Well November has flown by! which means only one thing as its the first weekend of December this Saturday the 2nd, it will be the last open morning of 2017, as usual gates open at 9am with coffee and cake!
Please do come and see us operating from the new yard!
An extremely hectic week with the last of the building work going on, and all the finishing touches getting into place.
The last of the stables are now in and the sparkies are finishing off their bit. The yard has been resurfaced, the new walker is in and going, and the general muddles are fast receding, either to the bonfire or skip!
All good, but the stresses (& there have been many) paled into insignificance on Thursday, when The Lion Man, who was running a blinder under Tabitha Worsely, found no distance at the last hurdle and took a crashing fall. He was straight up but Tabitha, who rides very ably for us as an amateur, stayed on the grass with pain in her back.
She was taken to Hereford hospital, where after much waiting she was eventually scanned and found to have fractured her 12th Thoracic vertebrae. Happily everything was moving and feeling as it should, but it was a very worrying time.
Tabitha was eventually taken to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where the care improved significantly, and she was then operated on to stabilise the fractured bone.
The great news is that the op went perfectly and she is expected to make a full recovery, but it will be several months of rest & rehab, and she will have to behave herself in the meantime!
Absolutely gutted for Tabitha as the pointing season just getting under way, but she will bounce back, and we all wish her the speediest of recoveries.
We all accept the risk when you get into the saddle but it does just remind you of the risks the jockeys take every time they go out onto the track.
The Lion Man none the worse for wear, although I can't help thinking he had a lucky escape too.
Tara Well is another who got lucky. She fractured her pelvis in a race at Warwick 18 months ago. It was a bad one & by rights she should be dead now. No thanks to the veterinary care she received at the races that day, which I won't elaborate on here, but all thanks to our own vet Graham Potts and the massive care from her devoted lass Harriet Turner saw her survive nearly 6 months cross tied and unable to lie down - she was an excellent patient.
Her first run at Plumpton a couple of weeks ago saw her right in contention three out, but she then blew up a bit before running on. Off to Uttoxeter on Saturday and plenty of rain here was only a good thing as she loves the really deep ground. Sadly none at Uttoxeter, but a much improved run to finish fourth. She will come on again after having a good blow & if the rains come won't be too far away next time. Delighted with the run and lovely to have her back looking so well after such a horrible injury.
Dontmindboys ran at Plumpton the same day & finished a good third under James Nixon. He must be the most qualified maiden around, having been placed in 6 of his eight starts over fences. There are share available in this beautiful grey horse - whats not to love about him? Give us a call if you would like more details.
Only a couple of shares left in the new boy Three Bullet Gate - he is pleasing the team at home - a couple of 1/20th shares left - again do call or email for more details.
Very happy to show off the new yard if you are interested to come and see us. Just give us a call or email, and don't forget another Open Morning on the first Saturday in December.
The big move is nearly complete! They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - well if that is true I will be entering some weight lifting competitions in the near future!
Moving would have been a test to do in the summer, with only a handful of horses in, but with a nearly full yard and everything in full work, its been a logistical nightmare!
Its been a real trial for everyone over the last three weeks & reall, moving the horses is the easy bit! House moves are always horrendous and we all forget how much 'stuff' we have! But you just don't realise how much kit there is and not all of it has a home yet! The stables are complete, with just the lean-to part to complete - the roof is going on as we speak! All of the horses are now at Hill Farm - great to have everyone in one place at last. They all moved without batting an eyelid, and seem very settled and happy in their new quarters.
We are still short of some storage and office space which is currently still as it was! There is still a big pile of rugs & general 'stuff' waiting for a home, but the team have been incredible in getting everything moved & still managing to smile! We are so nearly done and really just the finishing touches to put to the yard as well. New walker arrives this week & the yard to be surfaced along with a few more stables to move & I think a long lie down in a darkened room will then be required!
The girls are now living in the cottage which they love & we are in the barn ( which we love too!) and as long as it does not finish us all off first the move will only be a good thing. Improved facilities and much easier to have everyone together a last - no more computing up & down the drive, and you will know where to find us when visiting!
Can't wait to show it all off, but relieved that we put our monthly Open Morning back a week- not least because it was bucketing down this morning. we look forward to seeing everyone next w/e - will still be a work in progress but come & see!
In amongst all the upheaval we have been trying to have runners! Having rained all summer typically its been very dry & plenty of ground with the F word in the going reports has scuppered a few plans.
A bout of seconditis always frustrating, but a great run from Timons Tara yesterday at Uttoxeter, saw her put to bed some bad runs at the end of last season. Some Finish & Bally Lagan unsuited by a furious gallop around Ludlow, and a solid first run for Future Boy.
Cheers Dell Boy made his track debut at Chepstow, after an abortive outing to Worcester when very firm ground forced us to take him out. Probably the hottest hurdle race to date this season and a very creditable 8th, was then backed up with another solid run at Cheltenham to finish 5th ( again in red hot company.)
Cheers Dell Boy is another of our Irish purchases, and is a replacement for poor Garrahalish who we lost in the summer. He looks to have an exciting future & is a lovely stamp.
I have had a couple of trips over the pond lately trying to buy a horse for the Point Of Attack partnership, the most recent last Wednesday when Charlie & I flew out of Bristol, as we annoyingly could not get a flight from Birmingham. A 4.30 leave was never going to be something to savour - even less so when Charlie announced, half way to Evesham, that he had forgotten his passport!! A panicy phone call to poor Fran saw a quick divert around the Cotswolds to retrieve the offending document! Followed by a very quick sprint down the M5!
The trip has resulted in the purchase of Three Bullet Gate, a lovely 4 year old by Touch of Land. Unraced to date he will be over next week, and is nearly ready to run, always exciting to be starting out with a promising young horse. The Point of Attack team deserve a big lump of luck & we can't wait to introduce them to TBG!
This months open morning has been pushed back to the second Saturday of the month which is the 11th.
This is due to the on going building works and moving the rest of the horses and all the rest of the equipment from the top.
Racing does test you out and as we all know is full of highs & lows, but losing a horse is always the absolute pits for everyone.
Get Involved has tested everyone's patience and has not been the easiest horse to fathom out, but his lovely owners have been so patient, and have been rewarded with winners at Newbury & Worcester as well as a fabulous second at Cheltenham. After winning at Worcester we gave him a nice break as to not risk him on fast ground and came back to Warwick with plenty of confidence for a good season ahead of him. he looked amazing (well done Ceris) and after Bally Lagans great run in an earlier race to finish second (they have been working together) we were really hopeful.
Sadly it was not to be as a fall two out was the end for poor GI. Luckily Jack none the worse for a horrible fall. A post mortem did show us that he had suffered an internal bleed that caused the fall but the result was the same.
Many condolences to the ever patient and supportive Point Of Attack partnership, who are understandably devastated, as are the team at home.
Nothing to do except pick ourselves up and keep going forward, but its mighty hard in a small yard when the horses mean so much to everyone.
Bally Lagans super run on the day must not be forgotten, he ran a blinder to be in front everywhere except on the line! Nothing lost in defeat by a horse carrying a stone less than him - Well done Bally!
The rest of the team revving up for their seasonal debuts and great that we have had a decent amount of rain so early so we can make some proper plans.
Some lovely new faces in the string this time and also some familiar ones who are coming back after injuries.
Building work going apace here now, with the barn now up and stables going in next week! The big move now imminent and this Saturday will be our last Open Morning from Labrador Farm, as by November it will all be about Hill Farm!
Do come and have a look at the progress - usual tea coffee & amazing cakes available!
Don't forget this Saturday is our monthly open morning gates open at 9am!! It will also be our last open morning up here at Alne park before we are all moved down the other end to hill farm!
Please do come and see the progress being made it's all very exciting!
As usual great cakes, tea and coffee available.
The whole team feeling shattered after Warwick losing the gentle Get Involved on Tuesday Condolences to the Point of Attack Partnership who have been so patient with him, and were rewarded with a super win at Worcester earlier in the year. It's so hard to lose them, especially for the team who care for them everyday. Ceris Biddle looked after this lovely boy so well and he looked a picture.
All systems go this week regarding the new stables, with roof, concrete and steel for the new barn arriving! The move looming ever closer and really looking forward to move now!
