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November ends as successfully as December begins!

The horses have been fantastic over the past couple of weeks which has created a real buzz around the yard.

The end of November finished off as strongly as the start of December has been, with Full Irish winning the £20K chase at Lingfield (28 November) barely coming off the bridle. He really does love uber-soft ground and stepping him up to three miles was a great idea from Barry. I had been concerned that last year he wasn’t quite finishing out his races and I felt dropping him back in trip would make more sense, however Barry has been riding him every day and felt he had started to settle and ride more like a three-miler. He could not have been proved more right, as Full Irish was very impressive, jumping beautifully, of what there was to jump, as all bar one fence was removed in the back straight due to low sun! What was in front of him he was very good at and as-long as the ground is very soft there should be plenty more races for him to win.

Ladbrokes weekend at Newbury or two days at Doncaster? Obviously the latter when Newbury is just down the road! Doncaster has been a very good track for us, it provides decent ground even in the depths of winter and is a proper galloping track so we sent some nice horses up in that direction.

On the Friday (1 December) Enniscoffey Oscar (photo by Tony Knapton) went there and ran in a 2.5-mile novice hurdle. He had improved so much from his run at Kempton and routed the field by 15 lengths. He never missed a beat with his jumping, is as tough as nails and as honest as they come. He wouldn’t want the ground too soft, so we will try to find somewhere for him to go over the Christmas period and then look at the River Don back at Doncaster at the end of January. Vibrato Valtat did stay closer to home at Newbury and ran in the valuable 2.5-mile chase. He also ran a stormer to finish fourth and he heads up to Doncaster this weekend to run over three miles for the first time. I think his last run suggested he might just get further and he could just be getting himself dangerously well handicapped!

Saturday (2 December) morning for me was spent on the road back to Doncaster with several nice horses. Irish Prophecy has always been held in very high regard by us and up until this point never really had a race to win. I think the experience opened his eyes and ours, and he probably just wasn’t as far forward in both maturity and fitness as we thought. The field crawled and then sprinted and although he jumped well, he came there to deliver his challenge and was just not able to sustain it all the way to the line. Leighton was pretty easy on him when he knew he wasn’t going to beat the winner, Kalashnikov, who is obviously very good and all of us have learnt a lot on what Irish Prophecy needs to be doing. He’ll run over Christmas but at 17 hands and only four years old, he will only get better with time.

Having been a little bit down at the mouth after Irish Prophecy was beaten, Majestic Moll saved the day by jumping with her usual accuracy and enthusiasm and beat a decent field of mares to win the following race. Equilibrium restored!

Chelsea Flyer has just not quite delivered to date this season and having had a few issues with his feet, I am hoping that we are not to far away from getting him back on track. Barlow ran nicely to finish fourth, but probably didn’t quite get home over the extended three and a quarter miles. And, I was delighted with Shiroccan Roll’s debut run, being beaten just over five lengths. He is a lovely three-year old who should have a very bright future.

Junction Fourteen also ran a super race at Newbury, staying on for fourth. He jumped as beautifully as ever, but the ground was too slow for him. He will now wait for the better ground in the early spring, when I also think he may have himself on a decent handicap mark.

Not Normal also made his racing debut travelling all the way to Bangor for a bumper. He was a bit keen early on and Nick Scholfield did a good job of settling him, but once he got the hang of what this racing game was about he finished very strongly to finish third, after suffering a bit of interference. By all accounts it was a pretty decent bumper with lots of people being very keen on their horses. Not Normal is beautiful and if he can build on this run, he can hopefully get his head in front next time.

Sunday (3 December) saw a trip to Leicester to watch High Noon and Fox Appeal. High Noon is a fine big chasing stamp and having run well at Chepstow, on the face of it he was disappointing at Leicester. But in fairness to him, he is still very raw and was just too immature to handle that sort of ground on the hurdle course. It was very holding, and he just couldn’t get his feet out of it, in time I think he will enjoy that ground, but for the moment he is just too much of a baby and a next year horse. Foxy ran another corker to finish second in the veteran’s chase. What a star he has been for his team of owners. As long as the ground is not horrendous he will go to Sandown for the veterans chase final in January.

