Having ended last season on a high, it was a bit of a relief to start the new season off well when Monbeg Theatre won the valuable Class 2 staying handicap hurdle at Haydock on the first Saturday of the new season. He followed up his Cheltenham win, with another fine front running ride by Page Fuller who is on target to retain her lady amateur championship which comes to a close on 9th June. Monbeg Theatre has always threatened to be a decent ‘Saturday horse’ and I am delighted that our patience is being rewarded now and he can go out on his holiday now and we can dream about progressing further with him next season and the Grade 2 West Yorkshire hurdle might be a suitable target in the autumn.
Monbeg Theatre wins the first big Saturday race of the new season.
We found an ideal chasing debut for Our Three Sons at Towcester in the middle of the month and he put in an assured round of jumping under Page to win in good style. He’ll improve for the experience and I look forward to another productive summer with him.
Our Three Sons wins on his chasing debut.
With Gavin out injured we’ve been using the best jockeys available, but its lovely to see Page taking the opportunities well and she will then be turning conditional in June and will remain a key part of our team here at Folly House. This will however open up an opportunity for an amateur in the yard so if anyone can recommend a promising youngster then please do send them our way. I am pleased to say that Gavin has now been passed fit and will be back riding this weekend, and I look forward to another good season in partnership together.
Our Reward had been off for a year with a suspensory niggle, but it was lovely to see him run well to be 2nd last weekend at Bangor. He had run the previous week, but he hadn’t appeared to put in a huge amount of effort so we bounced him out quickly and he put in an improved performance. Both Between the Waters and Flow from Devon were placed last weekend too and both will improve for their seasonal debuts.
We’ve not had too many other runners this month but we’ve been busy on the buying front. We went up to the Doncaster Spring sales last week and picked up two stores and one form horse, and we’ve also bought one from Ireland too.
I bought a cracking 3-year-old gelding who is by the same sire as Yanworth (Norse Dancer) and out of a sister to the three-time Gold Cup winner, Best Mate, and the Grade 1 winning hurdler Cornish Rebel, as well as the multiple winner Inca Trail. He is being backed and ridden away over the summer and will come into training in the autumn. This chap has lovely paces and looks a smart type. He is qualified for the £50,000 DBS Bumper at Newbury in early March 2019. He is for sale.
Norse Dancer store out of Best Mate's sister.
We also bought a lovely 3-year-old filly for some existing owners, by Midnight Legend out of the black type winning mare Ryde Back who I knew well from my time at Nicky Henderson’s. She is from the family of Celtic Ryde who won the Christmas hurdle at Kempton. She is MOPS registered which is an added bonus.
Midnight Legend store out of Ryde Back.
The horse in training we bought is Vieux Lille, who is an 8-year-old gelding who won 3 novice hurdles and was placed in a Grade 2. He was rated as high as 138 and was 2nd in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock over fences. However, he is still a novice over fences and now looks exceedingly well handicapped now too.
The horse we bought privately from Ireland is a hugely exciting 5yo gelding called Thomas MacDonagh by the wonderful sire Black Sam Bellamy (sire of World Hurdle favourite, Sam Spinner and our class 2 Scottish National festival winner, Naranja to name a couple). He is a half-brother to 5 winners including Another Moment who won a bumper and is now an 85 rated flat horse, and 2-mile hurdle winner, Jayed. His dam is a half-sister to Ibn Bey who was 2nd in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He has a wonderful blend of both stamina and speed. Thomas MacDonagh was placed on both his Irish Points in the autumn and also placed in an Irish Bumper this spring. He is a physically imposing individual as he is 16'3’ with plenty of strength and scope – a proper staying chaser.
Thomas MacDonagh placed in a couple of points and a bumper.