Celestial Chimes ran a nice race last week, and now has a handicap mark so will find life easier now she can run a handicap and not against 125 horses on level weights! The Lion Man ran a much better race for a staying on 4th, bit further and back over fences for him next time.
Afterthisone was very well behaved at Chepstow and jumped out upsides in front and ran really well for the first 4 furlongs, great to see him behaving as we have had a few problems stall wise with him.
All the horses in full work now and getting closer to running, all exciting stuff and looking forward to a great season. Just need some rain and proper NH weather!!
Great to see Thomas Crapper back into work and in long road work now.
Young Lou arrived back today and looking well.
Another Open Morning gone by, and nice to see some familiar, and some new faces up here for our regular first Saturday of the month 'gates open'. Great cakes from Terry Poulson as ever! Its worth coming up just for the cake which is always outstanding!
Open Mornings aim to be a very informal way for friends, neighbours & any other interested parties to see what we get up to here, and also to raise a few pounds for the Air Ambulance. There is no entrance fee and its a (hopefully ) nice way to come & see the Team at work.
The long slog back to full fitness continues for most of the string, with the main bunch now starting to step up to full work, and are not far off a run.
Nice to have a runner last week after not much action on the racing front recently. Afterthisone behaved much better and consequently ran a better race. He has been getting very upset in all of the preliminaries, but the addition of a hood helped enormously. He will want further in time to be seen to best effect.
Storming Harry posted an under par blood result so missed his run this time.
Another of the Team now mobile with Alice Coleman passing her driving test last week! Well done Alice - drive carefully!
The building work has ground to a bit of a halt as we wait for steel for the new barn. Really frustrating, as everything ready to go, and it would be nice to get everything back to normal and tidied up, but nothing to do but sit it out and hope it isn't too long before it gets here!
Two runners at Worcester today. Celestial Chimes having her third run for a mark, and The Lion Man hoping to improve on his recent 5th at Stratford. Trip & track should suit him, but he just does need things to fall his way.
Cooler this morning after a real scorcher yesterday, a few pink looking bodies around after a bout of sunbathing yesterday!
Nice to be able to let the troops have a quieter day as it was a bank holiday, and the last chance to be able to have an easy day before the season kicks off properly.
The weather is so confusing at the moment with massive temperature changes from day to day, its hard to know what rugs are on or off!
Quite a few visitors over the last few days, good to welcome John Murphy on Saturday who is a new member of the Just 4 Fun partnership, who have just purchased the exciting Cheers Delboy. Still three shares available in him so do get in touch if you'd like to get involved.
Jan Hurst also here to see Thomas Crapper - exciting news of him as he has had a saddle on for the first time since his injury! Graham has been very pleased with his progress, and he has started a rehab program which will involve a lot of walking (& sitting tight!) until the end of September - if that all goes well he will be back in training proper in October. As you can imagine Crappy is delighted to be out and about after a long period of box rest. He has been a model patient (with a couple of days exceptions, when it all got too much!) and we are keeping everything crossed that he will be back to full fitness before too long.
John & Pat Porter here to see Cheers Delboy & Get Involved today.
Don't forget its our monthly Open Morning this coming Saturday - do come along and meet the team. Gates open from 9am
A nice run from The Lion Man at Stratford yesterday. He has been having some problems so its all about building his confidence back up, and Tabitha Worsley took a large step in the right direction with him.
He jumped and travelled well, and although the trip on the short side for him, and the first mile run at a bit of a crawl, he stayed on well and most importantly ran all the way to the line - a part that has been badly missing in his last few runs.
Fine today, although with a near miss after someone galloped into the back of him and skinned his hind leg! Onwards & upwards for 'Rory' from here. He will probably need to get back to fences to win, but he has grown & matured this summer so hopes are high going forwards.
BTO for Ceris - he looked fabulous in the paddock.
No visitors today, and the sun putting in a rare appearance which always makes the morning go easier!
Sorry to hear that Gary Allbutt is back in hospital - we send him, Nat & the boys our best wishes, and hope to hear some better news soon.
A bit of a lull on the building front, as we are waiting on the steel for the new barn. Frustrating, as now we have started just want to get it finished!
A pretty hectic morning today, with Brett Cahill, Amy & Cooper here with Brett's Mum & Dad who are visiting from Mexico. They stayed in the B & B and we had a jolly evening in The Huff Cap last night.
Brett is a big supporter of the yard and has shares in no less than five of our partnership horses! Great to catch up with him and make a few plans for the coming season.
Terry & Mandy Poulson who do so much to help us with our monthly Open Mornings also here, to see their boys & girl!
Lovely to have a big chatty breakfast with them all, and for them to see their horses all looking so well.
First runner jumping for a good while today, with The Lion Man off to Stratford. Tabitha Worsley rides him and on his best form he would have a chance but has to put a few problems behind him first!
Fingers crossed for a good run to boost his confidence.
Everything is moving quickly on the building front, just waiting for the steel to arrive for the new barn, stables and horse walker on order! All exciting stuff and really looking forward to getting all finished and moved!
Storming Harry and Afterthisone ran at Kempton on Wednesday evening, Harry running a lot better race finishing running on, step back up in trip for him next time.
Afterthisone is still learning, poor boy had to stand in the stalls for over 10 minutes and got upset having to wait so long, he came out of the stalls in a panic and never got into his stride. More stalls practice and more race experience needed for him.
Visitors this week included Jane Nichols who came to see Myroundoryours and Oneida Tribe. Brian Wilson to see the Kutub Filly who is for sale still please ask for details.... Saturday, Ian Brain to give Thomas Crapper polos!, and Anna and Julie Venvell into to see La Fille Francaise,
August pretty wet so far which meant we could have a canter on the grass! BBQ season looks to be over!!
Please see below some pictures of the string on Saturday morning.
Things moving along nicely!
We promised some upcoming big news on the last blog, and are now able to let you know whats going on up here at Alne Park.
Those of you that have been to visit us here will know that the yard is split into two parts, Alne Park & Hill Farm. This arrangement has its advantages & challenges. Logistically its been a challenge having the team at two ends of the farm, and has involved a lot of whizzing up and down the drive, and making sure visitors don't end up in the wrong yard to see their horses!
Partly from necessity, and partly by design, its been decided that Hill Farm will be developed and we will move everyone to that end of the farm.
Its an exciting project that is already underway, and will mean much easier working conditions for the team, with equally good - if not better - facilities for the horses.
A new barn is going up, the old dutch barn has come down (and is going up again!), the base for an additional walker is going in, and eventually all of the team will be living onsite at Hill Farm.
Most excitingly we will also be putting in a new hill gallop to the left of the drive which will be an enormous improvement to our already excellent facilities.
The top of the farm is changing hands (hence the necessity) but by design the changes will be a great step forward for Team Dickin.
Happily no more up and down the drive, and you will all know where to find us when you get here!
We will keep you updated with the progress, but we are hoping to have everything in the yard up and running in the autumn.
Don't forget its Open Morning again this Saturday, so come along and see the 'building site' and hear about all of the new developments.
Apologies for such a long gap since the last blog. Its been a bit of a roller coaster of a month, and computer hours have been few.
This promises to be a long one to catch up!
Probably best to get the bad bit out of the way to start with.
Racing - as life, has its ups and downs, but it does seem in this game that the contrasts are extreme! Last blog was all of excitement of a winner, this one is the horrible trauma of losing a much loved member of the team.
Garrahalish was the first horse that Charlie & I bought on our first shopping trip to Ireland, and has been a super horse to train for The Just 4 Fun partnership. A thoroughly all round nice guy - known at home as 'The Gorgeous One'!
He won 4 races and was rated as high as 135, before have a few niggly issues that have held up his progress. Those 'issues' behind him he was in great form heading up to Hexham, and we were confident of a big run. Sadly that was not to be, he uncharacteristically fell early in the race. The fall did not look too bad, but proved fatal for poor Gary when he fractured his neck.
Luckily Charlie Ok, but like the rest of the team devastated at the loss of this lovely horse. A long way home for Robin & Harriet T, his devoted lass, who deserves a medal for bravery.
Many commiserations to the Just 4 Fun group.
