Welcome - Season 16/17

“Late summer.  Top Flat racing is entering its final furlongs, temperatures should be cooling and the evenings beginning to grow longer by the day.  For jump trainers, that’s just as well.

This is the time of year they go to sleep and snooze away happily to vivid, colourful dreams filled with ambitions, hopes and glories for the winter months ahead.  Not yet have there been any what-might-have-beens.  Plans can be formulated rather than scrapped and optimism overwhelms it wicked cousin pessimism.  In the ranks of jumps trainers, Jamie Snowden is entitled to dream more than most.

Every morning, breakfast should currently taste pretty good as Jamie toys with plans for a 40-horse string, four fifths of which are young horses with hopefully more of a future than a past where last season now thankfully belongs.  If the loss to injury of big hope Val De Law before he even set foot on a racecourse was a bitter blow, the career-ending injury that claimed 2014 Cheltenham Festival winner Present View was even more cruelly felt by all those at Folly House.  With very few winners early in the campaign, to accrue 17 winners was a tally which Jamie feels ‘rescued a respectable season’.  But a ‘respectable’ total is not what Jamie is satisfied with.

For his horses and his owners, he wants more and a positive Spring followed by a profitable summer campaign with nine wins already has put the Snowden team on the front foot as the more serious part of the jumps season looms into view.  The groundwork that has been put in now needs to be built upon and there is more serious graft ahead to succeed on a sporting stage that gets more competitive with each passing year.  But there are also opportunities.  Champion Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, his only current realistic challenger, might supply a suffocating dominance in Ireland’s jump racing but on this side of the Irish Sea, there is slightly more democracy.  The old order is not exactly crumbling but more blows are being landed on its chin by a thrusting new raft of trainers fighting hard to make their names and searching for the one of two horses that can tilt a career.  That includes Jamie Snowden, who is confident that there are winners to be had with his 40-horse armoury and good ones at that.  Perhaps even one good enough to fill the void left by Present View’s departure and take the Snowden team back to one of the big Spring Festivals with genuine chances.

Hopes are high that Val de Law, back after his season on the side-lines, can fly the stable flag and, with a Grade 1 place on his record, there is formbook evidence too that it is not too wild to dream about big days and may be even Cheltenham.  The Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown on December 3 might be the first major examination of those credentials.

Promising Three Ways might start out in the Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow on October 9 while Capsy De Mee, winner of a Graded Bumper in France, seems to have the pace to hopefully make a mark in novice hurdles.  Throw in the likes Midnight Chill – ‘a horse I love to bits’, says Jamie – Market Rasen bumper winner Naranja plus novice chaser new recruit Champagne James, favourite for the 2015 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and you start to get an idea of the potential in the string.

Now it is just a case of turning those dreams into reality."

Foreword by Marcus Townend – Daily Mail - September 2016

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