Having had a few days where pretty much everything finished in the placings it was a trip back down to earth at Haydock and Ludlow (6 December), where we gained letters rather than numbers! Buster Thomas fell at the last at Haydock. It was very holding ground and he just got tired and crumpled on landing. He has come out of the race fine and unscathed and just needs to learn not to be such a bull in his races and let the jockey tell him the speed and when to jump rather than taking matters in to his own hooves! Hopefully his fall may stand him in better sted for the rest of his campaign. He is a horse I regard highly and I think will come back with a vengeance.

At the other end of his career, Caulfields Venture honourably retired at Ludlow. He has been such a fantastic servant, who loved Exeter racecourse. Sadly, he didn’t get a chance to run there this season as the ground had been too soft this Autumn, but we went for a last run with him at Ludlow. During the race as his jockey tried to make him go faster, Caulfields had his ears pricked saying you must be joking and so we decided it was time to call it quits while he was still in one piece. He is ecstatic to know that Laura, who has looked after him for the past four years is going to keep him in his retirement. He already has more clothes in his wardrobe than I do so I think he will enjoy his dotage!

I was thrilled for Paddy, our conditional jockey, when he and Flemcara recorded their second win together of the season at Exeter (8 December). Flemcara was extremely impressive jumping and winning as he liked on ground that was unbelievably testing. He was the only one that was on the bridle coming to the last and won very nicely. He is very much on the upgrade, but might well have to be with the handicapper putting him up 10llbs.

The weekend saw a trip to Chepstow (9 December) where I Am Sam jumped and travelled well before tiring in the ground. The Sweeney ran a lovely race to finish third in the novice hurdle. And Shotgun Paddy said “Really? three miles is just not far enough for me anymore”! and finished with purpose to be only beaten six lengths, having made up a huge amount of ground in the home straight, with the race just finishing to soon. He is coming down to a mark where I think he could be extremely competitive and I’m looking forward to getting him started in veteran chases when the ground is very soft.

Mythical Legend ran a stormer first time out in nearly 600 days at Fontwell Park (11 December). She finished third behind a couple of decent mares on very wet ground. She has thankfully come out of the race well, so I am looking forward to getting her back out. She is a beautiful mare and it hopefully won’t be long before she gets her head in front.

The snow arriving here at the start of the week was definitely unwelcome and -7 the following day did not make my mood any better! I am very pleased to say that things have improved considerably and we were back on the grass this morning so I am very much hoping that the winners will continue to flow….

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Fortunate George delivers royal win

What an amazing day last Friday at Ascot (24 November) was for Fortunate George, the team here and all of George’s owners.

George was the most brilliant jumper of a hurdle and at the start of this year we were so excited about him going over fences, however, it has taken a bit of time to get his confidence over the big ones. You could see him gaining in confidence during his run at Newbury, but when you look at the lengths he gave away in front of the fences versus the distance he was beaten, he really should have almost won that day.

He really pulled it all together at Ascot on Friday and I must say that Johnny Burke gave him a super ride. At no point did he let him think anything but forward, and in doing so his jumping improved ten-fold. As I said to Johnny, I thought he may have lost his wing mirrors at the finish, as he won the race by sixteen lengths!

It was obviously great winning such a valuable race at Ascot, but the icing on the cake was the presentation, which was made by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. George is owned by a great group of people, who absolutely adore him, and I love the fact that each member of the syndicate got to have a conversation with the Prince and Duchess about their precious boy. George, and I’d expect most syndicate owned horses provide such a positive impact to the people who are involved with them and their own life challenges.

He went up 10lbs which is probably fair and I hope George has many more wins to come over fences. He has since had a constant stream of visitors plying him with polos and carrots, so if there were ever an incentive for victory, I think he has that!