Trying to find another Gary always going to be a hard call, but a job that needed starting sooner rather than later. To that end Robin & I jumped on a plane for a quick day trip to view some likely candidates. The usual tear around Co Wexford at high speed resulted in one outstanding individual, and after a few days of 'discussion' the deal was done.
Cheers Delboy is a beautiful 4 year old by Golan, who has been second in a point to point, only beaten a neck.
The next debate was how to get him home, along with Dancing Daffodil who has been at stud in Fermoy and is now in foal to Frozen Fire. Before we could get it sorted another likely candidate reared its rather handsome head, and there was another space on the lorry to fill.
Future Boy is a 5 year old by Beneficial who has also been second in a point to point, beaten three lengths by a horse that has now won three points. A very good effort, and a valid explanation for a disappointing run after. a horse with a super frame but quite a bit of filling in to do. Not worried about that - just a few square meals and some TLC required.
With three to collect it was decided that Harriet & I would go & collect them. Had not quite factored in the fact that there was only one day that it could be done so a very quick turn around on our return from an event at 7pm, saw us back on the road by 8.30 and on the 3.45 am ferry to Dublin! A Sunday tour around Ireland followed and saw us back at Rosslare for the 9pm boat, and back up the drive at home at 5.30 on Monday morning!
Dancing Daffodil looking well, and very happy with the new additions.
Just 4 Fun here on Saturday to see their new boy, and delighted that they are very happy with him. A glass or two of bubbles raised to Gary, and a rather emotional get together, but good to see everyone and remember some great days and also look forward to the future with 'Del'
There are a couple of shares available in him so do get in touch if you would like to get involved in this really exciting youngster.
Future Boy is also for sale, and is great value, a real athletic sort and looks to have an exciting future.
Sunday saw more cooking at Dickin HQ - especially from chief BBQ chef Darren and lovely to see friends/owners here for a bit of a gathering, a celebration of last season, and plans to be made for the coming.
Some big news coming shortly so watch this space!
On the home front everyone back in work, which is great to see. They have all summered really well, a few looking tubbier than others, but all happy and relaxed after a good summer break.
The team still finishing off their holidays but some healthy looking tans around, after some well earned beach time!
Not many runners, Bettalatethanneva put in a much improved performance at Worcester to be third under Tabitha Worsley, (Off for a short break now) and lovely to see Storming Harry back out at Kempton to run very creditably on his first run for two years.
Blog updates will now - hopefully return to normal on a weekly basis!
Well summer has landed with full force this week!
When it is this hot we turn the horses out at night when its cooler and keep them in during the day out of the full heat and away from the dreaded horse fly!!
Last week saw the great win by Get involved! Patient ride by jack, and jumping superb, and great to see GI really sticking his neck out to line! Also really well done to the Point of Attack partnership who have had a frustrating season with GI, but stuck by him and have reaped the rewards!
Whispering Nick at Worcester too, ran a good race until being outpaced over the last 3 hurdles, fences and soft ground beckon for him.
Fontwell on Thursday with new recruit Young Cheddar and Kitegen.
YC running a great race to finish 4th, more pace in the race and softer ground will suit her, well behaved in the preliminaries which was good to see as she can be a handful.
On a sad note Kitegen has ran his last race and has been retired. On the flip side he has retired sound and will enjoy his retirement. He has been a great servant over the years running 34 times with 3 wins, 5 seconds, and 5 thirds , with the total earnings of £40 thousand.
Well done to Clare and Paul who own him for giving him every chance to find his form again, but just seems to have lost his old zip. Happy Retirement KITE.
Only Betterlatethaneva and Garrahalish have entries this week and will need some rain before they run! not looking to likely at the moment.
Some horses starting to come back into work, this week saw Afterthisone, Myroundoryours and Anticool starting off again.
Yesterday's winner GET INVOLVED looking fine and dandy this morning after his Worcester victory.Delighted for the Point of Attack Partnership who have stuck by him through a difficult season, and thoroughly deserved the win!
SHARES AVAILABLE PLEASE CONTACT FOR MORE INFO
Its supposed to be a quieter time at the moment but still seems to be masses to do. Most of the horses are out enjoying some down time, although not loving the heavy rain last week!
The grass is great after the much needed rain and there are plenty whose figures are going to take a bit of getting back once they are back in at the end of the month!
Its been a nerve wracking few days getting a few that have been on box rest out, however much preparation you do with the walker, small paddocks and sleepy dust, the day still comes when an injured one that has been on box rest has to head to the field for a time out with 'Dr Green'! You just hope that all the patience and walking are not all undone in a bout of over enthusiastic galloping! the few we got out however where just delighted to get their heads down for a good munch and a good roll! Lovely to see them out again.
Poor Thomas Crapper not allowed that luxury yet and still confined to barracks, and will be for a good while yet. The girls are picking him grass every day and he is being a very good patient (mostly!). Its a waiting game with him now to let the fracture heal before we start some physio with him.
The team getting some down time in too. Megan breathing a huge sigh of relief after her OU law end of year exams over, and a few days in Cornwall for her. The others coming and going and fitting time off around the dozen or so horses that are still in work.
Great to have Storming Harry back in training after missing a long while after picking up a tendon strain when winning at Lingfield - Jenny & Nigel Thick have given him plenty of time and he runs at Chepstow on Friday.
Another new arrival is Young Cheddar for Georgie Howell & Tabitha Worsley, and also Letsfacethemusic for Louise Merry. Looking forward to both of them running shortly.
The last of the power washing nearly finished - no ones favourite job, but an annual necessity.
Runners at Worcester tomorrow, and possibly Uttoxeter on Thursday, then Chepstow on Friday.
What a lovely start to June! But the rain needed so the ground can stay safe for summer racing.
Long journeys the order of last week with Garrahalish to Newton Abbot, jumping superb and finishing a close 4th only beaten 4 lengths. Gary in great form and will surely pick up a race soon!
Kitegen making his way to ffos las, with cheek pieces and a tongue tie fitted for the first time, the plan seemed to be working and was running a great race until a horrible fall 3 out, such a shame for him as it was great to see him back racing like the kitegen we all know. He was absolutely fine the next day.
The horses on their summer holidays all looking well, some of them taking full advantage of the nice grass and have let them selves down very well!
Quiet on the runner front this week, but the runners board looking busier next week, all go still in the yard with power hosing and general tidying up and cleaning being done.
Bally Lagan taking in the morning view! or is he telling me its too early for a picture!
Unnamed 2013 Filly
Sire: KUTUB Dam: Dickies Girl
Half sister to multiple winners including:
Arctic Spirit Winner of 7 races
Arctic Shadow Winner of 5 races
Autumm Spirit Winner of 3 races
Midnight Charmer Winner of 6 races
KUTUB Sire of winners including:
Katachenko, Donald McCain, 4 wins 80k
Miss Dinamic 8 year old, Gordon Elliot 6 wins 60k
Notus De La Tour, I think French, 4 wins 100k
Please contact Claire 07979518594 Darren 07872688701
Very quiet on the runners front here as most of the team are stretched out in the field either sunbathing or munching grass, and enjoying their holidays.
Having said that we had four runners at Towcester yesterday, (should have been 5 but for an unsatisfactory blood result) so a busy day.
Bally Lagan has been a reformed character this season and has clocked up three wins in a row, unfortunately had gone up another 11lbs for his last one! It was always going to be tough for him but he ran a good race to be 5th - not helped by slightly missing the fourth last just as he was making good progress.
Celestial Chimes had an absolute farce of a run, she ducked from another horse at the start and was then facing the wrong way when the tape went up and was 20 lengths adrift by the first hurdle, she then followed them round on her own, but then made a mistake at the second last and tipped up. felt really sorry for her as she is so game an was given no chance at all.
EPDS members having a busy night with two runners, Galactic Power is a popular little horse ran his usual good race to be third. He is such a trier, and altogether nice person so good to see him run another nice race.
The second EPDS runner was Dontminddboys who has been waiting and waiting for some decent ground (first too heavy then too soft!) - he ran a good race to be second. Frustrating to be the bridesmaid again but another good run to his name and still a novice for next season which may be a bonus!
BTO for Poppy with DMDB, and a great effort from the girls looking after the horses on a very hot day. Lots of washing and scraping to get them cooled down quickly.
Everyone OK today although little Celestial is a bit sore and bruised. Frustrating not to have a winner but pleasing that they all ran well.
