Having had our personal best season last term, it was a relief to start this season off with a winner on the first day. Stoney Mountain took the long journey North to Hexham in his stride to win over fences for the first time. Under a lovely ride from Gavin, he got his head in front where it mattered. He’s not the most straight forward of individuals and is never going to win by far, but under a strong ride from Gavin he won well in the end. He should be able to defy a penalty at this time of year, and will be kept on the go for a moment.
Stoney Mountain wins at Hexham.
Jumping is the name of the game, and Howdilyoudo did just that on her debut over fences when winning a dramatic race at Stratford. She won a brace of handicap hurdles last summer, and has always promised to take to jumping the bigger fences, and I’d like to think she can improve again. Unfortunately Rose O’Hara took a nasty fall in the same race, but thankfully she is ok and there should be a race for her this summer too.
Howdilyoudo wins on chasing debut.
I was thrilled to see Arbennig winning over fences at Fakenham last weekend to reward his owner’s patience. He is still a big baby, but is he improving and looks like he is capable of winning a few this summer for us. It has taken a while for the penny to drop with him, but now that it has, it wouldn’t surprise me if he can keep progressing.
Arbennig wins over fences at Fakenham.
I thought Socialiser showed a lot of promise on his racecourse debut when 2nd at Fakenham in a Hunter Chase. He had won a Northern Point-to-Point and looks a promising recruit for Foxtrot. He’ll go out on his summer holiday now, and should be an exciting horse for the winter. It was lovely to see Chapmanshype back to form when 2nd at Newton Abbot. Having won 8 of his first 16 starts under rules, he was rather caught in the handicapper’s grip. However, he is coming back down to a reasonable mark, and he is returning to form too, so it shouldn’t be long until he is back winning again. Another how showed he is coming back to himself again is Bucko’s Boy who was 2nd at Hexham under a lovely ride from Page. We’d been running him over 2m4 and he appreciated dropping back to 2m on this occasion.
The majority of our other recent runners have all been placed with Shady Daisy looking mightily unlucky when 3rd on her racecourse debut in a bumper at Newton Abbot for the Jamie Snowden Racing Club. She met all sorts of trouble in running and dropped from 3rd to last, before rallying again late to be 3rd and staying on. I am quite sure that with a clear run, she would have won, but that’s racing sometimes, and hopefully she can make amends next time out. Unfortunately, Beholden will have to wait before we see him out again as he picked up a niggle when 3rd at Fontwell. Whilst, Midnight Centurion was also 3rd at Fontwell, but is now out on his summer holiday and will come back to go novice chasing in the autumn.
We haven’t got as big a summer team this season, as we have been reinvesting into a strong winter team, and we bought a lovely horse at the Punchestown sale:
Bill Jack is a gorgeous athletic 4-year-old bay gelding by Shantou out of a winning sister to the dam of the leading French chaser, Remember Rose (won 3m5f Grande Steeple-Chase de Paris). Bill Jack is the full brother to a four-time winner and very useful 3m-3m1f hurdle winner Tullyesker Hill. He is a very good looking 16”2 horse, he has scope and athleticism to match. He came from the Irish pointing scene, where Declan Queally trained him to be 2nd on his debut, where he attempted to make most of the running from half way. He had all of the field burnt off before two out, but ultimately his young jockey went too quickly and he got a bit tired, which was to be expected on his debut.
Meanwhile, we bought two more at the Doncaster Spring Sale:
A gorgeous 3-year-old filly by Kayf Tara out of a winning Kapgarde mare called Manaphy. This filly’s half-sister has won twice over hurdles, whilst the dam was a winner in France and is the sister to the Grade 2 winner, Molotof (who won five races including the Kennel Gate at Ascot) and to the 9-time winner, Marracudja (who was placed in Grade 1 and Grade 2’s) as well as to the French Listed winner, Middle. She is also a sister to the dam of Mercurey, who is the highly regarded bumper winner for Willie Mullins. This Kayf Tara filly moves beautifully, is very light on her feet, yet has size and scope to make up into a chaser. Obviously, one big attraction to her was that she is 100% GBB qualified.
Passing Well is a wonderful model of a horse, and he has the size and scope to make up into a top-level horse. He is a 5-year-old bay gelding by Coastal Path out of a winning sister to the multiple black type winning, Papy Mamy. His dam is by Passing Sale who sired Mon Mome to win the Grand National as well as many other Graded winners such as Oslot, Terminal etc. Horses of this calibre seldom come on the market, but he was part of Robert Tyner’s dispersal sale who has recently retired from racing, and I thought we needed Passing Well in our squad as he has the ability to take us to the very top! He was 2nd last time out at the Punchestown Festival in a seriously competitive 21 runner bumper, where he was squeezed on the home turn and lost his position, but then rallied to stay on to be 2nd and closing on the winner at the line. He will go straight novice hurdling in the autumn, and he has the capability to make up into a Graded performer.
The other bit of news from this end is that poor Lucy took a nasty fall earlier this month, and was airlifted off to the JR Hospital in Oxford. It turns out that she has broken and dislocated her hip. After a week in hospital and a five-hour op, she then had a week confined to upstairs but is now downstairs, but can’t sit down for 5 weeks (she’s allowed to either stand or lie), so it’s all a bit frustrating for her. However, at least the pain is under control and she’s on the road to recovery now. Thankfully we have a wonderful team here, and so everyone is rallying around, but I think the children might be getting tired of my cooking!!!