“The impact Jamie has made into the ultra-competitive world of National Hunt racing is a great credit to him and his staff’s ability to run a hugely successful operation. We are not dealing with a man blessed with 150 horses where the ratios would lend itself to success. Jamie has proved from a relatively small crop, that given the horse, he can do the job.
Present View would be the obvious starting point. A Cheltenham Festival success two seasons ago was the crowning moment of Jamie’s second season in Lambourn. He then returned to the scene of his biggest victory at the start of last year in the Paddy Power Chase and ran an excellent third. An interrupted campaign meant Present View was only seen once after that but in Jamie’s own words “he has come back and looks absolutely fantastic, I have never seen him looking so well”. It would give his supporters, and there are many, hope, that he can go two places better when he returns to Prestbury Park for the 2015 renewal of the race. It is easy to forget that Present View is only a 7yo and given his prominence in big races over the past few years and it is likely that his best years are still ahead of him.
Val De Law, 3rd behind Clarcam in an Aintree Grade 1 at the end of last year, is another horse that will get Snowden supporters salivating. Cheesy alliteration aside, this is a horse that has really caught the eye since coming over from France. Whilst there is plenty of water to pass under the bridge at this time of year, Jamie has targeted the Arkle for this strapping son of Epalo.
Following their successful hurdle campaigns in 2014, Monbeg Theatre and Souriyan will step up to larger obstacles this season. Monbeg Theatre is my favourite horse in training and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to his owners as I will be backing him every time he runs. This is a horse with tremendous talent, guts and flair. There are high expectations that he will make an even better chaser than hurdler which gives me a good chance that I will back at least one winner this National Hunt Season. To put it bluntly, I love this horse, and I’m sure when people watch him run over fences, they will too.
Jamie has been busy in the off season buying a wide variety of horses from stores to juveniles off the flat, from Irish pointers to form horses. One such horse is a lovely Aga Khan bred 3 year old colt by Makfi called Baraymi, who is a half-brother to the Greatwood winner Brampour - he looks to be a very exciting juvenile hurdling prospect this season. Whilst there is a full sister to Oscar Time, who was runner up in The Grand National and won The Becher Chase – Mollyanna is jointly owned by HRH The Duchess Of Cornwall and David Brownlow.
It has been very easy for me to list the excellent horses in Jamie’s care and his achievements to date, but frankly, the biggest indicator to the continued success of the yard is in its expansion. A brand new ten box barn has been completed and will accommodate new recruits that will be hoping to emulate the likes of Cheltenham Festival winner Present View and Arkle hopeful Val De Law, who have proved emphatically that Jamie knows how to deliver on the biggest stage.
Added to all this, Jamie has shown himself to be approachable, charming and knowledgeable to those involved in the sport, the media and to the wider racing public.
One of the common sayings in racing is “there is no such thing as a certainty”, but, with some proven stars, exciting recruits and an expanding yard, more success for Jamie and his team is about as close to certain as you can get in this sport.
Good luck to all in the yard whether you are returning owners or new owners, here’s to a great year”
Oli Bell - Racing Uk Presenter