While much of central England ground to a halt after Sunday’s “snow bomb” dumped several inches of the white stuff, in a Warwickshire field a certain bay stallion was having an absolute whale of a time.
Nick Skelton’s double Olympic gold medal-winning ride Big Star, now enjoying a very happy retirement from competition at the age of 14, couldn’t contain his excitement at being met by knee-deep snow when he was turned out today (11 December).
“He was having a great time playing around,” said Nick, whose stables received a massive covering of around eight inches of snow.
“Henry” maintained all the grace and athleticism he showed in the ring as he kicked up his heels — and posed majestically for the camera — loving every minute of his “snow day” in the magical winter wonderland.
Just down the road, it was all hands on deck at the racing establishment of Nick’s son, National Hunt trainer Dan Skelton, when staff struggled to negotiate the country lanes to get to work.
“A few turned up but the roads were blocked — luckily Sunday is a pretty quiet day though,” said Nick.
As you would expect from the Skelton team, they managed to keep the show on the road with a 4am start on the gritter and tractors and after some expert harrowing the gallops were open for business as usual.
By this morning, they’d even managed to get the day’s three runners on the lorry and out of Lodge Hill, making it down to Fontwell Park racecourse in West Sussex, where jockey Harry Skelton rode an impressive winning double, first in a novices’ hurdle on the short-priced favourite Roksana, following up with a seven-length victory in a handicap chase on Get On The Yager.