Despite the season ending 6 weeks early, I am thrilled that once again we have bettered our previous best season to end on 46 winners (from our 50-horse yard) with a total of just shy of £380,000. That came at a strike rate of 22%, and there were only two trainers inside the top 25 with a better strike rate. Our winner to runner ratio was an impressive 36%. Listed wins supplied by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s Pacify and Thebannerkingrebel and a victory over the Grand National fences at Aintree courtesy of Hogan’s Height were some of the many highlights. However, it was a shame the season was cut short so we missed out on the opportunity to see Hogan’s Height in the Grand National, Adrrastos in the Topham, and Thebannerkingrebel seeking a Grade 1 victory at Aintree.
The Grand Sefton chase winner Hogan's Height was going to be our first Grand National runner.
It does seem very strange that last week we were racing at the Cheltenham Festival, but events have moved so fast that on Tuesday we were racing ‘behind closed doors’ and by Wednesday every race meeting in Britain was suspended until the end of April owing to the coronavirus. We now have to battle through this period of uncertainty, and hopefully come out fighting stronger than ever. It’ll be a tough and strange couple of months, but we have a wonderful team of owners, horses, staff and jockeys so I feel positive that we can move into next season in a strong position from which to build on what has been an incredible season.
Since my last update of the blog, we added our final two winners for the season courtesy of Anythingforlove bolting up in another bumper and defying a penalty in the process with consummate ease, and Legends Ryde booked her place in the EBF Mares Final when showing her class to win at Ffos Las. Anythingforlove had won on racecourse debut and followed up at Catterick earlier this month under another fine ride by Page Fuller. We were planning on either going to the bonus race at Uttoxeter next weekend, or the Grade 2 Mares bumper at Aintree with her, however she will now have a holiday.
Anythingforlove wins another bumper under a penalty
As for Legends Ryde, she had won a bumper earlier this season and was 2nd in a listed race at Cheltenham in November, prior to her wind giving out on her hurdling debut. On the back of a wind op and a confidence building 2nd at Huntingdon, she won nice at Ffos Las a week ago under a powerful ride from Gavin Sheehan. We had planned on sending her to the Grade 2 Mares Final at Newbury this weekend, but instead she’s off on an early holiday too.
Legends Ryde wins her novice hurdle at Ffos Las.
Having had a few trials and tribulations with some of the team heading into the Cheltenham Festival, we decided to wait with some of them to go to Aintree instead, which we thought was sensible but in hindsight the coronavirus put a stop to that! So, we only took three to Cheltenham last week although that soon became two as we pulled Fact of the Matter out of the cross-country race when we saw how deep the ground was there. Thomas Macdonagh won three hurdle races prior to Christmas and he ran well to be mid division in the Martin Pipe handicap hurdle, and will be a smashing novice chaser next season. Whilst, Kiltealy Briggs was in the process of running a huge race in the Albert Bartlett until he made a terrible blunder at the 2nd last flight and that knocked him out of the race. Poor chap ended up in hospital all week afterwards having come down with colic. He’ll have a long holiday now and again he’ll make up into a cracking novice chaser next season.
Thomas Macdonagh and Kiltealy Briggs heading to the start at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
Having been 2nd in 6 of his last 9 runs, Coole Well was once again 2nd at Fakenham last week, this time back over hurdles as he hadn’t looked a natural over fences. Of our other recent runners, Alrightjack and Fortunate Fred both occupied 3rd spot over hurdles and in a bumper respectably. I was pleased enough with No Anxiety who ran better than his finishing position would suggest on his bumper debut. He was green enough and didn’t have a smooth run through the race but still looked to hold every chance until weakening inside the 100 yards. He is our first horse to run in the double green silks of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede who own him in conjunction with Chips. He’ll make up into a nice horse over the summer.
So that’s it for a while on the runners front……lets hope everyone stays healthy and we’re back racing before too long!