The other big news recently is that we have Darren Swanton back as part of out team. Anyone who has been involved with the yard over the last few years will know Darren, who has been a lad, head lad & Assistant trainer at different times. He has been off doing other things but has decided that the racing drug is still firmly in his system. He is here mostly in an admin role to run the partnerships and generally turn his hand to anything that needs doing. Great to have him back and be able to just slot back into the routine here.
The rest of the team starting to have their holidays and get the batteries charged up for the coming season.
The end of another season - our 30th as trainers!
Every season is tough in this game, but last year was particularly trying, with winners proving elusive until the latter end of the season, but once we found our form it continued into the summer months, and we had a good early start to the 16/17 campaign, with a double for Myroundorurs for Andrew & Jayne Nichols, and the a hat trick for Anti Cool & EPDS Racing saw us going into the Autumn with five winners already on the board!
Wildmore Boy has tested everyone's skill and patience, but with some help from some understanding officials (less from others), he too managed a hat trick of wins at Stratford, Cheltenham & Warwick. Cliff Beech & Brian Wilkinson thoroughly deserving these super performances after giving 'Mouse' so much time and understanding.
Jackfield (a winner for the wife!) won at Stratford in the Summer, Timons Tara was a convincing winner at Uttoxeter for Mark James. Bally Lagan finally got into winning ways, after many placed efforts and repaid the ever patient Park Lane Partners with a lovely three timer.
The very popular Galactic Power won two for the EPDS Twitterati Partnership, Some Finish was a very fortuitous winner at Towcester for The Some Finish Partners (a winners a winner - don't care how they come!) and of course the legend that is Thomas Crapper absolutely hosed up in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury for Apis.uk.co (more affectionately known as the Crappers!)
As well as the winners, we recorded 16 seconds (bloody second!) 17 thirds & 23 fourths from 156 runners. an 11% winning strike rate and just under 50% of all runners in the first four!
A few frustrations along the way, with horses such as Young Lou, and Dontminddboys who rarely run a bad race, but are so often the bridesmaid, Vocaliser just getting beaten by the smallest of margins at Haydock, and Oneida Tribe getting mugged at Towcester, when he surely would have won! A few who have struggled for various reasons but who will be back on form in the new season.
Injuries are always the worst to cope with, a few guaranteed winners who have missed the winter, but who also will be back for next time.
Most excitingly a nice bunch of youngsters waiting in the wings, who have shown us plenty to be excited about for next year. La Fille Francaise & All Is Good are particular winners waiting to happen!
Not possible to mention all of the horses here, but a huge 'Thank you' to all of our owners who have supported us through the good & bad times.
Of course a particular thank you must go to the team at home. For the first time ever an all girls crew, of Head Girl Megan, ably supported by Harriet T, Ceris, Alice, Poppy & Ashleigh. Sad to lose Rachel Brookes at the end of this season, she has been with us for many years and will be missed! Kay Williams also in every week come rain or shine - thanks to her.
The girls have won many turn outs - we lost count early on which is bad and we will do better at keeping a tally this season!
The home team have been supported by Charlie Poste, Jack Quinlan, Tabitha Worsley, James Nixon and earlier in the season by Chris Ward. Kelly Sullivan has been in helping out on a Saturday morning.
Whilst on the subject of thank yous, Three Counties Veterinary are a big part of our operation - Graham Potts, in particular, who is our regular vet, are an essential part of keeping the show on the road, as is our farrier Charlie Sands & his team.
Its a massive team effort from everyone and the results this season underline what a great team we have.
Its onward & upwards for the new season now, and we started off with two good seconds on Monday at Warwick - everyone hates to be second, but both Garrahalish & Vocaliser ran well, and both jumped exceptionally.
Great to have Gary back on track after missing most of the winter, and you will rarely see a better first time run over fences than Vocaliser whose jumping was impeccable. Celestial Chimes was our other runner and the penny is starting to drop for her, further in time will suit!
Some non horse news in this entry & a very well done to our head girl Megan, who completed the London Marathon last weekend.
After being registered completely insane, Meg decided that this was her quest for the year and has been training hard.
She ran in the Racing Welfare team, and thanks to so many people for the support she has received in reaching and exceeding her target of £1500 - her total is up to £2k and still rising.
WELL DONE Meg - total hats off for a massive achievement.
Thanks especially to Terry & Mandy Poulson who organised the quiz evening, which raised £900 towards Megs target.
A well earned couple of days off at the beginning of the week, and Meg is trotting up sound again now!
We all need a bit of luck in this life, and for once a bit came our way yesterday at Towcester!
We have had our fair share of frustrations at the track, but plotting a path down the inner on Some Finish yesterday proved fortuitous for Charlie.
Some Finish has been a bit of a mystery this season, with some very uninspiring runs, so a complete change of plan was on the cards, with the head gear off and hold up tactics!
Only three runners so what happened at the second fence was somewhat surprising - the leader tried to stop, lay all over the fence, then fell over it and brought the only other runner down!! (actually a horrible pile up, and glad to see all concerned walk away) This left Sam & Charlie in stately isolation, but with nearly three miles and fifteen fences to jump all alone! A daunting prospect for them both, although Sam did not seem at all bothered and had a nice canter round with a schooling session thrown in! Well done Charlie on completion of a tricky task!
They got an enormous cheer as they jumped the last, and Sam was happy to record his third victory!
Winner number 17 for us - don't care how they come, a winners a winner!
Garrahalish had run earlier and ran a nice race to be 2nd after six months off the track, slightly out paced three out, he got his second wind and ran on to be second.
The ground was quick yesterday and we did have dilemmas about running at all, however the chase track was better than the hurdles, which was frankly awful, and Robin took Celestial Chimes out to save her for another day.
Great to hear the horn tooting as the team got back last night - thanks to Brian Wilson for taking them as our big lorry was off eventing training!
Clean sweep for Harriet T & Ceris on the BTO front, with both horses looking immaculate, and some nice comments from Matt Chapman about how well out team turn out every runner.
flat racing tomorrow and then lots of entries for next week, could do with some rain, everywhere getting very firm, very quickly.
VERY cold up on top of the hill here today for the annual Easter Egg Hunt! (yes you did read that correctly) Tougher this yea, as costume effort required prior to said hunt! Easter Bunnys & Chicks all riding out today!
Pictorial evidence to follow!
Happy Easter to everyone - hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!
An added extra entry to the blog this week, with WINNER number 16 of the season yesterday.
I think it fair to say that The Park Lane Partnership have had their patience tested by Bally Lagan, who has always seems to manage to be the bridesmaid and not the bride!
Lots of placed efforts, but only one number one in front of his name until this season, but a tweak to his wind has made a huge difference and we suddenly have the horse we always thought was there, but that could never quite see out his races.
Not feeling over confident yesterday after a 6 lb hike in the weights - just hope the handicapper was not watching too closely yesterday!
Jack has certainly struck up a great partnership with Bally and always looked supremely confident. He travelled well and gave a display of jumping, and after being sent to the front three out won tidily by 10 lengths.
A noisy bunch of Park Laners were there to cherish the moment of a third win in a row, and Anna Lisa gave a great interview to Bob Chapman!
Plenty of noise also being made at various other venues around the country, including bookies in London & bars at Aintree where other Park Laners made spectacles of themselves cheering him home! Brilliant, just wish we had film of everyone watching the race, although glad that there is no film from here!!
Bally well pleased with himself today, shouting for his breakfast at 5.30 this morning and out for a brag with a mate, telling him just how clever he is!
BTO for Ceris too, so a clean sweep for the team!
16...... and counting!
Always busy here but seem to have been taking that to a whole new level lately!
Quite a few runners since the last entry here, and another winner!
We have been waiting on some better ground for the pocket rocket that is Galactic Power and so the EPDS Twitterati group have had to have their patient pants on. Finally good ground arrived and the lorry set off to Exeter, with GP and La Fille Francaise, who was in exactly the same position.
All well until they unloaded at the track and then the heavens opened! Having got all the way there it was decided to run, but hopes were not high for a repeat of his last win as GP rapidly changed from chestnut to mud coloured, and was virtually invisible by the time they turned for home. After being held up in the early stages, Jack produced GP with perfect timing coming to join the leader at the last and going on to win by a couple of lengths.