Earlier in the week at Fontwell (19 November), I was delighted with Private Malone, who looks like he is getting back to his best. We really struggled to keep condition on him last year and hence I never really felt I had him right. This term he has been so much better and easier to train, and I hope he’ll now go from strength to strength. He certainly has the ability if he can get it all together.

Both Water Wagtail and Balibour ran well at Wincaton (23 November). Wagtail probably found the ground just a bit to testing and having put himself in with a shout at the third last, he made a slight error and that was him cooked, but he still finished an honourable third. Balibour has done nothing but improve this term and also finished third in his race at staggering odds of 80/1!

Racing is nothing if not a leveller. Having had a very good week, Woolstone One headed off to Uttoxeter (26 November) on Sunday. And at odds at 3/1 on, there was no doubt that we anticipated she would continue her winning ways. However, in a three-horse race it can always finish-up being tactical and she just got run out of it to finish second. There will be other days.

We have a busy week ahead of us, with plenty of runners especially up at Doncaster, where the plan is for Irish Prophecy to head north for the two-mile novice hurdle up there. Fingers crossed things will go to plan!

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Hitting form at Bonita Racing Stables

At last it looks like we have properly found our feet, and the horses are running very well. We’ve had a slower start than usual, in that in only our second season here, we were able to get on the grass earlier last year and get them fit from that, but with the dry Autumn this term it’s meant we needed to work out exactly how much we needed to do on the all-weather. Thankfully, I think we have that cracked now and the horses are running in a way that we would be expecting, or at least hoping!

We’ve now run some of our lovely novices, and horses such as Enniscoffey Oscar proved that we were a little bit off the pace when we first started out with them this season. He ran two nice races at Wincanton and Aintree but just got tired in the last few furlongs, whereas I was delighted with him at Kempton (13 Nov) as he showed us much more of what he’s all about when he ran a super race in a hot novice to finish third, only beaten by a couple of lengths. He is electric over his jumps and a horse that benefits from nice ground. I think he will leave these runs behind him as the season progresses and is a horse for the future.

Majestic Moll is another super bumper horse from last season, and has run two lovely races over hurdles this term. In her last race she was beaten only a length and half into second at Ludlow (26 October). Again, she has come on for that and like Enniscoffey is another that will benefit from decent ground.

Andy and the Frisky Fillies have been very patient owners with Flemcara. I was delighted to see him win on his first handicap start, ridden by our conditional jockey Paddy Cowley at Worcester (14 November). It was a great result all round, he is a super jumper and will enjoy the winter ground and will only go forward. The way he jumps his hurdles suggest chasing will be his game, and is another nice prospect for the stable.

One of our most popular winners of late was Water Wagtail at Warwick (10 November). He has been with us forever and is owned by Ian Bare who has been a great supporter of national hunt racing for many years. Wagtail is one of the most important horses in the yard for us, so to see him winning was fantastic. He leads all the babies over hurdles and fences at home and as well as that teaches the young jockeys how to do it. So, when Racing UK described him as a brilliant jumper it would have been a sad state of affairs if he hadn’t been! It was great for him to get this head in front, he looks marvellous and has come out of it very well. Hopefully he will be able to do the same again at Wincanton later this week.

Dark Mahler is another who also rewarded his owner’s patience. He was big and weak last year, but touch wood has been a lot better this time around and won a valuable handicap chase nicely at Ludlow (16 November). I must give Ludlow Racecourse a huge amount of credit as not only are they able to put up a huge amount of prize money, but their ability to feed us so well is magnificent! They are an example to many other racecourses and deserve all the support they get.

Buster Thomas was another one of our nice novices last year that debuted over fences at Exeter (15 November). In hindsight I shouldn’t have run him over three, as his jumping was so quick and the pace he naturally travels at on that soft ground, meant he was probably always doing a little too much through the race and was unable to sustain this effort to the line. I was absolutely delighted with him and I can’t wait to get him out again as he is a very exciting horse for us going forward and has plenty of quality.

