Valentine Mist’s win delights yard
FROM a historic location with some of the best views in the entire county, one of the smallest stables in Gloucestershire pulled off a remarkable feat of training.
Without the use of gallops, James Grassick produced Valentine Mist in peak condition at Bath.
The seven-year-old was tailed off in her prior start and out the back in the others this summer, so it was no surprise the bookmakers made her a 100/1 shot.
Grassick, 49, trains the mare and his other three horses on Cleeve Hill.
The victory for the little yard was a return on the determination and patience shown by all involved.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bits,” said Grassick, a former jockey who rode a winner at Prestbury Park in 1994 for his late father Liam, who was better known as Billy.
“We don’t have gallops and do all our fast work on Cleeve Common.
“We train by optimising the Thoroughbred as an athlete, just as humans do.
“The topography of the land around here helps condition the horses. It’s a lovely environment and they are happy.
“One of the biggest things about training is having patience.
“Valentine Mist has been tricky with her food, so we have treated her with kid gloves.
“The jockey Sophie Ralston gave her a positive ride and the confidence to do the job.”
Grassick and his wife Natasha also prepare a handful of sports horses at Dryfield Farm, situated on the outskirts of Winchcombe.
He also regularly competes in showjumping and dressage events, having grown up in the family business experienced in training horses for such disciplines and life on the racecourse.