This brought up winner number 15 for the season and took us past our best ever prize money total. Delighted for the EPDS team who had been so patient with him and even more pleased for little GP who is an all round thoroughly nice person.
La Fille Francaise, who is a lovely filly by Kapgarde that we bought at Doncaster last May, and is still a very raw article, with plenty of strengthening up to do. She ran an absolute blinder to finish 4th in the bumper, and Louise Merry & Julie Venvell have an exciting prospect on their hands.
The opposite end of the country for The Lion Man, and the ground on the softer side than needed for him. Given a positive ride by Connor Shoemark, he was happy enough until the chips were down, and then Connor worked a lot harder, and came in a lot hotter, than TLM!
TLM is bloody frustrating as he has bags of ability but not the resilience of the likes of Galactic Power when under pressure. He will be better on better ground, and hopefully will show himself in a better light through the summer.
The ground at Warwick was worse than atrocious, personally I do not find it a very edifying site to see horses finishing so tired that its literally the last man standing.
Timons Tara & Young Lou both finished second - strong effort from Young Lou. Charlie pulled Dontmindboys up two out - he would have been third (only two finished) but Charlie said he would have done the same even if he had been in front, as the horses were walking home.
The great thing about having a stable jockey, and jockeys that ride regularly for you is that they have their eye on the bigger picture, and its not all about one race. Rather than risk a tired fall Charlie brought us a horse home in one Rpiece for another day.
All Is Good was another horse that was a result of one of mine & Charlies shopping trips to Ireland, and arrived here at the end of last year. A good looking Scorpion gelding he had had one run in a point to point and would have gone very close but for tipping up at the last fence. He was quickly snapped up by The Tricksters as a stand in for their lovely horse Under The Phone who is having an enforced break this season, and a new partnership called The Goodies, which is made up of some existing, and some new owners.
A horrible foot abscess held us up for a while, but a nice opportunity at Market Rasen saw a lovely debut run for 'Rolo'. He was very whizzy when he came, but he has calmed down a lot a popping out in front and the addition of a hood saw him travel & jump like a seasoned campaigner, only to be out done up the run in by a hot favourite, with a lot more experience. A super first run, and much to look forward to.
Some Finish did not try a yard, and pulled up down the back. Work to be done.
Afterthisone made his racecourse debut, at Doncaster and had a difficult time in the early stages of the race, having dwelt a bit in te stalls he then got cannoned into by another rather wayward runner and his chance was gone. Its hard to make up 10 lengths over a 5 furlong dash.
Everyone home safely though, and will be out to fight another day which is the most important result of all.
In amongst all the runners we had organised a fund raising quiz for Megan who is running the London marathon in aid of Racing Welfare. About sixty people supported the quiz in the village hall on Friday, and a fun evening was had by all.
A million thanks to Terry & Mandy Poulson,who had devised the questions and acted as quiz master & scorer. It was a really good evening, even if the questions made the brain ache at times! Great to see owners, friends & locals all enjoying it and along with donations from those who could not be there, raise an amazing £900 for the charity. Fantastic!
Megan has now raised £1800 and hoping to get to the £2K mark before the race.
FRIDAY NIGHT IS QUIZ NIGHT!
This Friday we are holding a General Knowledge Quiz in Great Alne Village Hall.
Megan - our head girl is raising funds for Racing Welfare by running the London Marathon at the end of April, and the quiz is to help her raise her goal of £1500 for the cause.
Teams Of 4 - £20/team
Hot Dogs available, please bring your own drink (glasses provided!)
Please come & support Megan, and enjoy a fun evening.
Contact us on 07979518594 (Claire) or 07557539879 (Megan) for more info
Just about finding the energy to type today after an absolutely manic week!
Warwick on Monday to start the week off - Timons Tara finishing 4th. Perhaps a shade disappointing, BTO for Ceris.
Cheltenham its usual incredible spectacle, which we were expecting to be spectators only this year! Thomas Crapper our only entry & needing in excess of 50 to come out for him to get a run! A casual look at the declaration list and about a dozen counts to 24, confirmed we were in! Charlie straight into the bath to do 10st 1lb!!
Cheltenham very accommodating re badges, and could not have been more helpful in getting everyone in. A good turnout of Crappers - which was great considering it was such short notice!!
Crappy always a fan of the big occasion, and did not let us down again. Given a super ride by Charlie, he was foot perfect and came there with every chance, just getting done for toe up the run in to finish a very, very respectable fourth.
The winner probably a very well handicapped horse, and we could not be prouder of TC. He was completely convinced that all the applause in the winners enclosure was solely for him!
Three festival runs, and three placed efforts - well done Crappy!
Happy to say he's fine after and is entitled to have a few days out to play.
Thank you for all the messages & good wishes both before & after the race - he certainly has a fan club!
Several owners here through the week before racing, including John Porter back from his travels, Kevin Bacon (Donntminddboys), Mel Waller & Mark Mathews, (Get Involved & Some Finish) and also Jane Nicholls, who came to see Myroundorurs & Oneida Tribe.
The B & B full up with race goers, so plenty of breakfasts to cook this week!
No time to pause for breath after the festival & off to Kempton on Saturday with Get Involved. GI has been a cause for concern all winter, for a variety of reasons. He was not himself at all, and ran accordingly. Parting company with Charlie twice when not jumping well, then pulling up. However a few days hunting and a change of routine seems to have done the trick, and a much improved run at Newbury last time was followed up by a very much improved run on Saturday to finish third. Jumping for fun with ears pricked, he looked to be loving it. He finished third which we were all thrilled with! Safe to say the horse we thought we had, is back!
Delighted for The Point of Attack Partnership, who have been SO patient with him, and allowed us the time to get him right.
No runners yesterday but a 4am start to go eventing - back at 9pm, and no pause for breath through the day!! We think racing is a mad world - at least we rarely get days that long!
Southwell today with Vocaliser and hoping to put his Newbury run behind him.
The rest of the week looks equally busy - Wetherby & Exeter tomorrow, Warwick Wednesday.
Winners 13 & !4!
Delighted to report two more winners this week.
Bally Lagan up 9 lbs for his Leicester success set off for Taunton in need of good ground. Slightly concerned the track too tight for him but no other ground options anywhere in the country!
Not the greatest contest ever seen, but decent prize money. Bally going comfortably when making his only error two out. Not awful, but enough to give his nearest rival hope, and for us to think oh B****r another second!
However after pinging the last, BL really got his head down and fought it out (not something we could ever accuse him of before!) prevailing to win by 21/2 lengths going away! Super victory for The Park Lane Partnership, who had sadly lost one of their number recently.
Cyril & Mary Payne have been owners with us for many years, with Macy, Aside The Sea & Dr Rocket amongst others, and have been in Bally Lagan since he arrived from the sales. Sadly Cyril passed away at the beginning of February. A great character and responsible for a few excellent winners parties over the years, he will be sadly missed but remembered fondly. Our condolences to Mary & the family.
Sandra & Tim Bickerton, along with David Agar on hand to greet Bally.
Newbury on Friday & Saturday. Bettalatethanneva having her third run over hurdles for Tabitha Worsley. hated the ground but ran OK to be 5th. Get Involved fresh from the hunting field travelled and jumped much better - just got tired from two out, which, as it was effectively his first run of the season, he was entitled to do. Much improved though and hopefully his confidence building again now.
Back to Newbury on Saturday, and after much heated debate about the ground, in the Dickin household, Thomas Crapper got the green light to run in the Greatwood Gold Cup. Chartering a wide course for better ground Charlie & TC always happy, jumping for fun and after passing three in the air at the cross fence took it up turning for home. Mild panic in the ranks, but no need to worry as TC just galloped away from the field to win by an astonishing 20 lengths!
TC loves the big occasion, and had naturally assumed everyone at Newbury was there to see him - he lapped up the considerable applause that he received, and was a lot calmer that the rest of us who were pretty overwhelmed by his victory. He also stuck two fingers up to a certain local trainer, who was heard to say, that with TC in the race, at least they were guaranteed to beat one!
A great ride by Charlie, and a well deserved big one for TC who has run many gallant races to finish second to some really decent horses - including Don Poli!
