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!