging him up I told him that Ajero was a hard puller and needed settling in, and if he did as I told him he would be breaking his duck.

So relaxed was Ajero going to the start that Harry, in his wisdom, decided (probably rightly) that I did not have a clue what I was talking about and he would ride him handier that I had asked him to do.. Ajero pulled hard during the race and although Harry did not really do much wrong he finished second…and aplogised!!

I am a big fan of HC’s but I have never let him forget it.. Not helped by the fact he rode another horse an hour later and after finishing third, HC advised the owner to sell him.. that horse has won many races for his new trainer!!

Anyway, although Ajero was beaten. Julie Martin was absolutely thrilled with her new horse as she was able to see the potential of her purchase and was able to remind David why she had bought him!

Moving on to Ajero’s career.. David Bass returned from injury and he and Ajero won they their next 4 hurdle races, all on right handed courses.

The handicapper was not kind on him the following season but he did win a valuable handicap at Taunton.. Then he went for another valuable handicap back at Huntingdon when at well odds on he fell...

Ajero just loved fast ground and because there were no suitable hurdles races for him, we jokingly (not) thought we would get him handicapped to run at Royal Ascot..

We had to quickly get three runs in.

He was slow learner about coming out of stalls and on his first start he imitated the famous Hamlet Advert and was so far behind after two furlongs that we were worried that he might not even finish in time for the next race.. Ajero has always surprised us..  he turned in to the home straight and simply flew home and was beaten a neck by a very good horse of William Haggas’s..

We then had to get two more quick races in before closing dates for Royal Ascot.. We ran him twice in 8 days in late May and on both occasions he finished second..

Two weeks later.. Royal Ascot and Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes.. Ajero just scraped him by the skin of his teeth..God it was hot on the day and Ajero was in fine form.. He ran an absolute blinder to finish second.. we were so proud of him.. What a gem!

3 weeks later he travelled down to Glorious Goodwood, where he won..I gave one of those interviews on Racing TV that I would rather forget.. Blame co-owner Dan Hall.. Yes, it was the last race!

Ajero was second again at Goodwood and then holiday times.

This year we needed a couple of runs to get him fully would up for a Royal Ascot repeat and although he did not, he still ran an absolute blinder to finish 4th.. The following day he found to be lame and after extensive x-rays and treatment his owners Julie and David Martin and Dan Hall have rightly decided to retire him and give the opportunity of a wonderful life away from racing.

What a huge pleasure it was to train him. Kate Paddock looked after him and just loved him. David Bass described him as 'Kind, big hearted and very fast!!'

Ajero gave Julie and David Martin and Dan Hall, and of course all of us here at Thorndale some wonderful days and we have some great memories which will be with us for ever... Now Ajero will have a very spoiling life at Bondwood Farm..

On that sad but happy note we have one runner today at Kempton.. El Rio heads there and for my thoughts please click here.

Epic game of football..

Before you go Please Please sign this petition.. I find it staggering that it has not reached the 100k mark by now!