Delighted for the partnership who own him - Apis.uk.co - affectionately known as The Crappers! Sadly they were a bit thin on the ground on the day, but wild cheering heard from many corners of the country!
High hopes for Vocaliser in the next race, who had most of his team there to support him. After a great run last time we were hopeful of a double, but sadly the very soft ground stopped Vocaliser in his tracks. He finished 4th, but the writing was on the wall from early on, and Charlie reported that he just could not get through the mud on the hurdle track, which was a lot softer than the chase track.
Happy to report that all of last weeks runners home fine, and have had a few days out playing in the mud!
TC's victory took us to 14 for the season and over the £100k mark in prize money. Delighted for the team and our loyal owners.
Onwards - but no runners this week, until entries next w/e, and then the small meeting at Cheltenham next week. TC our only entry this year, but he is unlikely to get in.
If you are down for the festival and fancy a morning on the gallops - do get in touch, its a great way to start the day off!
Not quite such a hectic week this week, with only a couple of runners.
Some Finish had a spin over hurdles, which although should help his jumping right, was not really for him and Charlie pulled him up two out. Tests to be done on SF as he is not really firing at present.
Better from Timons Tara at Leicester where she finished third to a decent looking individual.
A busy morning with Graham on Thursday with some repeat scans, post treatment of a couple of injuries. We have been using PRP (Platelet Reinforced Plasma) on tendon injuries for a while now and are getting some really good results. Both the scans that we did this week are looking better than expected at this stage of their rehab, and an increase in their exercise program now starting. The damaged fibres mending well, just a case of getting them strong now. Nice to give their owners some good news!
Get Involved went off for another days hunting on Saturday, this time with the North Cotswold Hunt, they had a busy day, he behaved impeccably again, and also jumped quite a few different obstacles which he handled brilliantly. Harriet was also delighted to report that he really didn't want to get passed when galloping across a few fields, picking up the bit and quickening up nicely when anyone tried to go past him - hopefully his competitive spirit being restored!
The pair came back looking pretty muddy and not sure who enjoyed it most!
Nice to have Emily Bliss to ride out on Saturday morning. Emily, who is an old Pony Club friend of Harriet's is riding in the Property Race Day charity race later in the year. She has always ridden but wants to hone her race riding skills, so will be riding out regularly before the race. Chris Dickin, who rode in the race a couple of years ago is now organiser, so no pressure on Emily to win it for the home team! Just got to find her a speedy horse to do it on!
Another fund raising at present is head girl Megan who is running the London Marathon in aid of Racing Welfare. Bonkers! We are hoping to hold a fund raising quiz at the end of March - details to follow shortly - so please bear it in mind, and get a team together ready for action! We hope that many will be able to come and enjoy a fun evening and help Megan raise money for a worthy cause.
Only entries at Huntingdon this week, but next week looking a lot more interesting on the runners front!
Last week rather ran away from me, and apologies for no blog!
A real busy week, starting off with a pick up from Birmingham airport first thing on Monday, with Suzanne Lynch flying in to see Onieda Tribe. Back out again on the lunchtime flight, so a real flying visit.
A visit on the same morning from Tim & Sandra Bickerton & Dave & Linda Hern who came to see All Is Good. Great that they loved him as much as we do and a new partnership now set up in him between The Tricksters & The Goodies.
The Tricksters own Under The Phone who has picked up an injury and is missing this season (well on the mend now), so great for them to have an interest in another horse, and The Goodies are made up of some existing, and some new owners in a new partnership. Looking forward to AIG running shortly.
Great news for the Just 4 Fun partnership, with Garrahlish getting the all clear to resume training. He has been on light duties due to a niggly injury, but heading back to action now.
The team having to sit tight on a few others who have been on a break. Tara Well, Jackfield, Myroundorurs and Anti Cool all very fresh and pleased to be back in work.
Young Lou at Southwell, and finishing a slogging on 4th under Tabitha Worsley. The race turned into a war of attrition, in terrible ground it was a good run from her.
The first Saturday of the month meant Open Morning, and great to see so many faces - some familiar, some new, here to see the horses on a beautiful morning. thanks as always to Terry & Mandy Poulson for coffee & cake duties.
A busy day on Wednesday with Timons Tara & Bettalatethanneva both at Ludlow & Get Involved & Some Finish out for a day with the Worcestershire Hunt.
TT not able to follow her Uttoxeter win up with another and a very fast pace over hurdles probably catching her out, fine after & she will be back to form. Bettalatethanneva running a nice race.
The hunting boys had a fun day out, GI impeccably behaved SF enjoying the sport, and getting quite lit up about it all! Hopefully given them both something else to think about. A change of scenery and a break in the normal routine often great for horses in training. Thanks to Andy Shaw & the Worcestershire Hunt for letting them out for the day.
Dontminddboys has been a model of consistency this season, albeit with placed runs, but an extended three miles in very tacky ground round Bangor on Friday not to his liking, and although he would most likely have kept galloping, Charlie wisely pulled up up once his chance of a place was gone. A stiffer more galloping track much more in his favour.
Shame not to have been able to greet the EPDS family with another winner on Saturday morning, when they came for a yard visit. Possibly the coldest morning of the year, but at least the snow abated and it was dry for them to watch the horses, and see their recent Catterick winner Galactic Power. Anti Cool viewed from the kitchen window as the aga proved invaluable for defrosting everyone! Great to see such a good turnout, and hope they all enjoyed the morning despite the cold.
From EPDS visit to Warwick in the afternoon. A complicated sort of day as Harriet out with her team who are nearing the start of their season, and out for a competition, Young Lou the easiest horse to do & also Wildmoor Boy - who as we all know is not! Quite a bit of running around in different directions, and many thanks to Louise Sherlock for the loan of her lorry which made the battle plan much easier!
Young Lou struggling with her breathing down the back, then getting it sorted to run on to be 5th, Wildmoor Boy so consistent and running a great race to be third. He is getting better in the preliminaries and even spent about ten minutes in a stable before & after the race, and also giving the girls a much easier time in the paddock.
Cold it has been in our house over the w/e with the boiler on the blink - happily a day away yesterday (Chiltern trains much warmer than the house!) for a family day out in London to see 'The Comedy about a Bank Robbery' at the Criterion theatre. My sister in laws' godson, Jeremy Lloyd playing one of the lead roles, and a very funny play - thoroughly recommended if you are in town!
Its always hard to get away anywhere at this time of year, but once we have made the effort well worth it! There is always a reason not to go, but great to have a day with the family away from everyone's demanding work schedule!
Nice to get to London occasionally but couldn't cope with it on a daily basis!
Today is my amazing Mum's birthday. I won't put how old she is or I will be in serious trouble, but 'Happy Birthday' Cathleen Weaver - hope you have a great day!
A Great week on the whole – especially as winners 11 & 12 came up!
Galactic Power has been a super sub for EPDS Racing and taking over in their Twitterati Partnership this season. A very popular character who rarely runs a bad race – he was a good third at Taunton, before making the long trek up to Catterick last week. His preparation not without hitch – a foot abscess keeping the team busy and testing my farriery skills, along with the more skilled ones of our farrier Charlie Sands.
Many buckets of hot water and patient sitting in the cold by Harriet T, and we made it to the track. Chris Ward up & taking a valuable 5lbs off. Little GP looked beaten all the way until growing a pair of wings after the last and flying up the run in to win by a tidy 3 lengths! Delighted for the EPDS team some of whom were there to cheer him home, and encouraged I am sure, by much encouragement from many others around the country! Including the home team – some of whom were in the lorry on the return trip from Ludlow! Happily no police in sight at the time, or they may well have wondered what on earth was going on in the cab of the big lorry! BTO for Megan.
An less than smooth journey home for GP when the alternator in the little lorry resigned about 5 miles from home, which resulted in a rescue mission from Chris’s better half in Tom Gretton’s lorry (thanks Tom & Badger!) and GP having a short walk down Henley High St! (no better man for that task than GP, who is very unflappable!)
