Last Saturday marked the end of the jump season and our first full year here at Bonita Racing Stables and I feel very happy with both.

Starting with our last few runners before the end of the season, Casino Markets was the busiest and ran brilliantly at Cheltenham (19 April) in a Grade 2 chase to finish third, beaten just four and a bit lengths.  It was a fantastic effort and he came out of that race so well we thought we’d send him to Sandown (29 April) for the novice handicap chase that Junction Fourteen won last year.    He jumped superbly round Sandown as well and was beaten a length and half finishing third again and we couldn’t have been more proud of him.  He will have an easy couple of weeks now before we look for another target for him – he certainly deserves that!

I sent Shotgun Paddy up to Ayr (22 April) for the Scottish Grand National and in fairness the ground, when we declared, was good to soft but there was no doubt it was quicker than ideal for him.  Also, having put the visor on him, he was travelling flat out and not really thinking about his jumping and hence went through two or three fences and the race just didn’t happen at all for him. Very sensibly Daryl pulled him up early, he came home with a nasty cut behind, but is completely fine and he will now go out on his holidays with a view to targeting the veteran’s chase’s next season.  The frustrating thing for Shotgun is, as it’s been so dry this winter he hasn’t had many opportunities to go to the races, but when he has, he has run really well and shown his ability is still there.  Soft ground is what he needs so everything else goes slower so we are definitely wanting a wet winter for him this year.

Chelsea Flyer also ran at Sandown (29 April) but for him it was one race to many.   He is a lovely horse with lots of ability and ran a super race up at Aintree, but it’s now time for him to go on his holidays, so he is now being let down ready to enjoy some time in the field this summer.  His aim next season will be to either go handicap hurdling or more likely novice chasing.

We always have a few horses running across the summer, so watch this space, but from now and through to early summer it is certainly a time for the entire team to have a bit of a break and regroup.

Reflecting on the season in general it has been extremely rewarding.  Our move here has always been about the future, and we had a lot of nice young horses to go to war with.  The key thing was to nurture them and hopefully display their potential and that was certainly achieved looking at our bumper results, we have never had so many nice young horses to go novice hurdling with next season. There were still plenty that were too immature to run this time around but will be ready for the Autumn and look equally exciting.

It’s hard to name some horses rather than all from the stable, but from the bumper horses; Irish Prophecy, Enniscoffey Oscar, Gunfleet, Majestic Moll; novice hurdlers Buster Thomas, Talent To Amuse and Chelsea Flyer, and older horses Set List, Fox Appeal, Pawn Star, Fortunate George and Casino Markets have really stood out, as well as the Exeter loving Caulfields Venture! There are so many others to note so it really is exciting times ahead.

There’s no doubt it took us a little time to get a handle on the gallops here at Bonita following the move, and the best way of using them, but we feel we are there now, and watching the horse’s working up the grass, whatever the weather, certainly puts a smile on my face.

This has been a massive move for us and the success it has achieved would not have been possible without the support of all our owners and their horses, as well as our tremendous team here, who do their jobs with a smile on their faces (mostly!) through whatever weather is thrown at us and really are a pleasure to work with.  So, for everyone that is a part of this operation THANK YOU and we cannot wait for the Autumn already, when we get going again into full swing!

I will still be updating the Bonita’s Blog across the summer so please keep checking in!