Talking of horses with plenty of quality, it was an exciting / unbelievably nerve-racking day getting Irish Prophecy out for his first run over hurdles. He has always been an exceptional horse at home, and showed that when winning his two bumpers last season so, not surprisingly, there was much anticipation for his hurdling debut. He was extremely impressive, in what was an extraordinary race in that nothing seemed to want to get near to him from the beginning. This meant it was quite tough on him to be out on his own jumping in front for his first time over hurdles. He did look quite green in the early part of the race, but he could not under the circumstances have been more impressive, whilst having a racecourse gallop and jumping a few hurdles and finishing without really coming off the bridle. He also has come out his race very well. With so much natural pace he probably wouldn’t want to be inconvenienced with the ground being too soft, so we will be careful as to where we go with him and try and find another novice race and run him with a penalty. Looking at our options that is likely to be at Doncaster on the 2nd December, and then if all goes to plan look for something more testing over the Christmas period. Fingers crossed.

I am very pleased to report that Caulfields Venture was none the worse for his tip up at Ludlow (16 November). He was running the best race he’s run for a very long time, and it was unfair that he just clipped the top of the fence and knuckled on landing. Having gone there with the thought he would retire, I feel it would be the wrong way for him to end his career and deserves one more run if we can find a race where the ground is good.

There have been plenty of other lovely horses that have run recently that will no doubt improve on their debut efforts, The Sweeney definitely being one and Allez Jacques and Private Malone showing the benefits of that first run by both finishing second and leaving their debut efforts well behind them. I am keeping everything crossed that the horses will continue in good health, and that the winners keep on coming!

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Trans-Atlantic adventures and winning Woolstone One

It has been a whirl wind weekend – departing on Friday night for America but being back in time for lunch at Kempton on Sunday! In the main it is has been a good few days I am very happy with the horses.

Vendredi Trois ran his usual game race at Wincanton (20 October) finishing third. However, he is in the grip of the handicapper at the minute, but none the less he has been giving his owners some consistent fun.

I was also happy with Allez Jacques, who jumped and travelled well also at Wincanton, until pecking at the second last and tiring. He is certainly doing things in a better way this term, having been a bit keen in his races last year, he is now settling, and hopefully will also start to see out his races.

Saturday (21 October) saw Woolstone One making her debut for us at Ffos Las. By all accounts the weather was horrendous there with driving rain and unbelievably strong winds. She was as brave as a lion and battled all the way to the line to win nicely. This was a perfect start and she really is a genuine gutsy filly who will hopefully go onto better things.

Whilst they were getting blown away at Ffos Las, we were basking in 80 degrees plus heat at Far Hills, New Jersey. It was quite an occasion, the race meeting is an extraordinary event, where 40,000 people turn up to a field and pay a huge amount of money for the privilege! Tickets started at $200, with the VIP enclosure priced at $750 per ticket, and all were sold out moments of them coming on sale. The picnics out of the back of cars were something to behold, with kegs of beer equipped with proper pumps, food which could have graced the table of the savoy, and people everywhere!. The jockeys weighing room was a tent, much more akin to point-to-pointing and the horses were also stabled in tents in another field to the side of the racecourse. Considering they were running for $400,000, security was very relaxed to say the least! But this day has the most magical atmosphere, and worth experiencing if you ever get the chance. By all accounts, all the money raised from the ticket sales over the years of this event happening, has allowed a whole wing of a hospital to be built as well as maintain it. So, it is a truly outstanding effort.

Casino Markets looked as though he was feeling the effects of being out there and training and running on quick ground. He was a bit jarred and having jumped and travelled well to a certain point he made one mistake, and Ross Garrity who rode him, felt he was not quite right behind and pulled him up, which was absolutely the right thing to do. Fundamentally, he is fine, but I think he needs to come home and have a good holiday before running back here in the spring. The whole series, has been if not financially rewarding, extremely interesting and great fun and we just need to find the right horse for it. I take my hat off to Stuart and Chrissi Halpern who are the most supportive owners and hopefully they will be rewarded next time.