Less polite words can be used about Timons Tara who has her own very strong views on life! Full of ability she is a tricky customer, who Is looked after very ably by Ceris. She certainly had her hands full in the paddock at Uttoxeter on Saturday – BTO for Ceris -but once Jack on board and she was off down the track all was well. Really unlucky not to win the week before when tipping up after a novicey mistake when looking to have the race won, Jack & ‘Billy the Filly’ were not up for any mistakes this time. She jumped straight & true and put all of her rivals to the sword a long way out. Winning in a canter with ears pricked! Great result for Mark James who sadly was not on hand to see the race but was represented by friend John Martin who kept the rest of us entertained after the race!
An easy drive back for Ceris & I and plenty of horn tooting up Park Lane!
Taunton & Doncaster rather less successful missions, Routine Procedure stopping rather tamely but lame the next morning, so something clearly amiss. Kitegen not enjoying Taunton, The Lion Man looking very one paced in the race but running on well at the end.
In many ways glad not to be at Cheltenham, sad of course not to be able to be in two places at once for our runners, who have both come back fine after their races. Thomas Crapper his usual brave self, Get Involved disappointing but confidence having a big wobble at present and a run back over hurdles on the cards for him.
However seeing the screens up after watching Many Clouds beat Thistlecrack gave a sinking feeling of dread. Sadly Harriet rang to tell us the news – everyone as stunned as the crowd at Cheltenham.
A day we all dread with our gallant warriors, and it was easy to see how much Many Clouds has meant to the Sherwood team over the last few seasons. How on earth Oliver did that interview on ITV I will never know – personally in tears just watching it. Brave man who did our sport proud.
Our condolences to Mr Hemmings and all the Sherwood team, but what some memories they have – and no one can take them away.
It just reminds you how important it is to enjoy the moments when horses win, and indeed just run well. The keyboard warriors who have penned some pretty terrible lines over the last few days will never understand the love & care these horses get from those who own and look after them, and also from the NH fans who follow their careers and care for them from afar nearly as much as those closer to them.
A frustrating few days! With good bits!
Exeter on Tuesday with Dontminddboys, who is turning into a model of consistency - Charlie able to ride him much handier and he jumped impeccably and travelled much easier through the race - to finish a very respectable third. I don't think this horse would mind how far you ran him he would still be staying on!
Get Involved much happier at home and hoping for a good run from him at Newbury - however a difference in opinion in where to take off resulted in a parting of the ways at fence two! Not plan A!! Both Charlie & GI fine after!
Timons Tara also in a good place at present - she is not the easiest person to deal with and takes time to come to hand but apart from jumping markedly left she was running a blinder at Ludlow on Wednesday and appeared to have her rivals beaten when making a novicey mistake at the first in the straight, clipping the top of the fence and it was game over! Our first faller for a good long while, and hopefully the last for an equal amount of time! Both 'Billy the Filly' and Jack fine after. Swear box rather full!
Vocaliser is another that has taken a long time to get his act together - a good run at Sandown on his penultimate run to be third, but he was then given no chance at Ludlow last time. Really needed a good run at Haydock - and that we got! Settled handy he has a last stopped ripping and tearing and gave himself every chance! The plan always to give him every chance to finish his race off, and he stormed home to just fail by a neck! Delighted with the run - obviously frustrated at second but pleased at the same time!
Delighted for The Songsters who have been so patient with him and given us the time to get him right.
Lots of visitors this week including Paul & Marian Davis who came on a very cold Saturday morning via C & D Stable Tours. Great to meet them, and I think they were very glad of a nice warm kitchen once we got in for breakfast!
Damp & very gloomy here today - still pretty dark when first lot pulled out.
The horses having a rare day in yesterday as it was much the same, and they really don't enjoy standing around in the rain! We turn out everyday except if its frozen or pouring down, but this time of the year a quick scoot around, and a roll in a muddy bit seems to be enough for most of the horses - they are then waiting to come in!
Warwick on Saturday with Wildmoor Boy - a deep intake of breath as we set off at the last possible minute, to be at the course for as little time as possible!
An uneventful journey and an only quite warm horse as we arrived (as opposed to a dripping one!) and 'Mouse' also agreeing to stand in a stable for about 10 minutes - progress!! Getting the saddle on was as difficult as ever, but he was then relatively well behaved in the paddock. Megan & Ceris dong their usual sterling work in hanging onto him, and as always once out on the track he was a good boy.
We are so limited as to where we can go with him it was not really ideal for him to be lumping round a huge weight, but it was either that or stay at home. Given a super ride by Charlie he jumped and travelled really well in ground that we were nervous about for him. Made all until just getting collared at the last - stayed on really gamely although tired up the run in. Really delighted with the run - brave little horse - and also that he seems to be starting to cope better with the preliminaries. Long way to go but at least improving!
Great to see most of the Park Lane Partnership here yesterday to have a small celebration of Bally Lagans win at Leicester last week - a really nice group who have had to wait a fair while for his win! Shares available in Bally Lagan - do call if you would like to get involved with this friendly bunch!!
Exeter tomorrow with Dontminddboys, possibly Newbury Wednesday and Ludlow Thursday this week.
Winner number 10 for the season at Leicester yesterday!
Bally Lagan has on many levels been a frustrating horse over the years. Rarely running a bad race but also rarely getting his head actually in front! However yesterday was his day and under a great ride from Jack Quinlan cantered to the front two out and then won nicely by a couple of lengths! Happily a good turn out of 'The Park Lane Partnership' who own him were there to cheer him home.
Four runners at the meeting so the team busy, but doing us proud with four immaculately turned out horses - sadly Leicester too mean to bother with turnout prizes yesterday.
Routine Procedure having his first proper run over fences and jumping like a pro to finish fourth - a good run from him and definitely now progressing in the right direction.
Whispering Nick ran Ok for his third hurdle run but Some Finish too awful to be true - never really going - tests to be done.
The one positive from SF was that the violent right turn in mid air was much better - this after a schooling session with Yogi Breisner on tuesday. Yogi is a genius at helping to iron out jumping issues and we had a very productive morning jumping a few with him. Great to have Mel & Elaine Waller & Nicki Preece & Julie Venvell along to watch - they were all fascinated watching Yogi at work! The team also get a free lesson and Routine Procedure, Get Involved, The Lion Man & Bettalatethanneva all jumped too. Interesting to then see a change of jumping style as Harriet had a lesson on her event horse.
Little Galactic Power has been a consistent sort but got a fright first time over fences when one fell right in front of him at the first fence. We ran him back over hurdles at Taunton as a confidence booster, and he ran a super race in a big field (17 runners round Taunton was as surprise!) to finish a creditable 3rd. Chris Ward rode a lovely waiting race on him and produced him just right, only for a mistake at the last to probably cost them second. I don't think we would have caught the winner - but a good run never the less. A good turnout of the EPDS Twitterati who GP is running for this season - shares available in this bonny horse - and the club an excellent and economic way to get involved . Contact us or John Powell at EPDS for more information.
'The Big Storm' did not really materialise yesterday although it was pretty wet at Leicester - we did see about three snow flakes as we were loading to come home, and have woken up to a dusting this morning.
Weather being ridiculous at the moment, varying from -7 to +9, difficult to know what to put on the horses, duvets the usual attire at this time of year, and needed in the frost, but next minute they are all sweating! we had a couple of days of delayed riding out so that the frost had come out of the gallop and it was easier on the hands and feet by later in the morning!
Frozen ground and pouring rain are the only times we don't turn out, and we always hope for not too many days in a row of that or else the bucking and kicking when they do get back in the field is just too nerve wracking!
The weather really not helping us at Cheltenham on New Years day - hoping that it would hold off until after 2 pm when Thomas Crapper was running - sadly the weather Gods had other ideas though and it p****d all morning, and the ground was very much against us as TC not keen on a bog! However he ran a blinder to be 5th and was right there until the last when the ground stopped him. Some brilliant shots of the two Harriet's taken by the Jockey Club photographer which I will attempt to up up here later! Great to see so many 'Crappers' there braving the freezing wet day and also great to have TC back running so well. He bounced out of the race and was bucking during his next morning trot up! Probably back to Cheltenham for him on Trials day.
Young Lou disappointing at Hereford, but things not going to plan for her during the race and she expressed her disapproval at the business end of the race!
Fog was the order of the day on the trek to Wincanton on Saturday, very patchy and dense as we arrived but then lifted, only to come down again as we were standing in the paddock with Oneida Tribe.A commentators nightmare, and very nerve wracking when all you could see were the last two fences! 'Ian' hated the gluey ground but ran very well to be 4th only beaten four lengths. He jumps like a pro and there will be better days than that for him.
