Valen­tine Mist’s win de­lights yard

Gloucestershire Echo - - RACING -

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.

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