We caught the 9pm flight out of Newark on Saturday evening to land in time for breakfast at Heathrow on Sunday morning. This was followed by a quick change and lunch at Kempton, and De Rasher Counter’s debut for us over hurdles. He really is a super horse, he jumped beautifully and travelled well and just tired over the last to be beaten two lengths finishing in third. I think this horse has a big future, ideally running on ground with more cut and ultimately over fences, but he has more than enough ability to win over hurdles first.

I hope it will be busy and successful week ahead runner wise, and as ever we will keep you updated!

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Plenty of runners and stateside swansong

There’s no doubt the season is now getting started properly. We’ve probably just left our first lot of runners a little bit short, but in the main they have all come out of their races unbelievably well having gained a lot of experience and should draw on that next time they go to the races.
Enniscoffey Oscar jumped and travelled beautifully at Exeter (12 October) before getting tired after the second last. He showed lots of promise, but he has been a more relaxed horse at home this season and probably caught us out a little with fitness. He has come out of his race very well and I expect he will be out again shortly.
The same applies to Majestic Moll who ran at Chepstow (14 October) in a very competitive mares hurdle. She travelled through the race extremely well before getting tired – almost a mirror image of Enniscoffey Oscar’s run. She also will be out racing shortly, as she was extremely fresh following her run!
The boys that had raced before such as Fox Appeal and Junction Fourteen (although as far as Junction Fourteen is concerned it is difficult to call his first outing at Market Rasen an actual run!), ran fantastic races at Chepstow (15 October), with Foxy showing everyone a clean pair of heels, bar one, in the veteran’s chase.
Junction Fourteen jumped phenomenally, but travelled perhaps a bit too well and paid the price towards the end when tiring to finish fourth. His jumping is exceptional and it was an absolute pleasure to watch him and it was so nice to see him back doing what he should do after two disappointing runs. His main plan will be the Beecher Chase at Aintree with a race in between, so fingers crossed we can continue an upward curve again with him.
Our biggest disappointment from Chepstow was Talent To Amuse, who went into the race looking fantastic. She clipped the top of the hurdle when sitting handy coming into the first flight and came down. She is such an honest filly, that she tried her hardest not to fall and in doing so over stretched the back of her knee, which resulted in a small fracture. She will thankfully be fine and it will heal of its own accord, but she will miss most of the season, which is a bitter disappointment for both us and her owners – Thurloe Thoroughbreds. She seems remarkably happy back at home and extremely comfortable and will hopefully see her at the races if not at the end of this season, certainly by the beginning of next.
It has been unseasonably warm and relatively dry until the last couple of days, so not having the horses quite as sharp as they should have been hopefully is no bad thing. They are just coming right, with the ground hopefully doing the same and so we won’t have to keep the horses on the boil waiting for the going. I hope the rain that should come this weekend, will make the ground safe and allow us to get plenty more of our exciting runners to the races.
I head off to America this weekend, for Casino Markets final run of his American jaunt. It is a $400,000 race at Far Hills and we are extremely excited. I think he has had a very good time while he has been out there and not sure how happy he is going to be coming back to the dreary British winter, but it will be very good to see him. I really hope he runs his race, so we can celebrate New York style!
I expect you’re aware of the very sad news that happened last weekend at Kempton, where a Racing Groom from Amanda Perrett’s yard, Kevin Dooley, was kicked by a horse and tragically lost his life. Our sincere condolences are with Kevin’s family and friends as well as Amanda’s team. Horseracing is a big community and everybody has felt this loss deeply. We are privileged to be working with such beautiful animals as horses, but the tragic incident highlights the dangers involved and the unpredictability of them.

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Jump season upon us

Now that the jump season is starting to get going, updates on Bonita’s Blog are going to become more regular again you will be pleased to hear!