At last a week in a normal routine this week - seem to have had trouble knowing what day it was for the last couple of weeks, Christmas would be so much more convenient in June! The team working on, although we did manage to get some time off in for everyone, and some half days on the bank holidays! Trees down now and everything put away till next year - when i WILL be better organised!!
Technology is a wonderful thing - when it works!
As many of you are aware we have been having more than our fare share of 'techy' issues lately which has made me pretty 'tetchy'!!
Hopefully now solved.
As a result of all the hassle, Christmas Greetings from Alne Park, could well be construed as early for next year!
However - a very belated:
'Seasons Greetings' from us all here and Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year, filled with plenty of winners.
A huge thank you for all of the support through the last twelve months, especially from our wonderful owners and their amazing athletes.
Thank you to the Team at home who have worked so hard to produce the goods - we certainly couldn't do it without them.
Rather a long gap since the last blog – busy all round at present, so apologies for lack of news - this will probably be a long one to catch up!!
On the whole the horses running very well which is pleasing – always frustrating not to be in that #1 spot but much to be taken from some progressive runs.
Routine Procedure back after a long layoff for a niggly injury – he has always been a horse that we have thought the world of at home, but never really got his act together on the track. Looked a picture in the paddock and ran very encouragingly. Travelled and jumped well to finish a running on 6th. Happily all cold after the run!
Timons’ Tara at Warwick not taking to fences on this day – better to come from her. Bally Lagan a non runner after a storm of monsoon proportions!
La Fille Francaise & Okmyway both running nicely in the bumper on racecourse debut.
Nice to have Young Lou back out again and running her usual solid race to be third at Uttoxeter.
Dans’ Quest also back from a long lay off at Hereford.
Dontminddboys a tad disappointing first time over fences at Towcester – ground nowhere near as soft as we thought it would be, and a manically run race not helping at all. He jumped well though and there is much more to come from him.
Some Finish ran a blinder to be second – again not helped by ground quicker than needed for him, but much happier right handed and just getting mugged by one up the Towcester hill. Amazingly we still have shares available in Some Finish – great value and a fun group to be involved with – what better Christmas present could anyone ask for??
Leicester chase and hurdle track as always an enigma – soft on the hurdle course and firm was the polite version of the chase track! Bally Lagan again a non runner for the opposite reason to last time! Wildmoor Boy venturing further from home – it seemed an awfully long way in the lorry! Up 10 lbs. He ran Ok, but feel he may have left his race on the M69 to some extent. Back to Warwick & Cheltenham!
Twycross Warrior a shade disappointing at Ludlow, Whispering Nick another solid bumper run to be 5th.
Young Lou following up her Uttoxter 3rd with a game 2nd at Southwell – annoyingly just coming up against one well handicapped one on the day!
Vocaliser has been another that has been causing some head scratching but put all that to bed at Sandown with a really good run to be 3rd. Going clear at the second last he slipped on landing and nearly parted company with Jack, who did well to get his head back up and keep him going to finish a battling 3rd at 40/1! Happy Songsters!
Get Involved and Charlie had a parting of the ways when GI jinked around another jockey on the floor! It was some nifty foot work from him and gravity took over for Charlie! Both fine after!
Routine Procedure ran again at Uttoxeter and finished a good 5th – ground too soft for him and he did not quite get home after travelling and jumping well throughout. Frustrating but still a huge step up on last season’s form. More to come from him!
In between all the runners a quick trip to Ireland resulting in a new arrival at any minute this morning. An exciting four year old by Scorpion who is well related and an exciting prospect. He is for sale so do give a call for more details.
As well as the Irish trip a rather longer one for Harriet as part of a GB team to Stockholm show. Harriet was co driver in one lorry and by the time they arrived back had shared the driving of a 2,700 mile trip! Her horse jumped really well in an electric and very noisy atmosphere – it was like being at the Horse of the Year show – an environment the event horses do not usually face , so we were thrilled with how he went. It was a fun few days – much easier for the support crew who flew in – we were well looked after by the hosts and it was a fun couple of days. Also did a bit of sightseeing around Stockholm, which was a very clean and interesting city – but very expensive!!
The team here fighting coughs & colds with the constant change in temperature, (-8 on Monday - +13 on Thursday – ridiculous!) but still soldering on! Megan ran her first half marathon yesterday in a very respectable time.
Harriet T qualified her puppy for Crufts. Well done to both of them.
Great to see lots of owners and friends over the last couple of weeks, and Christmas preparations going ahead – albeit slowly & with not much enthusiasm!
Foals weaned his week which was more traumatic for us than them – feeling terrible about splitting up mothers and sons, but they were not bothered in the slightest and glad to be in for some extra food, and out of the rain on Saturday!
The lads are busy fencing at the moment and replacing some old post & rails that have seen better days – all looking very smart!
One sad note this week – our old cat Marmalade – chief mouser at Hill Farm, departed to the mousing ground above! Everyone pretty sad about her departure as she was something of a legend here.
A few runners later in the week – all ground dependant – bizarrely in December, needing rain!!
A manic few days for the team here, and only finding time to draw breath briefly today!
Two runners last Thursday at Towcester – The Lion Man too bad to be true last time, bloods not quite right after and possibly the visor having a reverse affect, so off this time and a change of tactics. Rory looking much happier out in front and running a hugely better race to finish fourth. In many ways he is still a big baby and lacking in confidence but he travelled well, jumped superbly and Charlie was chuffed with him.
Whispering Nick an exciting prospect and confirming that on the track finishing a decent 5th in the bumper.
Back to gallop at sparrows the next morning with four – a morning marred badly, by an injury to a lovely filly of Charlie & Frans’. Our gang all galloped OK but it was hard to judge things properly when dealing with other things.
Home and straight off to Cheltenham with the enigma that is Wildmoor Boy!
WB has had his antics well documented, and it was with a large intake of breath that Megan, Ceris and I set of for Cheltenham! Having only ventured as far as Warwick And Stratford, for previous runs this year, it seemed a good way away, and judging our late entrance just that bit trickier!
All went to plan though, even if Mr Beech will owe the girls a new pair of boots for all the walking as he just will not have it in a stable, so much walking required!
As we are so limited with where we can go, it's tricky to find races, and although WB probably wants further, 2miles was our only option, so it was up to Charlie to make it into a stayers race! This he achieved will great skill. In front all the way until landing from the last when we all thought 'oh bugger' it's going to be second (would still have been a great result!), however once headed the Mighty Mouse was not going to be denied! He fought back under a strong drive from Charlie and they won tidily going away from the second horse!
Unbelievable, emotional, and altogether bloody fantastic! No voices left from us, and there was a good chance Megan would beat them all up the run in! In to a wonderful reception from the crowd, no finer place to be that that winners spot.
A great lift for Charlie after the events of earlier in the day.
Delighted for Cliff Beech & Brian Wilkinson and the whole Beech family. Cliff has had horses with us for many years, this his first Cheltenham winner. Sad he was not there but plenty of cheering from him at home I am sure.
Then you have to get WB home............!
All well though and happy to see this little toughy trot up on springs the next morning, looking pretty pleased with himself!
The horn working well up the lane and great to celebrate the win with all of our super team, plus John and Ellie of EPDS fame who were staying prior to a yard visit the next day. I seemed to have a lot for the recycling bin the next morning!
Lovely to see members of EPDS racing here to see their boys. Anti Cool, Dontminddboys and Galactic Power. Shares are available in all of these talented individuals and it's a great set up to be involved in. Do call if you would like details.
No peace for the hungover though, and back to Cheltenham with Thomas Crapper, and off To Uttoxeter with Galactic Power.
First time with a tongue strap after a couple of disappointing runs. It worked and he finished a valiant 6th in the big race of the day! Probably a PB for him, and he does so love Cheltenham!
Little GP a firm favourite here and back from a long lay off. He was given a lovely sympathetic ride by Chris Ward and finished 3rd on very soft ground, which he would not relish!
Everyone back in one piece, which is always the priority, the team pretty exhausted and a relief not to have any runners on Sunday!
Southwell today with Routine Procedure – first run back after a very long lay off so safe home a priority!