We had very few runners over the summer and we are just starting to get going now. Having tentatively run a few, pretty much all of them will improve on their first start, having just needed it.  We’ve done plenty with them on the grass, but not a huge amount of sharp work and that is what they probably just lacked and are now tightening up at home.

Of what we have run, they have all come out of their races very well, and in varying ways I have been very pleased with them, especially as I know that they will have come on immensely. Fortunate George made his debut over fences on Friday (6th October) at Fontwell. He was a little careful over the first few fences, and on good going you can’t afford to give away any ground at Fontwell.  So, having found himself a lot further back than he wanted, Aidan Coleman did the sensible thing and gave the horse a really enjoyable run and I have no doubt he will improve no end for it. Looking on how he ran I don’t think Fontwell was the ideal track for him and a little bit more juice in the ground will also be to his liking.  I have no doubt he will put this run behind him as the season progresses.

We put a visor on Fox Appeal for the first time, also at Fontwell, which did light him up a bit! In the main I was very pleased with him as he finished fourth in a competitive handicap and showed all his usual enthusiasm. We hope to get him out again quite quickly, probably in a veteran’s chase at Chepstow this weekend.  I expect we will leave the visor on him as it did have the desired effect, but probably just have him ridden with a little more restraint.

We then ran Gunfleet on Saturday also at Fontwell. He won his only bumper last season and we think a lot of him.  He is a pretty sharp horse and not one that you want to do too much galloping at home with as it does set him alight.   He is a proper athlete and mainly jumped very well, which I was delighted with and finishing second in such a hot contest was a lovely start to his career over hurdles.  I would expect it will take a very good one to beat him next time.

We are starting to make more entries and I think we are nearly there now with fitness and schooling, so the next few weeks should be very exciting, with the likes of De Rasher Counter (pictured), Majestic Moll and Enniscoffey Oscar making their hurdling debuts as well as plenty more runners.

While we have been busy getting horses fit on this side of the pond, on the other side Casino Markets has remained in America.  He ran a much better race when finishing fourth in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Hurdle at the end of September. He was only beaten two and half lengths, in a race where they take the last two hurdles out for the final circuit, so he had a six-furlong run in.  For a two and half mile chaser it probably isn’t the ideal scenario!  We look forward to him running at Far Hills in their Grand National, which is a very valuable conditions race on the 21st October.  It is over two-mile and six furlongs on a track I feel will suit him.  He has had a super time while he has been out there, Lesleie Young has been brilliant in helping us, and the team at the NSA could not have been more supportive.  It’s been an amazing experience and something that would be fantastic to do again.

We look forward to some exciting runners over the next ten days especially as I think the trainer may be close to having them all fit!

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Gearing up for the jumps season!

There’s no doubt that after a holiday in Australia and a trip to the races in America, Barry has officially grounded me!  We are extremely busy here, gearing up for the start of the jumps season and at this stage the horses look fantastic.

America was amazing, and I hope to repeat it, but just with a horse that’s more tailored for the experience than Casino Markets.   He travelled over there brilliantly and settled in straight away to his new state side surroundings.  He never stopped eating and along with Laura, who travelled with him, loved the whole adventure.

The problem for Casino was that although he enjoys better ground, he just couldn’t handle it as the turf is very quick out there and he was not happy to let himself down on it.  Also, in American jump racing they take the last hurdle out on the final circuit, which means the race from the last fence is just over four furlongs at Saratoga and at Belmont it’s closer to six.  So, for a two and half mile staying handicap chaser it is not helpful.  The jumps races there are designed for the nippier flat horses, none the less until you experience the process for yourself, it is hard to be certain what the ideal horse is and the ideal preparation.  Having done it now, the Halpern’s who own him, and myself are very keen to nail it next time.  For quarantine reasons Casino Markets is still out in America and may or may not have one more race before coming home at a track with different conditions.  Although, now he is at a spa in America, and feel I would be rather happy to trade  places with him!

As far as runners here are concerned they have continued to be few and far between but we are not a million miles away from having plenty more.  However, what horses we have run recently I have been really pleased with, with Vendredi Trois who was third and Balibour who finished fourth. Vendredi Trois was running in a 0-120 at Worcester (30 August), after winning a 0-100 and I think put in a better performance than when he won. He is a fun horse and if a continues to run like that, another contest should fall his way before the ground goes.

Having not finished out any of his races last season, Balibour certainly stayed all the way to the line at Worcester on Sunday (3 September).  He will now probably go over hurdles over two and a half miles, and as he was at the last chance saloon at the end of last season, he has given himself the opportunity to keep going for a bit longer. He is a horse that shows us so much at home so I really do hope that he produces it on the track.

I think it will be end of September beginning of October when we start to have a real flow of runners, but they are coming along superbly and we are looking forward to a very exciting season ahead!

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Casino Markets heads state side

We are extremely grateful to our fantastic owners, many of whom re-invested as well as some new owners who have bought some outstanding looking store horses.  So we really can’t wait for the season to properly get going.

Whilst all the winter horses are now cantering, we have been light on the ground with our summer jumpers, which, judging by the weather has probably not been a bad thing as there hasn’t been much quick ground around!   However, with all the rain, we have been able to use the grass gallops, which would not be the norm for this time of year.

Fox Appeal did run for us yesterday (20 August) at Southwell with Nick Scholfield on board.  He has been in great form at home and jumped well but the race was run quickly and the two half miles around Southwell was just a bit too sharp for Foxy.

We are taking a big step into the unknown, this week as we have our first runner in America.   Casino Markets left for the states last Friday, and is now in Saratoga. There are some very valuable jumps races out there over the next few weeks, the first is the Turf Writers worth $150,000 on Thursday.  Next month there is a race at Belmont and with the final option being at Fair Hills in October.   He is the most gorgeous horse who has been a fantastic servant, he loves quick ground and has been in tip top form at home.  I think he needed his last run at Market Rasen and I could not be happier with him making the trip.  Laura who both looks after him and rides him every day at home has travelled out with him, and I think it will be a great experience for her as well.  Leighton Aspell is going to ride him, so he and I will head out state-side for a couple of days this week – what a jet-set life style we lead!

The rest of the troop are all looking great and I would imagine that the first of them will be out racing in mid-September, so it is very much exciting times ahead!

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Summer hols and store horse Sales

 

With very few runners and most of the horses turned out in the field, there hasn’t been a huge amount to update on the blog lately.  Both Barry and I, and a lot of the team have been enjoying a bit of a break now that the yard has been well and truly steamed cleaned and painted for the return of the horses after their holidays.

Of what has run recently, Vendredi Trois winning at Worcester on the 14th June was the best of them, with Richard Johnson giving him a masterclass ride and winning from the front.  He has gone up six pounds, but I am hoping now he has his confidence back he can build on that success.  He is a horse that needs the top of the ground so the weather of late has been perfect for him.

Sadly, after bursting a blood vessel at Southwell we are going to retire See The World.  He looked as though he had the world at his feet when he won his bumper at Wincanton, but he has not been the easiest to train. He has the most wonderful temperament and would go on and do any other job but both his owners and I don’t feel it is right to keep him in racing.  So, we are looking for a suitable home for him if anybody might be interested.

It was a busy start to last week at the Land Rover sales at Goffs and we are delighted with the four horses we purchased, an Oscar, a Westerner, a Flemensfirth and a Shantou – so in fairness we haven’t moved far away from our favoured stallions! They are smashing looking three-year olds, and are now off being broken by Claire Bonner who educates all our youngsters.   In my opinion, it’s a very specialist job breaking in horses, and needs plenty of time dedicated to it as it sets them up for the rest of their life and I feel once the yard gets busy here we don’t have the time.  It’s important that the start of their education is done by someone who will teach them not just the basics but how to carry themselves properly and to be a well-balanced happy horse and, over the years Claire has done a great job at that for us.

We didn’t manage to complete the purchase of all the horses we had orders for so we will be back at The Derby Sale at Tattersalls next week, where we may pick up a couple of additional horses to bring back to sell so watch this space…!

The horses have been dong brilliantly out in the field and there’s no doubt that although the weather is currently very hot it is preferable to rain, as they are thriving.  I think the ones in the paddocks are quite relieved that it’s not them going up the gallops whilst they stand and watch the others having to work most mornings in this heatwave!

We will continue to be light on runners for the moment, although Pawn Star is aiming for Uttoxeter on Sunday 2 July for the Summer Cup.  Set List will aim for back to back wins in the £20K handicap at Stratford in three weeks and Casino Markets is getting ready for the summer plate at Market Rasen in July.   So, I am hoping that our strike rate can continue at the level it has been!

 

 

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New jump season kicks off in winning style!

I am delighted to say that the new jumps season has kicked off in the same style the last one ended, with the horses continuing to run very well.

See The World was our first runner of the new campaign at Warwick (1 May). He was travelling well until a bad blunder down the back stopped him in his tracks. Having said that he kept galloping and finished third and it was a nice start to his chasing career. I am sure it won’t be long until everything clicks and he regains the winning thread, he is a big horse with plenty of scope so jumping fences should certainly be his game.

Set List went to Uttoxeter (6 May), and everything just happened a bit quickly for him up there. It is a track he just doesn’t seem to run well at, so it maybe, that his sojourns to this course are over. He has come back perfectly well and we will look to find another outing for him soon.

When you have a runner that starts at 4/11, in all fairness, there is only one ever acceptable result. From the prelimaries onwards, Swatow had no intention of delivering just that at Exeter on 9 May! When she returned from the races she was found to be in season, which may explain her behaviour, which was somewhat entertaining for others, a bit embarrassing for us and disappointing all round. She had a proper temper tantrum, having been a bit wayward in the paddock, and not particularly excited about going to post, when she did get down to the start and continued her bizarre antics, Daryl gave her a small kick in the belly on which she decided she was going to throw herself on the floor! If it weren’t for the fact that nothing wanted to lead in the race, as the other runners were a bit green, they would have gone two hurdles clear on her at the start, so consequently they waited. When she did jump off she did travel well and jumped nicely but definitely didn’t show her ability. She will now go out in the field and freshen up, she had been in training for a while so is ready for her summer holidays. However, she is certainly on the naughty step at the moment!

On the back of Swatow’s behaviour, with some trepidation, we took Talent To Amuse to Newton Abbott (10 May) hoping not all the girls were going to show the same degree of temperament. But thankfully Talent To Amuse continued her upward curve, she jumped beautifully, travelled well and impressively won a nice valuable prize. She is a lovely filly and will be better over a bit further or at least over two miles on a more galloping track than Newton Abbot. It was a very good prize generously put up by the racecourse and we were chuffed to bits to take it home. She is a very nice mare for the future.

Fox Appeal also at the same fixture continued to go from strength to strength. It was his tenth start of his campaign, and is showing no signs of his ten years of age! He finished a lovely second, and in fairness to him he has had a busy time and is going to have a month of going out and relaxing with a view to running him later in the summer. He is an absolute super star and continues to pay his way.

We then went to Market Rasen on Friday (12 May) with Pawn Star, who jumped superbly, travelled beautifully from start to finish and won with any amount in hand. It was a brilliant result for everyone and he looks a horse that is going in the right direction. He is a pleasure to have for the campaign and hopefully will pick up some nice prizes through the summer months.

We turned a lot of the horses out at the start of last week and although for the first few days they looked a little cold, they have certainly thrived since. The drop of rain we’ve had has made a massive difference to the grass and judging by the size of their bellies they look very well out there. It is lovely to see and a big relief for all the team who can get some holiday time and just relax a bit.

Over the coming weeks, we expect to have a few runners and if they continue in the same manner they have started the season we should be in for a very enjoyable time.

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